Are You a Well-Oiled Machine?

Fish oil is a dietary oil extracted from fish rich in beneficial omega 3 fatty acids, DHA and EPA. These essential fatty acids cannot be produced by the body, and therefore must be consumed. Foods rich in omega 3s include fish and other algae eating animals. While nuts and seeds also contain omega 3s, they are composed primarily of ALA fatty acids, which research has yet to prove whether or not they also contain the same beneficial properties of DHA and EPA found in fish. Unfortunately, to meet your daily requirement of DHA and EPA, you would need to consume several pounds of fish per day. Not only would this be a daunting dining expectation, you would also be increasing your exposure to mercury, which would negate many of the healthy brain and cognitive benefits of consuming fish oil. Alas, there are several fish oil supplements available on the market in both pill and liquid form, both flavored and natural. Look for supplements containing 300mg or more of EPA/DHA per serving.

Health benefits of consuming several grams of fish oil daily include:

- increased brain and cogitive function - decreased risk of Alzheimer's, dementia, and other cognitive degenerative disorders - increased cardiovascular function - decreased risk of heart disease - decreased inflammation, and chronic disease associated with inflammation - increased joint health - increased metabolism

A diet rich in omega 3s is associated with increased insulin sensitivity (decreased sensitivity being associated with diabetes), promotes greater nutrient absorption at the cellular level, and an increased metabolism due to the increased enzymatic activity, thereby burning more fat cells. Consider adding a fish oil supplement to your diet for increased healthy and well being. Consult with your physician before beginning any new diet or exercise program.

10 Ways to Speed Up Your Metabolism

Have you hit a plateau with your current diet and exercise lifestyle, or lack of? Try these 10 simple lifestyle and training modifications to boost your metabolism and start burning more calories at rest!

1. Get 7 hours of sleep - Sleep boosts immunity, decreases stress, and stimulates the release of human growth hormone, which helps rejuvenate the daily toll of activity and stress. It keeps your cells young, helping you feel and look younger, longer. A sure fire way of accelerating the aging process, increasing the stress hormone cortisol, and decreasing your productivity, is cutting rest short. Add a nap mid day, if you are lucky enough to afford one.

2. Start your day off with breakfast - Research shows those who start there day off with a balanced meal, eat fewer calories the rest of the day. The act of eating, alone boosts your metabolism. It takes energy to digest and metabolize food. Not eating sends your metabolism into a dormant mode, setting you up for over-eating later, when your blood sugar is on the floor, and more prone to storing that over consumption as fat. Start your day with a balanced meal of healthy fats, high fiber carbs, and lean, heavy metal free :) proteins. Failing to combine all three macronutrients can have a negative impact on insulin release, fat utilization, and satisfaction before your mid morning snack.

3. Eat 4 - 6 smaller meals per day, every 3-5 hours - Stoke your metabolic fire by eating regularly. Burn calories, while consuming them, by maintaining a steady blood sugar level. Your muscles are metabolically active tissue. They burn calories at rest, but they need to be fed. Starve them, and they will atrophy, killing your metabolism and increasing your fat stores.

4. Drink plenty of non alcoholic, low calorie beverages - We drink far too many of our daily calories. Liquid calories are deceiving and often unsatisfying. Fruit juice is one the biggest offenders. A seemingly natural and healthy beverage loaded with way too much SUGAR. Eat an orange, grapefruit, or apple instead of that glass of juice in the morning, and add some fiber to your diet. Soda is by far the worst, and that includes diet sodas. There is nothing in soda that sustains life. A 12oz can of regular soda contains 10 packets of SUGAR! And diet soda is loaded with artificial sweetener, which has been linked to metabolic problems, cancer, and an increased sweet tooth. In fact the only beverages anyone really needs is water. To mix things up, add tea or coffee to the list. Studies have shown they have little impact on dehydration, despite common thinking, and they aid in fat utilization.

5. 30 mins of activity EVERY day - The American College of Sports Medicine (ASCM) recommends 30 mins of accumulated activity each day for health and weight maintenance. They recommend 60 mins or more for weight loss. A combination of both resistance training and aerobics are best. How much are you getting?

6. Get out of your chair - More and more healthy problems are being linked to excessive amounts of sitting. So much so we now refer to specific problems as the Sitting Disease. Many of us go from our beds, to the breakfast table, to the car, the desk, and then the couch at night. Get up and out of your chair as much as possible. Simply standing burns more calories than sitting. Small caloric changes day to day add up over time. The average adult gains 2 pounds a year.

7. Walk and take the stairs - Walk or bike to your destination when appropriate. Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator. You would not have to spend extra time working out, if you added simple light activity throughout the day. Technology and modern conveniences are allowing us to be lazier.

8. Mix up your workout routine - Breakout of your routine. You become increasingly efficient doing the same mode of activity each time. Burning calories requires inefficiency. Get your hands off the treadmill or stepper, use an upright bike instead of a recumbent. Take a new running/walking route. Train your weaknesses. Mix it up!

9. Hit the weights - Many of us accumulate enough light aerobic activity, walking, climbing a flight of stairs, etc, to maintain heart and lung health. High volume aerobic activity compromises metabolically active muscle tissue. Skip your 3 mile steady state cardio routine, and add some fat scorching muscle to your body with resistance training.

10. Manage your stress - At this point, if you are managing 1-9, your stress is in check. If its not, return to number 1 and start over. Stress releases cortisol, cortisol stimulates fat storage. Stress effects your sleep, disrupts your diet, gets in the way of your workouts and absolutely has an impact on your waistline.

Healthy Fats, High Fiber Carbs, Lean Proteins, Heavy Metals??

This summer consumer reports and some other independent researchers found unhealthy amounts of heavy metals in a number of name brand protein supplements. Check out what Consumer Reports and NPR had to say.

Most of us know we should be eating a balance of healthy fats, high fiber carbs and lean protein at each meal and snack, 4 -6 times per day. The billion dollar supplement industry tries to make it easier to obtain this nutritional frequency with an array of fast convenient meal replacements shakes, bars, and other snacks. You may, however, be getting more than you ask for, as these products are not FDA regulated.

Protein shakes are a great way to get an appropriate amount of lean, muscle building protein in your diet. These shakes are often well balanced with macronutrients and vitamins. They do not, however, replace natural whole foods. Supplements are not FDA regulated and periodically, independent researches target popular supplements to test for quality. Even our heavily regulated food industry can let us down. The egg, and milk industry are the latest foods to be struck by yet another salmonella contamination. Hopefully these supplement companies are addressing the heavy metal issue. Be careful for cheap or calorie cutting ingredient additives like artificial sweeteners, preservatives, and saturated fats. I use to supplement with protein, but stick to whole, unprocessed foods now. A balance of fat, lean protein and high fiber carbs are essential each meal to regulate hormones and blood sugar, leaving you fuller and satisfied. I find liquid calories are often not filling, even though they are calorically adequate, and then I eat more, to fill my stomach. Also satiety should not last 4,5, or 8 hours at a time. You should be eating 4-6 small balanced meals per day every 3-4 hours. On a good day I eat oatmeal or a high fiber cereal in the morning with whole milk and or fruit, nuts or peanut butter. Mid morning I usually make some eggs with veggies. The rest of the day varies, but I try to eat a fat, carb, and  protein at each meal and snack, every few hours throughout the day until I sleep.

You Can't Out -train a Bad Diet

In a recent online discussion with some industry leaders, the topic of a fitness professionals role in dispensing nutritional recommendations came up. You can follow that discussion here, but I  wanted to expand it on a little. You cant out train your diet. Most of my general population clients have weight loss or body comp goals. While its easy to present the value of moving and feeling better, shifting the focus away from aesthetic goals, most clients are more vain than that. Another large client base are athletes with performance goals. You cant out perform a bad diet either. As a CSCS and nutrition minor, I feel confident and qualified to dispense general nutrition and supplement guidelines as stipulated by my governing certifications and degrees. However, clients need to recognize the qualifications of the fitness pro they are working with and take what they say with a grain of salt, or sans salt :). Ask about their credentials and know only a registered dietician should be giving specific caloric suggestions and food combinations. Adverse side effects from too much or too little of certain nutrients or calories can leave an unqualified professional liable. I often take for granted, how little people know about nutrition and how it plays a role with their goals. I find most often, the aspiring Manhattan chic predisposes clients to infrequent eating, followed by poor choice binging at restaurants that don t have their guests nutrition in mind. Combine these heavily salted, high fat, high calories meals with excessive alcohol consumption, and a sedentary lifestyle, and you have a recipe for a US obesity epidemic. Simple changes such as 4-6 small meals a day, lean proteins, healthy fats, high fiber carbs, and increased non-caffeinated, non-alcoholic fluids, can be life changing. Many clients fail to realize an alcoholic drink of any concoction, is going to exceed 100 calories, and a gram of alcohol is almost as calorically dense as a gram of fat. (7kcal/g vs 9) 2 drinks a day, over the course of the week, easily adds up to an additional 2000 calories. A pound of fat is 3500 calories. How long will it take you to gain another pound?? The average adult gains 2 pounds a year. Cutting your alcohol intake by 50% could dramatically drop your caloric intake. Eating more meals at home that out is an easy way to know what you are putting in your body. Restaurant foods are salted, sweetened and larded for pleasure, desensitizing our palettes to salt, fat and sugar. Even with healthy menu options its hard to turn down what we want in the moment versus our long term goals. Having said that, I do not believe there are "bad" foods, its the quantity of those bad or calorically dense foods. Learn portion control. A fist size of protein and high fiber carb is more than enough for most people. You do not have to clean your plate, save it for later. Skip the dessert and cut back on the alcohol. Little modifications over time can make all the difference over time. Be consistent with your diet and exercise. Make moderate eating and exercising a lifestyle. Consult a qualified fitness professional and nutritionist to help you get on the right track. Some mainstream applications I like for tracking calories and being more mindful of eating habits can be found at livestrong.com or loseit.com, both are conveniently available on blackberries and iPhones too.

For the fitness professional, remaining within ones professional scope of practice and referring out is important. But for many, simple lifestyle modifications can be more than an ounce of prevention, and fitness pros are the first in the line of defense for many diet related diseases and preventative care.

Fiber and Your Diet

We are all aware of the importance of fiber in the diet. Few of us however, know why it’s beneficial, how to eat more, and most importantly, how it will affect our waist lines.

Fiber is like natures intestinal mop to clean out the digestive tract helping our bodies to fight high cholesterol, certain cancers, heart disease and diabetes.  Fiber comes in two forms, soluble and insoluble. Both are found in fiber rich foods and are usually higher in one form or the other.

Soluble fiber dissolves in water and creates a gel like substance that helps to carry fat out of the body reducing cholesterol and aiding in stabilization of blood sugar levels. Legumes, certain fruits and vegetables, oats and whole grains are all good sources of soluble fiber.

Insoluble fiber aids in the bodies regular movement of waste through the intestinal tract and can be found in whole wheat cereals, wheat bran, whole wheat breads, and some vegetables.

Here are some simple ways to add more fiber to your diet.

-       Try to attain your fiber thorough whole fruits and vegetables rather than from juices. Fiber is found mainly in the peel and pulp that is usually removed from juices.

-       Add dried fruits to your diet such as raisins dried cranberries and peanuts

-       Sprinkle wheat germ or flaxseeds over your oatmeal, dried cereal or yogurt.

-       Keep the peal on. Eat the peels, which are loaded with fiber, whenever possible on your fruits and veggies. A medium potato with skin contains almost double the fiber of a naked potato – 5 grams compared to 2.5

Take a look at your diet and see if you are getting the fiber you need for your digestive tract and add more if necessary. For more information let us at Train Daly help you with your dietary needs through our expert nutritional counseling.