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     The Official eNewsletter of TODAY! Fitness

vol. 2011 issue 5



10 Steps for Successful Fat Loss

If you are going to watch the calories you eat, it's important to learn how to eat those calories appropriately.  Here are 10 steps for successful fat loss according to Nancy Clark's Sports Nutrition Guidebook...
  1. Write it down.  Keep accurate food records of every morsel and drop for three days, if not more.  Research suggests that people who keep food records tend to lose weight effectively. 

    In addition to what you eat, record WHY you eat.  Are you hungry, stressed, or bored?  Include the time and amount you exercise as well.  Evaluate your patterns for potentially fattening habits such as skimping at breakfast, nibbling all day, overeating at night because you've become too hungry, entertaining yourself with food when you're bored, or rewarding yourself with chocolate when you're stressed. 

    Pay careful attention to your mood when eating.  If you eat for reasons other than to obtain fuel, you need to recognize that food should only be fuel.  Like a drug, food should not be abused.  Food becomes dangerously fattening when it is eaten for entertainment, comfort, or stress reduction.  And no amount of food will solve your problems.
  2. Frontload your calories.  If you eat lightly during the day and excessively at night, experiment with having a bigger breakfast and lunch and a lighter dinner.  Many people think that diets are supposed to start at breakfast.  However, diets should really start at dinner.  It is more important to get the energy you need to get through your active day.
  3. Eat slowly.  Overweight people tend to eat faster than their normal-weight counterparts do.  Because the brain needs about 20 minutes to receive the signal that you've eaten your fill, slow eating can save you many calories.  No matter how much you consume during those 20 minutes, the satiety signal doesn't move any faster.  Try to pace your eating time so that you eat less and avoid the discomfort that often occurs after rapid eating.  A good tip is to choose a broth-based soup for a first course before dinner at a restaurant.  Hot soup takes time to eat and decreases the appetite for the entree.  You'll be content to have a lighter meal.
  4. Eat your favorite foods.  If you deny yourself permission to eat what you truly want to eat, you are likely to binge.  But if you give yourself permission to eat your desired foods in diet portions, you will be less likely to blow your reducing plan.  If chocolate-glazed doughnuts are among your favorites, then have one once or twice a week.  Simply determine how many calories are in the doughnut, and spend your calorie budget accordingly.  When eating this treat, remember to chew it slowly, savor the taste, and fully enjoy it.  You'll free yourself from the temptation to devour a dozen doughnuts in one sitting.  Eating bigger meals also help abate the cravings.  By preventing yourself from getting too hungry, you can cut your interest in sugary treats.
  5. Avoid temptation.  Out of sight, out of mind, and out of mouth.  If you spend a lot of free time in the kitchen, you might consider relocating to the den when you want to relax, where food is less likely to be available.  At parties, socialize in the living room, away from the buffet table and away from the snacks.  At the market, skip the aisle with the cookies.
  6. Keep a list of nonfood activities.  When you are bored, lonely, tired, or nervous, you need to have some strategies in mind that have nothing to do with eating.  You might want to call a friend, check email, take a bath, water the plants, listen to music, go for a walk, whatever.  Food is designed to be fuel, not entertainment, and not a reward for having survived another stressful day.

    When you overeat because you are stressed, you are only trying to be nice to yourself.  Food alters your brain chemistry and may put you in a happier mood -- for the moment, that is.  In the end this inappropriate coping skill will leave you even more stressed and depressed from the weight gain.  Learning how to manage stress without food is the obvious solution.  Many people find meditation to be a helpful activity.
  7. Make a realistic eating plan.  You don't have to lose weight every day.  Rather, every day you can choose to lose, maintain, or even gain weight.  For example, if you face a hectic schedule and wonder how you will survive the stresses of the day, give yourself permission to fuel yourself fully and have a maintain-weight day.  You'll need energy to cope.  If you are going to an elegant wedding and want to enjoy the full dinner, go right ahead.  A gain-weight day from time to time is part of normal eating.  Your body will simply be less hungry the next day, and you'll be able to compensate by eating a little less.  Planning on a treat once a week or looking forward to going out to eat on Friday night helps people to stay on their reducing program the rest of the week.
  8. Schedule appointments for exercise.  If you are a serious athlete who is trying to lose weight, you likely have a regular training program.  But if you are a fitness exerciser who has trouble following a consistent exercise program, you might be helped by scheduling the time to exercise in your appointment book.  You want to exercise regularly to tone muscles, relieve stress, and improve your health, but you should not overexercise.  If you exercise too much, you will likely end up injured, tired, and irritable.

    People who punish themselves with extra-hard workouts can end up so hungry that by the end of the day they inevitably replace those calories burned, plus more.  Exercise only contributes to weight loss if it culminates in a calorie deficit at the end of the day.

    How much exercise is enough?  The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends accumulating at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity most days of the week (about 150 calories per day, or 1,000 calories per week).  Lowest death rates from cardiovascular disease occurred among those who burned more than 1,000 calories per week.  The Institute of Medicine recommends 60 minutes each day of moderate physical activity (2,000 calories per week) to prevent weight gain and optimize health.
  9. Make sleep a priority.  Getting too little sleep can make you feel hungrier.  When you are tired, the signals to your brain to stop eating are very quiet, and the signals to eat more are very loud.  By learning to go to bed earlier and practicing the "snooze to lose" mentality, people are typically less tired and hungry at the end of the day.
  10. Think fit and healthy.  Every morning before you get out of bed, visualize yourself being fitter and leaner.  This picture will help you start the day with a positive attitude.  If you tell yourself that you are eating more healthfully and are successfully losing weight, you will do so more easily.  Positive self-talk is important for your well-being.

ref. Nancy Clark's Sports Nutrition Guidebook

Technology Amazes Me!

Remember when you had to go to a printer or publisher to make copies of a newsletter that you created, and then, in order to get it distributed, you had to find your target audience...create a mailing list... and then go to the post office to send them out?  We have seriously come a long way from those times!

Once my eNewsletter is complete, I simply publish it to my website, and then email it to my distribution lists (currently over 350 people) that includes all of you.  Between those simple tasks, and throwing the link out there on Facebook, it can't get much easier.  It certainly makes it less difficult to justify your existence and provide people with information without a lot of cost or trouble! 

Then you have websites, podcasts, and YouTube.  This opens your audience up to people that you've never even met!  People that are searching for the type of information that you are providing, no matter where they are located.  I even have people from other websites that provide links back to my stuff.  Talk about a small world... I've received emails from people in Australia, Italy, India, UK (hey Lloyd), and other countries, as well as various states around our nation.  How cool is that?

I check out the usage reports for my site every so often, just to get an idea of what people are looking for and how traffic is coming to  With all the effort that I put into exercises and various research articles, it seems that most of the searches that come to me are still people looking for the do-it-yourself equipment ideas.  Check out this article on the Fitness Black Book website that I recently found one of my clips in.  Ah well... I'll take the free press J

At any rate, thanks for your continued support and keep the article ideas coming!  It always helps to know what people want to read about and gives me some direction so I don't bore you too much.



Bodyweight Exercise of the Month!

Mason Twist


I really enjoy the burn that the Mason Twist gives me at the end of the P90X Ab Ripper.  This core exercise involves a brisk trunk twisting motion while maintaining a balanced V-sit position and really challenges the muscle endurance of your abs and obliques.  This is a high rep exercise for which I typically try to get over 50 repetitions to each side.  Ouch!


Target:  abs & sides (rectus abdominis, obliques)

Count:  2 count

Description:  Start in a seated position with your hands clasped in front of you.  Balance on your butt and lift your feet off of the ground.  Alternate touching your hands to the ground on one side of your butt and then the other.  Be sure to look where your hands are going to ensure that you are adequately twisting your body and not just moving your arms.  Keep a brisk pace throughout the set for maximum reps.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

The carpal tunnel is the passageway in the wrist and is made up of the arching carpal bones (eight bones in the wrist) and the ligament connecting the pillars of the arch (the transverse carpal ligament). The median nerve and the tendons that connect the fingers to the muscles of the forearm pass through the tightly spaced tunnel.

Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the median nerve becomes pinched due to swelling of the nerve or tendons or both. The median nerve provides sensation to the palm side of the thumb, index, middle fingers, as well as the inside half of the ring finger and muscle power to the thumb. When this nerve becomes pinched, numbness, tingling, and sometimes pain of the affected fingers and hand may occur and radiate into the forearm.

While there are many possible causes of carpal tunnel syndrome, the vast majority of people with the condition have no known cause.

However, we do know that excessive repetitive movements of the arms, wrists, or hands can aggravate the structures of the carpal tunnel, triggering the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. Untreated, this can become chronic, but when detected early, carpal tunnel syndrome can be treated more easily and recovery is possible in a few months. Severe carpal tunnel syndrome can also be treated, but recovery may take up to a year or longer and may not be complete.

What Are the Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Usually, people with carpal tunnel syndrome first notice that their fingers "fall asleep" and become numb at night. They often wake up with numbness and tingling in their hands. The feeling of burning pain and numbness may generally run up the center of the person's forearm, sometimes as far as the shoulder. As carpal tunnel syndrome becomes more severe, symptoms are noticed during the day.

What Happens in Severe Cases of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

When chronic irritation occurs around the median nerve, it becomes compressed and is continually pushed against the ligament above it. When the nerve is continually constricted, it can become compressed to the point that it begins to deteriorate. This results in a slowing of nerve impulses, which may cause a loss of feeling in the fingers and a loss of strength and coordination at the base of the thumb. If the condition is not treated, it could result in permanent deterioration of muscle tissue and function.

Do Certain Medical Conditions Make People More Likely to Develop Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

People with rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, or other metabolic conditions like thyroid disease may be more likely to develop carpal tunnel syndrome. These conditions affect the nerves directly, making them more vulnerable to compression. Pregnancy may also cause carpal tunnel syndrome but it usually resolves within a few months after delivery.

ref.  WebMD

It's Go Time!

Ok... I love the spring weather and getting back outdoors... mostly.  I can't say that I've been as excited with mowing the lawn, weeding, or any of the other labor intensive exercises.  I'm not sure why.  I just push mowed my lawn for over an hour, and sweated buckets doing so.  That's a pretty good workout in my opinion!  I guess it comes down to mind over matter and I should be embracing these tasks as their own workout... making the most of them both mentally and physically!  All things considered though, if I had to choose an outdoor workout, I'd much rather mow the lawn than shovel snow : )

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Exceed Your Potential!

Pete Mazzeo, CPT


"If God had wanted us to be weak, He wouldn't have given us iron

youtube of the month --> Carpal Tunnel Stretches
Video 2 in a 5 part series of Carpal Tunnel Stretches | Personal Training | News | Tips & Tools | Fitness Stuff




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