5 Healthy Holiday Gifts to Yourself

  The month of December is filled with hustle and bustle.  It is also the season of giving.  With all of this giving don’t forget to give back to yourself.  Here is a list of 5 great ways to give back to yourself for a healthier and happier you.   Be kind to others. You […]

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The month of December is filled with hustle and bustle.  It is also the season of giving.  With all of this giving don’t forget to give back to yourself.  Here is a list of 5 great ways to give back to yourself for a healthier and happier you.

 

  1. Be kind to others. You don’t know what someone else may be going through, so do something nice for someone else. It can be as simple as looking them in the eye and sincerely thanking them, holding a door, or picking up the tab for the person behind you in line. When you put this kind of energy out there, it will make you feel better.
  2. An energetic workout that involves both cardio bursts and resistance training. This will not only provide health benefits, but it will also help relieve the stress that comes along with the holiday season. Finish off the workout with a stretch, yoga, or a foam roller.
  3. Indulge in something gluttonous such as a facial, a long hot bath, a massage, a manicure, or an extra treat.
  4. Forgive yourself! Everyone has regrets, it’s part of life. If you can find a way to forgive yourself for whatever it is that you feel was so wrong, then it will be like lifting a weight off your shoulders. Why wait for the new year for a clean slate?
  5. Call someone and tell them you love them.   Not only will it make their day, but it will probably make yours as well.

#healthyholidaygiftstoyourself

Sophie Pratola

704-604-1518

Personally Trained By Sophie

Navigating the grocery store… and coming out thin

This week’s subject is on the grocery store.    You know how to save money there, but do you know how to save your diet?   Consider this: Read food labels!  When considering your food purchases turn the container around and look at the label. Don’t know what to look for?  Start with the basics such as serving size.  […]

supermarket post

This week’s subject is on the grocery store.    You know how to save money there, but do you know how to save your diet?   Consider this:

Read food labels!  When considering your food purchases turn the container around and look at the label. Don’t know what to look for?  Start with the basics such as serving size.  What does that product consider a serving size, and how many servings are in the package?  Then look at how many calories are in that serving and think about how many servings you would typically eat in one sitting.  Next, look at how many grams of fat are in that serving.   As a general guideline, it is recommend to consume less than 40 grams of fat a day for most people.  Keep in mind, it is not wise to remove all fat from the diet because fat plays a key role in maintaining certain body functions.  Next scan down the label and look at sodium content.  The current recommendation is to consume less than 2,300mg of sodium a day (for general population).  Be mindful of frozen and canned items as they tend to have high sodium contents.   Fiber is another part of the label to review. Here is something you want to be high on the label.   Typically, it is recommended that you eat 14 grams of fiber per 1,000 calories eaten.  For a 2,000 calorie diet that would be 28 grams of fiber.  Lastly, let’s talk sugar.  While there is no official  recommended daily allowance for sugar,  it is usually recommended not to exceed 40 grams of sugar in a day.

A few final thoughts about the grocery store….

1. Typically (with the exception of the frozen food section),  the perimeter of the store contains better for you food than the interior section of the store.  On the perimeter there is the milk, cheese, yogurt, eggs, meat, fruits, and vegetables.  The interior section generally contains more of the processed foods such as chips, cookies, soda, candy, and all sorts of other stuff that can derail your diet.  So stick to the perimeter.

2. Always go in with a list.  Know what you need before you go and don’t be tempted by those “great deals”.

3. NEVER GO TO THE STORE HUNGRY!

#survivingthegrocerystore

Sophie Pratola

704 604-1518

personallytrainedbysophie.com

The Fitbit Surge- the Pros and Cons

I recently purchased a Fitbit Surge to see what it was really like.  If you quit reading right now the take home message would be this: I like it for some features, but honestly you can get those features for a lot cheaper. In my opinion, the surge isn’t worth the money.  Here is my […]

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I recently purchased a Fitbit Surge to see what it was really like.  If you quit reading right now the take home message would be this: I like it for some features, but honestly you can get those features for a lot cheaper. In my opinion, the surge isn’t worth the money.  Here is my list of the Surge’s pros and cons.

Pros:   -Easy to set up and use the Fitbit and the app that goes along with it

-Like being able to read texts as they come in and scroll through previous texts on the watch

-The pedometer, distance, and floors features are useful tools to map movement/activity on a daily basis

-It tracks distances on runs/walks and has a little map on the app so you can see your route

Cons:   -when people say its “big”, it’s because it’s HUGE on your wrist and can actually get in the way during certain activities

-it doesn’t sync very well at all, especially with programs such as MyFitnessPal

BUT MY BIGGEST ISSUE with the Surge is:

-it is grossly inaccurate at measuring heart rate during exercise and as a result, it under reports the number of calories burned during workouts.  I have been an avid Polar Heart Rate monitor wearer for over 10 years, so I have an idea how many calories I am burning during my workouts.  The Surge general reports my calorie burn anywhere from 75-150 calories lower than what I am pretty sure I am actually burning.  I feel this is largely due to false heart rate readings during exercise.  There are times when I know my heart rate is up in the 140’s-150’s and the Surge is reading my heart rate as less than 110 BPM.  Since caloric burn is a direct result of intensity (i.e. heart rate), I know the counts are incorrect.  This is extremely frustrating when trying to accurately log calories consumed vs. calories burned.

 

While it’s been a fun experiment, save your money and buy a Polar, at least until Fitbit figures these issue out.

#fitbitsurge

Sophie Pratola

704-604-1518

Personally Trained By Sophie

Strength Training Techniques to Break Through Plateaus

Hitting strength training plateaus is never fun. This blog features four strength training protocols that can help you push past plateaus and increase strength gains. 1: PUSH/PULL:   Using this technique you work opposing muscle groups back to back, or on back to back training days. For example, a chest exercise is followed by a back […]

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Hitting strength training plateaus is never fun. This blog features four strength training protocols that can help you push past plateaus and increase strength gains.

1: PUSH/PULL:   Using this technique you work opposing muscle groups back to back, or on back to back training days. For example, a chest exercise is followed by a back exercise, or a bicep exercise is followed by a triceps exercise. Or, one day may be chest and bicep exercises and the next day would be back and triceps. Some major benefits (aside from building strength) is that it helps achieve balance among the muscles, and can help prevent over training injuries.

2: PYRAMID TRAINING: Start with a light to medium weight and do a large number of reps (15-20). Then move to a medium weight and do slightly less reps (12-15). Finally, go to as heavy a weight as you can lift 6-10 reps. Take a small break between each set (about 30 seconds). A major benefit of training in this manner is the first set serves as a warm up set and gets the muscles ready to work hard. Another benefit is that exercises need not be complex to use this lifting technique. An exercise as simple as a bench press fits well into the protocol. This may also be reversed where you lift heavy for a small number of reps and progress to lighter weights with more reps. However, if you chose to reverse pyramid make sure the muscles are warmed up to prevent injury.

3: Regressive 6: This protocol uses 6 consecutive sets using the same resistance for each set. The first set has 6 reps, then 5 reps, 4 reps, 3, 2, and 1 rep. The protocol calls for a 12 second break in between each set. However, I found this to be too much rest and shortened the rest time as the reps decreased. I had clients rest 12 seconds after the first set, then 10 seconds, 8, 6, and 4 seconds. I found this to be more effective.

5 Position Static Hold: Using this technique it is advised to pick a resistance that is slightly lighter than you would normally lift. You hold the weight for 20 seconds in five range of motion positions including ¼, ½, ¾, ½, and ¼. In a typical bicep curl you would lift ¼ of the way up and hold that for 20 seconds, then go up ½ way and hold. Repeat until you get ¾ of the way up then go back down to ½ way and ¼ of the way. There is no break between the holds. This technique allows for muscle fatigue to occur. I like to add 1 set of 10 full range of motion lifts to complete the set.

#strengthtraining

 

Sophie Pratola

704-604-1518

Personally Trained By Sophie

 

Avoid, Treat and Manage Sciatic Pain: Tips that help

  If you have had sciatica, you know how painful it can be. The pain is generally in the lower back and can shoot all throughout the buttocks and even down the leg to the foot. The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body that originates in the spinal column of the lower […]

sciatic pain

 

If you have had sciatica, you know how painful it can be. The pain is generally in the lower back and can shoot all throughout the buttocks and even down the leg to the foot. The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body that originates in the spinal column of the lower back. Sometimes sciatic pain can be triggered by moving incorrectly or lifting something heavy. Some causes of sciatic pain include herniated discs (slipped disks), spinal stenosis (a narrowing of the canal that holds the spinal cord), spondylolistheses (where a disk shifts over or behind another disk), a pinched sciatic nerve, piriformis syndrome (which causes the nerve to become buried dead in the buttocks), osteoarthritis, or pregnancy.  Some factors that may make you more susceptible to developing sciatic pain include obesity, aging, prolonged sitting, and a sedentary lifestyle.

If you find yourself in pain you can treat sciatic pain at home using the following tips: avoid sitting on a soft low chair, do not bend or lift incorrectly, use ice to alleviate the inflammation (you may also try alternating ice and heat), try having a massage, lay on a firm surface with a pillow between your knees and your back straight, or try taking over the counter pain meds such as Advil, Tylenol or Aleve. If none of these are working for you, physical therapy may be a viable option.

The best way to avoid developing sciatic pain includes using proper lifting techniques, maintaining flexibility, include walking, yoga and Pilates in your exercise program, keeping your weight in a healthy range, and avoid sitting in one position for too long.

#sciatica

Sophie Pratola

704-604-1518

Personally Trained By Sophie