Fitness & Wellness

What Is Gut Health?

What Is Gut Health?

We promote a healthy diet for our clients in Oceanside, CA, which includes food to eat for better gut health. While many of you may not be eating specifically for improving your digestive tract or elimination system, a healthy diet is one way to improve it. What does gut health entail? It’s about having a healthy environment for digestion. If you’ve found yourself bloated or gassy after eating, it’s time to think about a healthy gut.

You have thousands of microbes inside you.

While the ratio of microbes in your elimination and digestion system has been reconsidered, it was one time believed you actually had more microbes than cells. However, the minute you defecate, that ratio changes dramatically. Even so, there has been an estimation that the body contains about 100 trillion microorganisms. While they’d only account for about a pound or two of weight, many are extremely important for good health. Your gut or digestive and elimination system contains from a low estimate of 300 to a high of 1,000 different species, with just 30 to 40 of them being the most plentiful. The beneficial bacteria and microbes have a symbiotic relationship with humans, providing some of the digestive processes to deliver nutrients we can use. Without them, people would die of malnutrition.

What causes an unhealthy gut and how do you know you have one?

You may already know one of the signs of an unhealthy gut. It’s a combination of bloating, gassiness, diarrhea or constipation. Gas-X and Beano become your best friend. Other signs are more illusive. It may be insomnia, mood disorders, autoimmune diseases, bad breath, skin conditions and even food intolerance. Some studies show that cancer might even be a result of poor gut health. A craving for sugar not only promotes poor gut health, it’s a result of poor gut health. Not eating a diet that provides adequate nutrition, including prebiotic foods with fiber, overindulgence in alcohol, cigarette smoking, stress, lack of sleep and use of antibiotics can tilt the scales from a healthy gut to one that’s not.

Eating prebiotic food and fermented or probiotic food can help.

Anyone that watches television probably has seen the commercials for some brands of yogurt that provide a probiotic boost to the body. Fermented foods also help. These include kimchi, kefir and sauerkraut. However, you can also boost your gut health with prebiotics, foods that encourage the growth of beneficial microbes. Garlic, onions, mushrooms, bananas and apples are a few.

  • Studies are now showing that lack of exercise can tip the scales to poor gut health. In the studies, regular exercise produced a healthier blend of bacteria for digestion. Stress, another factor in poor gut health, is also reduced.
  • If you take antibiotics, always replace the beneficial bacteria killed by eating live bacteria yogurt or other fermented food and hour before the antibiotic or an hour afterward.
  • Staying hydrated also helps gut health. Drink at least eight 8-oz glasses of water a day to be at your best.
  • Cut the sugar and the processed food habit for better gut health. Whole foods have more fiber and provide a friendlier environment for beneficial microorganisms.

Remember To Cool Down

Remember To Cool Down

You may be diligent about doing a warm up exercise, knowing you’re preventing injury and making your workout better, but tend to cut your cool down short or skip it entirely to get out of the gym faster and home to supper or on to work. Your cool down workout is just as important as a warm up. That few minutes of cooling down does important things for the body. The few minutes you save might cost you a lot more than you think.

Cooling down can help prevent blood pooling.

When you workout, you’re body’s circulation is running at peak. Your heart rate is high and the movement helps push the blood throughout the body. Stopping abruptly ends the aid of the muscles’ squeezing action that sends the blood back to the brain and heart. It can even be trapped by the valves in the veins. One sign that this is happening is light-headedness and a feeling you’re about to faint. It’s really not dangerous, but can cause falls or mask a true medical condition that is serious. It can be embarrassing at best and scary at worst.

Cool downs prevent DOMS—delayed onset muscle soreness.

DOMS is different from a muscle cramp, which is an abnormal muscle contraction caused by small tears in the muscles. DOMS can start anywhere from 24 to 48 hours of a workout and produces excruciating pain. You can prevent that from occurring, according to a California State University study, with a cool down session. The study showed that just cycling a short time after strength training reduced the probability of it occurring significantly. Cooling down helps the muscles to relax and that helps prevent it from happening.

If you’ve ever felt that jello-like feeling in your muscles after working hard, a cool down is in order.

After a tough workout, the muscle tissue is extremely warm. That means it’s more flexible and pliable. Flexibility is important and the cool down period is a perfect time to do range of motion exercises. You’ll get an increase in your range of motion when you do cool down stretches. That can help prevent future injuries and muscle problems, like back aches, in the future.

  • A cool down session brings the body slowly back to neutral and balanced. It boosts the effect of the feel good endorphins produced during the workout, so you’ll leave in a better mood.
  • Lactic acid builds up in your muscles during a hard workout. The five to ten minutes of cooling down helps clear out this byproduct of exercise and prevents the muscle ache, burning, nausea, stomach pain and nausea that lactic acidosis can cause.
  • You can judge how much cool down time you need by your heart rate. It slows the heart rate gradually, until you’re back to normal.
  • The best type of exercise for a cool down is static stretching, such as brisk walking. Dynamic stretching and ballistic stretching are best saved for warming up.

Relieve Stress With Walking

Relieve Stress With Walking

Walking has a leisurely sound to it. It’s associated with romance, such as long walks on the beach or a walk at sunset. It offers so much more than just a physical workout. It can provide relaxation. You can relieve stress with walking, while boosting your energy. For those just starting a program of exercise, it’s a great addition. It is exceptional for extremely obese people, too, since it puts less stress on the ankles, back or knees and a good way to start back if you’re just recovering from an injury.

While regular exercise can reduce depression, anxiety and stress, walking may be better.

There are a number of studies that show that exercise provides relief for patients with anxiety and depression, quickly boosting the feeling of peace and a good mood. While many studies were based on working out for 45 minutes in the gym, some more recent studies show that the effects of a brisk 10-minute walk may be the same and bring results just as quickly. It can provide relief for several hours.

Walking won’t replace a workout for overall fitness, but as a stress reliever, it may be the perfect solution.

You won’t build more flexibility when you walk or upper body strength, but as a stress reliever, walking may be perfect. Stress and anxiety can rear their ugly selves suddenly. It’s not always convenient to go to the gym, nor is it a good idea to workout for forty-five minutes several times a day. However, walking is always easy to do. There’s no changing clothing and you can reboot that good feeling when you have a few minutes throughout the day.

Want to get a little fancy and get a bit more from your walk?

A HIIT—high intensity interval training—workout is one of the best for getting results. You can get more health and fitness benefits than just stress release from a walk by modifying it to one. Just vary the speed and intensity of the walk, walking at top speed for a while until your heart rate goes up and then moderating the speed in a short recovery period. Once your heart rate returns to normal, walk fast again.

  • Walking may be healthier for you than running, according to a study in Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology. The study found that people who walked on a regular basis often were healthier than those who ran. If you love running, don’t quit it, but walking is easier on the joints.
  • While walking is something that most people can do without help, there are some things to remember about form. Good posture is important and holding your head high and in line with your body gives the best results.
  • If you’re uncomfortable working out in the gym because you’re too out of shape, start walking. Of course, being out of shape is exactly why you should go to the gym, but some people like to be fitter when they first start.
  • Don’t forget to take longer strides and swing your arms fully. If you’re stepping out with your right foot, your left arm should be brought forward and visa versa. Swinging your arms makes it more of a workout and burns more calories, plus adds to your natural stride.

The Benefits Of A Workout Partner

The Benefits Of A Workout Partner

If you’ve ever wondered what the benefits of a workout partner are, you probably aren’t working with a personal trainer. A trainer is the ultimate workout partner. Whether you workout with a personal trainer or a workout partner, you’re accountable for showing up at the gym. On those overcast winter days when going home sounds like the best idea, you’ll still go for your workout because you have an appointment to meet with someone.

Whether you run as your workout or press weights, working with a partner keeps you safer.

Are you a jogger? It doesn’t matter whether you jog early in the morning or after work, during the winter it’s dark both times and that can be dangerous for a jogger. Even if it’s not dark, having a friend with you can keep you safe. Whether you worry about injury on the path, an accident or even a mugger, two are always safer than one. If one is injured the other one can get help. In the gym, especially when working with weights where a spotter keeps you safer, a workout buddy can point out problems with your form to help avoid injury.

There’s no doubt about it, we’re all performers.

Everyone at one time or another added a little extra pep or enthusiasm into a job when they thought someone was watching. It’s human nature. Having a workout partner can do the same for you in the gym. Whether you actively compete with your workout partner, try harder because you don’t want to look like a duffer or simply put on a show, performing better than you would on your own, the partner drives you. Several studies have been conducted on the effects of a workout partner. Ne showed that the workout was longer when people worked as a team. The funny part is that the partner didn’t even have to be human. It could be a virtual partner.

You’ll try more new exercises.

There’s power in numbers, especially when it comes to trying new things. While you might be intimidated in trying a new workout if you were on your own, trying it with a friend makes it easier. If you’re reluctant to sign up for a different type of workout class, or any group workout for that matter, doing it with a friend takes away some of the intimidation.

  • An exercise buddy can bring new workout ideas to your exercise time and provide a more varied workout. They even can provide healthy food ideas if you’re working on eating healthy.
  • You’ll be pushed further and faster if you have a workout partner. While you should never try to push yourself beyond the point of having good form, people often make it too easy on themselves when they workout alone. A partner won’t let you do that.
  • A workout partner can provide support when things aren’t progressing as well as they should. They also can call you on those times you’ve skipped workouts.
  • A workout partner can be fun. Enjoying your workout isn’t always natural. It can be tough and make you sweat! When you have company doing it, it makes it far more fun.

Staying Motivated Through The Holidays

If you’re like most of my clients, staying motivated through the holidays is tough. There’s a lot to do and exercising seems like the last thing on your list. To make it even worse, healthy eating is often put on hold. Every party, office kitchen and even home seems to have high calorie, high sugar treats that flaunt themselves at you until it’s hard not to sabotage your weight loss program because of their appeal. Here are some holiday tips that can help you make it through without weight gain and even some weight loss.

Create a schedule.

There’s a lot to do and so little time, make sure the most important things are finished and if there’s time left, enjoy it. Your workout should be the first thing you fill in on your schedule. It burns off the stress of the holidays and leaves you with more energy. Consider it as you would any medication. It has to be used on a regular basis to do any good. Block out your gym time first! Things will come up, so leave a block of time every day for the unexpected. You can always use it for little tasks you hoped to accomplish later.

Balance healthy eating and some indulgence.

You don’t have to feel deprived over the holidays, you just have to be a little restrained. Eating healthy most of the time and indulging in your favorite treats occasionally can improve your holiday mood and won’t take a huge toll on your weight loss or health goals. Fill up on the healthiest options at parties, but save a little room for one or two small servings of your favorite treats. Eat healthy meals at home and save the cheat days for parties.

Get plenty of sleep.

Yep, it is the time to be merry, but also the time to be exhausted. Trying to find the right gifts, decorating the house, preparing treats and meals for guests can take a lot out of you. It can mean working late into the night, too. How can you sleep with so much to do? Get help from your family or do less. Prioritize and give yourself a curfew at parties. Create a schedule that includes a consistent bedtime. When you get adequate sleep, you’re far more likely to go to the gym and far less likely to try to boost your energy level with sugary treats.

  • Stay hydrated. Drinking a cold glass of water is far easier when the sun is shining and it’s hot. When it’s rainy and chilly, people often miss the cue that they’re thirsty. In fact, they often mistake it for hunger. Drink plenty of water throughout the holiday season.
  • Prepare twice as much for dinner and store meals in the freezer for the next week or plan meals that use the leftovers.
  • Have healthy snacks already prepared in the refrigerator. Veggies and dips, cut fresh fruit and other delights can be ready for those times when you want to nibble.
  • Have short workouts ready to use. For those super packed days, be prepared with a workout you can do anywhere that takes ten to fifteen minutes. You can get as much benefit from three ten minute workouts as you can from a 30 minute one.

Do You Want 6-Pack Abs ?

Do You Want 6-Pack Abs ?

If you always dreamed of 6-pack abs, don’t dismay. It’s possible to get them, but not easy. It’s often on of the first things clients at my Oceanside, CA gym say they want to achieve, but there are steps to reaching that goal. It’s more than just doing a few ab exercises. You have to reduce the body fat that covers them so they show. Some people, approximately half the population, will have problems getting a six-pack that shows. That’s because they’re women. Women generally have higher healthy body fat levels than men, so men can safely reduce their body fat low enough for the definition of the abs to show.

It takes a healthy diet to start the process.

One important phrase I heard early in my career was, “Abs are made in the kitchen, not in the gym.” It was true then and is still true. Not only do you have to have a diet that helps lower your body fat, it should also boost building lean muscle tissue. A diet with healthy lean protein not only provides the nutrients for building muscle tissue, but also helps burn fat. That accomplishes two goals at once.

It’s more than just quality protein that helps build those abs and eliminates fat so you can see them.

You need a well rounded diet. Even though carbs are associated with gaining weight, you do need them. Meals high in vegetables should be part of your diet. After a workout, you can eat natural grains or starchy carbohydrates, like sweet potatoes. They have a much better chance of being used as fuel, rather than turning to fat. Eating healthy fat is important too. Healthy fat includes nut butters and nuts, avocado, butter from grass fed cows, fish oil and olive oil. They help keep insulin levels from dramatically fluctuating, which helps shed abdominal fat.

Go for core exercises, rather than focusing on crunches.

First, working out your entire body builds muscles and muscles burn fat! Core exercises are different from the traditional abdominal workouts like sit-ups, leg lifts and crunches and far better. They keep your spine stable and in natural alignment. Core exercises include planks, roll outs and even the old stand-by, push-ups. Core exercises help you burn more calories to expose those great abs.

  • You’ll get better results doing core exercises at the first of your workout, when your muscles aren’t tired, than you will doing them at the end.
  • If you want to do a plank that gets good results, it’s all about form. You have to keep your spine aligned and make sure you squeeze your glutes and core muscles in the process.
  • You don’t have to spend hours on working your abs or core. It only takes about 3 to 4 sets of a couple of core exercises that should give you a workout, but not make you tired. Then do other exercises. The core exercises will get your core muscles working harder during the rest of the workout.
  • Try this combination to feel the burn; do 30 seconds of each—sit ups, a 30 second push up plank, V-sit push out, V-sit hold, leg raise, push up position hold with a final set of push ups.

Importance Of Consistent Sleep Schedule

Importance Of Consistent Sleep Schedule

If you’ve spent long hours during the week, thinking you’ll catch up on the weekend, you are on the road to failure. The truth is, you really can’t catch up on sleep in two days. The importance of consistent sleep schedule should make it one of your top priorities. You probably already work out and maintain a healthy diet, but fail when it comes to getting adequate sleep. That can take its toll on your health. Not everyone needs eight hours of sleep, some need more, while others can function on as little as six, but if you’re tired during the day, you’re either getting poor quality sleep or not enough.

Losing weight is easier if you’re getting enough sleep.

When you don’t get enough sleep, it puts the body in stress mode. You’ve probably felt that fight inside to stay awake. Those stress hormones include cortisone, which is linked to abdominal fat. It also can cause other hormonal problems, such as creating too much of the hormone that makes you feel hungry and the too little of the one that makes you feel full. Lack of sleep can also make you crave instant energy and that means sugar. Where there’s a super spike in sugar levels, there’s a super dip. If you succumb to the urge to eat sugar it can set of the roller coaster effect that increases calories as you try to get more energy.

Sleep allows your brain to work on organization.

During the day, your brain is busy with the many sights, sounds and thoughts of the day. At night it’s cleaning time for your brain and time to organize. The brain needs to create neural pathways for memory that link the thoughts with feelings, associations and sensory input. If you don’t get enough sleep that doesn’t happen and your memory suffers.

Just like the brain, the body needs sleep to heal and renew.

Sleep does more than just make you feel better. It’s the time for the body to heal. Not only do the stress hormones created from lack of sleep affect your weight, they damage the body, too. Stress hormones are also linked to inflammation, which is damaging for the body. It’s linked to heart disease, diabetes, cancer and Alzheimer’s. You’ll stay healthier and heal faster when you get adequate sleep.

  • When you get too little sleep, you’ll look older. It slows the process of cell rejuvenation and allows more cell damage. That’s linked to aging.
  • Be aware that while getting too little sleep is bad, so is getting too much. It may indicate an illness or depression. Keeping a regular schedule can help avoid this.
  • Some people find a quick nap during the day can help give them an energy boost, while also offsetting a deficit during the night. Those power naps you hear about are real.
  • Make sure your sleep area is conducive to restful sleep. Keep it dark and free from electronic devices. If you absolutely need the TV on to fall asleep, get a timer to shut it off.

Does Your Posture Matter

Does Your Posture Matter

If you’ve ever noticed your posture when everything is going wrong or you’re feeling miserable, you’ll probably notice it’s not it’s best and you have that “hang dog” appearance. Good posture makes a huge difference in how people perceive you. If you walk straight and tall, you’ll look confident. Even if you’re not confident, that look can help you in every walk of life. There’s also a saying, “Fake it until you can make it.” Looking confident allows you to build that confidence.

Check out how clothing fits you when you’re standing straight and tall, compared to slumping.

If you didn’t believe that poor posture made you look heavier, put on an outfit that makes you look great and stand in front of the mirror. Now slouch into poor posture position. You’ll see a noticeable difference in how you look and how that clothing fits. Good posture stretches the body and gives clean lines. It causes your stomach to look flatter and your chest look firmer and more prominent.

Good posture has other benefits besides just those for appearance.

When you body is properly aligned for good posture, it helps reduce the potential for abnormal wear and tear on the joints and spine. It allows joints and bones to be in the correct position for the muscles to work properly. Good posture means good alignment and that translates to reduced effort for everyday tasks. That prevents fatigue. Most of all, it helps reduce back and muscle pain.

In order to achieve good posture, you need to pull your shoulders back.

When you’re standing tall, your chin is parallel to the floor with shoulders back. You can get your shoulders into position by first rolling them up, then back and finally down. Your head should be level. One way to check is to make sure earlobes are directly in line with the shoulders. Don’t overarch the back and keep your arms to the side with your elbows even and straight. Your tummy should be tucked in with knees and hips even. Finally, your body weight should be on the balls of the foot with the weight evenly distributed to your feet.

  • Poor posture can occur from bad habits, stress, obesity, tight muscles or pregnancy. Muscle weakness is also a cause. That’s why people often walk taller as they get stronger with exercise.
  • If you have acid reflux or digestive problems, try improving your posture and see if it helps. Constipation can even be helped by improving posture.
  • Poor posture can cause headaches. It even can cause a condition that makes you feel like your hands and arms are asleep. They tingle. Doing stretches can help improve posture to avoid this.
  • Poor posture can promote arthritis. Since bad posture promotes damage to the joints, that can lead to developing arthritis or at least a contributing factor.

Creating A Healthy Home

Creating A Healthy Home

I know that creating a healthy home is a top priority for many of my clients in Oceanside, CA. They want to build a healthy lifestyle to enjoy more years with their family and also help their family live healthier by encouraging the same and living in an environment that’s devoid of health hazards. There are a lot of things you can do to make your home a healthier place to live. It starts with how you clean.

Ditch the toxic chemicals and go natural.

You don’t have to use chemicals to have a clean home. In fact, your ancestors probably had a home as clean as yours without any. Best of all, using natural products can save tons of money. Distilled—white—vinegar is one of the best bathroom and kitchen cleaners available. It takes off soap scum quickly. Just spray it on liberally and wait, then wipe it off. If you have some tough areas, no problem. Baking soda makes a great soft scrub and is also inexpensive. Pour vinegar in the toilet, allow it to work and then brush away the loosened buildup. Hydrogen peroxide and baking soda remove sink stains and Borax is good for mold and stains, too.

Cut out the pesticides.

Lots of insects can be eliminated by sprinkling food grade diatomaceous earth and letting it set overnight. Be aware, it’s hard to sweep up, so when put on darker cloth, it will take multiple attempts to sweep it to get it out, so avoid it in on that furniture. There are two types, only use the food grade type. There’s also the pure white one and the brown diatomaceous earth that’s mixed with Bentonite clay. The white works best. If you’re fighting fleas, it will take lots of vacuuming and sprinkling for six weeks, because it doesn’t kill the eggs. Use it in the garden, too. It has microscopic shards of shell that cuts the hard outer body of insects, so they dehydrate. It’s good for bedbugs, and roaches. For roaches, Borax mixed with sugar also works.

Sweep and dust frequently.

Dust collects and causes allergies to act up. It also can contain the chemicals and harmful toxins from everything around you. Rather than moving the dust around with a duster, vacuum it up and change the bag often. If you have an option to choose wood, tile, cork or non-vinyl linoleum floors over carpeting, do it. It’s easier to keep dust free than carpeting that requires a lot more elbow grease to get rid of dust. Don’t forget to change the vacuum bag frequently.

  • If you smoke, take it outside. Not only will your walls stay cleaner, the air in your house will be cleaner too. While studies still don’t clearly identify second hand smoke as a health culprit, some point to it. Why take chances with your family’s health. Even better, if you smoke, quit.
  • Get the home tested for radon, lead based paint and if there are any signs of mold, have that checked immediately.
  • Encourage your family to wash hands frequently, but ditch the hand sanitizer and antibacterial soap. There are studies that show it actually may make immune systems weaker and may be linked to antibiotic resistant bacteria.
  • Stick with organic when eating the dirty dozen fruits and veggies. The non-organic type have the highest amount of pesticide concentration. They include strawberries, spinach, nectarines, apples, grapes, peaches, cherries, pears, tomatoes, celery, potatoes and sweet bell peppers.

Getting Older Doesn't Have To Mean Getting Weak And Frail

Getting Older Doesn’t Have To Mean Getting Weak And Frail

Don’t fret about getting older. It’s far better than the alternative, especially when you realize that it doesn’t have to mean getting weak and frail. In Oceanside, CA, my clients don’t worry about age, they know it’s just a number. The true test is how good you feel and how much you enjoy life. One thing that will keep you feeling great and looking good is eating healthy and regular workouts. Unless there’s a magic pill that can turn back the hands of time, a healthy lifestyle is the best thing yet to maintain strength and agility.

Your muscle mass decreases as you age.

As you get older, muscles get older too and begin to shrink, losing mass in the process. If you spend most of your time sitting, it makes that process go faster. Response time slows and fluid in the tendons decrease making you feel stiffer. Even your metabolism slows. Of course, you can continue sitting and allow all that to happen or you can take up the gauntlet and fight back. It’s not vain to want to stay fitter and move more fluidly. It’s actually kind to those around you. You’ll be able to live healthier, with fewer or less severe health problems and be active longer.

Studies show that regular exercise can slow and even reverse the signs of aging.

One study had 130 participants who were active in cycling, 75 of them were age 57 to 80 and 55 were 20 to 36. The study showed that there was no loss of muscle mass and strength, no increase in body fat or rise in cholesterol levels, while testosterone levels were high even in later years. The immune system remained viable with no signs of aging. Another study showed that a combination of strength training and HIIT—high intensity interval training—increased mitochondrial activity. That’s the cellular activity that keeps your body younger at a cellular level. The biggest change came to those in the group 65 to 80 where 69 percent increase in mitochondrial ability.

What you eat makes a huge difference.

You can add to that youthful feeling and appearance by eating healthy. What you eat can slow or accelerate aging. Extra sugar in your diet certainly accelerates the aging process advanced glycation end products—known as AGES—by combining with skin collagen—skin protein that keeps it firm. Cut out drying alcohol that adds toxins to your system. Charred meat and salt also age you. Processed foods, trans fats and sugary drinks—especially colas (both diet and regular) are also on the “no-no” list. Increasing healthy carbs like fruits and vegetables, eating healthy fats like avocados and adding lean protein will help you look and feel younger.

  • Adding herbs to your diet can boost nutrition levels and provide more building blocks to keep your body young, but won’t add extra calories.
  • The type of vegetable you eat is important. For instance, switching in spinach for iceberg lettuce in salads can protect you from dementia and Alzheimer’s.
  • One animal study showed that exercise improved stem cells quality and their functioning. Many studies have showed that improved functioning and amount of stem cells can turn back the clock.
  • Moving at least five minutes every hour also helps keep you healthier, even if you already workout regularly. Choose to move more often and move faster. One study shows that people who walk faster live longer.