How to Perform a High Number of Repetitions with Low Weights

Resistance training with low weights and a high number of repetitions is a great way to build muscle definition while improving your overall muscular endurance. Training this way is also great for boosting your metabolism, which promotes weight loss over time. Check out this video clip to learn what to use when performing resistance training using low weights and a high number of repetitions.

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Stretch Less, Exercise More

There is a popular belief that stretching before exercise is important for injury prevention and muscle recovery, however, there is insufficient scientific evidence to prove this. In fact, current research shows that stretching before exercise impairs muscle strength and performance for up to 30 minutes.  As such, if you implement the time consuming ritual of stretching to warm up prior to exercising, now is a good time to change it up.

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Cellulite: My Battle With The Bulge

A while back a young lady posed a question to me on Facebook regarding cellulite. Although I provided her with the answer she sought, I decided to dive a little deeper into this topic by providing some insight from my own personal experiences. I’ve battled cellulite all my life, especially during obesity in my teens and pregnancy as an adult. When coupled with my expertise, these experiences have given me a unique perspective on how to treat cellulite with simple lifestyle changes.

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5 Tips For Preventing Holiday Weight Gain

With all the freshly baked cookies, cakes and pies that surround you during the holiday season this may not be the best time to start a rigorous weight loss program. However, there is absolutely no reason why you have to pack on the extra pounds. In order to manage your body weight during the holidays, calorie management is an absolute must.

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How to Perform the Military Press on a Swiss Ball

The military press is a great exercise for strengthening your shoulder muscles and it also works the triceps located in the back of your arm. By performing the military press on a Swiss ball you can really activate your core muscles, which improves balance and stability. Check out this video clip to learn how to perform the military press on a Swiss ball. 

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What to Look for in a Fitness-Tracking Device

With the widespread promotion of physical activity and exercise, new breeds of fitness-tracking devices are hitting the market every day. Most of these devices can be beneficial for tracking some level of physical activity but whether or not a single device is best really depends on your personal preferences, lifestyle, and finances. Depending on your health and fitness goals, there are certain features you should look for when choosing a fitness-tracking device.

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Belly Fat: Five Ways to Lose the Pooch

These days belly fat is indeed one of the most widely targeted areas of the body among men and women alike. Walk into any gym and you’ll find countless people spending a large majority of their workout time engaging in 'belly fat boot-camp' on "ab" prefixed machines while simultaneously downing placebo meal replacement shakes that promise to 'melt away' the fat.

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How To Establish Your Weight Training Goals and Schedule

Establishing Your Weight Training Goals

Defining and setting your personal weight training goals is an essential first step in the process of establishing a solid workout routine. When establishing your initial goals, I recommend focusing on the reason(s) you are engaging in this activity in the first place. Identify your expected benefits and create a "big picture" for yourself. Doing this will help you stay on course throughout your journey and keep you motivated as you experience setbacks along the way.

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BeTwixed, Bothered, and Bewildered

A while back I was talking to my husband about a bad habit that I’d picked up when I was pregnant. Before I tell you what it is, let me tell you a little bit about me. I’ve always been extremely structured and very disciplined when I put my mind to something. Even when I had weaknesses, they were consistent. I loved salty foods as a child, as opposed to sugary snacks, so that’s all I ate. In fact, up to the time I was pregnant, I didn’t eat sweets at all. Talk to anyone who knows me and they’ll tell you that this is a true fact.

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The Important Role of Metabolism in Weight Loss

Metabolism (or the metabolic rate) is the amount of calories your body uses to fuel all vital functions (breathing, blood pressure and brain activity). These calories are obtained from macronutrients (carbohydrates, fat and protein) housed in the foods you eat. Your metabolism is affected by numerous factors, which collectively determine your body weight. If your health and fitness goals are centered on losing weight it’s important to understand the critical role that your metabolism plays.

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Three Easy and Convenient Ways to Stay Fit When Traveling

If you regularly engage in exercise training, traveling can really interrupt your routine, especially if your lodging spot is devoid of fitness equipment. Personally, I can recall a four-day visit to Tupelo, Mississippi during which I stayed at a family member’s small ranch surrounded by nothing but outhouses and red dirt roads. Adding insult to injury, at a temperature of nearly 100 degrees Fahrenheit, it rained the entire time I was there, which left me without the option to run outdoors.

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The Best Types of Cardio Equipment for Women

As a woman you can experience significant health benefits from exercise training regardless of the type of exercise equipment you select. It all comes down to your access to equipment, personal preferences, and lifestyle. Cardio exercise equipment like treadmills, elliptical trainers, stair climbers, and stationary cycling machines are excellent for burning calories and improving your cardiovascular fitness. Check out this video clip to see some of the best types of cardio exercise equipment for women.

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Nutrition Basics: Your Daily Protein Intake

Protein is an essential macronutrient that’s primarily responsible for building, repairing, and maintaining cells in the body. It’s also an important structural component of muscle, bone, skin, blood, and other body tissues and organs. When the body's supply of other macronutrients (carbohydrates and fats) is insufficient, protein is used as a source of energy (or calories). Every gram of protein provides approximately four calories.

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African-American Women Have A Harder Time Losing Weight? Give Me a Break!

Just recently, I reviewed a press release of sorts on the Huffington Post suggesting "African-American women who follow the same diet as white women and exercise just as much tend to lose less weight because they burn fewer calories". The information in this release is based on a recent scientific article published in the International Journal of Obesity

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How to Reduce the Appearance of a Pear Shape

If you have a pear shape you tend to carry excess weight in your lower body. Excess body fat can make the pear shape look highly exaggerated but a lack of muscle tone makes it look a lot worse. In order to really reduce the appearance of a pear shape you'll need to perform targeted resistance exercises that slim your lower body. Check out this clip for three of these exercises.  

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Infographic: Are You Losing the Dieting Game?

Research shows that 1 out of every 3 adults in the United States is trying to lose weight yet nearly 70 percent of American adults are overweight or obese suggesting that the popularized dieting and exercise programs aren’t working. Why aren’t they working? Well, it’s primarily due to a lack of compliance, which, in most cases, explains why over 75 percent of individuals who resolve to lose weight each year abandon their weight loss programs by the end of January.

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Delightful Pastries: An Enjoyable Healthy Eating Experience in Chicago

Is it at all possible to combine the words "nutritious" and "bakery" into a single sentence? Believe it or not, it is!

Last week I was invited to attend a tasting at Delightful Pastries, a popular Chicago bakery located in the historic Old Town neighborhood on the city’s North Side. Although this bakery has been widely popular among health conscious folks in the Chicagoland area for over a decade, it was the very first time I’d ever dined there.

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Nonsense of the Week: Research Confirms Long-Term Weight Loss is Almost Impossible, Please Stop It!

Just recently, I reviewed a press release of sorts shared by a member from my Facebook page suggesting that "it's nearly impossible to permanently lose weight." Well, it’s silly season again!

The fallacy in this bogus argument that permanent weight loss isn’t achievable lies in a serious misunderstanding of a critical truth – Permanent weight loss is not a destination, it’s a journey. In order to achieve long-term weight loss, the practice of weight management has to be sustained indefinitely.

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10 Types of Dieting Resources to Reject

Oftentimes, people who are trying to lose weight fall victim to one or more of the hundreds of dieting programs and books on the mainstream market. I'm sure you've done it at least once. Now, some of these do actually contain useful advice and tips but, unfortunately, most make empty promises. With that said, in order to achieve a goal of PERMANENT weight loss, you should REJECT dieting programs or books with any of the following 10 characteristics:

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Infographic: 20 Workout Myths and Misconceptions That Can Hinder Your Results

Between commercial advertisements, magazines and general hearsay, novice and experienced fitness enthusiasts alike continue to fall victim to misconceptions and myths specifically related to exercise. Check out this interesting and very enlightening infographic by Cruze Fitness, which highlights 20 workout myths and misconceptions that can dramatically hinder progress towards your fitness goals.

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Citrus Honey Glazed Golden Beets

Beetroot (beet) is a beneficial source of countless essential nutrients. It’s also an incredibly rich source of important antioxidants like betaine and beta-carotene, which have been shown to enhance liver health and protect against heart disease by lowering blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglycerides (fat in the blood). In addition to the many health-promoting effects of the beet, it also possesses certain characteristics that greatly promote long-term weight management.

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Exercise vs. Physical Activity for Weight Loss

There has been some chatter on the web about the notion that losing weight only requires one to ‘diet’ and ‘move’ (move meaning being physically active). It has also been suggested that exercise isn’t an essential component in the weight loss equation. This misconception about exercise is what prompted me to respond in this video clip.

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Working Out for More Than 50 Minutes a Day May Lead to Early Death? Really?

A while back, I reviewed a syndicated article online suggesting that more than 50 minutes of endurance exercise "may lead to early death" due to overexertion of the heart. While I understand that writers are pressured by the need for a good headliner, the notion that longer duration exercise is hazardous to heart health is both inaccurate and highly misleading. This article is burdened by two primary misinterpretations and I’ll address both.

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Waiting to Exhale: My “Core Fusion” Experience

I’m a runner. I’m a weight lifter. I climb stairs on a regular. I’m as fit as I can be, right? Well of course, I’m Nina Cherie, PhD!

However, the art of muscle confusion never ceases to amaze me.

On May 22, 2013, I attended the Women’s Health Magazine and Exhale Spa’s “Fusion Fest” event in Chicago with the purpose of meeting with “The Next Fitness Star” finalist Tarrah Lee. I had also planned to get my workout on by taking some of the core classes offered by Exhale Spa.

Wow, was I in for a surprise.

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Major Conditions Associated with Low Back Pain

At some point in time, almost everyone will experience low back pain as its prevalence greatly increases with age. Exercise plays an essential role in both the prevention and treatment of low back pain but to learn more about this condition, visit The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

Major Conditions Associated with Low Back Pain Nina Cherie Franklin

For more of the latest and greatest in health, fitness, and nutrition, "Like" me on Facebook at Nina Cherie, PhD of Complete Health Solutions and follow me on Twitter at @NinaCheriePhD.

Disclaimer: The information provided is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Any reader who is concerned about his or her health should contact a physician for advice.

Before starting an exercise training program you should first make sure that exercise is safe for you.  If you are under the age of 55 years and generally in good health, it is probably safe for you to exercise.  However, if you are over 55 years of age and/or have any health problems, be sure to consult with your physician before starting an exercise training program.

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Are You Overestimating Your Daily Calorie Expenditure?

For those of you who regularly follow my blog, you’ll know that I often post images of my daily calorie expenditure by way of my Nike+ Fuelband. However, what you may not know is that I actually have a love-hate relationship with this device. While the Fuelband and similar fitness-tracking devices (Fitbit Flex and Jawbone Up) serve as great motivational tools that can greatly increase your level of adherence to regular physical activity and exercise, overestimating your daily calorie expenditure by way of these devices could hinder continued progress.

With that said, before you get overly excited about how many calories you burn each day, consider these facts.

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The Gluten-Free Lifestyle: Is It Really a Fad?

Gluten-free eating is the latest craze among health enthusiasts and folks seeking to lose weight. In fact, if you’ve visited your local grocery store lately, you’ve probably noticed that the shelves are packed full of foods labeled as "gluten-free". Unfortunately, for a large majority of the population—say 90-95 percent—such gluten-free foods are an unnecessary investment.

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5 Simple Ways to Add Flaxseed to Your Diet for Weight Management

Regularly eating flaxseed supports weight management and overall good health but many people just don’t know how to eat them. In fact, if you’re trying to add flaxseed to your diet, at first glance you might be a little intimidated by the way they look. Grocery stores house flaxseed in brown and golden colors and in whole and ground form so what do you do with them? The good news is that they’re all equally nutritious so it really depends on your taste preferences. If you’re in need of good ideas, here are five quick and easy ways to incorporate flaxseed into your diet, particularly for weight management.

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5 Reasons Why Resistance Training Is Necessary for Weight Loss

Many people who are trying to lose weight tend to avoid resistance (weight) training for a fear of "bulking up" or "getting bigger". In spite of what many believe, resistance training is absolutely critical for weight loss, weight maintenance and overall good health. Here are 5 reasons why resistance training is especially beneficial for weight loss.

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Building Your Biceps and Forearm Muscles

The biceps muscles are located on the front of the arm while forearm muscles refer to those situated between the elbow and wrist. These muscles tend to work together and are essential for performing many physical activities like climbing, lifting, pulling, carrying things, and twisting the wrist. From a 'vanity' standpoint, toned and sculpted biceps give an appearance of 'guns' and look fabulous in sleeveless tops and dresses while the muscles of the forearm cap off the look of the arms.

Related Article: Six of the Best Exercises for Sculpting Lean Arms

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Two-Day Fasting: A Viable Option for Healthy Eating

Two-day fasting is a type of intermittent fasting regimen that’s associated with exceptionally high levels of adherence. What makes two-day fasting especially beneficial is that it encourages substantial reductions in body weight, body fat percentage, and visceral (belly) fat, which is the type of fat that's linked to disease. I’ve practiced two-day fasting and other forms of intermittent fasting for years and I often recommended this way of eating to serious clients who are committed to maintaining a healthy body weight in the long-term.

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10 Superfoods That Make Healthy Snacks for Kids

Healthy foods give kids the energy they need on a daily basis while also supplying the vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients that help their bodies and minds to develop and mature. Since most are constantly on the go with school and play, snack time is one of the absolute best times to introduce healthy foods into their diets. With that said, here are ten quick and convenient nutrient-rich foods that can greatly optimize physical growth, development and mental performance among children, adolescents and young teens alike.

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8 Reasons Why Women Should Weight Train

Are you afraid of weight training? Do you think it's too hard or that it will "bulk you up"? Do you find cardio exercise to be a better use of your workout time? In many instances, the answer to these questions keeps most women out of the gym and away from weights. However, in spite of what many women believe, weight training is absolutely critical for weight loss, weight maintenance, and overall good health. Here are 8 reasons why weight training is especially beneficial for women:

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My Unintentional 20-Pound Weight Loss

I’ve been actively controlling my body weight for nearly 20 years and it isn’t easy as I’m a big-boned, pear-shaped woman who fights the disease of obesity every day. However, I’ve found great solace in managing my body weight and ultimately my health with sensible dietary strategies and a large volume of exercise. Over the years, I’ve learned some things about myself when it comes to eating:

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3 Tasty Ideas for Incredibly Nutritious Meal-Replacement Smoothies

Whether you're constantly on the go or just looking to spice up your diet, smoothies make great meal replacements. Choosing the right ingredients can greatly boost your intake of protein, healthy fats, high-quality carbs, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Here are three simple recipes for incredibly delicious and nutritious smoothies. For each recipe, add all the ingredients to your blender in the order in which they are listed.

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Understanding The Significance of The Calorie

A basic understanding of how calories work is essential to a successful and safe weight loss. Calories are obtained from essential nutrients (carbohydrate, fat, and protein) and serve as fuel for the body to carry out vital functions like breathing, eating, and sleeping. In addition, calories fuel all types of physical activity from taking a shower to strenuous exercise.

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How to Tone Your Thighs with Dumbbells

There are many resistance training exercises you can perform to give your thighs a sleek and shapely appearance. Dumbbells are great for working the thighs and other muscles of the lower body as they are relatively cheap and pretty easy to use. Here's a clip in which I demonstrate four great exercises for working your thighs with dumbbells

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Eating Unhealthy Foods and Losing Weight: Is This Even Possible?

A while back someone asked me "Is it at all possible to lose weight without eating vegetables, fruits and other healthy foods?" Believe it or not, my answer was a firm "YES!"

In fact, many people believe that losing weight requires continuous consumption of "healthy" foods but contrary to popular belief, healthy eating isn't at all necessary for weight loss. Weight loss is simply a matter of creating calorie deficits and this can easily be achieved with everyday consumption of unhealthy nutritionally devoid foods. Now, while it is possible to lose weight this way, it's definitely not a sensible long-term approach.

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Healthy Grocery Shopping: Easy-to-Find Foods That Should Always Be on Your List

If you're trying to eat healthy but having a difficult time finding the right foods to buy, a trip to the grocery store can be quite intimidating. For weight management and overall good health, it’s important to eat a wide variety of food sources of carbohydrates, fat and protein that are rich in essential vitamins and minerals. Your local grocery store houses hundreds of foods that meet these criteria. Here are some of the healthiest to add to your grocery list, even if you have a frugal food budget.

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Five Strategies for Eating Well with a Lung Condition

When compared to the average person, individuals with lung conditions (chronic bronchitis, asthma, and emphysema) use way more energy during breathing. Such breathing problems are primarily a result of narrowing and inflammation (swelling) of the lung's airways. In general, good nutrition is critical for good health and eating nutritious, well-balanced meals each day can play a significant role in the prevention of lung problems. Here are five healthy eating strategies that can help alleviate labored breathing and other symptoms of common lung conditions.

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Infographic: Shop Smart & Fill Up Your Cart: Your Healthy Grocery Shopping List

If you're trying to eat healthy but having a difficult time finding the right foods to buy, a trip to the grocery store can be quite intimidating. For weight management and overall good health, it’s important to eat a wide variety of food sources of carbohydrates, fat, and protein. For the most part, these foods should be relatively high in essential antioxidant vitamins and minerals. Luckily, your local grocery store houses hundreds of foods that meet these criteria but you have to know what to look for.

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Tips for Implementing Healthy Eating Habits Into a Child’s Lifestyle

Healthy foods give children the energy they need on a daily basis as well as the vitamins and minerals that help their bodies and minds to develop and mature. When it comes to promoting healthy eating habits among children certain foods need to be readily available in the house for quick and easy to prepare meals and snacks. These foods include:

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Roscoe's House of Chicken and Waffles: A Dining Experience I’ll Never Forget

To culminate an excellent scientific meeting in downtown Los Angeles, I decided to spend my last day in The Golden State by taking the Metro over to Hollywood for a little site seeing. Naturally, no visit to Hollywood would be complete without paying a visit to the local Roscoe's House of Chicken and Waffles. For years my friends have been singing the praises of this restaurant and I had to see what all the fuss was about. Knowing that this wouldn’t be a nutritious indulgence, I got in some mileage on the Walk of Fame before sitting down to eat.

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Three Ways to Find a Gym and Make It Work For You

Just recently, I was asked to respond to a press release out of Richmond, California, detailing the experience of a Bay area woman asked to cover up while working out at a local Planet Fitness due to potential "gym intimidation". Surprisingly enough, this request was actually in direct adherence to this chain’s highly publicized no "judgment" policy, which doesn’t allow members to wear certain clothes or even perform certain exercises.

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Weight Training 101: What You Need To Know Before You Lift

Weight training fundamentals tend to be a mystery for many people. Both novice and experienced weight lifters alike struggle with certain basics like proper exercise selection and execution as well as manipulating repetitions and sets, even though they believe they’re doing things right. Oftentimes, beginners have no clue when it comes to weight training and resort to spending valuable time watching and emulating more experienced lifters. Unfortunately, some of these 'experienced' individuals don’t know what they’re doing either.

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Eliminating Cardio Exercise for Weight Loss?

Just recently, a member from my Facebook page asked me the following question regarding the role of cardio/running in weight loss: 

"I would like your take on a couple of articles that have been floating around the Internet about eliminating cardio/running ["Friends Don’t Let Friends Do Cardio" and "Why Women Should Not Run"]...I just started training for the Chicago Marathon and am inclined to stress fractures, although, I think I have figured out how to keep from getting injured. I rest more often in between long and/or hard runs, I don't run anywhere near concrete and I have added other bone strengthening exercises to my regimen. Is there any empirical data that supports or denies the claim that cardio (not walking or sprinting) should be eliminated for the purpose of losing weight...?" 

I’ll address the primary points in sections starting with cardio.

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3 Low-Impact Cardio Alternatives to Running

When you think of cardio, running is usually the first thing that comes to mind. It’s easy to think this way, as running seems to be the most popular thing to do these days. Whether for weight loss, sport, recreation or charity, running just looks fun. But, what are you supposed to do for cardio if you don’t like running or if you’re unable to run due to joint-related issues? The answer is simple: Don’t run! Do something else. There are tons of cardio exercises that you can perform that don’t require pounding the pavement day in and day out. Here are three effective cardio alternatives to running that are low-impact and easy on the joints.

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Seven Food Labeling Tactics That Are Making People Sick

For well over 20 years the eyes and ears of dieters, health enthusiasts and the general public have been continuously bombarded with confusing and oftentimes misleading packaging and labeling information courtesy of the food and beverage industry. Unfortunately, successful employment of such tactics and resultant changes in peoples’ everyday food intake patterns have paralleled the epidemics of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and other diet-related health problems.

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8 Amazing Health Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids

You’ve probably heard a lot about the many benefits of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids but do you actually know what they are and why they’re so beneficial?

Also known as omega-3s, these essential fatty acids collectively include alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Since the body doesn’t naturally produce omega-3s, they must be obtained from the diet through consumption of everyday foods like oily cold-water fish (salmon, tuna and sardines), flaxseeds, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, high-quality soy products and canola oil.

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The Ideal Elliptical Stride for Working the Glutes

The elliptical trainer is an excellent low impact alternative to the treadmill in that you can get in a great full body workout without placing undo stress on your joints. Most elliptical trainers allow you to adjust the cross ramp angle to target the lower body muscle groups, including your legs, thighs, and glutes. Check out this clip to see the ideal elliptical stride for working the glutes. 

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Health and Fitness Tips: June 2012

A Point to Ponder:

With the summertime fast approaching I'd like to encourage you all to stay healthy and physically fit.  Given that summer is a season of vacations, picnics, cookouts, happy hour, pizza by the slice, ice cream, sugary frozen beverages, and lazy days outdoors, it's easy to slack off.  With that said, as you enjoy your summer be sure to implement regular physical activities like biking, swimming, long walks, and gardening into your daily routine.  You can also use this season to enjoy cool and refreshing foods and drinks like fresh vegetable and fruit salads, healthy homemade sandwiches, fruit flavored sorbets, iced tea, and, of course, plenty of ice cold water.

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How to Perform Push-Ups

Push-ups are great for sculpting your chest, shoulders and triceps which improves the overall appearance of your upper body. However, many women complain of soreness behind their breasts (chest soreness) after performing them. Check out this video clip to learn how to perform push-ups. You'll also learn why you may experience chest soreness after performing them.

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BungyPumps: A Great Way to Burn More Calories and Lose More Weight With Walking

Walking is by far one of the most common types of cardiovascular (cardio) exercise, as it’s easy to perform, requires little or no equipment, and can conveniently be incorporated into your everyday routine. Through its beneficial effects on the heart, lungs and blood vessels, regular walking has been shown to substantially reduce the risk of obesity and numerous chronic diseases including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and various forms of cancer. 

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3 Ways To Rid Your Body of Stubborn Back Fat

Not satisfied with the appearance of your back? Do you have excess 'flab' lingering around your lower back and sides that you simply can’t get rid of? What about your upper back? Are you tired of turning around in the mirror only to see flab hanging over your bra strap? If you’ve answered yes to one or more of these questions and are one of the many individuals out there struggling with an unsightly appearance of stubborn back fat, read on to learn why it occurs and what you can do about it.

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How to Build Your Cycling Speed

Whether performed outdoors or indoors on a stationary machine, cycling is an excellent exercise for increasing your cardiovascular fitness and overall health. For maximum benefits, it is a good practice to continually work towards building your cycling speed. Check out this video clip to learn how you can easily do this.

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My Love-Hate Relationship with the Nike+ Fuelband

As a health/fitness researcher and professional, exercise enthusiast, and die-hard Nike fan, I’ve been a devoted user of the Nike+ Fuelband since its original launch in 2012. The primary reason for my initial investment was by far its accelerometer capabilities. There was a time that a good accelerometer would cost you in excess of $400-500 dollars so paying the reasonable price of $150 was indeed a no-brainer.

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Stop Calling Me Skinny!

Have you recently experienced a dramatic weight loss and are now sensing that people are treating you differently? Are you suddenly hearing things like you’re "getting too skinny" or that you "look sick"? Well if the answer to either of these questions is yes you’re certainly not alone. Unfortunately, this is something I’ve been dealing with for most of my adult life – and I’m not even naturally skinny.

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Osteoporosis: What It Is and How to Prevent and Treat It

Recently I overheard an older African-American woman tell a group of her friends that she "doesn’t drink milk or eat yogurt because [she] isn’t worried about osteoporosis". While it might've sounded funny to some, I was actually quite alarmed by this woman's statement, as she was obviously unaware of the real intricacies surrounding the development of this potentially debilitating condition.

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Three Smart Strategies for Exercising with a Lung Condition

When compared to the average person, individuals with lung conditions (chronic bronchitis, asthma, and emphysema) use way more energy during breathing. Such breathing problems are primarily a result of narrowing and inflammation (swelling) of the lung's airways. In general, exercise and other forms of physical activity are critical for good health and can play a significant role in the prevention of lung problems. However, the wrong types of exercise can induce inflammation and trigger breathing difficulties. Here are three smart exercise strategies that can help alleviate inflammation, labored breathing, and other symptoms of common lung conditions.

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A Simple, Effective Abdominal Workout

The abdominal muscles (or 'abs') are basically comprised of three parts: the rectus abdominus (commonly called 'the six pack'), obliques (internal and external), and transverse abdominus. Strong abss (in conjunction with the muscles of the lower back) are essential for performing many physical activities that require turning, twisting, and bending. The abdominal muscles also play a crucial role in stabilizing the spine, preventing the occurrence of lower back pain.

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How to Incorporate Cardio Exercise Into Your Workouts

Cardiovascular (cardio) exercise training is one of the most effective methods for increasing your daily calorie expenditure, which is an integral component of weight management. When coupled with resistance training, cardio exercise can also improve your body composition by reducing your body fat percentage (click here for more information on body composition and body fat percentage guidelines).  

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Different Types of Weight Training Equipment

When it comes to weight training, you need to choose exercises and equipment that tax all the major muscle groups of your upper and lower body. A good weight training routine should include at least eight different exercises which can easily be performed with machines as they guide your body through the desired range of motion and don't require much coordination. Machines are also great for isolating muscle groups. Check out this video clip to see some of the best weight training machine exercises.

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How to Add Healthy Fats to Your Diet

More and more research suggests that healthy fats should be incorporated into the diet in order to improve cholesterol. Cholesterol is primarily comprised of LDL ("bad") cholesterol and HDL ("good") cholesterol. High cholesterol is a condition in which you have too much LDL cholesterol in your blood. Buildup of LDLs in the blood leads to plaque formations in your arteries that cause heart attacks and strokes. However, having high HDL levels is ideal as this good cholesterol is responsible for removing LDL from arterial walls. 

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What You Can Do About Uterine Fibroids: My Personal Insights and Professional Advice

Back in 2007 while pregnant with my son I found out I had a single uterine fibroid that increased in size throughout the progression of my pregnancy. I didn’t sweat it as my obstetrician-gynecologist assured me that the fibroid would shrink after childbirth. It did. Unfortunately, my fibroid issues took a real turn for the worst from 2010 to 2012 during which time I had three consecutive miscarriages.

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Portion Size Essentials for Weight Management

Numerous studies show that a lot of people overeat due to a misunderstanding of portion sizes compared to serving sizes. It's important to understand that many pre-portioned foods actually contain multiple servings. Getting into the habit of controlling your portion sizes isn't as difficult as you might think. Here's a quick and easy guide for judging serving sizes for some of the more commonly underestimated foods.

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How To Choose Your Weight Training Equipment and Exercises

In order to establish a solid weight training routine you'll need to strategically choose your exercises and equipment. However, you shouldn't do this until you've carefully established your weight training goals. In order to reap the full benefits of weight training, all your major muscle groups need to be taxed. There are many muscle groups in the body but to keep it simple I'll refer to seven of them as major muscle groups: chest, back, deltoids (shoulders), triceps, biceps, lower body/legs, and abdominals.  

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Health and Fitness Tips: April 2012

A Point to Ponder:

While a daily exercise bout is great, research shows that it is counterproductive if you’re seated at a computer or on a couch for the majority of the day. In fact, every hour you spend in a seated position increases your risk of heart disease by nearly 20% and your risk of early death from all preventable diseases by more than 10%, even if you exercise regularly. With that said, in addition to regular exercise, be sure to incorporate more spontaneous physical activities into your daily routine in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle. This can be as simple as using the stairs or walking during work breaks.  Use a pedometer in order to monitor your daily physical activity behaviors both inside and outside the gym and see how every step counts.

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Stress: A Major Culprit Behind Weight Gain, Belly Fat, and Chronic Disease

Are you frequently exposed to stress due to work or school, conflicts with family or friends, or even while sitting impatiently in a traffic jam? Although such situations may seem harmless, with prolonged and repeated exposures these simple stressors can set off a progressive cascade of events leading to unhealthy weight gain, poor health and, ultimately, disease.

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How to Exercise with Water Dumbbells

Water-based exercise is an excellent form of cardio that works all the major muscle groups and burns calories while significantly elevating the heart rate, thereby improving your overall level of fitness. Using water dumbbells allows you to perform full-body resistance training which greatly increases the intensity of your workout while also providing a toning effect. Check out this video clip to learn how to exercise with water dumbbells.

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Probiotics: The Friendly Bacteria

Probiotics are commonly referred to as "friendly" or "good" bacteria. They are naturally housed in fermented foods that have been either produced or preserved by the action of living compounds called microorganisms, which are essentially bacteria or yeast. However, they’re also housed in a wide variety of dietary supplements like pills and powders, many of which have been shown to offer benefits similar to probiotic-rich foods.

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Black Hair vs. Health: Do We Sacrifice Our Health for Our Hair?

I have trained and/or provided consultations to hundreds of black women for well over 10 years and about 80 percent of them have, at some point, used hair-related excuses for rescheduling or even canceling their sessions. Ironically enough, those women of color who were compliant either had natural hairdos (dreads or kinky twists), braids, fades, or European-like hair (commonly defined as "good hair"). What is it with hair and exercise when it comes to black women? Do we sacrifice our health for our hair?

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