Posted in Nutrition

Sugar, to substitute or not to substitute, that is the question?!

In the late 90’s/early 2000’s when I was first training and competing in figure competitions, sugar-free, fat-free, and as low calorie as possible was the name of the game! Well guess what, when you are essentially starving yourself and training to look near perfect on stage you are also craving sweets more than air! I will never forget the day another competitor took me to Starbucks and ordered me a coffee with sugar-free syrup and skim milk, I fell in love and immediately created a new route to and from work DAILY to pick up a Venti! Soon, I was purchasing my own sugar-free syrup and boxes of Splenda to have at home … and save money.  Before competing, I had never really tried too many sugar-free foods or used artificial sweeteners, to be honest I was a sugar junkie and thought sugar-free only existed for diabetics. As far as I was concerned I had just been given a “hall pass” to indulge on anything, as long as it was sugar-free!! On a daily basis, I carried a baggie of Splenda in my purse in case of emergencies, my protein powder was sugar-free, I poured sugar-free Crystal light into my 2+ gallons of water, I chewed sugar-free gum and sucked on sugar-free candy, and I even put sugar-free ketchup on my tuna?! All this in the name of “sticking to the plan”, curbing cravings, and maintaining sanity.  Have you ever heard the saying “too much of a good thing can be a bad thing”?! Well as it turns out, no matter if something is sugar-free or sugar-full, portion control still matters and the “devil” is in the consumption rate! In this article, we are going to focus our attention on sugar substitutes and artificial sweeteners and the potential dangers that come with consuming them even when done in the name of fat-loss and health! 

First, let’s start with how to identify these sugar substitutes in your products. You will see them either listed at the very end of the main ingredients or look down in the “other ingredients” section to find them. The most commonly used artificial sweeteners are listed below, they can be found used in combination with each other or as a single agent. I should note these sugar substitutes also known as non-nutritive sweeteners, have been approved by the FDA using the designation ‘GRAS’, meaning Generally Recognized As Safe (what does that really mean?!) and given ‘ADI’s’, acceptable daily intake;

  • Saccharin, synthesized in a lab and seen under the trade name ‘Sweet N Low’, the first artificial sweetener discovered is 200-700 times as sweet as sugar.
  • Sucralose, derived from sugar and seen under the trade name ‘Splenda’, the world’s most commonly used artificial sweetener is 600 times as sweet as sugar.
  • Aspartame, an accidental laboratory discovery derived from two amino acids; one essential and one non-essential and seen under the trade names ‘NutraSweet’ and ‘Equal’, 200 times as sweet as sugar.
  • Acesulfame potassium (Ace-K), also an accidental discovery in a lab and seen under the trade name ‘Nutrinova’, is 200 times sweeter than sugar. 
  • Luo Han Guo, an extract from monk fruit extract is 10-250 times sweeter than sugar.
  • Stevia, derived from the leaves of the plant stevia rebaudiana and seen under the trade names ‘Truvia’, ‘Stevia in the Raw’, ‘Sweet Leaf’, and ’PureVia’ is 200-400 times sweeter than sugar. 

The last two listed are slightly different than the first five listed because they are still young in the sugar substitute game and have the least amount of research to support or deny health claims. 

A separate category of sugar substitutes that can also be used in low-sugar foods and supplements are sugar alcohols. The most commonly seen are xylitol, sorbitol, erythritol, maltitol, mannitol and isomalt. These are considered nutritive sweeteners because they contain some calories but much less than real sugar. These are commonly not as sweet as sugar but are often combined with artificial sweeteners named above to counter their bitter taste and make them more palatable. 

Now that you can identify these additives, let’s talk about potential problems with daily use or including them in a weight loss program. I’ve decided to cite real professionals to show science based evidence and not just speculation based on personal experience. 

  • There is not enough evidence proving they help with weight loss: A 2013 review found that there is insufficient evidence to suggest that replacing dietary sugar with non-caloric sweeteners alone is beneficial for energy balance, weight loss, or diabetes risk factors.The review found that restricting calories is more important than avoidance of sugar for weight management. (1)
  • The evidence that is available to support health claims is inconsistent: Despite being considered safe by the FDA, and evidence to support at least a short-term benefit for weight management, there are questionable health disadvantages associated with non-nutritive sweeteners. In general, they offer no nutritional advantage. Dietary recommendations for their consumption are inconsistent across different health organizations and are often inconclusive. Taking a cautious approach may be prudent until there is more research in this area. One cannot go wrong by following the recommendations offered in the 2015 Dietary Guidelines scientific committee to “reduce added sugars in the diet and replace with healthy options, such as substituting water for sugar-sweetened soda, instead of non-nutritive sweeteners.” The American Heart Association, suggests: “For those who consume sugar-sweetened beverages regularly, a low-calorie or non-nutritive-sweetened beverage may serve as a short-term replacement strategy, but overall, people are encouraged to decrease both sweetened and non-nutritive-sweetened beverages and use other alternatives, with an emphasis on water intake.” (2)
  • Studies are showing change in our taste buds: It’s possible that these products change the way we taste food. “Non-nutritive sweeteners are far more potent than table sugar and high-fructose corn syrup. A very small amount produces a sweet taste comparable to that of sugar, without comparable calories. Overstimulation of sugar receptors from frequent use of these hyper-intense sweeteners may limit tolerance for more complex tastes. That means people who routinely use artificial sweeteners may start to find less intensely sweet foods, such as fruit, less appealing and unsweet foods, such as vegetables, downright unpalatablecausing less of a desire to eat healthy, filling, and highly nutritious foods while consuming more artificially flavored foods with less nutritional value.(3)
  • There is evidence supporting confusion amongst our huger hormones, leptin and ghrelin: Artificial sweeteners may play another trick, too. Research suggests that they may prevent us from associating sweetness with caloric intake. As a result, we may crave more sweets, tend to choose sweet food over nutritious food, and gain weight. Participants in the San Antonio Heart Study who drank more than 21 diet drinks per week were twice as likely to become overweight or obese as people who didn’t drink diet soda. *In addition to this, can you really give up diet drinks whenever you want? Don’t be so sure. Animal studies suggest that artificial sweeteners may be addictive. In studies of rats who were exposed to cocaine, then given a choice between intravenous cocaine or oral saccharine, most chose saccharin! (3)
  • The gateway to our insides is being altered: Recent research shows that artificial sweeteners also alter themicrobiome and can kill off good bacteria in our gut. In 2014, Israeli researchers demonstrated, in both laboratory animals as well as humans, that glucose intolerance is related to changes in gut bacteria induced by artificial sweeteners. Gut health is linked to our over-all health including immunity, our skin, and mental health. (4)

Now that we have identified sugar substitutes and discovered the potential risks associated with incorporating them in a regular diet, we ask the question, “sugar, to substitute or not to substitute”? At Bare Bodi Fitness we are firm believers in using real forms of sugar in moderation because we are firm believers in whole food nutrition. This belief and practice is based off years of being in the fitness and weight loss industry ourselves, working with many clients and seeing positive change in their ability to adhere to new eating habits, obtain results in their bodies due to adherence, as well as experience health benefits from consuming real, whole foods. We believe in reviewing research as it is constantly changing and seeking the guidance of other professionals with further knowledge. 

References:

  1. Shankar, Padmini; Ahuja, Suman; Sriram, Krishnan (1 December 2013). “Non-nutritive sweeteners: review and update”. Nutrition. 29 (11–12): 1293–1299.
  2. Mcguire S. Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. Washington, DC: US Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services, 2015. Adv Nutr. 2016;7(1):202-4. Accessed 1/21/2019.
  3. Strawbridge, Holly; Harvard Health Publishing, “Artificial Sweeteners: sugar-free, but at what cost? July 16, 2012, updated January 8, 2018. 
  4. Lipman, Frank M.D; Well and Good, ‘Why Artificial Sweetener Is Worse For You Than Sugar’. October 3, 2018.

Posted in Nutrition

What I’ve Learned about “GOOD” Fat!

I have been studying nutrition and exercise since I was 14 years old, this is the age I became obsessed with my body. I wanted to know everything I could about food and the effect it had on my body as well as understand how exercise could manipulate my body. I admit, my obsession was extremely unhealthy! I distinctly remember when the fat free = fat loss trend started and I happily cut out ALL traces of fat from my diet. I was living on plain bagels, cereal with skim milk, sandwiches with low fat turkey lunch meat and fat free cheese (that would not melt, clue #1), and I would scrape around my dinner plate, boycotting any fat that my mom may have snuck on it. I’m certain if you grew up in the 90’s you know what I’m talking about right now! I truly believed I was the healthiest version of myself cutting all the fat from my diet…boy was I wrong! Thankfully over the last two and a half decades I have gained A LOT of knowledge on the topic of nutrition and how it effects my health (the point here is not to sound like Ron Burgundy and tell you how many leather-bound books I have, it’s to show that i’v learned from practical experience also)! I have both formal education and self guided education, meaning I’ve been pointed to information from numerous practitioners along my journey for the purpose of understanding for my own benefit to better my health as well as my clients. What I have learned about the benefits of consuming the “good” kind of fat for my TOTAL HEALTH is mind blowing AND it turns out it was actually dangerous for me to attempt to totally cut it out of my life! Below are a few of the reasons I was happy to incorporate the tasty treat back into my daily diet as well as my favorite healthy fats that are always stocked in our home…

  • Fat is essential for hormone health kids! THAT’S RIGHT…your sex drive may depend on it as well as having a healthy, pain free menstrual cycle, it even helps your body make hormones
  • Fat helps fight depression and other mood disorders… yes there is evidence and I’m proof… I had some serious struggles w/my mentality in my younger years and incorporating healthy fats into my fat free diet had quite the positive effect over time!
  • Fat helps us feel full therefor can help control cravings and help improve body composition…YES, FAT CAN HELP YOU BURN FAT!!!
  • Fat helps enhance our immune system…mine has sucked most of my life and this little tidbit was life changing for me

This is certainly not an exhaustive list of the health benefits of fat but some of the most important ones for myself and the health concerns that I have had. This next list of healthy fats is also not exhaustive, just our daily favorites in the Everetts/Tindall household…most importantly choose WHOLE, UNPROCESSED, HIGH-QUALITY forms of fat to experience the real health benefits!

  • Organic whole eggs…all the nutrients is in the yolk, don’t skip it, savor it!
  • Cold-pressed virgin coconut oil, extra-virgin olive oil, avocado oil
  • Full-fat canned coconut milk
  • olives…mmmmm
  • avocados and guacamole…Brookie’s favorite
  • pasture raised/grass- fed beef, bison and chickens (using local farmers who practice this is best if you have access to them, Ohio is full of them!)
  • raw nuts…specifically almonds and walnuts
  • chia seeds…mostly hidden in shakes or baked goods
  • Wild-caught salmon
  • grass-fed butter…did you know that butter eats grass?!
  • 100% cacao nibs, butter & powder that I use for baked goods and add into shakes

Now, I am not a Dr, Dietician or Nutritionist…I’m just a girl telling you to stop being afraid of getting fat from fat and go lick a stick of butter!

Posted in Health and Wellness, Workout Tips

How to Build a Consistent and Powerful Golf Swing

Last month we met with TPI Certified Personal Trainer, Adam Tobias on exercises you can incorporate into your routine to improve your golf game and prevent injury. Since posture is very important to your golf swing, we decided to take this a step further. Bri and I met with Adam to learn more about the TPI Evaluation and how to improve your posture and consistency.

Adam went into more detail on postures and discussed the three different types; C, S, and neutral.  “Golfers are at their weakest and it is hard to play in the C and S postures” he explained. “This is where more things can go wrong in your swing and it can lead to many issues later.”

C-Posture
S-Posture

Next, we discussed the neutral posture and how to maintain it. “Research shows the neutral posture is the best stance to keep your golf swing consistent” says Adam. 

Neutral Posture

How do we eliminate the C and S posture for good? Learn how to perform the 3 MUST-HAVE movements, Dead Bug, Thoracic Rotation, and Hip Hinge. Incorporate these into you weekly workout routine and you will gain the proper strength and mobility to make a powerful swing.

Dead Bug Beginner
Dead Bug Advanced
Thoracic Rotation Beginner
Thoracic Rotation Advanced
Hip Hinge- Beginner
Hip Hinge- Advanced
Posted in Health and Wellness

Alternative Therapies as Part of Your Health and Wellness

Have you ever heard of Cupping Therapy or seen what someone looks like after having a treatment? Well here ya go…!

This is what my back looks like two days post treatment, no it does not hurt and yes, it is very effective for me! I discovered cupping through my acupuncturist and Chinese herb practitioner, whom I started working with in 2015. Cupping therapy is an ancient form of an alternative medicine in which a trained therapist puts special cups on your skin for a short period of time to create suction. Cupping is used to help with pain, inflammation, blood flow, relaxation, well-being and many other physical, mental and emotional ailments. Cupping, along with acupuncture and Chinese herbs have become a welcomed, regular and integral part of my health and wellness regimen. As a matter of fact, without these practices along with whole food nutrition and STRONG sleeping habits, I would absolutely not have a “regular” fitness routine. These alternative therapies have become the recovery methods that allow my mind and body to heal from regular day to day stress as well as the purposeful stress that exercise puts on my body.

About 10 years ago my body started to rebel against me. I suffered from digestive issues, severe skin problems, extremely painful and irregular cycles, constant pain in my muscles and joints, crazy fatigue, body temperature issues, and of course anxiety and depression came with all of this…because why not… they were like the whip topping on my shit sundae! Up to this point in my life I had been a competitive athlete and exercise enthusiast, it is JUST. WHO. I. WAS. My older brother use to joke that I came out of the womb doing dips and lunged away from my mom 🙂 Now, most days I couldn’t imagine working out because I couldn’t even get out of bed, I was a physical mess and I was scared! So many thoughts went through my mind at this time, but my greatest fear was I would no longer be able to work as a trainer because I could no longer exercise myself. After seeing multiple physicians of different types without resolve I was directed into the unknown world of alternative medicine, THANK GOODNESS!!!

It has taken 3 different practitioners working together, along with a few hospital visits to determine that I have an autoimmune bowel disease that was severely effecting my physical health as well as my mental well-being. At 37 my whole perspective and understanding of health and wellness is drastically different than what it use to be. I still LOVE exercise, as much for my mentality as for my body. Thanks to the discovery and addition of alternative medicine and therapies, I can continue my regular exercise routine that includes strength training, running, yoga and other activities pain free AND still maintain my health! Cupping, acupuncture and Chinese medicine have been used to treat ENDLESS ailments dating all the way back to B.C!!! If you are struggling with physical and/or mental ailments without resolve and are interested in learning more please check out www.ohacu.com, Ohio Acupuncture & Chinese Herbal Medicine.

Posted in Workout Tips

Better Your Golf Swing

Nordy trying to teach me to putt

Golf….a sport I will always struggle with. My degree was in Sports and Fitness Management; therefore, I had a few fun easy courses (or so I thought) I got to choose from each semester. One year, I took a golf class. I thought to myself, “I lift weights, I should be able to hit that ball easily!” On the first day, I quickly realized I was the only female in my class. We got to choose who we were paired with and in the beginning, everyone wanted to be my partner. After a few classes, myself and all my classmates realized I could hit the ball far, but not in the right direction. By the end of the semester, when I would arrive to class every guy would run in the opposite direction. They would quickly pair up with each other, leaving me to be the odd man out and I had to play with our professor. I knew then, and I know now, golf is not my sport, but it is my husband’s (Nordy)! Now that it is golf season Nordy suggested Bare Bodi should do a post on some exercises you can incorporate into your routine that will generate speed in your swing and prevent injury. I started to ask him questions for our blog and he suggested we should talk to a couple of his friends whose profession is in this and could provide better information. We met with Adam Tobias, who has been working in the golf and fitness industries for 25 years and is also TPI certified. 

When we first started putting this together, we were going to have a section for legs, core, and flexibility. As I first engaged Adam, I explained our objective and brought up some info for our first section on the legs; “Strong hamstrings and glutes lay the groundwork for your golf swing. Tight hamstrings can make it difficult to maintain your golf posture.” He said. “That is correct, but let’s stop right there and discuss. We could literally talk on this portion for hours.”

Adam first discussed the importance of posture. He said, “Most faults come when a person can’t maintain a neutral spine in their swing.” He compared it to how a fitness competitor stands; back and glutes are flexed, and lower back is slightly arched, which is the exact opposite of the correct golf posture. The hamstrings can cause the most issues for maintaining posture, especially when they are tight and weak. This will ultimately lead to back pain for golfers as well.

We then started discussing the best exercises that target the glutes and hamstrings. I brought up dead lifts, squats, and lunges. Adam agreed, but added “It is important for golfers to perform exercises one side at a time. This is due to golfers constantly swinging from the same side of their body which can lead to lower crossed syndromes, where a muscle on one side of the body is weak which will lead to another muscle injury on the other side.”

Adam met with Bri to demonstrate some of these exercises for both beginners and skilled golfers.

Single Leg Deadlift
It is important to flex the knee to force the hamstring to work.

Beginner

Advanced


Split Squat
Use a pole or bands vs. weights to limit hip rotation.

Beginner
Advanced

Lastly, we discussed how overall flexibility is extremely important for golf athletes. Adam walked Bri through the correct way to stretch your glutes and hamstrings. There are 2 steps in this stretch and a lot people skip the first and go straight to the second.

Toe Touch Stretch

Toe Touch Part I
Toe Touch Part 2

Start incorporating these exercises in your routine to improve your golf swing and prevent injury now that golf season is upon us. Stay tuned for more golf fitness tips through out the summer! If you are interested in learning more about how to improve your golf game tailored to your weaknesses, sign up with Adam to do a TPI assessment. adam.tobias@sbcglobal.net #Fore #19thhole

  Thanks to Zone Personal Fitness for letting us film in their gym!

Posted in Health and Wellness

BCAAs

What are BCAAs and why are they important?  For starters amino acids are the broken down or “usable” form of protein for our bodies. For example, when you eat a piece of chicken it’s broken down or metabolized into amino acids so our bodies can make use of it. Branched chain amino acids are just a specific type of amino acid that help us increase energy, recover muscle tissue, and stabilize blood sugar amongst other metabolic functions. Translated into layman’s terms if you workout regularly and are looking to build lean muscle, increase energy, reduce soreness and help recovery from exercise, control hunger and cravings, lose excess body fat, and enhance the flavor of your water then BCAA’s are for you! This specific supplement can be used by ANYBODY no matter their age, gender or fitness level in addition to food to support overall health and recovery from exercise or to supplement when food is not readily available. (Certain health conditions require physician approval.)

This is a supplement I have used over the last 20 years of my training career as well as recommended to my clients. Amino acids are available in pill, powder and liquid form, I have found Propello Life’s Rejuvenating Aminos in the last few years and they have quickly become my favorite due to their flavor and the way they are made. Propello’s ingredients are natural; vegan BCAAs’s, non-GMO, and no artificial colors, flavors or sweeteners.

I use aminos all day long starting in my water during my morning workout, as well as the water I sip on throughout the day. My favorite new discovery is adding it to my fruit smoothie when I skip the addition of a protein powder. Below is my favorite post workout fruit smoothie made with Propello Life Rejuvenating Aminos;

*1 cup frozen strawberries

*1/2c frozen blueberries

*1 cup frozen avocado chunks

*12oz unsweetened coconut water

http://www.propellolife.com/

*1 scoop of Propello Life Rejuvenating Aminos

*Blend to desired consistency and enjoy! 

Posted in Health and Wellness, Individual Accountability, Workout Tips

Beefcake or Sweet Cheeks?

My husband Jeff and I went to Marco Island, Florida over Thanksgiving this past year. On our first night we took a photo together by the sunset. Jeff looked at the photo on his phone and immediately tried to delete it and then became very quiet. I asked him what was wrong. He confided to me he was disappointed in the amount of weight he gained over the past several months and he needed to make a change. He added, being over 50 makes it even harder. I told him that I thought he looked handsome, but if he wasn’t happy then I could help him lose the extra weight. He agreed and said he wanted to start immediately. Thus the journey from Beefcake to Sweet Cheeks began! The next day he began doing my workouts that he previously claimed were too hard and stupid. Over the last 5 months, Jeff has lost 17 lbs doing my “stupid” workouts. I asked Jeff recently what he thought helped him lose the weight and he said….

1- “Consistency” Every morning he was eager for his workout for the day. Since Thanksgiving, he has worked out 6 days a week and hasn’t missed one. He even secretly told me he looks forward to doing them.

2- “I don’t get bored.” Jeff explained, because every workout is different, he stays motivated and continues to be challenged. He used to do the same workout for every body part and not at a high enough intensity. Now combining the cardio with strength training circuits, he feels more challenged during every workout and the variety occupies his short attention span 😉

3- “The workouts are not time consuming.” He hates to spend hours in a gym and feels like he can get a good workout in less than hour.

4- “Being more aware of what I eat.” Due to Jeff working from home, he got bored eating the food from our fridge. He was eating out for every meal all week long. He agreed to eat dinner at home during the week and only out on the weekends. He also stopped excessive snacking at night. I made sure to have our fridge stocked with healthy snacks he could have when he got that night time craving.

During this process, Jeff let his impatience get the better of him. Although, he stayed committed to his workouts, he was still a sourpuss when he got home. He got extremely frustrated when he wasn’t seeing significant results and I reminded him “Rome was not built in a day.” I told him to stick to the process and you will notice a change. As you can see in his photos, this is exactly what happened. 5 months later he is finally seeing his results. If you are trying to lose weight in a healthy way, remember it won’t happen over night and you must stay committed to the process.


The letter ‘I’ in our name, Bare Bodi Fitness stands for Individual Accountability. This is SO IMPORTANT when making goals of any kind but especially goals related to your health and fitness.


Change is not easy to achieve, especially when it takes effort on a daily basis to alter old habits into new ones and sustain them. The ONLY life that will or will not change is yours. I promise you are worth the effort, BE ACCOUNTABLE TO YOU!

Individual Accountability

Posted in Workout Tips

Simplify & Intensify Your Workouts With Resistance Bands

If you are in the market for a piece of exercise equipment that is inexpensive, user friendly and effective in so many ways; look no further than RESISTANCE BANDS! Below are 3 simple reasons to add this versatile piece of equipment to your routine, enjoy the change!

  1. Convenience: you can use them anywhere! Resistance bands are small, lightweight, and easy to store making them the ultimate travel companion for work trips or vacations. Not every hotel or home has a world class gym on site or near by, so packing resistance bands in your luggage will allow you to have a challenging workout no matter where you go! Use them in your hotel room, hallway or parking lot!
  2. Challenging: resistance bands can provide a change in stimulus to your muscles which helps improve strength, stability, and can even push you pass plateaus. If you are able to perform 20 glute bridges without feeling challenged, try adding a mini resistance band around your thighs right at the top of your knee and push against the band while you bridge…20 reps isn’t such a cake walk anymore! That new burning sensation in the sides of your hips means you are developing those muscles!
  3. Versatile: anybody can use them! Whether you are young, old, a beginner, a seasoned athlete or recovering from an injury, resistance bands are effective for all! You can use them in a dynamic warm ups, stability work before a free weight workout, or as a light/joint friendly form of resistance after an injury before progressing back to free weights. Endurance athletes can use bands to warm up their lower body before long runs or bike rides.