Be A Rule Breaker

Be A Rule Breaker

I hate rules! Ask my mom, I have been a rule breaker for some time. 

This is me! Sometimes you come across an inflatable obstacle course on Lake Winni and trespass. Oops!

When it comes to food I think it’s important to have guidelines…not RULES.

When Ben and I opened KDR Fitness, we wanted to create a simple to use, easy to follow set of nutrition rules everyone could use to be healthier, lose weight, feel better and reduce inflammation.  But, some people…like me…don’t like rules.  In fact, I hate them!  Give me a “rule” and I am sure to break it just because it’s a rule!  Maybe your like me?!  Do you hate rules? 

Ben has rules he follows.  I don’t.  I tried using his rules, but, they never worked for me (see above…rule breaker!) and I realized I do so much better when I set guidelines for myself.  So far my guildelines work for me!  

One of my guildlelines is if I want it bad enough, I have it.

But…it wasn’t always like this.

I read a lot of books, articles, etc. and with so much information out there it was hard for me not to put nutrition rules on myself, like:

Eating within 30 minutes of waking up

Eating all organic fruits and veggies

Making sure I ate every 3 hours even if I wasn’t hungry

Buy local

Not eating out because it was too difficult to manage calories and portions.  

I found myself fighting every single rule put in front of me.

Those were rules I was imposing on myself. When presented with a obstacle like eating out, a family function, or an “I can’t afford to eat all organic” scenario I wasn’t sure what to do, which usually resulted in not eating anything or saying “fuck it, let’s eat everything.”  Both of which were not great decisions.

I recently overheard a couple at the grocery store having a similar conversation. He was talking her out of buying non-organic berries from Peru but then proceeded to by a box of 25 cookies that were cheaper.  

The rules that we impose on ourselves, sometimes, may actually hold us back. When I took the rules away I was finally able to explore, learn what worked for me, and actually understand what my body needed. Taking away rules meant that I could eat ground beef, rice, non-organic veggies and skip breakfast if I wanted to do so. 

Guidelines are helpful, but RULES can be really harmful, especially when you become to set in your ways and punish your self when you break your rules.  I learned that the hard way.  Some people THRIVE off of rules, but, not me.  

Guidelines are suggestions, such as: “try to eat vegetables and lean protein at every meal” or “try to keep most of your carbs to fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.”

Rules are statements such as, “you have to have 2 servings of vegetables and 20 grams of protein at every meal” or, “no carbs after 6pm.”

Rules don’t leave any room for life obstacles, where as guidelines can be more flexible. Rules make you feel like you either succeeded or failed, whereas guidelines help you to make the best decisions for you in that moment. 

Stay tuned for the next article, where I will tell you the guidelines that I use to eat, live and work out.

What rules do have on yourself? Let me help you break them! 

Do you need some help breaking free from your nutrition and fitness rules? We can help! 

 

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You don’t need to count calories to lose weight.

You don’t need to count calories to lose weight.

Measuring? Math? To plan lunch or dinner? Does it have to be that complicated to lose weight? No. It doesn’t!

I don’t count calories anymore, I tell you why in my last blog, http://kdrfitness.com/cellulite-wrinkles-and-scars/, I don’t measure my food all the time, and I sure as hell don’t deprive myself of things that I enjoy. Weight loss doesn’t have to be that complicated or miserable.

Now does it require some work? Yes, absolutely.  Food is so readily available to us and portions seem to be bigger than ever before.  Having a portion control system will help you be successful at weight loss/weight maintenance. Maybe you prefer counting calories, that’s ok. I think there are defiantly benefits to it but let’s be real…it’s not fun.

Seriously, who decided that the hamburger should double in size?

The good news is, you don’t have to count calories for weight loss. Yes! It’s true. 

I use a couple of things to control portions: 

  1. I always use a small plate. 
  2. I use my hands to determine my portions.

Here how it works:

  • My palm determines my protein portions.
  • My fist determines my veggie portions.
  • My cupped hand determines my carb portions.
  • My thumb determines my fat portions. 

If you’d like to start eating better, just take a look at your hand. Use your fist, palm, cupped hand, and thumb to practice calorie control – while avoiding the hassle of counting calories.

Now that you know this information, you need to put it into practice!  

Let us help you do that with our “Drop Two Sizes” Challenge starting on Monday, September 25th.  The program is PERFECT for getting a jump start on your Fall fitness.  You won’t count calories or work out 7 days a week, but you will learn how to portion control AND learn all about healthy eating and how to work out for weight loss. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Your guide to fix your knee pain when squatting.

Your guide to fix your knee pain when squatting.

Do your knees hurt when you squat?  This is a follow up article to the last one I did called “Squats are bad for your knees – FALSE!”

In this article I am going to give you the answers to the following questions:

  • When should you go see your Doctor about knee pain?
  • How do you stretch your ankles and hips (the common reasons why people have knee pain when squatting and knee pain in general) to help you squat and move better?
  • The two different types of squats you can do and how to perform each.
  • And a hell of a lot more!

I hope you enjoy!

Quick Squat Tutorial

This is a real quick down and dirty squat tutorial where I go over the two types of squats – The power squat and natural squat.

Tests to determine what’s causing your squat issue.

There are three easy tests we use to assess someone’s ankle and hip mobility (mobility differs from flexibility).  Mobility refers to how easy a joint moves, flexibility refers to how easy a muscle can move.  Think gymnastics for mobility and yoga for stretching.  For our purposes, we want good mobility, but as far as you are concerned the terms can be interchangeable when discussing the squat.

First test – Can you touch your toes?

This test assess your straight leg ankle mobility.  If you cannot touch your toes this doesn’t mean you can’t squat, but it certainly tells us some stuff…mostly that you have tight ankles in a straight leg position.

Second test – can you squat, hips below knees AND hold it there for 10 seconds?

This test is pretty straight forward – Can you squat without pain?  If you want to squat…you need to squat!  This test allows us to assess your overall tightness.  Specifically, we are looking at it from the hips down.  Can you get below parallel?  Can you hold it there?  Bonus points if you can hold it there WITHOUT SHOES ON.  Not a necessity, per se, but that is something to work towards.  Some people can bounce down and up with no problem, we don’t want that.  

Third test – Can you squat with hips below parallel AND keep your toes pointed straight ahead?

This is another pretty straight forward test – Where are your toes pointed once you get into the full squat and what do your knees do?  Do your heels come up off the ground (tight ankles)?  Do your knees cave in (tight hips)?  Do your feet turn out (tight ankles)?    

If you cannot perform any of those movements WITHOUT KNEE PAIN then skip down to the last video on this page – When should you talk to your doctor about knee pain with squatting?  

Start at the ankles.

Most knee pain can be attributed to tight ankles.  What exactly is a tight ankle/how do you know you have tight ankles?  Well…you probably do.  Tight ankles and a tight upper back are the MOST COMMON joint restrictions we see at our gym.  World renowned Strength Coach Mike Boyle (arguably the guy who brought functional training into the mainstream) always says – “You can always improve your ankle and thoracic mobility.”

There are two ways you need to stretch your ankles – in a straight leg and in a bent knee fashion.  You have two muscles that make up your calf (gastrocnemius and soleus – One likes a bent ankle, the other likes a straight leg) both need to be stretched in two different ways.

Then go to the hips.

Hip mobility is the next thing to tackle. Poor hip mobility will cause your knees to do some wonky things during the squat as well as possibly cause lower back pain if you are trying to force yourself into the bottom of the squat.

When should you see your doctor if squatting hurts your knees?

Understand something – Most, as in over 95%, of your aches and pains can be alleviated through proper exercise selection, rest and good coaching/program design.  At the end of the day, it takes time to heal things.   

Case in point.

Having said that – If you perform these stretches, a few times per day, for 30 days and you still have knee pain when squatting, you might want to consult your doctor.  These are just STRETCHES/MOBILITY exercises.  If you came to our gym with knee pain, we would use these exercises PLUS strengthening moves that target the hamstrings and glutes.  But, that is too much for this article.

Here’s a quick video on WHEN you should go see your doctor about knee pain with squatting.

There ya go!  I hope you enjoyed this article and that it helps you squat better without pain!

 

Do you have knee pain?  Let us help you!  Give us 30 days and we will show you how to fix your knee pain while also getting some weight off of you, improving your energy and teaching you a lot of things about your body you didn’t know!

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How I eat, work out and thrive as a busy professional

How I eat, work out and thrive as a busy professional

Let’s face it, if you are a busy professional, chances are you are – stressed out, overworked, short on time, tired and struggling to fit health and fitness into your life.

Aren’t we all busy professionals at this point?  Running around trying to fit more things into a single day – from spending time on yourself to spending time on your career…don’t forget the family!  Sometimes I even have to ask myself  “Do I have time to workout today?”.

Yes, I know I work in a gym.  You might say “it must be easy for me to workout and stay in shape”.  However, I am still a busy professional trying to balance work, life, family and my health.   

Making time for myself sometimes makes me feel guilty and selfish. Do you ever feel that way?

So for me “Do I have time NOT to focus on myself?” is a better question.

Well when you put it that way…

When focusing on yourself is hard.

Focusing on yourself is HARD.  We as women know that.  But, we usually don’t admit it…aloud.  When I find myself straying TOO far from focusing on myself into focusing on other people/things, I try and map out the the big priorities to SELF-CARE.  For me, that’s working out, de-stressing and food prep.  Your self-care might be different, but it should include those three things.

When Ben was going through Chemo (you can read more about that here if you want), I realized that I was not consistent with movement/workouts, my meals were all over the place and my sleep (self-care) sucked. It was certainly a stressful time, but, I was still a busy professional that had to take care of myself.

Workouts: I was stuck in a mindset that I had to get in 4 hours a week of strength training, then 1-2 hours of conditioning or cardio. That’s 5-6 hours! Unrealistic for me at that time. 

Meals:  I was grabbing and going…with little to no planning or prepping whatsoever. I had this idea that food prep would take hours and I just didn’t want to do it.  I would rather spend time with my husband supporting him while he was going through his battle.   

Sleep: I don’t watch a lot of TV but when I do it was right before bed, with my phone in hand or in bed. I needed a distraction to help me unwind from the day.  

At the end of the day, our health is the only thing we can count on.  I realized I had to get back to taking care of myself.  

So what strategies did I come up with?

These are what I used to help me.  You have to figure out what your making time for, then where do you need to put more time in or what do you need to work on the most.  You might decide to start small by just getting to the gym twice a week or you might try food prep on the weekends.  Whatever it is, commit to that one thing for a few weeks before you add in more.

For my workouts, I realized that I didn’t have to workout 4-6 hours a week to feel strong, maintain my weight or muscle. I trimmed my workouts down to 30-45 min with 1 day of resistance training in the gym and 2-3 days of kettlebell or body weight workouts at home or anywhere. I also added in 15-30 min walks every day.  The dog and I were both happier for it;) 

For my meal planning.  I started planning out what I was going to have for dinner each night and wrote it on our family white board. This allowed me to plan other meals (I don’t like eating the same things everyday) and prep accordingly. If you missed it, check out http://kdrfitness.com/mastered-meal-prep/.

For my self care, I revisited my Sleep Hygiene Rules –  no phones in the bedroom EVER, no watching TV right before bed (I just love to lay in bed sometimes and watch TV), take my supplements 30-45 minutes before bed (the last one is hardest for me), if I wake up and cannot get back to sleep, GET UP. I used to lay there stressing out about not sleeping…which kept me awake.  Putting that structure in place really helped me declutter my pre-bed time.  

Are you a busy professional?  We have a great resource for you (see below) that covers a lot of the things I talked about, gives you some great tips and tricks to help you re-focus on your self AND downloadable.  

Just click on the picture below and follow the steps!

 

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Squats are bad for your knees – FALSE!

Squats are bad for your knees – FALSE!

Have you ever heard that “Squats are bad for your knees?”  Let’s bust that myth RIGHT NOW because it is FALSE!

Where did this come from?

First of all – there are NO studies to support this statement.  Zero.  None.  There are a number of studies that look at the loading forces on the knee through various squat depths, however, none of them conclude that squatting is “bad for the knees”.  This is just one of the studies I found.  

“Contrary to commonly voiced concern, deep squats do not contribute increased risk of injury to passive tissues.”

Source – Analysis of the load on the knee joint and vertebral column with changes in squatting depth and weight load.

There is some talk about a Dr. Karl Klein who back in the 50’s looked at the rising knee injuries in college football players.  He concluded that deep squats were what was causing the issues.  Hmmmm….could it have been maybe that players played both offense AND defense?  This story then got picked up by Sports Illustrated after he released his findings in 1961.  Then the American Medical Association came out with their position stand on squat – stating that squats were bad for your knees and should be avoided.  

 

Ugh…so stupid.

And that folks…was the early death of squatting.  Thanks to Dr. Klein, SI and the AMA we, as trainers, had to listen to our clients tell us how bad squats were for your knees..for the  next 50 years.  All this was based on NO SCIENTIFIC STUDY.  That’s an important point to remember.  

Squats aren’t bad of your knees…the way you are doing them is bad for your knees.

Saying squats are bad for your knees is such a silly thing when you think about it.  Every time you get out of a chair/take a dump/get out of your car – that’s a squat.  As human beings we were MADE to squat!

From an evolutionary perspective – if we couldn’t squat, we wouldn’t have been very good hunters.  Ever try hiding standing up?  Also…did you know that the first firing position initially taught to rifleman in the military was to fire from a deep squat?  That’s right!!!  It’s much easier for you to drop down into a squat position and get back up into a run then it is to lay all the way down on the ground, sight, fire, then get up.  Maybe not in hunting a deer, but certainly in a fire fight against an enemy.

The reason this was taken out was because people were complaining of knee pain.  I’ve worked for the military, they don’t just throw out an idea and hope it works.  This was a position that was used for hundreds of years that had to be changed in the mid 20th century due to people sitting more and not having good mobility and/or strength to perform this task.

Then you have the biomechanics perspective – our knee joint is a hinge joint, it’s made to go from a full straightened position to a fully flexed position.  Black, red, brown, white no matter your skin color, we are all built the EXACT SAME WAY.  So, explain to me why entire continents of people can squat ass to grass (that means all the way down in fitness talk) with no pain?  Often times when I throw this out to people, the answer I get the most of is – “because they do it often.”  

Exactly.

Where does the problem lie?

The problem that arises when people try and squat, i.e. the reason why people’s knees hurt when they squat is three fold:

  1. Their form sucks.
  2. They have poor mobility in their ankles and hips which leads to their knees getting beat up.
  3. They have an underlying pathology of pain like arthritis (even if you have arthritis you can still squat safely and effectively) or a torn meniscus or something along those lines

Bad form folks. Don’t be like Jonny “I don’t know Squats”.

That’s it for part one.  In part we will go over the two different ways to squat as well as how to fix tight ankles and hips AND when you seriously just shouldn’t squat.

 

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All you need to know about water.

All you need to know about water.

Water, so simple (drink it!).  Yet, so complex (how much?!).  We’re gonna hit you with the down and dirty.

What’s the purpose of water in the body?

Water is involved in EVERY process in the body.  It’s used as a transport medium; the majority of your blood is water.  Think of that for a second: water helps transport OXYGEN and NUTRIENTS.  That’s what red blood cells do; they carry oxygen rich blood to working tissues in addition to other nutrients.  Low hydration = diminished capacity to carry oxygen and nutrients.  That affects your cognition and brainpower just as much as it affects your physical ability.

Water is a lubricant.  Not only does being well-hydrated help with joint pain (the discs between your spine and joints are composed of primarily water), but it also helps with digestion.

Water is a coolant, but most people know that already.

Take home point.  The purpose of water is to keep us alive and allow us to thrive.  This is done via the transportation of oxygen and nutrients, the cooling of the body, aiding in digesting foods and keeping our joints happy and healthy.

Dehydration: How does the body use water as a coolant, and what happens when we are dehydrated?

As water is lost from the body via sweat (cooling us down), blood pressure goes down, blood volume decreases resulting in a drop in stroke volume (volume of blood your heart pumps out per beat), and cardiac output decreases (how much total blood your heart pumps out per unit of time, generally a minute).  For cardiac output think volume and force.  When volume goes down, force goes up to make up for a loss of volume.  Dehydration leads to an INCREASE IN HEART RATE, which is not good,.For all intents and purposes, a heart that beats faster isn’t ideal.

To make matters worse, as you get dehydrated, you actually end up sweating LESS.  Well, there is a tipping point.  That’s a sure fire sign of a heat-related illness.  Sweating is a safety mechanism, except when sweating would kill you in the case of having LOW amounts of water.  The body stops sweating in the case of heat-related injuries because you’re taking vital water away from organs, and it’s way more important to keep that heart pumping rather then cooling yourself off).

All of this leads to decline in mental and physical performance.

Take home point:  Dehydration = higher heart rate, lower blood pressure, and less oxygen is delivered to brain/muscles resulting in decreased mental and physical performance.

How is water stored in the body?  Bloating 101.
Water is stored in fluid within the cells (intracellular fluid [ICF]) and/or fluid outside the cells (extracellular fluid [ECF]).  ICF is about 65% of total water; ECF (blood plasma, lymph fluid, etc.) is about 35%.  Chloride, potassium, and sodium are three molecules that help maintain the balance between ICF and ECF.  If one of those three becomes too concentrated in either ECF or ICF, the body produces hormones that help to bring the balance back.  For instance, too much sodium in the ECF (think of ECF as a transport channel) will cause water to be pulled out of the ICF to bring the ratio of water to solvents in the ECF back to balance.

Pizza makes you thirsty, and it causes you to bloat up.  That’s because the sodium from the pizza accumulates in the ECF, which then causes the brain to pull water from the ICF to signal thirst.  You will then feel thirsty until the balance between ECF and ICF is restored.

What happens if you OVER drink?  That means you have a greater amount of ICF now.  That’s where the kidneys come in to bring the balance of ICF to ECF back.

Take home point: The body wants the balance of water to be tightly controlled.  Any change to that balance will result in the body attempting to bring it back to balance via either consuming more water or eliminating water.

How much water should you drink on a daily basis?

Generally it’s quoted to drink a gallon of water.  However, I have also heard drink 8, 8 oz. glasses per day, which would give you about half a gallon of water.  That’s a pretty big swing!  What does the research say? The Institute of Medicine (IOM) established an adequate intake (AI) for total water to prevent the harmful acute effects of dehydration.  Every day we lose about a liter from breathing, sweating, and bowel movements, which is about 33 ounces of water.  Then we add in the average water lost through urine in a day, that’s 1.5 liters, or around 50 ounces of water per day.  So, we know that we need to AT LEAST consume roughly 80 ounces of water daily to make up for the average loss.

The IOM AI for sedentary men and women (19-50 y/o) is 3.7 liters and 2.7 liters per day.  However, we get about 20% of our total water from foods, so that means the actual intake is 3.0 liters for men and 2.2 liters for women., or about 100 ounces for men and 80 ounces for women.  Obviously, if you’re excreting more water through urine, bowel, breathing or sweating, you need to consume more water.

Take home point.  Total intake should be at least 80 ounces for females and 100 ounces for males.  This is based on a sedentary person.

Drink three normal size mason jars per day and you should be totally fine for water intake if your sedentary.

How do you know how much water to drink before, during, and after exercise?

This is actually way easier to figure out then you think.  Weight yourself before you work out to figure out how much you should drink post work out, and make sure you do this naked.  Weight yourself again (naked) after your work out. How much water did you loose?  You should be drinking about 1.5 liters per kilogram or 50 ounces per 2.2 pounds, which comes out to about 22 ounces per pound.

Take home point.  For every pound lost during exercise, drink 20 ounces of water.

What about before exercise?  That depends on what time of the day you work out.  If it’s reasonable, consume ALL of the water for your day before you work out.  This would be a good rule of thumb for an evening work out session.  If it’s mid-day, shoot for 3/4 of your 100 or 80 ounces of water.  First thing in the morning then go for at least 30-40 ounces.  The research is fairly clear on this, but, rather then bore you with the research, let’s just stick to what you will actually pay attention to and do.  General rule of thumb: drink 16 ounces of water per hour for females and 20 ounces of water per hour for males.  More is probably better, less is certainly worse.

Can you drink too much water?

Yes, but, it’s akin to over dosing on vitamins and minerals.  In over 20 years of being involved in the fitness field, I have NEVER come across anyone who has been injured or otherwise debilitated through drinking too much water.  In fact, it’s almost silly to talk about it.  The body has a lot of checks and balances for it’s various tasks.  You would be peeing every hour if you were drinking TOO much water.  So, while the easy answer is yes, the hard answer is, it’s incredibly unlikely.

Where do sports drinks and “enhanced water” fit into this?

Sports drinks, made famous by Gatorade are now sold everywhere and, are more of a bane then a boon. (Did you know the initial formulation of Gatorade has HALF THE SUGAR as it does now?  They added more sugar to make it more palatable.)  In my opinion, sports drinks do more harm then good.  The goal of sports drinks is to replenish water lost through competing/practice, replenish electrolytes and start the recovery process earlier. It’s important to replenish electrolytes as we are just one big battery.  Our system works because of electrolytes suspended in water  to allow the conduction of electric current.

Generally speaking, you should consume a sports drink if you lost A LOT of water through sweating in a short period of time (playing a 90 minute soccer match in 90% humidity and 90 degrees would work). If your clothes are DRENCHED in sweat after an hour of working out, or if you’re going to be losing a lot of water via sweat through out the day (like construction workers and outside laborers) on an hourly basis then consume a sports drink.

Sports drinks are VASTLY over consumed on a regular basis.  Little Becky or Bobby does not need a Gatorade after their pee-wee soccer match.  Give them some fruit and water and they will be fine.  And, you certainly don’t need it after a 30-minute spin class.

If you’re going to consume a sports drink then get the one with the least amount of carbs.

Take home point: You probably don’t need to drink a sports drink after you’re done working out, but you do need water!

Enhanced water is water that (generally) has electrolytes added to it and maybe some other things like B Vitamins.  This could be the fruit infused water you buy at Whole Foods, or products like Propel, Vitamin Water, etc.

Enhanced Water? What’s next…enhanced Oxygen?

Generally speaking, stay away from 99% of enhanced waters as they have added sugar in them.  Some of the enhanced waters have enough sugar to actually make a difference (like some vitamin waters) in your blood sugar and some of them don’t.

Take home point: Drink water.  Maybe have some carbs and protein in it if you just did a resistance training session at a high intensity level.  Maybe have some electrolytes in it if you just lost a bunch of water.

Sources –

selecting-and-effectively-using-hydration-for-fitness

Sports drinks

Hydration Science

Water the science of nature’s most important nutrient.

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