Monthly Archives: February 2015

Assessing Your Overall Health

By | Exercise | No Comments

Scale-TapeMeasure2

Have you completed a fitness assessment lately?

There are many assessment protocols out there, but the key is finding one relevant to your goals. If you’re training for a specific assessment, such as a firefighter physical ability test for example, you probably know exactly what you must do to pass. But, what about the average person who just wants a standard to test themselves against?

Some common areas to assess are cardiovascular efficiency, muscular endurance, muscular strength, flexibility, circumference measurements, and body composition. Your performance or score in each of these areas paints a picture about yourself and your overall health.

The President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports has an adult fitness test that sets some standards for the common adult. It’s not overly thorough, but may give you a general idea of how you stack up in these areas of fitness.

Aerobic Endurance. This test consists of either a 400 meter walk, a 1 mile walk, or a 1.5 mile jog/run. Choose the appropriate test based on your current fitness level. This test measures how efficiently you utilize the oxygen you take in with each breath. If you’re lungs and heart can utilize more oxygen at any intensity, then you can maximize your output at those different intensity levels and get more work done – move faster or farther in a set time frame.

Muscular Strength and Endurance. To test these aspects, you’ll be performing pushups and situps. These tests may vary slightly based on your sex but your individual score is always relative. Keep in mind, this test will give you an idea of your muscular strength and endurance but only in the movements being measured. So, if you run often for example, you may have great muscular endurance in your legs, but you may score low on the pushup test due to a lack of training the upper body.

Flexibility. This test consists of the well-known sit and reach where you’re in a seated position with your legs extended while attempting to reach towards or past your toes. Again, it’s one aspect of flexibility but gives you a general idea of how well the muscles of the legs and back allow the hips to move through a specific range of motion.

Personal Statistics. These areas of testing could include height, weight, BMI, body composition, and circumference measurements, such waist and hip size. For the adult fitness test, you’ll be entering your height, weight, and waist circumference and it will give you a score based on those 3 areas. Another important test to consider is measuring your body fat percentage. One goal of exercise is to not only achieve and maintain a healthy weight, but to improve the muscle vs. fat composition of that weight. With proper exercise, your lean mass should increase as your fat mass decreases. So, measuring your weight and your body fat percentage will tell you much more information that just stepping on a scale from week to week.

So if you’re wondering where your current fitness level ranks, check out the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports website and enter your stats from the above tests or contact us for a complimentary assessment.

More Exercise or Better Nutrition?

By | Exercise, Nutrition | No Comments

vegetable exercise woman

If you started 2015 with a new workout routine, you’re not alone. Millions join health clubs in their quest to lose weight, get healthier, and feel better. Exercise is definitely a must, but only one piece of the wellness puzzle. Don’t overlook the importance of nutrition and how it affects your results and overall well-being.

Below are the 3 most common nutrition mistakes we find with new clients and how to fix them.

Mistake #1: Eating most of your calories at dinner and after. If you skip breakfast or stop for coffee on your way to work, you are missing the first opportunity of the day to get some quality calories and nutrients. Coast by on fumes until lunch and you’re setting yourself up for failure. You’re going into the afternoon/evening on a low tank and you’ll probably soon over eat for dinner and in the hours that follow.

How to fix: Eat a well-rounded breakfast every day and try to consume 60% of your daily calories by the end of lunch. This way you will feel more consistent energy throughout the day while hopefully avoiding those cravings that kick in around dinnertime caused by under eating earlier in the day.

Mistake #2: Misunderstanding the relationship between calories and macronutrients. Calorie counting may be a good tool to help you quantify your food intake, but you must be aware of what makes up those calories. This is where many people go wrong with macronutrients – proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. A seemingly healthy caloric range that is made up of 70% processed carbohydrates is not a healthy balance of macronutrients.

How to fix: If you know your caloric range, use that as a reference, but you need to understand the macronutrient profile of the foods you eat. Your snacks and meals should always have a combination of protein, fats, and carbohydrates. For example, rather than grabbing a banana for a snack, which is all carbohydrates, try a Greek yogurt with crushed walnuts instead. This combination includes protein, fat, and carbohydrates for a more balanced macronutrient profile.

Mistake #3: Allowing too much time between meals. If you’re only eating once you actually feel hungry, you’re waiting too long. Your rational decision making goes away if you get too hungry and you may grab something you shouldn’t be eating. You’re also compromising your productivity by not having enough calories and nutrients available to run your body efficiently. If your blood sugar drops too low, you may feel your mood, energy, and focus change for the worse.

How to fix: Besides the obvious of trying to eat every 3 hours, you need to set a routine with your meals and understand that food is a fuel source. This doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy food, but you need to think beyond just the pleasure of eating and remember the reason we all eat in the first place – to nourish the body. Set your schedule so 3 hours after breakfast you have a snack, 3 hours later you have lunch, another snack 3 hours after lunch, and then dinner 3 hours later. This consistent timing of calories and nutrients will keep you going strong throughout the entire day.

So, fix these common mistakes and be that much closer to losing weight, getting healthier, and feeling better.

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