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healthy balance

Lies, Myths, and Misconceptions About Weight Loss

shutterstock_542830963When it comes to losing weight there are so many opinions out there that most people have no clue where to start, so let us break down a few of these myths and explain why its easier to gain weight than to lose it.  Because there are certainly right ways and wrong ways to doing it.

Myth #1:  You bulk up when you lift weights.

For most of my female clients the first thing they say is that they do not want to lift any heavy weights because they fear they will bulk up. First of all, lifting weights will help you build lean muscle which will help reduce the amount of fat you carry around so essentially a little bit of muscle tone is not going to hurt you. Secondly, muscles dramatically increase in size when testosterone is present and most females don’t make a large amount of testosterone. So unlike males you will not see a lot of bulky muscle tone.

Myth #2: You can spot reduce fat loss.

The reality is you are born with the amount of fat cells that you will carry the rest of your life. Therefore, simply put, your body puts them where they will live. Period. It is your job to eat a healthy diet and exercise to help reduce the size of the fat cells. It won’t happen in one specific area that you target but will be an overall total body fat loss.

Myth #3: I can do just cardio exercises to lose weight.

You might love running or jumping on the elliptical at your local gym, but you will have to add strength training to help you lose weight. Yes, cardio exercise helps give you a calorie deficit for the day, but since having lean muscle will help you burn more calories while at rest you will need to do strength training along with cardio exercise to lose weight or reduce fat cells.

These are just a few myths our clients face when trying to lose weight.  Don’t forget food choices and activity outside of the gym play a huge role as well.

Too many or too little? The 411 on calorie intake.

Let’s Get Real.

As a Dietitian, I know it’s very tempting to just drastically reduce calories in an effort to lose weight fast in a simple manner. The problem is research has shown time and time again that this is not an effective approach to long-term weight loss. While it’s important that you control the number of calories you consume, too much restriction can halt your progress.

Too much calorie restriction affects overall health from your bone density to your ability to lose or regulate body weight. Lowering calorie intake reduces the amount of food you can eat and may prevent you from getting all the necessary nutrients. Research shows that calorie restriction reduces leptin, a hormone that helps to regulate your appetite. Low levels of leptin usually lead to hunger and overeating. Even more worrying than that, research also shows that low-calorie dieting increases stress and the release of the stress hormone, cortisol. As a result of this stress response, the body conserves energy and the Basal Metabolic rate slows to combat the risk of starvation. While you might think that drastically cutting calories is sure to result in weight loss, these changes in stress levels are actually associated with weight gain.

Then how many calories should I eat? Should I even change my diet?

The number of calories needed for weight loss is determined by several factors, and varies from person to person. This is why it is important to seek the help of an educated professional. Most people just take their height and weight to determine how much to eat but, it’s not that simple. Using the simple height and weight method leaves (+/-) 600 calories of error room. Dietitians and specialty medical professionals need information such as age, gender, muscle health, mental state, sleep rate and current activity level to determine a safe and effective number of calories to eat each day to reach your goals. So, obviously with that said, you can’t just wing it. As you decrease calories, it’s important not to drastically cut food intake. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends a rule of thumb that women eat no fewer than 1,400 calories per day and that men eat no fewer than 1,800 calories per day. If you exercise you should add about 300 to 800 calories to that. These numbers can change based on the individual. Any intake lower than these recommended amounts should be closely monitored by your medical professional.

Then, what is the right way?

Losing weight at a rate of 1 to 2 pounds per week has been found to be the most effective method to keep it off for good. In order to lose weight at this rate, you will need to reduce calorie intake by 500 to 1000 calories per day. This reduction could put some people below the recommended 1,400  and 1,800 calorie minimum. This is one reason that exercise is an important tool for weight loss. The calories burned during exercise contribute to the calorie deficit you need for weight loss. By combining reduced food intake with regular exercise, you can still lose weight without severely limiting your calorie intake. This will prevent your metabolism from slowing and ensure your rate of weight loss remains steady.

HAVE MORE QUESTIONS?  Sign up for one of our nutrition consults!

 

back pain

Muscle Soreness: What causes it and how to manage.

Did you just start a new workout routine? Or did you push yourself harder during your last workout? We’ve all done it. In about 24-48 hours you’ll probably feel some soreness in your muscles because you stressed them beyond their normal activity.  This is totally normal and your body’s reaction to the small micro tears that happen in the muscle and need repair so the muscle can become stronger.  This can begin immediately or be delayed. Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is slightly more painful and must be treated a little differently, but general soreness is only temporary and can be easily treated.

To prevent and treat muscle soreness:

1. Stay Active: keeping the blood flowing to your muscles helps the healing process move a little quicker.

2. Drink Water: moving fluids through your system will help flush out all the toxins, latic acid, and enzymes that have been sent to repair your muscle fibers.

3. Schedule a massage: massage has been proven to help muscle soreness if you can are not in to much pain.

4. Pack in the nutrients: eating your protein, fruits, and veggies can help your muslce rebuild.

5. Stretch: providing more oxygen to your muscle by doing some yoga, pilates, or even some gentle stretching can help reduce your muscle soreness.

In the end, soreness is not a bad thing. It’s your muscles communicating that they are building to get stronger. But you only have one body, so take care of your muscles so they can continue to work harder during your next workout.

gym journal

Staying Motivated in the New Year

Are you working on setting up those new years resolutions? How long do you typically stick with them? Most people write them down, check them off for a few weeks, and then lose their focus. So instead of making unrealistic goals, lets start with some ways to stay motivated during the new year so that you can achieve those goals.

Goal Setting: 

When making a goal for your wellness plan you need to start with simple goals and then progress to longer range goals. So for example lets say you want to lose 25 lbs in 2017. So realistically you can lose 2 lbs a week so lets start with a 4 week goal but you are not always going to start losing and seeing changes until week 4-6. So instead of setting a goal in terms of lbs, lets set a different goal. 

New goal: Don’t set yourself up for failure based on a number…

In the first 4 weeks you are going to eat a healthy diet, exercise 4 times a week doing cardio and weights, and making healthy lifestyle choices such as not drinking alcohol on the weekdays. With setting these goals you might not start losing weight within your time line but your not setting yourself up for failure if you were not to lose your specific weight goals. Setting a goal with realistic expectations will help you keep these lifestyle habits in the long haul.

Tracking your Goals: 

The next step is incorporating these goals into your lifestyle. If you are not a swimmer, hate water, and do not like getting into a bathing suit then your goal is not going to incorporate adding swimming 3 days a week to lose weight. You must make your goals something you can incorporate into your lifestyle and it has to be something you enjoy doing.

Making it a team effort:

You will never be able to achieve your goals on your own. You will need help from a friend or a spouse. Here are some tips..

  • find a workout partner
  • go to a meal prep class with your significant other to learn to prepare healthy meals
  • find a group fitness class that you enjoy and get to know the other people in the class
  • find an accountability partner with similar goals and have someone check in on your from time to time

REWARD YOURSELF

Don’t forget to set yourself up for success. Maybe you want to have a spa day with a friend or you are planning a beach trip and want a new swim suit. Have a goal in mind but also a reward for yourself when you achieve your goals.

Portion Control the Right Way

Looking to lose weight but still want to eat some of your favorite things? Portion control can help you eat just the right amount of calories so you don’t over eat. If we’re honest with ourselves, we don’t need research to tell us that when faced with a larger portion size most people unintentionally consume more calories.

To lose weight you must burn more calories than you consume, therefore it is important to pay attention to those calories that you put in your body. Each nutrition label is designed to tell you the serving size amount based on the amount you should consume. Looks can be deceiving though. A bag of pretzels could actually be 2 serving sizes, so pay attention or you’ll be consuming double the calories on the nutrition label.

Here are a few helpful tips…

1. Always start a meal with a tall glass of water, this will help you not only with hydration but also help with over eating.

2. Slow your pace. Don’t be in a race to finish your food. Eating slower will help your brain let you know when you are full.

3. Restaurants do not normally serve the correct portion size for one person. Take control of the amount you eat by splitting a meal or boxing up half to go as soon as you receive your plate.

4. When eating in front of a TV screen or computer, take out the amount of food that you should eat and put it in a small bowl, that way you don’t get distracted and eat more than you should.

5. If you feel hungry between meals, grab a healthy snack. This will help avoid overeating at the next meal.

6. Avoid second helpings, you don’t always have to leave a meal stuffed.

To try and stay healthy and fit during the holidays season, remember portion control is key. Watch out for those foods loaded with calories and choose proteins, fruits, and veggies instead. Nutrition dense foods will keep you full longer and you won’t have to work as hard after the holidays to lose the extra pounds.

lower back pain

How exercise can help with low back pain

Exercise is important in many ways but one important reason to exercise is to help prevent and recovery from low back pain. According to research performed by Freburger in the journal of Int Med, low back pain is the second most common cause of disability in the US and 80% of adults will experience low back pain at some point in their life. But there are many ways we can prevent this from happening.

The spine itself can only support 35 lbs of weights so it relies on our muscles to hold our weight. Therefore when those muscles are weak then we damage the joints, discs, and bones that cause further injury. Having strong core musculature can help prevent this from happening. Your core muscles include your pelvic floor muscles, transverse abdominus (lower abdominals), multifidis (back), internal and exernal obliques, rectus abdominus, erector spinea, and your diaphram. Without these muscles you would not be able to do the common tasks of daily living.

There are many ways to avoid low back pain including exercise, stretching, strengthening, eating right, maintaining proper posture, maintaining a healthy weight, and avoiding heavy lifting without proper form. Here are a few exercises you can do to strengthen your core.

If you do have low back pain there are a few things you can do to improve this. First seek medical attention if you feel like this is beyond your control or if you have nerve involvement (numbness and tingling). Other things you can do include:

  • use ice and heat
  • avoiding rest
  • stay active
  • stay hydrated
  • stretch
  • strengthen

The best way to prevent and treat any type of back pain is to exercise regularly and eat a healthy balanced diet. You only get one back so you might want to treat it likes it your only one you will ever get.

VESTAVIA VOICE: Pure Fitness Reopens After Fire

Thank you Vestavia Voice and Leah Eagle for featuring an awesome follow-up story on Pure Fitness re-opening. We are back on our feet and enjoying helping clients achieve their fitness goals. We are ready for the New Year and have some new packages that offer incredible discounts along with some perks. Check out the article at http://vestaviavoice.com/businesses/pure-fitness-reopens-after-fire1027/.

vestavia-voice-pic

VESTAVIA VOICE: Owners To Reopen Damaged Businesses

Thanks to the Vestavia Voice for helping us update the community on the status of Pure Fitness. For those that don’t know, we lost our gym to a fire just a couple of weeks after opening to the public back in April. Unfortunately all the sweat equity we put into the building was a loss, but we’re encouraged by the upcoming opportunities. Pure Fitness is rebuilding will be better than ever! Stay tuned here and on our Facebook page for regular updates.

Click here for the story vestaviavoice.com.IMG_4148

pregnancy

How to keep your body fit during pregnancy for better results post pregnancy

There are so many women who lose control of their eating and exercising during pregnancy which makes it so much harder to lose the weight post pregnancy. The number one excuse I hear women say during pregnancy is that they will let themselves go for now and just try and lose the weight after they deliver their baby. This doesn’t always happen and then they end up carrying the weight plus more the rest of their life. Your fetus while in the womb needs good nutrition and exercise since they are developing into the human being that they will be when they arrive. The more you watch your weight now the easier it will be to lose it afterward.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when exercising and eating healthy during pregnancy to help you jump back quicker to your pre-pregnancy body.

1.. Curve your cravings by making smart, healthy choices

2. Exercise daily to maintain cardiovascular fitness and muscle tone

3. Protect your abdominals to avoid diastis recti

4. Learning to curve your cravings:

Lets face it doctors want you to gain 25-35 lbs for a healthy pregnancy but this doesn’t mean you are eating for two people. Most of that weight will be extra fluid, placenta, and the fetus and only requires a few extra calories during your second and third trimester. Remember whatever you eat, your baby eats so you are developing their body composition with everything you put into your mouth. Yes you are craving certain food items that your body might need during your first and second trimester but that is no excuse not to try and choose healthy food options. For me I would crave pizza but instead of ordering a pizza I would make my own homemade whole grain veggie pizza at home so I could still get all my nutrients for the day. You should try and stick with eating your fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats.

Some helpful tips..

~Eat a small meal or snack as well as a drink a glass of water as soon as you get out of bed

~Eat 5-6 small meals throughout the day to keep your blood sugar level regulated.

~Eat protein at every meal to help sustain your appetite.

~Drink 8-10 glasses of water a day.

~Learn to choose healthier options of foods your are craving.

2. Exercise daily to maintain a healthy weight gain:

Some days it will be easier than others to exercise but trust me you will feel better after your do something active. During your first trimester it will be hard to fight the fatigue, nausea, and just feeling to exhausted to get out of bed but getting on your feet and doing something every day will help in the long run. Remember exercise increases your blood flow to your placenta that helps in fetus growth and development and also helps with swelling and blood circulation. It also helps with headaches, stress, depression, pelvic pain, back pain, constipation, and muscle cramping. So why not get off the couch and get moving!

If you did not exercise prior to pregnancy then you should start slowly by walking or riding the stationary bike but if you were previously working out then maintain your workout.

Some things to avoid during your workouts to keep you and your baby safe from harm…

1st Trimester:

-Avoid hot conditions

-Avoid contact sports or exercises that might cause you to fall.

-Gradually increase exercises that are new to your workout routine.

-Exercise when you feel up to it and don’t push yourself to hard.

2nd Trimester:

-Monitor your heart rate. If you can’t hold a conversation you might be pushing it too hard.

-Avoid crunches, sit-ups, and other abdominal exercises that will cause further damage.

-Avoid lying directly on your back.

3rd Trimester:

-Listen to your body. If it is uncomfortable or causes contractions then stop and try something different.

-Swimming, walking, and rowing are great, safe cardio exercises.

– Avoid lifting too much weight or straining.

3. Protect your abdominals

Not many women realize that doing abdominal exercises during early pregnancy or lifting something too heavy can lead to a life long consequence of diastasis recti. I know this is a foreign term but let me tell you a little bit about it. Diastasis is the splitting of your connective tissue between your right and left abdominal muscle wall. This tissue stretches during pregnancy to allow your fetus to grow but is normally closes nicely after pregnancy and after the relaxin hormone is depleted. I have seen a few women with this condition and most of the time you will work hard after pregnancy to close this gap back together but most of the time it is a permanent condition with corrective surgery being your only option.

To prevent diastasis from occurring during your pregnancy and to have a quicker recovery of your abdominal minuscules here are some things to avoid.

~Exercises that require flexing of the spine including crunches, bicycles, sit-ups, and oblique twists.

~Abdominal exercises on a physio ball

~Any exercises that require heavy lifting or involve twisting at your abdominals/core.

Overall if you maintain a healthy diet and regular exercise during pregnancy then you and your baby should have a much easier recovery after labor and delivery. This will help you bounce back to your normal self and be able to be a fit mom!

Why Are Americans Snacking More Often?

According to the U.S. governments most recent study What We Eat in American survey, 97% of adults in america snack at least once per day. Which means we are getting 1/4 of our calories from snacking (USDA 2014a). Snacking all throughout the day is becoming more popular and is causing american to put on the extra pounds!

On average, women consume about 400 calories per day from snacks and men 600 average a day. This has risen over the years and is at its all time high (USDA 2011). Is this because we are busy people and don’t have time to sit down with our families at night for dinner and would rather grab a granola bar or a quick item to snack on instead of taking the time to cut up a piece of fruit or saute some vegetables?

Snacks provide fast mini-meal options for people who are on the go, meal skippers, or non meal planners. Chips and fruit are the most popular afternoon snack, according to the 2013 Harman consumer study. Candy and ice cream remain the most popular evening snack. (Hartman Group 2013).

So how do you pick the right snack? Start by choosing a lower-sugar and higher protein option. This will extend the satiating power of the snack and you won’t be so ravenous when the next meal time comes around. Here are some suggestions for some healthy snacks between meals:

Morning: yogurt, baked snacks (whole grain bagel with nut butter), protein bar, a handful of almonds

Afternoon: pita chips with hummus, an apple with nut butter, berries, frozen fruit, a low sugar smoothie

Evening: fresh fruit with a few chocolate chips, low fat frozen yogurt, or a greek yogurt with fruit or granola

 

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