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.

Friday, 1 June 2012

Power Balance Bracelets – Revolutionary Technology or Hocus Pocus....

Rosario Colomba MAT, CSCS, CK

There has been plenty of hype surrounding the benefits of power balance bracelets. These include making improvements to your core strength & flexibility. Furthermore, they are said to improve peak performance by keeping your energy fields in balance. Even further supporting these claims are the endorsements by some of the best athletes in their respective sports. Why wouldn’t they work? Well that’s what I will attempt to uncover in this installment of my blog series.

A recent study was performed at the University of Wisconsin–La Crosse & published in the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine. Forty-two NCAA athletes were tested under two conditions – with a placebo bracelet and with the Power Balance bracelet. Two sets of tests were performed for trunk flexibility, balance, strength, and lower body power (vertical jump). In this double blind study, each subject had an opportunity to wear each of the bracelets. When researchers compared the two trials they found no significant difference between the tests performed with the placebo vs. the tests performed with the Power Balance bracelets. 

Another interesting finding that came from this study is that when researchers compared the results of the first set of tests to the second set, scores improved significantly from the first to the second trial regardless of the bracelet worn. This suggests that performance improved on the second trial because subjects were either more warmed up or more familiar with the tests. This sounds awfully familiar to the way sales people market the bracelet. They ask you to do a balance test, first without the bracelet and then with the bracelet on. The majority of time people perform better on their attempts with the bracelets on because of a phenomenon known as neuromuscular adaptation and, as mentioned earlier, the subject’s familiarity with the set of tests.  
Consumer watchdogs are also starting to take notice. Just recently the Australian distributor of the Power Balance bracelet was placed into receivership. Undertakings by the ACCC (Australian Competition & Consumer Commission) to stop the company from claiming the wristbands could improve balance virtually evaporated sales.

So what about all of these electro-magnetic frequencies (EMFs) that are racing around, possibly throwing our bodies out of balance? The list of associated EMF health problems is pretty extensive and ranges from cancer to high blood pressure. Many studies are now backing these claims and are showing that the levels and types of frequencies in your regular environment can have an impact on your health. Over time you can develop EMF hypersensitivity. Imagine your body as having a cup that absorbs EMF emissions. Once this cup gets full the health problems can begin. Some of the easier ways you can avoid these adverse health effects is distancing yourself from the source of the frequencies and limiting your length of exposure.

The amount of information & research on electro-magnetic frequencies is enough to create a small encyclopedia. Currently, there are even treatments being done to manipulate the body’s natural frequency to treat addiction, depression, & certain health disorders like asthma. Furthermore, therapies like Reiki and the use of magnetic implements have been said to have many positive outcomes as well. Most notably, ionized bracelets like the ones manufactured by Power FX are said to produce many health benefits like pain reduction and increased energy. Yet due to the lack of specific scientific evidence, many doctors do not consider it as an effective medicinal tool. A study done by Dr. Bratton of the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida showed no medical benefit when using ionized bracelets for treating pain. Dr. Bratton randomized 305 patients who complained of musculoskeletal pain with half wearing an ionized bracelet and the other half wearing a placebo. Over the 4 weeks of the study, both groups had some reduction in standardized pain scores, but there was no difference in the reduction of global pain scores, and no difference for the specific site of major pain.
It should be noted that there are indeed studies that have shown a reduction in pain when wearing an ionized bracelet but they are in conjunction with other medical therapies. Therefore, the current general consensus is that any health benefit produced by the use of ionized bracelets is likely because of the placebo effect.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

The Importance of Adhering to a Post-Workout Nutrition Plan

Rosario Colomba MAT, CSCS, CK
Personal Training Manager – Xanadu Health Club

I would like to start out by saying that your hard work is not going unnoticed. Hell, I’ve probably cleaned up your sweat at one point or another. What I want to uncover in this installment of my blog series is the importance of post-workout nutrition as an enhancement to all of that exercise.

Actually, did I say post-workout nutrition will enhance the rewards of your workouts? What I meant to say is that the types of nutrients you ingest and how long after your workout it takes you to ingest those nutrients isn’t only means everything.

You’re probably saying, “that was a pretty vague statement.” “What does he mean by everything?” When I say everything I mean that whatever your goals are (building muscle, burning fat, speeding up recovery...), post-workout nutrition will allow you to accomplish it.

Believe me, I respect the fact that some of you even find the time to workout. I understand that going to the grocery store or back to work is important. So please don’t be mad at are accomplishing very little if you do not follow your workouts with the right balance and timing of nutrients.

First let’s discuss what exercise actually does to the body. Exercise itself actually breaks down muscle tissue and depletes its nutrient stores. This isn’t a bad thing. By breaking down the muscle during exercise you begin the phenomenon known as “remodeling.” Remodeling is a term given to describe the body getting stronger as a result of exercise. So you’ve got the blueprint, you broke down the walls, and now you need the tools to build newer, stronger walls.

The specific types of nutrients one should ingest immediately after a workout are for an endurance athlete, a nutrient rich and carbohydrate dense food source. This will optimally promote glycogen re-synthesis. For somebody who has just finished weight training with the goal of strength, toning, muscle building, and fat burning; ingesting a nutrient rich food source with a ratio of 2:1 carbohydrates to protein will optimally promote protein synthesis and decrease protein breakdown. The reason why carbohydrates are still so important to the person weight training is because they will be the driving force behind delivering all of that protein to the muscle. It is important to remember that an excess of carbohydrates beyond that of stimulating a release of insulin to aid in the delivery of protein to the muscle will get stored as fat. Therefore, make smart carbohydrate choices when designing your post-workout nutrition plan. For example, stay within the caloric boundaries that are appropriate for you. As well as choosing carbs that are all natural and high on the glycemic index.

It may sound obvious but your post-workout nutrients should be virtually fat free as well. This is because fat slows down transit through the stomach and thus may slow the digestion and absorption of carbohydrates and proteins. Timing of ingesting these nutrients is also a key and important factor. Immediately after training the cells of your body are like open windows ready to accept all the healing benefits a nutrient rich post-workout meal/supplement will provide. Within 1 hour of training your “window of opportunity” will diminish, thus leaving your body malnourished during its moment of need.

If you are on the run try a whey protein shake or a fruit smoothie. Maybe pre-pack some fruits and Greek yogurt. Whatever you do, protect the time and investment that you are putting into your workouts and take your results to new heights by adhering to a consistent post-workout nutrition plan.

Monday, 16 April 2012

The Toxic Effects of Sugar

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

Those of us with children know that every study or news article regarding the latest research on children’s health catches our attention.

It’s out of love, and I am guilty of it as I assume you are! While doing research for this article I stumbled upon the work of Robert Lustig, a specialist on pediatric hormone disorders and the leading expert in childhood obesity at the University of California’s School of Medicine. I will share his findings with you and I believe that they will definitely catch your attention as they did mine. With that being said here is the sensational, over- the- top headline . . . Sugar Causes Cancer. Well, maybe. It has also been connected to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension. Most are aware that the over-consumption of sugar is linked to these life-threatening diseases, but cancer has never been connected with sugar, which is why the topic warrants further consideration. I will explain how the body breaks down sugar and provide insight into how this makes it so toxic - especially for our children.

Lustig uses the word sugar when referencing both sucrose (beet & cane sugar, whether white or brown) and high fructose corn syrup. The body metabolizes these differently than glucose which is a by-product of starchy carbohydrates and breads. Glucose is metabolized by every cell in our body, whereas sucrose and high fructose corn syrup is broken down primarily by the liver. When our livers are forced to metabolize sugar it is put through a great amount of stress, and instead of breaking it down it converts it to fat. This process is expedited when the sugar is refined and consumed through processed fruit juices, soda, & candies because the speed and volume at which it enters the liver is increased. When our liver begins to store fat, the body develops insulin resistance. This resistance to insulin reduces our ability to metabolize the food we consume and therefore will lead to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension. Over time, despite our resistance to insulin, our bodies will still have an elevated level of insulin which researchers call insulin-like growth factor. The reason for this is that our pancreas is working in overdrive to meet the demand of metabolizing the high content of sugar. Insulin- like growth factor has the same autoimmune effect on our cells that cancer does. It over feeds them and allows them to grow and become more needy than they were designed to be.

So how does this relate to our children? Studies have shown that in order for insulin-like growth factor to do its dirty work, it must have time. A child consuming a diet high in sugar has plenty of time for this to run its course. That is why it is so important to rid your cupboards of all foods & beverages high in sugar. Now you may be wondering about fruit. Fruit does contain fructose but in its natural state. Fruit also contains valuable nutrients and fiber that our bodies need. Need more reasons to get rid of all that junk? Keep reading!

UPDATE: According to a recent study out of Leiden University in the Netherlands, high blood sugar levels were also correlated to aging. They took pictures of over 600 men’s & women’s faces, aged 50-70 years old. Those with higher blood sugar levels were perceived to look older. A reason for these findings included the low nutrient content in sugar which robs your body of vitamins that are essential for healthy skin. Another more detailed study published by the American Aging Association took other factors into account including gender, body mass index, insulin levels, and whether the person is a smoker. Still, the findings indicated that higher blood glucose correlated to the older looking person. Maybe that handful of almonds doesn’t sound so boring after all.

(Adapted and updated from my previous article in Windsor Body Magazine )

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

The Minimalist Shoe Revolution

Ross Colomba MAT, CSCS, CK
Many questions have been raised about minimalist shoes. More and more people are beginning to wear them but are they good for everybody? Under what conditions should people use them? What is the benefit? I will attempt to answer these, among other questions.

The foot is an amazing part of our body. There is an estimated 100,000 – 200,000 exteroceptors in the sole of each foot. Exteroceptors are one of three types of receptors in the human body. Anytime sensory information is gathered from our environment, exteroceptors send this information back to the brain so that the brain can confirm that its original command is being executed properly. When walking or running, the exteroceptors in the feet send the majority of this biofeedback.

Daniel Howell, PhD, author of the Barefoot Book outlines a phenomenon called Shoe-Induced Neuropathy. Shoe-Induced Neuropathy is typical of the traditional running shoe. Its hard rubber outer sole & soft cushioned insole silence the biofeedback from the exterocpetors in our feet. This disables the brain to make subtle adjustments in our gait (proprioception) and can lead to inefficient and less graceful strides. Socks can silence this biofeedback even further.

The minimalist shoes produced today, by theory, are designed to give you minimal support so that all of those exteroceptors can do their job. Overtime, your body is said to get stronger through improvements in your gait and neuromuscular communication. A study done this year by the University of Memphis Neuromechanic Laboratory notes that although research is still premature “it is still possible that incorporating minimalist footwear into part of the training activity may lead to positive benefits for the athlete, such as improved running economy and improved proprioception.”

As a trainer, I would have to advise those trying these shoes for the very first time should have no other existing injuries or conditions to their feet or lower body. It is also important to prepare your feet by strengthening them.

The Vibram fivefingers website ( is a great resource and lists exercises one can do to prepare their feet to wear these shoes. Additionally, once you have strengthened your feet, allow them to get used to the shoes by wearing them during light activities and then gradually working your way up. As well, remember that deciding to wear these shoes will depend heavily on the sport you are playing or the activity you are taking part in. Stick to the regulations of your sport and wear safety shoes when necessary.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

The Difference between STOTT PILATES and Pilates.

Q. What's the difference?
A. STOTT is an elite level of Pilates which expands into greater detail (STOTT PILATES includes advances in spinal rehabilitation practices, promoting neutral spine placement and stabilization of the upper back while keeping with contemporary physical therapy practices).
STOTT PILATES is now available at Xanadu Health Club for both members and non members. Call or see the front desk for more details.

Monday, 12 March 2012

A Deeper Look at HCG Diets…

Ross Colomba MAT, CSCS, CK
Personal Training Manager - Xanadu Health Club

A common mistake is for people to call me Ross Colombo instead of Ross Colomba. It’s kind of annoying but during my research for this blog, the latter actually fits because I set out to investigate factual information on the pros & cons of being on the Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG) diet. This is a non-biased account of the information I acquired and in no way is it an attempt to shamelessly promote a product or service.

My job, first and foremost, as a health professional is to provide you with up-to date information grounded in evidence regardless of affiliation or monetary gain.

The HCG diet is anywhere between 26-40 days long. It includes administering HCG injections, drops, or creams. Caloric intake is limited to 500-800 cals per day. All starchy & sugary carbs are eliminated, other than a minimal amount of fruits. The diet primarily consists of lean cuts of protein (beef, chicken, & fish) & vegetables. As a standard, those on the diet are expected to lose anywhere between 1-3 pounds per day. Common side effects are fatigue, leg cramps, headache, feeling thirsty all the time, bad breath, metallic taste in the mouth, weakness, dizziness, nausea or stomach ache, sleep problems, & constipation.

HCG is a hormone that is most prominently produced in pregnant women in the cells that form the placenta. This helps the body bring nutrients into the placenta, fueling the fetus with the energy to grow. Proponents of this diet plan say that HCG helps stimulate metabolism and fat burning because the hormone signals the hypothalamus in the brain to mobilize fat stores and convert them for energy. As of December 2011, the FDA sent a letter to companies that sell over-the-counter products stating that HCG has not been approved for weight loss. The letter also contained information that the drops used as part of the HCG protocol do not contain the HCG hormone but a synthetic version. This is nothing new. In 1975, the FDA made it illegal for all HCG diet manufacturers to disclose that HCG products cause weight loss and that it hasn’t been demonstrated to be effective adjunctive therapy in the treatment of obesity. In 1995, the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology stated that “there is no scientific evidence that HCG can or does treat obesity,” which is why independent researchers, the FDA, and most recently the Mayo clinic are pointing to the reduction of calories as a reason for the rapid weight loss.

Diets that are low in carbohydrates will typically trigger a state of ketosis after the body is starved of carbohydrates for several days. Instead of using carbohydrates as a main source of energy, the body will begin to burn fat as fuel. Ketosis is a stage in metabolism occurring when the liver has been depleted of stored glycogen and switches to a fasting mode similar to one that occurs during sleep, dieting, and the body's response to starvation. Energy from fat is mobilized to the liver and used to synthesize glucose. As a result of this metabolic response, ketones are produced and left to roam throughout the body. Some can be excreted via the lungs, while others must be broken down by the kidneys. This over- works the organs and forces them to excrete important electrolytes such as calcium, magnesium, & potassium. Reducing the amount of calcium in the body can lead to weakened bones & teeth. Low levels of magnesium are associated with reduced muscular function, and once potassium levels drop muscle fatigue and heart arrhythmias begin. In extreme cases, ketone body accumulation can lower the blood's pH to dangerously low acidic levels, leading to ketoacidosis which can be fatal.

Furthermore, diets consisting of between 500-800 kcals are classified by nutritionists & doctors as being VLCD (very low-calorie diets). Long-term side effects are anemia, decrease in thyroid function, bone loss, a decreased immune system and malnutrition. These diets are not well-balanced and do not provide enough calories, severely depriving individuals of much needed nutrients. If this isn’t concerning enough, research also shows that those on VLCD’s will, the majority of the time, gain their weight back.
As with the start of any new diet, it’s always best to at the very least make an appointment to see your doctor and get a physical. Make sure you’re screened for diabetes – especially if you have a family history, and ensure your hormones are at adequate levels. As I said earlier, I am here to provide the factual evidence surrounding the latest topics on health and wellness. At the end of the day you must decide if the positives outweigh the negatives. For another informative look at the HCG protocol refer to the following links.


Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Going Greek! (Continued from the March 2012 E-newsletter)

Less Sugar

Greek yogurt contains less naturally-occurring sugar than American-style yogurt. In 7 oz. of plain Greek yogurt, there are 8 g of sugar; the same amount of plain American yogurt contains about 17 g. Choose plain rather than flavored Greek yogurt to obtain more potassium, zinc and vitamins B6 and B12 per serving. The Center for Science in the Public Interest notes that some of the volume in flavored yogurt containers is taken up with the sugary fruit topping rather than nutritious yogurt, so they contain less of these healthy nutrients. Flavored Greek yogurts include up to 11 g of added sugars -  almost 3 tsp. worth. Add your own berries and a drizzle of honey to plain yogurt to control your sugar intake.

Less Sodium

Salt is a big red flag, and many consumers are looking for lower in salt items. According to the USDA, Greek yogurt has less sodium by up to 50 percent. Plus, it still has a full-bodied taste without the high sodium content.

More Versatile

Greek yogurt can be used for many dishes including savory and sweet. Due to its thick texture and rich taste, many people use it as a substitute for milk, sour cream and even use it for baking.

Better Texture

Greek yogurt has a smooth, rich and thick consistency. Part of what makes Greek yogurt different than regular yogurt is that it is strained to remove the whey. When whey is removed, so is water, which creates a thicker, more substantial yogurt product. This is why Greek yogurt is so popular because of the satisfaction after eating something creamy and smooth.

See! Told ya it was better!

I Put That S@#?! on Everything!

Rosario Colomba MAT, CSCS, CK
Personal Training Manager - Xanadu Health Club

Are you like me? Do you use olive oil for a variety of nutritional purpose? With its great taste and high levels of heart healthy antioxidants called polyphenols and the monounsaturated fats (which lower LDL’s and raise HDL’s) it has been the perfect oil to cook with. Yet there are times when olive oil shouldn’t be used- most notably when using high heat. When exposed to temperatures between 365-420 degrees F the beneficial compounds start to degrade and potentially health-harming compounds form.

Don’t fret- olive oil is still the oil of choice when making salad dressing, sautéing vegetables over medium heat, or drizzling over steamed vegetables. If you are roasting or baking, canola oil is a good choice because it’s healthy properties (high levels of alpha-linolenic acid and low in saturated fats) are better equipped to stay together at higher temperatures. The only downfall is that most of the canola oil produced in the United States is made from genetically modified canola seeds. If this is a concern, try the more expensive avocado, macadamia nut, or almond oils. Safflower oil is also gaining traction as a healthy and affordable alternative, but its bitter taste can turn some people off.

Therefore, because using oil is inevitable when cooking, choose the one that is best for your dish and cooking method.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Coming Soon: Ross' Blog

Get information from one of the best trainers in the industry! Ross will be "blogging" soon enough to provide you with insightful and educational information and make sure you continue to see forward progress! Check out more on Ross by visiting our facebook page. (sign in to facebook off of the main page on the website and go the trainers section)

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

More on Detox Foods

Here are some more excellent Detox foods that will help you get over the holiday "eat-a-thons" and keep you fit...


Throw some peppery watercress into your next salad. It keeps free radicals away from your cells, helps energize cleansing enzymes in the liver, and is a natural diuretic.

Lemon Water

Lemons are a great source of vitamin C, which is known to help the body detox and burn fat. Drinking water with lemon every morning is a great way to alkalize the body and help with digestion.

Dark Leafy Greens

There's a ton of ways to get leafy greens into your diet. You can eat them raw, throw them into a broth or sauté them with a touch of olive oil. Leafy greens boost chlorophyll levels in the digestive tract, which helps the body get rid of environmental toxins like smog and herbicides.

Fresh Fruit

Fresh fruit is full of vitamins, antioxidants, fiber, and just about any other good thing you can think of. After filling your body up with butter and booze over the holidays, what better way to make amends than with a big bowl of fruit.


Numerous studies show that atrichokes promote healthy liver and gallbladder function. They're also loaded with cynarin, which helps increase bile production, prevents indigestion, and stimulates healthy digestion. If you're looking for a natural detox food, artichokes are a major winner


When I was having issues with my gallbladder, my doctor told me to load up on beets. Fiber in beets help increase the production of antioxidant enzymes in the liver, which help the liver and gallbladder eliminate bile and other toxic substances from the body.

Ginger and Garlic

Ginger and garlic are good friends to the liver because they help it get rid of free radicals that are built up in the body. Make yourself a healthy stir-fry and don't be shy to season it with these two liver-loving foods.

Whole Grains

Choosing whole grains over refined grains should be a part of any diet. Besides being full of nutrients and antioxidants, they're incredibly high in insoluble fiber, which helps keep you regular. If you're trying to flush the body of toxins, the last thing you need is to be bloated or backed up.