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.

 

Hey friends, sustainable fat loss isn’t just about restricting calories or pushing yourself through grueling workouts. It’s about creating an internal environment where your body naturally burns excess fat. This requires a multi-pronged approach, and protein plays a central role in each step. Whenever I start to work with a new client, I ask about sleep, hydration, and PROTEIN intake.  That’s because protein is crucial to achieving and maintaining weight loss goals.

Here’s Why Protein Matters with Fat Loss:

  • Hormonal Harmony: Protein is the building block of hormones. Without sufficient protein intake, your body struggles to produce hormones that regulate appetite and fat burning.
  • Hunger Control: Balanced hormones translate to regulated hunger. Adequate protein keeps you feeling satisfied, preventing unnecessary cravings and overeating.
  • Cellular Reprogramming: Fat is the preferred fuel source for a well-functioning body. Protein is essential for restructuring your cells to burn fat efficiently instead of relying solely on sugar.
  • Cellular Renewal: Old, sluggish cells struggle to burn fat. Protein supports the creation of new, metabolically-active cells that contribute significantly to fat burning.
  • Muscle Building and Retention: Muscle tissue is a major fat-burning engine. Protein fuels muscle growth and repair, maximizing your body’s ability to incinerate calories.
  • Optimal Digestion: Protein plays a vital role in breaking down food effectively. Poor digestion hinders nutrient absorption, leaving your body without the building blocks it needs for fat-burning processes.

The Protein Advantage:

  • Enzyme Production: Enzymes, the chemical catalysts that drive fat burning, are built from protein. Insufficient protein intake limits enzyme production, hindering your body’s ability to burn fat efficiently.
  • Cellular Reconditioning: When transitioning from a high-sugar diet, your cells are initially programmed for sugar uptake. Protein is critical for restructuring them to become adept at utilizing fat for energy.

Beyond Protein Bars and Powders:

While convenient, protein bars and powders can burden your digestive system and may not provide optimal protein sources. Focus on incorporating whole food proteins like lean meats, fish, eggs, and legumes into your diet. These offer a complete protein profile and support healthy digestion for maximum benefit.

The bottom line is that protein is not just a building block for muscle; it’s the foundation for a body optimized for sustainable fat loss. By prioritizing whole food protein sources, you’ll support hormonal balance, hunger control, cellular reprogramming, muscle building, and optimal digestion – all essential ingredients for achieving and maintaining a healthy weight.

P.S. When we eat proteins that are not hormone/corn/soy free, ingesting those forms of meat raise cortisol. Try your best to eat whole, unprocessed foods  and prioritize protein intake. Your challenge this week is to track protein intake. I’d like you to take your goal weight multiplied by 1.05 to calculate a target amount for daily protein (in grams). And, try really hard to get protein from real food vs. protein powders –this one is a struggle for me, so I am right there with you. 

You got this!

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!

The holidays are a time for food, family, and fun. But for those who are trying to eat clean, it can be a challenging time to stay on track with their goals. Here are 10 tips to help you stay on track with your clean eating goals during the holidays:

  1. Practice the 80/20 rule: Eat clean 80% of the time and indulge 20% of the time.
  2. Set SMART goals for yourself: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.
  3. Consider non-food related gatherings with friends: Find other ways to socialize that don’t involve food or alcohol.
  4. Never go to a party hungry: Eat a nutritious snack before you go so you’re less likely to overindulge.
  5. Stick with your exercise program: Exercise helps to maintain your fitness level and supports your digestion.
  6. Manage your stress: Stress can lead to cravings and unhealthy eating habits.
  7. Say no to energy-sapping foods: Choose foods that provide a steady source of energy, such as lean proteins, nuts, and eggs.
  8. Find a partner or support system: Having someone to support you on your journey can make a big difference.
  9. Consider doing an alcohol-free or sugar-free challenge: This can be a great way to reset your habits.
  10. Enjoy time spent with your loved ones: The holidays are about more than just food. Focus on creating memories with the people you care about.

Embrace the holidays with a focus on clean eating and mindful indulgence to maintain your health and well-being throughout the season. Remember, an occasional treat is part of the festive experience, so savor your chosen indulgences and seamlessly transition back to clean eating at your next meal.

Wishing you & your family a season of healthy and enjoyable holidays.

Cheers!

 

 

 

 

Hi friends, is this you? Often, when starting a workout and weight loss program, we want to see results quickly! But…this can often lead to extreme measures (crazy, long workouts or super low-calorie diets) that are impossible to sustain.

To lose weight, start by making small, sustainable changes to your daily routine instead of trying to do too much at once. This will help you build discipline and avoid feeling overwhelmed, which can lead to giving up.

These small, repeatable habits will lead to lasting results.

So even if they seem small or insignificant, focus on doing them consistently. Remember, what we do consistently, we get good at.

If we consistently do things that make us gain weight, we will gain weight. If we consistently do things that help us lose weight, we will lose weight.

So focus on repeatable habits that can help you build a healthy lifestyle and see the results snowball over time.

Here are some examples of small, repeatable habits that can help you lose weight:

  • Drink a glass of water first thing in the morning. Add a squeeze of lemon or a few drops of chlorophyll for an added health boost.
  • Eat a piece of fruit or a handful of nuts as a snack instead of chips or candy… or start skipping snacks.
  • Take a walk after dinner instead of watching TV.
  • Track your steps and increase them each week.
  • Schedule your workouts – or work in short micro workouts throughout the day (try my Tabata workouts!)
  • Add stretching pre & post workouts.
  • Pay attention to protein intake and make sure you are getting at least 25-30 grams with every meal.
  • Cook more meals at home instead of eating out.
  • Get 7-8 hours of sleep per night.

These are just a few examples, and there are many other small changes you can make to your daily routine to help you lose weight. The most important thing is to find habits that you can stick with over time.

Remember, it’s not about being perfect. It’s about making progress…one small step at a time.

You GOT this!

P.S.  Our body doesn’t like change. It can feel threatened and this mechanism is a part of how it protects us to survive.

What I’m trying to say is the longer you’ve had the weight — or the farther you are from your goal, the longer it will probably take for you to get there — especially if it means hitting a new level of leanness you’ve never achieved before.

So while you may look at your friend who gained 12 pounds (like you) and you want your results to happen just as fast, IF you’ve had the weight on for a year and she just gained it on vacation, it’s probably going to come off more quickly for her.

Be patient. Be consistent. Don’t give up.

~xo

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

 

What’s that? Healthspan is the period of life during which a person is healthy and free from disease. It is different from lifespan, which is the total number of years a person lives. A person can have a long lifespan but a short healthspan, or vice versa. I want my healthspan to align with my lifespan, don’t you?   To do this, I’ll focus on these 3 things: strength training, eating healthy, and sleeping well.

So, here’s the thing, as we age, our bodies “can” go through a number of changes. My friends, I’m here to tell you that many age-related declines in health are related to lifestyle decisions…not age. And, one of the most significant changes is a decrease in muscle mass. The loss of muscle mass can lead to a number of problems, including decreased strength, balance, and bone density. In fact, muscle is so important, that it is used to determine not just lifespan and healthspan, but as a metric that unlocks our longevity potential!

To combat potential aging changes, it’s very important to strength train. Strength training helps to build muscle mass and improve bone density. It can also help to improve balance and coordination.

If you’re wondering how to get started, there are a number of different ways to strength train. One popular method is to use weights. Weights can be used to target specific muscle groups or to do full-body workouts. While a gym can provide a variety of options, it’s quite easy to get a great workout from home using your body weight, bands, gliders, or a ball.  Resistance bands are a great option for individuals new to strength training or who have joint pain.

No matter which method you choose, it is important to start slowly and gradually increase the weight or resistance as you get stronger.

In addition to strength training, it is also important to eat a healthy diet. A healthy diet includes plenty of protein, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Limit ultra-processed foods and try to avoid chemicals, dyes, and preservatives AND be aware that “natural flavors” aren’t healthy. Read your labels!

To help your muscle-building efforts on the diet side, protein is essential for building and maintaining muscle mass. Fruits and vegetables are packed with vitamins and minerals that are essential for overall health. Whole grains provide fiber, which can help to keep you feeling full and satisfied.

It is also important to get enough sleep. Sleep is essential for muscle recovery. When you sleep, your body releases hormones that help to repair and rebuild muscle tissue. Most adults need around 7-8 hours of sleep per night. However, some people may need more or less sleep. (see prior post about sleep!)

Finally, it is important to listen to your body and take breaks when you need them. If you are feeling pain, stop the exercise and rest.

While strength training is a great way to stay healthy and fit as you age, below are some additional tips for anyone looking to improve their health and fitness today:

  • Start slowly. If you are new to exercise, start slowly and gradually increase the intensity of your workouts over time.
  • Find an activity that you enjoy. There are many different types of exercise, so find one that you enjoy and that fits into your lifestyle.
  • Set realistic goals. Don’t expect to see results overnight. It takes time and effort to see changes in your body.
  • Be patient. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t see results immediately. Just keep at it, and you will eventually reach your goals.
  • Listen to your body. If you are feeling pain, stop the exercise and rest. Don’t push yourself too hard.
  • Eat a healthy diet. A healthy diet is essential for overall health and fitness. Make sure to eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
  • Get enough sleep. Sleep is essential for muscle recovery and overall health. Most adults need around 7-8 hours of sleep per night.
  • Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water throughout the day, especially when you are exercising.
  • Manage stress. Stress can take a toll on your health and fitness. Find healthy ways to manage stress, such as exercise, yoga, or meditation.

Following these tips can help you stay healthy and fit as you age.

As my friend Sharon likes to ask, “What have you got to GAIN?”

To read more:

The Best Anti-Aging Secrets Aren’t So Secret

Avoid These Seed oils (PUFAs) & Why

The Fountain of Youth (Lifting!)

Hey friends, did you know that according to multiple studies, fiber can reduce the risk of obesity, chronic diseases, and rapid aging?  Yep…

Here’s how it works in your body…fiber slows down the rate at which food enters your bloodstream and speeds up the rate at which it exits your digestive tract. So, as well as balancing blood sugar levels and cholesterol levels, fiber aids in the quick release of toxins from your gut and curbs your appetite and it feeds friendly bacteria in the gut. 

How much do you need? You should probably get 30-50 grams of fiber into your diet every day, with some variance based on your age and sex. It is also important to choose the right kind of fiber for your body.

It is generally believed that bran is the best fiber to eat. But….bran, or wheat fiber, is mostly insoluble and not digestible. Imagine it as a scouring pad for your intestines. While that’s good for getting you regular, soluble fiber is better for your health.

Where can you find soluble fiber? It’s found in fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds, and most whole grains. When the soluble fiber in these foods is metabolized by bacteria in your gut, the health benefits begin….benefits like lowering cholesterol, blood sugar, & insulin levels, preventing cancer, balancing hormone levels, removing excess estrogen, and reducing the risk of breast cancer, providing mineral food for colon cells, and more. In short, soluble fiber is essential for good health.

If you are looking for some recipes to boost your fiber intake, I got you covered! Just check out  some of my high-fiber recipe options:

Til next time, love, laugh, lift & EAT FIBER!  :-0

Lisa

 

References:

Super Human (good read by Dave Asprey)

National Library of Medicine – High Fiber Diet

Mayo Clinic article on fiber benefits

Healthline Benefits of Fiber Types

 

As we reflect on 2022 and set new goals for2023, improving personal wellness is often at the top of the list.  To kick off your new year with health improvement success, consider the tips below to integrate better health into your life.

  • Set specific goals.  Take goals like “eating healthier” or “losing weight”, for example.  Instead of a general goal, aim for a specific amount of clean protein per meal, eating 3-5 servings of vegetables or fruit a day, or eliminating processed foods. Instead of “losing weight” strive to lift weights (take a yoga or HITT class, etc.) for 20-30 minutes 3-4 times a week along with walking X times per week for X minutes. Making specific goals can help you stay on track. (See prior post.)  
  • Get good sleep. I have written several blogs about the importance of sleep because it’s SO ESSENTIAL to overall health and well-being. (Check out the most recent post on sleep here.)
  • Establish good stress management routines.  Whether physical or mental, techniques such as meditation, yoga, or deep breathing can help you relax.  Or, consider reorganizing your space to help de-clutter.
  • Make recovery a priority. Seriously. Taking time to rest and repair is as important as your physical activity – especially if you are seeking performance improvements. Try to add a little time to your day (or at the end of your workouts) to roll, stretch, or incorporate some kind of compression or massage therapy and do your body good!
  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet. This is an important one for every aspect of performance, training, weight loss, stress management – you name it. You know the drill here: try to reduce or eliminate processed foods & soft drinks (including so called healthy energy drinks) and incorporate a variety of vegetables and clean proteins into your diet.   
  • Hydrate! Did you know being dehydrated negatively impacts mental and physical performance while proper hydration can help reduce fatigue and muscle soreness? Hydration is a super easy place to start. Consider starting your day with a glass of lemon water and counting your glasses of water to ensure proper hydration.
  • Practice gratitude. Rick Warren (A Purpose Driven Life) reminds us that regardless of where we are in life, we always have our feet on two tracks – one of opportunities and blessings… and the other with challenges or problems to solve. Spend time each day purposefully appreciating the positive “track”.

Doing these things will help you start the new year in a positive direction and set yourself up for success. And remember, it’s easier to establish and stick to new habits with a supportive network. Share your goals and surround yourself with like-minded people.

I wish you the BEST of health, happiness & dreams fulfilled.

Cheers & happy 2023!

Lisa