Friday, June 11, 2010

Body Composition Testing

An attendee of one of the recent talks I gave asked me about the accuracy of different ways to measure body fat. In case you'd like an objective measure of your progress, or a baseline so you know where you want to go, body fat measurement is far superior to weighing yourself on a scale or calculating your BMI. Here's the answer I gave her!

The most accurate ways of testing your body composition:

1. Hydrostatic Body Composition testing involves you exhaling all of the air in your lungs, and then being completely submerged underwater. It's a fairly involved process, but remains the gold standard of the industry.

  • Mobile Hydrostatic Body Composition testing that comes to our area occasionally:
  • Sports Basement has been known to host hydrostatic body fat testing. Contact them for possible schedule: Sports Basement, 1177 Kern Ave., Sunnyvale (408) 732-0300

2. DEXA (dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry) scans use x-ray technology to scan the body and identify fat, lean tissue and bone tissue, but because the scans expose you to radiation, I wouldn't recommend them unless you're getting a full body scan for other reasons.

3. Bod Pods work like hydrostatic weighing, but by displacing air instead of water.
They're generally hard to find, since they are usually found at universities or clinical settings, but you can try to find one near you here:

4. Calipers are one of the most common reliable ways to measure body fat. Your skinfold thickness is measured in several standardized spots, and plugged into a formula to calculate your bodyfat percentage. Lange Calipers are the best on the market, and the ones I use. The American Council on Exercise lists the margin of error at 3.5%, but reliability is great if you have the same person re-measure. Besides, you don't just want to know your body fat percentage, right? You want to know that it's going down as you're exercising and eating well!

5. Bioelectrical impedance measures how long it takes an electrical current to travel through your body. They used to use 4 electrodes placed on your fingers and toes, but are now built into many consumer scales and just read the current up one leg and down the other. Since bioelectrical impedance is so variable depending on the amount of water you have in your body at the time of measurement, it's not very accurate at all.

In order to increase the odds of you learning exactly what your exercise program is doing to change your body, I offer circumference measurements as well as using calipers. It's fun to see exactly WHERE your body fat is coming off, AND where your muscle is being added!

Contact me if you'd like to have your body fat measured!

Committed to your health,

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Nutrition for Runners QUIZ

1. Which statement is true regarding how much water you should drink each day?

A. Drink 8 -8 oz. glasses of water a day.
B. Drink 50% of your weight in ounces of water. (Say you weigh around 150, you want to drink about 75 ounces of water a day.)
C. Drink when you’re thirsty.
D. Drink to keep your urine clear.
E. Drink enough that you have to urinate every 1-3 hours.

2. Which statement is true about how much water you should drink during exercise?

A. Drink two cups of fluid for every pound of body weight you lose during exercise.
B. Drink one-half to one cup every 15 to 20 minutes during exercise.
C. Drink when you’re thirsty.
D. Drink water equal to the amount you’re sweating.

3. What should you eat before exercising?

A. Healthy fats
B. Protein
C. Complex Carbohydrates
D. Simple Carbohydrates

4. How long should you wait after eating to exercise?

A. 0 minutes
B. 30 minutes
C. 60 minutes
D. 90 minutes

5. How long should you wait to eat after your run?

A. Eat right away
B. Eat within 30 minutes
C. Eat 30-60 minutes later
D. Wait at least 60 minutes to eat.

6. What length of a run should you start drinking water during the run?

A. 20 minutes
B. 30 minutes
C. 45 minutes
D. 60 minutes

7. What length of a run should you start consuming calories?

A. 30 minutes
B. 45 minutes
C. 60 minutes
D. 90 minutes

Committed to your health,

P.S. Want to know the answers? You'll have to email me to get them!

Running Shoe Clinic

Our Title Nine/HealthFIT Running Group had the pleasure of listening to Jim Gothers, owner of The Runner’s High, give a talk on running shoes. Here’s what you missed!

The proper equipment for running is absolutely essential to maximize your comfort, prevent injuries and improve performance.

The first thing to pay attention to is your feet. Pronation is the natural inward rotation of your foot as you walk. “Pronation is not a bad thing; it helps the body absorb impact, but not supporting overpronanation can cause foot pain or knee pain.” Jim says. “Besides providing protection from the impact forces of running, the key thing a running shoe addresses is support for pronation.”

To measure how much your foot elongates or pronates,
you can use a Brannock Device at a shoe store,Brannock

or a piece of paper at home.measure_foot(Instructions here.)

First, measure each foot while sitting down. Then, measure each foot while bearing all your weight on it.

If your foot size changes less than .5 of a Brannock size or .25 of an inch, you have a very stable foot and don’t need much added stability in a running shoe – your goal should be cushioning.

If your foot changes between .5 and 1.5 sizes (.25 inch and .75 inches), you want to look for a shoe that give you stability, or even motion control.

The experts of The Runner’s High also use a final visual analysis to make sure your shoes help prevent excessive inward rotation, if needed.

You can tell how much motion control a shoe has by twisting it in the direction your foot will normally pronate. You can also tell by whether the color on the sole of the shoe changes: a solid color will mean the emphasis is on cushioning, while color changes indicate material changes and added reinforcement to stabilize your foot.

If you look at the outsole of a shoe, you can tell how much stability it will give you. A boxy shoe with very little cutout where the arch is will give you more stability, whereas a shoe sole that’s narrower with more curves will give you less stability.

You can also peak underneath the insole of a shoe to see if it’s slip-lasted, combination-lasted or straight-lasted. Slip-lasting will show all the stitches, combination-lasting will show the stitches in the front of the foot and have a board inserted in the heel area, and straight-lasted will have a board the full length. More board equals more stability.

Running shoes should always feel comfortable as soon as you put them on. Yes, they’ll break-in and get softer, but any place that rubs immediately is a blister asking to happen.

Also available at The Runner's High are aftermarket insoles by Superfeet, Powerstep, Spenco, etc. “These inserts can help provide more support to any shoe and can control movement within the shoe.” Jim points out. “They give the foot a more stable platform and foundation.”

The next thing to pay attention to is your socks. You definitely don’t want to wear cotton socks for running. They’ll retain moisture around your foot and lose their shape. A synthetic sock that wicks the sweat away form your foot is the way to go. I’ve used the WrightSock with their double layer anti-blister system for decades and love them. Jim introduced us to Balega socks. They fit like a glove and have soft threads that provide blister protection and amazing comfort. I may be switching over!

Running Bras
Your bras are the next part of your running apparel you should pay attention to. Keep in mind your running bras have a shelf life of about 52 washings before they stretch and lose their shape and support, so you should be thinking about new bras about every other new shoe purchase. Title Nine has an amazing selection, and their staff can answer all your bra questions!

For more expert help with your running shoe needs, see Jim Gothers or one of his knowledgeable staff members at The Runner’s High. I can’t say enough about their expertise and exceptional customer service!

Committed to your health,

The Runner’s High/Fleet Feet
859 Santa Cruz Ave.
Menlo Park, CA 94025
(650) 325 – 9432

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Snacks, Snacks, Snacks

One of the most effective ways to lose weight is to eat smaller portions, more frequently.

You should be eating 5-7 times a day, so snack, snack, snack.

Not sure what to snack on?

Here are some of the things you can keep in you cupboard, your office, your car, your backpack, your briefcase, you diaper bag, your purse, etc. Keep healthy snacks available to you everywhere, all the time, so you won't need to get to the point of starving and needing to overeat, nor having to make an unhealthy choice when that's the only option around.

• ANY fresh fruit. Make a fruit bowl the centerpiece of the snack room!
• ANY fresh vegetable (can have them with lowfat salad dressing, hummus, salsa or peanut butter or other nut butters as a dip) Easy ones are baby carrots or canned 3-bean salads.
• Edamame
• Olives
• Dried fruits (not fried and with no salt or sugar added), fruit leathers, fruit twists and fruit snacks that are truly JUST fruit
• Unsweetened applesauce or fruit cups (in their own juice)
• Frozen fruit (snack on it frozen on a hot day!) or add to protein shakes
• Low sugar yogurts, lowfat cottage cheese, lowfat cheese sticks
• Whole grains: pita pockets, whole wheat English muffins or breads, whole wheat tortillas, whole grain crackers (like Stoned Ground Wheat, Rye Crisps or Triscuits)
• Whole grain cereals that have more fiber than sugar in them (Cheerios, Multi-bran Chex, Wheat Chex, Puffed Kashi, Kashi Go Lean, Fiber One, Whole Grain Total, All Bran, 100% Bran, Post Bran Flakes, Quaker Crunchy Oat Bran, Corn flakes, Shredded Wheat, etc.)
• Oatmeal
• Lowfat granolas
• Rice cakes made with brown rice
• Baked (not fried) tortilla chips, or whole grain pretzels
• Lowfat microwave popcorn
• Granola bars that are whole grain and low in sugar (like some Barbaras, Health Valley and Nature Valley brands).
• Energy bars with have at least 5 g of protein, 3 g of fiber and less than 3 g saturated fat. (Cliff bars, Luna Bars, Kashi Bars, Powerbars, etc)
• Nuts (limit macadamias) and seeds (watch quantities)
• Trail mixes without high sugar or fried fruit ingredients
• Hard Boiled Eggs
• Vegetable soups, chicken noodle soup, gazpacho, minestrone soup.

• Water
• Seltzer, sparkling water, club soda
(You can mix either of the above with a squeeze from a citrus fruit or splash of 100% fruit juice to improve the taste)
• Low sodium vegetable drinks
• 100% fruit juice drinks (watch quantities)
• Lowfat milk, soy milk or rice milk
• Unsweetened ice tea
• Hot green tea

Do remember portion size counts. ;-)

Committed to your health,

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

How To Double Your Weight Loss

One of the largest and longest running weight loss studies shows that keeping a food diary can more than double your weight loss.

"The more food records people kept, the more weight they lost," said lead author and researcher Jack Hollis Ph.D. "Those who kept daily food records lost twice as much weight as those who kept no records. It seems that the simple act of writing down what you eat encourages people to consume fewer calories." American Journal of Preventive Medicine, August 2008.

My new favorite way to record food is

You can enter your foods via internet or iPhone. With a food database that lists over 88,000 foods, it ensures you rarely need to enter food labels, and takes less time than any other calorie counting method. It also has a community, so you can connect to the people you want to (like me), to help support your success!

If you want to try it out, I will give a free month to the first 2 people who email me their request!

Committed to your health,

Monday, June 15, 2009

Why You Shouldn’t Drink Diet Sodas

If these articles don’t change your mind, I don’t know what will…

  • It may change your brain chemistry and metabolic limit and make you more prone to overeat and gain weight! Link to article.
  • The sweet taste elicits an insulin spike, which blocks your body’s ability to burn fat. Link to article.
  • The artificial sweeteners disrupt satiety, the feeling of being full. Link to article.
  • When you’re given sweetness without the caloric energy, you end up craving calories more than ever. Link to article.
  • Diet sodas erode your tooth enamel, and enamel erosion can leave you at greater risk for cavities and decay. Link to article.
Need I say more! Yes, more research needs to be done, but why would you risk all of the above side effects?

Stop drinking those diet sodas NOW!

What should you drink? Yes, water. But there’s no need to keep it boring. Add a lemon, lime or orange, or a splash of 100% real fruit juice to keep it palatable. Also, just give it a try for a couple of weeks. Your taste buds do change to the point you’ll actually crave it.

Committed to your health,

Friday, April 24, 2009

Love Cheese? Here's How To Eat it More Healthfully...

Cheese is a popular and dangerous food to love. Yes, it has protein and calcium in it, but it also has loads of calories and saturated fat.

Here are my 4 favorite ways to keep cheese in your diet, while keeping your food in healthy balance.
  1. Pick lower fat cheeses. Some of the higher fat cheeses are creamed cheese (10g), cheddar (9.5g), gruyere (9g), fontina (9g) and American (9g). Some of the lower fat cheese are cottage cheese (0-4.5), neufchatel (4g), mozzerella (4.5-6g), goat (6g) and feta (6g). You can compare more cheeses here.
  2. Seek out brands of lowfat and nonfat cheese. A personal favorite brand of mine is Alpine Lace. 3 oz. of normal swiss cheese has 108 calories and 7.88 grams of fat (5 g saturated), while Alpine Lace Reduced Fat Swiss Cheese has 90 calories and 6 grams of fat (3.5 g saturated).
  3. Shred or grate your cheese. A much smaller amount of cheese can go a long way when you shred it or grate it, and spinkle it over your food. Like cheese and crackers? Try spinkling a little over a cracker and lighly melting it in the microwave. Like cheese in your sandwhich? Sprinkle some on top of your veggies and lowfat poultry in a whole grain pita pocket to hold it in. Like cheese sauces? Add grated cheese to nonfat milk, a little whole wheat flour to thicken it, and whtever spices you'd like to add. Here's a simple recipe.
  4. Pick your favorite cheese you can't live without, and limit your cheese comsumption to that. For me it's brie. Any other cheese I could take or leave, so I almost always leave it. Then, the rare occasion I have brie offerred to me, I go for it!
Keep in mind 1 ounce of hard cheese is only the size of 2 dominoes or 2 pairs of dice! Serving size is what counts the most!

Email me your cheese challenge, and I'll give you more suggestions if my tips above don't apply to you!

Committed to your health,

Preserve Antioxidants - Microwave Your Veggies!

If you're going to cook your veggies, it's healthier to microwave or griddle them.

Vegetables preserve the highest levels of antioxidants if you microwave or griddle them, as opposed to boiling, pressure-cooking, baking or frying.

The Institute of Food Technology released results of a study comparing six cooking methods with 20 vegetables.

They also found:
  • The highest antioxidant loss was observed in cauliflower after boiling and microwaving, peas after boiling, and zucchini after boiling and frying.
  • Artichokes preserved high antioxidant levels - even with boiling.
  • Carrots, celery and green beans have increased antioxidant levels with cooking (except boiling)!
For the most part, don't lose your antioxidants in boiling water!

Committed to your health,

Sunday, April 19, 2009

WARNING: Your Fitness Ball May Burst On You!

3 Million Fitness Balls Recalled by EB Brands Due to Fall Hazard

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with EB Brands announced a voluntary recall of 3 million fitness balls with the following brands: Bally Total Fitness, Everlast, Valeo and Body Fit Fitness Balls.

An overinflated fitness ball can unexpectedly burst while in use, causing the user to fall to the floor. EB Brands has received 47 reports of fitness balls unexpectedly bursting, including reports of a fracture, and multiple bruises.

EB Brands has issued a warning and new inflation rules, but if you want a fitness or stability ball that will NOT burst, purchase a Pezzi GymnastikBall!

Committed to your health,