Thursday, January 30, 2014

Make the Time, Mom!...Five ways for super busy moms (and dads) to fit in exercise

This week, enjoy a guest blog post from Nick Perri - a fantastic Naperville in-home personal trainer. Check out his website here.

Be extraordinary,

Recently, I was interviewed and asked three questions regarding exercise and the pursuit of a healthful lifestyle. They were all great questions but the last question was of a subject matter that can really stir up debate and emotion in trainer and client alike. Here is the question and here is my answer...
Q: Why is it important to carve out time to exercise (even if you're a super busy mom, etc.)?

Thursday, January 23, 2014

How Athletes can Boost Immune Function to stay well

As athletes ramp up their training, they put their body at a higher risk of illness and infection. Research indicates that athletes are at an increased risk of illness not only in the hours after a hard workout, but in the 1-2 weeks following a competition. This is likely due to the increase in stress hormones (particularly adrenaline and cortisol) associated with training and competition. However, there are things you can do to keep your immune system running strong and minimize your risk of illness during training and competition.

1. Eat well
Despite the fact that many athletes take multivitamins, antioxidant blends and the like, there is a lack of evidence to support high dose supplementation of anti-oxidant vitamins, glutamine or echinacea to prevent exercise-associated immune system depression. In truth, there is much research about the positive synergistic effect of the vitamins and minerals consumed in food itself versus a supplement. At meals and snacks, focus on nutrient-rich foods and fluids to provide the immune system what it needs. A few examples include:
-Whole grain and fiber-rich cereals, breads and pastas - especially those that include flaxseed or chia seeds as ingredients
-Include a variety of whole fruits and vegetables throughout the day. Fruit is great as a snack on-the-go, at the office or at home. It is naturally portable and also a great source of fluid. Add veggies (frozen are great too) with every meal. The more color at meals the better.
-Don't settle for plain, boring sandwiches, soups or pastas. Fill them with color by adding fresh and dried fruit and fresh cut up vegetables.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Lose the weight without the diet

With the new year still fresh in all of our minds, many of you may be using this time to drop some unwanted weight. Instead of turning to dieting, I challenge you to something more difficult at first but more enjoyable and sustainable in the long term: intuitive eating.
Intuitive eaters eat when they are hungry and stop when they feel satisfied. We all had that ability as small children. However, it is not too late to relearn! Intuitive eating is not based on deprivation, calorie counting or making foods forbidden. It is based on making eating pleasurable while paying better attention to the signals your mind and body is communicating. 

How to become an intuitive eater
1. Eat slowly. A general guideline is to let 20 minutes lapse from the time you start eating until you want to serve yourself more food. This is because it takes about 20 minutes for your stomach to signal your brain that you have eaten enough. Twenty minutes may seem like an eternity, but give it a try!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Nutritional To-do's in Preparation for Next Season

With the holidays over, the off-season continues for many endurance athletes. Others are starting the building phase of their training. Regardless of which category you fall into, there are things you need to do now to prepare you for racing season this spring, summer and/or fall:

1. Review
Review your race nutrition for your top 3 races last year. What went well? What went poorly? Did your nutrition limit your performance? Did you feel like you had enough energy for the entire race? Did you cramp or have digestive problems during the race? Next, review the season as a whole. How did your body and pace hold up? Were you sick often or nursing a recurrent injury? Did you lose or gain a substantial amount of weight? Answering these questions will help you set goals for next season as well as identify the problems you then need to take to a sports dietitian.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Food trends for 2014

Happy New Year!

2013 was an interesting year in the world of food. What will happen this year? After scouring the internet for others' predictions, I decided to take my guesses as well. Here is what I think will be hot in 2014:

1. Local food
The local food movement will continue to spread and strengthen. Even Meijer and Aldi have begun to post signs indicating which produce is "grown locally". So look out for more efforts by grocery stores and restaurants alike to provide local produce and meat.

2. Eating flexitarian
Whether it is because of budget, health or interest, many more Americans are embracing the idea of Meatless Monday, etc. Flexitarians are individuals who eat meat some of the time and non-meat entrees the rest of the time. Closer to vegetarians than vegans, flexitarians are more...well...flexible. With almost every restaurant now offering at leat one vegetarian option, I think more people will try going meatless at least some of the time.