Cortisol, the FLIGHT or FIGHT Hormone

 

Cortisol, the fight or flight super hormone that is essential in surviving a life and death situations might just kill you! Now I am not going to go into detail on this process, because I am not a doctor and it would just confuse the both of us. Cortisol is a hormone secreted by the Adrenal Glands. When you find your self in a stressful situation your brain will send a signal to your adrenal glands to release cortisol which brings about adrenaline. In a nut shell this hormone saves your ass. Cortisol’s causes:

•A quick burst of energy
•Heightened memory functions
•A burst of increased immunity
•A greater tolerance to pain
•Super hero strength

Your probably saying to yourself, “This all sounds great but where does the ‘kill you’ situation come in?” After a stressful situation where your body perceives harm, the body gradually retreats back to a normal state of relaxation. However, due to our life styles being stressful, we never experience relaxation and if we do, it’s NOT ENOUGH! Therefore, the body is always in a state of excitement and this can be potentially deadly. Prolonged presence of cortisol can cause:

•Decreased thyroid function
•Decreased muscle tissue
•Decreased Bone density
•High blood pressure
•Slow healing and increased inflammation
•Increased abdominal fat
•Loss of attention skills

Long lasting cortisol levels in the blood will increase your chances of experiencing the above symptoms. In the long run you can suffer from greater occurrence of sicknesses, increased weight gain, heart attacks and or strokes. Fun stuff right?

The best thing that you can do to lower cortisol levels after a fight or flight response is to take deep breaths, meditate, hum, self reflect or build up your body’s tolerance to stress. Some exercises you can do that are very beneficial are isometric holds for time. This means hold a position (with proper form) for an extended amount of time. Examples would be:

•Planking
•Wall Sits
•Lunge holds
•Even just regular exercise has benefits on lowering stress levels.

Basically anything that challenges your will power! These exercises will allow you to push yourself to greater relaxation. You are forcing your own body and mind to experience a pain. Once you reach a moment in the hold where your inner voice says “this hurts, I have to stop” you push through and don’t stop. Experiencing a self inflicted pain (in a healthy manner) and pushing your mind and body to a new limit will allow you to interpret a once very stressful situation to a not so stressful situation. Now, I am not saying your are going to be skipping through a gum fight like your on the yellow brick road, but you will be able to greater handle the situation as it unfolds around you.

Our everyday lives are stressful but they don’t need to be. Isometric holds are a great exercise to incorporate into your workouts. It’s a self help exercise that will keep your cortisol levels down when your wife is yelling at you to take out the trash or if your trying to meet a deadline. There is no reason to be stressed with mundane life events.

Drink Your Way Thin?

If you’ve been interested in fitness and health for more than a minute, then you know by now how important drinking plenty of water is for getting your body into top shape.

But do you drink enough water? And is it really going to impact your results?

Why Water Matters

Your body is made up of 60% water, which is incredible when you stop and really think about this fact. All day long you are constantly losing water by sweating and going to the bathroom – and this water must be replenished in order to keep your body is healthy, working order.

Many health authorities believe in the 8×8 theory: drink 8 (8oz) glasses of water throughout the day, or roughly half a gallon. However, a growing sector of fitness and health professionals are speaking out against this theory, stating that it is simply too little to keep you properly hydrated.

Those behind the movement to drink more than 8×8 per day are stating that the only way to truly stay hydrated is by sipping on water constantly throughout the day, and by making the effort to drink water when one doesn’t feel the signs of thirst.

Studies have come out that seem to prove that drinking more water throughout the day leads to better brain functioning, fewer headaches and physical performance.

Conversely, when you are operating in a state of mild dehydration you will experience diminished brain functioning, more frequent headaches and a decline in physical performance.

Does More Water = More Fat Loss?

Yes, it is quite likely that drinking more water will facilitate faster fat loss results. This is primarily due to two factors:

1. An increase in metabolism: Studies show that drinking water temporarily boosts metabolism for an hour or so. Drinking cold water will spike your metabolism even higher. This means more calories burned, and more pounds lost.

2. A reduction in appetite: Staying properly hydrated helps to reduce dehydration signs that are often mistaken for hunger. It is also a viable strategy to drink a full glass of water immediately before a meal in order to reduce the calorie intake of that meal, leading to lower overall calorie intake for the day.

Hydration and Health

Staying hydrated is going to help you lose fat quicker, but that’s not the only benefit that you will experience. The following are all health improvements that you have to look forward to when drinking water throughout your day:

  • Lower Risk of Cancer
  • Reduction in Constipation
  • Decreased Risk of Kidney Stones
  • Healthier Skin and Less Acne

It’s clear that drinking water throughout the day is an important part of being healthy and reaching your fitness goals. One of the best ways to make sure that you meet your hydration goals is to keep a large water bottle with you at all times, and to refill it every time that it is empty.

I’m here to help you reach your fitness and fat loss goals! If you are not yet one of my beloved clients, and you are struggling to meet your fitness and fat loss goals, then give me a call or reply to this email.

I can’t wait to work with you! Contact us HERE!


Beware of Sports Drinks

Sports drinks are designed to refuel and replenish an athlete’s body after intense physical activity. These drinks are filled with the calories and sugars needed to fill exhausted muscles with new energy, which is fantastic for the track star who only has 40 minutes of recovery between competitive events.

HOWEVER for the fitness enthusiast in pursuit of fat loss, the sugars and calories found in these sports drinks can undo all of the hard work that you just did in your workout! Yes, these drinks taste good and are marketed to fit, active people, but always be aware of the calorie and sugar count before deciding if you should include it in your diet.

As we learned above, water is your most effective drink for reaching your fitness and fat loss goals.

Alcohol Equals NO GAINZ!

Drinking alcohol after a strenuous workout can deter your body’s ability to repair the muscles.  Researchers in New Zealand found that even drinking a moderate amount of alcohol and not being hung over the next day can zap your strength.

How can you counter act the effects of alcohol:

  • Drink a glass of water after every alcoholic beverage
  • Take in some carbohydrates while or after you drink

*NOTE: If you are trying to lose weight, taking in carbohydrates during or after consuming high calorie alcohol can add weight to the scale!

If you are consuming more calories 2 hours after a workout through alcohol consumption and not ‘functional calories’ like nutrient dense foods, then you are setting yourself up for a bad workout the next day and maybe even a few days there-after.

When you drink in excess, you lose motor skills; you stumble, you fumble you fall. So, what do you think is happening to your body’s cells that are responsible for repairing damaged muscle from a workout? They too are impaired, therefore functioning improperly.

If you plan on going out for some drinks, be sure to eat enough food within two hours post workout to ensure your body has the nutrients to repair itself.

 

3 Essential Snacking Tips

A big part of eating for fat loss is keeping your metabolism going all day long with small, sensible meals and snacks. In theory, this is simple and easy: eat a little something every 2-3 hours throughout the day.

Unfortunately very few people do it right, resulting in frustrating weight gain.

The content of your snacks and small meals is of utmost importance. If you’re eating the wrong thing every 2-3 hours then it’s easy to gain weight quickly, rather than what you want, which is to drop fat and clothes sizes.

Let’s jump into the 3 Essential Snacking Tips that I have for you today to keep you on track and burning fat all day long…

Snacking Tip #1: Watch out for added sugar.

Sugar is the biggest problem when it comes to fattening snacks, and so this needs to be the number one nutrient that you check. Your frequent snacks should contain very little, or zero, added sugars.

This is a pet peeve that I have: many ‘health’ foods have massive amounts of added sugars, which will destroy your results. Items like protein bars, jerky, dried fruit, green juice, and trail mix often have added sugars and preservatives that you need to watch out for and avoid.

Your snacks should have little to zero added sugars, and should be a nice blend of protein, fiber and complex carbohydrates.

Snacking Tip #2: Check the serving size.

When your snack comes in a package, after you make sure that it isn’t filled with sugar, check the serving size. It’s a popular technique for food manufacturers to give the nutritional facts for 2 or even 2.5 servings, on an item that you will likely polish off the entire package.

If the servings are more than just one then you’ll need to do some quick math. Calculate the total calories, sugar, carbs, fat and protein. Make sure that the numbers line up with your target nutrition sums.

Always be aware of how many servings you are eating in a single sitting. Do the math if you’re eating more than one serving – be honest with yourself!

Snacking Tip #3: Homemade and made-in-nature are best.

As convenient as packaged health snacks are, you will always see better results by eating whole foods found in nature, or snacks that you’ve made at home with real food ingredients. Even the healthiest packaged protein bar from the store is going to contain preservatives and additives that are completely avoided in homemade foods.

A handful of raw nuts, a piece of fruit with fresh nut butter, a hard boiled egg, a homemade fitness muffin (recipe below), some chicken breast on veggies or chopped flank steak on a salad are all better options than any packaged snack.

When possible, stick with whole foods found in nature and snacks and meals that you make at home.

Are you participating in a consistent, challenging exercise program? If not then give me a call or shoot me an email today. Let’s get you started on the best exercise program that you’ll ever try! Click HERE to contact us!

Is After-Burn Real?

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Is After-Burn Real?

You’ve probably heard that High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) produces an after burn effect, which means your body continues to burn extra calories at an elevated rate for 24 hours after the completion of your workout.

Sure that’s sounds amazing, but is it too good to be true?

The Science of After-Burn

There is a scientific term for after burn: excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPEOC). This refers to the oxygen that your body needs to restore after a heart-pounding workout.

So after-burn is indeed real.

While you exercise your body needs fuel to keep your muscles firing, and this requires oxygen to transport the fuel into the muscles. This causes your metabolism to rev up to an elevated state during and after exercise.

Intense Exercise = Intense After-Burn

Studies show that there is a direct correlation between the intensity of your workout and the amount of calories burned during the after-burn period.

In order to get the most after-burn bang for your buck, you must push yourself to 70-85% of your max heart rate during your workout. The more intense your workout, the more bonus calories you will burn in the hours afterwards.

Intense and vigorous exercise keeps your body burning calories hours after the workout is through. And this is not the only benefit to HIIT workouts – there’s also the bonus of increased muscle tone, fat loss and an increase in your aerobic capacity.

Keep this in mind the next time that you push yourself through a workout. Remember that intensity pays off, and an HIIT workout has more proven benefits than a steady state cardio workout.

I’d love for you to experience one of Adam’s intense, fat-burning workouts! Call or email me now to get started.

Click here: Critical Mass 732.889.3319


Want MORE After -Burn?

Then use all of your muscles.

To AMP up your after-burn, avoid single joint movements that isolate body parts and instead focus on compound, full body movements. Exercises like squats, lunges and deadlifts work multiple joints and muscles and increase the intensity of your workout, and likewise the intensity of your after-burn effect and the number of calories that you burn.

CUT BACK ON SUGAR (28 day plan)

If you love sweets then you know how easy it is to eat more sugar than you should. You’ve probably had a doctor warn you to cut back and know that you have at least a few pounds to lose.

Candy, cookies, pastries, and other sweets are high in sugar, which is quickly and efficiently stored as body fat. And the more sugar that you eat, the more you crave it. It’s a rough situation for you and your sweet tooth, it’s as if your sweet tooth is against you ever meeting your summer body goal!

Don’t lose heart! It is very possible to gradually reduce the amount of sugar in your diet in a way that that’s painless and practical. I have a 28-day plan here to help you to cut back on sugar consumption without going crazy. By reducing the refined sugar in your diet you’ll experience an automatic drop in body fat – this means inches and sizes lost! Sound good? Let’s do this!

WEEK ONE

In this first week your goal is to get an accurate idea of how much sugar you are currently consuming. You’ll act as a reporter on your eating habits for a full week, recording down everything you consume.

This week is only for reporting. I don’t want you to change anything about your diet yet. Eat as you normally do, but tally sugar grams at each meal and snack. Yes, even your drink at the coffee shop and your wine or cocktail at dinner. Look up the sugar content of everything you consume and record it.

By the end of this week you will have a clear picture of how much sugar you are eating and which items in your diet are most sugar-filled.

WEEK TWO

In this second week your goal is to eliminate liquid sugar. It is all too easy to consume large amounts of sugar in beverages, often without even noticing. You know which beverages in your diet contain sugar, from your reporting last week, so target and cut out these beverages.

Sweetened coffee drinks, smoothies, alcoholic beverages, sweetened sodas and teas should all be replaced with zero calorie options. Try liquid stevia for sweetening beverages without adding sugar, it has a more pleasing flavor than powdered stevia. Avoid super processed sweeteners like splenda or aspartame as these may cause bloating and cravings for more sugar.

In addition to focusing on removing sugary drinks this week, I also want you to focus on drinking lots and lots of water. Drink 8 ounces of water before, during and after every meal and snack.

WEEK THREE

In this third week we are now going to focus on eliminating the food in your diet that contain refined sugars.

What’s great about this gradual approach to cutting out sugar is that over the course of the first two weeks, while you recorded your sugar consumption and then cut out sugary liquids, you likely found yourself instinctively beginning to choose items that are lower in sugar. That’s great! That’s going to make this week all that much easier as you begin to pass on those sugar-laden snacks and desserts.

This week target and eliminate the food items in your diet that contain refined sugars. These are packaged candies and snacks, dressings and sauces, desserts and sweetened yogurts. Read labels and check sugar grams. Swap these items out for naturally sweetened treats – sweetened with fruit or stevia.

WEEK FOUR

You are on the home stretch! As you enter week four you should already be noticing your clothes feeling a little looser, and your energy levels should be stabilizing. During this week I’d like you to once again record everything that you eat and drink. Tally up the sugar grams and take notice of anything that you’re still consuming that’s high in sugar.

This week should reinforce the healthy changes you’ve implemented and keep you accountable. If you find yourself really missing a certain sugar-filled item then look for healthier, low-sugar replacement foods to enjoy instead of reverting back to your old habits.

The key now is to maintain your new, low-sugar, habits. The first month is always the most difficult, as new habits are formed, so you’ve already done the hardest part! Going forward, whenever you find yourself getting hooked back on sugar then go through this four week process again to get back on track.

In addition to removing refined sugar from your diet, participating in a challenging, consistent exercise plan is vital to fat loss. If you aren’t yet one of my amazing clients then reply to this email, or give me a call today!

I’d love to help you achieve a substantial drop in body fat before summer.

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