About Me

I have been a teacher of fitness and health for thirty years. In 1989 I was certified for personal training with the National Acadamy of Sports Medicine. I had a gym in Santa Barbara for eight years. Co-owned and created a spinning bike company which manufactured bikes for five years. Also I have worked with nutrition companies for twenty years. Along with many wonderful non famous people I have trained many celebrities, and members of the Royal Family. My own athletic past consists of long distance running, long distance cycling, cross country skiing, down hill skiing, rollerblading, hiking, sand running, track work, and weight training. I have authored two fitness columns in local papers, and have been writing this blog since January 2010.

Monday, February 28, 2011

We Are What We Eat!

Have you ever heard of the saying, "You are what you eat"?  Nothing has ever been more true than that statement.  This is why it is important to understand why you should be eating more of nature's foods, rather than eating processed, fast, or junk foods.  If your diet consists mostly of those types of foods, in relationship to "you are what you eat", you will have a body that is run on chemicals, preservatives, and food that has little to no nutritional value.  Is that who you want to be?

We know that processed foods are full of chemicals, preservatives, white flour, white sugar, and give us little nutrition, if any at all.  Why on earth would you want to fill your body with that kind of food?  Are you eating all for taste and none for health?  This is something that you need to evaluate in yourself.  I have said it before, and I will say it again...the number one reason we eat is to fulfill the need for nutrition in our bodies.  If you are eating foods that have no nutrition, you are defeating the purpose for eating.

By the way, if you think that fast food, junk food, and processed foods taste good, it is only because you have trained your taste buds to like that kind of food.  It happens if that is what you are eating most of the time.  If you stopped eating those types of foods and just ate fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, nuts, legumes, and other natures foods, you would find that eating junk food, fast food, and processed food, would not taste good to you.  I actually get nauseous when I eat those types of food because my system isn't used to it.  I prefer natures foods because I have eaten that way most of my life.

Most restaurants and fast food places are mandated to show their fat gram and calorie count of the foods on their menus today.  It is amazing what has happened.  Most people who actually see how fattening and high in calories these foods are, end up choosing the lower calorie and  lower fat choices on the menu.  These establishments have been forced to put healthier choices on their menus so that people have the choice to eat healthy or not.  Having said that there are still enough people who don't care and choose to eat the unhealthy menu choices.  Those are the food addicts whose health is not their priority....eating the bad food is.

When you see how many calories, fat, and sodium that are in the foods sold in fast food, or chain restaurants, you will understand why we have 65% of our population over weight and obese.  We really need to wake up and understand that it is what we are eating that is killing us.  I have written many blogs on the nutritional account of theater food, carnival food, fast food, and restaurant food that you can look up in the archives of this blog that are quite eye opening.  I will never have anything in a theater again, except water!

Remember that it is not just calories that we are interested in, we also care about the quality of those calories.  It is not just fat that we care about, it is the kind of fat that we need that is important.  I have several blogs on these topics in my archives as well if you are interested in reviewing this information.

It takes 3500 calories to gain or lose a pound.  It is easy when choosing items from a fast food or chain restaurant to eat that many calories in a meal...or at least close to it.  Most of us need somewhere between 1500 and 2500 calories for the whole day, depending on your sex, body fat percentage, activity level, and metabolism.  If you do the math, again you can see why their are so many people who are over weight.

When reading the food labels on processed foods, you will find many ingredients that you may not be able to pronounce, and most likely have no idea what they are.  If we are what we eat, do you really want to be any of those ingredients?  Certainly not if you are looking to be healthy.  They say that you should not eat anything that would not be found in your grandmothers pantry.  That means most of the processed foods on the grocery shelves should not be eaten....they are full of preservatives and chemicals that do not belong in our bodies.

So keep remembering that "You are what you eat" when you are choosing your foods.  If you are wanting to be healthy, lean, strong, feeling good, and looking good, choose natures foods for the bulk of your diet.  Then you can be proud of saying, "I am what I eat!".

Till Monday,

Monday, February 21, 2011

Tools to Help With Healthy Nutritional Choices

The internet is a great way to find helpful tools to assist you in eating healthy.  Just the other day, my friend Alana told me about Lance Armstrong's web site, "Live Strong", and how you can click on "my plate" to calculate how many calories you are eating.  This program is great for setting a weight loss goal and it will help you to get there.

This site gives you the information on restaurant foods, fast foods, supplements, foods to avoid, popular diets, healthy recipes, and nutritional content of foods.  It gives you information on all different types of exercise and the calories you will burn while doing them.  You can learn about heart rate training, cardiovascular training, strength training, and stretching.  It is a site that can help anyone get fit and healthy if they are committed to doing so.

"Live Strong" is devoted to helping people live healthy lives.  Lance's passion is to help put an end to cancer through his work with "Live Strong".  He understands the importance of eating right, and exercising regularly for optimal health.  A healthy diet and consistent exercise can make any disease better.  It may or may not cure them, but it assists your body by giving it proper nutrition and body movement.  

Using "The Plate" on the "Live Strong" site will allow you to track your nutrition and exercise to get to your weight loss goal.  It is free as well, and that is always a good thing!

"Calorie Counter" is another site that you can track your intake of calories and find support for weight loss, and  "Calorie King" is yet another great site for finding this information.  Just by putting "calorie count" into a search engine, you can find many sites that help you keep track of the foods you are eating, but most importantly, let you know how healthy or unhealthy your choices are.

If you put in "weight loss trackers" to a search engine, you will find many sites that will help you to your weight loss goals as well.  I would not rely on a site that is trying to sell you a product as much as I would trust the sites like "Live Strong" or "Med Help.org" who are not trying to sell specific products.  These sites are driven by educating people on how they can eat better and exercise to live a healthier life, rather than buying their product.

Having said that, I do believe that there are some sites that are selling a product, such as "Weight Watchers" that can be helpful to many people who are looking to lose weight in a healthy manner. One of the things that I like about Weight Watchers is they eat real food.  They also have personal support, which many people like and need.  Research your options, and choose what you think will work for you. 

With 65% of our population over weight or obese, you can see that you are not alone in your battle to lose the fat.  The great thing is...there is a lot of support out there for you.  With a few clicks of your mouse, and a few taps on your keyboard, you can find a program that will help and support you to a "healthier You".  

Personally I love the "Live Strong" site.  It is so complete.  Not only do you get the nutritional and exercise information, you will get Lance's motivational information to be inspired to be and do your best.  He came  from knocking on death's door, to being the seven time winner of arguably the most grueling sport event in the world, the "Tour de France".  He is truly an inspiration, and  I love the work that he is doing to help all of us be the healthiest and best we can be.  Even if you are not needing to lose any weight, you will find his site a wealth of information for being and staying healthy.  I hope you check it out.  Enjoy!

Till Monday,

Monday, February 14, 2011

Basics You Need to Know About Nutrition

Lets discuss some of the basic things that we should know about nutrition that will help us create and maintain a healthy body.  First of all we need to understand that our bodies need a certain amount of protein, carbohydrates, and fats, to perform at our best. 

We need protein to build muscle, repair tissue, and it is essential for growth.  Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and provide the transport of nutrients, oxygen, and waste throughout the body.  Protein makes all life possible.  Eating healthy, lean, portions of protein each day are important if you want to be healthy.

Good sources of animal protein can be found in eggs, chicken, turkey, beef, and pork.  Fish is another way to find a good source of protein, and usually has less fat in it.  Fish also provides you with omega 3 oils that help keep your body running better.  Many people choose to get their protein from vegetable sources, as they prefer not to eat animals.  This can be done, but if you choose this way of eating you will need to make sure that you are getting your minimum of 50 grams of protein a day to insure good health.  It takes a little more know how to find that amount of protein in vegetables, but again it can be done.

Carbohydrates are very important for optimal health.  Without them you could not survive and be healthy.  Carbohydrates give you energy, it is basically your fuel, as gasoline is to a car.  There are two types of carbohydrates, complex carbs, and simple carbs.  It is the complex carbs that you want to have the most of.  Complex carbohydrates are vegetables and fruits, or what I like to call "Natures" carbs.  They are packed full of antioxidants, fiber, water, and many other wonderful things that help our bodies stay healthy. 

Simple carbs are found in processed foods like breads, pastas, crackers, cookies, sugar, and chips.  Those are the carbs that you should limit if you are interested in being lean and healthy.  It is the processed carbs that have less nutrition and are a leading cause of obesity in our country.  Eat them occasionally, if at all.

Fats are also essential for optimum health, but it makes a huge difference in the kind of fat you are ingesting.  Animal fats are the most harmful of all fats, and that includes butter!  It is animal fat that creates cholesterol.  Vegetable fats never harden in your arteries.  Keeping your animal fat intake low, and your vegetable fat as your main source is a healthier way to eat.  Refer to my blog on "The Low Down on Fats" from January 2010 to read more on different types of fat and its function.

There are different opinions on how much of protein, carbs, and fats that we need.  I always believe that it is an individual thing to a point, but only to a point.  For instance my body works better when I eat animal protein as opposed to being a vegetarian.  I have tried many times to be a vegetarian, but I am healthier when I eat animal protein.  Some people believe you should have 30% protein, 30% fats, and 40% carbs, in your daily diet.  Others believe you should eat less fat and more protein.  I believe you need to find what works for you.  Personally I work better on more complex carbs, and less fat and protein. 

There is a belief that your body type dictates how you should eat.  Whether you are predominantly a Mesomorph, Endomorph, or Ectomorph, can determine how much protein, carbs, and fat you should have.  It is an interesting science that I think holds a lot of truth to it.  There are tests you can take on line to find out what type of body you have.  Just put "body types" into a search engine and you can learn what type you are.

After understanding the components of what we should eat, we also need to know the amount of calories that we are taking in.  As I have stated many times, it is not just the amount of calories that is important, but the quality of calories that should be looked at.  200 calories of vegetables is a much better choice of calories than 200 calories of cookies.  So calories should not just be counted, but chosen for their quality. 

Most women should be eating between 1500 and 2000 calories a day to maintain their weight.  Men should eat between 2000 and 3000.  This will depend on many variables like weight, height, basal metabolism, and amount of muscle you have.  Remember that your basal metabolism is what it takes for you to be alive for twenty-four hours without moving.  To get a true basal metabolism reading you will have to see a doctor, but the average person who is fit and not overweight usually has a basal of around 1500 calories a day.  Our basal metabolism slows as we age, with inactivity, and having a high body fat percentage.

Knowing these basic facts about nutrition will help you to make better choices when it comes to eating healthy.  It is always about choices, so choose healthy proteins, healthy carbs, healthy fats, and healthy amounts of calories if you want to feel good, look good, and perform at your best.  Knowledge is power, and being healthy is too!

Till Monday,

Monday, February 7, 2011

Choosing Natures Foods

There has been so much news lately about our country's obesity epidemic, and the state of our children's health.  None of the news is good.  65% of our population is overweight and obese, and our children are a big part of those statistics. 

What has happened in the past forty years that has caused this problem?  Well it is not rocket science, I can assure you, and unless people get there heads out of sand and stop being in denial about their food choices, and their lack of physical movement, those statistics will keep climbing up.

Simply put, people are choosing to eat non nutritious foods that are processed, and sitting more than they are moving.  Remember that the number one reason we eat food is to give our bodies the proper nutrition that they need to function correctly.  If you choose to eat junk food, fast food, and processed food, as your main diet, you will not be getting the nutrients that you need to stay healthy and lean.

Without the right vitamins, minerals, enzymes, fiber, antioxidants, and other nutrients that we need to stay healthy, it is impossible for your body to function at its best.  The best way to eat, is to choose natures food.  I have written about this many times, but it is always good to revisit this topic to remind you how you should be eating for optimal health.

Natures foods are the foods that come to us via nature.  Foods that humans have not had much to do with, other than facilitating the growing process.  They are fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts that are created from nature.  Choose animal proteins that have been raised without hormones or chemicals, and hopefully are free range.  Stay away from foods that have been processed.  Those are the foods that make you fat and unhealthy.

Let's talk about how you can use your mind training when it comes to choosing the right foods.  Begin by associating fast foods, junk foods, and processed foods with no nutrition and bad health.  Remember each time you grab those kind of foods to eat that you are hurting your health, rather than helping it.  Know that every time you eat those type of foods that you will become fatter and you will not be giving your body what it needs.

You can also begin to associate certain diseases with eating those foods like, diabetes, heart disease, certain cancers, and arthritis.  These are obesity related diseases that come from eating poorly and not exercising.  Why would you ever want to sign up for a disease?  People are doing just that all day long, every day in our country with their food choices.  We must understand the association of why this is happening.  It is not random, it is a calculated choice to eat poorly and create obesity.

People say that it is harder to eat healthy.  That is so not true!  Steaming vegetables takes only minutes, and grilling a chicken breast is hardly time consuming.  We have become a bunch of lazy, overeating, fast food, junk food, processed food, addicts.  If this trend does not change, our country is in big trouble.  Recently I heard a news report that talked about how many young people get turned downed from joining the military.  It has never happened before in history that our youth was too fat and out of shape to be a part of the armed forces.  

So when you are making choices of what you will eat, choose natures foods for the most part.  If you are reading a food label and don't know what the ingredients are, don't eat it.  Nature did not make all of the pesticides and chemicals that are in our processed foods.  Our foods should not last for months if not years on a shelf.  Make choices that support you being healthy and lean.  Natures foods will do that for you.

Keep in mind the association of what unhealthy foods do to you.  Understand that you are not eating for health when you eat poorly and that consequences will happen because of it.  Those consequences are being overweight, obese, and unhealthy.  Choose to be healthy and be the best you can be by giving your body and mind the nutrients that are found in natures foods.  Eat for health!

Till Monday,