Fast or fed? That is the question….

??????????????????????????????????????? There seems to be some controversy regarding working out on an empty stomach.  Ok, some is an understatement; make that “lively debate.”

For me, I’m not surprised by the question.  Yet I am surprised at the amount of vehement indignation leveled on both sides.  I did manage to find a few articles which consider the pros & cons of each.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health-and-fitness/fitness/why-exercising-on-an-empty-stomach-can-mean-a-better-workout/article579935/

I like this one.  Why?  Reason and research–my favorite “R’s.”

Here are a couple more.

http://www.builtlean.com/2012/05/29/cardio-empty-stomach/

http://www.crossfitinvictus.com/must-read-posts/training-on-an-empty-stomach/

WHAT YOU NEED TRUMPS IT ALL

Not everyone can or should exercise on an empty stomach.  Like those of us who are caffeine sensitive, and prefer tea to that lack of taste, dark liquid many enjoy, finding what works for you is key.

If you take medication which requires food, lack of nutrients may be your undoing.  Diabetics on insulin need to definitely be wary.  Checking with your nurse practitioner, diabetes manager, or MD is essential.

Keep a few things in mind, if you want to exercise on an empty stomach.

1.  Do I have access to food, if needed?  This is tantamount if you are prone to low blood sugar.

2.  How do I feel during my workout if fasting? If I have eaten? Afterwards?

3.  Am I losing more, less, or equal weight employing this method?

4.  Am I more prone to stomach upset if I eat?  If I fast?

Keeping a diary of your workouts is essential.  Not just because of the above items, but also to track frequency, intensity, and duration.  Exercise routines should vary; alternating high and low intensity days, as well as duration.  Time of day you are working out may also impact your goals.  You may opt for that snack depending upon the “hows.”  How are you exercising? Cardio, Strength? Flexibility? All of the above?  How long is your workout lasting? How intense is it that day?

If you haven’t considered the “hows,” or if this information is new to you, to eat or not to eat may not be your only question.

All for now.  Keep up and keep at it.

Be sure to check out my ABOUT page.  Questions? Comments?  Contact me at serrenity.c@gmail.com

Let’s talk about that…

fitness center  Ok, this may generate grief for many.  However, I have very personal reasons for sharing this, as well as adding “my two cents.”

http://www.beyondblackwhite.com/new-study-suggests-black-women-harder-road-weight-loss-white-women/

If you have heard of this study, read about it, or simply don’t believe it, I’d love to hear from you.  Here is another take on it.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/06/opinion/sunday/why-black-women-are-fat.html?_r=1

A former boss used this phrase if she questioned what was being said.  “Let’s talk about that.”  I don’t necessarily question the study, the protocols, or formation of opinion based upon the evidence.  As a nurse, evidence based practice is a tenet of my discipline.  If by appearance we judge, perhaps this study needs no further support.  What it lacks however, is the WHAT DO WE DO ABOUT THAT? factor.

As for me and those I serve, I can’t afford to wait for researchers to come up with THAT part of the equation.  Can you?

AND NOW, FOR MY TWO CENTS–two out of three

My ancestry runs the gambit, as many in this country.  While those who meet me for the 1st time may not realize it, I am an African-American woman.  However, Black, Irish, and Cherokee comprise my background.  Research suggests those of Native American and African-American descent run higher possibilities of diabetes, hypertension, and CKD (chronic kidney disease).  As a former dialysis nurse, I can attest CKD certainly appears to claim more African-American, Hispanic, and Native American populations, than Caucasian.

So you see, two out of three for me happens to fall into this category.  As for my offspring, well my husband is Hispanic.  You do the math.  Yes, my interest is personal.

WHAT DO WE DO?

Well, let’s start with what NOT to do. That is, use this information as a fall back for those who are African-American women, struggling with weight. You know what I mean. “Oh well she’s Black, so she’s going to have a harder time.” Not acceptable.  This is indeed intriguing research.  Furthermore, I’m happy to see studies conducted on more than 30-55 year old Caucasian men; or women.  However, we do need the where do we go from here, component.  That’s where more research is needed.  In the meantime, the medical and fitness community must work hand in hand–with what we are presented on a case by case basis.  That means if we see the weight just isn’t coming off, try, re-evaluate, and diligently investigate alternatives for our patients/clientele.  We cannot afford to make assumptions based on appearance or studies alone.  That’s just too easy, and it undermines and underserves those who come to us for help.

If you’re struggling, regardless of ethnicity, you want solutions.  Yes research may explain a few things.  But it is to be used as excuse?  Mitigating factor maybe, but never excuse.

All for now.  Keep up and keep at it.

Need personalized attention from a registered nurse AND fitness trainer?  Contact me at serrenity.c@gmail.com

Can this happen?…it did to me

excuses dont run    Recently I came across an article discussing pitfalls of running.  However, weight gain wasn’t one I expected.  Yet and still, it is one I experienced first hand.  How can that be?  It’s not as hard as you imagine.  Now it appears someone else raises this issue too.

http://www.runnersworld.com/weight-loss/why-do-runners-gain-weight?cm_mmc=Facebook-_-RunnersWorld-_-Content-Blog-_-WhyRunnersGainWeight

Last year, I discussed how you can eat yourself past your workout.  It stands to reason, the more you work (or believe you’re working out) the hungrier you become.  This can stand between you and the goal you wish to accomplish, if weight loss is indeed the primary reason you’re running.

Enthusiasts of other exercise routines need not rejoice.

I’ve seen a fair share of body builders pile on the pounds; and not in the way of muscle.  Truth is no matter what your workout, if you eat your way past it, you can gain weight.  How many calories should I be expending?  How do I know how much exercise to perform to lose unwanted pounds?  See my posts Let’s take the guess-work out of this, dated November 9th, 2013, and In case you missed it …dated May 11th, 2013.

Yes, you will be hungrier when you begin exercising regularly.  Although hopefully, what you choose to eat will not be the foodstuffs of pre-workout days.  You may find you want to eat the broccoli, lean chicken breast, or fish.  Well maybe the latter, not so much. I despise fish.

All for now.  Keep up and keep at it.  Need a little help getting started?  Contact me at serrenity.c@gmail.com

Treat it with exercise…

gymnast  Starve a cold feed a fever.  Find something to do if you’re feeling blue.  These are just a couple of the phrases you may have heard when it comes to make-shift cures.  Is there something to it?  Maybe..especially in the case of the latter.

http://shine.yahoo.com/healthy-living/9-health-problems-cure-exercise-210900551.html

9 HEALTH PROBLEMS YOU CAN CURE WITH EXERCISE

While I realize the term “cure” means many different things to people, I think suggestions in this article may be helpful. The 9 hit list includes:

1. anxiety

2. ADHD

3. Memory Loss

4. Sleep problems

5. Asthma

6.  Erectile Dysfunction

7.  PMS & Menopause Symptoms

8.  Low back, hip, knee, & neck pain

9.  Osteoarthritis

If these issues sound familiar, the message here is clear–get moving.  Dr Metzl offers a snapshot for specific ailments listed.  However, none of them include more sitting, lying around, or watching TV.  Need more info?  His book, THE EXERCISE CURE, might be a worthwhile investment.

All for now.  Keep up and keep at it.

Need help with your NEW YEAR NEW YOU resolutions?  Maybe I can help.  Contact me at serrenity.c@gmail.com

New Year, New You–inside strategy

green flower  Resolutions are in place–check.  Gym membership, trial or otherwise; check.  Shoes, workout wear; check and check. Juicer, blender, and subscription to any number of healthier living magazines–check.  Check-up–including labs, (CBC, lipid profile, lytes, etc), and discussing those minor (or major) aches with your nurse practitioner or MD….

If you’re like many, these may be last on your list–if they made it at all.

In my last post–better read this 1st–I likened weight management to financial planning.  While I make no to claims to be one, most of us are familiar with terms of investment, time, and strategy.  You don’t have to be a financial planner to know these.  Few of us make investments without seeking advice.  Many of us would like tips, strategies, and an inside scoop if possible.  Well here’s yours.

INSIDE STRATEGY

Yes, we all want that trimmer waist, slimmer thighs, and to drop unwanted pounds.  A few things come to mind when I hear this though.  First I ask my clients “when is the last time you’ve had a physical?”  For many, it’s been 5 years or more.  If that’s the case, I request they have one, before we start training.  Some may balk, but they understand.  If they are in peak physical condition, they may find another trainer; and that’s ok.

Experience has taught me not to judge by appearances.

As a new nurse, I was assigned a 21-year-old male on a med-surg unit.  At the time, I wasn’t much older than he.  I started my morning rounds and vital signs checks.  Before entering his room, I expected to find an overweight, short of breath on exertion, very decompensated individual.  Why?  I’ll get there in a second.  I introduced myself, and told him I would be his nurse for the day. (I think he expected a more experienced looking, sterner nurse, by his reaction)  His vitals were pretty normal; but his BP was a little high.  He was about 5’11” and weighed 180 lbs; lean muscular build.  And he had a cholesterol of 2000.  No, this isn’t a typo.  2000.  So much for judging by appearances, FACEBOOK FIT MOM.  But I digress.

The point is if you want to change the outside, you’d better start with the inside.  This includes not only a physical, but determining your motivation for losing weight.  Everyone cites the tried and true “I want to get healthy, be around for my children, and have more energy.”  All are very good reasons.  But, aside from being around for your children (grandchildren or great-grandchildren) define what “get healthy” and “have more energy” mean to you.  You see, unless the specifics are there–the tangible; what you can articulate, taste, touch or feel, it won’t be real.  And what isn’t real, isn’t sustainable.  Proof?  How many fail to stay motivated 3-4 weeks into their weight loss regime?  Ask any personal trainer.  Ask me.  Better yet, ask yourself.

If you’re really committed to the NEW YEAR, NEW YOU phrase, fasten your seat belt.  It’s going to be a bumpy ride.  The good news is this:  you know you need a strategy; now you have an inside one.

All for now.  Keep up and keep at it.  Can I help?  If so, contact me at serrenity.c@gmail.com

New Year New You? Better read this 1st….

rocker nude  Happy New Year!  First and foremost, thank you, my loyal readers and followers.

The New Year always brings promise–promise of a better life, and for many, an attempt to shed unwanted pounds.  For some, it will happen; for many it will not.  I’ve often wondered “why?”  Everyone starts committed, but what happens along the way?  Before you hop on the NEW YEAR NEW YOU bandwagon, keep this in mind.  It may mean the difference between setting your goal, and actually reaching it.

SLOW & STEADY

I realize this may be common sense, but its worth going over anyway.  If your idea of running or working out consists of running to the mailbox (depending upon how far your mailbox is), gradual and steady are the operative words here.

It’s easy to get caught up in the hype.  Friends and family are buying workout gear, shoes, and everywhere you look there is a new exercise trend or gadget.  From juicers to blenders, “healthy” recipes, to “try this and lose 6lbs in 2 weeks,” it’s easy to get swept up in the fitness tide.  DO IT, BUT DON’T OVER DO IT.

WANT A NEW YOU? START WITH A NEW PLAN

For many, this is not the first time at the dance.  You know what I mean.  You’ve made this resolution before.  How far did you get?  Did you reach your goal?  If so, what happened?  If not, what happened?  Your intentions were there, your commitment was resolute.  Fast forward 4 weeks later, and for whatever reason, you just aren’t as motivated.  True enough, you’re not alone.  But that isn’t going to get the weight off, let alone keep it off.

What might have gone wrong is a lack of planning.  For example, your plan was to get to the gym, 3 days a week, for 60-90 minutes.  However, you got stuck working a double shift twice this week.  The other days your husband couldn’t pick up the kids, or worse yet, your sitter cancelled.  The one day you could get to the gym, you were just too tired.  The weekend is time to play catch up.  What happened?  LIFE– that’s what happened.  What you fail to realize is that this is your life, and you have more control than you think.

TIME, INVESTMENT, & STRATEGY

Financial planning is not something most of us take lightly.  So why should your healthy lifestyle require less effort than your finances?  If you’re willing to pour over portfolios, sweat out strategy, and insist on insight into potential investment, shouldn’t your weight loss goals require the same due diligence?  If they don’t, well, get ready for the never-ending story of new year resolutions.

I don’t presume to know everyone’s predicament, situation, or needs.  As a nurse and trainer, I am results oriented.  Nursing has taught me to embrace evidence based practice, while considering specific patient needs.  However, the outcome is still the same:   Transition the client from one point of health to a better one–with progression, consistency, and maintenance in mind.

This requires strategy, time, and investment.  But first and foremost, it requires a plan.  Over the next few posts, Personal Training with Crystal will endeavor to help you plan.  So if you are serious about NEW YEAR NEW YOU, and want to close the chapter on weight loss resolutions, stay tuned.  Time to start a new book.

All for now.  Keep up and keep at it.

Questions?  Need additional help?  Contact me at serrenity.c@gmail.com