Fit Tips

Food: What We Are Made From

July 27th, 2021 by Debbie Martilotta

Some advice is just so sound that I feel the need to share it. Your diet and nutrition are hugely important!

Every cell in our body turns over every 7 years. Some turn over daily, some weekly, and some take longer. Ever wonder how we make new cells, organs, tissues, skin, muscles, bone, and even brain cells? The raw materials all come from what we eat. Do you want to be made of Doritos or grass-fed steak? Coca-cola or wild blueberries?  

Our structure, which determines our function, is dependent on what we eat. The building blocks—the proteins, fats, minerals, and more, make up who we are. 

If you are a healthy, lean male, your body is made up of 62 percent water, 16 percent protein, 16 percent fat, 6 percent minerals, less than 1 percent carbohydrate, and small amounts of vitamins. The problem is that our processed diet is about 50 to 60 percent carbohydrate, mostly low-quality, refined starches and sugars that are the raw materials for processed food.

Funny enough, we are not actually made of carbohydrates and they are not considered an essential nutrient. If those carbs don’t become our structure, where do they go? We burn some, but most get turned into dangerous disease-causing belly fat.

Every part of you has a structure and function. If you are made out of poor-quality parts, you will create a poorly functioning body.  

Muscle loss and bone loss are huge factors in aging and age-related diseases. Muscle is where our metabolism is (low muscle mass equals slow metabolism and worse). The effect of poor quality muscles is an increase in diabetes, inflammation, and aging.  

Imagine building your house out of rotten wood or disintegrating bricks. Why would you build your body from defective ingredients? For example, we need the best quality fats—our brain is 60 percent fat, our nerve coverings are all made from fat, every one of your 10 trillion cells is wrapped in a little fatty membrane. Do you really want to make them from oxidized damaged refined oils in your French fries or KFC? 

We also need the best quality protein. The body makes most of its important molecules from protein including muscle, cells, and immune molecules. Not all protein is the same. The best type of protein to build muscle is other muscle—animal protein. You can get protein from plant foods, but the quality is lower and it has lower levels of key amino acids needed to synthesize new muscle, especially the branched-chain amino acids (leucine, isoleucine, and valine, and also lysine and sulfur-based amino acids).  And don’t forget all the vitamins and minerals we need to build tissues, muscles, and bones, including vitamin D, vitamin K, calcium, magnesium, and more.

Next time you chomp down on something, ask yourself if you are fine with it becoming part of you for the long term.  If not, don’t eat it and find the best quality ingredients you can, ingredients that help you thrive!

by Mark Hyman MD


Why You Aren’t Seeing Results When Strength Training

July 19th, 2021 by Debbie Martilotta

As a trainer, people often ask me how frequently they need to train to achieve results, and there isn’t one perfect answer: Our bodies are all different, which means they can respond differently to the same stimuli. But if you’re lifting and lifting and still not seeing results in your strength training routine, it’s probably because you’re lacking consistency in your workout or diet or both.

The process of getting stronger doesn’t have to be complicated, but keep reading for the three main reasons you may not be reaching your gains goals.

1. You’re mixing too many different modalities

To see measurable results in any fitness routine, you’ll want to stick with one primary training modality. If you’re only strength training one day a week (and spending your other sessions doing cardio), it’s going to be challenging to build muscle. The reason? Your muscle fibers won’t be exposed to the level of stress they need to grow. Muscle stress is imperative to building strength because it causes micro-tears of your muscle fibers, and when your body repairs these tears, they come back stronger. Most of my clients find success in 2 30-minute sessions with me weekly.

If your goal is to build muscle and get stronger, resistance training is your best bet. If you’re a beginner, working with your body weight is a great place to start, and as you begin to build strength,  you can add more resistance with weights. And to help maximize your results and save time, your workouts should consist of compound exercises, like squats presses, walking lunges with bicep curls, and deadlifts, that target multiple areas at once and force you to exert more energy than the isolated movements that target a single area.

2. Not sticking to a workout plan

Doing the same activities over and over can feel mundane, but it’s necessary if you want to put on muscle and increase your strength—which is why it’s essential to develop a workout plan. For example, let’s say your goal is to strengthen your legs. Doing four sets of 12 deadlifts once isn’t going to make much difference – but doing that same workout for four to six weeks and progressively increasing the weight will.

In addition to your nutrition, you’ll need to focus on your recovery. Properly warming up and cooling down will better prepare you for your training sessions, and help you prevent injury and burnout. Adding mobility work into your routine can also help maximize your performance as you train, improve your overall movement, and reduce and prevent pain and injury.

Another factor to focus on is getting quality sleep; it’s recommended adults get at least seven hours of sleep each night. A good night’s rest is essential for muscle repair and growth. As you sleep, your body secretes a muscle growth hormone, which works to repair the micro-tears that occur from strength training and make your muscles stronger.

And if you’re someone who likes to mix things up, schedule activities where you can do other modalities like yoga, cycling, biking, or running.

3. Not focusing on your recovery and nutrition

Lifestyle variables—like nutrition, recovery, and sleep—also impact your ability to get stronger. You’ll want to make sure you’re eating enough to support your energy needs when you’re training and in your everyday life. Your caloric needs will vary based on your lifestyle and goals, so you will want to work with your trainer on an individualized nutrition plan for you.

Because training is nuanced and individualized, use these tips as a starting point. If you have the access and means, consider working with a certified personal trainer who can provide you with more specific tips and tools to help you reach your fitness goals.

In part from our friends at Well+ Good


The 5 Best Strength-Training Moves For Your Hearts’ Health

June 22nd, 2021 by Debbie Martilotta

There are certain types of workouts, like running and spinning, that we know are good for our hearts. They are, after all, literally called “cardiovascular exercises.”

But if you want to keep that blood pumping at peak capacity, those daily three-mile jogs can’t do the job on all on their own. So grab a set of heavyweights because cardiologists say that regular strength and resistance training is more important to heart health than you might have realized.

According to Satjit Bhusri, MD, board-certified cardiologist, heavyweight training is similar to sprinting in that you can only do both for a short amount of time because it requires such high amounts of energy exertion.

“Your heart doesn’t know what exercise you are doing—it’s a pump and it’s built to meet supply and demand—so the higher the demand, or intensity of the exercise, the more blood that is needed to meet those demands,” he says. The result? Increased heart rate and blood pressure, which help to strengthen the organ over time. If you need more proof, a 2019 study found that combination training (aka integrating aerobic and anaerobic workouts throughout the week) increased lean body mass, strength, and cardiorespiratory fitness better than an aerobic-only routine.

In addition to boosting your heart health, Dr. Bhuari adds that strength training also has the ability to build muscle, improve bone strength, and ultimately help you perform daily activities more easily. “The end result allows a person to be more active in their everyday life while improving their overall quality of life, too,” he says. “Also, the increased cardiac output correlated with strength training helps control and lower a person’s blood pressure.

In order to reap the maximum benefits from your strength-training workouts, Dr. Bhuari recommends exercises that work multiple joints at the same time. “Multi-joint exercises help improve coordination, flexibility, burns more calories, and elevates cardiac output compared to simple movement strength exercises,” says Dr. Bhusari. Here are a few of his favorites.

1. Squat
2. Lunge
3. Bench press
4. Shoulder press
5. Plank

Click here to read the original Well + Good article

 


Learn how much protein you really need each day.

June 8th, 2021 by Debbie Martilotta

Proteins are the major building blocks of the human body. They are made up of amino acids and are needed to build muscles, blood, skin, hair, nails, and internal organs. Next, to water, protein is the most plentiful substance in the body, and most of it is actually in the skeletal muscles.

Foods that contain all of the essential amino acids are called complete proteins. These foods include beef, chicken, fish, eggs, milk, and just about anything else derived from animal sources.

If you’re an exerciser, your protein needs may increase since strength training can rapidly break down muscle protein. The general guidelines for endurance and strength-trained athletes from the American Dietetic Association and American College of Sports Medicine suggest consuming between 1.2 and 1.7 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight for the best performance and health.

I regularly help clients with their diet needs and challenges. The calculator below is a good way to calculate your protein needs individually. See me if you are looking to up your exercise program with specific goals in mind.

How to Calculate Your Protein Needs

Use these steps to find your protein need in grams (g)

  1. Weight in pounds divided by 2.2 = weight in kilograms (kg)
  2. Weight in kg x 0.8 = protein grams per day lower limit
  3. Weight in kg x 1.7 = protein grams per day upper limit

Use a lower limit number if you are in good health and are sedentary (i.e., 0.8).

Use a higher number (between 1.2 and 1.7) if you are under stress, pregnant, recovering from an illness, or if you are involved in consistent and intense weight or endurance training.

Example:

154-pound (lb) male who is a regular exerciser and lifts weights

  • 154 lb/2.2 = 70 kg
  • 70 kg x 1.5 = 105 grams protein per day

Calculating Protein as a Percentage of Total Calories

Another way to calculate how much protein you need is by using daily calorie intake and the percentage of calories that will come from protein. To do this, you’ll need to know how many calories your body needs each day. First, find out what your basal metabolic rate (BMR) is by using a BMR calculator.

Next, figure out how many calories you burn through daily activity and add that number to your BMR. This gives you an estimate of how many calories you need to maintain your current weight.

After you’ve figured out your maintenance calories, next figure out what percentage of your diet will come from protein. The percentage you choose will be based on your goals, fitness level, age, body type, and metabolic rate.

Most experts recommend that your protein intake be somewhere between 15 and 30 percent. When you’ve determined your desired percentage of protein, multiply that percentage by the total number of calories for the day.

Example:

For a 140-pound female, calorie intake 1800 calories, protein 20 percent:

  • 1800 x 0.20 = 360 calories from protein
  • Since 1 gram of protein = 4 calories, divide protein calories by 4
  • 360/4 = 90 grams of protein per day

The foundation of the DBM program, whether your goal is to lose weight or gain muscle, is a combination of strength training, cardio exercise, and a healthy diet that focuses on plants, protein, and healthy fats.


Are You In “Shape”?

May 10th, 2021 by Debbie Martilotta

Whether you are in shape or not is often based almost solely on how you look, or how your clothes fit. Yet, how your body performs with regards to strength and stamina as well as a range of motion is even more important. This is where I like to suggest you ditch your scale.

If you are seeing yourself as too lean or too pudgy, we can work on your diet. But weight alone is not the true story when discussing your level of fitness or health.

It seems counterintuitive but strength comes first. You may be thin but your engines may also be small thus weak. In the long run, you are not well protected from disease and aging. On the other hand, you may be “chunky” but have plenty of muscle to protect your organs and skeletal structure. I like to encourage strength and flexibility testing to establish basic fitness and better assess susceptibility to disease and age-related decay.

Strength training is my go-to for all clients. If you can lift heavy, complete 2 30-minute sessions per week aerobically and you are enjoying an active life, able to physically pursue your interests, then I’m confident you are fit. If your “shape” is not what you were hoping for, we can work together on your diet and nutrition.

It is true, we have a mental image of what “fit” looks like, but from my experience, not every client falls into that look.

 


Eat To Beat Chronic Inflamation

April 12th, 2021 by Debbie Martilotta

Inflammation is a naturally occurring process within the body, designed to help the body heal from injury or disease. The immune system triggers it in response to a perceived threat, such as a cut or an illness. Acute inflammation, which occurs over a usually short period, is a beneficial tool that helps return your body to its healthiest state.

However, chronic inflammation, which occurs over an extended period (and is often less intense), is the kind that is linked to autoimmune conditions, prolonged stress, and debilitating disease.

Chronic disease stems from chronic inflammation within the body. There is sufficient evidence to show that this prolonged immune response can influence heart disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and even obesity. So by addressing the root cause, we begin to adopt a holistic, preventative approach to healing. And one of the best ways we know how to remedy and reduce inflammation in the body is with proper nutrition.

Are you looking to eat better to feel better? Maybe even to live longer? Then our top 5 foods to eat, and to avoid, to lower your chance for chronic inflammation is just for you!

5 of the Best Foods To Eat to Reduce Inflammation

#1 CACAO

The plant contains over 300 beneficial compounds, many of which are strong anti-inflammatories, and a single-serve is thought to contain 20 times the antioxidant power of blueberries. This is largely due to the presence of powerful and potent polyphenols, the naturally occurring antioxidants that are found in a wide range of foods (including wine)! In particular, cacao* is abundant in flavanols, which have been sought out for centuries due to their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects

CACAO VS. COCOA: What is the difference?
Raw cacao* is made from cold-pressing un-roasted cacao beans. The process keeps the living enzymes in the cacao and removes the fat (cacao butter). Cocoa looks the same but it’s not. Cocoa powder is raw cacao that’s been roasted at high temperatures. Sadly, roasting changes the molecular structure of the cacao bean, reducing the enzyme content, and lowering the overall nutritional value.

#2 BLUEBERRIES

The major antioxidant found in blueberries, anthocyanin, is what gives this berry its gorgeous deep blue color and is largely thought to be responsible for the antiinflammatory capabilities, along with the high fiber and vitamins A, C, and E content. But what makes this rich berry a powerful antioxidant lies in the essential monomers* when broken down in the body.

Monomers* are the building blocks of the basic macromolecules that make up the human body. So when digesting food and obtaining nutrients, the body breaks proteins, carbohydrates, and fats/lipids down into their monomers. From here, the body can use these to rebuild different structures it may need for survival. Studies show that blueberries protect the brain, prevent damage to our DNA, and inhibit cancer cell development. Emerging research has even shown that they have been proven to kill cancer cells and reduce tumor size, so make sure to grab fresh, organic blueberries next time you’re at the markets!

#3 FLAXSEEDS

Flaxseeds are a powerhouse seed rich in vital nutrients for health and wellbeing, including anti-inflammatory properties and a healthy dose of fatty acids. These seeds have been used in the human diet for over 5000 years. They are a fantastic source of dietary fiber, magnesium, potassium, and manganese, but they’re most famous for their high levels of plant-based omega-3 essential fatty acid.

While flaxseeds have a delightful crunch in granola or tossed through a salad, they are best-eaten ground for ultimate nutrient absorption, or in a quality cold-pressed oil.

#4 LEAFY GREENS

Dark green veggies, such as collard greens and spinach, are a rich source of vitamin C and magnesium. These are both important in converting tryptophan and tyrosine amino acids to serotonin and dopamine – the neurotransmitters responsible for making us feel joyful. A good dose of greens every day is a must!

Greens like kale, arugula, silverbeet, spinach, chard, and collard greens, offer a rich nutritional profile with high concentrations of micronutrients that reduce chronic inflammation in the body.

#5 TURMERIC

If it seems like turmeric is the answer to all of your health worries, that’s probably because it is. This humble root has been proven to reduce inflammation,  support cognitive function and prevent Alzheimer’s disease, improve skin health and conditions, and may even aid in fighting cancer.

Curcumin is the compound found in turmeric that helps the spice work its magic. In its whole form, Curcumin has been praised in studies for its anti-inflammatory, anti-tumour, and antioxidant properties. It’s also what gives turmeric its gorgeous, burnt orange color. Try adding black pepper to your turmeric recipes, it may help the body absorb curcumin more effectively.

5 Foods to Avoid for Inflammation

#1 GMO SOY PRODUCTS – As of 2007, 91% of the soy planted in the United States is genetically modified, making soy the largest genetically modified food source in the US. The US is also one of the largest exporters of soy. The health benefits of soy continue to be debated, but the best soy is again labeled clearly that it is organic and is fermented.

#2 CANOLA OIL – This oil is a processed oil, which goes through multiple steps to remain shelf-stable. In fact, these production processes are tied to health concerns such as heart disease, inflammation, cellulite, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, and asthma.
Where possible, it’s best to switch to an omega-3-promoting oil  such as;

• Grass-fed butter or ghee
• Extra virgin cold-pressed olive oil
• Coconut oil

#3 GMO CORN PRODUCTS – If you want non-GMO corn, look for the label, USDA-certified organic, as the only guarantee that your corn is not genetically modified.

#4 CONVENTIONAL FACTORY-FARMED ANIMAL PRODUCTS – It’s a general rule of thumb for a broad category of food, but if you’re someone who eats animal products, make sure they’re from free-range, ethical sources that adhere to health-promoting practices – because the health of the animal ultimately impacts the nutrient value of the food.

#5 MONOSODIUM GLUTAMATE (MSG OR E621) – MSG is a commonly used flavor enhancer. It’s what keeps you coming back for a second helping of takeout meals; it’s addictive, and it’s having dangerous impacts on our health.

Access our recipes here, and enjoy eating well again!

in part from FOODMATTERS.COM

 


Sugar Is Public Enemy #1

April 6th, 2021 by Debbie Martilotta

Congratulations! You’ve decided once and for all to ditch sugar in your diet.

There are three main sugar claims that you may find on food labels: sugar-free, no sugar added, and unsweetened. It’s a common misconception that they mean the same thing, but they’re vastly different. I’ll break it down here.

Sugar-free

When you see “sugar-free” on a product label, it means that the food contains less than half of a gram of sugar per serving size. This includes any type of sugar that could be found in the food. Obviously, the white stuff counts toward the total. So does maple syrup and honey. Naturally-occurring sugars count too, like lactose in milk or fructose in fruits.

Sugarless alternative sweeteners won’t contribute to the total sugar in a product. Those are allowed under a sugar-free label.

The term “sugar-free” is regulated, so if an item says it’s sugar-free, you can be pretty confident that it contains less than half a gram of sugar per serving, but watch your serving size!

No Sugar Added

“No sugar added” means that no sugar ingredients are added during the processing of foods, including sugars from syrups and honey, and sugars from concentrated fruit or vegetable juices.

That doesn’t mean you end up with a product containing zero grams of sugar. For example, a banana could bear a “no sugar added” label, but it actually contains around 14g of naturally occurring sugar.

Unsweetened

An unsweetened food is one that hasn’t been sweetened at all – no sugar, no artificial sweeteners, no natural sweeteners, no zero-calorie sweeteners, nothing that adds to the sweetness of the recipe.

Sneaky Sugar Labeling

That’s not all you want to look out for. “Sugar-free,” “unsweetened,” and “no sugar added” don’t tell the full story.

We tend to think that added sugar is mainly found in desserts like cookies and cakes, but it’s also found in many savory foods, such as bread and pasta sauce. And some foods promoted as “natural” or “healthy” are laden with added sugars, compounding the confusion. In fact, manufacturers add sugar to 74% of packaged foods sold in supermarkets.1 So, even if you skip dessert, you may still be consuming more added sugar than is recommended.

If you want real information about what’s in your food, the next stop should be your label. If your food has a label on it – you should read it! Better yet, eat food without labels by shopping the produce and meat counters in your grocery store and staying out of the packaged isles as best as you can. Click here for my DBM Strength Training eating plan.

The Sugar Science department at UCSF lists 61 Names for Sugar:

  • Agave nectar
  • Barbados sugar
  • Barley malt
  • Barley malt syrup
  • Beet sugar
  • Brown sugar
  • Buttered syrup
  • Cane juice
  • Cane juice crystals
  • Cane sugar
  • Caramel
  • Carob syrup
  • Castor sugar
  • Coconut palm sugar
  • Coconut sugar
  • Confectioner’s sugar
  • Corn sweetener
  • Corn syrup
  • Corn syrup solids
  • Date sugar
  • Dehydrated cane juice
  • Demerara sugar
  • Dextrin
  • Dextrose
  • Evaporated cane juice
  • Free-flowing brown sugars
  • Fructose
  • Fruit juice
  • Fruit juice concentrate
  • Glucose
  • Glucose solids
  • Golden sugar
  • Golden syrup
  • Grape sugar
  • HFCS (High-Fructose Corn Syrup)
  • Honey
  • Icing sugar
  • Invert sugar
  • Malt syrup
  • Maltodextrin
  • Maltol
  • Maltose
  • Mannose
  • Maple syrup
  • Molasses
  • Muscovado
  • Palm sugar
  • Panocha
  • Powdered sugar
  • Raw sugar
  • Refiner’s syrup
  • Rice syrup
  • Saccharose
  • Sorghum Syrup
  • Sucrose
  • Sugar (granulated)
  • Sweet Sorghum
  • Syrup
  • Treacle
  • Turbinado sugar
  • Yellow sugar

In-part from Marksdailyapple.com


5 Basic Bodyweight Moves To Hit Every Muscle

January 25th, 2021 by Debbie Martilotta

Wondering what to do in between sessions and group classes at DBM Strength Training?

These 5 exercises are trainer favorites because they target multiple muscles at a time in both your upper and lower body, which means that all you really need to do to get an efficient workout is put them all together.

Scroll through to find out why these moves have become such strength-training staples, and why each and every one of them deserves a spot in your routine.

1. Planks

You’d be hard-pressed to find a bodyweight workout that doesn’t include some sort of plank, and there’s a reason why trainers love the move so much: When it comes to working all 360 degrees of your core, it’s the best you’re going to get.  In addition to firing up your abs, planks also hit your glutes and shoulders, and are a great way to turn on your muscles at the beginning of any workout.

2. Push-ups

Push-ups became the unofficial workout move of quarantine, thanks in large part to the fact that they pack a whole lot of bang for your buck. At their core, push-ups are really just moving planks, which means they’ll give you the same benefits as the static version of the move while also hitting your upper body harder.

3. Burpees

While you might think you need to step outside for a run or hop on a spin bike to get your daily dose of cardio, burpees prove otherwise. This exercise combines planks, push-ups, and jump squats, and by the end of a single set, you’ll be dripping in sweat.

4. Mountain climbers

Another core-burning cardio move trainers can’t get enough of? Mountain climbers—aka planks, but make ’em cardio. This exercise involves holding a plank while quickly pulling your knees to your chest, which spikes your heart rate and forces you to engage your abs. You can slow them down for a lower impact burn, or twist them from side to side to fire up your obliques.

5. Squats

Traditional squats hit every muscle from your waist to your toes, and mastering their perfect form requires you to stay focused and brace your core for the entirety of the move. To do them properly keep your chest up, tuck your pelvis in, and lower your butt to a 90-degree angle from your knees.

Click here to read the original Well + Good article and watch their  “Big Five” videos

 


How to Do a Lateral Band Walk

January 19th, 2021 by Debbie Martilotta

My personal training clients have noticed a new warm-up exercise – lateral band walks, and yes, they warm you up fast!

Bands allow you to apply resistance to your body where weights might otherwise be awkward. Each time you step your feet together, your glutes have to eccentrically control the motion of your knee, which can help correct knee valgus (inward collapse of the knees).

How to Do the Banded Lateral Walk With Perfect Form

  • Fit a looped resistance band around your legs just above both knees, and stand with your feet together.
  • Keeping your back flat and abs engaged, push your hips back, bend your knees, and lower your body into a squat, shifting your weight toward your heels.
  • Maintain the squat as you simultaneously raise your hips several inches and step your right foot out to the right, then lower your hips fully.
  • Again raise your hips several inches as you bring your left foot together with your right, and lower again fully, maintaining tension in the band so that your knees don’t cave inward.
  • Repeat to the opposite side, alternating sides for reps. Perform equal reps on each side.

Benefits of the Lateral Band Walk

The lateral band walk strengthens the glute medius, which is an important stabilizing muscle that often gets overlooked and underutilized. By targeting this muscle (you’ll feel it fire after just a few steps), band walks can help improve your gait and promote better motor control, while helping to correct some injury-causing imbalances and movement dysfunction, including knee valgus, a.k.a. “knock knees.”

This simple yet challenging movement also gets bonus points for its booty-boosting capabilities. The lateral band walk is also a great way to build a fuller, firmer butt. As a warm-up, it targets the largest muscles in your body. This gets clients breathing deeper and their blood moving within minutes, and ready for our 30-minute strength training session!

Read more on OpenFit.com or watch their band walk video here. Contact me at DBM Strength Training in Cascade, MI, I’ll get you stronger!


THE DEAL WITH SQUATS

December 28th, 2020 by Debbie Martilotta

When it comes to working your lower body – while burning fat and torching calories — there’s nothing more effective than the squat. Squats engage your body’s largest and most powerful muscle groups, a.k.a the glutes, thighs, and hamstrings, while working your core and giving you a cardio boost as well.

  • Squats are mostly known as a leg exercise, but they promote body-wide muscle building by catalyzing an anabolic environment
  • Squats are also one of the best functional exercises out there, promoting mobility and balance and helping you complete real-world activities with ease
  • Squats also help you to burn more fat, as one of the most time-efficient ways to burn more calories continually is by developing more muscle
  • Squats have long been criticized for being destructive to your knees, but research shows that when done properly, squats actually improve knee stability and strengthen connective tissue
  • Squats are one type of exercise that should be a part of virtually everyone’s fitness routine, as they provide whole-body benefits