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, September 26, 2011

How Our Emotions Effect Our Health

There is more and more scientific evidence to support how our emotions effect our health.  Whether it is a positive effect from experiencing positive emotions, or a negative effect from experiencing negative emotions, our emotions play a big role in our health.

One of the preeminent experts in positive psychology and author of the book "Flourish", Martin Seligman PhD states that there is scientific certainty that our emotional outlook effects our physical health.  Scientists now know that good feelings have a positive effect on our bodies, and negative emotions create negative physical responses.


When we are happy, joyful, peaceful, and feeling those positive emotions, our immune system becomes  stronger and is able to fight off colds, flues, and illness's better.  When we are stressed, angry, jealous, fearful, or are experiencing any other kind of negative emotion, our bodies spike in the hormone cortisol which will suppress our immune system and leave us less able to fight off illness and disease.

The trick is learning how to take control over our emotions so that we do not dwell in the negative.  Being conscious of our emotions is the first step in being able to control them.  A study published by "Psychosomatic Magazine" found that patients who wrote about their worries for thirty minutes a day had a healthier immune system and also had fewer doctor visits relating to their illness.  We can choose to feel negative emotions, or we can choose to see things in a more positive light.  The choice is always ours to make.

Sheldon Cohen PhD from Carnegie Mellon University studied 193 patients to determine their level of positive emotions.  He exposed the participants to a virus and found that people who scored low on positive emotions were three times likely to succumb to the virus.  Clearly our emotions are powerful when it comes to our health.

Lara M. Stepelman PhD professor of psychiatry and health behavior at the Medical College of Georgia states that, "We all have the ability to choose an optimistic mind-set.  With practice we can get better at it."  Just like we train our bodies to become fit and healthy, we must train our minds to become fit by thinking and feeling more positive emotions.

There are many ways to reduce our negative emotions.  Many of us let our emotions happen as if we are just a bystander and not the one controlling them or making them happen.  We are the only ones that can control them and change them to a more positive feeling.  The tools that can help reduce our negative emotions are meditation, tai chi, exercise, a healthy diet, and surrounding ourselves with people we love and who love us.  Staying away from toxic media such as news shows, violent movies, negative press, reality shows, and other forms of entertainment that dwell in negative activity, are a good choice to make when you are trying to stay in positive emotion.

We can take charge of our health by taking charge of our emotions.  Studies show that people who for the most part live in positive emotion, are healthier for it, while people who live experiencing mostly negative emotion suffer ill health.  Since it is a choice, why not choose to be healthier by feeling more positive?  If you are a negative thinker and feeler, you will need to retrain yourself to be more positive.  It can be done by being conscious and aware of how you are feeling and thinking.....keep choosing to be positive!

Wishing You Health and Happiness,

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

What to Do When You are Feeling Sick

I am a big believer in doing all you can to naturally prevent illness, such as; eating healthy, exercising regularly, getting plenty of rest and sleep, drinking lots of clear water, and practicing your positive thoughts and actions. These things will help to keep you healthier, but if you catch a virus or infection, other steps need to be taken.

When your body is fighting something, some of the things you want to stay away from are usually the things your body won't want anyway, like sugar, coffee, rich food, and alcohol. That tells you a lot about those things....they aren't good for you.

I never want coffee when I am not feeling well. It is very acidic and most likely will make you feel worse. Sugar and alcohol are the same. They cause your body to become more acidic, and that will not help you when you are sick.

When you are feeling ill, it is not a good time to exercise.  Your immune system is compromised when you are sick and exercise will weaken it more.  Begin to exercise when you are feeling better and gain more strength.

It is amazing how smart our bodies really are. When you get sick you most likely will want little to nothing to eat. Or you will want something that is bland or easily digestible. Your body needs a energy to heal itself when you are sick, and digesting food requires a lot of energy, so your body will lose its appetite to focus on healing.

I also try to stay away from taking medications unless absolutely necessary. This last week it was absolutely necessary. It is difficult to get rid of an infection without the aid of antibiotics. If used occasionally, and not abused, they are miraculous. Too many people take antibiotics when they don't need them, and that can create health issues.

Listen to your body when you are not feeling well. Don't eat or drink things that will make you feel worse. Drink lots of fluids, get plenty of rest, and if you need a doctors care, get an appointment.

There is nothing like feeling your best. Whenever I find myself down with a sickness, I am so thankful that most of the time I feel fabulous. There is no truer saying than "without your health you have nothing". I have so much empathy for anyone that deals with chronic illness. It is a blessing to have good health, and I never take it for granted. I am truly blessed.

Wishing You Health and Happiness,

Monday, September 12, 2011

Nutrition Basics

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, September 5, 2011

Nutrition and Mindfulness

Now that you have been focused on training your mind to avoid negative thinking and negative behavior, lets apply that to your nutritional needs, and how you choose to feed yourself.  If we understand that we are the ones that choose every thought and every action in our lives, then we know that when we choose to eat poorly, there is no one else to blame but ourselves.

It is typical for many people who want to lose weight to feel as if they have no control over choosing to eat unhealthy, fattening foods.  Of course this is not true.  We always have control over what we eat, but many people choose to eat those unhealthy, fattening foods because they have become addicted to them.  People who eat a diet that is primarily made up of white flour, white sugar, high fat, processed foods, can actually become just like a drug addict.  Their bodies begin to release dopamine, a neurotransmitter that makes us feel good, only when they are eating those unhealthy foods.

This is the reason why we have so many obese people in our country.  We are a nation of food addicts, and it is on the increase each year due to the amount of processed and fast foods that we consume.  A person that has created this addiction will have the same difficult time getting off of it as a heroin addict has getting off of heroin.

So how does one stop their food addiction?  Just like any kind of addict, they will need to have support, focus, discipline, and a commitment to turning their situation around.  It won't be easy, but it can be done if one wants to get healthy and lean.

Working with our mindfulness training can help.  You must remember who is in charge, what results you are looking for, and then make the right choices to get you there.  If you continue to let your unhealthy foods have power over you, your results will be the same.  Be stronger than that.  Choose to get the results that you want by being in power over that side of you that wants to give in to bad foods.  Choose to get the results you want.

It is insanity to spend your life always wanting to lose weight, but continuing to eat unhealthy food.  It simply makes no sense to getting the results you are looking for.  It is somewhat similar to wanting to be a long distance runner, but never going out to run.  Or wanting to wake up in the morning to meditate, but never doing it.  You can talk about it until the cows come home, but unless you put positive action to it, it just won't happen.

When you are in situations where bad foods tempt you, remember who is in control.  You are, not some outside entity.  No matter what has happened in your life to cause you to overeat, you can change it by taking control of your thoughts and actions.  I realize that it is not always easy, but why do we always think that if it is not easy, we can't do it.  Of course it won't be easy if you have created a food addiction, but will it be easy to continue on a path of self destruction and ill health?

We must take control over how we choose to live if we want to be healthy and happy.  Being over weight is not just about size.  In fact size is the least of it.  Being over weight is mostly about your health and the quality of your life.  It is also about the fact that eating bad foods gives you little to no nutrition.  Without the right nutrition, your body can not function properly, and can lead to many different types of disease.  Your quality of life will not be there if you are obese.

That is one of the biggest problems with over weight people, they tend to focus only on their size.  If you could be 100 pounds or more over weight and be healthy, this conversation would be mute.  However you can not be obese and be healthy.  Obese and healthy do not go together.  We need to stay focused on the real issues when it comes to our obesity epidemic.  In order to be at your best with your health you need to have a body fat that is healthy for your age.  Anything over 30% is considered obese.  I would bet that 30% is now average in our country.

Most people who battle a weight problem, are eating from some kind of emotional issue.  It is so important to try and identify what those issues are if you ever want to gain control over it.  Knowing how to eat right and exercise is not the only answer when someone is eating emotionally.  You must go to the core of your issue, face it, and understand that food is your way of dealing with your problem.  Getting counseling for these problems is a good step to take.  There are also many books on this subject if counseling is not an option.  Not dealing with the emotional reason why you are eating will never solve this issue.  You might lose weight for a period of time, but it will most likely return if you have not addressed why you are eating emotionally.

So when you are faced with making choices of what you are going to eat, make sure you stay focused on the results you are wanting.  Choose to take control over yourself and eat healthy.  Choose to stay focused on creating a lean and healthy body.  Choose to stay in power over yourself.  Choose to have the life you are wanting by doing what it takes to get there.  It is all up to you.....no one else.

Till Monday.