Monthly Archives for July 2012

Archives for July 2012

Olympics Inspiration.

Philip Boy: My Olympic gymspiration.

I absolutely love watching the summer Olympics. Not only are the God-like athletes exceedingly easy on the eyes (my new favorite is German gymnast Philipp Boy), but the competitions can also be an incredible source of inspiration for us all.

In Latin, the Olympic motto reads Citius, Altius, Fortius. In English, it translates to Faster, Higher, Stronger. And with each day of the games, we see just that; old records fall and new records are set.

While we might not be destined for gold medals, I do think there’s an Olympian in all of us. More than a competition, the Olympic games are about pushing beyond our limits and the pursuit of excellence.

This morning, I was running on the treadmill while watching the televised Olympic games. With only three minutes left of my cardio, I was running low on energy. I wanted to stop. Through my sweat-blurred eyes, I could see the athletes pushing themselves harder and harder. As my finger reached for the treadmill’s “stop” button, I instead clicked the speedometer up two notches. I ran like I’ve never run before. And though there was no podium to make, it was my gold medal moment.

Within us all, there is an Olympian in embryo. It’s the little voice telling you to keep jogging when you want to walk or to get that extra repetition in at the gym. When you’re sitting at home and have an inclination to exercise, that is the Olympian within pushing you to do better.

Faster. Higher. Stronger. While we might not be winning any medals in London or setting any world records, we can use the Olympics as a source of inspiration in our own personal pursuit of excellence.

Americans Drinking Less Soda.

It’s true: I’m not a big fan of soda. In fact, as this video illustrates, I’d rather clean with Coca-Cola than ingest it.

The reality is sugary drinks are still a major source of calories. In fact, some studies even peg soda as the number one calorie source in the average American’s diet. That’s more calories from soda than alcohol, cake, bread, pizza, French fries or anything else. For the record, the National Cancer Institute ranks soda as the number 4 source.

But things are changing. Slowly.

Research shows that per capita soda consumption has dropped about 16% from its peak in 1998. In 2011, average soda consumption even dipped below 2 servings per day for the first time in a long time. In a different study, researchers found that sugar consumption decreased by about 25% in the last decade – mostly due to decreased soda consumption.

It seems that consumers and decision-makers are finally getting the message about soda. In fact, in recent years, sodas have been banned from many schools and a slew of local governments are removing carbonated beverages from public facilities. But despite the headwinds, carbonated soft drinks are a $75 billion industry in the United Sates.

A 16% decrease is a great start – but we’ve still got a long ways to go.

It begs the question: Instead of soda, what are consumers drinking? What’s filling our void? According to research (and illustrated in the above graph), Americans are drinking more bottled water and more non-carbonated soft drinks like Gatorade, Vitamin Water and others. Though water is always a great choice, many non-carbonated drinks are just as calorie-dense as soda. Gatorade is great to drink when running a marathon, but it’s not a healthy choice to consume while playing video games.

Is this research indicative of your own consumption habits? Are you drinking less soda? Let me know in the comments below.

Losing Weight Without Support.

Davey,

I’m an 18 year old student living at home while attending community college and I was wondering: How can I lose weight without support?

I currently weigh 250 pounds and I’ve finally decided that it’s too much! I know that I need to eat better and exercise, but my parents won’t support me. When I discuss eating healthy foods, they reply that it’s too expensive or that I should just watch what I eat. Their idea of watching what you eat is ordering less at McDonald’s.

When I told them that I’d like to get up early and walk before I start my day, they said they’d consider this to be “sneaking out.” Gyms are too expensive but I need to get my body moving.

What should I do?

From,
Zach

Don't be surprised if the people around you subconsciously hold this perspective.

Hey Zach,

Congratulations on making the decision to take your health into your own hands – and to do something about it! That’s the first and biggest step that you’ll need to take.

Though we look to our friends and family for support, we don’t always find it when it comes to weight loss. It doesn’t take Dr. Freud to figure out the motivation behind this anomaly. If the people around you support your lifestyle changes, it becomes harder for them to deny their own diet and exercise transgressions. In a way, supporting you means acknowledging their own need for improvement. And if they can convince you not to change your ways, it becomes much easier for them to continue their state of denial.

Moreover, jealousy and sabotage can sometimes crop up. “You’ve lost enough,” can become a popular mantra for the less supportive people around you. And don’t be surprised if these individuals try to derail your diet by encouraging unhealthy food choices. Don’t let them become your enablers.

Though we expect the people who love us to support the healthy changes we make, don’t let their lack of support become an excuse for you. Life is too short to live for someone else – and you need to lose the weight for you and your health. Though the changes you make may make your loved ones more aware of the areas in which they can improve their own lives, your positive example – in the long run – is really doing them a favor. Without having to acknowledge it aloud, know that you’re helping the people you love by showing them how to live healthier, more productive and (hopefully) longer lives.

Though you may not find support at home, there are plenty of places to find it online… including right here. There are countless weight loss and fitness communities, message boards and forums that you can browse or join – and endless sources of inspiration and knowledge across the Internet. If you prefer finding support offline, connect with a walking group or workout partner in your city or town.

To help you kick things off, I’m going to e-mail you the complete series of Davey Wavey Workout Programs. Since it’s packed with muscle-building and gut-busting workout videos that you can use at home, it will be a huge help in achieving your weight loss goals. Enjoy – and I look forward to seeing your results!

Love,
Davey

Exercise Disorders in Men.

Being able to appreciate a picture like this without measuring yourself against it isn't always something you can do alone.

When it comes to male eating disorders and body image issues, it’s really a vicious cycle.

Because few people talk about male bulimia, anorexia or body image disorders, these illnesses are viewed as largely female. And yet, the Harvard University Medical School found that 25% of adults with eating disorders are male. Because so few people talk about how these illnesses impact men, the men who experience body image issues and eating disorders often suffer in a self-imposed and shameful silence.

There are a number of factors that influence eating disorders and body image issues in both men and women. Internally, low self-esteem and a lack of confidence can be a contributing factor. Externally, society bombards us with unrealistic and Photoshopped images of unobtainable physiques. And this external pressure isn’t unique to women. For every Victoria’s Secret advertisement there is another from Abercrombie & Fitch featuring chiseled torsos and glistening biceps. And in an even more body conscious gay male subculture, the pressure is still greater.

It’s worth noting that body image issues can sometimes be expressed – especially in men – through an exercise disorder. Defined as training at least two hours per day unrelated to a career in sport, these individuals feel like they can’t live without a trip to the gym. A sign of exercise disorder is when gym commitments interfere with everyday life and social activities. Because going to the gym is a considered a good habit, it’s easy for these individuals to convince themselves that their illness is really just a healthy hobby.

At the end of the day, we can’t control the images that society directs our way. But we can control how we evaluate those images – and whether or not we use them as rulers against which we measure ourselves and our bodies. It’s possible to see (and appreciate) a picture of a chiseled, oiled and unrealistically proportioned Adonis without internalizing it as an assessment against your body.

But you might not be able to do it alone.

Changing our mindset isn’t easy, and it often requires professional help. Men and women alike need to feel empowered to seek out assistance in overcoming body image and eating disorders.

To that end, the stigma that these disorders only affect women isn’t helping. And the best way to break a stigma is by talking about it. I’ve talked about my childhood struggle with anorexia and I’d encourage you to do the same. In the journey from ashamed to shameless, every bit of dialogue counts.

Do you think many men are suffering from eating disorders or body image issues in silence? Let me know in the comments below.

Weight Loss Strategies that Work!

If you have a goal of losing weight, I’m a big fan of moving more and eating smarter. It’s healthy, sustainable and – best of all – it works.

But what else can help dieters achieve their weight loss goals? A new study set out to answer just that. Published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the study looked at a number of weight loss tools, tips and strategies by following 120 overweight women on a twelve month diet guided by registered nutritionists. The women were charged with losing 10% of their weight in six months – and then keeping it off for the next six months.

Based on the data, researchers found three key strategies that worked for the participants.

  1. Don’t skip meals. Skipping meals – as I mentioned in a post last week – is bad for your health and you waistline. It deprives your body of nutrients, slows your metabolism and causes you to overeat and crave unhealthy food options. According to the researchers in this study, meal skippers lost 8 fewer pounds than non-skippers.
  2. Journaling. Many weight loss coaches recommend journaling – and for good reason. The study found that journalers lost 6 more pounds than non-journalers. Each day, journalers record the foods consumed and the amount of calories contained therein. Doing this helps dieters track calories and provides some level of accountability for the food eaten.
  3. Don’t go out for lunch. With many restaurants loading their dishes with fried foods, butter and salt, eating out can be a real challenge for health-conscious individuals. In fact, researchers found that individuals who ate at restaurants for lunch at least once per week lost 5 fewer pounds than those who didn’t. Those extra calories really add up!

Have you ever tried any of these weight loss strategies? Did they work for you? Let me know in the comments below.

10 Good Carb Foods!

Though carbs tend to get a bad rap (think the Atkins Diet), the truth is that carbohydrates are an essential and necessary part of any balanced diet.

But not all carbs are created equal. The trick is minimizing your intake of “bad carbs” and maximizing your intake of “good carbs.”

To that end, I put together today’s video with 10 examples of good carb foods! Via my Davey Wavey Fitness YouTube channel, check it out!

Heavy Weights, Fewer Reps: Does it Build Muscle?

Hey Davey,

Using free weights, I currently stick to 3 sets of 10 reps. For some exercises, I’d like to increase the weight that I’m lifting. But I am finding that I can’t quite manage 3 sets of 10. Instead, I can squeeze out 3 sets of 8.

Will I build more muscle by increasing the weight and dropping the reps from 10 to 8, or should I stick with the lower weight and increase the reps to 12 or 14?

Thanks,
Gareth

Hey Gareth,

Your question is actually a very common one – and I’m happy to share some insight.

In general, here are the rep ranges that trainers will recommend for various goals:

  • Low reps (1 – 6): Builds strength
  • Medium reps (7 to 12): Builds size and strength
  • High reps (12 – 15): Builds endurance

Since you’re looking to increase muscle size, 10 reps is a great target for you. Moving into higher rep ranges (like 12 or 14) means building endurance more than size.

Of course, we know that muscles only grow when they’re forced to grow – and that means you’ll constantly have to overload your muscles with more and more resistance. In other words, you’ll need to progress to heavier dumbbells or add heavier weight plates.

As you add more resistance, it becomes harder to maintain your 10 rep target for each set. But that’s fine. Keep pushing yourself and eventually you’ll reach the 10 rep target – and then you’ll be ready to add even more resistance, thereby starting the whole process all over again.

I hope that helps!

Love,
Davey

Is Skipping Meals Bad for You?

Let’s face it: At one point or another, all of us have skipped a meal or two.

For some, busy schedules get in the way. After all, we’re all juggling a number of priorities – and food doesn’t always make the top of the list. For others, meal skipping is a way to cut calories and lose weight. Some people don’t eat because of financial or religious reasons. And still others skip meals because they’re just not hungry.

But how does skipping meals impact your fitness goals? Is it really bad for you?

In short, the answer is: Yes. Skipping meals isn’t good for your health – and regularly skipping meals will have a negative impact on your fitness goals.

There are a few factors at play here, not the least of which was demonstrated in a recent study by researchers at Cornell University. They asked students to fast for 18 hours, and then treated them to a buffet including a variety of foods. According to researchers, french fries and dinner rolls were the most popular items. Vegetables were last on the list.

If your body is starving, then it makes sense that it would crave calorie-dense foods. It wants to survive, and it doesn’t know where your next meal is coming from. Your brain is telling you to stock up while you can – and so vegetables, which are not calorie dense, don’t offer much of an immediate survival advantage.

In other words, skipping meals may make it harder to choose healthy foods. That’s not good news for people that use fasting as means for long-term weight loss.

Moreover, skipping meals or dramatically restricting calories will push your body into starvation mode. When this happens, your metabolism will slow down to a crawl so that your body can burn as few calories as possible. When you finally start eating again, your slower metabolism will mean fewer of those calories will be burned off – and weight gain is likely.

For individuals interested in building muscle mass, it’s important to provide your body with a constant source of fuel. Many athletes and fitness enthusiasts even consume protein before bed so that their muscles will have the fuel they need during an 8-hour sleep. Skipping meals regularly can have starve your muscles of the fuel they need and limit or undermine your results.

The bottom line: Skipping meals every now and then won’t have a huge impact – but it’s certainly something to avoid on a regular basis.

Who Says Exercise is No Fun?

Flying Davey Wavey!

Exercise doesn’t have to be a chore.

In fact, by connecting exercise to the things you enjoy, it can be something to which you look forward. And if you look forward to exercise and enjoy the experience, you’re more likely to do it more often!

Whoever said exercise is boring didn’t have much of an imagination. There are so many ways to get your body moving and heart pumping that are fun, exciting and exhilarating. A summer swim in the ocean is exercise. Dancing in your underwear to your favorite playlist is exercise. Playing volleyball or basketball in recreational league is exercise. All of it counts! And it’s all better than sitting on the couch.

While the majority of my exercise takes place at the gym, I love gymnastics. And so each and every Tuesday night, I take a class at my local gymnastics center. Whether it’s jumping into the foam pit, bouncing on the trampoline or playing on the parallel bars, I always have a great time while connecting to my inner child. And I always get a workout that leaves me sore for days.

Exercise can take so many different forms, be it hockey, boating, biking, hula hooping, jumping rope, ping pong, rock climbing, jogging with your dog, tennis or hiking. When it comes to increasing your activity level, it’s okay to think outside the gym.

At the end of the day, the only bad workout is the one that didn’t happen. So get moving and get active doing something you love.

P.S. Check out my 8 tips for making gym workouts more fun!

Does Sleeping Make You Lose Weight?

Any personal trainer will tell you that good sleeping habits help support a healthy lifestyle. Getting adequate sleep helps us feel rested and energized. The downtime also gives our bodies a chance to recover from exercise and repair our muscles. But it’s also believed that there’s a link between adequate sleep and bodyweight – specifically, that deceasing one’s sleep increases the risk of weight gain and diabetes.

In a new study, researchers from the German Universities Tubingen and Lubeck and Uppsala University in Sweden examined the effects of short-term sleep deprivation on hunger, physical activity and the body’s energy expenditure.

According to the findings, sleep deprivation increased both self-reported hunger and levels of ghrelin (known as “the hunger” hormone) for participants. The less sleep that participants received, the greater their hunger. Because sleep-deprived individuals are hungrier, it’s very likely that they consume more food and a greater number of calories than their well-rested and less hungry counterparts.

Not surprisingly, physical activity also diminished with less sleep. When we’re tired and fatigued, we tend to move around a lot less – and thus, burn fewer calories. Researchers also found that staying awake all night also resulted in fewer calories burned while the body is resting.

All in all, the research suggests that when we’re deprived of sleep, we may consume more calories through the food we eat and burn less calories through out the day. More calories in and less calories out is a recipe for weight gain, an increased risk of obesity and even diabetes.

Of course, more research is still needed. And it’s still a bit premature to conclude that increasing sleep time may assist in weight loss or that sleep can be used as a treatment for obesity. But sleep certainly does seem to play an important factor.

Free Weights Vs. Cables.

When it comes to strength training, people often ask me whether free weights or cables are more effective. Like many things in fitness, the answer is: It depends.

Let’s start with the basics. Free weight exercises involve using dumbbells or barbells. Because these apparatuses aren’t confined, your movements aren’t limited, restricted or dictated by a machine. Cable exercises, on the other hand, are done on machines with pulleys and handles. Using a pin, you can adjust the amount of weight with which you’re working.

Beyond being time-tested and extremely effective, free weights are very versatile. Some of the crucial exercises, like squats, chest presses and lunges, are difficult or impossible to perform using the cable machine. Conversely, hip abductions and adductions are only possible using cables.

Cables do have a few advantages. For one, they provide constant tension on your muscles during an exercise. When using free weights, you only experience resistance when you’re working against gravity. With cables, the resistance is constant throughout the movement – and this can result in a more efficient workout on some exercises. Moreover, because the amount of resistance can be adjusted quickly on cable machines, they’re well-suited for muscle-building workout strategies like drop sets.

With all this in mind, it’s not really a question of either free weights or cables. In my workout, I use both. For example, I enjoy doing triceps pulldowns on cables while still doing some of the more traditional exercises – like chest presses, shoulder presses, squats, curls, etc. – with free weights.

Both free weights and cables provide muscles with resistance and both can result in gains of muscle size, strength and/or endurance. Whether an individual opts for free weights or cables often depends on the type of exercise being performed or the individual’s preference.

Is Gluten-Free Healthier?

The other day, I couldn’t help but roll my eyes when I saw a tub of ice cream advertised as gluten-free. Labeling a product as gluten-free has become an increasingly popular trend – and savvy marketers are hoping that consumers will believe that gluten-free products are healthier. They’re not.

In a tweet last April, Miley Cyrus even tweeted that “gluten is crapppp.” That’s crap, with four p’s.

As it turns out, gluten-free and healthy are two very different things. According to Mayo Clinic:

A gluten-free diet is a diet that excludes the protein gluten. Gluten is found in grains such as wheat, barley, rye and triticale (a cross between wheat and rye).

Gluten-free isn’t meant to be a weight loss strategy. Instead, a gluten-free diet is a treatment for celiac disease. According to the National Institutes of Health, 1 in 133 people have this condition. When someone with celiac disease consumes gluten, it causes the little hair-like projects that move food through to the gut to breakdown – resulting in bleeding, malabsorption and other issues.

If you don’t have celiac disease, there’s nothing wrong with consuming gluten. In fact, it’s healthy to do so. Sorry, Miley. Moreover, gluten-free diets tend to lack fiber, are higher in simple carbohydrates (the so-called “bad” carbs) and often low in the complex carbohydrates that our bodies need. If you do go gluten-free for medical reasons, it’s important to work with nutritionists and doctors to get a well-rounded diet.

The bottom line: If something is labeled as gluten-free, it’s not offering any sort of health benefit – unless, of course, you have celiac disease. The alleged link between a product being gluten-free and its nutritional content, as exemplified by my ice cream experience, is non-existent.

Meet the (Shirtless) U.S. Men’s Gymnastics Team.

Every now and then, I like to share a little bit of fitness inspiration and motivation – and, after watching the Olympic trials, I know there’s no shortage of either in the U.S. men’s gymnastics team. I have two words, “Yes, please.”

These men are, of course, very delicious eye candy. But with their incredible flexibility, strength an athleticism, they’re also incredible examples to which all of us can aspire. Sure, most of us aren’t going to compete in the Olympics. But I like to say that it’s better to shoot for the stars and land on the moon than aim for the mountains and reach them.

With all that in mind, I give you the Olympians of the U.S. men’s gymnastics team.

Jake Dalton: Age 20, 5’5″

Jonathan Horton: Age 26, 5’1″

Danell Leyva: Age 20, 5’7″

John Orozco: Age 19, 5’4″

Sam Mikulak: Age 19, 5’6″

Jake Dalton is my absolute favorite, but – as someone who loves shorter guys – each one of these gymnasts makes my heart skip a beat.

Which gymnast will you be tuning in to watch during the Olympics? Let me know in the comments below!

Move More, Eat Smarter.

Instead of move more, eat less, researchers are pointing to a new weight loss philosophy: Move more, eat smarter.

People are often surprised by the quantity of food that I eat.

Upon waking up, I eat some fruit and protein. After the gym, I have a protein shake and bowl of cereal. For lunch, I usually eat a chicken or turkey wrap overflowing with fresh veggies, a side of carrot sticks, humus and a vibrant salad. My afternoon snack – often an apple with peanut butter – is followed by a dinner of steamed vegetables and a main course. Depending on the day, dessert is either a smoothie, protein shake and berries or Greek yogurt.

All in all, it’s a lot of food for a 5’8.5″ guy weighing 155lbs with 8% body fat. Of course, it’s exactly what I need to eat to fuel my active lifestyle.

My approach to food is something isn’t unique to me – but it is an approach that has been gaining traction in the health and wellness community. In a recent paper published in the July 3 issue of the journal Circulation, researchers from the Anschutz Health and Wellness Center concluded that the current obesity strategies of “just eating less” aren’t cutting it.

Researchers found that food restriction, in and of itself, isn’t effective in reducing obesity. The calorie restriction does result in an initial weight loss, but this process triggers the body’s natural survival instincts to prevent starvation. A lower metabolic rate is resulted and the body typically burns 170 to 250 fewer calories for a 10% weight loss and 325 to 480 fewer calories for a 20% weight loss.

According to the paper’s lead author:

We are not going to reduce obesity by focusing only on reducing food intake. Without increasing physical activity in the population we are simply promoting unsustainable levels of food restriction. This strategy hasn’t worked so far and it is not likely to work in the future.

In other words, it’s really about changing the message from “eat less, move more” to “move more, eat smarter.” And I couldn’t agree more.

Despite the temptation to live an increasingly sedentary lifestyle – and to spend more and more time in front of our phones, computers or televisions – it’s more important than ever to get up and get moving. And when we do get moving, we need to fuel our bodies accordingly. It doesn’t mean “starving” ourselves and skipping meals. On the contrary, it’s about eating those foods that nourish our bodies – like lean meats, vegetables, fruits, nuts and berries – in appropriate quantities and in proportion to our increased activity levels.

Does the “move more, eater smarter” mantra resonate with you? Let me know in the comments below.

When is the Best Time to Take Protein Supplements?

Last week, I wrote about the best type of protein to take before going to sleep for the night. After posting the article, I received a number of emails from exercise enthusiasts who didn’t realize the importance of consuming protein before bed. With that in mind, today’s post will cover the four times (including before bed) when protein consumption is most often recommended.

Obviously, protein requirements vary greatly from person to person. So, first things first, it’s important to calculate your daily protein requirements. For some people with high protein diets or lower protein needs, protein supplementation in the form of powders and shakes may be less important. For others, it can be crucial for success.

1. First Thing in the Morning

When you wake up, your body is in a catabolic state and hasn’t received proper nutrition for a good eight hours. It needs protein, and it needs protein quickly. I usually opt for a whey protein shake because the protein is absorbed quickly by the body. Just like brushing my teeth and flossing, protein consumption is part of my morning routine.

2. Before Your Workout

Some trainers recommend protein consumption 30 minutes before exercise. This will set up your “anabolic window” to help repair and rebuild the damage done during lifting. Again, a fast-acting whey protein works well here.

3. After Your Workout

After exercise is the most important time to consume protein. If you only take one protein supplement a day, this is the time to take it. Research has shown that sooner is better, so you may even want to take your protein powder or shake to the gym. Whey protein, due to its fast absorption, is the best choice.

4. Before Bed

Because your body will essentially be fasting during sleep, it’s important to consume a protein that’s slow to absorb. Before going to bed, I recommend casein protein because it takes 5 – 8 hours to fully breakdown.

Obviously, protein supplements are really just that – they supplement the protein that we get through a proper diet. The extent to which you’ll need to supplement depends on your fitness regime and diet, so just use this advice as a general guideline.

And, keep in mind that more protein isn’t always better! Too much protein can result in weight gain, kidney problems and even heart disease. So don’t overdo it!

Does Running Burn Muscle?

Dear Davey,

You mentioned that longer runs can have a negative effect on muscle growth. Can you elaborate? I’m an avid runner and I typically run for long amount of time.

Thanks,
Chris

Dear Chris,

Though many people mistakenly believe otherwise, cardiovascular exercises like swimming, running or biking – when done in moderation – will not cannibalize your strength training results. The keyword being moderation.

In fact, a study done at West Virginia University and published in the “Journal of the American College of Nutrition” demonstrated that people who strength train regularly don’t lose muscle mass while performing cardio – even while on calorie restricting diets. That’s great news!

In general, your body won’t use your muscles as a source for fuel. The only exception would be during periods of extreme endurance cardio training. In other words, if you run or swim or bike for a long period of time, and if your glycogen or carbohydrate stores become depleted, your body will turn to the amino acid proteins in my muscles as a last resort – and it will turn those proteins into glucose for fuel.

To avoid this, it’s obviously important to keep your body fueled with plenty of complex carbohydrates. Or, even better, eliminate the risk altogether by keeping your cardio sessions short, intense and efficient.

The other issue is cortisol. As I’ve mentioned before, cortisol is hormone that your body releases when it is under stress. The effect of cortisol on muscle mass isn’t pretty. Cortisol is a catabolic hormone that reduces protein synthesis and may prevent muscle growth. In addition to stunting your results, cortisol has also been linked to increased fat retention in your body’s midsection.

Many things can stress your body, and a long cardio session is certainly one of them. For this reason, many trainers will encourage clients to limit cardio sessions to less than 45 minutes. It’s worth noting that long strength training sessions can also lead to the release of cortisol. In other words, more time at the gym isn’t always better.

To get a short but powerful workout, I recommend high intensity interval training. It can be used for both cardio and strength training, and it’s the basis for my Get Ripped Workout program. Most of my cardio sessions, thanks to high intensity interval training, are only 15 minutes long. It’s an intense 15 minutes, but it gives me the results that I want.

If you really love long runs, then it’s fine to run long distances as an occasional treat – but it certainly shouldn’t be the backbone of your cardio workout. And a few hours prior to your long run, fuel your body with plenty of complex carbs. I hope that helps!

Love,
Davey

Ice Cream Vs. Gelato Vs. Sorbet: Which is Healthiest?

With the summer heat in full swing, many of us are turning to our favorite frozen treats for dessert. But when picking between ice cream, gelato or sorbet, you’ve probably wondered which is healthiest.

Ice Cream

Ice cream has a base that includes milk, cream, sugar and typically egg yolks. The churning process incorporates air and gives the finished product its light and creamy texture. Typical ice cream has a butterfat content of 14 – 25%. Unfortunately, the cream and sugar ensure high levels of unhealthy fats, calories and simple carbohydrates.

Gelato

Though also often made with milk, sugar and egg yolks, cream isn’t an ingredient in gelato. Moreover, gelato is processed in such a way that the finished product is much denser and more flavorful than ice cream. Because gelato doesn’t include cream, it can have lower levels of unhealthy fats when compared to traditional ice cream. Unlike ice cream, butterfat content is typically in the range of 5 – 9%. However, the nutrition information can vary greatly, and some gelato varieties may have higher amounts of added sugar.

But because gelato is so dense and flavorful, many consumers find that much smaller portions satisfy – and that’s definitely an important consideration.

Sorbet

Made with neither dairy nor eggs, sorbet contains just fruit juice/syrup and water. It’s churned like ice cream and thus has a similar texture. Most sorbets are naturally fat-free and usually have less calories. However, sorbet can have considerably higher amounts of sugar than either gelato or ice cream – and, because there is no dairy, it contains less calcium.

Conclusion

When you really get down to it, none of these frozen desserts can be classified as healthy. Sorry.

Ice cream is the clear nutritional loser. In my opinion, gelato and sorbet are quite comparable. Though gelato has more fat and calories, most people will find a much smaller portion size satisfying. Sorbet doesn’t have the fat and has fewer calories, but you’ll probably eat more – and gelato has less sugar.

But if you’re really looking for something cool and healthy, take a scoop of Greek yogurt and top it with some fresh fruit.

5 Ways Dieters Sabotage Themselves.

Today’s guest post is by Davey Wavey’s good friend and spiritual weight release coach, Diane Petrella. Diane is also one of the contributors to The Davey Wavey Weight Loss Program.

Weight loss is challenging enough without getting in your own way. Learn to stop self-sabotage and take charge! Here are five common pitfalls and how to overcome them.

Self-Sabotage #1: You disregard the power of your thoughts and think weight loss happens only through physical effort.

We’re conditioned to believe that releasing weight is only about diet and exercise. Of course, that’s important. But the thoughts in your mind are just as important as the calories you consume.

Solution: Discover what limiting beliefs hold you back. If you’re not sure, listen to your self-talk and how you speak to and react to others. Become aware of fears or doubts that hinder your progress. Learn new strategies to empower yourself with encouraging words.

Self-Sabotage #2: Instead of focusing on your goal, you dwell on being overweight.

Until you shift negative attention away from your current weight, and focus on where you’re going, you’ll remain stuck. Criticizing yourself keeps you attached to what you don’t want. It’s like trying to drive forward in your car while still in “park.” You’re not going anywhere.

Solution: To keep the image of your goal in mind, regularly practice visualization. This helps you create the feeling of excited anticipation of having the body you desire. This new mental model of success gently guides you towards your goal.

Self-Sabotage #3. You punish  yourself for setbacks instead of moving on.

Every path to dieting success has its ups and downs. What you perceive as a setback stops your progress only when you think it does.

Solution: Be gentle with yourself. You will make huge strides when you simply say “I’ll make a different choice next time” and let it go. Practice self-forgiveness. When you release shame and guilt, minor slips become meaningless.

Self-Sabotage #4: You want to change your body, but don’t accept it as it is now.

It may seem strange to think of accepting a body you want to change. But, ironically, what we resist, persists. Remaining at war with your body keeps you stuck and keeps weight on. Being at peace isn’t about accepting excess weight, it’s about accepting yourself.

Solution: Give your body a daily gift. In doing so you’re honoring yourself, and your body. Your gift could be a ten-minute walk, a glass of water, or lotion on your hands. By consciously offering your body daily devotion you’re creating a pathway to self-acceptance and self-love.

Self-Sabotage #5:  You become discouraged when you don’t see immediate results.

Permanent weight loss takes time. Patience is necessary to emotionally grow into the new person you’re becoming. Allow inner transformation to happen along with the outer change of reducing pounds. One reason yo-yo dieting is so common is that weight is released but self-sabotaging thoughts are not.

Solution: Even when you don’t see visible results, have faith. You are making progress. Recognize that your tendency to find evidence of failure is your fear-based mind trying to discourage you. Hold faith in your heart. Just because you haven’t reached your goal yet doesn’t mean you won’t. You will.

How will you stop sabotaging yourself and move forward?

Barefoot Running Benefits.

Barefoot running has developed something of a cult following – and, admittedly, I’m starting to drink the Kool-Aid. You might even say that it’s a movement.

Think about it: Our feet are the result of millions of years of evolution and designed to safely and efficiently transport our bodies over a variety of surfaces at varying speeds. Running shoes, on the other hand, have only been around for a few decades. Maybe there’s something to be said for being barefoot.

I’m a big fan of data, but there hasn’t been much research on running barefoot versus running with shoes. And so, I was excited to discover a new study about barefoot running by researchers at Northumbria University.

The study followed a mix of recreational and trained runners who completed a variety of runs in both shoes and barefoot on separate days. The study concluded that newly barefoot runners immediately alter their gait to that of habitual barefoot runners – and strike the ground with lower impact forces and loading rates than runners who use shoes. The altered gait is both safer and more comfortable.

Moreover, barefoot runners used an average of 6% less oxygen. In other words, their running became 6% more efficient. This could be for a number of reasons – not the least of which may be the added weight of sneakers. According to research, there’s about a 1% increase in energy demand for every 100 grams of additional footwear mass.

A mere 6% might not sound like much – but when you look at Olympic events, for example, you quickly realize that every hundredth of a second counts. Even a little added efficiency can make a huge difference for athletes performing at this level.

While the increases in efficiency and decreases in injury risk associated with barefoot running may seem small and inconsequential for most recreational runners, I’d recommend giving it a try. If you’re interested, the Nike Free Run (read my review) is a great transitional sneaker. It’s the sneaker that I use, and I’m in love with its flexibility.

And beyond the potential benefits, there’s something very freeing, natural and almost romantic about running barefoot and feeling the earth beneath your feet. That is, until you step on a piece of glass.

In the comments below, let me know if you’re a fan of barefoot running – or if you’re curious to give it a try.