Archive for December, 2011

I wanted to share with you the findings from a recent study on artificial sweeteners. This study is making headline news and has come out of University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, Texas.

Basically, they found that waist size in diet-soda drinkers increased by 70 percent. And very frequent users (more than two drinks a day) saw 500% increases in waist size!

Why? Researchers think that artificial sweeteners aren’t recognized by your brain in the same way. So when you drink something (or eat something) with artificial sweeteners hoping to satisfy that sweet tooth, your brain may not realize it’s actually getting something sweet and you tend to keep eating to satisfy that desire.

Another result they found from testing on mice was that aspartame actually increased blood glucose levels, which is bad news for diabetics and people at risk for diabetes. So artificial sweeteners may not be the quick fix that diabetics should look to as substitutes for sugar.

Something to think about! My opinion is, of course, to always eat naturally and just practice self control. Sugar in small amounts is fine, and it’s even better if it’s coming from fruit! So turn to lower calorie, naturally sweetened foods for your sweet tooth fix. My favorite: Fruitfull Frozen Fruit Bars!

Happy eating 🙂

This workout plan is an example of one of my weekly workouts. Obviously, to keep from getting bored, I vary my workouts a bit each week so I’ll be posting a few more in the future so you can mix up your workouts, too!

Some of the exercises may not be intuitive, so let me know if you have questions! I will try to keep posting abs videos since those tend to be the most confusing.


This is an easy meal that can be breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Even better, it’s packing 67 grams of protein! Here’s how:

-1 slice of Rudi’s Organic Honey Whole Wheat bread, lightly toasted

-2 eggs (cooked your way! I like mine scrambled)

-2 mini Babybel Minis Light (this is gouda cheese)

-1 cut up chicken breast (instead of cooking the chicken specifically for this meal, just use leftovers!)

-optional: salsa

Toast your bread, cook your eggs, melt one Babybell on the toast and one on the chicken, and pile on the salsa! Easy day.

Workout of the Week

Posted: December 18, 2011 in Exercise

I get asked for examples of workouts so I’m going to try to post my favorite workout each week. And soon I should have an example of a weekly workout plan as well. But the other day I did a great workout that I thought I would share with you!

This was an arms, back, and abs circuit, so basically a total upper body workout. I like to superset my ab workouts between my lifts or other exercises. So for my weights, I started at 10 reps and decreased while I started at 10 reps for my ab workouts and increased. I did 3 sets of this, so it looked like this:

Set 1

  • Lifts: 10 reps
  • Abs: 10 reps

Set 2

  • Lifts: 8 reps
  • Abs: 12 reps

Set 3

  • Lifts: 6 reps
  • Abs: 15 reps

After each lift, I did an ab exercise and did this like a circuit. You may not be able to do this in your gym so you can do one at a time if you have to. But here is what I did:

  1. Declined Pushups
  2. Cross Legged Sit-Ups
  3. Triceps –> Tricep pull-downs + Overhead tricep extension
  4. Oblique Sit-Ups on stability or Basu ball
  5. Bicep Curls
  6. V-Up Crunch
  7. Bench Press
  8. Hanging Knee Raises
  9. Shoulder Flies –> side and front
  10. Hanging Pikes
  11. Lat Pull Downs
  12. Sit-Up and Twist (elbows to ankles)

So that’s one set. Then you repeat three times as I explained above (i.e., Exercise/Abs: Set 1: 10/10, Set 2: 8/12, Set 3: 6/15).

If you try it, let me know how you like it! And let  me know if you have any questions about any of the exercises and I’ll try to explain them.

Good luck!

For those of you who don’t know, I am currently a laboratory technician in the Physiology Lab at the Navy Experimental Diving Unit in Panama City. Some of my recent research has involved looking at the effects and timeline of detrainment, and I came across some interesting literature that thought I would share. Detrainment is defined as the partial or complete loss of training-induced anatomical, physiological, and performance adaptations as a result of reduction or cessation of training (Mujika and Padilla 2000).

Translation: detrainment is the process of “getting out of shape”, also known as “if you don’t use it, you lose it” syndrome.

Obviously, we want to combat detrainment because we don’t want to backslide. But as we all know, sometimes life gets in the way of us working out. So naturally, we have the following questions:

1)    How fast will I detrain?

2)    How can I keep this from happening?

There’s no easy answer to question #1. Studies have used a detrainment period ranging from two to sixteen weeks and begin reporting changes at seven to fifteen days.  This seems to tell us that detrainment does not typically occur in less than two weeks, but unfortunately there are no known studies that have specifically researched the minimum time to detrainment.

Scienc-y stuff:

–       In a study using rats, physical capacity and myocardial performance reverted to pre-trained conditions after only two weeks of detraining (Bocalini et al 2010). 

–       A study involving young basketball players showed no significant difference in explosive strength indicators after four, eight, twelve, or sixteen weeks of detrainment following a ten-week plyometric training program (Santos and Janeira 2011). 

–       The Dallas Bedrest and Training Study of 1966 (Saltin et al 1968) found that detrainment caused a significant decrease in the maximum O2 uptake (VO2max), cardiac output, heart rate, and stroke volume during exercise.

–       A decrease in aerobic capacity in adults was seen after 15 days of bed rest (Stuart et al 2007). 

–       Greenleaf et al (1997) found that peak oxygen uptake decreased by day seven of the study.

Now, on to question #2. Obviously, daily exercise is going to keep detrainment from happening (Lee et al 2009, Lee et al 2007). But one study actually found that stretching also combats detrainment (Kasahara et al 2010)! So if you can’t get a workout in for a few days at a time, try doing some stretches to keep from losing all that hard work you put in at the gym! Try yoga at home or check out these stretch-at-your-desk videos from Mayo clinic to help maintain your level of fitness even when you can’t actively work out.

Gluten- and Dairy-Free Diet

Posted: December 6, 2011 in Diet and Nutrition

My aunt asked me to come up with a gluten and dairy free weight management diet plan so I’ve been doing some research. As with all my diets, I will say that I am not a certified nutritionist, all of my advice comes from research and years of being an athlete. So if you need absolute professional opinion, see a nutritionist or dietician.

Here is some general info about Celiac’s Disease and gluten free diets:

So aside from being careful not to eat foods that contain gluten, you also have to be careful not to eat things that have been processed in the same place as foods that do contain gluten, which is probably the hardest part. So my suggestion would be to try to cut most of your processed carbs. Potatoes and rice are good staples; however, I would keep this to a minimum if you are trying to lose weight. Try to fill your carb quota on fruits and veggies instead!

First, use this link to see approximately how many calories you need to take in each day based on your height, weight, gender, and whether you want to lose or maintain weight:

This should give you a good idea approximately how much to eat during the day. You should then try to spread these calories out as evenly as possible throughout the day. An example of a good “gluten free day” could go something like this:

Breakfast: Udi’s toast, eggs, fresh fruit, juice/water

Morning snack: yogurt, fresh fruit, and gluten-free granola/muesli

Lunch: Grilled chicken salad with olive or avocado oil based salad dressing, fruit. If on the go, Amy’s has great frozen gluten-free foods, too!

Afternoon snack: Beet hummus and gluten free pita chips and/or carrots

Dinner: Fish or chicken with asparagus artichoke salad. You can add risotto or rice with it, as well. Finish it off with a fruity frozen yogurt if you can tolerate the dairy or try a sorbet. I especially like the little frozen fruitsicles that Power of Fruit makes. I get them all the time and didn’t even realize they were certified gluten-free! I got them because on the back of their box it says this:

“Ingredients: Strawberries, cranberries, blueberries, mango chunks, pineapple, bananas, white grape juice concentrate, water and nothing else. No added sugar, color, or preservatives. None. Zero. Zilch.”

I love it!! In fact I’m going to go get one now…

There are also plenty of websites with gluten free recipes and many companies are now coming out with gluten free products. So find foods you like and figure out how to make or buy them gluten free! And to end this post, here is a Q&A with someone who found out they had Celiac’s Disease and how he has worked around it and still enjoys life, including food. Great article!


Great Nike Ads

Posted: December 4, 2011 in Pictures

I absolutely love these Nike ads. I can relate to all of them. Athletes tend not to have “normal” figures, so to see Nike put out this line of advertisements that celebrates bodies that mainstream media doesn’t is really motivating and encouraging. Sums up my sentiments exactly!