Corporate Fitness and Active Aging

Christy Monday

Recent Posts by Christy Monday:

Addressing the Myth of Calorie-Counting for Weight Loss?

It so common for me to hear from clients that they know they need to count calories to be successful with weight loss.  Indeed - there is a loud drum beat for that "calories in/calories out" message where the assumption is that you have to burn more calories than you eat to lose weight.

That's been the dominant narrative in weight los for a long time.  It's taught in school, and in theory the math works.  But weight loss is so complicated that it's really inappropriate to distill the complexity down to a simple greater than/less than equation.  

A Weight-Loss Method That’s Hard to Sustain

For those who have followed this concept of “calories in, calories out,” has it been working? Many individuals I speak to have experienced hunger throughout the day and have low energy levels for daily activities. They find this eating method difficult to sustain for a long period of time and find themselves back into their old eating habits. Have you considered whether this eating method is the healthiest solution for you? Many individuals who follow this method are dissatisfied with the results. They tend to lose a majority of weight in lean muscle mass as opposed to fat loss. If that is the case, is counting calories an effective process for losing fat weight? Many share their frustrations of feeling tired and lethargic when focused on counting calories. They feel their health is jeopardized when the focus is on counting calories and exercising more.

Decisions.jpg

Focusing on Food Quality

So how does one achieve good health and be content with their body composition without counting calories? One way to have a positive health outcome is to focus on quality of foods and how those foods affect your body. Quality foods will restore the body’s hormones and enable the body’s metabolism to work efficiently. The body will have the ability to break down stored fat for energy, providing a stable body weight for the long haul. Selecting quality foods keeps us full and satisfied throughout the day, and provides the body with the nutrition required to maintain good health.

Quality foods contain fiber, healthy fats, protein, and low levels of sugar. Fruits and vegetables are loaded with nutrients and contain natural sugars, which are the best choice for healthy eating without having to consider calorie counting. Healthy fats and proteins are the best choice for feeling full and satisfied throughout the day. When consumed they keep blood sugar levels stable, providing a healthy result.

So, which side will you take? The “calories in, calories out” approach, which does not provide long-term healthy results, or provide your body with quality foods rich in nutrients that enable your body’s metabolism to work efficiently and restore your body to good health? You choose. 

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Topics: weight loss calories healthy eating food quality metabolism whole foods calorie counting

Setting the Groundwork for Successfully Completing a Challenging Fitness Event

NIFS | Prepare today for success

Many thoughts come to mind when setting the groundwork for successfully participating in a sporting event, race or activity. Whether you are a recreational sports enthusiast or competing at a high level, everyone desires a successful event, and “success” means something different for each participant. When speaking to a recreational sports enthusiast, most will tell you that they are looking to maintain good health, have fun, and complete the event. On the other hand, the competitive athlete will define success only when they outperform others or themselves. Let’s take a look at some considerations for setting the groundwork for competing in a successful event.

[Read More: Preparing for your First Obstacle Race]

Planning – Planning your training weeks in advance before an event will pay off on the day of the event. It reduces stress and provides confidence that you prepared physically and mentally to complete the task. In addition to mapping out your training calendar, outline your goals for the event early in your training. Then, trust that the training sessions have prepared you to be successful in meeting your goals.

Organization – During the weeks prior to the event, it is important to do your homework. Create a check list with items needed for the event. Purchasing appropriate clothing and equipment early will give you time to test and exchange items if needed. Packing all the necessary items for the event a few days in advance will help eliminate stress on the day of the event.

Check the weather – If the event is outdoors, always keep in mind weather conditions for the day of the event. Pack additional clothing in advance or equipment options for unexpected weather changes.    

Visualize – It is helpful to visualize your plan of action during the event. What strategies are you going to use to meet your goals? When will it be the best time to push harder on the course or ease up? Focus on each aspect of the event. It is better to break it up in small parts as you transition from one mile to the next. Visualization prepares you mentally providing you with positive thoughts and images for a successful outcome.

Do not try anything new – It's not a good idea to try anything new on the day of the event. For example, don’t try new foods/drinks en route and don’t use new gear that hasn’t been road-tested. Stick to your plan. Your training sessions have prepared you for this day. Trying out new strategies does not prepare you for the risk of new unexpected challenges that can occur.

Expect the unexpected – It’s common for an event to stray from your plan; be adaptable and expect some variation of what you’ve outlined. A change in the course, unforeseen weather, or equipment breakdowns can occur causing disruptions in mental focus and attitude. Implement your plan B and stay the course! Do not let the unexpected defeat you.

Keep a good pace – Have a strategy in place based on your performance skills. Are you starting the event fast or slow? Are you going to remain at a steady pace throughout the course? Consider how weather conditions may affect your speed and performance. How will extreme hot or cold conditions or gusty winds effect your pace? Do you need to adjust your goals midway through the course? Consider all of these questions and more before race day.

Nutrition – It is not a good idea to try new foods on the day of the event. Many athletes are nervous on the day of the event and trying new foods can upset the stomach causing discomfort. Timing of nutrition during an event is especially important to consider for longer distances. Plan what types of food or drink you will pack for the event and when would be the best time on the course to ingest them, or will you rely on water or food stations provided on the course?

Following through with these considerations will set the groundwork for a successful event. Meeting your goals is satisfying and provides confidence for the next one!

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Topics: race tips sporting events fitness challenge training for a race training for a fitness event

NIFS: Top 3 reasons to increase fruit and veggie consumption

woman eating healthy resized 600We all know that fruits and vegetables are good for us, right? We hear it all the time that fruits and vegetables lower the chance of certain cancers, eating your spinach will prevent cataracts, eating fruits leads to longer life and beet juice lowers blood pressure. We also know that fruits and vegetables add color and texture to our dinner plate, they are low in calories and provide fiber, vitamins and minerals for our body. So, if something is good for us, why don’t we embrace it and take it all in? Well, it is not as easy as it sounds. For many, it may be the taste factor and immediate satisfaction of good tasting food, overrides thoughts of long-term health. Were you forced to eat your vegetables when you were younger? Possibly the half eaten peas and carrots that were in your mouth became the new center piece at the dinner table? Bad experiences tend to keep us away from trying it again. So, what are the top 3 reasons to increase fruit and veggie intake? Why would I want to give these foods another try?

1) Fruits and vegetables provide benefits for my overall health.  This requires a change of thinking to actually believe that it will provide long-term health benefits, so the eating choices I make today will affect me in the days, weeks, months and years ahead. Research has spoken and the results have been proven that fruits and veggies are good for us.

2) Maintaining at least half my plate with fruits and vegetables with protein and some small amounts of grains, provide steady blood glucose levels. I do not experience the high spikes of blood sugar that can be caused by eating a lot of foods that are on the high end of the glycemic index.  I feel better and have more energy by following this rule.

3) Eating more fruits and vegetables and eating less sugars and grains provide a healthy body weight. How much sugars and grains do you consume in a day? If you have been trying to lose weight and have had a hard time getting the weight off, you may want to look into what you are eating.

Whatever your experience was like, don’t give up on fruits and veggies. Give it another try. You may find that it is one of the best things you could do for your health. What are your reasons for eating more fruits and veggies? For ideas on how to incorporate fruits and veggies into your meals contact your fitness center staff.  

Guide to Successful Corporate Fitness Centers

Topics: Food for Thought active aging nifs fitness management