June 2011 a man rolled up to me in a wheelchair and introduced himself to me. "Hi, I am Master Sergeant Christopher Aguilera and I was shot down in Afghanistan in June 2010 and my phyiscal therapists stated this is it for me, and I find it unacceptable." I looked at Chris and said no problem, I can help you and you will reach your goals.
For the next year I worked with Chris. We laughed, we cried, and we a formed a bond like no other. He is now my brother. Together we got his strength back, his ability to move, and he was up and running. June 2012 he was granted his flight status back.
One week later was the second year anniversary of the crash, and the 1st Annual Pedro 66 Memorial Run. We had a blast participating, and Chris ran the longest distance of 6.6 miles.
January 2013 Chris got his wish to go on another deployment. He returned April 2013, and began preparing for the 2nd Annual Pedro 66 Memorial Run to be held on June 8, 2013.
Unfortunately he received notification on May 23rd that the organization that was going to run the event that they were going to cancel the event. When I was notified later that day that the race was cancelled, I found this unacceptable. I then stated we will not let this race fall by the way side, the race will go on.
So, here I am with 10 days to go, and this race will go on. I will make sure it goes off with out a hitch. Though it will be a small event thrown together quickly, there was no way it was not going to happen. I could not sit there and not have Chris run in an event that honors his fallen brothers and every other person who serves are country through our military branches.
So the race will go on! Please join us on June 8th! For more information about the race, please see my event page.
Chris will always be my brother and hold a special place in my heart.
Is it safe to exercise during pregnancy?
It can be safe to exercise during pregnancy, but checking with your doctor first is a must.
Exercise can help you feel better and maintain your weight throughout the pregnancy. It can also ease or prevent discomfort, give you extra energy, and can help you prepare your body for labor by increasing your stamina and muscle strength. If you have no serious medical problems and/or have uncomplicated pregnancies in the past, most likely you will be given the go from your doctor that is would be safe for you to exercise.
When should an exercise program be started?
If your doctor approves you for exercise, you can start exercising at a level that does not cause pain, excessive shortness of breath or tiredness. If you have not been exercising regularly prior to your pregnancy the activity levels can be slowly increased if everything is going well as you add exercise. If at any point you become uncomfortable, have shortness of breath or feel very tired, the exercise level should be reduced immediately. If you are a person who has already been exercising, it's easier to keep exercising during pregnancy.
What types of exercise can be done while pregnant?
Exercises that don't require the body to bear a lot of extra weight are good choices. Swimming, stationary cycling, walking and low-impact aerobics are good options. Always consult with your doctor to decide what's best for you and your baby. It is also recommended that you seek out assistance from a personal trainer who has knowledge about exercise and pregnancy.
What other things may be concerns?
Always avoid activities that increase your risk of falls or injury, such as contact sports or vigorous sports. Even mild injuries to the stomach area can be serious when you're pregnant. In the second trimester it is best to avoid exercises that would require you to be on your back. Being on your back could potentially could put the weight of the baby in positions that could interfere with blood circulation. Also keep long periods of standing.
Another concern would be exercising in hot temperatures. It is best to keep exercise to the early morning or late evening to help prevent overheating. If exercising indoors, make sure the room has plenty of ventilation, drink plenty of fluids, and use a fan if necessary.
Finally it is very important to consume a well balanced diet during pregnancy, but especially with exercise during pregnancy. Typically pregnancy increases nutrition requirements by 300-500 calories per day. With exercise this may need to be 400-600 calories. Again it is important to check with your doctor and a nutritionist.
In conclusion; YES, exercise is possible during pregnancy, and it can be a great benefit to your pregnancy. Always communicate every thing you are doing for exercise with your doctor.
What is Balanced Nutrition?
Nutrition that contains the proper proportions of carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals, and water necessary to maintain good health.
This definition is great in a basic explanation, but a truly balanced nutrition plan is the proper proportions of the above listed items that you obtain from whole foods. This is where the term “Balanced Holistic Nutrition” comes into to play.
What is Holistic Nutrition?
Holistic simply means “treating the body as a whole”, providing “whole” Foods.
Holistic nutrition addresses digestion, adequacy, balance and moderation for each individual. Holistic nutrition, like the basic balanced nutrition definition focuses on the balance of protein, vegetable carbohydrates, whole grain carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients to help our bodies reach maximum energy levels, as well as, top physical and emotional health.
Why is Balanced Holistic Nutrition so Important?
This balance of nutrition is important in developing and maintaining a state of health that is optimal and healing. Poor nutrition coupled with a sedentary lifestyle contributes too many causes of health problems and preventable diseases in North America.
Here are some other benefits to a Balanced Holistic Nutrition:
- Improve digestion
- Increase energy levels
- Maintaining a more optimal pH balance
- Weight management
- Balances hormones
- Strengthened immune system
- Improved recovery time
- Relief of fatigue
- Relief from allergies
- Reduced stress
- Balanced blood sugar
- Relief from constipation
- Reduced blood pressure and/or cholesterol
- Reduced inflammation
- Decreases disease and auto-immune issues
- Management or prevent diabetes and other health conditions, such as arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, IBS, IBD, colitis, Crohns, gout, and many more
- Relief from acne, obesity, fatigue, colds & influenza, headaches, viral infections, and more
- Reduced environmental and chemical stressors
Balanced Holistic Nutrition Basics:
- All food should be organic and fresh as much as possible.
- Avoid junk food, fast food, and processed food.
- Do not consume food with additives, artificial sweeteners, and preservatives.
- Completely eliminate sugar or at least stay below 30 grams per day.
- Drink large amounts (125-150 ounces) of pure filtered water. Filtered guarantees that it is free of chlorine and other contaminants.
- Avoid microwavable foods, and heating foods in microwaves.
- Do not consume genetically modified or engineered foods.
- Identify hidden food allergies and food sensitivities.
- Address nutritional deficiencies through food, high quality vitamins and minerals.
- Eat whole foods in their natural state as much as possible (whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, grass fed beef, free range chicken, etc)
Implementing a balanced holistic nutrition plan will get you on the path of a holistic you!
Spring is around the corner, which can provide you the opportunity for a brand-new, you! Your nutritional intake may need an overhaul from the long winter, or just in general. I have a few tips that may help ditch the bad nutrition habits, and give you a healthy fresh start. Let’s spring clean those nutritional habits.
Overhaul your cupboards
Most people, me included have a hard time reaching for something healthy when something not so healthy is within reach. Remember the old saying “out of sight, out of mind”? This is true for junk food. If you don’t have it in your cabinets, you won’t eat it. So, the first step to spring cleaning your nutrition is to take stock of what’s in your cabinets, and get rid of anything that might impede your cleaning up your nutritional habits. Get rid of anything processed, filled with white sugar and flour and those fat-laden treats that are just going to tempt you. Restock with whole-grains, rice or almond crackers, low-sugar and whole-grain cereals, and homemade granola rather than sugary boxed breakfasts. Other items to keep on hand for quick, healthy meals include:
- Beans (garbanzo, white beans, kidney beans)
- Canned tomatoes (great for a fresh sauce or easy tomato soup)
- Artichokes in water (add to pizza, pasta or salad)
- Pickled veggies (beets, green beans, etc. add a zesty punch to sandwiches)
- Brown rice
- Quinoa (quick-cooking, full of protein)
If a junk food snack is something you want every now and again, go out to get a small amount and consume it away from your home.
Stock up on fresh produce
With spring around the corner, it won’t be long before we’re knee-deep in fresh, seasonal produce. With that said, you can still make sure you do most of your shopping in the fresh food aisles of the grocery store. The more fresh fruit and vegetables you have on hand, the easier it will be to get all of the nutrients your body needs. Always remember that the brighter and richer the color, the more nutrients they provide
Unhealthy meals come often when we are more rushed and stressed. Organization and planning keep us from grabbing a frozen dinner, fast food, or take-out order. Create a meal plan for the week (or even month). Choose simple (three- to four-ingredient) meals that don’t take long to cook and that everyone can help with. Chop vegetables for the week on a Sunday night and keep them in Tupperware, cook a week’s worth of brown rice and do what you can to stay ahead. Print out the week’s menu and put it somewhere that you will always see it.
Secure healthy snacks
Having healthy snacks on hand goes a long way to help prevent overeating and growing dependent on sugary, high-fat items to quell between-meal hunger. Here are a few suggestions to keep your snacks on the right track.
- Keep a bowl of apples, oranges, grapefruit and bananas on the kitchen counter as incentive to grab a vitamin-rich treat.
- Cut up carrots, celery, cucumber, red and yellow peppers, broccoli and cauliflower and have it easily accessible in plastic containers in the fridge.
- Keep glass jars of raw nuts and seeds on the counter or in pre-portioned snack bags.
- Toss in the blender some beans of choice with minced or roasted garlic, lemon juice, olive oil and fresh herbs for a simple dip or sandwich spread. It should last five to seven days in the fridge.
- Stock up on Greek yogurt and keep it on hand for quick healthy snacks.
Enlist a professional
If you really feel your nutrition needs an overhaul this spring, book an appointment with a nutritionist or dietician. After assessing your current nutritional patterns and needs, a nutrition professional can provide you the guidance to get you on the right track, and/or help you create a meal plan for you based on your body's needs, your lifestyle, and your health and fitness goals.
Why Starch and Fruit Carb Cycling? These two types of carbohydrates have a greater effect on your systems, and can aid in fat and sugar storage. Adding a starch and fruit cycle to your nutrition regimen, can sometimes aid in speeding up the weight loss process.
If you have established sound nutritional habits on a daily basis (examples: eating breakfast, protein at each meal, 5-10 servings green and brightly colored vegetables a day, etc.), then adding this strategy may be one to consider for an extra kick to your weight loss journey.
The concept is quite easy. Consume a higher amount of fruit and starch carbs on training days and consume a lower amount of carbs on low intensity training days and non-training days. This style of cycling has been recommended for years by many top nutrition programs, trainers, and educational entities in personal fitness and nutrition. The importance of cycling your starches and fruits on training days will have two very potent properties which both come from their effect on the hormone insulin. They can be anabolic in nature helping you build lean muscle mass, and it will prevent your body from storing them as body fat. So on training days we want to take advantage of carbs in helping us build lean muscle mass. On non-training days we want to lessen the chances of storing body fat.
So, what can you consider a training day? A training day is a day that you have an intense workout scheduled (i.e. weight training and/or another form of exercise that will exceed an hour). It's not a day where you did some light aerobic work, went for a walk or played a round of golf. It is a day you will get your sweat on and be training in your recommended heart rate zone. On a training day you can allow yourself a higher intake of carbs preferably ingesting that higher intake around your workout window: pre-, during and post-. It's a day where you can allow yourself some starchy carbs and more fruit than usual. If carbs are up on these days you want to keep fat intake down and protein intake up. Therefore, using the percentages of 40-45% Carbs, 30-35% Proteins, and 30% Fats of your total calories will help you hit your goals.
On non-training days, try to limit your intake of carbs from starches and fruit. Your primary source of carbs on these days is vegetables. Though you can consume fruit, it should lower than that of a training day. Protein intake should be maintained or slightly increased on this day to allow for obtaining your nutrients for recovery, and hitting your caloric intake goals for the day. The recommend percentages for this day would be 35-40% Proteins, 35-40% Carbs, and 30-35% Fats. Again, carbs should mostly come from vegetables.
Remember grains, starches, and fruit carbs need to be earned. Those you want to burn off through exercise. If you are following this cycle you want to have four - five days a week that are higher intensity training days when starting out. This will give you more days of the lower starch and fruits to kick start you. As you become leaner you can make your week more even with the intense workouts and lower starch/fruit days.
Of course it is always suggested that you seek out a professional nutritionist, dietician or physician prior to starting any new program to see that it will work with you and your well-being.
What do you think of when you hear the words Group Exercise? Do you picture a class of all women, steps in front of them, bubble gum pop music, leotards and leg warmers? If you think that is what Group Exercise (or as I like to call it Group Fitness) is, I want to help you see that it has changed.
Group Fitness has evolved through the years, and is no longer the stereotypical class with image of ladies in leg warmers and leotards. Men and women now are participating and harnessing the power of group fitness as an alternative way to help them maintain or achieve their fitness goals in a fun way, while still getting a great workout.
Since so many things in today’s world make our lives more singular, group fitness offers that experience of camaraderie, and support to help keep you motivated and moving toward your goals.
Here are five great reasons you should take part in group fitness, or small group training sessions.
- Support of the Group - If you are new to exercise, or not sure about being at the gym then group fitness is something you should consider trying. Not only do you get the support and motivation from the instructor, other participants in the class help you along the way too. Many group exercise participants have been through the same fitness and/or weight loss and maintenance struggles as you.
- Accountability - Most people participate in group fitness classes with friends, coworkers or others they know, therefore you have to turn up! If you don't, you know the next at the next class they are going to be asking why you were not at class. The instructor will also take notice. Class will help you action your goals and face the consequences!
- Helps to Stick to Your Routine – People are 80-85% more likely to stick to an exercise routine and achieve your goals if they work out in a group environment. Now that is a statistic you want to be a part of. Participate in a group fitness class and get your results.
- Social Fun - Group fitness allows you to meet people with the same interests as you. It is a great social occasion, and a great way to meet new friends. The bonds that are built through group fitness carry outside the class setting.
- It's Fun – Classes make the exercise fun while still being challenging. Sweating and working out with other people is a lot more FUN than running a treadmill staring into a mirror! Fine the class for you and watch yourself achieve your goals.
If you are looking for a class to join, try out AMP Personal Fitness’ Body Revolution Fitness Camp held on Mondays at 10:30 am and Thursdays at 1:30 pm in Sunny Springs Park, Las Vegas NV. Class is $15 for drop-in, or 8 classes for $80. For more information on this class visit www.amppersonalfitness.com and go to the special programs tab.
Complete the following Crunch Cycle:
- Regular Crunch: 10 reps - Just lift shoulder blades off the floor
- Reverse Crunch: 10 reps - Lift hips off the floor
- Double Crunch: 10 reps - Lift BOTH hips / shoulders off the floor simultaneously
- Left/Right Crunches: 10 reps per knee - Take right elbow to the left knee, and left elbow to right knee
- Bicycle Crunches: 10 reps - Take right/left elbow to left/right knee by bicycling the legs
- Plank pose: 30 seconds
Complete the following Jumping Jack / Pushup Cycle:
- 10 jumping jacks / 10 pushups and repeat the non-stop cycle 5-10 times depending on your fitness level. This takes 3-5 minutes if you push all 10 sets.
Complete the following Jumping Jack / Squat Cycle:
- 10 jumping jacks / 10 squats and repeat the non-stop cycle 5-10 times depending on your fitness level.
Complete Multi-Joint Dumbbells Exercises
With a set of dumbbells mix in a few exercises into one movement:
- Bicep curl, military press, triceps extensions: 10 reps
- Squats, bicep curl, military press, triceps extension: 10 reps
- Squat thrust, pushup x 5, stand up, bicep curl military press, triceps extension: 10 reps
Additional Cardio Option
Add 15-20 minutes of running, biking, walking, elliptical, or other cardio exercise.
Getting back into shape, and becoming healthier is the most chosen New Year’s Resolution. More than half of Americans make New Year resolutions year after year. Of that half, 75% give up within by March, and of the remaining 25% only a quarter of them truly maintain their resolution and turn it into a healthy lifestyle.
Reading those statistics makes it seem a little grim. The kicker is it doesn’t have to be grim. The statistics are what they are because people try to accomplish the task of making changes in their life without the proper knowledge and tools.
You don’t just work on a car or the electrical of your house because it needs to be done, do you? Of course not! If you want to work on those things yourself, you seek out a professional to educate you on the topic and the tools needed to truly complete the job. The same things go for establishing a healthy lifestyle. Without the proper knowledge or tools to stay on a progressive track, you will become one of the statistics.
If you have an idea of wanting to get started on becoming a healthier and happier you in 2013, then these tips will help you improve your odds. They will help you get started on being more successful.
- Visualize Your End Result: Create a strong image in your mind of what you want to look and feel like when you reach your goals.
- Get a Fitness Assessment: It's critical to know your starting point and learn your strengths and weaknesses.
- Create Goals: Set long term and short term achievable goals. Goals that build momentum with mini successes throughout your journey will help you keep your eye on the prize.
- Create a Plan: Goals without plans are only wishes. Stop wishing you were in great shape and start mapping out a concrete plan to get there.
- Create a Schedule: Scheduling reinforces consistency. Just as you go to other events or meetings on your schedule, you need to make your appointment with yourself just as important.
- Have Logged or Written Accountability: Use a logging app or keep a journal of your exercise, daily general activity, and all nutritional consumption, on a daily basis to be present with the day-to-day process. .
- Reflect On and Troubleshoot Your Excuses: Write your current excuses down. Write down why you think you make those excuses. Write down how you feel about your excuses. Write down how your friends and family members would respond to those excuses. You will be surprised at how impactful it can be to see your excuses written out!
- Hire a Personal Trainer: Hiring a trainer is the best way to move in the right direction. A trainer will educate you on what is needed to progress and stay on track. They will provide you the tools to be able to have positive results that will truly make your health and fitness a way of life. When searching for a personal trainer, make sure they have experience; education, certifications, and can are willing to provide references of past or current clients.
- Change It Up: Changing your routine every 4-6 weeks helps provide greater results by not allowing your muscles to adapt. If you have a trainer they will provide this through your program.
- Tell All of Your Friends Your Goals: Prior to telling your friends about your goals it is important to surround yourself around friends that will truly support you and your journey. Many people come to find that they have some friends that may want to sabotage their success. Surrounding yourself with friends who support you and your journey will provide you with a support system as well as accountability that will make you less likely to back out on working out, or make bad choices with your nutrition.
- Be Patient with Seeing Results: The average person will only lose 4-6 pounds per month based on the time that they truly have to put toward exercise. So be patient. We all see the shows on television that show extreme weight loss each week. The thing to remember is those people only have one thing to do each day, exercise. Therefore, they put in 6-8 hours a day exercising. Most people just don’t have that time. Therefore, 4-6 pounds is where it is at. With that said, you also must realize that sometimes it takes the body a little effort to get moving in the right direction. Having a personal trainer can really help when things are slow going. They will provide the needed support and other knowledge that can keep things moving in the right direction. Most of be patient and stick to it!
As a trainer, I encourage my clients to include some jogging/running in his or her exercise program. Here are a few reasons why I do encourage my clients to jog/run.
- Jogging/Running works different muscles than walking, even at the same speeds.
- Jogging/Running gives a heavier body a reason to start becoming lean.
- Jogging/Running will make you more efficient at walking.
- Jogging/Running may help contribute to bone density.
Now if you are currently not a runner, I know that you are thinking “Yeah, Right”. Well, the human body is actually built for running. How else could we have survived as a species? Deep in our DNA, we are runners. We as a species have just allowed our bodies to adapt to another way of life. You can change this, even if you have a lot of weight to lose, or even if a simple trot wipes you out in just a few minutes.
As you begin just remind yourself that no matter how awkward and tiring it may be your body was meant to run. You do not have to be thin or medium-weight to jog or run. Overweight people can become joggers and runners. If you don’t believe me, I suggest you go watch a 5k, 10k, Half-Marathon, or Marathon. There are people of all shapes and sizes participating in those events.
As I mentioned above, jogging gives the body a reason to slim down. If you are a walker and have found that you have been stuck at the same weight, try introducing jogging/running. This will increase your chances for your body to reinstate a fat-burning process. The reason that this will reinstate that fat-burning process is that a lean body is more efficient at swift movement than is a heavy body. So adding jogging/running to your exercise plan, will "force" your body into wanting to shed the extra weight so it can adapt to the new training stimulus.
Now you might be thinking, “How the heck do I get this started?” You can get started on a treadmill (keep hands off!), indoor track, or outdoors on any terrain. If you choose outdoors, I would suggest a smooth outdoor surface to start out on, as it will help prevent injury until you become stronger. The best way to get started in your transition is to apply the principle of interval training. Interval Training is simply alternating jogging with walking. The jogs may be for only one minute, while the walking may be for a little longer. For unconditioned people, I recommend a one to two-minute jog at a slow to moderate pace, switching back and forth with a two-minute walk. Go for 30 minutes. For those walkers who are more conditioned, you can use the same interval times, but choose a jogging/running speed that pushes you harder, or you increased jogging/running intervals.
I would suggest doing this short jog interval sequence for the first few weeks. Once you find that this sequence is becoming easier to complete, attempt to do the first 5 minutes as a jog/run and then finish with the intervals. At this point you will begin to add on five minutes of jogging/running with every session until you are running the full 30 minutes. From this point you add 5 minutes to your total length, and now you have transitioned into jogging/running. Down the road, your next step for training once you can complete specified times that you want to complete, is to start working on improving times.
Here are a few tips for those who are significantly out-of-shape and/or overweight. If you fall into this category do the intervals but strive to increase the jogging/running minutes after you have been doing the intervals for the first few weeks. Slowly increasing the interval times will eventually get you to the full 30 minute jogging/running time frame while decreasing your chances of injury due to your fitness and weight level.
Just a few other things to keep in mind when starting your transition is;
- Always warm-up your muscles and joints before you begin jogging/running training program by walking for the first five minutes.
- It is important to do intervals for the first few weeks because even a fit walker can get blisters, inner-thigh burn from skin rubbing, ankle soreness, or shin soreness if he or she jogs for too long at the beginning.
Many people that are on a weight loss regimen fear the holiday season. Many athletes have some fear in the holiday season as well. No one wants to gain unwanted weight during the holiday season, but you also don't want to feel left out of the festivities or should I say "Feast-tivities". Yes it is those feasts that we fear so much. We love the food, but if not proactive prior to attending those feasts all heck can break loose on the waist line.
We all know we want to stick to our goals, but sometimes the goal has to be maintain from November 30th through January 2nd and it's a win. Utilize these tips, they may help you continue on your goals or maintain through the holidays.
1. Drink Plenty of Water - Water has no calories and can make you feel full. It also helps aid the digestion, which will help rid your body of processed foods at a much greater pace.
2. Use Health Oils and Less Oil When You Cook - Reducing the oils or fats will not make your food taste bad. Choosing healthier oils like olive, canola, walnut, and seasame will bring great flavor and healthy fatty acids.
3. Go for Walks - Walk 30 minutes prior to your gathering, and make sure you walk for 45-60 minutes after your holiday feast or party. Make it a new tradition. It is a nice way to talk to family members and friends.
4. Plan Outdoor Activities - Plan activities like shooting hoops, tossing a football, or frisbee around prior and/or after eating your meal. This gets other family members involved and keeps you active. You can even make it a game where maybe a winner gets a small extra gift.
5. Eat a Healthy Snack - Eating a healthy snack prior to going to a family gathering or party will help you from getting hungry prior to the meal. This will keep you from snacking or over snacking prior to the meal.
6. Take Extra Small Portions and Chew Well - If you take a extra small portions you can try and enjoy everything that is served and still stay close to your caloric needs. On top of small portions, chew your food extra well. This will allow more time for your brain to make the connection to your digestive system to indicate it is satisfied.
7. Keep Alcohol to a Minimum - Make a deal with yourself prior to the event that you will only consume 1-2 drinks. Drink water for the first hour you are at the gathering have a drink, then wait a hour or two depending on how long you will be at the event to drink your other drink or have it with your meal. Finish the night with water. This will keep you feeling good, while keeping the empty calories down.
You can enjoy the holidays, the feasts, the parties, and your friends and family without weight gain or not reaching your goals. Just make sure you stay active, and follow a few simple tips to help you to stay on your track.