Staying on track, out of town.

Kendra2Earlier this fall, I traveled out of town for a few days on a business trip. I was excited, but also worried about staying aligned with my diet and fitness goals on the road. In the past, I haven’t been great about navigating or recovering from interruptions to my usual routine. This time, I spent some time packing and planning in advance.

Here’s what I did:

I packed multiple changes of workout clothes, and an alarm clock, which allowed me to grab a fresh set of clothes whenever I could squeeze in a few minutes at the hotel gym.

I packed a ton of healthy snacks, and tracked my calorie intake using an iPhone app. (I use MyFitnessPal.) On a business trip, you eat out a lot, and it can be hard to “guesstimate” an accurate entry for meals. By having healthy snacks to munch on during the day, I was able to keep my take-out meals (and the guesswork) to a minimum.

I brought my new MyZone 3 belt to track my workouts. By using the smartphone app to view my heart rate zone during my workout, I was able to make the best use of my limited workout time, just like when I’m at the Club.

I carried a water bottle to refill between work sessions to stay hydrated. This helped keep food cravings to a minimum, and kept me feeling great while I spent most of my day sitting in a seminar.

Sounds perfect, right? I am the queen of planning! I am a superhero and none shall put my forward momentum asunder! Still, the best laid plans can go awry, and I did learn some very important lessons. Here’s what I also could have done to set myself up for success.

Brought a lightweight exercise or yoga mat for my hotel room. I was surprised to find that the hotel gym was even smaller than my super-tiny hotel room. There was one elliptical machine, one recumbent bike, one treadmill, one rack of free weights, and not much room to swing a sweat towel, or even do some simply bodyweight exercises. Having extra cushioning for the floor in my hotel room would have helped me use that space for stretching, yoga, or a little core work.

Packed a bigger variety of healthy snacks, and more than I thought I needed. I brought enough to sustain me during my time out of town, but by the end of the trip, what I missed was choices. On my last day, I just didn’t feel like peanut butter chocolate chip protein bars anymore. I’d rather carry home a few uneaten snacks, but have enjoyed my snacks along the way, than get sick and tired of some of my favorites.

Penciled in workouts on my calendar for the days AFTER I returned. Sometime after I returned home, I was shocked when I realized that three days had passed without exercising. Even though I had kept myself on track pretty well during my trip, somehow that attention just flew out the window when I got back! I should have written a workout into my calendar for the days following, to ensure that making time for exercise was an intentional part of resuming my normal schedule.

Any other tips, Club Fitters? What has worked for you?

superhero

Club Fit Members Love MYZONE!

I love that when I am away I can now track my progress (with MYZONE). While it is great to have it tied to the gym and I love seeing it on the screen, I do go away for the summers and this allows me to keep up with my training in a consistent manner. And as we all know with fitness, consistency is key!

There are places in the gym where there are no MYZONE screens or they can’t be viewed (TRX room, certain spin bikes, the new ellipticals). I just realized today, I can just put my phone on and track my progress! So if I am bopping around on different machines/classes, I can continuously monitor myself.

— Club Fit Member Danielle O’Reilly

MYZONE “Fanatic” and Club Fit Member Rich Polombo

MYZONE user Rich Palombo

Club Fit member Rich Palombo stays motivated with MYZONE.

When it comes to MYZONE, everyone has their own approach. Some are more laid back about it, but there are also the MYZONE fanatics! These people check their numbers religiously, enter every MYZONE Challenge (the Summer Sizzle Challenge begins July 1st at both clubs), and truly track their progress while keeping an eye on everyone else’s numbers on the MYZONE screen. Rich Palombo is in this second camp, and is happy to admit it.

Rich, who has been a Club Fit member for close to 15 years, started using his MYZONE belt last August, when the program was rolled out. And it fell right in line with his competitive nature. Not only did he participate in the various MYZONE challenges, he compared his numbers to his fellow members, at times trying to outpace them, or just keep up. In fact, in one of the early challenges, he spent the entire first weekend working out just to be the first in the club to make the required 1800 MEPs (MYZONE effort points, based on duration of activity and heart rate). And he did it!

The long and short of it? The MYZONE belt gives him the incentive to put more effort into his workout. It is a motivator! “I am all about measurements and metrics,” says Rich. “MYZONE actually made me realize that I could push myself a little bit harder and still work out safely.” At the club, Rich primarily uses the elliptical machines in the Fitness Center, and also plays Tennis and Racquetball. “I’ve always been active, but was never a ‘health club type.’ Club Fit and MYZONE changed that for me.” He also brings his seven-year-old daughter to the pool on weekends, and feels that the club is a great place for people to go as a family. “You may not be working out together, but you are all there to feel better and can leave happy, together.”

Because of Rich’s current job, which takes him to Long Island from his home in Putnam Valley, his workout time has been limited, but he still gets in five workouts a week. “I try to come twice on Saturdays and Sundays, and once during the week,” he says. But even outside of the club, Rich stays active, and wears his MYZONE belt to track his MEPs. He has worn it playing hockey and doing yardwork, and was amazed at how much effort was put forth during these activities.

While some people are using the belt to help them lose weight, at this point in his busy life Rich is happy to maintain. But he does know how effective it can be. “I took a month off between my last job and current job, and was at the gym religiously. I dropped almost 10 pounds in that month by staying focused.” He loves the fact that he can check his numbers after every workout, even on his phone. “With MYZONE you can hold yourself accountable. Unless other people know your user name and follow you on the screen, only you know exactly how hard you are working and whether you are meeting your personal goals.”

Even though his time at the club is now limited, Rich is a huge fan of Club Fit. “The staff and the facility are wonderful,” he says. “I love that I can go there and get a smile from everyone, and that most people know my name. I’ve developed great relationships with some staff members as well as others who use the club.” Rich works in the customer service industry managing call centers, and feels that Club Fit is a definite leader in this area. “In general, people will spend up to 10 percent more on a product or service if the customer service is top-notch. With the personalized attention I get at Club Fit and the great facility, I’m happy to spend a few more dollars to belong here as opposed to a bare bones or quick service gym.”

Even if you are not as much of a MYZONE fanatic as Rich, you can join him this month in the Summer Sizzle Challenge, taking place at both Briarcliff and Jefferson Valley! Simply log in to your MYZONE account and accept the challenge. You only need to rack up 1800 MEPs to earn an entry into a raffle for great prizes. Make it fun, like Rich does; follow fellow members as they rack up points, and set little challenges for yourself. And if you don’t have a belt yet? Stop by the Service Desk at Briarcliff or the Reception Desk at Jefferson Valley and invest in one! “It was such a great investment for me because I like to stay on top of things and know what I am accomplishing,” says Rich. If you are working out at Jefferson Valley, look for “RICHPA” on the MYZONE screen and see if you can keep up!

Want to hear more about Rich’s MYZONE experience? 
Click here to read a MYZONE interview with Rich.

I finally picked up a MyZone belt, and here’s what happened.

Signing up at the service desk for my MyZone activity belt.

This past week, I celebrated my birthday, which I have a very different perspective on in my cancer-remission world. Before I started out seriously on a path to health and wellness, I would celebrate my birthday in less healthy ways, but now, I see my birthday as an opportunity to reward myself with a gift that will help me on my new path. Last year on my birthday, I celebrated with an early morning workout and a massage. This year, I gifted myself with Club Fit’s newest toy, the MyZone belt. (If you haven’t heard of MyZone, check out this video to learn more.)

The MyZone belt is an ingenious little device that tracks your heart rate during your workout, and emails you a summary of your results after you’re finished! (What a world we live in, huh?) If you’re working out in the gym, you’ll be able to see your current heart rate, calories burned, and more, right on the nearest screen. I can keep one eye on it to see if I’m working too hard, or if I need to put more effort in, to get the most out of the time I’m putting into my workout. You can also take it with you outside the gym – it will store 16 hours of workout data, and then sync up again next time you get to the gym.

When I first started using my belt, I was really surprised to find that I wasn’t working as hard as I thought, and I needed step up my game a little bit. It also helped me identify the fastest activities to get my heart rate up, so I can use cardio intervals more effectively. It’s super comfortable to wear, easy to put on, easy to clean, and it’s just a really cool piece of technology that is so gosh darn fun to use! I mean, who doesn’t feel like a superhero with a bright red band around their chest?! (Secret superhero handshake, anyone?)

I’m SO, SO glad I made this investment. It has helped me immensely, and I’d recommend it for anyone who is serious about results from their training (or just wants to feel like a superhero.)

 

 

How I Learned to Run (Again)

Here's me, running on a treadmill. Words I thought I'd never say!

So… remember that time I said I hated running?  I never, ever thought this photo (left) would happen.  It’s still true that I do not enjoy extended running as general cardio exercise, but my trainer introduced me to interval workouts called Tabata training.  They let me run for only four minutes, with frequent rests, and still gets my heart rate up to where it needs to be.

Jenn explained to me that the varying intervals of activity and rest make your heart work harder, and boost your heart rate faster.  I run for twenty seconds, then rest for ten seconds, and repeat these cycles until I’ve finished four minutes – and by then, I am wiped out!  This is perfect for me, because twenty seconds seems to be my exact tolerance for running on a treadmill.  I can even use these Tabata intervals during strength training workouts to keep my heart rate up, and accomplish cardio and strength work at the same time.  Intervals also create “afterburn”, which boosts your metabolic rate for a period of time after you finish working out.  Talk about efficiency!

The best part about these workouts is that I really can feel a measurable increase in my cardiovascular endurance.  I can tell that they’re working, because each week, it gets a little easier (or should I say, I get better?)  It’s a great reminder that my body is totally capable of performing whatever I train it to do – I just need to put the work in.

Check out my shiny new heart rate monitor!

My heart rate monitor!

My wonderful husband got me a heart rate monitor for the holidays!  It’s easy to use, comfortable to wear, and I’m so happy to have it.  It really helps me make the most of my workout time by helping me stay on track and in the heart rate zone that I want to be in.

A watch with a second hand and some quick mental math will serve the same function, but this neat little device is really nice to have.  All I need to do is press the button on the watch face, and I get a reading in a few seconds. It helps me to know when and if I’m over or under working, so I can compensate one way or the other.  For now, I’m focusing on the fat burning zone, because I’m working on weight loss, and this neat device helps me target my workouts.  It also counts my steps while I’m walking, and I really enjoy the satisfaction of seeing measurable progress while I’m exercising.

Do you use any gadgets to aid your workout?  Would you recommend them?

Understanding Nutrition

THE GLYCEMIC RESPONSE:

 

 It is important for the body to maintain optimal blood glucose levels. As I have indicated, this is 80- 120 ml/dl of blood. If blood glucose level falls low you may become lethargic, irritable, extremely hungry and unable to think clearly. If glucose level rises to high, you may become very sleepy. Either instance is dangerous, and can cause severe consequences.

The body normally regulates your blood sugar levels by releasing two hormones secreted by the pancreas.  Insulin is secreted when blood sugar concentrations get to high, and Glucagon is secreted when blood sugar levels get too low. (Remember). Diabetes and Hypoglycemia are two conditions where glucose regulation is hindered.

Although our body regulates these responses, it is important for us to eat properly to maintain optimal blood sugar levels, and all body responses. Every cell in our body depends on glucose for fuel, especially the brain and nervous system, which I will discuss later.

So what can you do to maintain optimum levels? First, eat smaller meals more frequently throughout the day. You should be eating approximately every 2½ hours. Second, when you do eat, make sure the meal or snack consists of carbohydrate, fat, and protein. Fats slow down the digestion and absorption of carbohydrates.  Protein triggers the release of many important substances including glucagon, which hinders the effect of insulin. By adhering to these practices, you prevent fluctuations of blood sugar level and help prevent surges of glucose in the blood .You will also feel much better both physically and mentally.

There are times when an athlete may want a surge of blood sugar to get nutrients into the cells quickly. The prime opportunity for this is directly after exercise when the “window of opportunity’ is the best. More glucose and nutrients will replenish deleted

stores used during exercise. The longer you wait after exercise the less amount is restored. How does this translate into something useful? Well, the more glycogen and amino acids that are replenished quickly, the better your recovery and preparation for the next bout of exercise. You will notice increased strength and more energy.

The glycemic effect of food is in relation to our blood sugar and insulin response. It is the effect of how fast and how high blood sugar concentrations rise, and how quickly our body lowers the levels back to normal.

Some carbohydrate foods are rated very high on the Glycemic index. This is another reason why carbohydrate foods often targeted for propaganda and fad diet claims. On the contrary to many fad diets that advocate you should not consume carbohydrates or carbohydrates eliciting a high glycemic index rating, most of these provide an excellent source of nutrients, and are healthy for you.

It is believed that these carbohydrates provoke hunger, food cravings, and cause too much of a release of insulin which claim to promote fat storage. By following special eating patterns, and consuming lower carbohydrates they claim you will lose weight, and fool the body into producing the right amounts of insulin.

Generally, it is wise to choose foods with a low glycemic rating if they are going to be consumed alone, to achieve sustained energy. However, as I have stated earlier, the overall glycemic response of a food is influenced by other foods eaten at the meal.  Keep in mind, people take a little bit of validity, and manipulate others into believing.

 

THE GLYCEMIC INDEX:

 

The glycemic index is a physiological based method used to classify foods according to their response to raising blood glucose.

 

 

  • The index compares how rapidly carbohydrates are converted to blood sugar compared to glucose, which is 100 %.

 

  • The lower the rating, the less of a glycemic response.

 

 

  • The glycemic response of a food is not dependent upon the sugar content or the content of simple versus complex carbohydrate. Carrots eaten alone will increase insulin more than a candy bar with nuts.

 At present, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) has not endorsed the glycemic index for patients with diabetes. The ADA recommends that people with diabetes moderate their carbohydrate intake to keep their blood sugar low, eat less fat, more fiber, and fewer calories to lose weight, rather than attempt to follow a glycemic correct diet. Weight loss alone can bring blood sugar down to healthy levels in type II diabetes.

                                  Glycemic Index Of Common Foods

 

100 %                         80-99%                       70-79%                       60-69%

Glucose                       Maltose                    Bread                         Brown Rice

                                    Parsnips                       Millet                          Bananas

                                    Carrots                        Potato                         Raisins

                                    Potato Chips               White Rice                  Mars Bars

                                    Corn Flakes                                                     White bread

                                    Honey

 

50-59%                       40-49%                       30-39%                       20-29%

Sucrose                     Oranges                       Apples                       Fructose

White spaghetti           Peas                             Ice Cream                 Kidney Beans

All Bran                      Navy Beans                 Most Meats                 Lentils

Yams                           Oats                           Most cheese               

Corn                                                                Yogurt

 

10-19%

Soy Beans

Peanuts

Adapted from Source: Jenkins, D.J.A., Lente carbohydrate: A newer approach to the dietary management of diabetes. Diabetes Care, 5:634, 1982: as adapted by ISSA Performance Nutrition: The complete guide, 1997.