About Me

My photo
Boynton Beach, Florida, United States
Nicole, a leader in the fitness industry has a wealth of knowledge and experience as a fitness professional. Nicole has proven herself with scientific-based programs that give results to all fitness level and ages. Her education and experience has enabled her to work with those in the medical field to leaders in the corporate world. Nicole has experience working with those who are disabled including amputees, paraplegics, stoke victims, cancer survivors and heart patients. Her specialty is designing corrective exercise programs, so that a strong foundation is built, providing injury free results.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

You Are What You Drink!

You Are What You Drink!
Our choice of beverage plays an important role in determining our health. Avoid soft drinks and other sugary beverages, and choose water or other healthy drinks like fermented beverages.

Water: Design or Luck?
Rex Russell, M.D., in his book What the Bible Says About Healthy Living, poses these questions: “What if Earth were twice as far from the sun as it is now? There would be no life on Earth, just ice. What if Earth were as close to the sun as Venus or Mercury? Life would not exist on earth—just steam. Earth is placed exactly the distance from the sun where it must be to have the necessary temperature for water to perform as a life-giving force. Is it luck or Design we are located in space right where we are, in precisely the place where life can exist?” He goes on to discuss the importance of the dissolvability properties found in water: “Water can dissolve almost anything, including rock. Water dissolves nutrients and food so they are distributed to the cells in our bodies.”

Ah . . . there's the key. We need water so that our cells can get the nutrients needed from the foods we eat.

Soft Drinks
A primary factor contributing to unhealthy weight and other forms of unhealth plaguing America is our national love affair with soft drinks. Soft drinks are widely available everywhere. Here are some shocking statistics:

  • The average American drinks an estimated 56 gallons of soft drinks each year.
  • One can of soda has about 10 teaspoons of sugar, 150 calories, 30 to 55 mg of caffeine and is loaded with artificial food colors and sulphites.
  • Soda accounts for more than one-quarter of all drinks consumed in the United States.
  • In the past 15+ years, soft drink consumption among children has almost doubled in the United States. Teenage boys now drink, on average, three or more cans of soda per day, and 10 percent of them drink seven or more cans a day.
  • The average for teenage girls is more than two cans of soda a day, and 10 percent of them drink more than five cans a day.

What’s Wrong with Soft Drinks?
They are loaded with sweeteners—usually high fructose corn syrup—or sugar substitutes like aspartame. Sugar in soft drinks accounts for 35 percent of all U.S. sugar consumption and sugar messes with insulin levels, which can lead to unhealthy blood pressure, cholesterol, weight and cardiovascular states. It can also accelerate the normal aging process.

  • Aspartame: In a report dated April 20, 1995 to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services entitled Symptoms attributed to aspartame in Complaints Submitted to the FDA, 92 symptoms were listed including brain and cellular unhealth, emotional imbalances and more. Further, when aspartame is stored for long periods of time or kept in warm areas it changes to methanol, an alcohol that converts to formaldehyde and formic acid, which are known carcinogens.
  • Saccharin: Saccharin is a white, crystalline powder or solid. Sodium or calcium saccharin is used in many low calorie or reduced calorie foods. In addition, they are used in toothpaste, mouthwash and other dental care products. Saccharin has appeared on the “Hazardous Substance List” for irritating the skin and causing skin allergies. Sugar free ingredients have been shown to cause neurological unhealth.
  • Caffeine: Soft drinks often contain a fair amount of caffeine. It turns out to be 35 to 38 milligrams per 12-ounce can or roughly 28 percent of the amount found in an 8-ounce cup of coffee. The stimulant properties and dependence potential of caffeine in soda are well documented, as are their effects on children. Caffeinated soft drinks can cause jitters, insomnia, unhealthy blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, unhealthy blood cholesterol levels, vitamin and mineral depletion, breast lumps, birth defects and perhaps unhealthy cellular proliferation.

Here is the bottom line for soda as it relates to health: don’t buy soft drinks, don’t keep them around and do everything you can to discourage your loved ones (especially children) from drinking them. Choose pure water or other healthy beverages instead.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Alcohol & Fat Loss...What you need to know

It's the time of year for all those "Holiday Parties". I am a huge advocate of living a balanced lifestyle and not one of restriction. So, enjoy those holiday parties but in moderation. Here are some facts behind the cocktails that you may be consuming over this holiday season...

Alcohol And Fat Loss – What You Need To Know

One question that often presents itself to many dieters who are trying to shed the excess weight that has accumulated over time is whether or not alcohol can be included in their diet plan.

Alcohol is something that most adults do like to indulge in from time to time – some more often than others.

So what’s the real deal about alcohol and your progress? Is this something that you can make room for in your diet or is it something that you need to give the boot?

Alcohol And Calories

The very first thing that you need to take note of is how many calories are found in alcohol. Alcohol itself contains seven calories per gram, whereas both proteins and carbs contain just four. Fat comes in at the highest calorie value per gram at nine, which places alcohol right in the middle.

But what’s often worse is what the alcohol is mixed with. If you’re drinking your alcohol with high calorie or fat mixers such as cream, sodas, or sugary mixers you could easily end up with a drink that packs in well over 300 calories per serving.

If you take in three or four of these over the course of the night, it’s really going to add up.

Alcohol And Fat Metabolism

The second important thing that you need to note is the impact that alcohol consumption will have on your fat metabolism. The minute that you put alcohol into your body, all fat burning is going to come to a halt.

Your body views alcohol as a toxin and as such, as soon as it comes in, it’s going to do everything it can to rid itself of this alcohol. No further fat will be burned off until it’s out of your system.

Only then will you start burning up body fat again. So if you consume quite a bit of alcohol one night, you can expect to see your rate of fat loss drop off for a more significant period of time.

Alcohol And Your Recovery

Finally, the last important thing to note about alcohol consumption is the impact it will have on your recovery rates.

In addition to putting the breaks on all fat burning taking place in the body, the second thing that alcohol is going to put the breaks on is protein synthesis.

This means that no further lean muscle tissue will be built up as long as that alcohol is in the body.

Again, you can imagine what this is going to do to your workout goals.

So as you can see, if you want to be truly successful with your fat loss and workout program, it’s best if you can forgo alcohol for the time being. One drink every now and then may not hurt all that much, but if you’re taking in any more than this, it will definitely hinder the progress that you see.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Restaurant Shockers!

I came across this article today and was SHOCKED! I try to avoid eating out and encourage my clients too as well for this very reason...
The Diet Detective: Restaurant Shockers--You Think You Ordered Healthy?
Charles Stuart Platkin • For Active.com

Most people believe that if you want to eat healthy at a restaurant all you have to do is know the "right" way to order your food. However, we've learned secrets from several restaurant insiders that will shock even the savviest restaurant aficionados who think they're ordering healthy.  

You've Been Grilled
That's right, even the grill isn't sacred. I don't know how many times I've recommended that people order their food grilled. But according to food-safety expert Jeff Nelken, "Often times breakfast cooks save the bacon fat and use it on the grill to make lunch and dinner foods." Also, the grill itself may not be what you think it is.

When we order foods grilled, most of us assume they'll be cooked on an open flame, but many times it's a flat-top grill, where some type of grease or oil is necessary to create an even cooking surface, increase the cooking speed and prevent the food from sticking.

Many restaurants will call a food "flame grilled" on the menu, but even so, the food or the grill may have been brushed with oil to prevent sticking. Even "grilled" fish/seafood is always brushed with some type of oil, says John Greely, chef at the famed 21 Club in New York City.

Healthy tip: Ask if they're using a flat-top grill or a flame grill. If it's flat-top, request your food grilled in a pan with cooking spray instead of oil. Nelken suggests telling the server you "just returned from the hospital and need the food prepared according to doctor's instruction."

Another option is frequenting restaurants where you can see the food being cooked in an open kitchen, says, Kimberly Johnson, R.D., a chef and instructor in the Nutrition and Hospitality Management Department at Syracuse University in Syracuse, NY.

Oil Slick
There's oil on almost every restaurant dish, and while some oils (e.g., canola, olive) are healthier than others, they all have approximately 120 calories per tablespoon. So you may go to the trouble of ordering an egg-white omelet, believing you're making a "healthy" choice, but it could be doused in oil.

Or you might order grilled or steamed vegetables, but they may have been marinating in oil for hours, if not all day. It's difficult to get grilled or steamed veggies without oil, because they must be made to order--and that takes a lot of time in a busy kitchen. And certain vegetables are worse than others. "Eggplant, for example, absorbs a lot of oil--just poke it around in your dish, and see what comes out," says Greely.

There's oil in other "healthy" foods as well. Because fat and oil help preserve cooked food, busy restaurants usually partially cook poultry/fish and then coat it in butter/oil until it's ready to be finished, says Billy Strynkowski, executive chef of Cooking Light magazine. "Even if you order your chicken 'dry' with the sauce on the side, poultry is always pan-fried in oil or clarified butter."

Pasta, potatoes and rice, again, are often partially cooked and filmed with some type of fat so they stay fresh and don't clump together, adds Juventino Avila, chef and instructor at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City. Oh, and if you think that having simple rice and beans at your favorite Mexican restaurant is healthy, think again--the rice is fried, then steamed.

Healthy tip: Be aware of where you're eating. Restaurants typically want to please their patrons; however, most of the time, unless the restaurant promotes itself as healthy, it just doesn't have the equipment, materials, time or utensils to do it right, offers Avila.

Almost all the chefs agree: If you want it cooked a certain way, make sure to tell your server that you have an allergy (to butter, or whatever it is you want eliminated). This usually encourages the chef to make up a new batch of veggies, chicken, etc., without those added calories. Avila recommends calling the restaurant in advance and making sure it can provide the food exactly the way you want it prepared.

Butter Me Up
Even if something isn't doused in oil, you still may not be calorie-safe--it can have added butter or cream. Toasted buns are often covered in butter; even steaks have butter drizzled on them before they're sent out. "And restaurants always finish sauces with butter or cream--even if the words butter or cream aren't in the sauce's name. For example, a white wine sauce is always finished with butter," says Cooking Light's Strynkowski.

Healthy tip: Be suspicious, be inquisitive, and make sure to get a straight answer from the server (who should ask the chef). Always invoke the "allergic reaction" or "medical condition" excuses to be on the safe side.

Puree Fantasy
Pureed soups, potatoes and vegetables are full of cream and/or butter to make them smooth and tasty, says Greely. Also, anything that looks creamy and velvety probably has butter or cream. Some restaurants do make thick "creamy" soups without butter or cream. But if that's the case, your server will almost always make a point of telling you. Restaurants know that many customers are concerned about cutting the fat in their diets, and they want to let you know when they think they've done something you'll appreciate.

Healthy tip: Ask your server about the ingredients and the preparation method, specifically if the dish has any cream, and, if not, what was used instead. Natural, healthy, low-calorie thickening agents include pured potatoes, roasted garlic and arrowroot. If there's no thickening agent, well, they probably used butter or cream.

Sodium Surprise
Calories aren't all you get when dining out: Many restaurants go heavy on the seasoning, including sodium, reports Nelken. Most places put salt on almost everything they make, especially the marinades. Some chicken producers even inject chickens with a sodium solution to add flavor.

Healthy tip: Ask for no salt or sodium, and ask if your dish has been marinated, and if so, in what.

Almost 11 million Americans have allergies to foods such as peanuts, fish, milk and wheat, and even if your food isn't made with the offending ingredient, it still may not be allergen-free. Cooks, food handlers, utensils, almost anything can infect an allergic individual, warns Nelken. A server comes out with four or five plates, and if one has a peanut sauce or fish oil, the odds are the server has it on his or her hands and can transfer it to your dish.

Healthy tip: Call ahead, and don't take risks. If you believe something contains or has been contaminated with the allergen--avoid it.

Salad Surprise
According to chef Greely, any pre-tossed salad (particularly those made in large batches) could have up to a quarter-cup of dressing when a tablespoon usually suffices.

Healthy tip: Order a simple "vinaigrette" dressing made with vinegar, olive oil and an acid such as lemon juice or grapefruit juice, and always ask for it on the side.

Whole-grain Mystery
When we see wheat-crust pizza, whole-wheat pasta or wheat buns on a menu, most of us automatically think "healthy." But according to Marjorie K. Livingston, M.S., R.D., a professor at the Culinary Institute of America in New York, there's no real way to be sure that you're really getting a whole-grain product.

In fact, most of the time you're getting products that just have brown coloring, maybe with some whole-grain flour. "There really is no definition of whole grain for restaurants. Even something like a bran muffin often has very little bran in it--you're mostly getting a muffin with coloring," says Livingston.

Healthy tip: Ask the manager to find out if what you're ordering is truly a 100 percent whole-grain product. If he or she isn't 100 percent sure, it's probably not.

It Must Be True
Even though there's no law requiring restaurants to provide nutrition information, they are required to do so if they make a nutrition (e.g., low-sodium, low-fat, low-cholesterol, healthy, light, etc.) or health claim about the relationship between a nutrient or food and a disease or health condition (e.g., "heart healthy").
The following are sample nutritional claims:
  • Light: Means the item has fewer calories and less fat than the food to which it's being compared. (Restaurants may, however, use the term "light" for reasons other than as a nutrient-content claim--for example, "lighter fare" may mean smaller portions. However, the intended meaning must be clarified on the menu.)
  • Healthy: Means the item is low in fat and saturated fat, has limited amounts of cholesterol and sodium and provides significant amounts of one or more of the key nutrients vitamins A and C, iron, calcium, protein or fiber.
Healthy tip: Keep in mind that restaurants aren't required to have their food analyzed as are food manufacturers, so the information they provide is probably not 100 percent accurate. Restaurants may make their claims based on any "reasonable" information, such as databases, cookbooks or other secondhand sources that provide nutrition information.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Fall is in the Air...Try this Sweet Fall Treat

If you are like me, you crave a sweet treat from time to time. I don't know about you, but I don't want to eat the calories that I just worked my butt off burning at the gym. So, here is a sweet fall treat that will provide you with lots of nutrition and satisfy your taste buds without increasing your waist size.

Autumn Spiced Apples
10 Gala apples, peeled and cut into 1-in slices
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
6 tsp Splenda
2 tbsp light buttery spread

Put all spices into small bowl and stir, set aside.
Melt the butter in a medium size saucepan, add apple slices.
Spoon spice mixture over apples, stirring to cover completely. Cover and cook on medium heat for 20 minutes, stirring frequently.

Serving size: 8

Amount Per Serving
Serving size: 1
  Total Fat1.9 g
     Saturated Fat0.5 g
     Polyunsaturated Fat0.6 g
     Monounsaturated Fat0.5 g
     Trans Fat0.0 g
  Cholesterol0.0 mg
  Sodium22.6 mg
  Potassium200.1 mg
  Total Carbohydrate26.6 g
     Dietary Fiber4.8 g
     Sugars0.0 g
  Protein0.3 g

  Vitamin A4.3 %
  Vitamin B-120.0 %
  Vitamin B-64.2 %
  Vitamin C16.5 %
  Vitamin D0.0 %
  Vitamin E5.3 %
  Calcium1.6 %
  Copper3.6 %
  Folate1.3 %
  Iron2.4 %
  Magnesium2.2 %
  Manganese6.5 %
  Niacin0.7 %
  Pantothenic Acid    1.1 %
  Phosphorus    1.2 %
  Riboflavin1.4 %
  Selenium0.7 %
  Thiamin2.0 %
  Zinc0.5 %

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Injury Prevention: Foot, Ankle and Knee

The most common foot problem is overpronation and lack of dorsiflexion. An over pronated foot utilizes the lateral gastrocnemius more than usual during propulsion. This causes the gastrocnemius to shorten over time. A shortened, tight and weak gastrocnemius limits the range of motion of dorsiflexion and activation of the dorsi flexors. Dorsiflexion is required for the body to maintain alignment. The patient is likely to have a toe-out gait causing propulsion off the 1st MTP instead of all five toes due to lack of dorsiflexion. The increased pressure placed at the 1st MTP will cause callusing and/or bunions. In addition, overpronation causes increased stress on the knee. When an individual over pronates the tibia and femur internally rotate which results in knee adduction. Every step a person takes has a load of 2.5 times their body weight. If the foot does not properly absorb the extra load, an increased amount of stress will travel to the knee. In order to prevent overpronation, the arch of the foot needs to have increased support until the foot is able to function properly on its own. The forefoot and rear foot will need to be aligned with medial support (posting). This will position the foot in alignment with the body including the knee. A properly aligned foot and ankle will allow the patient to go through gait correctly by supinating at the heel, proceeding through moderate pronation at mid-stance, then propulsion off all five toes. Positioning the foot to move through gait properly will decrease the amount of pressure at the foot reducing the stress that travels to the knee. In addition to a good arch support the foot should have extra cushioning to absorb stress that travels up the tibia which may cause shin splints, stress fractures, knee pain, etc. It is essential for the foot to be aligned to increase mobility at the ankle and stability at the knee to reduce discomfort and future problems.

Friday, August 26, 2011

How to Keep Getting Results with Your Exercise Routine

Whether your fitness goal is weight loss, building muscle or increasing strength, after 4-weeks people often stop getting the results they once saw when they first began their exercise program. When you stop getting results, it can be frustrating and you are more likely to stop exercising. To avoid a plateau and keep getting results with exercise, there is a simple method that can be applied called the F.I.T.T. principle. The “F” stands for frequency and refers to how often you exercise. “I” stands for intensity and defines the difficulty of the exercise or activity. The “T” stands for time and refers to the length of each exercise session. The final “T” stands for type and refers to the specific exercises or activities in your exercise routine. Applying the F.I.T.T. principle is a simple and easy way to avoid a plateau with your exercise routine. If you follow the F.I.T.T. principle each month, you will continue to get results, enjoy exercise and avoid overuse injuries.

Applying the F.I.T.T Principle of Exercise
The F.I.T.T principle is easy to follow. All you need to do is alter each component of the principle of a monthly basis and you will be on your way to achieve your fitness goals.

F=Frequency: Change the number of days you exercise. For example, if you currently exercise 3 days a week, begin exercising 4 days a week.

I=Intensity: Increase the amount of weight or intensity level. For example, if you currently lift 10 lbs., try lifting 12 lbs.

T=Time: Increase the amount of time for each exercise session. For example, if you currently exercise for 30 minutes, increase your exercise sessions to 40 minutes.

T=Type: Choose a different activity that you enjoy. For example, if you currently walk for exercise, try cycling.