Friday, 1 June 2007

We love to gawk at fit celebs: Matthew McConaugheeeey

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He can beat bongos and take my money with his terrible, terrible movies, he can flex his abs every single time a paparazzi flash goes off and elude every single on-screen starlet. No matter what he does, Matthew McConaughey will forever and always be on my list of potential second husbands Hollywood's most droolable fitness buffs.

McConaughey has been caught riding the waves a lot lately while researching and filming Surfer Dude in LA. Here, he does double duty just before the weekend, reporting to the beach via skateboard while also toting his board.

Feel free to roll your eyes as I melt into a fourteen year old in a huff of concern over his vulnerable little toes, but I know you'll take a moment to stare at that six-pack just one more time before you click away. Am I right? Oh, I am so right.

[via People]

Daily Fit Tip: Go for a the pool!

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Getting outside to walk is a great habit and a good way to burn calories, but sometimes in the dead of the summer it's downright unbearable in the heat. But did you know that heading into the shallow end of the pool could do you just as much good? Walking in waist-high water will give you just as good a workout as walking on dry land -- of course you can't move as quickly but the difference is made up by the fact that you have to work harder to move in the water. And it's not only great for dealing with heat, but it's easy on joints, too.

Working in the Workouts: How to motivate when you are tired?

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Owen and mommyEach week, Debbie will share her goals, challenges, successes and tips on how to fit in fitness when caring for a rambunctious toddler.

Just when I thought I was home free, the toddler loses his groove. What groove, you ask? The sleeping one, unfortunately.

It is infinitely harder to stick to a fitness plan when you are not getting enough sleep. Ask me how I know. But there has to be a solution out there, right? I cannot be the only sleep-deprived person out there who wants to be fit.

So I Googled "too tired to exercise" and I found about forty billion links that tell me the more energy you expend, the more energy you'll have. Then there were the links who suggested seven to eight hours of sleep every night. OK, trying!

So did I find renewed motivation on the internet? C'mon, you all know you can find everything on the internet. My jump start came when I read the science behind "the more energy you expend, the more energy you'll have." It actually makes sense! In a nutshell, the better our bodies use oxygen, the more fuel our bodies can make. Exercise helps our cardiovascular system make more oxygen. It has to do with the way our bodies metabolize what we eat and turn it into energy. OK, they definitely explain it better in the article I read, but hopefully you get the point.

Now I head back to my weekly fitness routine, not necessarily invigorated, but with a bit more enthusiasm than I had before I understood how my body worked. Stay tuned to see if exercise can counter my sleep deprivation . . .

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The juice that's worth the squeeze

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Pucker up! A recent study published in the Journal of Food Science states that pink grapefruit juice is the most nutritious. Orange juice ran a close second, with white grapefruit, pineapple, prune, grape, and apple juices lagging behind. Pink grapefruit juice (the 100%, no-sugar variety) packs a bigger nutrition punch per calorie than any other 100% fruit juice.

One tart and tangy glass of pink grapefruit juice provides 100% of a day's vitamin C. It also provides nutrients such as potassium, folate, lycopene, thiamin, and magnesium. Sugar-added juices, juice cocktails, and other blends were not included in the study.

When pouring yourself a glass of juice, be sure to check the serving size and calories per serving. Even no-sugar-added juices can be high in calories, and the serving size may be smaller than you think.

Recipe Rehab: No cook in the kitchen today

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Hi, loyal Recipe Rehab readers! Just a note that Recipe Rehab is on hiatus this week. But never fear, our fearless nutritionist Jessica Brim will return next week for more recipe makeover goodness. Until then, you can satisfy your craving for healthy recipes by visiting our Recipe Rehab column archives. Bon appetit!
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Day dreaming? It may cost you your dream job

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It's soooo hard not to day dream right now, isn't it? Spring has sprung and thoughts of your weekend plans (which hopefully include some outdoor fitness) wheedle their way into your work week. No harm done, right? Maybe not if you're sitting in a cubicle, but if you're a pilot or driving a semi, your safety and that of those around you depend on your ability to focus.

A University College London professor says she's created a test that -- as one part of the job screening process -- can help weed out distractible applicants from those with better attention skills. The simple computer test prompts applicants to perform tasks, while a border of distracting and irrelevant information appear around the screen. In testing, participants who rated themselves as more distractible had poorer response times and less accuracy than those who didn't.

Large corporations are showing interest in the testing and it likely may become a part of future job screenings for certain jobs. Just so they don't create a test to find out who's reading fitness blogs during work hours, right?

Cyclocity: borrow a bike to get to work

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In just a few weeks, the city of Paris will be debuting their new Cyclocity program, putting thousands of rental bikes at locations across the city. Though credit card information is required to rent a bike, the first half hour of each rental is free. Because most rides in the city are under a half hour, users of the system will essentially be able to commute and only pay a negligible fee. By implementing the program, the city hopes to reduce pollution and noise and create a slower paced, more relaxed feel.

France's third largest city, Lyon, put the system into place two years ago and it's been a huge success. I can only imagine, because I think it's a fabulous idea. Less carbon monoxide being spewed into the air, less traffic noise, and all those people out getting fit on their daily commute -- sounds perfect! In testing, city leaders found that when comparing commute by car, bus, biking, or walking, biking was the fastest form of travel in the city.

Cyclocity hasn't caught on in the U.S. yet, but some cities, like Portland, have tried similar programs. And at least one blogger is pushing her city leaders to adopt the program in Chicago, so maybe Americans may get a shot at this program yet!

12% of people aren't brushing their teeth daily -- eeew!

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This is a statistic I can honestly say shocked me: 12% of people don't brush their teeth daily. Eeeeew! And it's not like they only brush once a day or something, which would be bad enough, but they don't even brush every day. Wow!

Now this was a British survey, so I'm hoping we're better than that over here in the U.S. Overall oral health has improved by leaps and bounds over the last 30 years or so, but obviously there is still room for improvement. And your oral health is not an area to be fudging on as it's been linked to heart disease and all kinds of other seemingly unrelated health conditions in recent research.

So brush and floss, people! We all need to, but those 12% especially -- you know who you are...

Can I get past my barriers to get into burlesque class?

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For over a year, I've intended to sign up for a burlesque dance class in my neighborhood. At the last minute, every ten weeks, I've somehow found an excuse or realized I had a scheduling conflict or resolved that I just couldn't spend the money on it. But tonight is the beginning of another session and I swear I'm going to make myself go.

I've gone through the class-avoidance list many times this week, worrying that I'm not graceful enough, that I don't have enough endurance following a surgery several months ago, that I will be the only woman with a (long past) post-partum jelly belly, and that, as much as I cheer on embracing your inner goddess and feeling empowered in the body you have, I will feel embarrassed, uncoordinated, not worthy.

Even as I type out that pre-shakin' it confession, I realize how ridiculous it is that I've placed these artificial barriers between myself and a class I know will be fun and flirty and a great step in the direction of fitness for me. I called a friend I knew would get it and she gave me some great advice. She said, "Don't worry about all those reasons why not to take the class! Just look at it as one time, one hour. You can get through one hour! And if you hate it, you never have to go back. And if you like it, even a little, maybe you can try it again next week."

I think she's right. I think that by focusing on taking it one hour, one class, one session at a time, I can move forward in my quest to be active and have a good time working out. With a little "I think I can, I think I can" re-focusing, I may just be able to take the first step in my quest to burlesque.

The risk, at least tonight, is an hour or so out of the house, off of the couch. The reward might just come in a feather boa and some red patent leather dance shoes.

I'll keep you updated.

Ever been afraid to take a class or hit the gym? How did you overcome your own personal obstacles?

Everything you ever wanted to know about food

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Like the popular series Mythbusters, BBC program The Truth About Food dispels mysteries and rumors, only on this show, they focus on the nutritional side of life. Recently, the program put their segments online and now all of your burning food questions are easily answered with the click of a button. Have you ever wondered:
  • Is my metabolism to blame for my weight?
  • Does detox work?
  • Can omega3s reduce you stress levels?
  • Do aphrodisiacs really work?
  • Can changing your diet give your gut a makeover?
  • Is TV really to blame for making us fat?
And many, many more. You'll need RealPlayer or Windows Media Player to view the clips, but I highly recommend checking the site out for a closer look at these interesting and highly entertaining clips.

What's up with my patient? Docs get a new online forum

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Imagine that you go to your doctor with a curious symptom that leaves you both stumped. What if your doctor could walk into the next room and confer with not one or two, but 15,000 other physicians? A new web-based service, called Sermo, Inc. lets doctors do just that through forums used to discuss symptoms, treatments, and other topics like drug-related side effects. The AMA is partnering with the company, and thinks the online community will benefit physicians and patients alike.

Not everyone is pleased with the new service, however. Sermo, Inc. will charge investment firms a fee to view the forums, which will give stock traders a heads up on drugs that could be rising or falling in the market. And while many hope this will help doctors better discover unknown side effects of certain drugs, both the FDA and pharmaceutical companies worry that it will serve as little more than a rumor mill.

I, for one, would be pleased to know my doctor belonged to a service like this one. As the article points out, many doctors are in practice alone and have little time to stay up on the latest in medical technology. Hopefully, this forum will bring important information to physicians and patients who need it. What do you think?

10 ways to get a natural high

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We all want to feel good, right? If you're working hard at improving your diet and exercising regularly, you're already doing a lot to keep your yourself happy and healthy. Exercise has been thought to give you a nice, natural surge of endorphins often called the "runner's high," but did you know there are other ways to get that feel-good feeling naturally?

For instance, a good laugh makes you feel great, not only because you saw or heard something hilarious and likely shared the moment with someone else, but also because when you laugh, endorphins flood your brain. Other ways to get a natural high include:
  • eating a hot chili pepper
  • thinking positively
  • sex
  • eating chocolate
  • getting (a little) sunshine
  • being scared (think roller coasters and horror movies)
  • exercise
There's got to be at least on thing on that list you enjoy! What gives you a natural high?

Got a craving? Try this food instead!

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Let's be honest with ourselves: if we didn't give into cravings every now and then, we would probably go clinically insane. After all, it's mostly in our heads, right? Be that as it may, some people would find it very beneficial to not only have the tips to ward off those cravings, but to also find healthy alternatives to those junk food urges!

That's where this amazing table of information comes in. Listed on this website are foods people sometimes crave. The foods are then matched to the element you're actually craving, and then presented is a healthy alternative to satisfy it! For example: if you're hankering for chocolate, you really need magnesium. So what do you eat instead? Try raw nuts, seeds, legumes, or fruits to quench the craving!

The same thing goes for coffee (eat eggs or try a red pepper), alcohol (granola or sun-dried black olives), even the urge to chew ice has a fix! There are over a dozen cravings and alternatives, so be sure to see if your favorite is on the list.

Courtney Love forced to quit smoking

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Everyone, no matter how rich, or how famous, is affected by smoking. The most recent public figure to fall prey to a smoking-related illness is Courtney Love. The singer was recently ordered by her doctor to quit, after he discovered pre-op nodules in her throat.

In a message on her Web site, Loves writes that the doctor "guessed exactly how much I smoke," and that "I need to stop unless ... I want surgery in a year."

Her choices were either quit now, or take time off from touring to undergo the procedure.

Fortunately for Love, nodules are a benign growth on the vocal cords. However, cigarettes are the primary cause of throat cancer, which would almost certainly be the end of her singing career -- if not her life.

Chronic fatigue -- Is recovery possible?

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If you feel tired and worn down all the time, resting doesn't help, and exercise of any kind -- even just thinking too hard -- actually makes things worse, then you may be in with thousands of other Americans who suffer from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome -- or CFS. The cause of CFS is not completely understood, and as of now there is no cure. But with treatment can you recover from it?

A recent study looked at whether Cognitive Behavioral Therapy was effective in helping people heal from CFS, and although the results were mixed the overall result seems to be that reducing symptoms is very possible and some can even fully recover. That's encouraging!

9/11 responders suffer from rare blood cancer

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In what's been described as a possible "third wave" of illnesses for those exposed to toxic dust post-9/11, the World Trade Center Medical Monitoring Program is expressing concern over the number of WTC site workers with lymphatic and blood cancers.

While New York city's health commissioner has said there is no evidence linking dust exposure to cancer, the Medical Monitoring Program reports a "handful of cases of multiple myeloma in very young individuals." They add, "multiple myeloma is a condition that ... almost aways presents later in life."

However, because the disease may take years to develop in some individuals, proof of a correlation most likely won't emerge for decades.

This is all in addition to the confirmed respiratory illnesses found in 70% of the nearly 40,000 ground zero workers.

I Can't Believe it's Not Butter spray is full of fat -- Buyer Beware!

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One of the most frustrating things to me, as a fitness trainer is to see people who work so hard towards fitness get duped. The I Can't Believe it's Not Butter spray is one of those things. Now....I'm not suggesting the folks who make that product are liars. Cause they're not. I think the idea of their product is incredibly deceptive though, due to the fine print.

Did you know that the I Can't Believe it's Not Butter spray has zero calories and fat ONLY IF YOU USE 1.25 sprays. WHAT!? Who does that? If you use any larger portion're screwed. And how exactly do you accomplish a .25 spray?One teaspoon bags 20 calories and 2 grams of fat. Most people never read that fine print. In fact, most folks I know claim to pour it on their rice, pasta, and bread because they truly believe it's a completely fat-free product. Who knows how many thousands of fat calories these poor people have been unknowingly consuming for years? Do you think it's fair and reasonable for them to advertise ZERO CALORIES on the front of the bottle?

When I lecture on fitness I always address this topic, and I can't tell you how many jaws come crashing to the ground when I drop this information bomb. First looks I get are of shock. Second looks I get are of pure anger. They feel cheated and they have every right to. Of course, it would be nice if they read the ingredient lists which lists OIL as it's number two ingredient. But I still feel bad for the consumer, because they are lead to believe the product is completely fat-free and can be used at leisure. Fortunately though, I've found an amazing substitution which is legitimately fat-free, low in calories and delicious. I even bake with it!

Continue reading I Can't Believe it's Not Butter spray is full of fat -- Buyer Beware!

Male smokers pass genetic damage on to their offspring

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Obviously, smoking is bad for you, and it's long been proven that second-hand smoke poses a significant health-risk, especially for children who live with a smoker. But a new study suggests that fathers who smoke may be harming their children even before they're born, thanks to the effects cigarettes have on their sperm's DNA.

Essentially, smoking causes mutations in the DNA of sperm. Recent research with mice proves that these mutations are often inherited, and "persist as irreversible changes in the genetic composition of offspring." Subsequently, "fathers can potentially damage offspring long before they may even meet their future mate."

I was a father who always said he'd quit smoking before his child was born (and I did). But now, knowing this, I wish I'd never taken up the habit in the first place.

Sandals tone your butt while you walk

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They may not be the most attractive footwear on the planet, but FitFlop sandals offer a potentially unique benefit: a workout while you walk.

Of course, you always get a workout from walking, but the company claims that "The FitFlop's uniquely built multi-density midsole activates muscles midstep to help tone your thighs, your calves and your glutes. In fact, FitFlops are biomechanically engineered to absorb shock, lessen joint strain, and recreate the gait of barefoot walking - but with a powerful new built-in micro-wobbleboard workout-enhancing effect."

All that aside, if you really want to tone your legs and backside, there's plenty of exercises that'll get the job done more quickly than a pair of fancy sandals.

But, if you really don't want to work out, and don't mind having a pair of ugly shoes, maybe the FitFlop is for you.

Victoria Beckham inadvertently endorses vegan book, and sparks fly

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When Victoria Beckham bought the book Skinny Bitch by Kim Barnouin and Rory Freedman, she probably had no idea she'd start a media frenzy that would pit vegans (aka meat haters) against carb-phobics (aka morons). There's no word on whether she actually endorses the book but having a celebrity buy your book and be seen with it is enough to get people talking about. Wait a minute -- Victoria Beckham reads? About food? She obviously isn't eating it anyway.

The book is written by two ex-model types and using vulgar language and abrupt, sometimes offensive rants chastizing anyone who enjoys an sort of animal product. Of course, the non-vegans don't like this and have some pretty blunt responses of their own. I haven't read the book so I don't know what to say except I stand by my love of cheese.

Have you read it?