Werk it

That’s right put in werk, move your bum, go wizzerk,

Eat your salad, no dessert, get that man you deserve.

-Kanye West

Well, despite what judgement I may have cast here, I know a lot of people really are interested in getting into shape for summer. The weather is nice, and people are out running, biking, hiking, climbing, and all that good stuff. So I have decided to do a little segment highlighting physical activity, weight loss, and sports nutrition! Hurray! Everyone’s favorite topic! I am mostly excited to include lyrics from The Black Eyed Peas, Pink, and the Ying Yang twins that are relevant and inspirational.

Today I thought I would start out by discussing fitness and it’s health implications. As we all know a calorie is a form or expression of energy. We need to consume calories daily to maintain a balance for the calories our bodies expend each day. Our bodies expend calories in 3 areas: basal metabolism, thermic effect of food, and physical activity.

Here is a helpful pie chart to help you understand what percent of energy is used where. Basal metabolism or resting metabolic rate is the amount of energy our body needs to function. Ya know, like to allow your heart to beat, kidneys to flush, lungs to expand, liver to detox, and eyelids to blink. Typically this takes about 800-1200 calories. Thermic effect of food is the amount of calories needed to digest and break down your meals. Did you know you technically burn calories (aka use energy) to digest what you eat? Nifty! And then there is physical activity, no brainer here, you burn calories when you work out. So can you guess which area is variable? If you guessed physical activity you are correct and please message me your address to redeem your prize! This folks, is why physical activity is important when it comes to weight maintenance. If you are in the market to loose weight, or eat more delicious foods because you love it and don’t want to gain weight, then learn to expend more calories through physical activity!

Some other benefits of physical activity include:

  • More restful sleep. I think more than half of people have sleep problems, so check you PA levels! (physical activity)
  • Nutritional health. Obviously
  • Optimal bone density and body composition
  • Resistance to colds and infectious diseases
  • Strong circulation and lung function
  • Lower risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and some cancers
  • Lower incidence and severity of depression and anxiety
  • Stronger self-image
  • A longer quality life!

And if that list isn’t convincing enough, do it for the endorphins. Hormones are the real drugs, let’s get high on life! But seriously, it’s amazing how many people recognize that a good work out is the cure for unhappiness, stress, and anxiety, every single time.

Please visit my favorite website that I have linked to at least 3 times on this blog : choosemyplate.gov/physical-activity to learn more and find out different types of activities from moderate to heavy. The old MyPyramid program also gave these great tips to help you achieve fitness:

EVERY DAY – Be as active as possible

  • Use the stairs
  • Mow grass, rake leaves, garden, shovel snow
  • Walk or bike to class, work, or shops
  • Scrub floors, wash windows (yeah guys, you really should be doing this everyday..)
  • Walk your dog, cat, rabbit, or snake
  • Wash and wax your car (again, this should be a daily routine anyway)
  • Play with children

4-6 DAYS/WEEK- Engage in moderate activity

  • Aerobic actives such as: running, biking, swimming, cross-country skiing, dancing, power walking, jump roping, roller-blading, rowing, curling, rigorous canoeing, fencing, Insanity¬©
  • Sports activities such as: soccer, basketball, baseball, volleyball, tennis, football, racquetball, softball, etc.

2-3 DAYS/WEEK- Engage in strength and flexibility activities

  • Sit-ups, push-ups, curl-ups, pull-ups
  • Weight lifting
  • Stretching and yoga
  • Leisure activities such as golfing, bowling, table tennis, horseback riding, dancing in your bedroom, and leisure canoeing

DO SELDOM- Limit sedentary activities

  • Watch TV or movies
  • Leisure computer time
  • (Reading was not on this list, so I guess do that as often as you want…)

Good luck getting started on your fitness ventures! Consider making a SMART goal for yourself and check back often for more sports nutrition tips!

I’m so glad I am an army wife, cuz this is exactly what I look look like…

Feeling S.A.D?

This time of year a lot of people tend to be more SAD. I’m talking Seasonal Affective Disorder, aka seasonal depression. I’m guilty of having this problem every year or two, and I find it gets to me the most in the early “spring” (probably because this is Utah and spring doesn’t happen until the end of May)!

Symptoms typically include excess sleepiness, lethargy, increased appetite, social withdrawal, and feelings of unhappiness. To learn more specifics check this out. For this little blurb, I would like to suggest NATURAL ways to help you during this dreary time of year. (By natural I mean your doctor probably won’t tell you these tips, he will be too busy trying to prescribe you the happy pill).

Step One:

Start by eating a diet of whole-rather than processed-foods that doesn’t include a lot of sugar or starches. Consider supplementing or incorporating foods rich in b vitamins. Food sources include: green leafy vegetables, brown rice and whole grains, lecithin, brewers yeast, meats and liver, oats, bananas, avocados, legumes, and brazil nuts – to name a few.

Get fishy. Increase your fish intake to at least two servings per week and consider supplementing with fish oil capsules. Fish oils are high in EPA/DHA which promote increased neurotransmitter production and brain development. Anything that supports a healthy brain is going to support a healthy mood.

Step Two:

If improving your diet doesn’t make much of a difference after a couple weeks consider adding this supplement to your routine:

  • 5-HTP: This is a good one. I am personally not a huge supplement person, but I did try taking this for a hot minute and it helped me during times when I had insomnia and anxiety. Some of you medical or biology geniuses out there might know that our body can convert the amino acid tryptophan to serotonin (serotonin is the neurotransmitter involved specifically with our moods). What’s tricky though, is that trpytophan is used for a lot of functions in our body so by increasing our meat and protein intake, we can’t always be sure that the individual tryptophan amino acids will be used to convert to serotonin. The good news is 5-HTP is a by product of tryptophan that is used specifically for the serotonin producing pathway. Start with 50 mg a day (I would say at night because it can cause sleepiness) and build up to 100 mg if needed. This supplement only needs to be taken temporarily and therefore is perfect for SAD.

Step Three:

Increase your physical activity. Even if it is just going outside for a 15-20 minute walk. I guess we have been lucky here in Utah that the winter has been so mild; I haven’t had to pull out my snow boots once! So grab a scarf and get outside! Remember how physical activity increases endorphins in our bodies? I mean who doesn’t love that feel good high you get after a good work out!? We like to move it move it!