Friday, July 31, 2009

LIQUID CALORIES...What’s Your Intake?

By Alison Wilson, Wellness Director/Nutritionist
Seattle Athletic Club Downtown

Over the last 37 years the total daily intake of calories from beverages increased 94%, now amounting to an additional 222 calories per day. Note that in one year, just one daily 12-ounce soda can increase your weight by 16 pounds!

Tips for reducing intake of high calorie beverages
When keeping track of calories don’t forget that everything you eat and drink counts!

When watching your calories water is always the best option. It has zero calories and will keep you hydrated!

A plain cup of coffee contains only a few calories, so consider this when drinking youdaily cup of joe:

  • 1 tablespoon of cream adds more than 50 calories
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar adds nearly 50 calories
  • 1 tablespoon of fat-free milk, on the other hand, adds only 5 calories
  • 100% fruit juices and low-fat milk are good high calorie beverages since they supply other nutrients such as vitamin A, vitamin C, and calcium.
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Friday, July 24, 2009

How do I choose the best running route for me?

Whether you are a casual runner looking for a quick and easy jog, or you are an experienced marathon runner looking to tackle a lengthy, challenging course, Seattle has much to offer to help you achieve your fitness goals.

Although it may seem easy enough for some to just get out there and hit the streets, there are several obstacles that may discourage many individuals from achieving their fitness goals. Here are some things that all runners should keep in mind while searching for the right running course:

• Make sure while running at night, you are in a well-lit atmosphere.
• Avoid running in high-crime neighborhoods and/or parks.
• Get familiar with new courses and its surroundings. You are likely to get lost in unfamiliar territory.

• Be very cautious while running in the rain. Your chances of injury rise considerably while running on slippery surfaces like manhole covers and street grates.
• Running in extreme heat may cause heat exhaustion and/or heat stroke.

• Gravel and outdoor trails me be unfamiliar surfaces to many individuals. Be cautious while running downhill and avoid taking long strides. This will decrease your chances of sliding and causing serious injury.
• While running along busy city streets, keep clear of potholes and construction sites.

Hydration and proper footwear
• Staying hydrated is crucial while undergoing any kind of cardiovascular exercise.
• Running in parks and neighborhoods with designated water stations would be ideal.
• Having the right footwear is also a very important element while running. Cross trainer or running shoes are a must. Don’t wear your casual everyday sneakers while running long distances.
• Consult your local shoe store for questions and concerns about what shoe works best for you.

Keeping all of these factors in mind and with a little research from the helpful sites listed below, finding the best running route no matter where you live should be quite easy. These sites will include course length, terrain, and a detailed map for your convenience. If you are not looking for a running route in Seattle, these sites will still be able to help you chose the right course.

If you live in or around Seattle, The Seattle Athletic Club - Downtown is a great point to begin your cardio workout. Here are some recommended routes to consider:
• Myrtle Edwards Park: head down Lenora St. and walk down the flight of stairs; across the street you’ll find the great Puget Sound; start heading north and continue until you hit the Sculpture Park and eventually Eliot Bay Park.
• For an intense, uphill climb, make your way up to 1st. Ave; continue south until you find Madison St; this is a steep and challenging hill that will eventually take you up to Capital hill.

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Thursday, July 16, 2009

What to Eat When You Workout

In order to maximize your workout it is important to eat both before and after you exercise!

REMEMBER: your body requires calories to burn calories! Here are some guidelines for effectively fueling your body and recovering from exercise.

If you have 3-4 hours before exercise…
It is best to consume a meal rich in complex carbohydrates (whole grain bread, beans, or baked potato), lean proteins (tofu, lean poultry, or nuts), and healthy fats (olive, pure vegetable, or soy). At this point your body has enough time to digest a more complex meal before your workout.

SUGGESTION: Try a turkey sandwich with avocado, tomato, spinach, and mustard on whole grain bread!

If you have 2-3 hours before exercise…
This may not leave enough time for a full meal, but a small meal containing both carbohydrates and protein will stop hunger and fill your glycogen stores (your muscle’s primary source of energy).

SUGGESTION: Try some yogurt with low fat granola or some cottage cheese with fresh fruit.

If you have 1 hour or less before exercise…
This is the time to eat foods that are easy to digest, low in fat, and rich in carbohydrates.

SUGGESTION: Try a piece of fresh fruit, an 8oz fruit smoothie, or a small granola bar.

Foods to avoid right before exercise…
Any food with a high fat content should be avoided right before a workout. High fat foods stay in the stomach a long time because they are difficult and slow to digest. Our bodies put a lot of energy into digestion, causing the blood flow to the stomach to greatly increase. This can result in cramping or discomfort during exercise.

*Remember that each body is different and what works for you many not work for someone else. Test a variety of foods and see what works best for you!

After exercise…
Refueling your body will encourage recovery and guide you toward a better future workout. Timing is important for recovery because your muscles replace their glycogen stores within the first few hours after you exercise. If your next meal is within an hour of exercise, use that meal to refuel. If your next meal won’t be for an hour or two, eat a small snack of around 200 calories within 30 minutes after workout. Make sure to include both protein and carbohydrates for maximum recovery!

Don’t forget to hydrate!
(For more hDrink 2 cup (16 ounces) of fluid up to 2 hours before your workout. During exercise drink 8-10 ounces every 15-20 minutes to replace lost fluids and prevent dehydration. After exercise make sure you replace all fluids lost during your workout. To determine how much you need weigh yourself before and after exercise, and drink 2 to 3 cups (16-24 ounces) of fluid per pound lost.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Small bouts of exercise add up!

We all have busy schedules and finding time to fit everything is nearly impossible. The first thing we tend to throw out is our workout. Well, forget this all or nothing mentality, you do not have to workout 30-60 minutes all at once. Instead, squeeze your workouts in where you have 10 extra minutes. It is proven that doing 10 minutes of medium to high intensity workouts at least 3 times a day, 5 days a week, will help you live a healthier life and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.

Besides fitting in the 10 minute workouts when you have a little bit of free time, you can also make simple choices that will help you burn a few extra calories. For instance, park at the far end of the store parking lot and walk briskly to the store. Whenever possible walk wherever you need to go. By taking the stairs instead of the elevator you can burn 75-115 calories for every 10 minutes spent in the stairwell. While watching your favorite show doesn’t just sit on the couch, on those commercial breaks get up and get you’re heart rate up and your blood pumping. Just think if you did 5 minutes of jumping jacks, crunches, pushups, squats, and lunges, each time you had a commercial you would get in an extra 20-30 minutes of working out.

Also spring is just around the corner and it is time to do spring-cleaning. Get out there and do some gardening, 30 minutes of gardening will burn roughly 140 calories, mowing the lawn for 30 minutes will burn about 160 calories, raking the leaves will burn about 125 calories in 30 minutes. Clean those dirty windows! Wash all your windows inside and out for 30 minutes and burn 85 calories. 30 minutes spent cleaning out the garage can burn 100 calories. Rearrange your furniture, and vacuum and dust behind everything can burn an extra 135 calories.
As you can see it does not take much to burn those extra calories! Your goal is to squeeze in your workouts whenever you have a few extra minutes, and to move more!

Written by Katrina Yniguez, Personal Trainer at the Seattle Athletic Club Downtown.

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