Friday, August 21, 2009

Burn more calories; turn your walk into a run!

If you are already walking for 30 minutes at least 3 days a week, you are ready to turn your walk into a run! By adding interval training with running to your workouts, you almost double your caloric burn. Alternating this high-intensity work with moderate recovery greatly increases your fitness level, and will help break through plateaus.

Running is an achievable goal for most as long as you take the proper steps. First thing first, don’t go out and just run for 30 minutes, ease in to it! Add intervals of running to your current walking routine by using the work to rest ratio method. The work to rest ratio method is simply setting a set time for work and a set time for rest. Typically you rest for one, two or three times the length of work. For example, start by warming up for 5 minutes, and then increase your speed for 1-2 minutes. Return to your usual walking pace for 4-5 minutes to recover. Continue with short bursts of running to your walking routine for 30 minutes. When you are ready to progress, make the work part (run) of the interval longer and decrease the recovery time. For example, you could do 5 minutes of running and rest for 3 minutes.

Everyone is different as to what he or she can handle and what function of exercise so tailor your interval burst to your fitness level. Before you know it you will be running 30 minutes straight! And who knows, one of these days you may find yourself training for an organized event like a 5k, 10k or half marathon!

Written by,
Dana Hansen
Seattle Athletic Club - Northgate
Director of Fitness Operations

Monday, August 17, 2009

A "fishy" alternative to your typical summer BBQ

Do you ever get tired of the same old hamburger and hot dogs? Why not fire up the grill with a salmon burger or halibut fillet?! Not only is fish a healthier alternative, but it is great if you are in a hurry or want a quick after-work meal. It can take only minutes to prepare!

Health benefits

In addition to containing an abundance of high quality protein, fish is generally lower in fat, saturated fat, and calories than beef, poultry and pork. Fish is also loaded with vitamins and minerals like iron, zinc, calcium, and vitamin D. The American Heart Association recommends we eat fish two times a week to help prevent health risks.

The most important health benefit of fish is its high concentration of omega-3 fatty acids. This type of fat has shown to reduce the risk of developing heart disease, reduce blood pressure, help prevent arthritis, prevent abnormal heart rhythms, and promote healthy brain function. In addition, an 800-person study done for the Rush Institute for Healthy Aging revealed that men and women ages 65-94 who ate fish at least one meal per week were significantly less likely to develop Alzheimer’s than those who ate none.

Omega-3’s are also a great source of mono- and polyunsaturated fats which help lower “bad” cholesterol, while saturated fats actually increase “bad” cholesterol levels. The best sources of omega-3’s are oily fish such as salmon, sardines, anchovies, and herring. Whether or not you are eating a fish high in omega-3’s, you are still consuming a high protein food that is low in saturated fat and cholesterol.

See for yourself how a 4-ounce salmon fillet compares to a 4-ounce ground beef patty and Ballpark frank:

4oz Salmon Fillet: 245 Calories,12g Fat, 2g Sat. Fat, 31g Protein, 98mg Cholesterol, 75mg Sodium, 1.5g Omega-3.

4oz Beef Patty: 310 Calories, 20g Fat, 8g Sat. Fat, 29g Protein, 104mg Cholesterol, 85mg Sodium, 0g Omega-3.

Ballpark Hot Dog: 180 Calories, 16g Fat, 7g Sat. Fat, 6g Protein, 35mg Cholesterol, 620mg Sodium, 0g Omega-3.

The Fish Grilling Basics
One of the main reasons people avoid cooking fish on the grill is because it takes some finesse. Take a chance and conquer your fear today using these basic fish seasoning and grilling techniques!

Basic fish seasonings: Try rosemary, lemon, dill, garlic, ginger, onion, basil, pesto, mustard, marjoram, parsley, salt or pepper. If you are feeling creative, work with different combinations of these seasonings to create your own delicious variation. Also see 3 delicious recipes below!

Grilling the fish:
1. Remove any leftover charred particles from the grill
2. Make sure the fish doesn’t stick by wiping the grill with a lightly oiled towel or brushing the fish with a little oil before grilling.
3. For grilling methods and cook times of different types of fish check out tips from Cattlemens BBQ
4. Turn fish only one time! Turning the fish multiple times will cause the fish to break apart.
5. Take note that fish can cook very quickly. Don’t leave it unattended unless you are sure of the cooking time.

For some more great examples of fish recipes you can try, please follow the link below to be diverted to our resource center.

Click here for our Fish Recipes!

Written by Alison Wilson, Nutritionist/Wellness Director at the Seattle Athletic Club Downtown.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Quick and Dirty of Stretching

You pedal through a vigorous terrain on the bike as the instructor pushes on. You bear down and work through your personal training session. You even add a few minutes on the rowing machine for good measure. With a smile of satisfaction, there is nothing left to do but hit the showers and go on with your day.

Not so fast! Did you think about those muscles that pulled you through the workout you just completed? Stretching is so often something people neglect to do at the end of a training session because they are too tired or in a rush to their next appointment. Consider the following as an explanation of why stretching matters and how to do it correctly.

The benefits of stretching are plentiful. However, did you ever think what would happen if you did not stretch? By not stretching, your joints lose range of motion and mobility, your posture is compromised, and you can experience decreased circulation to your muscles and joints. In addition, you can experience increased muscle tension, decreased muscular coordination, and an increase in injuries.

Here are the basic stretching essentials you should consider when you are hitting the mat to relax and lengthen those tired muscles.
Target major muscle groups. When you are stretching, focus on your neck, shoulders, lower back, hips, thighs, and calves. In addition, always stretch the muscles that you use in your everyday routine at work or play. For example, if you sit all day at work make sure you stretch those muscles that are shortened and under used. The calves, hamstrings, hip flexors, chest and abdominal muscles become weak and tight when sitting for prolonged periods of time.

Don’t bounce. Bouncing as you stretch can create tiny tears in your muscles and leave vulnerable to injury. The tiny tears also cause the muscle to tighten further, leaving you less flexible than before.

Take your time. It takes time to stretch and lengthen your muscles correctly. Hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds before switching to the other side.

Stretch until you feel tension but not pain. When you are stretching your muscles, you will feel a slight tension but this should not cause pain. If you do experience pain, it is likely you have gone too far into the stretch and need to ease up just a bit.

Breathe! It is important to breathe and try to relax while you are stretching. By taking deep breaths, it allows you to take your stretch deeper.

You may wonder how often you should stretch. This is entirely up to you but as a general guideline, you should stretch every time you exercise. If you experience tightness in certain areas, stretch that area more often. Stretching is an activity that can be performed daily with no equipment needed. It will not be long before you start seeing results!

Written by,
Jamey Peters
Seattle Athletic Club
Personal Fitness Trainer

Friday, August 7, 2009

Hydration: Beating the record Seattle Heat!

New Record!! The temperatures in Seattle have beaten the record from years past and we have all felt the heat! But did you ever think about how much water your body has lost in the past two weeks from hitting your a.m. spin class or the boot camp on the pier? How about the amount of fluids lost walking to lunch with coworkers or swimming with the kiddos? Since water is essential to every cell, tissue, and organ in the body, it is important to understand how much water is lost during the day and how to replenish it before its too late.

Water is the largest component of the human body, accounting for nearly 60% of total body mass. It is important for regulating the body’s temperature, joint function, digestion, and the removal of waste products. And, because water composes more than half of the human body, it is impossible to sustain life for more than a week without it! On a daily basis, the human body loses approximately 2.5 liters through normal activities, sweating, exhalation, and elimination. However, in one hour of exercise the body can lose more than a quart of water, depending on exercise intensity and air temperature. If there is not enough water for the body to cool itself through perspiration, the body enters a state of dehydration.

So grab that water bottle and take a gulp! It is very important to drink before the signs of thirst appear. Thirst is a signal that indicates your body is already on the way to dehydration. Drink before, during, and after your workout to ensure fluid replacement in your body. Water is the best fluid replenisher for most individuals, but if you find yourself to sweat excessively and your sweat contains a lot of sodium (you may see salt rings in your athletic gear) than it is wise to replenish your body with a sports drink that contains needed electrolytes. It is easy to prevent dehydration and replenish your body with refreshing options, so drink up!

Helpful hydration hints:

Before exercise
• Two to three hours before the start of activity or training drink 16 ounces (2 cups) of fluid.

During exercise:
• Drink 8-10 ounces of fluid every 15-20 minutes of strenuous exercise.

After exercise:
• Drink to replace sweat
• Weigh yourself before and after the activity, for each pound lost, drink 16 ounces of fluid.

Written by,
Jamey Peters
Seattle Athletic Club Northgate
Personal Fitness Trainer

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