Love your Metabolism


Ah, the beautiful phrase “high metabolism”. Having a high metabolism essentially means that you can eat more food and not have to worry about the consequences. Those with lower metabolisms struggle burning the food they ate off and have to eat less in order to lose weight. While everyone is trying to get on diets to lose weight, maybe it’s time you try and speed up your metabolism instead. “Wait you can do that?” You sure can and here are some ways how!

Drink more water! Drinking more water has so many benefits it’s almost unbelievable. Drinking water can boost your body’s ability to burn fat and when you drink water before your meals, your body gets full faster, so you naturally eat less. There are millions of blogs to read about the benefits of water itself. Here is a calculator to figure out how much water you are supposed to drink a day.

Work out. Studies have shown that people with more muscle, have a higher metabolism and burn more calories. Every pound of muscle burns about six calories a day, when fat burns only about two calories a day. Every pound of fat takes 3500 calories to burn and you’ll be three times faster to burning fat if you work hard.

Eat healthier. I don’t just mean eating food that you hate. Eat all of the food groups and try to get your recommended servings of each. The natural vitamins and minerals in healthier foods help spark your metabolism into action. And if you can, eat spicy foods. Spicy foods also have natural metabolism boosters if you can handle the heat. The spicy foods have something called capsaicin in them, which is where they get their heat. This element also gives a temporary rise in metabolism of up to 8% and can help suppress your desire to eat.

Caffeine. Drinking a cup of coffee or tea a day with caffeine in it actually helps your metabolism speed up as well for short term. How many calories we burn at rest is called Resting Metabolic Rate and the higher our metabolism is the higher our RMR is. Caffeine increases our metabolism speed in some studies by as much as 29%!!! Caffeine can also increase your endurance while you exercise and in some cases give you a better workout.

Mix up your cardio. If you always go for long runs or bike rides, mix it up and do some hill sprints or anything that really gets your heart going. It changes up your routine and gives your body something different to deal with which in return speeds up your metabolism. Try the insanity classes at the Williams Center for example, or any other of our great group fitness classes. They will get you heart going for sure!

CHEAT. Give yourself a cheat day and indulge yourself with your favorite juicy hamburger every once in awhile. It helps your body almost restart your diet and tricks your metabolism in a way. After all, you deserve it. Just make sure to not go overboard.

Have any suggestions? Or did you try out these tips? We’d love to hear your results if you did.

Yesterday you said tomorrow.

-Eric Hess


Claim vs. Truth: Do Weight-Loss Supplements Really Work?

Admit it; the first time you saw a commercial for a supplement that was going to help you “lose weight fast without having to exercise or diet” you were a little bit intrigued. The ads ALWAYS have a sexy, tan, muscular man or women giving you an image to compare your current self with. At some point, they usually say, “It takes more than nutrition and exercise to get six-pack abs.” It all sounds legit. Let’s take a look at the three top-sellers and see if they really work or if it is all a scam.Claim vs. Truth

Claim: Raspberry Ketones Raspberry ketone is the natural phenolic compound found in red raspberries (Rubus idaeus). This chemical compound is what gives raspberries their scent. It is used to promote lipolytic activity, which in layman’s terms means it “breaks down fat”. This supplement is one of the top “doctor recommended” products making it one of the most popular in stores.

Truth: Raspberry Ketones is NOT a weight-loss miracle in a bottle. The Huffington Post wrote about Raspberry Ketones and found out that “Raspberry ketones have never been tested on humans in scientific studies.” (Raspberry Ketones) The article also advises, “When you hear raspberry ketone claims such as “slicing up fat molecules,” “burning fat easier,” or “weight-loss miracle,” change the channel.” There also has been no testing on what the right dosage really is in order for it to be safe. Also, have you ever read the bottle of Raspberry Ketones? This is what is what you would find: “This information has not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, nor has it gone through the rigorous double-blind studies required before a particular product can be deemed truly beneficial or potentially dangerous and prescribed in the treatment of any condition or disease.” (Raspberry Ketones)

Claim: Green Coffee Bean Extract helps you lose weight without diet and exercise. It contains chlorogenic acid, which comes from not roasting the beans. It helps control the body’s blood sugar and metabolism. The article Enough is Enough–The Scientific Truth states that “Chlorogenic acid is supposed to slow down your body’s absorption of glucose, which promotes weight loss.”

Truth: Research has found that those claims have ONLY occurred in severely obese individuals. Also it can negatively affect your body due to the caffeine you would be consuming as mentioned in the article Helpful or All Hype? Too much caffeine causes insomnia, gastrointestinal problems, and increased heart rate. Also, Dr. Oz conducted his own test with 100 women. In 2 weeks, the average weight loss was two pounds whereas the women taking the placebo pill lost one pound.

Claim: Garcinia Cambogia helps burn fat and decrease your appetite. It is also known as Gambooge and has been described as “magic”, “holy grail”, and “body-fat buster” according to television commercials. The Enough is Enough–The Scientific Truth article states “Gambooge is supposed to burn fat because it is a great source of hydroxycitric acid (HCA), which is supposed to decrease your appetite. The supplement you buy is usually the HCA extracted from the fruit.”

Truth: The Helpful or All Hype? article states, “In traditional medicine, garcinia cambogia is used as a laxative!” You pop the pill, eat, and then poop it all out. How can anyone think that is “healthy”? Also, according to the Enough is Enough–The Scientific Truth article, this study has only been done on rats, NOT humans. Consumer reports states that the supplement “slows the body’s ability to absorb fat,” “replaces fat with toned muscles,” and even improves your mood and suppressing “the drive to react to stressful situations with food.” (No Miracle Weight-Loss Pill) In the article, Steven Heymsfield, M.D., the former head of the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, La. Explains that “HCA does do that—but in a petri dish and converting that to actual weight loss in humans would take 1,000 steps beyond that.”

It is all about hard work and dedication. Make healthy changes in your life to lose weight. Don’t rely on a pill to do it for you. You will have more pride in yourself and more confidence in your body because you did it all with your own inner strength. I, myself, have lost 70lbs. in the last 2 years all because of healthy eating and exercise. People thought I was on a supplement because they didn’t think I could lose the weight all on my own. I proved them wrong, and I did it in a healthy way. If I can do it, I promise that you can too!

“Always remember that it doesn’t matter how slow you go, as long as you keep on going”

~Kenzi Weidman

Sources: Green Coffee Bean Extract, Helpful or All Hype?, Fat Burners: The Unadulterated Truth, Raspberry Ketones, No Miracle Weight-Loss Pill

Water-huh, What is it good for?

WaterSummertime sippin’ is one of the most exciting things to do! The real question is, are you sippin’ enough of the right stuff? One of the hardest things to remember in the summer is that your body needs WATER! Fruit juices, coffee, soda, and/or alcoholic beverages will not keep your body hydrated like water does. Here are some facts on why water is important and also some helpful tips to staying hydrated but yet still have fun throughout your summer activities!

What’s the point? Your body is composed of about 60% water. The functions of these bodily fluids include digestion, absorption, circulation, creation of saliva, transportation of nutrients, and maintenance of body temperature. If you don’t have enough water in your body, how can it function properly?

How does it affect your weight? Drinking water won’t make you lose weight, but it will certainly help with maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Penn State PhD, Barbara Rolls gives the advice in the article Benefits of Water “what works with weight loss is if you choose water or a non-caloric beverage over a caloric beverage and/or eat a diet higher in water-rich foods that are healthier, more filling, and help you trim calorie intake.” Moral of the story, DON’T DRINK YOUR CALORIES!

Did you know…? Drinking lots of water keeps your muscles strong, your skin looking better, and makes you feel like you have more energy. One of the greatest benefits of water is it helps your “system stay clean”. What does that imply? Simple as this, lots of water makes you poop! The next time that you feel bloated or have a stomach ache, try drinking more water.

How much should you drink each day? The Food and Nutrition Board for Doctor Oz recommends, “ A person should have 1 ml (about 1/5 of a teaspoon) of water for each calorie he or she consumes. The average diet at the time was approximately 1900 calories, meaning you needed about 64 ounces of water per day.”

What is really in those powder packets? Many of you, like myself, add crystal light, Great Value energy, Mio or whichever flavored packets or flavored liquids you prefer to add to your water. Although, have you ever really looked into the ingredients and seen what they are made of? Well don’t worry, I have. According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest “Two of Crystal Light’s ingredients — aspartame and acesulfame potassium — have been linked with a risk of cancer.” The Center for Science also stated “Aspartame might also lead to neurological concerns.” Those two ingredients are not just found in Crystal Light but in many of the powdered packets or liquid flavorings you consume.

For example, here are the ingredients for Grape Mio: Water, Citric Acid, Salt, Propylene Glycol, Potassium Phosphate, Malic Acid, Contains Less than 2% of Niacinamide, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, Natural Flavor, Sucralose and Acesulfame Potassium (Sweeteners), Potassium Citrate, Polysorbate 60, Red 40, Blue 1, Potassium Sorbate (Preservative).

All of those ingredients for a “healthy, zero-calorie” beverage? I just am not so sure about that! Next time, before you tear the packet and add it to your water, check the ingredients. Sure, maybe there are barely any calories in the additive, but the health risks with get you later on in life.

Looking to really spice it up? Choose a healthier and more natural way to flavor your water. One of my favorite things to do is add some slices of lemon and lime in my bottle of H2O. Adding fruits and veggies to your water not only adds flavor, but also some additional nutrients to your diet. Check out some of these great recipes:

Strawberry, Lemon, and Basil

Citrus and Cucumber

Rosemary and Grapefruit

Honeydew and Raspberry

Staying hydrated is VERY important everyday, but especially when you’re spending most of your day’s outdoors! Get into the habit of drinking enough water now and it will just come naturally in the future. See you at the water fountain.

“Always remember that it doesn’t matter how slow you go, as long as you keep on going”

~Kenzi Weidman

Sources: Benefits of Water, How Much Water Do You Really Need? Cons of Crystal Light, ‘Water Enhancers’ Don’t Live Up to the Name

Coffee Savy

coffee savy picNow in days, walking into a coffee shop can be a bit intimidating. Not only are the drinks at coffee shops complicated and European sounding, the sizes are just as confusing.  To cut some of the stress you experience while translating the menu, I thought I’d explain some of the basic drink options, and the best ways to order without busting your diet.

Latte / Mocha Latte
Let’s start with the classic Latte. This is a popular favorite drink to on the menu, because it is simple and not too intimidating. Lattes are made up espresso and steamed milk, topped with a little foam.  Mocha Latte, is simply a latte with dark chocolate sauce added. It you’re someone who likes your drink sweet; try it with skim milk and a sugar-free flavoring.  A Mocha Latte is about 330 calories, verses a classic Latte that has only 190 calories.

Similar to lattes the Cappuccino is solely steamed milk and espresso. The only difference is that the Cappuccino has more foam on top. That’s it. For someone who doesn’t like the taste of steamed milk, ask for your Cappuccino dry, this just means less milk and more foam. For a 16 oz. drink you’re looking at around 140 calories.

A Macchiato is one of the most commonly forgotten about drinks, thanks to Starbucks. Unlike the Starbucks version, a real Macchiato is just espresso topped with foam. If you’re looking for a caffeine kick, it will definitely get the job done.  The real Macchiato has about 6 calories, but the Starbucks version has about 240 calories in a 16 oz. cup. Ouch! Try it skinny (Skim milk, sugar free flavoring, and no whip cream) to save about 100 calories!

Red Eye
Speaking of getting your caffeine fix, a Red Eye can also offer that. This drink is coffee and espresso. Although this may seem tempting when tired, be careful about your caffeine intake. You should be drinking twice as much water as coffee to stay properly hydrated. This coffee beverage has roughly about 10 calories in a 16 oz cup.

A favorite to many (well, to me at least) the Americano consists of espresso and hot water. Ultimately it tastes similar to coffee with the main difference being that it has more caffeine.  For this delicious beverage enjoy it for only 6 calories!

The Frappuccino was basically developed for those who do not like the taste of coffee but want the caffeine… and calories. They are blended Lattes with added caramel or chocolate as well as topped with whipped crème. If you were trying to be careful about which coffee drinks to order, I’d stay away from this one. BUT if you are an absolute lover of the Frappuccino, try to ask for non-fat milk as well as passing on the whipped crème and extra toppings on top. This option will bring your calorie count down to about 250 versus the average 410 calorie drink. This is also based off of the 16 oz. size drink.

Overall the best drinks to order are the ones not including extra whip crème, flavoring, or toppings. The least calorie drinks include Red Eyes, Americanos, Coffee, or Esspresso. Although the Lattes, Mochas, and Frappuccinos are yummy, try to not make those an everyday drink or your diet will suffer. Perhaps even making them your special occasion drinks!

Another option to think about is going decaf or half-caf. If your dietary needs do not allow you to drink caffeinated drinks, ask for DECAF. Most of the time any of the drinks listed above can be made with decaf coffee/ decaf espresso. Or you can ask for half-caf. which is half the amount of caffeine.  According to the Mayo Clinic, the average adult can drink up to 400 mg of caffeine a day and still be OKAY. This totals to around 4 cups of coffee.

Whichever the coffee drink is that you prefer, I hope this helps you to decipher the menu next time you so bravely step into a coffee shop. There’s nothing worse than ordering something you don’t know what is that, just to find out it is filled with hidden calories!

* The calorie counts were taken from the official Starbucks Coffee nutritional facts sheet and are subject to change according to where to buy coffee. They are meant to be rough estimates. *

Stay Healthy, Stay Strong,

Mary Marren