Category Archives: stress

Why YOU Should Detox

By Jenn Lormand ACE- CPT, BS. Exercise Physiology, Author of mommymovement: new baby. new body. new life.

Everyday our bodies are bombarded by toxins.  It’s all around us.  The air we breathe, the water we drink, and the food we eat.  There are 1.2 trillion pounds of pesticides sprayed on our food every year.  389,000 miles of our rivers and streams are polluted.  Disease is on the rise like never before and yet we are more educated and have more resources than ever before.  Why are we so sick, and what can we do to stop this cycle?

When I look at these numbers I get overwhelmed.  My first thought is, “What can I do to protect my family from all of this?” I believe that the first step to find a solution is to understand what we do have control over.  We have control over our choices and actions.  We can begin to create change in ourselves, our families, and eventually our planet.  There are some simple choices that we can begin to make, on a consistent basis that will help our bodies heal itself.  My wish is that each person that reads this is motivated to make one small change to help rid their body of toxins and CREATE the happy healthy lifestyle that we all want.

The body has 7 different ways that it gets rid of the toxins we are exposed to on a daily basis.  They are called the 7 Channels of Elimination.

  • Skin
  • Blood
  • Liver
  • Kidneys
  • Colon
  • Lymphatic system
  • Lungs

Another one that should be included and is just as important as the 7 listed above is our attitude and mindset.  Research has proven time and again that negativity creates disease of the mind and the body.

As I dug into this topic, I was amazed at some of the simple changes that I could make to improve the health of myself and my family and I want to share them with you.

  1. Get rid of Stress- even if we put the right things into our body, stress and hatred actually turn into acid in the body. Meditation or daily prayer help to change the chemistry in our brains, and studies show that people who do these things consistently are healthier and happier! Read more about this here
  2. Limit exposure to EMFs (Electromagnetic Fields) cell phones and other electronics.
  3. MOVE – move on a consistent regular basis to increase oxygen levels in the blood to keep cells healthy
  4. Eat organic – this helps limit the amount of pesticides we ingest on a regular basis
  5. Drink alkaline water- helps keep cells in the body free from disease.  I use a product that I love in our water at home.
  6. Take a probiotic to keep healthy bacteria in the gut and strengthen the immune system.  There are many on the market.  Make sure that it is high quality probiotic that can actually withstand the gastric acid in the stomach, and make it to your colon.
  7. Use natural products on your skin (lotions and deodorant). We are a vitamin D deficient nation because we are suffocating our skin with these and not allowing the body to naturally create Vitamin D from exposure to sunlight. There have also been studies done on breast cancer survivors that link the ingredients in antiperspirants to causing breast cancer.

My passion is to help others become their best self and creating their BEST life. So I’m excited to announce that we are going to run a FREE 21 Day Detox Virtual program because I want to help as many people as possible get healthy!  If you would like to learn more about how to make simple changes in your life to CREATE maximum health benefits please reach out to me jenn@ascensionfitnessnola.com.  To register for our FREE 21 day detox please click here.

About the Author – Jennifer Lormand ACE- CPT, BS. Exercise Physiology, Author of mommymovement: new baby. new body. new life.

jenn blogMy love for fitness started at an early age. Growing up with asthma, I was driven to fight through those challenges. Exercise and fitness was my avenue to diminishing my reliance on asthma medications and treatments. Fueled by my passion to help people succeed and as a graduate in Exercise Physiology with a focus on Kinesiology, I am applying my love for fitness with these sciences to develop leading-edge one-on-one and group training programs to meet the specific needs of our clients, designed to push each other physically and support emotionally the needs of clients.

 

               

Do I really need 7-8 hours of sleep every night?

By Jamie McIntyre

I have had many of my clients come to me and say “I feel like I can function just fine on 5 or 6 hours of sleep. Do I really need 7-8 hours of sleep every night?” My answer to them is always YES! There has been extensive research on the benefits of sleep. Here are five reasons why it is important to get 7-8 hours of sleep every night:

1. Improved Memory: Sleep helps the brain take in new information and store it to memory. Research has shown that people who, after learning a new task, slept for the full 7-8 hours did better on tests than people not getting the full 7-8 hours of sleep.

2. Weight Management: Research indicates that chronic poor sleep, in other words a lack of sleep, increases signals to the brain to eat, and decreases signals telling the brain we’ve eaten enough. Feeling tired or lacking energy hurts exercise motivation, can cause inactivity, and will negatively affect the intensity of your workouts.

3. Mood: Sleep loss may result in irritability, impatience, inability to concentrate, and moodiness. There is also a link between sleep deprivation and many psychological disorders, including depression.

4. Health: A lack of sleep can cause health conditions such as hypertension, irregular heartbeat, and diabetes.

5. Disease: Sleep deprivation alters immune function, including the activity of the body’s killer cells. Getting enough sleep has also been proven to give a boost to your immune system.

Remember sleep is an important part of your bodies’ physical and mental recovery and is vital to living a long healthy life.

Tips to Survive Mardi Gras

By Brittany Claverie

Great food and good times are what we, the people of New Orleans, live for! We are constantly surrounded by holidays and festivals celebrating everything from music to our sports teams to every New Orleanians’ favorite, a po’ boy sandwich. Our most beloved season of all to celebrate is quickly approaching, Mardi Gras.

Mardi Gras season has officially begun and the celebration continues until Mardi Gras Day or “Fat Tuesday”. During those few weeks, we head out to parades and gorge ourselves on king cake, alcohol, and greasy food; waking up the next day with a pounding headache and upset stomach. Sound familiar? You can take control this Mardi Gras season with a little planning and help from these tips.

Eat King Cake, like a Queen
Is it king cake you live for? Do you count down the days until your first bite of that sweet, cinnamon-ny, icing-covered piece of heaven? I certainly do, and sometimes it is easy to cut myself a big slice and think, “it’s ok because I can work it off after Mardi Gras.” Did you know that an average slice of king cake contains anywhere from 10 to 13 grams of fat, and well over 300 calories? Yes it tastes good when you eat it, but your body will thank you later if you don’t over indulge. Go ahead and have your piece of king cake, but take a considerably smaller slice than you usually would. It is ok to enjoy our guilty pleasures, but do so in moderation. Make sure you work out often during the Mardi Gras season, and throw in some extra cardio by parking far from the parade route and walking to your parade viewing spot.

Alcohol – Think Light and White
When you think of heading out for Endymion and Bacchus, and making it an all day affair, you probably grab yourself a large Daiquiri and load up the ice chest with beer. Be careful because you are getting ready to consume over 1,000 calories in a 20 oz. daiquiri alone! That’s more than half a day’s worth of calories for the average person, and these are not filling calories, but could actually make you hungrier!
When it comes to all day festivities, make sure to buy light beer (think light) which generally contains about 100 calories per beer. If you prefer to drink hard liquor, stick to mixers with low calories such as club soda or diet sodas. Plan to hydrate frequently while you are enjoying the parades. Drink plenty of water (think white) before you start drinking any alcohol, and try alternating a glass of water with every alcoholic drink you consume. Your waistline (and head) will thank you the next morning! So this parade season, set yourself up for success with these simple tips: skip the daiquiris, fill up your cooler with light beer and bottled water, and limit yourself to the number of alcoholic beverages you consume. And to throw in some extra exercising, while waiting in line for the bathroom, do some squats!

Plan Your “Food Parade” Route
When we think of parades, we all think of the same food staple that is a must….a box of Popeye’s’ fried chicken. Complete with sides of mashed potatoes, red beans, dirty rice and a mouth watering biscuit to top it off. Of course it doesn’t stop there, as we are all guilty of tearing open bags of potato chips and other snacks that come along with enjoying the parades. Make smarter choices this year by planning ahead, that’s right plan your “Food Parade” route. Prepare your own snacks of fresh fruit and veggies, and putting them in your ice chest to have when you are faced with parade route, high calorie temptations. Throw a Meal replacement bar, or some granola bars in your snack bag for a healthier choice and to keep you feeling full longer. If you would rather indulge in some of the higher calorie parade foods, try some of the following to lessen the caloric impact. If you crave fried chicken, take the skin off and only have one piece. Go ahead and enjoy those delicious side dishes but in smaller portions. If you do over-indulge in an all-day eating affair; make sure to follow with a day of lighter eating and a workout session!

Diabetes and Fitness

By: Mitch Biancato

As the newest member of the Ascension Fitness team, I’d like to take this time to introduce myself. I am Mitch Biancato I have been training for over 15 years and I have had Type 1 diabetes for 27 years. Diagnosed at the age of 17, I was forced to adopt a healthy lifestyle as I learned to manage my Diabetes. Over the years I have come to regard my diagnosis as a blessing in disguise. The diagnosis introduced me to the fitness industry and I very quickly developed a passion for learning and eventually teaching about living a healthy lifestyle. Based on my personal and professional experience with managing Diabetes, I can assure you there is a positive way this diagnosis can affect your life if you are prepared to commit to a regular fitness routine combined with a healthy diet.

Here are a few things that I found helped me prepare for a fitness routine:

1.Prior to beginning my exercise program I checked with my doctor to make sure that I was cleared for exercise and if I had any special considerations I had to be aware of. Clear communication between doctor, patient and trainer is very important.

2.I kept track of all of my blood sugar readings. I tested my blood sugar before every exercise session because if I had a reading over 200 then it was not safe for me to exercise that day. I aimed for blood sugar levels between 90 and 190 to be able to participate in my workout sessions. Making healthy food choices assured me of good glucose readings.

3.I also purchased a heart rate monitor. The heart rate monitor allowed me to exercise more efficiently and burn the maximum amount of fat and calories.

Taking these small steps allowed me to be successful and continue to be successful in my fitness journey! I make sure to mix my workouts up to reduce boredom and stay interested and consistent. A basic workout begins with a light cardiovascular warm-up to loosen up the muscles and get the heart ready for exercise. The warm up is followed by specific exercises that target strengthening muscle groups and maintaining a steady heart rate. To end my workout I “cool down” with less intensive exercises. A strong fitness routine has allowed me to take control of my body. With these steps I have been able to manage my Diabetes and enjoy life at the same time!

My Experience with Bell’s Palsy

By: Brittany Claverie – Certified TRX Instructor

I would like to share with you a recent medical episode I had of Bell’s Palsy and the impact it had on me both during and after the event.  It started one Sunday morning when I awoke with a sharp, nearly unbearable pain in my left ear.  Though there were no other signs of being sick; I made an appointment with my ENT the following day.  Upon examining me, he diagnosed me with an ear infection in my left ear and prescribed Amoxicillin, a drug commonly used to treat sinus and ear infections, to reduce the risk of furthering a problem since I would be flying out for vacation in a few days.

As the week went on, the ear pain did go away, but strange physical reactions started happening that I attributed to the Amoxicillin.  For example, one day I suffered with a severe headache or the next day waking up with a strange tongue tingling sensation (also known as hairy tongue – l learned that a swollen tongue was a side-effect of Amoxicillin).  Thinking these symptoms were “normal side-effects” I chose to ignore the signs, and continue with plans to attend a friend’s wedding the following night.

While having a professional make-up session the afternoon of the wedding, I noticed my left eye was extremely dry and beginning to water uncontrollably.  Still, not thinking too much of it, attended the wedding, and while taking a picture, I found it very difficult to smile. At the very instant I realized I was literally forcing myself to smile, and saw the photographer with a strange look on his face.  Taking a second picture, I tried to smile again, and again felt myself “forcing” a smile.   Freaking out a little, I grabbed the camera and was blown away by what I saw!  My smile on the left side was frozen, and it appeared to droop on the right side.  Even at this point I figured it was an allergic reaction to the Amoxicillin, but decided to get checked out immediately.

We headed to the emergency room, and as a precaution to rule out a stroke was seen right away.  After performing several simple motor function tests, the diagnosis was Bell’s Palsy.  He prescribed a 7-day therapy of steroids, anti-viral medication, and the use of natural tears eye lubricant throughout the day because I could not blink.  I also had to tape my eye shut to sleep because the eye could not stay closed on its own.

Coming home in complete shock, I needed to learn more about Bells Palsy. According to WebMD, Bell’s Palsy is a paralysis of the muscles on one side of your face. The muscles which control the side of your face with the paralysis can cause the face to droop from damage to the facial nerves. This nerve damage can affect your sense of taste and how you produce tears. The exact cause of Bell’s Palsy is not clear; however it is the same virus that causes shingles and cold sores. The symptoms of Bell’s Palsy include: paralysis to one side of the face, pain in the ear, excessive tearing or dryness of the eye, loss of taste, drooling, and numbness to one side of the face. Some people even reported a severe headache before the paralysis happened.

To my amazement, I had experienced all of the signs and symptoms for Bell’s Palsy and was totally unaware of it!  At this point, my ENT was doing everything he could to treat it, and that the paralysis would eventually go away on its own. He did prescribe Vitamin B-12 injections, which would help the nerves and surrounding tissues to produce energy, help reduce inflammation, and hopefully shorten the duration of the paralysis.  Sometimes it could take as little as a few weeks or months, and some people could live with it forever. Once this virus is inside of you, it remains dormant, and you can have episodes of Bell’s Palsy, it may not be for many years, but there is a risk of having it again and again.

For me the paralysis caused all of the muscles around my mouth to shift to the right side, even the little crease above my top lip was completely on the right side of my face.  I even had to hold my lips open to eat!  I noticed it was difficult to say certain words, or talk for long periods of time because I was not producing enough saliva.  At first glance, no one could see anything was wrong, until I smiled, although I was extremely embarrassed and conscious of it. I am truly thankful it lasted only 4 weeks, but I have to say they were the longest 4 weeks of my life!

All I could do was laugh when I looked at myself in the mirror, and I tried to keep a positive attitude about this because I knew I was doing everything I could do to help it go away. Bell’s Palsy can also be caused by stress, so I took this literally as an “eye-opener” to re-evaluate my priorities and attempt to reduce some stress in my life.

How am I learning to deal with the stress in my life? I admit at times it is hard to not stress, but at any moment when I feel anxious and begin to stress about what is going to happen next, I simply remind myself of the Bell’s Palsy. I never know when an episode of Bell’s Palsy could possibly strike again, so often I have to ask myself, “Is this decision, or action, really worth stressing out over and possibly trigger Bell’s Palsy again?” Ask anyone and they will tell you I am a people pleaser, and I find it hard to say the word “no.” I am still struggling with it, but I am finding it easier to say the word “no” these days. I am learning to take time for myself, even if it is only for a few minutes every day to sit, reflect, and be thankful for all of the blessings in my life.

Simple Solutions to Managing Perimenopause

By: Ann Corwin, ACE-CPT, LMT

Perimenopause …the nemesis I must deal with in the 4th decade of my life.  Technically, I’m closer to my 5th decade, but let’s not split hairs…most of mine are falling out anyway thanks to this phase.  It’s like puberty all over again but in reverse, something my mom never told me about.  In her defense, she didn’t go through menopause or  ‘the change’ so she had no helpful hints like “You will appreciate hot flashes in the winter time, they will keep you warm and toasty” or “ save the housework for 3am, that way you will have something to do when insomnia sets in.”

Yes…those are just a few of the many marvelous symptoms  to look forward to along with night sweats, irritability, anxiety, loss of concentration, headaches, vaginal dryness, weight gain and fluctuations, low libido, incontinence, mood swings, dry skin, skin conditions such as pimples or hives, and hair growth on chin, chest, and even the areola.  The menstrual cycle becomes irregular and eventually non-existent.

The good news, yes there is a bright side. Most of these symptoms can be lessened, if not eliminated with some simple solutions.

Diet:

Proper nutrition and diet is a crucial part of easing the frustration and managing the symptoms of perimenopause.  Most women use Perimenopause and Menopause as an excuse to not follow good nutrition.  One of the biggest misconceptions women have is by eating less they will lose the weight gain that occurs during this time of their life.  But by doing this women only amplify the problem because, a slower metabolism is also a condition of ‘the change’.  Forgive me for forgetting that tidbit of information; after all, forgetfulness is yet another symptom (sigh…).

It is important to have a proper calorie intake throughout our life, and although calorie reduction is a key element in losing weight, it should be done properly.  If the body does not get the proper amount of calories, it will slow down the metabolism and defeat the purpose. The best solution is to replace empty calories with quality calories.  Rule of thumb, if it comes out of a box or a drive thru window, it’s not a quality meal.  Eat fresh or fresh frozen, stay away from canned and over processed foods, and be sure your plate has a larger portion of protein and vegetables compared to carbohydrates which should be healthy, complex ones.

Exercise:

In addition to proper nutrition, it is very important to stay active during this time.  Especially during this phase of your life, it’s important to perform weight bearing exercise to improve or maintain bone density as well as assist in weight loss and improving your mental outlook.  Restful sleep, mental alertness, better mood, and muscle tone are positive results that come from exercise.  It doesn’t take much to see improvement, just 30 minutes of exercise per day is enough to provide an effective solution.  Set out for a brisk walk, or check out the local gyms and personal training studios.  The variety of 30 minute and 60 minute classes offered will keep you motivated!

Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT):

There are many arguments on both sides of the HRT controversy.  In the past women who made it to menopause were not expected to live more than a decade past ‘the change’.  Now our generation will survive into our 80’s and so the question is posed.  Doesn’t it make sense to use medicine to maintain the quality of our health and life?

HRT is a replacement of hormones which our bodies normally produce.  With HRT you can have your physician prescribe a medical treatment or if you prefer you can work with your physician to determine natural methods and/or medical methods of hormone replacement.  HRT can lessen the symptoms to a tolerable level until the body becomes acclimated to the changes taking place.

Like it or not, ‘the change’ is a natural and inevitable phase we go through.  The biggest ‘change’ to be made is to accept the fact it happens but not accept the fact nothing can be done and we must suffer through the symptoms.  If I may quote: “I found menopause to be an unnerving, confusing time and was dismayed at the lack of clear, straightforward information available to answer my questions. It seemed like everything I read raised more questions than answers. That is the reason I chose to speak out – I did not want other women to go through the same confusion I did. With a little information, women can celebrate menopause as the transition to a new phase in their lives, and make it a less fearful time.”

Stressed? Relieve Stress With These 4 Tips This Holiday

By:  Brittany Claverie, TRX Certified Instructor

The holidays are a time of year when people become stressed for different reasons: finances, gift demands, shopping, spending time with family and friends, and loneliness, just to name a few. This should be a joyous time to spend quality time with the people you love, and also a time to reflect on the past year and set goals for the upcoming New Year. We often get overwhelmed both physically and mentally when it comes to dealing with the extra pressures and stresses of the holiday season. Here are some tips to help you decrease some of that holiday stress:

  1. Exercise. Often we go through the hustle and bustle of the holidays without taking the time to stay in our regular exercise program, causing some extra holiday weight gain. Don’t think of exercises during this time as a drag, but rather a way to reduce physical and mental stress. Your body will thank you after you get your metabolism revved up, and endorphins flowing allowing you to feel great for all that shopping you have to undertake and all the socializing at your holiday parties. If you find it too hard to remember to exercise or you feel you do not have “the time” to exercise during the holidays, schedule your workouts, that way you will make sure you make the time for yourself.
  2. Socialize. The holidays sometimes cause depression and loneliness for some people. Try and avoid these feelings by attending parties and social gatherings hosted by family and/or friends. But avoid unnecessary socializing, because one-too-many parties can be very demanding. Make sure you decide ahead of time which social events you can afford to go to, and which ones you do not have time for. Do not over-commit or you will find yourself stressed to the max.
  3. Plan wisely. This time of year, finances seem to become a major issue amongst family members. Take the time to make a list of everyone you need to buy a present for and designate a budget for each person. Staying within budget will help eliminate stress of limited finances. If you find shopping causes extra unwanted stress, have someone help you, and even ask for help with wrapping presents! Do not be ashamed to ask for help when you find yourself being pulled in different directions and being asked to do a million things at once.
  4. Remember. Always keep in mind what this time of year is truly about. People always seem to be rushing around, spending money, and having to “tolerate” their families. If we stop to think about it, this is not what the holiday season is about. It is not about the presents, or how much money you spend. The holidays are a time for people to come together and celebrate the simple joys in life, and to give thanks for the many blessings we have in our lives.

Make the most of your holidays and spend quality time making memories with loved ones. By using these stress relieving tips, you can help take time for yourself during this busy holiday season.

About the Author – Brittany Claverie

brit 2Let me take you back to about 10 years ago at the age of 18 when I was at my heaviest and was battling self-image issues. I don’t recall precisely what ignited my determination to get fit, but at that point it became a priority and I decided to take control and started exercising. Over the process of consistently exercising and watching my nutrition, I lost 40 pounds and 5 dress sizes! It was amazing to me how good I felt, and how my self-confidence improved.

After losing the weight, I decided that I would never go back to that place of feeling so low, and I realized my lifestyle needed to change for good. That decision drove me to become an aerobics fitness instructor and a certified TRX instructor. My passion is to help others feel good about themselves, help them stay true to their fitness journey and most importantly have fun working out!