As a fitness professional I can’t count the number of times I have recommended icing to my clients for anything from acute injuries to sports recovery. But new research from Dr. Gabe Mirkin, who coined the phrase R.I.C.E. some 30 years ago, suggests that icing may actually delay healing.
In an article from June of last year, Dr. Mirkin explains how the ice that is meant to reduce swelling is in fact blocking your body’s own anti-inflammatory response. “When muscles and other tissues are damaged, your immunity sends inflammatory cells to the damaged tissue to promote healing. Healing is delayed by cortisone-type drugs, nonsteroidal anti inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen, applying cold packs or ice, and anything else that blocks the immune response to injury.”
So what now? Treat injuries the same (Rest, Compression & Elevation) minus the icing. Strengthen your body’s anti-inflammatory response with these foods that fight inflammation:
- Spices– ginger and turmeric can be used to season your favorite foods, mixed daily with juice or by adding to a hot tea
- Omega-3s – found in fish or flax seeds
- Rich Colored Vegetables – beets, kale, peppers and tomatoes have all been shown to reduce inflammation
- Garlic & Onions – block the same pathways as NSAIDs to control inflammation
- Chocolate – use the raw form cacao form to make workout bars or recovery treats
Happy Training -Coach L
No.1 Nuts or Trail Mix - avoid mixes with added sugar such as candy
No. 2 Cereal - look for whole grain, high fiber cereals available at most gas stations. Scan the shelves for whole grain crackers to pair with dairy for a balanced snack
No. 3 Dairy - when you stop to fill up your car check the refrigerated section for string cheese or low-fat yogurt
No. 4 Fruit - whole fruit is best, check dried fruit for added sweeteners
No.5 Bars - while whole foods are always preferable to processed ones, skip the drive through and grab a high fiber bar to tide you over
Eating less processed foods is going to give you more energy and help you maintain a healthy weight. The more nutrient dense foods you consume the less high-calorie, low nutrion foods you will eat. Go ahead and eat some pizza...can you make the pizza at home using high quality whole foods rather than purchasing a frozen or fast food pizza? Focus on the quality of the ingredients and putting high-nutrition foods into your meals rather than food-like products.
Your Mission: Go through your pantry and start reading some labels.
-Are there five ingredients or less?
-Can I pronounce each of the ingredients?
-Would my grandmother recognize each ingredient?
-Can I find these ingredients in my kitchen?
If you answered "no" to any of these questions, you have a processed item. For a better choice, see if you can find a similar item that meets the above criteria.
Breakfast. The most important meal of the day. So why do we typically skip breakfast? The answer for most of us is probably a lack of time. In fact, most Americans rarely stop their busy lives to eat throughout the day. By the time you get home you are starving. You consume one large meal then sit in front of the TV drained of energy from your hectic day. Sound familiar?
Eating the right breakfast will help you maintain energy, make better food choices throughout the day, and resist over-eating. This is because breakfast sets our insulin sensitivity for the rest of the day. Eating a protein rich breakfast prevents spikes and crashes later in the day, allowing your body to metabolize fat instead of relying so much on sugar.
On the other hand, eating a high sugar / high starch breakfast such as a coffee shop pastry causes an insulin rush. This insulin rush causes your both insulin, blood sugar and blood fat levels to remain high for the rest of the day. By pairing starches with fiber you can slow down their breakdown/ absorption process for a more constant supply of energy (Hyman, M.D., Ultra-Metabolism)
Simply put, all this means that eating a breakfast high in protein and fiber is going to give you lasting energy and help you maintain a healthy weight.
Breakfast = 2 F/V + PROTEIN+ FIBER (5g)
•Greek Yogurt with 1 c. fresh berries & silvered Almonds, cucumber slices
•Whole-grain English muffin with melted cheese & tomato slices, piece of fruit
•2 egg omelet with seasonal veggies and fruit salad
•2 Hard-boiled eggs, banana, veggie sticks
•Breakfast burrito with 2 eggs, 1/4 c. salsa and 1 c. spinach
Popular media would have you believe that performing a specific exercise will help you achieve flat abs. The truth is you cannot achieve spot reduction of fat utilizing one exercise. While doing crunches will strengthen your core, crunches won’t specifically target fat in your abdomen. Do not confuse the sensation of abdominal muscles working with targeting fat over those muscles.
Think of fat as stored up energy. In order to lose fat, you have to get your body to use that energy without replacing energy stores with additional energy from the food you eat.
If you want to lose fat in your abdomen, the best exercises you can perform incorporate your entire body; building strength while increasing your heart rate. Full body exercises will increase your overall calorie burn more than an isolation exercise such as a crunch.
To achieve this, I recommend burpees. They can be performed anywhere with no equipment and can easily be modified to accommodate different fitness levels. Burpees use your own body-weight while developing full body strength, explosive power and anaerobic endurance (the most effective type of cardio for fat lass). Try performing as many reps as you can for 20 seconds. Rest for 10 seconds. Repeat for a total of 4 minutes.
Happy Training....with lots of burpees!
Looking for a personal trainer? Unsure what all those four-letter acronyms mean? Here are a few tips to keep you safe:
-Research the trainer's certifying organization. The trainer should be required to take a test in person (not over the internet) and show proof of current CPR before they can become certified. Trainers should also be required to complete continuing education to keep their certs current. Avoid organizations that offer certifications online with only a credit card or who offer online testing.
-The trainer should perform some sort of assessments before recommending an exercise program. A variety of tests can be used inducing movement and postural assessments - cardiovascular and strength assessments - and flexibility tests. The trainer should also obtain a medical history and consult with your physician if you have certain health issues.
-If the trainer is not employed by a gym (i.e. training in a park) s/he should have personal liability insurance and current CPR. Let's hope yo never need either of these items but it is important to be covered in case you do!
-Most importantly of all if something feels uncomfortable or painful speak up! There is no trainer out there who would want you to injure yourself and most trainers encourage feedback throughout the workout. If something doesn't feel right it probably isn't.
Stay safe out there and Happy Training!
Many athletes take ibuprofen before, during or after exercise to help relieve muscle soreness and to assist in muscle recovery. I have often overheard athletes jokingly referring to ibuprofen as "Vitamin I" in the ultrarunning community as they swear by the drug's pain reducing effects. But just how beneficial or safe is the over-the-counter drug during exercise?
During a study conducted at the famous Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run and published in Ultrarunning Magazine, researchers found that runners who had taken ibuprofen before and during the race actually showed higher signs of inflammation than runners who had not taken the drug. Ibuprofen users also showed signs of slight kidney impairment and other dangerous side affects.
Besides pain prevention, athletes use ibuprofen to promote healing after exercise to decrease inflammation. According to an article from Chrio Medical Group, researchers found that ibuprofen actually slowed the healing of tissues (muscles, tendons, ligaments and bones) by prohibiting the production of prostaglandins. Prostaglandins are involved in collagen production (the building block of tissue repair). Collagen formation also leads stronger bones and muscles. By inhibiting your body's collagen response, you are reducing the bone and tissue health benefits of exercise. Or worse, you could actually be making your body more susceptible to future injury from stress.
So the next time you are contemplating taking that post workout ibuprofen consider the risks and opt for a foam rolling session or ice bath.
As a fitness coach I get asked the same question again and again, "what do you think of--fill in the blank--diet?
First, the diets are usually too restrictive in terms of the types of foods you are allowed to eat and the number of calories you are consuming. Eventually, you will get sick of eating the same foods again and again. Your energy will be low and you become temperamental from a lack of calories. So, you stop the diet and go back to your normal eating habits. The problem is now your metabolism has dropped significantly as a response to the dramatic decrease in calories. It can take several weeks, even months for your metabolism to return to normal. This means you are eating "normally" but burning less calories, inevitably gaining the weight back - returning to square 1. This drop in metabolism explains why yo-yo dieters often gain more weight after a restrictive diet than their pre-diet weight.
Secondly, the diets don't teach you anything. With highly restrictive diets you are left with two choices; either stick with the diet - eating the same food everyday, or go back to your old eating habits. This is the reason I believe so strongly in making lifestly choices instead of dieting.
- how to classify different types of foods (protein, starch, fat, etc)
- how to pair foods together for a balanced diet
- what a serving size of each type of food is
- how many servings of each particular type of food you should consume.
Ice bath have many benefits. They can help speed recovery after a tough workout and help prevent injuries, esp for endurance athletes. They can also be beneficial for individuals suffering from chronic or acute injuries like carpel tunnel, tennis elbow, or plantar fascitis. Simply fill a bucket or pot with ice water and submerge affected area (i.e. hand/ forearm, or foot/ankle).
Although you could use individual ice packs, ice baths generally produces a greater and longer lasting change and can cool large groups of muscles at the same time.
How They Work
Ice baths constrict blood vessels reducing swelling and tissue breakdown. Once you leave the ice bath the underlying tissues warm up quickly. This causes a return of faster blood flow. The speedy blood flow helps return the byproducts of cellular breakdown for a faster emptying of waste. Ice baths don't only suppress inflammation, but help to flush harmful metabolic debris out of your muscles.
Tips for Making an Ice Bath More Comfortable
- You don't need to be sitting in the arctic to get the full benefits of an ice bath. The water temperature only needs to be just under 60 degrees. Cool water and a few ice cubes should do the trick. No need to dump an entire bag of ice from the corner store in the tub!
- Fingers and toes cause the most discomfort. I like to wear wool socks or inexpensive gloves. You can also wear warm clothing on areas outside the bath such as a sweatshirt or beanie.
- DO NOT MOVE! Once you are submerged in the water try not to move.
- Drink hot tea or other warm liquids while taking an ice bath.
- Have something handy to distract yourself such a book or magazine.
Remember, it's only 15 minutes!!! YOU CAN DO IT!!