Fit Tips

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

New Group Class Policy

December 17th, 2020 by Debbie Martilotta

Starting in January 2021, Group Classes are pre-scheduled and prepaid, just like personal training sessions.

Pre-planning your group classes should help you stay on track with your weekly fitness goals. As your personal trainer, supervising your training is essential. Making sure every client has enough room and the right weights to maximize their class participation, whether we are in the studio or on Zoom, is my goal. Knowing in advance who is attending and that a group class is not overbooked makes us both more successful!

To make this easy, just text me (616-901-6247) your name and the class time you are scheduling for and if you do not have a punch card of 10 prepaid classes to use, I will send you my Venmo* link for payment.

*Venmo is my preferred app as PayPal sometimes involves a fee
that neither you nor I can always control.

So, let’s say on Tuesday you plan to participate in the 9 am Saturday class. You would text me to register and if you do not have a punch card on file, I will text you back my Venmo link. You use that link to either pay me $10 for the single class or $100 for a new class punch card of ten classes. Voila – you train on Sat am and I am ready for you.

On the other hand, a friend asks you to take a walk, watch their kiddo, or something else, and you do not join the class at 9 am on Saturday. I have still reserved your space and have not filled it with another client. Just like my session policy, a 24-hour notice is required for cancellations. If less than 24 hours is given, you will be charged for the class.

As your trainer, I hope to encourage you to “plan your work – and work your plan”


Could IF (Intermittent Fasting) Be Right For You?

November 23rd, 2020 by Debbie Martilotta

I follow a very clean diet, strength train regularly, and avoid toxins in my environment to the best of my ability – so why might I be interested in Intermittent Fasting?

Evidence is accumulating that eating in a 6-hour period and fasting for 18 hours can trigger a metabolic switch from glucose-based to ketone-based energy, with increased stress resistance, increased longevity, and a decreased incidence of diseases, including cancer and obesity.

Until recently, studies of caloric restriction and intermittent fasting focused on aging and the life span. After nearly a century of research on caloric restriction, the overall conclusion was that reduced food intake robustly increases the life span.

Intermittent fasting elicits evolutionarily conserved, adaptive cellular responses that are integrated between and within organs in a manner that improves glucose regulation, increases stress resistance, and suppresses inflammation.

Cells respond to intermittent fasting by engaging in a coordinated adaptive stress response that leads to increased expression of antioxidant defenses, DNA repair, protein quality control, mitochondrial biogenesis and autophagy, and down-regulation of inflammation.

How much of the benefit of intermittent fasting is due to metabolic switching and how much is due to weight loss? Many studies have indicated that several of the benefits of intermittent fasting are dissociated from its effects on weight loss. These benefits include improvements in glucose regulation, blood pressure, and heart rate, and abdominal fat loss.

Despite the evidence for the health benefits of intermittent fasting and its applicability to many diseases, today’s diet of three meals with snacks every day is so ingrained in our culture that a change in this eating pattern can be difficult. The abundance of food and extensive marketing in our culture are also major hurdles to be overcome.

I’ve found a community focused on IF that I follow for both inspiration and guidance, Gin Stephens, author of  Fast. Feast. Repeat & Delay, Don’t Deny. Her blog, books, and Facebook page are full of support!

Intermittent fasting diets fall generally into two categories: daily time-restricted feeding, which narrows eating times to 6–8 hours per day, and so-called 5:2 intermittent fasting, in which people limit themselves to one moderate-sized meal (500 calories) two days each week. With guidance and patience, most people can incorporate IF into their lives.


Fight Inflammation With Food And Exercise

November 2nd, 2020 by Debbie Martilotta

One of the most powerful tools to combat inflammation comes from the grocery store. Choose the right anti-inflammatory foods, and you may be able to reduce your risk of illness. Consistently pick the wrong ones, and you could accelerate the inflammatory disease process.

What does an anti-inflammatory diet do? Your immune system becomes activated when your body recognizes anything that is foreign—such as an invading microbe, plant pollen, or chemical. This often triggers a process called inflammation. Intermittent bouts of inflammation directed at truly threatening invaders protect your health.

However, sometimes inflammation persists, day in and day out, even when you are not threatened by a foreign invader. That’s when inflammation can become your enemy. Many major diseases that plague us—including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, depression, and Alzheimer’s—have been linked to chronic inflammation.

Anti-inflammatory diet

To reduce levels of inflammation, aim for an overall healthy diet. If you’re looking for an eating plan that closely follows the tenets of anti-inflammatory eating, consider the Mediterranean diet, which is high in fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, fish, and healthy oils.

Anti-inflammatory foods

An anti-inflammatory diet should include these foods:

  • tomatoes
  • olive oil
  • green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, kale, and collards
  • nuts like almonds and walnuts
  • fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardines
  • fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, cherries, and oranges
  • spices, especially ginger, turmeric, and cayenne
  • green tea contains antioxidant compounds known as catechins, which reduce inflammation

The health risks of inflammatory foods

Not surprisingly, the same foods on an inflammation diet are generally considered bad for our health, including sodas and refined carbohydrates, as well as red meat and processed meats.

Unhealthy foods also contribute to weight gain, which is itself a risk factor for inflammation. Yet in several studies, even after researchers took obesity into account, the link between foods and inflammation remained, which suggests weight gain isn’t the sole driver.

Foods that cause inflammation

Try to avoid or limit these foods as much as possible:

  • refined carbohydrates, such as white bread and pastries
  • French fries and other fried foods
  • soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages
  • red meat (burgers, steaks) and processed meat (hot dogs, sausage)
  • margarine, shortening, and lard

In addition to lowering inflammation, a more natural, less processed diet can have noticeable effects on your physical and emotional health.

The impact of strength training

Strength training also improves chronic inflammation. Strength training’s positive effects on chronic inflammation are probably part of why it is shown to decrease the risk of heart disease and diabetes. To maximize your health gains, train with challenging weights and get adequate rest between your workouts.

Exercise regularly and recover completely. Exercise decreases levels of TNF (tumor necrosis factor) and CRP (C-reactive protein), both of which are involved in systemic inflammation. The key to reaping the benefits of exercise and avoiding chronic inflammation is making sure that you allow enough time for the body to recover after every strenuous session.


How To Build Muscle Fast

October 26th, 2020 by Debbie Martilotta

Strength training is a great way to build muscle and see results more quickly than with other types of workouts. If you’re looking to jump-start muscle growth, beginning a new routine that challenges your muscles is key. You’ll probably feel shaky during those first few sets, but as the brain and body begin to adapt to your new exercise routine, you’ll gain strength as long as your training is consistent.

The most conventional exercise to induce muscle growth is resistance (strength) training.

Building muscle won’t happen overnight, but with the right fitness and nutrition regimen, you can start to see results in just a few months.

Muscles are made up of two different types of individual muscle fibers: type one and type two.

  • Type one muscle fibers, also known as slow-twitch muscle fibers, are aerobic. They’re resistant to fatigue and focused on smaller movements that can be sustained for long periods.
  • Type two muscle fibers, also known as fast-twitch muscle fibers, get tired more easily but allow for more powerful movements. Type two muscle fibers contain more blood supply than type one fibers.

Endurance and aerobic exercise build more type one muscle fibers, while strength training builds more type two muscle fibers. That means you’ll likely see results with muscle growth faster with strength training than other types of exercise.

Exercises for building muscle
Focus on functional strength and mobility with a whole-body approach to strength training. Here are some of those exercises and the muscle groups they work:

  • Glute bridges: abs, hamstrings, and lower back
  • Squats: glutes, quads, hamstrings, calves, and abs
  • Push-ups: chest, shoulders, abs, and triceps
  • Lateral lunges: glutes, hamstrings, and quads
  • Planks: whole body
  • Reverse lunge with rotation: whole body
  • Bent over row: back, shoulders, and arms
  • Single leg Romanian deadlift: whole body

When these exercises become easy, you can increase your reps or increase the weights. If you want to build your muscles faster, go with the increase in weights.

A 30-minute workout is enough to build muscle and maintain functional strength. However, the duration of the workout doesn’t matter as much as the number of sets per week and the mechanical stress that occurs in a given session. To induce muscle growth, aim for 10 to 20 sets per week, per body part. Cardio can help build muscle, too, but it will be slower than strength training.

Don’t forget about progressive overload. Gradually add sets, weight, or reps to increase stress on the body and to keep building muscle. For example, if you’re lifting 10-pound dumbbells, you might find it difficult at first. After a time, lifting those dumbbells will start to get easier because you’re building muscle and getting stronger. If you continue to lift those 10-pound dumbbells you’re not going to build muscle. You’ll stay the same. You have to make your regimen more strenuous again.

Make sure you’re getting enough protein to fuel the muscle growth, getting enough sleep every night, and resting your muscle groups in between workouts. This is everything we do at DBM Strength Training and I love this article, read it directly from the Insider here.


Full-Body Vs. Split Workouts

October 26th, 2020 by Debbie Martilotta

There’s no skirting the fact that functional, full-body movements provide the most value for time and effort. Exercises like lunges and push-ups will always be more effective than exercises that isolate a single muscle — and for those of us with limited time, we owe it to ourselves to get the most out of each and every workout.

Quadricep extensions, calf raises, tricep push-downs, and other isolation exercises won’t do much for you if you don’t have time to dedicate to functional movements like squats, deadlifts, push-ups, and shoulder presses.

For busy people, full-body workouts are key to getting fit.

A full-body workout engages all of your muscle groups during one session and takes many forms — HIIT, high-intensity resistance training (HIRT), bodyweight workouts, or conventional weightlifting.

The problem is, split plans lose effectiveness if you don’t have five or six days to work out each week. This simply doesn’t work for people who can’t exercise six days a week. If you miss one workout on this plan, you neglect an entire muscle group that week. Split workouts plans also work best if you can dedicate at least 45 minutes each day to your workout — working your arms for 20 minutes won’t benefit you nearly as much as working your whole body for 20 minutes.

Full-body workouts maximize your time and give you real gains like whole-body strength, core stabilization, functional mobility, and endurance.

Other reasons for choosing full-body workouts instead of split workouts include: 

  • Full-body workouts generally yield a higher total energy expenditure per session (i.e., you burn more calories).
  • Full-body workouts force you to focus on functional movements, which you need for longevity and high quality of life. 
  • Full-body workouts tend to include more movements that improve core stabilization and posture. 

Still, wondering about shifting from split workouts to full body HIIT sessions? Read the balance of this article from c|net and give me a call to train in the greater Grand Rapids area.


Take Control Of Your Metabolism!

October 20th, 2020 by Debbie Martilotta

WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO keep the lights on in the human body? How does the body power everything from blinking and cell repair to washing dishes and running a marathon?

In the simplest terms, all of these activities are powered by calories, which come from the food we eat. This is your metabolism at work.

To support a healthy metabolism, consider making the following eight dietary and activity changes:

  • Take control
  • Eat enough
  • Boost protein intake
  • Eat breakfast
  • Limit sweets and processed foods
  • Stay hydrated
  • Increase or maintain muscle mass
  • Get enough rest

Moving more and eating well can help ensure your metabolism is running as best it can. Your resting metabolic rate is largely determined by three factors:

  • Body size and composition. People who are larger and have more muscle mass tend to have a higher metabolism.
  • Sex. Males tend to have less body fat and ore muscle mass, leading to a higher metabolism.
  • Age. As you age, you lose muscle mass and your metabolism slows.

For example, a sedentary 55-year-old woman who’s 5′ 4″ tall and weighs 175 pounds only needs about 1,400 calories per day to keep the body going. By contrast, a 55-year-old male who’s 6′ tall and weighs 200 pounds needs nearly 1,800 calories a day to service the basic needs of maintaining the body at rest. When you add in exercise or physical activity, those needs increase no matter who you are.

Weight gain is more likely a product of a calorie surplus from eating and a decline in activity as we get older. That said, you do have control over what and how much you eat and how much you move.

Make a plan and keep track of how much you’re eating, how much you’re moving, and get a sense of how many calories your body needs and burns each day. I advise my clients to keep a food journal if necessary and to eat a “clean” diet. I also schedule 2 30-minute personal training sessions with them weekly and encourage them to enjoy their new strength by staying active between sessions.

Move more, eat often, hydrate, and sleep. Great advice for all of us! Read the entire article from US News here.