Why Women & Men need to Switch their Workouts
Disclaimer: This title and newsletter is a generalization of the average Jane and Joe, who sticks to their comfortable workouts. Jane likes yoga, stretching, body weight exercises, running, low impact movements and fast paced group classes. Joe likes slow paced, low reps, heavy weights, fundamental movements and the occasional warm up run. So, if that does not cover your workout story, then try this: female weightlifters, STOP lifting and go to yoga. And Male yogis, do some heavy lifting. Runners and cyclists, go strengthen your hamstrings.
Before I jump deep into this topic, you must know my philosophy on working out. I believe in longevity and quality of movement through life. There is not one style of workout that is better than another and there is no one workout that fits all. Diversification in workout routines creates the healthiest and most efficient bodies on this planet. We all get into our comfort zones and find something we enjoy or find a little easier or do because of social norms/peer pressure but I’m telling you to stop that right now.
I see it repeatedly: weak shoulders, necks, traps, triceps, and upper back. I can’t think of one female client in my tenure who didn’t have some sort of pain, misalignment, pinch, ache or issue with their upper extremities. Unfortunately, 5lb weights, push-ups and punches isn’t going to fix it. With technology and desk life keeping you glued to screens, it is inevitable that your posture is going to get the best of you. Unless, you fight back and add in a slow strength day to your weekly routine.
How to Fix the Problem
Go to your local beefy, bro, cut-offs welcome, meathead gym and take note. You should know in advance, yes, all those gyms smell the same, like sweaty feet. You don’t nesseciary need to work out their more than once but observe and lookout for all the PULL motions and exercises. NOT push, but PULL. Things like sit down rows, bent over rows, reverse flys, cable machine pulls, lateral shoulder motions, and lat pull downs, just to mention a few.
Heavier weights, between 4-12 reps, 3-4 rounds, strengthening primarily upper back/traps, shoulders, and triceps.
Please stop trying to look like The Rock. You should know that he gets paid very well to work out and look the way he does. Not only that, he works out twice a day every day, has help from the best health professionals in the world and hasn’t eaten a piece of candy in over 10 years. Most men have an amazing amount of muscle mass but have extremely poor cardiopulmonary efficiency and terrible flexibility/functional movement. Here is the issue, you may look like and feel like a million dollars but unfortunately what really counts when it comes to the human body is the heart and lungs. Heavy lifting only can put a lot of strain on your heart, mix that with poor pulmonary/lung/breathing efficiency, you get serious health issues.
How to Fix the Problem
Get over your manliness, suck in your pride and accept that it is ok to take a rest from lifting. Understand that it is not necessarily the healthiest thing for you. What I am trying to say is that men should stop trying to be the pride lion and start accepting that women are right… it’s what is inside that counts.
The simplest option: replace a muscle building session with 45min+ of consistent fast walking or very light jog.
The second option: join a mildly intense yoga class once a week
Third: ask a girlfriend, friend, partner, wife, to join one of their hour-long group classes, full of low impact body weight exercises that will ramp up your metabolism and burn your lungs.
Back to School Nutrition Tips
It’s that time of year again! The kids are headed back to school, family vacations are winding down, and it’s time for a set schedule again. Going back to a routine can have its advantages, but it can also feel challenging to make time for healthy eating and staying active. Below are the four most important tips to help ease you into your busier schedule, while still making healthy choices.
Plan your Meals for the Upcoming Week
Take the time to check your schedule for the week ahead, and see which nights you’ll have time to cook, or be rushing to get the kids to their after school activities. This will help you make enough food for leftovers, or plan a healthy convenience meal in advance.
Preparation is Everything
Just as you planned your meals, taking the time to do some basic prep work on the weekend can help your week run smoothly. You don’t necessarily need to cook all of your meals for the week (but you can if this works for you). However, you can chop your fruit and veggies, cook some whole grains (quinoa, brown rice, etc.), and even cook some of your protein (meat, chicken, etc.) if you wish.
Have a Plan B
Schedules can change last minute, and you may not be able to cook the meal you were planning on. It can be helpful to have some easy to prepare staples in your pantry and freezer. Keep frozen veggies on hand, they are just as healthy as fresh (just get them without a salty sauce added). Keep whole grains in the pantry (whole wheat pasta, quinoa, bulgur). Quick protein options could be making a quick veggie and egg scramble or frittata for dinner (see recipe below), or even picking up a rotisserie chicken on the way home.
Pack Lunches the Night Before
This goes for your own, as well as your kids. This helps your morning run smoother, and you can focus on packing a healthy lunch and snacks for the day. This defends against the grab and go unhealthy quick options.
Veggie Frittata and Green Salad (3 servings)
• 1 tbsp. coconut oil
• 1 cup sliced mushrooms of choice
• 1 cup asparagus, sliced into 1 inch pieces
• 1 tsp. minced garlic
• ¼ cup sundried tomatoes
• 6 whole eggs
• 3 egg whites
• Salt and pepper to taste
• 6 cups spinach
• 1 ½ cups cherry tomatoes
• 1 tbsp. olive oil
• 1 tbsp. vinegar of choice (balsamic, apple cider, etc.)
• 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
• Salt and pepper to taste
• Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Heat oil in large cast iron (or other oven safe skillet) over medium-high heat. Sauté mushrooms and asparagus ~8 minutes or until tender. Add garlic and tomatoes and sauté ~1-2 minutes.
• Beat eggs and egg whites in large bowl with salt and pepper.
• Remove pan from heat and pour egg mixture over vegetables. Place in oven and bake about 15-20 minutes or eggs are set.
• Place spinach and tomatoes in large bowl. Mix remaining ingredients to make vinaigrette. *Only toss salad right before serving.
Nutrition: 350 calories, 20 grams fat, 4 grams saturated fat, 15 grams carbohydrates, 6 grams fiber, 10 grams sugar, 24 grams protein, 273 mg sodium.
Elise Campbell, RDN, CSSD
Project Wellness Nutritionist & Personal Trainer
What do we mean when we say hiking? I’m not talking about walking for an hour around your local park I’m talking about spending a half or full day on a trail, simply enjoying mother nature’s beauty. July is National Parks and Recreation Month and we want you to take full advantage of the incredible scenery that this country has. Not only do you get a chance to see some of our nation’s natural treasures but you also have the chance to engage in excellent physical and mental exercise in as well.
1: Physical Stress
When it comes to exercise, the current trend is to push our bodies to their physical limits for short periods of time and at extremes intensities. This form of training has become extremely prevalent due to the time crunch we burden ourselves with and EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption). Essentially, EPOC is the fat burning hours that take place after we have stopped working out. Unfortunately, there are massive flaws with only training your body in this method. First, your body becomes resilient to this training method, thus not burning as much as you did your first month or so. Second, for today’s fast paced, chair bound, and high demand working culture, this form of exercise can be detrimental to the body. High intensity workouts can put massive stress on your muscular system and cardiopulmonary system, which can result in soft tissue injury and added physical stress such as high blood pressure, pulse rate, and breathing rate.
So, why is hiking physically healthy for me? The answer is longevity, consistency and work rate. A normal day hike takes around 3-6 hours. Traditionally, one would walk at a good walking pace for long periods with small breaks to refuel over the day. This type of exercise, compared to our EPOC driven classes described above, is the complete opposite. When hiking, you get your fat burning during the exercise and you break into that fat storage after the first 45 mins or so. Our body responds to this type of aerobic exercise (over-time) by becoming more efficient at burning fat. We have an almost unlimited amount of fat storage in the body and this is an extremely efficient way of burning energy. It is extremely good for our joints/muscular system and even better for our cardiopulmonary system. It reduces the physical stress we build up during the week and has proven to lower our blood pressure, pulse rate and breathing rate.
2: Mental Break
The working world we live in today is built on a foundation of perfection and delivery. Every small decision and task seems to have a weight or pressure applied to it as if it is going to be the end of the world if it is not executed with precision. This creates so much undue stress throughout the working world and it is affecting our health very negatively. Stress is a major cause of serious and less serious health conditions, from heart attacks to anxiety attacks.
A day hike on a beautiful trail out in the open is what the doctor ordered. When out in the open your brain secretes less cortisol “stress hormone” and more dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin. This allows you to feel more happiness, completion or success in addition to increase in mood or sense of calmness. Literally, hiking creates a relaxed state of mind and a positive sense of life perception/clarity.
3: Technology and Screen Time
Our worst enemy and biggest competitor: technology and screen time. How do you compete with the amazement of technology and what it can do for us? Yes, there are some truly amazing things that technology has provided us for the good of our health and for that, we are thankful. However, our addiction, over use, and dependency to technology is also leading us down an unhealthy path. The amount of screen time we put in each day is exhausting. I could go on for hours about the specifics of this topic but to keep it quick, we all need a break. Trust me, everything from your eyes to that horrible posture your sitting in need a break.
There is no better break for your eyes than a beautiful and adventurous hike outdoors. Mentally, physically and socially, hiking allows us to turn on different receptors in our brains and turn off the ones we use constantly staring at screens. Being in the outdoors keeps your brain from overheating like the computer you stare at all day. It allows you to reset, refocus, and become more productive when you return to work.
4: Human to Human Communication
Related to technology, we are so dependent on email, text messages, apps, and social media to communicate within our society, that we are losing personal connections. It has become too easy to criticize and ignore feelings. As well as, too hard to read in-between the lines, develop trust and commitment, sense humor or tone of voice. These listed factors make it extremely hard to build positive relationships and hard to create a healthy communication lines.
Hiking with a partner, friend, co-worker, family member, team member or whole team will increase your trust, general communication, emotional bond, unity and relationship strength. Furthermore, hiking in the outdoors is a great way to start a new relationship or develop your listening skills. Being able to talk about or listen to another’s issues can help your own personal health. Being in the open and walking with someone opens you up to a new dimension of sharing, you help someone clear their mind and in return you clear your mind as well. Clear mind = healthy mind.
5: Fresh Air and Sunshine
Circulated air is one of the quickest ways to get sick and your office building has a bunch of it. The more time you spend indoors the more likely you are to be breathing in someone else’s bacteria or virus. Yes, I am ending with a scare factor. There are many airborne pathogens circulating your office and people who spend too much time indoors are being diagnosed with low Vitamin-D. Down the road, this can cause bone pain and muscle weakness, and is correlated with higher risk of cardiovascular disease.
The more time you spend outdoors breathing in fresh air the less likely you are to get sick. Plain and simple: escape into the beautiful outdoor world and get moving to defend against your stress and office germs!
Finally, don’t forget to put on SPF before absorbing some natural vitamin-D.