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Caffeine and Exercise

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Caffeine has been used in sports for many, many years. There have been many studies conducted aiming to prove or disprove the efficacy of caffeine in sports. Most studies have been done on endurance events with 200 to 400mg of caffeine. Ivy et al (1979) concluded that caffeine definitely increased lipid metabolism AND work production in 9 trained cyclists over a 2 hour exercise session. More recently, the research has been focused on combining carbohydrates with caffeine during sports performance. Ivy et al (2009) did a study on cycling performance after drinking Red Bull. The results once again showed improved performance with no increase in RPE (rate of perceived exertion).

Furthermore, another study by Gant et al (2010) showed that soccer players improved sprint performance and countermovement jumping after consuming a carbohydrate/caffeine sports drink. Even more interesting was a study conducted by Stevenson et al (2009) on golf performance. During a simulated round of golf, even skill movements like putting improved with the ingestion of carbohydrates and caffeine throughout the 4 hour period. It was concluded that the carb/caffeine mix must also improve focus. Thus far, little research has been done on caffeine and weight lifting but experts believe it must have a positive effect on weight training as well. At the very least, you'll be alert and focused when you are working out on a bit of caffeine. As always, be safe when it comes to consuming supplements including large quantities of caffeine. Remember, knowledge is power! Happy health and happy training!

The Health Benefits of Chia Seeds

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Did you know there are many health benefits to eating chia seeds? Many people enjoy this great tasting "super food" as an additive to their muffins, shakes, and drinks. You can also sprinkle Chia seeds on your oatmeal or yogurt. This super food will instantly add good fats, protein, fibers, vitamins and minerals to your diet without sacrificing taste!

Moreover, Chia seeds are high in calcium for stronger bones. One ounce of the seeds have 11 grams of fiber which will help to curb your appetite and control your blood sugar. Also, each ounce of chia seeds has 4 grams of muscle building protein; not bad for a few seeds mixed in with your protein shake. Health enthusiasts also rave about the "good fats" in chia seeds. Each ounce of the seeds has 5 grams of omega-3 fatty acids thus providing your body with the nutrients it needs to repair itself after a great workout! Adding chia seeds to your food and drinks is also another way of adding valuable anti-oxidants to your diet along with minerals such as magnesium, manganese, and zinc. You can find chia seeds at most super markets and health food stores. Remember, knowledge is power! Happy health and happy training!

New Year's Diets

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As you start a new journey into health and fitness, you will undoubtedly hear many different recommendations on diets. Many of the diets you will hear about are gimmicks to help kick start your weight loss journey. Several of them will have you consuming little to no carbs. The truth is we need carbs! Our brain requires carbs to function at its best. If you've tried low carb diets then you know the low energy feeling you get after a few days. It is true, that your body will figure out a way to provide your brain with the necessary carbs but it may be at the expense of your hard earned muscle!

In addition, remember that weight loss is a journey. You are not going to lose weight overnight. Quite frankly, you didn't put on the 20 pounds overnight so you shouldn't expect to lose 20 pounds overnight either. Furthermore, it isn't necessary to weight yourself every day. There will be ups and downs in your weight loss journey so weighing yourself once a week should be adequate. On the other hands, if you never weigh yourself that would be OK too. The best measures are always your energy levels, your clothes, and your mirror! Good luck with your journey and contact a certified personal trainer if you need help. Remember, knowledge is power! Happy health and happy training!

Metabolism and Jalapeno Peppers

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Do jalapenos make you faster? Maybe not run faster but they can speed up your metabolism! Many experts believe that peppers increase your metabolism which will help you burn a few extra calories per day. Therefore, jalapenos or other peppers, have been linked with several weight loss diets. Furthermore, eating jalapenos may give you other added health benefits...besides making you drink more water. Jalapeno peppers have a significant amount of vitamins A, C, and E, which are major anti-oxidants that aid with your body's fight against free radicals. Your body will benefit greatly from peppers!

In addition, jalapenos peppers have iron, zinc, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, and copper which help maintain a healthy body and strong bones! Lastly, jalapenos are best served raw or sautéed on a garden salad but if you can't eat them like that, feel free to wrap them with bacon or stuff them with cheese. You'll still get all the benefits of the jalapeno pepper regardless of your method of consumption! Remember, knowledge is power! Happy health and happy training!

Working with the Glycemic Index

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Do you know what the glycemic index is or how to use it properly? Do you like Christmas goodies? Well maybe we can help you with both. The glycemic index was created in 1981 as a dietary management program for those who have type 1 diabetes. It has evolved into many things including helping many people control their blood sugar for disease prevention. Furthermore, athletes use the glycemic index to time their carb meals so they can quickly upload sugar for athletic recovery. On an ever evolving scale, foods, especially those that are made mostly of carbohydrates, are given a score. Foods with higher scores, will give you a rapid influx of sugar. Inversely, those with a lower score like nuts and berries, are a great snack when you don't need immediate sugar.

On the other hand, when you need a big increase in blood sugar, as in before, during, or after your workout, pick something with a high score like bread, Gatorade, or Christmas goodies! The sudden surge of sugar will also trigger an appropriate release of insulin, an anabolic hormone, which will push the sugar and some proteins into your cells for recovery. So if you have a sweet tooth and you just finished an extra hard workout, don't feel bad if you're craving some Christmas cookies or candy...it might just help you recover faster! Remember, knowledge is power! Happy health and happy training!

Health Benefits of Cantaloupe Seeds

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Most people love the sweet taste of cantaloupe but what do you do with the seeds? Many people will admit to throwing them away but can we eat them? Do they have any nutritional value? Everyone knows that fruits and vegetables are vital to your diet. Most people have already discovered the sweet taste of cantaloupe and all the nutrients it provides. Cantaloupes are high in potassium but low in sodium so along with all the water in cantaloupe, it can keep you very hydrated on a hot, muggy day. This tasty fruit is also loaded with anti-oxidants like vitamins A and C which can ward off free radicals and keep your skin looking young and healthy!

Furthermore, there are health benefits in consuming the seeds as well. The seeds are 30% protein which can add a few grams of protein to your refreshing snack. Moreover, the seeds are 45% fat and most of that is the healthy omega-3s everyone needs! You will also find vitamin E, another anti-oxidant, in the seeds along with fiber, selenium, potassium, copper and zinc. So the next time you are enjoying a few chunks of cantaloupe in your smoothie, try throwing the seeds in the blender instead of throwing them in the trashcan. Remember, knowledge is power! Happy health and happy training!

How Do You Eat Your Eggs?

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By now, everyone knows that eggs are a great source of protein. Many fitness enthusiasts will eat hundreds of egg whites every year; but, should we also be eating the egg yolk? Many people avoid the yolk because it contains almost all of the fat and almost all of the cholesterol; but, it also contains almost half of the protein. One study by Qureshi et al (2007) tracked almost 10,000 subjects over 20 years. The 3 groups were divided into zero egg consumption, 1 to 6 eggs per week, and 6+ eggs per week. The data concluded that all healthy individuals, even those in the 6+ egg group, did not increase their risk for heart disease. Maybe eating the egg yolk isn't bad as long as you workout?

Moreover, does eating raw eggs give you more nutritional benefits than eating cooked eggs? Since heat will damage many of the vitamins, many experts believe that raw eggs have more vitamin and mineral content than cooked eggs. However, eating raw eggs also increases the risk of salmonella. But, the USDA believes only about 1 in 30,000 regular eggs are infected with salmonella. To further decrease the risk of salmonella, experts encourage consumers to buy eggs from healthy chickens which are normally cage-free. The cartons should be marked appropriately if indeed they are from cage-free birds. In summary, eggs are a nutritious source of protein, vitamins, and minerals. Raw? Cooked? To yolk or not to yolk? Do your research and decide what's best for you. Remember, knowledge is power! Happy health and happy training!

Black Tea, Green Tea, and Lemons

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Are you drinking black tea or green tea? Great news if you are! Both are very beneficial to your body. According to research, green and black teas have as much or more antioxidants than some fruits and vegetables. These antioxidants scavenge for cell-damaging free radicals in the body and detoxify them. In some studies, it was been shown that rats that were given tea developed less cancer than the control rats. Although the antioxidant levels are nearly equal in both black tea and green tea, the amount of caffeine in black tea is usually more than that of green tea: about 70mg to 40mg of caffeine so choose your tea wisely.

Furthermore, adding lemon to your tea also has many health benefits. Lemons are high in vitamin C and flavonoids which help fight infections like the flu and the common cold. Although lemons are acidic to the taste, they are alkaline forming which help balance the pH in your body. Lemons also helps detoxify the liver which aids the liver with most other cleansing functions. Lemons also prevents scurvy, clean your bowels, dissolve kidney stones, and many other functions. Thus, an energy drink may seem to give you instant energy and gratification; but, reaching for a glass of lemon tea will have more benefits in the long run. Remember, knowledge is power! Happy health and happy training!

Avoiding Holiday Weight Gain

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It's no debate that most Americans gain weight this time of year; heck even Santa puts on a few pounds! But how much do we really gain? And more importantly, can it be avoided? Many experts believe we gain anywhere from 1 to 5 pounds from Halloween to New Year's Day but the good news is there are things you can do to limit or avoid any weight gain during the holiday season. Hopefully you are not still eating Halloween candy; but, if you are, it's time to get rid of it. Take it to the office, have your kids take it to school, or give it to our homeless Americans. Furthermore, remember Thanksgiving DAY is only one day. No need to stuff yourself like a turkey for more than 1 day or more than 1 meal for that matter. Third, Christmas is the holiday for giving...not for eating. Granted there will be lots of delicious goodies at your disposal; but, just remember to taste everything but don't overindulge on anything!

In addition, exercise is also important during the holiday season. Most gyms are still open around the holidays. If you don't have a gym membership, I believe it's still free to walk around your neighborhood. What great weather we are having this fall! As a bonus, exercise has been proven to reduce holiday stress and control blood sugar if you have eaten too many sweets. Moreover, New Year's Eve is just not about consuming adults beverages; it's also about setting new goals for 2019. What a great way to start off the year with an exercise session on January 1. Have a great holiday season and get ready for 2019!! Remember, knowledge is power! Happy health and happy training!

Reducing Muscle Soreness

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You just had a hella hard workout! The benefits are great but you just know you are going to be sore tomorrow! Well the good news is that you can do something to reduce muscle soreness. A study by Baty et al (2007) concluded that a carbohydrate and protein supplementation before, during, and after your resistance training workout reduced muscle damage more than a placebo alone. The data showed a decrease in cortisol, creatine kinase, and myoglobin levels in the study group.

Furthermore, the study group seemed to have more energy than the placebo group. Other studies have concluded that a carb/protein supplement will improve energy levels in exercise participants. It would appear that a carbohydrate/protein supplement would be recommended for all athletes looking to reduce muscle soreness and/or to provide energy for workouts. The best ratios seem to be 3:1 or 4:1 carbohydrates to protein. In other words, about 30 to 40 grams of carbohydrates to 10grams of protein for a smaller person; possibly 60 grams of carbs to 20 grams of protein for a larger athlete. This would reduce the recovery time and allow an athlete to return to a normal workout faster than usual. Good luck with your workouts and your recovery drinks. Remember, knowledge is power! Happy health and happy training!

Heart Healthy Pinto Beans

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There aren't many foods that pack a nutritious wallop like the good ole bean. One cup of cooked pinto beans has 45 grams of carbohydrates (15 of those grams are dietary fiber), 15 grams of protein, and only 1 gram of fat. They are also packed full of B-vitamins, iron, calcium, phosphorus, and potassium. Beans also have several health benefits. The soluble fiber helps lower cholesterol which is great for your heart. They naturally contain no sodium so they aid in reducing blood pressure if very little salt is added. Beans are also very low on the glycemic index so they help to control blood sugar as well.

Moreover, the easiest way to prepare pinto beans is to boil them for 1.5 to 2 hours or until they soften. After boiling, you can add salt, pepper, onion, garlic, and jalapenos! You can also add bacon or sausage for more flavor and more protein. Eat them hot and refrigerate/freeze leftovers for more beanolicious meals! In fact, refried beans make a delicious add to your breakfast. Worried about gas? Experts say soaking beans overnight may reduce gas. Just replace the water before you start boiling them. Soaking them overnight also makes them easier to digest and easier to absorb all the nutrients this super food provides. Remember, knowledge is power! Happy health and happy training!

Halloween Candy with your Workout?

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Do you always have leftover Halloween candy in your house? Of course we all know eating that candy will add a few extra calories to your diet AND for some, it will give you a guilty conscience.  Well don’t fret, there’s a way for your guilty pleasure to make its way into your muscles and satisfy your taste buds at the same time! After your workouts, your muscles have used some or most of your muscle glycogen and your muscles will be starving for sugar. An influx of sugar and protein, with the help of insulin, will stimulate an extra uptake of glucose and amino acids into your muscles!

Furthermore, a good ratio of carbs to protein after a workout is about 3 to 1; for example, about 30 grams of candy (sugar) to 10 grams of whey protein. You can have this sweet snack immediately before, during or after your workout! Just remember, fast acting sugar plus a fact acting protein like whey makes for a wonderful pre- and post-workout snack.  But also remember that you need to resume your normal diet shortly thereafter.  Candy should ONLY be used as a treat around your workouts! Sugar and insulin any other time is not necessarily a good thing. Remember, knowledge is power! Happy health and happy training!

Local Honey and Allergy Relief

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Occasionally, we see road side vendors claiming they have the cure for your allergies. Their signs boast of their honey coming to the rescue of allergy sufferers. But are their claims true? We looked deeper into honey and the claims of allergy relief and found some interesting stuff. The theory behind honey and its allergy relief lies within the bees little feet. As they fly from flower to flower collecting nectar, they also carry different types of pollen on their limbs. When they go back to their hives, the pollen is mixed in with the nectar to make honey.

In addition, when the beekeeper takes the honey, it has many of the allergens causing problems among the local residents. It does not have so much as to cause problems but just enough of the allergens for your body to make antibodies. In theory, one tablespoon of local honey per day will help your body make antibodies to these allergens...very similar to a flu shot. The trick is...it has to be local honey. Buying honey manufactured from counties and/or states far away from your hometown may not carry the same pollen causing your allergies. Many people swear by local honey so if you are suffering this allergy season...it may be worth a try. Remember, knowledge is power! Happy health and happy training!

Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds

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Almost everyone enjoys carving a pumpkin for Halloween, but what do you do with the pumpkin guts, especially the pumpkin seeds, when you're finished showing off your jack-o-lantern? Did you know pumpkin seeds are a nutritious year round snack? One ounce of pumpkin seeds has almost half of the RDA of the muscle building nutrients magnesium and zinc! Pumpkin seeds also pack a powerful protein punch for such a small size. And if you're looking for creative ways to add fiber to your diet, pumpkins seeds boast an abundant dose of fiber in convenient snack sizes.

Moreover, you can consume pumpkin seeds in a variety of ways. Most people like to eat roasted pumpkins seeds. Others will dehydrate them and eat them raw. You can even throw pumpkin seeds into a high-powered blender with a scoop of protein powder for a delicious protein snack. Finally, if you need a little help falling asleep, try pumpkins seeds for a late night snack. Pumpkin seeds contain the protein tryptophan which is the famous Thanksgiving turkey protein that puts everyone to sleep even on a lumpy couch! No matter how you consume them, you are more than likely getting one of nature's best kept secrets and one of its most nutritious snack! Remember, knowledge is power! Happy health and happy training!

Strawberries Pack a Powerful Punch

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There are many fruits and vegetables considered super foods and strawberries are high on that list. Strawberries are members of the rose family and are the only fruit with the seeds on the outside. Strawberries are an excellent source of vitamin C; you will get about half of your daily requirements from just one serving. Strawberries are a good source of folate which help protect the red blood cells and is also very important for pregnant women and the development of the fetus. Strawberries have also been proven to lower the risk of heart disease and stroke. One serving of strawberries also has 3 grams of dietary fiber which will assist in removing the bad cholesterol from your body.

Furthermore, 1 cup of strawberries has approximately 254 mg of potassium which is essential in balancing your water levels and keeping you hydrated. One study even showed that strawberries can ease inflammation which is very helpful for anyone with arthritis. Nothing beats eating freshly picked strawberries; but, you can also enjoy them on your cereal, pancakes, waffles, or in a blender with other fruits and your favorite protein powder for a delicious smoothie. Remember, knowledge is power! Happy health and happy training!

Pre-workout Snacks

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Not everyone has a pre-workout plan. If you struggle with your workout, maybe it's time to include one. One of your problems may be the timing of your pre-workout meal and/or drink. It's best to have a small snack 1 hour before your workout. This will give your digestive system enough time to break down and absorb the nutrients. This timing will also give you the sustained energy you will need for your workout. This plan works whether you are working out in the morning, afternoon or evening. Furthermore, your snack should be something that digests rather quickly, i.e., a banana and peanut butter sandwich.

On the other hand, it only takes caffeine less than 30 minutes to get into your bloodstream; therefore, while your pre-workout snack should be 1 hour before your workout, your pre-workout drink with caffeine should be taken 30 minutes before your workout. Moreover, when caffeine is taken with food or within 30 minutes of a meal, the energy from caffeine is sustained for longer periods of time. Ultimately, every "body" is different but if you follow these guidelines, you will be on your way to finding your perfect pre-workout strategy that works best for you! Remember, knowledge is power! Happy health and happy training!

The Health Benefits of Almonds

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Need to change up your diet? Give almonds a try! Not only are they a delicious, healthy snack any time of the day, they are also available year round. When is fat good for you? When it's the good fat from Almonds and other nuts. Consuming the monounsaturated fats in almonds instead of an equal amount of saturated fats will lower your cholesterol by as much as 45%. Almonds also have 37% of the RDA for vitamin E, an important anti-oxidant needed by your body to ward off damage-causing free radicals!

Furthermore, almonds help reduce blood pressure by supplying a health dose of magnesium and potassium. Magnesium helps with the relaxation of your veins and arteries so less resistance equals less pressure. Moreover, eating almonds with a meal can help lower the glycemic index of the meal so almonds aid with the control of high blood sugar. Whole almonds provide the most benefit but some consumers find lots of benefits in almond milk and almond butter as well. Finally, if almonds aren't your thing, make sure to try other nuts like walnuts, chestnuts, and peanuts. Almost all nuts have plenty of anti-oxidants to keep your cells and heart healthy. Remember, knowledge is power! Happy health and happy training!

The Health Benefits of Garlic

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Garlic doesn't just keep vampires away...it also has many health benefits! It is one of the most popular cooking spices because of its strong smell and delicious taste. Furthermore, garlic has good amounts of manganese, vitamin B6, vitamin C, selenium, a little fiber, and a little protein. Some experts believe it can also prevent the common cold. One study showed that subjects who supplemented with garlic reduced the number of colds by 63% as compared to those subjects on a placebo.

Moreover, garlic can help against America's #1 killer...cardiovascular disease. In another study, those subjects who supplemented with garlic lowered their blood pressure and the risk of cardiovascular disease. Garlic also prevents cardiovascular disease by lowering LDL, the bad cholesterol. In addition, garlic contains antioxidants which many experts believe may prevent common brain diseases like Alzheimer's disease and dementia. Believe it or not, it is also believed that Olympians in ancient Greece would supplement with garlic to reduce fatigue! In conclusion, there are many health benefits obtained from garlic and it may also improve your cooking and your vampire slaying :) Remember, knowledge is power! Happy health and happy training!

The Healing Power of Cinnamon

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Cinnamon has been used for centuries, both as a spice and as an herbal medicine. There has been much debate on the healing power of cinnamon. Some experts believe that cinnamon may be used to treat a wide array of diseases. The most promising studies have been the use of cinnamon to treat type 2 diabetes. Results have shown that cinnamon increases insulin sensitivity and/or slows the absorption rate of carbohydrates in the small intestine. One or both of those effects will lower your blood sugar thus helping control type 2 diabetes.

Furthermore, there has been studies showing the effects of cinnamon as an antioxidant. The antioxidants in cinnamon appear to attack free radicals similar to the antioxidants in fruits and vegetables. Another study has even shown cinnamon to lower blood pressure, particularly systolic blood pressure. The evidence seems to indicate that adding cinnamon to your diet will improve your health. But more human studies are needed to establish better protocol and dosage amounts. Currently, most experts believe adding 2 to 4 teaspoons of cinnamon to your diet every day would be enough to benefit your health. This amount of cinnamon could easily be added to your tea, oatmeal, toast, cereal, etc. As always, Knowledge is Power! Remember, knowledge is power! Happy health and happy training!

Glutamine and Muscle Building

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Is glutamine important? Heck yeah it is! Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid swirling around in your blood plasma and muscle cells. Glutamine has been proven to assist with protein synthesis by increasing muscle cell volume and raising HGH levels. Glutamine has also been proven to reduce protein breakdown which will further help your muscle building goals. Moreover, several studies have shown that glutamine depletion may occur after a strenuous workout; therefore, many sports nutritionists believe that glutamine should be part of your post-workout meal. In fact, a carbohydrate, protein, and glutamine post-workout meal will help replenish lost glycogen and also replace some of the glutamine released from the muscle during exercise.

Furthermore, a scientific review showed that athletes with low glutamine levels were susceptible to upper respiratory tract infections. In order to increase muscle and decrease bouts of illness, experts believe you should consumer at least 3 grams of glutamine per day. If you like beef, chicken, and fish, the great news is that each of those contain 2 to 4 grams of glutamine per serving. In conclusion, if you want to build muscle like Adam and Russell (pictured), making sure you consume adequate amounts of glutamine is a great start! Remember, knowledge is power! Happy health and happy training!

Health Benefits of Cranberries

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Although most people only enjoy cranberries during the holiday season, this super food can provide an abundance of anti-oxidants year round. In fact, cranberries have more anti-oxidants than strawberries, spinach, broccoli, apples, cherries, and many other fruits and vegetables. Moreover, the only fruit that can provide your body with more anti-oxidants per serving than cranberries is blueberries. Cranberries also pack a punch when it comes to providing your body with vitamin C and dietary fiber.

Furthermore, you can add cranberries to your normal diet in a variety of ways. One way is to add dried cranberries to your favorite cereal or snack. Another method is adding a glass of 100% fruit juice that includes cranberries to your breakfast. Some shoppers buy fresh cranberries and store them in their refrigerator for up to two months! No matter how you like your cranberries, make sure you include them in your weekly shopping long after the holiday season is over! Remember, knowledge is power! Happy health and happy training!

An Apple a Day...

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Everyone has heard the phrase "an apple a day keeps the doctor away," but did you know that apples really do add a ton of nutritional value in your diet? Apples are high in fiber and very low in calories to aid in weight management. Fiber, as we all know, is important to reduce your blood cholesterol. Apples have zero cholesterol and only trace amounts of sodium which is perfect to maintain a healthy blood pressure.

Furthermore, apples are high in vitamin C, polyphenols, and other anti-oxidants which can lower the risk of cardiovascular disease. One study even showed that people who ate apples on a regular basis lowered their risk of getting some types of cancer.

Finally, apples come in many different sizes and range in their sweetness. If you prefer a tart apple, you are going to love the popular granny smith apple. If sweet apples are more your style, try a fuji or kiku apple next time you are at the supermarket. Also, most of the fiber and vitamin C are at or near the skin so it's a good idea to eat the apple skin as well. Remember, knowledge is power! Happy health and happy training!

Should We Drink Ionized Water?

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Ionized water is another trend to hit the market the last few years.  Sellers of ionized water claim that the alkaline water promotes healthy weight loss, boosts the immune system, neutralizes free radicals, and slows the aging process. They claim that ionized water serves as an anti-oxidant very similar to beta-carotene, vitamin C, and vitamin E. Although sellers of ionized water claim to improve health benefits, there is no evidence thus far that any of the claims are true.

On the other hand, experts in the field of chemistry and physics rebuke their claims. Science has proven that your body prefers homeostasis, which means, your body makes adjustments all day long to stay at the preferred pH of 7.4. Also, experts claim that once the negative ions are ingested, they would quickly bind with positive ions thus neutralizing any effects that may have been theoretically possible. As with all supplements, it is "buyer beware" because supplements such as ionized water are not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. In conclusion, the most important thing is that you are drinking enough water regardless of its source. Have a great workout and stay hydrated! Remember, knowledge is power! Happy health and happy training!

Artificial Sweeteners and Weight Gain

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Do artificial sweeteners cause weight gain? Let's look at what we know so far. Most artificial sweeteners have zero or close to zero calories so they can't, by themselves, increase your weight, but, they still get the blame. One theory is that the sweet taste may be make you crave real sugar which if consumed will make you gain real weight. Therefore, be mindful of cravings and avoid too many snacks between meals. Moreover, some experts believe that drinking a diet soda with zero calories gives people the false sense of freedom to consume as much food as they want. We need more education in schools to remind children and adults alike that diet drinks are just flavored water. Diet drinks don't allow you to eat more food with little consequence.

Furthermore, it's been written that even artificial sweeteners can cause an insulin spike which can lead to weight gain. This theory has NOT been proven and is 100% false. Scientists are 100% positive that your super human body can tell the difference between artificial sugar and the real thing! But again, diet soda with a big carb meal will give you an insulin spike which can lead to weight gain. In summary, enjoy your diet soda if you choose but remember to eat a healthy meal with your diet drink. Remember why you're drinking the diet soda in the first place! Lastly, if you already prefer water over diet drinks, then stick to water. Water will always be the preferred beverage of choice. Now whether they're good for you is a WHOLE OTHER BLOG!! Remember, knowledge is power! Happy health and happy training!

Supplementing with Beta-Alanine

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Beta-Alanine has been the latest buzz at the gym the last few years. Does it work? Is it as good as creatine? Can you use it with creatine? Is it for strength? Is it for endurance? Are there any side effects? The preliminary studies have been mostly positive. In several studies, beta-alanine has been shown to improve both strength and endurance by delaying fatigue. Hoffman et al. (2006) even showed improved strength performance when beta-alanine was used in conjunction with creatine.

Furthermore, studies are still being conducted on the amounts of beta-alanine one should consume. More studies are needed but preliminary research shows that 2 to 3 grams per day should increase your workout intensities by delaying the lowering of pH levels in your muscles. This mechanism allows your muscles to work harder and longer which should improve both strength training workouts and cardiovascular workouts. On the other hand, there has been one reported side effect: most subjects have reported a tingling sensation after consumption of beta-alanine. Most experts believe that the tingling sensation is probably due to an excessive amount being consumed in one serving. Therefore, most supplement companies advice a limit of 800mg beta-alanine at a time up to 4 times per day. As always, consult your physician or an experienced personal trainer about working out and consuming sports supplements. Remember, knowledge is power! Happy health and happy training!

Super Delicious Peanut Butter

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Do you love peanut butter? You're not the only ! Americans consume 700 million pounds of peanut butter each year or enough peanut butter to coat the floor of the grand canyon! A recent poll says there is a jar of peanut butter in 75% of homes in America. Is there one in your home? Are you one of millions of Americans that loves your peanut butter? If so, you'll be happy to read about all the wonderful benefits provided by a huge spoonful of peanut butter! First, peanut butter has a significant amount of protein. Many studies have confirmed that most athletes do not consume enough protein; therefore, adding peanut butter to your daily caloric intake will probably help you! Furthermore, the protein, fiber, and unsaturated fats will help suppress your appetite which could lead to weight loss if that is your goal.

Moreover, peanut butter is a good source of potassium and anti-oxidants like vitamin E which aid in the fight against high blood pressure and coronary artery disease. You can consume peanut butter in a variety of ways. Most people eat peanut butter in sandwiches but it's also become a staple in many protein smoothies. Although smoothies require a blender, peanut butter sandwiches are easy to carry in a gym bag and make great pre-workout and post-workout snacks. So the next time you're craving peanut butter, add some to your pre and post-workout snacks! You and your muscles will be happy you did. Remember, knowledge is power! Happy health and happy training!

The Health Benefits of Cheese

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June 4th is National Cheese Day! This delicious food is filled with many nutrients I don't know where to start; but, if I have to start somewhere, it's the superb mix of high quality protein with good fats. High quality, complete proteins are important in building stronger muscles among other things. Good fats are also very important to increase cell function and improve hormone productivity. Cheese is also a great source of omega 3s and omega 6s which are important for brain function! Furthermore, what most people think of when I say CHEESE...the great source of calcium! Your bones need calcium to become strong and dense. This calcium along with B-vitamins promote healthy bones and teeth.

In addition, cheese is currently being studied for it's stress reduction qualities. Maybe it's the taste...maybe it's the magnesium...we're not sure what it is but cheese has been observed to reduce panic and anxiety attacks. And finally some varieties of cheese are rich in zinc. Zinc plays an important role in not only keeping your muscles strong, but zinc also keeps your immune system strong. So in this new age of endless selfies, don't just say cheese...eat cheese! Happy Cheese Day! Remember, knowledge is power! Happy health and happy training!

The Health Benefits of Watermelon

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Most people already know that watermelons are a nutritious fruit. Watermelons are a great source of low glycemic carbs, zero fat, zero sodium, zero cholesterol, packed with vitamin C and vitamin A, and of course a good source of water! But did you know that watermelon seeds also have a high nutrient value? It's true! One ounce of watermelon seeds has 13g of good fat and 8 grams of muscle building protein! Plus, watermelon seeds are also a good source of calcium, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium.

So what's the best way to eat watermelon and/or their seeds? Well, most people roast watermelon seeds similar to roasting pumpkin seeds. But if you don't have time for that, just throw the watermelon chunks into a blender, seeds and all, with your favorite protein powder for a pre- or post-workout snack. You won't even know you're drinking the seeds when they are chopped into tiny pieces by your blender. Remember, knowledge is power! Happy health and happy training!

Water and Sports Performance

personal trainer certification school hydration

It's easy to get dehydrated in the Texas heat if you exercise outdoors especially when the temperature rises to 100 degrees and above. Drinking plenty of water is essential to staying hydrated. Water is the most abundant and most important nutrient in our bodies. Also, muscle weight is nearly  75% water so it's imperative we drink plenty of water. We receive most of our water from drinking liquids but we do get some from food. On the other hand, we lose a lot of water through sweating which happens naturally when our body tries to stay cool. Moreover, we wake up most mornings feeling dehydrated; therefore, it is very important to start each day with at least one full glass of water.

In addition, dehydration starts at 1% body weight loss during activity. At that level, studies have shown sports performance begins to drop and an athlete begins to slow down. A person working out can lose as much as 3 liters of water per hour during a very strenuous workout. Most experts suggest that a sedentary person should drink at least 2.5 liters of water per day. Therefore an active person, should drink 5 to 10 liters per day just to stay properly hydrated and keep up their athletic performance! In conclusion, stay cool, drink plenty of water, and keep moving!! Remember, knowledge is power! Happy health and happy training!

Health Benefits of Chocolate and Wine

personal trainer certification school chocolate and wine

Happy Valentines' Day! Believe it or not, there are health benefits to having a little chocolate and drinking a little wine on Valentine's Day! First of all, chocolate tastes great! Your mood will definitely improve after just one bite. It also has been proven to lower bad cholesterol if eaten in moderation. Chocolate also improves memory in older adults by increasing blood flow in the brain. Moreover, chocolate has been shown to reduce the chances of heart disease and stroke. It also contains the very important minerals potassium, zinc, and selenium.

In addition, many experts have lauded the health benefits of wine for many years. Like chocolate, moderate wine drinking has been proven to lower the rate of heart disease and stroke in many studies; also, proved to slow brain decline. Drinking wine in moderation can lower the chances of developing type 2 diabetes. Furthermore, in a study conducted in Iceland, drinking wine lowered the risk of developing cataracts. In a study for colon cancer, moderate wine drinkers reduced their chances of developing colon cancer by 45%! One thing is for sure, eating chocolate and drinking wine can be beneficial if consumed in moderation! So enjoy a bite of chocolate and raise a glass to your health! Remember, knowledge is power! Happy health and happy training!