Diet


When Not to Trust Your Trainer

how-to-spot-a-bad-personal-trainer

 

I AM NOT A DOCTOR.

The amount of times I am asked about how to treat a chronic pain, (most likely induced by over-exercising), astounds me. It’s also a little humbling, as it makes me realize how much people trust me with their bodies.

Here’s a typical conversation I’ll have with someone who approaches me in the gym or after a class:

Exerciser: Hey Amy, for a few weeks, I’ve had this pain in my shoulder every time I bench press, and it’s not getting any better.

Me: You’ve been in pain for a few weeks, and you’re still working out?

Exerciser: Of course!

Me: Have you been to the doctor? You may need an MRI…at the very least it’s best to stop bench pressing until you can get a doctor’s appointment…

Exerciser: Oh no, I can’t stop benching!

Me: 

polar_face_palm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you are in chronic pain, and you continue the activity which causes that specific pain, be prepared to pay the price, which could include prolonged periods of rest and possibly surgery.

As a personal trainer I am qualified to create a workout plan for you, demonstrate and supervise you performing said workout plan, suggest some dietary adjustments to optimize your workout plan, and tag you in Instagram videos of people doing ridiculous exercises like this:

But I will not, at any time, attempt to treat a medical condition or injury without you first consulting a doctor. Any trainer or instructor who dispenses medical advice, or attempts to treat a medical condition or injury, is operating out of their scope of practice and is behaving irresponsibly. 

There are some trainers out there with some very advanced degrees that may include physical therapy. But even they can’t see what’s going on inside of you if you haven’t had an X-ray or MRI. So if something has been bothering you for a while, go get one, ok? As someone who has spent over 10 weeks in a walking boot due to an ignored pain in her foot, I can tell you this much: a little early detection goes a long a way.

photo (18) Perhaps a quick visit to the doctor before running my 8th half marathon would have kept me out of this beauty.

 

 

 

 

 

This also goes for the dispensing of nutrition plans. Believe it or not, your personal trainer–unless they have attained a higher degree in dietetics–is not qualified to put you on a diet. We can suggest ways in which you can make your diet more nutritious, and can help you to devise methods of calorie imbalance that may either gain or lose you weight, but this does not include putting you on a specific plan like paleo, vegetarianism, etc.

It should be obvious that this also goes for anyone out there giving out (0r in some cases selling) diet plans. But just in case, you should be aware that the following are NOT QUALIFIED to put you on a diet:

Got a question? Leave me a comment at facebook.com/blitzyourbody or on Twitter @AmyBlitz1. You can also email me at amy.blitz@gmail.com!

On a diet? Eat MORE…That’s Right, I Said It

Congratulations to one of my virtual clients, who just reported that she’s lost 10 lbs in two months!

A great achievement. We’ve been focusing on tracking her food with an online journal, making healthier choices, and moving more. Notice how I use the phrase “healthier choices” and not “major diet over-haul,” because making small changes is more conducive to creating lasting healthy habits. Most days I have to remind my client to eat MORE calories, not less. Why would I do such a thing?

Lose Weight While Eating the Most Calories Possible

For years, fitness mags have encouraged ladies to eat a 1500 calorie diet to lose weight. This advice is doled out to us with no regard for our current weight, height, activity level, and muscle mass. Should an active woman who is  5’7″  tall eat the same amount of calories as a 5’2″ sedentary woman? Hell no!

homer-simpson-diet-screencap

If you’re looking to lose weight by solely using a cookie-cutter, restricted calorie diet, you’re setting yourself up for failure:

  • The potential for muscle loss is greater
  • You’ll feel your energy slump
  • Your workouts will suffer
  • Sleep patterns can be disturbed
  • You’ll find that maintaining your new lean body is even more difficult than your initial weight loss was.

And if you’re an active person of a healthy weight just looking to change your body composition (less fat, more muscle),  a low calorie diet will keep you spinning your wheels faster than your favorite Fly Wheel instructor.

Disclaimer: THIS IS A JOKE. NEVER DO THIS. UNLESS YOU WANT A LIFETIME BACK PROBLEM.

In addition to adjusting daily calorie counts to best fit your body type, keep in mind that once you have hit your goal weight, your calorie needs will DECREASE. A person carrying less mass needs less energy. Einstein said that, folks.

This is why it’s best to figure out what you specifically need to lose or maintain weight with a total energy expenditure (TEE) calculator  and go from there. There are a few really good calculators out there. I like this one: http://www.health-calc.com/diet/energy-expenditure-advanced because it allows for several factors like sleep, activity, and exercise intensity. You may be surprised at how many calories you need to eat to maintain your weight! Once you find out what your daily needs are, you can decrease your calories to create a deficit. I recommend using a food journal to keep track. If you don’t like to journal, I ask that you just try  it for one week, in order to give yourself an idea of what it’s like to eat within a calorie range. Finally, please don’t attempt to cut more 300- 500 calories per day. Slow and steady is the way to go!

28 Day Blitz!

There’s a myth out there that people naturally slim down during the hot summer months…something about the higher temperatures making it too uncomfortable to overeat. Yeah right! Personally, the warm weather makes me want to eat more fro-yo, and go to more happy hours. When you factor in vacations and long weekends, the little indulgences can really start to add up.

I can’t be alone in this. In fact, I know that I am not. In the past few weeks, I’ve been asked by a number of people to create a month-long challenge that will inspire a healthier lifestyle, and help shake off that extra summer weight.

So, here we go…

The 28 Day Blitz

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No sugar is pretty self explanatory. It also means no white bread or pasta–these foods convert too quickly in your body, and spike your insulin levels, just like sugar does.

No fast or fried foods– a no-brainer.

Nothing highly processed– no soda, no scary Kraft products, nothing “light” or “fat free”…if it comes out of a package and has a ton of unfamiliar ingredients, stay away.

No junk: cookies, crackers, bagels, pizza, burgers, fries, cupcakes, ice cream,  frozen yogurt (yes, even fro-yo!)

So what can you eat? This is NOT a deprivation diet. I want you to eat REAL food and measure your portion sizes. Your exercise goal, if you accept, is to move your body five days a week. These five days can include a long walk, your favorite yoga class or intense HIIT training, you just have to get going.

Take this month to clear out the junk in your cabinets AND in your “trunk.”

asstrunk

I couldn’t resist!

And since I don’t want you to feel totally deprived, give yourself one “cheat” meal and one “cheat” snack each week. Also, you’ll notice that I haven’t banned booze. But let’s try to limit alcohol to 1-2 glasses of wine a week.

Every week I’ll feature a workout, healthy meal ideas, and encouragement to help you through the next 28 days. If you want to really get serious, measure/weigh yourself, or take a “before pic” before you officially start. By October, I hope you are looking and feeling better than ever!

So, what do you say?

Talk to me FB.com/blitzyourbody or Twitter @AmyBlitz1

Work Your Glutes and Eat Your Nooch

First thing’s first: my exercise video is out on YouTube! In this, the first of many workouts, I focus on low-impact glute exercises that anyone can do. Don’t let the words “low-impact” stop you from trying them, even if you think of yourself as more advanced. The exercises I picked are  very effective for targeting the glutes, and can be made more difficult by adding weights. Check it out here:

Thanks to my friends at DSnap Photography! They did an amazing job!

And the Blitz goes on…

So, I’m a vegan now. Add in last month’s vegetarian diet, and I admit that I miss eating meat. It’s not so much that I crave it–I just miss having it as an option. But my energy is back (my workouts feel good), I’m not as sleepy in the mid-day hours, and my body finally seems to be adjusting to the new diet. Whew!

I’ve been playing around with some vegan products to ensure I get the protein and nutrients my body needs. In the strange-but-good category, I came across Nutritional Yeast.

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Hmm…looks strange…

And if the name sounds weird to you, just wait till you actually see it. The stuff looks exactly like fish food and the smell…I can’t describe it. But it’s not  exactly pleasant. However, once it’s sprinkled on food, it takes on a nutty, cheesy taste. I like it over steamed or stir-fried kale, broccoli, and cauliflower. It’s also good with beans and on salads. I’ve also heard it’s a tasty option for popcorn. Interesting. But really…what the hell is it?

Nutritional Yeast or “nooch” is an inactive yeast grown on molasses. It won’t help your bread rise, but it will provide you with vitamin B12, selenium, zinc, and protein. Basically all the stuff you need if you aren’t eating animal products. Try it, (on things rather than alone), and you’ll like it–I swear. If you aren’t eating any meat or dairy, you need this stuff in your life!

Got any vegan pro-tips for me? Easy recipes? Let me know on Facebook.com/blitzyourbody or Tweet @AmyBlitz1

I’m So Bad…And That’s Ok!

I came across a blog the other day about the problem with “diet mentality.” You know, that feeling of failure and lack of willpower that comes from being “bad”at the dinner table. The declaration of a food fail or “food shaming” seems to be the way some of us relate to each other lately as we all try to squeeze into our skinny jeans.

Amy Schumer totally nailed it in her April 8th sketch on her show that highlighted this trend. If you haven’t seen it, check it out here:

 

Amy-Schumer

Love her!

Does confessing our food sins really make us feel better? Or does it actually hinder real progress by constantly focusing on our failure? If we always take for granted the good things we do and only stress about the negative, then how can anyone expect to actually stick to a healthy lifestyle?

Let’s change our mindsets. Eating healthy and exercising is a reward for our bodies, not a punishment for being ‘bad’. True, it’s easier to just hang on the couch. And sometimes it’s difficult to pass by the good cupcake place without stopping in. But eventually it becomes easier to make the choice of good health. And when you do, you should CELEBRATE IT! And if on one of those days you actually go in and get the damn cupcake, don’t beat yourself up afterward.

Read the original blog post from WeightPsychology.com here: http://www.weightpsychology.com/blog.php

As for my own diet experiment with Paleo: it’s still going well. Vin and I are both cooking up some amazing food!

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Paleo Crispy Buffalo Chicken with Bacon Wrapped Asparagus.

Made by Vin. Recipe at http://stupideasypaleo.com/

 I had a major cheat with some pizza the other night since we were out celebrating my girl Lisa’s birthday.

AND THAT’S OK!

Rockin’ the Paleo!

My first couple of days on the Paleo Diet have been pretty easy, and delicious! Paleo definitely requires a lot of cooking, though. This week, I made sure I was fully stocked with wild-caught cod, shrimp, grass fed beef, and pork tenderloin. As usual, I’m thankful for the Trader Joe’s in my neighborhood. These items are a pricier than the regular stuff, but you can find most things at TJ’s for a lot less than Fresh Direct and Whole Foods.  Meat pictures aren’t so pretty, but just look at these beautiful paleo-friendly fruits and veggies I picked up:

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The big green guy back there is a Kabucha squash aka Japanese pumpkin. I haven’t cooked it yet, but I hear it tastes like a cross between a butternut squash and a yam. I’m saving that starchy squash and sweet potatoes for those days when I am very active, and exercise longer than an hour. They’ll be perfect for my long run days. Oh, wait. About all that running I was supposed to do this month–

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Oops!

Apparently I have a benign cyst on my foot that has been the culprit of all my ankle woes. The MRI is tomorrow. Not that I don’t just LOVE wearing this Aircast boot, but I’m crossing my fingers that I’ll be out of it in a few days.  I can still lift weights and ride a spin bike so I’ll be sticking with my exercise routine and keeping busy. And if you see me hobbling around town in my boot, why not slow down and walk with me, ok?

Back to the good stuff–the food. The exclusion of grains from my diet has forced me to be a little experimental in the kitchen. Yes, it is just a diet of vegetables, meat and fruit, but I know I’m going to get bored if I don’t add some variety to my day. So, instead of my usual pre-paleo turkey wrap for lunch, today I made a simple crab salad with avocado, yellow peppers, and lemon juice, served up in some lettuce cups.

It was the bomb.

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Got any questions about Paleo? Or some kick-ass recipes for me to try? Don’t be shy and let me know!

The 3 Month Diet Challenge: Starting With the Dawn of Man…Paleo!

When I’m asked about various lifestyle diets (which happens pretty often), I always repeat the same mantra: “Everything in moderation”. I’ve always been  proponent of a well-balanced diet that includes every food group, including the occasional Cadbury Egg. But lately there has been a lot of discussion about going back to basics and cutting out grains, meat, dairy, etc. Hmmmm. What if there’s something I’m missing regarding the grain free lifestyle? Is a meatless existence really the way to go?  It’s time to put my money where my mouth is, and try out some of these diets.

For the next three months, I’m trying out the most popular lifestyle diets. In April, I’m taking it back to the Flinstones era, and trying out the Paleo Diet. In May, I’m doing a complete 180 and going vegetarian. Then in June, I’ll take it one step further to vegan. Along the way, I’ll blog about my experience, updating you on things like ease of  the plan, what I’m eating, expense, my energy level, and any changes in my body.

flintstone

The Paleo Diet is not new. The book was originally published in 2002, but has really started to gain more popularity due to the explosion of cross-fit, which promotes the diet to its devotees.

So, What Exactly is the Paleo Diet? 

paleo foods

In a nutshell, the author of the book states that advances in the modern age to mass produce grains has resulted in the loss of humanity’s original way of life. We as a society are suffering from diseases such as obesity, heart disease, and diabetes because our bodies are not designed to eat a grain based diet. In order to restore health, vitality, and weight loss (if desired) we must act like cavemen and return to the diet we are genetically programmed to eat.

Not Permitted: dairy, grains, seed-like grains (quinoa, aramanth), sugar, cereals, starchy vegetables, legumes, processed foods, vinegar, beer, liquor

Permitted: Lean meats, fish, seafood, fruits, vegetables, nuts (4 oz a day), wine (1 glass). Also, trace amounts of raw honey is permitted.

Finer points

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This is  not a low-carb “Atkins” style diet where you can go crazy on bacon and bun-less cheese burgers. The author stresses the importance of choosing grass fed, lean cuts of meat, wild caught fish, and Omega 3 enriched eggs. You are allowed to use oil, but only moderate amounts of flax, olive or coconut oil. Salt must also be limited or avoided altogether. Also, the book states that in the beginning stages of the diet, you are permitted 1-3 cheat meals a week. The author concedes that this type of diet will be too strict for 100% adherence. I’ll keep the cheats to a minimum.

An Important Note

Since I work out at least five days a week and will be running a half marathon in mid-May, I will be doing Paleo Diet for Athletes. The only difference is that this plan permits starchy fruits and vegetables, energy gels during exercise that is over an hour, and whey protein for post workout shakes.

One Last Thing

Up until last year, I never touched a diet book and worried when any of my clients read one. Then last spring I decided to try intermittent-fasting and read “The 8 Hour Diet”. Despite the the book’s lack of hard scientific facts, I gave it a try and was actually pretty impressed with the results. In fact, to this day, a year later, I still do mini 14-16 hour fasts a few times a week. I’m not sure if I will continue this for the next three months while I change up my diets, but if I do, I’ll let you know!

fastfoodcavemanNo! He doesn’t want fries with that!

Dear Diary…Why You Should Keep a Food Journal

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The 30 Day Food Journal Challenge I started in January is finally over! For the past month, my clients, friends, and I kept a detailed log of our daily exercise and food intake, using the My Fitness Pal app. So did my challenge work? Is keeping a food journal really worth the effort?

Here are some tips I learned:

Honesty is the Best Policy

A food journal can give you insight into your daily calorie intake and can help you determine areas where your diet can be cleaned up. But you must be thorough. It’s best to log right after you’ve eaten so you don’t forget. This includes the handful of potato chips you had, and that half of a chocolate chip cookie I snacked on (couldn’t help it, it had walnuts). Over a period of time, omitting little bites like those can mean the difference between reaching your goal or coming up short.

Be Consistent

Keeping a food log can work, but only if done with consistency. I recommend setting a specific time goal for journaling. Whether it is an entire month or even just a week, make a commitment to log every day for that time. Out of the 22 who signed up for the 30 Day Food Journal Challenge, about half didn’t keep up with their log, and dropped out after the first week. Everyone who recorded for the full 30 days experienced various degrees of success–from better fitting clothes, to a ten pound drop in weight. 

Underestimate Your Exercise Expenditure and Overestimate Your Calories

The My Fitness Pal app, as well as the cardio machines at the gym, grossly overestimate the calories you burn while you workout. My suggestion is to under report the amount of time you worked out to get a number that could be close to accurate. As for calories consumed, if you measure your portions, you don’t need to adjust for accuracy. However when dining out, it’s always best to over estimate. Last night I searched “pizza” on My Fitness Pal and many of the entries were under 300 calories a slice, which seems highly unlikely. Especially in New York, where a slice of pizza looks like this:

nyny_pizza1.sized

If your pizza fits on a plate, you’re not in New York

Review Your Previous Entries

You can’t learn about your food habits and triggers, if you don’t take the time to look at previous entries. Did you have a bad day at work on a high calories day? Are you too busy too eat a sufficient amount of food when the baby is awake? Reflection can be key to helping you make healthy changes that can last a lifetime.

Yes! Journaling Does Work!

Finally, some people would be above printing a letter of praise from a happy food journaler. I, however, am not one of those people! Read Shannon’s letter below to see  how keeping a food journal helped her break through a plateau:

Hi Amy- I just wanted to thank you for starting the 30 day food journal challenge . It was just the change I needed to shed a few more pounds, which I’d been trying to drop for months. I was basically stuck at the same weight and just figured that was it for me…but then I started journaling and bam, 5 lbs in 30. days!!! It’s incredible the difference those 5 lbs have made I am beyond ecstatic at how I look and how much more defined my muscles look now. I truly appreciate and just love people like you who start these sorts of things and are always looking to help those around them. You are a great inspiration!! Thank you thank you thank you!!! Xoxoxo

Oh and I plan to continue journaling, I’m addicted –Shannon

Thanks Shannon! Glad to hear that you love how you look and, more importantly, how you feel!

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