Posted in Health and Wellness

Almost 40

Now that I am almost 40, I have noticed my body doesn’t work quite as well as it used to. Even though I eat healthy and work out frequently, I have noticed I don’t recover as easily, I have a lot of trouble sleeping, my PMS and periods are out of control, and I sometimes feel extra tired. Big Daddy, who is 52 by the way, always say “Don’t get old.”

I decided to look into the wellness center at Columbus Aesthetic & Plastic Surgery and I am really glad I did! Prior to my first visit, I completed a questionnaire about my current health, medications and goals. This information was then used to determine which specific labs should be done in order to create my customized plan.

Next it was time for me to get my blood drawn. I had to completely fast from 9:00 pm to 10:00 am. From there, I scheduled my consultation with Dr. Kelly Hall.

My consultation lasted for 2 hours. Dr. Hall went through my bloodwork results in a very thorough manner and explained it in way I could understand and relate. Additionally, she provided me with a binder that explained everything, and we used it as we went through my results and recommendations. The binder broke down each test with not only my results, but definitions, optimal levels, symptoms, deficiencies, and tips/strategies for improvement (other than supplements). I did have some deficiencies, which are most likely related to the intensity of my workouts, age, lack of sleep, my thyroid disorder, and the ability to absorb nutrients. Here are my results:

  • Both my total cholesterol and LDL were higher than normal.
  • Low Vitamin B-12
  • Low Vitamin D
  • Low DHEA-Sulfate
  • Low Progesterone
  • Low Testosterone

For my treatment plan we agreed to a new multivitamin, magnesium, fish oil, vitamin D3, progesterone, and a testosterone cream. Additionally, we discussed some different food options and “night rituals” to help achieve some better sleep.

It’s been about 2 months since my consultation. I have stuck to my plan and I have noticed a HUGE difference.

I am no longer having sleeping problems. I used to fall asleep easily, but then I would wake up around 2 and could not fall back asleep. I sleep through the night for the most part, unless something is really bothering me. I use the “sleep suggestions” when that occurs.

I have very minimal PMS symptoms…..bad cramps and tender breasts are gone. My periods are still heavy, but they don’t last as long. Satan Kristin still comes out, but not for that long.

My energy levels are up during the day. I think I may have been a little depressed and was mistaking that for being tired.

I have also noticed my skin is no longer dry and is now very soft.

My next set of labs and blood work is due this month. I am very curious to see my levels now, so stay tuned!

Before starting a vitamin regimen or hormone therapy, it is imperative to consult with a qualified practitioner or MD. Some vitamins are potent in excess and some can interact with certain medications.

Posted in Nutrition

Overnight Oats

Overnight oats have been my “go-to” for breakfast. Not only are they quick and easy, but they are nutritious, versatile (use different ingredients) and tasty! Oats are also a great source of fiber. They contain high amounts of both soluble and insoluble fiber.  Other benefits include: lowering cholesterol which leads to cardiovascular benefits, the  fiber will keep you full longer, and healthy bowels (poop emoji). Soaking the oats overnight vs. cooking them, helps us utilize the oats’ nutrients. When the oats are heated, it can have harmful effects from the high temperatures.

How do you make overnight oats? Mix together 1 scoop of old fashioned rolled oats (instant and steel won’t work, 1 cup of milk (of choice) or do ½ cup of milk and ½ cup of Greek yogurt  Other Options: peanut butter, seeds, nuts, protein powder.  Add mix to a sealed container and let it sit in the fridge all night. In the morning remove the oat mixture and place in a bowl. Top with fruit of choice. This will make 2 servings. I eat it as one serving after hard workouts. Below are my favorite ingredients to use:

1 cup oats

1 cup chocolate almond milk

1 scoop Propello Life grass fed whey protein in Vanilla

1 TBS natural peanut butter

Top with blackberries and blueberries

Are oats gluten free? No (oats are usually processed in facilities where wheat, barley and ride are processed so they are easily contaminated), but there are gluten free options. Unless,  you have celiac disease or gluten allergies, I wouldn’t worry too much about it.  Although, I am sure Bri can recommend  some good brands!

Posted in Fitness and nutrition

How Much Exercise Will Make My Pants Fit?!

One of my childhood besties @piecesofmomlife recently gave a shout-out to some advice I shared with her in regards to her “pants not fittin quite right”! She had been following an evidence based program for well over a year but like so many of us due to social situations and schedule change, she had gradually started to fall off her program just long enough for her bodi to start to show a reverse change. She wanted to know what to do in order to feel comfortable in her clothes again without having to embrace the same schedule as before since it wasn’t sustainable in this season of life. My response to this question, “try the least effective dose”. I believe this to be one of THE MOST important principles in training and nutrition as well as the most misunderstood and under utilized. In a nutshell, I was telling her to pick from her current program the least amount of activity and dietary adjustments she could sustain and still obtain the results she was looking for.

The least effective dose refers to diet and exercise, both variables are equally important however we are going to focus on exercise for this post. Too many people, specifically women make too many changes at once in an attempt to change their bodies and come up with little to no results. This is a paradigm shift in our thinking and I know it sounds scary to do less but if it’s enough to achieve the result you are looking for than its enough! Below are a few steps to guide you in implementing this concept.

1. KEEP IT SIMPLE! Training does NOT have to be complicated, there are different forms of resistance, exercise selection, training splits, timing, tempo, number of reps, sets and rest periods. Start where your bodi is currently capable and progressively overload weekly enough to provoke change and then LET THAT CHANGE HAPPEN! 

2. Stay CONSISTENT! Choose how many days per week you are able to strength train, being mindful of what is truly sustainable in your current season of life. If it’s 1 day, then it’s 1 day… just keep that 1 day! Choose what movements or bodi parts you will train that day, choose a number of exercises per session, the reps, sets and rest periods you will use for those exercises. This is called a program, rinse and repeat this program weekly for 4-6 weeks to allow time for adaptation. 

3. TRACK your progress! Pick one variable to track each week over the course of your program. The variable could be number of exercises per session, rep range, number of sets, amount of weight, or rest periods; it doesn’t matter as long as you are consistent with this variable. Tracking your progress gives you information about your program and how your bodi is responding. If you aren’t improving each week then something needs to be adjusted, if you are improving carry on! For example, If you choose to track the amount of weight you are lifting and you notice it is not improving or even declining, maybe you need longer rest periods in between set or less exercises per session? Adapt a variable until you see the improvement you are looking for and then continue.

4. EAT to support your training program! This is a loaded statement and deserves a post all to itself but for now the bottom line is you HAVE to nutritionally support your bodi in order to change!

@piecesofmomlife discovered she could sustain 2 days of strength training each week that consisted of a bodi part split she could track along with aligning specific food choices based on her active and non-active days. This routine gave her the results she was looking for without owning her entire schedule!
Sometimes life does not allow us to live in the gym and doing too much at once can overload your system to a point where adaptation is not possible and progress stops. Try implementing the “least effective dose” and see what results you obtain while maintaining a social life and your sanity!

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 http://www.ohacu.com, Ohio Acupuncture & Chinese Herbal Medicine.