Monday, January 25, 2010

Omega 3's

Fish Oil...the sound of it isn't too appealing ...but it's SO important to our health. You've all heard of Omega-6's and Omega-3's, but do you know what they really are?

Omega-3's and Omega-6's are essential fatty acids - we cannot make them on our own and therefore have to get them through our diet. Good sources of Omega-3's come from fish (salmon, sardines, mackerel, bluefish, etc.), but not very many of us will eat enough fish to get proper amounts of Omega-3's. I'm not a supplement pusher (in fact the opposite) but taking fish oil daily is so important. It is the building block of for hormones that control immune function, blood clotting and cell growth. This is done through the components EPA and DHA. In some nuts (walnuts and flaxseeds) there's a precursor Omega-3 called ALA that the converts to EPA and DHA. It is best to get them through the fish oil itself though.

Omega-6's are very high in American diet. They come from seeds, nuts, and the oils extracted from them. Also refined vegetable oils are a source. The most prominent being soybean oil, which has taken over about 20% of our daily caloric intake in processed foods. The problem with Omega-6's is that they do the opposite of Omega-3's. They cause an inflammatory response which hinders immune function, increases blood clotting, and decreases cell growth.

A balance of both types of fatty acids is critical to optimal health. Unfortunately, as I mentioned before, the typical diet is now too high in Omega-6's which is thought to be a related cause to the increase cases of asthma, heart disease, autoimmune and neurodegenerative, and many forms of cancer due to the increased inflammatory response. The imbalance is also thought to possibly lead to obesity, depression, dyslexia, and hyperactivity.

So, it's time to suck it up, and get some of that fish oil. When you go the store make sure to get the fish oil that has been refrigerated and keep it refrigerated because when kept at room temperature it becomes harmful to the body. ENJOY!

Monday, January 18, 2010

CrossFit Level 1 Certification

Earlier this summer at Lake Powell I was doing a workout that include Front Squats. CrossFit approved for sure! No excused that you can't get a workout in. There's always objects that weigh something (if even only your own body weight...but a log works too).

This last weekend was an amazing experience for me. Attending the Level 1 CrossFit Certification course was good review on some aspects, was eye opening for other aspects, was educational, was intriguing, was motivating, was contagious, the list goes on and on. Basically, it was just what the doctor ordered!

I have friends that do CrossFit, I have friends that have their own CrossFit gyms, I have friends that are CrossFit trainers, I have done CrossFit workouts...but what the heck is CrossFit?

That question was answered for me this weekend in the most clear way I could have asked for. CrossFit is a workout program that is constantly varied, full of functional movements, all at high intensity. The effectiveness of a program like this is astounding. I know when I first heard of CrossFit I was thinking that this is something for the elite athletes or for people like myself who are crazy and love to beat themselves up in workouts. I couldn't have been more wrong.

Yes, CrossFit will fulfill the needs of the "athletes" and the crazies, but it also will help grandma be able to move better for longer in life. It will help kids develop great motor skills at a young age. It will give "mom" an easier time keeping up with her kids. It will make everyone fitter and healthier. Not to mention the community within CrossFit is extremely encouraging, motivating, and supportive.

I have been told in the past that I train similar to a CrossFitter. Yes, it was similar. But this weekend has taught me what I was doing right, what I was doing wrong, and what I need to add or subtract from my programs to make them more effective.

Another aspect that I will touch on only briefly in this blog post is nutrition. Many "fitness" organizations stray trainers away from dealing with people's food intake due to liability reasons. Or they preach the typical American diet - low fat, high carb. Why? This is WRONG! First of all, food is our bodies fuel. If we don't fuel it right, it's not going to run right. Therefore teaching people how to eat right is a HUGE component of getting results. Carbs, or sugars, are what our bodies store as fat. We can't store protein or fat as fat. Toss everything you've heard about the low fat diets down the tubes! Fat and protein help us feel satiated, help us recover, and help slow down the rate that sugar enters the blood. Carbs on the other hand make us feel hungrier and are stored as fat. So why would we eat high carbs and low fat? Doesn't make sense does it. Basic things to think about with Protein and Veggies, Nuts and Seeds, Some Fruit, Little to No Grains/Starch, No Refined Sugar.

I am stoked to learn more, to help others become better athletes, to help others become more independent and capable in their own physical lives. Let the games begin!

To start training with me you can reach me at I train clients remotely and I also do train in person. Please email or call to get started to a fitter you!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Believing in Change

My background...recreational athlete starting at the age of 3, high school athlete (soccer, softball, basketball), collegiate athlete (soccer and track). Currently I am a competitive distance runner, have gone back to recreational (competitive league) soccer, have picked up waterskiing, snow skiing, and am an outdoors(wo)man. On a professional level, I have a 4 year bachelors degree in Fitness and Wellness, am an NSCA certified personal trainer, coached high school soccer, and am working on my 7th year in a career as a Personal Trainer. I definitely have a history of leading an active lifestyle and helping others to do the same.

I have to admit in the last few years I've gotten myself in a rut on an educational basis. I wasn't doing much continuing education. Maybe it was lack of time, a lack of resources, or a lack of enthusiasm. Maybe it was a combo of all three...who knows. I wasn't completely in the dark, but I wasn't branching out as much as I should have. Fitness and Nutrition have ever changing research, equipment and "the next best thing". That means I have to be open to change, to learning and to admitting that maybe what I was doing wasn't the best approach.

Lately, I have been studying from videos, podcasts, websites, journals, etc from top names in the industry. Mike Boyle's ideas on technique, Robb Wolf's thoughts on nutrition, Cross Fit's "programming", etc. Through all of this I have realized that some of my previous approaches toward fitness and nutrition were either wrong or were not the best way to go about it.

At first I was a little timid about presenting the new information to my clients in fear that they would question my ability as a trainer/coach because of the fact that in some areas I was contradicting what I had previously preached. Then I got to thinking that the changes I had to offer were going to benefit them more and therefore they should be just as stoked as I was about the whole deal. For the most part that was the response I received.

Understand that change is something that is going to happen in the fitness world. The basics will stay the same, but the there will always be new research that proves something to be more beneficial than the other. Don't be afraid to let new ideas in and don't be afraid to try new approaches. Do be afraid to learn and to believe that change can be a great thing!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Support Group

My workout girls in New Castle, CO. These women rock!

We all know that eating right, exercising and being disciplined to do it consistently isn't an easy task. But, often times we make it harder than it needs to be. A big part of that is our surroundings.

Sure we've all heard tips to success like keep the junk food out of the house, put motivating pictures/sayings on your mirror or in your car, or to set out your workout clothes the night before. Those are all proven helpful hints and strategies, but there's still a HUGE part we have to face....our support group.

Peer/family pressure is tough and in many cases the easiest to give into. Going out to dinner and the group orders a big plate of nachos for an appetizer. Can you say no? When you're headed to the gym, your friends "encourage" you not to go and instead hit up a movie with popcorn and a soda. Can you say no? Your spouse complains because you are going for a walk rather than sitting and watching TV. Can you invite him/her?...will they join?

Marcus (my boyfriend and part of my support group) and I after climbing Mt. Lassen in Northern California

It's crucial to your success that you communicate what your goals are with your friends/family and that you need/want their support and help. Hopefully they will have your back, but if not then they are a deterrent to your achievements. I am not saying give up on these people and exclude them from your lives...I am saying make sure that you are not letting them take you down. When you continually say "no" to their unhealthy suggestions, they will eventually get the point and who knows, they may actually participate in the healthier lifestyle too.

We all have good intentions to reach our goals, otherwise we wouldn't make them. Let's make it easier on ourselves though and surround ourselves with people that support us and encourage us.

Here's to a happy and healthy 2010!