Diet or Exercise – Which one is more important? – Part. 2

Dieting-vs.-Exercising-Which-Works-More-For-Weight-Loss

Not only is nutrition vital in living a healthy lifestyle but so is exercise. Exercise should be as much of a necessity as good nutrition for many reasons. One of the most important is that it helps to treat and prevent bone diseases like Osteoporosis.

Exercise also helps build and improve:

  • Muscle strength
  • Coordination
  • Balance
  • Overall health

Exercise is my absolute favorite part of my day! It’s all I think about when I am at work all the way up until I walk through my gym’s doors. But not everyone enjoys exercise like I do. Below are a few statistics I found on www.fitness.gov about Americans and exercise:

  • Less than 5% of adults participate in 30 minutes of physical activity each day; only one in three adults receive the recommended amount of physical activity each week.
  • More than 80% of adults do not meet the guidelines for both aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities, and more than 80% of adolescents do not do enough aerobic physical activity to meet the guidelines for youth.
  • Children now spend more than seven and a half hours a day in front of a screen (e.g., TV, video games, computer).

http://www.fitness.gov/resource-center/facts-and-statistics/

I don’t know about you, but I am appalled! I am pretty sure I scared my mother with the sound my jaw made when it hit the ground (okay, not really, but it was a pretty good visual!) I can and can’t believe the percentage of adults that participate in 30 minutes of physical activity each day: 5%! That’s it?!

Did you know that by participating in 30 minutes of cardio vascular training and weightlifting you can:

  • Help prevent heart disease and stroke, the #1 and #5 killer of Americans.
  • Achieve greater peak bone mass
    • Bone is living tissue, like muscle, that gets stronger as a result of being put under pressure. Bone mass typically peaks in the third decade of life. After this time, bone deteriorates
    • The best exercise for building strong bones is the weight-bearing kind (i.e. weight lifting, hiking, jogging, tennis, and dancing). Swimming and bicycling are not weight-bearing forms of exercise although they are great for cardiovascular training.
    • Improve balance, coordination, and muscle strength.

Remember: always consult your doctor before starting any form of training, especially if you have high blood pressure, heart issues, diabetes or obesity.

A great example as to why diet and exercise go hand in hand is bone diseases like Osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is the deterioration of the bones where they become brittle and fragile from loss of tissue, typically as a result of hormonal changes, or deficiency of calcium and vitamin D. A diet rich in calcium and vitamin D can help prevent and/or manage osteoporosis. Also, regular physical activity strengthens the bone as a result of being put under pressure (weight bearing exercise).

Nutrition alone cannot help prevent and manage bone disease and vice versa. Both exercise and nutrition are needed. Physically active people hold calcium in their bones, while sedentary people tend to lose calcium. Weight bearing exercises are recommended for people at any age.

As you can see both exercise and nutrition are needed to successfully help prevent and manage not only Osteoporosis but your over-all health.

Now that you know why you should exercise, maybe you don’t know where to start. Below are some recommendations I came up with to help you get started:

  • Join a gym: A sense of community can be very motivating.
  • Get an accountability partner: It’s easier to stay motivated when you are held accountable.
  • Do your own research: There are various kinds of exercise tutorials all over the internet. Check out bodybuilding.com, you-tube, and instagram for help with learning new exercises or diet tips.

http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/training.html

https://www.youtube.com/

https://instagram.com/fitlife.mk/

  • Begin with a personal trainer. Personal trainers can be a huge help or can be a huge disaster. Be picky in choosing who you work with, and trust your gut. If you are not comfortable with the way he/she trains, ask for someone else. Do not ever put your well being on the line. You can learn a lot from personal trainers. If you start out training with a personal trainer for a few months, chances are you will learn some knowledge that will give a foundation to build upon and get you started on your own. For example, I started training with my brother. He was certified at the time and knew much more than I did. That was three years ago. Now, I workout on my own. I do my own research and put together my own workouts.
  • Utilize Technology: we live in a very technologically advanced world. Apps like MyFitnessPal can help you track nutrition and exercise. You can also use fitness bracelets like FitBit. The only warning I give with utilizing apps and bracelets is that they should not be the sole form of tracking your physical activity/nutrition. They should be supplemental, or used along with tracking your fitness manually. They are not 100% accurate and are likely to malfunction at any time (psh, technology, right?).
  • Keep a fitness journal: This was another thing I used to get started in fitness. All you need is a blank notebook and a pen. Jot down the date and what muscle group you are training. Underneath this you simply write down the exercises you want to do along with how many sets and repetitions. Also, write down the weight you did for each exercise. The reason for this is so that you have something you can refer back to in the future. In order to get stronger you have to move up in weight. Having a visual record helps you judge how much to bump up your weight.

Below is an example of how you would write out your routine:

6/9/15 – Back and Bis

  1. Lat Pull Down – 10 x 4 (10 repetitions for 4 sets) – 50lbs (the weight you used)
  2. Barbell Row – 10 x 4 – 45lbs
  3. Close Grip Row – 10 x 4 – 40lbs
  4. Pull-ups – 10 x 4 – body weight

Nutrition and exercise are vital to living a healthy lifestyle. I truly believe you cannot have one without the other unless you are a person with disabilities that hinder you from participating in physical exercise like people who are paralyzed. In this situation, nutrition would be most important.

If living a healthy lifestyle is a goal of yours or if you are looking to turn your life around only YOU can make that decision. Only YOU can take that first step. No one is going to do it for you. It will be hard, it will be frustrating. You will have days where you want to give up, but guess what? You will have many more days of feeling successful; Days where the blood, sweat, and tears are worth it. The overwhelming feeling of accomplishment truly trumps the feeling of failure.

It’s time to make your move towards living a healthy life!

Follow my blog to help inspire and motivate you towards living a FitLife.

-mk

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Diet or Exercise – Which one is more important? Part. 1

Part 1: Diet or Exercise – Which one is more important?

For the past couple of days I have been posing this question to my friends on Facebook, my followers on Instagram and on Twitter and the responses have been amazing!

So, which one is more important?

I found that choosing one or the other can be very situational.

One blogger commented that,

“They are both important. But it depends on what either of them can and will do for someone. Are either for weight loss, disease prevention, diagnosis corrections, build of stamina, preparation of a marathon, walk increase. One may be more important than the other depending on the situation.”

Determining what your goals are is essential to figuring out where you should start and what you should focus on first. If you are working on weight loss many might say to focus on your diet first and later down the road exercise will come into play. Some would also say to focus on diet MAINLY along with a light fitness regimen.

Another blogger posted that,

Wellness is achieved through a balance of many elements. Nutrition and exercise are two of the most important factors in determining your health status. As a registered nurse, I educate patients on both topics. In terms of preventative health, lifestyle modifications like diet and exercise are a great defense against chronic illness. There is a direct correlation between diet/exercise and risk for diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease and many other debilitating illnesses. Diet is more crucial for my patient population because they are paralyzed and do not have the luxury of physical activity.”

Did you catch that?

Her patient population consists of people who are paralyzed. Do you think they have the luxury of exercise? Certainly not, diet is most important to keep their bodies as healthy as possible.

Almost all of the responses I received were in agreement with both of them (diet and exercise) being equally important as a whole, but when it came down to choosing one or the other nutrition took center stage.

What is considered good nutrition?

According to the National Food Service Management Institute, “good nutrition means getting the calories we need for energy and the nutrients we need for proper growth.” They also state that, “Variety, balance, and moderation are keys to good nutrition”. If we look at those three keys to good nutrition how many of us can honestly say that we pick the foods we eat because we need the nutrients it gives us? My guess would be not too many. We pick the foods we eat

because it’s what we like, it’s what we crave, out of habit, or addiction. Good nutrition can be achieved after we have educated ourselves on what foods give our body what it needs.

The link below lists types of foods and lists specific nutrients they offer!

http://www.whfoods.com/foodstoc.php

Here are some pointers in achieving variety, balance, and moderation:rainbownutrition

  • Variety
  • An easy way to obtain variety in your diet is to make sure you’re meals include an array of different colors, much like a rainbow!
  • Balance
  •     Fruit and vegetables should make up half of your plate shown in picture B. The remaining half should be split between protein choice and starchy/whole grains choice.divided_plate_630
  •     Learn how to calculate the calories you need daily. The link below can help you figure out the total calories you need daily for your size and also show you how to calculate the calories you need to lose weight.

http://www.eatingwell.com/diet_nutrition_health/weight_loss_diet_plans/diet_reports_information/3_easy_ways_to_balance_your_di?page=2

  • Moderation

I know you have heard time and time again, “Moderation is key” Well, it is!

  • Moderation is the control or the regulation of food intake WITHOUT depriving yourself of the foods you love.

This is key when it comes to good nutrition or dieting.

Utilizing moderation in your diet does NOT mean depriving your body of the foods you crave or enjoy.

For instance, I LOVE chocolate chip cookies but does that mean I am going to sit down and eat the whole container? No. One or two cookies will suffice! This can also be applied to alcohol consumption. Ladies, I know we love our wine but does that mean we have to drink the whole bottle? No. Moderation is key. One or two glasses are all we truly need unless your ultimate goal is to get plastered … (yikes!)

Moderation also means “changing it up”.

Consuming the same foods in excess can cause major health issues. Some nutrients may accumulate to toxic amounts, which can lead to serious disease. For example, too much vitamin A during pregnancy can cause birth defects.

By “changing it up” we can lower toxic levels in our body. Instead of eating a banana every single morning try eating an apple one day, a banana the next, and maybe berries another day. This gives us a variety of different vitamins and minerals and not too much of the same vitamin or mineral.

What can good nutrition do for you?

No one can deny that good nutrition has unlimited health benefits. Good nutrition is essential for our bodies to operate optimally for a lifetime. Medical online states it perfectly,

“…the benefits of good nutrition can be found in physical and mental health because a healthy diet provides energy, promotes good sleep, and gives the body what it needs to stay healthy.”

Here is a list of health benefits good nutrition offers (just a few):

  • Healthy heart
  • Strong bones
  • Higher energy levels
  • Better weight control
  • Positive brain health
  • May reduce the risk for stroke and other cardiovascular diseases
  • Reduce the risk for type 2 diabetes
  • Help decrease bone loss

Above are some of the most important aspects of good nutrition. We can all agree that these are just a few examples among the thousands of ways to achieve good nutrition. Eating whole foods and drinking lots of water is the best way to maintain a healthy body. Try staying away from any beverages and snacks high in artificial ingredients and artificial sweeteners (splenda, equal, sweet ‘n’ low, etc.). Be sure to utilize the three keys to good nutrition: variety, balance, and moderation. Also, try to “eat a rainbow a day”; this simply means to choose colorful foods. These are just a few easy ways that will help you switch from an unhealthy diet to a nutrient dense, healthy diet.

If your ultimate goal is to live a healthy lifestyle nutrition alone won’t give that to you.

You have to be willing to put in the blood, sweat, and tears in the gym!

I know, I know … it’s hard and it hurts. Well, look at it this way, if it was easy every person in the world would be doing it! Nutrition and exercise truly go hand in hand. They’re “two peas in a pod”, “two halves to a whole”, or even your “yin and yang”; you truly cannot have one without the other unless you have a physical impairment hindering you from moving your body. Physical exercise should be as much of a necessity as breathing!

Let me paint a picture for you.

You don’t exercise nor do you like to. You believe that you are a healthy individual because you “never” get sick during flu season. You consider yourself a pretty healthy person even though that long walk from your car to your office or climbing a couple of flights of stairs makes you feel like you just ran a marathon! You’re pretty convinced that you just don’t NEED to exercise because you “never” get sick.

What happens as you age and maintain this sedentary lifestyle?

Your heart grows weak and heavy; it isn’t strong enough to pump the blood your body needs to move effortlessly. Heavy breathing ensues not just when you walk up a flight of stairs but the slightest physical exertion standing up out of a chair can throw you into a breathing frenzy! Your muscles slowly waste away not only as a result of aging but as a result of inactivity making you prone to injury. You also develop osteoporosis in your bones making them very brittle, frail, and very susceptible to fractures or injury.

Before you know it, you’re either bed ridden or ordered to be in a wheel chair for the remainder of your life all because you decided not to designate only 30 minutes a day to exercise.

Here is an amazing fact:

Just 30 minutes of cardio and weight lifting each day can have an amazing effect on your bones when they…

6.9.2015 – Part.2 of Diet or Exercise – Which is more important?

meagan kunisch

Dealing with gym intimidation

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Intimidation and lack of experience:

Two of the top reasons rookie gym-goers don’t want to be a part of a gym. Whenever I speak to someone about working out and the gym I constantly hear this:

“I want to work out but, I am really nervous about working out by myself because I don’t know what I’m doing and the people who are at the gym are really intimidating.”

Point blank, it’s all in your head.

I will agree that the “swole meat-heads” who are getting their “pump” in the weight section can be quite intimidating. I mean c’mon, they look like they could curl a train! But honestly they don’t care about what you’re doing. They don’t know that you have no idea how to work out. They don’t know your workout routine or that you are a newbie. All they care about is what they’re doing to get their own results.

So, how do you deal with this intimidation?

This is what I recommend:

1. Start with a workout partner

Workout partners are amazing. They help you feel comfortable in a new environment and if they have experience, they will be able to help and guide you through the basics of working out. If they don’t have experience, you both will be able to help each other through the process.

2.Listen to Music

If you don’t have a workout partner I always recommend listening to music. When you have those headphones in your ear it is like you’re in your own little world. No one will bother you when you have your head phones in (unless you have that one overly talkative person who goes to the gym to socialize instead of work out). Listening to your favorite kind of music also helps you to feel comfortable. You know your favorite music and it helps to relax or pump you up for your workout.

3. Do your research

YouTube is a blessing for anyone trying to learn something new especially exercises for working out. Practically every exercise you can think of can be found on YouTube. Utilize YouTube and watch the videos to learn the proper form and technique. Once you have done this research, write down the exercises you think you will be comfortable performing and take this list with you to the gym. When I first started going to the gym, I found it so much easier to stay on track when I had a list of exercises to complete.

4. Meet People

I know this is a tricky one especially for you introverts out there like me. I have always been shy but working in the service industry for so many years and interacting with customers has made it slightly easier for me to socialize with random people. I have found that a smile and a “hello” make a world of difference when you see people at the gym. I mean you are all there for the same common goal and therefore all have one thing in common: exercise. The personal goals are all different but the common goal is exercise. If you look at it from this point of view it should relax you enough to allow yourself to be friendly with others in the gym and should help lessen the overwhelming intimidation.

These are only a few ideas that have helped me from personal experience. Even though I am no longer a “rookie” in the gym, I am constantly learning. I don’t know every exercise and I don’t know the ins and outs of how your diet affects your progress. Health and nutrition is a continuous cycle of starting as a beginner, educating yourself and learning, applying that information, and then gaining the experience. This cycle repeats each and every time you find yourself learning something new. I can’t explain enough how many times I have felt like I started back at square one, like my first blog post. It is a part of learning. Don’t give up. Reach out for help if you need it. The fitness community, as superficial as it may seem, consists of many selfless people who are willing to help.

You have to step out of your comfort zone, throw away those negative comments and excuses you make to yourself each and every day.

You are the only one holding yourself back from reaching your goals.

M.