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     The Official eNewsletter of TODAY! Fitness

vol. 2010 issue 11



Most Valuable Meal - Breakfast!

Just as your car works better when it has fuel in its tank, your body works better when you give it adequate morning fuel.  Yet, many people push their bodies through a busy day with an empty fuel tank.  The result is low energy, cravings for sugary foods, a high intake of sweets and treats, and often undesired weight gain.  There's no doubt in my mind:  Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  Eat up!

Of all the nutrition mistakes you might make, skipping breakfast is the biggest.  It is not uncommon for early-morning exercisers to learn this the hard way.  Collapsing from low blood sugar after a morning workout after struggling through an hour long fitness class can get the point across.  If you feel light-headed and dizzy because you didn't start the day off right, that's a good indication that you didn't have enough fuel to feed your brain.

Skipping breakfast can hinder your workouts as well as leave you drained for the rest of the day.  In comparison, a high-energy breakfast sets the stage for a high-energy day.  Nevertheless, many active people come up with familiar excuses for skipping the morning meal:

"I'm not hungry in the morning."

"I don't have time."

"I don't like breakfast foods."

"I'm on a diet."

"If I eat breakfast, I feel hungrier all day."

Excuses, excuses.  If you skip breakfast, you're likely to concentrate less effectively in the late morning, work or study less efficiently, feel irritable and short tempered, or fall short of energy for your afternoon workout.  If you are a breakfast-skipping parent, your kids are more likely to skip breakfast, too, and the result is more snacking, irregular eating patterns, and a poorer-quality diet-- all of which can influence their energy and weight.  For every flimsy excuse to skip breakfast, there's an even better reason to eat it.

If you are not hungry for breakfast, you probably ate too many calories the night before.  There are signs of trouble when people eat a huge dinner at 9:00 p.m., and mindlessly munch through a bag of chips while watching TV at night, or devour a bedtime bowl of ice cream as their reward for having survived a busy day.  These snacks can certainly curb a morning appetite.  Unfortunately for your health, when evening snacks replace a wholesome breakfast, you can end up with an inadequate sports diet.

Some people have other reasons for skipping breakfast.  Sometimes their morning workout kills their appetite.  However, by 10:00 the appetite comes back again and they end up raiding the refrigerator or candy machine trying to hold out until lunch.  For these people, it's important to keep some quick breakfast foods handy such as energy bars, instant oatmeal, or trail mix.  These nourishing meals are certainly a better alternative to what's in the vending machines!

For morning exercisers, a wholesome breakfast that combines carbohydrate with a little protein--cereal with milk, granola with yogurt, toast with peanut butter--promptly replaces the depleted glycogen stores and helps refuel and heal the muscles so they'll be refreshed for the next training session.  The sooner you eat, the more quickly you'll recover.

A recovery breakfast is particularly important if you do two workouts per day.  It's not uncommon for triathletes to say that they're not hungry for breakfast after the first workout.  They then skimp at lunchtime, afraid that a substantial meal might interfere with their afternoon workout.  They end up dragging themselves through a poor training session.  If they have breakfast, lunch, or brunch around 10:00 or 11:00, the food will be adequately digested in time to fuel the muscles that afternoon.  Refreshing liquids throughout the morning, such as juice, chocolate milk, and smoothies, can help refuel you as well as quench your thirst.  You'll discover that you have more energy and a better second workout.

Everyone who wants to lose weight knows diets start at breakfast, right?  Wrong!  Skipping breakfast to save calories is an unsuccessful approach to weight loss.  Research confirms that dieters who skip breakfast tend to gain weight over time.  If you are tempted to save calories by skimping on breakfast, remember that you don't gain weight by eating this meal.  You do gain weight if you skip breakfast, get too hungry, and then overindulge at night.  If you are going to skip any meal, skip dinner rather than breakfast.  Your goal should be to fuel by day and eat a little less at night.

A survey of almost 3,000 dieters who have lost more than 30 pounds (14 kg) and have kept it off for at least a year reports that 78 percent of the dieters ate breakfast every day, and 88 percent ate breakfast five or more days a week.  The breakfast eaters also reported being slightly more active during the day.  Another study of breakfast and weight control suggests that dieters who ate breakfast were less likely to snack impulsively later in the day and ate an overall lower-fat diet.  You can't go wrong with eating breakfast!

ref. Nancy Clark's Sports Nutrition Guidebook



Partner Bodyweight Exercise of the Month!

Double-Leg / Deadlift


Wimps Need Not Apply!  This combination exercise is a beast that challenges the strength and power of both partners!  I like this one for wrestling practice when there are a number of people but a limited amount of equipment to use.  With the multiple number of muscle groups that are being used, this one will burn calories and get you breathing heavy in no time! 


Target:  legs, hips, back (quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteals, erector spinae)

Count:  4 count

Description:  Start by squatting down deeply in front of your partner with your head next to one of his hips.  Wrap your arms around your partners legs, just above his knees.  Your partner should wrap his arms around your midsection and lean over a little to assist with weight balance.  The exercise starts when you drive with your legs and lift your partner off the ground explosively.  Once you bring him back down slowly and in control, your partner then leans back and lifts you off the ground as high as he can before lowering you back down.  This cycle completes for the desired amount of time or reps... or until one of you loses your lunch!

The Little Things

You know what cracks me up?  All these people that make an effort to workout regularly, get to the gym, or even those that talk about getting back to working out... but yet they spend all kinds of time looking for a parking spot that is 2 spaces closer!  Is it really going to kill you to walk that extra 5 yards?  On the contrary, if you get into the mindset of increasing your calorie deficit in the interest of losing weight, then every little bit helps!

Take for example going up the stairs.  I like to take the steps 2 at a time, sprint up, carioca up, whatever.  Just a little extra exertion here and there can really add up.  Not just when I'm working out, but WHENEVER I go up the stairs.  When you make a habit out of it, it becomes second nature (call it obsessive if you want J).

My company bought me a nice office chair as part of the work from home program.  Unfortunately, it doesn't get much regular use.  Instead, I choose to sit on a stability ball.  I know, that sounds crazy too, but it's actually kinda fun and comfortable.  I rock back and forth, side to side, sometimes I even roll forward on my back for a nice chest and back stretch.  This constant motion will actually burn a few additional calories, in addition to keeping your joints loose rather than frozen in the same position.  If you feel like giving it a shot, be sure to choose a ball that is inflated appropriately and allows your thighs to be parallel to the floor when seated.

I know that I've covered some of the minor nutrition choices in the past, but they are still worth mentioning again.  Some people have trouble committing to a formal diet.  Well, as I've said in the past, I'm not a big fan of diets since they are a temporary change by nature.  Making a permanent lifestyle change is a better long term solution and it doesn't need to be drastic deprivation all at once.  Know yourself and start with what you can handle.  Cut out the soda and sweets, or just limit yourself with a little on the weekends or for a special reward for a goal achieved.  Make smart choice substitutes like mustard instead of mayo, wheat or whole grains instead of white bread, light or low fat versions of regular foods.  Scale back on your portions!  Most of us overeat since it is VERY easy to do... especially when dining out.  Oh yeah, and try to stay away from the deep fried foods.... FROM NOW ON!  Not just until you reach your goal weight, but a change to your lifestyle that you plan to continue forever.

Look for opportunities in your every day life, no matter how small of a change that it is.  The little things do add up and can help you strive towards your goals!

It's Go Time!

So how was Halloween?  Did you get in a few miles of walking with the kids, or did you hang at the door and pass out candy (with a sample or two for yourself)?  I'm not going to lecture you on the evils of Halloween candy... I think that speaks for itself.  Luckily my daughter has never had an extreme sweet tooth and our Halloween leftovers typically make it all the way until the following year!

Halloween down... up next, Thanksgiving!  Unlike that bowl of candy corn that stares at you through most of October, Thanksgiving temptations mostly come in the form of the big meal and the leftovers that you eat for the next week or so.  It's easy to overindulge, so don't get too excited... take your time... and enjoy some quality conversation while you're chowing down.  When you eat slower, you give your body enough time to realize that it's getting full... rather than waiting until it's too late!

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Exceed Your Potential!

Pete Mazzeo, CPT

"Every choice you make has an end result." - Zig Ziglar

youtube of the month --> High Reps-Light Weights or
ACE Fitness video regarding the benefits of high reps with light weight versus low reps with heavier weights. | Personal Training | News | Tips & Tools | Fitness Stuff




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