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Friday, September 30, 2011

Ditching the Numbers Game for Fat Loss

Today's guest post is by my friend, JJ Virgin, nutritionist, author and media personality.  Below, JJ talks about one of our favorite topics: The calories in/ calories out fat loss model...

The government has a new mathematical formula for weight loss. And it’s completely bogus.

You know those articles Cosmo and other women’s magazines frequently run that explain to lose one pound each week, you should cut 500 calories a day? The author then presents various ways to reduce calories, including switching to diet soda and choosing “light” products.

Well, a new government-based study conducted by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases and published in the journal Lancet says if you cut 250 calories daily, you can lose 25 pounds over three years. And trimming just 10 calories each day helps you lose one pound over three years.

Friday, September 23, 2011

When Exercise Science Turns Mystical

My boyfriend and I were recently invited by a massage therapist we know to attend a three hour seminar on myofascial release technique (MFR.)  We were really looking forward to it as we are both big believers in the benefits of MFR and were anxious to learn some new techniques. The Myofascial Release Center hosted this training at The Awareness Center-for Kundalini Yoga and Meditation.  That should’ve been my first clue.  While I have only a vague understanding of Kundalini Yoga-and Chakras, (coupled with just a passing knowledge of Iyengar and restorative yoga styles), I should have realized I might have signed on for more than I bargained for.
The requirement of a yoga mat and a blanket, were not consistent with what I imagined the necessary equipment for MFR work would be. But I placed my mat near the front of the room and did some stretching to kill time as the other participants arrived.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Are Whole Grains Really Healthier?

You’ve undoubtedly heard that refined wheat and other processed foods are unhealthy.  But what about the “good kind of wheat,” the kind found in whole grains?  What are the benefits of whole grains compared with their sinister relatives…refined grains? 

Since the food pyramid was first developed in the 1970’s, it has emphasized carbohydrates while the American public has gotten consistently more and more obese. In January of this year, The US government released the most recent revisions to its dietary guidelines. The USDA Food Pyramid, now known as MyPyramid (it now encourages personalized recommendations that adjust for activity level, gender, and other variables), reflects the government's recommendations for the consumption of grains and other foods.

The recommendations for grains now include division into 2 subgroups, whole grains and refined grains.  Guidelines include eating 6 servings of grains per day with half of those servings coming from the so-called “whole” grain group. Their guidelines define a serving as, 1 slice of bread, 1 cup of ready-to-eat cereal, or ½ cup of cooked rice, cooked pasta, or cooked cereal. These examples can be considered a one ounce equivalent or, one serving from the grains group-and we are told to eat 6 servings a day?

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Massage – It Isn't Just About Pampering

Dim lights…relaxing music, or the faint sound of trickling water from a nearby fountain…the scent of eucalyptus filling the room-further infused by an “essential” oil…a tall, soft, cushy table with a cool white draping sheet…and an attentive masseuse standing by to indulge your flesh in comfort and luxury-the elements of the perfect massage.

Not anymore.  While a relaxing massage is not exactly a thing of the past, the trend in the health and fitness industry (and elsewhere) now places greater emphasis on

Friday, September 2, 2011

The “I-Can’t-Even-do-One-Chin-up” Cure

A trainer friend of mine once said that if she were able to get a female client to be able to do 10 “boy” (AKA military) push-ups and one unassisted pull-up, she’d have a client for life.  Chin-ups are tough for many men, let alone a woman with a lot less upper body strength.  While one could argue that no correlation exists between the value of a trainer in their client’s eyes and their ability to do one (or more) pull-ups, achieving that elusive “one” (unassisted) pull-up has, in fact, elevated many a fitness professional to hero status.

Both men and women have come to recognize this exercise as a “staple” of upper body training because it involves so many muscle groups in the upper body. The muscular development of the back in relation to the waist creates the desired look