Thursday, June 21, 2012

How Many Calories Do You Burn On the Treadmill? Are You Sure?

Have you ever finished a work-out on the treadmill and felt really great  about the amount of calories burned but somewhere in the back of your mind you did not fully believe the number on the machine? I have. I have also used my GPS running watch to estimate the calories I burned on a run and been skeptical of the large amount expenditure I supposedly put out. I hate to be to bearer of bad news but if like me, you are distrustful of the gym machine’s calorie usage estimate it’s for a good reason. The calories burned on a machine are at best an estimate of the amount of calories an average person with the same weight would burn given your speed, distance, and elevation. The number does not take into account factors such as lean body mass, genetics, and efficiency of exercise that all play are role in one’s total energy expenditure.  In fact, one paper from the American College of Sports Medicine found that calorie counters on one brand of elliptical were about 26% higher than lab based estimates.  
                Calories are a unit of energy that represent the rate at which oxygen is used to breakdown our food products. In order to really measure calories one must measure the amount of oxygen used. The reason heart rate monitors estimate calorie expenditure more accurately than treadmills and other gym machines is because when the body needs more oxygen to fuel its organs the heart begins to beat faster which is detected via a heart rate monitor. The companies that develop heart rate monitors have used research to develop their own formulas that couple heart rate with variables such as age, weight, sex and body composition  to estimate calorie usage. Treadmills and gym machines use formulas as well but factor in less individual variables leaving more room for error. Overall, the number or calories burned reported by the gym machine should be taken with a grain of salt and definitely not a prescription to the amount of food one should eat in a day.
                The good news is that the calorie number on the machines at the gym can provide a means to set goals and measure your effort level. Think about it, if you repeatedly use the same machine at the gym and one day you burn 200 calories and the next day you burned 220 calories you worked harder on day two. Try letting go of calories numbers and focus on improving speed and performance and you begin to naturally burn more calories. If you must have a calorie guide to help plan you meal plan I recommend getting your metabolism tested at our office with our indirect calorimeter , Reevue. For more information visit our website


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Workplace Exercises

This year I had the amazing opportunity to attend the SCAN (sports and cardiovascular nutrition) conference . One of the most stimulating presentations was The Inactivity Physiology Revolution: The Story behind the New Physical Activity Recommendations by Marc Hamilton, PhD. During his presentation Dr. Hamilton proposed the theory that the amount of time we spend each day inactive can have a detrimental effect on our health despite one or two very active hours in our day. For many Americans this can be very disturbing research because many jobs demand long hours of inactivity behind a computer or a desk.
Clients at RBA have expressed that their long hours spent at work make finding time to exercise difficult. I decided to do some research and see if there were a tips or tricks to increase activity during the workday and here is what I found:
·         Stability Ball
-Trading in your office chair for a stability ball will help strengthen your core and increase your balance while sitting behind your desk during the day
·         Resistance Bands
-          Resistance bands are small and portable and enable you to stretch and strengthen your muscles between meetings or during lunch.
·         Grip Squeezes
-          Small balls or grips for your hand allow you strengthen and work the muscles in your hands and forearms increasing your overall activity during the day.
·         Walk at work
-          Use your lunch break to take a walk. Instead of working through lunch or hitting the vending machine take your lunch outside and then enjoy a walk around your building when you are done.
·         Use your commute
-          If you are lucky enough to be in walking or biking distance from you work take advantage of that opptunitiy to save money and get exercise. If you take public transportation set a goal to get off a stop or two early and walk the extra distance. Finally, if you have to drive park far away and increase your daily steps!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Lower Cholesterol Diet: Chicken Salad Healthy Style

In preparation for my dietetic internship beginning in late August I was given a set of assignments to complete in order to asses my current knowledge and get me ready for the intense 10-month track to becoming a dietitian. Since two of my goals this summer are to do an excellent job on all my homework assignments and keep up with blogging I decided to combine the two tasks and blog about my assignments. Don't worry I will try and make it interesting and I'll of course include food!

The frist assignment was on the topic of lower cholesterol diets.

The question:

"Your patient tells you they have tried fat-free mayo and reduced fat mayo and complains that both taste awful. What alternatives would you suggest for them to use in making tuna salad that is low in fat and cholesterol"

Here are my substitutions:

1. Non- Fat Greek Yogurt
2. Olive oil and sun-dried tomatoes

Time for a test run! Greek yogurt was the first thing that came to mind since it's creamy like mayo but without the fat and cholesterol. PLUS it's got a ton of protein. Since I know I'll be having tuna steak for dinner I decided to create a chicken salad recipe using greek yogurt! It was awesome so I'm definitely adding it to my recipe index!

Sweet and Creamy Chicken Salad
  • 4 oz canned chicken
  • 2.5 oz non-fat Chobani Greek Yogurt 
  • 1 celery stick 
  • 10 g raisins 
  • 1tsp honey 
  • 1 shake cinnamon 
  • Mix all ingredients together and refrigerate for one hour!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Swimming out of My Comfort Zone.

Last night before I went to bed I wrote down my aspired workout:

Run 5 miles, Swim 20 lengths of the pool and go to spin class. 

I wanted to do this because one of my summer  goals is to broaden my fitness routine to take it to the next level.

I tell myself that I love running so much that I tend to favor it and forget about other sports. The reality is that running is comfortable for me . This summer I am making an extra effort to step outside of my comfort zone and try new sports and gym classes. But I want to do more than just try them... I want to work them into a weekly routine so I can truly reap benefits of the exercises and maybe even begin to enjoy them the way I do running. When I started running I wasn't necessarily good at it but I became good doing repeatedly day in and day out...

The only problem with my summer goal is Swimming is way out of my comfort zone!!!  In fact I have been telling myself for two years I am going to start swimming and have been to the pool a total of three times that I can remember in those past two years. The whole process of swimming intimidates me. It's not that I can't swim, I can in fact I was life guard in high school. I think it's just doing something new and intimidating can be hard.

What did I actually do today? I went to spin class, ran 3 miles, and I swam 2 laps of the pool. Not quite what I wrote down this morning but I'm really proud I stepped out of my comfort zone and got in the pool. I would have swam more I think but a life guarding class came to use the pool and my insecurities got the best of me and I left resolving to redeem myself tomorrow morning!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Simple Protein Packed Breakfast

Protein in the morning helps you get through your day because it increases satiety and reduces hunger . It is the building block of all cells in the body so it is especially important on those mornings when you wake up sore from a hard work out the night before because it repairs your damaged tissues to help rebuild muscles. Which was exactly my motivation for making this protein packed deliciousness this morning! Last night I went to an intense boot camp class which consisted of ALOT of push ups, power jacks, and some unidentifiable exercises. This morning my entire body ached so I decided on creating a high protein breakfast:

  • 8 oz Chobani plain greek yogurt 
  • 1/2 oz pecans 
  • 1/2 Tbsp honey 
  • 4 large strawberries 
  • cinnamon to taste

The Nutrition: