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One Small Change Can Change Your Life!

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

I know what you are thinking, “Jenn don’t be so dramatic!”  Well I’m really not.  One small change compounded over time can absolutely change your life!  We all know this concept but aren’t always aware of all of the small and seemingly insignificant choices we make throughout the day.   These choices can help us or hurt us.

Let me explain.  Take our 90/10 Nutritional principle that we use for example.  We know through scientific research that if you blow out 10% of your weekly meals (that’s 2 meals) that you can still not only maintain your weight but lose weight.  This is because the other 19 meals you are eating clean and healthfully staying in the calorie range that’s right for you. This consistent effort allows you to continue to lose weight.  On the flipside of that, if you consumed 150 calories more than normal every day, over the next 6 months you would gain about 8 lbs assuming that you didn’t increase your activity level any.  This is just one example of how we can use this principle to work for us or against us; hence the title of this article- One small change can change your life!

So what small change are you going to make that can change your life for the better? Is it committing to save $1.00/day? Is it tracking each penny you spend to help bring awareness to where you can save money? Is it committing to change your mind set by focusing on what you are grateful for each day and writing it down?  Is it keeping a food journal to help you lose weight or gain weight?  Is it keeping an exercise log to help you see how many minutes you are really working out?

Whatever it is I want you to commit, with me, to track one thing that can help you change your life.  When you do this every day NO MATTER WHAT- you will get the results you want …AND THEN SOME.  This is “The Secret” to success.  No…this isn’t going to be immediate gratification, it will be even BETTER.  It will be moving towards feeling AMAZING over the long-term.  It will help you realize that the true secret to success is doing the simple things consistently!

So if you are still reading this article, I am asking you to not just read this, but take action on it.  Write down these questions.

What area of your life do you want to improve? 

What is one small change that you can make that will help you get there?

Write it down and do a gut check.  If you look at your answer and think, “I’m not sure I can do that.” then go smaller.

What is one baby step that you can take towards that goal? 

You will know that you have chosen something that you can repeat consistently when you think to yourself “Is this really the little thing that I’m going to do? This feels too simple!”  If that’s what you are thinking, then you are on the right track.  Start doing that one thing every day and then as you begin to not have to think about doing it every day, and you do it automatically guess what happens?? You have created a new GOOD HABIT!

At that point repeat this process with a different action step until you have created a LIFESTYLE that supports the person you want to be!!  That’s how simple creating the life that you want can be….one small change at a time, and that is what we at Ascension Fitness are about ONE BODY. ONE LIFE. COMMIT to one small change today and MAKE IT GREAT!

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.

 

What is your ‘Why’?

By: Jamie McIntyre, BS Exercise Science, ACE-CPT

As I stood there hunched over with my hands on my knees after another grueling 5-mile run I thought to myself why I am doing this? Now, I am a competitive person by nature so I understand why I push myself harder every workout, because I always want to be better than the last time. What I hadn’t put much thought into was why I worked out like I do in the first place. Yes I am a personal trainer and yes it is part of my job but I could probably get away with fewer and shorter workouts and still be a good role model for my clients. So, the question remained why do I continue to push myself and why is it so important for me to know and understand that why?

Working out is hard. There is nothing easy about weight loss/muscle gain/toning. It takes a lot of discipline and hard work to reach our goals. Knowing and understanding your why is the key to success. Your why is not “because I want to lose 10 pounds,” it goes deeper than that. Your why goes into why you want to lose 10 pounds at all. What is truly motivating you to reach your goals? You must know the answer to this question in order to achieve success because if you don’t then chances are you will not have the drive and determination it takes to get to where you want to be. Here are a three questions you should ask yourself to determine your why:

  • Why do you want (insert goal here)? – Like I said before you need to go into why you want to achieve that goal. For example, if your goal is to lose 10 pounds your reason for that may be because when you were at your goal weight you had never felt better about yourself. You were more confident, more outgoing, and more comfortable in your own body. Our feelings motivate us and knowing the feelings involved with achieving your goal is crucial to your success. So, dive deep and find out why you want to reach your goals and identify the feelings involved.
  • What in your life is going to change if you achieve that goal? – Now I want you to dig a little deeper and think about how your life will be different once you achieve your goals. Will you be more confident? Get off medication? Be able to play with your kids more? Having a clear picture of how your life will change is another way to motivate yourself to reach your goals.
  • Are you doing it for yourself or for someone else? – This question is important. You need to know if you are being motivated by yourself or by someone else. If you are doing it for someone else, is it what’s best for you? Because if it isn’t something that you want or that you believe you will benefit from chances are you are not going to achieve your goals. You must be able to say that you are pushing yourself towards your goal because it is important for you.

So, dig deep and use these questions to find your why.  I promise you that if you can find it and have a clear picture of why you want what you want then nothing can stand in your way.

As for me, I workout and eat healthy for my future self because I know that the harder I work now and the more disciplined I am now, the easier it will be when I’m older. I have learned a lot from my clients and one thing that I am continually told is how much harder it is to achieve your goals when you are older. I believe them, even though I am still young, I know that my body is not the same as it was when I was 20. The great thing about my why is that I will always be working for my future self. My why is never going to change, other factors may come into it but I will always be working for my future self.

Jamie McIntyre, B.S. Exercise Science, ACE-CPT

meJamie McIntyre is the Marketing Coordinator and a personal trainer at Ascension Fitness. She came from San Diego, California where she recently completed a Master’s degree in Business Administration at San Diego State University. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science from Dickinson State University. Jamie received a softball scholarship to play at Dickinson State University. During her time at Dickinson State she completed an internship as a student athletic trainer which led to her passion of fitness.  Jamie loves training, softball, ringette, and watching movies.

Barefoot Running – Running Like Our Ancestors

By: Larry Gruber, CSCS, MES

As we all know from the heat and humidity, summer is upon New Orleans.  And, summertime means OUTDOOR RUNNING.  Since 2009, a new training dimension for runners has soared—the phenomenon of barefoot running.  Now let’s be clear—barefoot running in the city is dangerous due to potential debris on the ground.  So for the sake of this article, we are going to discuss minimalist running wear, which are those shoes that simulate barefoot running.   Does this type of running help improve foot strength and running mechanics, thereby making one a more competitive runner?    How does one go about implementing minimalist shoes into their training?  And, what are the drawbacks to running in these shoes?

According to the National Sporting Goods Association, 32.2 million people participated in running and jogging in 2013, with a great number of these people competing in races of all distances.  So, as participation increases, so does competitiveness.  A study by Divert and colleagues (2008) has shown that there are benefits to barefoot and minimalist running, such as an increase in running economy.  Wearing a minimalist shoe causes certain modifications of the body that allow the exerciser to do more work with less demand on the body, such as more efficient stride lengths and frequency.    And, it’s less fatiguing than running in traditional shoes because it leads to lower energy consumption, thereby delaying the onset of fatigue.  Another benefit is that is helps to improve proprioception (the body’s ability to sense stimuli).  When a runner isn’t encased in all that running shoe technology, the little sensors in his/her feet can actually feel the surface beneath and then allow the foot to react appropriately—thereby reducing injury and improving balance.  And, it helps strengthen all those muscles in the feet and ankles because they are recruited more for support.  Finally, most traditional running shoes have a heel lift.  By removing this, it helps the Achilles tendon and calves stretch and lengthen, thereby reducing injuries such as calf pulls caused by short, tight tissues.

Now that you have decided to make the switch, transition slowly to running in this footwear because so much more ankle and footwork is required, and those muscles and tendons are not accustomed to the stress.  Begin by doing various activities of daily life in these shoes, such as gardening or cleaning the house.  Then, begin to adopt a progressive overload approach.  For example, wear them for 10 minutes at the beginning of exercise and another 10 minutes at the end.  Slowly, add in another 10-minute bout.    For the first 2 weeks, keep the total training time to no more than 30 minutes per session.  Be mindful of how your feet and ankles feel after wearing the shoes, and slowly progress the amount of time exercising in them as long as you are pain-free.

Beware, however, that there are cons associated with this type of running.  As I stated earlier, minimalist shoes don’t offer a lot of sole-support, so one has to be very mindful of the surface upon which they run and be on the lookout for glass, rocks and other sharp objects.   And, because one’s calves and Achilles tendons are accustomed to a more supportive shoe, minimalist running may over-stress them in the beginning.  So, follow the progressive overload protocol I outlined above.  Finally, this type of running may be contraindicated for those with diabetes because peripheral neuropathy (a common complication of diabetes) can lead to a loss of protective sensations in the feet.

Armed with the pros and cons of minimalist shoes and how to incorporate them into your training, you can make an educated decision about joining this running trend.  I recommend you go to a running store, like Southern Runner, where a professional can assist you in making the right decision for your foot.  Now get out there on that levee and enjoy your run!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR – LARRY GRUBER – CSCS, MES, ACE-CPT

larrygruber-headshot2Physical fitness used to be just a pastime for me, until more and more friends began asking for my opinion concerning their fitness regimen.  In 1999, after a successful restaurant management career in some of Chicago’s finest restaurants, I became a certified personal trainer through the American Council on Exercise and the National Academy of Sports Medicine. I’m also a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the National Strength and Conditioning Association.

As a personal trainer, I strongly feel that exercise should be an enjoyable and rewarding experience.  I structure the workouts so they are fun, combining traditional weight training with functional training, cardio-respiratory training and flexibility training, all aimed at helping you look, feel and move better.  In order for the sessions to be successful, the personal trainer/client relationship must be a very interactive one, requiring constant feedback from both parties.  I want and need your opinions and suggestions.

After training for 13 years in Chicago, I made the move south in search of warmer weather.  I’m so excited to be part of such a vibrant city, and I can’t wait to try its world famous restaurants.  Thanks so much for welcoming me to New Orleans!!

 

Why I Don’t Set Goals Anymore…

By: Ann Corwin Marix, ACE-CPT, LMT

Definitions:

Goal: object of a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result.

Habit: a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up.

The definitions alone are pretty self explanatory as to why I have decided to nix the goal making and start on the habit forming. Do you see what I’m talking about?  Yeah, it’s that simple…I know, you are probably giving yourself the palm to head and saying “Geez that makes sense!”

If you don’t get it, that’s ok, it took me 50 years to figure it out, so I’ll cut you some slack.  Creating a goal (i.e. lose 10lbs for the beach trip, workout to fit into your new outfit for the company party, etc,) has its benefits. It provides a motivation to do better, look better, or feel better.  The challenge with goal making, however, is the end result is just that, the end.  Think back to how many times you “set goals” and once they were achieved, you quit doing what it was that helped you achieve that goal?  I can see you thinking and shaking your head because you know exactly what I mean!  No…that’s not you?  Really? Ok, then dig a little deeper and tell how many of your ‘goals’ are repetitive?  In other words, can you just go back every year to your Resolutions list and basically do a ‘cut and paste’?  I’ll pause here a moment as you have just been slapped by the reality glove.

Think about habits and we automatically add the word “Bad” to the front.  We generally think of habits as those acts that are bad for us.  Yes, there are some bad habits out there; smoking, excessive drinking, too much time playing video games, too many to mention. Once again, I ask you…think of your “bad’ habits?  Now, think about how often or long you have been doing them?  See where this is taking you?  Again, I’ll give you a break and say it plain and simple:  Start creating good habits that are in line with your ideas and dreams of a better life, better health, and better world and see what happens.   What are good habits?  Well, it can be anything that makes for a more positive, productive, and happier you.  Create the habit of drinking more water, walking 30 minutes 4 days a week, getting to work 15 minutes earlier, and so on.  Those three habits alone can result in meeting your desired goals.  How?  More water…flush the fat and lose weight, walking…lose inches and fit into the outfit for the party plus build endurance to dance the night away, arrive early at work…get a jumpstart on the job reduces stress and makes you feel better.  Good habits become second nature to what you do and who you are hence, your goals, dreams, and ideas are resolved by default…Ok, I think you getting the picture! I can see the light bulb shining brightly over your head…you’re welcome!

So the short of it…Goals are an idea, a way to define your dream…habits are something you do to put your idea into action, make your dream a reality forever, not just a day!

About the Author – Ann Corwin Marix

annAnn’s start in health and wellness was (and still is) as a masseuse after, believe or not, hiring a personal trainer.  See athletics, exercise and activity have always been a major part of my life; but over time life seemed to take over – work; raising a child; keeping a household took its toll and my “Me-time” seemed to disappear.  Long story short, what was going to be a time to make myself feel better (by getting a massage after some a personal training session) became an eye opening experience and drove me to obtain my massage license and help others in relieving pain from injuries, trauma, or simply everyday life. Wanting to get back into exercise, I became a Jazzercise instructor and then wanting a closer relationship with clients, followed that experience by becoming an ACE Certified Personal Trainer and Certified TRX Instructor.  I love providing my clients with a unique and fun approach to help motivate and drive to obtain the results they want.

Confidence is Key

By: Jamie McIntyre, BS Exercise Science, ACE-CPT

“So much of this game is about believing in yourself and believing that you will succeed.” Those were the words I left my softball team with after another tough loss. During the game I watched each player timidly approach the plate and walk away with their head down after they were called out. After only a couple of weeks of coaching, it was clear to me that we needed to focus on building confidence. I believe that confidence is a key success indicator in every sport. When you watch the best players in the NFL (or any other major sport) you can see that they are confident, they hold their head up high, they are aggressive, and everything about their body language exudes confidence. So, I built a practice that would not only enhance my players’ physical ability but also increase their self-confidence. I provided critical feedback along with praise. I made sure they knew I was giving that feedback because I had confidence in their abilities to make the proper adjustments. This is also something I needed as a softball player. When I knew that my coach believed in me, I believed in myself. As a collegiate athlete I struggled with confidence at the plate. I felt that my coach and my teammates didn’t have the confidence in me to hit the ball and they were right. But it wasn’t because I didn’t have the skills or ability to hit the ball, it was because I didn’t believe I could hit the ball. However, when I was playing defense I was the complete opposite. I owned the field, I knew that every ball that was hit to me would be an out and it usually was. It is funny to think back on that now. To see how in one game I could have two completely opposite views of my skills and abilities.

This experience is what I bring to my coaching, my training, and my life. I know that if I want to accomplish something or I want someone to accomplish something I need to believe in myself/them. There are three things that I do to work on improving my self-confidence everyday:

  1. Practice – “Practice makes perfect.” Not a single person in the world can truly succeed without practice. Practicing and honing your skills whether it is for sports, work, or everyday life, is crucial to improving self-confidence. Knowing that you can do something outside of the game or presentation will help you succeed.
  2. Visualize – Visualizing a time when you made the big play or you gave a great presentation will help boost your confidence to go out there and do it again.
  3. Positive Self-Talk – You can have everyone in the world believing in you but at the end of the day you need to believe in yourself. Always speak to yourself in a positive way. Even if you fail, know that you can learn from that experience and you will use it in a positive way to succeed the next time.

Confidence is the key to success in everything you do. But it doesn’t come easy and it doesn’t come without putting in the work and a strong support network. I know that a consistent, daily approach is worth the time and effort and will in having a lasting positive effect.

Jamie McIntyre, B.S. Exercise Science, ACE-CPT

meJamie McIntyre is the Marketing Coordinator and a personal trainer at Ascension Fitness. She came from San Diego, California where she recently completed a Master’s degree in Business Administration at San Diego State University. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science from Dickinson State University. Jamie received a softball scholarship to play at Dickinson State University. During her time at Dickinson State she completed an internship as a student athletic trainer which led to her passion of fitness.  Jamie loves training, softball, ringette, and watching movies.

The Paths We Travel

By: Erica Dammon, NASM- CPT

The paths we go down in life are only worth what we learn along the way.  Good and bad they make up our life experience and the experience is fueled and directed by what we pick up along the way.  My journey has had its fair share of dark roads, but none as encompassing and influential as the battle I have had with my eating disorder.  The toll it takes on your body can be brutal but it is nothing compared to the scars it can leave on your self-worth.  Crawling out of that hole was ugly and hurtful to so many.  Coming through it though and finding out how strong of a person I truly can be has made it seem all the more worthwhile.

I can tell you first hand that this very rapidly growing problem can tear apart a life very easily.  Eating disorders carry the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric disorder.  Statistical briefs carried out between the years 1999 and 2000 compared to briefs done between the years 2008-2009 show a 24% rise in hospital diagnosis for eating disorders, 72% rise in the under 12 year olds, 30% rise for ages between 19-30, and a 88% rise in those ages 45-65.  According to the National Institute of Health, Anorexia Nervosa carries a higher mortality rate than any other cause of death among females ages 15-24.  This is a serious issue and the epidemic is growing. 

Psychiatrist’s separate eating disorders into two main diagnoses. My diagnosis was Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa is the other.   While both disorders revolve around an unhealthy obsession with food and unrealistic worries about body image and weight, they manifest in different ways.  Anorexia is characterized as someone who is 15% underweight; refuses to gain weight, instead seek to lose weight by starvation, excessive exercise, vomiting or laxative abuse. This can weaken the heart muscles and cause cardiac arrhythmias. Patients diagnosed as Bulimia Nervosa are not necessarily underweight and have bouts of binge eating followed by vomiting or abuse of laxatives.  These habits will lead to severe dehydration and severe digestive complications.  Both diagnoses are devastating to the physical body, but even more crippling to a person’s basic value in themselves.

My crossover into the disorder started off very simply, a typical teenage girl drama.  I fell for a boy and got involved in a scene that was quite different than the world I was from.  As the situation grew I found myself playing out dual roles, the one I maintained with my new friends, and the one I upheld for my happy caring family.  Conflict began to brew inside me.  Torn between the very real things happening to my teenage self and the need to not spill the beans and pretend to my family that things were okay.  Most eating disorder victims actually suffer from a feeling of lost control in varying degrees.  Loss of control due to a horrible situation or action taken upon themselves or just being overwhelmed by difficult moments in life, for me, I was just in way over my head and was unable to ask for help.

My mother had her suspicions.  A mother’s bond to her children is absolute, so when one part is hurting the other feels it too.  When I blacked out in the shower getting ready for high school one morning, it was pretty much out of the bag.   There was the usual start, doctors then counselors and I can’t say that I was cooperative in the least.  She must have been so scared, 18 years old 5’4’ weighing in at 90lbs.   Eventually hospitalization at an in-patient facility, where I met so many others struggling with this disorder and heard their stories.  Stories of abuse, neglect, horrific experiences that manifested into this need for control of something.  They all shared this intense self-hatred that this disorder breeds, and it is that self-hatred that is truly the hardest obstacle to overcome.  Over the course of my “Girl Interrupted” moment I began to see that places like these were never going to instill the power these girls needed to make them believe in themselves again the way they so desperately needed to. 

Those girls and their stories did have a profound effect on me, seeing what others struggle through made my issues seem more mountable.  By following the rules I ended my in-patient stay, and life moved on.  My struggle with Anorexia continued, more subdued and hidden, but ever present.  A couple more ups and downs led me to Mike, my future husband.  Falling in love always helps lift you up!  Suddenly I had a family on the way; coming from such a wonderful family like mine created the need to start facing this demon paramount.  Having a baby changes your life, you have to get stronger.  My mom and dad’s endless support and love, along with that from my husband and a desire to be a healthy mom were a huge hand up.  However finding true comfort in my own skin was the actual cure.  My accidental stumbling into the fitness industry was the final piece of the puzzle I was missing to truly kick this disorder in the butt.

Working out and learning the science that goes with it, not only made me feel strong and confident but gave me a sense of control in a healthful way that I had never had before.  Learning what I was capable of doing changed the way I saw myself.  Watching the change in others self-belief inspired me more.  Positive thinking can be so contagious. Being part of such a rewarding experience can do wonders.  I believe that is what fitness is truly for, to make this mind body connection and to strengthen and care for both.  True fitness incorporates physical ability and mental wellness and builds them up.  Anorexia, like many disorders and addictions, is something I have to be vigilant about.  Old habits can return, and stress will always trigger them, but now I have weapons to fight Anorexia off.  Coming through the other side I feel stronger for going that way, which allows me to help others find their inner strength.  Sometimes in life we can walk down pathways that lead to a dark hole, my belief is that it matters less why you walked down the path and more how you climbed out of the hole.         

 ericaAbout the Author – Erica Dammon, NASM Certified Personal Trainer

I was born overseas but hail the great city of New Orleans as my home town. My husband Mike and I have been married for 12 years and we have three amazing boys, Nicholas, Cody, and Benjamin. They have been the biggest adventure yet!

Training is a huge passion for me and I embrace core fitness values in both my training programs and my lifestyle choices.  I believe that food should be chosen for what it can do for you, not just for the flavor you crave at the moment. I believe in pushing yourself in all aspects of life because how else will you know what you are capable of accomplishing?  Pushups should never be done on your knees and core is where it all begins!

I am a huge football fan and a big part of the Who Dat Nation!!  I look forward to meeting and helping you achieve any and all fitness goals you bring in to Ascension Fitness!

 

Sources:  Statistical Briefs based on Data collected by HCUP 1999, 2000, 2008 & 2009

            ANAD from their website www.anad.org

To Diet or Not To Diet? That Is The Question.

By: Larry Gruber, CSCS, MES

It’s now April.  A time when rain showers bring way to flowers.  A season that strikes fear in all Americans when we realize just how much we owe the government on April 15.  It’s the month of French Quarter Fest, Patriot’s Day, and the much-celebrated Boston Marathon.  And, it’s the month that we put our winter clothes in the back of the closet and bring those summer clothes front and center.  That simple act of pulling our bathing suits out of winter storage can be scarier than writing those checks to the state and federal governments.

This is the month when many of us begin scouring the web in search of that perfect diet to get us in shape for the summer.  However, does dieting really work?  I’ve had many clients who have told me about this year’s great, revolutionary diet or about a diet in Europe that is all the rage and how people are losing a lot of weight on these plans.  Let’s analyze for a moment why any diet actually causes people to lose weight.  Basically, a diet restricts caloric intake because diets, by their nature, limit the items we eat.  When there is a caloric deficit (less calories taken in versus calories expended in normal activity plus exercise), we lose weight.  Even the man who ate nothing but McDonald’s for two months lost weight because the foods he was permitted to eat was limited, so he ate less.  A plan like the Atkins Diet takes an entire macronutrient (carbohydrates) out of the picture.  So, your food choices become less and less.  When this happens, people will eat less and lose weight.

Now, let me ask you a question.  How many times have you been on a diet and then gained all the weight back?  The purpose of this question isn’t about bringing up past failures, but to show you that dieting itself doesn’t get us the end result for which we are searching.  When you lose weight on a diet, you lose both body fat and muscle.  Then, when you have achieved your goal, you go back on a regular eating plan and most of us end up gaining that weight back.  Realize, when this happens, we gain back fat, not muscle, which skews our body fat percentage even more so that we are, in reality, fatter than when we actually began the diet.  To prevent this from happening, we need to learn how to eat healthy on a day-to-day basis, and dieting doesn’t teach us this.  When we re-introduce the entire Whole Foods or Rouse’s grocery store back into our life, panic ensues because now our food options are unlimited again and most of us go back to our pre-diet habits.  Don’t diet.  Break those bad habits.

I know I’ve painted a fairly bleak picture.  However, allow me to clear away those cloudy skies for a sunnier view.  Think about what your ideal weight should be–the weight that, through proper diet and exercise, you can maintain without extreme measures for years to come.  Unfortunately, this means the size we were when we were 18 is probably not a realistic weight for us in middle-age (did I just call myself middle-aged?).  The next thing I always have my clients do is keep a food diary so that together, we can analyze what they are eating, how much they are eating, and when they are eating it.  Then, I like to introduce one or two changes at a time so that my clients may acclimate to those.  By slowly integrating change into their day-to-day diet, they gradually become healthier and slowly lose body fat.  A one to two pound weekly loss is what is recommended for healthy weight loss, and to keep that weight off.  Also, exercising, especially resistance training, will help maintain the integrity of your skin and muscle mass as you lose weight.

When analyzing a client’s food diary, I look for a myriad things.  To begin with, are you having a sensible breakfast to begin your day?  Are you eating periodically throughout the day–approximately every three to four hours?  Both of these will actually help to speed up your metabolism and help you burn more calories.  Are you limiting your intake of sodas, fried foods, cheeses, mayo, and fatty spreads and sauces?  Do you substitute cakes, cookies, and ice cream with yummy alternatives such as fresh fruit, yogurt, and crunchy vegetables?  Are you drinking plenty of water throughout the day?  And, are you giving yourself the pleasure of one “free day” per week?

Dieting (the verb), doesn’t work.  A healthy diet does.  I urge you to think of exercise and a proper diet as a welcomed life-style change.  Just as we have to brush our teeth every day to prevent cavities, we have to be consistent with working out and eating well in order to lose body fat and to keep it off.  So bring on those warm, sunny, humid southern days.  Unpack those bathing suits and book that Destin hotel room.  This Chicago boy is excited about summer.  And, if you need a little assistance in getting excited, just call me and let’s work together to get you looking great, feeling awesome, and moving like you’ve never moved before.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR – LARRY GRUBER – CSCS, MES, ACE-CPT

larrygruber-headshot2Physical fitness used to be just a pastime for me, until more and more friends began asking for my opinion concerning their fitness regimen.  In 1999, after a successful restaurant management career in some of Chicago’s finest restaurants, I became a certified personal trainer through the American Council on Exercise and the National Academy of Sports Medicine. I’m also a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the National Strength and Conditioning Association.

As a personal trainer, I strongly feel that exercise should be an enjoyable and rewarding experience.  I structure the workouts so they are fun, combining traditional weight training with functional training, cardio-respiratory training and flexibility training, all aimed at helping you look, feel and move better.  In order for the sessions to be successful, the personal trainer/client relationship must be a very interactive one, requiring constant feedback from both parties.  I want and need your opinions and suggestions.

After training for 13 years in Chicago, I made the move south in search of warmer weather.  I’m so excited to be part of such a vibrant city, and I can’t wait to try its world famous restaurants.  Thanks so much for welcoming me to New Orleans!!

Help, I’m Injured, and I Can’t Workout!

By: Ann Corwin Marix, ACE-CPT, LMT

In the midst of your workout, you feel it…a grind, a sharp pain, a pop…uh oh.  After you realize you’ve incurred an injury, your first thought is “UGH…I will need surgery…, there go my workouts for the next 6-8 weeks.”  That does not have to be the case!  I can say this as I speak, first hand, from my own experience.  My parents endowed me with bad knees as a trade off for a great personality.  I incurred a complete acl and partial meniscus tear in my right knee almost a decade ago and most recently suffered the exact injuries in my left knee.  The cliché holds true, if I only knew then what I know now, I would have had a better recovery because I would have continued to exercise.  A few modifications to your existing regimen is all you need to stay healthy and strong before, during, and after surgery.

First and foremost, do not ignore the injury as that will not make it go away and it will definitely make the injury worse.  Learn how to redefine your workout to create a ‘pre-hab’ game plan!  In the past, people have followed the rule of surgery first, physical rehabilitation second.  Research has shown the more we do prior to surgery in regard to maintaining our physical health and strength, the rate of recovery improves and, in some cases, surgery may be avoided.

Most injuries are isolated to a specific area, so injuring your knee will not affect you pumping out a chest press or some bicep curls, unless your knee is connected to your arm and if that is the case…well, there is no workout that can fix that! In fact, in the case of a knee injury, it is recommended to continue performing lower body exercises.  This will strengthen the musculature surrounding the knee, offering protection as well as prepare for better post surgery recovery.  It is important to know what exercises to do to assist in healing and which ones to avoid that could worsen the injury. So here are a few exercises to do and not to do with common injuries:

BACK PAIN:

Avoid: Running, overhead lifting, leg press machine

Try:  Walking, stretching, protected ab exercises, recumbent bike, yoga, Pilates

SHOULDER PAIN:

Avoid: Repetitive overhead exercises or lifts with free weights

Try: Front shoulder raises, lateral raises

SHIN SPLINTS:

Avoid: Running frequently

Try: Cross training combined with cardio such as swimming or biking

TWISTED ANKLE:

Avoid: Repetitive impact such as running, jogging, and cardio dance

Try:  Upper body exercises, stationary bike, swimming, drawing letters of the alphabet with your toes

SWOLLEN KNEE:

Avoid: Any exercise that recreates the pain, running, weighted lower extremity exercises

Try: Swimming, yoga, Pilates, hip/thigh/knee strengthening exercises.

NECK PAIN:

Avoid: Yoga positions that put pressure on the neck, running

Try: Walking, cycling, Pilates, yoga

PLANTAR FASCIATIS:

Avoid: Running, any lower body impact moves

Try: Elliptical trainer, bicycling

If you do have an injury it is important to talk to your doctor, personal trainer, or a physical therapist as they can recommend specific modifications, exercises, and stretches that allow you to continue your training regimen.  As always, you should consult a doctor prior to adding to or changing your workouts.

Injuries happen, but when they do, don’t let them keep you down. Instead, let them be the reason you educate yourself on how to work with them and how to avoid them in the future!

About the Author – Ann Corwin Marix

annAnn’s start in health and wellness was (and still is) as a masseuse after, believe or not, hiring a personal trainer.  See athletics, exercise and activity have always been a major part of my life; but over time life seemed to take over – work; raising a child; keeping a household took its toll and my “Me-time” seemed to disappear.  Long story short, what was going to be a time to make myself feel better (by getting a massage after some a personal training session) became an eye opening experience and drove me to obtain my massage license and help others in relieving pain from injuries, trauma, or simply everyday life. Wanting to get back into exercise, I became a Jazzercise instructor and then wanting a closer relationship with clients, followed that experience by becoming an ACE Certified Personal Trainer and Certified TRX Instructor.  I love providing my clients with a unique and fun approach to help motivate and drive to obtain the results they want.

 

Do you Fit in a Box?

By: Jennifer Lormand B.S. Exercise Physiology ACE-CPT

In January of each year I often get the same question from prospective clients.  “What kind of training do y’all do?”  My answer is, “Whatever it takes to get you to where you want to be.”  I get some strange looks when I say this.  People have become accustomed to fitness being a franchise like Curves, Jazzercise, Crossfit, and Pure Barre to name a few.  I have to explain how we actually personalize a fitness program to each person, based on their wants and needs, and some folks still don’t understand what I mean.  That is why I’m writing this article today.  I want to help people understand what we do and why we are different.

First let me say that I’m not suggesting that all of these franchises are bad.  I am suggesting that in my 19 years experience, I have found that most of the population doesn’t fit into a box.  What I mean is, each person’s body is different. When I started training and teaching in 1995, I had a dream to take a little bit of each of the things that I love about fitness and put it into one workout.  I started putting boxing, lifting weights, spinning, running, TRX, foam rolling and more into my personal training sessions with clients and they all loved it.  I would get people coming up to me saying, “You are the only trainer that I have seen doing cardio in your sessions, I love that!” This began to light a fire in my belly that I couldn’t put out.  I was going against the norm of what the typical personal training session was, and I loved it.  I began personalizing everything that I did in those sessions based on the wants and needs of my clients and we continue to do that today.  I truly believe that it is the highest honor, when people trust me with their most precious commodity- their body.  And my philosophy has always been simply the golden rule- Treat others the way that YOU want to be treated.

What I mean by that is much deeper than giving them what they want in training sessions.  It’s much more than that.  It’s about realizing that every person that walks through our door is special.  It means never saying, “I’m sorry we can’t help you.”  I can’t stand that when I’m desperate for help and I go see a professional and they say, “Well, that’s not what we do.”  I always want to be able to lead people in the right direction for the next action step they can take to create their BEST LIFE!  That means that over the last 19 years I’ve developed relationships with other trusted professionals that I refer people to and I know will take great care of them.  People like Physical Therapists, Chiropractors, Massage Therapists, Orthopedic Surgeons, Internists, ENT Physicians, Cardiologists, Social Workers, Psychologists, Nutritionists, Advanced Rolfers and more.

This is what makes us different.  We Care.  We want for each person that walks through our door, the same that we want for ourselves and our families.  We want to give them a challenging workout that is safe and effective for their goals, and what their body needs.  This is our SECRET SAUCE.  We LISTEN to the clients goals, evaluate what their body needs, and then we use all of the tools we have to attain it!  Whether it’s sprint intervals, dancing on a step or BOSU, lifting heavy weight to get stronger, doing plyometric training to burn fat, doing TRX to get a stronger CORE and improve the body’s movement patterns,  helping someone recover from a injury or limitation, or helping moms get their body back after having a baby.  We DO what they NEED.  We make it Fun. We make it Challenging.  But most importantly, we do it because it’s what feeds our soul!

So here’s what I know.  I know that there are many great places that people can go to accomplish their goals, but nowhere like Ascension Fitness.  The Passion that we have to transform people from the inside out, separates us from any other place you will go.  I have been so incredibly blessed to find amazing like-minded people to be a part of my team.    I know that my calling in life is to help people feel amazing in the skin they are in, and I know that I will give my all to continue to make that happen.  I believe that everyone deserves to be happy when they look in the mirror.   I feel grateful and blessed for all of those who have trusted me and my team to help them along their life’s journey.  I look forward to helping many more become THEIR BEST SELF.

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.

 

 

“What exactly are sugar alcohols and how are they different from sugar?”

Have you ever looked at a nutrition label and wondered “What exactly are sugar alcohols and how are they different from sugar?”

sugar alcohol

Sugar alcohols are a type of sweetener that can be found in many foods including: chewing gum, sugar-free candies, cookies, and soft drinks. They may also be listed as their type of sugar alcohol. Some examples of sugar alcohols are erythritol, glycerol, isomalt, lactilol, maltitol, mannitol, sorbitol, and xylitol. These sugar alcohols are forms of naturally occurring sugars whose chemical makeup varies slightly from actual sugar. They are derived from sugars typically found in fruits.

Sugar and sugar alcohols are different in both the number of calories and how they are absorbed in the body. One gram of sugar contains 4 calories and one gram of sugar alcohol contains between 1.5 to 3 calories. This is one reason why sugar alcohols are found in a lot of diet foods. Another reason is because foods that contain sugar alcohols, instead of sugar, can be labeled as “sugar-free” or “no sugar added.” The body does not absorb sugar alcohols very quickly so they can pass through the body with minimal effect to your blood sugar levels which means they will have minimal effect on your energy levels.

Sugar alcohols may sound great, however, they do have some negatives. The most common side effects of consuming too much sugar alcohols include diarrhea and bloating. Sugar alcohols can have a laxative effect or other gastric symptoms in some people, especially in children.

Overall, just like everything, sugar alcohols are safe to consume in moderate amounts. Make sure you pay attention to the total carbohydrates in a product because some foods that contain sugar alcohols still contain a significant amount of carbohydrates. When in doubt reach for whole, unprocessed foods for your snacks or meals.

Sources:

Yale-New Haven Hospital. (n.d.). Eat any sugar alcohol lately?