Exercise is Medicine by ACSM


27 Nov

Oh the beloved carb we seem to not be able to live without…. BREAD. It is the most widely consumed food in the world and there are so many types. Bread’s introduction was almost 30,000 years ago, so imagine the number of slices that have been consumed. It was fried on stones. After a long day, when needing an easy option, or just to feel satisfied, most people turn to bread not exactly celery sticks to do the trick. The problem is that this highly refined grain isn’t exactly on the weight loss plan. Whole wheat is the better option as opposed to white products, but in the end, it seems as though the more bread someone has, the more they want.  

That burger is much better with a bun. That sandwich is much better with the toasted outside layer. When dining out, that wait goes by much faster with bread. And what’s a pizza without the crust?? Oh and a PPJ….nothing beats that. If Oprah says she can still eat bread and lose weight, well by gosh it must be okay.  

The trouble is that refined grains raise blood sugar much faster than complex carbohydrates. People with type 2 diabetes should pay particular attention to this. Additionally, when this blood sugar spike happens, it also reverses very quickly which initiates hunger. Then another carb snack sounds good. Most bread has about 12 carbohydrates per slice, which isn’t too bad, but they you double this for the sandwich. Calories and nutritional information varies by brand. Gluten in bread has become a more common problem, especially in people who have Celiac Disease. Bread also contains high fructose corn syrup like most processed foods. Bread contains phytic acid which actually blocks mineral absorption. It’s also a culprit for causing vitamin D deficiency. It has also been known to raise cholesterol. There just aren’t a lot of nutrients in bread which makes its calories pretty empty.  

It is common for people to have toast in the morning, a sandwich for lunch then a burger or even salad with a slice of bread. We don’t even realize it. Brand and grain type of course matter, but overall, the advocacy for bread is a challenge. A bagel here and sandwich there, we know moderation always counts. Health food stores are starting to introduce brands that are certainly an improvement. If you can go without, then I suggest you do. No one ever died from lack of bread. Cut back for a couple weeks and you will see and feel the difference. Your body is more important that your taste buds 😊  

20 Nov

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.

11 Nov

Whatever the reason be it getting busy or forgetting to eat, skipping meals has been a topic of debate whether is good or bad. The bottom line is that the brain’s main fuel is glucose, and not giving the body food is also not giving the brain food. Eating isn’t just about the stomach.

Contrary to popular belief, skipping meals doesn’t equate to weight loss. Most of the time, when a person does not eat for an extended period of time, they end of overindulging later. Hunger levels rise and binging can happen. Overeating out of extreme hunger can easily happen. Blood sugar can also start to drop. This leads to feeling tired and the body is communicating that it wants to shut down until re-fueled. When blood sugar drops, mood also tends to drop. Becoming irritable is common. Sometimes when you finally reach the point that you have to eating something, you ravenously take whatever is available and this might not lead to the best choices. Grabbing what you find first might temporarily solve the problem but can catch up with you later on the waistline.

Skipping meals might seem save like saving calories, but most time overeating ends up happening and more harm then good takes place. Not eating means no fuel in the tank and this means less energy. Less energy usually means less motivation, causing performance to suffer. Skipping meals can lower metabolic rate, which is not conducive to weight loss efforts. Blood sugar and insulin responses also change. Some people start to feel really fatigued and even dizzy.

Weight loss is a tricky game. Food is something we have to think about all the time. All the choices and the free will to have them makes temptation and taste-buds a troublesome combination. Not every day has to be centered around food, but the topic is addressed on a daily basis. The key is finding a healthy relationship with food, planning ahead, and knowing what triggers and environments lead to poor decisions. If we are what we eat, then we certainly don’t want to eat nothing. Our bodies deserve premium fuel, so don’t leave the tank empty and expect great performance. You can only go so far for so long before skipping meals just doesn’t seem to be beneficial in the end. Eat for your nourishment and for your health, not because you are bored, stressed, or just because it is there.  

06 Nov

Juicing has become a popular craze among fitness and nutrition fanatics. Having a juicer at home is just about as common as having a toaster these days. The power of fruits and vegetables does wonders for our internal health and it is unlikely to consume the recommended daily totals (17 each). The reasons one might start to juice include weight loss, lowering blood pressure, or detoxing. It is no healthier than eating the same content, but a popular trend is a trend and jumping on board happens to the best of us.

Personally, I like the texture and chewing action of eating. I feel satiated longer and feel that I’m getting more bang for my buck. Liquid doesn’t fill me up, at least not for long. So if I were to eat an apple vs. drink an apple you can see my point…. 5 min to chew an apple vs. 2 seconds to drink that sip of apple. And I do have to say from my research for this, there aren’t many claims other than being able to consume more fruits and vegetables per day that justify the benefits of juicing. So why so popular??

Adding to this, I watched a documentary called, “7 Days 2 Guys 1 Juicer”. In this film, Chad and Kenny were two obese middle-aged men, who for 7 days were put in a hotel to complete a 7 day juicing cycle. When they arrived the refrigerator was stocked with nothing but fresh produce. Not one item was in the freezer. From the gate, the men noticed how much work juicing really was with prepping the produce and then cleaning up after. This was quite the lifestyle change for them both, coming from backgrounds of fast food, no activity, and very little motivation to be healthy and make changes. Taken out of their environments, the men were forced to follow the plan precisely. They underwent withdrawal, headaches, and hunger pains.

According to the documentary, juicing dates back to the ancient Greeks who used pomegranate juice as a love potion. In the U.S., juicing was introduced in the 1920s when there was a new popularity to be vegetarian or vegan. In the 1970s, Jack Lalanne sold his famous juicer. Today, people in their 20s and 30s have created a $5billion business out of juicing. There’s a status associated with high end juice bars connected to yoga studios.

In the end, Chad and Kenny lost about 9 pounds each. I really anticipated a higher weight loss considering their past, which goes to show that juicing isn’t entirely weight loss oriented and the weight can be gained right back after stopping. Here’s the concept: “Doing the math, on average, an ounce of ‘mixed juice’ contains about 15 calories.  If you need 1,400-1,500 calories daily to achieve weekly weight loss, you could drink a whopping 96 ounces of this juice (about 12 cups) each day and still stay in that calorie range, which should result in weight loss. On this sample juicing diet, you would, however, only be getting 9 grams of fiber (36% of your need) and 25 grams of protein (41% of your need) each day, which is far from ideal.  This unbalanced nutrient intake would result in immediate muscle mass loss and an increase in hunger and food cravings. Other nutrients such as fat, vitamins and minerals would also be severely lacking.  Successful and safe long-term weight loss would not be achievable on such a plan” (http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/nutrition_articles.asp?id=1800).

Obesity causes over 25 diseases, so we do want to make sure proper nutrition is in place, but the type that is sustainable. In a world that praises fat-free and all natural that comes out of a box, something isn’t right with our food. Fresh is always best. Have a juice here and there to compliment your eating. It can be a nice, cold, refreshing, sweet beverage. Take your fitness journey tips, use them to your advantage, and make those changes the best you can, each and every day!!!!

30 Oct

When you need to ask your friend or co-worker for help, why might you say, “Sorry to bother you, but…” When you aren’t feeling good because you have the flu, you say, “Sorry I’m sick”. When you arrive early for an appointment and tell the receptionist, “Sorry, I just wanted to make sure I wasn’t late”. Are these instances truly worthy of an apology? An apology is an expression of regret or sorrow for having failed or wronged another person. We throw the S-bomb around when we have done nothing wrong at all. The problem is that being a chronic over-apologizer does take its toll on your self-esteem. You are reaching for approval and asking for acceptance from someone else. You are being a people-pleaser. Not only this, but crying wolf saying sorry all the time, means when the real word should be used, it has lost its merit.

Apologies should be kept for special occasions, and hopefully the less frequent the better. You have to use your words wisely. If someone helps you, rather than saying sorry for taking up their time, say thank you for taking your time to help me. Surveys show that the average person says sorry 8 times per day (https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2036719/Britons-say-sorry-8-times-day–233-000-times-lives.html). I mean isn’t it silly that someone else bumps into us and we say sorry?? You are not a side walk and meant to be walked all over so stop saying sorry for just being you. Don’t make yourself feel less than what you are worth by saying sorry to someone else for no reason. You are telling them they are higher up than you in that moment. It’s wonderful to be a caring and sympathetic person to others, but not when you are sacrificing your self-worth. Assert yourself and stand tall. Being sorry all the time sets a negative vibe for your emotions. Take a day and track how many times you say the S-bomb. Notice why you used the phrase. Don’t be sorry for taking the time to read this. Be sorry for saying sorry so much haha. But you get my point 😊

22 Oct

Turmeric is that bright yellow substance you see me put drops in my water and suck down three times per day. Some studies show it is the most effective nutritional substance there is. I have personally felt the benefits of this spice, so let us take a look at how turmeric can be helpful to us.

 Beginning with the basics, turmeric is the spice that makes curry look yellow. It also makes mustard look yellow. It is a relative of ginger. Popularity of its use began in Indian cultures, but we now know there are medicinal properties in this spice as well. Curcumin is the component of turmeric which carries its health benefits.  It is most well- known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Low level inflammation is extremely important.  Some studies have stated that turmeric outperforms some pharmaceutical drugs when it comes to its effects on some diseases.

 Let’s look at some of the disease’s turmeric has been found to help and/or alleviate. I found research done by James A. Duke, Ph.D.., in the October 2007 issue of Alternative & Complementary Therapies, and summarized in the July 2008, issue of the American Botanical Council publication, HerbClip, to be very informative.When it comes to Alzheimer’s disease, “Duke found more than 50 studies on turmeric’s effects in addressing Alzheimer’s disease. The reports indicate that extracts of turmeric contain a number of natural agents that block the formation of beta-amyloid, the substance responsible for the plaques that slowly obstruct cerebral function in Alzheimer’s disease” (http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ART03001/Three-Reasons-to-Eat-Turmeric.html). Its benefits when it comes to Arthritis are really amazing: “Turmeric contains more than two dozen anti-inflammatory compounds, including six different COX-2-inhibitors (the COX-2 enzyme promotes pain, swelling and inflammation; inhibitors selectively block that enzyme” (http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ART03001/Three-Reasons-to-Eat-Turmeric.html). Cancer also made the list in which turmeric has been found to effective in the, “Prevention and/or treatment of colon cancer, mammary cancer, prostate cancer, murine hepatocarcinogenesis (liver cancer in rats), esophageal cancer, and oral cancer (http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ART03001/Three-Reasons-to-Eat-Turmeric.html).

Oh there are more. The list continues: “Early research suggests that taking curcumin, a chemical found in turmeric, 3 days before surgery and continuing for 5 days after surgery can lower the risk of a heart attack following bypass surgery” (https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/662.html) . My diabetic clients might find it interesting to read, “Early research suggests that taking turmeric daily for 9 months can reduce the number of people with prediabetes who develop diabetes (https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/662.html) .

Other ailments it has been known to help include liver problems, ring worm, and even depression. Heart burn and indigestion can also be alleviated. This remedy is also used for headaches, bronchitis, colds, lung infections, fibromyalgia, leprosy, fever, menstrual problems, diarrhea, intestinal gas, stomach bloating, loss of appetite, jaundice, and gallbladder disorders (https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/662.html). 

 Turmeric can be taken in liquid or capsule form. It is important to understand that a substance such as this is not regulated the same way in which a pharmaceutical drug is by the FDA. Therefore, not all products are created equal. Furthermore, it can interact with other medications you are taking. For example, “Turmeric may slow blood clotting, so people taking drugs with the same effect, like anticoagulants, should be cautious about taking turmeric supplements, according to the National Institutes of Health” (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/18/turmeric-health-benefits-curcumin_n_5978482.html).  Because it does help reduce blood sugar, diabetics should of course proceed with caution as to not make their blood sugar too low. It can affect fertility in men as well, but anyone with hormone sensitivity should be careful using it. If one has an iron deficiency be careful because it can impact the absorption of iron.

 I like using this natural product myself and have felt the positive effects of less swelling in my knee post-surgery as well as my elbows from lifting weights a lot. Some of my clients have started taking it as well. We are all different though when it comes to our bodies. Sharing little tricks are always helpful on our fitness journeys so that we can strive towards feeling our best. After all, we are tearing apart our muscles before we build them back up (hypertrophy). If turmeric sounds like a supplement you might want to try, besides sprinkling a little on your food, always consult your doctor first. I’m not a doctor YET, only the voice of reason and maybe even the drill sergeant on your fitness journey.

16 Oct

Having self-doubt, questioning yourself, feeling a lack of confidence…. I’m sure we can all identify with bouts of feeling insecure. This could be something very minor like whether your top matches your shoes, or something major like whether your spouse is cheating because you aren’t “good enough”. This negative thinking can be debilitating and certainly impedes on the journey of becoming the best versions of ourselves. But it’s natural to feel this way from time to time. We just need to reel it in and know how to move forward because these feelings don’t validate truths. 

It’s human nature to worry about what other people think about us. As a business owner, I constantly am under public watch and have to remind myself that as long as when I turn the lights off when I go home and say that I gave my 100% today, then that’s the best I can do. We live in a culture that seeks approval. Meaning, recognition gives us value. 

It takes courage to face what we are insecure about. Leo Babauta from Zenhabits.net discusses the obstacles that a person may face that derive insecurities (https://zenhabits.net/insecurities/)1.       

Past criticisms. If a parent or other relatives criticized us while we were growing up, or if we were bullied, we’ve probably internalized.2.       

A negative self-image. When people criticize you over the years, you start to criticize yourself. All this criticism, along with unfavorable comparisons of yourself to others, results in a self-image that isn’t so great.3.       

Needing approval. The becomes a fearful cycle of need.4.       

Lack of trust. We learn not to trust other people to stick with us, to accept us, to see our side of things as understandable.5.       

Images in social media & the media. We compare ourselves.6.       

Not accepting things about us. 

We have to forgive the past, know that the media is not 100% real, trust our intuitions, stop comparing ourselves, and accept ourselves. Certainly, easier said than done, but taking these thoughts and practicing them in good faith can lead to better outcomes. 

Clients come to me fully aware of their insecurities, but not quite ready to let them go. As we get stronger, more FIT, and develop relationships with me and others at the studio, we find an uplifting community of acceptance. That is the environment I create. After all, those who judge you are only there in your life for a moment, so move forward without them. There are certain aspects in my life that I don’t doubt or question one bit (like my work ethic and passion for fitness) so I thrive on these elements and focus on letting go of what transpires feelings of insecurity in my life. I ask you to do the same and I will do my best to help you with this.

09 Oct

The gel from aloe vera has been used for thousands of years for its healing purposes. It is a type of succulent plant with many medicinal purposes. The gel inside the plant is gooey and thick, and it is most commonly used to alleviate sun burns and is consumed in juice form for its health benefits. The gel also makes the skin soft so many lotions have this ingredient. Aloe vera must be consumed as a supplement or as a gel; it is not found in food. Many people add it to their smoothies or shakes since by itself it doesn’t have a desired taste. It is a juice with no sugar.

There are a number of ways that aloe vera can be used. Aloe vera gel can help heal skin rashes, burns, dandruff, treat psoriasis, and help with damage to the skin caused by radiation. When taken in the form of juice, it has been known to work as a laxative. Aloe vera has also been linked to lowering blood sugar levels for those with diabetes. It has also been shown to lower cholesterol.  Aloe vera juice also helps reduce acidity in the body, keeping one’s pH in balance. This also can help take care of heart burn. Aloe vera juice compounds help control secretion of acid in the stomach. This plant is also very water-dense, so it is great for hydration. We need to stay hydrated to help detox the body. The liver functions best when it is hydrated. Staying hydrated improves liver and kidney health and is needed for exercise recovery. More water also helps alleviate constipation which aloe vera does because It contains enzymes that help with digestion. These enzymes help break down sugars and fats. It can help decrease irritation that might occur in the digestive lining of the intestine. Furthermore, this juice contains vitamins B, C, E, and folic acid. It also contains chromium, copper, calcium, magnesium, potassium, manganese, and zinc. It is the only plant-based source of vitamin B12.

Aloe vera juice has also been known to help keep acne away. It is a great source of antioxidants for your skin. It helps neutralize the effects of UV ray damage to the skin as well. Adding to its beauty benefits, aloe vera gel can be used as a lightweight moisturizer, makeup remover, makeup primer, and treatment for the scalp.

It is important to pay attention to what type of aloe vera you are taking. Be sure to read the labels for decolorized, purified, and organic. Unpurified has been linked to stomach cramps and diarrhea. Drinking 8oz per day has been shown to have these health benefits. Sometimes at home remedies are the greatest tools in our shelf of self-care. Like other gel that keeps the hair in place, aloe vera can help keep your health in its best place too.

02 Oct

Rice is a popular grain that is a staple of many people’s diets, especially those in Asia. White rice is the more widely consumed type however, many have turned to brown rice as the healthier option. There are certainly differences in these two types or rice. Both are mostly composed of carbohydrates, with little protein and little fat. Brown rice has about 30 less calories per serving than white rice, but this small caloric difference is marked by other factors that differentiate which rice becomes the better health choice.


Brown rice is a whole grain. This means that is still has all its grains (fibrous bran, nutritious germ, and endosperm). This rice contains vitamins, antioxidants, minerals, and fiber. For example, 100 grams of brown rice contains 1.8 grams of fiber. It also contains high amounts of magnesium. Both of these nutrients help control blood sugar. It also contains a plant compound called lignan which helps protect against heart disease. Lignans lower blood pressure, reduce the amount of fat in the blood, and decrease inflammation. Brown rice does contain phytic acid, which is known for impeding the body’s ability to absorb other nutrients including iron and zinc. Phytic acid is known as the antinutrient. This type of rice also contains arsenic, which is a toxic heavy metal. Arsenic is associated with increased risk for type 2 diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.


The bran and germ are removed from white rice, making it no longer a whole grain. The gran and germ are the most nutritious part of a grain. White rice is also associated with empty calories due to its lack of nutrients. Unlike most grains, this rice lacks fiber (100 grams =  0.4 grams of fiber). Eating large amounts of white rice has been associated with an increased risk for diabetes. It is high on the glycemic (GI) index, so it does quickly increase blood sugar. On the GI index, brown rice is 50 whereas white rice is 89.

Sticking to ½ cup which is one serving of rice is no easy feat for rice consumers. It just pairs so well with well….everything. The Lifestyle of the FIT & Healthy knows when it comes to which type of rice is better for their health, all taste opinions aside, brown rice is the winner. In fact, there wasn’t much to say about white rice because it is just an empty carbohydrate. There’s always a catch right? The more informed you are the, better choices and tools you have to make for your health.

28 Sep

Nearly 60-80% of the general adult population suffers from low back pain. Yes, that many of us. Annual medical costs associated with this type of injury is reported to be nearly $26 billion in the United States.  85% of male gymnasts have low back pain, as well as 80% of weightlifters, 69% of wrestlers, 58% of soccer players, 50% of tennis players, and 30% of golfers. When the joints are operating properly, when muscles are abnormally activated, and when there is malalignment with movement patterns, optimal muscle performance in the back is compromised.

Low back pain takes place when our spine is not in a neutral position. The low back might round or arch or one might lean forward causing this discomfort. This asymmetry can lead to pressure on certain disks from poor posture and the body communicates with its inflammatory pain response. Sciatica is very common, which occurs when the ruptured disc is placing pressure on the sciatic nerve that runs down the buttocks and then down the leg. Symptoms can range from a dull ache to a stabbing or shooting feeling. If this pain persists for more than 3 months, low back pain is considered chronic.

Movement that involves lifting, pulling, or twisting of the spine can contribute to low back pain. Continued carrying of a purse, bag, or briefcase can cause the low back to assist the upper body to hold the item. Many of us overstuff our bags. Less trips from the car to the house, mean loading up our arms to carry more. Being inactive then suddenly becoming active can make one vulnerable to this pain. Some people are inactive during the week then decide to play golf, surf, or play on their softball team on the weekends. This asks the back to twist and turn with little preparation. When you slouch, your back is supporting your upper body weight. Sitting is a main culprit for low back pain. A good tip for better posture in the seated position is to place the feet on a low stool. The discs in our back do wear and tear from injuries and aging. Being overweight is also added weight for the back.

Back pain can get better with a heating pad or nice warm bath. Bed rest is not recommended because this lack of movement only leads to further inflexibility and reduced muscle tone. Good posture is essential and that starts with strengthening you core, which are the abdominal muscles that actually do wrap all the way around the back area. Planking is a great exercise for this. When sitting, stabilizing the core is important which you can imagine pulling up a zipper on a jacket like pulling up the disks in your back to sit up tall. With the increased amount of sitting people are doing now, using a standing desk or exercise ball or a chair can be simple way to help with slouching. Try to avoid sleeping on your stomach which creates a natural arch in the back in this position that can cause you to wake up in discomfort. Keep an eye out for any shoes that cause pain either day of or day after being worn. Sudden twists and turns should be noted as well.

Body mechanics and movement patterns can be fixed. Use your legs not their back for lifting heavy objects, stays at a healthy weight, and makes sure you are conscious of your posture when sitting and standing. Let’s lower that painful 80% of suffering and take care of the bodies we are fortunate to be given.