How Not To Be A Sumo Wrestler

Do you eat breakfast? If not, you could be on your way to becoming a Sumo Wrestler!

During training, Sumo wrestlers are denied breakfast and are therefore retarding their metabolism. With this slower metabolism, they will break down less of their food and store fat throughout the day. Did you know that Olympic phenomenon Michael Phelps eats about 3,000 calories every day? And he has no fat!

Why is it that we tell our children the importance of eating a healthy breakfast every day, when most adults eat little or none? Coffee doesn’t count. Why are children hungry in the morning but most adults are not? I am not a doctor or dietician, but in my 25 years as a personal trainer searching for the secret to flat abs, I believe that our metabolism, the rate at which your body is able to break down and digest food as energy, is the answer.

Your stomach is like a locomotive train and food is its coal.

If you wake up and skip breakfast, you are running your train on fumes, since there isn’t any food to convert to energy. Normally, your body does not use protein to produce energy. If you run out of glycogen stores, however, and no glucose is available, your body will then break down its own muscle tissue to release amino acids. Yikes! When your body starts to use muscle tissue for energy, you lose muscle mass. Ponder this; many years ago, people starved during long, hard winters so the ability to store fat was a necessity. Storing fat is the body’s way of protecting itself from starvation. We didn’t always have grocery stores.

Notice how the body tends to store the most fat where there is no bone: it’s protecting our organs from potential impact or harm. With little or no coal, your locomotive must operate at minimal levels. With little fire burning in the engine (a slow metabolism), when coal is added some will be converted to energy and some will be burned, but the engine will be unable to burn it all thus leaving some un-burnt coal (fat) in the corners to store up.

A locomotive with the proper amount of coal at the proper times will have a larger and stronger fire burning (fast metabolism). It can burn any and all coal in its engine and can perform at peak speeds, burning all that coal in its engine and waiting for more. Choo choo. Therefore you need to eat more food, more often.

What? EAT MORE FOOD? That’s right, you need to eat breakfast and then eat every three hours.

This will fire up your metabolism and instead of being fat efficient, or good at storing fat, you will become fat inefficient, and no longer be proficient at storing fat. Just like your mom always said, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day” it turns out to be true! Eat like a king in the morning, like a prince in the afternoon, and like a pauper at night.

Here is what you need to do:

Wake up and have breakfast. You can teach your body to anticipate that food is coming when you wake up and because of this your body will not think you are starving. This is because the coal, (food) is available to jumpstart your metabolism.

My first meal of each day is a protein shake of Greek yogurt (probiotics), ground flax seed (source of fiber), an organic banana and organic whole milk. If this sounds intimidating, just drink a glass of milk or a hard-boiled egg with natural sea salt? Start your day in a positive growth state. Not only will your energy levels rise, those jeans you haven’t been able to fit into are going to fit soon!

So unlike a Sumo Wrestler eat often.

Eating breakfast and eating smaller meals every three hours is essential to achieving weight loss and building muscle mass. Exercising and eating often will increase your energy level and guide you on a journey to a better body. For now, I leave you with this thought. A 2,000 mile journey starts with one step.

Written by Robert Cioppa, GoodFit Darien

Is Sitting the New Smoking?

You probably have heard by now that too much sitting is bad for your health, but is it as bad as smoking? There has been a lot written about the subject, and many facts to back up this idea.

The term “sitting disease” has been coined in the scientific community when referring to ill-effects of an overly sedentary lifestyle.

According to the Mayo Clinic, prolonged periods of sitting can lead to health concerns such as increased blood pressure, high blood sugar and excess body fat, as well as an increase in cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Any extended sitting at a desk, behind a wheel or in front of a computer screen can be harmful.

Studies have shown that subjects who sat for more than 8 hours a day with no physical activity had a similar risk of dying as those risks posed by smoking and obesity.

That is scary! But there is hope!

First if all, physically activity contributes to your overall health. Studies have also shown that moving during your time sitting will help offset the negative effects.

Here a few suggestions:

  • Take a break from sitting every 20 minutes; get up walk around.
  • Stand while talking on the phone or watching TV.
  • If you work primarily at a desk, try using a standing desk.
  • Walk with your colleagues to meetings.
  • Park farther away from stores and restaurants.
  • Use the stairs!

Every bit of movement you add to your day will add up to counter the negative effects of prolonged sitting. Think of it as food. If you were to eat one cookie per day for a year, you will gain 5 pounds. The impact of movement can be profound, and it’s cumulative just like the cookie.

So get up! Go for a walk! Move that body!

Is Coffee Good For You Before You Workout

I have had many conversations about the benefits of drinking coffee, yet different research studies provide conflicting evidence as to whether it’s good for you or not. For the record I drink coffee every morning, and my husband loads up before and during his longer bike rides.

Legend has it that a goat herder named Kaldi first discovered coffee beans in the 15th century. He noticed that his goats became so energetic after eating berries from a certain tree that they did not want to sleep at night.

Today, about 64 percent of the U.S. population drinks coffee, consuming 400 million cups per day, or 146 billion cups per year. This makes the U.S. the leading consumer of coffee in the world. Coffee represents 75% of all the caffeine consumed in the U.S. That’s a lot of coffee!!

The good news is that coffee is good for you in moderation (up to 400 mg of caffeine per day), which is the equivalent of about four nine-ounce cups.

But is good before a Workout? The answer is yes!

Drinking coffee in the morning before exercise will give you energy and will work to accelerate the benefits of exercise; stimulating energy production and fat burning. In other words, it helps boost your energy helping you work out harder! Perhaps the greatest benefit of having coffee before your workout is the high amounts of caffeine in black coffee will increase your metabolism which makes you burn more calories throughout the day. Coffee can increase your metabolism by up to 20 percent!

Besides providing you with a temporary metabolic boost, other functional benefits of a pre-workout cup of coffee include:

1. Improved micro-circulation for better blood flow through the capillaries.

2. Pain reduction leading to less muscle soreness.

3. Improved endurance which can lead to improved exercise performance by more than 11 percent.

4. Muscle preservation to help maintain more youthful muscle tissue.

5. Improved memory for up to 24 hours.

The recommended amount of coffee is one 8-9-ounce cup about one hour before your workout. Caffeine is quickly absorbed from the stomach within 15 to 45 minutes of consumption, but it hits its peak stimulatory effects between 30 and 75 minutes.

Have a great workout!

Why Flexibility is Important

Flexibility is needed to perform everyday activities with ease. To get out of bed, lift children, or play our favorite sports we need flexibility.

When we age flexibility tends to deteriorate, and our muscles and joints become stiff. In turn we think we cannot move well and blame it on getting old!

But all this can change! Stretching your body on a regular basis can improve your flexibility. Simple stretches can give you more range of motion and help prevent the chance of experiencing occasional and chronic pain.

Here a few stretches to get you started:

  1. Stand tall reach for the ceiling with both arms then fold at the hips and reach for your toes keeping knees soft. Let you head and neck and shoulders release look at your knees. Hold for 20 seconds.
  2. Lay on your back, keep head and shoulders on the floor, bring one one to chest then repeat with other leg. Hold for 20 seconds.
  3. Hands and knees on floor, slowly sit back on heals, go as far as your knees will allow. (Childs pose) Hold for 20 seconds as illustrated below.

Stretching will enhance your quality of life, so get started today!