Friday, 1 March 2013

Pre-workout Fuel

by Ross Colomba MAT, CSCS, CK

If you are generally looking to fuel your workout (ex. 60 min. class or 90 min. mixture of weights and moderate cardiovascular activity) it is important to ingest a balance of carbohydrates and protein approximately 60-90 min. before your workout.

The types of carbs you should ingest are those that are low on the glycemic index. These types of foods are most appropriate because they are digested more slowly and can provide you with a longer lasting fuel source during your workout. Protein sources will provide your muscles with the building blocks they need to stimulate growth & reduce recovery time.

Examples of carbohydrates that are low on the glycemic index are oatmeal, rice, various types of beans, flax seeds, peaches, strawberries & most vegetables. For protein, choose meat sources. Their slow digestion rate will ensure that your muscles are given an adequate amount of fuel right until the very end. Meat sources will also provide your body with a natural source of creatine for those last few reps of each set.

Depending upon your goals it is important to know how much you should be eating prior to your workout and ensure that it lies within your recommended daily caloric intake. Generally a person should ingest roughly .25g of carbs multiplied by your total body weight and .25g of protein multiplyed by your total body weight. For example, if someone weighs 195 lbs they would be required to eat a mixture of 48.75g of carbs and 48.75g of protein 60-90 min. before working out.

Again each individual is different and depending upon your goals and the type of activity you are engaged in, the aforementioned recommendations may change. Otherwise, go ahead and power-up before Powerfit. Your body will thank you!

Friday, 1 February 2013

Super Healthy "Superbowl" Meals

Lookin' for a “SUPER” healthy Superbowl meal. Avoid the ridicule of eating baby carrots & celery sticks while watching the big game and try these low carb & guilt free receipe's that I came across.

GUACAMOLE – 174 calories in ¾ cup:

Mix - 2 ripe avocados (mashed), 1/2 red onion (chopped), 1 medium roma tomato (diced), 1/2 lime, 2-3 cloves of garlic (pressed), 2 tbsp cilantro (chopped)

Place in a food processor and serve cold.

BUFFALO DRUMSTICKS – 150 calories per serving (1 drumstick):

Mix - ¼ cup rice wine vinegar, 2 tsp chili powder, 1 ½ tsp paprika, 2 tsp garlic powder, ½ tsp onion powder, ½ tsp cayenne pepper, ¼ tsp salt, 2 tsp coconut oil
Place in a saucepan and heat over medium-to-high heat until it begins to simmer

Take 16 drumsticks with the skin and cover completly in the sauce. Bake at 375 F for 40 min.

TURKEY CHILI - 260 calories per 4oz searving (½ cup):

Mix –1 tbsp of paprika, 1 tbsp of onion powder, 1 tbsp of garlic powder, ½ -1 tbsp of cayenne pepper, 1 tbsp of seasoned pepper, ½ tbsp of dried thyme, ½ tbsp of dried oregano.

Mix - 1 pack of lean ground turkey, 1 large can of red kidney beans, & 1 large can of chopped tomatoes

Add both together and place in a slow cooker at medium-to-high heat til meat is cooked. Drain if necessary.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Setting personal fitness and nutrition goals and sticking with them!

Rosario Colomba MAT, CSCS
Personal training Manager - Xanadu Health Club

Sticking to New Years Resolutions is usually the biggest obstacle people face. You manage to stay pretty disciplined for about a month and then life slowly takes over. Before you know it, you are already looking forward to breaking that bad habit next year.

When it comes to choosing exercise as a New Years Resolution it is important to set goals. The reason we set goals is because it gives us something to work towards. We have all heard about the entrepreneur that writes himself a million dollar check with the hopes that one day he will cash it. Therefore, think about what you would like to achieve through that exercise routine, write it down, and then start building towards your goal. Ultimately, you would be much better off setting mini-goals along the way to avoid burning yourself out and preventing injury. For example, if your goal is to lose 30 pounds, aim to lose 1-2 pounds per week. If you want to participate in a marathon, gradually increase your running distance on a weekly basis until you have reached your desired amount. All to often people set unrealistic goals and end up abandoning their resolutions too soon. Temper your expectations and the results will come with consistency and a positive outlook.

Hiring a personal trainer can also assist with helping you to achieve your goals. A personal trainer will be able to monitor your progress and at the right times increase the intensity of the workout. They can keep the workout interesting by changing the exercises and introducing you to new and innovating ways of working out. Lastly, a personal trainer will keep you accountable. Having an appointment scheduled will help you get to the gym on those days you otherwise wouldn't go. In addition to a personal trainer, having a workout partner is another way to stay motivated. Working out with a familiar face can be comforting to those who are new to health clubs. Additionally, sticking to that diet will be much easier if the whole family is on board. Once you have stated your goals and your family is supportive, the quicker you can get rid of the shelves of potato chips and cookies.

Now here comes the fun part. In addition to setting a long-term goal, think of a way you will reward yourself. For example, taking a family portrait or going on a shopping spree once you lost those 30 lbs. What about signing up for a marathon in a tropical destination? These are all great options to accompany your exercise goal.

For more ideas on how to reward yourself check out the weekly newsletter.


Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Pilates for Men...continued from August newsletter

Why Pilates Works Well for Men

Core strength, flexibility, balance, uniform development, and efficient movement patterns - all are hallmarks of Pilates training and highly relevant to mens fitness. The integrative component of Pilates can be especially beneficial for men, whose workouts often emphasize a part-by-part approach to muscular development, such as what what finds in weightlifting. Pilates, by contrast, emphasizes moving from the center of the body, and developing core strength in the deep muscles of the center to stabilize the trunk and protect the back. This kind of core training makes Pilates an excellent technique for whole-body fitness, as well as a foundation for cross training with other kinds of sports and exercise. Increasing flexibility is a goal that Pilates addresses in a way that men often feel comfortable with. Pilates works toward functional fitness. That is, the ability to have the strength, balance, and flexibility that allows one to move through daily-life tasks with grace and ease. To this end, Pilates exercises do seek to increase flexibility and range of motion, but one won't find the kind of pretzel stretches in Pilates that one might find in gymnastics or yoga.

Why Men Should Do Pilates

By: Nicole Nichols ( Pilates Instructor )
It's no secret that I love Pilates. It's one of my favorite workouts for a number of reasons. It has helped me develop greater core strength, increase my flexibility, manage my chronic back pain, improve my posture, and relieve stress. I truly believe that Pilates can benefit people of all ages and fitness levels. Yet many people think of Pilates as an "easy" mode of exercise or a "gentle" workout that's more for old ladies than it is for fit young men, for example.

As a Pilates instructor, I've taught a wide variety of clients, as young as 13 and as old as 75. I've worked with professional dancers, collegiate football players, stay-at-home moms, and triathletes. While women (young and old) dominate my classes, the occasional male finds his way into class. Some have become "regulars," while others are never to be seen again. While I'll never know what makes one guy pursue Pilates and another try it only once, one thing is true: Pilates does benefit men just as it does women.

In fact, what people might not know is that Pilates was not only created by a man, but originally intended as an exercise program for men as well. Nico Gonzalez, Cincinnati-based personal trainer, master Pilates instructor, and creator of the DVD "Pilates Playground" explains, "Joseph Pilates himself practiced his method and trained many males.  The practice was very athletic in nature." He worked with German soldiers and helped many of them recover and rehabilitate from injuries using his exercise method.

It wasn't until many of the "Pilates elders" (people who studied directly under Joseph Pilates) started teaching that Pilates changed a bit. "Many of these elders were ex-dancers, so they infused the dancer language into the practice," says Gonzalez.

While most Pilates practitioners and students these days are women, I wanted to share the experiences of three men I know (including Gonzalez, quoted above) who regularly practice Pilates. These guys all vary in their fitness goals, but all come back to Pilates regularly. Find out what they like about it from a male's perspective.

"I suffered two knee injuries during a race in '09 that kept me sidelined from running for about 6 months. Any time I'd run longer distances, my hips and knees would ache so bad I would have to walk home. I finally went to a physical therapist that immediately saw a connection between my weak glutes and my knee problems. I learned that I had very little hip stability (and yet I always assumed my butt was very strong). He gave me a bunch of exercises to do for the smaller muscle groups and it just so happened that it looked a lot like Pilates. I started attending classes and it's made all the difference in keeping me running. I can finally bend over and touch my palms to the floor-- so improved flexibility and control."

"I think men probably feel like they have such limited time, so why work on muscles they haven't heard of and can't see when there are biceps and pecs to be pumping? It's also probably intimidating when those Pilates girls make it looks so easy and smooth, yet men aren't as flexible or graceful most of the time."

I've learned that the best swimmers swim with their cores; the best runners have stable hips and can train harder without injury; and there is cycling power in a strong core, especially as the ride gets long and/or hilly. Pilates helps with all of that. Plus, my 7 p.m. Pilates class might be the first time I actually take a conscious breath in an entire day. Pilates keeps us humble, that's for sure. Oh, and it usually has a great female-to-male ratio!"

"Men may be intimidated by Pilates due to the exercises that seem popular.  Guys don't want to lie on the floor and exercise with their body weight.  When I get a potential male client, I tend to do athletic movements with them that are more relatable. "

"Many of my male clients who love weight training, running, and biking have made Pilates a staple in their weekly routines.  They incorporate Pilates because they feel the benefits.  They can lift more weight with confidence because they know how to activate their core, thanks to Pilates. So many lifters compensate when lifting heavy and then injure themselves.  I'm very happy that I train male lifters...I keep them injury free!"

Kick start your workouts!

Rosario Colomba MAT, CSCS, CK – Xanadu Health Club
Finding time to exercise can be difficult. Therefore it is important that we choose exercises that burn plenty of calories in a short amount of time. Follow the examples below if you need a boost.
  • Interval Training - Interval training is extremely time-efficient. Calories are burnt quickly because you are working at a high speed for a couple minutes and then slowing down to recover for a couple more minutes. Take into consideration how difficult the exercise feels. The high-intensity bouts, which should last 30 seconds to a minute and should feel hard to very hard. The low-intensity/recovery period, which lasts two minutes to three minutes should feel light to somewhat hard. Most cardio machines (treadmill, bike, Stairmaster) have an interval program option. At home you can do simple aerobic-type movements (like jumping jacks, jump rope, knee lifts) as high-intensity workout and march in place and heel tap for the low-intensity interval. You can also jog, run, sprint, and speed-walk for high intensity and walk or jog slowly for low interval.

  • Strength Training - For strength training, design your workout with three or four groups of mini circuits. For each mini-circuit choose a free weight exercise, an exercise for your core, a flexibility exercise, and an aerobic exercise. Perform 1-2 sets of each exercise then move on to the next mini-circuit consisting of totally different exercises but following the same framework. This kind of workout enables you to target many muscle groups while burning more calories than exercising isolated body parts individually.

  • Flexibility Training - Yoga and Pilates incorporate strength and flexibility. Flexibility is the key to feeling free with movement. It helps prevent injury and is useful when you stretch in the beginning of the workout and again at the end. If you do not stretch, you run the risk of muscle tension and increase your chances of getting injured.
Here are some more fitness tips:
  • Add exercise to your "to do" list and give it the same importance as your other errands.
  • Keep an exercise journal. This can help you stay motivated by making daily exercise goals for yourself and keeping track of what you have accomplished. This also might deter you from overeating.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Omega 3's (continued from newsletter)

Protection from stroke and heart attack is another one of the omega-3 benefits. As 'bad' fatty acids are eaten, plaque builds up on arterial walls and eventually breaks loose. This causes blood clots. Clots in the brain can result in a stroke, while clots in the arteries around the heart can lead to a heart attack. Research has shown that fish oil fatty acids are able to break up clots prior to causing any damage. It is therefore important to increase your intake of good fatty acids like omega-3, and limit your intake of harmful chemicals like trans-fats.

Omega-3 benefits

Other noteworthy problems that omega-3 combats:
· Type 2 diabetes
· Depression
· Fatigue
· Joint pain
· Brittle hair and nails
· Hypertension
· Rheumatoid arthritis
· Bipolar disorder
· Migraine
· Eczema
· Obesity
· High blood pressure

Taking in more Omega-3 fatty acids will only result in a longer, healthier life. With so many omega-3 benefits, it is essential that you look for products in the supermarket that are fortified with this essential nutrient.

The Importance of Vitamin D

Rosario Colomba MAT, CSCS, CK

Now that we are about to experience the dog days of summer, one benefit would be getting your daily dose of Vitamin D. To receive your daily dosage, it is recommended that you spend anywhere between 5-10 min. outside getting exposure to the skin on your face, arms, back, or legs without the use of sunblock. The use of sunblock will inhibit the secreation of Vitamin D into the body. Activities like mowing the lawn, going for a walk on a local trail, or washing the car are all easy ways to get your daily dose of Vitamin D as well as keeping you active.


-Vitamin D regulates blood pressure

-It helps the intestine absorb nutrients, including calcium and phosphorus. This ensures strong bones and a strong immune system.

-Reduces stress and tension

-Relieves body aches and pains by reducing muscle spasms

-Reduces respiratory infections

-Aids in insulin secretion

-Helps fight depression

-Improves overall skin health by reducing wrinkles, makes skin soft, strong, and smooth

-Improves cardiovascular strength by providing a protective lining for the blood vessels.

If it's too hot, there are food sources that naturally contain Vitamin D. These are salmon, tuna and mackerel,   beef  liver, cheese and egg yolks. Milk would be an example of a food that is fortified with Vitamin D.

* Please note that the use of sunblock is recommended when exposure to the sun exceeds the recommended time limit. Although it will inhibit the secreation of Vitamin D into the body, you've already gotten what you need and are preventing a slew of other adverse health effects.