Tag Archives: hydration

4 Reasons for a Chia Seed Breakfast

Chia seed is a great addition to your pre-run, race or workout nutrition plan.  The versatile chia seed is home to many benefits and a powerful addition to your morning meal.  In addition to their good-for-you value, the seeds are usually produced organically and without GMO, making them friendly to just about any diet.  Here are four more good reasons to add a serving of chia to your next meal:chia seed

1:  Chia seeds are full of nutritious goodness.  A 28 gram (1 ounce or 2 Tablespoon) serving of whole grain, gluten-free chia is home to only 137 calories and also contains:

11 grams of dietary fiber.
4 grams of protein.
9 grams of fat (over half of which are Omega-3 fatty acids).
18% recommended daily value (RDA) of calcium.
30% RDA magnesium.
30% RDA manganese.
27% RDA phosphorus.
Zinc, Vitamins B1, B2, B3 and Potassium.

2:  Fiber.  Of the 12 grams of carbohydrate in a 28 gram serving of chia, 11 are fiber.  Having only one gram of carbohydrate makes chia a welcome addition to any low-carb nutrition plan.  All that fiber also can also help you feel full, eating fewer calories over the course of your day, and maintain gut health.

3.  Chia seed can help you stay hydrated.  Capable of absorbing up to 12 times their weight in water, chia seed can help your body retain water during a long run, tough workout or hot summer session.  All that water holding power causes the seeds to expand in your stomach, slowing the absorption of food and decreasing hunger.

4.  Easy to add to your diet.  Chia seeds have more texture than flavor and it’s simple to add them to almost anything.  They can be eaten raw, added to cereal, yogurt, oatmeal and baked goods.  Athletes can even choose to turn the seeds into a gel by adding only water.  Be careful!  Because these tiny seeds can absorb not only lots of water, but fat, too they might unintentionally thicken sauces.

Do you eat chia seed?  Share one of your favorite recipes below!

Want to add chia seed to your diet?  Ask us how!  Email Info@FitNicePT.com or fill out the form below:

7 Tips for Summer Time Exercise

Summer is upon us!  The heat waves are coming and most places are seeing warm weather already.  While sweating more than we do during the winter doesn’t cause the body to burn more calories, it does have the potential to create dangerous situations.  Here are 7 Tips for Summer Time Exercise that will help ensure your safety when you’re summer time exerciseworking out in the heat.

Hydrate!  Water and sports drinks are your best bet for staying hydrated, which will help you avoid heat exhaustion, stroke and other heat related summer time exercise induced conditions.  Be careful to avoid alcohol, soda and other caffeinated drinks, especially before your workout, and aim to have 1/2 ounce of water per pound of body weight each day (200 pounds?  Shoot for 100 ounces of water every 24 hours).

Dress less.  Summer time exercise isn’t always a fashion show.  It’s about wearing what keeps you the most comfortable while helping you stay cool.  Light colors that reflect instead of attract the sun and lightweight sweat wicking fabrics are a must for any warm weather warrior.

Have perfect timing.  Schedule your workouts for cooler times of day.  Early morning or after the sun sets as usually go-to times for summer time exercise, but if you have to catch some rays while you sweat, make sure you have shade nearby.  Look for shaded trails or covered areas to keep the sun off your back, and if you’re near a beach, don’t be afraid to hit the sand and take a dip in the cool water.

Adjust everything slowly.  Allow your body time to get used to warmer temperatures, higher humidity and working harder.  Gradually expose your body to the more intense weather and within 10 to 14 days, you’ll be ready to handle the tougher conditions.  You should also think about adjusting the difficulty and length of your session when you’re facing more than just a hard workout.

Lather up.  Sunscreen is a must when you’re going to be getting your sweat on outside.  Apply 15 minutes before you head out to give your skin time to absorb the product, otherwise you’ll sweat it right off.  Be aware that even on cloudy or overcast days, the sun does get through and you still need that protection to avoid getting any unwanted sun.

Find a buddy.  Not only is working out with a friend more fun, it makes summer time exercise more safe.  No matter how careful, hydrated and lightly clothed you are, the heat can make summer time exericsecrazy things happen.  Having someone with you gives another layer of security to working out at a dangerous time of year.

Listen to your body.  You should always be doing this, but when summer time exercise puts your health at risk, it’s more important than ever.  Stop working out, find some shade and replace electrolytes at the first sign of dizziness, faintness, exhaustion or nausea.

Want to make your summer time exercise warm weather safe and friendly?  Ask FitNicePT for help!  Email us at Info@FitNicePT.com or fill out the form below:

The Dangers of Overhydration

Most athletes, whether recreational or professional, are more concerned about dehydration than overhydration during the warmer months of the year.  This can be especially true when the temperature increases rapidly and humidity is high.  While dehydration is a big concern and lots and lots of water sounds like a good solution, drinking too much can create a problem.  Overhydration, clinically called hyponatremia, is a serious problem often confused with its opposite, dehydration, that also has real dangers, especially for long distance runners.overhydration

Overhydration occurs when the level of sodium in your blood is abnormally low.  Sodium is an important electrolyte that helps regulate water and fluid levels both in and around your body’s cells.  When the concentration of sodium drops below normal, hyponatremia ensues, causing the body’s water levels to increase and cells to swell.  This swelling can lead to numerous health problems and can eventually result in death.  While problems and death are more commonly related to dehydration during the hot, summer months, it’s important to know the signs of overhydration and how to prevent it.

Hyponatremia or Overhydration Symptoms:overhydration

    • Nausea, vomiting
    • Headache
    • Confusion
    • Lethargy
    • Fatigue
    • Seizures
    • Muscle weakness, cramps or spasms

Appetite loss

Preventing Hyponatremia or Overhydration:

 

  • Maintain consistent levels of hydration, not feeling ‘full’ of liquids.
  • Eat a banana before a workout, it will provide the potassium your body needs without any digestive issues.
  • For workouts over 60 minutes, include a sports drink with sodium and potassium.
  • Eat something salty, like pretzels, before and after a long, hot workout.
  • Steer clear of aspirin, acetaminophen or ibuprofen before or during any workout because it can thin blood and interfere with kidney function.

Want to make sure your hydration routine is ready for the heat?  Ask Team FitNice!  Send us an email at Info@FitNicePT.com or fill out the form below.

Why Water Matters

Water makes up an average of 75% of the human body, is vital for life and often, most people don’t get enough of it.  Many Americans exist in a constant state of dehydration, which is not only unhealthy, but can be dangerous, especially when exercising.

waterAs lots of people begin their 2014 fitness journeys, whether they want to lose weight, run their first 5K or break a three hour marathon, it will be undeniable how important getting enough water is.  Yes, water, and no, you can’t just drink something.  It has to be good, old fashioned H2O or water based, such as a sports drink or milk, which is close to 87% water.  But water’s boring.  It might not be exciting, but with all kinds of flavor enhancers available, there’s no good reason not to have enough.  Here are some very good reasons why.

Proper hydration can help you feel full.  Drinking a glass of water before a meal helps fill up your stomach and means you’re less likely to overeat.

Water transports oxygen and nutrients to the cells that need them.  If water isn’t taking them there, they aren’t going.  Cells aren’t able to do their jobs without these things, which means a slower metabolism and potential weight gain.

Joints are like belt in a car, they can dry out.  Staying active and maintaining hydration levels lubricates joints and can help relieve joint pain and stiffness.

The same way water moves oxygen and nutrients through the body, it also flushes out impurities.  Clean, hydrated skin cells are plump, look younger and have better circulation than those that are thirsty.water

Dehydration, and cells that don’t have the water they need to transport vital nutrients, leads to a slow down of enzyme activity and in turn creates feelings of tiredness and fatigue.

Blood cells need water more than any other.  They are 92% water and dehydration causes blood to thicken, resist flow and ultimately increases blood pressure.

Increased blood pressure, slowed down enzyme activity and cells that aren’t being cleaned out will frequently lead to constipation and gas.  Along with removing impurities from your body, water also helps you stay regular.

One final advantage of drinking the recommended 6-8 8oz glasses of water a day?  Ice cold water has to be warmed by your body before it can be digested.  Heating cold water up is hard work and burns calories, which is great for aiding weight loss.

Have questions?  Send us an email using the form right here!

Working Out in the Heat

It’s hot out.  If you’re outside for any extended period of time, you have to be prepared to deal with the higher temperatures and increased humidity of summer.  Exercising in the heat presents its own set of difficulties in addition to the normal challenges of a good workout.  There are ways to manage the risk of suffering a heat related injury, and planning to avoid the dangers of heat exhaustion, heat cramps and heat stroke is half the battle.

Plan your workout.  Planning your workout in advance has two advantages.  You can run at cooler times of day, early morning or evening, giving you lower temperatures to deal with, and you can plan to run in loops.  Running in loops provides you the opportunity to place bottled water, cold towels or energy gels conveniently on your route and keeps you focused on only completing one loop at a time.

Hydrate.  Dehydration is a huge threat during the warmer months, so make sure you are familiar with your personal hydrate needs since they can vary greatly with body type and weather conditions.  During your workout, drink when you are thirsty, being careful not to over-hydrate and dilute your electrolytes, which can be equally as dangerous and being under hydrated.

Dress for it.  Wear light colored, sweat wicking clothes.  If you live in a humid environment, you’ll probably want to wear less than those who don’t deal with as much.  Visors are great for keeping the sun out of your face while also allowing heat to escape from your head.  Always remember your sun block!

Slow down.  The heat and humidity add a dimension to your training that makes it tougher.  You can respond to the increased demand on your body by slowing your pace to help keep your heart rate and core temperature down.  Any exercises in rough conditions helps prepare your body for better performance in better weather.

Adjust.  Allow your body time to adjust to the heat.  Decreasing your pace, working in some walking intervals and running by perceived effort rather than pace are all great ways to give your body a chance to get used to working in the warmth.

Now you’re all ready to beat the heat during your next outdoor exercise session!  Want help with your summer wardrobe or what to put in your cool pack?  Ask us!  Info@FitNicePT.com

Stay Properly Hydrated

Your nutrition needs are going to be based on your training goals and training program.  If you are trying to lose weight, you will need to take in fewer calories than you burn.  If you are trying to get stronger and perform faster, you will need carbohydrate intake to match or exceed what you blast through during the day.  Regardless of your training goals, hydration is the most important element of any nutrition plan.

Constant dehydration affects 80% of all Americans, and the effects of dehydration can wreak havoc on your body without adding any additional stress from exercise.  Symptoms of dehydration include headaches, nausea and dizziness.  Losing even a small amount of body water, one to 2 percent of body weight, through sweating can begin to lead to dehydration.  If you are exercising for more than 60 minutes or at a high intensity, you want to make sure you are hydrating while you are working out from roughly the 30 minute mark on.  If you are going at it for less than an hour at a medium intensity, you can probably get by without additional hydration.  Watch out for sugary and carb filled sports drinks, especially if you’re trying to lose weight.

An integral part of proper hydration is electrolytes.  Electrolytes are nutrients that aid in absorption of carbohydrates and water, as well as working to maintain fluid balances.  Every athlete has to make sure they get electrolytes and maintain proper hydration for the duration of each and every workout.  The most important electrolyte athletes need is sodium.  Getting enough sodium ensures you won’t become overhydrated and dilute the concentration of electrolytes in your system, which can lead to increased urination as your body tried to release excess fluid.

Once you’ve ensured you are, and will stay, properly hydrated, you need to fuel your workout.  If you’re heading out for less than 60 minutes, you won’t need any additional carbs, regardless of your training goals.  If you are working to lose weight, you’ll want to decrease your carbs in order to burn more fat during your gym session.  This doesn’t mean fat slip away because you may not perform as well without fuel or will make up for the carb deficiency by overeating later.  If you’re going to exercise longer than 60 minutes, your needs will differ based on your training goals.  Weight loss athletes want to add roughly 30 grams of carbs per hour over 90 minutes, while performance athletes want to 60 or more grams per hour over 90 minutes.  These additional carbs should come from bananas or sweet potatoes for weight loss athletes and sports drinks, gels or bars for performance based training.

Questions?  Want help determining your training needs?  Ask us!  Info@FitNicePT.com

No More Soda?

Everyone has heard the soda debate.  To drink or not to drink?  Diet or regular?  Well, we can all enjoy a nice cold soda every now and then, whether it’s because they are refreshing or simply for a caffeine kick, without a worry in the world.  The problems arise when we start replacing water intake with soda.  First you’ll learn the difference between regular and diet soda, then what you should know about the things too much soda and not enough water can do to you.

It’s important to know the difference between regular soda and diet so you decide which one is best for you, if you don’t decide exclusively on taste.  Regular soda is sweetened using high fructose corn syrup, which has calories and carbs galore.  Diet soda contains artificial sweeteners like aspartame and sucralose, and although that means zero calories and carbs, they’ll still get you.  Taking in large volumes of aspartame on a regular basis has been linked to dizziness, memory loss, headaches, irritability and joint pain.  Regular soda, with its carbs and calories and without aspartame can cause its own problems.  Consuming lots of the easily digested sugar or high fructose corn syrup found in regular soda causes a spike in blood sugar and insulin which make you more vulnerable to stroke, diabetes, cancer, obesity and heart disease.  These sugars can also lead to weight gain by causing increased consumption due to a failure to satisfy hunger as solid foods do and, as whole, has been associated with increased blood pressure and, especially in children, tooth decay.  People with diabetes should avoid regular soda because of these spikes and, if you choose to drink soda, stick with diet.

The biggest health issues associated with soda aren’t its actual contents.  The problem is that when you’re drinking soda, you’re not drinking water.  Chronic dehydration affects 75% of Americans and being dehydrated, even a little bit, can cause your metabolism to slow by as much as 30%.  Dehydration can lower the quality and results of workouts by making you feel weak and also make it hard to concentrate.  Choosing to drink water instead of soda will help quiet hunger, especially late at night and aid in weight loss.  Staying properly hydrated keeps skin healthy, while dehydration can speed up the adding process and cause fatigue.

You don’t have to give up your Coke, Dr. Pepper or Pepsi just yet, but now you know why you need to balance soda intake with water.  If you are ready to jump the soda ship, and still want bubbles, try seltzer or flavored, carbonated waters.

Dealing with Soreness

Everyone has workouts they know are going to slow them down the next day.  Being sore comes with involvement in any fitness activity, and can really dampen your enthusiasm.  If you’ve taken some time off or are starting something new, it’s a good idea to plan for the stiff, sore body you’ll be stuck in for the next few days, and best way to deal with muscle soreness is to prepare for it.  Leave time in your day for stretching or schedule a massage when you know you are going to push the limits of your muscles.

The most important thing to know is that if you’re sore, it means you are getting stronger!  During your workout, you strained those aching muscles by putting tiny little tears in them.  The effort of your body to repair these small rips causes the inflammation that leads to muscle soreness.  It’s also nice to know that it won’t last forever because each activity you do will lead to less and less muscle damage as your body adjusts to the new demands you place on it.  Keeping your routine mixed up is a great way to keep muscles working and stop them from being achy and sore.

When you are achy and sore, most people head straight to the medicine cabinet.  While taking ibuprofen or aspirin might ease pain and reduce swelling, it also slows the healing process.  Your favorite pain reliever does this by impeding the ability of bones, ligaments, and tendons to heal and, if taken frequently, can also cause stomach and liver problems.  If you try taking one of these medications before a workout to prevent soreness, you’re actually hurting yourself more than helping.  The response of your body to training will lessen and, since taking these types of drugs has been shown to cause an increase in inflammation, you can end up in a more painful situation than you intended.

The best way to prevent soreness is to stretch out when you’re finished with your session.  Five minutes spent lengthening those hard working muscles can ward off a day spent stiff and sore.  After stretching, you also need to make sure your body has all the tools it needs to repair the damaged muscles, so get your protein and rehydrate within 30 minutes of working out.  You can also use heat, ice and massage as a way to ward off some post workout suffering.  Using heat will increase blood and oxygen flow to the damaged area and help clean out any chemicals stuck in there.  Massage breaks up the adhesions created during a tough session and, like heat, allows increased blood flow and nutrients to get where they need so your muscles are repaired.  Ice can ease pain and will decrease swelling, so ice for twenty minutes four times a day to aid in healing.

Have questions?  Need a stretching routine?  Ask us!  Info@FitNicePT.com

Sports Drinks 101

As the warm, or just plain hot, summer months approach, many fitness enthusiasts worry about hydration. Especially as the weather becomes friendlier, people want to exercise outdoors. Opting for something with flavor, like a sports drink, rather than just plain water, will not only make you more likely to drink it, but can have other post-workout benefits as well.

For most people, the food we eat today has enough salt in it to keep us from facing a deficiency. If you are training for a marathon or exercising very hard for several hours a day, you burn through more salt through sweat than the average person and will need to make a point to replenish the fluids in your body. When we work out for extended periods of time, the important nutrients we lose are called electrolytes. Types of electrolytes include potassium and sodium, which are essential for proper hydration, maintaining fluid balance and preventing muscle cramps. That’s why, as an athlete, it’s so important to replace them after we sweat them out.

Plain old water isn’t loaded with electrolytes, so the best place to get them quickly is by drinking a sports drink. While all good sports drinks contain at least 15mg of sodium, there are also sports drinks that offer various amounts of both carbohydrates and protein in addition to sodium and potassium. These drink choices are absorbed and maintain fluid balance faster than plain water, getting your body the fluids it needs right away. Carbohydrate-protein sports drinks have been tested and are shown to possibly hydrate better than regular, no protein, sports drinks by aiding with fluid retention. The calories from carbohydrates in sports drinks have also been shown to improve endurance, increase energy, promote faster recovery and limit any immune system suppression that can happen after a tough workout.

When a workout leaves you wiped out, stick with your sports drink. Energy drinks might quench your thirst and give you a big boost of energy after a tough session, but they’ll also dehydrate you while leading you to an energy crash no one enjoys. Make sure you’re maintaining hydration all day; don’t worry about it only after you’ve worked out. Don’t worry about getting your eight glasses of water a day, instead, drink to match your thirst and use your urine as a gauge for maintaining proper hydration.

Summer Hydration Tips

As the warm, or just plain hot, summer months approach, many fitness enthusiasts worry about hydration.  Especially as the weather becomes friendlier, people want to exercise outdoors.  Opting for something with flavor, like a sports drink, rather than just plain water, will not only make you more likely to drink it, but can have other post-workout benefits as well.

For most people, the food we eat today has enough salt in it to keep us from facing a deficiency.  If you are training for a marathon or exercising very hard for several hours a day, you burn through more salt through sweat than the average person and will need to make a point to replenish the fluids in your body.  When we work out for extended periods of time, the important nutrients we lose are called electrolytes.  Types of electrolytes include potassium and sodium, which are essential for proper hydration, maintaining fluid balance and preventing muscle cramps.  That’s why, as an athlete, it’s so important to replace them after we sweat them out.

Plain old water isn’t loaded with electrolytes, so the best place to get them quickly is by drinking a sports drink.  While all good sports drinks contain at least 15mg of sodium, there are also sports drinks that offer various amounts of both carbohydrates and protein in addition to sodium and potassium.  These drink choices are absorbed and maintain fluid balance faster than plain water, getting your body the fluids it needs right away.  Carbohydrate-protein sports drinks have been tested and are shown to possibly hydrate better than regular, no protein, sports drinks by aiding with fluid retention.  The calories from carbohydrates in sports drinks have also been shown to improve endurance, increase energy, promote faster recovery and limit any immune system suppression that can happen after a tough workout.

When a workout leaves you wiped out, stick with your sports drink.  Energy drinks might quench your thirst and give you a big boost of energy after a tough session, but they’ll also dehydrate you while leading you to an energy crash no one enjoys.   Make sure you’re maintaining hydration all day; don’t worry about it only after you’ve worked out.  Don’t worry about getting your eight glasses of water a day, instead, drink to match your thirst and use your urine as a gauge for maintaining proper hydration.

Have questions about sports drinks or when to use them?  Email us at Info@FitNicePT.com