Blue Light Takeover

11 Sep

So many of us, without realizing it, may settle in at night with laptop ready or phone in hand. Trying to decompress from a busy and hectic day with news, games or the latest Twitter buzz. The problem with this is that after all the chaos of the day and our bodies natural sleep/wake cycles fighting for either reading that last article or hitting the pillow, inefficient and interrupted sleep occurs.

To maintain our 24-hour sleep schedule, our bodies transfer information about time of day into melatonin production. Melatonin is the hormone telling us when it’s time to sleep which increases in the evening and peaks in the middle of the night. The process of melatonin release begins in the retina. During the day, the light emitted from the sun and other light emissions, such as the blue light from phones, computers and televisions blocks the signals in the brain that tell us to produce melatonin. At night however, the darkness allows the signals in the brain to form to tell us it is time to increase melatonin production and get ready for bed.

This is where the blue light takeover begins. So instead of our brains doing what they are naturally meant to do and increase melatonin production, all of the artificial light from computers and phones messes with our natural production of melatonin and signals us that it isn’t time for sleep, hence making it that much harder to fall asleep at night, sleep well and wake up feeling renewed.

Tonight instead of surfing the web or binge watching Netflix in bed, turn off all your devices at least an hour before you are going to sleep, keep the room dark and focusing on your breath and relaxation when you hit the pillow. Sleep is restorative and just as important as exercise in taking care of our bodies.

Reference:

https://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/education/resources/highschool/chemmatters/past-issues/archive-2014-2015/the-science-of-sleep.html

What’s RPE and how does it relate to heat and humidity

11 Jul

RPE or Rate of Perceived Exertion is a scale used to measure the intensity of your exercise. The RPE scale runs from 0-10, with the numbers on the scale ranging from easy to very difficult. Generally in 55 degree weather, our bodies will adapt to the environment by perspiring to cool the body  down and in a less humid environment, the excess perspiration will evaporate more quickly than in the higher humidity. Our RPE in this environment when running or exercising at a moderate pace may be a 4 or 5. This can dramatically change when the temperature and humidity increase. When the weather is between 60 and 75 degrees, heart rate can increase by 2 to 4 beats per minute. In 75 to 90 degrees, heart rate increases by 10 beats per minute with humidity amplifying these effects even more. In turn, one’s RPE in 55 degrees can dramatically increase with the same type of exercise in 75 to 90 degree weather.

In addition to sweating and fluid loss in the heat and humidity, blood volume will decrease, meaning less oxygen-rich blood is returned to the heart and less blood is shuttled to the muscles. As we get hotter, the greater amount of heat that is needed to dissipate will require a higher portion of the blood to go to the skin to cool us off.

So before stepping outside to take that run or do a trail, consider your current RPE, always remember to hydrate and adjust your mindset to adapt to the changing environment. Stay safe and move with purpose.

 

Sources:

Training in the Heat. (2016, February 02). Retrieved July 11, 2017, from http://www.runnersworld.com/race-training/training-in-the-heat?internal_recirc=outbrain_af

Perceived Exertion (Borg Rating of Perceived Exertion Scale). (2015, August 11). Retrieved July 11, 2017, from https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/measuring/exertion.htm

Start your day right

15 May

Starting your day with the right foods can make or break the stage for the rest of the day. Think about how you feel if you run out the door and skip breakfast or just grab a quick cup of coffee with the extras. You will probably feel the crash by 10:00 a.m. Think ahead before the morning hits and you are rushing to get everyone out the door on time. The benefits of eating breakfast have long been shown to improve your appetite for the entire day, keep blood sugar levels stable, improve your concentration and curb cravings for the rest of the day (Greaves, 2016). So, what should you do before you run out the door again and eat nothing, running on empty?

-Prep your meal the night before. 

If you are eating oats in the morning, try making some overnight oats using a mason jar, 1/2 cup of steel cut oats, fresh fruit, and add some plain Greek yogurt (watch the sugar!) for the added protein. Put all ingredients in the jar and refrigerate over night. Enjoy in the morning. You can also hard boil some eggs the day before and have them ready to enjoy the next day.

– Get up earlier

Instead of staying up late to catch another episode on Netflix, go to bed 30 minutes earlier and wake up 30 minutes earlier. You will be amazed at what an extra 30 minutes in the morning will give you. Make some eggs, they take no time to prepare and are full of essential vitamins and amino acids to get you through the morning. Add some veggies, (you can use frozen, pre-cut veggies to save time too).

-Sit down and eat

Take the few extra minutes to sit down and actually eat your meal. You will enjoy the meal and your body will thank you for taking the few extra minutes to digest instead of running out the door. Getting up earlier will give you this freedom.

-Look at your schedule

Take a good look at your schedule in the morning and see what you can eliminate so that breakfast can take a priority spot. When your alarm goes off in the morning, refrain from hitting the snooze button. Get up, get moving, be thankful for another day. Get your family ready for the day and take the time to take care of yourself by eating the right foods to give you the energy for the day ahead.

 

Greaves, E., & Greaves, E. (2016). Magic breakfast: evaluating school breakfast provision. Http://isrctn.com/. doi:10.1186/isrctn14385822

Training Zones and Why They Matter

07 Apr

What are training zones and why should I care? Well, training with a certain intensity will increase your heart rate, therefore making you burn more calories and get a better workout.

Training Zone 1

The notorious fat burning zone or 60-75% of your maximum heart rate. Your maximum heart rate can be determined by using the formula,( 220-your age).This zone of training will build your aerobic base and aid in recovery after a hard training session. A long cardio session on the treadmill will keep you in this zone if you are walking at a pace that is fairly comfortable. You will burn a fair amount of calories but that will stop when the workout ends. If you are just starting out with a new exercise program or jumping back into training, you want to work through the training zones accordingly.

Training Zone 2

This training zone will increase your endurance and train your anaerobic threshold (the point in exercise where your body can no longer sustain the exercise without oxygen). This zone will have you working in 80-85% your maximum heart rate. You will work harder, sweat more and increase your resting metabolism. For every extra pound of muscle you put on, your body will burn an extra 50 calories per day while at rest. So, although the fat burning zone is proclaimed to be the area to stay in to burn fat, think about the fact that you are burning calories while you’re sitting down after training in this zone. The longer you are at this intensity the greater your endurance becomes and the more you will burn at rest. High intensity interval training is an example of working in this training zone.

Training Zone 3

This training zone will push your limits and have you breathing hard, You will work at 86-90% your maximum heart rate. This training zone will include your heavy power training and will keep your metabolism at its highest. You will want to make sure you are taking ample time to recover after training in this zone.

*Always consult your physician before beginning any new exercise program. Remember to include a full warm up and cool down in all of your training sessions to aid in injury prevention and recovery.

Happy Training!

Deadlifts and Why Women Should Do Them

20 Mar

Deadlifting can be intimidating at first, but the benefits surely outweigh the intimidation. First, before beginning any exercise program, make sure you are cleared by your doctor. Once you get the go ahead to start training, get direction from an exercise professional who can instruct you with proper form and control for this exercise. The many muscle groups involved in this movement make it one of the best functional movements you can do to improve your strength, posture, and muscular endurance.

  1. Boost Confidence

Not only will doing a deadlift improve your strength, but the mental toughness needed to pick up heavy things from the ground will give you that boost of confidence that will spill into other parts of your life. A routine that involves challenging movements will push you further than you are comfortable, and in doing so, new-found confidence can be discovered.

2. Get the metabolism firing

A compound movement such as this, incorporating the large muscles of your back (latissimus dorsi, trapezius muscles, erector spinae, iliocostalis, quadratus lumborum,  just to name a few), the glute muscles (the strongest in the body being the gluteus maximus), the hamstrings, the muscles of your shoulders, and abdominals only cover the minimum of muscles worked in this extremely powerful movement. The perk to working so many muscles at one time goes far beyond feeling good and will kick up your metabolism to make you a fat-burning machine, making your body burn even more calories for up to 48-hours post-exercise.

 

3. Improve your strength and endurance

It is obvious that strength is a big component to a big lift like this. The focus this movement takes will help you to improve your overall muscular strength, grip and muscular endurance. If you’re looking to decrease your running time to get ready for a race or event, making deadlifts part of your program can help get you there.

4. Improve your posture

You may wonder how a move like this can help to improve your posture. Strengthening the many muscle groups involved in pulling weight from the floor requires a certain amount of mobility in your hamstrings and shoulders. The form used in a deadlift, when done right, after a proper warm-up, will incorporate the muscled discussed above, strengthening your shoulders, back, abdominals, gluteus muscles, giving you the ability to sit tall, walk tall and improved abdominal control.

To get into a program that involves deadlifts, along with a variety of other well-programmed exercises to improve your strength, and make you feel energized, email me at: thepurposefitness@gmail.com.

Let’s talk about salt

15 Mar

So you are trying to get healthy, eat more veggies and exercise often. First, kuddos to you for taking the step to put your health in top priority. There are a few things you need to know when it comes to the food that is out there and what may seem like a healthier choice, but could ultimately be putting you off your goals just because it is advertised healthy. Many of the pre-packaged goods that are labeled whole grain, low-fat or healthy on the front, are usually full of lots of extras that are not healthy for us. Sodium is one of the biggest culprits. According to the American Heart Association, the average American eats 3,400 mg of sodium per day. High levels of sodium can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke. The daily recommendation of sodium is no more than 2,300 mgs per day, ideally 1,500 mgs. Our bodies need a balance of salt and water to work properly, any excess amount will throw the balance off. Some high sodium foods to avoid include:

-Pre-packaged snack items

-Breads, rolls

-Condiments and dressings

-Hot dogs, turkey dogs, meat sticks

-Bagged chips and pretzels

-Adding salt to cooked meats

-Deli meats, bacon

– Cereals

Be sure to check the labels on the things you buy before you consume them. Just because it may be labeled less fat, or lower sodium, does not mean that it is a good option.

Stick with foods that are whole and what you find on the outside perimeter of your grocery store. The lean meats like boneless, skinless chicken breast, lean beef, lean turkey and fresh fish and beans are all good options. Try making your own seasonings and not including salt or the salt-free seasonings like Mrs. Dash. Fill up on fibrous vegetables like broccoli, kale, brussel sprouts,  and spinach, just to name a few. Don’t forget about fruit too. Fruits and vegetables offer a multitude of health benefits from the micronutrients they provide.

Reference:

Shaking the Salt Habit to Lower High Blood Pressure. (n.d.). Retrieved March 15, 2017, from http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HighBloodPressure/PreventionTreatmentofHighBloodPressure/Shaking-the-Salt-Habit_UCM_303241_Article.jsp#.WMmKofkrKM8

Starting a Routine

12 Mar

We have all heard that it takes at 21 days to make something a habit. Now this habit can be good or bad, depending on the outcome. If you are getting back into a workout routine and it’s been awhile, here are some things to remember:

1). It’s not always going to be easy

There will be days that you want to throw in the towel. Those are the days to push forward and make it count. The tougher days are what make all of the hard work you put in worth more than any money can buy. You will thank yourself later and feel amazing.

2). Get up earlier.

Start your day an extra 30 minutes than you normally would. The extra time is good for a guided meditation, setting the schedule for the day and organizing your meals.

3). Meal prep

Prepare your meals ahead of time. If your meals are already done and ready to eat, you will be much less tempted to eat something that is unhealthy just for convenience.

4) Get moving

Just move, no matter what type of exercise you choose to do to get you back on the exercise horse, just get moving. Don’t wait for next week or for the weather to improve. Start with a brisk walk, go to a class with a friend, or even do it at home. Just get moving for at least 30 minutes a day.

5) Be thankful

Start your day with gratitude. Be thankful for all the wonderful things you do have in your life. Your outlook will change and you will feel better about why you do what you do.

The Best Protein Bars for on the Go

15 Feb

The idea is to eat your protein, carbohydrates and fats with whole, nutritious foods including lean meats, vegetables, fruits and healthy fats rich in Omega-3s. Sometimes we may not always have enough time to eat a complete meal, so instead of skipping out on that meal all together, try these options to keep you from making poor food choices later.

Rise Bar

These simple and nutritious bars come in six different flavors including Chocolatey Almond, Snickerdoodle, and Lemon Cashew. Each have between 15 and 20 grams of high quality protein including whey protein isolate and pea protein. The ingredients you can pronounce taste great and keep your blood sugar in check avoiding the dips in energy later on. Check them out at the link below. Whole Foods sells this bar.

https://risebar.com/#

Oatmega

Not only are these bars yummy, but also provide help to fight childhood hunger. Oatmega bars come in a variety of flavors from Chocolate Peanut Crisp, Vanilla Almond Crunch, and Blueberry Crisp, just to name a few. They contain higher amounts of fiber than some of the other bars out there, which will keep you fuller longer. They are made with non-GMO ingredients and contain whey from grass-fed cattle. The best part is, part of the proceeds from purchasing this bar go to help fight childhood hunger through No Kid Hungry. You can purchase the Oatmega bars at Target and learn more about the No Kid Hungry initiative at the links below.

http://www.nokidhungry.org

http://www.oatmega.com/

 

Rx Bar

Rx Bar’s contain a limited amount of ingredients all printed on the front of the bar. They are sweetened with dates, which are lower on the glycemic index than cane sugar and high in fiber. Rx Bar’s contain 6 grams of healthy fiber and 12 grams of protein from egg whites. They come in flavors including Chocolate Sea Salt, Blueberry, Peanut Butter and Coffee Chocolate. Rx Bars can be purchased at Whole Foods.

https://www.rxbar.com/

Back Pain Fixes

09 Feb

So many of us spend long hours at computer screens or desk chairs and wind up feeling it for days or even weeks. Back, neck and shoulder pain are results of this overuse and can lead to further imbalances in the body. There are a few easy and quick exercises that you can do throughout the day to help ease the discomfort and correct your trouble spots.

Band Back Fly

Standing with your feet about hip width apart, bend at the hips so that you are at a 90 degree angle. Using an elastic band, grab the band with one hand on either end with slight resistance, pull in your core, and pull your arms out to the sides, not locking at your elbows. Hold the position for 2 seconds and slowly lower to start. Repeat this for up to 10 repetitions.

Prone Superman

Laying on your belly, start by placing your hands palms facing down against your forehead. Lift your head and hands up so that your elbows are facing out, making sure your shoulders are not rounded forward but rather rather down and back. Hold this position for 2 seconds before returning to your starting position. Repeat this for up to 10 repetitions.

Seated Clamshell

The gluteus medius and minimus are often neglected and can be the cause of low back and hip pain. Try this exercise seated at the office or try standing for an added challenge and to incorporate more muscle groups into the exercise. Start seated with both feet on the floor, back straight and sitting tall. Lift your right foot off the floor with the knee bent, rotating out from your right knee, creating a 90 degree angle from your right knee. Return to start. Complete the same movement on the other side. Do 10 on each side, repeat throughout the day.