Monday, June 24, 2013

Late Night Snacking...

Diet Dilemma: Late Night Snacking
If I had a dime for every time I heard the following (sigh):  “I was so good all day, but then I couldn’t stop eating [fill in the blank] all evening.” Evening or late-night snacking can derail the most dedicated weight-loss efforts, but if this is your biggest dietary weakness, planning ahead will help to incorporate those snacks right into a healthy diet plan.
I know, I're not supposed to eat past 6, or 7, or whatever.  If it doesn't work into your lifestyle, you won't be able to stick with it.  For example, many evenings, I work over the dinner hour.  It's too early to eat before I leave, and too late to eat when I come back, so should I just skip dinner?  No.  The trick is to plan out what your food choices will be, regardless of when you eat them, although if you let yourself get too hungry, you may find yourself grabbing for a bit too much food.  Below are a few tips to help you keep in line with later snacks or even a late supper.
1.  Plan your day.  Have the food ready to go in a Tupperware container, or pre-measured if you are following a specific plan. 
2.  Plan in snacks and enough protein to keep you satisfied, so you don't want to overcompensate at the end of the day.
3.  Make regular trips to the grocery store for fresh fruit and veggies, so you have them on hand for snacking, if necessary.
4.  Particularly easy this time of year, taking a walk in the evening after dinner can really help to keep you away from the snack foods.
5.  Stay away from "fluffy" white foods late at night:  bread, cookies, processed food, sweets, cakes--these should be in short supply in your home anyway, but particularly harmful when you ingest them at night!
Have a fantastic week!

Melissa Abramovich
AAHFRP Medical Exercise Specialist
"Excuses are the nails that build houses of failure"

From Physical Therapy to Personal Fitness

Exercise can be an important part of coping with a chronic disease or recovering from an injury; It can increase longevity and quality of life, improve energy, strength, balance and coordination, and act as a potent pain reliever and antidepressant. But many people don't know what exercise guidelines to follow for optimal health and management of their disease or disorder. Coordinating with your healthcare provider and a personal trainer certified (as I am) as a Medical Exercise Specialist can help you to recover fully and cope with your health challenges.

From Physical Therapy to Personal Fitness

Graduating from physical therapy is a good reason to celebrate and there’s no better time to start a fitness program, even if you’ve never been physically active. Regular exercise will help you maintain your therapy results and will keep you feeling good for a long time. Create a plan to stay active and fit, even when you don’t have a therapist watching your every move.  A personal trainer can help you to design a program, and help you implement it for optimum results.

Use It Or Lose It

When your course of treatment is over, you’ll want to get back into the swing of your usual activities. For many people, this means returning to a sedentary lifestyle, but that is one of the worst things you can do. Instead, commit to a regular physical activity program to boost your strength, cardiovascular health, and flexibility. Staying active year-round helps your body and your brain function well. It also increases your odds of staying healthy.

Start Smart

Physical therapists usually discharge patients with home exercise instructions. Before you finish therapy, ask any questions you have about exercises you should and shouldn’t be doing. You should have a clear understanding of which exercises to do, how to do them, how often, for how long, at what level and how you should feel while exercising.  As you begin exercising on your own, go easy. Follow your therapist’s instructions to increase your exercise level to avoid injury and discourage setbacks.
The benefits of exercise last only as long as you stay active, so keep a copy of your exercise plan where you’ll see it every day. Track your progress to keep yourself honest. Otherwise, you may end up right where you started, with pain, limited function or injury.

Manage Symptoms

Your therapist can tell you about symptoms to watch for and how to manage them. You may be able to manage some symptoms at home, but others may need to be evaluated by a medical professional.

At Home

Beginning your post-rehab personal fitness program at home is a great idea for convenience, privacy, and affordability. Set up your home exercise space with safety in mind. Clear your floor of slipping and tripping hazards and make sure you have a stable surface to sit, stand or lie on and something to hold onto for balance.

Gym Time

You may wish to exercise at a local gym or recreation center, especially if you already belonged to one before you underwent physical therapy. If your home exercise plan calls for using exercise equipment or machines, working out at a gym is a convenient way to go.

Step It Up

When you’re ready to move beyond your post-rehab exercise program, schedule a few sessions with a certified personal trainer specializing in post-rehab training. Doing so decreases your risk of injury and pain as you continue to build strength and fitness.

Speak Up

Once you begin your personal fitness program, you may have some questions. You might try some of the exercises and realize that for some reason, they don’t feel right to you. Instead of ditching the entire plan, contact your physical therapist or trainer. Some simple adjustments to your routine could make all the difference.
Have a great week!
Melissa Abramovich
AAHFRP Medical Exercise Specialist
"Excuses are the nails that build houses of failure"

Monday, June 3, 2013

High Intensity and CrossFit type workouts, are they for you?

High Intensity and CrossFit type workouts, are they for you?
Rope climbing, barbell clean and jerks, kettlebell swings, and heavy medicine ball throws are just a few examples of older style exercises that have experienced a resurgence. CrossFit and other workout programs like boot camps and fitness training camps tend to emphasize high intensity and power training.  These moves were typically used by strength coaches working with elite athletes who needed to perform at the highest levels for competitions. The re-introduction of these high intensity conditioning programs include explosive lifts that are designed to push the human body to it's very limits. 
Created in 2000 by former gymnastics coach Greg Glassman, CrossFit has tapped into an unprecedented consumer demand for results by using challenging strength and power exercises combined with bodyweight gymnastics and plyometric movements. In its definition of “World-Class Fitness” CrossFit advocates:
“Practice and train major lifts: deadlift, clean, squat, clean and jerk, and snatch. Similarly, master the basics of gymnastics: pull-ups, dips, rope climb, push-ups, sit-ups, presses to handstand, pirouettes, flips, splits and holds. Bike, run, swim, row, etc. hard and fast. Five or six days per week mix these elements in as many combinations and patterns as creativity will allow.”
This isn't in and of itself a bad outlook, but use caution:  any program that doesn't allow for modifications and a slower, safer pace, mixed with good form is one that requires wariness.  If you go into a program, and the exercise is pull ups, but they want you jerking your back up to get there, take heed:  you need to build to these exercises!  The foundation of strength and power is basic stability.  If you don't already have a baseline of fitness, you are setting yourself up for injury.
Ask for modifications, research good form, ask a personal trainer for a program to get you started, and you will soon be having a great time in these more intense workout formats.  You are you own best advocate for your health and fitness!