Nutrition

The Importance Of Mindset For Fitness Success

The Importance Of Mindset For Fitness Success

Not everything about fitness success has to do with the body. Your mindset plays a vital role in it. It’s not just that way in fitness but in every aspect of life. Almost everyone has heard the story of The Little Engine That Could. It’s all about focusing on accomplishing a task and accepting nothing less than success. Everyone knows someone who says they want to get fit, but the moment they face a challenge, they quit. Don’t let that person be you.

Practice exercising in your head.

All physical activities start in the brain. Your brain gives a signal to the muscle to move in a specific way. There are stories of POWs practicing physical challenges, like exercise, in their head while imprisoned. When they were finally released, they were fit and performed better, even though their conditions were horrible. Olympic athletes also use mental imagery and visualization to improve their performance.

Changing your mindset can improve your chances of a better outcome.

When you improve your mindset, you improve your potential for success. It’s not magic or mental mumbo-jumbo. If you believe you can succeed, you’ll keep trying. If you believe you’ll fail, you’ll quit at the first setback or difficult task. After all, why even put in the effort if it won’t make a difference in the outcome? If you dread each visit to the gym because you feel self-conscious or inept, it makes it easier to skip a few sessions and ultimately quit going.

Sometimes your scales lie.

If you’re working out to help you lose weight, track your progress but also use other measurement techniques to keep your mindset positive. There may be a week or two that you don’t lose weight but your measurements show you lost inches. Focus on the inches lost. That means you’re burning fat and building muscle. One cubic inch of fat weighs less than a cubic inch of muscle tissue. If you didn’t lose weight but lost inches instead, you’re still making progress. You have more muscle tissue and less fat. That’s just as important, especially since muscle tissue burns more calories.

  • Give yourself praise every time you do a workout right, make progress, or go to the gym when you don’t want to go. You have to start a workout for that workout to be effective.
  • Leave your negativity outside the gym. Face each workout with a positive attitude. If you do something wrong, don’t beat yourself up, just correct the problem and move on from there.
  • Don’t just focus on the gym to boost your fitness. Do something fun. Go dancing, play team sports, or take the family on a hike. Those things also help you get into shape and make life more fun.
  • Listen to your self-talk. Be kind to yourself. When you achieve a small goal, celebrate it. Reward yourself when you achieve a large goal. Have a workout buddy and celebrate successes together.

For more information, contact us today at Team-ISC


The Best Outdoor Exercise For Fall

The Best Outdoor Exercise For Fall

Getting outdoor exercise in Sacramento, CA, in the fall can be extremely pleasant. The weather is cooler and it isn’t the rainy season yet, although the winter fog season has started. It’s the perfect time to get out in nature and enjoy the changing of colors and beauty. Capitol Park is an excellent place to start. Take a walk and enjoy the history of this 40-acre area. Each section has a story to tell. You’ll be getting fresh air and some sunshine before the clouds of winter bring rain.

Ride your bike or hike the trails of a park.

Lake Natoma is a good place to pedal your way to health and absorb the inspiration that such beauty holds. It offers both hiking and biking paths. You’ll see a vivid display of color from the changing leaves as you pedal through the park. The background of the peaceful lake adds to the scenery. Pack a healthy lunch and enjoy the day with your family or friends. The relaxation and exercise from the hike or ride provide the perfect combination for good health.

Pick your snacks and get more exercise.

Visit the apple orchards at Apple Hill. Apple Hill is in the Sierra Nevada Mountains foothills and offers pumpkin patches, vineyards, and apple orchards. You can pick your apples straight off the trees in the orchard. The walking, picking, and carrying the bag provides exercise. If you’re just starting your fitness regimen or plan on picking several bags of apples, find an orchard that provides wagons for those who need them. If you have young children, it’s a good idea to have a wagon to transport them when they’re tired.

Halloween may be over, but a walk in a spooky area is always in season.

Going to Old Sacramento is always fun, but when you make your main destination the Haunted Fort in Old Sacramento, you’ll get a chance to learn history, while enjoying a few spooky stories. The fort is in the State Historic Park. It’s been around since the early 1900s and was a military base during the gold rush days. There are many legends surrounding the fort. You’ll learn those and other interesting, yet spooky, facts taking a walking tour. There are even tunnels under the fort that will give you goosebumps. Put on your running shoes—just in case!

  • If you want to test your endurance, sign up for the Apple Hill Harvest Run. It’s a 3.6-mile run across the beautiful countryside with tasty rewards for those who finish.
  • Take your exercise outside. Instead of working out inside, find a place outside where you can do your exercises and breathe in the fresh air as you do. You’ll also do some grounding if the area has grass and you exercise barefoot.
  • Exercising outside can help reverse mental burnout and bring stress relief. It doesn’t matter whether you’re riding a bike, walking, or doing calisthenics. Jumping rope is an activity for inside or outside that will increase your heart rate and get you into shape quickly.
  • If Rover is getting pudgy, take him for a run with you. Walking and running your dog helps you both burn calories and get into shape. If Rover hasn’t been on long walks for a while, start him off easy, and the same goes for you.

For more information, contact us today at Team-ISC


Treats You Can Have In Moderation

Treats You Can Have In Moderation

Holidays and delicious treats go together. It’s part of Americana. Learning the treats you can have in moderation that won’t break the calorie budget can be a real benefit during holiday time. It lets you make the smartest decisions when you choose your food, especially if you’re going to splurge a little. Choose treats with portion sizes that keep the calorie count to 100-200 calories. Even if you ate one daily, it may slow weight loss efforts, but won’t stop progress completely.

Who says treats can’t be healthy?

When you think of treats, you usually think of sugary snacks made from processed white flour. That isn’t always the case. Some treats can be healthy options, but ones that add a few additional calories. Cooked-then chilled—baby asparagus with lemon butter dipping sauce is one of those examples. If you go heavy on the lemon and light on the butter, lemon-butter asparagus easily fits into your healthy eating plan. Another healthy option is fresh veggies and dip. Make a lower-calorie dip and you can make this treat a daily option.

Nuts may be higher in calories, but they’re filling and healthy options.

It’s easy to misjudge the amount of nuts you eat and why packing them in individual serving sizes is best. A bag of nuts may contain 16 ounces. If you only eat a one ounce serving, you’ll consume approximately 200 calories. What if you ate the whole bag or even half the bag? It’s easy to do. You’d consume between 1600 and 3200 calories, enough for two days’ worth of meals. Divide the bag into serving sizes and put those in individual plastic bags.

Fruit, nuts, and veggies are okay, but what if you miss cake?

Knowledge is king when it comes to eating healthy. Angel cake is truly an angel to dieters. Slice a 12-ounce angel cake into twelve servings. Each one is just 72 calories. You can make it even more special by slicing strawberries on top and putting two tablespoons of aerosol whipped topping on it. Eight large, sliced strawberries are 66 calories, and 2-T of aerosol topping is 20 calories.

  • Make trail mix and bag it in 100-200 calorie serving sizes. You can include dried fruit, nuts, pretzels, popcorn, and even bits of semi-sweet chocolate. Make sure the chocolate is high in cacao and low in sugar.
  • Microwave popcorn is another safe treat you can eat in moderation. Make it yourself by putting 1 ½ T of popcorn in a microwavable bowl with a loose lid. Three cups are just 72 calories. Spice it up with popcorn toppings.
  • Make a healthy parfait. Put a layer of plain Greek yogurt, fresh or frozen fruit, and a half banana. Top with another layer of yogurt and a handful of nuts. Put the lid on it and store it in the refrigerator for snacks. It’s approximately 120 calories.
  • Melt dark chocolate bits or a chocolate square high in cacao in the microwave and dip fresh strawberries. You can even freeze a half banana on a stick for dipping.

For more information, contact us today at Team-ISC


How To Stay Healthy As A Busy Mom

How To Stay Healthy As A Busy Mom

Busy moms fail to take care of themselves. They focus all their energy on keeping their family healthy and happy and fail to take care of themselves. If you aren’t healthy, who is going to take care of your family? It’s one reason many women get help at Innovative Strength and Conditioning in Sacramento, CA. They provide a program that includes both diet and exercise, plus coaching that helps keep you on track. People of all fitness levels benefit, whether they’re a beginner focusing on the basics or seasoned athlete who wants a better performance.

It’s not selfish to take care of yourself.

Moms often feel that doing something for themselves is selfish. The opposite is true. If you don’t take care of your health, someone has to take care of you. Eating nutritious meals and exercising regularly can boost your energy level, so you’ll get work done quicker and have time to enjoy yourself with your family. Besides taking time to exercise and focusing on healthy meals, moms also need to get adequate sleep. It’s not noble to burn the candle at both ends. It makes you less effective and crankier. When you do the things to keep you healthy, you’ll get more done in less time and be less prone to making errors.

Learn how to be healthier and teach your children.

Staying healthy sets a good example for your children. Kids learn what they live. If you stay active and eat healthy meals, it becomes part of your child’s life. You can even involve kids in active play and get them away from the computer. Nothing makes memories quicker than fun playing ball, hiking, or doing other active things with the family. Serving healthy meals increases their chances of eating healthy.

Find a time to work out regularly.

You might think there’s no time to exercise, but when you look for a time in your schedule, you’ll probably find it. Maybe you have to get up early before your family gets up. If your kids are school age, wake them up and have them join you or exercise together in the evening, before supper. Put exercise on your calendar and treat it like you would any appointment. Call it your health appointment to make it more important in your mind. Staying healthy is mandatory, not an option.

  • Get more from your workout in less time. Circuit training, kettlebell training, and HIIT—high intensity interval training—get maximum results in less time. The higher the intensity, the less time needed.
  • You’ll have more energy to deal with problems and be less likely to respond with “less than adult” behavior in tense situations and more likely to show grace under pressure.
  • Always keep healthy snacks available. Have fruit, vegetables, and nuts ready to eat to avoid the temptation of junk food. Have water in the refrigerator instead of soft drinks, juices, or sugary drinks.
  • If you can’t carve out time for a full workout, carve out several 10-15 minute sessions throughout the day. Walk your kids to school to get in extra steps or exercise while watching TV with the family.

For more information, contact us today at Team-ISC


How Alcohol Causes Weight Gain

How Alcohol Causes Weight Gain

If you’ve noticed you’ve put on a few extra pounds, but you’re eating healthy and working out regularly, maybe there’s another reason besides diet and activity level causing it. Are you having a few drinks containing alcohol to wind down when your day is done? That regular consumption of alcohol may be the cause of your weight gain. It’s more than just about the calories it contains. It’s about how the body digests the alcohol.

Yes, some alcoholic drinks offer benefits, but don’t let that fool you.

A glass of red wine may provide some health benefits from the resveratrol it contains, but you can get those same benefits from drinking grape juice, or better yet, eating grapes. One study focused on moderate drinking compared to those who abstained. One drink or less a day for women and two drinks a day or less for men is moderate alcohol consumption. They found drinking in moderation reduced the risk of Alzheimer’s or dementia. While it may provide health benefits, so do other foods and drinks that don’t cause weight gain.

Consuming alcohol slows the fat-burning process.

When you drink, your body burns off the alcohol first, before it starts on the energy from other food. That causes a problem with how the body uses glucagon. Glucagon works the opposite way insulin does. It helps prevent blood sugar from being too low and increases blood sugar levels. It also burns off fat. Your body processes glucagon first to eliminate it from the body, just like any toxin. When it’s doing that, it ceases other functions, such as burning fat. Digesting alcohol spikes blood sugar levels, which also means they drop dramatically. That leaves you ravenous, even though the drink may have contained several hundred calories.

Like sugary products, most alcoholic drinks contain empty calories.

If you consume empty calories, you only get energy without other nutrients. The body focuses on burning the alcohol first, so the calories from other food are stored as fat. If you’re a female with low estrogen levels, those calories are stored as fat around the midsection—belly fat—due to an enzyme called Aldhlal—Aldehyde Dehydrogenase lAl.

  • Drinking alcohol can stimulate the appetite. One study compared people who had an alcoholic drink before dinner to those who had a soft drink. Those who drank alcohol ate more than those that didn’t.
  • Even if you drink moderately, if you do it regularly, the alcohol still spikes your blood sugar levels, which can lead to insulin resistance and diabetes. Insulin resistance makes weight loss more difficult.
  • Consuming alcohol can reduce metabolism by making it more difficult to build muscles. It reduces the body’s testosterone levels. The lower the testosterone levels, the more difficult it is to build muscle tissue.
  • Each gram of alcohol has two times the calories of protein and more than most carbohydrates. It’s slightly less than fat, but still very close to it with fat containing 9 calories per gram and alcohol containing 7 calories per gram.

For more information, contact us today at Team-ISC


Hormones, Health And Behavior

Hormones, Health And Behavior

When people hear the word hormones, they think of sex hormones, such as estrogen and testosterone, but hormones do more than just control sexual development and function. Some play a vital role in good health and some hormones affect behavior, mood, and cognitive functioning. Hormones may make you overeat. Ghrelin is a hormone that makes you hungry, while leptin makes you feel full. Lack of sleep can increase the hormone ghrelin and reduce the production of leptin, making weight gain more probable.

Insulin is one of the best-known hormones, next to sex hormones.

When the body doesn’t produce any insulin, you have type 1 diabetes. Too much insulin is also bad. The body can develop insulin resistance that can turn into type 2 diabetes. In type 2 diabetes, the body can’t produce enough to open the cells to uptake glucose from the bloodstream and use it for energy in both situations, lack of glucose causes cell damage and death. It can cause damage to all parts of the body.

An overproduction of stress hormones can create physical and emotional issues.

Cortisol is one of the better-known stress hormones. The adrenal glands create it. It gets the body prepared to run or fight. When you do either one, it burns off the effects of cortisol. You need stress hormones to survive, especially if you face a life-threatening experience, but not all stressful situations are life-threatening. Traffic jams, angry bosses, and crying babies certainly aren’t, yet they cause stress. If you don’t burn cortisol or other stress hormones, it can create anxiety and even depression.

Hormones play a role in almost all functions that affect your physical and mental well-being.

Adequate sleep is necessary to avoid irritability, mood swings, weight gain, and poor memory. Serotonin helps you get that sleep. Some hormones affect where you store fat. Sex hormones and cortisol are two of those. HGH—human growth hormone—is called the “fountain of youth” hormone. It helps build muscles and affects fat metabolism, and body composition. There’s no evidence it turns back time for your body, but people still buy HGH tablets, even though stomach acid destroys it. The best way to boost the body’s HGH is through exercise, particularly HIIT—high intensity interval training.

  • What other hormones can affect your mood and behavior? Dopamine, glutamate, norepinephrine, and of course serotonin all do. Low levels of serotonin are linked to depression and dopamine is known as the happy hormone because it makes you feel good.
  • High levels of testosterone can make you aggressive and angry. High levels of estrogen can make you irritable. When your sex hormones are out of balance it affects your mental and physical health.
  • Exercise and a healthy diet can help keep hormones regulated. Exercise helps you sleep better, to keep ghrelin and leptin in check. It also burns off the hormones of stress. A healthy diet can help prevent problems with insulin.
  • Your thyroid gland creates hormones that help you stabilize weight gain or weight loss. If it’s not producing enough, it can cause weight gain, dry skin, fatigue, and hair loss. Too much can cause hyperthyroidism with heart palpitations, weight loss, and other symptoms.

For more information, contact us today at Team-ISC


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


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