Move Over, 10,000 Steps!

I bet you’ve heard that 10,000 steps is the magic number for good health, the future and that winning lottery ticket… it’s been advertised everywhere so much that I started counting my steps in my head when I forgot my handy counter!

I’m going to take a wild guess and say you, like me, had no idea that the 10,000-steps figure had no basis in science but actually came from an old ad campaign for a pedometer.

We do need to keep moving, don’t get me wrong. As the Washington Post reports, the average US adult spends more than six hours a day sitting, (https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/the-big-numberthe-average-us-adult-sits-65-hours-a-day-for-teens-its-even-more/2019/04/26/7c29e4c2-676a-11e9-a1b6-b29b90efa879_story.html), and working out later isn’t enough to counteract the negative effects. Nevertheless, taking 10,000 steps doesn’t appear to be necessary to ward off the effects of not moving for hours everyday, and that lengthy recommendation can be a dissuading roadblock for some people.

Where the magic number came from

The idea behind walking for 10,000 steps per day comes from an 1965 ad campaign by the Yamasa Clock and Instrument Company to promote their new pedometer at the time. Companies in the US later adopted the same figure, which is why you see it everywhere now.

What you do need

Researchers don’t yet have a firmly established number of steps that you should aim for, but studies have been carried out exploring the matter. A recent study in the JAMA Internal Medicine journal shed some light on this area when it comes to women (https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/article-abstract/2734709). In the study, researchers found that women aged between 62 and 101–the average age was 72–who took 4,363 steps per day were less 41 percent likely to die over the next four years than women who only took around 2,718 steps. This percentage climbed to 46 percent for those who took 5,905 steps and to 58 percent for those stepping 8,442 times each day.

Researchers did find, however, that there was a “Goldilocks zone,” or an area where benefits leveled off. When the results were examined further, researchers realized that the benefits tended to max out at around 7,500 steps each day.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with aiming for 10,000 steps each day; in general, the more you move, the better off you are. But if you find yourself discouraged because you can’t reach that “magic” number, research is indicating you should still aim for the stars!

Should You Stretch Before or After You Work Out?

Hey, gym-goers! Before you hit the gym, I bet you stretch it out, right? After all, you don’t want to end up walking with a limp all weekend or unable to lift your arm because you ran headfirst into a stellar workout without stretching your muscles first!

What if I were to tell you that the idea of stretching before working out was based on some confusion over studies done years ago, and it might be wrong?

Stretching vs. warming up

The idea that stretching before exercise prevents injury appears to come from studies carried out on people who stretched before working out as part of a warm-up routine. The benefits were attributed to the stretching, but researchers now believe that it may actually be the warm-up routine that makes the difference. In fact, years ago, a study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine pointed out that this may be the case, and that stretching before exercise could actually lead to injuries (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1756248/pdf/v034p00324.pdf). According to that study, stretching can cause damage at the cytoskeletal level and can increase pain tolerance, making injuries more likely. Other studies discovered that stretching before exercise didn’t yield any sort of significant injury or soreness-prevention benefit.

Warming up before exercise, however, does appear to be able to help prevent workout injuries. This is not the same as stretching. When you warm up, you increase the blood flow to your muscles and your circulation. There are a lot of easy ways to do this, including walking briskly, squats, jumping jacks and cycling. Do them for a few minutes, so that you’re breathing heavily, to help improve blood flow, which can prevent injuries and the soreness that is associated with more intense workouts.

What about stretching after exercise?

Stretching after exercise doesn’t appear to offer many benefits, either, as noted in another study by the British Journal of Sports Medicine (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC119442/). Instead, many experts recommend you go for an active cool-down or recovery, which involves winding down with low-impact aerobic exercise post-workout, just as you did beforehand to warm up. Swimming, cycling, yoga and even using a foam roller can help, as well as massage.

Whatever your pre-workout routine is, it’s time to rethink it if it includes stretching. As new research emerges the down the line, there will probably be even more discoveries made on how our bodies handle physical activity.

Why Your Brain Doesn’t Want You To Exercise Hard

What’s up, brainiacs!

Did you know that your beautiful mind does more than just keep your whole body working; it can also tell your body to cut it out, too?

If you’ve ever been planning work out hard but suddenly find yourself too mentally exhausted to even step foot in the gym, it’s not just you. The type of brain drain you get from hard mental tasks, such as the longest day at work ever, can dent your motivation to exercise and your performance. This effect is even worse if your brain neurons aren’t transmitting signals to your brain at the fastest rate because of fatty acid deficiencies; if the neurotransmitters responsible for motivation are lower because you’re not producing enough acetylcholine; or if your mind just isn’t used to handling complex tasks.

Luckily, it’s not all bad news. There are some things you can do to pass this motivational wall that your brain has decided to put up.

Look at the light

When you note an afternoon dive in focus and alertness, you may have too much melatonin, which causes sleepiness. The type of interruption to your circadian rhythm that causes you to product too much melatonin at the wrong time of the day is usually due to a disruption in your rhythm earlier on in the day or the night before.

To fix this, move the heaviest part of your melatonin cycle so that it happens before you get up in the morning by limiting your light exposure at night. Use glasses that block blue light, place blue light-blocking filters on your TVs and devices, dim the lights in your home, limit or avoid TV or device exposure in the bedroom, and expose yourself to real sunlight as soon as you can when you get up.

Cut back on caffeine

Caffeine is great for a boost, but over time, you get used to it and it no longer has the same effect it once had. To combat this, limit yourself to 8 to 12 ounces of coffee at strategic times during the day, and try to skip coffee entirely at least two days a week.

Move to the music

Who hasn’t been motivated by a great tune during a workout? The right song at the right time can boost your performance and give you the energy surge you need to keep it up.

Don’t let your brain get in the way of a good workout. Be mindful of your daily habits and add some music to your routine so you can beat the brain block!

Losing Weight Made Easy

Fitness - Losing Weight Made Easy

Is losing weight really easy? You bet it is. I know you are thinking how is that possible with so many weight loss plans and programs claiming to help you lose the weight. The truth is that most all of them work. There are some basic principles that you need to understand to help the process. Our bodies are amazing creations. As quickly as we can gain weight and get out of shape quickly, we can also lose the weight and get back where we need to be. I am going to show you some of the essentials for losing the weight that you want. The first principle is that you must make a decision that you want to lose the weight. Why? Because 20% of the weight loss game is the latest guru’s diet plan, and the other 80% is the psychology. That is what makes me tick. Just like on my radio show, I am intrigued with the field of psychology. It was my major in college, along with pre-med, and I have always enjoyed learning human behavior and why we do what we do. 

So after you have a made up mind, then here are the keys. 

1.Get Committed
You have to be committed. No excuses. Starting Monday or in the summer, or when you are back from vacation. Listen, it will never happen. Why? Because it hasn’t been happening! So start now. Right now. Like go eat a healthy meal now and go walk for 30 minutes today. Even with your busy schedule. If your doctor told you that you had stage 4 cancer – I bet you would panic and start now. 

2.Exercise 6 Days Per Week
It doesn’t matter what you do, but do something. Get out and get moving. You have to. Your body was designed to move and if you continue to sit all day long, research shows that we will be heavier and shorten our lifespan

3.Focus On Eating Healthy 5-6 Meals Per Day
There is much debate about this. Fad diets are everywhere. Fasting is hot. Ketogenic is a trend. I have had raging success with people, including myself, at eating 6 small meals per day. There is a system for it, and it has to be customized for you. The anti-inflammatory diet is a key example. 

4.Drink A LOT of Water
Hydration is the key. It is proven that when we drink plenty of water, our body increases its ability to burn fat. We also massively increase our health. If you like drinking tea, you can count it as your water intake, just don’t add any sugar or artificial sweeteners for empowering your health

5.Naturally Supplement Your Diet
I believe that nutritional deficiencies are some of the greatest challenges that we face with our health. Studies have shown that much of our soil is depleted of essential minerals. A good 90 plus nutrients are needed to essentially give us all that we need each day. Our food is great buy we must use something to fill in the gaps with our health. You always want to start with a good whole food based multi-vitamin like Multi-Balance.

How To Melt The Stubborn Body Fat

Fitness - How To Melt The Stubborn Body Fat

Have you ever wondered why the fat just won’t come off the midsection? Or maybe it’s the triceps, or the hips and thighs? Wherever the stubborn area is for you, all you know is that it is frustrating. Right? Is it genetics? Are you destined to have these trouble areas? There is a science to melting away the body fat. The key is to have a custom designed system for your body. There are important key factors that will help you melt away the body fat when you follow these proven rules. It is more than just exercise all day, cut your calories, and hope for the best. Let’s look at the proven steps to really make it happen for empowering your health

1.Get Your Free Hormones Checked
This is the absolute key. Typical blood tests show you how much of the hormone is being absorbed into the cell. There are tests available to help you figure out how much of the hormone is actually being produced. The production is the key. Many times you can have hormones that are not being produced and others that are being over produced. It’s important to make sure these are regulated. 

2.Check All 3 Estrogens
When you test the hormones, make sure to check all the estrogens including estrone, estriol, and estradiol. Each one of these estrogens store body fat in different areas such as the waistline, and hips and thighs. There are ways to moderate and balance these different hormones naturally using better lifestyle methods. 

3.Eat 25-30% Healthy Fats
I get asked this on my radio show often. Here is the key. The monounsaturated fats like macadamia nuts, saturated fats like coconut oil, and high omega 3 fats such as fish oil, will make the greatest impact on the hormones. Even though most all of the nuts have great health benefits, the macadamia nuts, for example, top the charts as impacting the hormones the best. What about saturated fat? Clogs the arteries? Not so fast. We need clean saturated fats at slight levels to complement the other fats and their absorption. 

4.Exercise 5-6 Days per week.
Just do something. Walk, run, jog, lift weights, play tennis. Move for just 15 minutes a day consistently. And please don’t say you walk your dog or do gardening. That doesn’t count! 

5.Manage Cortisol
Cortisol is a stress hormone produced by the adrenal glands. It is a powerful hormone that can cause excess fat storage in the midsection. There are some easy tests that can be run to see what the levels are and how to keep them in the proper rhythm. Sleep, nutrition, exercise, and mental stress are all factors in helping to keep this area from being the culprit in you reaching your goals.

Does Cardio Exercise Make You Younger?

Fitness - Does Cardio Exercise Make You Younger?

Cardiovascular exercise, including running, is used by many to achieve great health and fitness. The great news about running is that researchers have found that it may turn back the clock and make us younger. Running increases our production of human growth hormone which helps us produce new youthful cells and can make us appear younger. Running also helps to override many of the health challenges we face today. Recent studies have shown that running actually impacts our DNA. It can affect our telomeres, which typically start to wear down with age. Therefore running can really boost our immune system, lower inflammation, and increase our overall vitality. The other great discovery about running is that it strengthens our skeletal structure. Running typically increases bone density and can ward off those age-related diseases like osteoporosis. 

So how do you start a running plan if you haven’t in a long while? You have to just start. Yes you might be a little older. Yes you might be a little heavier, but now is the time. Here are some basics in getting started on a running plan that can impact your life. 

1.Just Start
Look at adding running into your weekly exercise routine with just 5-10 minutes of jogging on the treadmill or venturing outside. Do what you can with what you have. There are even great programs available like the couch to 5k. 

2.Do Intervals
Start with interval running. Jog for 1 minute. Then walk briskly for 1 minute. Then repeat. Build up your body this way and soon your system will adapt. 

3.Find A Track
If you are heavier and need to lose some weight, it might be a little tough on the joints in the beginning. Find a local track, such at a high school, that has the softer surface. This will be easier on your body and help you in the early phase. 

4.Eat The Right Foods
If you are going to start running or increasing your cardiovascular activity, then make sure you are getting the right fuel. It is best to not be super low carb with this new plan. Plan on adding some brown rice, sweet potatoes, and quinoa to your meals. 

5. Glutamine and Vitamin C
Don’t forget the supplements. These two can help you recover from your workout and reduce muscle soreness. Vitamin C is good to have in a ascorbate form with minerals and glutamine by itself. Use a bracketing method of taking before and after your workouts.

Getting Lean in Just 5 Minutes a Day

Fitness - Getting Lean in Just 5 Minutes a Day

Ever get tired of those long workouts? Does walking on the treadmill seem like it is never going to end, day in and day out? It’s always about working smarter with anything in life. We hear about doing shorter duration workouts and how they can be as impactful as the longer ones. The studies are out now about the impact of duration of exercise. The time most needed to create any form of fat loss impact is is 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week. This is like going outside and taking a power walk, or getting on the treadmill. Then the other health statistics are out there to help you burn the fat at a much higher and faster rate. The guidelines for this style of training can be accomplished in only 75 minutes per week to get the same of even better results. Really? Sign me up for that!

Listen, many in the fitness community call this the HIIT style of training. The reality is that this new researched style is proven in studies to burn fat like a furnace. The key to melting the fat away in just 5 minutes a day is a great discovery by a Dr. Tabata in Japan. He discovered through research that we could actually produce a greater affect on our metabolism with the surge-style of workouts than longer duration sessions. Here is how it works. You can do this with just your bodyweight, dumbbells, bands, kettle bells, etc. The idea is to use your entire body. Dr Tabata found that this style of training is the most efficient way to burn fat and build lean muscle.

Example:

Treadmill 
Sprint for 20 seconds, jog 10 seconds, repeat 8 times

Row Machine 
Row maximum for 20 seconds, moderate for 10, repeat 8 times

Bike 
Pedal like you are racing 20 seconds, moderate 10 seconds, repeat 8 times

Get the idea? You can use any form of exercise and follow this intensity interval pattern to get amazing results

My challenge is to attempt this for 30 days and check your results. You will be amazed at the time that you have saved, and the body that you have transformed for empowering your health.