Although getting in your daily dose of physical activity is great, what you choose to eat during the day is just as important, sometimes more.
Just as one should see exercise as a part of their lifestyle, they should also view healthy eating as a valuable component of the way they live. Additionally, it is crucial to understand the difference between healthy eating and fad diets.
Fad diets will come and go about as quickly as it takes McDonalds to serve up a Big Mac. Whereas healthy eating is an all-encompassing concept one needs to keep in mind when selecting the food they will eventually consume.
The biggest problem with the idea of a diet is it’s usually just a temporary solution, not something you plan to abide by for the rest of your life. Healthy eating, on the other hand, is something that can be incorporated into your lifestyle to assist with ensuring greater nutritional longevity.
In food author and journalist Michael Pollan’s recent book “Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual,” Pollan touches on the history of food and how rapidly it has evolved in modern society. With this evolution of food science, Pollan states that now more than ever people need to be aware of how they buy/consume food.
Pollan serves up 64 rules on how people can slowly incorporate healthy eating into their day-to-day lives. Below you’ll find what KinetiCore Fitness finds to be the most valuable tips the book has to offer. By no means do these apply to everyone, but they are great ideas to keep in mind if you’re looking to improve the way you eat and stay away from diets you’ll probably go off of at some point anyways.
- Try to avoid “highly processed concoctions designed by food scientists” that nobody would recognize 50-100 years ago. Real foods generally contain short ingredient lists with words you can pronounce and don’t have a huge number of chemicals added to them.
- Remember that the more of an ingredient a food contains, the earlier it is listed on the food label. Keep this in mind if you see sugar listed as one of the first three ingredients. Also, try to stay away from foods you see on TV; over “2/3 of food advertising is spent on promoting processed foods,” which are full of unnecessary chemicals.
- Real food was once alive which means it should eventually die or rot. Processed foods tend to be full of chemical preservatives which prevent this natural occurrence from happening.
- Generally speaking, more color on your plate means that you’re eating a wider range of nutrients. Also, a meat’s quality is only as good as the quality of the food that animal once ate “whether it is meat or milk or eggs.”
- By taking your time and enjoying each bite of food you’ll do yourself a favor and decrease the chances of overeating. Focus on eating until you’ve satisfied that initial hunger but haven’t overindulged to the point of feeling uncomfortably full.
- Just because the portions are HUGE when we dine out doesn’t mean it has to be that way at home. By using smaller plates/glasses you’ll set yourself up to eat/drink less.
- If you’re looking to improve your eating habits, try to have your biggest meal of the day be breakfast. Starting your day with a big breakfast will jumpstart your metabolism and can actually help you think and feel better for the rest of the day.
- Keeping your meals at the table helps you avoid mindless eating. Distractions like TV take your focus away from the food and can lead to eating extra unnecessary calories. Also, you don’t have to clean your plate of food at every meal, remember that it’s “better to go to waste than to [the] waist.”
- It’s important to give yourself some slack on occasion and not feel guilty about it. Healthy eating is a lifelong commitment and you shouldn’t feel bad about occasionally indulging as long as it’s only in moderation and not a daily occurrence.
Happy (but healthy) eating, y’all!
Pollan, M. (2009). Food rules: an eater's manual. Penguin Paperback.
Regardless of one’s activity level, the body’s muscles can feel tight from time to time and impact its ability to move freely through space. While many try to remedy this limit to flexibility by stretching (i.e. static, dynamic, etc.) there is another option that can often elicit better results with regard to improving a muscle’s range of motion and elasticity.
Known as Self-Myofascial Release (SMFR), or simply foam rolling, this technique relies on a cylinder shaped piece of foam that an individual can use on their own to help “massage away restrictions to normal soft tissue extensibility” (Clark, & Russell, 2004). Also, by incorporating a SMFR program into one’s life on a regular basis it can help “improve [their] muscular balance and performance” (Clark, & Russell, 2004).
The advantages of taking part in a regular SMFR program include, but aren’t limited to:
• Increasing the range of motion at a specific joint
• Fixing muscle imbalances
• Decreasing soreness felt in the muscles
• Decreasing stress placed upon the body’s joints
• Preserving the correct length of muscles
When taking part in a SMFR program one should adhere to these basic recommendations:
• Take your time rolling the individual muscle groups on each side of the body.
o Spend at least 1-2 minutes on each of the major muscle groups you are targeting that day (i.e. hamstrings, quads, etc.)
• If you feel acute pain in the muscle while rolling, “REST on the painful areas for 30-45 seconds” (Clark, & Russell, 2004).
• Take part in your SMFR program as often as twice daily, but progress to this from 2-3 times/week
For more information regarding foam rolling, including a Foam Roller Exercise Sheet and a Foam Roller Instructional Video, check out this link from Perform Better’s website:
Clark, M., & Russell, A. (2004, June 11). Self-myofascial release techniques. Retrieved from http://www.performbetter.com/catalog/matriarch/MultiPi..asp_Q_PageID_E_91_A_PageName_E_ArticleMyofacialRelease
It should come as no surprise that poor posture can and usually does affect one’s overall quality of life in a negative way. With this in mind, it’s important for us as exercise professionals to educate our current and prospective clients on the value of good posture and how they can begin to incorporate this concept into their lives daily.
Britnell et al. (2005) do an excellent job defining posture “as a state of skeletal and muscular balance and alignment that protects the supporting structures of the body from progressive deformity and injury.” Thus, a person with good posture would be someone whose body unconsciously balances out the rotational and vertical forces placed upon it while standing erect and at the same time uses the least amount of energy necessary to do so.
Poor posture, however, is defined by Britnell et al. (2005) as “an imperfect relationship among the various skeletal structures of the body“[which] may produce strain on the body’s supporting framework.” Poor posture can decrease one’s overall quality of life in a number of ways regardless of the individual’s level of fitness. While it can often cause sensations of pain in general and/or sedentary populations, it can also limit one’s athletic potential. If the musculoskeletal structures (i.e. bones, muscles, ligaments, and other connective tissues) of the body are misaligned or unbalanced it becomes impossible to perform movements as effectively and efficiently as one should.
So how does one combat the looming threat of poor posture? That’s an excellent question that doesn’t have just one correct answer. A good starting point is to simply become more aware of your body’s posture while standing or sitting. If standing, focus on trying to keep your feet pointed straight while you walk in addition to keeping your shoulders slightly pulled back to help you avoid slouching forward. Think about trying to create distance between the bottom of your ribs and the top of your hips, but not to the point where you feel your lower back hyperextending.
The most ideal posture is one where your body can maintain the spine’s three natural curvatures (lumbar, thoracic, and cervical), your head is pointed straight without any tilt, and your hip, knee, and ankle joints all remain neutral (i.e. they aren’t overly flexed or extended).
Join KinetiCore Fitness in taking a stand (correctly) against poor posture. Your body will thank you!
Foweler, K, & Kravitz, PhD, L. (2011). The perils of poor posture. IDEA Fitness Journal, 2011 (April), 45-51.