It’s been said: “If all the benefits of exercise could be placed in a single pill, it would be the most widely prescribed medication in the world.” Scientific evidence continues to mount supporting the numerous medicinal benefits of exercise. In fact, there’s hardly a disease that I can think of that exercise won’t help in one way or another, be it prevention, treatment, or even cure in some instances.
Say good-bye to the myth of the “delicate” condition and hello to pregnancy in the 21st Century!
Current research continues to show that women can safely exercise and maintain their fitness level during the perinatal period. The mom who laces up her sneakers instead of heading to the couch will be rewarded with a healthier pregnancy and a healthier baby.
Pregnancy is a time of excitement, uncertainties, fears, and many profound physical and emotional changes. This “season in life” affords mom a wonderful opportunity to adopt a healthier lifestyle. Starting an exercise program during pregnancy is a great way to begin and continue this healthier lifestyle for herself and subsequently for her child. With obesity on the rise in the US, it is important for everyone to increase their current level of physical activity. This is especially important for pregnant women as the results of obesity and excessive weight gain have been shown to be detrimental to both mom and baby long term.
A Historical Perspective on Prenatal Exercise Guidelines
Moms today are inundated with information regarding pregnancy and exercise. Unfortunately, a great deal of this information is outdated. It is important for women to have a working knowledge of the most current guidelines so that they can make intelligent choices regarding their exercise programs. For many years, pregnant women were advised to “take it easy” during pregnancy. Mom was advised to rest and gain weight in order to ensure a healthy pregnancy. In the 1950’s women were “allowed” to walk a mile a day for exercise and this mile was preferably “broken up” into smaller segments. The American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) issued the first formal guidelines for perinatal exercise in 1985 (1). These guidelines were highly restrictive as they were not based on extensive research and were designed for the majority of pregnant women without regard to pre-pregnancy fitness levels. Four of the original guidelines are highlighted below:
- Mom should exercise at a heart rate <140 bpm.
- Strenuous exercise should not exceed 15 minutes
- Maternal core temperature should not exceed 38 degrees C
- No supine exercise after the first trimester
A great deal of research involving both sedentary and trained subjects was published
after the release of the 1985 guidelines. This prompted ACOG to publish a revision of the original guidelines in 1994 which lifted specific limitations for prenatal exercise (2). ACOG said, “There are no data in humans to indicate that pregnant women should limit exercise intensity and lower target heart rate because of adverse effects.” In this revision, there was no mention of the 140 bpm maximal heart rate or an exercise limit of fifteen minutes. Women were advised to use the “talk test” and “perceived exertion” as ways to measure exercise intensity. We were making progress! Although the 1994 guidelines were a refreshing change in the right direction for ACOG, they still did not address the pregnant athlete. In 2002, ACOG published “Exercise During Pregnancy and the Postpartum Period: ACOG Committee Opinion 267” (3). In this publication, which was reaffirmed in 2009, ACOG recognized that “in the absence of contraindications, pregnant women should be encouraged to engage in regular, moderate intensity physical activity to continue to derive health benefits during their pregnancy as they did prior to pregnancy.” This revision focused more on the athlete as well and was the first formal recommendation by an American physician group to include prenatal exercise. The major points of the 2002 update include:
- Previously sedentary women and those with any medical or obstetrical problems should obtain medical clearance before embarking on an exercise program; NO PRENATAL CLEARANCE, NO EXERCISE, NO EXCEPTION.
- Thirty minutes or more of moderate exercise daily, or on most days of the week is recommended. This brought the exercise guideline for pregnancy more in line with the ACSM guidelines for the general population.
- Competitive and recreational athletes with routine pregnancies can remain active, “listen to their bodies” and modify their exercise routines if medical necessity arises.
- Physically active women with a history of or risk for preterm labor or fetal growth restriction should reduce their activity in the second and third trimesters.
In 2006, the “ACSM Roundtable Consensus Statement: Impact of Physical Activity During Pregnancy and Postpartum on Chronic Disease Risk” was published (4). This report, based on an analysis of the most current research by a panel of scientific and clinical experts, supported the safety and long term benefits of prenatal and postpartum exercise for both mom and baby. Some of the benefits highlighted in this report and other studies show that exercise:
- Reduces the risk of preeclampsia (a condition marked by high blood pressure, protein in the urine and marked fluid retention in the mom which can lead to serious maternal and fetal complications).
- Treats or prevents gestational diabetes, the diabetes of pregnancy. For some women exercise alone may stabilize blood sugar. Moms with gestational diabetes are more prone to Type II diabetes later in life.
- Helps manage or alleviate pregnancy related musculoskeletal issues. Exercise may help with low back pain, urinary incontinence, abdominal muscle and joint and muscle issues.
- Links breastfeeding and postpartum weight loss. Weight loss can occur with moderate exercise and caloric restriction without affecting the quantity and quality of breast milk or infant growth.
- Positively impacts mood and mental health. Exercise is a “mood elevator.” It reduces stress, fatigue, anxiety and improves self-image.
- Baby’s health and development: The panel advised that beginning or continuing a prenatal exercise program had both short and long term positive effects.
The most recent guidelines for prenatal exercise were included in the 2008 US Dept. of Health and Human Services Physical Activity Guidelines (5). Women who are not currently active should strive for at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity cardiovascular activity per week. This translates to 30 minutes of exercise 5 days a week, very similar to the ACOG guideline. They recommend that those women who are currently active may continue their normal routine providing there is an open line of communication with their healthcare providers
The latest research continues to showcase the benefits of prenatal exercise. A 2013 review of the international evidence reinforced the fact that women who engage in prenatal exercise have a decreased risk of developing gestational diabetes and other hypertensive disorders during their pregnancies. They are also less likely to deliver big babies (> 9 pounds). Other studies suggest that babies born to active moms are lighter and leaner at 1 and 5 years of age (6). Additional research has supported these findings and has extended the benefits to older children (8-10 year olds) (7). This is quite significant considering the fact that childhood obesity is on the rise. We now have exciting evidence that the in utero environment of exercising mothers may provide long term effects for their offspring with regards to bodyweight and body fat. Prenatal exercise may also boost babies’ brain activity. Canadian research has shown that babies of exercising moms had greater brain activity 8 – 12 days after they were born, as evidenced by an increased ability to process repeated sounds (8). This was the first study to link prenatal exercise with babies’ brain development.
In 2015, ACOG released two new publications, “Obesity in Pregnancy,” Bulletin Number 156 (9) and “Physical Activity and Exercise During Pregnancy and the Postpartum Period,” Committee Opinion Number 650 (10). Both publications emphasize the need for regular exercise to prevent or combat excess weight gain and /or obesity in the perinatal population. Greater than half of the women of childbearing age in the US are overweight or obese. Obesity in pregnancy is associated with significant risks for both mother and baby. Bulletin 156 authors wrote, “Optimal control of obesity begins before conception. Weight loss before pregnancy, achieved by surgical or nonsurgical methods, has been shown to the most effective intervention to improve other health problems.” The updated Bulletin 156 recommendations include:
- Behavioral interventions that utilize both diet and exercise can improve postpartum weight loss better than exercise alone
- BMI should be calculated at the first prenatal visit and used to counsel women on diet and exercise utilizing the Institute of Medicine Guidelines for prenatal weight gain
- Small preconception weight losses in obese patients can improve pregnancy outcome
- Losing weight between pregnancies in obese patients may decrease the risk for a large-for-gestational-age baby in a subsequent pregnancy
Pregnancy is an ideal time for maintaining or adopting a healthy lifestyle. Recommendations from ACOG Committee Opinion Number 650, “Physical Activity and Exercise During Pregnancy and the Postpartum Period” include:
- Physical activity in pregnancy has minimal risks and has been shown to benefit most women, although some modification to exercise routines may be necessary because of normal anatomic and physiologic changes and fetal requirements.
- A thorough clinical evaluation should be conducted before recommending an exercise program to ensure that a patient does not have a medical reason to avoid exercise.
- Women with uncomplicated pregnancies should be encouraged to engage in aerobic and strength-conditioning exercises before, during, and after pregnancy.
- OB-GYN’s and other obstetric care providers should carefully evaluate women with medical or obstetric complications before making recommendations on physical activity participation during pregnancy. Although frequently prescribed, bed rest is only rarely indicated and, in most cases, allowing ambulation should be considered.
- Regular physical activity during pregnancy improves or maintains physical fitness, helps with weight management, reduces the risk of gestational diabetes in obese women, and enhances psychological well-being.
- 20-30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per day, on most or all days, is recommended.
- Exercise intensity should be monitored by RPE and the “talk test.” Suggested RPE is 13-14 on a 6-20 scale.
- Women are encouraged to stay well hydrated, avoid long periods of lying supine and cease exercise if they have any warning signs (see below).
- Women who were sedentary before pregnancy should gradually progress their exercise programming
- Women who were regular exercisers prior to pregnancy and who have uncomplicated, healthy pregnancies should be able to engage in high-intensity exercise programs, such as jogging and aerobics, with no adverse effects. High-intensity or prolonged exercise in excess of 45 minutes can lead to hypoglycemia; therefore, adequate caloric intake before exercise, or limiting the exercise session, is essential to minimize any risk.\Contact sports, activities with a high risk of falling, scuba diving, sky diving and “hot yoga” are not recommended
Warning Signs and Symptoms to Discontinue Exercise (11)
If a woman experiences any of the following, she should cease exercise and contact her health care provider as soon as possible:
- Vaginal bleeding or fluid leakage
- Shortness of breath prior to exertion
- Pelvic pressure or cramps
- Headache or any vision problem
- Pain of any kind
- Uterine contractions
- Muscle weakness
- Calf pain or swelling
- Preterm labor
- Decreased fetal movement
- Chest pain
- Temperature extremes (hot or cold; clammy)
- Nausea / Vomiting
As a result of almost 30 years of research showing the benefits of prenatal exercise, we have seen a substantial increase in the number of motivated personal trainers who are certified to work with this very special population. No two pregnancies are the same and no two prenatal fitness programs should be the same. Trainers certified in perinatal fitness and wellness possess the knowledge and skills to design and implement individualized programs to help mom prepare for the “marathon of labor” and the “tasks of mothering” after the baby is born.
Join Sheila for her upcoming webinar:
Sheila Watkins is a perinatal fitness specialist with over 25 years of experience training 2500+ pregnant and new moms, and educating hundreds of fitness instructors, health professionals, and childbirth educators on the rapidly changing field of perinatal fitness. She is the creator of Healthy Moms® Fitness Programs to provide safe and effective group exercise classes and personal training for new and expectant moms, as well as education and training in the field of perinatal exercise for fitness professionals, childbirth educators and other health professionals.
- ACOG. The ACOG Guidelines for Exercise During Pregnancy and Postpartum; Home Exercise Programs, 1985.
- ACOG. Exercise During Pregnancy and the Postpartum Period. ACOG Technical Bulletin, No.189, February 1994.
- ACOG. Exercise During Pregnancy and the Postpartum Period, ACOG Committee Opinion, No. 267, Washington, DC: ACOG, January 2002 (reaffirmed in 2009).
- Pivarnik, J. et al. American College of Sports Medicine Roundtable Consensus Statement, June 2006.
- Mudd LM, Owe KM, Mottola MF, Pivarnik JM. Health benefits of physical activity during pregnancy: an International Perspective Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2013 Feb;45(2):268-77.
- Pivarnik. J. and Kuffel, E. ACSM Sports Medicine Bulletin; Active Voice: More Maternal Physical Activity May Lead to Leaner Pre-Adolescent Children; June 20, 2010.
- ACOG. Obesity in Pregnancy. ACOG Practice Bulletin, No.156, December, 2015.
- ACOG. Exercise During Pregnancy and the Postpartum Period, ACOG Committee Opinion, No. 650, December 2015
- Watkins, Sheila S. “Healthy Moms@ Perinatal Fitness Instructor Training Manual.” 2013.
In his book, Secrets of the Millionaire Mind, T. Harv Eker talks about positive thinking vs. power thinking.
Positive thinking is our default when we want to improve an area of our lives. We journal, recite affirmations, and work to build our positive thoughts. What Eker points out is that positive thinking implies that we accept our own thoughts as truth.
Instead, he suggests focusing on power thinking, which is an extension of positive thinking in that you are working to build your belief, but instead, you acknowledge that things only have meaning because we give them meaning.
You can attach a particular meaning to anything but that doesn’t mean it’s real.
For example, just because you’ve fallen off the wagon in your fitness and nutrition dozens of times doesn’t mean that you’re incapable of success.
Secondly, just because you’ve missed a few workouts last week doesn’t mean that your entire plan to lose weight has been destroyed.
But that’s the meaning most people give it right? In other words, we tend to be ultra hard on ourselves which ends up being sabotaging.
I bring this concept up in the hopes that the next time a situation arises where you feel “less than” or defeated that you stop and ask yourself “what meaning am I giving to this situation?”
By understanding this, you then have the power to change the meaning you assign for the better and propel yourself to new levels of commitment and success.
In conclusion, don’t practice positive thinking. Practice POWER THINKING!
Originally printed on Move Well Fitness blog. Reprinted with permission.
Maurice D. Williams is a personal trainer and owner of Move Well Fitness in Bethesda, MD. With almost two decades in the industry, he’s worked with a wide range of clients, including those with health challenges like diabetes, osteoporosis, multiple sclerosis, hypertension, coronary artery disease, lower back pain, pulmonary issues, and pregnancy. Maurice is also a fitness educator with Move Well Fit Academy and NASM.
Like Cicero coining the phrase “Ipse dixit” (“He, himself, said it”) in reference to the mathematician Pythagoras, we tend to appeal to the pronouncements of the master (in our society, celebrities and the media) rather than to reason or evidence. After all, if Jillian Michaels from TV’s The Biggest Loser or any other celebrity trainer says it’s so, it must be so, right? This has led to the proliferation of many myths in the weight-loss and fitness industry. Why do we think or claim we know things that we actually do not know? There are so many passionate people in the weight-loss and fitness industry, which is great, but oftentimes that passion gets in the way of science. And that can be dangerous. Do you know your weight-loss facts from fiction?
Myth: You have to exercise in your fat-burning zone to burn fat and lose weight.
People often assume that low-intensity exercise is best for burning fat. Cardio equipment manufacturers contribute to this assumption by posting a “fat-burning” workout option on their front panels, which influences people to choose that option because, after all, people want to burn fat. During exercise at a very low intensity, such as walking, fat does account for most of the energy you use. At a moderate intensity, such as running at 80 percent of your maximum heart rate, fat accounts for only about half of the energy you use. While you use both fat and carbohydrate for energy during exercise, these two fuels provide that energy on a sliding scale—as you increase your intensity, the contribution from fat decreases while the contribution from carbohydrate increases. While you use only a minimal amount of fat at higher intensities, the number of calories you use per minute and the total number of calories you expend are much greater than when you exercise at a lower intensity, so the amount of fat you use is also greater. Research has shown that the highest rate of fat use occurs when you exercise at a hard aerobic intensity (Achten et al. 2002; Astorino, 2000; Knechtle et al. 2004). What matters is the rate of energy expenditure rather than simply the percentage of energy expenditure derived from fat. Since you use only carbohydrate when you exercise at a high intensity, does that mean that if you run fast, you won’t get rid of that flabby belly? Of course not.
Despite what most people think, you don’t have to use fat when you exercise to lose fat from your waistline. The little amount of fat that you use in combination with carbohydrate during moderate-intensity exercise is in the form of intramuscular triglycerides—tiny droplets of fat within your muscles. Adipose fat (the fat on your waistline and thighs) is burned during the hours before and after your workouts while you’re sitting at your desk. For fat and weight loss, what matters most is the difference between the number of calories you expend and the number of calories you consume. So don’t worry about exercising in your fat-burning zone, because there’s no such thing.
Myth: Working out first thing in the morning on an empty stomach burns more fat.
Muscles will indeed use more fat if you exercise when your blood glucose is low, as it can be first thing in the morning after an overnight fast. But burning more fat during your workout doesn’t necessarily mean that you will lose more weight. Exercising when fasted before breakfast doesn’t reduce the total number of calories you consume throughout the day, and doesn’t allow you to cheat the laws of caloric balance; at the end of the day, you still have to have a caloric deficit to lose fat.
When you exercise first thing in the morning before breakfast, your muscles don’t just rely on fat immediately. When exercising at a low or moderate intensity, they’ll use some fat, just like they would when you exercise at any other time of the day. But they’ll also use whatever carbohydrate is available from blood glucose and stored glycogen because carbohydrate is the muscles’ preferred fuel. When you run out of glucose, your muscles will then start to rely more heavily on fat. But exercising on an empty stomach with low blood glucose decreases the intensity at which you can exercise, which results in a lower-quality workout and less total calories burned. For weight loss, it really doesn’t matter if the calories you burn when you exercise come from fat or carbohydrate; how many total calories you burn is what matters.
Myth: Resistance training increases resting metabolic rate.
Perhaps the biggest myth in the fitness industry is the issue of resistance training increasing resting metabolic rate by increasing muscle mass, which leads to greater weight loss. Although it is true that resting metabolic rate is influenced by the amount of muscle you have, you would have to add a lot of muscle to significantly impact your resting metabolic rate. It’s not like you can add 10 pounds of muscle (which is very difficult to do unless you train like a bodybuilder for many months) and all of a sudden your resting metabolic rate is double what it was before. There’s about a 10-calorie increase in metabolic rate for every pound of muscle. So, if your resting metabolic rate is 1,500 calories per day, you would need to add 15 pounds of muscle mass to increase it by 10 percent. Resistance training can make you look better because of the effect it has on your muscles, but it won’t really impact your resting metabolic rate much. As you lose weight, your resting metabolic rate actually decreases, even when you maintain muscle mass by resistance training. Exercise can prevent the decline in resting metabolic rate as you lose weight, but it certainly does not increase as you lose weight.
Humans’ resting metabolic rate—the amount of energy you need to stay alive—is pretty stable, having been set by millions of years of evolution. Lifting dumbbells in a gym or doing burpees in the park is not going to change that. Some studies have shown an increase in resting metabolic rate following many weeks or months of exercise, but the magnitude of change is relatively small (about 30 to 142 calories per day) compared to what is needed for weight loss (Dolezal & Potteiger 1998; Poehlman & Danforth 1991). And some of these studies have been done on seniors, who are more likely to show increases in resting metabolic rate due to the attenuating effect of exercise on age-associated losses in muscle mass. It’s much easier to impact muscle mass and thus resting metabolic rate in an older person than in a younger person.
Myth: Intense workouts contribute to weight loss by burning more calories after the workout is over.
Ever since the fitness industry found research showing that people burn calories after they work out while they recover from their workout, a whole new argument was born. Exercise stopped being about the exercise and became about what came after. “Do this workout,” trainers and gurus say, “because you’ll burn four times as many calories for up to 48 hours afterward.”
After some workouts, specifically those that are intense or long, you continue to use oxygen and burn calories because you must recover from the workout, and recovery is an aerobic, oxygen-using process. This increased oxygen consumption following the workout is called the EPOC (Excess Postexercise Oxygen Consumption).
Many studies have documented the EPOC and compared it and its associated post-workout calorie burn between exercise of different intensities and durations (Laforgia et al. 1997; Treuth et al. 1996; Tucker et al. 2016). However, the post-workout calorie burn caused by the EPOC is a highly overexaggerated issue among fitness trainers. The increase in metabolism is transient, perhaps lasting a few hours, depending on how intense the workout was. The unbridled optimism regarding the EPOC in weight loss is generally unfounded. Studies have shown that the EPOC comprises only 6 to 15 percent of the net total oxygen cost of the exercise, and only when the exercise is very intense (Laforgia et al. 2006). Since unfit individuals recover more slowly than fit individuals, the EPOC will be higher in unfit individuals. However, most unfit individuals simply can’t handle the intensity of exercise that is required to induce a high or prolonged EPOC.
The calories you burn when you exercise have a greater effect on your body weight than the calories you burn afterward. It is the workout itself that creates the demand for change.
Myth: Nutrition (diet) is more important than exercise for losing weight and looking good.
I hear a lot in the fitness industry about the importance of clean eating. Indeed, most fitness professionals quote that physical appearance is 80 percent due to nutrition and 20 percent due to your workouts. I don’t know where those numbers come from, but those percentages are unknowable.
If we are to assign a relative importance to each, it’s presumptuous to think that the specific foods we eat are more important to our health, fitness, and cosmetics than are genetics and training. People like to claim that abs are made in the kitchen, but the truth is that muscles are made by training them. I’m pretty sure I didn’t get my sculpted legs and ass from eating kale salads; I got them from running 6 days per week for 33 years.
This is not to say that a person’s diet doesn’t matter. Of course it does. But to place such a large emphasis on diet over exercise misses an important point—cutting calories and eating a more nutritious diet does not make you fitter. Although your nutrition is undoubtedly important, it doesn’t give your muscles a stimulus to adapt. Only exercise can do that and thus give you all of the fitness and health benefits. The sculpted legs of runners and upper bodies of fitness magazine models didn’t get that way just by eating fruits and vegetables.
Truth is, you need both diet and exercise. Diet gets your weight off, especially initially, and exercise keeps it off. To lose weight, you must consume fewer calories each day. To maintain weight, you must exercise on most, if not all, days of the week. Research has shown that body weight and body mass index are directly proportional to the amount of exercise people do (Williams & Satariano 2005; Williams & Thompson 2006).
If we take two people, and one eats perfectly clean with a nutrient-dense diet and no processed foods but doesn’t exercise much, and the other exercises a lot but has a mediocre diet with the occasional Twinkie or chocolate chip cookie, who is going to look better and be fitter? I hope you said the latter. Truth is, exercise and genetics exert a greater influence on how you look (and on your physical performance) than your diet does.
Join Dr. Karp for his upcoming webinar on this topic:
Jason Karp is the creator of the REVO2LUTION RUNNING certification, 2011 IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year, and recipient of the 2014 President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition Community Leadership Award. A PhD in exercise physiology, he has more than 200 publications, mentors fitness professionals, and speaks around the world. His sixth book, “The Inner Runner”, is available in bookstores and Amazon. Visit his website, Run-Fit.com
Article reprinted with permission from Jason Karp. Originally published on Personal Training on the Net (PTontheNet.com).
Achten, J., Gleeson, M., and Jeukendrup, A.E. 2002. Determination of the exercise intensity that elicits maximal fat oxidation. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. 34(1), 92-97.
Astorino, T.A. 2000. Is the ventilatory threshold coincident with maximal fat oxidation during submaximal exercise in women? Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness. 40(3), 209-216.
Dolezal, B.A. and Potteiger, J.A. 1998. Concurrent resistance and endurance training influence basal metabolic rate in nondieting individuals. Journal of Applied Physiology. 85(2), 695-700.
Knechtle, B., Müller, G., Willmann, F., Kotteck, K., Eser, P., and Knecht, H. 2004. Fat oxidation in men and women endurance athletes in running and cycling. International Journal of Sports Medicine. 25(1), 38-44.
Laforgia, J., Withers, R.T., Shipp, N.J., and Gore, C.J. 1997. Comparison of energy expenditure elevations after submaximal and supramaximal running. Journal of Applied Physiology. 82(2), 661-666.
LaForgia, J., Withers, R.T., and Gore, C.J. 2006. Effects of exercise intensity and duration on the excess post-exercise oxygen consumption. Journal of Sports Sciences. 24(12), 1247-1264.
Poehlman, E.T. and Danforth, E. 1991. Endurance training increases metabolic rate and norepinephrine appearance rate in older individuals. American Journal of Physiology Endocrinology and Metabolism. 261: E233-E239.
Treuth, M.S., Hunter, G.R., and Williams, M. 1996. Effects of exercise intensity on 24-h energy expenditure and substrate oxidation. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. 28(9), 1138-1143.
Tucker W.J., Angadi, S.S., and Gaesser, G.A. 2016. Excess postexercise oxygen consumption after high-intensity and sprint interval exercise, and continuous steady-state exercise. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 30(11), 3090-3097.
Williams, P.T. and Satariano, W.A. 2005. Relationships of age and weekly running distance to BMI and circumferences in 41,582 physically active women. Obesity Research. 13(8), 1370-1380.
Williams, P.T. and Thompson, P.D. 2006. Dose-dependent effects of training and detraining on weight in 6406 runners during 7.4 years. Obesity. 14(11), 1975-1984.
Dry rubs are my “thing!” I love the deep flavor and crispy crust that dried herbs and spices impart. Dry rubs are any combination of dried herbs, spices, sugar, and salt that you like. Jerk celebrates the flavors of the Carribean and is generally very spicy, with the use of the native Carribean chili, the scotch bonnet. I used cayenne and a mild chili powder blend here, but if you can find dried scotch bonnet, you’ll truely transport your guests to Jamaica. Hang on to your extra rub, chef’s! This recipe makes enough for two to three recipes.
- 3 tsp dark brown sugar or coconut palm sugar
- 2 tsps each, allspice, thyme, ground ginger, granulated garlic,
- 1 1/2 tsps each, chili powder blend (or Scotch Bonnet), salt
- 1 tsp each, cinnamon, paprika, black pepper, cayenne
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
Measure everything into a small mixing bowl, or jar. Mix all dry herbs and spices together using a whisk, or put a lid on your jar and shake it! (a little Zumba music, please!) Be sure to label and date the jar.
- 1 1/4 lb ground Turkey
- 2 Tbls Tomato paste
- 1 1/2 Tbls Jerk rub
- extra Jerk rub to season burgers while cooking
Mix all ingredients together. Please don’t over-handle the meat, this makes a tough burger. Form four patties. Put a dimple in the center of each pattie. Sprinkle with a little extra rub on both sides, and grill over medium-high heat, four minutes each side. Rest 3-5 minutes before service.
Tasty tip: Turkey Burgers have a reputation for being dry. This is due to the leanness of the meat, naturally. Slice Oranges into 1/4” slices. Make a “bed” for your burgers, and grill on the moist fruit slices. Finish directly on the grill to create that irresistible Jerk rub crust.
This bright fruit salsa will compliment many of your family favorites. Serving fruit with meat is an age old practice, as the enzymes in the fruit help break down animal proteins. The classic pork with pineapple is a great example of this principle. I like the cool peach flavor, against the very spicy jerk seasoning. The hot off the grill spicy turkey burger served on tender butter lettuce, and topped with the cool peach salsa…now that’s a summer burger!
- 3 Peaches, peeled, and small dice
- 1/2 Red Bell Pepper, small dice
- 1 small Jalepeno, seeded and minced
- 3 Tbls Purple Onion, minced
- 2 Tbls Cilantro, remove stems, chop fine
- Juice of 1 Lime
- 2 tsps Honey
- 1/2 tsp Salt
Gently toss all prepped ingredients, and chill until service.
Turkey Burger Phyto Facts
Turkey is packed with minerals, especially Selenium and Zinc. As we’ve talked about before, Selenium is at the top of the cancer-fighting list. It is also considered a longevity nutrient, as it slows the aging clock. Zinc acts as a catalyst in our bodies: every time we eat foods high in Zinc, our bodies produce a very powerful antioxidant called Super Oxide Dismutase. This is why Zinc has a reputation for building immune system response. It’s really the S.O.D. we create, after ingesting Zinc.
Skinless Turkey is one of the best ways to prevent pancreatic cancer, providing the Turkey has been raised organically, and is pasture fed. This amazing protein source helps us burn body fat, and induces deeper sleep.
Turkey also has a very favorable ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3. We always want higher Omega-3; Omega-6 is healthy, but too much, and it can cause malignant tumor growth.
All of the spices and herbs used contain medicine too. After all, the medicines we’re familiar with every day came from herbs. Cinnamon and Allspice are Mother Nature’s antibiotics, they stabilize blood sugar, and lower blood pressure. Chilis open the arteries and are anti-inflammatory. Thyme brings a woman’s menses down, and eases hormonal discomforts. Black pepper cleanses the liver. As you can see, all of nature’s gifts have health benefits when used properly.
Another nutrient is in the tomato paste. This is one of the most concentrated forms of Lycopene because tomato paste is cooked down to such a strong concentration. Two tablespoons of organic tomato paste per day is a great preventative measure against prostate cancer. Please be mindful of the acid. We don’t want to create an imbalance in our digestive tract.
Peach Salsa Phyto Facts
Yellow peaches contain Beta-Carotene which the body uses to make vitamin A. This kind of vitamin A is skin repair, reduction in sun damage, cancer prevention, and an immune booster. The honey is nature’s moisture magnet: these two together are some of the best skincare we can eat! The bell pepper also contains those valuable carotenoids, high in vitamin A and C, they help us repair tissue damage, and move fresh oxygen out to the cells efficiently. Cilantro contains Apiginin, this offers protection against Ovarian cancer, as well as being high in Chlorophyll. The green in plants refreshes the bodily systems, repairs damaged cells, and assists in the carrying of oxygen. This is effective Delicious Medicine to eat, if you felt a summer cold coming on.
Affectionately referred to as The Walking Encyclopedia of Human Wellness, Fitness Coach, Strength Competitor and Powerlifting pioneer, Tina “The Medicine Chef” Martini is an internationally recognized Naturopathic Chef and star of the cooking show, Tina’s Ageless Kitchen. Tina’s cooking and lifestyle show has reached millions of food and fitness lovers all over the globe. Over the last 30 years, Tina has assisted celebrities, gold-medal athletes and over-scheduled executives naturally achieve radiant health using The Pyramid of Power: balancing Healthy Nutrition and the healing power of food, with Active Fitness and Body Alignment techniques. Working with those who have late-stage cancer, advanced diabetes, cardiovascular and other illnesses, Tina’s clients are astounded at the ease and speed with which they are able to restore their radiant health. Tina believes that maintaining balance in our diet, physical activity, and in our work and spiritual life is the key to our good health, happiness and overall well being. Visit her website, themedicinechef.com
I have created a Triangle Treatment Protocol that incorporates a proprietary exercise system that I created, along with DNA based nutrition application and behavioral medicine to treat those with chronic illness. We specialize in treating individuals with Type 2 Diabetes, Hypertension, Dyslipidemia, and Obesity….
When you think of taking care of your health, exercise is one of the first things that comes to mind. You know you need to stay active and stay in shape to protect your body, but what you may not realize is that you also need self-care to protect your mind. Combining self-care and fitness is the best wellness move you can make. Here are some ways to do it.
Start Working Out More at Home
Sticking to your fitness goals is important. If getting to the gym causes you stress or interferes with your schedule, though, you may want to think about building a gym at home. It’s easier than you think, and can make getting those daily workouts in easier on your schedule. You can use any extra space you have, whether it’s your garage, a spare room or a basement, and quickly set up a workout space in your home. The equipment you fill it with will hinge on your needs and the amount of space available, but for most people, basic workout equipment, like a jump rope and dumbbells, is enough to get a good workout at home and stick to their budget.
Consider Holistic Wellness Practices
A regular fitness routine will help keep your body in shape. Working out can help enhance your mood as well, but it’s not really enough to manage your mental health. You also need to find ways to help your body recover after all that effort, which is where holistic self-care practices come in handy. Incorporating practices like acupuncture, Pilates, massage and chiropractic treatment can be beneficial for relieving stress and helping keep your emotions in balance. Yoga is another practice that complements most physical fitness routines, and it improves strength and flexibility in your body. Runners can use beginners poses such as downward facing dog and pigeon to help build more muscle and keep joints flexible, all while reducing stress.
Treat Pain Through Self-Care and Exercise
If you suffer from chronic pain, you can combine self-care and fitness to find relief. The trick is to find simple workouts that get your body moving while helping your mind feel calm.
Yoga is also a good choice here, but you can also try doing tai chi. This slow, intentional practice is especially effective for seniors looking to decrease pain symptoms and decrease their fall risk.
You can treat more than arthritis with exercise and self-care, though. Studies have also shown that regular physical activity can help Alzheimer’s patients, and exercise may even play a role in preventing this debilitating condition. Research around this is still limited, but one thing that’s for sure is that adults who exercise are less prone to other chronic health conditions. Heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers can all be prevented with the right fitness routine.
Help Yourself Age Well with Fitness and Self-Care
Older adults who are looking to stay in their best shape also need to factor self-care into the equation. Without self-care, you are leaving your body and mind vulnerable to the effects of chronic stress. Consistent levels of high stress can leave older adults struggling with heart disease, anxiety and other health issues. Staying active is a great way to care for your well-being, but you also need to make sure you are taking time to really enjoy life. Practicing daily mindfulness can help all adults live more fulfilling lives. Being mindful means taking time to pause and reflect on your life, and to be thankful for the things that make you happy. In between workouts, take a 15-minute break to meditate or to write down what you’re grateful for.
Physical fitness can go a long way in preserving your overall health, but it’s not the only wellness habit you should commit to for a better life. Finding ways to work self-care into your fitness routine and your everyday life can change your body and mind in many positive ways, so make time for more self-care, and keep working toward those health and fitness goals.
Sheila Olson has been a personal trainer for five years. She created FitSheila.com to spread the word about her fitness philosophy and encourage her clients to stay positive. She incorporates mindfulness and practices for reducing negative talk into her sessions.
- Pictures courtest of Pexels: https://www.pexels.com/photo/photo-of-people-standing-on-purple-yoga-mats-1496138/
Excitement on protein has just growing throughout the years. Protein shakes, bars, or high-protein diets are really popular nowadays among fitness and healthy lifestyle lovers.
Protein is an important component of every cell in our body. Along with carbohydrates, protein is a “macronutrient”, of which the body needs vast amounts. Moreover, protein cannot be stored, so our body is in need of this nutrient fairly often. Despite its popularity, it has been revealed that 1 in 3 adults lacks protein nourishment in their regular diet. Studies have also revealed that those with a higher intake of protein were more active and therefore have better metabolic health, including major faculties to lose weight.
Are you still uncertain? Here are 10 science-based reasons from Gym Equipment GB (1) to add more protein to your diet:
Increases Muscle Mass and Strength
Probably one of the most popular reasons, but still an important one. Protein repairs, maintains and grows cells and tissues, including muscles. If you are training or trying to lose weight, it is necessary to keep a higher intake of protein than usual, because it can help you prevent muscle loss and it will increase your strength.
Reduces Cravings and Desire for Late-Night Snacking
Cravings are common and sometimes difficult to control. They usually are more related to a psychological desire than a physical need. It requires strength to overcome the temptation, but the solution may just be to increase the amount of protein in your diet.
One study in overweight men showed that increasing protein to 25% of calories reduced cravings by 60% and the desire for late-night snacking by half.(2)
For female, it seems that a higher intake of protein during breakfast reduces anxiety and desire for snacking throughout the day.
Reduces Appetite and Hunger Levels
Protein is, according to the studies, the most filling macronutrient. It actually helps you feel more full with less food. Ghrelin — the “hunger hormone” that sends signals to your brain to eat — is a clear enemy of those trying to lose weight. Protein is able to help keep it in check. It also boosts the satiety hormone peptide YY that makes you feel full.
Is Good for Your Bones
There is a part of the public that believes that protein, especially animal protein, is bad for your bones because increases the acid load that leads to calcium issues. However, most studies confirm that a major intake of protein, including animal, has abundant benefits for bone health. It helps maintain bone mass as we get older and lowers the risk of fractures and osteoporosis.
This is an important point for women, who after menopause are more vulnerable towards this disease if a low-protein diet comes along sedentarism.
Boosts Metabolism and Increases Fat Burning
Protein filled foods have been proven to naturally boost metabolism and increase the number of calories you burn up to a hundred each day. If accompanied by exercise, protein can be the best ally in your goal of losing weight.
Lowers Your Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is a cause for heart attacks, strokes, and kidney diseases. However, several studies have shown that by increasing your intake of protein you can also lower your blood pressure. Another demonstrate improvement includes risk factors for heart disease, such as cholesterol and triglycerides.
Helps Maintain Weight Loss
As we mentioned above, a rich-protein diet can boost metabolism and reduce cravings. This is indubitably convenient for those seeking to not just lose weight, but to maintain it in a long term basis. A 12-month study of 130 overweight people on a calorie restricted diet, showed that the group on a high-protein diet lost 53% more fat than a normal-protein group eating the same amount of calories.
Losing weight and becoming healthier is just the first step. Maintaining a new habit can be the biggest challenge for most people. A moderate increase in the intake of protein can help with weight maintenance.
Does Not Harm Healthy Kidneys
There are concerns about the potential harm that a high-protein diet can have on organs, especially kidney diseases. Several studies have investigated this and discovered that high-protein diets have no adverse effects on people who are free of kidney disease. It can be beneficial for people with a previous medical record to limit their intake.
Those with a healthy kidney have nothing to worry about when opting for an increment of protein in their diets.
Helps Your Body Repair Itself After Injury
Protein is the concrete of your body, maintaining the body’s tissues and organs and repairing them. Numerous studies have shown that eating more protein after an injury can help speed up the recovery.
Helps You Stay Fit as You Age
As we get older, our muscles tend to weaken, and eating protein has been shown to be one of the best ways to prevent this. Fragility, bone fractures and muscle deterioration are just some of the consequences of aging, but it can be prevented by increasing our protein intake and more importantly, keeping an active lifestyle.
At this point, you may be asking yourself, “Do I need more protein? How much is too much?” Most people already eat enough to prevent deficiency, which is around 15% of the total calories we take. However, by eating up to 30%, it can help improve metabolism, especially if training or working on weigh tloss. You should always keep an active lifestyle alongside the protein intake, and consult a professional in case of doubt. Benefits of proteins have been vastly demonstrated and is an easy way to boost your health and start building strong nutritious habits.
Lisa Sickels is a Content Writer and Developer at proteinbee.co.uk. She has been in this industry for 5+ years and specializes in writing educative content on protein, health, gym, etc. She loves to read trending news to keep her updated!
If you’ve ever lost and then regained weight, what’s the best way to stop overeating and keep weight off for good?
Rather than starting yet another diet, try tasting, really tasting your food—or meditating for a moment before eating. In other words, think outside the diet.
Welcome to the wonderful world of overeating research!
Our original research on Whole Person Integrative Eating (WPIE)1,2 unlocks some truly remarkable reasons you overeat and gain weight—and, conversely, how to overcome overeating, overweight, and obesity. Want to reap the rewards? Here are 10 tips—from our research and that of others—that could help you overcome overeating and reduce odds of being overweight or obese.
#1. Choose Chocolate
Savoring some chocolate might remind you of something you’d like to overeat—but don’t write off chocolate just yet as a (heavenly) food that could help you lose weight (yes, you read that right). In a study published in Archives of Internal Medicine, researchers showed that it’s possible to eat chocolate and weigh less if you choose the right kind—a cocoa content that’s 70% or higher, and the right amount—an ounce a day, about the size of a credit card. (Sorry, but more isn’t better `cause if you overeat chocolate, the calorie-count climbs too high to reap the rewards.) The secret to chocolate’s metabolic mystery? The antioxidant epicatechin, which revs up your metabolism.
#2. Feed Your Senses
Here’s your excuse to buy that favorite gourmet olive oil you’ve sniffed in one of those fancy olive-oil boutiques. Scientists in Germany have linked an aroma—specifically, the scent of olive oil—to eating and weighing less. Somehow, the scent of olive oil lead research participants to feel satiated sooner than those in the canola-oil scented group. And it gets better: those in the olive-oil group lost weight, while the canola-oil folks gained weight. Can “sense-filled” dining really up your odds of eating less? Yes, according to my research on Whole Person Integrative Eating,1,2“Sensory Disregard” is one of the 7 overeating styles we identified. To find out if aroma is a stay-slim tool that works for you, try your own experiment with scent-sory olive oil and other scintillating scents.
#3. Nix Night Eating
Call it nighttime hunger, nocturnal eating, or night eating syndrome (NES). Regardless of what it’s called, if you do a lot of overeating after you’ve had dinner or well into the wee small hours, it’s a triple weight-gain whammy! Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania reveal why: 1) your metabolic rate and digestion slow down at night; 2) consuming a lot of food at night wreaks havoc with hormones that control appetite, and; 3) eating when your body is meant to relax and restore itself busts your body’s built-in biological clock. The take-away: Simply put, human beings aren’t meant to eat a lot in the evening hours. It’s a formula for gaining weight and making it hard to lose weight.
#4. Dine by Design
When you eat in emotionally (think eating while surrounded with angry people) and aesthetically (visualize eating in your car in a traffic jam) unpleasant surroundings, my Whole Person Integrative Eating research1,2revealed you’re more likely to overeat. So think about the atmosphere in which you’ll be eating ahead of time. As often as possible, each time you eat, design a pleasing dining experience by creating an emotional and physical atmosphere that’s as pleasant as possible.
Which leads to…
#5. Pay Attention to How You Feel
Emotional eating—turning to food to soothe negative emotions or out-of-control food cravings—is the #1 predictor of overeating and weight gain, according to my Whole Person Integrative Eating research.1,2 To get control, try this: First, commit to getting in touch with your feelings before, during, and after eating. Next, make a conscious choice to eat when your emotions are balanced—not negative. Then recognize that one of the best reasons for eating is a healthy appetite, meaning, don’t let yourself get too hungry. The bottom line: Commit to eating for pleasure, with a healthy desire for food, and experience feel-good emotions when you eat and enjoy!
#6. Eat with Others
A famous study that began in the early 1960s in the small town of Roseto, Pennsylvania, explores the influence of human relationships and social support on the metabolism of high-fat, high-cholesterol, calorie-dense foods. Amazingly, this study suggests that when social support is present in our lives, especially when we eat, what we eat is somehow metabolized differently—so much so that it can keep you from getting sick. My more recent research on overeating1,2 revealed that eating alone more often than not—what I call Solo Dining—is yet another “new normal” eating style that strongly increases the odds of overeating. When it’s time to eat a meal, invite others to join you. Share mealtimes with friends, family, or coworkers as often as possible. Or if you have a pet, consider eating at the same time as your furry friend!
#7. Don’t Diet
Although dieting, judging food as “good” or “bad,” and thinking a lot about the “best” way to eat may not seem to have much in common, they are all characteristics of the overeating style I describe as “Food Fretting.”1,2If you see yourself in the food-fretter scenario, you’re at increased odds of overeating and weight gain. To get off the food-fretting treadmill, first and foremost, stop dieting. Instead, perceive food and eating as one of life’s greatest pleasures, and choose Integrative Eating as your most-of-the-time dietary lifestyle. Choose wisely (see “Get Fresh,” below) and enjoy.
#8. Get Fresh
If your most-of-the-time way of eating is, say, a donut and coffee for breakfast; a burger, fries, and coke for lunch; pizza for dinner; and chips as a snack, my research on Whole Person Integrative eating suggests that “fast foodism” is your main overeating style.1,2If a diet of mostly fast and processed foods is typical for you, consider getting in touch with your inner fresh-food fairy. You can do this by replacing sugar-, fat-, and salt-laden foodish foods—ingredients that can amp up your “overeating engine”—with more fresh fruits, veggies, whole grains, beans, and nuts and seeds, and lean, free-range, chemical-free animal foods. Worth a try, don’t you think?
#9. When You Eat, Eat
Do you ever eat while watching TV? Or while working at your computer? Or when you’re driving? If you eat while doing other things, you’re doing “task snacking,” a Whole Person Integrative Eating overeating style that is linked with overeating and increased odds of weight gain.1,2The antidote? Mindfulness eating. Give up eating while doing other activities. Instead, stay mindful, keep focused on your food, and do one thing at a time. In other words, eat when you eat!
#10. Quit Chemical Cuisine
Obesogens are the manmade chemicals—plastics and pesticides—which have found their way into our food supply and beverages. They wreak their havoc on both appetite and weight by mimicking estrogen, a hormone that can make you fat. The solution? One quick tip for avoiding “chemical cuisine” is to stay away from bisphenol A (BPA) found in canned foods, bottled beverages, meat packed in plastic, and more.
The key take-away is this: To attain and maintain weight loss…for life, think outside the diet by changing beliefs you have about dieting, losing weight, and keeping it off. Replace limiting weight-loss “think” with insights into the underlying reasons you overeat and gain weight—some of the overeating styles we just told you about. The 10 key weight-loss solutions are your first step in jump-starting a relationship to food and eating that can help you turn overeating into optimal, whole person integrative eating…and attaining and maintaining weight loss…for life.
Visit Deborah’s website, makeweightlosslast.com, for free evidence-based, credible information and education about optimal eating for weight loss and well-being. You can also visit her blog, integrativeeating.com.
Originally printed on integrativeeating.com. Reprinted with permission from Deborah Kesten.
Deborah Kesten, M.P.H., is an award-winning author, specializing in preventing and reversing obesity and heart disease. Her expertise includes the influence of epigenetics and diet on health, Lifestyle Medicine, and research on the Whole Person Integrative Eating dietary lifestyle to treat overeating, overweight, and obesity. She and her husband, behavioral scientist Larry Scherwitz, Ph.D., collaborate on research and writing projects.
- Scherwitz L, Kesten D, “Seven Eating Styles Linked to Overeating, Overweight, and Obesity,” Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing 1, no. 5 (2005): 342–59.
- Kesten D, Scherwitz L. “Whole Person Integrative Eating: A Program for Treating Overeating, Overweight, and Obesity,” Integrative Medicine: A Clinician’s Journal 14, no. 5 (October/November 2015): 42-50.