Exercise is Medicine by ACSM


22 Oct


The 1970s introduced the exotic and interesting field of acupuncture to the world of medicine. Yet, this needle practice has been around for thousands of years in Chinese medicine. I have me a number of clients who use this form of treatment for various reasons, but have never fully understood the pros and cons. The fitness learning fanatic in me had to do some research.

The goal of acupuncture is to heal. And of course this approach is very controversial in terms of scientific backing of its effectiveness. Thus, “The traditional explanation for acupuncture’s effectiveness is that it modifies the flow of energy (known as qi or chi) throughout the body, but there is no scientific consensus that this is actually its mechanism of action” (https://www.drweil.com/health-wellness/balanced-living/wellness-therapies/acupuncture/). But the good news is that it has worked for many, and when researching this blog there aren’t statistics to show results. That debate may lie in Western medicine’s lack of acceptance of acupuncture.

Acupuncture is used for a number of reasons. Here is what I found, “The benefits of acupuncture can extend to a wide variety of conditions, from emotional disorders (anxiety, depression) to digestive complaints (nausea, vomiting, irritable bowel syndrome). It can be beneficial for pain syndromes due to an injury or associated with chronic degenerative diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. It can also be helpful in treating neurological problems like migraines or Parkinson’s disease, or as a rehabilitation strategy for individuals who suffered a stroke. Respiratory conditions, including sinusitis and asthma have been relieved with acupuncture, as have many gynecologic disorders and infertility. Acupuncture has also proved beneficial for reducing fatigue and addictions, and for promoting overall well-being (https://www.drweil.com/health-wellness/balanced-living/wellness-therapies/acupuncture/) .

There aren’t many serious complications from using acupuncture. Bleeding and soreness could occur from the points of insertion and needle manipulation. I can say that I can certainly get a tattoo but have a fear of trying this out. Sometimes traditional methods aren’t getting the job done, so acupuncture can become an option to remedy the problem. We want to be at peak performance on our fitness journeys so do what is best for your body to accomplish this. After all, science doesn’t indicate you FEEL.

15 Oct


Restriction and rules can lead to the human nature act of defiance. When Mom said don’t touch the stove it’s hot, well, you had to find out the truth for yourself right?? On our fitness journeys, sometimes having a cheat meal is our sense of sanity for the week. Our relationship with food is coming to terms Sunday through Friday because Saturday it’s time to eat we want. Having something to look forward to means there is light at the end of the tunnel. But there is quite the debate when it comes to your cheat, so let’s take a look.

A cheat meal is a reward for your exercise, clean eating, and hard work. Sacrificing for better choices is a great achievement and you want to recognize this behavior so that you are motivated to continue. Fear of burning out from relentless restriction is a common occurrence. Many people find themselves in an all or nothing state of mind, others use moderation in their approach, and some workout just to eat and maintain. No matter your tactic on your fitness journey, understand that a cheat meal can be abused and if you ate poorly twice already this week, do you really think you should have a cheat meal?? Here’s the bottom line: “People of all sizes and fitness levels can successfully implement cheat strategies, but self-evaluation is a must. Consider your fitness goals, your day-to-day eating habits, and your previous dieting success or failure. These factors impact how — and, more importantly, IF — you can cheat” (http://www.livestrong.com/article/542505-the-art-and-science-of-cheat-meals/).

A cheat meal is not to be confused with a cheat day. Having an entire day or junk can undo the entire week’s work. For some, this cheat can become a binge. All self-control is lost with the intent to get back on it the following day. Or you might find yourself going overboard. Let’s say pizza is the pleasure of choice and instead of having 2-3 slices, your cheat is an entire pizza. You have eaten to the point of bloat and discomfort making that one cheat worth it’s max – go big or go home. And this really doesn’t make for a positive relationship with food. In fact rewarding yourself with food, is confusing your mind. But I get it a cheat doesn’t feel right if it’s limited.

For myself, I have to error on the side of caution. I know that I can eat until I feel sick because that cheat is so few and far in between. But at this point, I know the next day is so miserable I have to be mindful of what I pick, how much I have, and when I have it (way late at night means no sleep). My relationship with food has to be structured or else I do falter and overeat. We are our own worse enemies. No one is forcing that food down your throat. So find the approach that works for you, but most importantly, make your non-cheat days solid and on point.

08 Oct

Are donuts the breakfast of champions or breakfast of convenience and taste?? It’s human nature to like sugar and big chains like Dunkin Donuts or even mom and pop stores taunt us on every corner. The smell from Mr. Donut by the studio teases from time to time. When I was a girl, it was routine to have donuts the next morning after a sleep over or on a Saturday after practice. Sugar digested a little differently back then. But believe it or not, donuts are still a popular start to the day. There’s even a National Donut Day.

It’s no secret that donuts aren’t good for us. In fact, a single donut can be worse than having a bag of chips. Check this out: “If you add a doughnut a day to your regular diet and don’t exercise the calories off or cut down on calories elsewhere, you will gain about one extra pound every 10 days” (http://www.livestrong.com/article/471877-health-effects-of-doughnuts/). They’re packed with saturated and trans-fat, so your heart is not happy when you eat one. Here’s a scary concept: “According to a 2008 report published by the Hong Kong Consumer Council, doughnuts have more trans fats than chocolate, peanut butter chocolate bars and even chips. A single doughnut will meet your maximum allowance for trans fats for the whole day, and the truth is that people rarely eat just one doughnut. Trans fats can increase your cholesterol and triglycerides, and increase your risk of heart disease” (http://www.livestrong.com/article/471877-health-effects-of-doughnuts/). I’m not sure I can list any good nutrients in a donut ?

A donut is sugar and sugar can be like a drug. When I grab a coffee at the donut shop, I see the same people every day eating there. Having a strawberry filled donut isn’t exactly having fruit for breakfast. Let’s face it: “Doughnuts contain lots of sugar. Even the plain doughnuts are high in sugar, but if you choose one with glazing, cream or jam, the fat, sugar and calorie numbers soar. A chocolate glazed cake doughnut contains 5 tsp. of sugar. According to the American Heart Association, women should eat a maximum of 6 tsp. of sugar a day, so a single doughnut will almost meet that number” (http://www.livestrong.com/article/471877-health-effects-of-doughnuts/). Sounds like a good scare tactic.

Coffee does taste good with a donut. The breakroom is filled with them. I get it. In fact, “ Last year, convenience stores sold some 391 million doughnuts (on an annualized basis) for sales of about $580 million, according to the latest IRI data” (https://www.cnbc.com/2015/06/03/dollars-to-doughnuts-us-eats-half-a-billion-worth.html) . But come on now, we know they are not good for us.

At least now you will think of me every time you have a donut now. What would Megan do????




01 Oct

Childhood obesity has been on the rise and it’s a direct reflection of lifestyle and eating choices. We live in a world where most things are a click away or convenient. Technology is the new form of playing with your friends. Less talk, less action, less movement. I recently watched a documentary on Amazon Prime called, “Danger: Teen Binging” (2015), in which 3 teenagers were obese and the movie documented how they coped with this on a day to day basis. Let me share what this film was about with you.


Of course seeing overweight teens is no surprise to me. In fact, everyday around 3pm I see students walking home from school with some sugary beverage in one hand and a bag of chips in the other from AM/PM. They have been sitting all day at school only to go home and sit more, have their terrible snack, and then eat again at dinner. The only good part is the WALK home. I can’t remember getting home before 5pm from school from sports practices and activities. Adding that it if I was home, I was outside with my neighbors playing until it got too dark. Times have changed.


In this documentary, we learn that 1 in 5 children are obese. Many reach a point of no return, meaning once they reach adulthood, it is too late to lose this weight. Their metabolism has been ruined and their only hope is surgery. Children as young as 12 are having gastric bypass surgery. The opening scene is of a devastated family whose daughter, Samantha, ate herself to death. She died as a teen from her destructive eating habits that led to such terrible health.


Then the film looked at 3 others teens. Harry was 14 years old, heavy set, but did not even know his current weight. To him, there was no problem. But his parents fought over this issue. He used his bubbly, comedic personality to hide from the truth of his weight. He was the class clown, loved by all, and has his own YouTube Channel. He loved to cook, but had alternative motives to eat many of the ingredients during the process. Harry wanted to be a pilot when he grows up, so his dad had him undergo the real medical evaluation for this process to prove to him that his dreams were unrealistic given his current habits. The army-like nature of his father versus the caring concern of his mother created a recipe for disaster. Regardless, Harry refuses to diet and doesn’t want to waist his childhood starving himself.


Jess was 16 years old. She was bullied at school and comes from a mother who had weight issues herself. Her mom had gastric bypass surgery and she is headed down the same path. Her typical snack is a Frappuccino and bag of chips.


Holly, who was 14 years old suffered from body anxiety. She rarely attended school and her mother was even fined for this. She sees her skinny sister and wonders why she is overweight. Holly is the type who keeps her emotions bottled up.


All 3 teens used food for comfort and pleasure. In the end, they started light activity but ultimately, they didn’t want to change. This means their adult lives will be marked by health issues and weight related issues. The documentary was nothing out the ordinary or shocking, but proves the point that children today need to get moving. Movement is critical so there needs to be a form of activity that is tolerable to them on a daily basis. Looks like the parents are up for a challenge. At the studio, I want to encourage every BODY to lead by example and be part of an active family environment. This is teamwork as you become the best version of yourself.


Danger: Teen Binging (2007) by Ed Kellie, &Katy Lock

24 Sep


We live in a world that has turned fast-paced, favoring convenience and time efficiency into priorities. We have learned to compromise nutrition for what is easier, and have created an entire new realm in grocery stores with an abundance of processed foods. And these products have quite the shelf life once you get home. Not exactly “fresh” by any means, but readily available and assessable for sure. So let’s take a look at how processed foods have bombarded our eating habits.

Let’s always start with the definition. Here it is: “ ‘The term processed food includes any food that has been purposely changed in some way prior to consumption,’ says Torey Armul, MS, RD, CSSD, LDN, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “It includes food that has been cooked, canned, frozen, packaged or changed in nutritional composition with fortifying, preserving or preparing in different ways” (http://www.eatright.org/resource/food/nutrition/nutrition-facts-and-food-labels/avoiding-processed-foods). Think about how much of these types of food are part of your daily regime or have been before. How many frozen pizzas have you had in your lifetime?? For example, I never even considered all the sodium canned corn or kidney beans contain in order to preserve their shelf life. Pretty disgusting and they need to be rinsed off to help. Which then made me think about all the salad bars or restaurants where I have salad and thought I was eating totally clean and making a great choice, when in fact, most of the vegetables probably came out of can. More bang for your buck I get that part on the business side, but our bodies can only take so much of this and the growing obesity rate is a reflection.

Not all are as bad as others and I found a good reference to consider. Here it is:
Processed food falls on a spectrum from minimally to heavily processed:
• Minimally processed foods — such as bagged spinach, cut vegetables and roasted nuts — often are simply pre-prepped for convenience.
• Foods processed at their peak to lock in nutritional quality and freshness include canned tomatoes, frozen fruit and vegetables, and canned tuna.
• Foods with ingredients added for flavor and texture (sweeteners, spices, oils, colors and preservatives) include jarred pasta sauce, salad dressing, yogurt and cake mixes.
• Ready-to-eat foods — such as crackers, granola and deli meat — are more heavily processed.
• The most heavily processed foods often are pre-made meals including frozen pizza and microwaveable dinners.

It seems as though the concept of eating food to nourish our bodies is lost. We have to look out for added sugars and sodium that’s for sure. It is odd that we are eating “altered” food. Food has become industrialized. Bottom line it’s about money: “First, most of the processed food created is not food in its conventional meaning. Food is our source of energy and nutrition, without it we can’t survive. However not all of the modern foods are created for that purpose. They are created to allure you, excite you and addict you to become a consumer of their product. The food companies’ goal, just like any other company, is to make more money” (http://www.myfoodandhappiness.com/processed-food-and-why-is-it-the-main-cause-of-obesity/).

The truth is that it is hard to avoid processed foods at some point in your eating be it beverages or condiments. Looking back, I ate plenty of foods out of a box, especially cereal. The more informed we are, the better choices we can make (purpose of my Blogs). Fresh is best and hey it might take a little time, but treat your body like a temple because you only get one and you have to live in it for the rest of your life.

15 Sep


As we become more educated and find what works best on our fitness journeys, we realize that this lifestyle change is sustainable. Some of us are numbers driven and want to see statistics and data. Others of us are emotionally tied to this journey by how we feel in terms of energy, clothes fitting, and  liking what we see in the mirror. Wherever you fall on the pendulum, the information I’m providing below entails answers to common questions I’m asked frequently.

MILE = 2,000 steps and if we are recommended to walk 10,000 steps per day this is equal to 5 miles

1 cup = 8 ounces (Liquids)

1 cup = 4.5 ounces and 128 grams (Dry goods)

1 pound = 3500 calories (Fat)

1 pound = 2500 calories (Muscle)

Recommended Calorie Guide:


How to Read Nutrition Label:

(https://www.google.com/search?q=how+to+read+nutrition+label&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjB26vJxNXVAhUgS2MKHYujAZ8Q_AUICigB&biw=1525&bih=701#imgrc=cqDSEsaMr8XI-M) :

Body Fat Percentage Chart:

(https://www.google.com/search?q=body+fat+percentage+chart&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwik3dbuxNXVAhUH-2MKHYoaDZ4Q_AUICigB&biw=1525&bih=701#imgrc=I-B4eF4iegB-uM) :

Feel free to ask me for any other tools you feel could be useful. Trust me, I’ve got books and books and more books about all this fun stuff ?

09 Sep


So I hate the term “fat”. Just bothers me and is derogatory. Yet, I recently read an article on CBS.com and wanted to share what I found. We know that Americans aren’t getting any smaller and this seems to be a global epidemic. Let me count down for from number 21 to #1 location with the largest folks.

#21 CANADA: 51.9% of Canadians are overweight

#20 CHILE: 59.7% must be the chile ?

#19 SEYCHELLES: never heard of this place but 60.1% of its residents are obese

#18 BARBADOS: 60.4% of its islanders are obese

#17 MACEDONIA: models are considered “shapely” here hence 60.4% of the population is obese

#16 UNITED KINGDOM: fish and chips has led to 61% obesity

#15 BAHRAIN: this tiny island doesn’t have tiny people with 61% being obese

#14 CROATIA: coming in at 61.4%

#13 ISREAL: their population 61.9% obese

#12 MALTA: this is a highly populated location that has 62.3% obesity rate

#11 NEW ZEALAND: 62.7% obesity rate here

#10 BOSNIA & HERZEGOVINIA: 63% in these locations

#9 KUWAIT: 64%

#8 EGYPT: 66% are obese here

#7: GERMANY: the beer and brats have led to 66.5% being obese

#6 UNITED STATES: here were are; glad to say not number one at 66.9%

#5 PANAMA: 67.4% of Panamanians are obese

#4 SAUDI ARABIA: comes in at 73%

#3 FRENCH POLYNESIA: 74% is a pretty big percentage

#2 KIRIBATI: never heard of this location but they come in at 82%

#1 AMERICAN SAMOA: 94% of its people are overweight

Although I have not heard of all these areas, I’m sure that diet, wealth, and activity level come into play. Food means luxury and prosperity and when this is combined with a sedentary way of life, the numbers speak for themselves. Just think of all the health issues that may arise from all this too. I think they need me in some of these places ?



03 Sep


So I watched it. Netflix version of scared straight to NOT eat meat or daily. This documentary, What the Health, was an eye-opening look into how diet is related to health in so many ways. Although the reality of what the film shares is not a lifestyle most can uphold, my mind was intrigued with our government, diet, and health.

The onset of statistics was sickening and attention grabbing. One in four deaths in the USA are from cancer and 2/3 of our adult population are obese. $1 in every $3 Medicare dollars is spent on diabetes. And according to What The Health, this is from the food we are eating. Sugar and carbohydrates have long been the chosen culprit for these illnesses, but the evidence know points to meat and dairy (again this is all from the film).

A plant based diet is the safest form of nutrition for our bodies. Even shopping organic isn’t going to make the meat any better. If 4 cows pass the food line in one minute, that’s 15 seconds of inspection per cow. How can this be a thorough look at what we are putting in our mouths?? Other sources don’t seem to be any better since fish are filled with pesticides and fungus.

Most people are far from protein deficient. All protein comes from plants. Only plants can take nitrogen and covert it amino acids for protein. The strongest animals are herbivores. Gorillas and elephants chomp on greens for all their food.

Our bodies don’t seem equipped to digest dairy, thus leading to health problems. Statistically, 73% of African Americans are lactose intolerant as well as 95% of Asians, 70% of Native Americans and 53% of Hispanics. Milk barely has any protein in it.

But the reality is that the government and our food industry are closely related. If diary is related to cancer, then why is Yoplait a sponsor of the Susan G. Comin foundation?? The American Diabetes and Cancer Associations are sponsored by Dannon and Tyson. Companies keep this information from us. The government encourages these mixes messages we receive through advertisements and commercials. The more we eat, the more money they make from the adverse health effects. Children are targeted because they’re the spenders of the future. Younger ages are more impressionable and are the future adults who will spend their money on these products. The Common Sense Consumption Act and Cheeseburger Laws go so far as to stating that a person can’t sue a company for eating their food and blaming them for their obesity.

A plant based diet is said to reduce inflammation and prevent these diseases. Realistically, this form of eating can be difficult and not readily available. It seems worth a try based on your fitness goals. Watch this film yourself and maybe the eating plant based portion won’t interest you, but there’s no doubt that the government and food industry are on the same team.

27 Aug


Lathering on sunscreen should be part of our daily regime and “getting ready” process in the morning. The harmful UV rays of the sun are cancer causing and dangerous, yet we still have to live our lives and be exposed. In fact, being tan is part of our Southern California state of mind. Tanning beds still exist. Being properly protected and taking the necessary preventative measures are extremely important. So put on that sunscreen.

But knowing which sunscreen to pick can be rather complicated. This lotion works in one of two ways depending on the type you buy. One type protects us by scattering the light which reflects the sun away from you and the other type absorbs the UV rays before they actually get to your skin. And we have to be careful because, “ ‘A few years ago, choosing a good sunscreen meant you just looked for a high sun protection factor (SPF) — which rates how well the sunscreen protects against one type of cancer-causing UV ray, ultraviolet B (UVB.) “SPF refers to blockage of UVB rays only,’ says Leffell. Research soon showed that ultraviolet A rays (UVA) also increase skin cancer risk. While UVA rays don’t cause sunburn, they penetrate deeply into skin and cause wrinkles. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that up to 90% of skin changes associated with aging are really caused by a lifetime’s exposure to UVA rays” (http://www.webmd.com/beauty/features/whats-best-sunscreen#1).

So how do which know what to buy?? Which is the best?? You definitely want both UVA and UVB rays to be covered. UVA doesn’t have a number associated with it but UVB does with SPF 15 or higher. One must know what SPF refers to: “The SPF factor rates how effective the sunscreen is in preventing sunburn caused by UVB rays. If you’d normally burn in 10 minutes, SPF 15 multiplies that by a factor of 15, meaning you could go 150 minutes before burning” (http://www.webmd.com/beauty/features/whats-best-sunscreen#1). You should also take into consideration water and sweat resistance.

To put this in simpler terms, make sure to look for a sunscreen based on its SPF and one that contains one or more of the following ingredients: camsule, avobenzone, oxybenzone, titanium dioxide, sulisobenzone, or zinc oxide. Truth be told this can still be a bit confusing because having a higher SPF doesn’t mean the sunscreen is that much better. It just means the longer it lasts. Here was an example I found, “Contrary to what you might think, SPF 30 isn’t twice as strong as SPF 15. While SPF 15 filters out 93% of UVB, SPF 30 filters out 97%, only a slight improvement” (http://www.webmd.com/beauty/features/whats-best-sunscreen#1).

Be sure to wear some form of protection and research which brand is appropriate for your skin type, time spent in the sun and what activities you will be doing. Protect your skin while you are young, prevent further damage, and be adamant about doing this daily. We hear from our elders so often that they wish they would have done this. Sunscreen!!!! There’s no counter argument here ?


20 Aug


Sleep is part of each cycle in our day. We are sensitive to how much sleep we get and are aware of the bare minimum to make it through the day. Sometimes this nightly routine is not easy and sometimes it’s amazing. However, sleep apnea is a common but very serious sleep disorder among more folks than one might think. So let’s take a look a closer look at this condition.

Definitions are always a good start. Thus, “Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that occurs when a person’s breathing is interrupted during sleep. People with untreated sleep apnea stop breathing repeatedly during their sleep, sometimes hundreds of times. This means the brain — and the rest of the body — may not get enough oxygen” (https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#inbox). There are 2 types of this. Obstructive sleep apnea (OPA) is the more common type in which the airway is blocked and the throat collapses. Central sleep apnea is when the brain isn’t signaling the body to breathe. Communication is ineffective with the respiratory system.

Here are the common risk factors for sleep apnea:


· Being male

· Being overweight

· Being over age 40

· Having a large neck size (17 inches or greater in men and 16 inches or greater in women)

· Having large tonsils, a large tongue, or a small jaw bone

· Having a family history of sleep apnea

· Gastroesophageal reflux, or GERD

· Nasal obstruction due to a deviated septum, allergies, or sinus problems

And here are the health risks if left untreated:


High blood pressure
Heart failure, irregular heart beats, and heart attacks
Worsening of ADHD

If you have any of these symptoms, go see your doctor. From there, they might have you to do a sleep study to monitor your eye movement, heart rate, breathing, choking, and/or snoring. This may result in the following: “The treatment of choice for obstructive sleep apnea is continuous positive airway pressure device (CPAP). CPAP is a mask that fits over the nose and/or mouth, and gently blows air into the airway to help keep it open during sleep. This method of treatment is highly effective” (https://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-disorders-problems/sleep-apnea-treatment). And then, “Other methods of treating sleep apnea include: dental appliances which reposition the lower jaw and tongue; upper airway surgery to remove tissue in the airway; nasal expiratory positive airway pressure where a disposable valve covers the nostrils; and treatment using hypoglossal nerve stimulation where a stimulator is implanted in the patient’s chest with leads connected to the hypoglossal nerve that controls tongue movement as well as to a breathing sensor” (https://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-disorders-problems/sleep-apnea-treatment). Other lifestyle changes like losing weight and cutting out alcohol and smoking can help.

It’s hard to argue that lack of sleep is not fun. Sadly, many of us are used to this with life’s demands. However, serious cases when sleep deprivation is continuous need to be addressed. We want our mind and body to be operating as best as possible on our fitness journeys so be sure to get those zzzzzz’s.