Icelandic Fitness

Month: January 2015

Why Athletes Eat Like Caveman

Why Athletes Eat Like Cavemen

LeBron James, Phil Mickelson, Jason Dufner, Aaron Rodgers, Andrew Flintoff. They’re all athletes, but what else besides sports does a basketball star, two pro golfers, an NFL quarterback and a British boxer have in common? They’re all losing weight while eating like cavemen, and getting better and faster. Mickelson, for instance, says his new diet has helped him lose 20 pounds and increase his club head speed by 10 mph. And, as the pro-golf season gets underway, that could be a big advantage.

Jason Dufner before Paleo, gluten and sugar free

Jason Dufner before Paleo, gluten and sugar free

 

Jason Dufner after losing 20lbs in 2015

Jason Dufner after losing 20lbs in 2015

 

It’s the Paleo diet, basically, a low-carb, sugar free, higher healthy fat diet. It’s called Paleo because its set up to mimic what our caveman ancestors ate back in the Paleo era – meats, fruits, veggies, nuts, whatever they could hunt or gather. That means no processed foods, no fast foods.

 

Lebron James before and after pics

Lebron James before and after pics

For athletes, the approach is not really that new: two years ago, Dr. Cate Shanahan helped the Los Angeles Lakers make the switch from high-carb to low-carb, and in the process, become so-called fat burners, meaning their bodies burned fat as a primary fuel, instead of carbohydrates. It’s how you can lose weight while keeping muscle, extremely important for players, and for everyone else.

Dr. Shanahan says the best way to make the switch is to do it slowly, over the course of a month. You can find her four-week plan on her website at: www.drcate.com.

The three guiding principals:

1. 50/30/20: Aim to get 50 percent of your calories from healthy fats, 30 percent from protein, and 20 percent from healthy carbohydrates, ideally whole fruits and vegetables.

2. Embrace healthy fats: Going low carb means going high fat, and you have to know the good fats from the bad. Avoid Canola and other vegetable oils. Eat walnuts, almonds, avocados, olive oil, and fatty fish like salmon and sardines. But, don’t be afraid of saturated fats from whole food sources like poultry, butter, and meat, especially grass-pastured.

3. Don’t snack: Lots of folks suppress their appetites by having frequent small meals throughout the day. But Dr. Cate says that keeps your insulin levels elevated, and interferes with your switch to fat burning. The key is not starving yourself, which may be tricky at first.

Some meal suggestions:

Zero Carb Breakfast. Example: two eggs scrambled in extra-virgin olive oil, topped with avocado. Or cold leftover chicken.

Pack your lunch. And, make it low-carb: try a salad with chicken, tuna, steak, or even a hardboiled egg, plus walnuts, avocado, extra-virgin olive oil.
Low carb dinner: roasted, pan-seared, or grilled lamb/chicken/steak/fish, with sauce; heaping helping of vegetables or salad, add some cheese; fresh fruit dessert; but skip the rice/bread/pasta/chips.

Professional athletes depend on their bodies to make a living, perhaps the biggest argument for them to eat like cavemen. For the rest of us, being able to feel better, look better, and perform at the highest level we can should be reason enough.

If you are an athlete looking to improve performance try the New Athlete Paleo Diet.

 

Jason Stone

Sports Performance Coach at Icelandic Fitness

Staying in shape when it’s cold outside

Staying in shape when it’s cold outside

Yep. Its still winter. If you live in Colorado, the only reminder you need is the snow you had to shovel off the driveway and sidewalks this week.

It’s sometimes hard to get motivated to work out when it means heading outside into the weather, making an extra trip to the gym. And, if it’s just you responsible for pushing yourself, “tomorrow” might look a whole lot better.

Well, on those days you just don’t feel like it, here are some sneaky tips to help you burn some calories and stay in shape when it’s cold outside.

1) Stair Climbing
It’s low impact and you can probably do it at work. Take a break from your desk, head to the stairs and walk up and down a few flights. Or, climb stairs during lunch, or before or after work. Climbing will pump up your cardiovascular capacity and give you stronger legs without too much impact on your joints.

2) Jumping Rope
Just like when you were a kid, jumping rope can be a fun way to burn calories. And, you can increase your agility, balance and endurance. Just make sure you have a big enough space to jump. An area that’s three feet-by-four feet should do it.

3) Video Games
They’re not just for kids. If you already have a video game system, consider buying active games like like Wii Fit, Wii Sports or Dance Dance Revolution. To play, you have to get up and move! Not only will they get you off the couch, but they can also be very entertaining for the whole family.

4) Dance Classes
No matter what the dance style, you’ll burn calories, strengthen your balance and coordination and learn a skill. Dance classes also get you out with a group of folks just like you, who are interested in staying active. That can be a big motivator. Check with your local dance studio for group classes, they’re generally very low cost.

5) Indoor Athletic Leagues
No matter what shape you may be in, there’s probably some kind of league for you. Try tennis, racquetball, volleyball, indoor soccer or basketball. Denver even has a dodge ball league. Not only will league play help you stay in shape, it’s also a great way to meet other motivated folks who could turn into workout buddies.

6) Personal Trainer
Keeping you motivated and in shape is what we do at Icelandic Fitness. No matter the weather or time of year, we can help design a work out plan that fits you and your goals. You can get real results in as little as a half hour a week. Contact us to set up a visit.

2015’s Newest Diet: Eat Like a Viking!

The Viking Diet

Call it the Mediterranean diet of the frozen north. The Nordic diet, full of fish, vegetables, berries and rapeseed oil has become the first diet craze of the New Year.

Not only can you lose weight, but the research behind the Nordic diet also shows it can reduce the damaging effects of being overweight. A study by Copenhagen University shows the diet can prevent inflammation in your body’s cells, which is associated with many obesity-related diseases- like Type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.

The diet is centered around eating seasonal ingredients- including fresh vegetables and fruit, lots of fish, less red meat and more wild game.

During the study, researchers found that overweight folks on the healthy Nordic diet lost three times as much weight. They did it by eating whole grain products, vegetables, root vegetables, berries, fruit, low-fat dairy products, rapeseed oil and three servings of fish per week.

Viking Nordic Diet

Viking Nordic Diet

Check out this video with details:

 

Keeping Resolutions Achievable

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7 Steps to Keeping Your Resolutions

Millions of Americans will make New Year’s resolutions this year and only a small number will actually keep them. About a third of the resolutions will be centered on health- eating better and losing weight, starting an exercise program, maybe getting in shape for an upcoming wedding.

We’ve already talked about the three main reasons why resolutions fail- 1) making big, abrupt changes, 2) making too many changes and 3) making the changes to please someone else. The key to winning at the resolution game is small, incremental adjustments to your normal routine that you stick with throughout the year.

So—the top seven tips for keeping your resolutions:

1.  Eat breakfast!

No, I’m not trying to be your mom here. But, when you skip breakfast, particularly if you’re a woman, you’ll try and make up for the lack of calories later in the day. It’s kind of like a snowball effect- your body wants to eat and the longer you put it off, the hungrier you get. And, the later you eat, the fewer calories you burn.

Think of breakfast like a kick-start to your metabolism. The engine works when it has fuel. And, put some protein on the menu, not just carbohydrates and sugars. Eat an egg, milk, Greek yogurt or even bacon to help your body get started for the day. You’ll have hours to burn off the calories, as opposed to storing them as fat.

2.  Smaller is better

It’s an optical illusion, but it really works. Instead of a big dinner plate, use smaller plates or bowls. Most Americans eat huge portions and they do it simply because it fills the (bigger) plate. And, Mom always told us to clean our plates!

Using a smaller plate forces you to reduce portion size. You’ll be surprised to see that you actually feel full. Especially if you eat more slowly and pay attention to what you’re eating.

3.  Choose wisely

Stay. Away. From. The. Packaged. Food. Sure, those tempting (and time-saving) treats fill the shelves at your local grocery store, but the fewer processed foods you eat, the healthier you are. On your weekly shopping trip, try to concentrate on the aisles on either end of the store. That’s usually where you’ll find the fresh meat, fruit, vegetables and dairy products.

Healthier, less processed foods are lower in calories, sugar, sodium and fat and higher in fiber, vitamins and minerals. Every little reduction in bad calories will add up over a week, month and year. Remember, we’re in this for the long haul. And, the smaller the changes, the better the chances that you’ll stick with them.

Quick example-if you drink a cup (8 oz.) of milk a day for a year, trading whole milk for 1% will save you 10,220 calories and 1,825 grams of fat. And, because it takes 3,500 calories to put on a pound, you’ve just LOST three pounds!

4.   Mealtimes at the table, not on the couch

This is much easier to do if you have kids. It’s just about the only way to get everyone together in one place to eat. But, if you’re single, a couple, or eat after the kids do, you may be eating while watching television, or sitting at the computer.

Why is this bad? Well, you’re not talking the time to taste the food. And, talk to the kids, your husband or wife, or to just relax. That’s why you might be eating more than you actually want, because you don’t realize just how much you’re putting down.

Meal times can be an opportunity to catch up on everyone’s day and enjoy your family. Research shows sitting down at the table helps us be more connected to each other and our food. That allows us to eat more slowly, which gives our bodies time to feel full sooner, which reduces just how much we eat. It’s a win-win.

5.   Keep track

Most of us can’t remember what we ate for breakfast; let alone what we ate for breakfast last week. Keeping a food diary not only tells us what we eat, it can show us the choices we make at mealtimes, which can help us make better choices.

Jot down a few quick notes about each meal. And, if you don’t have the time, just take a picture with your phone and make notes later that day. There’s nothing that drives home what and how much you’re eating like a food diary. Seeing the day in black and white lets you know how you’re doing when it comes to “good” and “bad” food choices.

6.    It’s better with friends

It’s sometimes tough to do it on your own. That’s why it’s easier to stick to your new healthier, resolutions if you have company. Grab the family and head out on a walk or a hike. Ask your co-workers to join you at lunch or break time. Get a workout partner or personal trainer.

Having someone else along for the ride helps to motivate you. It’s also more fun to know you’re not in it alone.

7.   Get some sleep

Getting enough sleep helps you recharge for the next day and helps you maintain a healthier weight. Research has shown that people who don’t get enough sleep will eat more the next day. And, to top it off, you might feel too tired to exercise.

On average, you should aim for six to eight hours of sleep. Some folks can do less, some need more. But, make sure you get enough sleep. Otherwise, you’ll torpedo all your good intentions.

Congratulations on making the choice to change! This time next year, you’ll be feeling and looking healthier. Just remember to take it slowly and get a partner to help you on your journey.

Contact us at Icelandic Fitness for a free consultation. We’ll help you set goals and tell you what you need to do to keep your resolutions.