The Importance Of Stretching

The Importance Of Stretching

If you don’t realize the importance of stretching and do a short session during your warm-up, you’ll probably find yourself injured or have a less productive workout. When you exercise at Body Sculptors in Louisville, KY, we include stretching in every workout. It helps improve flexibility and circulates the blood to the extremities to warm them for the upcoming workout. You can do stretching—flexibility exercises after a workout, while the muscles are warmed up and more flexible to improve your range of motion.

Stretching is the body’s natural reaction.

If you’ve ever stretched in the morning or after a tense day at the computer, you don’t think about it, you just do it. It’s a natural reaction to help loosen the muscles. When you wake up with a yawn and a stretch, it’s your body’s way of preparing for the day. Yawning increases oxygen intake. Stretching increases circulation. If you’ve ever watched a cat after a nap, you’ll notice animals automatically stretch. It’s instinctive in them, just as it is in humans.

Exercise, including stretching, can improve posture.

Bad posture can cause health issues and make you look defeated. It can cause headaches, breathing difficulties, incontinence, constipation, and heartburn. Even less known issues like TMJ can be from bad posture. Exercise is the best way to improve posture with strength-building at the lead, followed closely by stretching. It increases the range of motion, loosens muscles, and can help you return to good posture. It loosens muscles that are tight from years of bad habits and weakness.

Stretching before a workout can reduce the build-up of lactic acid.

When you increase your circulation, you’ll also be increasing the oxygen that travels through your body. If your muscles don’t get enough oxygen lactic acid can build. If you’re fit and the workout isn’t hard, it clears relatively quickly. If you’re unfit or perform a grueling workout, it can build up too quickly for the body to remove. Stretching helps shorten the process of removing lactic acid. If it remains it causes lactic acidosis. Lactic acidosis interferes with the body’s pH levels, makes each workout more difficult, and can cause pain.

  • A pulled or torn muscle can put you out of commission for weeks or months. It can happen anywhere, not just at the gym. Stretching improves your range of motion to help prevent it.
  • When you stretch, it prepares your body to become more active. It helps acclimate the heart for more effort and prevents a sudden
  • You’ll build muscle faster if you stretch before doing strength training. Stretching increases your range of motion and prepares your muscles to work muscles on all planes.
  • Stretching relaxes tight muscles and gets you in the mood for exercise by changing your focus. It can help increase oxygen in your blood to clear your brain if you stretch during mental activities.

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

Exercises To Improve Posture

Exercises To Improve Posture

If you have chronic back pain, headaches, and body aches, the problem can come from poor posture. Exercise can help. Bad posture can disrupt your digestion and affect your entire body. Walking tall also makes you feel more confident. You can prove it to yourself by checking your emotions first by slouching, then when you stand up straight. Slouching makes you look and feel defeated. When that happens, the rest of the world sees it too.

Practice good standing posture.

Whether you’re standing in line or walking in the mall, you can practice good posture. Don’t lean forward or backward. Your chin should be parallel to the floor and your hips, shoulders, and ankles should all line up. Maintain good posture as you walk. Don’t look at your feet but focus on a spot about twenty feet ahead. Tuck in your tummy and backside as you rotate your hips slightly forward.

Some exercises to help improve your posture include stretches.

Stretching can help relax tight muscles as they build strength. The cat-cow pose is a good one. The cow pose starts on hands and knees, then let your abdomen drop as you raise your head and look toward the ceiling. Hold the position, then lower the body back to neutral position. Lower your head as you arch your back like an angry cat. Hold. Go back to neutral and repeat. You can use the same starting position to do a high plank. Straighten one leg as you step your foot back, putting your weight on your toes. Then move the other leg backward. Hold the position. Don’t let your stomach droop.

Your sitting posture matters.

Your back should be straight, and your shoulders should be back when you sit. Your bottom should touch the back of your chair. Distribute your weight evenly on both sides of the hip. Your knees should be slightly higher than your hips and your thighs should be at a right angle, horizontal to the floor. Doing stretches and shoulder rolls are good exercises to help your sitting posture. Lift your arms straight in the air, trying to reach higher each time. Keep your hands together and even.

  • Sleeping posture affects your sleep. If you sleep on your side, put a pillow between your knees and keep them slightly bent. People who sleep on their backs should use a lumbar roll under the lower back. Avoid sleeping on your stomach.
  • A yoga pose can help your posture. The child’s pose, where you sit with your shin bone toward the floor and your bottom on your heels, bending forward as you stretch your hands in front of you.
  • Open your chest with a stretch. It improves breathing and posture. Stand with feet hip-width. Put your hands together behind you as you lace your fingers together and palms pressing. Inhale as you lift your chest upward, lowering your hands behind you. Take five breaths and relax.
  • A thoracic spine rotation can also help back pain. Lay on one side, knees together and bent. Your hands should be straight in front of you with palms touching. Keep your lower body in place as you lift one hand straight up and over to the other side so your arms form a T to your body.

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

Can Intermittent Fasting Lead To The Development Of An Eating Disorder?

Can Intermittent Fasting Lead To The Development Of An Eating Disorder?

What is intermittent fasting—IF—and can it lead to an eating disorder? IF is not a specific diet, but a way of scheduling meals. It can be as strict as fasting two days a week and eating normally the other five to eating within a 16-hour window and fasting the other 8 hours. Creating rules around eating is one definition of an eating disorder and altering regular eating routines is another. IF fits both. Does it lead to disaster or is it beneficial?

Some smaller studies indicate IF isn’t a problem.

Studies indicate that IF may not be a problem, but the few studies existing are small. Professionals who work with those with eating disorders remain concerned. IF, like other diets, provides rules that indicate when to consume food and when not to eat. It ignores hunger patterns and could lead to binging. Another study found that IF was associated with other eating disorder behaviors like binge eating, laxative use, vomiting, and compulsive exercising.

IF is not just a way to lose weight, but also a way to help improve glucose tolerance.

Studies are still investigating whether IF has benefits. Many find that it does help reduce inflammation. Inflammation is associated with several diseases. It could help people with Alzheimer’s, asthma, arthritis, MS, and stroke due to or exacerbated by inflammation. It can cause insulin levels to drop, leading to decreased insulin resistance and improved levels of HGH—human growth hormone. It boosts cell repair and may extend life span.

It’s all about the why.

One factor separates IF from eating disorders and that’s your intentions. If it’s for the health benefits, such as reducing insulin resistance, or want the other health benefits it offers, then it probably won’t cause eating disorders. Following an IF regimen under a doctor’s care also reduces the potential for eating disorders. If it’s accompanied by other symptoms of an eating disorder, such as compulsive exercising or vomiting, it’s also a slippery slope.

  • One way to judge whether IF may be an eating disorder is to ask yourself how you would feel if you ate during fasting time. Would you feel like a failure or accept it and continue the next day?
  • In addition to those mentioned, other signs of eating disorders include weighing yourself several times a day, skipping meals, eating in isolation, fear of weight gain, and skipping meals.
  • Some side effects of IF include hunger, fatigue, headaches, insomnia, and nausea. It’s not for everyone. Pregnant or breastfeeding women should avoid it.
  • If you have acid reflux, diabetes, kidney stones, or other medical conditions, you should always talk to your doctor before starting an intermittent fasting program.

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

How To Burn Fat And Keep It Off

How To Burn Fat And Keep It Off

In Louisville, KY, people are searching for easy ways to burn fat and keep it off. It’s not just a local phenomenon, it occurs everywhere. Some quick fix programs help you lose weight, but the weight is often water weight that returns almost instantaneously. Other programs may help you lose fat, but those often involve restrictive diets that aren’t meant for long-term use. Again, the fat returns. There is one option that keeps fat from returning. It requires lifestyle changes that become habits that are hard to break.

Start by moving more.

Consistently burning calories means being more active regularly, including an exercise program. Exercise does more than just burn extra calories. It builds muscle tissue. If your body has more muscle tissue, you’ll burn more calories. Why? There are two reasons. First, muscle tissue requires more calories for maintenance than fat tissue does. The more you have, the higher your metabolism 24/7. A second reason is that exercise releases irisin. The body has both brown fat and white fat. Brown fat mitochondria burn more calories. The lumpy, hard-to-lose white fat insulates the body. The irisin exercise releases white fat into brown fat, which increases calorie-burning by 20%. The more you exercise, the more calorie-burning brown fat you develop.

The key to fat loss is your diet.

No matter how much you exercise, you can’t out-exercise a bad diet. It doesn’t matter if you run marathons or workout at the gym, if you’re consuming an unending amount of unhealthy, high-calorie foods, you’ll gain weight in the form of fat. Fat is the way the body stores excess calories. Your body needs micronutrients like vitamins and minerals, phytonutrients like anthocyanin, and macronutrients, which include protein, fat, and healthy carbohydrates.

You need other factors for a healthy lifestyle to make keeping fat off easier.

If you dehydrate or lack sleep, you’ll lose energy and be less active. That can cause a drop in the calories you burn, plus put stress on your overall health. Lack of sleep also causes the body to produce more ghrelin, the hunger hormone, and less leptin, the hormone that makes you feel full. That makes it difficult to resist temptation, plus causes you to crave sweets to get the burst of energy it provides. Food high in sugar causes blood glucose levels to rise quickly. Just as quickly as it rises, it drops dramatically, making you crave more sugar. It becomes a cycle of destruction.

  • Eliminate food with added sugar. The high glucose level caused by increasing sugar in the diet also causes a high insulin level and inflammation. Both can cause an increase in fat, particularly around the midsection.
  • Just working out may not be enough. An active lifestyle outside the gym helps. People sitting at a desk all day need to take five minutes every hour to get up and move to preserve the benefits of regular exercise.
  • Learn portion control. Healthy eating doesn’t mean giving up everything you love. You can still eat your favorite food, but not as often, and with portion control in mind.
  • Living healthy also means getting adequate sunshine. Sunshine provides you with vitamin D. More recent studies show that a higher percentage of obese people have a vitamin D deficiency.

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

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