Are You Wasting Your Time With Cardio?

Are You Wasting Your Time With Cardio?

Don’t stop doing cardio if you’re already doing it. It’s vital for good health. However, if running through the streets of Sacramento, CA, is the only exercise you’re doing, increasing it without adding other forms of exercise is wasting your time. There is also such a thing as too much cardio, just as there is too much strength-building. If you aren’t doing other types of exercise, you’re not doing your body a favor. Even if you’re doing all four types of fitness workouts, balance, flexibility, strength, and cardio, doing it too much each day and not giving your body a chance to rest is counterproductive.

Cardio burns tons of calories.

That sounds fantastic, but there’s one fact missing. Cardio gets calories from both lean muscle tissue and fat tissue. When you burn lean muscle tissue, it can make weight loss harder. Muscle tissue requires more calories than fat tissue does. The more you have, the more calories you burn 24/7, even when you’re sleeping. Since cardio burns both fat and lean muscle mass for calories, you’ll have less muscle mass. That makes weight loss harder.

Strength training is a calorie torch, too.

Just like cardio, strength training torches calories. The biggest difference is it also builds muscle tissue instead of tearing it down for energy. That can help boost your metabolism. One way to get the benefits of both is to change your strength-building workout into a HIIT workout. HIIT—high intensity interval training—uses any type of exercise but alternates it between high intensity and a recovery pace. Doing bodyweight, dumbbell, or kettlebell exercises in this manner provides the best of all worlds.

Don’t quit cardio, it does provide benefits.

Yes, cardio does burn calories, but you also need it for other reasons. It builds endurance, improves heart function, and helps lower blood pressure. Cardio also improves brain functioning, reduces stress, and diminishes the risk of dementia. It helps control blood glucose levels to reduce the risk of diabetes. It also improves lung capacity and reduces the risk of heart attack.

  • Both strength training and cardio burn calories while you’re doing it. Intense cardio and strength training also burns calories for up to 72 hours after exercising ends. It’s called EPOC pr afterburn.
  • Cardio trains the body to be more efficient so it burns the fewest calories possible. It’s vital for heart health, so continue it, but not necessarily the best for weight loss.
  • Cardio is best for accomplishing two goals, burning off stress hormones and improving sleep. Both can help you lose weight. Cortisol, a hormone of stress, causes belly fat. Adequate sleep lowers the production of ghrelin, the hunger hormone.
  • If you live a sedentary lifestyle, walking, a form of cardio, can help you get on track to good health. Doing something is better than doing nothing, but you’ll maximize benefits with a well-rounded program is vital.

For more information, contact us today at Team-ISC

What Vitamins Are Vegans Missing From Their Diets?

What Vitamins Are Vegans Missing From Their Diets?

If you’ve decided to follow a vegan diet, you’re like many people in Sacramento, CA. It takes both dedication and planning. If you don’t plan carefully, vitamins and other nutrients could be missing from your diet. Vegans use no animal products, so they have to find plant sources for protein. It’s one of the reasons planning is so important. Getting all the necessary vitamins is another problem requiring some navigation.

While the sun can provide vitamin D, many vegans still have a deficit.

You don’t have to be vegan to have a vitamin D deficiency. It’s harder to get adequate sun in Sacramento in the winter than in the southern part of the state. Safe sunning can provide vitamin D in the summer, but it’s different in winter. People must turn to food. Most sources of vitamin D have animal origins, so consuming fortified foods or shitake mushrooms is mandatory. Vitamin D activates calcium for strong bones and teeth. It improves the immune response and can help keep you healthy.

One of the biggest problems faced by vegans is consuming adequate vitamin B12=cobalamin.

Animal products provide vitamin B12. It’s necessary for nerve, muscle, and heart health. It’s vital for metabolism as well. Many vegans have a B12 insufficiency. It’s not found in traditional vegan food sources. Algae, like humans, also need B12 and they get it from their environment. Not all types of algae offer that benefit. Chlorella is one type of algae that is the best source of this nutrient. While other types of algae, such as spirulina, contain a form of B12, it’s a pseudo-cobalamin that humans can’t use.

Other nutrients often missing from vegan diets include collagen.

Collagen is necessary for nails, ligaments, hair, and skin. It comes from animal products. A vegan source is now being created in the lab. It starts with genetically modified bacteria and yeast. Scientists then insert four human genes into the microbe’s genetic structure. That causes them to produce the basic building blocks of human collagen. A digestive enzyme, pepsin, is added to create collagen molecules that mimic human collagen. Taking vegan amino acid supplements or consuming food high in the building blocks of collagen, glycine, lysine, and proline, such as beans, seeds, and nuts, also help boost collagen.

  • Eat chia seeds, walnuts, and flaxseed to increase omega-3 fatty acids. Most of the population, not just vegans, have a diet too high in omega-6 and too low in omega-3.
  • When planning a vegan diet, ensure it includes adequate levels of zinc, selenium, iodine, and iron. Iodized salt can bring iodine levels to normal. Eating nuts, peas, spinach, and beans helps provide iron.
  • Calcium is easy to access when dairy is part of the diet. It’s more difficult for vegans. The calcium in many vegan calcium sources is less bioavailable. Only ¼ the calcium in spinach is available for absorption because of the oxalate that binds to the calcium.
  • Vitamin B2 is necessary for changing food to energy. If you’re a vegan, you can get it from spinach, nuts, and mushrooms, but it’s easier to get from animal sources.

For more information, contact us today at Team-ISC

The Scale Weight Isn't The Only Measurement You Need

The Scale Weight Isn’t The Only Measurement You Need

Whether your scale intimidates you or you weigh yourself fifteen times a day, you need to change the way you judge your progress. The scale isn’t the only measurement tool. Other ways might be better for you to use. It all depends on your goals. If you’re getting fit to be healthier, use your vital numbers, like blood pressure, heart rate, and blood glucose levels. There are several ways to judge whether you’re getting leaner that are far better than watching the scale numbers rise or lower.

Sometimes, the scale lies.

A lot of things can make your weight fluctuate. Water retention is probably the best known. If you’re weighing yourself several times a day, or even several times a week, you won’t get a clear picture of your progress. Instead, once a week take measurements. Measurements can tell you if you’re shedding fat and building muscle tissue. Since muscle weighs more per cubic inch than fat tissue does, if you’re building muscle and losing fat, it might not show on the scale. It will show in your measurements. You’ll look thinner even if you don’t shed one pound.

Make a visual representation of your weight loss journey.

When you start a weight loss program, take a photo of yourself in revealing clothing, like a swimsuit or tight gym shorts and sports bra. Once or twice a month, in the same spot so you get the same perspective and take another picture. Most phones allow you to add a date and time stamp or note the date in the information section. At the end of several months, compare the pictures to compare the difference. You can even show off a bit and post them on social media.

Let your waist circumference tell the story.

Most people who want to lose weight carry it around their midsection. The body has two types of fat, subcutaneous fat and visceral fat. Subcutaneous fat is directly under the skin and covers the entire body. Visceral fat is primarily on the midsection. It’s the most dangerous type of fat. It crowds the organs and is a factor in many health conditions. A waist measurement can help identify how much visceral fat you still have. It’s the hardest to lose, so if you’re losing visceral fat around the middle, you’re losing it all over your body.

  • Weighing yourself too often can discourage you, especially if you’re building muscle and don’t see the weight loss you hoped to achieve. Even if you weigh yourself, track your progress in other ways, too.
  • Use your favorite skinny jeans to track your weight. If you can’t zip them without laying on the bed or zip them at all, try them on once a week and record how comfortably they fit.
  • Taking measurements can help you if you’re trying to build muscle. You can judge your muscle mass by measuring your biceps, chest, calves, and thighs.
  • Change is slow and you can get easily discouraged in the initial stages of your transformation. Since your energy level changes first, before you see any physical changes, focus on that and note the differences.

For more information, contact us today at Team-ISC

Benefits Of Eating Organic

Benefits Of Eating Organic

People in Sacramento, CA, come to Team-ISC for both nutrition coaching and physical training. When helping them with their diet and nutritional needs, many ask if there’s any benefit from eating organic food. There’s no clear-cut answer. While some data shows eating organic food is beneficial, other information shows it doesn’t matter. In most cases, it’s about the type of organic food you eat.

Not all non-organic food is unhealthy.

Organically raised food tends to be more expensive. You can save money by identifying produce not affected by the chemicals in herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizers. No genetically modified—GMO—is organic, either. The EWG—Environmental Working Group—tests produce throughout the country and creates two lists annually. The Dirty Dozen list has the most residue of chemicals you can’t wash off, and the Clean 15 list has no chemicals or minute amounts. To save money, choose organic produce on the Dirty Dozen list and opt for non-organic on the Clean 15 list.

There are more benefits to eating organic food besides avoiding chemicals.

The pesticides and herbicides that remain on the fruit or vegetable and can’t be removed by simple washing should be enough to make most people turn to organic food. Other reasons to choose organic produce include better nutrition. Commercial farmers don’t use compost or other organic methods to replenish the soil. They use a fertilizer containing just nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. That means the soil becomes depleted of many trace minerals that aren’t replenished. Studies reveal that fruits and vegetables grown today are lower in nutrients than they were 50 years ago.

It’s not just fruits and vegetables that are better.

When you consume animal products, you’re also eating what the animal ate. If they were pastured, you would get many of the same benefits that the animal gets from that diet. Commercially fed animals often have feed that wasn’t intended for an animal’s diet. Studies show that pastured cows produce dairy with heart-healthy benefits, the meat is also heart-healthy and rich in nutrients. Eggs from pastured hens have more nutrients.

  • Non-organically raised animals may be given antibiotics or hormones. That can lead to antibiotic-resistant bacteria and hormonal problems. In order to be called organic, farmers can’t use growth hormones or antibiotics.
  • To avoid pesticide residue, choose these foods from the Dirty Dozen list. They include strawberries, spinach, greens, peaches, pears, nectarines, apples, grapes, peppers, cherries, blueberries, and green beans.
  • Save money and choose non-organic from the Clean 15 list. They include avocado, sweet corn, pineapple, onion, sweet peas, asparagus, honeydew melon, kiwi, cabbage, mushrooms, mango, sweet potato, watermelon, and carrots.
  • All animal products from pastured cattle and other pastured livestock are higher in CLA—conjugated linoleic acid. It’s an omega-3 fatty acid that can lower the risk of heart disease and cancer. Eggs from pastured chickens also contain more omega-3 fatty acids and more vitamins A and E.

For more information, contact us today at Team-ISC

Basic Rules For Building Muscle

Basic Rules For Building Muscle

Identifying your ultimate goal is one of the basic rules when you build muscles. It determines the type of exercise to use. You can train for strength, size, and endurance. While strength training exercises do build muscles, the focus is more on building strength, like weightlifters. People who want more bulk and build for size are often bodybuilders. They use a different amount of weight and number of repetitions from the ones used for building strength.

A great body starts in the kitchen, not in the gym.

You can’t get big muscles by consuming a poor diet. You’ll lack all the building blocks to create them. It’s one reason it’s so tricky to build muscle while you’re losing weight. Your diet should have between 20% and 33% of the calories from protein and the calories you consume should match your ultimate goal. If you want to build muscle and lose weight, you can’t reduce your calories too much. Approximately 20% of your calories should come from fat and the balance from carbs. The protein should be lean and high quality. Choosing fatty fish like salmon will provide some of the healthy fat required.

Maximize your workout but don’t overtrain.

Our personal trainers will create the program to help you reach your goal quickly. That doesn’t mean you should do strength training daily or work for long hours. Over-training can even diminish your progress. When you do strength training, the workout strains and damages the muscle fibers and causes micro tears. They adapt to the stress by increasing in size. If you workout every day it doesn’t allow the tears to heal. Working out too long or trying to lift weights that are too heavy may cause muscle strain that can put you out of commission for weeks and diminish your progress. Rest your muscles between 24 and 72 hours between strength workouts.

Pre and post workout snacks can improve your performance during exercise.

Consuming a snack that’s high in carbs and protein, like a peanut butter sandwich on whole wheat an hour before working out and soon after your workout should be part of your program. The carbohydrate provides the energy for the workout and the protein provides the muscle building blocks. Pre-and post-workout snacks can boost your energy so you get the most from your workout and improve recovery and muscle repair.

  • Compound movements—ones that use several muscles, tendons, and joints, and work several muscle groups at once—burn more calories and provide more muscle gain than doing several exercises for individual muscles.
  • Healthy fat not only provides energy and keeps you feeling fuller, but it also is necessary to produce certain hormones involved in muscle building. Sources of healthy fat include avocados, nuts, and fatty fish.
  • Sleep is important when you’re building muscles. It’s when your body heals. Make sure you get at least 8 hours a night and schedule it for the same time every night. Consistency counts when building muscles.
  • Consistency is the key to any training, but so is doing each exercise correctly. If you’re working out with us, our trainers will ensure you have the right movements. Doing an exercise wrong can minimize benefits and cause injury.

For more information, contact us today at Team-ISC

Is Sugar Ruining Your Health?

Is Sugar Ruining Your Health?

Every grocery in Sacramento carries food loaded with sugar. These foods may be ruining your health and the cause of many issues you might not think are related. Even if you don’t eat obvious sources of food with added sugar, like cake and cookies, it’s often hidden in food you might not suspect. Putting salad dressing on that healthy salad increases the added sugar to your diet. Many types of plant-based milk have added sugar. Bullion, broth, and stock may have sugar in them. Three out of four items on the grocery shelves have added sugar. It’s no wonder most Americans have health issues.

One of the most obvious problems of food with added sugar is obesity.

Obesity has reached epidemic levels. 41.9% of adults in the US are obese and 19.7% of all US children are obese. That’s 14.7 million people. Obesity increases the incidence of conditions like insulin resistance that leads to diabetes. It increases the risk of hypertension, which increases the risk of congestive heart disease, non-alcoholic liver disease, and kidney disease. The risk of other diseases increases in obese individuals. Stroke, gall bladder disease, osteoarthritis, breathing difficulties, some forms of cancer, joint issues, and body pain with limiting physical functioning increase in obese individuals. Food with added sugar accounts for much of the problem.

Sugar causes inflammation that leads to many conditions.

Inflammation is necessary for the body to survive. It’s part of the immune system. Acute inflammation prevents infection from occurring and fights off viral and bacterial diseases. When inflammation occurs over long periods, it becomes chronic. Chronic inflammation lasts weeks, months, and years. It can affect every part of the body. It can clog blood vessels, cause weight gain, fatigue, digestive issues, mood disorders, diabetes, heart disease, death, and dementia. Eating food that reduces inflammation, such as olive oil, green leafy vegetables, tomatoes, nuts, fruits, and fatty fish can reduce chronic inflammation, while foods containing added sugar increase it.

It’s all about the added sugar, not the naturally occurring sugar.

When you eat fruit, you’re consuming food with sugar, but it doesn’t have the same effect as eating a candy bar. There are differences in the way the sugar is presented. When you eat an apple, it contains water, nutrients, fiber, and phytonutrients. The sugar is in lower concentrations than food with added sugar and it enters the bloodstream slower because of the fiber in the apple. The rush of sugar into the bloodstream spikes blood glucose levels, which then causes large amounts of insulin to open the cells to receive the glucose. That mechanism breaks down when it occurs too often, causing insulin resistance and leading to a plethora of diseases, including diabetes.

  • Food with added sugar can lead to premature aging. The sugar in food links with protein, creating advanced glycation end products—-AGEs—which cause aging.
  • Studies show that a high salt diet can increase blood pressure, but a diet high in sugar can have the same effect. High blood pressure can lead to nerve damage to the eyes, vessel damage, kidney disease, and more.
  • Sugar is addictive. Not only does it provide the same emotional boost as drugs when it binds to the opioid receptors, but it also dulls your taste. The more sugar you eat, the more you need to get the same flavor and emotional boost.
  • Sugar changes the gut microbiome. It encourages the growth of microbes that are bad for good health and decreases ones that are good for health. It also causes an imbalance in microbes that affect mental health.

For more information, contact us today at Team-ISC

The Nutrients In Fresh Fruit Vs Dried Fruit

The Nutrients In Fresh Fruit Vs Dried Fruit

It’s summer. Lower priced fruits and vegetables fill the markets and groceries. You can take advantage of those low prices by freezing and dehydrating them. Does that affect their nutrition? Does the process of dehydration destroy nutrients? What’s the difference between fresh fruit and dried fruit? Does that difference matter? One obvious thing is that dehydrated fruit lacks water. It’s the nature of being dehydrated. That means the sugar is more concentrated. The less water a food contains, the more you can eat, so you’ll be able to eat more calories and more sugar when you consume dehydrated food.

Dried fruit is easier to keep and handy as a snack.

When you dry fruit, it preserves most of the nutrients within the fruit but reduces vitamin C. However, if you remove the fluid, you can eat more, making the single serving far smaller. Dried fruit is pretty handy if you want to increase fiber and other nutrients. It has 3.5 times the fiber, minerals, phytonutrients, and vitamins by weight as fresh fruit. It’s a good source of concentrated phytochemicals that act as antioxidants, too.

You could be doing your body a favor when you eat dried fruit.

If you’re prone to snacking, dried fruit is a good option. It’s not as filling as hydrated fruit but packed with nutrients and far better than a candy bar, cookie, or other processed snack. Studies show that people who snack on dried fruit tend to weigh less than those who don’t. It’s a great option as a snack for children and is packed with more nutrition since they can eat more than they could if it were the fruit itself.

Dried fruit has some drawbacks.

As mentioned previously, the sugar is concentrated in dried fruit, and the lack of hydration allows you to eat more. Raisins contain 59% natural sugar, while apricots contain 53%. Between ¼ and ½ the sugar content comes from fructose, which can lead to serious health issues, including insulin resistance, heart disease, and diabetes. You also have to be cautious about the type of dried fruit you consume. Some dried fruit is candied. That’s where the fruit has a sugar or syrup coating before dehydration. Some preservatives may be used, such as sulfites, which can cause problems in some individuals.

  • If the fruit isn’t dehydrated or stored properly, toxins and fungi can grow. Mycotoxins are the type of mold that is often found on dried fruit. Poor sanitation practices can also lead to the growth of salmonella.
  • If you want to save money, you can dry fruit at home when it’s in season. It lasts longer, but not indefinitely. Always use fruit without damage or spots and clean dehydrating practices.
  • People who need to be careful about the amount of sugar they consume or those trying to lose weight should focus more on fresh, hydrated fruit. You’ll eat less hydrated fruit than you would if it’s dehydrated.
  • If you’re drying fruit, make it organic. If fruit contains pesticides, the amount is more concentrated when it’s dried.

For more information, contact us today at Team-ISC

Exercises For Sciatica Pain

Exercises For Sciatica Pain

Companies report that back pain accounts for many sick days and disability claims. It happens across the country, including Sacramento, CA. Back pain can occur in the shoulders, mid back, and lower back. Lower back pain often occurs along the sciatica nerve, the largest nerve in the body. It starts in the lower back, continues through the area of the buttocks and hips, then down both thighs. One course of action for treating the condition is using exercises for sciatica pain. They help relax the muscles, provide pain-relief, and prevent future problems.

Stretching your hamstring can bring relief.

There are several ways to stretch the hamstring. One uses a towel to stretch it. Grab a towel with one end in each hand. Lay on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Lift one foot and put the sole in the center, creating a loop to hold the foot. As you gently pull the towel toward you, attempt to straighten your leg, making it perpendicular to the body. You’ll feel the hamstring stretch. Do the other leg.

Gentle movement can bring pain relief.

When your back, hips, and thighs hurt, you don’t feel like moving, but it can bring relief. There are three exercises you can combine that bring quick relief. Lay on your back with one knee bent and the other leg either laying flat or bent, whichever is most comfortable. Grasp the knee with your hands and gently pull it toward your chest. Hold for up to a half minute and release. Then do the other leg. You can modify it by doing both legs at once, just don’t force the stretch, especially when you feel pain.

Yoga can help relax the back muscles and bring relief from pain.

Various yoga positions can aid in relaxing back muscles but the best combines the cat and cow pose that are done on the hands and knees. The combination starts with the cat pose. Arch your back like a cat as you lower your head. Hold the position, then return to starting position, transitioning into the cow pose. Let your belly drop toward the floor, creating the look of a swayback appearance with an exaggerated curve. Lift your head as you do this. Hold this position, then arch your back, moving back to the cat position and repeating the movement.

  • A seated hamstring stretch requires two chairs. While seated on one chair, place one foot on the other chair, leaving the other foot flat on the floor. Slowly attempt to touch the toes of the foot on the chair until you feel the stretch.
  • Another stretch that can help relieve back pain starts by laying on the back. Bring both knees toward the chest, wrapping your arms around them, pulling as close as possible, and holding.
  • Relax your muscles in the pool. Walking in water that’s up to your chest can help relax your muscles and provides a good warm-up routine. Follow the warm-up with a standing pelvic tilt.
  • If there’s loss of leg movement or problems with bowel or bladder control, see a doctor immediately. If the pain doesn’t improve or gets worse, get help from a healthcare professional.

For more information, contact us today at Team-ISC

How To Bounce Back After A Binge

How To Bounce Back After A Binge

Anyone who has tried to lose weight or switched from a diet of fast-food to one of healthy eating has had a momentary weakness, where they ate something that wasn’t part of their program. Whether it was an order of fries, a thin slice of cake, or a spoon of ice cream, it wasn’t that bad, unless it started a binge. The spoon of ice cream became a quart and the thin slice of cake became two, then three, then the rest of the cake. You might think all is lost when this happens, but you can bounce back after a binge, and get back on track.

Don’t let the guilt make it worse.

You’ll feel the bloat and discomfort immediately. It can even last a couple of days. Often people who binge feel guilt that lasts far longer. Give yourself a break. That guilt can lead to even more overeating. It gives junk food power over you and makes you feel like quitting. You may have downed a lot of calories, but it was still just one slip. You’re learning to eat healthier, why would you punish yourself? Would you punish a child learning to walk for falling? Of course, you wouldn’t.

Start by getting rid of the bloated feeling.

Drinking water and staying hydrated can be beneficial to pushing the food through your system and eliminating the bloat. Mild exercise immediately following the binge and more vigorous exercise the next day can also help. Exercise also aids digestion and can lift your spirits. Don’t think of it as a punishment or a way to burn the excess calories. Instead, think of it as a medicine to help you feel better.

Don’t starve yourself the next day but make your meals healthy.

Immediately after a binge, you may swear to yourself that you’ll never do that again, holding your stomach in pain. That can all change overnight. Binging can make you even hungrier the next day. It occurs when binging causes an insulin spike, dropping blood sugar dramatically. When your blood sugar drops, your body tells you to eat. It can happen later in the day or the following day. You have three options. The first is to ignore it and starve yourself. That’s a bad idea. It becomes a punishment for eating and creates guilt. The second is to continue to binge, which is also out of the question. The third and best solution is to eat a healthy meal that has fiber, protein, and healthy fat.

  • Learn to give yourself the flexibility to eat guilty pleasures occasionally. That thin friend that can eat whatever they desire doesn’t overeat. Your friend has developed a good relationship with food, eats healthily most of the time, and only eats when hungry.
  • Get plenty of sleep after a binge. If you lack sleep, your body produces too much ghrelin, the hunger hormone, and too little leptin, the one that makes you feel full. Lack of sleep can drive hunger.
  • Keep a food diary and include your emotions when you binge. Did you overeat after a disappointment or when you were angry? You may be using food to replace dealing with situations. Identifying the problem can help prevent future binging.
  • Pay attention to cravings. If you have a specific food you love, eat it without guilt. Just focus on portion control and frequency. Enjoy every bite. When you know it’s okay to eat something, it reduces the desire and the potential for a binge.

For more information, contact us today at Team-ISC