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Does Diet Soda Make You Fat? February 14, 2008

Posted by Lisa Sabin in fitness, Fitness Goals, healthy lifestyles, nutrition, Weight Loss.

Several years ago Emily Edison, a nutritionist friend of mine told me that people who want to lose weight shouldn’t drink diet soda. I referred clients who needed help creating realistic weight loss plans to her. I worked with a man who was an ex-college football player, who drank at least 2 liters of diet soda a day. He weighed 319 when we started working together. I referred him to Emily, who immediately got him off soda. He trained 4 days a week, walking on the treadmill or outside and lifted very light weights with me. Over the course of about 2 months, he dropped down to 289 lbs. Cutting out soda wasn’t the only modification he made. He also cut back on alcohol and reduced his portion sizes.

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Managing a healthy body weight February 8, 2008

Posted by Lisa Sabin in fitness, Fitness Goals, healthy lifestyles, nutrition, Weight Loss.
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The most common fitness goal and probably the most important is achieving and maintaining a healthy body-weight. Recent data indicates that approximately 66 percent of the United States adults are overweight (defined as having a Body Mass Index of 25 kg/m2 or higher) and 32 percent are obese (defined as having a Body Mass Index of 30 kg/m2 of higher). Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnea, osteoarthritis, dyslipidemia, metabolic syndrome and depression are just a few of the diseases that are related to obesity.

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Fitness is key to Longevity January 31, 2008

Posted by Lisa Sabin in fitness, healthy lifestyles, Weight Loss.
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If you want to live a long, healthy life, then focus on your fitness.  Too many people worry about their weight, instead of focusing on exercise and healthy living.

A study published in the December 5th issue of the Journal of American Medical Association finds that when it comes to longevity, being physically fit is more important than keeping your weight down.

In the study, scientists found people who were overweight, but fit tended to outlive those who were leaner but not in good shape.

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Body Image – What should I weigh? January 30, 2008

Posted by Lisa Sabin in fitness, Fitness Goals, healthy lifestyles, Weight Loss.
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Many people have self confidence issues related to being the ideal weight.  This can come from comparing yourself against standards, such as the BMI, and it can also come from comparing yourself against celebrities.

Body image is a strange thing. We are constantly bombarded with unrealistic expectations about the way we should look. Celebrities swing back and forth for movie rolls. They range from the chubby “Bridget Jones” character to nearly anorexic “Roxy Hart” character in the movie Chicago. Every week there are more pictures of skinny celebrities in the tabloids.

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Can Oatmeal Really Help Me Lose Weight? May 16, 2007

Posted by Lisa Sabin in healthy lifestyles, nutrition, Weight Loss.

 Magical Oats

Oats are high in soluable fiber.  What that means is that oatmeal acts like a sponge which absorbs cholesterol and removes it from your system.  3 grams of fiber has been shown to reduce cholesterol, specifically LDL, which is low density cholesterol.  This equates to about 1 1/2 cups of oatmeal a day.  RDA recommends 5-10 grams of soluable fiber every day. 20-35 grams total.

How Can Using A Heart Rate Monitor And Training Zones Help Me Lose Weight Or Improve My Performance? April 15, 2007

Posted by Lisa Sabin in Endurance Training, Fitness Goals, healthy lifestyles, Heart Rate Training, Injury Prevention, Running With A Heart Rate Monitor, Weight Loss.

Knowing your Max HR, will help determine your individual training zones. I think we all want more effective workouts. Using training zones will help you reach your fitness goals faster.

Some facts about training zones:

  • Training zones have names that correspond with their benefits.
  • Training zones have a floor and a ceiling, a range.
  • Training zones are sports specific.
  • Training zones use different fuels, depending on current fitness level.
  • Different amounts of calories are burned in each zone.
  • Different ratios of carbohydrate and fat are burned in each zone.
  • Training zones change if you are at altitude(Max HR drops).
  • Training zones are affected by medication and drugs.
  • Training zones are relative to individuals.


Zone #5 – Redline

  • 90-100% Max HR
  • Mostly Carbohydrates burned
  • Approximately 20 Calories per min (150 lb person)(600 Calories for 30 min.)
  • Maximum Effort: Sprinting, high speed intervals
  • Benefit: Improved lactate tolerance (Great Improvements in Speed and Performance)
  • Lactate Concentration: >8mmol/l
  • VO2: 86-100%
  • Rating of Perceived Exertion: 7-10
  • Description of R.P.E.: Very, very hard to Maximal, Can’t talk except for short phrases

Zone #4 – Threshold

  • 80-90% Max HR
  • More Carbohydrate than fat burned
  • Approximately 15 calories per min (150lb person)(450 for 30 min)
  • Hard Effort: Time trials, intervals, tempo, hill work
  • Benefit: Improved anaerobic capacity, lactate clearance (Improve Speed and Performance)
  • Lactate Concentration: 4-8 mmol/l
  • VO2: 73-86%
  • Rating of Perceived Exertion: 5-7
  • Description of R.P.E.: Hard to very, very hard, can still talk, but not comfortably

Zone #3 – Aerobic

  • 70-80% Max HR
  • Nearly equal amounts of carbohydrate and fat burned.
  • Approximately 10 calories per min (150lb person) (300 calories per 30 min)
  • Endurance and steady state
  • Benefits: Improved aerobic capacity, optimal cardiovascular training (Improve Fitness)
  • Lactate Concentration: 3-4 mmol/l
  • VO2: 60-73%
  • Rating of Perceived Exertion: 4-5
  • Description of R.P.E.: Somewhat hard to hard, Very aware of breathing, still comfortable to talk

Zone #2 -Temperate

  • 60-70% Max HR
  • Mostly Fat Burned
  • Approximately 7 calories per min (150lb person) (210 per 30 min)
  • Long Slow Distance, recovery and regeneration
  • Benefits: Improved fat mobilization, basic cardio training (Maintain Fitness)
  • Lactate Concentration: 2-3 mmol/l
  • VO2: 48-60%
  • Rating of Perceived Exertion: 2.5-4
  • Description of R.P.E.: Easy to somewhat hard, Comfortable talking, but aware of breathing

Zone # 1-Healthy Heart

  • 50-60% Max HR
  • More Fat Burned
  • Approximately 4 calories per min (150lb person) (120 calories per 30 min)
  • Warm up and cool down, rehabilitation
  • Benefits: Improved self esteem, stress reduction, blood chemistry(Get Fit)

Example: My Max HR for running is 200

  • Zone 5 – 180-200 (Racing!)
  • Zone 4 – 160-180 (Racing or tempo runs)
  • Zone 3 – 140-160 (Most of my time is spent here)
  • Zone 2 – 120-140 (Recovery)
  • Zone 1 – 100-120 (Warm up & cool down)

Example: My Max HR for cycling is 190

  • Zone 5 – 171-190 (Racing, triathlon!)
  • Zone 4 – 152-171 (Long difficult rides, hill climbing, spin class intervals)
  • Zone 3 – 133-152 (Most time spent here)
  • Zone 2 – 114-133 (Recovery rides)
  • Zone 1 – 95-114 (Warm up and cool down)

Things to Consider:

Spending a lot of time in zone 3 helps develop a good cardiovascular base. Once a fitness base is established, improvements can be made by targeting 1 or 2 workouts per week in zones 4 and 5. Be careful not to have all your workouts in zone 4 or 5. The risk for injury and burnout are greater in these zones. Spending too much time in zones 2 will not yield the desired results for weight loss or performance even though a higher percentage of fat is burned. The total amount of calories burned is significantly lower than in zone 3.

A sound training program uses all 5 zones. Remember to warm up and cool down each work out. Build your base and add in some key work outs. Watch your fitness improve!

Sally Edwards, Heart Zones Training
Sally Edwards & Sally Reed, Heart Zones Cycling
Edmund R. Burke, PHD, Precision Heart Rate Training

Tweeking My Diet March 20, 2007

Posted by Lisa Sabin in Fitness Goals, healthy lifestyles, hydration, nutrition, Weight Loss.

I think about what I eat every day and try to eat heathy grains, lowfat dairy products, lean meats etc. I try to avoid sodium. The RDA recommends keeping sodium intake below 2,000 mg per day. It’s amazing how much sodium is in everything! I will weigh a few pounds more the day after eating out or having pizza. It’s a challenge to keep it all in balance. I am trying to get a little leaner and still have energy to work out and maintain my busy lifestyle.

I was reading a case study in CompetitorNW The article is about Sean, a 27 year old competitive swimmer who started gaining weight after he quit competing. As a law student his schedule is busy, despite this he still manages to get in some swimming, rock climbing and cycling. His goals are to maximize energy levels and encourage fat loss and enhance performance. Isn’t this what we all want?

Kim Mueller, MS, RD, Sports Nutritionist noticed that Sean’s calorie intake was too low. (1,635 calories) His carbohydrate intake was too low as well as his protein intake. This would explain low energy levels and poor recovery from work outs.

Calorie and carbohydrate restriction can lower the amount of glycogen stored within the muscles and liver, which can lead to reduced power output and decreased endurance capacity. High protein, low carb diets have this same effect. It’s like putting the wrong kind of fuel in the engine.

Sean’s other problem was too many calories at the end of the day. Instead of eating 3 larger meals, it’s better to eat 4-6 smaller meals through out the day.

The solution for Sean:

Increase calories to 2100, focusing on adding more carbohydrates to help him recover from his work outs. At the end of 12 weeks Sean lost 10 lbs, and increased his lean body mass by 3 pounds, which equates to a 7% increase in metabolic efficeincy.

I read this article and started analyzing my diet. My calorie intake is not bad. I am in a recovery cycle right now, which means I am not burning as many calories. I notice that I am tired sometimes and that I come up short in the fiber department. I am not much of a fruit eater. I also need to drink more water.

New diet goal: Add 2 fruits per day. Drink more water. Try not to go over 5 hours with out eating something.

Lose Weight – Boost Your Metabolic Rate March 2, 2007

Posted by Lisa Sabin in Crosstraining, fitness, healthy lifestyles, Strength Training, Weight Lifting, Weight Loss.

To lose fat, there must be an energy deficit. Energy expended exceeds energy intake. Weight loss occurs by decreasing the amount of calories consumed. This method tends to have a rebound effect with a regain of fat weight when the person returns to a normal diet.

To understand how resistance training effects metabolism, it’s helpful to think of the effects of exercise over a 24 hour period.

Thermic Effect of Activity, accounts for about 15-30% of energy expenditure, Thermic effect of feeding accounts for about 10% or energy expenditure, and resting metabolic rate accounts for 60-75% of energy expenditure.

Strength training doesn’t burn as many calories during an exercise bout as aerobic exercise. However, strength training or resistance training causes a gradual increase in muscle mass which increases the basal metabolic rate (the calories required to maintain basic body functions throughout the day or night). As the metabolic rate increases, more calories are needed to perform daily functions.

EPOC, excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, refers to the calories expended (above resting values) after an exercise bout. This is the amount of oxygen the body is utilizing to return itself to its pre-exercise state. (Borsheim and Bahr, 2003) Studies have found that the magnitude and duration of EPOC is dependent on the intensity and duration of exercise. It can take 15 minutes to 48 hours for the body to recover to a resting state.

For every liter of oxygen consumed, approximately 5 calories are burned. EPOC was significantly longer following the highest intensity exercise. i.e. Cardiovascular training at 70-85% VO2 Max has a higher EPOC than exercising at 60-70% or 50%.

EPOC for resistance training was also longer following intense exercise bouts. In a study by Gilette et al. (1994), resistance training (5 sets, 10 exercises, 8-12 reps at 70% 1-rep max) elicited a greater EPOC response when compared to aerobic exercise (50% VO2 for 60 minutes) Circuit resistance training elicits an even greater EPOC response.

Although, there are variations in individual responses, additional caloric expenditure following exercise can have a positive effect over time and may contribute to long-term weight management. Cardiovascular training at or above 70% VO2,(almost every day) along with strength training or resistance training twice per week will have a positive effect on decreasing body fat and increasing lean body mass.

Rob Parker, Resistance Training and Fat Loss, PT on The Net, Sept 1999
Murphy, E. and Swartzkopf, R. 1992 Effect Pf standard set and circuit weight training on excess post-exercise oxygen consumption. Journal of Applied Sport Science Research, 6(2), 88-91
Chantal A Vella, Ph.D. & Len Kravitz, Ph.D., Exercise Afterburn: Research Update

Tempted To Cheat! February 28, 2007

Posted by Lisa Sabin in boston marathon, Fat Tuesday, nutrition, Weight Loss.

I woke up this morning and found 6 boxes of girlscout cookies on the dining room table. They weren’t there when I went to bed! A friend of ours has two daughters who are girlscouts. Apparently, Phil didn’t know about my pact with my sister to give up sweets for lent! Either that or he just couldn’t resist a couple of cute kids.

They are in our freezer right now, out of sight, out of mind right? I feel like the guy in the movie “What It Takes.” He doesn’t keep any food in the house, so he won’t cheat.

The cookies are calling me! Should I keep my word? or support the scouts?

Non Exercise Activites That Help Maintain or Lose Weight February 7, 2007

Posted by Lisa Sabin in fitness, healthy lifestyles, Weight Loss.
As obesity in children and adults continues to rise, there is a pressing need to recognize all contributing causes, and attempt to develop combating strategies. Clearly an inactive lifestyle and low levels of physical inactivity coupled with excessive energy intake are commonalities observed with a sizable proportion of overweight/obese children and adults in today’s society. However, a new line of research is also looking at the role that daily posture allocation, or more specifically, standing, walking and fidgeting plays with weight gain and obesity. As such, a relatively new component of energy expenditure is NEAT, which stands for non-exercise activity thermogenesis (physiological process the produce heat). Some innovative researchers in this area have revealed some surprising new information.

Introducing NEAT
NEAT comprises the energy expenditure of daily activities such as standing, walking, talking and sitting––all activities that are not considered planned physical activity of a person’s daily life. To measure NEAT, previous research by the investigators included the development and validation of sensitive physical activity monitoring inclinometers and triaxial accelerometers worn on the hips and legs of the body. These devices capture data on body position and through all planes of movement 120 times a minute. The combination of this information with other laboratory measurement of energy expenditure leads to a calculation of NEAT. Previous findings by the authors indicate that changes in NEAT accompany changes in energy balance, which may be meaningful in affecting weight change.

The NEAT Study
The researchers recruited 20 healthy volunteers who had one very similar description of their planned physical activity––they did none. As quoted from the article, all subjects were self-proclaimed “couch potatoes.” Of the 20 volunteers, 5 men and 5 women had BMI measurements of 23 ± 2 kg/m2 (classifying them as lean) and 5 men and 5 women had BMI measurements of 33 ± 2 kg/m2 (classifying them as mildly obese). The authors noted that a mild obese population was selected because they were less likely to have medical impediments and orthopedic troubles as compared to a morbidly obese group. So, with each subject wearing an inclinometer and triaxial accelerometer, the researchers collected data every half-second for 10 days. The authors highlighted the incredible data acquisition aspect of the study by noting that they had 25 million data points on movement and posture for each subject after completion of the 10-day experiment.

The NEAT Study Results
With a sample population of non-exercisers, this investigation was searching for posture and movement clues why10 lean men and women varied from 10 mildly obese men and women, and they discovered some. The obese subjects were seated for 164 minutes longer each day than the lean participants. As well, the lean participants were upright for 153 minutes longer per day that the obese subjects.Importantly, sleep times between the groups did not vary at all. The lean subjects had significantly more total body ambulatory movement, which consisted of standing and walking. In essence, the extra movement by the lean subjects averaged 352 ± 65 calories per day, which is equivalent to 36.5 lbs in one year. Exploring further, the researchers wanted to probe why there seems to be a tendency for over fat persons to sit more than lean individuals. Follow-up pilot research (exploratory or start-up research) by the authors suggests that the posture allocation differences seen with the subjects in this study may have a biological determination. Yet, if this were totally the explanation, obesity would much more likely be a consistent fabric of life, and yet the evidence shows it has been increasing dramatically the last few decades. Therefore, the authors speculate that various environmental cues (e.g. technology, transportation, computer-based worksites, portion sizes and calories in restaurant meals, low-cost fast food availability, etc.) help to better explain the differences noted in the obese and lean subjects’ NEAT values.

Side Bar I. Suggestions to Be More Active During the Day

A very helpful ‘Get Active’ web site is SmallStep.gov (http://www.smallstep.gov/). Here are just a few of the many suggestions provided at this web site to people get moving and more physically active during the day:
1. Walk to work
2. Walk during your lunch hour
3. Walk instead of drive whenever you can
4. Take a family walk after dinner
5. Skate to work instead of drive
6. Mow the lawn with a push mower
7. Walk to your place of worship instead of driving
8. Walk your dog
9. Replace the Sunday drive with a Sunday walk
10. Get off a stop early and walk
11. Work and walk around the house
12. Take your dog to the park
13. Wash the car by hand
14. Run or walk fast when doing errands
15. Pace the sidelines at your kids’ athletic games
16. Take wheels off your luggage
17. Walk to a co-worker’s desk instead of emailing or calling them
18. Make time in your day for physical activity
19. Bike to the barbershop or beauty salon instead of driving
20. If you find it difficult to be active after work, try it before work
21. Take a walk break instead of a coffee break
22. Perform gardening and/or home repair activities
23. Avoid laborsaving devices
24. Take small trips on foot to get your body moving.
25. Play with your kids 30 minutes a day
26. Dance to music
27. Walk briskly in the mall
28. Take the long way to the water cooler
29. Take the stairs instead of the escalator
30. Go for a hike

Additional Reference:
ACSM’s Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription (7th ed.). Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
 Want to read more?  Check DrLenKravits.com.  I attended his workshop in 2006. He is one of the best in the fitness industry.