Healthy Byte: Never Too Old

NOTE: My inspiration

Ernestine Shepherd is an octogenarian bodybuilder who just won't stop inspiring. (Photo: Getty Images)
Ernestine Shepherd is an octogenarian bodybuilder who just won’t stop inspiring. (Photo: Getty Images)

One of the world’s oldest female body builders, Ernestine Shepherd, just gained another year in what she’s called her “long happy journey” of life. Now 80, the fitness trainer, model, competitive body builder, and new author celebrated her June 16 birthday with a Facebook post declaring her continued determination, dedication, and discipline. “I am 80 years young today and I thank God for bringing me this far. I’m still determined, I’m still dedicated and I’m still disciplined to be fit!” Shepherd wrote, inspiring more 18,000 likes of encouragement.

After being named the oldest female body builder by the Guinness Book of World Records in both 2010 and 2011, Shepherd began to publicly share the story of how she came to live a life of tenacity and perseverance beginning at the age of 56. What started as a modest curiosity about working out turned into a life-changing route to happiness once her sister died suddenly from a brain aneurysm, she told HooplaHa. In an attempt to fulfill the fitness goals Shepherd had created with her late sister, she developed a following and a legacy admired by people of all ages.

Shepherd celebrated her current success with the release of her book The “Ageless” Journey of Ernestine Shepherd, in which she writes about the secrets to her health and well-being. The book, which was released earlier this month, details the keys to her motivation, including:

(Photo: Ernestine Shepherd /Facebook)
(Photo: Ernestine Shepherd /Facebook)
  1. Age is nothing but a number.” In addition to her mantra, “Determined, dedicated, disciplined to be fit,” Shepherd believes that “being out of shape as we age truly is merely an option – NOT a mandate!”
  2. Eat clean. Shepherd sticks to a daily diet of 1,700 calories, which includes egg whites, chicken and vegetables.
  3. Do the same workout every day. In an interview with Oprah, Shepherd revealed, “I do the same thing day in and day out.” This daily routine includes a workout that begins at 3 or 4am with a 10-mile run.
  4. Find what you like to do. The fitness trainer teaches classes of her own, but encourages people to exercise in whichever way they like. “Not everybody wants to be a body builder, not everybody wants to be a runner. But find what you like to do,” she told Oprah.
  5. Have something that motivates you. Although Shepherd finds strength in prayer, she says she owes most of her motivation to her late sister.
(Photo: Ernestine Shepherd/Facebook)
(Photo: Ernestine Shepherd/Facebook)

Originally Posted HERE

HB Sig

Healthy Byte: Before or After Dilemma


There are two types of exercisers in this world: those who must eat breakfast before a sweat sesh, and those that swear it’s better to exercise sans fuel. So who’s right?

To help clear the air, Kristin Speaker, Ph.D, researcher and weight loss coach at Anschutz Health and Wellness Center in Aurora, Colorado, weighed in on the topic. Here’s what you need to know.



Does Fasted Cardio Really Burn More Fat?

In short, yes. Studies have found that exercising in a fasted state can burn nearly 20 percent more fat when compared to sweating it out post-nosh.

“The fuel your body uses to burn energy is dependent on a host of factors, the first being whether or not you’ve just eaten,” says Speaker. “Your body likes to burn the fuel that you’ve eaten first. So if you don’t have any fuel because you didn’t eat (meaning you’re in a fasted state), then your body turns to what it has stored away and works to burn that.”

But it all depends on what kind of workout you’re doing. “In general, the easier the exercise, the more actual fat you’re going to burn during the workout,” she says. For example, if you go for a 30-minute walk and cover two miles at a slow, steady pace, then Speaker says you’ll torch approximately 200 calories. If you’ve been fasting, your body will likely burn body fat, because the rate of energy production (a.k.a. how hard you were working) was really low and fat was easily accessible.

On the flip side, if you go for a tough run, then your body starts to burn carbs instead of just fat. “When you go higher in intensity, your body can’t use fat fast enough, so it burns some fat and some carbohydrates,” says Speaker.

That doesn’t mean slow and steady wins, though. Remember that your body only burns more fat during the actual workout when you slow your roll. Numerous studies have shown that high-intensity interval training stokes your metabolism and keeps burning fat long after your routine is done, so depending on how hard you worked, tough sessions may win out after you hit the showers.


But What if You’ve Got No Energy?

It’s clear that busting out cardio before breakfast can be beneficial. But what if you feel like you don’t have enough energy to exercise before you’ve eaten? Well, that’s nonsense, according to Speaker. “You have plenty of energy in your muscle and fat stores to give your body what it needs to exercise,” she says. “Your liver provides glucose for your body, and you don’t really start tapping into that until you deplete the glycogen stores in your muscles. Depending on how fed you were the day before and how trained you are, you have about an hour-and-a-half to two hours before you even dip into your liver glucose.”

In other words, you’re good to do about an hour of cardio, max, while you’re fasted, says Speaker.

Of course, if you’re upping the intensity or going any longer than that, it’s important to start fueling, perhaps with energy chews or gels. But refueling post-workout is what’s really important, so your muscles can start repairing the tiny tears they endure during exercise, says Speaker. One cool upside: Fasting primes your body for the nutrients you’re about to give it. “You’ll better absorb protein, and your body is going to know right where to put it because you’ve used energy, creating space for new energy to go in,” she says. “So protein and carbohydrates will go back into the muscles to help them refuel, as opposed to going into fat stores.”


When It’s an Issue to Sweat Before You Eat

If you’re generally in good health, there aren’t too many downsides to consider so long as you’re doing cardio (it’s a whole different ballgame for strength training), says Speaker. The main issue: Those on a low-carb diet, like Paleo diet followers, may struggle to bust out their best cardio workout because their livers don’t have a lot of fuel readily available, and it’s likely that they’re not fully recovering in between workouts because they’re not refueling their glycogen stores, she explains. But still, that’s not a serious health threat. “You’ll just hit a wall and your body will signal you to stop,” says Speaker.

Your appetite post-workout may be affected, too. One study found that when runners hit the treadmill for an hour without eating first, they were more hungry than those who chowed down ahead of exercise.

It All Comes Down to Personal Preference

Working out in a fasted state is a big mental game, says Speaker. “If someone believes they’re going to pass out if they haven’t eaten and they really think they have to get something down before they work out, then I’m going to suggest that they eat,” she says. “It’s not that they physically need the food—they psychologically do. And that’s just as valid.”

Originally Posted HERE

HB Sig

Healthy Byte: New Year – Tough Love


NOTE: I don’t personally believe in coddling but I have to  admit that this article perhaps is a bit harsh in some instances. HOWEVER, I can also relate to many of the points so I thought it would be a good share. Read on at your own risk! 😉

If there’s one thing people love doing, it’s making excuses. And if there’s one thing people hate hearing, it’s that they’re making excuses.

That’s why your friends won’t tell you you’re making excuses. They know you don’t want to hear it, and they don’t want you to be mad at them. So instead, they tell you what you want to hear: that you’re doing everything right, nothing is your fault, and success takes only the barest amount of effort.

But I’m not your friend. I’m a fitness coach on the internet, I’m not worried about you getting mad at me, and I’m kind of a jerk. So here are a few blunt truths about fitness that your friend’s will never dare to tell you.

You don’t have a slow metabolism — you’re just eating too much

Contrary to the usual talk about people having fast or slow metabolisms, metabolic rates don’t vary by all that much between individuals. In fact, there’s a pretty narrow range that your metabolic rate tends to fall into — in fact, it almost has to fall into this range. If your metabolism slowed down very much, you would simply be dead, as your body wouldn’t be working hard enough to maintain itself. Conversely, if your metabolism was much faster, you should overheat.

In fact, studies have shown that people’s metabolic rates tend to fall within about 5% of each other when you account for total lean body mass. However, overweight people typically underestimate calorie consumption and overestimate how much exercise they get- by a whopping 50% each. That’s your “slow metabolism” right there.

You don’t have a “natural” body type

When people talk about their “natural” body type, they’re referring to the body type that their genetics tend to push them toward. However, your body type is dictated by a combination of genetics, diet, exercise, and other factors such as sleep and exposure to environmental chemicals that influence hormone balance.

So then, is spaghetti and cereal your natural diet? Is sitting at a desk all day your natural lifestyle? Of course not. And there is no “natural body” type independent of diet, exercise and lifestyle. To the extent that “natural” body types are even a thing, you don’t have your natural body type unless you’re living a hunter-gatherer lifestyle, which you’re never going to do.

Everyone wants you to be like them

Christians want you to be a Christian. Socialists want you to be a socialist. Rap fans want you to like rap music. Cross fitters want you to like CrossFit. Thin people want you to be thin, and fat people want you to be fat.

It’s tempting, and comfortable, to associate with people who are at the same place you are- in their health, their career, their personal lives. But they’ll try to stop you from changing, because they want you to continue to be like them. It’s more challenging, but also more rewarding, to surround yourself with people who are where you want to be- people who will pull you up to their level.

Gymtimidation is real — but there’s a right way and a wrong way to deal with it

If you’ve ever watched a Planet Fitness commercial, you’re familiar with the concept of gymtimidation — the sense of intimidation that people who don’t work out regularly feel about going to the gym. Planet Fitness’s solution to this problem is to totally avoid people who are in better shape than you are and stick with other out of shape people- and I explained the problems with that in the last section.

The thing is, people who are in good shape- or successful in any other way- feel intimidated too. They just respond differently. Instead of running from intimidation, they use it to motivate themselves to try harder, and even reframe the intimidation as inspiration.

The next time you feel intimidated at the gym, you can run away to avoid that feeling. Or, you can work harder in order to look good in front of the other gymgoers (who, for the record, aren’t actually watching you). You can also remind yourself that you’ll tend to become more like the people around you, so that you stop thinking of the gym as intimidating, and start thinking of the presence of fit people as a positive that will help you get into shape yourself.

Successful people don’t want to tell you how hard they work- and that’s probably your fault

If you ask a skinny woman what her diet is, she’ll probably tell you she doesn’t really have a diet- just works out a bit, and eats whatever she wants, but makes some effort to avoid junk food. Ask a well-dressed man how he looks so good, and he’ll tell you he just puts on whatever is in his closet. Ask entrepreneurs how they became so successful, and they’ll say they just got an idea, started a business,and it took off somehow. And they’ll all be lying.

The thing is, it’s not their fault they lie. They lie because when they tell the truth, people get mad at them. Just look at the angry comments on this article about Tom Brady and Giselle Bunchden’s diet. Or this story about an entrepreneur who told people how he priorities his time- and became hated for it. People would rather hear that success comes from luck than from hard work.

The next time you hear a successful person say that they didn’t have to work very hard for their success, don’t believe them. They’re lying- not because they’re jerks, but because other people are jerks and will punish them for being honest. If you want to be in amazing shape- or successful at anything, really- you have to work pretty damned hard.

What got you here won’t get you there

I’m constantly hearing people tell me that they started a new fitness program, were excited to make rapid initial progress, but then became disappointed and lost motivation once their progress slowed down. And I hate to break it to you, but it’s to be expected that your progress will slow down over time.

The reason is that fitness exhibits diminishing returns. The better shape you get into, the slower your progress gets, and the more you have to do to make continued progress. If you’re obese, you can lose weight just by cutting out sugared beverages, and you can probably lose upwards of 20 pounds a month if you get your diet and exercise both dialed in. But if you’re in great shape, you might have to cut out almost all carbs and exercise 5 days a week just to lose the last five pounds of fat.

In other words, you should expect your progress to slow down, unless you continually up your efforts to compensate. The diet and workouts that took you from 40% to 30% body fat won’t get you to 12 percent. It’s up to you to decide whether it’s worth the effort to get ripped, or you just want to settle for “better than average,” but it is relatively easy (physically, if not mentally) to at least not be obese.

Originally Posted HERE

HB Sig

Healthy Byte: Stand vs Sitting @Work

In one of the few studies to carefully count the calories people burn while sitting at a desk, standing, or taking a leisurely stroll, researchers found little difference between being plopped down or upright. Standing for an hour might burn off an extra nine calories or so, about the amount in a single gummy bear. Slow walking, on the other hand, incinerated 2.4 to 2.7-fold more calories than standing or sitting, respectively. If office workers fit in an hour of strolling throughout each day—tallying trips to the bathroom, walks to the printer, or strides on a treadmill desk—they could easily burn through an extra 130 calories. That’s a little more than what previous research suggests could help people keep pounds off, the authors report in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health.

“If you’re looking for weight control or just solely at the energy expenditure, standing isn’t that much more beneficial than sitting,” Seth Creasy, an exercise physiologist at the University of Pittsburgh and lead author of the study, told Ars. Of course, calorie burning isn’t the only reason people might choose a standing desk. Being upright could be beneficial for productivity or posture, Creasy said. However, more research is needed to know if those benefits are real because the studies that have been done so far have come up with mixed or inconclusive results.

For energy use, though, the literature is getting pretty clear. In past studies looking into the differences between standing and sitting, researchers found small changes in calorie burning similar to those Creasy and his colleagues found. With their new study, they tried to nail those calories down for good and look at more than one single activity at a time. No one gets to the office and sits, stands, or walks for eight hours straight, Creasy explained. People switch positions, take breaks, and move around, he said.

To see if there were any effects of those shifts, Creasy and colleagues set up an experiment with activity combinations. With a total of 74 healthy volunteers, the researchers randomly assigned 18 to sit at a desk with a computer for 15 minutes then stand without fidgeting for 15 minutes. Another 18 participants sat and watched television for 15 minutes and then walked. Twenty started with slow walking—at a self-selected speed of around two and half miles per hour—and then sat and watched TV. And the last 18 stood and then sat at a desk with a computer.

During each 30-minute activity combination, the researchers had the participants fitted with face masks, which basically measured their exhaust. This allowed the researchers to precisely calculate how many calories they were burning.

The researchers were curious if the order of activities changed how much energy participants used overall. For instance, perhaps starting with a walk would rev up calorie burning in subsequent sitting. But it turns out the order doesn’t matter. There was a tiny uptick, but nothing statistically or clinically significant, Creasy said. In the other combinations, the order didn’t matter either.

In general, 15 minutes of walking burned an average of 55.9 calories, sitting with a computer burned 19.63 calories, sitting and watching TV burned 18.66 calories, and standing burned 21.92 calories. There was no statistical significance between the sitting activities and standing, the researchers noted. And even if it does result in a few extra calories burned, it’s unclear if that could result in any measurable health benefit.

Raised questions

Like all studies, this one has some limitations. The study participants were healthy and mostly lean, unlike the general population and perhaps the people most interested in using a standing desk to help lose weight. But Creasy said he expects the general findings to hold up in people who are obese. The study also had people stand or sit as still as they could, so it might not capture any significant variations resulting from fidgeting or shifting around in either scenario.

The study also doesn’t address a fundamental question in the sit vs. stand debate: are the negative health effects linked to prolonged sitting caused by the sitting itself or a lack of activity? Like prolonged sitting, a lack of exercise is also linked to obesity, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. And earlier research has found that those who do sit for long periods but are also activedon’t face the same health risks. But other research has suggested that sitting alone can be bad, causing discomfort and poor circulation. Still, standing for long periods of time may also cause problems such as enlarged veins.

On this bigger question, “the jury is still out,” Creasy said. Researchers are looking into whether exercise can override our sedentary lifestyles, plus whether standing desks benefit productivity, comfort, and other health issues.

A few small studies have come out showing that standing desks can boost productivity, but a few others have shown that they don’t. Others are inconclusive. For instance, in a recent study on the productivity of call center workers who were assigned either standing or sitting desks, researchers found that the standers were as much as 53 percent more productive than sitters. But the study lacked baseline data of how productive each group was to start with, so the results are not conclusive. An interesting find, however, was that in surveys, the standing workers did report less back pain and discomfort than their seated counterparts.

As researchers work out which desk setup might be best, Creasy points out that moving is always a good idea. He suggests getting creative with figuring out ways to add intermittent bouts of walking into your daily routine, such as moving the printer farther down the hall or having walking meetings. He points out that benefits can be seen with just casual, slow walking. This isn’t exercise, he emphasizes.

Originally Posted HERE

HB Sig

Healthy Byte: This Year’s Goal – Try Being ‘Basically Healthy’

How To Be a Basically Healthy Person
Here are the laziest-possible ways to shine up your diet and fitness

Even if we have the best of intentions, the goals we set to get healthy (after this last slice of pizza, of course) sometimes fall by the wayside. It can be hard to stay motivated, or even properly informed, since the recommendations for what to eat and how long to exercise can be confusing and conflicting. (Fat, for example, was off the menu for years under official guidance that eating fat makes you fat, and now that advice is getting kicked to the curb.) As a result, truly healthy behaviors can have a hard time cutting through the noise. Despite everything we know about the health benefits of exercise, a recent study found that 43% of employed adults do not exercise often.

Yet getting healthier is still a worthy goal, and many experts in the fields of exercise, health and nutrition have clear ideas about how to get there. Here are some low-stress, bare-minimum ways to become a healthier person, even for those of us who love to eat and hit snooze.

How to eat

Eating healthy shouldn’t be a nutrient numbers game. And no: you don’t have to go vegan or adopt a Paleo diet. Just make sure your plate contains more than two different colors, says Simin Nikbin Meydani, director of the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University. “If it’s not, it’s boring, and you won’t meet your nutrient requirements,” she says. “If it’s green and red and brown, you can.”

After coloring your plate, make sure to consume it—and enjoy it—with someone else. “Sharing a meal with friends and family impacts our health and how we age and fare as we get older,” Meydani says.

Some countries, like Brazil, follow just that advice. Their government recommends eating whole foods, avoiding processed ones and dining with other people.

How to exercise

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that American adults do two hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week, plus some muscle-strengthening on the side.

Many people don’t do any of that. A 2015 study published in the The BMJ argued that older adults, especially, find it hard to meet that government advice. “Getting inactive people to do a little bit of physical activity, even if they don’t meet the recommendations, might provide greater population health gains,” wrote study author Philipe de Souto Barreto, a researcher at University Hospital of Toulouse, in the paper.

Yet new evidence suggests they don’t need to. Barreto points out that a study of more than 250,000 older adults found that getting less than an hour of moderate physical activity each week was linked to a 15% drop in death, which means that people do benefit from even a small amount of exercise. Studies have also shown significant health benefits fromsimple exercises like walking.

Some researchers are seeing how low people can go when it comes to time spent working out. Enter the one-minute workout, where you work out as hard as possible for 60 seconds, with some warm-up and cool-down exercises thrown in, too. Even though the time spent exercising is minimal, it’s meant to be hard, and is shown to improve health and fitness. “There might be time-efficient ways to get fit,” says Martin Gibala, chair of kinesiology at McMaster University in Canada. “The notion of meeting people in the middle is positive—but there’s no free lunch.”

The takeaway

Stressing out over meeting government numbers—whether for nutrient values of the number of exercise minutes—may not be worth the headache. Getting some exercise every week and eating colorful meals with friends can be an enjoyable way to live a healthier life. Doing something, it seems, is what’s important.

Originally Posted HERE

HB Sig