October 3, 2019 – Happy Halloween Month! It’s Fitness Advice and Tips #2 for the gateway month to the season of indulgence and celebration! mwahahahaha 😈😈😈 Some of you who reside locally in San Diego recently had an opportunity to sit in on a seminar hosted by us about exercise and nutrition. If you missed out, don’t worry, we recorded it and have pictures. Not only that, but we’ll have another event in about 6 weeks, just in time for Thanksgiving feasts!

This month, we’ll take a look at:

  • women and weightlifting
  • the link between exercise and hypertension
  • what exercise professionals can (and can’t say) about nutrition

Fitness Advice and Tip #1

One of the pressing concerns many women have with respect to weightlifting is no desire to become “bulky” or “muscly” or “big.” Fortunately, women do not have the appropriate hormones with which to become the next female Arnold Schwarzenegger. If anything, women should be more concerned about the long term benefits of placing the muscles of their body under regular physical stress (resistance training).

Within this blog post from Dr. John Rusin, there’s some mention of “pink dumbbells” but it’s not what you may think. Suffice it to say, that there’s a short list of exercises which women really want to work on and which none should have a problem doing.

Generally speaking, 2-3 weekly sessions of resistance training for all major muscle groups is one of several priorities every American’s should consider, including women. It’s a use it or lose it proposition; the less muscle your body has, the less ability it has to use them for ADL (activities of daily living), sports, or competition. This can then lead to potential injuries which can prove debilitating, especially as we become older.

Now that you know why it can be good and how not doing it can be bad, get out there and don’t be afraid to pump some iron!

Fitness Advice and Tip #2

Hypertension (or “high blood pressure”) is found in roughly one for every three Americans. Often called the “silent killer” because of its general lack of signs and symptoms, hypertension also increases the risk for heart disease and stroke. However, just because you have it, doesn’t necessarily mean you’re stuck with it. More on that later.

Any systolic pressure greater than or equal to 130 mmHg is considered hypertensive. The systolic reading is the “upper number.” It represents the amount of pressure within your arteries when the heart beats and pushes blood through them. A diastolic reading of greater than 90 mmHg is also considered hypertensive. The diastolic reading or “lower number” represents the resting/residual pressure within your arteries between heart contractions. Catching an elevated blood pressure early on can help you put an action plan in place to combat it. This is why it’s important to have your blood pressure checked regularly. We include this diagnostic in our fitness consultation.

Exercise to Counteract Stress

Now that you know what hypertension is, take a moment and think about the heart beating in your chest. We take it for granted and virtually pay no attention to it. It beats nonstop, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. It has a lifelong job of circulating blood throughout our bodies. We subject it to all kinds of stressors, seen and unseen. Over time, these stressors, particularly negative ones such as life stress, poor diet, and sedentary lifestyles, put a tremendous burden on the heart’s function. The heart exerts more force with every beat which is interpreted as an increase in blood pressure. But does this mean the end? Is it a hopeless cause at this point?

Regular exercise is an example of an effective means of reversing high blood pressure. Why? Going back to the heart visual above, if you make a change from a sedentary lifestyle to a bit more active, your heart becomes better conditioned at circulating blood when you need it. It’s part of the reason why you can take longer and faster walks or runs over time; the heart becomes more efficient at it’s job. For example, one day you start taking walks and your heart beats at 100 times per minute. With a few weeks of consistent walks, your heart rate could conceivably drop 10-20 beats per minute. Essentially, your heart is now more effective at its job.

Some of you may have heard me say, “Some exercise is better than none at all.” Start to control your hypertension little by little and you set yourself up for success. Be sure to discuss this with your primary care physician if your situation warrants.

Fitness Advice and Tip #3

Third on our list of fitness advice and tips for October is nutrition advice distributed by certified personal trainers. Specifically, we’re talking about diets, meal plans, and other dietetics-specific information.

In our pursuit to retain clients in a very competitive industry, we sometimes exceed our scope of practice which then opens up potential liability. However, it’s important for us to recognize our limits without having to be the “jack of all trades.”

Ideally, we work within the scope provided by our certifying organization. Some of us even have advanced educational degree(s). Either way, a good trainer is aware of his/her limitations and seeks out the assistance of a Registered Dietitian to “fill in nutrition blanks” This awareness builds a strong team with our client’s best interests at heart.

Be sure to review the links above. Then, take a look a the chart below and compare it against the information your trainer provides to you. Above all, don’t be afraid to ask questions if things don’t jive.

(Courtesy American College of Sports Medicine)

In conclusion…

We don’t want to throw any trainers under the nutrition bus, we just need to operate within certain guidelines. Do you have a story about trainers and nutrition? Do you have any thoughts on women and weightlifting? How about any successes with regular exercise and your blood pressure? Please let us know in the comments and we’ll see you next month!