Maintaining a Workout Through Injury

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In the blink of an eye a wrong step or quick movement can have you sidelined from your favorite activities. An injury however, doesn’t mean you have to give up on chasing your health and fitness goals, you might just have to get a bit more creative!

As a personal trainer, I occasionally get calls and emails from clients who have obtained an injury and want to put a hold on their training because they think they can’t continue until they’re healed. Not true!  Depending on the severity of the injury, it’s more than possible to continue your training routine with appropriate modifications. I have personally torn my ACL and broken my foot but still maintained a regular workout routine. I have trained clients with many common injuries: sprained ankles, tweaked backs, torn rotator cuffs, injured arms, wrists, etc. and I have trained clients with more severe injuries or illnesses like strokes, post open heart surgery, Alzheimer’s, etc. The point is, there are very few things that can keep you from doing some type of physical activity. In fact, more and more research is proving that continuing physical activity improves healing times and outcomes. It is important to note however, that you should have 1) clearance from your doctor to continue physical activity, and 2) a personal trainer, exercise physiologist, or therapist that understands your injury and can provide appropriate adaptations and recommendations to your routine. For our purpose today, we’ll focus on maintaining your workout through more common injuries. (Broken bones, sprains, muscle pulls, torn ligaments/tendons)

Upper Body Injuries

This is probably the best case scenario if you are looking to continue a weight loss program or train for some type of cardio event. The silver lining here is that your legs are powerhouses and burn a significant amount of calories during a workout. 

Cardio Training 
Cardio can still be done! Some exercises, especially fairly immediately post injury, can be uncomfortable so you may need to taper the intensity and make sure your injured area is properly supported. Intensity may be increased as tolerated. More full body cardio workouts like swimming, aerobics, rowing will most likely have to be put on hold, but walking, running, hiking, elliptical, stairs, biking/spinning (depending on the injury) can all still be great options!

Lower Body workouts
Resistance training workouts are a perfect way to continue fitness training. While, depending on your injury, you may not be able to hold a weight, you can use things like your body weight, risers, stairs, resistance bands, or even weight machines such as leg press and functional trainer. You may need to avoid jumping and jarring movements at first. And yes, unfortunately those burpees and mountain climbers will have to be put on hold. ;-)

Lower Body Injury

Upper Body Workouts can still be done! When I tore my ACL in high school, I was unable to participate in regular gym class and was introduced to the weight room instead. I began weight training regularly 2-3 times per week and before I knew it, I was doing something I never thought I’d be able to do-Pull-ups! 

Cardio doesn’t necessarily have to be out of the question. Depending on your injury, swimming can be great for rehabilitation and cardio. Rowing, while traditionally uses legs, can be done with arms only. If you’re a member of a gym that has battle ropes, they provide great upper body and core cardio and can be done standing or sitting. If you’re a bit more adventurous and the season and your injury allows it, you could do some kayaking, canoeing or rowing. 

Back Injury

(Herniated discs, Strain)
Exercising with a back injury can be tough, but it’s not impossible! It’s important to make sure you start with a long warm-up and maintain proper posture throughout. Overhead exercises put a lot of pressure on the spine and should be avoided with back injuries. I keep my clients in a supported position during each exercise and shift the focus of the workout to increasing flexibility, supporting core strength, and stretching. 

Cardio doesn’t have to be avoided with a back injury either. It is best to avoid any jarring, jumping or bouncing exercises that create higher impact, however things like swimming, water aerobics, or water walking can take pressure pressure off your back and make it easier to move around. Cycling and yoga can also be great low impact workouts. 

Nutrition and Injuries

Something you may not think about while you’re caring for an injury is how important your diet is to the healing process. Diet will be extra important not only for continuing toward your goals but for proper recovery of your injury.

Even though our activity level tends to decrease with an injury, our metabolic rate can actually increase by 15-20% due to the work the body must do to repair itself. Post surgery, your metabolic rate may increase by as much as 50%!  Talk with you doctor or nutritionist/trainer prior to any drastic changes to your diet. 

Macronutrients

Protein 
Protein is essential for the healing process. On average, you should be consuming around 0.8g/kg of lean protein. With an injury, you may need to increase this intake to closer to 1.5g/kg.

Fats
A diet high in trans fats, omega-6 rich vegetable oils and saturated fats will increase inflammation while a diet high in monounsaturated fats, and omega-3 fatty acids with decrease inflammation. A normal good balance of saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats should appropriately regulate the body’s inflammation. Some research has shown that an increase in nut, seed and olive oil consumption can mildly reduce inflammatory biomarkers. These foods have been found to share a mechanism similar to ibuprofen. Keep in mind some inflammation is helpful for healing so overdoing it on the anti-inflammatory foods and medication can lead to a longer recovery. Key takeaway here, is balance!

Carbohydrates
Maintaining your normal intake of unprocessed carbohydrates is important to ensure you’re benefiting from appropriate micronutrients. Processed carbohydrates should be avoided as they trigger the inflammatory process in the body. 

Vitamins and Minerals
The jury is still out on the exact role specific vitamins and minerals play in injury healing, but the following seem to provide benefits with extra supplementation during an injury:

(*consult your doctor and nutritionist prior to increasing any supplements in your diet especially if taking other medications*)

Vitamin A: During the acute phase of an injury, it supports early inflammation, reverses post-injury immune suppression and assists in collagen formation. (Collagen is a protein that forms part of your ligaments, tendons, bones, skin, and blood vessels). Keep in mind that Vitamin A is fat solvable, meaning it can accumulate in the body leading to potential toxicity if increased too much. Ideally you would only increase intake of Vitamin A during the first 1-2 weeks. 

Vitamin C: Enhances white blood cell activity and plays a key role in collagen synthesis. It also is a powerful antioxidant and immune system modulator. Recommendations are 1-2g/day during injury repair. 

Copper: Assists in formation of red blood cells and works with Vit C to form elastin (another protein in your connective tissue) and strengthen connective tissue. In the first few weeks of your injury, its recommended to take 2-4mg/day.

Zinc: Plays many roles in the body, but is especially necessary for tissue regeneration and repair. It’s one of the most common micronutrient deficiencies found. Supplementing with 15-30mg per day is recommended during the initial healing stages. 

Calcium and Iron: Play a role in bone health and injury prevention. These are also commonly found deficiencies, so it is important to make sure your food source intake of these is adequate. There is no need to increase during an injury. As with vitamin A, vitamin D and Iron can be toxic in extremely high doses. 

(The Essentials of Sport and Exercise Nutrition. Ch. 9pg 226-228)


Exercising with an injury doesn’t have to mean a vacation from your workouts and fitness/nutrition goals. Make sure you communicate properly with your trainer about your injury, specified restrictions, and any pain or discomfort that may arise. With your doctors blessing, you can continue a regular exercise routine through a multitude of injuries.

The IronPlate Guide to Creating a Home Gym

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No matter where you live, you can always make a little room for a workout space. We’ve seen great workout spaces in studio apartments, as well as in one-family townhouses. Whether its a permanent set up, or a space you use for multiple purposes, we’ll walk you through how to create a workout space that fits your lifestyle. 

My personal workout areas have changed many times over the years depending on where I’ve lived or what I needed at the time. I’ve joined big box gyms, stored fitness equipment in closets, as well as had my own dedicated room as personal gym space. While my ultimate goal is to build out my own personal home gym, I’ve managed to continuously create temporary spaces in all the places I’ve lived that get the job done. All you need is enough space for the type of workouts you want to do. 

Step 1: Decide on an area

Check out your living space

  • What type of workouts do you plan on using your workout space for?

    • Cardio? 

      • You’ll need a space big enough for your equipment of choice (i.e. Treadmill, Elliptical, Bike, Rower.)

      •  It should be a place that you can make some noise, as cardio machines tend to be noisy. 

      • Ideally the space should have good airflow with a window and or fan. 

    • Weight Training? 

      • You’ll need enough room for body weight exercises or a few small pieces of equipment.

      • If you plan on doing any jumping or plyometric exercises (burpees, box jumps, etc) You’ll need to make sure you have room for rubber mats and enough ceiling height to jump. 

      • If you have neighbors below you, this may impact the type of exercises you can do or where you complete your workouts. 

    • Yoga or Meditation?

      • Not much space at all! Just enough to be able to extend your limbs in multiple directions and lay out a mat. 

  • Do you have enough room to have a separate workout space or do you need to share it with a living space?

    • In an apartment? 

      • Usually the living room or bedroom is ideal. Or maybe if you’re lucky, you have an office or spare room.

    • In a house? 

      • A basement, spare room, garage or shed tend to be best so you can keep everything set up all the time. (If you never go to a specific room, or hate it, don’t put your workout stuff there. You’ll never go!). 

      • Just because your equipment is set up in one room doesn’t mean you always have to stay there!  Currently my main workout area is in the basement. Occasionally I’ll bring a few pieces of equipment upstairs to either my daughter's playroom or in nice weather outside on our back patio. 

A couple of things to keep in mind:

  • Be mindful of the other people in your living area.

  • Keep in mind the time of day you’ll be completing your workouts. (Especially in an apartment — your neighbors might not appreciate your early morning/late night bedroom workouts.)

  • You don’t necessarily have to stick to one room for the entire workout.

    • When I lived in my apartment, I did the main part of my workout in my living room, but for any jumping activity, I went in my kitchen because the floor was more sound proof there. 




Step 2: Equipment Type 

Once you decide on a space, you need to figure out how much room do you have for equipment. One thing I recommend everyone get regardless of space, is a yoga mat or something similar. This will help with gripping on exercises, catching your sweat, and ease impact not your joints. It’s lightweight and can easily be rolled up and stored away when not in use. (Yoga mats can be found be found pretty much anywhere, but I have consistently seen a lot on Amazon, Target, Walmart, TJMaxx/Marshalls/HomeGoods, etc.)  

Equipment Suggestions Based on Space:

  • Minimal Storage Space: Resistance Bands, TRX Straps, Jump Rope, stairs in your house or apartment, step stool

  • Medium Storage Space: Couple of free weights, Adjustable free weights or kettlebells, Kettlebell, Aerobics Step, Battle rope (single family homes only!  If you have neighbors below you, they will NOT appreciate the battle rope)

  • Large Storage Space/Set Room-Weight set, barbells, kettlebells, plyometric boxes, treadmill, bike, elliptical, etc, Mirrors. 

Start small. Add equipment slowly as you progress through workouts. This way you’ll have a better idea of your available space and what you may be lacking. You can also talk to your personal trainer who will be able to recommend more specific equipment to complement your current routine. 

Look around your space, be creative with the things in it. I FaceTime train clients in their homes or apartments, and many times they start with little or no equipment, but that doesn’t mean their workouts can’t be just as good as they would be in a full gym. 

  • Things like coffee tables or ottomans make great steps or benches

  • Door frames are great for back rows or holding resistance bands 

  • Step stools or stairs in your house or apartment building can be used for a variety of upper and lower body exercises as well as some cardio. 

  • Anything you can use as a weight: laundry detergent, water bottles, decorative pieces like vases, cast iron pans…..

The more things you can use around your house, the less equipment you have to buy!




Step 3: Buying Equipment

People will forever buy fitness equipment and never use it. Check places like Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, and yard sales for used weight training and cardio equipment. Spring tends to be the best time to look as people start to do their spring and summer clean outs. 

  • As a general rule of thumb, new weights will cost roughly $1 per pound. Keep that in mind when calculating the price people are selling theirs at. 

  • Do your research on brands, warranties, age of equipment (especially for cardio equipment. They are NOT all created equal and while FREE seems like a good deal, it may require a lot of repair work.). 

  • Always ask to see and test equipment prior to purchasing so you know what you’re getting. 

  • I also recommend meeting in a neutral location if possible. If not, always bring someone with you to look at or pick up equipment. 

If you feel the need to have brand new equipment: Check reviews on big box and online stores. For serious equipment investment, check out brands like Rogue or Hudson steel. 




Step 4: Flow/Safety

  • Don’t get too much equipment for the space you have or you’ll constantly be moving things around to make room for your next exercise or tripping over pieces. 

  • If your sharing your workout space with another living space, make sure furniture, toys, decorations are pushed out of the way for your workout.

  • Flooring-Wear appropriate footwear for your flooring. (I.e. No socks on hardwood.)  If you plan on doing a lot of jumping or high impact exercises, make sure you have supportive flooring such as rubber mats. Concrete floors are not great for absorbing energy.

    • Rubber flooring will help reduce noise, protect your floors and ease impact on your joints. 




Overall, it doesn’t take much to create a space for a killer workout. Once you have your space created, ask your trainers at IronPlate Studios and IronPlate Online for specific workout plans to do in your new space that will complement the work you are doing with your personal trainer. 

The IronPlate Guide to Resistance Training

The majority of us are aware that resistance training is an important part of our physical fitness routine and we have some basic idea of how to incorporate it into our workouts, but are you doing so appropriately and in the most beneficial way for our ultimate goals?

Resistance Training can be defined as any exercise using an external force to induce muscular contraction in order to build strength, endurance and size of skeletal muscle. Some of the benefits of resistance training include the strengthening of our bones, ligaments, tendons, and joint movements, as well as an increased metabolism. (https://www.emedicinehealth.com/strength_training/article_em.htm)

Resistance Training can be broken up into the following categories:

Strength: Maximal amount of force a muscle can generate

Power: explosive component of strength

Hypertrophy: increase in muscle size 

Muscular Endurance: repeatedly exert force over a period of time 

There are some key terms you should be familiar with when it comes to resistance training.

Repetitions:The number of times an exercise is performed

1 repetition maximum (1RM)-the greatest amount of weight that can be lifted with proper technique for one repetition only.

Repetition maximum (RM) most weight lifted for a specified number of repetitions. These Maximum numbers are useful when determining roughly how much weight you should lift for each exercise. 

Sets: The number of times each group of repetitions is performed (ex: 3 sets of 10 repetitions)

Super Set: Two exercises that stress two opposing muscles or muscle areas. (Ex: Chest Press followed by back row)

Compound Set: Sequentially performing two different exercises for the same muscle group (Example: Chest Press followed by Pec Fly)

Common Equipment:

  • Body Weight 

  • Dumbbell

  • Barbell

  • Kettlebell

  • Medicine Ball

  • Resistance Bands

  • Functional Trainer

  • TRX

  • Plyometric Box

  • A million other options out there-but these are pretty standard in most gyms

Your ultimate goals will determine the number of Reps, Sets and Weight load you should be doing. If your goals are:

  1. Strength

    • Load: >85% of your 1RM 

    • Reps: <6

    • Rest Period: 2-5 min

  2. Power

    • Single Effort event:

      • 80-90% of your 1RM 

      • Reps: 1-2 

      • Rest period: 2-5min

    • Multiple-effort event: 

      • 75-85% of your 1 RM

      • Reps: 3-5

      • Rest Period: 2-5 min

  3. Hypertrophy

    • 67-85% of your 1RM 

    • Reps: 6-12

    • Rest Period: 30sec-1.5min

  4. Muscular Endurance:

    •  <67% of your 1 RM

    • Reps: > 12

    • Rest Period: <30 Sec

The order of your exercises matters too! Your IronPlate trainers carefully put together your program to make sure your gains, progressions and muscle function is optimal. 

You should perform all power exercises first. These exercises include things like snatch, hang clean, power clean, push jerk, etc. Next in line, you want to work your larger muscle groups or multi-joint exercises. Then lastly, your smaller muscle, single joint exercises, or things like your biceps and triceps. 

There are a few different techniques that are beneficial to resistance training. 

Drop sets: Performing exercise at higher weight to failure, then decreasing weight and performing to failure again, repeating for 3-5 sets. 

Pyramid sets: Starting with low weight and higher reps, increasing weight and decreasing reps with each set. Full Pyramid includes decreasing weight and increasing reps once you’ve reached peak. 

Giant set: 3 or more exercises performed in a row with less than 60 seconds rest in between

Push-pull superset: Alternating pushing exercise with pulling exercise (ex. Bench press with row)

Pre-exhaustion: Fatiguing large single-joint muscle groups prior to performing multi-joint exercise involving same muscle. 

Weight training routines are generally organized throughout a week in a couple of different ways:

Full Body: Incorporating all the major muscle groups into one workout

  • Best to have at least 1 day (ideally 2-3 days) of rest* in between these types of workouts. *Rest from weight training. You can still perform cardio and other types of physical activity on your “off” weight training days

Split Routine: Training 2 or 3 muscle groups at a time. This allows for increased rest of muscle groups.

  • Split Routines can be broken up into: 

    • Upper body/Lower body

    • Push/Pull (ex: chest, shoulder tri day 1, back, bi, core day 2 OR something like: Day 1:Chest/Triceps, Day 2: Back/Biceps, Day 3: Shoulders/Core) 


As you can see, putting a resistance training program together requires some thoughtfulness. Overtime your goals might change and it’s important to adapt the appropriate changes to your workout routine so you can meet your goals optimally. Ready to make some changes to your workout routine? Contact the trainers at IronPlate Studios or IronPlate Online to help you create the best program for your goals. 

Bad-Ass Clients: John

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Next up is John who began training with IronPlate Studios’ basic online training program in February. John never shied away from exercise, but as with the majority of us, life got in the way. This husband and father worked hard to find that balance between self care, full-time work, and family in order to achieve his goals. He began his journey as a size 40 and 250 lbs and is currently down to a size 34 and 195 lbs. Read on to hear more about John’s transformation!


What motivated you to make a change or get started on your wellness journey?  My wife especially. She has always encouraged me to get back into shape. I wanted to do it for my family.

What made you choose IP Studios to help you achieve those goals? Wife recommendation.

What are your personal goals. Have you reached any? I reach goals all the time through the workouts and eating right. My goal is to get 170. I started at about 240-ish.

What was your training/ nutrition regimen prior to starting at IP? How has it evolved from your first week with IP to where you currently are right now? I was never afraid to exercise, but I was not exercising right or correctly. Working with Caitlin and watching the videos made me realize that I needed to do better. My training has evolved as I am getting better and stronger. My weights have gone up, but I am not necessarily looking for weight pumping exercising. I am looking to trim out and she is doing a great job.

How would you describe your current lifestyle? Work full or part time? Kids? Travel often for work or pleasure? Out frequently? My lifestyle is non-stop. I have three kids and they all have places to go. I am a teacher so when I get home I am usually going back out with them. My family travels once a year to Cape May and we frequently do go out a lot as a family.

What’s your favorite food to make?  Would you care to share a recipe? My favorite food to make is Alfredo Sauce....it is not healthy!!!! Heavy Cream, butter, parmesan cheese, and salt! Add pasta or chicken or whatever you like.

What’s your guilty pleasure food? How do you incorporate it into your current lifestyle? Ice cream. I have been great. I don’t eat it except on rare occasions and I don’t have the urge like I used to either.

What struggles have you faced along the way and how have you dealt with them?  Sometimes you have family events that you can lose track of what you eat or lose days exercising due to family commitments. That can be hard.

How has training at IP helped you in your journey? It has given me focus. I can see goals, plans, and workouts clearer than before.

What are some of your hobbies? Video games, writing, and cooking

What’s one fascinating thing you have learned from your time with IronPlate. (Either from your trainer or about yourself). I learned that I can do almost anything with the right tools.



If you’re ready to make some changes and become a bad-ass client, send us an email to take a tour of the studio or check out some of our great introductory specials.



Bad-Ass Clients: Lawrence

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Now for our Bad-Ass Men of IronPlate! First up is Lawrence who began his journey with IronPlate studios as an in-studio client twice a week. He has since switched over to our Hybrid training program to get the best of both worlds: once a week in-studio training and online personalized workout progressions and nutrition guidance for the remainder of the week. With goals of modifying his nutrition habits to still fit his lifestyle, Lawrence has managed to work around life’s crazy schedules and is on the road to much healthier habits! We attribute his success to being religiously compliant to the hybrid program, (even on vacation!-another perk of online training :-) ), and openly communicating with both his trainers any necessary adjustments to his schedule and progress within his fitness and nutrition program. Read on to hear about Lawrence’s personal fitness and nutrition journey with IronPlate Studios.

What motivated you to make a change or get started on your wellness journey? What made you choose IP Studios to help you achieve those goals?

So, i'll answer these two together. I started working out at IronPlate around 5 years ago with a good friend of mine. We had been coming and training together twice a week. And it was great and I learned a lot. But I was looking for something that would motivate me to work out outside of the studio and to increase my accountability.  When Kristen told me that IP was going to start an on-line training program and that Caitlin would be running it, I knew it would be perfect for me. Caitlin designs my workouts at home, normally 4 days per week and then I go in the studio one day per week alternating upper and lower. It has really helped me increase my work outs and because i'm doing it on my own, I am taking more responsibility for it.  

What are your personal goals.  Have you reached any?

I've lost around 5 pounds, which was my target.  My real aim has been to be better with my eating habits. I definitely have more to go, but I've gotten much better. 

What was your training/ nutrition regimen prior to starting at IP?  How has it evolved from your first week with IP to where you currently are right now?

I work fairly long hours and that makes it difficult during the week to eat well.  Since I've started with IP Online, I've been much better at cooking several times per week. Dinners during the week we order meals from "Eat Clean Bro." It has helped me be more cognizant of the choices I make. 

How would you describe your current lifestyle? Work full or part time? Kids? Travel often for work or pleasure? Out frequently? Etc.

Both my husband and I are attorneys and we work fairly long hours. We travel once or twice per year for pleasure and we like to go out to dinner on the weekends. 

What’s your favorite food to make?  Would you care to share a recipe?

During the colder months, I love using the slow cooker.  It's so easy.  A couple of my favorites: spaghetti and meatballs (https://damndelicious.net/2018/10/22/slow-cooker-spaghetti-and-meatballs/) - if you're Italian or classically trained in food, it's sacrilegious because you have to snap the pasta in half and cook it in the sauce....but it's really, really good and easy and it makes enough for two for a couple of days. I also like https://chefsavvy.com/slow-cooker-honey-garlic-chicken/ - a bit of spice and very easy. 

During the summer, it's so easy to grill.  I like very simple steak or lamb seasoned with salt and pepper and cooked medium and some simple corn on the cob. 

What’s your guilty pleasure food? How do you incorporate it into your current lifestyle?

Definitely like a nice glass (or a few) of wine. I try not to drink during the week  - sometimes with work events that is not possible. Food-wise, I have a weakness for wings. I try to  limit that, but I don't like depriving myself of things I like completely because then I'll end up going to eat a bucket of wings one day... 

What struggles have you faced along the way and how have you dealt with them?

Fitting in workouts and eating well when work or life gets hectic and busy is tough! Working with Caitlin has helped to schedule things.  When I'm away and there's no gym, I have 30-minute, no equipment workouts I can turn to.  

How has training at IronPlate helped you in your journey?

Everyone at IronPlate is realistic and always willing to listen and adapt.   

What are some of your hobbies?

I read a lot of fiction - spy novels and mysteries especially. I recently restarted playing the piano (which I haven't done since childhood).

What’s one fascinating thing you have learned from your time with IronPlate. (Either from your trainer or about yourself)    

I have always been intimidated by the gym. I've learned that I don't have to be.  


If you’re ready to make some changes and become a bad-ass client, send us an email to take a tour of the studio or check out some of our great introductory specials.

The IronPlate Guide to Flexibility

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Flexibility is often overlooked or set aside on our wellness journey as we chalk up our aches and pains to getting older, that tough workout we did the day before, or even our lack of physical activity. Some of us have it, but most of us don’t and wish we did. Flexibility is one of those things that with some time and effort, we can and should improve. 

Our muscles, bones, ligaments and tendons work together to help us glide through our daily movements. If one area of our body is stiff or tight, it could throw the rest of our body’s movements off track leading to strain or injury. Most of the time our body compensates and we are somewhat unaware these imbalances exist until we attempt something a bit more challenging, or worse, tweak something the wrong way. Training the flexibility of our joints is just as important as focusing on the strength and endurance of our bodies. The American Council on Exercise (ACE), defines flexibility as “the range of motion of a given joint or group of joints or the level of tissue extensibility that a muscle group possesses.” In other words, how easy we are able to move through our motions. 

Flexibility benefits:

  • Improved balance and stability

  • Fluidity through our range of motion

  • Improved ability to complete our activities of daily living

  • Decrease in stress

  • Improved posture

  • Decreased muscle imbalances

  • Reduced pain & tightness

  • Improved exercise performance

  • Injury prevention 

These benefits sound great, but what can we do to improve our flexibility? First and foremost, the more you move, the better your joints move as well. Adding exercises like yoga, Tai Chi, swimming, etc can increase your strength and flexibility. Stretching is also a key component to gaining flexibility. There are several different types of stretching*, each with their own benefits.

Types of stretching:

  • Static: The most common type of stretching-is a stretch held a single position for roughly 30 seconds. 

    • Passive Static Stretching: Using some type of outside assistance to help you achieve a stretch. (I.e. body weight, strap, gravity, another person, or stretching device.)

    • Active Static Stretching: the force is applied by the individual .

  • Dynamic: Stretch performed by repeatedly moving through a slow controlled range of motion. This type of stretching is generally utilized to increase flexibility for a specific sport or activity. (I.e. long exaggerated strides to prepare for a race). 

  • Active Isolated Stretching: This stretch technique is held for only two seconds at a time. It is performed repeatedly for several repetitions, each time exceeding the previous point of resistance by a few degrees. Much like a strength-training regimen, AIS is performed for several sets with a specific number of repetitions.

  • PNF: (Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation) One of the most effective forms for improving flexibility and ROM, was originally developed as part of rehabilitation. It offers three different techniques:

    • Hold-relax

      • Perform a passive 10-second pre-stretch.

      • Hold and resist force applied by the fitness professional, causing an isometric contraction in the target muscle group, for six seconds.

      • Relax the muscle group and allow a passive stretch; hold for 30 seconds to increase range of motion (ROM).

      • There should be a greater stretch during this final phase due to autogenic inhibition.

    • Contract-relax

      • Perform a passive 10-second pre-stretch.

      • The fitness professional applies resistance, counteracting the client’s force of concentric contraction of the target muscle group, without completely restricting the joint through its ROM.

      • Relax the muscle group and allow a passive stretch; hold for 30 seconds to increase ROM.

      • There should be a greater stretch during this final phase due to autogenic inhibition.

    • Hold-relax with agonist contraction

      • This technique is similar to the Hold-relax technique, but differs for the final stretch.

      • Relax the muscle group and allow a passive stretch. Concentrically contract the opposing muscle group of the target muscle group that is being stretched; hold for 30 seconds to increase ROM.

      • There should be a greater stretch during this final phase due to reciprocal and autogenic inhibition.

  • Ballistic: Was widely used years ago as a way to trigger the stretch reflex by using bouncing movements. Currently it is used for athletic drills. It is not highly recommended now to the general population due to its high risk of injury. It can however be safely done if you start with a low-velocity and slowly increase velocity. It should also be preceded by static stretching. 

  • Myofascial Release: Through the use of a foam roller or similar device, myofascial release relieves tension and improves flexibility in the fascia (a densely woven specialized system of connective tissue that covers and unites all of the body’s compartments), and underlying muscle. Small, continuous back-and-forth movements are performed over an area of 2 to 6 inches for 30 to 60 seconds. The individual’s pain tolerance will determine the amount of pressure applied to the target area.

It’s important to remember that all stretching should occur only when muscles are properly warmed up. At IronPlate Studios, we usually take you through a dynamic warm up and static stretch cool down, unless, we feel you might benefit from additional flexibility help. If you’re unsure which type of stretching might be best for you, just ask your trainer at IronPlate Studios!


*Majority of the above definitions coming directly from the American Council on Exercise at https://www.acefitness.org/fitness-certifications/ace-answers/exam-preparation-blog/2966/types-of-stretching

Anaerobic vs Aerobic Exercise

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Everyone is always looking for that magic workout that is going to get them to their goals quicker. What’s best? Cardio? Weights? HIIT? The answer depends on what your ultimate goals are, but for the majority of us just looking to get in shape or lose a little weight, our bodies benefit from a combination and variety of all types of exercise. Each exercise type provides different and equal benefits to our well-being. Our bodies use several different systems to provide us with the energy that allows us to continue through our training movements. The type of system and energy source our body uses depends on the intensity and duration of the activity we are performing. For our purpose, exercise can be simplified into two types of training: Anaerobic training and Aerobic training.

Anaerobic Training

Meaning “without oxygen”, qualifies as short duration, high intensity exercise with long rest periods in between. Typically this type of exercise lasts anywhere from 2 seconds to 2 minutes with rest periods lasting on average 3-5 minutes. Think weight lifting, plyometric exercise, sprinting, etc. These workouts are designed to build strength, muscle and power. Our body is unable to breakdown fatty acid stored in our body fast enough to fuel these workouts, so it relies solely on what is readily available in our muscles. These energy stores, called glycogen and ATP (adenosine triphosphate) are the body’s primary fuel source. These stores are used up quickly which is why you are not able to sustain a high intensity exercise for longer than 2 minutes. The long rest period allows your body and energy system time to recharge for your next set.

Some benefits Anaerobic Training provides are:

  • Strength

  • Growth in muscle mass

  • Strengthening of bones

  • Strengthening and protection of joints

  • Helps control body weight. (Greater muscle mass = increased calorie burn at rest)

  • Can withstand a greater buildup of lactic acid and other waste substances, and their body can eliminate them quicker.

Aerobic Training

Meaning “with oxygen”, includes long duration exercise with short rest periods. Typically, this means any exercise lasting longer than 2 minutes. Because the intensity is lower and the duration is longer, the body has more time to pull and convert fatty acids stored elsewhere in your body into energy to sustain the workout. The body’s primary fuel of choice here are carbohydrates and fats with oxygen. Without going into too much detail, our bodies use several different cycles within the aerobic system to convert energy. (KREBS cycle bring back nightmares for anyone else?)

Some benefits of Aerobic Training include:

  • Strengthened muscles involved in respiration (breathing)

  • Stronger heart muscle (able to pump more efficiently)

  • Tones muscles throughout most of the body

  • Reduces blood pressure

  • Improves circulation

  • Raises the number of red blood cells, which improves oxygen transportation

  • Can improve sleep quality of insomnia patients

  • Shown to improve mental health

  • Some research shows exercise may reduce migraine symptoms

  • Reduces the risk of heart disease and cardiovascular problems

  • Helps improve survival rates of patients with cardiovascular diseases significantly

  • High impact aerobic exercise stimulates bone growth and reduces the risk of osteoporosis

  • Increases stamina or endurance - aerobic activity increases the body's ability to store energy molecules such as fats and carbohydrates within the muscle

  • Increases blood flow through muscles

Many times in our workouts, these systems work together, but the type of exercise being performed dictates which system our bodies rely on the most. Our bodies are able to shift between systems relatively seamlessly.

At IronPlate Studios, the reason we encourage you to not only weight train but add in those intervals, plyos, and that cardio is so you can train both systems to perform at their optimal level. (Not just to nag you on your days outside the studio ;-). ). Talk to your trainers at IronPlate Studios today to make sure you’re getting the best bang-for-your-buck in all our workouts!



Sources

“Essentials of Strength Training &amp; Conditioning (2.Ed.).” Essentials of Strength Training &amp; Conditioning (2.Ed.), by Thomas R. Baechle and Roger W. Earle, Human Kinetics, 2000, pp. 137–159.

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/153390.php



Bad-Ass Clients: Lauren

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Another bad-ass IronPlate client, Lauren S. Lauren started training with IronPlate in the Hoboken studio. She took a little break when she moved out of Hoboken, and has come back to be tortured —I mean motivated by us — through FaceTime training!


What motivated you to make a change or get started on your wellness journey?

I was tired of the way I had little to no energy, my clothes were starting not to fit as well and I was feeling really down about the weight I gained back after losing so much.

What made you choose IronPlate Studios to help you achieve those goals?

I was always super self-conscious about working out in public gyms so I started looking for something that was private and convenient for my schedule. After a quick google search the studio popped up and it checked all my boxes. When I moved to Jersey City I wanted to continue working with IronPlate so I switched to FaceTime training for the same reasons: privacy and convenience

What are your personal goals. Have you reached any?

My personal goals are simply to feel better about myself and bring back the confidence I had a few years ago. I am down 23 pounds so I am definitely starting to get it back 😊

Lauren’s home gym setup.

Lauren’s home gym setup.

What was your training/ nutrition regimen prior to starting at IronPlate? How has it evolved from your first week with IronPlate to where you currently are right now? Before IronPlate I would either do the treadmill rarely or not work out at all. I went from no activity to working out on average 4 times a week. For nutrition I would just “try to just be good” but also indulge far more than I do now. Now, I am very cautious about what I eat and still allow myself to eat the things I love without overdoing it.

How would you describe your current lifestyle? Work full or part time? Kids? Travel often for work or pleasure? Out frequently?

I work full time in NYC. I do travel for work and in the summer I travel to Long Beach Island on most weekends. I am a very social person so I am typically out to dinner or with friends Friday and Saturday nights.

What’s your favorite food to make? Would you care to share a recipe?

I really like making cauliflower fried rice. It is super easy and flavorful. I basically just sauté chicken and veggies with some low sodium soy and teriyaki sauces and put it on top of the “rice”. Endless possibilities.

What’s your guilty pleasure food? How do you incorporate it into your current lifestyle?

My guilty pleasure food is probably chicken wings. When I am craving them, I skip the typical restaurant style fried wings and bake them at home (I still have some blue cheese dressing to dip 😊)

What struggles have you faced along the way & how have you dealt with them? I sometimes get frustrated when a week or so goes by and the pounds are not shredding like I expected them to. I have dealt with them by changing my mindset and being patient. Weight loss is not an overnight thing and will take some time. When I do hit a plateau, I also work with my trainer to switch something up in my routine to push my body.

How has training at IronPlate helped you in your journey?

I love the routine and consistency it brings in my life. Even if for some reason I cannot get my own workouts in for the week I know I will at least have 2 that are on schedule and not changing.


What are some of your hobbies?

I love going to concerts, the beach and hanging with friends and family.

What’s one fascinating thing you have learned from your time with IronPlate? (Either from your trainer or about yourself)

I never thought salt was a big deal to put on foods for flavor, but excess salt can retain water and make you super-bloated. I am now trying to watch my salt intake when cooking and eating out.


If you’re ready to make some changes and become a bad-ass client, send us an email to take a tour of the studio or check out some of our great introductory specials.

Bad-Ass Clients: Karen

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IronPlate studios would like to celebrate health by showcasing some bad-ass IronPlate Clients that have taken control of their own health and fitness. They are here to share their journey, motivations, struggles, and tips and tricks that have helped them get to the point they are currently at. Perhaps one of their stories will motivate, inspire or help you with your own wellness journey. Regardless, let's stand up and support these guys for their dedication, honesty and bravery for sharing some the intimate details of their journey with all of us!

Next up is Karen, a long-time client of IronPlate Studios, who shook up her normal routine by stepping out of her comfort zone and putting some faith into Kristin!




What motivated you to make a change or get started on your wellness journey?

I was too busy to do anything else. I worked a "normal" week as a corporate project manager, plus half a day seeing hospital patients, and I served on the board of directors for a non-profit. Working day in and day out on other peoples' goals and timelines left me without enough energy to create my own. So when Kristin (who was training my spouse) came out of left field and said she could put together a plan for me to get into a bodybuilding competition, I laughed and said I'd try whatever she told me for 8 weeks. Voila: a goal and a timeline that I didn't have to manage. All I had to do was the work.

What made you choose IP Studios to help you achieve those goals?

My spouse initially chose Iron Plate for the focus on nutrition, and I was just along for the ride. Once Kristin created the project of turning me into a figure competitor, we saw that her knowledge on muscle gains was completely in sync with what we had been learning from her about fat loss.

What are your personal goals? Have you reached any yet? If yes, how do you continue to set new goals for yourself?

I gave Kristin two months to turn me into a figure competitor starting on Labor Day 2015. By Halloween, I was sporting a bright orange spray tan, a bikini with rhinestones, and see-through 6" heels. I got to learn completely ridiculous "skills" like using the bathroom without marring your tan and how to properly glue your suit to your buns. It was a riot. After the first competition, I decided that the world of competitive bodybuilding was so weird and fascinating that I should give it a real try, not just the two months I'd challenged Kristin with preparing me in. Setting new goals means picking a new competition date and creating a vision of what my body should look like in that time.

What was your training/ nutrition regimen prior to starting at IP? How has it evolved from your first week with IP to where you currently are right now?

I had no regimen. I ate whatever I wanted. I never went to the gym. Now, I've risen to the challenge of cooking healthy meals in the fastest, laziest way possible. We've turned our garage into a workout space, and we even look for intense, classic bodybuilding gyms to visit when we're on vacation.

How would you describe your current lifestyle? Work full- or part-time? Kids? Travel often for work or pleasure? Out frequently? Etc.

Each week I work 43 paid hours and 2 volunteer hours. My weekly commute is 9 total hours. I do 1 hour of Pilates, 1 hour at Iron Plate, and 1-2 hours working out at home. I do sleep 8-9 hours a night, so there is no time for going out: weekdays are just wake up, go to work, work out or do chores, go to bed. Despite the sleep, I'm usually exhausted from an energy standpoint once the weekend hits. I try to go day-hiking once or twice a month, but sometimes I just can't muster the wherewithal to plan the hike. We travel for pleasure about once a month, usually by car, so we don't have to coordinate around plane times. No kids--not interested.

What’s your favorite food to make? Would you care to share a recipe?

Anything that can soak in the crockpot while I sleep. A good one is to load up the slow cooker with 2-3 lbs pork tenderloins (or chicken breasts, or chicken thighs, or turkey breasts), 1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons mustard, 2 garlic cloves, and 2 tablespoons maple syrup (don't worry--it works out to be 20 calories and 5g sugar when portioned out), and then top it off with 6 small sweet potatoes (or whatever is equivalent to 6 servings of sweet potatoes). Cook for 8 hours on low (6 hours for chicken). Put each sweet potato in a Tupperware, and portion out the 6 servings of meat. Now you have carbs and protein, with a small amount of fat. My spouse is on a lower fat diet than I am, so he would eat it as-is, whereas I would add ground nuts.

What’s your guilty pleasure food? How do you incorporate it into your current lifestyle?

I eat one chocolate covered yellow cake donut from Wawa each week. I have trained myself not to eat more than that by realizing that doing so makes me feel ill. After all, we eat for pleasure, no? Not for feeling sugar-sick.

What struggles have you faced along the way & how have you dealt with them?

When I did my first competition, I knew I would not have time to figure out the controlled macros and calorie counts that are necessary for gradual weight loss while retaining muscle mass. Since my spouse wanted me to do this, I told him I wouldn't be able to unless he did the food. So for eight weeks, he planned all of the meals, shopped, put groceries away, cooked, washed dishes, and boxed everything into Tupperwares. All I had to do was promise not to eat anything that wasn't in the box. If he was doing all that, how could I not do this one thing?

How has training at IronPlate helped you in your journey?

There is no way I would have ever done competitive body building if it hadn't been for Kristin. It is the most ridiculous and intriguing thing I've ever been involved with. There is a fascinating feminist aspect to the question of how to judge muscular women: do you give points for the biggest muscles, or do you take points off for being too manly? Is walking around in a bikini submitting to the male gaze, or is doing a biceps (gun show) pose subverting it? Since wearing heels gives an advantage to showing off leg muscles, should women quietly accept the advantage, or should we protest the unfairness that men pose barefoot? These are things I would have never thought about in a million years.

What are some of your hobbies?

My hobbies are doing needlepoint while watching TV, and posting iPhone photos from my day hikes on Flickr (https://www.flickr.com/photos/kleepet/). My passions are playing harp at the bedside of hospital patients (http://www.soothingharp.com/) and teaching harp (https://www.enjoytheharp.com). I am probably the only therapeutic double-strung harp playing figure competitor in the world.

What’s one fascinating thing you have learned from your time with IronPlate. (Either from your trainer or about yourself)

I thought you had to be disgustingly ripped to be a bodybuilder. Not so: there are popular, professional divisions for women--and men!--who are not jacked. And, I thought that lifting weights would automatically give you enormous muscles. Good lord, no: it takes SO MUCH WORK to make muscles, especially for women. We just do not have the testosterone, muscle fibers, and bone structure that men do. I wish that I could say that men and women are equal in all things, but this is biology. They can't have babies, and we can't grow muscles like they can. The good news for female Iron Plate clients is that you can easily be strong without being bulky. Lifting weights will not turn you into a muscle head unless you work really, really, really hard.


If you’re ready to make some changes and become a bad-ass client, send us an email to take a tour of the studio or check out some of our great introductory specials.

Bad-Ass Clients: Kait

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IronPlate studios would like to celebrate health by showcasing some bad-ass IronPlate Clients that have taken control of their own health and fitness. They are here to share their journey, motivations, struggles, and tips and tricks that have helped them get to the point they are currently at. Perhaps one of their stories will motivate, inspire or help you with your own wellness journey. Regardless, let's stand up and support these guys for their dedication, honesty and bravery for sharing some the intimate details of their journey with all of us!




First up is Kait, who began with IronPlate studios by working with Caitlin in the Online Personal Training Program. She’s a full-time working mom of two who has faced a number of challenges this year that haven’t slowed her down!


What motivated you to make a change or get started on your wellness journey? What made you choose IP Studios to help you achieve those goals?
Overall health has always been important to me. However, after I had my first daughter, I developed a lot of weakness and instability that was leading to injury and pain with exercise. I decided to use a trainer to help restore strength and function. I chose IP studios because Cait and I go way back! I knew I wanted to work out with a female and a mom who understood a lot of the particular issues that I was having. I also wanted someone that I would be comfortable being honest with so that I could achieve the most success.


What are your personal goals. Have you reached any?
My personal goals have included increasing strength, weight loss and functional movement without pain. Some of the simple things like going down a slide with my kids was hard due to my instability and I wanted normalcy. IP has helped me achieve several of these goals. I have lost all of the baby weight plus some, I can play with my kids without problems and my overall strength has greatly improved.

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What was your training/ nutrition regimen prior to starting at IP? How has it evolved from your first week with IP to where you currently are right now?
My overall nutrition prior to IP was generally healthy but very much an all or nothing attitude which never ended up well. I have really adapted the "80/20" rule now which has helped a lot. I think having a trainer that completely gets your 'must haves' and incorporates means for you to have that leads to a really well balanced lifestyle which for me has "clicked".

How would you describe your current lifestyle? Work full or part time? Kids? Travel often for work or pleasure? Out frequently? Etc.
I am a working mom as a physician assistant with a 4 year old and baby at home. My husband travels. Working out has always been a passion, but using any more brain power to figure out what my workout was going to be and if it was going to be effective was draining for me. Sometimes, I felt like it even leaded to me not working out as I would overanalyze what I should do. To have someone design the workout plan for you and take all of the thinking out of it has been the most helpful and enjoyable way to workout.


What struggles have you faced along the way & how have you dealt with them? How has training at IP helped you in your journey?
There have been many struggles in the last year since I joined IP. I was post-partum and felt like I was starting over. I was trying to take care of sick family members and 2 children at home. I had a significant ankle sprain and shingles all within the first 6 months. I didn't feel quite right through most of the year, and was also diagnosed with celiac disease. I viewed all of the above as major setbacks and at times felt depressed that I wouldn't be able to meet my goals with all of this to face. However, Cait was able to adapt everything. Which is also why I feel that it's so important to have someone that you can be honest with, who also constantly validates that life happens. Despite all of the above, all of my goals have been achieved and I am working on the next set with IronPlate!


What’s one fascinating thing you have learned from your time with IronPlate. (Either from your trainer or about yourself)
I think that the best thing that I have found life changing from IP is that there can be balance.... and even with balance, goals can still be achieved. It really feels like I have found that sweet spot of making this health journey a lifestyle. I really attribute all of that to IronPlate Studios and Caitlin.

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If you’re ready to make some changes and become a bad-ass client, send us an email to take a tour of the studio or check out some of our great introductory specials.



Kickoff to Summer!

It’s that time of year again! Kicking off the summer season with barbecues, a long weekend and hopefully some sunshine! While we’re all excited for summer Fridays, trips to the beach and outdoor fun with friends and family, let’s not use it as an excuse to completely fall off the wagon. We can still enjoy ourselves while being mindful of our health.

Here’s a few key things to watch for:

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  • Portions:  Continue to eat normally throughout the day. Many times we skip a meal in preparation for the celebration we’re going to attend. This causes us to overeat and make poor choices when we get finally get there It’s ok to have a taste of something you normally wouldn’t but try not to go overboard. Fill your plate the same as you would for any other meal: ½ with veggies, ¼ protein and ¼ carbohydrates.

  • Protein: Many times we gravitate toward burgers and hot dogs for a BBQ. Keep in mind grilled chicken, and kebabs (chicken, beef, salmon) make excellent (and often cheaper!) BBQ meals!

  • Healthy Sides: Volunteer to bring a healthy side dish or make some of these for your own BBQ.  Some of our favorite options are:

  • Limit Alcohol:  Alcohol is full of empty calories that quickly add up. Feel fancy with Patriotic infused water or try a lower calorie beverage like Vodka/Seltzer with fruit. Make sure you drink water in between each beverage. It will slow you down and keep you hydrated.  

Don’t forget your workouts this weekend either!  Take this military style one with you on the go. It requires no equipment and only about 20 minutes!

Mini boot camp

Round 1: 5 reps each
Rest 1 min

Round 2: 10 Reps each
Rest 2 min

Round 3: 15 Reps each
Rest 2 min

Round 4: 20 Reps each
Not tired yet?  Do the Bonus Round

*Round 5: 25 Reps each* Bonus Round


Exercises

Push Ups

Burpee

Lunges (reps/side)

Mountain Climbers (reps/side)

Butterfly Sit ups



The IronPlate Guide to Post-Natal Exercise

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Congratulations! Your new baby is here! Take some time to enjoy it and get used to having a new member in your family. It’s quite an adjustment. Don’t be in a huge rush to “get your body back”. Contrary to social media and celebrity comebacks, getting back in shape in the real world takes time and patience. It took 9 months for your body to prepare for your new bundle of joy. Allow it some time to come back to you. It needs time to recover and retract back to its original (or close to its original-some things are just never the same!) placement. This process can take anywhere from 6 months to 1 year, sometimes longer. It’s important to keep in mind some things may never go back exactly how they were before and that every person’s experience and body is different. Some people may bounce back or feel up to working out sooner, others may need more time.   

  • Prior to beginning your exercise program again make sure you get the “OK” from your doctor.

  • Begin with walking

  • Post natal abdominal and pelvic floor exercises. You’re core and pelvic floor are going to be weakened since they’ve been stretched. You want to focus on strengthening them without stretching them further.

    • retrain breathing

    • focus on keeping core tight

    • do what you feel comfortable

  • Exercises that will help strengthen core and pelvic floor include:

    • Heel slides

    • Heel taps (Also known as knee folds)

    • Mini crunch

    • Superman’s

    • Squats

When you feel comfortable enough to begin a regular exercise program again, generally around 6-8 weeks for most, and after being cleared by your physician, start with a slow and low intensity. Gradually progress and build upon your intensity each week as you feel up to it. Workouts this early don’t always go as planned (welcome to parenthood!) so try to be flexible and creative in your workouts. If you train with us at IronPlate, or are considering a personal trainer during or after pregnancy, keep in mind you can bring your child to the studio with you. We are excellent baby whisperers. :-)

If getting out of the house is tricky, you can workout from home when you get a minute with IronPlate’s online personal training program. Your workouts will be laid out for you and monitored by one of our certified trainers, but you can complete it at a time that works for you. All at once, in sections, etc. OR workout from home and still get the benefits of working live with our certified personal trainers with FaceTime training.

If you want best of both, try Hybrid training. Meet with our personal trainers 1x per week in studio or on FaceTime and have the rest of your workouts for the week created and laid out for you to complete on your own time.

However you decide to restart your fitness journey, make sure you take things at a pace that is comfortable for you. Extreme dieting and over exercising will only make you more exhausted and unable to care for both yourself and your new child. Have patience and flexibility!

Fit Mama

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The guidelines for exercising during and after pregnancy have changed quite a bit over time. We now know that working out during and after pregnancy is beneficial not only for you, but for your child as well. Studies have shown that children of women who workout during and after their pregnancy have lower (healthier) birth weights and decreased likelihood of obesity later in life. Working out and eating well after your child is born sets a great example to your children about what a healthy lifestyle looks like. So by working out before during and after pregnancy you are not only healthier, look and feel better, but you are stronger for both labor, delivery and after are of your child, and a great role model for promoting a healthy lifestyle for your family.

Many people think that workouts have to be cut way back once you find out that you are pregnant. This is not the case, especially if you have been working out all along. (Always check with your doctor prior to beginning or continuing an exercise program). If you haven’t been working out, it’s still not too late to get started. It’s no time to decide to run a marathon, but adding walking and some light resistance training and yoga to your routine can only help you both during and after your pregnancy. Somethings you may want to avoid, especially as you get into your second and third trimesters are:

  • Any activity that may increase your risk of falling

  • Contact sports (talk to your doctor- some will ok continuing contact sports for part of your pregnancy)

  • Higher impact activities that involve jumping and bouncing as they tend to put increased pressure on pelvic muscles and ligaments. Especially later in your pregnancy

  • Exercise in hot, humid weather

Our certified personal trainers at IronPlate Studios both in-studio and online are experienced in pre- and post-natal fitness to safely monitor and coach you through this exciting time in your life!


Working out by trimester

1st Trimester

There are no restrictions (unless otherwise stated by your doctor) to working out in your first trimester. You may however experience a number of symptoms including fatigue and nausea that may impede your ability and desire to workout. There is a significant amount of growth and development that happens during the first trimester, so the main thing we usually tell our clients is to listen to their bodies. If you need extra rest, take it. If you’re feeling up to your normal workout go for it.

A couple other things to keep in mind:

  • Your body starts to produce Relaxin which is a hormone that is released to prepare your body for childbirth. It loosens your ligaments and joints causing them to become more flexible which is great, but also can increase your chance for injury. It’s important to be careful not to over stretch and to use slow and controlled movements through your exercises. (As you should already be doing anyway :-p. )

  • Your center of gravity changes as your uterus begins to grow which can affect your balance.

  • Make sure you are eating enough healthy calories to meet your need for pregnancy as well as exercise. It is recommended without exercise to intake an extra 300 calories a day. With exercise that can increase to 500 calories per day. (Will vary on the duration and intensity)


2nd Trimester

Just a couple of limitations as you enter into your second trimester.

  • Any crunching and twisting abdominal exercises are no longer advised.

    • Exercises that are OK for abs:

      • Planks-front & side

      • Heel taps

      • Opposite arm/leg extension.

  • No laying flat on back with heavy weights.

    • You have a major vein called the vena cava that runs down the center of your body and laying flat on your back causes your uterus to put added pressure on the vein disrupting blood flow back to the heart.

      • Give that bench a slight incline

      • Things like hip bridges where you lay on your back are generally still ok as long as you feel comfortable.

  • No prone exercises

    • This may seem like common sense, but any exercises where you lie on your stomach should be avoided

  • Running and biking (stationary-not advised to road bike during pregnancy due to fall risk) may become more difficult as belly continues to grow.

    • Listen to body. Some people feel comfortable enough to continue running throughout their entire pregnancy. Others need to stop well before.

3rd Trimester

Same as 2nd trimester. Listen to body and do as much as you feel comfortable doing. You will probably find some movements becoming more difficult and the need to take things slower. Everyone is different at this point in their pregnancy so it’s important to again listen to your body and do what feels comfortable to you.


Some of the most beneficial exercises for pregnancy*:

  • Squats

  • Hip Bridges

  • Pelvic Tilts

  • Heel taps/heel slides

  • Planks

  • Side planks

  • Sumo squats

  • Side lunges

  • Back rows

  • Brisk walking

  • Prenatal yoga-modifications necessary to support growing belly and keep twisting motions open.

  • Alternating arm/leg raises

  • Swimming

*Stop exercise if any of the following occur*:

  • Vaginal bleeding or leaking fluid

  • Regular contractions

  • Dyspnea (Shortness of breath) before exercise

  • Dizziness

  • Headache

  • Chest pain

  • Muscle weakness affecting balance

  • Calf pain or swelling


Relative Contraindications to exercise

  • Severe Anemia

  • Unevaluated maternal cardiac dysrhythmia

  • Chronic Bronchitis

  • Poorly controlled Type I diabetes

  • Extreme Morbid Obesity

  • Extreme Underweight

  • History of extremely sedentary lifestyle

  • Intrauterine growth restriction in current pregnancy

  • Poorly controlled hypertension

  • Orthopedic Limitations

  • Poorly controlled seizure disorder

  • Poorly controlled hyperthyroidism

  • Heavy smoker

Absolute Contraindications to exercise (No exercising)

  • Hemodynamically significant heart disease

  • Restrictive lung disease

  • Incompetent cervix/cerclage

  • Multiple gestation at risk for premature labor

  • Second/third trimester bleeding

  • Placenta previa after 26 wk of gestation

  • Premature rupture of membranes or labor

  • Preeclampsia/Pregnancy induced hypertension

  • Preeclampisa/Pregnancy-induced hypertension


(Source: ACSM’s Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription Ninth Edition Pg. 195 Box 8.1)

The IronPlate Guide to Fitness

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May 4 is National Fitness day (https://www.nationalfitnessday.org/) and while we’re a few days early, we think it’s a good time to talk about the concept of overall fitness. We all know fitness is important to our health and well-being. We know it is important for:

  • cardiovascular and respiratory health

  • bone health

  • reducing the risk of illness

  • improving quality of life

But do you know what your own personal fitness levels are? Or what intensity you should be working out at? Or how to improve your fitness level? Chances are if you see us at IronPlate, we take the guesswork out for you. If you are working out on your own, or are curious as to how fit you are compared to other people your age, read on!

What’s your fitness level?

There are many different ways you can test your fitness level and compare it to other people of the same age and gender. Here are a couple of simple, minimal equipment required ways you can assess yours.

** NOTE**

  • It is important to make sure you have been cleared by your physician to perform physical activity prior to attempting any of these fitness tests.

  • It is also important that you properly warm-up for 5-10 minutes prior to trying any of these fitness tests.

  • As with any exercise it is also recommended that you are not completely alone. Grab a partner or head to a gym with proper supervision.

12 Minute Run (Cooper Test- founded by Dr. Ken Cooper in 1968)

  • Used to determine aerobic fitness, it allows you to compare cardiovascular fitness with others of your same age and gender.

  • Usually done on a track, but can also be done on a treadmill if you set the incline to 1% so simulate outdoors.

    • Set the timer for 12 minutes and run as far as you can in that time period. (4 laps around the track=1 mile.)

    • http://www.coopertestchart.com to see how you compare to others in your demographic.


Resting HR

  • Take Heart rate in radial artery

    • With palm facing up, use pointer and middle fingers of opposite hand to trace thumb down into the wrist. Feel for first nook under wrist bone, press down lightly into that nook and you should feel a pulse

    • Take first thing when you walk up in the morning.

    • Count each beat for 1 minute.

  • The average resting heart rate is between 60-100 beats per minute. (bpm)

  • Generally, the lower the resting heart rate, the better cardiovascular shape you are in. (Heart pumps more efficiently with each beat).

    • It’s not uncommon for a well trained athlete’s resting heart rate to fall somewhere between 40-60bpm.

Push Up Test

  • Set the Timer for 1 minute

  • Count how many reps you can do in that time frame. (Count only full down and up repetitions only!)

  • See chart below for how you compare.

Waist Circumference

  • Proven to be an indicator for obesity and risk of disease.

    • The higher your waist circumference, the higher your risk for heart disease and type II diabetes

  • To measure your waist circumference:

    • Stand and place a tape measure around your middle, just above your hip bones.

    • Measure your waist just after you breathe out.

    • See chart for where you may fall.





3 min step test

  • Used to assess cardiovascular fitness level, by assessing your heart rate immediately post exercise activity.

  • Tools: Use a 12in. Step

  • This YouTube site: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=iJwwJgCIHBU for a timer and metronome. (To make the test more standard, each person must step up, up, down, down to the same beat.)

  • Instructions:

    • Start timer and begin stepping up on the step in an up, up, down down pattern to the beat of the metronome in the video/timer.

    • Continue this pattern for 3 minutes. (Timer also on video)

    • At the end of the three minutes, immediately sit down and count your pulse for 1 minute. (Best to use wrist pulse over neck)

    • Compare results in the chart below

How to improve fitness level

You’ve tested your fitness level and you see where you compare, and now you want to improve it. How should you go about doing so?

If you don’t work with us already, contact our amazing trainers at IronPlate Studios and IronPlate Online who will be able to safely and appropriately progress you through your workouts both in studio and at home.

Workouts are commonly progressed using the FITT principle or:

F-Frequency (number of days)
I-Intensity ( speed, incline, resistance, weight, reps etc)
T-Time
T-Type

Generally speaking, when trying to improve your fitness level, you want to slowly increase one of the four above components at a time.

It’s recommended that you get an average of 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity 4+ days a week, but everyone’s starting point is different. If you are currently under those recommendations then increasing your frequency or time would be a good place to start. If you are meeting those requirements, then you will want to focus on increasing intensity or time.

Changing the type of exercise is going to be important for cross training, so your body doesn’t get too comfortable with one type of exercise. This is true for both cardio and weight training. It’s important to rotate the type of your workout (unless training for a specific event) every so often. For cardio, I like to recommend switching the type 1 day a week if possible. (For example if you use the treadmill 3 days a week, try treadmill 2 day days a week and the elliptical 1 day.) For weight training, it varies a bit more, but I tend to switch up weight training routines every 6-8 weeks to give your body time to progress through the workout. That being said, it doesn’t hurt to try a new workout class, exercise or routine more frequently. Again, it’s important to remember that everyone’s goals and body’s are different and that these are general guidelines. Everyone’s individual program may vary.

Am I working out hard enough?

How do you know if you’re working hard enough during your workouts? Rule number one, listen to your body! If you’re getting lightheaded, dizzy or nauseous at all during your workouts or you’re exhausted and overly sore, you need to ease way back. On the other end of the spectrum, if you’re not even breaking a little bit of a sweat, you probably need to amp it up a bit!

The easiest measurable way to see how hard you’re working, is to use your age predicted target heart rate zone. (THR). For moderate physical activity, your heart rate should be 40-60%  of your age predicted maximum heart rate for a duration of 30 minutes. For vigorous exercise, your heart rate should be 60-85% of your age predicted maximum heart rate for a duration of  20-25 minutes.

The easiest way to figure out what your heart rate range is:

  • Take 220-age to get your estimated Max HR.  

  • Then you multiply your age predicted Max HR by each percent to get your HR zone

  • EX) 20 year old: 220-20=200 (Age predicted max)

    • Low Range 40% =200 x 0.4=80 / 60%= 200 x 0.6=120

    • High Range 60% =200 x 0.6=120 / 85%= 200 x 0.85=170

    • Moderate Range is 80-120 beats per minute

    • Vigorous Range 120-170 beats per minute

Hope you have fun trying some of these and seeing where you fall and how you can continuously improve!  Remember that these are just a small sample of tests used to assess fitness level and health risk. The only true way to assess your fitness and health is under the supervision and control of a lab or physician’s office. Feel free to contact us with any questions you may have or to start improving your fitness level today at info@ironplatestudios.com.

The IronPlate Guide to STRESS

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Our lives have become so scheduled and chaotic that some amount of stress has become a new normal. Some stress is actually be good for us, as it:

  • enhances motivation;

  • forces people to problem solve which can create more overall confidence;

  • can strengthen bonds between people going through same or similar situations;

  • adds meaning and accomplishment when you complete something that is more difficult;

  • Physically stresses your body every time you work out, which is what makes your muscles and organs stronger.

However, prolonged stress can have detrimental effects on our body.

Some common physical effects of stress on your body include:

  • Headache

  • Muscle tension or pain

  • Chest pain

  • Fatigue

  • Change in sex drive

  • Upset stomach

  • Sleep problems

    • Mood

    • Anxiety

    • Restlessness

    • Lack of motivation or focus

    • Feeling overwhelmed

    • Irritability or anger

    • Sadness or depression

Prolonged stress also negatively impacts the systems of body:

Central Nervous System and Endocrine System

  • This system is in charge of our flight or fight response

  • The hypothalamus in brain tells adrenal glands to release stress hormones adrenaline & cortisol, which increases heart rate and sends blood rushing to areas that need it most.  (For example our muscles, heart, and other important organs.) When that fear is gone, the hypothalamus should tell all systems to go back to normal. However, when stress is continued, that system doesn’t shut down and release and response continues.

  • Repeated high heart rate affects our blood pressure, and heart muscle.

Respiratory and Cardiovascular Systems

  • Prolonged increase in heart rate and breathing rate to deliver oxygenated blood to body.

  • Prolonged constriction of blood vessels leads to an increase in blood pressure which over time increases risk for stroke and heart attack.

Digestive system

  • Under stress, our liver produces extra blood sugar (glucose) to boost energy. Chronic over production increases risk of developing type 2 diabetes.  

  • Hormones released also upset digestive system, increasing stomach acid which can lead to heartburn and even ulcers.  

  • Stress can affect way food moves through the body causing diarrhea or constipation.

Muscular system

  • Our muscles become tense during stress. (Tight neck and shoulders anyone?)

  • Prolonged periods without these muscles relaxing can cause headaches, back and shoulder pain and even some muscle imbalances.

Sexuality & reproductive system

  • Short term stress can cause men to produce more testosterone, however this effect doesn’t last.

  • With prolonged stress, testosterone levels drop and interfere with sperm production, causing erectile dysfunction or impotence.  Stress can also lead to infection of male reproductive organs.

  • For women, stress can affect their menstrual cycle causing it to become irregular, heavier, and or more painful.  It can also magnify the physical symptoms of menopause.

Immune System

  • Stress stimulates our immune system, which in the short term is great! Over time, however, the immune system becomes weak & reduces body’s responsiveness to foreign invaders increasing risk for illness and infection.

  • When you do become ill or injured, the time it takes to recover Increases because your system is too weak to fight the infection.                              

Do any of these symptoms sound familiar? The majority of us have probably experienced one or more of these a some point or another. Since we want to do our best to take care of our body, here are some ways we can help manage the stress in our lives:

  • Physical Activity: Produces endorphins which are our feel good hormones. It also acts as active meditation to distract your mind from your stressors and focus on the movement of your body.  

  • Meditation/yoga: Offers you some time to re-center and reflect without distractions giving your body a break from the stresses in our lives and allowing our systems to relax. Yoga also produces those feel good endorphins.

  • Hobbies: Gives us a distraction from what may be bothering us or from the responsibilities we are overwhelmed with.  Without realizing it, when we start to enjoy ourselves, our body’s naturally relax giving our systems as much needed break.

  • Socializing with family and friends: Gives us a chance to talk about what may be bothering us, or again offering distraction and naturally letting us relax in a comfortable environment.

  • Take time for you! Do something that you enjoy just for yourself.




Sources

http://time.com/5434826/stress-good-health/

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/stress-symptoms/art-20050987

https://www.stress.org/stress-effects




The IronPlate Guide to Health

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Merriam-Webster dictionary defines health as “a condition of being in sound body, mind or spirit.” Since April 7th was World Health Day, we challenge you to take a look into all aspects of your life and see if you are truly practicing good health for yourself.

While our main focus at IronPlate Studios is your fitness and nutrition, we believe that in order to make permanent positive changes in your life, there should be a positive balance in all areas of our lives. We believe the components of your overall health are linked and impact each other.

Depending on where you look, there are anywhere from 4 to 11 dimensions or pillars of wellness. I chose to focus on 7 I believe are important in achieving overall health and wellness.

Dimensions of wellness:

  1. Social Wellness: The people you surround yourself with impact your attitude and outlook on your life. It’s important to establish and maintain positive relationships with family friends, co-workers. If there are negative relationships in your life it’s important to take a look and evaluate what purpose these people serve in your life. (Easier said than done!)

  2. Emotional Wellness: Many times we react a certain way due to other people’s or society’s expectations of how we should react or feel. It’s important to understand ourselves, acknowledge our feelings no matter what they are and cope in a positive way with life’s challenges. Make sure you seek help if you are struggling with making peace in any areas of your life.

  3. Spiritual Wellness: Establish peace and harmony in our lives. No matter what you believe, it’s important to give yourself time to sit in the quiet and reflect. Get in touch with your feelings and listen to what your mind and body are telling you. You can do yoga, pray, meditate, read, take a bath, spend time in nature-whatever it is, it’s important to recharge with some quality YOU time where you can get in touch with YOU.

  4. Environmental Wellness: Make positive impact on quality of environment. This includes your indoor and outdoor environment. The latest craze is “Kondo-ing” where Marie Kondo teaches you how to rid your environment of clutter and unnecessary things in our lives to make your home a place you can enjoy and relax. Spring is here, so what better time to purge and spring clean than now! It feels so good! It’s also important to keep the areas you spend outdoors clean and a space you and others can continue to enjoy.

  5. Occupational Wellness: Fulfillment out of careers while still maintaining balance in our lives. How many of us can say we’re 100% happy with the careers we’ve chosen? Take some time to reflect on what would make you happy in a career. What steps would need to be taken to make those changes happen?

  6. Intellectual Wellness: Keep our minds open to new ideas and always have a desire to learn new concepts, improve skills and seek new challenges. Often times we get comfortable in a role or our daily lives and it can get mundane and boring. If you look for new ways to challenge yourself and learn you can not only improve your intellect, but your relationships with others, advancement in a career or hobby, etc.

  7. Physical Wellness: Maintaining our health. We have to recognize how our behaviors impact our wellbeing. The foods we eat, the activity we do all has a reaction. It’s up to us to realize if we want to turn that into a positive or a negative reaction. Simple things like routine check ups, eating a balanced diet, exercising, and getting proper sleep can lead us to positive physical wellness.

Achieving overall health and wellness is a constant challenge and balancing act as things in our lives are always changing. But it’s necessary to be mindful of all the areas in our lives and what can happen if any of them are off balance. Take the time to get to know and be comfortable with YOU. In the words of my high school gym teacher, “you are in control of your own destiny.”  The work and effort you put in to yourself will be reflected in your overall wellness.



Source: https://wellness.ucr.edu/seven_dimensions.html



The IronPlate Guide to Walking

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The weather is finally warming up and today is National Walking Day.  (The American Heart Association sponsors this day to remind people about the health benefits of taking a walk.) What better way to celebrate than by getting outside, breathing some fresh air and taking a walk? Walking is often overlooked as an option for cardiovascular exercise, however, if done correctly, walking can provide a number of health benefits. Not to mention it’s generally easier on our joints and it’s free!

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends the average person gets “30-60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity most days of the week.”  

Moderate physical activity can be defined as brisk walking where you are still able to carry a conversation.  Your heart rate should be somewhere between 50-70% of your max predicted heart rate. And you should accumulate 150-300 min of activity per week. (30-60min 5 days/week)

Vigorous activity requires a lot more energy to complete. You should only be able to talk in short phrases and your heart rate range should be somewhere between 70-85% of max predicted heart rate. Vigorous physical activity should accumulate 75-150 min of activity per week. (20-30min 3-4days/ week)

Multiple 10 minute exercise bursts (of moderate to vigorous intensity) spread out throughout the day has also been proven to be just as effective as a continuous 20-60 minutes of exercise. So if you can’t find a chunk of time to string together, try two to three 10 minute sessions throughout the day. (I.e. before your shower, lunchtime and before bed)

Benefits of 30-60 minutes /day walk:

  • Lower blood pressure and strengthened heart

  • Decrease in loss of bone mass

  • Increased longevity

  • Improved mood from released endorphins

  • Weight loss (if accompanying diet is healthy)

  • Improved immune function-decreased chance of getting sick, and if you do get sick, symptoms are generally more mild and shorter in duration.

  • Improved sleep

  • Increased endurance

  • Slowing in mental decline/Alzheimer’s risk

  • Eased joint pain -walking protects joints and lubricates and strengthens muscles supporting them.

So if running or jumping on a stationary machine isn’t your thing, give walking a try.  Grab a friend to chat with or your dog and enjoy some sunshine and fresh air!

Sources:

https://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/exercise/workouts/walking/wow-of-walking.php

https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/5-surprising-benefits-of-walking






The History of Women in Fitness

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Women have come a long way in a short amount time in many areas. One area in particular is the fitness industry. Men have been encouraged to be physically fit since the beginning of mankind in order to hunt, prepare for battle, competitions etc., while women were encouraged to be dainty, lady-like and were considered  to be “weak, frail and vulnerable.” It wasn’t until recent decades that women were encouraged to participate in some type of physical activity.

In the 1960s, women were told their bodies couldn’t “handle” exercise. Rumors even went as far as saying exercise would make women barren, turn them into a lesbian or make it impossible for them to find a husband. (WHAT?!) By the 1970-80s, women were finally encouraged to do enough exercise so they would be long and lean, but not too much so they would be muscular.  

It wasn’t until the 1990s when muscles on women started to become socially acceptable.

Now here we are in 2019 and so much has changed. We’ve seen a shift from the desire to be “skinny” to healthy, fit and strong and this seems to be translating to other aspects of our lives as well. Girl Power!  Since March is Women’s History Month, and IronPlate Studios is a woman-owned and operated small business, we thought it would be fun to take a look at the evolution of women’s fitness over the last 120 years.

The beginning of “physical fitness” for women began in the 1900’s with stretching (while wearing long skirts!). Rowers and stationary bikes were introduced between 1910-1920, but were considered a big luxury.

In 1920, a device called the Vibro-slim was introduced to “shake the weight off”.

1940’s: Body weight exercises were introduced

1950-1960’s: Hula Hoop & Twisting and ”Trim Twist” were popular.  “Twisting away your love handles”

1970s-1980s: Aerobics, Jazzercise, leotards, leg warmers, headbands, Jack LaLanne, Richard Simmons and Jane Fonda become popular. Richard Simmons was among the first to bring attention to weight loss, diets, and obesity.  He commonly spoke about how nutrition and exercise go hand in hand.

At this time there also was an underbelly of the fitness scene which included Pro Bodybuilding competitions and competitors like Bill Pearl, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Franco Columbu and Lou Ferrigno which were inspiring women to lift.  Such ladies included Rachel McLish (the first Ms. Olympia bodybuilder which was held in 1980), as well as others such as Bev Francis, Carla Dunlap and Cory Everson. These women set a precedent and a new “look” that other women started taking notice of.  Women’s Bodybuilding became a sport within the governing committees such as the NPC and IFBB and throughout the decades more women began to compete in "fitness" and other divisions started to emerge.

1990s: Cardio-inspired training continued to evolve including Billy Blanks’ Tae Bo and other aerobic-style classes, but at the same time, other competitive divisions were created for women including Women’s Fitness (which is physique judged but combined with an athletic routine that included dance, gymnastics and strength) and athletes such as Mia Finnegan, Monica Brant and Saryn Muldrow entered the scene continuing to be an inspiration to women everywhere.

2000: Latin dance inspired Zumba becomes popular and women's weight lifting becomes Olympic sport for first! Clearly women with a more muscular and strong physique was becoming more mainstream and widely accepted. Around this time because Women's Fitness was so popular, the NPC and IFBB developed the Bikini division to make the competitive arena more attainable for more women. No routine was needed nor was a gymnastics background. In 2010 Sonia Gonzalez won the first ever Ms Bikini Olympia.

Present day: In this time there is a noticeable shift from skinny to strong and athletic. Women with muscles and curves is now considered attractive and is what most women are looking for. We are living in an era where just as many women are lifting weights and working out as men. CrossFits are filled with women and the competitive arenas of fitness are filled with women too. It is exciting to see what the future holds and what else is out there for women to accomplish in the amazing sport of fitness!



The IronPlate Guide to Water

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Happy World Water Day!  We want to celebrate with you by talking about the importance of water to our bodies. Our body is made up of 45%-70% water. Without adequate hydration, we can feel sluggish, experience muscle cramps, have dry skin, headaches, nausea, and dry mouth, eyes and nose. Without any hydration we can only survive about 3 days. (Without food we can live up to 3 weeks!)

Hydration is important for:

  • Maintaining the body’s fluid balance for

    • Digestion

    • Absorption

    • Circulation

    • Creation of Saliva

    • Transportation of Nutrients

    • Maintenance of body temperature

  • Calorie Control

    • Drinking a cold glass of water before meals helps curb appetite

    • Drinking water over other high calorie beverages reduces calorie intake

  • Energizes Muscles

    • Helps balance electrolytes

  • Keeps skin looking healthy

    • Decreases dry skin and wrinkles

  • Helps kidneys filter waste

  • Maintains normal bowel function

Fluids are lost daily through urine and stool, skin evaporation and breathing.  We must replenish the fluids lost in order to maintain proper function. Sweat with exercise, extreme heat, or higher altitudes can increase our fluid intake requirements.  Thirst is the first sign your body is beginning to become dehydrated.

Tips for increasing your water intake:

  • Begin every morning with a glass of water

  • Keep a large water bottle with you at your desk

  • Bring water with you when you run errands or are out and aobut

  • Have a glass of water with every meal

  • Flavor your water with fruit or vegetables (lemon, lime, orange, cucumber, etc)

  • Try seltzer water if you crave carbonation

  • With Exercise

    • 2hrs prior to exercise consume 1 pint (2 cups)

    • During exercise: 6-8oz. For every 20 min.

    • Post exercise: for each pound lost during exercise, replace with 1 pint of water

      • To assess this, weigh yourself prior to your workout, and then again after.  If you’ve had any weight loss in this time frame, it is water weight and should be replaced.

IronPlate's Truth Series: Dietary Fats

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It was a common thought that if you ate fat, you got fat. But the facts about dietary fats have become clearer and the differences between "good fats" versus "bad fats" much less of a mystery. Here's what you need to know about the third misunderstood macronutrient: dietary fats.  

For all intents and purposes, dietary fats are broken down into "good fats" and "bad fats" with the body requiring little to none of the bad fat. Good fats are referred to as unsaturated fat (liquid at room temperature such as olive oil, canola oil and flax oil) versus bad fats which are referred to as saturated fats (solid at room temperature such as butter and margarine). What the human body does with each type of fat is very different and the implications on weight loss and health significantly different as well.  

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Types of Unsaturated Fats (mono-, poly- and omega-3)

  • olive oil

  • flax oil

  • flax seeds

  • nuts

  • salmon

  • sardines

Types of Saturated Fats (incl. trans-fats)

  • fats found in red meat

  • full-fat dairy products

  • cheese

  • butter

  • margarine

  • shortening 

So how is it some fat is beneficial to our health and some fat is harmful? Saturated fats basically serve no purpose to our health whatsoever and in fact, are able to alter HDL and LDL levels (not to our benefit) as well as Triglyceride levels thus putting one at higher risk for cardiovascular disease. They provide unnecessary empty calories to the body and provide zero nutritional value. Unsaturated fats provide the same calorie value (9 calories/gram) but have the opposite effect and alter the human lipid profile to our advantage putting us at decreased risk for cardiovascular disease as well as diabetes. There are also some characteristics of these healthy fats that actually aid in metabolism and are beneficial to the metabolism of unwanted body fat.  So this disproves the myth that if you eat fat, you get fat.  

Recent recommendations have been made to decrease the amount of total calories to less than 10% for saturated fat in the diet.  So if you're on a 1500 calorie/day diet, this is less than 150 calories daily (16g daily) which is about the equivalent of 1 tbsp of butter.  The remainder of your daily fat intake should come from foods rich in healthy fats.  

But beware! If you're looking to lose weight, too much of a good thing might derail goals and surpassing the recommended amounts of healthy fats can prevent weight loss. If weight loss is the goal, make sure to make a solid plan with portions and grams accounted for so as to not over-consume too much of the good foods, track your intake, measure foods out if you're unsure and stay consistent.