Tag Archives: nutrition

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.


Does your workplace sabotage your weight loss goals?

When trying to lose weight, the workplace can sometimes be your worst enemy. Maybe it’s a vending machine, a colleague’s candy dish, or baked goods for special holidays and celebrations, that test your willpower. Every office has these obstacles and the only way to fight them is with a plan. Below are a few common workplace saboteurs and strategies to fight them:

Saboteur #1: Candy Jar/Baked Goods Station - There is always that colleague who keeps a jar of candy on their desk or that brings in donuts or baked goods for the office. How do you resist the temptation of digging in for a bite or two (that we all know start to add up quickly)? Keep a stash of healthy snacks at your desk such as: nuts, fruit, or protein bars. This will make it easy for you to have healthy options and resist the temptations. Allow yourself one day a week to indulge in a couple of treats. This prevents binging and actually helps willpower.

Saboteur #2: Sitting for long hours – A study done by the Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences indicates that even as little as a few hours of continuous sitting causes metabolic changes that increase blood sugar levels and decrease the amount of fat used as fuel, therefore increasing the amount that goes back into storage as body fat. The good news is that short bouts of physical activity, spread throughout, can help reduce the negative effects of too much sitting. It doesn’t have to be high intensity activity, like formal exercise-simply getting up and walking around the office or the house for 5 minutes every hour can really help.

Saboteur #3: Busy Workload = Skipping meals – We have all been there, pressure is on to get something done and we don’t feel like we have time to go out and get food or even take a lunch break. Along with your healthy snacks, you should keep some meal replacement shakes in your desk (We like Advocare Meal Replacement Shakes, or Genesis Pure non GMO and organic Health Trim shakes). That way you can mix up your shake and drink it while you work.

There will always be things that tempt you when you are trying to change a behavior, like eating healthy and exercising. Planning is always going to be your best strategy to lose weight. Taking time on Sunday to map out your meals for the week, and packing your lunches with snacks the night before will help you succeed and overcome the workplace saboteurs.  Choose to change one small thing at a time and continue to build on your successes.

“A journey of 1,000 miles begins with one single step.” Chinese Proverb

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.


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!!

Stay Trim this Holiday Season

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

Once again the holidays are fast approaching. Every year it seems like time flies and we’re back to the holiday season! We all know that this is usually not the season to get your bikini body, it is the season to eat, drink, and be merry. Even I have a tendency to over-indulge a little bit during the holidays (just like everyone else, I too think my mom’s apple pie is the best!). Every year, knowing that I may over-indulge, I devise a plan to staying trim during the holidays. I put together a list of my best tips and try to stick to them the best that I can. Instead of being selfish and keeping these tips to myself I thought I would share them so that we can fight the holiday bulge together! Here are my five tips to staying trim:

slim santa

  1. Promise yourself 15 minutes. When we’re busy with family, friends, and holiday parties our workouts can sometimes be pushed to the bottom of our priority list. To get my workouts in I promise myself that I will work out for 15 minutes. It is a small time commitment that will burn some extra calories before a big meal. Plus, most of the time I will start to feel good during the workout and push past that 15 minute mark.
  2. Catch up with friends and family. When you are at a party make conversation with people. It is much more difficult to overindulge in food if you are talking to people the entire time.
  3. Keep a food journal and be honest with it. Keeping a food journal is a great tool for staying trim all of the time but could be even more important during the holiday season. The trick is to be honest with yourself about what and how much you are eating. It is easy to underestimate how much you had at a party so I try to overestimate what I take in.
  4. Don’t beat yourself up. One of the worst things we can do is beat ourselves up about something we ate. Most of us (including myself) are guilty of this: “well I ruined my diet with (insert bad food here) so I might as well keep it going.” This does not make any sense, you know it, and I know it, so let’s all agree to stop thinking it. If you eat something bad that’s ok just try to make healthy choices the rest of the day. Remember to follow the 90/10 rule. Eat healthy 90 percent of the time and indulge the other 10%.
  5. Maintain, don’t gain. My goal during the holiday season is to maintain my weight. I know that I will probably not lose much body fat during this time so I set a realistic goal of maintaining my current weight.  This way I don’t get disappointed when I don’t reach a goal I knew I probably wouldn’t reach in the first place.

But most importantly, enjoy the time you spend with friends and family because that’s really what the holiday season is about. Happy Holidays!

You are what you eat…Why Food Journaling can make a difference in your health!

By: Ann Corwin Marix, ACE-CPT, LMT

The reaction clients have to keeping a food journal is comparative to someone forcing a person to watch every episode of “Barney and Friends” with 20 preschoolers hopped up on pixie sticks and sodas…not a fun experience (don’t ask me how I know!)

Food journaling is a major player in the quest for health and fitness.  We can’t out exercise good nutrition so we need to partner them for success.  If you need some good reasons to start writing, here they are:


Keeping a daily journal will increase your chances of losing more weight.  When you journal, you become very much aware of what you are putting into your mouth.  Most people do not realize what or how much they are eating until they see it written in black and white.  You become more mindful of what you are eating instead of thinking a few bites here and a few bites there won’t add too much.


Writing down your daily intake will help you understand calories, proteins, carbohydrate intake and more.  You will also learn how your body reacts to the intake of certain foods and food combinations.


Knowing you have to write down your foods can make you start rethinking your choices.  Seeing more healthy choices in print boosts your determination to continue and encourages you to keep on the right track. If journaling can make you even 25% less likely to eat processed or fast foods, then it’s definitely worth the pen and paper!


As you journal, you may begin to notice you are taking in too few or too many calories. Perhaps not getting enough proteins or overdoing the wrong carbs can easily show up when laid out before you.  From there you can determine the best placement of food and food combinations to provide more energy during workouts, or keep you from hitting the 2pm wall of woozie.   What you think is a good eating plan could very well become a great one just by making some simple adjustments.

So the next time a trainer asks you to journal, don’t think of it as your High School Social Studies teacher demanding a 500 word essay on the Cold War…consider it as an essential tool in improving your ability to reach the health and wellness goals you are working toward!

MY Weight Loss Journey

By: Brittany Claverie, TRX Certified Instructor

My weight loss journey started in 2002.  Weighing over 160 pounds and wearing a size 16, I was unhappy; my self confidence was at an all-time low; I felt tired and sluggish most of the time; and I developed a dependency on food to make me feel good.

On one of my low self-esteem days I realized I had to do something to change this and made the commitment to do something.  That something started with working out two or three days a week just walking or going to an aerobic class.  This simple change soon began to pay dividends and I was seeing changes with my body. It took about a year for me to lose 40 pounds and fit into a size 4 for the first time in my adult life. I even wore a two piece bathing suit to the beach, and I remember thinking how proud I was of myself for accomplishing so much!

A few years went by and I managed to keep the majority of the weight off, but after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, just like many others I ate and drank alcohol to occupy time. After a few months of over indulging myself, I managed to gain 10 pounds which was frustrating because I had worked so hard to keep the weight off. Once again, I made up my mind to change my way of living and focus on making me a priority in my life. I started attending aerobic classes almost every day, and I began to feel a passion for working out. After a short while, I noticed some weight coming off and muscle definition which increased my self-confidence.  This commitment to change resulted not only in weight loss but in a real life change as I went on to become a certified aerobics instructor which I continue today as a certified TRX instructor.

I learned that my weight loss journey is continuous journey and no one said it was going to be easy, but every day I remind myself to make the best out of each day. I wake up every morning and head out the door for a run, allowing for some “me time” where I have nothing on my mind but my determination to finish the miles I set for myself.  Here are a few tips on making your journey a success:

Commit. There is no “quick fix” or magic pill to help anyone lose weight; you have to be ready and willing to commit to exercise and eating healthy. Once you accomplish your goals, you should still continue the lifestyle you have set for yourself, and not revert back to your old habits.

Find your why. When I am done with a workout, I am so proud of myself for achieving my goal and not allowing myself to give up. Sometimes when I feel like quitting, I remember why I started this journey. We all have our own reasons for setting the goal we set. Make sure that the goal you set is for yourself and no one else.  When I’m running, I often picture myself running away from the insecure, unhealthy me and I visualize myself running towards a more confident and healthier me. Losing weight and keeping it off is a marathon, not a sprint.

It all starts with small changes, which make a big difference, and everyone has to start somewhere. For me, exercising makes me happy, and I don’t think I’ll l ever stop!

Arthritis? Really?

By: Larry Gruber, CSCS, MES

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Larry Gruber, and I’m a new trainer at Ascension Fitness. I’m 43 and have been a certified personal trainer for the past 13 years. I’ve run 3 marathons (Chicago Marathon—Personal Best: 3:31) and have worked out regularly for 18 years. The winter of 2010 changed my life forever.

That January, my body systemically and progressively began to revolt. I became tight and inflamed from head to toe and lost range of motion. My hands began to cramp while doing simple things like wringing out a sponge or trying to wash my back. They were so weak and sensitive that I couldn’t shake hands without wincing. I had trouble opening up jars of food, and I couldn’t even do a pull up or hand my clients their dumbbells or rack their weights. My feet ached. I had pain behind my left knee and it hurt to walk.

Each day exhausted me and mornings were especially painful. Getting out of bed was torture. I would sit on the edge of my bed, anticipating the pain that would inevitably ensue when my feet hit the floor–pain and stiffness as I hobbled to the bathroom every morning. Climbing into bed was a bigger adventure because my hip flexors were so tight that I could no longer lift my knee to the mattress. I was reduced to doing a face-plant onto the bed, reaching over to the other side, and then pulling myself up the rest of the way.

By April, I was exhausted from being in constant pain. After four months, six doctors and tons of money flying out of my wallet, I was finally diagnosed: psoriatic arthritis. The flood works began right there is the doctor’s office. What kind of disease is this? How am I going to be a personal trainer if I can’t even move? Arthritis? Really? Yes, really. Psoriatic arthritis is a chronic disease that causes the body’s immune system to attack healthy cells and tissues. This leads to joint inflammation and loss of range of motion, and permanent joint damage will result if left untreated.

There is no cure for psoriatic arthritis, but the condition can be controlled with medicine. The doctor outlined all of the medical options for me and explained that Enbrel would be my best bet. Enbrel, known as a disease modifying anti-rheumatic drug, suppresses the immune system. Within the first week, I noticed relief.

It’s been over three years since my first Enbrel injection. I began to feel much- needed relief within the first week after the initial injection and very slowly began exercising again. I now have returned to a regular workout schedule, but my attitude about working out and personal training is different. Do what you can. Push yourself hard. And listen; really listen, to your body. Know when enough is enough. The experience of being diagnosed and of living with a chronic disease has taught me to be the best I can be and to have realistic goals. No longer do I want to look like that cover model on the latest fitness magazine; now I want to live an active and pain-free life. We should exercise so that we can perform our activities of daily living with greater ease–looking good in the mirror is a by-product of that hard work, not the main reason for the hard work. This is one lesson I learned the winter of 2010, and a lesson I try to instill in my clients.

My dream of running an international marathon may be gone, but at least I can get in and out of bed without the face-plant. I can open up jars of peanut butter and can even whip out a dozen pull ups, though my grip isn’t what it used to be. I don’t think I’ll ever sprint on the treadmill again either, but I am enjoying my leisurely 4 mile runs. And, yes, really, this personal trainer was diagnosed arthritis when he was 41.

How to Prepare for you First Race

By: Brittany Claverie

Whether you are a seasoned marathon runner, or you are gearing up to run your first 5K race, one thing is certain: you must prepare in order to have a successful race. Last September I completed my first Disney race, The Hollywood Tower of Terror 10 miler and I wanted to share a few strategies that helped me prepare for my first long race:

Training in a similar environment – knowing it would be hot and humid in Orlando even in September, and that it was a night race, I started training in June to prepare my body for the humid conditions. On race day, it was extremely hot and I knew the race would be a killer, but I knew my body would quickly adapt to the humid conditions because I had been training for the past 4 months in the same environment.

Train efficiently and prevent injuries - Since this was the longest race I had ever run, I wanted to train correctly, and avoid injury as much as possible. My training regimen included alternating running and walking, and occasionally do my longest run/walk 8 miles at a time, all while keeping a 16 minute mile pace (which is a requirement according to Disney race regulations). The week of the race, I alternated my running days, completing 6 miles at a time. I knew on race day I would be prepared but also would be challenging my body to complete 2 miles more than my longest run.

Eat right - I also prepared my body in the weeks prior to the race by fueling it with the right amounts of carbs and proteins. Of course my diet was a little thrown off while in Disney the week before the race, but I tried my best to stay on track. I made sure to snack between meals to keep my metabolism going and to give me the energy needed for the race. On the day of the race my diet was primarily food with protein and fiber to keep me full longer as well as complex carbohydrates to sustain energy.

During the race stick with what you have been training with - Prior to the race, I drank water before, during and after my training runs; thinking that water only stations would be set up along the race course. But when I went to grab my first cup of water I noticed they also had Powerade. Feeling extremely dehydrated, I thought the Powerade would replenish my electrolyte supply quicker so I grabbed a cup as well. Good idea? Not really. Although Powerade is a fine drink, my body had an adverse reaction to it, since it wasn’t part of my training regimen, and I quickly felt nauseated which started to create fear that I wasn’t going to finish the race. Only after walking the next mile and downing two cups of water at the next station did I start to feel better. Lesson learned was keep everything the same on race day that you used during training.

Rest - Finally, make sure you get plenty of rest the day before and on the day of the race. We decided to go to one of the theme parks the day of the race. Again, not such a great idea because by the time the race started at 10:00pm, we were tired and exhausted. I was regretting not taking it easy that day by sleeping in late and not really doing much so that my body could be fully rested.

The whole experience of training and actually completing my first long race was not something that I ever believed would be possible. Not only was it possible, but in the end I had a BLAST and enjoyed every minute of my success!

What Should I Eat Before and After I Exercise

By Jamie McIntyre

We all know how important nutrition is to reaching our goals. As an exercise physiologist I am often asked what someone should eat before and after a work out to maximize results. To help understand the answer, I’ll explain why each meal is important and then get to what you should include in your pre/post workout meals.

First, pre and post workout meals are only really necessary for intense workouts that last 30 minutes or more. A pre-workout meal is important because it provides fuel to power through the workout. The post-workout meal is equally important because it helps your body repair and replenish itself after the muscles are broken down in the workout. It also helps reduce muscle soreness and fatigue.

So now that we know why these two meals are important let’s get into what they should consist of.

Pre-Workout Nutrition:
•Aim to eat approximately 15 grams of protein and 35 grams of carbohydrates 60-90 minutes before your workout
•Your protein sources can come from chicken, turkey, fish, beef, or egg whites.
•For complex carbohydrates, eat low-glycemic-index foods (the glycemic index provides a measure of how quickly blood sugar levels rise after eating a particular type of food)such as oatmeal or brown rice.

Post-Workout Nutrition:
•Aim to eat 10-25 grams of protein and 30 grams of carbohydrates within 1 hour of your workout
•Your protein sources can come from chicken, turkey, fish, beef, or egg whites. Another great option is an Advocare Post-workout recovery shake (click here to purchase).The post-workout recovery shake is convenient for those people who are too busy to sit down and eat a meal after their workout.
•Carbohydrate sources should come from fruits and vegetables

Remember that these are the recommended guidelines and that everyone has different needs so what works for one person may not work for the other.