Friday, October 31, 2014

Tips to Losing Weight After Pregnancy

Many first time mothers find that post pregnancy weight loss does not always happen as quick or as easy as they had hoped. This is nothing to get discouraged about. Weight loss after pregnancy will happen, but it is something that should be rushed too quickly.

Common Misconceptions:

  • The majority of my weight gain is lost during labor
  • I should lose the weight in a matter of a few weeks

  • Formula feeding versus breastfeeding does not affect my weight loss
  • The sooner I lose the weight, the better.

Although a fair amount of weight is lost during labor, women should not expect it all to shed on delivery day. A healthy weight gain during pregnancy is anywhere between 25-35 pounds.1 Most babies weigh between five to ten pounds, but another five pounds or so is lost from amniotic fluid and the placenta.1 This is a great start to losing weight, but the remainder of the weight may not fall until your baby is six months old. A healthy weight loss is about a pound and a half per week.1 Also, do not forget, you just had a baby. This takes time for the body to recover. Rapid weight loss or crash diets will only help to lose fluid weight, which will be gained back just as easily. Let your body recover from childbirth and make sure you have your physician’s approval before beginning an exercise program.

Tips to Help Shed the Weight:

  • Eat right! Eat 5-6 smaller meals per day instead of 3 big meals and make healthy snack choices. Sub the potato chips for veggie sticks or fruit!
  • Get moving! Once you have the OK from the doctor, it is important to get your body moving. Many women feel fatigued from lack of sleep but you would be surprised by the energy boost a walk pushing your baby’s stroller would give you.
  • Breastfeeding. Not only is this extremely healthy for your baby, breastfeeding can actually burn around 500 calories per day.2 Also when breastfeeding, the body releases a hormone that shrinks your uterus, thus allowing your stomach to get smaller as well.2
  • Set realistic goals. It is important to realize your body went through a major change to grow that little human being. Losing a pound and a half per week is very achievable and healthy. Even though your body may not look EXACTLY like it did pre-pregnancy, you can still become just as healthy and fit by making the right choices.

1Losing the Baby Weight: The Truth About Shedding Pounds After Birth. (2014, June 11). Retrieved October 26, 2014, from

2Storck, S. (2012, August 16). Losing weight after pregnancy: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. Retrieved October 27, 2014, from

Why Breakfast Should Not Be Skipped

BREAKFAST2-2xoftxtmap541yyizuntog.jpgAmerica is a fast paced and busy country with an extremely large population. In the midst of a busy life, often times individuals  forget to eat breakfast. On average about 18 percent of males and 13 percent of females between the ages of 35 and 54 are guilty of skipping breakfast , according to a 2011 study by the market research company NPD group.1 Reasons for skipping include but are not limited to, lack of time, waking up late, or lack of appetite upon waking up in the mornings.However,,by skipping what most refer to as the most important meal of the day; individuals are doing more harm to their body.
Humans need energy to be able to function and perform daily activities throughout the work day. By eating a well-balanced nutritious breakfast that includes fiber, vitamin C, and vitamin D, will help increase energy levels. Also, including your daily protein into your breakfast will curb your appetite and encourage healthier choices throughout the rest of your day. Another very crucial benefit of not skipping the most important meal is the prevention of heart attacks and heart disease, as those who skip are at a greater risk.Skipping breakfast increases the risk of high cholesterol, obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes, which are all heart disease risk factors.2 It is important you keep your heart healthy by eating a healthy lean breakfast every morning! Eating breakfast regularly will also help with weight-loss management. When you are asleep your metabolism decreases so eating breakfast in the morning when  you wake up kick starts your metabolism. In one recent study, people who ate breakfast as their largest meal lost an average of 17.8 pounds over three months.1 When breakfast is skipped it is more likely you will overeat at lunch or dinner.

It is of utmost importance that you make time in the morning to eat a nutritious breakfast. There are numerous health benefits you receive from the nutrients consumed in the morning. Breakfast helps you focus throughout the day and gives you the energy you need to achieve daily life activities.

1Enos, D. (2013, September 12). 4 Reasons Why You Should Never Skip Breakfast. Retrieved October 26, 2014, from

2Yanjun. (2013, September 17). Breakfast Top six reasons you should not skip breakfast Learn more:Http:// Retrieved October 26, 2014, from

Change Up Your Workout With A Trampoline!

Are you bored with regular workouts? There is a great way to have shake up your workout and have fun. Trampoline workouts are a great way to tone your glutes and thighs. Who knew jumping and bouncing would benefit your health in more ways than one. When doing a trampoline workout you are working on your calves, quadriceps, glutes and other lower-body muscles. There are more benefits that go with jumping. trampoline jumping is a form of cardiovascular exercise that elevates your heart rate and works large muscle groups. In addition to improving heart health and increasing overall fitness, cardiovascular exercise burns fat more quickly than targeted training.2
Weight loss is another benefit, it reduces body fat, increases the muscle to fat ratio and increases the efficiency with which the body burns carbohydrates. The upward force of the bounce improves body tone and exercises a whole range of muscles in the body.1 If you are feeling overwhelmed and stressed, a trampoline workout can be very beneficial. It can decrease stress hormones like cortisol, and increase endorphins in your body.2 To maximize and get the most out of this workout you will want to do about  20 to 30 minutes a day on the trampoline.

Everyone needs to change up the way they workout every once and a while. This is a great way to do so and you will love it. You will see and feel a difference in your cardiovascular health and in the tone of your body.


1Does Trampolining Tone Your Thighs? (n.d.). Retrieved October 27, 2014, from

2The Incredible Benefits of Trampoline Exercise. (n.d.). Retrieved October 27, 2014, from

Thursday, October 30, 2014

From Skinny to Bulky: Eating For Weight Gain

Calories are essentially the fuel you put in your body and what your body uses to function. What calories your body does not use, is stored. So point blank, if your caloric intake is higher than your caloric expenditure you will gain weight.1

When someone is trying to gain weight, predominantly men, the issue is that they are simply not eating enough calories to keep up with their metabolism and daily activities. Their body is burning up everything they ingest, not giving it a chance to store the calories or to be used to build muscle. If the body is in a caloric deficit, meaning not eating enough to keep up with the amount being burned, the calories from carbohydrates and protein are not able to be utilized for muscle building because they are being shuttled straight back out for energy for the body to run on.

Tips to pack on weight:
  • Eat as soon as you wake up
  • Eat every 3 hours
  • Carbs are your friend
  • Have protein with every meal
  • Cut back on cardio
  • Drink water consistently throughout the day

So if you are a twig and want to put on pounds, eating twice a day isn’t going to cut it. Don’t be afraid of carbohydrates and protein and eating often. Your water intake should be in check as well. Drinking a minimum of half of your body weight in ounces of water is a good start. Monitoring your urine color is a good indication of poor hydration. The color you want is the shade of lemonade or lighter, anything darker is a bad sign. Cardio will hinder gains by burning excess calories and in return require you to eat more. If you are hitting the bike trails or running, cut the time you do so in half or completely. Rest allows the body to repair and grow.2

The foods that will help pack on weight are foods that are real and wholesome, meaning that if it’s in a wrapper or if there is a commercial for it, chances are you don’t need it. Complex carbohydrates and fats that are nutrient dense, along with quality protein sources, are what your muscles love. to eat:
  • Pasta
  • Oatmeal
  • Beef  
  • Fish
  • Whole Eggs
  • Chicken
  • Olive Oil
  • Whole Milk
  • Rice
  • Potatoes
  • Ezekiel Bread
  • Fruits & Leafy Green Vegetables

 Sauces and condiments can be used especially for hard gainers and those who are unable to gain an ounce of weight. Start slow and gradually add more food and meals to your daily intake. Gaining 1-2 pounds a week is a good start but as you gain muscle, you will also begin to burn more calories carrying that muscle around. So get in the kitchen and pick up a fork.


1 What it Takes to Lose Weight. (2010, December 1). Retrieved October 27, 2014, from

2 How to Gain Weight for Skinny Guys (with Weight Gain Diet). (2008, April 28). Retrieved October 27, 2014, from

Exercise as You Age

If think exercising in your 20s is tough, just imagine 25 years from now. Imagine trying to lift that 400 lb deadlift when you’re joints are running thin on cartilage, you’re back is still tight from last week, and you know you will probably still not fully recover by the next deadlift day. Should I quit? No, just modify your training and put some thought into how you will recover.
The whole idea when you age is to strategize to maintain your body in such a way that will allow you to exercise as long as possible. This no long means that you are seeking to barely walk after you get done with a workout. You must be smart and listen to your body. Use exertion and pain to determine how you approach resistance and cardio exercise. “It’s the nature of the body to lose muscle mass and bone density,” says Bryan Ruggles, a physical therapist at IU Health Sports Performance. “Our fitness goal for the elderly is to slow that natural process. Progressively decreasing the intensity of your exercise as you age allows you to exercise longer throughout your life.” 3) By lowering the intensity, Ruggles means, for example, that during lifting you must lower the weight of your lift but maintain or even increase the volume.

As you age, you need to be concerned about three aspects of health: strength, cardiovascular conditioning, and balance. The main reason these are important is “that most elderly injuries are caused by falling. About two thirds of these injuries are bone fractures, the hip fracture being the most common.” 1) So you must continue to exercise with lifts that are loading the entire spine to prevent osteoporosis, like the barbell squat. You just need to be careful of exactly how much stress you put those joints under, it is a delicate balance. Try to concentrate on lifting a weight that challenges you for 12-15 repetitions. Incorporate single leg exercises, like a step up or single leg deadlift, to help with balance and your core stability. As for cardiovascular conditioning, try to steer away from high impact exercises, like running or squat jumps, and start to incorporate exercises like bike riding or swimming into your routine. No need to go for two hours either on conditioning, “20-45 minutes of elevated heart rate most days of the week is plenty for required heart health.” 2)
As you age, please don’t shy away from exercise. The research supporting resistance and cardiovascular conditioning supports health benefits for the elderly, you just need to be intelligent how you go about programming your workouts. Decrease the intensity, but increase your volume. Load the entire spine through compound movements such as squat, while working in single leg exercises for balance and core stability. Learn to love conditioning activities that are kinder to your joints, which will improve longevity.
1) Kannus, P. (1999). Preventing osteoporosis, falls, and fractures among elderly
people. Bmj, 318(7178), 205-206.
2) Nied, R. J., & Franklin, B. (2002). Promoting and prescribing exercise for the
elderly. American Family Physician, 65(3), 419-426.
3) Should exercise change with age? (2012, December 26). Retrieved October 27, 2014, from

The World of Blogging

[Online Image]. Retrieved October 29, 2014

The term “weblog” first emerged in 1997 when individuals began to create online journals to express their passions, political views, and everyday livings.3 Now more commonly known as a blog, this term is at least recognizable to the majority of our society. Blogging has become mainstream enough to be major themes in the movie Julie & Julia and the television show Dog with a Blog. But what exactly are blogs, why do people do it, and are there any benefits?

The process of blogging involves an individual or small group of people who write an informal, frequently updated webpage. Blogs are similar to online personal journals where people can express their thoughts in a conversation style writing that is shared with others. There are many different websites to begin blogging and are typically free to set up and easy to create and manage.

As a blogger himself, Jeff Bullas conducted a poll of 492 individuals on one simple question, “Why do you blog?” The votes varied greatly. The top five most popular reasons for blogging, in order from most to least popular, are: passion, to share with others, business, self expression, and to put forward new ideas. The most reported reason for blogging, passion, only received approximately 17% of the votes.2 Clearly, the act of blogging stems from a variety of reasons because there was such diversity within the responses.

A blogger for Forbes published nine reasons you should blog yourself. Highlighted was how blogging can serve as a resume, grow your network, organize your ideas, reflection, and improve writing skills.4 The reasons given by this particular blogger were more business driven.

Reasons for blogging from Joshua Becker are more of self improvement. He believes that blogging will make you become a better writer and thinker, develop an eye for meaningful things, live a more intentional life with healthier habits, meet new people and inspire others, become well rounded and confident, and it is all free.1

The benefits of blogging are widespread and depend on the purpose for writing. However, the most common benefit between all bloggers is “ blogging helps build your knowledge and understanding—in the same way teaching helps you learn the topic you are discussing in a deeper way.”5 Bloggers typically develop a clearer, more concise knowledge of the topic because they think, organize, and publish their ideas for their viewers.

There are numerous reasons that bloggers suggest people begin the adventure of publishing their own blog and there are even some benefits of writing blogs. So if you are ready for the challenge, dive in and experience the joy that so many individuals receive by expressing themselves through blogging.
1Becker, J. (2014). 15 reasons I think you should blog. Retrieved from becomingminimalist:
2Bullas, J. (2011). 12 reasons why people blog. Retrieved from
3Ojala, M. (2005). Blogging for knowledge sharing, management and dissemination. Business Information Review, 22(4), 269-276.
4Reich, D. (2011, October 15). 9 reasons you should blog. Retrieved from Forbes:
5The benefits of Blogging. (2014). Quality Progress, 47(7), 18-21.

Drawn Up Fingers Following Stroke

Recovery design for cerebrovascular accident (stroke) depends on a plethora of variables including but not limited to; severity, affected area, amount of time elapsed without medical attention, rehabilitation available and amount of rehabilitation or physical therapy covered by health insurance. While no two cases are the exact same, many individuals recovering from stroke exhibit similar symptoms and defects as a result. “One common result of stroke is muscular atrophy and weakness of peripheral nerves and limbs of affected areas”.2 Weakness is often profound in the contralesional hand after stroke. Often times paralysis is misconceived as a malfunction in the muscle making it unusable, however, the science behind the truth of paralysis of any type is that the issue is among the nerve pathways and not the muscles. Hemiplegic subjects are often unable to use one arm and hand functionally. “This disability leads to the development of compensatory strategies for accomplishing daily needs and frequently minimizes the use of the paretic arm and hand”.1This causes muscles on the affected side or sides to draw up or curl,joints to calcify and  cause muscular ischemia.
Many new rehabilitation treatments were designed to enhance the concentrated use of the paretic arm and hand (e.g., intensive exercise [5,6], Constrained Induced Movement Therapy (CIMT) [7–9], robot-induced therapy [10], and electrical stimulation.1 However, one of the most popular and effective methods for muscular therapy and stroke therapy is Functional Therapy, (using routine daily activities to move and regain function.   
1 Popovic, M., Popovic, D., Sinkjr, T., Stefanovic, A., & Schwirtlich, L. (2003). Clinical evaluation of Functional Electrical Therapy in acute hemiplegic subjects. The Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development, 40(5), 443-443. Retrieved October 26, 2014.
2 Triandafilou, K., & Kamper, D. (2011). Investigation of hand muscle atrophy in stroke survivors. Clinical Biomechanics, 27(3), 268-272. Retrieved October 26, 2014.
[Image] Retrieved October 30, 2014

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Benefits of Swimming While Pregnant

Exercising while pregnant is very beneficial not only for the baby, but for the woman as well. Finding the right exercises that are safe and effective is important, and many women are hesitant to begin or remain exercising while pregnant because they are scared to disrupt their womb. However, it is now very common for all pregnant women to be encouraged to exercise if their doctor agrees there are no contraindications. Swimming is a great exercise that is safe and very beneficial for pregnant women to try.

Many women complain of body aches, joint pain, and nausea during pregnancy. What people may not realize is that swimming can minimize if not eliminate these symptoms. When in the water, the added weight gain that comes with pregnancy is disregarded due to the buoyancy of the water.2 Swimming pools are one place pregnant women can forget about their “heaviness” and enjoy moving around freely and comfortably. Therefore, back and joint pain are relieved because the stress of the extra weight is eliminated. Also, a plus for women in their first trimester, swimming first thing in the morning can reduce the dreaded morning sickness.1 While these are all ways swimming benefits the body, there are also reasons why swimming is great for safety:

  • No risk of being overheated. As long as the pool is at an appropriate temperature, swimming voids overheating the body. Exercising outdoors in the heat can be harmful to the fetus if body temperature is not regulated.
  • Less risk of falling while exercising. Because the water supports the body, the risk of falling while swimming is reduced. The only concern would be taking caution while entering and exiting the swimming pool.
  • It can be done at anyone’s pace. Whether a woman prefers to backstroke, butterfly, or just walk laps, this can all be done at an individuals own pace. This is great for women who have not necessarily exercised prior to becoming pregnant.  

Overall, swimming is a great way to maintain or improve cardiovascular fitness, muscle tone, and overall health while pregnant.2 It is important to be cleared by your physician before beginning any exercise program. Also, remember to stay hydrated before, during, and after exercising. So if you are cleared to exercise, get in the pool and get moving!

1BabyCenter Medical Advisory Board. (2013, March 1). Great pregnancy exercise: Swimming. Retrieved October 13, 2014, from

2Weiss, R. (n.d.). Pregnancy Fitness. The Suprising Benefits of Swimming. Retrieved October 13, 2014, from

Friday, October 24, 2014

Strength Training for Kids

It is said that kids should not start lift weights at a young age because it stunts their growth. As a parent you want to do some research in knowing the difference in weightlifting and strength training. "Heavy lifting can put too much strain on young muscles, tendons and growth plates, especially when proper technique is sacrificed in favor of lifting larger amounts of weight."3 If you plan on weight training your child yourself. If you choose to hire a professional trainer, you will want to look into that person. They need to be highly trained in this field and be educated enough to take someone's health into their hands. You do not want someone who is not paying attention to the fundamentals and the technique, and just wants the child or client to lift weights. As a parent you want your child to exceed in everything that they do, but you also want them to do it the right way and in the best way that will not hinder them in their future. Strength training can be done with his or her own body weight or inexpensive resistance tubing, along with free weights and machine weights.

There are many positives that can come out of strength training, a few of them are
  • Increase your child's muscle strength and endurance
  • Help protect your child's muscles and joints from sports-related injuries
  • Improve your child's performance in nearly any sport, from dancing and figure skating to football and soccer
  • Strengthen your child's bones
  • Help promote healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels
  • Help your child maintain a healthy weight
  • Improve your child's confidence and self-esteem

You can start strength training your kids “as early as age 7 or 8, however, strength training can become a valuable part of an overall fitness plan — as long as the child is mature enough to follow directions and practice proper technique and form.”2 Some Doctors say that with weightlifting, kids should start at age 13.

It would be more beneficial in the long run for your kids if you started with strength training so that their bodies with have strong muscles and healthy joints. Then when they are of the proper age to start lifting heavier weights, you can transition them into that part of their athletic or fitness goal.

1Robson, D. (2009, April 28). Weight Training for Children. Retrieved October 19, 2014, from
2Tween and teen health. (2012, January 18). Retrieved October 20, 2014, from