Does Your Diet Affect Your Skin?

Does Your Diet Affect Your Skin?

Fitness starts in the kitchen. While we focus heavily on exercise to build the body you want, at Body Sculptors in Louisville, KY, we know that your diet is ultimately most important for weight loss and good health. A healthy diet is also good for your energy level, immunity and your skin. When you eat healthy, you’ll have a vibrant, fit appearance that no make-up can reproduce. It comes from within. No matter how expensive your facial creams and masks, if you want to rejuvenate your appearance, start with your diet.

When your complexion is bad, it can make you feel self-conscious.

Throw out those sugary treats if you don’t want a breakout. Food higher on the glycemic scale can do that. Highly processed food, such as white bread, causes a boost in blood sugar levels and that can cause an increased potential to complexion problems. One study from the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics followed males aged 15-25 and showed that by switching their diet to one that’s lower glycemic, it reduced both the number and severity of breakouts. The reverse was also true. The higher glycemic foods increased insulin and that triggered increased oil production from the glands in the skin. Clearer skin means eating more vegetables like greens, tomatoes and carrots. It means eating fresh fruit and switching to fatty fish, like salmon.

Make sure your diet includes a rainbow of colors on your plate.

No, this doesn’t mean handfuls of Skittles or M&Ms. It means choosing a wide variety of fruits and vegetables of various tones. The orange of sweet potatoes and carrots is beta carotene, which converts to vitamin A. Vitamin A is a natural sunscreen. The purple and blues of berries comes from anthocyanin. It’s anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and provides natural protection for the skin from the sun. Each color provides its own benefits.

You need healthy fat in your diet for attractive skin.

Too often people fear fat if they’re trying to lose weight, yet you need healthy fat to burn fat. You also need it to look your best. Omega-3 fatty acids are important to reduce inflammation and avoid acne. Walnuts and fatty fish not only contain omega-3, but also vitamin E, which reduces the potential for skin damage. They also contain zinc and are a good source of protein. Avocados provide healthy fat and help keep the skin moist and supple.

  • Don’t forget your vitamin C if you want to reduce the risk of wrinkled skin. It’s necessary for collagen production. Broccoli, red or yellow bell peppers and citrus fruit can provide it.
  • Drink more water to prevent dry flaky skin. You can plump your skin and make it look years younger when you’re adequately hydrated. Coffee, alcohol and smoking can dry your skin and give premature wrinkles.
  • If you want to look younger and avoid fine lines and wrinkles, cut out food with added sugar. Sugar actually damages the skin. In fact, forehead wrinkling often occurs in people who eat a lot of sugar.
  • What you drink makes a difference, too. Skip those soft drinks, even diet soft drinks. Instead, opt for water and if you don’t like it, try making infused water that is flavored with fruit, vegetables and spices.

For more information, contact us today at Body Sculptors Personal Training

The Importance Of Cool Down Exercises

The Importance Of Cool Down Exercises

Most people understand the importance of warming up and doing active stretching to avoid injury. However, it’s also important to do cool down exercises. Most people are ready to drop when their exercise session is over, so cool down is often overlooked. Omitting it might get you out of the gym quicker, but it comes with a higher price than most people think. Don’t neglect this important part of your workout.

What is DOMS and how does it relate to cooling down?

DOMS stands for delayed onset muscle soreness. It can occur as sudden pain in the muscles and often hits the back of runners legs, causing abnormal contraction in the muscle. Those cramps are caused by microtears in the muscles. You’d normally expect some soreness, but this is significant pain and occurs within 24 to 48 hours of exercise. One study from California State University showed that using a cool down cycling session after doing strength training, reduced the potential for DOMS significantly. Stretching after exerting your muscles help the muscles to relax and prevents the problem.

Blood pooling in the arms and legs can occur if you don’t cool down.

A tough workout increases your heart rate and the more you move, the more blood pumps through the body. If you suddenly stop, it can cause the blood to poll in your extremities by making the return back to the heart slower. That can cause lightheadedness, even fainting sometimes. Normally, it’s not really dangerous unless it’s masking a serious medical condition, but it is extremely scary.

You already know that warming up can prevent injuries, but so can cooling down.

After a tough workout, you may feel like you have jelly legs. That’s because all your muscles are extremely warm and loose. Stretching at that time can help lengthen the muscles and improve your range of motion. That means it also can reduce the risk of injury. It can even help parts of the body you might not suspect. For instance, tight hamstrings or hip flexors can cause back pain. Get more flexible by cooling down.

  • Walking, static stretching and swimming are examples of good cool down exercises. Don’t do ballistic or dynamic stretching. Save those to warm up your body and get it ready for exercise.
  • When you workout, lactic acid can build up in your muscles. If you take just ten minutes to stretch and cool down, you can clear the muscles of this waste byproduct that can cause muscle pain, burning and nausea.
  • Cooling down gets your heart rate back to normal slowly. In fact, you can tell that you’ve done enough if your heart rate has returned to normal for a few minutes.
  • Cooling down exercises do exactly as the name implies. Not only does it allow the heart to return to a normal rate and the breathing rate to be lowered, it also aids in lowering the body temperature and boosts the effects of endorphins, the feel good hormones.

For more information, contact us today at Body Sculptors Personal Training

Does Tea Help With Inflammation?

Does Tea Help With Inflammation?

When someone mentions tea, they normally are talking about the leaves from the camellia sinensis plant, which are often considered true teas. You see them in every grocery store under the names of Tetley, Bigalow, Lipton and more. There are other types of tea, since the definition of tea also includes, “Any of various beverages made by steeping the leaves, flowers, fruits, or other parts of certain plants.” While there are all types of tea that help with inflammation, let’s focus on the true teas.

Even with true teas, there are many varieties.

True teas come in a wide variety based on both the growing and processing techniques. There are black teas, red teas, white teas, oolong teas, Pu-erh teas and yellow teas. The difference in harvesting time, processing time and how the tea is processed, not only makes a difference in its color and flavor, it makes a difference in its health benefits, too.

All types of true tea have some health benefits in common.

No matter what the color of tea, where it was harvested or how it was processed, all true teas have some similar health benefits. All contain antioxidants called flavonoids, which include ECGC that help reduce free radicals that can lead to cellular damage, causing heart disease, clogged arteries and even cancer. They all contain both theanine and caffeine to boost brain and mental activity. They all contain polyphenols, but the amount varies by the processing. The polyphenols give tea its anti-inflammatory properties. The more processed tea is, mostly from oxidation and fermenting, the less powerful the antioxidants.

Oolong, green and white tea are the least processed.

These three teas have the highest amount of antioxidants, which can help reduce the risk of certain types of cancer, such as bladder, breast, lung, stomach, colorectal and pancreatic. Green tea and white tea have the highest amount, with green tea proven to help prevent arterial plaque, burn fat, reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s and reduce the risk of stroke. One study found that black tea can even help prevent lung damage caused by cigarette smoke and reduce the risk of stroke.

  • There are various studies that show tea can help you lose weight. Oolong tea is known to have that property, so is pu-erh tea, rooibos (red) tea, green tea and white tea. Weight loss can help reduce inflammation.
  • Red tea has a number of benefits, which include helping aches and pains, headaches and high blood pressure. It’s anti-inflammatory properties can bring relief from asthma and allergies.
  • The anti-inflammatory properties of green tea can help reduce the chronic inflammatory diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease.
  • Just like any food or drink, you can get too much of a good thing. Excessive consumption of green tea may cause stomach cramps and kidney stones, but it takes quite a lot. It’s far more dangerous to use the extracts, like green tea extract, which may cause liver damage or interact with medications.

For more information, contact us today at Body Sculptors Personal Training

Is It Time To Shape Up?

Is It Time To Shape Up?

What makes you want to shape up? It can be a lot of things. It might be feeling exhausted climbing a flight of stairs or trying on your favorite outfit, only to have it way too tight. Maybe your doctor advised you that it was time to make changes. No matter what the reason, the best time to do it is right now! Getting back into shape is more than just working out. It’s about eating healthy and making other lifestyle changes.

No matter what your age, getting fit is possible.

Sure, it’s harder to get back into shape the older you get. After 30, your body starts to lose muscle mass if you don’t workout. That means someone who has been sedentary has a longer road to take than someone who has kept in shape. It may take longer to build muscles as your hormone levels drop, but once you get started and start feeling the change, you’ll be glad you did.

You don’t have to diet.

That may sound deceiving, especially if you have a lot of weight to lose, but it’s true. However, that doesn’t mean you don’t have to change your eating habits. Dieting makes you feel deprived and often bored with your food. The worse part is that it often ends, either in success or failure, then you go back to old eating habits that put weight on in the first place. In order to lose weight, you have to learn how to eat smart and make better choices in food. It’s all about making some lifestyle changes.

Remember that getting out of shape didn’t happen overnight, so it won’t be solved quickly either.

Getting back into shape means eating healthy, getting plenty of sleep and following a workout program designed specifically for you. While you don’t necessarily have to have a personal trainer, their knowledge can help you get quicker results and help you avoid many of the downfalls. The longer you stick with the program, the more it will become part of your life and habits. That’s when you know you can conquer anything and make changes to any facet of your life. It’s all about taking that first step and sticking with it.

  • A body in motion stays in motion. A body at rest stays at rest. Thank you Isaac Newton for those great laws of physics. They work in fitness too. When you don’t feel like working out, just get up and get moving. You’ll feel great in no time.
  • The more you workout, the easier it will be to lose weight. Muscle mass burns more calories than fat does, so the more you have, the more calories you’ll burn 24/7. It just takes getting started.
  • Get plenty of sleep. One often overlooked part of fitness is getting adequate sleep. Too little sleep increases the hormones that make you hungry and diminishes the hormones that make you feel full.
  • Not only will you look better and feel fantastic, you’ll also have a better self-image and feel more confident. Exercise helps improve your posture, so you’ll look more confident, too.

For more information, contact us today at Body Sculptors Personal Training

What Foods Help With Bloating?

What Foods Help With Bloating?

Whether you feel overly full for hours or simply can’t pull your tummy in or zip your jeans, when you could with ease just a day before, you probably are bloated. There are several ways to approach the problem and even help prevent it. One way is to eat foods that help with bloating. There are two types of bloating. One may occur overnight and may be related to your menstrual cycle. The other occurs immediately after a meal. The first is normally from retaining fluid, while the second is more about the digestive process, the build up of gas and sometimes liquid build-up in the digestive tract.

Maybe the problem isn’t eating foods to reduce bloating, but not eating certain foods.

If the bloating is severe and is followed by diarrhea, maybe you need to identify what caused the issue. You might have a food intolerance or allergy, such as lactose or gluten intolerance. Both of which can lead to sudden gas and digestive upset. Try removing milk products from your diet for a few days or cut out products with gluten and see what happens. Foods high in fructose can also cause bloating. Finally, high fiber foods, while good to prevent bloating, must be increased slowly. If you don’t, you’ll be faced with the problem you’re trying to eliminate.

Make it simple and drink more water or consume more fluid, like chamomile tea.

Sometimes, bloating can occur because you don’t have enough fluid to match the fiber you ate. Drinking more water, particularly before a meal can help. If it’s water retention that caused the bloating, water also helps. It balances out the amount of fluid and sodium in the body and helps flush out the extra sodium. Dandelion tea is also a natural diuretic. Ginger tea helps relieve stomach and digestive issues, such as gas. It increases the movement of food through your system and relieve bloating.

Increase your greens, especially spinach.

Spinach is a good source of magnesium. In fact, one cup of cooked spinach gives almost 40% of the daily recommended amount. Magnesium is important for activating enzymes that help with digestion. It also helps keep the muscles relaxed in the bowels and keeping stool soft. Celery, another anti-bloater, is high in water and also has potassium. Potassium is good to relieve bloating from water retention and the fiber and fluid helps relieve gas. Another salad topper that can help is cucumbers. It is an anti-inflammatory food that can help prevent intestinal inflammation caused by food allergies and gut imbalances.

  • Toss away those straws, that chewing gum and even cigarettes. They tend to cause you to swallow air that can add to bloating. Even eating fast can be one of the bloating culprits.
  • Try some yogurt for bloating. It can provide beneficial bacteria to normalize your digestive system. Kefir, sauerkraut and other probiotic foods also help.
  • Just like the potassium in celery can help reduce bloating, so can the potassium in bananas. One medium-sized banana provides 422 mg of potassium, plus resistant starch. That helps eliminate constipation and gets rid of trapped gas.
  • Chew on a fennel seed or two after a meal. Fennel is a folk medicine for digestive issues. It also has diuretic properties to eliminate both types of bloating.

For more information, contact us today at Body Sculptors Personal Training

How To Stay Motivated As A Beginner

How To Stay Motivated As A Beginner

Most people start a workout program excited and determined. Little by little, they lose that excitement and eventually the skip their workout entirely. Before you know it, that one day of avoiding the gym turns to several and then, they’re right back where they started. It’s hard to stay motivated as a beginner and finding out your downfall and ways to avoid it can help.

Working out is hard and makes your body hurt.

This is one of the first reasons people quit workout programs. It really isn’t natural to make yourself work harder. Even worse, your body sometimes hurts a bit. Let’s start by finding ways to avoid this problem. Don’t overdo it to the point that you’re in real pain. Start slowly. Sure you’ll have some sore muscles, but it’s a good kind of sore that says you’ve accomplished something, not the type of soreness where you can’t walk. Stay hydrated and do both warm up and cool down exercises.

Progress is often slower than you’d like.

Even if you make great strides in your progress, it’s still pretty slow for most people. You won’t see a difference the first few weeks, which can drain you of enthusiasm. You may feel different, so focus on that to help keep you going. Start by taking a snapshot once a month. Wear the same outfit and stand in the same spot so you have the same perspective. Track your progress in the gym and see how much you’ve improved from your first few days.

Sometimes, you get too busy to come to the gym.

This is one of those reasons that I hear quite often, “I was just too busy to come last week.” That’s why I always suggest people schedule an appointment in their own time management program. Don’t let the decision depend on whether you have extra time or not. Coming at the same time every day will turn your workout into a habit, and we all know habits are hard to break. Working with a trainer is also a benefit, since you have an actual appointment and someone is holding you accountable.

  • Change your mindset. Find something positive every time you workout. Maybe you felt less stressed afterward or even felt fabulous. Maybe you noticed you have more energy throughout the day. Find a positive and focus on that.
  • Set a big goal and break it down to smaller goals that are easier to achieve. If you have to lose 40 pounds, focus on two pounds a week. You’ll get to experience success quicker and success is motivating.
  • Workout with a friend. If you don’t have a personal trainer, workout with a friend. Just like the trainer holds you accountable and is depending on you to show up, so is your workout buddy.
  • Celebrate the small successes. While it’s impressive to do several one armed push-ups, choosing a piece of fruit as a snack instead of a candy bar is also impressive. Give yourself a pat on the back for the small successes along the way.

For more information, contact us today at Body Sculptors Personal Training

How To Find The Right Trainer

How To Find The Right Trainer

There’s a reason they’re called “personal” trainers. Trainers work specifically to create programs based on you, your needs, goals and present level of fitness. In Louisville, KY, we think we make it easy to find the right trainer by offering a week of free group training or a free personal training consultation. Finding the right trainer can make the difference between being successful and falling short of your goals. There are some things to look for in a trainer.

Personal trainers need to talk to you and ask a lot of questions.

If you want to create a program designed specifically for someone’s needs, goals and fitness level, you have to ask them questions. If a trainer doesn’t spend time learning about you, identifying your fitness level, learning about your dietary needs and even doing a fat analysis, maybe they’re not a personal trainer, but just a trainer who does cookie cutter programs. While everyone has similar needs, to get the best results, you need a program designed specifically for you.

Exercise isn’t enough.

Is weight loss your goal? You also need to change your eating habits. You can’t out-exercise a bad diet. The same is true for building muscles or achieving other fitness goals. You need the raw material for your body to be healthiest, learning to eat healthier is the way to do it. It’s not a diet, but learning how to make smarter choices. Some of those choices can be as easy as choosing fruit over a candy bar, while others may be substituting brown rice for white rice to boost nutrition and save calories.

The workout program shouldn’t be static.

You make progress and get fitter as you workout and your workout program should reflect it. Good trainers not only track your progress, they constantly reevaluate your program to ensure you’re working your hardest. You’ll also get a variety of workouts to avoid plateauing. The body weight plateaus because your body becomes efficient at doing a specific workout and burns fewer calories. With a trainer, you’ll never be bored and always work toward maximum potential.

  • Good trainers spend time ensuring you know how to do each exercise right. Doing it improperly can cause injury or minimize the benefit.
  • Eating healthy is a lifestyle change that never ends. It doesn’t mean you’ll never be able to eat your favorite high calorie food, but will eat it less often, keeping portion control in mind.
  • Trainers ensure you work on all types of fitness, strength, flexibility, endurance and balance. You need all types of fitness to be your healthiest.
  • A good trainer will help you create goals that are realistic and attainable. He or she will help you break them down to ones that can be achieved more quickly, to provide more motivation.

For more information, contact us today at Body Sculptors Personal Training

Reasons To Document Your Fitness Journey

Reasons To Document Your Fitness Journey

Why would you want to document your fitness journey? There are a lot of reasons. First, when you track or document your journey, you’ll be able to see what works and what doesn’t easier. When you track what you eat and your caloric intake, plus track your workout, you can see whether you’re eating too much or not working out hard enough or doing things right.

Documenting your fitness journey doesn’t mean just weighing in weekly.

While weight is one measurement of progress, there are many others. For instance, taking body measurements can help show how you’ve lost weight or turned fat to muscle. You’ll lose inches when you do that, even if you don’t lose weight. Muscle tissue weighs more per cubic inch than fat tissue does. That means you may weigh the same, but if you have more muscle tissue, you’ll have smaller measurements. Taking a picture of yourself in the same location and clothing can also help learn the change.

Tracking your workout does two things.

When you track your workout, you can see where you started and how much more you can do. Whether it’s doing more reps or lifting more weight, it gives you an idea of progress. It also helps to have your workout written out and ready so you don’t have to stop and try to remember how many you did or what comes next.

Tracking what you eat can also help.

While the old way to journal your food intake was to have a notebook, where you wrote everything. Today many people use their cell phones to track their food intake. If you’re working with Body Sculptors, we have a registered dietitian who can help you find the easiest way to track your progress and ensure you’ll stick with a healthy plan of eating that’s designed specifically for your special needs and preferences. You can use your cell phone to track your exercise or go the old fashioned route and write it out.

  • When you document your progress, you’ll also learn a lot about yourself. For instance, if you find you have stomach problems, check your diet and make a note. You may see a pattern and eliminate the problem.
  • Documenting your progress can also help motivate you. Taking a picture every month allows you to see the difference that occurs slowly on a daily basis. It’s rewarding. Winners keep score.
  • Documenting your workout and diet is a start, but if you want to feel better and have more energy, document your energy level. How many steps on the stairs can you take without getting winded? Are you exhausted at the end of the day or do you have energy? Track what’s important to you.
  • You can also document other important numbers besides your weight, like your blood pressure or sugar levels. Exercise and a healthy diet can help normalize both blood sugar and blood pressure.

For more information, contact us today at Body Sculptors Personal Training

Get Vitamin D Without Excessive Sun

Get Vitamin D Without Excessive Sun

If you’ve heard that you need vitamin D to help boost your immune system, you heard right. Not only do you need vitamin D, studies show about half of Americans are deficient in Vitamin D. The body produces its own vitamin D when the skin is exposed to the sun. In areas like Louisville, it’s impossible to get adequate sun to produce vitamin D in the winter. That means you have to find alternatives get vitamin D another way,

What is vitamin D?

While vitamin D is essential to a healthy body, it’s not really structured like a vitamin and isn’t an essential nutrient. The nutritional definition of essential means the body needs it, but can’t produce it so it must come from food. Our bodies actually make it from sunlight reacting with cholesterol. Unlike vitamins, its chemical structure is more like a steroid hormone—-such as sex or adrenal hormones. Like hormones, it affects the functions of the body and binds to receptors, which triggers specific reactions. Hormones are messengers. All cells of the body react from vitamin D.

Start with the easiest method of boosting your vitamin D, safe sunning.

Safe sunning means getting about 12 minutes of body exposure to the sun at midday in the summer, when the sun is highest in the sky. Do this three times a week if you’re at a latitude above 33 degrees (the same latitude as Atlanta, GA). The further north you are, the more sun you need. If you’re fair skinned, start with less time and for those darker skinned do more, since melanin blocks the sun. The further north you are, the more sun time you need.

Consume food with vitamin D.

Organ meat like liver, contain higher amounts of vitamin D. If you have the opportunity to choose between farmed and wild salmon or other fatty fish, choose wild for it’s higher vitamin D content. The same is true of choosing meat from grass-fed or free-range over factory farm meat and animal products. They also contain higher sources of other nutrients, such as vitamin A, CLA and omega-3 fatty acids. Fortified products like milk, cereal and orange juice are good sources of vitamin D, as are fish roe, eel, cod liver oil and eggs.

  • Vitamin D not only boosts your immune system, it protects the brain, helps maintain a healthy insulin level and is necessary to absorb calcium properly. It’s important for healthy lungs and heart.
  • A study of 216 covid patients showed that 80% were vitamin D deficient. Another study showed that people who had dark skin and those who were obese had the largest population deficient in vitamin D. They were also more susceptible to complications of covid.
  • Safe sunning does not mean completely eliminating sunscreen. It simply means exposing as much skin as possible to the sun for a short time before applying it. The color of your skin and location determines the amount of exposure time.
  • As you age, your need for vitamin D increases. If you’re under 70, you need 600 IU a day. For those over 70 the amount increases to 800 IU a day.

For more information, contact us today at Body Sculptors Personal Training

The Link Between Sleep And Weight Loss

The Link Between Sleep And Weight Loss

It’s almost a badge of honor to say you’re getting too little sleep. It’s as though you’re working harder, but that’s not always true. In fact, lack of sleep, can affect your productivity at work or at school. It also can make weight loss harder. You burn calories as you sleep and getting adequate sleep can help you burn even more calories.

Too little sleep can cause an imbalance of hunger/satiety hormones.

When you don’t get enough sleep, your body starts producing less of the satiety hormone, leptin, which makes you feel full. It also boosts the production of ghrelin, the hormone that makes you hungry. It’s pretty hard to control your appetite when your hormones that are sending messages to your body are out of whack. Too little sleep can also cause a craving for sugar and sugary treats, to give you a boost of energy.

You’ll slow your metabolism when you don’t get enough sleep.

Your metabolism helps burn the calories you consume, even when you’re not working out or simply sleeping. That can cause weight loss to be even more difficult. One mega study that reviewed a large group of studies showed that those who lacked adequate sleep increased their potential to be obese by 55% if they were an adult and by 89% if they were a child.

What you eat at bedtime may make a difference, too.

Sometimes, it’s hard to sleep and you need a little snack to sleep better. It’s built into our DNA from early man, who kept hunting until he ate. If insomnia that’s keeping you awake, try eating a high protein food, such as cottage cheese. Cottage cheese contains casein protein, which also increases the number of calories you burn as you slumber. You’ve probably heard about drinking a glass of warm milk before bedtime, it’s based on the same principle. It also takes about seven hours to digest, so your digestion will be working throughout the night, while providing protein during the night for muscle repair.

  • Room temperature can make a difference. A cooler room helps you sleep better, but also help you burn more belly fat. Studies show a room temperature of 66 degrees is ideal for shedding visceral fat.
  • If you sleep well at night and get enough sleep, you’ll have more energy throughout the day. That can help you stay more active and burn more calories.
  • There are several degrees of sleep, with deep sleep being the time when you burn the most calories. Creating a sleep schedule and sticking with it, even on weekends, can boost your deep sleep time.
  • Avoid hitting the snooze button if you want the best type of sleep. When the alarm goes off, get up. You’ll get more uninterrupted sleep that way.

For more information, contact us today at Body Sculptors Personal Training