Should You Rethink Dairy In Your Diet?

Should You Rethink Dairy In Your Diet?

Eating healthy is important at UpFit Academy in New York, NY. There are so many variants about what that means. Is a raw diet best? Should you omit gluten? Omitting dairy is probably the most controversial since most people are raised to believe it’s a vital part of everyone’s diet. That’s not necessarily true. Some people have milk allergies, and others are lactose intolerant. Before lactose-free milk existed, those people omitted dairy and survived quite well. Aside from an allergy or intolerance, does dairy pose other problems?

Dairy has an abundance of nutrients.

Milk contains 22 essential nutrients. Milk from pastured cows contains even more. It contains phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, potassium, and zinc. It’s also protein-rich and has vitamins A, B6, B12, E, and K, folate, thiamin, niacin, iron, riboflavin, and selenium. Grass-fed pastured cow milk contains more alpha-linoleic acid, ALA. It’s a beneficial Omega-3 fatty acid and antioxidant that helps fight diabetes and preserve eye health. It also improves eye health, prevents mental decline, and boosts energy and metabolism.

Dairy can cause skin conditions.

Not everyone is alike. Some people’s bodies treat dairy as a toxin and try to remove it. It’s removed through urine and excrement or passed through the skin pores. Dairy causes rashes, acne, eczema, and other skin conditions in some people. If you’re prone to breakouts or whiteheads, dairy may be part of the problem. Some research shows that dairy may be one of the causes of teenage acne.

Not all dairy products are the same.

There are huge differences between a glass of milk and a cup of yogurt. Fermented dairy is far healthier than other dairy. Kefir, yogurt, cottage cheese, and regular cheese are easier on the digestive system, which is especially important for people with lactose intolerance. Even within the category of benefits, there is disagreement. People have always touted consuming dairy for strong bones and teeth, yet a large, long-term study called The Nurses Health Study found that people who drank more milk had an increased risk of fractures. Another study showed fewer cases of osteoporosis in countries that didn’t consume much milk compared to the US.

  • If you keep dairy in your diet, don’t be fooled and choose a low-fat option. When manufacturers remove fat, they replace it with sugar and thickeners to give it the taste and consistency of full-fat yogurt.
  • You may think dairy is causing some problems, like acne, excessive phlegm, or digestive issues. One way to find out is to do an elimination diet. Remove dairy from your diet for several weeks and see if the symptoms disappear. Reintroduce it and see if it reappears.
  • If you are sensitive to dairy, always check labels. You’ll often find dry milk solids or milk products in creamy salad dressings, pancake mixes, caramels, and instant cereals.
  • Some people find that dairy triggers inflammation. Chronic inflammation can affect the heart, cause arthritis and joint pain, and create other health issues. When removed from their diet, their chronic condition improves.

For more information, contact us today at UpFit Training Academy

Workouts That Target Your Belly

Workouts That Target Your Belly

Strengthening your belly muscles can improve your posture, eliminate back pain, and give you a body everyone will envy. You get those washboard abs or sultry flat tummy with workouts focusing on those muscles. It takes the appropriate type of workout and a healthy diet. Even if your muscles are strong and well-developed, if a layer of fat covers them, nobody will see them. That’s why losing weight is so important. You can’t lose just the fat on your belly. It comes off your entire body, so combining your belly-flattening workout with whole-body exercises is vital to help burn more fat.

Why should you worry about belly fat?

Aside from preventing you from looking your best, belly fat affects your posture and balance. It throws off your center of gravity. Belly fat is visceral fat. It’s the most dangerous type of fat. It’s harder to lose and crowds the organs. It produces chemicals, like cytokines. While cytokines can boost the immune system, when you have too much of it, it creates chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation affects all body parts and leads to serious conditions, like high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, breathing difficulties, and heart disease.

Start with a warm-up exercise and do calorie-burning exercises.

Warm-ups should take about five minutes. They mimic some of the movements you’ll do during your workout. When you do warm-up exercises it increases circulation. It slowly increases heart rate and blood pressure to protect the heart. A warm-up exercise can be as simple as jumping rope and slowly increasing the pace. Some days you can do HIIT workouts to burn more calories. It’s not a specific exercise but a way of doing any exercise. You can do a cardiac workout, like running or rowing, or focus on strength building. While you need all types of exercise, strength-building exercises burn calories while building muscles. Cardio burns calories from both fat and muscle, depleting muscle tissue. The more muscle tissue you have the more calories you burn.

Include abdominal exercises with each workout.

Doing a bridge can tighten your core muscles, which includes those that keep your belly flat. Lay on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Lift your bottom and straighten your body so it’s in a straight line from your knees to your head. Doing planks are also great tummy flatteners. Get in a push-up position and hold. Focus on tightening your abdominal muscles. Bicycle crunches, leg lifts, and abdominal crunches are also good.

  • Don’t forget to include a healthy diet. Cutting out food containing added sugar and refined flour is a good start. Oats, lean protein, yogurt, berries, and sprouted bread are good fat-fighting foods.
  • Increasing fiber in your diet can also help reduce the bulge. It feeds beneficial microbes that can help metabolism and reduce bloat. The fiber also helps reduce hunger for longer.
  • Find ways to reduce stress. Stress can cause cortisol, which can increase belly fat. Learning meditation, deep breathing, or regularly exercising can help control stress.
  • Drink more fluid. There’s some evidence a glass of water with lemon consumed several times a day can help. Others drink green tea for the catechins that can help reduce belly fat.

For more information, contact us today at UpFit Training Academy

Stay Active While Sheltering In Place

Stay Active While Sheltering In Place

Winter storms in New York can often find everyone sheltering in place. While you might prefer being out and about, you’re stuck where you are, which is hopefully at home. No matter where you are when it happens, you should stay active. Sitting and fretting won’t solve any problems. Getting up and moving will at least bring relief from the stress. You’ll burn more calories, exercise your muscles, and end up in better shape than you were.

If you’re at home, you can do bodyweight exercises.

You don’t need any equipment to workout at home. You just need a small area and maybe a blanket or mat for the floor where you exercise. If you’re watching TV with the kids, get down on the floor and do a plank, holding the position as long as possible. Push-ups, lunges, and squats are also easy exercises you can do at home. Get the kids involved. If they’re younger, play games like animal walks. Move like an elephant, bunny, or snake. It’s fun and good exercise for everyone.

Are you stuck sheltering in place at work?

When an emergency strikes and you have to shelter in place, you’re stuck where you are and it isn’t always where you want to be. If you work in an office and don’t have rollers on your chair, you can use the chair to do tricep dips. Doing squats, lunge walking, and twists can be done anywhere. Desk push-ups and calf raises are also excellent options outside the home.

Turn up the heat and do HIIT workouts.

HIIT stands for high intensity interval training. It’s not a specific exercise but a way of doing any exercise. It’s all about alternating between the highest intensity, where your heart rate is at 70 to 89% of maximum, and a recovery rate of 60 to 65%. It can be any exercise, from walking throughout the house or going up and down stairs to doing jumping jacks or other calisthenics. It gets you into shape quickly in less time.

  • If you’re stuck at home, get busy cleaning, but make it speed cleaning. Move fast and put in elbow grease to get the best cardio. You might even move the couch for strength training.
  • Turn on the music and dance like nobody is watching—because they aren’t. Let your body dictate your movements and enjoy every minute of it. Make the music fast and get your heart pumping.
  • Are you stuck at home for a while? Create a workout schedule and make it your appointment with exercise. Add all other activities to your schedule. You’ll get more done and won’t be bored.
  • Besides exercising, spend some time creating a healthy weekly meal plan. Start meal planning when you’ve got the time. Since getting out and shopping is impossible, start by trying to create healthy meals with what you have.

For more information, contact us today at UpFit Training Academy

Reasons Why You Should Log Your Workouts

Reasons Why You Should Log Your Workouts

Winners keep score. Logging your workouts helps you become a winner, but it’s just one of the reasons to do it. You get motivation because you’re tracking your progress. That turns it into a game where you strive to beat your last entry. When was the last time you were excited to exercise? If the answer is never or quite a while ago, it’s time to start tracking your progress. Video games track your progress, making them quite addictive. Do the same thing with exercise. You’ll quit dreading your workout and start looking forward to it.

When you log your workout, you check your consistency and improve it.

Knowing you have to log your workout is a small step toward accountability. You may be the only person that reads your log, but it still makes you accountable. It shows when you slack off and don’t work out or quit too soon before you’ve finished. It also can give you a boost of motivation when you show you’ve never missed a session for several weeks or months.

Add more information to your log.

If you started working out to lower your blood pressure or blood glucose levels, track those factors as well. It gives you a visual picture of how the exercise is helping you reach your goals. If weight loss is a goal, make a food diary and log your daily food intake, including that handful of candy you grab as you pass your co-worker’s candy dish. You’ll be amazed at how it helps you lose weight.

If you’re not making progress, you might need to change your workout plan.

One reason for logging your workout is to find ways to make your workout more effective and get the most progress. If you’re not making the progress you hoped to achieve, you can make your workout more difficult. When building muscles provides disappointing results, switch your workout, add more weight, or more sets. If your cardio isn’t coming along, consider high intensity interval training or circuit training. There are many ways to solve issues, but you have to know there are issues. Logging your workouts identifies them.

  • Share your workout log with someone else. One study found that people who received a phone call checking exercise progress had an improved chance of maintaining an exercise program. Sharing your log does the same thing.
  • Go modern with technology. Use your phone to track your workouts. You can also use a fitness tracker if you want to add it to your workout program. Some track heart rates, calories burned, and sleep patterns.
  • Logging your workouts can help you make better goals. It can help you set more realistic goals or beef up ones that are too easy. It’s all about seeing your progress and then addressing it with realistic goals.
  • When you log your workout, you have your workout routine already on paper, so there’s no messing around trying to figure out what to do. You know the number of reps and sets or the amount of weight to use.

For more information, contact us today at UpFit Training Academy

Fitness Helps With Anxiety

Fitness Helps With Anxiety

New York, NY, is a bustling city that I love. With all the wonderful things to do, like every place in the world, there are still things that cause people anxiety. The situations that cause anxiety may be real or imagined but that doesn’t make any difference in how you feel and your body’s reaction. You feel stuck in the loop of impending doom. Getting fit can help you break that loop and start feeling good again. You’ll feel stronger and have the energy to overcome those feelings.

Studies show that exercise can help with anxiety and depression.

Therapists often provide adjunct treatment to help the patient while in treatment. For years prescription drugs were used. Today, an increasing number of therapists use exercise. Studies show that exercise works as well as many medications. The only side effects of exercise are a healthier body and more energy. Moderate exercise three to four times a week helps for several reasons.

It’s the fight or flight response.

Like the fight or flight response, exercise sends a stream of hormones to make bodily changes, like a higher heart rate, faster breathing, and dilated pupils, just like anxiety. Cortisol, the stress hormone, triggers it. Exercise stresses the body also increasing cortisol. When you exercise, you gradually increase the strength of the muscles, heart, and lungs so it requires less effort. You’re not only training the body to handle a progressively increasing effort, but you’re also training it to handle the load of cortisol, the stress hormone. It takes less effort to do the same exercise and it takes less cortisol for the same stress. That reduces the cortisol during normal situations and reduces anxiety.

Exercise makes you feel stronger and diverts your attention.

Your senses can trigger anxiety. It can be a familiar smell that makes you feel like you’re in danger even when you’re not. You don’t have to be reliving a real memory. It might be one you lived vicariously or never at all. Exercise helps divert your attention and memory. The more you exercise, the stronger and more in control you’ll feel.

  • Exercise increases circulation to the brain. The oxygen and nutrient-laden blood stimulates the production of BDNF, which regulates the neuroimmune system and is necessary for mood regulation.
  • Exercise helps you sleep better at night. When you have adequate sleep, you function better. It can stop the insomnia that a mild panic attack can cause.
  • Exercise helps improve the gut microbiome. A healthy gut microbiome is necessary for mood regulation. Studies show that increased beneficial microbes in the gut improve emotional reactions. Exercise increases those microbes.
  • Focusing on breathing techniques often used during yoga or at the gym can help reduce the effects of an anxiety attack. If you have anxiety, depression, or other serious mental health issue, always seek the help of a therapist.

For more information, contact us today at UpFit Training Academy

Rest And Recovery Is More Important Than You Think

Rest And Recovery Is More Important Than You Think

If you’re working hard and spending every free moment in the gym, even skipping sleep to get in more workout time but not seeing the results you want, maybe you need more rest and recovery time. You need to make quality sleep a priority to get the best results. When you sleep, that’s when the magic happens. It’s when your body repairs the micro tears in the tissues that come from exercise and causes the muscles to become stronger. You also need to spend less time at the gym. It can be counterproductive.

Working at intense levels for an hour or longer each day is counterproductive.

You might think exercising more and doing it at high intensity will get you fit faster, but it’s not true. Those micro tears that occur in muscles don’t have time to heal. Instead, more muscle fibers tear. Before you know it, you’re losing more muscle than you gain and tiring quicker. It can cause your immune system to shut down due to the stress of overexercising. While exercise burns off stress hormones, it can also create them, especially when you don’t rest between sessions. That creates many health problems both physical and mental.

Sleep is necessary for a healthy heart.

The heart is a muscle and benefits from getting adequate rest. Sleep rests the entire body. When you sleep, your body goes through various stages that control the heart rate and help build cardiovascular health while you rest. You’ll improve your immune system because your body creates cytokine hormones that boost your immune system as you sleep. Sleep helps keep you healthier and increases your endurance for better performance.

Cut back the intensity of your workouts several days a week.

Don’t do strength training for the same muscle groups every day. It doesn’t allow for recovery. Doing a high-intensity workout every day can also cause problems. Focus on a blend of exercise with a day or two of high-intensity workouts, several days of active recovery workouts like walking, and normal workouts on the other days to give your body a chance to bounce back. Create a sleep schedule and stick with it, even on weekends. Sleep in a cooler, completely dark room, and keep your electronics out of the bedroom. Shut them off before you go to bed.

  • When you sleep the body releases human growth hormone—HGH. It starts the repair process in the muscles and helps you build muscle tissue. Lack of the hormone minimizes muscle growth.
  • You’ll be a better athlete when you get adequate R&R. Sleep helps your brain organize and create memories of the day, including training skills. Sleep boosts cognitive functioning, so you’ll make better decisions when playing sports.
  • Research shows that sleep-deprived athletes tend to suffer more injuries and have slower reaction times. Tennis players who lack sleep had decreased accuracy. Sleep-deprived volleyball players and runners lacked endurance.
  • Our trainers can help you find the sweet spot that provides the best results yet doesn’t interfere with recovery. Only you can control the amount and quality of sleep you get.

For more information, contact us today at UpFit Training Academy

The Benefits Of Exercise For Mental Health

The Benefits Of Exercise For Mental Health

Most people love the feeling they have after a workout. They’re almost euphoric. Part of it may be that they finished the workout, but most of the time it’s the endorphins that make them feel good. It’s one of the mental health benefits that comes from exercise. Exercise provides even more for mental health. It helps burn off the hormones caused by stress. The increased circulation also boosts mental functioning, which is why many therapists are using it as an adjunct therapy for dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Exercise helps maintain a beneficial microbiome.

Your gut microbiome is often called an organ because if it’s out of balance, it can make you sick. If it contains mostly beneficial bacteria and just a few harmful ones, it keeps the body functioning correctly. Your gut microbiome directly affects your mental health. It produces enzymes that keep your brain functioning properly. Scientists believe that certain mental conditions like ADD, depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia are caused or exacerbated by an imbalance in the microbiome. Studies show that, like diet, exercise can encourage a healthier gut microbiome.

Exercise increases circulation that sends oxygen and nutrient-rich blood to the brain.

Your whole body benefits from exercise, including your brain. Several studies show exercise can increase cognitive functioning and reduce age-related mental decline. It increases the creation of new brain cells and boosts the functioning of the memory processing area. Exercise also triggers the increased production of glutamate and gamma-aminobutyric acid—GABA—two neurotransmitters. People who are depressed have depleted stores but with regular exercise, those neurotransmitters return to normal levels.

The role of stress and mental health.

Stress is vital for life but was far more important to early man. The fight or flight response occurs because of stress. If a caveman faced a dangerous animal, the stress hormones triggered changes in the body to help man run faster and further or fight with more vigor. Most of today’s stress is nothing like early man’s. Running or fighting won’t solve a problem with an angry boss or help you if there’s a traffic jam so you never run or fight, which burns off stress hormones. Exercise mimics those actions to relieve that angry, anxious, or depressed feeling.

  • When you workout, it improves your posture. It makes you look and feel more confident. You’ll feel stronger and more in charge. Those feelings can help you overcome depression and anxiety.
  • A good night’s sleep can help lift your spirits. You have the energy to get through the day but even more important, quality sleep allows your brain to repair and reorganize. Your brain removes waste when you’re asleep.
  • Exercise can help you deal with addiction. It can replace some coping mechanisms that are more destructive like overeating, smoking, alcohol, or drugs. That can make you feel more in control.
  • Depression and anxiety often display themselves as skeletal tension. Exercise helps relax the tightness. It also diverts your attention from problems and puts your focus directly on the exercise. It can give you a new perspective when you finish.

For more information, contact us today at UpFit Training Academy

Can Any Foods Boost My Metabolism?

Can Any Foods Boost My Metabolism?

I love New York, NY. It’s an exciting city with so much to offer, whether it’s the arts, commerce, or food. With so many food choices, how do you decide what to eat? If you’re trying to lose weight, you want something that tastes good, is lower in calories, and maybe even boosts your metabolism. Yes, foods do that, but only by a small amount. You still have to eat healthy to accomplish weight loss. That doesn’t mean you should ignore these foods. All advantages help. Exercise, adequate hydration, and a good night’s sleep are still necessary.

Choose food higher in protein.

When you eat food, it takes calories to digest it. The calories you burn create the thermic effect. In the average diet, 10% of the calories consumed are used for digestion. High-fiber food like fruits and vegetables burn more. They use 20% of the calories eaten to digest the food. Protein uses 30%. Fat only burns 3%. High-protein foods like nuts, fish, dairy, eggs, and beans, take longer to digest so they keep your metabolism higher for longer.

Eating foods high in nutrients boosts your metabolism.

Your body needs the raw materials to function properly and keep your metabolism high. That includes foods containing B vitamins. They play a vital role in metabolizing energy. An inadequate amount of one B vitamin affects the benefits of all the others and lowers your metabolism. Food high in iron and selenium is also necessary for boosting your metabolism. They improve the functioning of the thyroid. Eat seafood, nuts, and legumes to increase B vitamins, iron, and selenium. Fruits, vegetables, dairy, and eggs also contain B vitamins. Food containing vitamin D, calcium, and magnesium also boosts your metabolism.

Your favorite morning drink might be your metabolism booster.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a tea or coffee drinker, they both increase your metabolic rate. For coffee, it’s the caffeine that helps rev up your calorie-burning fires, Tea also contains caffeine, but it also contains catechins that increase the effectiveness of caffeine.

  • Adding spice to your food can burn extra calories. The capsaicin in the peppers that turn up the heat also heats your metabolism. Ginger, turmeric, cumin, and cinnamon can also be beneficial if you’re trying to lose weight.
  • Eating protein helps boost your metabolism in another way besides burning extra calories. It provides the nutrients to help maintain muscle mass that you can lose when dieting. Muscle uses more calories to maintain than fat so the more you have, the more calories you burn.
  • Check out food that’s high in fiber and water content to help. Celery may be the closest to a negative-calorie food. It’s mostly water and fiber. The juice acts like a diuretic. The fiber takes excess calories to digest.
  • No matter how low-calorie or calorie-burning the food is, the benefits won’t be there if not prepared correctly. Even though chili peppers can increase your metabolism, jalapeno poppers won’t because they’re stuffed, breaded, and fried.

For more information, contact us today at UpFit Training Academy

Favorite Cheat Meal

Favorite Cheat Meal

Planning one meal that doesn’t fit the parameters of healthy eating is a cheat meal. It works by keeping your body burning more calories and controlling your desire to eat certain foods. Cheat meals have limitations. It doesn’t mean you can wipe out the entire dessert bar in one sitting. It does mean you can eat your favorite food, but you must keep portion size in mind.

If your favorite cheat meal is a burger and fries, go for it.

As long as you don’t eat that meal as a regular diet and only once every month or so, you’ll still make progress in getting healthier and losing weight. It will slow your progress, but it also may keep you on track for healthy eating by allowing you to give in to your desires in a planned manner. Avoid cheat meals more than one day a week. As you eat healthier for longer, you may find you no longer crave the food.

What’s your favorite meal?

Cheat meals are just that, cheating on a healthy eating program. No one type of cheat food is better than another. If pancakes with strawberry syrup and whipped cream are your favorites, eat them. The same is true of lasagna, pizza, or fried chicken. You’re not eating it every day if it’s a cheat food, but limiting it to once in a while. If the portion size is two slices of pizza, don’t eat the whole pie.

Plan cheat meals around special occasions.

If you know you’ll be at a family gathering with delicious food on a forbidden list, make that day your day to eat a cheat meal. When you plan it, you don’t feel guilty or start the myth of good food or bad food. There’s just food that is healthier than other types of food. Make sure you enjoy every morsel and savor it. If you’re eating a cheat meal you don’t have to eat it fast because you feel guilty. It’s all part of the program.

  • After eating healthy for a while, you’ll be surprised to find that many of the foods you used to love are no longer satisfying. Your body often reacts negatively. While it did that before healthy eating, you didn’t notice the difference because you always felt that way.
  • Some studies show that cheat meals can boost your calorie-burning fires. That increase in calories burned is about 10% and can last up to 24 hours.
  • You don’t have to use your favorite food as a cheat meal when you find ways to make it healthier.
  • You don’t always have to use cheat meals in your dietary program. If you find you love a healthy diet and don’t miss any specific food, just stick with the healthy diet.

For more information, contact us today at UpFit Training Academy

Are You Ready To Change Your Life?

Are You Ready To Change Your Life?

No matter who you are, whether you live in New York, NY, or elsewhere, you can change your life. Getting fit and feeling good changes so many aspects of your life. It can make you more sociable, improve your productivity, and make you more confident. If you failed before, forget it. That’s in the past. It’s time to renew your vow to get healthier. Start working out and eat nutritious meals. You’ll be amazed at how much change it will make to all aspects of your life.

Exercise and a healthy diet improve your physical health.

Getting fit can help you live longer and make those extra years more productive. It can extend your life by reducing the potential for many serious conditions. A healthy diet provides the nutrition necessary without excess calories. It eliminates food with added sugar that can cause your physical health to decline. After a few weeks of changing your diet and exercising regularly, you’ll feel better, have more energy, and even look better.

You’ll look better if you make the changes to eat healthy and exercise regularly.

Exercise increases the length of telomeres. Those protect the chromosomes and prevent them from damage. They prevent unraveling much like aglets do on shoelaces. Cell damage causes aging. Exercise boosts circulation, and a healthy diet provides the building blocks to keep you looking younger. One research study found that people aged 40 to 84 who exercised had more skin elasticity and suppleness than many people who were in their 20s and 30s, based on a biopsy and examination. Your body will be more attractive, too. Getting fit puts pep in your step, so you even walk younger.

Exercising can change your outlook on life.

Exercising can lift your spirits. Many therapists use exercise as an adjuvant treatment for both depression and anxiety. You’ll burn off the hormones of stress when you workout, leaving you feeling great. A healthy diet excludes products with added sugar. Eating sugar can cause your energy level to rise quickly and drop just as sharply, leaving you grumpy and exhausted.

  • You can become the person you always wanted to be. It just takes making the first step. Whether you focus on a healthy diet, exercise, or both, only you can take the first step.
  • Exercising regularly can improve your posture. Poor posture makes you look old. It causes you to tire quickly because it takes extra effort when your body isn’t aligned properly. You look defeated and you’ll feel that way, too.
  • If you have a slow metabolism, you can boost it by exercising. The more muscle tissue you have, the more calories you burn 24/7. It takes more calories to maintain muscle tissue than fat tissue. Exercise builds muscle tissue.
  • Our personal trainers at UpFit Academy can help you reach your goals. We provide personalized programs for each individual, motivation, and accountability.

For more information, contact us today at UpFit Training Academy