Friday, May 29, 2009

How Do Celeberities REALLY Lose Their Pregnancy Weight?

The pictures of celebrities miraculously shedding all their baby weight grace the pages of People, Shape, etc... each month at your local newsstand. "So how did they do it?" is the typical reaction when we look at the photos. I recently came across a blog post from nutritionist Jonny Bowden I thought you might find interesting. Check it out here:

Doctors urge less pregnancy weight gain for obese women

Excellent article from the Associated Press today about weight gain during pregnancy. Having engaged clients in both pre- and post-natal strength and conditioning, I found it quite interesting. If you're curious about exactly how much weight you should be gaining, check it out here:

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Protein for Pennies

Since it's not cheap to eat quality foods, I thought I'd take a moment to list out how much (price per 10 grams) it costs for specific protein selections. A chart I found in the latest edition of Men's Health magazine listed the following selections:

  • Black Beans- 13 cents

  • Turkey- 14 cents

  • Chicken breast- 24 cents

  • Eggs- 26 cents

  • Ground beef- 34 cents

If you take an individual who needs 100 grams of protein/day, it'd cost them $2.22 in protein per day based on incorporation of the above sources. If you pair that with some good quality fiber sources and unsaturated fats, you've got yourself a good nutrition program that doesn't actually cost a fortune.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Happy Memorial Day

I just wanted to say a quick Happy Memorial Day to everyone. This is the official kickoff to summer filled with BBQs- I love it. Make sure and take some time to honor those who've passed away who served in our military. Here is one of my favorite versions of America the Beautiful I like hearing on Memorial Day. Enjoy...

Friday, May 22, 2009

It's Summer Time in the City

Memorial Day is, in my opinion, the beginning of summer. Nothing beats a good cookout with family and friends. I've had a few clients and friends lately email me about ways they can make this year's cookout one that encompasses more healthy options. Many of them were shocked to hear my response that I gave many of their choices a thumbs up. As I said to them, it's not always what you eat, it's how it's prepared.

First off, we all know grilling is one of the healthier ways to prepare our meals, followed by baking and broiling. My only caveat is to watch how high the flames get and how well you cook any meats you serve. Cooking at high cause a release of chemicals which have drawn a lot of attention in print media. Heterocyclic Amines (HCAs) form when food is cooked at high temperatures, and they’re linked to cancer. In terms of HCA, the worst part of the meat is the blackened section, which is why you should always avoid charring your meat, and never eat blackened sections.

That being said, there are plenty of healthy items you can enjoy this summer on the grille. The following is a general list to follow:

  • Flip your burgers often as this will help cut down on HCAs.

  • Fill a jug with water, ice, and sliced lemons, then fill yourself up with more water than calorie filled beer and soda.

  • For something different, try grilling fruit, like apples, peaches, and pears.

In addition, now is the prime season for some delicious fresh fruits and veggies. Current in--season selections" include the following:

  • asparagus

  • spinach

  • peas

  • coconut

  • Florida strawberries

Happy grilling and keep in touch :-)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Gatorade Files Lawsuit Against Powerade

Interesting lawsuit filed by Gatorade against it's main competitor, "Powerade." Check out the details here:

Metabolic Syndrome

Ever hear of the term "Metabolic Syndrome?" It is essentially when a person has three or more of the following risk factors:

  • HDL ("good") cholesterol (<50>
  • Blood Pressure (>/= 130 mm Hg [systolic]; >/= 85 mm Hg [diastolic])

  • Waist Circumference (>35 inches for women; >40 inches for men)

  • Fasting blood glucose (>/= 100 mg/dl)

  • Triglycerides (>/= 150 mg/dl)

All of the above can be modified through proper nutrition and a sound exercise regimen. In addition, a moderate amount of weight loss can help prevent all of the above.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

100 calorie packs

Nutritionist Chris Shugart had a nice article recently at T-Nation. My favorite part of the article was his rant on the infamous 100-calorie packs. Like him, I'm not a big fan. Here's what he had to say (pardon the cursing):------------------------------------------------------------------

"Shit is Shit: A Rant"

So my kiddo and I are doing some grocery shopping earlier this week, picking up some things for me to pack in her lunch. She grabs some of those 100 calorie snack packs and tells me she wants them because they're "healthy."So, we spent the next few minutes talking about portion control and why those 100 calorie snack packs are still just candy, albeit in smaller quantities. (Since we were both on Heelies in a Super Wal-Mart, this was actually more fun than it sounds.)And this reminded me of a pet peeve of mine — eating shit foods and justifying it because you're only eating a little shit, not a lot of shit.Well, shit is shit.Portion control is about as effective of a fat loss method as the "I'll only put it in a little" method of teenage virginity preservation. Most human beings, especially those who are clearly over-fat, can't eat just a little of a delectable food. No fat person eats a single Oreo and walks away. They ought to list the serving size as per row of cookies, rather than per cookie. That would be more realistic.Now we have this nonsensical "100 calorie" switcharoo going on. My gripe is twofold:

1) It's still shit. It's still bad for you. It'll still wreck your health, shorten your life, and turn you into an ugly naked person. It's not healthy just because it's served by the tiny handful.My daughter gets it now, but do fat adults? Do they want to get it, or will they willingly suspend their dietary disbelief and convince themselves they're not eating shit so that they can enjoy said shit even more?

2) Wouldn't you rather eat a whole bunch of nutritious, healthy, great-tasting food rather than a handful of shit?Well, you can. You can whip up your own meals that are nutrient dense and calorie sparse: plenty of protein, fiber, healthy fats, and other good stuff, but not that many calories. That way you can eat a lot, get full, and still have abs. Better than a handful of Oreo "crisps," huh?

Monday, May 18, 2009

Americans Skimp on Healthy Activities in Bad Economy

I had the TV on in the background last night as I was finishing up some work in my office when I heard they would be reporting on how Americans are skimping on their health based on our current "recession." The reporters talked about a survey put forth by the American Heart Association ( they questioned 1,000 people. Needless to say, the results were rather disturbing, yet not completely surprising. Highlights of the survey included the following statistics:

  • 57 percent said the economy has affected their ability to take care of their health.

  • 32 percent have made a change in the last six months to save money, such as delaying preventive care appointments, not taking medications or skipping the dentist.

  • 25 percent of those with gym memberships have cancelled in the previous six months.

  • 42 percent plan to make changes in the next six months that may impact their health, such as buying fewer fruits and vegetables.

One specific portion of the news segment showed a woman in the mid-west who said that if she only had 75 cents to give her daughter for lunch, her daughter "has to choose chips." I couldn't believe how dumb this mother sounded. Having gone food shopping the day before, I recall seeing bananas were 19 cents/each. If you pair that with a touch of natural p. butter you'd be spending the same, if not less. That was a sheer case of the mother being lazy, and undoubtedly uneducated/misinformed. The truth is, you CAN eat healthy on a budget, as proven by a recent Consumer Reports article:

Making proper nutrition choices and exercising doesn't have to cost a fortune. Walking outdoors and performing bodyweight exercises (push-ups, squats, lunges) are FREE.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Rest and Recovery

While some clients need more and more of a kick in the butt to get them going, I do have some that need to master the art of rest and recovery. While it's important to work hard in and out of the gym, it's equally as important to reward your body through various recovery methods. Take the time to consider the following in your training weeks as a means of expediting the recovery process:

  • Meditation

  • Spa treatments

  • Jacuzzi/Sauna (this was my choice today)

  • Reading

  • Listening to music

If you work hard, you deserve any of the above.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Online Nutrition Guidance

There are a plethora of web sites available when it comes to nutritional guidance. While my favorite to date is Precision Nutrition, here are a list of others available I'd suggest investigating:

  • a comprehensive online healthy living community with a wide range of tools and support

  • weight loss tools, nutrition analysis, and weight loss support

  • diet and fitness plans, weight loss support, and meal deliver

  • self-monitoring weight loss tool and support program

  • resources and community support group

Calcium Sources

The National Osteoporosis Foundation says, "Calcium plays an important role in building stronger, denser bones early in life and keeping bones strong and healthy later in life." Some of the top choices for calcium include the following:

  • Yogurt

  • Milk

  • Cheese (essentially, all low-fat dairy)

  • Leafy greens, spinach

  • Almonds
Remember, most men should aim for 1000-1200 mg daily, young women for 1000-1300 mg daily, and postmenopausal women for 1200-1500 mg of calcium daily.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Real Scoop on Chocolate

We all like a little sweetness after a meal- or during and after for some of you! Chocolate seems to be a "comfort food" for many. That being said, a small bit once in a while isn't a bad thing. In fact, chocolate consumption has some healthy benefits. Traditional chocolate is one of the most concentrated sources of natural antioxidant plant compounds, called flavonoids.

When choosing chocolate, keep it simple by following these 2 rules:
  • As with anything, keep your portion sizes in moderation

  • The darker the better (shoot for a MINIMUM of 70& cacao). It may take a while to adjust to the taste, but you'll get used to it. You'll son realize how oversweetened milk chocolate its once your taste buds adjust to the darker variations.

Here's a chart I picked up from Precision Nutrition to help you pick your chocolate variation:

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Label Reading

It's interesting to see that Boston will be adopting New York's approach in making nutrition info. available in fast food establishments, diners, etc... While some people won't change their negative nutrition habits, others will be more cognizant of the caloric choices they make. For more information, click the following:

Cheerios less beneficial than claims state?

Interesting piece in the The Boston Globe today about how Cheerios may not be as beneficial in lowering one's cholesterol as originally touted by General Mills. You can check out the full article here:

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Weight Loss Success

Top 3 weight loss tips from successful PC Conditioning clients past and present:

  • Nearly every individual successful in long-term weight loss maintenance eats breakfast every single day.

  • The majority of clients track their exercise and nutrition in a journal, whether written or on a computer.

  • A diverse exercise routine keeps my clients focused on not just working out, but having fun. Daily movement that causes an increase in heart rate and engages all major muscle groups is how I'll typically define exercise. Group exercise classes, dancing, weight training, cycling, and swimming all count. I still have issues with some of my male clients trying to rationalize their softball leagues as "exercise." I call it an excuse to drink. If they're lucky, they'll get a hit or two and run maybe 90-180 feet. Now compare that to the 6+ beers that consumer during and after the game and spells "caloric trouble"/weight gain.

Monday, May 11, 2009

ACL Injuries

Having played sports my entire life, I've seen quite a few injuries occur. For some reason, knee injuries scare me the most. I've seen my best friend suffer two ACL tears over his basketball career and other teammates deal with various knee issues. My knee injury was an MCL tear in 2000. I never had surgery and only feel discomfort once in a while during a butterfly stretch when I loosen up my adductors. That being said, I got thinking what sports possess the greatest number of ACL injuries. Here is what I found:

  • Girls' Soccer: One in 6,500 times an athlete practiced or competed

  • Football: One in 9,800 times an athlete practiced or competed

  • Girls' Basketball: One in 11,000 times an athlete practiced or competed

Source: Majewski M, Habelt S, Steinbrück K. Epidemiology of Athletic Knee Injuries: A 10-year Study. Knee. 2006(13):184-188.

Macular Degeneration

I recently came across an article in the Nutrition Action Newsletter that discussed macular degeneration. It is a medical condition which results in a loss of vision in the center of the visual field (the macula) because of damage to the retina (the pic above displays what your vision can look like if you suffer from such a condition). Like MANY other medical conditions (i.e. diabetes, hypertension, and hypercholesterolemia), the risk of developing macular degeneration can be lowered by implementing the following:

  • Eating 5-9 daily servings of fruits and veggies, especially leafy greens

  • Eat fatty fish (i.e. salmon) at least 2x/week

  • Lose (or don't gain) excess weight

  • Limit simple carbs that cause quick spikes in blood pressure (sugars, potatoes, white bread)

  • Take an ordinary daily multi-vitamin

Like anything, keeping your weight in check and eating plenty of fruits and veggies prevent A LOT of potential problems.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Kevin Durant article

A former star @ The University of Texas and a current star for the Oklahoma City Thunder, Kevin Durant was recently interview by an Oklahoma newspaper. Last year's NBA Rookie of the Year, Durant discusses his off-season goals. Having worked with basketball players of all levels, the article provided me reassurance of how important strength training is for sports. Check out the article here:

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

What Ruins Running

We're in full "running mode" in Greater Boston, so I thought today would be a good day to suggest reading the following article about how running issues/injuries may be correlated to footwear. Check it out here and let me know your thoughts:

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Score one for the FDA

Nice job by the FDA last week warning Hydroxycut users to stop taking the supplement immediately ( I've admittedly had clients inform me they've tried it over the years to no avail. A few of them have experienced heart palpitations and some light-headedness. That being said, if you read my recent newsletter (, you'd know how I feel about supplements. Here's a hint: I don't like most of them.

Anyway, you should know by now that NOTHING will outperform a sound exercise program complemented with excellent nutrition. As my newsletter says, "Supplements are progress enhancers, not progress starters."

"Savoring the Moment"

"Bravo" to Holy Cross for a program they recently implemented. They began offering the special meals - they call them "slow-food" dinners - last school year to encourage students raised in a fast-food culture to savor meals with fellow diners while learning to appreciate home-grown food and the people who prepare and serve it.

For the full article featured in The Boston Globe, click the following link: