What's The Difference Between Portion Size And Serving Size?

What’s The Difference Between Portion Size And Serving Size?

Whether you’re eating in a restaurant or at home, portion sizes will vary. However, it doesn’t matter where you eat, at home in Louisville, KY, or in a restaurant in Chicago, IL the serving size remains the same. It’s the same across the country for all food. All nutritional facts are determined by using that serving size. Potato chips are a good example. A one-ounce bag is about 15 chips. That’s the serving size, whether you’re eating from a family-size bag or not. Most people create their own portion sizes when eating snack foods like chips, which can be more or less than the serving size.

When you eat in a restaurant, the portion sizes may far exceed the serving size.

Ironically, the most expensive restaurants often have smaller serving sizes. They tend to focus on more exotic ingredients and presentation. However, mom-and-pop restaurants that compete for most of the restaurant business have to find a way to stand out from the rest. Besides great cooking, serving larger portions can make them more popular. Commercials and advertising gimmicks train us to believe more is better. Super-sizing your meal has become an all too familiar draw. In reality, the portion sizes served are often more than double the actual serving size.

Besides oversized servings in restaurants, you can overdo them at home too.

Unless you know what the serving size is for that particular food, you’ll probably eat too much. If you’re at home or in another serve-yourself situation, learning serving sizes is important. It doesn’t have to be difficult. For instance, a serving size of meat is about the same size as a cassette tape or deck of playing cards. If you stack four dice, you’d get the serving size of 1 ounce of cheese. The serving size for a cup of most food is the size of a fist.

Some easy tips to remember when eating in restaurants.

For most leafy vegetables, don’t worry about serving size, unless you’re worrying about not eating enough. For most vegetables, the serving size is often underestimated. If you’re eating chopped veggies, the serving size is a half-cup. For raw leafy greens, it’s one cup, and for vegetable juice, a half cup. The USDA recommends eating two and a half to three cups of vegetables or about five to six servings a day. Potatoes aren’t included in the vegetable group. In most cases, eating more than the recommended minimum servings is a good thing. Just be careful with sauces and dressing.

  • If you’re making a salad, include other types of lettuce besides iceberg, they’re more nutritious. Baby greens, baby kale and baby spinach are extremely nutritious.
  • If your favorite restaurant has large portion sizes, share a meal with a friend or eat half and ask for a carry-out container to take home. Some people opt for an appetizer as their main dish and add a salad and vegetables as sides.
  • Your favorite snack or meal might come in larger portions and be several serving sizes. You can help yourself and prevent overeating by repackaging the food as soon as you get home to individual serving sizes.
  • If you’re still unsure how to achieve a healthy diet that helps you reach your goals, our staff at Body Sculptors can help with a customized diet and nutrition training.

For more information, contact us today at Body Sculptors Personal Training

Are Personal Trainers Worth It?

Are Personal Trainers Worth It?

Many people who use personal trainers are either just starting a fitness program or have tried on their own and failed. However, that doesn’t mean that those with more experience don’t use them. Some trainers use the services of another trainer to learn new techniques and switch up their workout or improve their form. Trainers focus exclusively on ways to get fitter. They’re specialists. Most have far more training in body mechanics and nutrition than the average doctor.

You can work out on your own, but you might not see the progress.

Not only do trainers keep abreast of the latest research in fitness, but they also can identify areas where you need more work. Some fitness problems may occur because smaller muscles are taking over the work of larger ones. Trainers can identify that and help prevent injury. They create a difficult program, but still within your capabilities. Trainers also do more than just help you with workouts, many can provide information to aid you in eating healthier.

Do you have a pre-existing condition?

If you’re starting an exercise program because of high blood pressure, diabetes or are recovering from a serious condition, a trainer can be extremely useful. Always check with your health care professional first before starting any exercise program. If you have an issue that limits your movement, like knee problems, trainers can modify and personalize your workout to adjust for it.

Trainers hold you accountable.

You are more apt to show up if you know a trainer is waiting for you. A trainer will also push you to achieve more. He or she will record your progress and modify your workout if you’re not getting the best results. Most people don’t push themselves when they’re on their own or they push too hard initially and injure themselves, setting back training for months. A trainer can determine the best workout for your needs.

  • Learning proper form is extremely important. If you don’t have the right form, it can cause injury or minimize benefits. A trainer will not only show you how to do an exercise, but he or she will watch to ensure your form is correct.
  • Trainers can keep you motivated. Besides holding you accountable and tracking your training and results, trainers can provide the encouragement you need.
  • Trainers will vary your workout. That helps prevent boredom and can also prevent plateauing. When you do the same exercise repetitively, your body becomes efficient and burns fewer calories, causing plateauing.
  • Personal trainers often offer a variety of options to suit everyone’s budget. They may have small group discounts. If you and your friends want to make your night out a healthier option, choose small group training classes, followed by a healthy meal.

For more information, contact us today at Body Sculptors Personal Training

How Many Times A Week Should I Do Cardio?

How Many Times A Week Should I Do Cardio?

The number of times per week that you do cardio all depends on you. The US Department of Health and Human Services suggests you get from 150 to 300 minutes of moderate cardio or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous cardio. One study found that doing as much as 60 minutes of intense cardio each day is safe, but you need to be fit. If it’s an intense cardio workout, there are some risks. If you’re walking that would mean doing cardio three to six days a week, at a moderate pace. It’s always best to talk with your healthcare professional to decide what’s appropriate for your health and goals.

There are several ways to work cardio into your schedule.

If you’re doing intense cardio, focus three days a week on cardio and two days a week on strength training. If you workout intensely for 30 to 60 minutes, it would total the required cardio time. Some people do cardio five days a week and adjust the amount of time spent based on intensity. They include strength training every day, but vary the muscles they work. Your trainer will create a program that’s right for you.

You don’t have to do strictly cardio for it to count as cardio.

There are several ways to do exercises that make strength-building also a cardio workout. For instance, circuit training or HIIT—high intensity interval training—-with strength-building exercises can also get your heart pumping the way cardio does. Kettlebell training works the entire body and builds flexibility, strength, balance and endurance.

If you’re doing moderate cardio, like walking, err on the high side.

Taking a walk every day for 45 minutes isn’t going to tax your body and ensures you’ll get approximately 315 minutes. You don’t have to do it all at once, either. You can break it up into smaller sessions and walk three times a week. You can even count walking in the mall while you’re shopping. To get more from your cardio workout, modify the intensity and turn it into a HIIT workout.

  • Know the difference between moderate exercise and intense. If you can comfortably talk, but not sing while doing cardio, it’s moderate intensity. If you can only say a few words without gasping for breath, it’s high intensity.
  • Don’t forget you also need other types of training. If you’re only doing cardio, it can cause you to lose ground for weight loss. Cardio burns both lean muscle and fat for energy. The less muscle you have, the fewer calories you burn.
  • Cardio doesn’t have to be boring or a specific exercise. Dancing, especially to fast music can be a good cardio workout. Playing basketball with the kids or other active play is also good cardio.
  • People with joint problems need to do low-impact cardio. Water exercises are easy on the joints and qualify. Talk with a trainer if you have physical limitations to ensure you get a program designed specifically for your needs.

For more information, contact us today at Body Sculptors Personal Training

How Salt Might Affect Your Weight Loss

How Salt Might Affect Your Weight Loss

If your resolution is to lose weight, think twice about grabbing that salt shaker at every meal. It can affect your goal of weight loss. Most people realize that consuming too much salt can cause water retention, which makes you weigh more. Salt’s chemical composition is sodium and chloride—NaCl.  Sodium regulates the balance of water in the body. If you are dehydrated, it causes the water/sodium content to be out of balance. You need more water to regain that balance and dilute the sodium content. Your body hoards the fluid, causing edema, bloating and weight gain. That’s temporary, but there’s another way that too much salt can cause weight gain that is more permanent.

Salt is one spice that doesn’t make you feel fuller.

Some spices add flavor and can add to that full feeling you get after a meal. Salt isn’t one of them. Salt not only can potentially cause your blood pressure to rise, but it can also cause a more permanent type of problem. Scientific studies show that people who eat more salt on their food actually drink less water, but they did one more thing. They ate more. The more salt the people used, the higher their intake of food, which led to permanent weight gain.

Preparing for space travel brings research in other areas.

Many discoveries were made during the space race. Scratch-resistant lenses, artificial limbs, the insulin pump, LASIK surgery, solar cells, water filtration, invisible braces, freeze-dried food, phones with cameras, CAT scans, memory foam, portable computers, LEDs, the computer mouse and many other things we take for granted came from the space race. Testing dietary theories we use today was also part of the preparation. One study focused on how salt affected the body. The Russian cosmonauts-in-training ate a consistent diet, but then the diet was changed. The only change that was made was the amount of salt, doubling the recommended amount to 12 grams. After weeks on the high salt diet, the salt was reduced to 9 grams, then finally to the normal 6 grams a day.

The results of the experiment were very telling.

The Russian study also followed levels of hunger, while adjusting the levels of salt. When the salt level was high, the cosmonauts-in-training were constantly hungry. As the amount of salt was reduced, so was the hunger level. Other studies back that hypothesis. One Australian study linked childhood obesity to a high salt diet. Their conclusion was that the body mistook thirst for hunger or, the children satisfied the thirst with higher calorie soft drinks.

  • Another Australian study found that people who ate a high salt diet tended to increase their caloric intake by approximately 11%. Was thirst mistaken for hunger or did salt make them hungrier?
  • Consumption of high amounts of salt requires the body to create urea, which is important to maintain the water/sodium balance. That requires more calories, which may be why people eating salt were hungrier.
  • Even if salt doesn’t cause you to feel hungrier, consuming too much salt isn’t healthy for a number of reasons. It’s associated with stomach cancer, high blood pressure and heart disease.
  • The sodium and chloride in salt play an important role in the body. It helps regulate nerve function, muscle contraction, blood pressure and fluid balance. A sensitivity to salt may cause a higher potential for blood pressure problems.

For more information, contact us today at Body Sculptors Personal Training

What To Know About Keto

What To Know About Keto

While we don’t necessarily recommend a keto diet at Body Sculptors in Louisville, KY, but instead provide an easier route that’s personalized and doesn’t require calorie or carb counting, there are a lot of questions about the keto diet. The keto diet puts the body into a state of ketosis. That’s where is burns fat for energy, rather than glucose. This type of diet has been around for many years and was originally used to help control seizures in the 1920s. By the 1980s, bodybuilders discovered it and made it a popular weight loss option.

Keto diets are good for more than just preventing seizures caused by epilepsy and weight loss.

There are many benefits to the keto diet. The first is that it reduces the amount of food you eat with added sugar and processed food, just by its lower carbohydrate nature. Reducing sugar is a huge benefit for the body. However, it was also noted for its ability to improve mental focus. Even though it burns body fat, it also helps preserve lean muscle mass.

A keto diet manages the balance of macronutrients.

When you cut the amount of glucose that comes from eating carbs and supplement fat and protein, it causes the body to switch to burning fat for energy. How much do you have to change your diet? The average diet has far too high of carbohydrate count. Even worse, those carbs come primarily from added sugar. A keto diet reduces the percentage of calories from well over 60% from carbs to a diet that has a ratio of 10-20% from protein, 5-10% from carbs and the rest from fat.

It becomes about the type of carbs you eat.

Vegetables and fruits have carbs, so do quinoa, dairy and nuts. You need those in your diet. They’re also lower in carbs and calories. However, not all vegetables, fruit or dairy are low in carbs, but there’s also net carbs to consider. There are three categories of dietary carbohydrates, sugar, starches and fiber. Fiber isn’t digested by humans, even though the microbiome in the gut uses them as food. Even though many vegetables have carbs, not all the carbs are available for the body, since they are fiber. Cutting out foods high in sugar, low in fiber or higher in starch are the ones the carbs that need to be lowered in the diet.

  • Cutting out food with added sugar and refined carbs is the first step to a healthy diet and also to a keto diet. Choosing vegetables that are high in fiber produce a much lower net carb gain, since the carbs can’t be used.
  • There are some dangers to the keto diet. The keto diet can cause constipation, bone damage, heart disease, kidney stones, nutritional deficiencies, and low blood pressure. People with gallbladder, pancreas or thyroid problems should avoid a keto diet.
  • You need to choose your fat source wisely on a keto diet. While bacon is a source of fat, avocados are better, since they have many other nutrients. Choosing meat from grass fed beef is better than choosing meat from traditionally raised beef.
  • One problem with a keto diet is constipation. Many people cut back on vegetables and grain products that are high in fiber, which slows digestion and makes you feel out of sorts, often called the keto flu.

For more information, contact us today at Body Sculptors Personal Training

Will Hormones Make You Gain Weight?

Will Hormones Make You Gain Weight?

Many times when you hear people complain that they can’t lose weight, it’s because they aren’t following the program. Either they ignore the calories they consume either at meals or in soft drinks and snacks or fail to exercise regularly. However, there are cases when your hormones are out of balance, which makes it easier to gain weight and harder to lose it. It’s one reason I tell people to keep a food and exercise diary, so we can find precisely where the problem is.

You have a lot of different types of hormones.

When people think of hormones, their mind immediately goes to estrogen, testosterone and progesterone, the sex hormones, but the body has far more than just those three. Hormones are the messengers of the body. They trigger different responses, including emotional responses. Those feel good hormones that provide a runner’s high are examples. Hormones can determine when you get hungry or feel full—ghrelin, the hunger hormone and leptin, the satiety hormone. Lack of sleep causes you to produce too much ghrelin. Too much insulin or excess cortisol may be the culprits behind belly fat.

If belly fat is a problem, maybe it’s stress that’s the underlying cause.

As noted before, both insulin and cortisol are linked to belly fat. You can help control both with exercise and proper diet. Cortisol occurs when you’re under stress. Learning methods to control stress or exercising to burn off the hormone helps. The fight or flight response to stress triggers cortisol production. Exercise mimics running or fighting, burning it off. As for insulin resistance, exercise improves glucose uptake and helps reduce belly fat, which is associated with insulin resistance. The best exercise to do is HIIT—high intensity interval training, weight lifting, sprinting and even increasing the amount you walk.

Look for other signs of thyroid hormonal imbalances.

I hear people complain of an inactive thyroid all the time. Besides weight gain, there are other signals this is the problem. Frequent constipation, sensitivity to heat or cold, fatigue, dry skin, hair loss and irregular heartbeat can also occur. Your thyroid regulates metabolism and can make a difference whether you lose weight or gain it. Sometimes, you can avoid problems by eating a healthy diet and avoiding stress. Start by cutting out sugar and highly processed food. Always consult with your doctor first.

  • No hormone is good or bad. You need them all, but you need them in balance. There are hormones to speed heart rate and ones to slow it. Balancing glucagon and insulin can make the difference between healthy and diabetic or hypoglycemic.
  • Most women find sex hormones out of balance during menopause, causing weight gain. Cutting out coffee, exercising more, eating more fruits, vegetables and phytoestrogenic foods consuming healthy fats and cutting back on sugar and salt can help,
  • Cutting out foods with added sugar can be a big help, regardless of the type of hormonal imbalance. Sugar causes inflammation, which leads to other problems, like insulin resistance, weight gain and oxidative stress.
  • Find ways to relax and reduce stress levels that work quickly. While exercise does that, you can’t always do jumping jacks when you need to relax, but you may be able to use breathing techniques or meditation.

For more information, contact us today at Body Sculptors Personal Training

Pros And Cons Of Supplements

Pros And Cons Of Supplements

It seems like there are supplements for everything from building muscles to improving your memory. Are these supplements any good and are there dangers to taking supplements? There are both pros and cons when it comes to any kind of product, whether it’s natural or not. You can get too much of a good thing, then it ceases to be good and starts having side effects. However, one of the biggest negatives of taking supplements is that people often mistakenly think they’re all that’s needed, and they don’t have to have a healthy diet as long as they take the supplements.

What is a dietary supplement?

The definition for a dietary supplement is any product that’s not tobacco, which contains a mineral, vitamin, herb, amino acid, dietary substance, or herb that’s taken to increase the daily intake of certain nutrients. Whether it’s a pill, powder or power bar, it boosts nutrients in your diet that you might be missing for a number of reasons. It may be poor absorption, lack of appetite or a poor diet. In most cases, it’s due to poor choices of food.

Pros of supplements.

Today’s supplement market is far more extensive than ever. You don’t just have the traditional vitamin and mineral tablets, there are whole food products and capsules that contain dehydrated fruits and vegetables. Vitamin D supplements are often beneficial, especially in colder climates where it’s impossible to get all the vitamin D from the sun and takes delicate meal planning to get it from diet. Folic acid is important for women of childbearing age to help prevent birth defects. For seniors and pregnant or lactating women, nutritional supplements may also be important.

The other side of the supplement coin.

Some of the biggest abusers of supplements are bodybuilders. The supplements they abuse all have to do with protein. You’ll often see a wall of shelves containing these protein supplements in health food and nutrition stores. So, what’s the problem? You can get too much and it’s unhealthy. While the creatine may add bulk, too much of it can cause side effects, which range from diarrhea, dehydration and cramps to heart and kidney problems. It’s far better simply to consume a healthy diet than risk ruining your health.

  • Some supplements are beneficial, but you have to have the right form. Not all forms of vitamins and minerals are bioavailable. Bioavailability means the body can absorb them. If a product isn’t bioavailable, it’s flushed out of your body via urine or feces.
  • Unless you’re taking a whole food supplement, you may be missing the phytochemicals, and the synergistic relationship between nutrients in food that increases the benefits it offers.
  • You can overdose on supplements. If you take too much vitamin C, a water-soluble vitamin, is flushed out of your body when you urinate, but it can cause digestive issues. However, fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin A, can accumulate in your body to dangerous levels, causing harm.
  • There can be a place for supplements in your life but take them sparingly or if you have a problem getting all the nutrients you need from food. It’s always better to get your nutrition from a healthy diet and far more satisfying.

For more information, contact us today at Body Sculptors Personal Training

How To Stay Motivated As A Beginner

How To Stay Motivated As A Beginner

It’s January and that means all those New Year’s resolutions have started. By now, many have also ended. I see it in Louisville, KY, people start a fitness regimen as a beginner and just can’t stay motivated. You can arm yourself with ammunition to help improve your chances of success. It all starts with setting a specific goal that you can measure. It makes the goal more exciting when you know if you’re coming closer and you can redirect if you’re not. Set a goal, make it specific and have a way to measure it.

Sore muscles are part of the program, but injuries shouldn’t be.

It’s normal to want to do more in your first few weeks. You’re pumped and excited about working out. Unfortunately, that very excitement is also something that can destroy your motivation. If you workout too hard or too much initially, forget to warm-up or cool-down or don’t use the proper form, pulling a muscle or worse could be in your future. Take it slow at first and learn the proper form for each exercise. An injury can keep you benched for a long time.

Don’t expect immediate change.

Whether you want to build your endurance, lose weight or just get a stronger, fitter body, it all takes time. Don’t look for overnight miracles. You will start to feel the difference in a week or two and start to see physical changes in about four weeks. You might see a few pounds drop the first week if you’re also on a healthy diet, but it can get discouraging if you’re weighing in several times a day.

Create a schedule and make your workout an appointment.

Most people schedule appointments on their phone or have a planner they use. Add your workout session to your schedule and make it the same time every day. One of the biggest boosts to success is consistency, which includes the time of day you workout. By making your workout as important as any other appointment, you’re saying it’s important and not letting life get in the way.

  • If your day is constantly changing, schedule your workout for the first thing in the morning to make sure you have the time to do it.
  • Get adequate rest between strength building workouts. Your muscles need between 48 and 72 hours to heal, so don’t work the same muscle groups two days in a row.
  • Track your progress and keep notes on how many sets and repetitions you’re doing. Make notes on how you felt. Add your method of measurement once a week, whether it’s how much you weigh, your body measurements or physical condition, like blood pressure reading.
  • Never compare yourself and how you’re doing with other people. Every person is different. Only compete against yourself.

For more information, contact us today at Body Sculptors Personal Training

Meal Plan And Hit Your Goals!

Meal Plan And Hit Your Goals!

I hear it all the time. Clients who want to lose weight, boost their health or increase their energy level, come to me and say they’re struggling. I tell them to do meal planning. Within a week or so, they’re back saying it’s just too hard to meal plan but did notice it was easier to stick with a regimen of healthy eating when they did. What can you do to make meal planning easier? You can do several things to make meal planning easier and more successful.

Give meal planning time to work.

Just like anything, when you’re first new to it, it’s hard. After a few weeks, you’ll be amazed at how much easier it gets. Meal planning is so much easier thanks to the programs available. We offer one that only requires you to buy the food and make it, all the planning and even the grocery list is already made. Sure, you have to cook it, but that’s even streamlined. You cook everything at once. That means leftovers are used, your oven and stovetop are doing double duty and you only have to clean the big pots and pans once a week.

Shopping for food is even easier and money saving.

When you shop for your weekly food, make sure you eat before you go. It helps lower your grocery bill by eliminating unnecessary items. Do all your shopping at once. That saves on gas, which is a huge benefit. All the ingredients are on the list for every meal, breakfast, lunch and dinner. You can check your shelves and delete the ingredients you don’t need. Since your program is personalized, it will contain food you enjoy and your body needs.

Get the family involved in making the meals.

You’ll be cooking a whole week’s worth of food at once. Many people double the recipes, particularly ones they find everyone likes. That’s where giving meal planning a chance to work is important. After a month or so, people often have an extra week or two of meals in their freezer, have developed a rhythm for the weekly prep and love meal planning. It makes getting meals ready during the week a breeze. It’s a matter of heating and eating, which is faster than a drive through and wastes less gas.

  • When you use our meal planning app, you can be sure that not only are your meals well-balanced, but they also fit your calorie needs. You’ll pack individual serving sizes to take away the guesswork at a meal.
  • After doing meal planning for a month or two, most people have a week of meals for the family packed in the freezer. You’ll be ready for unexpected guests and even be able to take a week or two off from cooking.
  • Having healthy snacks in the refrigerator or to take to work can be a huge benefit. You won’t be tempted to grab some gas station food when you stop for gas. Your body will thank you.
  • Planning meals ahead gives you a chance to check out the sales and use coupons, saving even more money. Your grocery bill is often lower and you’ll be amazed at how much further your food budget will go.

For more information, contact us today at Body Sculptors Personal Training