Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Exercise and Your Mood

When I view the world I often view things in terms of fitness and wellness. Go figure. So when I hear in the news that people are becoming more stressed or when I see reports on depression I often think of how that relates to exercise and good nutrition - or America's lack of it. There is no doubt that stress plays a legitimate role in our life these days, its just part of life. Researchers have found that life without stress can be just as harmful as life with too much stress. A happy medium is the key - but just as important is how we handle that stress mentally, physically and emotionally. Going back to the way that I see things I feel that part of the problem for so many people is that we are not training the 'fight or flight' system. Exercising at the adequate intensity, between 65 and 85% of your maximum heart rate, is a great way to train the 'fight or flight' system. My clients who have made some big changes in their fitness by exercising correctly and consistently often mention that they feel more 'stable', handle work and life stresses better, they feel quicker and sharper mentally, and they simply feel great for hours after a great workout. All of these can be validated in study after study. Often the release of neurotransmitters (specifically endorphins, dopamine and acetylcholine) are cited as one of the main reasons for this. I find that one of the best motivators for getting your daily workout in is the mental aspect. If you put too much focus on goals like fat loss you might be disappointed. Obvious physique changes like losing weight take time - whereas the mental and emotional changes from exercise are immediate. I can tell you that there have been many workouts throughout the years where I was not in the best of spots mentally when I started - but as I left the gym I was reminded how powerful exercise is on my mood and mind... and even though I know this, each and every time I am reminded how powerful the effects are. My wife humorously and intelligently knows me well... if I ever seem to be a bit crabby she kicks me in the butt (figuratively most the time) and tells me, "go workout!"
The key thing is that the workout has to be challenging. It does not have be long in duration though. To get all the mental benefits you should stay within your recommended training zone. With our EDGE programs we set an exact and personalized training zone, but you can use a basic formula to get an idea of whether you are training adequately:

Subtract your age from 220 (220 - age)
Multiply that result by 70 and 85%
Example: 40 years old
220 - 40 = 180 beats/per minute
180 x 70% = 126 beats/per minute
180 x 85% = 153 beats/per minute
Training Zone = (126 to 153 beats/per minute)
And just as I have recommended in the past with interval training (for accelerated fat loss) you would use intervals: bouts of exercise that gets your heart rate to it's upper range followed by bouts of exercise that allows it to recover back down to its lower range.

Remember this when you are feeling too tired to hit the gym. Just think 30 minutes and get in your training zone. Think about how it will wake you up and 'lift' you up. Remember this whenever you are feeling out of sorts or when you feel the world seems to be coming down on you. In 30 minutes, with the right training intensity you will feel focused, directed and successful. Powerful stuff I know - and it works.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Sprints : An Efficient Way to Lose Fat

Here is a summary by Ryan Halverson (IDEA Fitness Association which I am a member of) of a recent published study. The first thing I will say is you need to make sure your body is ready to sprint and that you your muscles are properly activated and balanced (email me derek@yourfitnessedge.com if you have questions). But beyond that these findings and the following summary of them are pretty amazing. Six 30 second sprints produced more fat loss than roughly 35 min of jogging?... I'm in! read on:

Time-crunched individuals interested in fat loss may want to cut running workouts short. Results from a study published in
Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise (2011; 43 [1], 115–22) suggest that repeated maximal-intensity sprints yield greater fat loss than longer-duration, moderate-intensity running. The 20 study participants were split into two groups: sprinters and runners. Each group ran three times per week for 6 weeks. The first group performed all-out sprints, 30 seconds in duration, six times per session. They were given a 4-minute rest between sprints. The second group ran for 30–60 minutes per session at 65% VO2max. By the end of the 6-week study, fat mass had decreased by 5.8% in the moderate-intensity group and by 12.4% in the sprint group. Both groups experienced improvements in 2,000-meter run time and VO2max.


Edge Fitness Outdoor Event:
Cowles Mountain Hike via Barker Way
try a new approach!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Stand-up paddleboarding offers killer core workout

Been meaning to try paddle boarding and finally got to do it thanks to my brother, Brian, getting me out on the water this past Sunday (see attached article for more on paddleboarding). I loved it - and based on what I heard and read I can confirm the potential core and leg workout. And hey Kate Hudson swears by it - not too shabby of a body on her. Even though I was only out on the water for about 20 minutes (I made it a little late to my bros rental time period), I got a good sense of the workout. What I liked most was that I can see that it has the potential to be beneficial across a spectrum of fitness levels and ages. It required less balance than I thought (although I am pretty balanced) and I think as long as you can swim you can do it (you can always wear a life jacket). And as I often preach nothing beats getting a workout or two outdoors during the week - especially in San Diego. You always get a sense of training your soul along with your body when you are outdoors. And assuming you don't have a ton of wave runners motoring by paddle boarding can be quite peaceful. I noticed most of the work in my feet, glutes and core (particularly my obliques). I highly recommend paddle boarding for outdoor fitness. The learning curve is quite small (compared to most board sports like surfing and wakeboarding) and I feel that it will be much better on your body and spine compared to kayaking. The seated posture of kayaking (and rowing) can add to the fact that we are on our butts too often anyways. The standing position is such a plus for your body's alignment. Definitely give it a try and feel free to contact me if you have any questions: derek@yourfitnessedge.com

Here is a good article on paddleboarding that I found:

Stand-up paddleboarding offers killer core workout

Here are two locations in San Diego to try out and rent paddle boards:
Mission Bay

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Healthiest Meal Replacement RTD Ever

At some point during my day you might notice me sipping on a Ready-to-Drink (RTD) meal replacement drink. It has been one of my biggest keys for keeping my metabolism revving and not skipping meals - and ultimately staying lean throughout the years. As I always stress there is nothing like the real thing.. real food that is. A meal of lean protein, slow digesting carbs and vegetables is how you should eat regularly if you want to lose fat or stay lean. But during our busy lives it is often not possible to always have that type of meal - especially in a work environment. Doesn't look very good when you are trying to teach a class or attend a meeting while chomping on your healthy meal! And because of this, busy individuals often skip meals and wait to eat until it is practical. At this point your metabolism has lowered and your appetite is through the roof. This is a nasty formula for hitting the fast food drive-thru on the way home. RTDs do the trick and help prevent you from doing this.
The only thing that has always been on my mind in regards to RTDs is what is really in them. Yes they have the proper ratio of protein, carbs and fats - but what about the preservatives and artificial sugars? Well finally a company, Orgain Nutrition, has got the formulation right. Their RTD, Orgain RTD meal replacement drink, is USDA certified organic and it has no artificial sugars.

I highly recommend this product if you tend to go longer than 3-4 hours with out a totally balanced meal (source of protein, carbs and fats). You will notice a difference in your energy and especially with your appetite and cravings?
Here is the company website for more information on the product:
Here is the website that I use for purchasing most our supplements and their link for Orgain:
It is also sold at all Whole Foods Stores.
Give it a try, great product.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Cowles Mountain—East Approach Trail | Grossmont California Hikes | Trails.com

Cowles Mountain—East Approach Trail | Grossmont California Hikes | Trails.com

My son and I are off to try out a different approach to Cowles Mountain on our Sunday morning hike. Most of you know the great workout the standard South Cowles Mountain trail offers - problem is that so does the rest of San Diego (especially on the weekend).