Turkey Trot Run/Walk 11/22/12

Thanks to all of those who came to the first annual Journey Fitness Turkey Trot Run/Walk this past Thursday morning! I had a blast and will certainly be doing it again next year! For those who missed out, we did a 30 min run/walk around a course I laid out in Boulevard Park in Lake Saint Louis and followed that up with a 30 min boot camp style class. All the participants worked their butts off and had a lot of fun, not to mention they could feel less guilty about their Thanksgiving meals! Next year we will be getting word out earlier and make all proceeds go to charity.

How to Improve your Basal Metabolic Rate

I just wanted to share with you the known variables to influence your basal metabolic rate according to the American Council on Exercise.

  1. Genetics. Some people have a naturally high metabolism and others have naturally slow metabolisms.
  2. Gender. Men have more testosterone and usually more lean muscle mass and less fat mass than women so they have a higher metabolism.
  3. Age. BMR is greater in childhood than in adulthood. After age 20, BMR is estimated to drop about 2 percent to 3 percent each decade. This is not a huge decline as you can see so stop using it as your excuse.
  4. Weight. The more an individual weighs, the higher his or her BMR will be. For example, if two people are the same height but one is heavier, the heavier one will have the higher BMR.
  5. Height. Taller people typically have greater body surface area and more lean body mass.
  6. Body-fat Percentage. If all other things are equal, people with a higher body-fat percentage have a lower BMR than those with a lower-body fat percentage.
  7. Diet. Starvation or serious abrupt calorie-reduction can dramatically reduce BMR by up to 30 percent. Likewise, restrictive, low-calorie weight-loss diets may cause BMR to drop by as much as 20 percent. This is why I tell you to eat 5-6 small meals a day!
  8. Body Temperature/Health. For every increase of 0.5 degrees C in internal temperature of the body, BMR increases by about 7 percent. The chemical reactions in the body actually occur more quickly at higher temperatures (remember high school chemistry?) Therefore, a person with a fever of 42 degrees C (about 4 degrees C above normal) would have an increase of about 50 percent in BMR. Maybe why we lose weight when we are sick?
  9. External temperature. Temperature outside the body also affects basal metabolic rate. Exposure to cold temperature causes an increase in the BMR, as the body tries to create the extra heat needed to maintain its internal temperature. A short exposure to hot temperature has little effect on the body’s metabolism because of compensatory increases in heat loss. However, prolonged exposure to heat can raise BMR.
  10. Glands. Thyroxin (produced by the thyroid gland) is a key BMR regulator that speeds up the body’s metabolic activity. The more thyroxin produced, the higher the BMR. If too much thyroxin is produced (a condition known as thyrotoxicosis), BMR can actually double. If too little thyroxin is produced (myxoedema), BMR may shrink to 30 percent to 40 percent of normal. Like thyroxin, adrenaline also increases the BMR, but to a lesser extent.
  11. Exercise. Physical exercise not only influences body weight by burning calories, it also helps raise BMR by building extra muscle (this is why everyone should do resistance training!) The greater the exercise intensity, the longer it takes the body to recover, which results in a longer and higher excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC). When your body is in a state of EPOC, you are burning a lot of calories while you recover and is one of the most proven methods to shed body fat. Not everyone is ready to train at a high intensity and should build up to do so with the proper progression and guidance of a trainer, preferably me!

The take home message is that besides what you are dealt with by genetics and any other variables that fall under that umbrella; you have some control over your metabolism through proper diet and exercise.

Easy Guide to Nutrition

  1. Plan ahead! When you don’t have anything prepared or you’re on the go, convenience is going to mater more than what you eat. That’s why fast food is never going away. If you are on the go, pack a lunch or know of some restaurants that you can get a balanced, nutrient dense, low calorie meal. If you don’t cook every day, cook extra when you do cook and save it for meals later in the week. If you need to take it a step further, plan out a menu for the week.
  2. Eat every 2-4 hours. At every sitting, eat slowly until 80% full. If you eat too fast, your body won’t have long enough to get the signal that you are almost full. Eating smaller, more frequent meals should keep your metabolism going.
  3. Watch the sugar content of your food. Insulin is an anabolic hormone in your body that takes up sugar from your blood and stores that sugar in the form of glycogen in your muscles and liver. You can only store so much glycogen and the rest is stored as fat. Keep your insulin levels regulated by eating foods that digest slowly, avoiding any spikes in your insulin from sugary foods that digest fast.
  4. Inflammation in your body leads to weight gain and prevents you from losing weight. Inflammation not only leads to increased cholesterol and risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes, but it causes you to hold more water in your cells and you will feel more sluggish and bloated. Try to avoid processed food as much as possible. Even foods that are reduced calorie or low fat are processed. Eat more whole foods like vegetables, fruits and lean meats. Avoid soda and sugary drinks, drink more water. Decreasing inflammation helps your digestive track, if you have a healthy gut, you will be able to better digest your foods and get the nutrients you need. You will then have more energy and feel better. Weight loss will happen when you are healthy!
  5. Drink lots of water. Don’t leave the house without a bottle of water. Drink constantly throughout the day. Dehydration can increase the chance of soft tissue injuries when you are active, decrease your mood, make you feel tired and sluggish, and many other processes in the body depend on it.

The idea of calories in and calories out is only part of the picture when trying to lose weight. You should still try to have an idea of how many calories your body needs and how much you actually eat, but all of the factors mentioned above are more important than how many calories you consume. Obviously if you eat too much, you are going to gain weight and you are probably ignoring rule #2.

Why Your Workout at the Gym Won’t Get You the Results You Desire

  1. Traditional “split routines” are commonly used by body builders and football players who are trying to gain lean muscle mass. Many repetitions and exercises are used on a particular muscle group during the workout. An example would be devoting an entire exercise session to just legs or chest and triceps. I’ll let you guys in on a secret; these guys aren’t usually trying to lose weight! If you want to lose weight, you need to stop isolating muscle groups and incorporate full body movements that engage more muscle groups, ultimately burning more calories!
  2. Using full body movements will give you more muscle engagement through the movements, making you move more efficiently. Your body will have to stabilize other joints as you perform an exercise. An example would be performing a lunge with a twist. You step out into a lunge engaging your quadriceps and gluteals. Then twist your torso towards your front leg, while holding a medicine ball, engaging your core as your lower body doesn’t move. This takes great coordination and stabilization.
  3. You will prevent more injuries if you train movement patterns, rather than isolating your quads on a leg extension machine. Using the lunge example, you are engaging muscles around the ankle, knee, and hip joints. You’re training the tendons and ligaments as well as the muscle and you will be less likely to tear anything in everyday movements like bending over to pick something up.
  4. You will also have more balance between opposing muscle groups. For every repetition pulling, there should be a pushing movement to train the antagonist muscle groups. An example would be doing a bent over row (which engages your legs and core as well as your mid-back muscles) and then somewhere else in your workout, do a pushup (which not only strengthens your chest and triceps, but everything from your hands to your feet). This also will help prevent injury if you are balanced, not just working on “beach muscles” on the front of your body.
  5. Training this way will lead to less boredom with your workout, making you have greater long term success if you stick with it!

Flexibility Training

Flexibility is important, and is often overlooked when planning a fitness program. 47% of stiffness is attributed to joint capsule and ligaments, 41% from muscle fascia, 10% from tendons, and 2% from skin. Increasing your range of motion (ROM) can be done largely because of the second one, the fascia. Self-myofascial release, or foam rolling, will help loosen up adhesions or stiffness in your fascia (the connective tissue on top of your muscles). Using a foam roller can be used as part of your warm-up and cool-down. Runners especially will develop tightness in their IT bands (lateral thigh) and should use a foam roller frequently.

Old school of thought was to static stretch as a warm-up to prevent injury during activity, research has shown that static stretching actually decreases performance because you are temporarily changing the length of the muscle, which operates in a length-tension relationship. This means that your muscle produces the most force at certain lengths of its ROM, so why alter the relationship? Static stretching should only be used during your warm-up IF there is also need for corrective exercise because of muscle imbalances around a joint. Otherwise, static stretching or PNF stretching should only be part of the cool-down. Foam rolling should be done before static stretching to get a more effective stretch.

The new school of thought is to warm-up doing dynamic stretches. This means that you perform exercises in all 3 planes of motion using your muscles to control the speed, direction and intensity of the stretch. An example would be a lunge with rotation of the trunk. This loosens up the joints and helps your body to self-lubricate your joint surfaces. If you have limited range of motion in one plane of motion, injury is more likely to occur during activity. An example would be a golfer, if they have limited rotation through the lumbo-pelvic-hip complex, they may injure their low back when trying to rotate with great force, not to mention they won’t hit the ball very far.

Contact me about getting yourself set up with the right corrective exercises and stretches to improve your ROM.

Source: NASM Essentials of Sport Performance Training

Why YOU Should Use a Protein Supplement!

Most people when you mention protein powder to them think “Why do I need that? I’m not a body builder.” This is not the case. Protein supplements, except for soy only powders, are  complete proteins, containing all the essential amino acids that everyone needs. Everyone can benefit from protein, here are a few benefits:

–          Repair muscles after an intense workout

–          Promote protein synthesis (muscle growth) when weight training

–          Help you maintain lean muscle while trying to lose weight

–          Help seniors maintain muscle mass as they age, this will help prevent falls and fractures

–          Help you feel full and suppress your appetite, leading to weight loss

The list goes on and on but those are a few of the big points.

Proper nutrition along with consistent resistance training will help build and maintain lean body mass. Individuals with more lean body mass tend to burn more calories, this helps in maintaining your weight.

Protein can be used as a pre and post-workout shake, or as a meal replacement shake.

Corrective Exercise

If you are like most people, your job requires hours of sitting in what is called the triple flexed position (knee flexion, hip flexion, elbow flexion). Not only is your job making you sedentary, burning very few calories during the day, but it is also altering how you move. Staying in this body position (like I am right now typing this), your body will reinforce your posture over time, making it more efficient (burning less calories to stay like this) to be slumped over and have rounded shoulders and tight hip flexors. Your altered joint kinematics may cause you pain over time if not addressed. Most adults that have had some sedentary periods in their lives could benefit from corrective exercise to try and counteract the poor posture they have developed. Past injuries can also alter how you move. There are three different systems of your body that are involved in movement (muscular, nervous, and articular), and if one is changed because of injury or poor posture, your body will alter how you move. You only get one body, so let’s take care of it while you are here and make sure you can move optimally, with the least amount of pain.

When starting an exercise program, you should have a fitness professional take you through a battery of movement assessments to identify any compensations in your foot and ankle, knee, lumbo- pelvic-hip complex, and shoulder girdle. If there is a compensation in a joint, the overactive and underactive muscles can then be identified.

The overactive muscles need to be inhibited, through foam rolling (self-myofascial release). After foam rolling, then static stretching or PNF stretching can be used to lengthen the overactive muscles.

Then, the underactive muscles (the opposing muscle group to the overactive muscle) need to be isolated to activate them.

The final step is to perform a dynamic movement that integrates the overactive and underactive muscles together. This is like reprograming your muscle memory to help you move more efficiently. After a period of time, you will notice a difference. It takes time and repetition to correct what poor posture has done to your body.

Source: National Academy of Sports Medicine Corrective Exercise Manual

*I am a Certified Corrective Exercise Specialist*

4 Most Common Exercise Myths

  1. Exercising at a low intensity will burn more calories from fat. This may be true, but only from a percentage standpoint. The harder you workout, the more calories you will burn and ultimately more weight you will lose. Low intensity exercise has its place, especially with beginners or special populations such as the elderly or those with joint issues.
  2. By concentrating on one part of your body, you can spot tone that area. This is false, no matter how much volume of training (sets and reps) you do on a body part to build muscle, fat is still fat and you have to get rid of it for that muscle to appear.  No matter how many crunches you do, that 6 pack won’t show up until you make changes in the kitchen.
  3. Lifting heavy weight will make women “bulky”. This is false due to the fact that women have very little testosterone levels compared to men, making it almost impossible to become a hulk. In fact, when women want to “tone up”, they need to lift heavier weight in order to build a little more lean mass, as well as do cardio to lose fat mass. If all you ever do it lift light weight and do hours of cardio, you will only increase your muscular endurance. To build muscle and “tone up”, you need to provide your muscles with a stimulus (exercise) that they are not used to. This is the overload principal, if you don’t progress your workout, you will hit a plateau so you need to keep increasing the stimulus to keep getting results.
  4. If you workout, you can get away with more in your diet. Working out is typically only an hour per bout and most people don’t exercise everyday. In general, most of us aren’t that active the rest of the day, so we don’t burn that many extra calories.  Depending on your weight, gender, body composition, and intensity of exercise, the amount of calories you burn will vary. If you don’t eat a balanced diet with low calorie, nutrient dense foods, you will still negate all the work you did from exercise. If you burned 500 calories from exercise, I guarantee your lunch at your favorite restaurant has more calories than that.

Turkey Sausage and Egg White English Muffin

A new breakfast idea I made. What you need:

– Turkey sausage patties (uncooked)

– Whole wheat English muffin

– 3 tbs of Liquid egg whites


1. Toast your English muffin.

2. Cook both sides of your turkey sausage over medium high heat in a pan.

3. Cook your egg whites and fold them over twice to make it small to fit on the sandwich.


251 Calories

24 grams of carbs (no sugar)

7 grams of fat

20 grams of protein

Protein Pancake

A pancake with a twist. There are not many carbs in this pancake and I advise you that it does not taste good with syrup!

What you need:

–          ¼ cup dry steel cut oats

–          ¼ cup liquid egg whites

–          ¼ cup 2% cottage cheese

Makes 1 serving

  1. On your stove, heat a small pan on medium high and spray with a non-stick spray.
  2. In a bowl, mix all the ingredients and pour into the pan. Wait till it sets a little on one side, then flip it with a turner.

251 Calories

27 grams of carbs

4 gram of fat

23 grams of protein