Would You Like To Burn Up To 15% More Calories After Exercise?

5 Reasons to Drink Coffee Before You Workout

Half of Americans start their day with coffee, and according torecent study, working out after downing a cup of java may offer a weight loss advantage. The Spanish study, published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, found that trained athletes who took in caffeine pre-exercise burned about 15 percent more calories for three hours post-exercise, compared to those who ingested a placebo. The dose that triggered the effect was 4.5 mg of caffeine per kilogram of body weight. For 150-pound woman (68 kg), that’s roughly 300 mg of caffeine, the amount in about 12 ounces of brewed coffee, a quantity you may already be sipping each morning.

If you’ve always thought of coffee as a vice—one you’re simply not willing to give up—you’ll be happy to know that it’s actually a secret superfood. And if you exercise, caffeine can offer even more functional benefits for your workouts. Here are five more reasons to enjoy it as part of an active lifestyle, along with five “rules” for getting your fix healthfully.

1. Improved circulation
Recent Japanese research studied the effects of coffee on circulation in people who were not regular coffee drinkers. Each participant drank a 5-ounce cup of either regular or decaffeinated coffee. Afterward, scientists gauged finger blood flow, a measure of how well the body’s smaller blood vessels work. Those who downed “regular” (caffeinated) coffee experienced a 30 percent increase in blood flow over a 75-minute period, compared to those who drank the “unleaded” (decaf) version. Better circulation, better workout—your muscles need oxygen!

2, Less pain
Scientists at the University of Illinois found that consuming the caffeine equivalent of two to three cups of coffee one hour before a 30-minute bout of high-intensity exercise reduced perceived muscle pain. The conclusion: caffeine may help you push just a little bit harder during strength-training workouts, resulting in better improvements in muscle strength and/or endurance.

3. Better memory
A study published this year from Johns Hopkins University found that caffeine enhances memory up to 24 hours after it’s consumed. Researchers gave people who did not regularly consume caffeine either a placebo, or 200 mg of caffeine five minutes after studying a series of images. The next day, both groups were asked to remember the images, and the caffeinated group scored significantly better. This brain boost may be a real boon during workouts, especially when they entail needing to recall specific exercises or routines.

4. Muscle preservation
In an animal study, sports scientists at Coventry University found that caffeine helped offset the loss of muscle strength that occurs with aging. The protective effects were seen in both the diaphragm, the primary muscle used for breathing, as well as skeletal muscle. The results indicate that in moderation, caffeine may help preserve overall fitness and reduce the risk of age-related injuries.

5. More muscle fuel
A recent study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology found that a little caffeine post-exercise may also be beneficial, particularly for endurance athletes who perform day after day. The research found that compared to consuming carbohydrates alone, a caffeine/carb combo resulted in a 66 percent increase in muscle glycogen four hours after intense, glycogen-depleting exercise. Glycogen, the form of carbohydrate that gets stockpiled in muscle, serves as a vital energy “piggy bank” during exercise, to power strength moves, and fuel endurance. Packing a greater reserve means that the very next time you work out, you’ve upped your ability to exercise harder and/or longer.

But this news doesn’t mean you should down as much coffee as possible—your good intentions may backfire. In my work with athletes, I recommend five basic rules to best reap caffeine’s rewards:

• Don’t overdo it. The maximum amount of caffeine recommended for enhancing performance with minimal side effects is up to 6 mg per kg body weight, which is about 400 mg per day (or about 16 ounces of coffee) for a 150-pound woman.

• Incorporate it in healthy ways: doctor up coffee with almond milk and cinnamon instead of cream and sugar, or whip coffee or tea into a fruit smoothie, along with other nutrient-rich ingredients like almond butter and oats or quinoa.

• Be consistent with your intake. Research shows that when your caffeine intake is steady, your body adjusts, which counters dehydration, even though caffeine is a natural diuretic. In other words, don’t reach for two cups one day and four the next.

• Keep drinking good old H2O your main beverage of choice.

• Nix caffeine at least six hours before bed to prevent sleep interference, and listen to your body. If you’re relying on caffeine as an energy booster because you’re tired, get to the root of what’s causing fatigue. Perhaps it’s too little sleep, over exercising, or an inadequate diet. If something’s off kilter, you won’t see progress, and you’ll likely get weaker rather than stronger. Striving for balance is always key!

References: Health.com Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD


Are You Sure You Are Hungry?

How to Deal with Hunger by Using a Hunger Scale

A common complaint among people who are watching their weight is, “I always feel hungry!” Yet many people think they are hungry when actually, they may be feeling bored, sad, stressed, excited or scared.  It’s normal to occasionally eat when we aren’t really hungry.

But some people have a harder time controlling their eating, especially when they eat to try and feel better after getting upset or being nervous.  People who eat in response to feelings or emotions may have a hard time stopping, and end up overeating.  Some people eat in response to physical cues, such as seeing an ad on television for a juicy fast-food burger or driving past a bakery and smelling freshly baked bread.

And if you have diabetes, you may have been told to eat your meals at about the same time every day, whether you want to or not.  It’s not surprising, then, that a lot of people don’t even know what physical hunger feels like because they’re used to eating for other reasons.

To help you gain better control of your eating and to lessen the chances of what is called “mindless” eating, try using the Hunger Scale.  Here’s how it works:

  • On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being “ravenous” and 10 being “stuffed”, rank your hunger right before you start to eat.
  • Halfway through your meal, rank your hunger again using the same scale of 1 to 10. If you’re at a “5”, “6” or “7” put your fork down and stop eating.
  • If you decide to keep eating, finish your meal and rank your hunger.  Be honest with yourself, too. If you feel like you’ve just eaten Thanksgiving dinner but have a huge bowl of ice cream in front of you, chances are you’re eating to help deal with some kind of emotion.

The Hunger Scale

0 3 5 7 10
Ravenous Hungry Comfortable Full Stuffed


Get in the habit of using the hunger scale on a regular basis. You can learn a lot about yourself with this handy little tool!

Dealing with Emotional Eating

Here are few ways to help you manage emotional eating:

  • Make a list of activities that you enjoy doing (other than eating!), such as walking, reading, gardening, etc. Keep this list handy and refer to it when you get the urge to eat.
  • Call up a friend or family member who can take your mind off of eating.
  • Try waiting out the urge. Give yourself 10 minutes. Then, after 10 minutes, if you really want to eat, have a small portion.
  • Drink a glass of water or cup of tea. Hunger can be mistaken for thirst.
  • Keep healthy snacks around, such as baby carrots, low fat crackers or cut up fruit, rather than high-fat, high-calorie treats.
  • Don’t deprive yourself. It’s not uncommon for people trying to lose weight to completely cut out all favorite foods, but then end up bingeing on them later. Allow yourself to have a treat on occasion.
  • If you think your eating is due to depression, anxiety or stress, seek out help from a mental health professional.

Reference: 2014 by Joslin Diabetes Center.

Are You Sure You Are Hungry

Are You Summer Ready? Is Your Diet Making You Fat?

Summer is only a few months away… Are you ready? Or do you need to lose a few pounds? Is dieting your best option? Maybe not!

Restricting your food intake may seem like a quick way to shed pounds, but experts say diets make you fat in the long run!

Fad Diet plans that promise to FLUSH YOUR FAT AWAY, LOSE 15 POUNDS IN 10 DAYS, JUICE CLEANSES, BLOOOD TYPE DIETS, HIGH PROTIEN DIETS, LOW CARB DIETS (you get the idea) are not the answers to weight loss. If you have been considering dieting because you think you ought to, give some thought to this fact: the vast majority of dieters eventually go back to their pre-diet weight or become heavier than they were before. Most people who start dieting will continue to do so, on and off, for the rest of their lives. If a range of foods is designated as forbidden, dieters feel guilty if they transgress, which makes them feel worse about themselves.

Dieting makes food an enemy, not a source of sustenance and well-being. So-called yo-yo dieting losing weight, putting it back on, losing it again and so on—is bad for your health. If you suddenly reduce your food intake, you body, because it is designed for survival, will slow down your metabolic rate in order to store energy more efficiently. This is why people on a diet crave snacks like chocolate, which gives a quick boost to their energy levels, and why weight loss slows down dramatically after the first couple of weeks.

Weight loss in the early weeks of crash dieting is not, as many people believe, made up mostly of unwanted fat. First you lose those carbohydrates stored in the muscles and liver as glycogen. This is why you feel tired on such a diet and have less energy for everyday activities including exercise because you are losing muscle power. You will also lose a lot of water, which may make you feel less bloated and appear thinner, when in fact you are still carrying the same amount of fat on your body.

How to do it without dieting? BALANCE IS THE KEY. To reach and maintain a reasonable body weight, you need a balanced diet full of nutrients to prevent disease and to ensure optimal energy and psychological well -being. Also, adding 45 minutes of exercise (including weight training) 4-5 days per week will increase your lean muscle mass, raising your metabolism helping you to lose weight.


References: Best Health’s Women’s Health Encyclopedia, Reader’s Digest, 2011


Offering Golf Fitness, To Help Improve Your Game

As a National Academy of Sports Medicine, Golf Fitness Specialist, I Integrate golf specific training with a comprehensive approach to improve all components necessary for any golfer to perform at the highest level, and prevent injury.  This is done through a structured, cohesive, golf-fitness program that includes multiple forms of flexibility, balance, plyometric, resistance, and power exercises.

In order for a golf swing to be as proficient as possible, the entire human movement system (i.e., nervous system, articular, skeletal system, and muscular system) must possess proper amounts of strength, power, stability, flexibility and neuromuscular control.

Despite the popular image of golf as a leisurely sport, it is a serious athletic pursuit that can produce injury and trauma. Golf is one of the higher injury-producing sports played in the Unites States

Golf athletes, both amateur and professional, can experience golf-related injuries to various parts of the musculoskeletal system. Studies show that professional and amateur golfers have similar injury rates but experience different types of injuries.

The majority of injuries that occur in golf are from cumulative trauma caused by technical deficiencies (poor swing mechanics) paired with existing musculoskeletal dysfunctions). Through golf specific movement assessments, we are able to identify the underlining causes to your injury (injuries), and incorporate the corrective protocol into your training program to enable you to play your best golf!

If you want to add more distance to your shots,  lower your handicap, alleviate injuries,  or simply become a better golfer, contact Fitness At The Lake and watch your golf game improve!

Thinking Of A Fruit Juice Cleanse For Weight Loss?

How a Fruit Juice Cleanse Affects Your Body

Stripped of essential nutrients, detox diets can be downright dangerous

Thinking of signing up for a fruit juice cleanse? You might first consider how your body reacts to a week with no protein or fat and fewer than 1,000 calories a day.

After the first sip
Your brain’s hunger signals are answered with a dump of pure fruit-juice sugar. And don’t get any ideas—veggie-based body cleanses aren’t any healthier.

The sweet stuff prompts the pancreas to squirt out insulin, which moves sugar—now in your blood in the form of glucose—into your cells.

After 30 minutes
As your cells suck up the glucose, your blood sugar level can start to plummet and you may feel dizzy.

Meanwhile, lacking enough calories, your body is operating off its supply of glycogen, a form of short-term energy stored in the liver and muscles.

After two days
With each shot of juice, your insulin levels skyrocket, then crash. Your glycogen stores are pretty much gone, leaving your tank on empty—and you feeling weak and listless.

Since you’re getting only about half the calories you need, your body draws on two long-term power sources: triglycerides, a type of energy stored in fat cells (woo-hoo!), and protein, taken straight from your muscles (oops). You begin to lose muscle mass, even if you’re still exercising every day.

After three days
Your brain is not happy. It enters into semi-starvation mode and gobbles ketones, fuel that comes from the breakdown of fat. Ketones work, but they’re like low-grade gasoline; as a result, you may feel unfocused or irritable. (Any “mental clarity” is likely due to a strong placebo effect.)

Sans a fresh protein infusion, your brain is also lacking amino acids, the raw materials that neurotransmitters need to maintain your mood. If you’re prone to depression, you may start feeling blue.

The proteins in your shrinking muscles break down into ammonia and uric acid, unwelcome chemicals that invade your bloodstream. Now your kidneys are busy detoxing your detox.

Stay near the bathroom: The juice’s high carbohydrate load causes a surfeit of water to enter the intestines. That extra H2O in your gut means you’re apt to get diarrhea.

After four days
With no food to digest, your small intestine feels ignored. Its villi—the rows of tiny fibers that move food elements into the blood—start to atrophy. Your diarrhea may get worse; leading to dehydration… and there goes your rosy glow.

On the eighth day
Solid food! But uh-oh—you’ve lost muscle. Even if you go back to your regular eating habits, you now have less muscle mass to burn those calories; instead, the calories are more likely to be turned into fat. (Hence, one reason yo-yo dieting makes it harder to lose weight: Your reduced muscle-to-fat ratio messes up your metabolism and makes calories much harder to work off.)

I hope you think again about juice cleansing. Stay healthy! 

References: Eric Ravussin, Ph.D., Nutrition Obesity Research Center, Pennington Biomedical Research Center; Timothy D. Brewerton, M.D., Medical University of South Carolina; Leslie P. Schilling, R.D., Schilling Nutrition Therapy; Lona Sandon, R.D., and Jo Ann S. Carson, Ph.D., R.D., University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas


Does Calorie Counting Help…or is it Unproductive?

The Bulletin of the World Health Organization suggests that instead of tracking calories, people should consider decreasing portions to make healthy eating easier. Weight status is about the types of foods we consume as well as the portions. Restaurant portions have reached astronomical sizes, and this is what we are now accustomed to. By reducing intake at meals, people take in less energy overall, leading to better weight control in most instances.It takes eliminating 500 calories per day to lose one pound in a weeks time. This can be done through diet, exercise, or a combination of both.

Stay Healthy

References: Brooke Schohl, MS, RD | For Active.com

Feeling Guilty About The Weekend?

Feeling guilty about all your self-indulgences this weekend? Don’t beat yourself up! It takes a lot of calories—3,500—to gain a pound of body fat. So really, that one off day doesn’t usually result in any significant weight gain. It’s about what you do the next day, and the day after that’s really important—so don’t stay off-track. So be sure to whittle away at those extra calories over the next day or two, preferably by boosting exercise rather than eating too little. Starvation is not the healthy answer!

Are Diet Drinks Making You Fat?

You may think you’re doing yourself a favor by sipping artificially sweetened drinks, but recent research says you may just be setting yourself up to crave sweets even more. Artificial sweeteners can trick our bodies, since we aren’t actually providing it with any calories to back up the sweetness, causing a vicious cycle of cravings. They tend to trigger your appetite, making you want more and more sugar, but without actually satisfying a desire for sweets like normal sugar does.  Diet soda-drinkers may end up eating tons of sugary and fatty snacks in order to satisfy their cravings.

Case in point: One University of Texas study found that people who drink diet soda regularly (more than two per day) had a 70 percent greater waist circumference than those that don’t. Not to mention, diet sodas are also often loaded with additives, including caramel coloring, which is made by reacting sugars with ammonia and sulfites, resulting in two compounds that have been found to cause lung, liver, and thyroid cancers in mice.

RaceGrader on July, 29 2013

Can I Burn More Fat If I Don’t Eat Before A Workout?

Exercise normally burns away your glycogen (carbohydrate) reserves, and when you’re done burning those, you’ll start dipping into your fat stores for energy. It’s true that when you’re already running on empty, you burn fat right away, but you’ll likely run out of steam before your workout is over or end up ravenous and grabbing whatever food you can find in an attempt to refuel afterwards.

Energy comes from calories. A study from the University of Birmingham compared two groups of cyclists, some ate before their workout and the others fasted. While the group who fasted did end up burning more fat, the group who ate cycled at a much higher intensity than the fasting group, and burned more calories. A person needs fuel to run, just like a car, so find the foods that give you the energy to work out at your hardest.

Will Eating After 8 p.m. Make Me Fat?

Eating after a certain hour won’t necessarily mean you’ll pack on pounds, just as staying out after midnight won’t turn you into a pumpkin. This Cinderella-esque fat fairy tale continues to exist, but the bottom line is that your metabolism doesn’t know what time it is.

Calories are calories, no matter when you eat them, but what does matter is what and how much of it you eat. Late-night snacking gets a bad rap because often the foods that are consumed late at night are calorie-dense foods (chips, ice cream, pizza, and other junk food) and may be in excess calories to your daily caloric needs, which translates to weight gain.