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Are You an Apple or a Pear? How to Eat for Specific Body Types

Tiffani Bachus, R.D.N., and Erin Macdonald, R.D.N May 19, 2017 Nutrition

Losing weight can be so frustrating. Why is it that one diet works well for your friend, but not for you? There’s no one-size-fits-all diet, because all bodies are different. Hormonal imbalances, amidst other factors like genetics, correlate to how and where you gain weight. Creating nutrition and exercise programs to balance your hormones, in addition to getting adequate quality sleep and managing stress levels, is proving to be a much more effective way to lose weight.

While most people can be classified into one of four body types—apple, pear, hourglass and box (or carrot)—the predominant two body types are apple and pear. The location and type of body fat in these two body types are driven by specific hormones and have numerous health implications.

Forever Fat Loss for Men

Brett Klika, CEO of SPIDERfit Kids May 12, 2017 News

Who is that guy in the mirror?

If a blanket of body fat now hides your once lean, chiseled physique, you’re not alone.

An analysis of large population medical-assessment data comparing body mass index and percentage of body fat suggests the average American male is now about 28% body fat. Male body-fat percentages over about 20% start to carry with them increased risks for morbidity and mortality.

But before you hop on the diet and exercise trend roller coaster, it’s important to understand some of the physiological and even cultural reasons why men gain body fat as they age. With this understanding, proper exercise and nutritional steps can be taken to end struggles with fat loss once and for all.

Men and Fat Metabolism

While men’s metabolic processes tend to be associated with higher morbidity and mortality compared to women, they are at a metabolic advantage when it comes to burning fat, particularly at rest. Due to a favorable hormonal profile for building and maintaining lean muscle, men have more lean muscle mass, which means they burn more calories, both at rest and during exercise.

However, as hormonal profiles begin to change as men reach their thirties, lean muscle mass begins to decrease. By the age of 50, it appears to decrease roughly 1-2% per year.

On average, men consume more calories then women. This is due, in part, to the fact that greater amounts of lean muscle mass have a metabolic need for more calories. However, it is also affected by cultural norms, which associate a large appetite with masculinity, regardless of metabolic need for calories.

The most widely accepted and effective interventions for fat loss are similar for men and women. However, keeping a male’s specific physiology in mind while overcoming social and cultural misguidances can offer a blueprint for long-term fat loss.

Here are four “forever fat loss” strategies for men to maximize their physiology, hone their psychology and end frustration forever.

Forever Fat Loss for Women

Brett Klika, CEO of SPIDERfit Kids May 5, 2017 News

Your jeans feel tighter, your doctor’s scoldings are becoming increasingly stern and your self-image has slowly retired to the basement. Your role as a mother, daughter, employee, boss and more has siphoned your time and energy away from your own health. As a result, your imbalances of stress/recovery, eating/exercise and yourself/others has manifested in an unwanted layer of body fat.

An analysis of large population medical-assessment data comparing body mass index and percentage of body fat suggests the average American female now has about 40% body fat. Female body-fat percentages over about 30% start to carry with them increased risks for morbidity and mortality.

Negative emotions tied to accumulating excess body weight and fat make women easy prey for gurus, gadgets and gimmicks promising “overnight” results with little-to-no effort. While some find short-term success with these diet and exercise fads, most are unable to sustain the novelty of the “hot” new trend in their life. Body fat and frustration repeatedly return with a vengeance.

While the recommended interventions for fat loss for both men and women are fairly similar, it’s important to understand a few unique aspects of female physiology and how to overcome the commonly accepted mistruths and misunderstandings associated with fat loss and women.

Women and Fat Metabolism

While it appears that women rely more on fat for fuel during exercise (compared to men, they have a greater amount of type 1 “slow twitch” muscle fibers), they burn far less fat during rest. This is most likely due to having less lean muscle mass than males. A majority of daily caloric expenditure is due to basal metabolic rate, which is largely determined by the amount of lean muscle mass we each have.

Women’s fat metabolism is also greatly impacted by hormone levels. Factors such as age, menstrual cycle, pregnancy and other natural phenomena all have an affect on women’s fat-burning hormone profiles. While men naturally produce relatively large amounts of muscle-building, fat-burning testosterone, women produce larger amounts of estrogen and progesterone. These hormones tend to increase the storage of fat, which has been linked to the essential process of childbearing.

While it’s well established that sustained fat loss is a product of sensible nutrition, exercise and lifestyle habits for both men and women, common societal misbeliefs confuse and misdirect many women’s attempted interventions for losing fat. These can prove to be one of the largest obstacles to women experiencing long-term success with losing fat.

Here are four “forever fat loss” strategies for women to maximize their physiology, hone their psychology and end frustration forever:

7 Benefits of Jumping Rope

Pete McCall Apr 27, 2017 Cardio

1. Jumping rope can increase the elasticity and resiliency of lower-leg muscles, leading to a reduced risk of lower-leg injuries. Calf raises can strengthen the lower leg, but if the muscle tissue becomes too tight it could increase the risk of a number of lower-leg injuries including achilles tendon strain or plantar fasciitis. Jumping rope regularly strengthens the calf muscles and improves the elasticity of the surrounding tendons and fascia. To increase elasticity, try to land on the ball of the foot first, but let your heels go all of the way down to the ground.

2. Jumping rope can help improve your coordination. Jumping rope is a cyclic activity, which means you perform it for a steady, regular cadence. The steady cadence and rhythm of jumping rope can help improve the coordination between your eyes, feet and hands.

3. Jumping rope can help improve your cognitive function. This is because jumping rope involves learning new motor patterns, which improves the nervous system communication between your brain, wrists and lower leg muscles. This, in turn, helps to improve your overall cognitive function, which is an important benefit as we age.

4. Jumping rope can help increase the intensity of circuit-training workouts. Strength-training workouts that alternate between different muscle groups can increase heart rate and provide a cardiorespiratory benefit. Adding one or more jump-rope stations to a circuit is an easy way to increase the intensity of the overall workout. If you enjoy making your own exercise circuits, add two to three minutes of steady rope jumping at the end for an additional calorie-burning opportunity.

5. Jump ropes are extremely portable, which makes them an excellent option when traveling. Most modern business hotels provide guests with a basic workout room that features a few pieces of exercise equipment. That's the good news. The bad news is that the quality or condition of that equipment may be questionable at best and downright dangerous at worse. Don’t let an under-equipped workout room keep you from sticking with your workouts when you travel. If you pack a jump rope in your suitcase, even the most sparsely outfitted hotel fitness facility can provide you with the space for a sweat-filled jump-rope session.

6. The portability of jump ropes make them an excellent option for outdoor workouts at your favorite park or exercise course. Many city parks have pull-up bars and other outdoor exercise facilities. With a jump rope, you can get an awesome total-body workout by combining your favorite exercises on the available equipment with one- to three-minute jump rope intervals.

7. A jump ropes is the only piece of home cardio equipment you really need. And all you need for space is the ability to safely swing the rope without hitting any furniture or knick-knacks.

Invest in a Quality Jump Rope

If you are thinking about making jumping rope a component of your personal workout program it's a good idea to invest in a good, durable jump rope. Purchasing a jump rope is not a significant investment, but you should spend a little to invest in a rope that is easy to adjust and that uses ball bearings to connect the rope and the handle. Ropes with bearings tend to last a little longer than ropes that simply have the end knotted in the handle. The only other piece of equipment you need is a timer, which can easily be downloaded to a phone or tablet and used to set specific work-to-rest ratios.

The Workout

The following jump-rope workout will give you a few ideas for how to add it to your existing exercise program. This workout can either be performed at the end of a strength-training session or as a stand-alone workout on cardio day.


Perform multiplanar jumps by jumping in all three planes of motion. This helps prepare the muscles and connective tissues of your lower legs for the forces they will experience during the workout. Perform eight to 10 jumps, rest for 30 seconds, and perform two sets for each plane.

Split-leg Jumps (Sagittal Plane): Start with your right foot forward and left foot back. As you jump, move your left foot forward and right foot backward before landing.

Wide-to-narrow Jumps (Frontal Plane): Jump the feet out to shoulder-width apart and then directly under the hips.

External-to-internal Rotation Jumps (Transverse Plane): Jump up and rotate your right foot to point toward 2 o'clock and the left foot toward 10 o'clock when you land. As you jump back up, rotate the feet to point to 12 o'clock. To protect your knees, do not over rotate your feet and be sure to land with your knees slightly bent.




Single-leg Jumps: Set your timer for one minute and spend 30 seconds on each leg. Rest for 15 to 30 seconds. (Note: Start with 30 seconds; reduce your rest time as your fitness improves.) Complete a total of five minutes (two-and-a-half minutes on each leg)

Split-leg Jumps: Start with your right foot forward; switch to left foot forward while in the air, alternate feet while jumping. Jump for one minute and then rest for 30 seconds. As you become more fit, increase the work time to 90 seconds and reduce the rest time to 15 seconds. Complete four to six sets of timed intervals.

Running in Place: Alternate between right and left foot. Jump for 60 seconds and progress to 90 seconds. Likewise, start your rest at 30 seconds and reduce to 15 as your fitness improves. To increase intensity, perform 10-second intervals, alternating between fast and slow paces (sprint for 10 seconds, slow and steady for 10 seconds). Complete four to six sets of timed intervals.

Rope Jumping Ladder: Use traditional jump-rope form, taking off and landing on both feet. Start by jumping for 30 seconds and resting for 15 seconds. Add 15 seconds every set up to two minutes. Rest for 30 seconds and go back down the ladder to 30 seconds. If jumping rope is your only workout for the day, consider taking the ladder up to three or four minutes at 30-second intervals.




Calf Stretch: Lean against a wall and place your right leg straight back. Keep your hands on the wall and press the right heel into the floor while keeping the knee fully extended. Hold for 30 to 45 seconds and complete two to three reps on each side.

Quadriceps Stretch: Lie on your right side and hold the top of your left foot in your left hand, with your left knee pointed straight down your right leg. Hold for 30 seconds and then switch

7 Keys to Long-term Weight-loss Maintenance

Kelsey Brown, MEd, CHES Apr 20, 2017 News

Many people struggle to maintain weight loss long-term. While fad-diets and four-week bikini-body boot camps might help you drop pounds, keeping weight off is challenging. Research shows that 95% of dieters regain lost weight within one to five years, with up to two-thirds of dieters gaining more weight than they lost dieting (Mann, et al., 2007).

Fortunately, researchers have uncovered some of the traits and strategies that can help increase your chances of successfully maintaining a healthy weight. The National Weight Control Registry (NWCR) has tracked more than 10,000 people over the last 23 years who’ve been successful in maintaining long-term weight loss. These “successful losers” share some common characteristics that have helped them keep weight off over time. These and other long-term strategies discussed below can help you achieve and maintain a healthy weight.

5 Spring Vegetables You Should Be Eating

Tiffani Bachus, R.D.N., and Erin Macdonald, R.D.N Apr 13, 2017 Nutrition

Spring has sprung and it’s time to say good-bye to stews, chili and the slow cooker, and hello to lighter fare featuring the bounty of the new season. The best news about all of these veggies is that they are packed with a wide array of vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and antioxidants, which can help decrease inflammation, reduce blood pressure and lower bad cholesterol. Loading up your meals with these foods can also lower your risk for heart disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes, and you might even shed a few pounds.

A trip through your local farmer’s market is a great way to get reacquainted with the produce that’s filling the bins. Some veggies, such as ramps and fiddlehead ferns, will only be here for a very short time, so get them before they’re gone. If you’re not sure what something is, ask the farmers who grow them—they love sharing information about the food they grow, and will probably offer you a sample along with tips on the best way to cook it. And be prepared to encounter lots of greens, which means it’s the season for salads, cold soups and smoothies.

Here are five spring veggies that are easy to find and can be used a number of ways in recipes.

Get Out! 5 Benefits of Outdoor Exercise

Kelsey Brown, MEd, CHES Apr 6, 2017 Fit Fun

You know that exercise provides many mental and physical health benefits. What if a simple change in location could exponentially increase those benefits?

Turns out, it can.

Outdoor exercise, also known as “green exercise,” combines two health-enhancing activities: moving your body and getting outdoors. And the results are exceptional. If you’re looking to enhance your mood, save money and avoid the time and trouble of getting to the gym, look no further than the great outdoors.

Here are five benefits of getting your sweat on with Mother Nature.

Common Nutrition Advice You Should Ignore

Tammy Lakatos Shames and Elysse (“Lyssie”) Lakatos, The Nutrition Twins Mar 30, 2017 Nutrition

As registered dietitians, we’re often asked if popular nutrition advice is worth following. While many times there is truth to a given recommendation, it’s often oversimplified and forces people to erroneously believe they need to avoid many foods that provide health benefits or adopt certain eating habits that aren’t practical. Here are four pieces of nutrition advice that you’ve heard but should ignore.

Exercises to Counteract Too Much Sitting

Angel Chelik Mar 24, 2017 Fit Fun

I teach at a community college in San Diego, 15 minutes from Tijuana, Mexico. Many students live in Tijuana and cross the border every morning to attend college. The border wait is grueling, sometimes up to two hours. The students then spend a full day at school and return back home to study and work. On average they are spending 75 percent of their waking hours sitting down.

What’s your day like? How long is your commute? How do you spend your workday? What do you do once you get home? Add up those hours and see how you compare.

The research is clear on the dangers of sitting for too long:

  • Enzymes that help you burn fat shut down.
  • Cholesterol metabolism slows down, increasing your risk of coronary artery disease.
  • Glucose that is not being utilized for energy is turned into fatty acids, thus increasing your risk for diabetes.
  • The lumbar spine is compressed because the hips are flexed. Glutes are underutilized and the thoracic spine (mid back) and cervical spine (neck) tend to flex, leading to a hunched back and protruding neck. As you read this, don’t move and assess your posture. Are you in this position?

5 Side Effects of Not Eating Enough Veggies

Tammy Lakatos Shames and Elysse (“Lyssie”) Lakatos, The Nutrition Twins® Mar 17, 2017 Nutrition

If there is one food that people consistently admit not getting enough of, it’s veggies. Even though people know they’re good for them, they just can’t seem to eat enough to meet the recommended daily intake (2 1/2 to 3 cups for adults). But in addition to missing out on health-promoting benefits, not eating enough vegetables means you may be at risk of experiencing some negative effects as well. Here are five common signs you may not be consuming enough veggies.

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