Ever wonder how much energy you burn outside of the gym? It all comes down to “NEAT” or Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis — the fancy way of saying calories burned through everyday activities. From walking the dog to cleaning the house, even minor movements add up throughout the day and contribute to your overall calorie expenditure.

Why is NEAT important?

Desk jockeys, listen up …you might think that gym time is enough, but neglecting movement throughout the day can hinder your progress. Here’s where NEAT comes in. By staying active during your daily routine, you can unlock a treasure trove of health benefits:

  • Burn more calories, all day long: Forget the all-or-nothing mindset. Every step, fidget, and chore adds up to a significant calorie burn, even outside of the gym.
  • Boost your overall health: NEAT isn’t just about aesthetics. It can contribute to better blood sugar control, a healthier heart, and easier weight management.

How to boost your NEAT:

The good news is, NEAT is everywhere! Here are some ideas to get you moving more:

  • Take the stairs: Ditch the elevator for a quick leg workout.
  • Park further away: Add a few extra steps to your errands.
  • Pace while on the phone: Turn those phone calls into mini walking breaks.
  • Fidget freely: Don’t be afraid to tap your foot or drum your fingers – it all adds up!
  • Stand up and move: Consider a standing desk or take short walking breaks throughout the workday.
  • Embrace daily activities: Cleaning, gardening, and playing with your kids are all NEAT opportunities.

Measuring NEAT:

While a “dressed up step count” isn’t the most precise method, aiming for 8,000-10,000 steps daily is a good starting point to track your NEAT activity.

Remember: Small steps = big results! Even simple movement boosts your body’s daily calorie burn, making you healthier.

Want more? Check out this NCBI research of this ISSA article on the subject!

You got this.

 

 

(Walk me!)

Friends, muscle loss is a common concern as we age, impacting strength, function, and overall health. Read on to learn what you need to know and how to combat or reverse it.

What is Muscle Loss?

Muscle loss, called sarcopenia, starts as early as your 30s and accelerates with age. It increases the risk of falls, and fractures, and limits daily activities. Experts believe inactivity, poor diet, genetics, and chronic conditions play a role.

The Good News:  Muscle loss is treatable! Here’s how:

  • Exercise: Strength training and aerobic activity are crucial.
  • Protein Power: Prioritize protein intake and consider EAA supplements for better absorption. (Check out my last few posts related to this subject…you’ll see why it’s near and dear to my heart!)
  • Stress Management & Sleep: Reduce inflammation and promote tissue repair.
  • Regular Checkups: Early detection is key.

You also may want to consider an amino acid supplement after talking with your functional medicine practitioner. Here’s what I take during different periods of the year depending on that quarter’s goals. 

By taking action today, you CAN build AND maintain muscle health, stay active, and age powerfully.

 

Hi friends, if you want to know the “5 Key Power Moves” check out this summary of my recent conversation with the CEO of Rugged Human.  In our conversation, we cover the gamut of good health, working out, and ways to improve performance. Give it a listen and while you are at it, check out Rugged Human.

I’m interested in any questions or comments you have for future posts!

 

Cheers to your health,

Lisa

Necessity may be the mother of invention, but the story of artificial trans fats is one of unintended consequences. In the early 20th century, trans fats offered a solution: stable, solid fats that extended shelf-life and pleased consumers. However, health experts revealed a darker side, urging us to avoid trans fats. Yet, the rise of vegetable oils as a substitute raises questions about their safety.

A little history…
Warnings about the dangers of artificial trans fats emerged in the 1950s, but the food industry downplayed the risks. (Argh!) Continued research in the 1980s and 1990s confirmed the health hazards, with a pivotal 1993 study in The Lancet fueling action. By the 2000s, health organizations worldwide pushed for regulation. Finally, in 2006, the US FDA mandated trans fat labeling, and by 2020, their use in food products was banned.
Replacing trans fats with vegetable oils may offer a false sense of security. While vegetable oils are widely used and less harmful than trans fats, they still present health concerns. These oils are linked to an unhealthy omega-6 to omega-3 ratio, excessive linoleic acid, and potentially harmful free radicals from cooking. Research suggests potential links between vegetable oil consumption and various health risks, similar to those that led to the trans fat ban.

Reduce Vegetable Oils and Embrace Good Fats…

The concern is that traces of trans fats linger in common foods, while widely used vegetable oils raise alarming health concerns. (See my prior post about the Dangers of Seed Oils.)

What You Can Do:

  • Limit: Reduce seed oils like soybean, canola, and sunflower oil.
  • Swap: Choose healthier options like olive oil (for low heat), avocado oil (for higher heat), coconut oil (for cooking), butter, or ghee.
  • Read Labels: Look for “vegetable oils,” “hydrogenated” words, and named seed oils on labels.
  • Dine Out Mindfully: Ask restaurants to substitute unhealthy oils with healthier choices. (I try to remember to take my homemade dressing in these little portable dressing containers!)
  • Find Better Options: Use Localfats.com to locate restaurants using healthier oils.

Just do what you can and choose natural fats from avocados, fish, and nuts, and limit processed foods and artificial ingredients.

You got this! One step at a time.

Lisa

Ditch the Stereotypes, Embrace the Benefits: Why Everyone Should Lift Weights

Weight training isn’t just for sculpted bodies or gym rats anymore. It’s rapidly becoming a powerful and accessible form of exercise for people of all ages and abilities.

The best part? The benefits of weight training are universal! Whether you’re a woman, man, or young adult, incorporating lifting into your routine can bring about:

1. Increased Strength: Putting stress on your muscles during lifting triggers them to adapt and become stronger. This translates to effortless everyday tasks, improved athletic performance, and a boosted sense of confidence.

2. Boosted Metabolism and Weight Management: Building muscle is like adding fat-burning furnaces to your body. Muscle tissue burns more calories at rest than fat, helping you manage weight and achieve your fitness goals.

3. Improved Heart Health: Don’t underestimate the impact of lifting on your heart. Studies show that it can lower blood pressure, reduce hypertension risk, and enhance circulation, keeping your cardiovascular system strong and healthy.

4. Better Body Mechanics: Strong muscles are the foundation for good balance, coordination, and posture. This leads to smoother movement, reduced risk of injury, and a more confident physical presence.

5. Protected Bones and Muscle Mass: Lifting weights stresses your bones in a healthy way, boosting bone density and lowering your risk of osteoporosis. Additionally, it helps preserve and build muscle mass, crucial for overall health and well-being.

So, how often should you lift? It’s an individual journey! Beginners can start with 2-3 sessions per week for 20-30 minutes. As you progress, you can increase the frequency and duration to fit your goals. Remember, consistency is key!

Don’t let outdated stereotypes hold you back from experiencing the transformative power of weight training. Customize your approach, find what works for you, and unlock a world of strength, health, and confidence!

How often you lift weights depends on your individual goals and experience level. Here’s a roadmap to guide you:

Beginners:

  • Aim for 2-3 sessions per week for 20-30 minutes each.
  • Focus on mastering proper form and technique to build a strong foundation.

Advanced Lifters:

  • Gradually increase to 4-5 sessions per week for 30-60 minutes.
  • Consider incorporating split routines, targeting different muscle groups on different days.

Remember:

  • Listen to your body: Take rest days when needed to avoid overtraining and injury.
  • Consistency is key: Aim for regular workouts to see optimal results.

Bonus Tip: Consult a certified trainer for a personalized workout plan tailored to your specific needs and goals. They can help you determine the optimal frequency and duration for your weight training journey.

Happy New Year, friends! ✨

As the fireworks fade and the champagne flutes dry, many of us find ourselves contemplating the blank slate of a new year. We whisper aspirations about healthier habits, bolder careers, and deeper connections. But…change can be hard. We’ve fallen victim to resolutions before, derailed by the inertia of old habits and the siren song of comfort.

THIS year, let’s rewrite the narrative. Forget the lofty, all-or-nothing ambitions. Instead, let’s embrace micro-transformations, focusing on consistency over complexity. The secret weapon? A keystone habit. (see Forbes article on keystone habits for more)

Research tells us that building one keystone habit, a fundamental behavior that ripples into other areas of life, is far more effective than juggling an unwieldy list of resolutions. Think of it as planting a single acorn, nurtured each day, destined to become a mighty oak, its branches reaching towards a healthier, happier you.

So, how do we cultivate this keystone habit? Start small. Pick something achievable, something that ignites a spark of joy. Maybe it’s a 10-minute morning meditation, a brisk walk beneath the sunrise, or whipping up a nutritious breakfast instead of grabbing a sugar-laden pastry. These seemingly insignificant acts, repeated daily, become the threads woven into the tapestry of lasting change.

Simplicity is key. Don’t overcomplicate the process. Your keystone habit should be a seamless integration into your routine, not a battle of willpower. Find what resonates with you, what aligns with your natural rhythms and preferences.

Harness the power of the morning. Early hours hold a quiet magic. Our minds are fresh, our resolve unwavering. That’s why I champion the power of sunrise movement. A simple yoga flow, a jog bathed in golden light, walking barefoot in the grass, a dance session infused with your favorite music – these energize your body and spirit, setting the tone for a focused, productive day.

Consistency is the cornerstone. Every missed practice isn’t a failure, but a gentle reminder to recommit. Remember, progress, not perfection, is the true measure of success. Be kind to yourself, celebrate small wins, and trust in the momentum of daily repetition.  (See “8 Steps to Create Consistency in Workouts” post)

This year, let’s ditch the pressure and embrace the process. Let’s focus on nurturing one powerful habit, a keystone that unlocks a cascade of positive transformations. What will your keystone be?   The acorn you plant today might just become the oak that shades your tomorrow.

Wishing you a year brimming with health, happiness, and the quiet power of consistent, mindful change.

Happy New Year!

Lisa

The holidays are a time for celebration, feasting, and indulgence. But don’t let the festive cheer derail your healthy lifestyle! Here are 11 tips to help you stay on track and enjoy the holidays guilt-free:

  1. Get Enough Sleep: Sleep is essential for immune function, mood, and cravings. Aim for 7-8 hours per night.
  2. Stay Hydrated: Dehydration can lead to fatigue, headaches, and cravings. Drink plenty of water throughout the day.
  3. Choose “Healthier” Drinks: Opt for organic/biodynamic wines, champagnes, or clear, unflavored liquor like vodka or tequila. Avoid sugary mixers and artificial additives.
  4. Make Time for Self-Care: Schedule activities that relax and de-stress you, like yoga, meditation, or spending time in nature.
  5. Plan Ahead to Avoid Stress: Make a list of tasks and delegate whenever possible. Set realistic expectations and don’t overcommit.
  6. Wash Your Hands Often: This simple habit can help prevent the spread of germs. Use natural soap and water instead of antibacterial products.
  7. Take Precautions When Traveling: I always pack healthy snacks and use non-toxic personal care products.
  8. Include Lighter Fare in Your Feast: Serve roasted vegetables, homemade pickles, and fresh salads alongside your traditional dishes. And, if few others eat it, that’s more healthy leftovers for YOU!
  9. Don’t Skimp on Raw, Cultured, and Bitter Foods: These foods aid digestion and support gut health. Include plenty of fruits, vegetables, sauerkraut, and leafy greens in your meals.
  10. Say No to What Doesn’t Serve You: It’s okay to decline invitations, food, or drinks that don’t align with your goals.
  11. Practice Gratitude: Focus on the positive aspects of the season and express your thankfulness.

Remember, the holidays are a time to celebrate and enjoy!

Cheers!

You know I love Tabata workouts…and for SO many reasons beyond their efficiency.

Here’s why.  Tabata is a type of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) that is known for its efficiency and effectiveness. This type of workout consists of 20 seconds of intense exercise followed by 10 seconds of rest, repeated for a total of 8 rounds. This may not seem like a lot of time (just 4 minutes!), but it is enough to get your heart rate up and burn calories.  I fell in love with Tabata workouts when I was in the corporate grind and working a lot of hours. These workouts provided a great boost during the day while allowing me to stay in shape. Do several of these workouts throughout the day and VIOLA!

Another reason I love Tabata workouts is that they are great for people of all fitness levels. Because you work at a speed that is challenging for you, Tabata is accessible to everyone. In fact, it is often recommended for people who are new to exercise because it is a safe and effective way to get started.

Tabata workouts are also perfect for people with busy schedules. (This is how I came to love Tabatas.) A single Tabata workout only takes 4 minutes, so you can fit it in even on the busiest days. And if you have more time, you can string together multiple Tabata workouts for a longer session.

In addition to being efficient and effective, Tabata workouts are also a great way to get a full-body workout. The 20-second bursts of intense exercise work your heart, lungs, and muscles all at the same time. This makes Tabata a great choice for people who are looking to improve their cardiovascular health, build muscle, and lose weight.

Another reason I love Tabata workouts is that you can easily create a workout depending on fitness goals. I personally use the 2nd option below quite frequently. Here are two common ways to structure your Tabata workouts:

  • A/B: Choose two exercises to alternate between. You’ll do each exercise for 20 seconds of intense effort followed by 10 seconds of rest, for a total of 8 rounds. This is a great way to get a full-body workout, as you’ll be working different muscle groups with each exercise.
  • A/B/C/D: Choose four exercises to move through. You’ll do each exercise for 20 seconds of intense effort followed by 10 seconds of rest, for a total of 4 rounds. This is a great way to challenge yourself and your cardiovascular system, as you’ll be working different muscle groups in quick succession.

You can also choose any exercises you like for your Tabata workouts, such as:

  • Cardio exercises: Jumping jacks, burpees, mountain climbers, sprinting, rowing, jumping rope
  • Plyometric exercises: Squat jumps, tuck jumps, lunges, box jumps, push-ups, sit-ups
  • Strength exercises: Dumbbell rows, push-ups, squats, lunges, pull-ups, bicep curls

No matter which exercises you choose, make sure to listen to your body and take breaks when needed. Tabata workouts can be intense, so it’s important to pace yourself and avoid overdoing it.

Here are some ideas for Tabata exercises you could include in your next workout:

  • Push-ups
  • Triceps dips
  • Mountain climbers
  • Tuck jumps
  • Burpees
  • High knees
  • Bodyweight squats
  • Bodyweight lunges
  • Lunge jumps
  • Jump squats
  • Jumping jacks
  • Jump rope
  • Speed skaters
  • Box jumps

If you’d like to make your Tabata workout more strength-based, you can incorporate weights. Some of those exercise ideas include:

  • Clean and press
  • Dumbbell snatch
  • Front squat
  • Alternating reverse lunge
  • Push-up to mountain climber
  • Biceps curl

When doing Tabata workouts, it is important to listen to your body and take breaks when needed. If you are feeling lightheaded or dizzy, stop the workout and rest. You can also modify the exercises to make them easier if needed.

Tabata workouts are a great way to get a quick and effective workout that is perfect for people of all fitness levels. If you are looking for a way to improve your fitness, lose weight, or build muscle, Tabata is a great option.

Before you go, the trainer in me wants to share some additional tips to get the most out of your Tabata workouts:

  • Warm up before each workout with 5-10 minutes of light cardio, movements and dynamic stretches.
  • Choose exercises that you can do safely and effectively at a high intensity.
  • Focus on form over speed. It is better to do the exercises correctly at a slower pace than to rush through them and injure yourself.
  • Listen to your body and take breaks when needed.
  • Start with 2-3 Tabata workouts per week and gradually increase the number of workouts as you get fitter.
  • Be consistent with your workouts. The more you do, the better the results you will see.

With a little planning and effort, you can easily incorporate Tabata workouts into your fitness routine and start seeing results quickly.

Try it….as one of my mentors used to ask, “What have you got to GAIN?”

the answer: A lot.

 

 

 

 

 

 

P.S. Follow me on Instagram @Hlthchic for FREE Tabata workouts weekly.

 

Hey…what did you think I was referring to?

Friends, you know I hate to be the bearer of bad news, BUT the natural loss of muscle mass and strength as we age is associated with all-cause mortality and linked to the incidence of many chronic diseases…like cardiovascular disease and stroke, hypertension, insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes.

According to the National Institute of Health, muscle mass decreases 3-8% per decade after 30 and this rate of muscle decline is higher after 60!  Less muscle generally means a higher body fat percentage and higher body fat slows your metabolism down, NOT age.

Here are 5 ways to combat muscle decline:

  1. Eat protein (Ladies…are you getting enough?)
  2. Resistance train (Do you have a strength training routine that involves building muscle?)
  3. Increase your Omega 3s (Omega 3’sare anti-inflammatory and inflammation causes muscle to break down)
  4. Check your vitamin D levels (vitamin D helps with muscle protein synthesis)
  5. Walk (walking increases mobility and blood flow which helps with insulin and muscle repair)

If you don’t have access to a gym or some weights, resistance bands are an inexpensive option to help maintain or build muscle.  Many exercises can be done with resistance bands to work the upper or lower body. Here are a few upper body examples:

1. Overhead press

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold the band in each hand with an overhand grip.
  • Raise the band up to shoulder height, then press it overhead until it is straight above your head.
  • Slowly lower the band back down to shoulder height, then repeat.

2. Chest press

  • Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the ground.
  • Hold the band in each hand with an overhand grip, palms facing each other.
  • Slowly lower the band down to your chest, then press it back up to the starting position.

3. Bicep curl

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold the band in each hand with a supinated grip (palms facing up).
  • Curl the band up to your shoulders, then slowly lower it back down.

4. Tricep extension

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold the band in each hand with an underhand grip (palms facing down).
  • Bend your elbows and extend your arms behind you, keeping your elbows close to your body.
  • Slowly lower your arms back down to the starting position.

These are just a few examples of exercises that can be done with resistance bands to work the upper body. There are many other exercises that can be done, so find some that you enjoy and that challenge you.

Tips for using resistance bands:

  • When choosing a resistance band, start with a light band and gradually increase the resistance as you get stronger.
  • Make sure to warm up before using resistance bands.
  • Focus on proper form and don’t sacrifice form for weight.
  • Listen to your body and don’t push yourself too hard.
  • Vary your workouts to keep your body challenged.

Resistance bands are a great way to add variety to your workouts and challenge your muscles. They are also a portable and affordable option for strength training. I take them with me when I travel!

Prevent sarcopenia (muscle loss) and get strong today.

Your body and your family will thank you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lisa

 

Fitness is a term that is often used interchangeably with health, but the two are not exactly the same. Health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, while fitness is the ability to perform physical activity without undue fatigue.

The components of “fitness” include strength, cardio, flexibility, and balance. Strength is the ability of your muscles to contract and produce force. Cardio is the ability of your heart and lungs to deliver oxygen to your muscles. Flexibility is the ability of your joints to move through their full range of motion. Balance is the ability of your body to maintain its equilibrium.  All four of these components of fitness are important for overall health and well-being.

There are many different ways to improve your fitness. You can join a gym, take fitness classes, or simply start exercising on your own. There are many different types of exercise, so you can find something that you enjoy and that fits into your lifestyle. There are also a LOT of free videos and inexpensive fitness apps to help guide you along the way. (I post free workouts on Instagram each week @Hlthchic!)

If you are new to exercise, it is important to start slowly and gradually increase the intensity of your workouts over time. It is also important to listen to your body and take breaks when you need them. Remind yourself,  “Every little bit helps. Every step counts”. It really does!

Improving your fitness is a lifelong journey. There will be times when you are motivated and times when you are not. But if you stick with it, you will reap the many benefits of a healthy lifestyle.

Here are some tips for improving your fitness:

  • Set realistic goals. Don’t try to do too much too soon. Start with small goals and gradually increase them over time.
  • Find an activity that you enjoy. Exercise should be something that you look forward to, not something that you dread.
  • Make exercise a part of your daily routine. Schedule time for exercise each day and stick to your schedule as much as possible.
  • Find a workout buddy. Exercising with a friend can help you stay motivated and accountable.
  • Listen to your body. Take breaks when you need them and don’t push yourself too hard.
  • Be patient. It takes time to see results from exercise. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t see results immediately.

Once you find the activities you enjoy most, make appointments with yourself to help stay on track. Improving your fitness is a great way to improve your overall health and well-being. Remember, building and maintaining MUSCLE (lifting weights) is a marker related to overall longevity. Today is some day. Carpe Diem.

Won’t you join me on this journey? It is a journey that is well worth taking.

Lisa

P.S. To understand how lifting weights and muscle impacts your overall health, see these prior blog posts: