What Is Your Body Mass Index?

Weight loss

Body Mass Index (BMI) is a good way to assess your body weight relative to height. This method is an indirect measure of body composition because it correlates highly with body fat in most people. Having a BMI above 25 can indicate a high risk of developing cardiovascular disease, diabetes, strokes, certain cancers, and osteoarthritis.

Click here to determine your Body Mass Index.

The following BMI categories are from the National Center for Health Statistics:

  • Adults (18 years of age and older) having a value of less than 18.5 are considered underweight.
  • Adult BMI values from 18.5 to 24.9 are healthy.
  • Overweight is defined as a BMI of 25.0 to less than 30.0. Adults in this range are at greater risk of developing heart disease.
  • Obesity is defined as a BMI of 30.0 or greater for adults. People with a BMI in this range are at greater risk of heart disease, strokes, diabetes, and joint problems.
  • Extreme obesity is defined as a BMI of 40 or greater.

Please click on our Body Mass Index calculator to determine your BMI. If your value is greater than 25, you should consult with your physician and discuss a weight loss plan. The time is now to take control of your weight. Delaying an exercise program may only worsen your condition. Always remember to start off slow when just starting out with exercise. Walking is one of the best ways to get moving, increase your cardiovascular conditioning, and burn off excess body fat. Reducing your BMI now, will help to reduce your risk of serious health problems in the future.

Best Exercise Equipment on a Budget

Jeff Angel

You don’t have to have a big, fancy, expensive gym in your home to get a great work-out and see results. Yes, I must admit that having a Hoist V6, a top-of-the- line Octane, and chrome dumbbells that go up to 200 lbs would be awesome. But, let’s be realistic. Most of us can’t afford this type of fitness equipment nor do we have the space for it in our homes or apartments. What if I told you that you can get a great in-home gym for less than $200.00. Most of you wouldn’t believe me. Some of the best exercise equipment you can buy is relatively inexpensive and can be stored away in a closet or under a bed after being used. I emphasis “being used”, because you must get the equipment out and actually utilize it. I’m going to recommended some of the key items you should have in hand in order to get your body in the best shape by summer. You need to get the motivation and desire to change your body now. Not in a week, or in a month. Now is the time!

The LIST:

1. Jump Rope – This is an old school exercise that does not require a lot of space. A good jump rope can cost approximately $15.00 at any sporting goods store.  Jumping rope is a GREAT way to improve cardio conditioning and burn a lot of calories in a short period of time. This is my favorite exercise to do in order to stay lean.

2. BOSU – Great piece of equipment that is the size of a half of a 55 cm Fit-Ball. It is dome-shaped and can be used with both sides up (see our BOSU YouTube video). I always emphasize core strengthening and the BOSU is one of the best items to help you do just that. Exercising on a BOSU will improve balance, endurance, and overall body strength when utilized properly. The BOSU costs approximately $115.00. Slightly expensive, but well worth the investment when you use it 3 times a week.

3. Dumbbells – A set of light-weight hand-held dumbbells adds the resistance you need in order to improve strength and develop muscle definition. I recommend a set of dumbbells that range from 5 to 10 lbs for women and 8 to 15 lbs for men. I am not recommending heavy weights for the exercises I teach. Multi-muscle group exercises consist of light-weight high-repetition movements that are designed to significantly increase one’s heart rate and incorporate several of the 11 components of physical fitness (visit our YouTube channel for examples). A set of light weight dumbbells including 3 different weights will cost approximately $50.00.

4. YOUR BODY – You need to get your body up and moving in order for any of the above equipment to work properly. Find the motivation deep down inside and start moving. The best part of this last piece of equipment is that it is FREE!

Total Cost for your new in-home gym: $180.00

Piecing together an exercise routine with this minimal amount of exercise equipment may seem difficult. However, if you are serious about getting in shape, you must educate yourself. Watch exercise videos, read exercise/fitness books, or hire a personal trainer just for a few sessions to learn a few basic exercise routines. The information is out there. You need to take the time to find it and get the motivation to start your exercise program. Now is the time to get ready for summer and change your body. Get Moving!

Do You Do Functional Fitness Training?

 

Functional fitness training combines exercises that train your muscles to perform everyday activites safely and efficiently. Most people exercise in order to improve their health and quality of life. This is exactly what funtional fitness training does. Training and developing your muscles in this way will help you to perform daily activities such as carrying groceries, shoveling snow, walking up and down stairs, or just running around the backyard with your kids.

According to the Mayo Clinic, functional fitness exercises train your muscles to work together and prepare them for daily tasks by simulating common movements you might do at home, at work, or in sports. As I teach my clients these multi-muscle group movements,  I emphasize the use of core stability and strengthening in each exercise. I encourage clients to perform these exercises on a BOSU, balance discs, or balancing on one leg.

Functional exercises should involve multijoint and multimuscle group exercises. For example, instead of doing just a standing bicep curl moving only the elbow joint, perform a squat on a BOSU with a bicep curl. Or, take a basic lunge. You can make this more challenging by adding a lunge and shoulder press together. Some examples of functional fitness training using multimuscle group exercises can be seen on our YouTube channel and in our Photo Gallery. Performing theses exercises properly and consistantly may help to improve your overall quality of life and reduce injuries as you age.

Older adults and seniors will certainly benefit from functional fitness exercises. These exercise will help to increase overall strength, coordination, and balance which may reduce the risk of falls. Funtional fitness training is a weight-bearing activity and can help to prevent and, in some individuals, reverse osteoporosis.

If you are new to exercise, are elderly, or pregnant, it is best to check with your doctor before performing multimuscle group funtional training. This type of training is a little more advanced and requires focus and concentration and will be sure to get your heart rate up. Always remember, if there are more muscle groups moving at one time then the heart must pump higher amounts of oxygenated blood throughout the body to keep those muscles moving. Therefore, you are not only strengthening your muscles, you are also making cardiovascular improvements as well!

Adding functional fitness training to your workouts will certainly improve your overall health and well-being and will make your daily life stresses a little easier to deal with.

Are You Getting Enough Exercise?

 

The American Heart Association suggests at least 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise or 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise (or a combination of moderate and vigorous physical activity). Thirty minutes a day, five times a week is an easy goal to remember, however you will also experience benefits even if you divide your time into two or three segments of 10 -15 minutes per day.

Physical activity is anything that makes you move your body and burn calories, such as climbing stairs or playing sports. Aerobic exercises benefit your heart, such as walking, jogging, swimming or biking. Strength and stretching exercises are best for overall stamina and flexibility.

The simplest, positive change you can make to effectively improve your heart health is to start walking. It’s enjoyable, free, easy, social and great exercise. A walking program is flexible and boasts high success rates because people can stick with it. It’s easy for walking to become a regular and satisfying part of life.

The following chart represents an estimate of caloric expenditure during specific physical activity. Listed are 4 different weight categories. Caloric expenditure is influenced by intensity, mode of exercise, one’s level of conditioning, metabolism, and body weight. Try to do at least three of these activities during your training week. This might help to keep you from getting bored with your weekly schedule and will help to make you a more well-rounded fitness enthuseist. You might even find a new mode of exercise to enjoy. My top two exercises are jump rope and fast-paced calisthenics. My new favorite that’s been around for years… the rowing machine.

caloric-expenditure

Change Your Workout with Interval Training

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Is your training becoming boring doing the same old routine day after day? Not seeing any changes in your body or your fitness level? Then you are ready to make some changes in your work-out routine. Interval training is one of the best ways to add high intensity into the same old training routine. If it’s good enough for elite athletes worldwide, then it should be good enough for the average person just trying to stay healthy.

What is interval training?
Interval training is simply alternating bursts of moderate to high intense activity with intervals of lighter activity.

For example, walking can be changed into interval training. If you’re in good shape, you can incorporate short bursts of jogging into your regular brisk walks. If you’re less fit, you might alternate leisurely walking with periods of faster walking. If you’re walking outdoors, you could walk faster between mailboxes, trees or other landmarks.

What can interval training do for me?
If you’re a beginner, intermediate, or advanced exerciser, interval training will help you change your regular exercise program and make you more fit. Here are some benefits of interval training:
  • More calories will be burned. The more vigorously you exercise, the more calories you’ll burn — even if you increase intensity for just a few minutes at a time.
  • Your aerobic capacity will improve. As your cardiovascular fitness improves, you’ll be able to exercise longer and with more intensity.
  • You won’t be bored. Turning up your intensity in short intervals can add variety to your exercise routine.
  • No special equipment is needed. You can simply modify your current routine.

Motivation Keeps You Moving

 

Starting a fitness program is a difficult task for people. Staying on track can be even more challenging. Have you ever started a fitness program and then quit? If you answered yes, you’re not alone. Many people start fitness programs but stop when they get bored or results come too slowly. Here are some tips to help you stay motivated.

1. Set goals

Start with simple short term goals and then progress to longer range goals. Be sure to set goals that are realistic and achievable. It’s easy to get frustrated and give up if your goals are too ambitious.

For example, if you haven’t exercised in a while, a short-term goal might be to walk 10 minutes a day three days a week. An intermediate goal might be to walk 30 minutes five days a week. A long-term goal might be to complete a 5K walk.

2. Make your training fun

Participate in sports or activities that you enjoy, then vary your routine from day to day. If you’re not enjoying your workouts, try something different. Join a volleyball or softball league. Take a dance aerobics class. Join a health club or martial arts center. Exercise does not have to be boring. You’re more likely to continue with a fitness program if you’re having fun.

3. Mix physical activity into your daily routine

If it’s hard to find time for exercise, don’t fall back on excuses. Schedule workouts as you would any other important activity. You can also slip in physical activity throughout the day. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Walk up and down sidelines while watching the kids play sports. Pedal a stationary bike or do strength training exercises while you watch TV at night. You must find the time to be active throughout the day.

4. Write it down

If you are looking to lose weight, shrink your waist, or improve your aerobic conditioning, you should write down your daily exercise. Seeing the benefits of regular exercise on paper may help you stay motivated.

You may also find it helps to keep an exercise diary. Record what you did during each exercise session, how long you exercised and how you felt afterward. Recording your efforts can help you work toward your goals and remind you of your progress.

5. Train with a friend or in a group

You’re not in this alone. Invite family, friends, or co-workers to join you when you exercise. Work out with your partner or other loved ones. Play soccer with your kids. Organize a group of neighbors to take fitness classes at a local health club.

6. Reward yourself

After each exercise session, take a few minutes to reflect on the good feelings that exercise gives you. This type of internal reward can help you make a long-term commitment to regular exercise. External rewards can help, too. When you reach a longer range goal, treat yourself to a new pair of walking shoes or new tunes to enjoy while you exercise.

7. Be flexible with training

If you’re too busy to work out or simply don’t feel up to it, take a day or two off. Be gentle with yourself if you need a break. The important thing is to get back on track as soon as you can.

Now that you’ve regained your enthusiasm, get moving! Set your goals, make it fun and reward yourself from time to time. Remember, staying physical activity is for life.

 

Top 10 Super Foods

Micronutrients

On any given day I have clients ask nutritional questions. A recent question was, “What is a super food and should I be eating these?”

My definition of a “super food” is foods that not only promote health/wellness and weight control but tastes good, too. Super foods should provide multiple disease-fighting nutrients, fill you up so you can enjoy plenty of food without excess calories, and are easy to include in everyday meals.

Eaten regularly, these foods will help you satisfy the recommendations of the U.S. government’s 2005 Dietary Guidelines, giving you nutrients that are typically missing from American diets. Most Americans need to eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products.

Please remember that this list of super foods may differ from others and that you should include a wide variety of nutritious foods. Also, it is most important to combine healthy eating with daily exercise in order to promote good health.

  1. Salmon – high in omega-3 fatty acids which promotes heart health, low in calories and high in protein.
  2. Eggs – contain 12 vitamins and minerals, high in protein, versatile, and economical.
  3. Quinoa – a grain that is high in fiber, high in protein, and a good source of iron. Quinoa is also rich in zinc, vitamin E, and selenium.
  4. Legumes – high in insoluble fiber and soluble fiber. Also a good source of protein, magnesium, and potassium.
  5. Nuts – in particular almonds, walnuts, and pistachios. Good source of protein, heart-healthy fats, high fiber, and antioxidants.
  6. Low fat of fat-free yogurt – high in protein, calcium, and potassium.
  7. Kiwi fruit – nutritionally dense food that is high in antioxidants. Kiwis are a good source of potassium, fiber, vitamin A and E, and fiber.
  8. Broccoli – high in vitamin A and C, vitamin K, and good source of fiber.
  9. Berries –  full of antioxidants, phytonutrients, and fiber. Blueberries and cranberries are some of the best. Fresh or frozen, either way, berries are highly nutritionous.
  10. Sweet potatoes – high in vitamin A and C, calcium, and potassium. Also lower in calories than a bake white potato. Natural rich sweetness flavor may help to reduce cravings for high calorie sweets such as cookies and cakes.

 

Physical Activity Improves Quality of Life

The American Heart Association recommends 30-minutes a day of moderate activity, but three 10-minute periods of activity are almost as beneficial to your overall fitness as one 30-minute session. This is achievable! Physical activity may also help encourage you to spend some time outdoors. Sunlight on your skin helps your body produce vitamin D, which brings many added health benefits.

Here are some reasons why physical activity is proven to improve both mental and physical health:

*Physical activity boosts mental wellness.

Regular physical activity can relieve tension, anxiety, depression and anger. You may not only notice a “feel good sensation” immediately following your physical activity, but most people also note an improvement in general well-being over time during the weeks and months as physical activity becomes a part of your routine.

Exercise increases the flow of oxygen which directly affects the brain. Your mental acuity and memory can be improved with physical activity.

*Physical activity improves physical wellness.

Stronger immunity
Physical activity enhances your immune system and decreases the risk of developing diseases such as cancer and heart disease.

Reduced risk factors
Becoming more active can lower your blood pressure by as much as 4 to 9 mm Hg. That’s the same reduction in blood pressure delivered by some antihypertensive medications. Physical activity can also boost your levels of good cholesterol.

*Physical activity prolongs your optimal health.

Without regular physical activity, the body slowly loses its strength, stamina and ability to function well. And for each hour of regular exercise you get, you’ll gain about two hours of additional life expectancy, even if you don’t start until middle age. Moderate exercise, such as brisk walking, for as little as 30 minutes a day has the proven health benefits listed above as well as:

  1. Improves blood circulation, which reduces the risk of heart disease
  2. Keeps weight under control
  3. Helps in the battle to quit smoking
  4. Improves blood cholesterol levels
  5. Prevents and manages high blood pressure
  6. Prevents bone loss
  7. Boosts energy level
  8. Helps manage stress
  9. Releases tension
  10. Promotes enthusiasm and optimism
  11. Counters anxiety and depression
  12. Helps you fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly
  13. Improves self-image
  14. Increases muscle strength, increasing the ability to do other physical   activities
  15. Provides a way to share an activity with family and friends
  16. Reduces coronary heart disease in women by 30-40 percent
  17. Reduces risk of stroke by 20 percent in moderately active people and by 27 percent in highly active ones
  18. Establishes good heart-healthy habits in children and counters the  conditions (obesity, high blood pressure, poor cholesterol levels, poor lifestyle habits, etc.) that lead to heart attack and stroke later in life
  19. Helps delay or prevent chronic illnesses and diseases associated with aging and maintains quality of life and independence longer for seniors

So why not see for yourself? Once you make the decision to be healthy and find creative ways to fit physical activity into your life, we think you’ll agree that the effort to get moving is worth it!

Reduce Your Stress Levels

 

The end of summer is soon to be here and school has started up again. My oldest is 8 and going to a new school this year. My youngest is 4 and is also attending a new school. Max, my oldest, is in 3rd grade now. His little brother, Will, is going to school 5 days a week for full days plus after care hours. My wife works full-time and I own my own business. All this adds up to STRESS (some good and some bad)!

The beginning of the school year always stresses me out. I try not to let it get to me, but sometimes the stress can get the best of me and just wear me down. I’m sure many of you have the same issues going on right now, and many of you probably have more stress than I have. I have learned over the years some different ways of coping with stress that have helped me to be a little more relaxed and ready to deal with life’s ever changing moments. Now remember, I’m just a personal trainer with a college education. I have never claimed to be a doctor nor will I ever. The following recommendations are techniques that work for me and just might work for you.

Take care of yourself. Your body will not function properly without proper nurishment, the right amount of sleep, and taking time to relax. Make sure you are eating healthy foods, getting 8 hours of sleep, and finding small moments in the day to reflect on good times in your life.

Boost your energy levels with daily exercise. Aerobic exercise and strength training are excellent ways to increase your energy levels and reduce stress in your life. Scientific studies have shown this to be true. Be sure to vary your exercise modes from day to day. This will help to keep you from being bored and will be sure to help you relax and have good nights sleep.

Sleep is most important in reducing stress. Studies have shown that getting 7 to 8 hours of good sleep is essential to decreasing the harmful effects of stress. You’ll find yourself more energetic and willing to take on new challenges.

Resolve anxious moments. When under stressful events, take the time to use relaxation techniques. Try to use imagery, deep breathing, postive thinking, or just simply walking for a few minutes.

Stess can be extremely harmful to our bodies and minds. I hope these four techniques can help to reduce some of the stress in your life. They work for me, especially the exercise and healthy eating. If you do feel your stress levels are high and these techniques do not work for you, please contact your doctor and get professional help.

5 Best Supplements to Improve Your Health

As a professional personal trainer who has been in the health/fitness world for over 15 years, I’ve seen magical supplements come and go. Supplement producers and distributors claim that their product is the best and that everyone in the world needs it in order to live longer, be stronger, improve one’s health, and improve your sex life. I learned in my college nurtrition courses that if you consume a well-balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegtableslean protein, and complex carbohydrates that you do not need to supplement your diet with multi-vitamins, protein powders, or energy drinks. However, over these past 15 years, I quickly found out that very few people have a perfect diet that provides adequate amounts of all vitamins and minerals required for optimal health. Now, I am not a supplement salesman, however I do encourage my clients to consume a few supplements that may help to improve their health when combined with proper eating habits, a balanced diet, and plenty of exercise.

The following 5 supplements are recommended for men and women by health professsionals around the world. I do not give any brand names because, again, I am not a supplement salesman. Also, you will find research out there that does not support the consumption of these supplements due to lack of evidence in improving health. However, you will find research that does support the consumption of these supplements with plenty of evidence that shows improvements in health. If you are interested in taking any supplements, always look to your doctor for guidance. A doctor may be able to offer more information and recommend the best brands in this multi-billion dollar industry. Remember, these are the top 5 for men and women. There certainly are other important specific supplements such as calcium, iron, and boron. However, these are more gender specific supplements. I will discuss the importance of these in future blogs.

For men and women:

• Multivitamin – A daily multivitamin taken with a meal may benefit most peoople. Multivitamins vary when it comes to nutrient contents. So choose one that offers the nutrients you need most. For example, if you have a family  history of eye disease, you may want to choose a multivitamin with lutein or if  prostate cancer is a concern, choose a multivitamin with boron.

• Fish Oil – Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil may help to fight against heart disease. Omega-3s are linked to higher levels of HDL cholesterol (that’s the good one), improved metabolism, and better nutrient absorption. Be sure to choose high-quality supplements with high levels of DHA and EPA.

• Vitamin D3 – Sufficient levels of  vitamin D are essential for maintaining good health. Low vitamin D has been  linked to several types of cancer, weight gain, depression, poor nutrient absorption, and low bone density. Vitamin D3 is the most bioavailable form (most readily available for absorption in the body). The sun’s rays, when absorbed by the skin, convert to D3 in the body; however most Americans do not get enough  sun year round.

• Coenzyme Q10 – CoQ10 is known as an anti-inflammatory. Inflammation is often related to weight gain, arthritis, headaches, and heart disease. Daily doses of 100 mcg of CoQ10 have been shown to improve many of these conditions. To be better digested, be sure to choose a soft gel over the powder capsule.

• Folic Acid (Folate) – Most people are familiar with the  importance of folate for women during pregnancy to decrease the risk of children born with disorders of the brain and spinal cord. However, folate has a number of health benefits for men and women of all ages. Folate is an essential B-vitamin that has been proven to lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Folic acid may also improve arterial blood flow which helps to lower the risk of hypertension and heart disease.