Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Power of Protein

"You are what you eat".....and here's why:

> every 3 months, your body produces a new skeleton
> every 6 weeks, all of the cells are replaced in your liver
> every 5 days, you have a new stomach lining
> 98% of atoms in your body are replaced within one year

In order for your body to constantly be replacing and generating new cells you need
enough protein. And if you are physically active, even more protein is needed. And if you are over age 50, you need even MORE protein!

As we get older, we have less total body protein due to a decrease in skeletal muscle and less efficient use of protein by our body. Less protein will cause impaired wound healing, loss of skin elasticity and inability to fight infection.
Sarcopenia is an age-related loss of muscle mass, strength and function that affects 30% of people over age 60. This condition can limit older adults' daily physical activities, increase risk of chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, and reduce their quality of life.

Resistance training can only increase muscle mass if there is enough protein readily available to repair and rebuild muscle fibers that are broken down with exercise. The best way to have a net gain in muscle mass is to consume WHEY PROTEIN
within 30 minutes after strength training and to consume 20% of your total daily calories in protein-rich foods. It is very possible and likely that women who exercise regularly but do not consume enough protein, will actually lose muscle.

Whey protein is the best source of protein that is complete in all amino acids. Whey is better at stimulating muscle protein synthesis and muscle growth during the recovery period because its amino acide profile is almost identical to that of our skeletal muscle. Whey protein has little to no fat or carbohydrates, is low in calories and easily digested. It also contains components that help stimulate the release of two appetite-suppressing hormones for a greater impact on satiety and weight control. Whey protein helps to maintain a healthy immune system by increasing the levels of glutathione, an anti-oxidant required for a healthy immune system. And exercise may reduce glutathione levels.

I am always reminding my members about the importance of protein, especially whey, but unfortunately I don't think too many bother to follow through. I guess women still consider protein supplements a "man thing". But I am persistant!

ps The Blender Bottle is the BEST way to shake up a quick protein drink. And
for blending a smoothie I love my magic bullet!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happiness is Hormones

Having experienced menopause in my early 40's, I am now happily on natural hormone replacement therapy (HRT)and never plan on stopping. I see so many women my age struggling with weight gain, loss of sleep, anxiety, fatigue and various health issues including osteopenia (the beginning of osteoporosis)and I always ask if they
have had their hormone levels tested. There is really a need for more accurate information on the effects of menopause on our bodies and safe treatment.

Hormones regulate virtually every bodily function and are critical to our body's health. The natural hormone cycle is designed to give men and women vitality for reproduction during childbearing/rearing years and then a decline with aging. The perimenopausal and menopausal years for women are really a withering away of muscle
and bone along with loss of mental sharpness as hormone production decreases. Many women try to bravely survive this period without seeking treatment and some will seek medical help only to be put on anti-depressants. Eventually the symptoms will lessen as their bodies adapt to functioning without proper hormonal levels but when hormones are depleted, they will not return without HRT.

The benefits of natural hormones are dramatic but unnecessary fear of HRT is still
common because of studies that showed that SYNTHETIC hormones (made of urine from
pregnant horses!)caused cancer. NATURAL hormones do not cause cancer, they prevent it. Other benefits include:
> heart & vascular disease is prevented
> aging of cells is significantly slowed
> osteoporosis is prevented or even reversed
> mental and/or emotional dysfunction is prevented or reversed
> anti-depressant drugs are unnecessary or dosage lowered

I have a few aches & pains from some over-use injuries in the past and don't sleep as well as I used to which is normal for my age, but I would be a different person than I am today without HRT....probably still 25 lbs overweight with achy knees, thinning hair, low sex drive, and too tired for exercise. I certainly would not have had the motivation to re-open Trim Up! Regular exercise, a good diet and vitamin regimen helps to give me energy and good health but my hormones help me to look, think and feel young and happy!

p.s. My doctor/GYN is Alyse Kelly-Jones at Mintview Gyn, 704 377-5675. She specializes in womens sexuality which includes hormones. I get my hormone levels tested each year at my annual check-up which makes it easy and affordable.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Exiting The Comfort Zone

Another Bootcamp session started this week here at Trim Up which I love leading. The participants come to class ready for anything I can dish out and really give it
their best effort. There are all levels of fitness and degrees of physical limitation due to bad knees, ankles, hips (after age 40 it seems everyone has
"something"!)but it is so rewarding to see the group's accomplishments in fitness.

The key to making positive changes in your body and wellness often involves just
getting out of your comfort zone. Your body will not change unless you make it do
something it is not used to. For example, Cardio Queens who think hours of aerobics is the best way lose fat will need to get into the weight room and learn about strength training. Waking up an hour earlier to exercise before work is sometimes the only way to fit in a workout on busy weekdays but its not easy dragging out of bed the first week or so.

Most people struggle the most with consistent clean eating. It does take a lot of effort, time and planning to have the right foods available each and every day. It is so much easier to pull out the lean cuisines at the end of a long day or eat out most meals. I tell Bootcampers if they can be very diligent with nutrition for one week, they will feel so much better that it will motivate them to want to continue good eating habits.

I heard Kelly Osborne talking about her weight loss on a talk show and I liked her response when someone asked her if she liked to exercise. She said that she hates the gym but she likes what the gym does for her body and makes her want to go. Getting out of our comfort zone isn't something that we want to do and it may feel more like the twilight zone at first but the payoff could be life-changing!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

How much should we be exercising???

First its 3x a week, then we hear an hour a day, and now the latest is only 20 minutes a week! It gets confusing!

Any media attention on fitness is a good thing I guess, as it gets inactive people more aware of the need for exercise. But just hearing bits and pieces from
extensive studies on the news can be misunderstood in the translation.

This is my answer on the question of how much should we be exercising: It depends.
More specifically, it depends on your fitness goals, whether its for weight loss,
health maintenance or athletic training. And it depends on what your diet is like.
It will take more exercise to burn excess calories just to maintain weight.

For women who want to be healthy but don't need to worry about their weight, moderate aerobic exercise for at least 20 minutes, 3 times a week plus resistance training at least twice a week is adequate. Adding yoga or pilates will improve
flexibility and strengthen the core.

For women who also want to reduce body fat, more intense aerobic exercise is needed, at least 4 times a week (more if calories are not restricted). Interval training where you push yourself to the high end of your aerobic training zone for a minute or two, then rest for a minute is very effective and efficient. Strength training with heavy weights is the best way to rebuild lost muscle mass as we age, to boost metabolism and burn more calories.

One mistake I think alot of women make is that the only exercise they do on a regular basis is walking around the neighborhood. A fast-paced walk to elevate the heartrate is fine for cardiovascular health but it is at a very low to moderate aerobic intensity. For weight control, higher intensity exercise with more muscles
engaged plus strength training should also be included.

The key to exercise is that some is better than none but the proper amount can make a world of difference to your health and how you look and feel!