Category Archives: Lifestyle
We all know that we burn calories when we exercise, but did you know you can design your workouts to make your body more efficient at burning calories even after you exercise? And are you aware you can exercise for less time and burn more calories as compared to one of your typical workouts simply by changing how you exercise? Don’t exercise harder, exercise smarter to achieve greater benefits!
Here’s how. It’s called interval training and even the most de-conditioned person can reap the benefits. And the good news is, you can apply the interval training concept to all types of exercise, including walking, running, cycling in the great outdoors or even on cardio equipment at your local gym.
A group of Canadian researchers from Laval University performed trials on two groups. They compared regular endurance or aerobic conditioning to interval training and discovered the group who performed interval training burned twice as many calories in half the amount of time. They were also able to reduce their body fat many times more than the endurance group by increasing their resting metabolic rate (this is how many calories you burn while not exercising).
I recommend incorporating interval training 2-3 days per week and preferably alternating with resistance training (weight training) on the other days to improve your bone density and also boost your metabolism. It’s a winning combination!
Toni Julian, Health Advocate and Fitness Expert
It’s important to note that if you are new to exercise, be sure to have your physician give you the thumbs up before proceeding.
For Beginner Levels:
If you are mostly sedentary and are accustomed to walking 30 minutes, start slowly.
1. Start off with five minutes of gentle walking for your warm-up. (Rather than miles per hour I go by perceived exertion level where a 1 is you’re lounging on the sofa and 10 is you’re going all out and ready to lose your breakfast (we never want to hit a 10). You should be at around an exertion level of 4 and able to sing to your iTunes comfortably.
2. Speed up your walk to what feels like an exertion level of 8 for the next 60 seconds. Here you will feel shorter of breath and feel your heart beating stronger.
3. Slow down your walk now to a level 3 for 2 minutes. You will feel your heart rate begin to drop and your breathing will normalize. The more fit you become over time, the faster your heart rate will recover to this level.
4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 five more times.
5. Finish with another five minutes of level 4 perceived exertion.
For Advanced Levels
1. Five minute warm up at Level 4 of perceived exertion whether cycling, light jogging or other activity
2. Step it up to a perceived exertion level of 8 or 9 for the next 60 seconds
3. Slow down to a perceived exertion level of a 5 for the next 90 seconds
4. Repeat the above steps 2 and 3 five additional times
5. Cool down for five minutes at a perceived exertion level of 3.
Pat yourself vigorously on the back, do a happy feet dance and remember to replenish with a light snack of complex carbohydrate, lean protein (check out Toni’s high protein meal solutions) and plenty of pure water.
Have you ever eaten an apple for a snack, only to be hungry again an hour later? Or a bowl of cereal in the morning, but by 11AM you find yourself thinking “I wonder if I have any Girl Scout cookies in my trunk”.
So how can we feel more satisfied and stay fuller for longer? Being satiated with wholesome foods, in the right combination, translates into increased energy and improved vitality. It can also mean making better food choices and avoiding those annoying cravings in the afternoons and evenings. You know the ones, where you’ll do anything to get your hands on something salty-chewy-sugary-crunchy-greasy; in other words, dense carbohydrates for instant fuel.
It all comes down to regulating your blood sugar. Let’s go back to that apple which is made primarily of carbohydrates. It begins to break down with help from enzymes in your saliva as you chew. Carbs, especially the simple ones, metabolize very quickly which raises your blood sugar.
Your body responds by secreting a rush of Insulin from the Pancreas to drive the extra glucose for storage into your fat cells. There is an opposing hormone, called Glucagon, which works to elevate your blood sugar when glucose levels are low. These two hormones work in harmony to keep your body in balance. Imagine the arcade pinball game where you are using your right and left paddles to keep the pinball in the middle, right where your blood sugar level should be; between 80-120 mg/dL (milligrams per deciliter). Abusing those hormones on an ongoing basis by eating overly-processed foods and too many simple carbohydrates–especially sweets–and you’ll be setting yourself up for insulin resistance and the potential for Type II diabetes.
Once you combine your carbohydrate, such a vegetable, brown rice or quinoa, with a lean protein (I’ll use a chicken breast as an example) and a healthy fat (such as avocado), you have designed a meal that will metabolize much more slowly. Your body will release the calories at a slower rate so your blood sugar won’t spike. Because it metabolizes gradually, you will enjoy sustained energy for a longer period of time, feel more satiated for longer, your hormones will be regulated, and unless you are a purely emotional eater, you’ll find yourself eating less!
With our ever increasingly busy lives, it’s often challenging to find lean proteins on-demand, and even more so to have the convenience of healthy meal options designed with the optimal balance of lean protein, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats.
What started out as my own desire to make healthy foods more convenient for my family and friends–especially as I began to witness many of them becoming sick–evolved into a passion and stewardship for others who share in this common goal. I’d like to introduce you to Toni’s OatMEAL which I designed to keep you FULL and FUELED for hours! It’s the perfect blend of lean protein (whey, egg white or plant-based), complex carbohydrates (whole rolled oats) and healthy fats (flax and nuts, depending upon the blend). It is delicious and convenient, just add hot water and go!
For more information and to order your two complimentary samples click here! (This offer is available for a limited time only)
About Toni Julian
Toni Julian is a Northern California-based health and nutrition advocate, author of BITE ME! Change Your Life One Bite at a Time, Fitness Expert, creator of Toni’s OatMEAL and 50-something mom of four. She shares her knowledge to inspire people to lead sustainably healthy lives. For more information visit her at www.ToniJulian.com
Pies, cakes and cookies…oh my! Have leftovers from the holidays cluttering your counters? All those empty, highly concentrated calories won’t do any good in open view, taunting you every time you walk by. If you find yourself saying “No!” and feeling tempted, be kind to yourself and toss the treats!
For an extra dose of accountability sit my book on your counter. Many of my clients tell me it helps if they think I can see them cheat!
It’s easy to allow ourselves to gradually get off course in our healthy eating habits during the holidays–those six critical weeks from Thanksgiving through New Year’s—when our willpower is tested and our nutritional standards slowly erode, eventually leading into a lobotomized state of mindless eating. Late nights, delayed flights, excessive imbibing, thoughtless snacking and over-indulgent eating–until we are well-beyond full– will undermine our health by draining our vitality and packing on unwanted pounds. We may drink too much at the office party, grab a cookie for lunch during a hectic day, or intentionally skip breakfast because we know we will soon be indulging in a festive feast. Our nutritional compass goes askew, as we recall our dessert course; you describe it as just a “teeeeeny” slice, as you squeeze your thumb and pointer finger into a pinch that makes your digits turn white. We defer, delay and deny when it comes to being mindful of our habits, until we reach that much-anticipated food coma in January we all come to regret.
With each passing year we promise ourselves “This time will be different; I will plan ahead, I won’t take on too much, I’ll focus on what’s important and I won’t overindulge!”
If this resonates with you, then read on for the top three things you should know before heading into the holidays.
- Set Realistic Expectations: Maintaining your weight (and not dieting) is a reasonable goal for the holidays and will set you up for success by keeping a moderate mindset. The common myth is that people gain an average of about seven pounds over the holidays, however you will be encouraged to know recent research conducted by the NIH (National Institutes of Health) has shown Americans typically gain just a couple of pounds over the holidays. However the cumulative effect of this gain over several years results in long-term impact on people’s health because those pounds tend to be permanent. And that’s where our nutritional compass is compromised and our mindset adjusts to accept our fate. Worse still, those extra pounds set us up for disease, such as Diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, Metabolic Syndrome and yes, even cancer.
- Go easy on the alcohol–Alcohol is a depressant adding unnecessary calories and can cause blood sugar lows (hypoglycemia) even a few days after consumption. Learning to drink in a way that has little effect on your wellness and weight is key; have one beverage (a glass of red wine is considered healthy by many physicians) in place of your carbohydrate at dinner, such as potatoes, rice, pastas or bread, and drink it towards the end of your meal. Aside from the effects on your mental attitude if you over-imbibe, think about the math a moment. Two drinks a day add up to roughly 300 calories, and after only a week of this seemingly benign habit, the extra energy can put about a pound on our frame if you’re not careful. And, of course once our guard is down, that guacamole and chip appetizer will look mighty appetizing, accounting for even more unnecessary calories.
- Be a smart cookie – Holidays are social times, so when attending parties bring a healthy side-dish so you will be certain to have nutritious food you know you can eat—and avoid the calorie dense foods, such as gravy, cheese trays, anything fried or saturated in oily sauces. Some great options to bring are kale salads, grilled seasonal vegetables, or from my book BITE ME! Change Your Life One Bite at a Time, guilt free Maple-Cinnamon Yams or my delicious and gluten-free Polenta Stuffing.
If you have found yourself overindulging, then get moving— Add at least a 30 minute walk to your day to help alleviate stress, clear your mind, and lift your spirits as your brain releases feel-good endorphens. Incorporating daily walks will prevent gaining over three pounds of fat over the six-week period.
Following these tips will keep your nutritional compass from going haywire, provide the foundation for a wholesome, healthy lifestyle and prepare you for a stress-free and fulfilling holiday season!
Toni Julian is an accomplished Health Advocate, Lifestyle and Nutrition Coach, CPT and Author of “BITE ME! Change Your Life One Bite at a Time”.
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