Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Embrace Your Range-Over 40 Female Fitness & Nutrition

I attended the 2011 American College of Sports Medicine Health & Fitness Summit this spring in Anaheim.  I was fortunate to hear Dr. Liz Applegate, Director of Sports Nutrition at UC Davis present again on nutrition. She is one of the top sport nutritionist in the country. She had some great updates specifically for women 40+ that I'd like to pass along. She will likely be sharing some more formalized reports on her study with this age group, but this is a nice preview for now. I have followed her work for years. She is an excellent reference--heck of an athlete too! The following is based on a pilot group she worked with in Davis, CA plus decades of experience working with all categories of women.

General Observations & Recommendations: Women are very social and respond better to weight loss when they have a social support structure whether it be routine personal group meetings, blogs, e-mails, or other modes of contact and support. In Western culture, women are dissatistified with body shape as they age. Her position is for the 40+ woman to "embrace her range" meaning that there is not "one" ideal body weight for every woman of a specific height and that "health" should be the focus rather than weight alone. There are natural and genetic shifts with fat distribution as a woman ages--rather than fight--embrace and work to age healthfully. 

Controlling Abdominal Fat: These are researched-based recommendations for controlling fat specifically in the abdominal areas of women over forty.

Exercise & Abdominal Fat: Fat cells have been shown to shrink with about 60 minutes of regular exercise per day. An important exercise message repeated throughout the conference was the benefit of consistency over time when it comes to not only weight management, but also health in general. There are certain types of exercise that have more fat burning effects than others, but I will be getting more into those with future posts as Dr. Applegate's presentation focused more on the nutritional management of abdominal fat. More and more research is pointing towards the benefits of strength training for weight management and optimizing metabolism. Ideally if a woman wants to control abdominal fat after forty efficiently with exercise as one option, she needs to be getting 2-3x strength sessions per week (higher rep and lighter weight fine for beginners), higher heart rate training sessions, and doing about 60-90 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise per day. *There are some interval protocols that can cut down the time to under 60 minutes total workout time, so look for future posts on these updates.

Eating Plan for Controlling Abdominal Fat: In addition to the main four points below, caution was given about alcohol consumption in this age group which can exceed 2-3 servings per day. Alcohol creates specific abdominal fat gain issues as it promotes fat production especially around the waist...just something you should be aware of regarding alcohol.
  1. Protein @ Every Meal: (70-90 gm/day) To optimize weight loss, 20-25% of your calories per day should be from protein. Think about 25% of your plate at every meal--or 15 minutes of a clock.
  2. Eat Whole Grains ALWAYS! At least 3 servings per day. Whole grains are more than just whole wheat! There are many very healthy alternative grains like quinoa, freekeh, amaranth, black rice, and more.
  3. Eat 3 Cups Veggies & 3 Pieces of Fruit DAILY: Fruit consumption (normal not excessive) has been shown to decrease weight gain over time. Beans were really underscored as a very healthy fruit that women should be eating to reduce abdominal fat. Get at least 3 different colors per day of fruit and veggies.
  4. Daily Dairy + Probiotics: Yogurt has been shown to block some calorie absorption. There are some healthier yogurt options like Greek and Kefir. 1 out of 2 women will suffer from osteo/bone problems, and women can lose 2-6" of height over 30 years!
So these were the basic recommendations for women 40+ at this specific presentation. Get some social support for your weight management and exercise. Be careful of excessive alcohol because it directly contributes to belly fat. Pump up your exercise--be regular over time. Be sure to strength train. Get your heart rates up too! Get enough protein, whole grains, fruits/veggies and take care of bone health with dairy and probiotics...and don't forget to "Embrace Your Range" too!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Kids & Heat Tolerance

Each year, I put out some information on kids and heat tolerance, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke.  Below is a great condensed post by the American Academy of Pediatrics.  If you have kids exercising in the heat, you should read it.  I have also attached some links of my own on Hydration Safety for Kids and my podcast on Heat Illness Prevention & Hydration for athletic performance or high-intensity work situations.

Enjoy the spring and summer.  Be safe.  Coach RJ

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Bag It Film Documentary-Do Something Reel

I got an interesting message the other day from Whole Foods about the "Do Something Reel" Film Festival happening across the country.  They are showing six films in one month in seventy cities.  The first one on the list for SoCal was this weekend--the "Bag It: Is Your Life Too Plastic?" movie about the horrendous issues we are having on this planet with disposable plastic bags.  It was time to ROLE/ROLL, so I snagged the family, and we headed for Encino this morning.  I've been using less and less plastic bags for years--and rarely use any of them now.  We have been recycling more and more the last five years too.  Our twins are seven and plenty old enough to learn about ecology issues like plastic bags.

I quickly purchased tickets this morning once we decided to attend for sure.  I was worried about getting a seat since Encino is a fairly progressive part of Los Angeles.  We arrived just seven minutes before show time!  We met a friendly management rep from Whole Foods inside the door who gave us a reusable shopping bag and pointed us to the correct theatre door.  We rushed inside--to an EMPTY theatre!  Amazing since there are about TEN MILLION people in Los Angeles County. According to the Bag It website, "In the United States alone, an estimated 12 million barrels of oil is used annually to make the plastic bags that Americans consume. The United States International Trade Commission reported that 102 billion plastic bags were used in the U.S. in 2009." Other sources I found informed me that the bags cost much more to recycle than they can ever be resold for; therefore, the real root cause solution is to STOP USING PLASTIC BAGS. Yet on Sunday, April 3rd, with ten million in LA County, only four people were at the Bag It documentary in Encino. Hopefully there were many more at the other showing site in Santa Monica. Welcome to LA where some of the women probably have more plastic in them than some of the scavenger fish in the oceans!!!

We we learned? We CAN and WILL make a difference. We can and will make changes at home--today--not tomorrow. We can and will do better. There are too many chemicals in our world today--in the air, food, clothes, cars, and just about everywhere we turn in modern society. We have used our fair share too. We will always use plastics now--welcome to modern civilization. The movie was not trying to tell people never to use plastics--but the movie did make us all realize that the irresponsible use of "throw away" singe use plastic bags and single use containers is reckless for the environment. Why the hell do I need a plastic bag for an item that I can carry in my hand and home just so I can throw the bag into the trash perfectly clean and basically unused? It's stupid--and irresponsible to our environment. Shame on myself for being duped so many years! Enough!

Another MAJOR point that was brought to light--if we don't fix this mess, nature will. Nature always wins. We either make it right, or we will simply choke ourselves out over time, then nature will take over the clean up for another few million years without humans around to screw it up more. It reminds me of the Wall-e movie...one of the most "serious" social statement films I've ever seen yet thought by most to be a cute animation by most. Ha! 

Get REEL...Do Something Reel...see Bag It or one of the other five films showing across the country.

Make a change--one bag at a time, one body at a time, one breath at a time, and more importantly, ONE CHILD at a time. I hope you see the movie. It will change my life...and already has.