Fitness & Wellness

her ankle injured in gym fitness exercise training, healthy lifestyle concept, indoors wooden floor brick wall background

Should You Work Out If You Have An Injury

her ankle injured in gym fitness exercise training, healthy lifestyle concept, indoors wooden floor brick wall background

One of the biggest dilemmas faced by clients is when to get back to the gym after an injury, even if the injury isn’t related to the workout. While most want to work out to maintain the progress they’ve made, they also fear they’ll end up injuring themselves worse and being away from the gym even longer. There’s no right or wrong answer. It all depends on the injury, where it’s located and how you feel.

Did your injury come from working out?

Soreness is part of exercise. You should be sore after a workout. However, if it’s debilitating soreness that started a few days after your session, it may be DOMS—delayed onset muscle soreness. Always check with your doctor make sure it’s nothing more severe. If it’s not, rather than exacerbating the soreness, switch your workout to focus on another group of muscles for a few days. If everything hurts, take a walk to get your blood circulating. It will help you heal and feel better quicker.

Always take the advice of your doctor.

I see three types of people in the gym. There’s the average person that takes precautions, but doesn’t let a lot stop him or her from sticking with their plan. These people tend to know their body enough that when something hurts, they know if it’s serious. The second type of person is the worry wart that is afraid every ache and pain is life threatening. They normally go to the doctor to relieve their mine, so they aren’t a problem when it comes to working out while injured, either. The last group are the die-hard push through everything people. They’d workout with a broken bone poking through their skin if they didn’t see it. These are the scariest type for me. I encourage you to know your body and seek medical attention when something is definitely out of whack.

Switch your workout to something that keeps you moving, but doesn’t put pressure on the injury.

You need to exercise to boost the healing power of the body. The more you workout, the more you improve your circulation that boosts healing. If you worry you’ve torn a ligament in the knee or simply have a lot of knee pain, don’t go for a walk or a run. Sit down and do some weight lifting that works your upper body. If your arms feel like they have razors going through the muscle, take a walk. Switch the type of exercise you do, but do exercise.

  • Don’t be a hero. Working through the pain isn’t good. If you’ve had an injury, start slowly. If you feel pain, quit. It means you’re not ready yet and working out could undo the healing that took place.
  • Try rest, ice, a compression wrap or elevation of the injured are. These are ways to help the injury heal initially.
  • If the injury occurred in the gym, work with your trainer to find out why. Did you do the workout wrong or do you have a muscle group that’s weak, letting a smaller group of muscles takes over for its tasks and causing injury.
  • Make sure you warm up and cool down every time you exercise to help prevent future injuries.

Diet Is As Important As Exercise

Diet Is As Important As Exercise

Good health doesn’t come from just making one healthy change, like adding exercise to your schedule. It comes from making a number of changes and diet is one of those. My clients in Commack, NY know that it’s all about lifestyle with a healthy diet and a program of regular workouts being the top two changes to make a difference in both your health and your weight. You can’t out exercise a bad diet. If you’re eating a large order of fries, double burger with all the extras and milk shakes after you workout, you’ll be gaining weight, rather than losing it. When you consider a big burger with all the fixings or a 24 ounce shake has as many as 1000 calories, you’d have to workout an hour and a half to two hours to burn that many calories in a workout.

Not only do calories count, so does nutrition.

The early fitness guru, Jack LaLanne, who worked out the day before his death from pneumonia at age 96, said that “exercise is king and nutrition is queen. Put them together you’ve got a kingdom.” He was right. Whether you’re losing weight or getting healthy, what you eat makes a huge difference. LaLanne called the bloodstream the “River of Life” and said we pollute that river with junk foods that contain sugar, salt, artificial flavors and preservatives. If you want to be your healthiest, you need to closely monitor what you eat.

Start with the basics.

Eating healthy doesn’t have to be hard. You don’t have to be a nutritionist to begin the process. Start by eliminating processed foods, particularly those with sugar and bleached flour. Make your diet a colorful plate that begins with the basics, fruit, vegetables, healthy protein and healthy fat. You can eat all the above ground vegetables you want, particularly green leafy vegetables. Include mostly non starchy vegetables and go lightly on starchy ones like butternut squash, potatoes, corn, chickpeas and yams.

You have to eat enough healthy food to ensure you have all the calories you need for a good workout.

Cutting calories to a level of starvation is definitely not healthy. Your body not only needs the fuel, it needs the building blocks to create new cells. If you’re eating unhealthy foods, no matter how many calories they contain, you won’t have those building blocks to help burn calories or build muscle tissue. Good nutrition can help you reach peak performance and not burn out before your workout is finished.

  • Your diet also affects your recovery rate. If you did everything right in the gym, but you’re sore or tired for days after your workout, or don’t get the results you want, it may be your diet.
  • A healthy diet to help you lose weight and get adequate nutrition contains 30 percent of the calories from fat, 30 percent from protein and 40 percent from complex carbohydrates.
  • Eating protein can help you feel fuller longer. Dietary fiber also helps fill you up and keeps your elimination tract healthier.
  • It’s not all about what you eat. What you drink plays a big role in your health. Soft drinks, even diet sodas, play havoc on your health. Regular sodas add calories and flood your system with sugar, while low calorie drinks add chemicals that cause unhealthy changes in your diet.

Functional Fitness Working Out For Real Life Situations

Functional Fitness Working Out For Real Life Situations

Of course, injuries do occur from traumatic situations like major automobile accidents, but many injuries, especially back injuries, occur doing every day types of things. It may be bending over to tie your shoelace that drops you to the floor or picking up the baby that leaves a painful back condition. That’s where functional fitness training helps. Here in Commack, we provide a wide variety of exercises each workout and most will help boost muscle synergy to improve your functional fitness.

Some regular workouts mimic difficult every day tasks.

When you’re working around the house, you’re often not lifting straight up as you might when lifting weights, but bending to the side or lifting with one arm and the other to your side. Working around the house involves several muscle groups and joints, which is what functional fitness training also does. Think about the movements you’d make if you washed the glass on a full glass storm door. You’d be reaching, bending and making your arm go in circular motion. You might even do a squat or lunge. Training for those types of movements is what functional fitness is all about. It gets your body ready to move on a number of planes.

Too many people avoid exercise for fear of injuring themselves.

One reason for many back problems is weak abdominal muscles and weak back muscles. Those are core muscle groups, which is addressed with functional fitness training. Many of the functional fitness exercises are full body workouts that not only improve strength, flexibility and endurance, they also help messaging to and from the brain to create synergy throughout the body, so your muscles and joints all work together. Using functional fitness workouts can aid in relieving back pain and preventing future injury.

Functional fitness workouts can build strength, flexibility and endurance, while also helping you to lose weight.

No matter what type of exercises you use, if you workout regularly and eat healthy, you’re bound to shed extra weight, lose fat and build muscles. While many exercises can be functional fitness exercises, all functional fitness workouts can help you lose weight. These workouts also improve your posture, which makes you look thinner and gives an appearance of confidence.

  • You’re never too old for functional fitness training. In fact, it’s perfect for seniors. It can help prevent falls and keep them living unassisted for longer.
  • You may already be doing functional fitness exercises. Squats, lunges, pull-ups, a sled push or pull and a jump squat are just a few examples that you probably already have in your program.
  • There’s a lot of low impact functional training that makes it good for beginners and seniors. It can help keep them independent longer.
  • Functional fitness workouts also help relieve stress on the joints and joint pain, which can increase the desire and ability to workout even more.

Strength Training Benefits For Aging Bodies

Strength Training Benefits For Aging Bodies

Too often I hear seniors comment that they’re too old to workout. That’s just not true. No matter what your age, there’s a workout that’s perfect for your fitness level. Some seniors walk for their exercise, which is a start, but strength training benefits for aging bodies is also important. The older you are and the more sedentary you’ve been, the longer it may take to get fit, but it’s worth the effort. It also may come with some challenges in the form of health issues. While a personal trainer is important for all ages, it can be imperative if you’re a senior. A trainer can help modify workouts to deal with back issues, joint issues and other challenges.

You’ll live longer when you workout, but you’ll also have more life in those extra years.

There are estimates that an active senior lives about three to five years longer than one that leads a sedentary lifestyle. In fact, a sedentary lifestyle ranks right up there with unhealthy eating as a top reason for disability and death. The simple act of taking walks, swimming or other gentle exercise can boost longevity. Even better, those extra years will be more enjoyable, since working out can boost your mood and help relieve depression. It can put a smile on your face and change you from a grumpy older person, to one that has a smile on their face more often.

Exercise helps prevent sarcopenia, which also helps prevent osteoporosis.

Sarcopenia is the normal muscle loss that occurs as early as the late 30s. When you workout regularly, you can help prevent it and even build muscle tissue. The benefit of having more muscle tissue is for more than just extra strength. Those improved muscles pull on the bones and causes them to build, while stopping bone loss. In fact, strength training has been compared to many of the medications for osteoporosis and found either better or just as good.

Strength training is great for losing weight and controlling weight gain.

The older you are, the slower your metabolism becomes if you’re not working out. That’s because you have less muscle mass, which requires more calories for maintenance than fat tissue does. Strength training also burns calories when you do it. Today, obesity has become the leading cause of preventable death, even surpassing smoking. Strength training can help avoid it.

  • If you’re not quite ready for the gym, start boosting your strength in other ways. Carry your groceries to the car, rather than using a cart. Simply doing a plank and holding it is easy to do, but also can build strength.
  • Strength training can help prevent falls and reduce the risk of injury. It improves your balance, making it far easier remain mobile.
  • You’ll sleep better at night when you workout regularly. Improved sleep helps you maintain clearer thinking and boosts your energy level.
  • You can lower your blood pressure with strength training, while reducing back pain, lowering your risk of diabetes and stay independent longer.

Ways To Balance Your Hormones Naturally

Ways To Balance Your Hormones Naturally

Hormonal imbalances can cause health issues, emotional problems and some strange symptoms. If you’re an adult, you may experience acne you thought you left behind in your teens. It can cause issues line thinning hair, weight gain, lack of energy and constipation. You don’t have to suffer through it or take medication, in most cases. There are ways to balance your hormones naturally. Always check with your doctor first before you start on any program of exercise and see if trying the natural approach before considering medication is the safest route to take.

A healthy balance of microbes in your elimination system is a start.

Most of your nutrients are absorbed in the small intestine. While digestion takes place in the mouth, stomach and small intestine, only alcohol is absorbed by the body in the stomach, everything else passes to the small intestine to be absorbed in the blood stream. Getting adequate nutrition to the body requires good gut health and a balance of beneficial bacteria. The balance of microbes can affect the levels of estriol, the estrogen that protects and lowers the incidence of problems faced at menopause, such as estrogen dominance. Some antibiotics can affect the balance, just as unhealthy eating can. Eating fermented food, such as live bacteria yogurt, can help, just as eating prebiotic foods, such as asparagus or garlic.

Unhealthy eating can get your hormones out of balance.

You are what you eat, at least your hormones are what you eat. Most people consume a high sugar diet. Sugar, dextrose, HFCS—high fructose corn syrup—or other types of sugar are in everything, it seems. It’s in most of the processed foods you eat. Sugar, especially HFCS, can mess up your hormones and get them out of balance, just as starches can. To see whether these two are your problem, cut out sweets, starchy foods and processed foods for two weeks and see how you’ll feel. You’ll be amazed at how it can boost your energy. Eating crucifers also helps.

Exercise can help get your hormones in line.

A program of regular exercise affects more than just your hormone balance. Studies show it positively affects the prominence of healthy bacteria. It boosts muscle development, endurance and flexibility. Exercise affects all types of hormones. Serotonin, the hormone for improved sleep, digestion, mood and sexual functioning is increased. So is dopamine, so you’ll be less stressed. Sex hormones, such as estrogen and testosterone are also balanced in the body when you exercise. To get the best results, you need strength-building, flexibility and cardio workouts.

  • Many of the foods that seem healthy really aren’t. For instance, meat that’s not organic or fresh vegetables where pesticides were used may have a disruptive force on your hormone imbalance.
  • Foods with glucosinolates, which include cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli, helps detox the body and lower the risk or help solve the problem of estrogen dominance, one of the major reasons for hormone imbalances.
  • It’s not all about what you eat, it’s often about what you drink, too. Drinks high in caffeine, such as coffee, and those high in sugar, like soft drinks, can cause hormone imbalance problems. So can energy drinks and chocolate.
  • Make sure you also have a good balance of healthy fat in your diet. Pay close attention to the ratio of Omega6 to Omega3 fatty acids. The ratio should be four Omega6 to one Omega3. Unfortunately, the American diet is closer to a 20 to one ratio.

Quit Your Soda Habit

Quit Your Soda Habit

If you’re having problems losing weight and can’t figure it out, because everything you eat is healthy and low in calories. Maybe the problem isn’t with what you eat, but with the liquid you drink. Do you have any soft drinks throughout the day? While sugar soft drinks are worse, even diet sodas can cause problems. In order to be your healthiest and in most cases, lose those extra pounds, you need to quit your soda habit.

Soft drinks contain sugar and other addictive substances.

Some studies show that sugar is addictive as cocaine. It provides that rush that gives you a boost, even though it has the side effect of a sugar low later. That’s just the start of how it affects you and your cravings. It also contains caffeine, especially drinks like Mountain Dew or colas. That adds to the extra pep you feel and makes it even harder to give up sugar. Sugar also contains a large amount of phosphorus. Phosphorus leaches the bones of calcium. It can also create calcium deposits in your lungs, blood vessels, eyes and heart.

You might think the answer is switching to diet soft drinks, but you’d be wrong.

There are newer studies that show that diet drinks may add to your waistlines and increase visceral fat, the worst type of fat that crowds your organs. A study in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society equated waistline measurements with the amount of diet soda consumed. It studied seniors and found the more diet soda consumed, the higher the waistline measurement. The bigger the person was, the bigger the increase was. One reason may be from the way the brain identifies the sweetness in the diet drink and prepares the body for the sugar it’s about to consume. When it doesn’t arrive, it disrupts the creation of the hormone that tells you to quit eating.

Cut out soft drinks and switch in water or other healthy drink.

Unsweetened green tea, coffee, water, it doesn’t matter, they’re all sugar free and better than coffee. Green tea is actually good for you, so is coffee in moderation. These are drinks you can substitute for soda, but it won’t be easy. Switch off soft drinks slowly if you want to make it easier or drink a substantial amount daily. Substitute a quarter of what you consume with healthier drinks, then substitute half of that and finally give it up entirely. Go as fast or slow as you want, but do it!

  • When you’re trying to eat healthy and tracking your food, calories or carbs, don’t forget to include what you drink. It’s just as important and the body doesn’t differentiate between liquid or solid calories.
  • Drinking soft drinks can speed up the process of aging. Keeping that in mind should help you give it up, because, seriously, who wants to look older than they are?
  • Keep water with you at all times when you’ve given up soda for good, at least at first. Sip on the water to quench your thirst. If it’s not enough, maybe you need a bit of energy. Grab some fresh fruit to do that.
  • Consider the ingredients in diet soft drinks if you’re still trying to get rid of that habit. Most of these ingredients are made in the lab and the body wasn’t created to digest them. They affect your brain functions by impersonating food and confuse the body signals.

How To Get Your Kids To Exercise

How To Get Your Kids To Exercise

In today’s world of electronics, exercise may mean being quick on the game controller, developing quick reflexes, hand strength and flexibility. You don’t have to be versed in good health to realize that’s not the type of exercise that helps anyone become healthier. It does make it tougher to get your kids to exercise, though. In Commack, NY, there are loads of activities that can help boost exercise time and ones that don’t require Olympic devotion or skill to do. They’re just plain fun for the whole family and that’s the key.

The family that plays together, stays together.

While I’m not saying you should eliminate Uno or Monopoly from game night or any other board games, I am saying you need to include some games that are more active and boost endurance, flexibility, strength and balance. You don’t have to go outside for many of these games, you can create ones you play inside, too. For younger children doing an animal walk is good, which involves naming the type of animal, like an elephant and letting your children portray them. Ninja War may sound a bit dangerous, but it’s all about striking a pose and avoiding getting your hand hit. Simple things like mimicking an inch worm, lady bug or animal can use strength or flexibility exercises.

Get your kids to workout with you.

You’ll be amazed at how much kids like to do grown up things and how it’s even more attractive when you say it’s for grownups, but let them do one or two exercises, just to give them a taste of it. Rather than pushing your kids into working, be reluctant to let them join you until they beg. Don’t expect to get your normal workout done, since they’ll giggle and maybe even have fun with the balance ball that isn’t part of the plan. You’ll get them started with the right attitude, too.

Check the great outdoors for some ideas.

Whether it’s hiking, camping or walking a massive amusement park, it’s all good family fun. Buy family bikes and start pedaling for picnics. Go to parks for long hikes and lunch. Make those lunches healthy for a double whammy of benefit. Rather than buying the latest video game, get your child a pair of rollerblades and some for yourself. A hula hoop is an inexpensive item and getting them for the whole family for fun, outside or inside if you have a big room, counts as healthy exercise.

  • Look through the eyes of a child for activities that involve moving, creativity and fun. Hiding from the monster can mean popping up and doing squats right away to hide. Then moving in squat position—duck walking—to another area. It boosts the imagination and fitness.
  • Exercise can involve education. Walking through a museum, a wildlife preserve or botanical garden provides an opportunity for both fitness and education.
  • Turn on the music and enjoy dancing with the kids. Make it fast music for more fun. You can also make chores more appealing by adding music and dance movements.
  • Mix it up and have a wide variety of things to do to keep active. Giving every family member a chance to pick an activity is important. You might end up learning new things from rock climbing to laser tag. The key is making it fun.

Exercises That Require No Equipment

Exercises That Require No Equipment

I became a personal trainer because I care about people and want to help them stay or get healthy. That’s one reason I create these blogs and also why I include exercises that require no equipment, for those that don’t have a trainer or gym and for my clients when they’re unable to come or are out of town. There’s a lot reasons people workout at home. They may be strapped for cash or unable to get to a gym. If funds are a problem that’s even more reason to help with no equipment workouts.

Sure you may not have gym equipment, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have equipment.

You can do loads of workouts without barbells, weights or fancy machines. You can use a chair for equipment with exercises that build strength. Grip the sides of the chair and use your arms to lift yourself off it with your thighs at 90 degrees to your body. Deep dips, a modified squat and other exercises use a chair, too. Want weights, don’t buy them. Fill plastic milk bottles or large detergent bottles with water or sand to substitute for weights. Adjust the amount of sand or water as you build muscle strength.

Return to an old favorite, bodyweight exercises.

Long before the treadmill was created, bodyweight exercises were used to build endurance strength and flexibility. Best of all, these exercises don’t require any special equipment. If you’re doing push ups, deep knee bends, pistol squats or lunges, you only need an exercise mat and that’s just if you choose to use one.

Make exercise part of your daily life.

Do you have a precocious toddler, baby or a family pet that demands attention? Make them part of the workout. You don’t have to worry about a toddler interfering or getting into trouble when they become the weight you hold doing squats. Your cat will love the extra attention, but be careful when lifting them over your head. They aren’t always cooperative. Put elbow grease and speed into daily tasks like cleaning or washing windows. Become a speed demon doing them or turn them into an HIIT routine.

  • If you want to include some exercise equipment that doesn’t cost much but provides a great deal of benefit, consider resistance bands that run under $20. Chin up bars are another inexpensive addition.
  • Get a workout buddy to join you in your workout. They don’t even have to workout with you, just check in with you to see how you’re coming. Reporting to someone, while they report to you, can increase the likelihood of staying on track.
  • Walking is a great workout, particularly if you make it a high intensity interval—HIIT—walk. That’s when you walk at top speed for a while, have a recovery speed at a moderate pace and then back to high speed.
  • In order to get the most from your workouts, you need to combine them with healthy eating.

The Importance Of Protein And Fiber

The Importance Of Protein And Fiber

Most people are aware of their need for protein, but often think fiber is only to help them go quicker in the bathroom. Both protein and fiber play an important role in your diet. If you want a boon to weight loss, ensuring you have adequate amounts of both can do it for you. Both protein and fiber give you a feeling of fullness, so you’ll eat less. Using foods that contain both or are high in either one are important additions for meals and snacks.

High fiber foods not only aid digestion, by supporting healthy bacteria, they also help weight loss.

Fiber fills you up, but without extra calories. Digesting fiber is impossible, but not to the microbes in the gut. In fact, fiber keeps your gut healthy by nurturing beneficial bacteria, making it a prebiotic. When you eat it, it takes up space and leaves you with a full feeling, even though you’ve consumed no extra calories. There’s soluble and insoluble fiber. Both add bulk, but in different ways. Insoluble fiber takes up space as it is, while soluble fiber turns to a gel by absorbing liquid, leaving you feeling fuller longer.

Protein takes longer to digest.

Eating adequate protein is a proven aid for weight loss. One study compared the benefits of fiber to protein for weight loss and found that people with insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes benefited most from fiber for regulating sugar, but for weight loss, protein won. Not only did protein provide that same feeling of satiation, it also boosted the metabolism. It increased thermogenesis. That’s the body heat created to digest a food. That means you’ll burn more calories to digest protein.

Combine high fiber with protein for the best effects.

Getting the benefits of both in a meal can boost your weight loss efforts, plus provide quite a few health benefits. Food like nuts, whole grains and seeds are high in both protein and fiber, so they’re a ready made food to provide both. Plant protein is often one of the most efficient ways to get both, but that shouldn’t discount animal protein sources that can provide other benefits and nutrients.

  • When you have an exercise program accompanying your healthy eating weight loss efforts, high protein is necessary to build muscle tissue. The more muscle tissue you have, the more calories you burn, since it takes more calories to maintain muscle tissue than fat tissue.
  • Keep it simple and get a great combination of both protein and fiber. Oatmeal with fresh fruit and nuts sprinkled on top creates a good combination. An apple with nut butter is another that makes a great snack.
  • You need approximately 46 to 56 grams every day and between 25 and 35 grams of fiber. The exact amount is based on your activity level and weight.
  • When your blood sugar level spikes and crashes, it can create sugar cravings. Increased protein and fiber helps prevent the spikes and drops, leveling your blood sugar.

What Is Gut Health?

What Is Gut Health?

Good gut health is important. It’s one of the things considered when suggesting foods to eat here in Commack, NY. Just like good hydration and plenty of sleep, it’s also one of the more neglected areas in fitness. Luckily, a healthy diet promotes good gut health with soluble and insoluble fiber, plus many other nutrients that help boost the beneficial bacteria in your body. Gut health is having the right balance of bacteria and other microbes that aid digestion and help reduce the amount of microbes that have a detrimental effect on the body.

Gut health starts with a healthy balance, but there’s more.

You’re never really alone, even if you don’t have a pet. You always have trillions of microorganisms living in your body or on your body. These microorganisms can be beneficial and help maintain bodily functions or detrimental and create chaos in the body. There are estimates that each person has about 100 trillion of these microscopic hitchhikers inside and on us with as many different types as 1,000. There are just 30 to 40 species that are the most common ones found. Since they’re microscopic, they really don’t weigh that much, just a pound or two. However, without some of these, we couldn’t live. Most are found in the digestive system and make nutrients available for the body. No microbes would mean malnutrition.

It’s more than just good digestion that counts.

What you eat makes a huge difference in your gut health. Eat more sugar, boost the amount of fungi, such as yeast. They can boost the craving for more sugar, too. There are far more diseases than you might think linked to poor gut health. It’s not just digestive problems, but also mood disorders, autoimmune diseases, mental health issues, skin conditions and even cancer. Poor gut health can lead to nutritional deficiencies, too.

Gut health can be boosted.

You’ve probably already familiar with probiotics and eating fermented foods to boost your gut health. There are other ways besides just boosting it with kimchi, sauerkraut, kifir and live culture yogurt. High fiber diets is one of those. They provide prebiotics. These foods feed the good bacteria that live in the large intestines. That means it helps boost the probiotics in your body for a healthier gut. Taking antibiotics disrupts the gut health. Doctors are more aware of the dangers of using antibiotics to frequently, since they can create super germs that are resistant. They also disrupt gut health and create digestive problems. If you take antibiotics, eat probiotic foods to replace the healthy bacteria.

  • Getting sleep is ultra important to gut health. Staying hydrated is also important. Both help the body’s friendly bacteria. You need good hydration for softer stools that are easier to pass.
  • Help those little friendly buggers by chewing more. The more you chew each bite, the more digestion takes place in your mouth and the healthier your digestive system will be. Slower eating also helps weight loss.
  • Skip the processed foods and stick with whole organic foods. Organic foods have fewer chemicals and whole organic foods have the fewest. They provide fiber and don’t add substances to the body that can kill the healthy bacteria and poison you in the process.