Saturday, August 30, 2008

Fitness, Even without Weight Loss, Good for the Heart

From Local-12 Medical News Reporter, Liz Bonis

A new study of 40,000 women shows that even if women never drop an ounce--fitting in fitness seriously expands the capacity of your heart.

According to researchers in the study feeling better from a fitness work out may occur because exercise appears to combat dangerous compounds in the blood-normally released from fat cells.
This makes activities easier and significantly diminishes the risk of heart disease.

The study, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, looked at more than 40,000 women. Those who exercised on a regular basis, regardless of what they weighed, were able to reduce heart disease risk by 18 percent.

During that time, women who exercised also reduced the risk of having a heart attack by two and half times.

Personal trainer Brian Calkins said the newest evidence also shows this heart benefit may happen in women even faster than it does in men, no matter what type of exercise.

“The heart adapts,” he said. ‘For a long time we were thinking that it was cardio exercise, now we are seeing the same thing with strength training. It will continue to help the heart improve.”
This heart benefit occurs in women of all ages and with as little as 30 minutes of uninterrupted exercise most days of the week.

Click here to watch the video segment.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Link Between Fitness and Success...

It's no mystery to successful people that there is direct correlation between sound health & fitness and success in their career and personal lives. Take of moment to recall a successful person you know and they likely show up at the health club consistently, are part of a fitness boot camp program, work with a personal trainer, or get up a few minutes early for a heart elevating morning run. Successful people like to jump start their day with an abundance of energy and the feel-good endorphins that exercise offers. Recent studies identify the direct correlation between fitness and success.

Better ability to focus, improved confidence and enhanced ability to follow through were directly attributed to improved fitness levels according to a 2007 University of Georgia study. Further, a leading executive search company surveyed more than 1,300 executives who earn $100,000 or more annually. When asked to describe their perceptions of weight and work, 75 percent said good physical fitness is "critical for career success at the executive level." Seventeen percent, by contrast, said staying in shape is "a nice goal, but secondary to fiscal fitness."

The founder and CEO of that executive search firm said, "Good physical fitness is critical to success as an executive in today's work world. The days of a little extra padding being a sign of maturity and success are gone.'' When asked about obesity, 75% of executives said that being overweight is a "serious career impediment."

Do these responses reflect our obsession with weight loss and mirror the constant barrage of skinny images in popular culture? Probably not. Rather, there is a very strong link between improved fitness and increase productivity, enhanced ability to solve problems, superior stamina & energy, not to mention reduced stress and fatigue, all leading to better job performance.

It goes well beyond looking good. Fit people tend to have better eating habits and miss fewer days at work due to a higher resistance to illness. And with competition continually increasing in every industry, companies are now rewarding employees and managers who miss less work and produce more.

A study by Jim McKenna, a British researcher, showed that after exercising participants returned to work more tolerant of themselves and more forgiving of their colleagues. The study goes on to conclude that “work performance was consistently higher, time management skills improved, as did mental sharpness”.

All it takes is investing 3 – 4 sessions a week, 30-60 minutes each, to experience these benefits. Combine strength training and cardiovascular exercise, along with sound nutrition to rev up your mental sharpness, enhance your productivity, elevate your mood, better manage stress and simply feel good. As your fitness level increases, likely your position on the ladder of success will too!

Have a GREAT Thursday...and keep your positive momentum going!!

Brian CalkinsCincinnati’s HealthStyle Fitness, INC

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Success Lessons from The Beijing Olympics

With each Olympics hundreds of amazingly inspirational stories come to the forefront to astound and warm the hearts of even the non-athletes amongst us.

Certainly Michael Phelps' achievements provided a phenomenal and a heartwarming story of work ethic, desire, motivation and humility. Eight gold medals and all those records. Amazing! Hey, just the quantity of what he eats for breakfast is amazing!

But we also got to see Dara Torres win her twelfth Olympic medal!Beijing was her 5th Olympics and she was 41 years old!!!

She is also the oldest American swimmer to qualify for the Olympics and the first to make five teams.I think the, "I am too old," excuse just got booted out the window.

I'm always fascinated with these extraordinary athletes - and now with a child, I'm curious what Dara does to stay focused and motivated over the span of five Olympics?

The most common challenge people talk about when they request coaching is "staying motivated."

"I need a coach to hold me accountable," they admit.

Dara Torres has a coach, of course. All great athletes and successful people achieve their greatest heights through having a coach, mentor or significant role model.

"I mean, I know what to do, I just don't do it," they continue.

There's a wonderful story about a young man who wanted an interview with a famous guru. When they met, the man asked, "How can I find wisdom?" Without a word, the guru led the young man to a nearby lake and pushed his head under water. After the man thrashed and fought for a moment, the guru let him up, where he immediately gasped for air. The guru then said, "When you desire wisdom as badly as you wanted that breath of air, you'll find it."

Isn't that the truth? When we are motivated, NOTHING can stand in our way!

1. Be clear! You can hit almost any target if you define it and put a time line on it. WHAT do you want and WHEN is it going to be done?

2. Have an action plan. WHAT are you going to do? WHAT are the action steps? "Baby-steps" seem to feel easier and are often more fun than "giant leaps." It's relatively hard to stay motivated over 6 months to lose 25 - 50 pounds, but it's easy to shoot for losing 5 pounds this month. Have a clear, do-able and action-able plan. Then, take one step after another.

3. Surround yourself with positives. Zig Ziglar made a wonderful observation that "people complain motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does a shower. That's why I recommend both every day."

You've got to read, listen to audio programs, talk with positive people and surround yourself with things that energize you! We live in a "bad news world." It wears everyone down! Put down the paper, turn off the TV and surround yourself with mental input that energizes you!

4. The "Breakfast of Champions." With no intended disrespect to Wheaties, we need to re- commit to our most important priorities, goals and plans every single day. Personally, on those days that I begin my morning with about 20 minutes of focus on my major priorities I'm 10 times more focused and motivated. On those days I get sidetracked early on and forget to review my goals, the day just seems to "get away from me."

In the rush of our busy day, minor "crises" will beat strategic and focused action every time and little productivity is achieved. Start every day by reviewing and re-affirming your most important goals and objectives.

5. Have lots of cheerleaders! I think this may be the most important, easiest, and most-often over- looked. Recruit friends, family and support networks to hold you accountable. Teach them to support and encourage you. Pick their brains for good ideas, and report back to them regularly. With a good team of cheerleaders, you can accomplish anything!

Have an awesome Tuesday!

Your friend in fitness,

Brian Calkins

HealthStyle Fitness, Inc. 4325 Red Bank Rd Cincinnati, OH 45227 513-407-4665, x-105

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The 7 Keys to Take Charge of Your Metabolism

We hear the word "Metabolism" frequently in the advertising of fitness or weight loss products. Ads promise to "speed up your metabolism" by using this device or by taking that supplement. Today, let's clear up some misconceptions regarding metabolism and empower you to take charge of your own, without having to purchase a product!

Factors which influence metabolism include genetics, age, gender, activity level, nutrition timing and body composition. Although we cannot change our parents, age or gender, we do have control over the majority of the factors of metabolism.

1. Work All of the Muscles of Your Body! As we increase our lean muscle tissue, we burn more calories throughout the day, both during activity and at rest. You don't have to look like a bodybuilder to elevate your metabolism through adding lean, toned and shapely muscle tissue.

2. Eat Small Meals Frequently! To stoke your metabolism you need to fuel your body (in other words, you need to eat!) every 3 to 4 hours with a balanced intake of lean proteins, whole grain and fibrous carbohydrates. Going too long between meals will substantially drop your blood glucose, reduce your body's ability to use calories efficiently and lead to food cravings.

3. Increase Your Non-Exercise Activity! Let's face it; we are a terribly sedentary society that desperately needs to get moving. Instead of circling the parking lot vying for the closest parking space, walk a little farther. In lieu of using the elevator take the steps. Take a brisk walk in the evening with a friend, spouse or child before eating dinner - it'll burn some calories, suppress your appetite, and elevate metabolism a bit.

4. Vary Your Cardio! Some days you'll do a moderate intensity, steady state cardio session for 30 minutes. Other days you'll perform 20 minutes of staggered cardio intervals in a ratio of 3 minutes steady state, 1 minute sprints. And sometimes you'll go for 45 minutes at a lower level of intensity. Vary your cardiovascular routine to continue providing adaptation to your heart and lungs, improving your ability to deliver nutrients and oxygen to all of the cells of your body and to optimally elevate your metabolism.

5. Drink Water, Not Calories! Studies show that when you are well hydrated you consume fewer calories. Similarly, when you consume calories from solid food, your brain effectively registers appetite satiation and reduces hunger. But when you consume calories from liquids, your appetite isn't satisfied so you end up eating more. In a culture of 800-calorie Big Gulps and 580-calorie White Chocolate Mochas, pick water as your beverage of choice.

6. Chill Out! We live in a highly "stressed out" over stimulated world. Too much stress leads to significant increases in the hormone cortisol, which in turn causes your body to store extra fat. To counteract the demands of society, schedule a 20 minute daily power nap during your lunch hour, learn meditation and visualization relaxation skills or listen to calming music. Exercise is one of the most effective stress reducers and, of course, it's already on the list for elevating metabolism. Regardless, take regular breaks from the maddening word in which we live today.

7. Take Responsibility! If we are to make changes, we must start by accepting full responsibility for where we are. No one else is to blame for your current circumstances - not your parents, spouse, co- workers or past experiences. You are where you are today because of decisions you've made in the past. You have complete control over what goes in your mouth and how much exercise and movement you achieve each day. So start where you are today and begin to integrate habits that will allow you a more enjoyable, productive, healthier and fitter life.

Okay, let's get to it!!

Your friend in fitness,

Brian Calkins

HealthStyle Fitness Inc. 4325 Red Bank Rd Cincinnati, OH 45227 513-407-4665

Monday, August 11, 2008

Importance of Staying Well Hydrated...

Summertime is the perfect time of the year to take your fitness routine outside. Fresh air, open skies, and a variety of scenery make for an enjoyable exercise experience. But as the temperature begins to rise, it’s critically important to make sure your hydration levels allow for a productive and healthy workout.

Yes, I know, there’s nothing sexy about drinking water. But realize that it’s impossible for your body to lose excess fat if you’re not drinking enough. Your body is made up of over 70% water, making consuming it in sufficient quantities a crucial, yet simple component to achieving your fitness and/or weight loss goals.

Water plays several key roles during exercise and the fat loss process. Any time you burn stored body fat for fuel, waste by- products are created and introduced into your blood stream. By simply drinking a bottle of water during your workout you begin the process of flushing out and removing excess waste by-products.

Also, water promotes a thermogenic state, which essentially increases your metabolic rate. The faster your metabolism, the more calories and fat your body has the potential to use effectively throughout the day.

Water plays a very important role in muscular contractions as well. Without the right water balance, your muscles simply cannot contract at normal intensity levels, leading to poor performance and a decrease in the effectiveness of your workouts.

For example, a drop in body water volume of a mere 1% can cause a reduction in performance of over 10%. That means you’ll have to exert yourself much harder during a workout to achieve the same results had you been sufficiently hydrated.

And finally, water helps reduce the soreness you feel after an intense bout of exercise. Muscular contractions (like those you experience during exercise) stimulate the release of a chemical called hydroxyproline from the connective tissues and muscle cells. This chemical is very irritating to the nerve endings and is the direct cause of delayed onset muscle soreness (the soreness you feel the day or two after you workout). Your body will naturally bind this chemical and remove it, if well hydrated, both during and after exercise, and will speed the process of recovery dramatically.

How Much Water?

While the old, but unsubstantiated rule of 8 glasses per day has held up just fine, multiplying your weight by the number .55 would provide a more accurate estimate of the number of ounces of water an exerciser should consume in a day. If you're in a hot environment all day, for example working outdoors, you should make a concerted effort to increase that number a bit further. I suggest you always have water with you. A bottle of spring water should be fine. Sipping it throughout the day, even if you are not experiencing thirst, can act as a valuable step in making sure you’re well hydrated.

Okay, armed with this information, let’s get to it!

Your friend in fitness,

Brian Calkins NSCA-CPT, ACE
phone: 513-407-4665