5 Treadmill Mistakes You’re Probably Making!

653_1Treadmill walks, jogs, runs or sprints can be a great way to get your heart rate up and your blood pumping. But there are a lot of mistakes that even avid gym-goers make.

Here are 5 common treadmill mistakes:

  1. Spending too much time. When it comes to time on the treadmill, more isn’t more. If you’re spending 30 or 45 minutes or more on a treadmill, you may be cannibalizing your results. Longer cardio sessions result in the release of an anabolic hormone called cortisol that reduces protein synthesis, facilitates the conversation of protein to glucose and stops tissues growth. It’s also associated with increases in fat stores around the body’s midsection. Instead of a low intensity, long cardio session on the treadmill, challenge yourself. Do more in less time. Maybe even try high intensity interval training.
  2. Holding on. Please, stop holding onto the treadmill. By holding on, you’re negating the intensity of your workout – especially if you’re using an incline. In fact, it’s estimated that holding onto the treadmill reduces calories burned by 20% – 25%. It also worsens posture, balance and doesn’t translate to real world gains. If you’re running on a street or track, there’s nothing to hold on to. Let go.
  3. Static stretching. A lot of runners engage in static stretching before their treadmill session. It’s the type of stretching wherein you hold a pose for an amount of time – like touching your toes. However, recent studies suggest that static stretching decreases strength and power and increases injury risk. Replace static stretching with dynamic stretching like jumping jacks or arm circles.
  4. Not using the incline. Many runners ignore the incline – mostly because it makes the workout more challenging. But that’s exactly why you should love and use it! For every 1% increase in the incline, you expend 4% more energy. This is especially useful if you’re not able to increase your speed, but still want an extra challenge. It also shifts muscle use upward – and can give you a great butt workout.
  5. You’re on autopilot. Doing the same workout every day gives you the same results. Most cardio exercisers cruise through their workout session. Some are even able to talk on the phone or text while exercising. I’ve got news for you: If you can text while running, you’re not running fast enough. If you want enhanced results, you need to increase the intensity of your workout; you will always get out of your workout what you put into it. So instead of doing the same old treadmill workout, do something that’s intense and challenging. And then keep pushing yourself.

What other mistakes do you see people making on the treadmill? Share them in the comments below!

Is Greek Yogurt Healthier?

Dear Davey,

I’ve seen a lot about Greek yogurt being very healthy. Is it all marketing hype or is Greek yogurt really better for you than regular yogurt?

From,
Sean

greek yogurt vs fruit yogurtHey Sean,

For the most part, people think of yogurt as a healthy option. But the truth is, not all yogurts are created equal.

For illustrative purposes, let’s compare 100 grams of nonfat fruit yogurt to 100 grams of nonfat plain Greek yogurt (see click-able chart).

As it turns out, the nutritional differences are substantial. With 95 calories, fruit yogurt is far more energy-dense than nonfat plain Greek yogurt. Even more shocking is the amount of sugar. The 19 grams of sugar in fruit yogurt converts to nearly 5 teaspoons! Compare that to the 2.3 grams of sugar in plain Greek yogurt. There’s also a substantial difference in protein content. While the 4.4 grams of protein in fruit yogurt isn’t shabby, plain Greek yogurt has a solid 10 grams.

Hands down, nonfat plain Greek yogurt is the healthiest yogurt option. From a nutritional standpoint, it’s a huge improvement over other yogurt variations – especially when it comes to calories, added sugar and protein.

As a general rule, only buy plain yogurt – regardless of your preference for regular or Greek yogurt. Fruit yogurts almost always have added sugar. In fact, the second ingredient listed in Dannon Fruit on the Bottom yogurt is sugar. If you want some sweetness in your yogurt, add a few berries or a slice or two of fruit.

The bottom line is that nonfat plain Greek yogurt is, in fact, healthier than the other yogurt variations.

Love,
Davey

P.S. For more information about improving the way you look and feel through the foods you eat, download Davey Wavey’s Insanely Easy Guide to Eating Smarter!

Run More, Live Longer.

John JeffersonWith more than 600 muscles in the human body, one thing is clear: We are meant to move! And thanks to a new study published in the American College of Cardiology, we’re learning how important movement – and running, in particular – is to a longer life.

Over the course of 15 years, researchers examined more than 55,000 adults between the ages of 18 and 100 to determine whether or not there’s a relationship between running and longevity. During the study, 3,413 participants died including 1,217 deaths attributed to cardiovascular disease.

By crunching the data, researchers discovered that runners have an overall 30% lower risk of death from all causes. When it comes to cardiovascular disease, runners were 45% less likely to die compared to non-runners. On average, runners lived an astounding three years longer than non runners. Individuals benefited from running regardless of age, sex, body mass index, health conditions, smoking or alcohol use.

Moreover, researchers found that even slow or less frequent runners still enjoyed benefits. Runners who ran less than one hour per week experienced the same mortality benefits as runners who ran more than three hours. In other words, more running isn’t necessarily better from the perspective of longevity.

If you want to live longer, it’s time to get off your computer or away from your smartphone. Give yourself the free and wonderful gift of a good run.

Is Cooking Protein Powder Bad?

cookingwithproteinLet’s face it: Protein powder doesn’t taste great. In fact, it’s pretty awful.

It’s no wonder that people try to disguise the taste of protein powder by hiding it inside other, more delicious foods like smoothies, yogurt and so on. But what about baked foods like protein powder muffins, pancakes, cookies or cakes? Does cooking protein powder change the chemistry and render it useless?

Believe it or not, this is actually a widely-held protein powder misconception. It’s true that cooking protein powder does change the structure of the protein powder’s amino acids through a process called denaturing. But this same process happens in all the other protein-containing foods we eat including cooked eggs, beef or chicken. Cooked or not, our bodies absorb the same amino acids – and can put them to work.

In short, cooking protein powder doesn’t impact its effectiveness.

As such, try incorporating protein powder into some of your favorite foods. For example, I add protein to a healthy blueberry muffin recipe that I love for an extra nutritional boost. Explore and have fun.

In the comments below, share some ways that you’ve incorporated protein powder into your favorite recipes.

Are Sports Drinks Unhealthy?

Dear Davey,

I was wondering if sports drinks are actually unhealthy? They seem to have lots of sugar and I’m trying to lose weight.

From,
Ben

sports-drinks-shutterstock_29236237The answer is both yes and no.

Much like soda, sports drinks are loaded in added sugar. As such, they are high in calories. If you’re not engaged in rigorous exercise, then they’re not the healthiest choice. Water, perhaps with a splash of lemon for flavor, makes a lot more sense – especially if you’re counting calories.

But if you are actually engaged in rigorous exercise, like a game of soccer or a class of crossfit, sports drinks could be a smart choice. The answer is two-fold.

First things first, studies have found that consuming carbohydrates (which is what these sports drinks contain) during a workout means eating fewer calories after the workout and throughout the day. According to a study by Colorado State University, people who consumed 45 grams of carbohydrates during exercise consumed total fewer calories during the day compared to individuals who consumed no carbohydrates during a workout.

Second, carbohydrates are fuel for our body. And when you’re exercising, your body needs lots of fuel to power through a given workout. By consuming sports drinks or other beverages with simple carbohydrates, you may boost the intensity of your workout – and thus, burn even more calories and get a better overall workout.

Of course, you can also get those carbohydrates from other, more natural sources. Personally, I prefer eating a banana or some other high-sugar fruit. But sports drinks can certainly work!

The bottom line is that there can be a time and a place for sports drinks. And that time and place is when you’re exercising intensely… and not sitting on the couch watching Orange is the New Black.

Love,
Davey

This Is What The Average Body Looks Like.

There’s no such thing as normal. But average is another cup of tea entirely. Using huge sets of available data, researchers have calculated the statistics for the average American 30-something male.

He’s 5′ 9″ tall and has a 39″ waist. His body mass index (BMI) is 29, just one short of the medical definition of obese. Based on the data, here’s what this average American male looks like:

USA-Frontmanmain.jpg

It’s no secret that the average American male is becoming increasingly round. Just 50 years ago, the obesity rate for men was just over 10%. Now, the obesity rate is around 30%. Yikes.

Of course, the average American male isn’t alone in the world. He has some buddies from other countries. Here’s what they look like and how they measure up:

Screen Shot 2013-10-09 at 11.14.15 AM

From left to right, it’s the US, Japan, Netherlands and France.

In Japan, the average BMI is 23.7. In the Netherlands, it’s 25.2. In France, 25.55.

The average American male, especially when compared to his counterparts, can serve as a reminder about the importance of exercise and nutrition. And who wants to be average, anyway? By moving more and eating smarter, you can certainly beat average – and dramatically improve the quality of your life.

What do you think of the average American male?

I’m Obese And Want to Lose Weight. Where Do I Start?

In the last 7 years, I’ve gained 160lbs. Though I was athletic my entire life, I recently hit 320lbs and I’ve decided that it’s time to do something. Right now, the only exercise that I get is walking from the couch to the refrigerator during commercial breaks. My diet is also pretty fatty.

I don’t even know where to start. Do I exercise? Do I eat better? Both?

From,
Jordan

0601_MGMT_obese_630x420Hey Jordan,

The first step is always the hardest – and you’re well on you way to taking it. Congratulations on your resolve. By creating a healthier lifestyle, you’ll improve the quality of your own life and have so much more to give the people around you.

So which comes first? Exercise? Or diet? The truth is, both. By combining a healthier diet with exercise, you’ll decrease the calories going into your body and increase the calories going out. This creates a calorie deficit; the result is weight loss.

Can you get results from just diet? Sure. Can you get results from just exercise? Of course. But creating a healthy life – and getting the best results possible – comes from a combination of moving more and eating smarter.

As I’d advise anyone in your situation, start gradually. We are creatures of habit and stubbornly resistant to change – especially big changes. As such, lean into the improvements. Start with a walk here. And a salad there. Maybe join a gym and start with two or three days per week – and only exercise 30 minutes. Grill up some fresh vegetables. Replace your a soda with water.

You didn’t gain 160 pounds overnight, and you won’t lose it overnight either. And that’s okay. As you slowly introduce new and healthy changes into your life, your body and mind will have time to adapt. That’s a good thing.

So why wait? Start right now. Get off the f*cking internet and take a walk. Everything will still be here with you return.

Love,
Davey

P.S. For help losing weight with a focus on nutrition, exercise and self-love, try Davey Wavey’s Weight Loss Program.

Are Vegan Desserts Healthier?

I have a sweet tooth and love dessert. When I go out with my friends, I’ve noticed that a lot of cafes and some restaurants offer vegan desserts. I’m not vegan, but I was wondering if these desserts are healthy?

From,
Liz

tart_1857Hey Liz,

If any food is vegan, it simply means that it’s made without any animal products including dairy like milk or butter. The term vegan isn’t synonymous with healthy. Just like non-vegan foods, some vegan options are healthy and some are not.

As such, not all vegan desserts are created equal.

Case in point, vegan cupcakes, cookies, cakes and pies. Just like traditional baked goods, these vegan desserts are loaded with unhealthy ingredients like corn syrup, sugar, white flour, unhealthy oils and so on. As such, these vegan baked goods aren’t a healthy choice. Instead, just like traditional baked goods, they can be a special treat – or something of which you might only eat a few bites.

On the other hand, a bowl of fresh cut fruit is both vegan and nutritious. My three ingredient cookies are also a healthy and vegan dessert choice.

The bottom line, the list of ingredients is the determining factor in whether or not a dessert is healthy – and not simply the label of vegan.

Love,Davey

 

Study: Organic Produce Has More Antioxidants, Less Pesticides.

??One of the more hotly contested nutrition issues is whether or not organic foods are better for your health.

When it comes to nutrient content, the research is mixed. A Stanford study concluded that there’s probably not a nutritional advantage to organic foods. Meanwhile, other studies have found otherwise. Organic milk, for example, was found to have higher levels of beneficial fatty acids.

This week, a large new study is making waves in the debate over conventional versus organic foods. The study, which was conducted by researchers at Newcastle University, examined more than 340 peer-reviewed studies that examined conventional versus organic crops. Based on the data, researchers found that organic produce contains 19% – 69% higher concentrations of certain antioxidant compounds. Researchers also found that organic produce contains lower levels of toxic metals and pesticides.

Of course, researchers don’t know if those higher concentrations of antioxidants translate to health benefits – or if they’re even absorbed by the body. And when it comes to pesticides, it’s important to remember that the amount of pesticide residue left on produce is limited to levels established by the Environmental Protection Agency. These levels are considered safe by the government, but many consumers aren’t willing to take the chance.

Are organic foods better for your health? It seems that the debate will continue. However, one thing is certain: Most of us need to eat more fruits and vegetables, organic or otherwise.

Replace Triceps Dips With This Bodyweight Exercise…

Picture-24Bodyweight exercises have many great advantages. Most notably, they’re convenient; you don’t need any equipment and you can perform them pretty much anywhere. Especially for beginners, bodyweight exercises can produce awesome results.

But not all bodyweight exercises are created equal.

A great example of this are triceps dips. Many people perform the dips with crappy form and thus increase the risk for shoulder injury. Here’s an alternative worth trying.

It’s called a plank-to-triceps extension. And here’s how you do it:

  1. Start in a push-up or plank position.
  2. Bend your elbows and come down onto your forearms in one fluid movement.
  3. Keeping your body in a straight line, contract your triceps and press your palms into the floor. Lift your elbows off of the floor.
  4. You should now be back in the starting push-up or plank position.
  5. Repeat as necessary.

If it’s too challenging, try doing the exercise standing with your forearms against the wall. This will decrease the amount of resistance and make the exercise much easier.

Though triceps dips can still be part of your workout (I sometimes use them in mine!), the plank-to-triceps extension is a great alternative that I find more effective. Give it a try!

For more equipment-free workouts, give my Davey Wavey Bootcamp Workout a try!