weight loss personal training chicago

5 Things You Should Never Do Before You Work Out

My personal training clients are always looking for ways to make their sessions with a personal trainer more efficient. Here is a recent article from MSN.com that should be followed by them and anyone active in the fitness studio.

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Craft a killer playlist. Get dressed in your workout best. Perform a light warm-up. You know what to do to get ready for an awesome workout. But there are some things you should never—and we mean never, ever—do before a workout. Like these five workout-wrecking mistakes:

1. Drink Just One Glass of Wine at Happy Hour


“Any amount of alcohol before working out is too much,” says certified strength and conditioning specialist Mike Donavanik. “Depending on the tolerance level one may have, it may affect some more than others—but either way, you’re looking at possible drowsiness, dehydration, narrowing of your blood vessels, impaired motor function, and a number of other side effects, which just aren’t conducive to working out.” What’s more, drinking even one glass of alcohol can lower your blood-sugar levels, which can lead to everything from shakiness and weakness to flat-out injury, says Georgie Fear, R.D., author of Lean Habits for Lifelong Weight Loss.

2. Chug More Than a Few Cups of Water


It’s an hour before your workout, and you just realized you’ve drunk shockingly little so far that day, so you down a bunch of water. We’ve all done it. But if you drink too much, it could backfire. Your kidneys can process close to a liter of water an hour, so if you drink more than that, you could put yourself at risk of a rare but serious condition called hyponatremia, in which the blood becomes diluted and the concentration of sodium ions drops too low, says Fear. Symptoms include a loss of energy, muscle weakness, and cramps, none of which make for a good workout. On the more dangerous end of things, it can cause seizures and coma.

Luckily, it’s unlikely that you’re going to down a two-liter bottle of water before your workout, but Donavanik recommends capping your intake even lower: at to two to three cups of water two to three hours before exercise—for your stomach’s sake. “If you have a stomach full of water and you’re doing intense exercise like sprints, jumps, and inversions, you feel that water moving around in your stomach—and it’s super unpleasant,” he says. “It can also cause you to cramp, feel nauseated, and possibly throw up.”

3. Hit Up the Indian Food Buffet


“Eating a big, spicy meal is a no-no if you don't want reflux or heartburn during your workout,” says Fear. It doesn't sound pretty: “Combined with jostling around, a full stomach increases the risk of acidic stomach contents contacting and irritating the inside of the esophagus and giving you that familiar heartburn sensation,” she says. “Reflux can torpedo your workout by making it less comfortable to work at your full intensity, giving you a sour taste in your mouth or even causing you enough pain to pack it in early.”

Plus, even if you somehow sidestep heartburn (lucky you), you still may have cramping and reduced exercise function to deal with. “If you start to work out while your body is still digesting food, the body now has to also shunt blood into the muscles being worked,” says Donavanik. “So now you aren’t getting enough blood supply to your stomach to help properly digest your food, and you aren’t getting an adequate blood supply to your muscles.” If you’re planning an intense workout, avoid meat, eggs, corn, and anything else that’s hard for your stomach to break down within a couple hours of hitting the gym. Stick with lighter foods, like fruit and carbs, within a couple hours of your workout, he says. Bonus: Since they are easily digestible, your body will actually be able to use them to help you power your workout.

4. Have Crazy, Wild Sex


“If two people are really going at it, sex can be detrimental pre-workout because you’re expending a lot of energy," says Donavanik. "Not just that, but during sex, oxytocin is released, which kind of mellows you out and gives you those feel-good vibes. So if you’re planning a hardcore bootcamp workout, skip the pre-workout sex.”

5. Try to Touch Your Toes


Static stretching (think: bend and hold) before a workout is a no-go. “When you work out, your muscles need to contract as intensely and forcefully as possible,” says Donavanik. “So when you put them in a stretched state beforehand, you limit their ability to do their job efficiently. It’s like you're taking away their tools for success.” For instance, in one study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, exercisers who static stretched before performing a squat reduced their strength by 8.36 percent and lower-body stability by 22.68 percent, compared to those who performed dynamic stretches before getting their squat on.

Article Credit:
Author: K. Aleisha Fetters (Women's Health)
5 Things You Should Never Do Before You Work Out
Fitness tips from a personal trainer in Chicago.
 

You Won't Believe What's in These Girl Scout Cookies!

Tis' the season for dirty snow, frigid temperatures, and a blizzard of girl scout cookies! While you secretly stash your coveted treats, you should know what these bits of sweet goodness really have in store in for you. I've captured the three worst cookies from The Best and Worst Girl Scout Cookies article on Eatingwell.com. Check out the full article to figure out how much sugar, calories, and saturated fat you'll need to burn off while meeting with your Chicago personal trainer. My recommendation: Eat one serving and run away.

Cookies your personal trainer in Chicago will tell you to run away from.

Cookies your personal trainer in Chicago will tell you to run away from.

Samoas

Serving size = 2 cookies
Nutrition Information per serving: 140 calories (70 calories per cookie), 7 g total fat, 5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 55 mg sodium, 19 g total carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 10 g sugars, 1 g protein.

****My absolute favorite cookie. I can't buy these cookies because the box requires me to eat them in one sitting. Evil. Pure evil.

This cookie will tag pounds on you when consumed in large amounts.

This cookie will tag pounds on you when consumed in large amounts.

Tagalongs

Serving size = 2 cookies
Nutrition Information per serving: 140 calories (70 calories per cookie), 9 g total fat, 5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 95 mg sodium, 13 g total carbohydrate, <1 g fiber, 7 g sugars, 1 g protein. Though these cookies are labeled as delivering 0 grams of trans fat, the ingredient list contains partially hydrogenated oil.

*****Sorry, peanut butter doesn't make this delicious cookie healthy for you.

Nice try. Thin Mints don't lose any saturated fat when frozen.

Nice try. Thin Mints don't lose any saturated fat when frozen.

Thin Mints

Serving size = 4 cookies
Nutrition Information per serving: 160 calories (40 calories per cookie), 8 g total fat, 5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 120 mg sodium, 22 g total carbohydrate, <1 g fiber, 10 g sugars, 1 g protein. The Thin Mints ingredient list includes partially hydrogenated oil, despite being labeled as containing 0 grams of trans fat per serving.

******Check out my new book Redefine Yourself:  The Simple Guide to Happiness on Amazon and other online booksellers March 2nd!!!!!!

Self-improvement book by a personal trainer in Chicago

Self-improvement book by a personal trainer in Chicago

 

Weight Loss Dinner: Chicken Shawarma with Spinach and Veggie Slaw

After two and a half years of dating, I finally realized that I'm the sous chef in the kitchen. Here is last night's tasty Mediterranean-influenced weight loss dinner from Chef Sammy-my personal trainer in the kitchen! Remember to add your baby spinach and favorite hummus to the plate.

Ingredients for Chicken:


1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts (2 large breasts)
1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs (4 large thighs)
6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp allspice
3/4 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon
Pinch of cayenne
Salt and black pepper
Nonstick cooking oil spray

Directions for Chicken:


-Slice the chicken breasts into 5-6 pieces each and the thighs into 3-4 pieces each. Place them in a marinating dish or large plastic zipper bag.

-In a small bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup olive oil, the spices, 3/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp black pepper (if you're salt sensitive, use 1/2 tsp of salt).

-Pour the spice marinade over the chicken pieces. Stir with a spoon till all the chicken pieces are evenly coated in the marinade. Cover the marinating dish with plastic wrap, or close the zipper bag.

-Place chicken in the refrigerator and let it marinate at least 1 hour, up to overnight.

-Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil. Spray the foil with nonstick cooking oil. Place the chicken pieces on the sheet, evenly spaced.

-Place the chicken in the oven. Let it roast for about 15 minutes till cooked through, turning the chicken pieces once with tongs halfway through cooking.

-Take chicken out of the oven and let it cool slightly. Use a sharp knife to slice the meat into small, thin shawarma-like pieces. Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a skillet on the stovetop over medium.

-Pour half of the chicken into the skillet and saute for 3-4 minutes till the smallest pieces of chicken turn brown and crisp. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste, if desired.

-Remove the cooked chicken from the skillet. Heat another 1 tbsp of oil and saute the remaining chicken in the same way. Serve warm.

Chicken recipe courtesy of http://toriavey.com/toris-kitchen/2012/08/chicken-shawarma/

Directions for Veggie Slaw:


-Toss a package of broccoli slaw, 12 quartered cherry tomatoes, 4 tbsp of pine nuts, 1 tbsp of rice vinegar, 1/2 of a squeezed lemon, a dash of salt, and a dash of pepper.

-Season with additional salt and pepper to taste, if desired. Serve cold.

Enjoy!

******Check out my new self-improvement book Redefine Yourself: The Simple Guide to Happiness on Amazon!!!!!!

Article Credit:
Weight Loss Dinner: Chicken Shawarma with Spinach and Veggie Slaw
Weight loss recipe for chicken and spinach.
2/13/2015 8:55 AM
Chicago Personal Trainer and the Self Improvement Book Redefine Yourself

Chicago Personal Trainer and the Self Improvement Book Redefine Yourself

 

10 Sneaky Sources of Sugar to Avoid

I've helped personal training clients lose over 2500 lbs combined in nearly 10 years.  How did they lose their weight? Besides limiting alcohol, grains, processed foods, red meats, and dairy, my personal training clients have minimized the amount of sugar in their diets.  

It isn't as easy as it sounds, though.  Manufacturers have been sneaking more sugar in your favorite foods than you know.  Check out MSN's list of 10 Sneaky Sources of Sugar to Avoid!

******Check out my new book Redefine Yourself:  The Simple Guide to Happiness on Amazon in February!!!!!!!

The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness

The Greatist recently posted their list of the 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.  If you're interested in weight loss personal training, enlightenment, or health, you should begin by following each of these influencers from their list:

-Michael Pollan (nutrition)

-Mark Hyman, M.D. (nutrition)

-Joel Fuhrman, M.D. (nutrition)

-Mike Boyle (sport fitness)

-Gray Cook (functional fitness)

-Mark Verstegen (functional fitness)

-Deepak Chopra, M.D. (enlightenment)

 See the rest of the list here and let me know who I should add to mine!!!!

******Check out my new book Redefine Yourself:  The Simple Guide to Happiness on Amazon in February!!!!!!!