Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Sleep Awareness Week

March 11 to March 17, 2018 is the National Sleep Foundation's annual Sleep Awareness Week. It is a reminder of the impact of proper sleep on your health. It is also important to understand how strength training impacts your sleep and how proper sleep impacts your strength training results.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Dehydration and Strength Training

I know hydration is important, but how does dehydration negatively impact my strength training session?

The importance of proper hydration is well known.  Proper hydration supports all bodily function.  Every cell, tissue, and organ in your body needs water to work properly.  Therefore it is not surprising that dehydration can negatively impact performance in endurance sports (running), team sports (football), sports taking place in hot temperatures, or sports requiring heavy gear.

However, there is very little research on the impact of dehydration on strength / resistance training.

A study published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology evaluated the effects of dehydration on resistance training performance. Ten trained males completed two resistance training protocols under the following conditions:

         dehydration (3% of body mass) followed by rehydration preceding a full body workout
         dehydration (3% of body mass) without rehydration preceding a full body workout

The full body resistance training protocol was comprised of three sets to failure across six activities.  Resistance was based on the subject’s 12 repetition maximum, and two minutes of rest was given between each set.  Total repetitions were counted for all sets and compared between conditions.

The results showed that the males performed significantly more total repetitions when they were hydrated (average of 169 reps) versus when they were dehydrated (average of 144 reps).  On average, the males performed one to two reps less per set than when they were hydrated.  Conclusion: as little as 3% dehydration was enough to impair resistance exercise performance.

The following website was used in answering the question:

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Can Processed Foods Be Part Of A Healthy Diet?

Q:  Can processed foods be part of a healthy diet?


Most foods have some level of processing.  Even natural or organic foods may be processed.  The spectrum ranges from minimally processed (bagged beans, roasted nuts, frozen fruits / vegetables) to highly processed (snack foods, ready-to-eat meals, precooked meats).

In fact, some processed foods can be healthy when the processing is on the minimal end of the spectrum, provides access to healthy food not readily available,  prevents spoilage or increases food safety (pasteurized milk, canned fruits / vegetable, vacuum sealed products).

However, most diets are getting too much highly processed foods.  A 2016 study found that highly processed foods contribute 60% of calories and 90% of added sugars to American diets.  Similarly, Americans get 70% of their sodium from processed and restaurant foods.

How to limit highly processed foods?
•Read food labels
•Eat at home
•Avoid the salty six (bread, deli meat, sandwiches/burgers, pizza, soup, chicken)
•Eat fresh or on the minimally processed end of the spectrum
•Avoid sauces, gravies, salad dressings, condiments, and syrups

The following website was used in answering the question:

Monday, December 18, 2017

Winter vs. Summer Illnesses

With winter finally arriving, is it true that more people fall ill in winter vs. summer?

The month with the most people sick is usually September.  The primary driver is kids going back to school and the mass spreading of germs.  Outside of September, it is generally true that the winter tends to be worse than summer for illnesses.

Some of the reasons include:
•People spend more times indoors
•People are less active in cold weather.  Less activity negatively impacts the health of the immune system
•Cold weather suppresses the immune processes that defend against infection
•Viruses stay suspended in winter air longer (when exhaled, the moisture surrounding the virus evaporates quickly, making the viruses lighter)
•The most common ailments, the common cold and influenza, are winter viruses

How to combat:
•Get outside
•Remain active and exercise consistently
•Get a flu shot
•Wash your hands frequently/cover your mouth when you cough
•Maintain proper nutrition

The following websites were used in answering the question:

Friday, December 1, 2017

Managing the Holiday Season

The holiday season is upon us.  It can be a happy and joyous time, but it can also be a frenetic, anxious, or depressing time.  What are some tips to help individuals manage the season?

The holiday season can be wonderful and yet challenging time.  Below are some tips to make the season a littler easier to manage.

         Have modest expectations- don’t let the materialism and commercialization dictate how the holidays are supposed to look or feel

         Plan ahead and stick to the plan
        Be intentional about your holiday plans
        What and who you will buy for this season
        Where and when you will go places
        Who you will spend time with
        When breaks are needed from the hustle and bustle

         Keep you habits - don’t let the holiday season dramatically change certain habits
        Eating habits
        Sleeping habits
        Your normal routine
        Alcoholic intake

         Regular Exercise - it is great for burning calories, but also good for bouts of depression or anxiety

         Get outside – sunshine, fresh air and physical activity are great ways to help us regulate stressors.

The following websites were used in answering the question:

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

The Color of Fruits and Vegetables

Numerous Stump the Staff answers cite the importance of fruits and vegetables in a healthy diet.  A client asked the follow up question; “Does the color of the fruit or vegetables impact its health benefits?”

Fruit and vegetables are always a great choice to improve your diet.  The color of the fruit or vegetable is important because the color helps determine its nutritional content.  There are several public service campaigns that promote this idea and have phrases such as:

  • Eat the Rainbow
  • Five a Day the Color Way
  • Eat from the Color Wheel

As part of a healthy diet, you should try to get some of each color every day.  Below are the common colors, choices, and the benefits of the particular color.

Red: Beets, Cherries, Cranberries, Pink Grapefruit, Radishes, Red Apples, Red Bell Peppers and Red Chili Peppers
Benefits: Rich in the antioxidants, reduces risk of prostate cancer, lowers blood pressure, and LDL cholesterol levels

Orange/Yellow: Apricots, Butternut Squash, Cantaloupe, Carrots, Lemons, Oranges, and Rutabagas
Benefits: High in Beta-Carotene, Potassium, and Vitamin C, reduce age-related macula degeneration, prostate cancer, and promote collagen formation and healthy joints

Green: Artichokes, Asparagus, Broccoli, Green Apples, Green Beans, Green Cabbage and Green Grapes
Benefits: High in Chlorophyll, Fiber and Calcium, reduce risk of cancers, normalize digestion time, and boost immune system

Blue/Purple: Blackberries, Blueberries, Plums, Purple Cabbage, and Raisins
Benefits: Rich in the antioxidants, boost immune system activity, support healthy digestion, improve calcium and other mineral absorption, and fight inflammation

The following websites were used in answering the question:

Monday, October 23, 2017


“Farm-to-Table” is a current food trend.  What should you consider when deciding to purchase “Farm-to-Table” food?

Farm-to-Table is generally regarded as a social movement that promotes serving/consuming locally grown food at restaurants through direct procurement from the producer.  It often incorporates a form of food traceability allowing consumers to know where the food originated.

When thinking about “Farm-to-Table”, here are a couple things to keep mind:
  1. All food originates from a farm, a grove, fishery, etc
  2. Not all foods can be locally sourced
  3. Locally sourced food may be of lesser quality due to limitations in the local growing conditions
  4. Finally, a recent Tampa, Florida study found the majority of restaurants promoting “Farm-to-Table” were not actually purchasing locally sourced food

If you want to implement, consider the following options:
1) When dining out:
         Ask the server or chef about food labeled as “Farm-to-Table”
         Restaurants charge a premium for “Farm-to-Table” food items.  Does the menu price seem right?
         Consider the local growing season.  There are fewer “Farm-to-Table” options in winter

2) Better yet, eat at home because it is cheaper, healthier and you can dictate the source.  When dining at home:
         Shop at locally owned grocery stores, butcher shops, etc
         Ask the store where the food actually came from and when it was purchased
         Purchase produce that is in season
         Limit purchases of processed and packaged food

The following website was used in answering the question: