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22 Jun

BLOG 169 PORTION DISTORTION

Eating. We have to do it, but man on man do we overdo it. In fact, it’s very possible that people don’t even know what ONE true serving size is. We eat what is in front of us, and generally when there is more in front of us…. we eat more. Mom and Dad said finish what is on your plate. When we were kids, no one had just one plate of spaghetti. Going back for more meant you liked it, you are complimenting the cook, and your stomach can fit another helping.

We consider a “petite” filet, 8oz. Well, about the size of a deck of cards is what a true one serving size of chicken, fish, or most meats should be. I always love to point out to my Southern California friends what the amount of avocado should be. Think about guacamole. I could eat an entire bowl. When in fact, ¼ avocado is one serving. Even though this is a healthy fat, it doesn’t mean it’s a free for all.

The struggle becomes real when we get to side dishes. Rice. Oh rice. I could eat it for days, especially when I went to South Korea. 1/3 cup is the true portion size and that is about the same amount of carbohydrates as 1 slice of bread. So when we just keep eating sushi or have a rice bowl somewhere with meat, in the end, we had about 6 slices of bread.

Juice is a troublemaker too. With the sugar content, even if totally fresh, ½ cup is one serving. Daily orange juice in the morning adds up. Plus, many folks mix these juices with their cocktails.
Bagels. Well if we went by portion control, a New York bagel is 6-7 servings.
I’m rocking the boat I know 😊

It’s just too easy to have more. When you buy a soda, let’s say 20oz, you naturally want to and do drink the whole bottle. Clearly, that is more than once serving. I think back to the amount of Gatorade I used to have. So much sugar, but I didn’t know. We didn’t used to know. We didn’t used to talk about calories. In fact, I don’t think I knew what a calorie or serving size was until I got to college. But now that we live in a world of processed foods and more is better, the health consequences are starting to bring awareness to this.

Please read the Nutrition Facts labels and consider how much you are consuming. Oh yeah, imagine Thanksgiving haha. Food is celebration and comfort. We have to reconsider this and focus on nourishment. Don’t distort your portions and your results won’t be distorted. Re-teach yourself. You can do it. Plus, you will save money and have left-overs to enjoy the foods that much longer.

15 Jun

BLOG 168 FIT SHAMING

You workout. You eat right. SO what’s the problem?? The stares, the glares, the FIT shaming. Health is a priority and should be. Not everyone feels that exercise, turning down a drink, or choosing a salad over fries is appropriate. How can health be looked down upon??

Ever been told you like fine how you are?? Is working out being self-absorbed?? Is working out pregnant being selfish?? Is leaving the kids at daycare an hour longer so you can hit the gym bad parenting?? Is spending money on memberships and trainers not putting family first?? Is taking a gym selfie of your progress vain?? These are all FIT shaming related topics.

When health is a priority, you make time for it. You wake up earlier, stay up later, spend extra time to prepare food of nutritional value, and this doesn’t mean you are taking time away from anything or anyone. Why does this have to be an either/or situation??

Even I have been told to eat something or get the demeaning tone questioning my working out so much. Eating clean is somehow not normal. It is possible to have work/life balance. It is possible to utilize your time and still accomplish what responsibilities need to get taken care of.
Where do we draw the line between too fit or too overweight?? Polar opposite yet still frowned upon depending upon who you ask.

On our fitness journeys, we have to consider the source of the remarks. Surrounding ourselves with encouraging and supportive people sets us up for better results. We are all entitled to give and take criticism and opinions, but that doesn’t mean they’re fact or truth. The lesson would be to understand what it feels like to be on the receiving end of these words and to not reciprocate or repeat this behavior towards others. We need to LIFT each other up. Otherwise, we continue to build walls, lack communication, and regret not living to our fullest due to fear. Inspire those who need your motivation and ignore those who don’t understand your journey. It’s not for them to understand, it’s for YOU to feel and be your BEST!!!!

08 Jun

BLOG 167 DANDRUFF

It’s the stuff that made Head & Shoulders famous. Dandruff is that flakey mess on the scalp that nobody wants to have. It’s an uncomfortable secret most people try to hide. This skin condition can be a real self-esteem kicker and stereotyped as being associated with poor hygiene.
Well, dandruff is actually the result of skin cells on your scalp shedding more quickly than usual. Skin cells are in constant reproduction and they actually die and shed off of us all the time. Here’s the rundown: “The main cause of dandruff is seborrheic dermatitis, a condition that turns the skin oily, red, and scaly. The white or yellow scales flake off, creating dandruff. You can get seborrheic dermatitis anywhere you have oil glands, including your eyebrows, groin, armpits, and along the sides of your nose” (https://www.healthline.com/health/skin-disorders/dandruff-vs-dry-scalp#causes). But it is a little gross and sort of making my stomach turn that dandruff is triggered by a fungus called Malassezia. It actually lives on our scalp and having too much of it causes that extra skin to multiply then “flake” off. Malassezia can also be over productive in the face of age, hormones, and stress.

There are other causes as well. If you don’t wash your hair enough, more oil builds up, and then the skin builds up and sheds off. This is more common in males, which doctors believe is hormonal. It is also common in people with Parkinson’s disease and HIV due to lower immune system functioning.

Treatment would start by washing the hair more frequently and making sure to clean the scalp using your fingernails. This can help unclog the pores on the scalp where oil built up. Certain shampoos are also helpful. According to EMedicineHealth, “The best shampoo choices include those containing zinc pyrithione, selenium sulfide, and tar-based shampoos. Prescription dandruff shampoos such as ketoconazole offer no benefit over over-the-counter brands” (https://www.emedicinehealth.com/dandruff/article_em.htm#facts_on_dandruff).

Self-care is health care on our fitness journeys. As I aim to help every BODY feel comfortable in their own skin, let’s not have it flaking off our scalps 😊 When we sweat we do produce those oils on the scalp, so maybe an extra hair wash or two per week is in need. Hey, I got you covered head to toe, not just Head & (to) Shoulders.

01 Jun

BLOG 166 TYPES OF DOCTORS

The term “doctor” is quite general and all-encompassing when it comes to what these experts actually do in their fields of practice. There are so many elements to our bodies, which creates a need for doctors who specialize in several hundred subjects. On our fitness journeys, and as I study to become a Dr. in Health and Human Performance, I wanted to take a moment to discuss the most common types of these specialists so that we can seek help as needed.

Allergists/Immunologists – treat our immune system, food allergies, eczema, and asthma
Anesthesiologists – administer drugs that alleviate pain for surgeries and childbirth
Cardiologists- treat heart and blood issues such as heart attack, high blood pressure, or heart failure
Critical care – treat failing heart or failing organs typically after a bad accident
Dermatologists – hair, skin, nails
Endocrinologists – hormones and metabolism
Gastroenterologists – digestive organs
Geriatric Specialists – elderly
Hematologists – blood diseases
Internists – complex illnesses usually after your primary care refers you
Geneticists – genetic disorders
Gynecologists – women’s reproductive system
Nephrologists – nervous system (brain, spine, nerves)
Obstetricians – pregnant women
Oncologists – cancer specialists
Ophthalmologists – prescribe glasses or contacts, can treat eye diseases and medical conditions
Optometrists – more general eye exams
Osteopaths – uses more of a whole body natural approach
Otolaryngologists – ear, nose, throat, head, neck, plastic surgery
Pathologists – identifies through lab work the causes of diseases
Pediatricians – treat from birth to young adult
Podiatrists – ankles and feet
Psychiatrists – mental, emotional, addictive disorders
Rheumatologists- arthritis, joints, bones, muscles, tendons
Urologist – bladder
Megan Johnson McCullough – Health and Human Performance

We don’t necessarily want to go to a doctor, but hey, life happens and we may need to. They’re respected, well educated, specialists in what they do. They are healers and helpers for sure. Be insured, be proactive, and be informed on your fitness journey in order to let your body experience what it is like to actually feel good 😊

26 May

BLOG 165 BRUISING

They happen to us all. We bump into something, hit a body part against something, and sometimes we don’t even know we caused one. Bruises occur when trauma occurs to the skin, causing discoloration to appear to the site. Blood surfaces to the skin, and we see black and blue appear on our body. “Contusion” is the medical turn for this occurrence.

A bruise occurs as the result of a tiny tears to blood vessels. Blood is actually leaking from the injured area. As we age, blood vessels become more fragile and that “thin skin” is more prone to bruising due to sensitivity. Certain medications can also thin the blood, causing vessels to become more vulnerable. Medications can affect blood clotting. Clots are our bodies response to injury in order to prevent excessive bleeding. Steroids can increase the likelihood of bruising. Here are medications that should be considered if you are wondering why a bruise occurred: “These drugs include many arthritis medications called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (for example, ibuprofen (Advil, Nuprin) and naproxen (Aleve)) and over-the-counter medications, such as aspirin. Warfarin (Coumadin) is often prescribed by doctors specifically to prevent clotting in patients who have had blood clots in their legs or heart. Warfarin can cause severe bruising, especially if the level of the medication becomes too high. Cortisone medications, such as prednisone, promote bruising by increasing the fragility of the tiny blood vessels in the skin” (https://www.medicinenet.com/bruises/article.htm#why_do_bruises_occur_more_frequently_in_some_people_than_in_others).

That mark can last up to 2 weeks but will eventually go away. Your body will reabsorb the blood and the ugly color will go away. For quicker healing, ice can be applied to the area or elevating the bruise above the heart can help with blood flow.

If you easily and frequently bruise, there could be an underlying problem. There could be an issue with your blood platelets or clotting functioning. Bruises can be more common in persons with leukemia, who have liver disease, or who have a gluten intolerance. Sensitivity to bruising can be impacted by some of the following herbs and supplements:
• fish oil
• garlic
• ginger
• ginkgo
• ginseng
• vitamin E
(https://www.healthline.com/symptom/bruises-easily).

No BODY likes a bruise, but they happen. Just don’t bump your limbs on the weights and machines at the studio 😊 Consult a doctor if you think you abnormally bruise. We always want to be proactive as we care for our bodies on our fitness journeys.

18 May

BLOG 164 BINGE WATCHING

Oh Netflix. Episode after episode… you tell yourself just one more. And somehow there is this feeling of accomplishment finishing a series. A simple search leads to a show that could be of your liking, and then eight hours later, you decide to get back to your day. Actually they even do the searching for us and recommend what we should watch haha. We all have done it, in fact, I’m thinking it’s almost summer and “Orange is the New Black” should be coming back on soon. And yes, I’m looking forward to that Sunday binge. That is what a binge is…. a feeling of satisfaction that comes from doing something in excess. This type of marathon isn’t burning calories, rather it’s creating a deeper dent in the couch.

This indulgence may come back to haunt the many folks who more often than not partake in this endless episode watching. It seems harmless, cheap, and an easy solution to pass the time. But there may be consequences down the line, especially for our youth in their 20s who are readily watching and are of the Netflix generation. The bottom line is that you are sitting. T.V. doesn’t require much cognitive functioning either. Adding to this, it can be isolating and anti-social. Plus, poor diet typically goes hand in hand. Are you having a salad and watching “Narcos”?? Probably more like a pizza, starting episode one and polishing off more slices around episode 4 or so.

It’s rather interesting when you think about it. Netflix is the answer to a lazy weekend; when you are feeling depressed (it’s a great way to pass the time after break-up); it’s comforting when you feel sick; it’s a way to be cool and do what everyone else is doing; it’s a topic of conversation with friends and at work; and it’s not very expensive while waiting for pay day or trying to save up.

The CEO of Netflix is Reed Hastings. He thought of the idea when he had to pay $40 for returning a video late. Well, he certainly put Blockbuster, Hollywood Video, and all likes to shame. Although the company has been around for 20 years, it’s development has really prospered once big-name Hollywood stars and directors came part of the trend. Through subscriptions, the company now makes about $1.4 million per day. Okay WOW!!!!

At least hit the exercise bike or Elliptical while watching these shows. Hour three and hey, imagine how many calories you burned haha. The point is that all we do in life has to be done in moderation and maybe Netflix should be reserved for your rest day, not your everyday. We have the best intentions to just watch one episode, but let’s face it, we live in a world of wanting more and more NOW. How about feeling double accomplished by exercising while completing the series. At least that’s what I do when I watch “Orange is the New Black”. Did you really think I could just sit there and watch T.V. 😊

12 May

BLOG 163 REASONS PEOPLE STOP EXERCISING

Our beloved fitness journey through life can be marked by intervals of inactivity. The exercise roller coaster that aims for consistency, can plummet from time to time. As one day off leads to another, time passes, body shape changes, and willpower falters. SO I had to look up the common reasons this might occur for people, especially since I want to keep the green light turned on for every BODY.

Reality speaks: “Studies show that 60% of American adults don’t get the recommended amount of physical activity, and over 25% of adults are not active at all”. (https://www.verywellfit.com/top-reasons-you-dont-exercise-1229759).

In no specific order here’s what I found. You may or may not relate to one or more of the following “excuses”:
1. You hate exercise.
2. Not in your budget or unable to afford it.
3. Not seeing results.
4. Have to take care of the kids/family.
5. Exercise hurts.
6. You just don’t have time.
7. There are other interests you would rather do with your time.
8. No motivation.
9. No energy.
10. I’m too old.
11. I hate doing it alone.
12. Injury.
13. Don’t know what/how to do anything.
14. Intimidating/Overwhelming.
15. It’s too late to start over.
16. Next year….

Habits take time to develop. We keep the habits in our lives that are comfortable and pleasurable. Exercise is sweat, it is awkward, it is effort involved. BUT it’s good for you. When you do something good for yourself, your BODY and mind will thank you. You may have no idea how good your BODY is meant to feel, so at least give it a chance to try. You know I bug you when you miss a workout 😊

04 May

BLOG 162 BREAK UP WITH THE SCALE

Oh the scale. That number. That statistic. The games that nasty measurement tool can play. Why does it matter so much?? How has our society equated weight to being confident, comfortable, or “in-shape”?? Of course data can be motivating and an indication of progress. It can also be a major deterrent and psychological destroyer. There is so much more to weight than one can imagine, and as I write this Blog that scale is sitting there right next to me with its lonely glare.

Every day, I write down my weight, body fat, and BMI. Does it bother me?? No. My goals are reflected by what I see in the mirror. I write this down so that I know I am building muscle (my goal isn’t to lose weight). The scale doesn’t determine the rest of my day. After all, water retention (sodium), water loss, bathroom use, hormones, activity level, and of course time of day.

There were 2 times in my life that scale messed with me. One, being in college when I tore my ACL and meniscus and went to zero activity, emotional eating, and drank Mike’s Hard Lemonade like it was cool. Second, when I was bulking last year to put on muscle. The scale was uncomfortable reading back to me numbers I hadn’t seen in years.

The scale is not the only reward for your fitness journey.

Your BODY knows what it is doing.

The scale doesn’t show your internal and overall health improvement. Your weight is in constant fluctuation. Muscle weighs more than fat. I bet you wouldn’t be able to guess my weight.
Still, many avoid going to the doctor because the fear of that scale. What’s worse is that most times, the doctor’s scale is not in a private area, rather, right in the hallway as people pass by. Here at the studio we praise every BODY’s successes, but at the doctor, you are there to hear what is wrong with you.

OH and here’s more… did you weigh with clothes or shoes?? How old is that scale?? What surface was it on??
Some common rules to follow would be:
• Same time of day, on the
• Same day each week, wearing the
• Same clothing, and using the
• Same scale
(https://www.webmd.com/diet/features/weighing-in-on-scales-find-your-true-weight#1)

I’m not making excuses for that scale. I’m telling you that YOU have more to offer to this world than what a scale reads back at you. Embrace your BODY, embrace the change to be better, and love the process.

28 Apr

BLOG 161 GMOs

The world has seen a dramatic change in the foods we eat over the last 20 years. Geneticallyl Modified Organisms (GMOs) have increased the yield of food production dramatically. Canola, cotton, corn, and soy have been forever changed. 10% of all farmland is for GMO crops and 70-80% of processed foods come from GMOs. But what does this mean for public health and our environment?? There are arguments to both sides…. of course.

U.S.A. leads the world in GMO production. There are two types. BT are GMOs that resists pesticides in corn including the root worm and corn beatles. These corn beatles are called “the billion dollar bug” because of the destruction they can do to these plants. BT is the name for the gene inserted into these plants. The bug eats the toxic gene and is killed. The toxicity at this point doesn’t affect humans. HT means Herbicide tolerant and is most common in soy. A type of spray is used for these bugs and controls weed growth among the crops. 90% of our soy production has HT and in Argentina it is 100%.

Supporters of GMOs say this is the answer to our growing population. By 2050 we will have nearly 9 billion people. How can we provide for everyone?? Most countries either import GMO food for its people or to feed its livestock.
The trouble is that bugs and weeds have grown a tolerance to BT and HT. It’s like Darwinism, in which adaptation occurs. So more and more is needed to kill them and if the bugs and weeds aren’t absorbing the toxicity, then guess what?? We are. Not only this, but how are we not affected by the spraying done in our environment?? Cross pollination is unavoidable because how can this spray be controlled to just a specific area. Studies have started to link cancer and birth defects to GMOs, but our government doesn’t want to recognize this. Why would South Africa not use GMOs to increase cotton production by 76%?? Even the Pope blessed “golden rice” which is GMO enriched to have more Omega 3 and Vitamin A which is heathy for us and can help children who are deficient in these nutrients.

We are now facing GMAs, Genetically Modified Animals. There has been a cow genetically constructed to produce the same milk woman do. This could help children who cannot breast feed. Salmon has been modified to be bigger. We don’t always know the difference when we are buying these items at the store.

I am an advocate for clean eating, but at some point I have accepted that I don’t really know what exactly I’m eating all the time. The documentary I watched for the help in writing this Blog, “GMOs: Lies and Truths”, was the sickening truth maybe we should all hear. We can only control what we can control, but it’s scary to think our government advocates for products that can harm us (this always makes me think of Coca-Cola but that’s a whole other Blog haha). Read labels, education yourself, and always make the best choices you can for your BODY.

Frederic Cataignede. (2017). GMO Lies and Truths.

21 Apr

BLOG 160 THE STRESS FACTOR

What lights a fire under you?? What grinds your gears, makes you angry, sad, worried, or STRESSED?? We each deal with the components of life differently, and our reactions to circumstances dictate our emotional well-being. Time, relationships, work, school, kids, family…. all these responsibilities can require a balancing act that seems impossible. But that’s life. And unfortunately, stress can have adverse effects on our health… especially weight.

Your body and mind are one and the same. When put under pressure, your brain kicks into a flight or fight mode. And guess what?? Your body wants to use calories in its defense. As such, “Most of us become overeaters when we’re feeling a lot of pressure. This happens thanks to your fight-or-flight response, a.k.a. survival mode — once your body reaches a certain stress level, it does what it feels it needs to. In most cases, that means overeat” (https://www.webmd.com/diet/features/stress-weight-gain#1).

Initially, adrenaline spikes in the body, making one feel less hungry. However, soon after cortisol takes over. Cortisol is the stress hormone. When activated, inhibition can go out the window. Here’s run down: “Because increased levels of the hormone also help cause higher insulin levels, your blood sugar drops and you crave sugary, fatty foods” (https://www.webmd.com/diet/features/stress-weight-gain#1) . Cheap, convenient, processed foods, are right there to answer the calling.

Here’s the catch: “Today’s human, who sits on the couch worrying about how to pay the bill or works long hours at the computer to make the deadline, does not work off much energy at all dealing with the stressor! Unfortunately, we are stuck with a neuroendocrine system that didn’t get the update, so your brain is still going to tell you to reach for that plate of cookies anyway” (https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-mindful-self-express/201308/why-we-gain-weight-when-we-re-stressed-and-how-not).

We have to learn to relax, sleep, and breathe. Many clients ask me what foods to turn to. Here’s what I found:
• Dark chocolate: Two studies of 95 adults showed that consuming dark chocolate reduced their cortisol response to a stress challenge.
• Many fruits: A study of 20 cycling athletes showed eating bananas or pears during a 75-km ride reduced levels compared to drinking water only.
• Black and green tea: A study of 75 men found 6 weeks of drinking black tea decreased cortisol in response to a stressful task, compared to a different caffeinated drink.
• Probiotics and prebiotics: Probiotics are friendly, symbiotic bacteria in foods such as yogurt, sauerkraut and kimchi. Prebiotics, such as soluble fiber, provide food for these bacteria. Both probiotics and prebiotics help reduce cortisol.
• Water: Dehydration increases cortisol. Water is great for hydrating while avoiding empty calories. A study in nine male runners showed that maintaining hydration during athletic training reduced cortisol levels.
(https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/ways-to-lower-cortisol#section11).

Life’s demands throw us for a loop from time to time. Reassure yourself that patience is the key and that this too shall pass. Don’t let your negative thoughts take the wheel. Healthy choices outlast split second mistakes. Be kind to your BODY, even in it’s weak moments.