Health & Fitness Articles of the Week – 03/31/15

Why Los Angeles’ Fast Food Ban Did Nothing To Check Obesity– This is the first I had personally heard about this test in LA with the city banning opening’s of new fast food restaurants in southern LA in hopes of curbing obesity. Personally I love the goal of wanting to help with what is being called an “epidemic.” however it feels like maybe not the most thought out approach. “Surveys of diet and obesity show no changes that can be attributed to the new fast-food restrictions. Fast-food consumption and obesity rates continued to increase in all areas of LA from 2007 to 2011-2012, and the increase was greatest in the areas affected by the fast-food restrictions.”

An Upbeat Emotion That’s Surprisingly Good for You– I am all about how mood and feeling affect our well being. I believe positive thoughts will make people healthier. So when I saw this article I was excited to read it. Who knew the emotion “Awe” would have the biggest impact. “A new study singles out one surprising emotion as a potent medicine: awe. And happily, awe seems to be much easier to come by than many might expect, even for the busy and stressed-out.”

Germanwings Crash Raises Questions About Shifting Ideas of Pilot Fitness–  On CNN this has been a huge topic of discussion this last week. Is there more of an opportunity for airlines to regulate pilots well being prior to flying? This article has some good food for thought. “The programs currently used by airlines and regulators on either side of the Atlantic, aviation experts and psychiatrists said, leave much to be desired. Screening exams are given on a yearly basis and often merely nod to mental health issues, including only a few questions about depression or other illnesses. The exams are often conducted by general practitioners with no psychiatric expertise. In addition, most programs are based on an honor system, relying on pilots to volunteer information about problems they might have.”

Starbucks Introduces Delivery, Mobile Ordering– One of my favorite parts of getting my morning coffee is the routine of walking to the place, standing inline, and seeing all of the people around me. I love the smell, experience, and just getting out in the fresh air. In a society where time seems to dictate all, we are now becoming a society that seems to no longer have time to walk down the block to grab a drink. It will be interesting to see how consumers utilize this new program. “It is mind-boggling to me how many of our customers want Starbucks delivered, even when there is a Starbucks in the lobby of their building,” CEO Howard Schultz told BuzzFeed News in an interview. “I think it’s going to be wildly successful; we’ve figured out how to do it, and it is going to create jobs, no question.”

Keurig for X’: Pods Invade the Kitchen– “Companies are attempting to replicate Keurig’s astounding success by conveniently delivering habit-forming substances at the push of a button. There’s Synek, the Keurig for craft beer, and Somabar, the Keurig for cocktails. Flatev is the Keurig of tortillas; Genie is the Keurig of couscous; the One Shot is the Keurig of miso soup; and if its designers are ever able to bring it to market, Cookiwill be the Keurig of home-cooked meals.”

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Photo from Huff Post

 

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Sierra City- A Weekend Getaway

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All Photos taken by the beautiful Miss Erica

 

Growing up I would spend a lot of time with my family at our cabin in Leadville, Colorado. When I was young I hated going to it. To me the cabin felt old, small, and minimal. There was no cable TV, taxidermy was the decoration of choice, and time spent there was being active during the day and relaxing at night. Two things I hated in adolescence.  My grandfather had built the cabin, so it was just that a true “cabin.” Friends parents had condo’s in fancy places like Aspen or Breckenridge. I would find myself being resentful at how rustic our cabin was, embarrassed to bring friends to it. I always wished it was fancier and in a popular mountain city.

However as I got older I realized how special our cabin really was. The features I hated about it as a teenager are now the reasons I love it the most. I learned to not only like our cabin, but I fell madly in love with it. I am not able to make it back to our cabin as much as I would want, so now any chance an opportunity arises to  get away somewhere remote I am all in. Even thought I might still be local it is comforting. Like going home without being at home.

This past weekend I had just the chance to experience a piece of home in California. One of our friends has a family cabin in Sierra City and invited Dustin and I along with another one of our close couple friends to come up and enjoy a weekend getaway.

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All photos taken by the beautiful Miss Erica

The drive was long, about 4.5 hours to be exact. However we caravaned up there  early afternoon. We stopped ion Sacramento for dinner at a little whole in the wall Mexican restaurant. I had double downed on exercise earlier that day (spinning and barre) as I knew I would be sitting for a long period of time and wanted to be able to enjoy myself full over the weekend without worry. I ordered the chicken fajita’s, which had to be some of the best Mexican food I have ever had.  Of course I had to indulge in the tortilla chips, a guilty pleasure of mine I have too hard a time ever saying no to. After dinner we did a driver swap so the girls and boys could each ride up together.  We arrived at the cabin around 10:00pm and settled in quickly with a fire and some drinks. The cabin was just as cozy as I could have hoped for!

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All Photos taken by the beautiful Miss Erica

The next morning I woke up cozy, relaxed, and excited for our day! We had made plans to go on a 10 mile hike. After a week of hard workouts I was looking forward to moving my body in a less intense way. In typical fashion the girls made breakfast for the group, which was enjoyed with freshly brewed coffee. Next we packed up and proceeded to the starting point.  The hike was absolutely beautiful! It was just warm enough outside to not be sweating, but wasnt so cold that it was unbearable.

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All Photos taken by the beautiful Miss Erica

The first 2.5 miles took us up to a beautiful lake. Upon arriving we stopped in our tracks just marveling at the beauty of it. We were surrounded by everything that is amazing in nature. Just the 6 of us, Cooper, and nature. Of course this was just the start, we had another 2.5 miles to explore.

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All Photos taken by the beautiful Miss Erica

We continued to march upward, passing along amazing rock formations and just looking at the bright blue sky ahead. As we started to approach the last leg of our hike and what would be our summit spot for the day, we had one last large push up. Only a steep hill was between us and the summit. By the time we made our way up the hill the group was huffing and puffing, ready to relax and enjoy the view. Although we had hiked 5 miles at this point the group still had enough energy to throw a few snowballs and have a photo shoot. Yoga poses on top of a mountain, yes please!

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All Photos taken by the beautiful Miss Erica

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All Photos taken by the beautiful Miss Erica

 

Next we hiked back down the 5 miles and made our way back to the cabin.  I made some chips and guacamole, an easy snack, but always a crowd favorite.  It was all devoured quite quickly as none of us had eaten lunch and had only had snacks on the trail. After sitting for a moment we decided our next stop would be into town to grab a beer at the local watering hole.

I loved the small town of Sierra City. It was just a road with a handful of places to go. We made our way into the local bar and proceeded to have a few drinks, play the jukebox way too loud, and shoot some pool. Oh did I mention this was one of the places Cheryl Strayed, the author of Wild, stayed on her hike of the Pacific Coast Trail! It felt like being where a celebrity had been. Nerdy yes, but true.

After what had been a couple of hours and as it started to get dark outside we realized we had not had a full meal yet. Of course when you realize this you then become immediately hungry! We all quickly rushed home to prepare what we would later call the meat fest. In just one hour the group was able to grill ribs, chicken breasts, sausage, veggies, make a green salad with fruit, mashed sweet potatoes, and a bean/corn salad. For 30 minutes no one talked as we cleaned every last plate of food. By the time we were done we all were beat and ready for bed.

The next morning was an early departure as everyone wanted to get back to the city before the day got away from us. We picked up, packed the cars, and at 9:30 am were on our way back to reality. All in all it was truly an amazing weekend with great friends and nature!

Health & Fitness Articles of the Week – 03/23/15

Video Feature: Apps for Tracking Fitness and Losing Weight– There are so many fitness apps out there now days, it makes it hard to know which ones are worth trying and which ones to skip. I use My Fitness Pal and have for years. However there looks to be some other really good ones out there now depending on what you need it for. Check it out if you are wanting a little help with your health goals.

How Uncertainty Fuels Anxiety– “As a rule, humans prefer certainty to uncertainty. Studies have shown that people would rather definitely get an electric shock now than maybe be shocked later, and show greater nervous-system activation when waiting for an unpredictable shock (or other unpleasant stimulus) than an expected one. Where people differ is in the degree to which uncertainty bothers them.”

How To Avoid Getting Bored with Dinner-This article is very simple. It gives some basic yet good tips on on how to break up the monotony of cooking every night. I think one of the hardest things about staying healthy is not getting bored with what you eat. My other tip, really experiment with spices. They can make a world of a difference. A chicken breast can taste completely different just based on how you cook it (bake, boil, roast) and how you spice it up.

Eating at Night Does Not Make You Fat– I for one like to back load my calories, which simply means I tend to eat more at night then during the day. For me it is a nice way to un-rind after work. I can enjoy what I eat and not worry as much. It is nice to know science supports my habit. “Whether it’s real life examples of people that enjoy massive late meals or research from scientists all over the world, one thing is clear: when you have your meals does not directly influence weight gain.” “While the foods you eat are very important, as is the quality, you can’t discount calories.  “Your body does not store more fat more readily at night than at other times during the day.” Your body’s ability to gain weight is mainly about what you eat and how much, not when you eat.”

 

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Photo From Huff Post

 

New York City Studio Re-Cap

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The first studio stop on my recent trip to NYC was Row House NYC. I have wanted to try a rowing studio since the moment I first read about this new workout trend in one of my fitness magazines. Of course when I researched studios in the bay area there were none in San Francisco. Therefore I knew I would need to check it out on my next trip to New York.

This studio was about an mile walk from my hotel. Upon arriving I was greeted by a very friendly staff who showed me around the facility since I had gotten there a little early. I am going to be honest here. I was a little nervous prior to starting. Thinking about rowing for a whole hour just made me cringe. My initial thought was it would either be so monotonous that I would be bored out of my mind or it would be so hard that I would be hating every moment of it. Of course I decided to do it regardless of my apprehensions and luckily it ended up being neither.

The space was large and had quite a few rowing machines to support a large class. For this particular day though there was only a handful of client. I always find packed cardio type classes more fun as you feed off of one another, but the smaller class did make it better for more personal attention though. I grabbed a rower up front and got myself situated and ready to begin.

The class was broken down into alternating segments of rowing and floor training with weights for abs, arms, and legs. Each rowing set was 10-15 minutes, which after completing would be followed by a 10 minute strength training set on the floor. The rowing segments were broken out into speed, endurance, and then the final one which was just going all out. This last segment was by far my favorite one. At the very end of class when we started on the last song the instructor turned out the lights so we were in a pitch black room. Then they started to play this song that just gets the blood in your veins boiling and without you even knowing it you are going all out.

All in all I enjoyed this class, but I have to say I did not feel like it was the most challenging class I have ever done. It was not till the end I started to break a sweat. I cant say I would make this a weekly routine for me, but it is a great alternative for a cardio class and worth checking out.

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We all know about my love of Flywheel and Soul Cycle, well now there is  a new love on the block and its name is Peloton Cycle. I had been debating on trying this place. I had read the reviews and everyone had nothing but amazing things to say. However the safe side of me wanted to just do Flywheel all week. I already knew I loved it and with classpass I would be able to do 3 classes for free. Plus it can be exhausting to keep trying new places. In the end my adventurous side won and tried it out, boy was I glad I did!

The moment I walked into this studio I knew it was different then any of the other studios I had ever been to. When you walk into the door you immediately walk into an amazing fitness store with all of the latest and hippest clothes. It took all of my self control to not buy it all. I checked in and then walked around the corner to find myself in a little coffee shop. A barista was around the corner with couches for lounging and hanging out. I knew after class I was going to have to take a moment to relax and enjoy the space. How often do you want to stay somewhere after a hard workout?

I walked into the spinning room and started to get setup on my bike. The instructor walked in with more energy then I could ever imagine to have and she resembled Jem and the Holograms, which brought back my childhood love immediately. Her body and spirit were amazing, and I found myself quickly wanting to do anything she told me. If Flywheel and Soul Cycle had a baby it would be Peloton. It had the competitiveness that I love about Flywheel, but also the soul and heart pounding music that I love about Soul Cycle. The 45 minutes flew by in a sweaty, painful kind of way. By the end I had a giant smile on my face and knew I had found a new love.

One other really cool thing about this studio is they offer a subscription model for people remotely. The instructor has a TV on their bike and people at home can log in and spin along from the privacy of their own home. They also have bikes in the studio with TV’s for people who want to work out with an instructor at off class times. Just a very unique business model.

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The Monster Cycle + Studio was a little gem I found in Soho. Walking in you got an immediate vibe of metal, meets garage band, meets faux luxury. The upstairs was the lounge area, outfitted with a chandelier, couch, and cow hide rug. Tucked in the corner was a soon to open juice bar, but for today it was still under construction.

In the basement was the spinning room. Walking down the stairs and into the studio, I felt like I was going into some dark and forbidden place. Like one of those parties in high school with the older kids who lived life on the edge and you knew the moment you walked in your parents would not approve.

The class was pitch black with only the only light coming from the TV’s up front projecting the latest music video’s to the songs playing overhead. All of the music had a very distinct and dark feel to it, think Marilyn Manson. I have to say the TV’s were quite nice though when you needed a place to focus and tune out while hitting another steep climb. Nothing like Madonna’s latest video to motivate you to keep going.

By the end as with most spinning classes I was sweaty, beat, and ready to move upstairs and see the light. This place definitely has the dark and brooding theme down, a great switch up from the usual and perfect for a cold winter day.

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The last studio stop for me was BYKlyn a small spinning studio located in Brooklyn. After having spent all week in the high tech, top notch, studios in Manhattan it was a re-adjustment to come back to a little neighborhood spot. The studio was simple, nothing fancy to it. However the staff was all super friendly and you could tell from the moment you walked in that they were there because they loved it.

My instructor was super energetic and sweet, I ended up chatting with her for a little while after class. She did a great workout, even without all of the TV’s, dark lights, and loud music to guide her. I cant say this was my favorite spot of the week, however if this was my neighborhood spot in San Francisco I would be going there often.

Health & Fitness Articles of the Week – 03/15/15

The Power of ‘Good Enough’– I like this article because it makes you think about how sometimes we strive for wanting it all, we want perfect. However that may not always happen. Can we be ok with just good enough? “If you ever aren’t sure if you attended the very best party or bought the very best computer, just settle for “good enough.” People who do this are called “satisficers,” and they’re consistently happier, he’s found, than are “maximizers,” people who feel that they must choose the very best possible option.”

Is Technology Spoiling Your Workout-I have never stopped to think about how my workout’s and fitness routine keep my constantly plugged into technology. I listen to music from my phone, have an app that tracks my miles, I wear my fitbit daily, and keep track of what I eat. This article talks about how the author did the daring, unplugged her workouts. “is a double-edged sword. For some people, technology is the exact reason to get off the couch and for others it’s what makes them too competitive.”

What Yoga Taught Me About the Balanced Life– This article is opinion based, but I really enjoyed reading it. Balance is a word I use often when describing my ideal self and it was nice to read another perspective. These were my two favorite quotes from the article.”Balance is not about symmetry, but about perspective, how we see.” “Balance is not so much striking or holding the pose, but flowing with the movements that affect your pose. The more quickly you can respond and make those adjustments – that’s balance. Balance comes from adapting quickly.”

Probiotics 101: Literally Everything You Need to Know– Probitoics has become a new buzz word. However do most of us really know what probiotics are and why we need them in our body? Well this article does a great job of laying out what probiotics is and why bacteria in our gut is good. “Probiotics have been shown to have numerous health benefits. They may reduce depression and anxiety, improve heart health and enhance immune function, to name a few.”

7 Reasons This Is The Ultimate Dinner Hack–  I personally have had yet to try the new website plated, but started to hear friends talking about it. So when I saw this article I thought it was worth a read and passing along to others. What is plated? It is a delivery service that brings healthy ingredients and recipes so you can cook meals at home, fast, easy, and convenient.

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Photo from Huff Post

 

Health & Fitness Articles of the Week – 03/08/15

Nuts, Fat, Added Sugars: New Research– This article looks at the benefit of eating more nuts, and the added weight loss scene in people with a low fat diet vs. low carb. “Those eating a lower amount of nuts per day (less than a half-ounce) had more than a doubling of metabolic syndrome” compared to those eating a half-ounce or more a day.” “Following a low-fat diet led to about a 67% greater body-fat loss than following a low-carb plan.”

The Firefighter Workout– One thing I found fascinating about this article is how it starts, 4 in 5 firefighters are overweight or obese. When you stop and think about that it is alarming. So as you can imagine there is a group of health conscious firefighters working to make a change towards a healthier lifestyle for current firefighters.  The focus is on using functional fitness as the main area of exercise.

Why Running Does Not (Always) Burn Fat– I think this is one of the best articles I have read on running. I myself a few years ago fell into the pitfall of using running as my only form of cardio. Yes I would also weight train, but running was my main focus. Now that I have incorporated so many different kinds of exercise I have found my body is stronger and mentally I am more into my daily workout.

Vitamin B.S.– Have you ever wondered why we all believe vitamins will make us into healthier people? Well that is what this article discusses. Along with how vitamins came about into our culture, built into popularity, and true benefits. You may not want to read the whole article, but can skim through to what sounds interesting to you.

Fast Food doesn’t have to be a diet killer-Let’s face it, sometimes you just need to eat fast food. It has been a long day, you are traveling, etc. I like this article because it gives some really great pointers at the end on how to make healthier choices when ordering fast food. I for one practice a lot of this when I am on the road or out to dinner with friends.  “Key characteristics of fast food can combat a few pitfalls of restaurant meals. No foods are delivered to your table to whet your appetite before your food arrives. There’s nearly no waiting for your food. It’s order and eat. Foods come in a wide range of portion sizes, from small to jumbo.”

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Photo From Huff Post

 

New York City A Week Of Workouts

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When getting ready to travel out to New York City this year I was more excited then usual for my workouts because with my class pass membership I knew I would also be able to use it in the city. What does this mean? Well it meant I would get to try a ton of new studios for free! So then the question would be which ones to try?  My trip this go around was 7 days in the city, some days of pure work mixed with some days of vacation. On my workdays I had to stick to my hotel due to early morning meetings and lets be honest, freezing cold temperatures that were not welcoming to walk at 6:00 am. However once Wednesday came around and I was officially done with meetings the workout fun began! So what does a week of working out in NYC look like for me?

Sunday: 7 mile Treadmill Run at Ink 48 hotel Gym, NYC

Monday: 6 mile Treadmill Run at Ink 48 hotel Gym, NYC

Tuesday: 6 mile Treadmill Run at Ink 48 hotel Gym, NYC

Wednesday: 5 Mile Treadmill Run at at Ink 48 hotel Gym, NYC and 60 minute Rowing Class at Row House at W 59th St

Thursday: 45 minute Spin Class at Flywheel Sports followed by a 1 hour Fly Barre Class in the Flatiron District

Friday: 45 minute Spin Class at Peloton at W 23rd Street

Saturday: The Monster Cycle + Studio in Soho on Lafayette Street

Sunday: 5 mile Treadmill Run at the local YMCA in Bed-Sty, Brooklyn

Monday: 45 minute Spin Class at BRKlyn Cycle in Brooklyn

In general I ended up doing more cardio then I would usually, but in a city that has so many amazing spinning studios how could I not. One of my biggest issues with the San Francisco workout scene is our lack of innovative and unique studios, especially when it comes to cardio like spinning. As for the studios I tried I actually ended up really liking all of them, obviously some more then others. My top picks of the week though would be #1 Peloton, #2 Flywheel (as always), and #3 The Monster Cycle + Studio. I plan on going into detail on each place in my next post, so check back if you are looking for more details on the places!

Health & Fitness Articles of the Week – 03/01/15

Learning to Like Spicier Food– I have always found it fascinating the differences we all have in our tastes. For instance I hate cilantro, but I know many people out there who love it. Spicy food is along the same line, for some the burn is not that bad or very enjoyable. Others it feels like they may die from it. This article is interesting as it touches on why some people can tolerate spice and others cant. It also gives ways to improve your tolerance. “Researchers noted a positive correlation between the levels of testosterone in a subject and the amount of hot sauce he chose to apply to his potatoes: Those with higher levels drizzled on more of the spicy condiment. Those men also shared tendencies towards social dominance, aggression, and risk-taking behaviors, the researchers found.”

What is Siphon Coffee, and How is it Made? One of the perks of living in the Bay Area is you get immersed in new food and alcohol trends. Not only new trends, but really good ones. Right now coffee is really big in San Francisco and I for one am 100% on board with it. Most of the artisan coffee houses in the city offer siphon coffee. I have yet to try it, but since I keep seeing it pop up as a premium choice I thought it would be good to look into what the process of making Siphon coffee is.

Should Athletes Eat Fat or Carbs?– “Exercise scientists long ago established that endurance training makes athletes better able to use fat as a fuel. And that metabolic adaptation prompted many scientists and coaches in recent years to wonder what would happen if you extended that ability to its farthest extreme and trained an athlete’s body to rely almost exclusively on fat, by removing almost all carbohydrates from the diet and ramping up grease intake?”

Processed Food Additives May Alter Gut Bacteria– A short article on  how researchers have looked at a study with mice and have determined a common ingredient called emulsifiers which is found in a lot of processed foods might increase the risk of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and metabolic syndrome. A short read.

The Skinny Carb– With all of the different messages being sent to people on what a healthy diet is, researchers decided to give a group of people one message. Eat more fiber. It is interesting to see the results compared to the group who was watching everything they ate.

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Photo from Huff Post