In a small study of two groups of 7 participants, one group exercised for at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity or higher at least 3 times a week. The other group worked out less often and less intense than the first group.
All 14 participants were fed the same high fat 960 calorie breakfast meal. (2220 mg sodium, 48 g of fat, including 16 g saturated fat and 4.5 g trans fat..280mg. cholesterol)
After the high fat meal, they measured obstruction of blood flow in the brachial artery (-the one just above your elbow crease on your arm)..The less active group showed a greater obstruction of blood flow through the artery- it was narrowed, while the more active exercisers had no change.
Both groups experienced an increase in triglycerides (triglycerides are an ester of glycerol and 3 fatty acid groups. High levels of triglycerides indicate an increased risk of stroke.) The more highly active group’s triglycerides rose by 47% but the less active group increased triglycerides by a whopping 184%
While exercise is protective against disease, and people who exercise may be more able to get away with poor food choices, but not on a regular basis.
Johnson, B.D. et al. “Vascular consequences of a High-Fat Meal in physically active and Inactive adults.’ Applied physiology, nutrition, and metabolism, 36, no3. (2011) 368-375
This post involves discussions of Weight. If such topics are distressing or triggering to you please consider employing self-care tools and strategies which may include not reading this.
A February 2021 survey by the American Psychological Association reveals how the pandemic has led to unwanted weight gain.42% of US adults gained unwanted weight during the pandemic.52% of Gen Z adults report undesired weight gain, with an average gain of 28 pounds.48% of millennials report undesired weight gain, with an average gain of 41 pounds.Yet despite these statistics, for better health and a longer life span, exercise is more important than weight loss.
An interesting new scientific review of the relationships between fitness, weight, heart health and longevity found that obese people typically lower their risks of heart disease and premature death far more by gaining fitness than by dropping weight or dieting.
The review adds to mounting evidence that most of us can be healthy at any weight, if we are also active enough.
Glenn Gaesser, a professor of exercise physiology at Arizona State University in Phoenix (My alma matter, BTW), found overweight and obese people with significant health problems, including high blood pressure, poor cholesterol profiles or insulin resistance, a marker for Type 2 diabetes, showed considerable improvements in those conditions after they started exercising, whether they dropped any weight or not. The studies show that even if no weight is lost, obese and formerly sedentary individuals can lower their risk of premature death by as much as 30 percent or more.
And now, because the science needs to also explain that water is wet:
“Some past research shows that people who start to exercise rarely lose much, if any, weight, unless they also cut back substantially on food intake because the exercise they are doing burns too few calories and because they compensate for some caloric burn during exercise by eating more calories afterwards.”
This information begs the question: Is Obesity a Choice?
This short answer is..not usually. Sure genetics and bone structure, genes and upbringing play a part. However, some of us eat more and/or move less when stressed or anxious or depressed.. and for others its just the opposite! Some of us find sweet foods satisfying in some situations and salty in others (hint: there are actual biological reasons for craving salty in some situations and sweet in others–and its part of the glorious way or bodies are pre-programmed for survival).
Sometimes people are making choices, but they are only semi-conscious of them-for instance out of self-harm as a trauma response. Other times we don’t even know we are making choices because we are simply unaware of alternatives or we have never been educated about the way that stimuli such as emotions and specific foods trigger different responses within the body that set us up for a cascade of effects that are displayed visually or on our bloodwork results…
Information like how to combine which foods to achieve stable blood sugar and lower insulin response. A sensitive balanced insulin response can increase your sensitivity to feelings of hunger and fullness. That is necessary for true agency in one’s health outcomes (and visual outcomes). Listening to one’s body only works well when the body is working to give us those signals otherwise the whole system is rigged against us succeeding from the start (if our goal is to “listen to the body”).
There is a whole science behind options including which foods to combine or eat and when if you want to decrease cravings overall. Or which foods can make you feel fuller longer or think more clearly or have more energy. Which type of exercises performed which way for how long will make you hungrier and which will enable you to feel more full after the workout. If you would like to know more about those things, so you are more empowered to make changes smarter not harder, it is something I coach my 1:1 Private clients on.
Some people say, I can’t train with you Kayla, you’ve never been overweight like me. I have never been you, but there have been times I was overweight (5’5″ 172lb not pregnant, and 175 when pregnant) and I have also been mocked for appearing underweight (young teen), Fortunately I have mostly been in the normal range. I have discovered ways to hack the system both from reading and studying and talking to pros about it to be more stable over time and some of it has to do with hearing relatives who do have a good relationship with their bodies and food while growing up-which helps me reflect back to my clients when something seems off track. I’ve survived illnesses, injuries, and other setbacks. I’ve had a few pregnancies too…and struggled sometimes there too. Its important to select a trainer and coach (sometimes a counselor and/or RD) who does get you and who you are comfortable with and have the conversations so it can become more of a choice that your body is rigged to help you with instead of fighting with your body.
This year it seems World Mental Health Day got a lot more press in America. That’s a good thing because its really time to lower the stigma and thereby encourage everyone to get the help they need to to feel good.
So many of us have been affected by lifestyle changes brought about by Covid and I’ve seen many tip lists and articles about how to lower anxiety and increase happiness but some of it is dense and hard to remember so I created this handy dandy chart compiled from some of them. See if you notice what I did:
OK. Technology wasn’t on the list. Did you see how often EXERCISE was on the list?!?
Exercise has multiple physical health benefits. AND it can have a positive impact on emotional well-being.Regular physical activity can increase your dopamine and serotonin levels, making it a great option to boost your happy hormones. In addition, you’ve probably already heard of the ‘high” that many feel from endorphin release intense exercise triggers.
According to one article focused on using food to boost mood, here’s how to Maximize the Mood Boosting Power of your workout:
To see even more benefits from exercise:
Include a few friends. A small 2009 study (of men) found evidence to suggest group exercise offers more benefits than solo exercise.
Get some sun. Move your workout outdoors to maximize your serotonin boost.
Time it. Aim for at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise at a time. Any amount of physical activity has health benefits, but research associates endorphin release with continued exercise rather than short bursts of activity.
A body in motion tends to stay in motion! So much fun you won’t want to stop. This is THE challenge to finally turn you from couch potato to joyful regular exerciser. 18 workouts, each only 18 minutes long + accountability + group support only $36. BUY NOW
The February 2021 Challenge has an OPTIONAL companion E-journal (purchased separately for $5) with motivational quotes, tips, space for logging nutrition and exercise, and journal prompts for reflection.
Video vault access begins on Feb 3 and concludes feb 23rd at midnight PST.
IF I’M DOING ONLY THE RECORDINGS, WHAT DO I DO ON DAY 1?
The video vault comes pre-loaded with at least 18 recordings available 24/7!
CAN YOU USE ONLY JEWISH MUSIC?
NO. There’s a plethora of licensing issues related to music usage in the virtual space. I pay for rights to the specially licensed music I use because that’s required or YouTube will silence it, block me, or force me to take it down. Jewish music is not designed on the 32 count phrase (which helps u follow and helps me teach) and I can’t buy it by beats per minute (technical aspects of teaching- I need 128 bpm for strength, 140ish for kickin’abs etc). Also “Jewish” music isn’t preferred by the majority in this challenge. We are a mixed group-not all local and not all Jewish. You can hear the instrumental music that comprises most of what’s used in the challenger workouts in the video sample before you purchase the challenge. Some recordings (maybe 4) do contain lyrics.
CAN I DO MULTIPLE WORKOUTS IN A DAY.
You can do as many as you like. Recreational activities such as hiking, biking outside of the challenge class offerings can also count toward your daily accountability. Each participant is allowed Only one check-in per day , regardless of how many more minutes of exercise you performed. The purpose of this challenge is to build consistency, not duration or intensity.
IS THERE A SPECIFIC ORDER I HAVE TO COMPLETE THE WORKOUTS IN?
A good formula for healthy lifestyle of optimal fitness generally is 2-4 days of cardio + 2-3 of resistance training + 1 mind-body/ stretch day. The live schedule has a mix but you don’t have to follow it, nor do you need to do the workouts in a particular order. The goal of the challenge is consistent habit forming joyful movement just about every day (hopefully 18x). In fact you can do all yoga (or whatever format(s) you like the most) the whole challenge!
I DON’T WANT TO BE RECORDED OR HAVE OTHERS SEE ME WORKING OUT. HOW CAN I TAKE THIS CHALLENGE?
The Double Chai Fitness Challenge Class Instruction takes place over live ZOOM which is recorded. Speaker view is used so the instructor is the focus and each video is edited before posting. However, your image may be seen/recorded during the live session. The these recordings will be available on a private You tube or similar for this challenge or for future programming and retained by Kayla/Get Fit with Kayla. You could choose to leave your camera off. You could choose to use only the recordings. You are also able to opt-out of having your image used for marketing.
WHAT PAYMENT METHODS DO YOU ACCEPT?
My site is integrated with PayPal processing whereby you can use a credit card, or your PayPal balance.BUY NOW
IS THERE A FAMILY RATE?
Registration fee is per person. (These classes come out to less than $2 each!) All minors will need an adult to register them for the challenge. You do not need to pay for a minor who takes an occasional class, but you should pay for and register any minor who is partaking of the challenge classes regularly.
CAN I PARTICIPATE IF I DON’T USE WHAT’S APP?
Yes! You will miss out on the group support of seeing and contributing to the check-in process and my cheerleader messages, though. The science of behavior change has proven that visual tracking helps assist in becoming a regular exerciser. You can duplicate some of the effect for yourself by placing marbles in a jar and moving them to another jar for every workout completed or marking workouts completed on a calendar and celebrating the achievement. Purchasing the optional companion e-journal is highly recommended for everyone but even more so if you are not doing the what’s app accountability group.
Why Do I Get Muscle Cramps When Exercising and What Can I do about it?
You’re really jammin’ on your workout and then suddenly it happens, your muscles just cramp up and you can’t go on. Maybe a charlie horse hamstring or a calf pulsation ..What gives? Well there are many factors that could cause it and that’s why I often ask my clients if they have eaten recently and I also review their training program and ask about their activities between training. Aside from medications (like those for high blood pressure and cholesterol) and nerve issues, there are many factors which can cause cramping including overexertion, dehydration/electrolyte imbalances, inadequate nutrition, or chronically tight muscles.
When someone is new to fitness, deconditioned, or working out harder than they usually do, muscles are subjected to forces much stronger than that which they are accustomed. As a result, they may go into a spasm as a protective mechanism to prevent injury. Isn’t the body marvelous! Okay, it may not feel maahvelous at the moment. If this is the situation the obvious solution is to get more fit- gradually. Things like interval training will build up your endurance: both cardiovascular and muscular.
Another factor which often leads to cramping is dehydration. Potassium, magnesium, calcium and sodium in and out of the muscle and surrounding tissues maintain an electrical charge which allows it to do its work. When the levels of these minerals aren’t adequate or in the right amounts or the fluid which carries them in your body-H2O-water isn’t adequate, the muscle either can produce a weak contraction or make a contraction that fails to let go-a cramp.
Most people do get enough sugar and salts in their diet. Unless you are a serious athlete your issue is likely to be dehydration rather than inadequate salt intake. Make sure to hydrate before, during and after your workout. Consider avoiding caffeine and diuretics.
However, some people are sweating so much in their workout and having water but are not replenishing their sodium fast enough and water alone won’t relieve the issue. Typically this isn’t something happens in a one-hour training session but more of a marathon training of 90+ minutes of moderate to intense exertion. Researchers at Brigham Young University found that salt inhibits the message the brain sends to nerves which cause muscles to cramp. (It was a study where they made athletes cramp and then fed them pickle juice and it worked to stop the cramp within seconds). So you could try having something salty to relieve the cramping.
Low Potassium levels can contribute to cramping. Try eating potassium-containing foods such as banana, avocado or oranges at least once a day. Calcium and Magnesium found in dairy and nuts can also help reduce cramping events. .
Some clients think that carbs are the enemy. However carbohydrates are the primary fuel for aerobic activities. The muscle can only store so much glycogen to fuel the workout and at a certain point it can become depleted. It takes about 60-90 minutes to deplete the glycogen stores but if we’re working very intensely it could become depleted in 45 minutes. Muscles need energy to contract and to relax.. So adequate fuel in the form of complex carbohydrates like whole grains and fruits can totally be part of your healthy lifestyle and may help performance.
Some researchers hypothesize that shortened/tight muscles- like shortened hamstrings from prolonged chronic sitting are more likely to cramp. The solution then is to become a regular stretcher. Things like standing toe touches, down dogs from yoga, lunges or similar modifications against a wall or using a chair etc can stretch the calf and hamstring area.
At this point you may be wondering why am I writing to you about cramps just after Passover?
I always think of cramps during Passover because while pregnant in 2002 or 2003, I got the worst cramp that would not go away. I turned to Rabbi Blumenkrantz’ Passover book for a remedy in 2002 and on page 486 he writes, “ Vinegar is high in potassium and low in potassium levels;may cause some cramping, For best results, drink a mixture of 2tsp vinegar and one tsp of honey in a glass of warm water.” Worked like a charm.
If you have fitness questions that need answers, write to me Kayla@getfitwithkayla.com
The most common New Year’s resolution is to lose weight and get into shape or tone up.
If getting into shape is your goal, and you actually want to change your shape-say from a pear to an hourglass or from an apple to an hourglass or from a brick to an hourglass, or from a stalk of wheat to something that won’t blow over in the wind, cardio isn’t the best way to try and get there. Cardio is a great choice for heart health and stamina and we need to do it a few times every week but its not a top choice for maintaining a healthy weight and for actually changing your shape.
With resistance or weight training, we can build you some shoulders to give those of you with a pear shape a more balanced look and we can tighten and firm your glutes and use high reps on your thighs to give them a longer leaner appearance. Will that make you an hourglass? Technically no, because bone structure and genetics are what they are, but we can get you closer to balance and proportion you might have in mind.That said, there’s nothing wrong with any of those body shapes and many people do find them attractive despite the singular message about beauty standards the media seems to offer. From a health and longevity perspective weight training is great for you.
Those with more voluptuous bellies or booties may also be dealing with another big issue: hormones. Those of us in our mid to late 40s or 50s with bat wings who may be dealing with age-related loss of muscle.Muscle also gives a more youthful firmer appearance. Muscle tone helps you lose fat because it takes calories just to sustain itself. Even if weight loss is your goal, resistance training, and especially resistance training in midlife is the way to go.
Muscle is metabolically active tissue…which means you don’t need to starve yourself and run marathons to maintain your physique. In fact, muscle tissue needs calories to stick around or it will waste away- which means you can eat good nutritious food without worrying so much that it will turn to fat. Isn’t that good news?
So if starting the new year with an exercise program means loving your body, that’s fantastic. If it means beating into submission, can you believe you’re less likely to succeed at weightloss? Yes the scientific data says loving your body with enough hydration, rest, nutrient dense food, an occasional unhealthy but so yummy treat and the healthy hormones released when you exercise with intensity are fabulous for your health and better for weightloss.. Starving your body, over-working it and telling yourself about how your various bits aren’t up to par is horrible for your body and your emotional health and actually inhibits weightloss and may even foster illness.
This year, can we resolve to work out smarter instead of harder and be kind to our bodies? I’m ready. So here’s my challenge to you: This year don’t join a gym, and blow it out on the treadmill and dry ryvita crackers for 3 weeks and give up by March.. Just pick one thing. ONE small thing you could commit to for the rest of 2019 that might make a difference and stick to that one thing.
Here are some examples: (Feel free to come up with your own…but only ONE..and make it small and achievable)
I will drinking a glass of water every day before breakfast.
I commit to walking for 10 minutes every day.
I commit to a one minute meditation or mantra of gratitude every day.
I commit to learning to do something besides a bicep curl with dumbells
I will learn to do one pushup.
I will join a workout group and attend each of my 6 sessions (okay I had to throw that in there) as a way to kick start making fitness part of my lifestyle.
Sometimes I get asked what type of training we do in the Small Groups and how it works. The short answer is that I focus mainly on exercises which prepare my clients for a great quality of life and ease in their activities of daily living. Professionals sometimes use the term functional training.
This type of training is different than what you may find in big box gyms with lots of metal equipment. Often those machines train you in a seated position, isolating one particular muscle and work you in the sagittal plane of motion- front and back or up and down. But in life, we work in many planes of motion: side to side, twisting, as well as front and back and up and down pushing and pulling (sometimes simultaneously). So most of the activities we do in small group training are performed from a standing position and use multiple muscle groups in a variety of planes of motion. Our activities of daily living require strength with flexibility, stability of the core and stamina. My training focuses on preparing you for those activities of daily living. You also develop the knowledge and attunement to safely progress or modify any fitness class or activity to your body and its unique strengths or limitations.
We often cover exercise basics: Squats, lunges, push-ups, bicep curls, planks and crunches as well as pilates and yoga-based floor moves with and without dumbells, kettlebells, a barbell, or bands. Sometimes we use TRX suspension trainers, sometimes Bosu Balls or Stability balls. We mix it up, and we modify based on your own fitness level and goals and the goals of the group.
Some groups have prenatal and post-natal clients for whom crunches aren’t appropriate. Alternatives are given and coached. Some people have knee or back issues and cannot safely lunge so exercises are modified or substituted or the range of motion is limited. Others are very fit and need more of a challenge so plyometrics and heavier weights or multi-planar movements are given. Sometimes groups are comprised of women in similar age groups or with similar ability levels but oftentimes there’s a mix of ability levels and ages and it works out just fine with everyone getting a fun, safe and effective workout with the coaching of a personal trainer and the camaraderie of a group.
Generally most groups work full body- mostly strength with a little bit of cardio (dancing/kickboxing/jumprope) or with cardio performed via peripheral heart action by moving both lower and upper body at the same time. Most groups prefer to see a demo of the exercise and then work the same muscle group at the same time with a variety of modifications/progressions for individuals. Each class is roughly choreographed to appropriate tempo music. I demonstrate each one before we begin and work the full body. (Groups meeting twice a week may do an upper/lower body split or a push/pull split). Sometimes there are partner drills. Some group sessions are structured where participants work at their own pace against the clock doing as many repetitions as possible of a particular exercise or series of exercises before the timer expires. Other sessions have you rotate through training stations so nobody is doing the same exercise as you while you’re doing it. One thing is sure: it’s never exactly the same each time. You will gain strength, flexibility endurance and maybe a friend or two.
Oftentimes we think there’s so much to do to in the days and weeks preparing for the Jewish High Holidays that we simply won’t have time for exercise.
Even the most disciplined women find it difficult to maintain their exercise routines due to schedule and eating changes during Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot.
As a personal trainer, even I struggle with keeping up my exercises during this time. However, it can be done. I’m going share the strategy and mindset that my training clients and I use. It’ll help you emerge renewed and re-energized about working out.