Your Body on Chairs

Many professionals in the health world are now saying that sitting is the new smoking. Sitting is hard on your body in a variety of ways. It strains your low back, doesn’t engage your posterior chain (the back of your legs) and decreases your metabolism.

Here are some tips if you spend a lot of time sitting.

  • Try to stand. Contact HR, your office manager or whoever may be in charge of ordering office equipment and get a sit/stand workstation.
  • Try to move around during the day. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, take time to walk to the water cooler or take the long way to your next meeting.
  • Do little movements. Roll your neck and shoulders throughout the day. spread your fingers wide apart and squeeze your shoulders blades together.
  • Squat. Squatting is one of the best things you can do for your health, it relieves your low back, engages your legs, opens your hips and enhances digestion. We were designed to squat.
  • Stretch and exercise. After work make time to move your body, get your heart rate up and stretch.

Have a Strong Core

When people find out I am a personal trainer, it is usually followed up with a question about a minor injury they are currently suffering from. My response is most often strengthen your core.

Our core is a complex series of muscles including the abs, obliques, transverse abdominus and psoas. These muscles are most often act as stabilizers to other muscle groups  either providing or absorbing force. Increasing core strength can help prevent injury by reducing the strain on other muscle groups.

I had a weak glute and certain activities, including sleeping, would inflame my hip and low back. I began daily exercises to strengthen my glutes and core to stabilize my pelvis.

Core strength comes from more than crunches. You want to do activities that engage our deep muscles like bicycles and leg lifts.

Feel free to reach out to me about your core.



The Other Four Letter Words


CARB, EPOC and HIIT! I’m fairly confident that fad diets will never go away, at least until the current political structures that subsidize unhealthy lifestyles, like the farm bill and oil wars, are dismantled. Carbohydrates fuel our bodies. But too many carbohydrates can make us sick. And our current system likes to feed us a lot of carbohydrates.

I eat carbs and it make me happy. I have food sensitivities and I don’t really care for sweets so a lot of carbs are off limits already but I don’t deny myself the ones I can eat, like tortilla chips. In general I eat on the lower end of the carb spectrum but I don’t count calories or grams.

If you are going to eat carbs try to make sure they’re worth eating. That means whatever is about to go in your mouth should be packed with nutrients and fiber, like whole grains or sweet potatoes. Fiber helps slow down the release of glucose into our bloodstream so our bodies can release an appropriate amount of insulin to transport the glucose. Too much unused insulin can lead to insulin insensitivity or diabetes.

Our muscles have 3 energy systems that come into play at various stages in our workout. They all essentially run on adenosine triphosphate, ATP. A small amount of ATP is stored within our muscles for short burst of energy like catching a falling baby or throwing a spear at a predator. After a few seconds your glycolytic system kicks in and starts cobbling together ATP from stored glucose. This system is also short lived while a build up of hydrogen ions, a byproduct of glycolis, starts to inhibit muscle contraction.

Finally the oxidative system comes into play. Our aerobic system is constantly humming in the background of our daily life, fueling our muscles for basic functioning, like walking and digesting. When we put extra stress on our muscles, especially during exercise our oxidative system goes into overdrive. After just over a minute of intense movement or lifting our aerobic system redirects its efforts to focus on delivering oxygen to our muscles and will continue working well after a workout. This is know as the excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, EPOC. Basically our muscles are still “burning” calories for hours after we’ve completed a workout.

This EPOC effect has contributed the success of high intensity integral training, HIIT. Doing intense activities for short periods of times (20-90 seconds) with short recovery times (10-60 seconds) repeatedly helps our bodies utilize all our metabolic energy systems and keeps us metabolically flexible.

Our bodies most easily use glucose from carbohydrates to fuel our muscles so don’t feel bad about eating carbs, feel good about putting them to use!