Monthly Archives for August 2013

Archives for August 2013

You Don’t Get Bigger at the Gym!

flexing guyHere’s a strange fitness truth: You don’t get bigger at the gym.

At the gym, working against resistance rip and damages your muscle fibers; it’s not until after the gym, when you go home or to work, that your muscles get a chance to rest, recover and rebuild. It’s through the rebuilding process that your muscles become stronger and larger.

In other words, rest is one of the most important elements in your workout plan.

Why is this important?

Because many people exercise the same muscles over and over again everyday. If you work the same muscles each day – even after they are still sore from the previous workout – then you are selling your results short. In fact, you may even regress by damaging already damaged muscles.

For these reasons, it’s absolutely crucial that you get plenty of rest and that you avoid training muscles that are already sore from previous workouts. If you’re doing total body workouts at the gym, it means taking a day off in between. If you train different muscle groups each day, as I do, then it means hitting each muscle group only 1 – 2 times per week.

The bottom line: Hit your muscles hard at the gym, but give them ample time to recover and rebuild for maximized results. When it comes to training frequency, more is definitely not better.

Losing Weight: When Nothing Works?!

Hi Davey,

I’m a 22 year old girl who has always been a bit overweight but now I’m definitely obese. I’ve tried to lose weight through several diets and to stay active, but almost always have failed.

My two biggest problems are 1) I’m incredibly lazy and I just can’t be bothered to go out to have a walk 2) I don’t like most of the fruits and vegetables that are recommended for a diet.

Do you have any tips or some way to stick to the diet and, above all, to avoid being so damn lazy?

Love,
Melissa

yesyoucanHey Melissa,

Thanks for the thoughtful and honest email. I have to warn you, my response is going to contain some tough love.

But first, it’s worth noting that losing weight isn’t just about moving more and eating smarter – though obviously both are crucial to the weight loss process. For a lot of people, losing weight can have a deep psychological component. Often times, weight issues are interwoven with childhood trauma, sexual abuse and so on. Some people eat food to self-soothe. Some people fear being perceived as attractive. Some people fear their own greatness.

In these instances, it’s important to reach out for professional help.

Having said all of that, you mentioned that your two biggest problems are laziness and a dislike of healthy food.

If you’re too lazy to exercise, then health isn’t a priority for you. And it’s a waste of time for you to embark on a fitness program. You need to really, really want the benefits of a healthy lifestyle to stay motivated.

Ask yourself, why do I want to be fit? Maybe you want to have a family and raise children – and be there for them. Maybe you want to live a long, healthy life – and be alive for your grandchildren. Maybe you don’t want to burden your family with the health ailments that obesity will likely bring. Maybe you love life too much to die an early death. These are the things that motivate me… but make your own list.

According to one study, obesity trims 10 years off of your life. If that doesn’t motivate you to take a walk, then I can’t really help you.

And yes, I know that not everyone enjoys eating fruits and vegetables. A doughnut tastes better than kale – but take into account how foods make your body feel. After eating a doughnut, your body feels slow and sluggish. After eating kale, you’re energized and lively. We don’t eat food just for taste, but also as fuel for our body. Make this distinction.

Over time, you may find that you do develop a taste for healthy foods. While steamed broccoli doesn’t excite me, a fresh, colorful salad definitely does. In other words, you don’t always have to pick between flavor and nutrition; some foods have both.

Last but not least, don’t underestimate the power of a positive mindset. Switching from a mindset of I can’t and I don’t to I can and I do makes a huge difference. Be your own loudest cheerleader, even if you’re still unsure of yourself!

Again, thank you for such an honest email. You’re certainly not alone in your obstacles, but I hope you find the strength and motivation to step up and achieve your fitness goals.

Love,
Davey Wavey

Myth: Low Fat Foods Are Healthy.

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERASkittles are a low-fat food. But if you eat a lot of skittles, I promise that you’ll still get fat.

Just because something is labeled “low fat” doesn’t mean it’s healthy. And conversely, not all foods containing fat are unhealthy.

Limiting trans and saturated fats is important. In fact, current dietary guidelines recommend that less than 7% of your total calories should come from saturated fat. But fat is just part of the equation.

When we talk about weight management, the formula is pretty simple. To maintain weight, you need to eat the same amount of calories that your body burns. To lose weight, you need to eat fewer calories than your body burns. With this in mind, it’s important to recognize that there are many unhealthy, calorie-dense foods with little or no fat. Like skittles.

Beyond saturated and trans fat, pay attention to carbohydrates. While complex carbohydrates are essential, many low fat foods are packed with simple carbohydrates including table sugar, corn syrup, fruit juice, white flour, etc.

Moreover, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and American Heart Association recommend no more than 2,300 mg of sodium each day, and no more than 1,500 mg for high risk groups. To add flavor, manufacturers often pump low fat or reduced fat foods with sodium – so read the nutrition label carefully.

Last but not least, remember that fat isn’t always a bad thing. Unsaturated fats – like those found in olive oils, nuts, avocados, etc. – are essential for proper bodily function.

Chocolate Milk After Workout: Ultimate Recovery Drink?

chocolate-milkYour post-workout recovery snack is arguably the most important meal of the day. So what do you consume? A protein shake? Water? A sports drink?

According to new research, you may want to start opting for fat-free chocolate milk.

In a study presented to the American College of Sports Medicine, researchers enlisted the help of eight male runners. Following a series of runs, the participants either consumed fat-free chocolate milk or a carbohydrate beverage (like Gatorade) with the same amount of calories.

During recovery, researchers found that runners who drank fat-free chocolate milk had better muscle protein repair when compared to the carbohydrate beverage. A second study found that muscle glycogen levels were also higher for the chocolate milk group. Since glycogen is used for fuel during exercise, replenishing these stores is crucial.

But why?

After exercise, it’s important to consume both protein and carbohydrates; many exercisers make the mistake of consuming one but not the other. Sports drinks usually only have carbs. Powdered protein mixes usually only have protein. Since chocolate milk has a mix of both protein and carbs, it can be a wise choice. Moreover, it’s also inexpensive – and tastier – when compared to many pre-mixed recovery drinks.

There are a few things to keep in mind. First, you’d only want to use fat-free chocolate milk because fat content can slow digestion – and your body needs the protein and carbohydrates quickly. Second, just because chocolate milk is good for workout recovery doesn’t make it a healthy choice during other times of the day. Because quick absorption is crucial after a workout, it’s the only time when ingesting simple carbohydrates – like those found in chocolate milk – is healthy.

Personally, I usually opt for a whey protein powder mixed with simple carbohydrates. It’s not as tasty, but it’s quick, easy and effective. Nonetheless, it’s great to know that chocolate milk is an inexpensive alternative to traditional recovery drinks.

What do you drink after a workout? Let me know in the comments below.

3-Minute Healthy Watermelon Cake Recipe!

Screen Shot 2013-08-23 at 2.38.17 PMLike watermelon? Love dessert? But want something healthy?

Then I have the perfect recipe for you! Check out today’s Davey Wavey Fitness YouTube video for a delicious, nutritious, refreshing and healthy watermelon cake recipe. Best of all, it takes just three minutes to make!

Check it out!

Should I Go Gluten-Free?

gluten-free_mainOver the last few years, “gluten-free” has been getting a lot of buzz. But rather than understanding what gluten really is, most people mistakenly believe that “gluten-free” is synonymous with healthy.

According to the Mayo Clinic, the term gluten-free refers to a diet “that excludes the protein gluten. Gluten is found in grains such as wheat, barley, rye and triticale.”

Rather than being some sort of health craze, gluten-free diets are prescribed as a treatment for celiac disease. About 1% of the population suffers from celiac disase, which is characterized by an autoimmune rejection of those foods containing gluten. It can result in gastrointestinal inflammation and a number of undesirable symptoms.

But for people not suffering from celiac disease or even gluten sensitivity, does going gluten-free still make sense?

No.

Eliminating gluten from your diet can actually be dangerous – and even lead to nutritional deficiencies. According to the American Council on Exercise:

Grains are an excellent source of B-vitamins and fiber. Most standard grains such as bread, cereal and pasta contain wheat, rye or barley and thus include gluten. Complete elimination of gluten-containing grains can lead to nutritional deficiencies including B vitamins, calcium, vitamin D, iron, zinc, magnesium and fiber.

Gluten itself doesn’t have any special nutritional properties. But foods containing gluten do – like whole wheat, spelt, rye, barley and so on. These foods are definitely part of a healthy diet and contain lots of great stuff that your body needs. In other words, unless you are very careful, a gluten-free diet may not provide enough essential vitamins, minerals and fiber.

If you are suffering from celiac disease or have gluten sensitivity, eliminating gluten is a necessity. But for the rest of us, it’s an exercise in futility. Put your energy and effort into more productive pursuits – like reducing sugar, sodium or unhealthy fats.

Sore Muscles? Drink Watermelon Juice!

watermelonjuiceDelayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) occurs 12 – 48 hours after your workout. It’s often called the “good” kind of soreness (as opposed to the bad, injury-related soreness), and it’s generally associated with a change in your workout program, increased intensity, new exercises, etc. You won’t feel it immediately after your workout; but in the subsequent hours, it slowly sneaks up.

While gentle massaging can help relieve muscle soreness, the best prescription is time. Give your muscles time to repair and rebuild – and the muscle soreness will decrease over time. And don’t exercise a muscle that’s already sore.

However, a new study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry has found scientific evidence for a new treatment: Watermelon juice.

According to researchers:

l-Citrulline is an excellent candidate to reduce muscle soreness, and watermelon is a fruit rich in this amino acid.

So, researchers put watermelon juice to the test with a group of participants. After crunching the data, researchers found a positive relationship between muscle recovery and consumption of watermelon juice. In other words, watermelon juice helped!

If you’re struggling to recover from particularly severe or debilitating muscle soreness – or simply want to reduce your recovery time – try introducing watermelon juice into your diet. It will do the trick.

How to Make a Healthier Salad: 7 Tips.

salad3Most Americans don’t eat enough vegetables – but a bountiful, delicious bowl of salad is a great way to get your fix!

Beyond unhealthy toppings and artery-clogging dressings, many salads represent a lost opportunity to load up on essential nutrients. So use today’s tips to get the most out of your salad!

  1. Select dark greens. Did you know that dark, leafy greens are healthier than lighter ones? They’re packed with more nutrients and antioxidants. Kale, spinach, watercress, collard greens, arugula and romaine are all wise choices.
  2. Make your own healthier dressing. Many packaged dressings are loaded in unhealthy fats and sodium – especially if they’re creamy. Experiment with your own, heart-healthy dressings. I like to mix a simple dressing of olive oil, vinegar and seasoning. As an alternative, you can top your salad with lemon juice, avocado, salsa or even a Greek yogurt-based dressing.
  3. Top it with microgreens. I’m a huge fan of microgreens. They’re fresh, packed with flavor and several times richer in nutrients than their full grown counterparts. They also make for a beautiful salad topping!
  4. Make your own croutons. The great thing about making your own croutons is that you know exactly what goes into them. And they taste a million times better than the boxed alternatives. It takes only a few seconds to chop up a some stale whole wheat bread, and then toss it all with some olive oil, parsley, garlic and other seasonings. Bake the croutons at 350 degrees for 10 – 15 minutes and you’re good to go.
  5. Add some vegetables. Don’t stop with tomatoes. Add in a rainbow of other vegetables like peppers, beets, carrots, red cabbage, raw broccoli, raw green beans, onions, mushrooms and so on. Get creative. Even if you’re not a fan of vegetables, you may find them much more stomach-able in a salad.
  6. Mix in some beans. Though beans get a bad rap, they’re a healthy and delicious salad addition. Full of fiber, antioxidants and protein, some of my favorites include soybeans, black beans and pinto beans.
  7. Toss in some lean meat. If your salad is the main course, adding some grilled chicken or fish turns your salad into a meal. Avoid meats that are battered or fried. And remember, a serving of meat is about the same size as a deck of cards – so don’t go overboard!

As something of a salad king, I’ve learned that you really can’t go wrong. Don’t be afraid to experiment and get a little wild. It’s really, really hard to ruin a salad. Just don’t add ketchup.

If you have some healthy salad tips, I’d love to hear them! Share them in the comments below.

 

Impossible = I’m Possible!

PossibleWhat’s impossible?

Landing a man on the moon? Running 100 meters in 9.58 seconds? Tubes of aluminum carrying passengers through the atmosphere? A black American president? Powering a city with the energy of a split atom?

Enter Apollo 11, Usain Bolt, airplanes, Barack Obama and nuclear power.

We all tell ourselves stories about what’s possible and what’s not. And then we use these stories as excuses that keep us from creating the life we really want.

For each of us, the story is different. Maybe you’ve tried to lose weight in the past, and your story is that you’ll always be overweight. You might think losing weight is impossible for you. Or maybe you’re in your 60s or 70s and think it’s impossible to get into shape at your age. Whatever the story is, the outcome is always the same: Unrealized desires and untapped potential.

Here’s the thing… Whatever “it” is, it is not impossible. Challenging? Maybe. Will it require doing something different? Probably. But impossible? No.

In fact, concealed in the word “impossible” is a hidden truth. The word itself says, “I’m possible.”

By viewing your fitness goals as a possibility, you remove yourself – and your thoughts – as an obstacle, and thus free yourself from the prison of limiting beliefs.

People Eat Larger Portions of “Healthy” Food. [Study]

small-portion1If a food is labelled healthy, do you give yourself a free pass to overindulge? According to a recent study, you’re not alone.

The study, commissioned by Ireland’s Safefood agency, examined the relationship between consumer eating habits and product packaging/marketing. When participants were asked to serve themselves appropriate-sized portions of “healthy” and regular food brands, the participants both served larger portions of the so-called healthy foods and underestimated the caloric content.

Of course, this study brings to light what food marketers already know. According to Dr. Cliodhna Foley Nolan, the director of Human Health and Nutrition at Safefood:

Foods are marketed as being healthier for a reason, because food producers believe, and they correctly believe, that those labels will influence us to eat their products and perhaps eat more of their products.

Marketing a food product with health claims will not only get consumers to buy that product – but it will also get consumers to eat more of the product. In other words, it means more money and bigger profits for the companies producing these foods.

The moral of the story is two-fold.

First and foremost, don’t believe claims on product packaging. Instead, review the nutrition information and ingredients for real insight.

Second, review your portion size against the product’s serving size. Even if a product is truly healthy, it’s still not an excuse to overeat. If your body takes in more calories than it needs, then those excess calories will be stored as body fat – regardless of where they came from.

The bottom line: “Healthy” isn’t a license to overeat.

How to Break Your Sugar Habit: 7 Tips.

sugar addictionMmmm…. Sugar.

According to experts, sweet is the first taste that humans prefer from birth. But it’s also extremely addictive. In fact, one study found that sugar is more addictive than cocaine.

Unfortunately, eating too much sugar can result in weight gain, metabolic disorders (a precursor to diabetes) and even some forms of cancer. In other words, it’s not good – and most of us are getting way more sugar than the recommended daily limit.

Breaking a sugar habit isn’t easy. But it’s possible. And these tips will help:

  1. Eat a little, not a lot. When wanting to indulge in something sweat or sugary, just have a few bites. A Cornell study found that eating a few bites satisfies cravings as much as larger portions. When it comes to sugary foods, think portions of 100 calories or less.
  2. Wait it out. Cravings come and go; most last only a few minutes. Distract yourself for 10 minutes by reading a book, calling a friend or watching Davey Wavey Fitness YouTube videos.
  3. Work it out. Better than waiting out cravings, engage in exercise – even if it’s just a short walk. In fact, one study found that chocolate cravings dropped significantly after physical exercise.
  4. Satisfy your sweet tooth with fruit. Unlike eating candy or chocolates, fruits are packed with essential nutrients; in addition to satisfying your sweet tooth, you’ll load up on vitamins, minerals and fiber. I keep frozen, unsweetened cherries in my freezer for this very purpose. One or two cherries totally does the trick. Try bananas, apples, berries or anything else!
  5. Eat regular meals. Skipping breakfast, lunch or dinner can result in unstable blood sugar levels and irrational cravings. Keep your blood sugar in check by eating regular meals and by favoring complex carbohydrates over simple carbohydrates (think brown rice and wheat bread over white rice and white bread).
  6. Don’t replace sugar with artificial sweeteners. While artificial sweeteners may cut out the calories, they still feed your sugar addiction and they elevate your risk for obesity. Artificial sweeteners are not the answer!
  7. Find a substitute. If you have a habit of eating dessert after dinner, replace your sugary dessert with something healthier. Instead, you may decide to opt for a soothing cup of tea.

If you have any tips for kicking your sugar habit, please share them in the comments below!

Tips to Avoid Processed Foods.

processed-foodOnce upon a time, human beings ate whole, real food. But as the world evolved and progressed, our eating habits regressed – and the desire for real food was replaced with the desire for packaged convenience. The problem is, many processed foods are high in the things we need to consume less of – like added sugar, sodium and unhealthy fats.

Truth be told, I don’t like the idea of “avoiding” unhealthy foods. If we try to avoid or resist something, we’re still giving it our energy, time and thought. Instead, I think it’s better to replace those habits that aren’t serving us with habits that do.

Instead of avoiding processed foods, let’s discover the joys of real food.

And here are a few tips to do just that.

  1. Spend more time on the perimeter of the supermarket. That’s where you’ll find real food like turkey, chicken, fish, vegetables, fruit and more. The more shopping you do in this area, the more likely you are to include whole foods in your menu.
  2. Read the ingredients. A good indicator of processing is the ingredients list. As a general rule, fewer ingredients are better. And if the ingredients are something that would be found in your grandmother’s pantry, it’s a great sign. Be especially leery of added sugars which are often disguised with clever names like dextrose, high fructose corn syrup, glucose, maltose, etc.
  3. Buy more foods that aren’t in bags or boxes. It goes without saying that packaged foods are more likely to be highly processed. If you can pick up an actual food product without a layer of packaging between you – like a head of lettuce or a cantaloupe – you know you’re on the right track.
  4. Eliminate foods with marketing gimmicks. You won’t see labeling like “just add water!” or “reduced fat” on a bunch of carrots. If the packaging sounds like an infomercial, it’s likely a highly processed food product.

As a closing thought, I’d like to bust the myth that processed foods are more convenient. If you’re hungry and want convenience, grab an apple. What’s easier than that? Done.

The “Beach Body” Alternative!

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.

beach-body-04-mike-sorrentinoOver the past few months you’ve probably seen articles urging you to scramble and get “beach body ready” for summer. While this may appeal to the desire to comfortably wear bathing suits, shorts, and sleeveless clothes, it misses the mark.

Fitness is for all season long, not just for summer. Wearing fewer clothes in hot weather can feel intimidating enough to those who already lack confidence with their bodies.

I have an alternative.

Instead of fretting about having the perfect “beach body”, how about making friends with your body all year long? Here are five promises to make to your body this summer… and to keep forever:

1. I promise to speak to you kindly.
(No self-criticism.)

Negative thoughts create stress in your body. Loving thoughts heal. When you catch yourself saying you look “awful” or you “hate” your body, simply notice without judgment, and say to that thought, “OK, here you are again.” Take a deep breath. Exhale that negative energy. Then say to your body, “I’m sorry for talking to you this way”. Forgive yourself and move on. Stay determined. Changing habits of thought take time. By creating a space of love and forgiveness, the cycle of negativity eventually stops.

2.  I promise to accept you the way you are and hold you with pride.
(Head held high; shoulders back.)

Accepting your body doesn’t mean you settle for being at a weight you’re uncomfortable with. It means you support your body and pledge to take good care of it. One way to show your support is to hold good posture and carry your body with self-respect. If you feel insecure about your body, this may feel unnatural at first. That’s OK. Practice anyway because research shows that when you straighten your posture, you also improve your mood. Add a smile to your face and the feel good hormones in your body come alive. Your body does a lot for you. Acknowledge its gifts by carrying it with dignity and respect.

3. I promise to nourish my body with healthy food and movement.
(And not so healthy food in moderation.)

You already know the importance of healthy nutrition and exercise, right? But sometimes your fear mind may try to sabotage you by ruminating on foods you’re “not supposed to eat.” And while you know you “should” exercise, you may struggle to follow though. Here’s a tip to help transform healthy behaviors into a daily habit. After doing something that typically feels challenging, say to yourself, “That was easy.” For example, say this after eating a wholesome meal and enjoying dessert in moderation or after taking a morning walk before work.  Saying “that was easy” helps encourage new habits because your brain links to “easy”, creating a positive association to something that previously felt difficult.

4. I promise to attend to our soul.
(Activities that calm my mind and bring joy to my heart.)

It’s vital to your health and well-being that you nurture yourself with soul enriching activities that relax your body, rest your mind, and fill your heart with joy. This peaceful state activates healing energies in your body to relieve stress and helps liberate you from relying on food for emotional comfort. Commit to daily “me” time to do those things that bring you inner peace. For example, read an inspiring book, work a craft project, meditate, pray, walk in nature, write in a journal, etc. Discover what makes your heart sing and your whole body will respond with loving appreciation.

5. I promise to go within and ask you what you need.
(Together we’re a blessed team.)

While it’s important to educate yourself from sources that you trust, only you and your body know what’s best for you. Learn to listen to your intuition and body wisdom so you can access this powerful guidance. Every morning take a few moments to be silent and go within. Ask your body, “What do you need from me today so you will feel loved and well-cared for?” Then, honor what you hear and let the whispers of your body light your way.

As you disregard the “beach body” mentality, you’ll discover what matters most about this beautiful partnership with your body. And to help you keep your five promises, be sure to make this important promise to yourself:

“I promise to forgive myself for the times I stumble. I’m human and I’m doing the best I can.”

Will you make these promises to your body?

Eating Healthy is More Affordable Than You Think.

Healthy-Snacks-Looking-DeliciousA common excuse for eating unhealthy foods is that the more nutritious options are too expensive.

As I’ve said before, the excuse is untrue; it’s a myth. It’s totally possible to eat healthy without spending a lot of money. In fact, I even made a video about it.

A new study by the Center for Science in the Public Interest take things a step further. According to the study, fruits and vegetables are not only more nutritious than packaged snacks and side dishes, but also more affordable.

For the study, 20 snacks and 19 side dishes were analyzed. After the numbers were crunched, the study found that the average price per fruit or vegetable snack was $0.34. The price per unhealthy packaged snack was nearly double at $0.67. The nutritious vegetable side dishes averaged $0.27 while packaged side dishes averaged $0.31.

Some examples from the study:

  • Half-cup of apple: $0.26 / One Fruit by the Foot: $0.45
  • Half-cup of grapes: $0.46 / Package of M&M candies: $0.75
  • Half-cup of sweet potato: $0.31 / Stovetop stuffing: $0.38
  • Half-cup of sliced cucumber: $0.14 / An ounce of Lay’s Potato Chips: $0.27

In other words, this study challenges the notion that eating healthy is expensive. In fact, the opposite is often true. And since most Americans aren’t getting their recommended servings of fruits or vegetables, all of us would be well served – in the waistline and the wallet – to replace some unhealthy packaged foods with healthier alternatives.

Unhealthy foods also come with a hidden, long-term cost. For instance, medical expenses. Obesity accounts for 21% of U.S. healthcare costs. In fact, obese people incur annual medical costs that are $2,741 higher than non-obese people.

Of course, to be fair, fruits and vegetables often have a shorter shelf life than packaged options like M&M candies or potato chips. But remember that frozen fruits and vegetables are a great option – and are often cheaper and even more nutrient dense (as they’re picked and frozen at the peak of freshness). If you want the fruits and veggies to last longer, buy frozen!

Does this study jive with your own person experience? Let me know in the comments below!