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

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

The Importance Of A Food Journal

The Importance Of A Food Journal

People who have a problem losing weight have found that using a food journal is helpful. While meal plans and healthy recipes from our nutrition team provide an excellent benefit, a food journal can be the first step to identifying habits that are sabotaging your efforts. Meal plans can help you as you learn ways to make meals and snacks healthier and lower in calories and a food journal can be another clue why other attempts to lose weight have failed.

You may think you barely eat, but once you write down each morsel, you’ll be surprised.

When you keep a food journal, you track everything you eat, including how much you ate. If you’re consuming an item that’s still in its original package, reading the nutritional information can tell you not only the serving size but the number of calories for each serving. You don’t walk around with a scale to weigh everything or measuring cups, so you have to find other ways to measure items that aren’t in a package, like a slice of cake. There are simple ways to measure, like using the size of a deck of cards for meat or the size of dice for cheese. Since serving size is extremely important, you need to include it.

Don’t forget to include condiments and drinks.

List everything you eat or drink, even water. Water doesn’t have calories, but since most people don’t drink enough, recording it can identify if you do. Listing condiments can be important, particularly on items you make at home, where there’s a potential to slather mayonnaise, ketchup and other higher-calorie condiments on your sandwich. Tracking what you drink can make a huge difference. If you have three colas a day, it’s an extra 300 calories. It takes 3500 calories to gain a pound. At 300 extra calories a day, it would only take 12 days to put on a pound.

Food journals can help identify the cause of health issues.

If you’re chronically bloated or feel ill after meals, consider the potential for a food intolerance or allergy. Food journaling can help you solve that mystery, too. By listing not only the food you consume, but also whether you have an “episode” of feeling bad, you can narrow down the culprit to a specific food or find there’s no identifiable pattern, so food is not the cause. Keeping a food journal should be your first step to finding the reason for the mystery illness. If you have a doctor’s appointment, take the journal with you.

  • Studies found that when people wrote down the food they ate, they tended to eat less. One reason is that it made them more aware of food mindlessly eaten, like that last spoonful of potatoes in the serving bowl.
  • Knowing what you eat and how much can also help you improve your diet. You may notice patterns of high carb processed foods, foods with added sugar or lack of vegetables and fiber, and work on correcting those issues.
  • Some people hate the idea of carrying around a journal. The good news is that you don’t have to do that. You can track your food intake on a notepad in your phone or make audio or video recordings.
  • Are you an emotional eater and you stuff your feelings down with food? Food journals can help you identify that. Just record your mood or circumstances when you’re eating.

For more information, contact us today at Team-ISC

Workouts That Help With Endurance

Workouts That Help With Endurance

The workouts at ISC in Sacramento, CA, include ones for strength, balance, flexibility, and endurance. The types of endurance workouts most people immediately think of are cardiovascular endurance workouts. Those increase the ability of the lungs and heart to provide oxygen for the body. There is another type of endurance. It’s muscular endurance, that’s the ability to work the muscles for long periods without tiring them. Both types of endurance workouts are important. Some exercises focus on cardio endurance, while others focus on muscular endurance. There is a group of exercises that focus on both.

Walking can boost your cardiovascular endurance.

Exercises that increase your heart rate for a longer period, such as running, walking, swimming, and cycling, can train your body to increase the intake of oxygen. They boost the performance of the heart and lungs, improve circulation and even build strength in the muscles you use. Cardiovascular endurance training can help lower blood pressure, while increasing heart health and reducing the potential for heart disease. Continuously modifying the intensity of the activity from high intensity to a recovery pace is called high intensity interval training—HIIT—and can get faster results than steady-state workouts.

Muscular endurance allows you to contract muscles against resistance longer.

You’ll be able to do more repetitions of each strength-building exercise when you build muscle endurance. Squats and push-ups use the pull of gravity and the weight of the body as resistance. As you build muscle endurance, you can do more repetitions and, in most cases, adjust your body position to make the exercise more difficult. A bent knee push-up is easier to do than a regular push-up. As a person develops more muscular endurance, they can do more bent knee push-ups and ultimately switch to the traditional push-up that’s harder.

Many workouts build both muscle and cardiovascular endurance.

You can turn your strength-building workout into a workout that builds both muscular and cardiovascular endurance by making it a circuit training session, where you move quickly from one strength =-building exercise to another with little rest between each one. You can time circuits and challenge yourself to cut the time for each round of exercises. Making your workout a HIIT session, where you modify the intensity and speed, is another way to combine the two. Doing kettlebell workouts also builds both types of endurance.

  • You can add speed to your resistance exercises or weights to your cardio workouts to build both cardio and muscle endurance. Arm and leg weights can test muscular endurance and so can carrying dumbbells and swinging your arms vigorously as you walk or run.
  • Including explosive movements in your strength-building workouts can boost both cardio and muscle endurance. Frog squat jumps, squat thrusts, burpees and tuck jumps are a few examples.
  • Building cardiovascular endurance requires strengthening of the respiratory muscles, such as the diaphragm. Improved respiratory muscle function allows deeper breaths and increased oxygen intake.
  • Running is often used to build endurance and can help muscles improve their performance when doing other tasks. It increases PAP—post-activation potential—which increases how long you can perform exercises for endurance.

For more information, contact us today at Team-ISC

Healthy Meals For Any Time Of Day

Healthy Meals For Any Time Of Day

Are you trying to lose weight, gain muscle or just become fitter? It doesn’t require a special diet, but it does mean you have to eat healthy meals and snacks. Diets don’t work because they’re too restrictive and you can’t stay on them forever. At Team ISC in Sacramento, we help you use foods that are easy to find and good for you and ways to include them in your daily meals. It’s all about making smarter decisions when choosing food, not starving yourself.

You can eat pitas filled with spinach and feta scrambled eggs any time of day.

Whether you’re eating a sit-down or on-the-go breakfast or lunch or want a filling supper, the spinach and feta scrambled egg pitas will do the trick. Thaw, drain, and squeeze dry frozen spinach. Add a pinch of salt and heat until it’s steamy and then add 8 beaten eggs. Cook until the eggs are soft curds and add 1/4 cup crumbled feta, sprinkling pepper to suit your taste. Once the eggs have become firm, scoop it into a whole wheat pita that’s cut in half. Before adding the eggs, you can spread tomato pesto inside the pita, sliced tomatoes or lettuce.

Build a burrito from the fridge.

Burritos aren’t necessarily healthy. It’s all about what you put in them and the type of burrito you use. If you want easy meals that you can adjust based on the time of day or your food preference, burritos are a go-to option. Chop up ingredients and keep them in airtight containers, ready to use. Chopped lettuce, tomatoes, onions, peppers—red, green, spicy hot or bell, it’s your choice—-refried beans, chicken or eggs. Use healthier options for the wrap, such as whole grain, chickpea flour or cassava flour wraps. You can add eggs, chicken, thinly sliced lean flank steak, or go vegan with black beans. It’s a meal you can adjust to your taste and the time of day.

Salmon fits into any meal plan.

You can’t go wrong by adding salmon as your source of protein. It is loaded with nutrients and high in omega-3 fatty acids. You can even use canned salmon to speed up the preparation. Salmon stuffed avocados combine canned salmon with celery and parsley, then topped with a dressing of Greek yogurt, lime juice, mayo, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper. Before stuffing the halved avocados, scoop a tablespoon out of it, mash it and add it to the salmon mixture, then stuff the halves. Simple recipes for any meal can be salmon and eggs, or salmon and asparagus with a side salad.

  • Oatmeal may not seem like an “any meal” type of dish, but you can make this heart-healthy food for any meal. Try mixing in Parmesan cheese and topping with spinach and poached eggs for a quick lunch.
  • Keep essentials on hand and ready to use in combinations for any meal. Don’t limit any ingredient based on the time of day. Mushrooms, eggs, Greek yogurt, avocado, sweet potatoes, kale, kiwi and black beans are a few of those.
  • Don’t forget healthy snacks. While you want meals to be easy, you want snacks to be even easier. Have individual serving-size packs of nuts, fresh fruit and vegetables already cut and ready, dip, cheese and hard-boiled eggs ready to eat.
  • If you want more guidance, At Team ISC, we can help you learn the foods that are best to help you reach your goal or provide you with a meal plan that has recipes and even a shopping list.

For more information, contact us today at Team-ISC

Is Being Addicted To The Gym A Bad Thing?

Is Being Addicted To The Gym A Bad Thing?

Being addicted to the gym can be good or bad, depending on how you act on that addiction. If you love going and don’t miss a session, then it’s good. However, if you love going so much that you workout intensely for long hours every day, it might not be to your benefit. You can work out too much. What happens then? You actually lose ground, make exercising more exhausting and lose muscle mass in the process.

Doing too intense of strength-building workouts can deplete your body and muscle tissue.

One area of exercise that requires close attention to intensity is strength-building. When you workout, you cause microtears in the muscle tissue. As those tears heal, they build bigger and stronger muscles. However, it takes a couple of days for the healing process, which is why you should only do strength-building on the same muscle groups every 48 to 72 hours. Not only will your muscle tissue not heal, but those microtears also cause stress on your body. Stress can affect the proper functioning of the immune system.

Stress fractures can also occur when you do repetitive exercises.

Runners often face the problem of stress fractures, especially if they’re doing too much running, too soon. Stress fractures are tiny cracks in the bone. The repetitive pounding of the foot on the pavement puts them at high risk. Repeated jumping also can cause the same problem. Stress fractures are the most common in the foot and the lower leg, so if you’re into cardio, switch up to different types of workouts and include low-impact ones in the mix.

True exercise addiction is real.

If you go to the gym and ignore other important areas of your life, focus all your energy and thoughts on getting ready for, going, or recovering from exercise, and are unable to limit your time at the gym, you may be suffering from exercise addiction. Like any addiction, it can take over your life to the point where you don’t feel like you have control. Exercise releases neurotransmitters that make you feel good. They’re the same as drug addiction. If you feel like you have to workout, it may be the desire to trigger that reaction.

  • Identify whether you simply love your day at the gym or have a real addiction. The number of days you go, the amount of time you spend and your intensity level will tell a lot.
  • Skip working out for a short time if you feel you have an exercise addiction until you can take control again. When you go back, limit the number of days and time you spend.
  • Studies show that people with other types of addictions, such as tobacco, alcohol or drugs, and people with anorexia, bulimia, or body image disorder can lead to exercise addiction.
  • Signs that you’re working out too much include exhaustion, anxiety, depression, frequent illness, difficulty falling asleep, and a dramatic increase in resting heart rate.

For more information, contact us today at Team-ISC