Thursday, June 13, 2013

Grow a Garden!

Do you know what hasn't existed at the White House since Eleanor Roosevelt was living there? 

A garden!

Michelle Obama has championed healthy living and healthy eating as First Lady. And thanks to her, people across the country have revisited the American tradition of starting a vegetable garden at home.

First Lady Michelle Obama broke ground on the first vegetable garden at the White House since Eleanor Roosevelt’s victory garden during World War II. Today, the garden is planted, tended and harvested by Mrs. Obama, White House staff, the National Park Service and visitors alike.

Growing your own fruits and vegetables is a great way to learn about nutrition and incorporate healthful, fresh and seasonal foods into your favorite meals. Even if you don't consider yourself a proficient gardener, with very little effort, the right tools and easy-to-follow instructions you will be on your way to having a green thumb.

Here are four tips to help your garden grow:

1.  Where will you grow your garden? If you have land and a sunny plot where your vegetables could grow, then that solves that. If you don’t have the space, you may consider container gardening on your porch or balcony or even your kitchen window sill.
2.  Consider the sunlight. A good gardening space receives at least six hours of sunlight per day plus has a water source. Keep this in mind when you choose your gardening space.
3.  Plant seasonally. Contact your local Cooperative Extension Office as a resource for finding out which crops are specific to your local growing region.
4.  Match the crop with the environment. Different plants require different growing environments. Tomatoes, for example, are heat-loving plants that need a long warm growing period and require germinating and growing seedlings in the warm indoors in early spring. Then when it warms up outdoors in late spring, the hearty well-established seedlings can be planted in the outdoors.

Our very own Missouri Botanical Gardens have great info to help you start. A quick trip to Lowes or Home Depot will have loads of how-to information about seed spacing, irrigation, soil types, and the right time to plant various vegetables. Plus you can buy seeds, supplies, and more.

Start small, maybe just with herbs or a tomato pot. Once you enjoy the fresh and healthy flavors it'll grow on you (no pun intended)!

To your health,

Tim Chudy
Fitness Together

Thursday, May 23, 2013

How To Break Through A Weight Loss Plateau

Here at Fitness Together our clients lose a lot of weight. Some 15 pounds, some 50 pounds, and some over 100 pounds!

Regardless of your weight loss or fitness goal it's not uncommon to hit a plateau. Even our clients, who are doing things right, will experience them from time to time.

Breaking through requires balance in your physiological (body), emotional (feelings), and psychological (mind) being. You can always break through your plateau! Refer to these 5 tips when you hit the wall.

Medical Issues

Do you have a medical issue that resists weight loss? There are times when thyroid or hormonal problems, such as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), can be to blame. Some medications will also prevent weight loss. These issues need to be diagnosed and treated by your doctor.

Calories Expenditure

An important question to know the answer to is are you eating the right amount of calories and burning enough off?

Everyone has their individual formula for weight loss. Seek out a weight loss professional or personal trainer with a nutrition background who can assess your current eating and exercise status. There should be a balance between your energy intake and output.

For example, you might be taking in 1400 calories a day, but only burning 900 through your basal metabolic rate and exercise. It's scenarios like this that need to be analyzed.

In my experience, those that have the least to lose have a harder time losing weight. So if you’ve already reached a lower body fat level for your age, sex and height, then you have to work extra hard, especially when it comes to food quality, to lose the last few pounds.

Try keeping a journal to effectively monitor and evaluate your calories and food intake.

Your weight and diet history

Did you recently lose a lot of weight? If you started at a specific calorie level, let's say 1400 calories, lost 10+ pounds and are still eating the same amount of calories, you'll likely hit a plateau. Depending on how much weight you're losing every month you're calories should be reviewed and/or adjusted every month or so.

A general guideline would be to subtract 10 calories from your starting calorie intake for every pound of weight loss. That's assuming you've kept up the same exercise routine too.

So if you’ve already lost 20 pounds, then you should be eating 1,800 calories instead of 2,000 calories. Take note that individual calorie requirements differ, based on one’s fitness level, exercise types, weight, age and gender.

In addition to the amount of calories consumed, the type of calories consumed matters too.Stick to a balanced plan consisting of protein, whole grains, fat, fruits, and veggies to get the most important vitamins, minerals, and nutrients to improve your metabolism, increase energy level, have adequate recovery time, and function well during the day. If one of the food groups is missing, like carbohydrates, then your body's becomes inefficient and unregulated.

NOTE: If you're on a low-calorie or fad diet you're almost certain to hit a plateau. Because you cannot sustain a diet like that. These types of diets will also lead to muscle loss, slowing down of metabolism, and low energy throughout the day. It's what puts the "Yo-Yo" in diet!

Fitness Program

When I give a speech I tell a story of a guy I see at the gym. He's always on the same treadmill, in the same clothes, at the same time of day, and reading the same magazine. Everything about him, including his body, is the same!

Variety is a MUST to prevent and breakthrough plateaus.

To give you a little method behind our madness here at FT, we put clients in 1 of 4 zones, then 1 of 3 levels, then through 8 different phases. All the while changing exercise, reps, sets, rest times, etc...

That's A LOT of change!

This helps keep our clients engaged and having fun, as well as preventing any plateaus and creating muscle confusion. And this isn't just for weight training. It goes for cardio too. So walkers and joggers beware!

Stress and Emotions

How stressed are you? How much sleep do you get? Are you confused whether you're physically or emotionally tired? These are BIG reasons why you might have hit a plateau.

Rest and recovery are very important aspects to your diet and exercise program. If you’ve been exercising too much and eating right, but without enough recovery, then you will have a hard time adapting to your next training session. This would mean decline in performance and burnout.

If there is something going on in your life right now that needs to be resolved, then you should accept that things like this happen and should not pressure yourself about your weight loss. Maintaining your weight is already an accomplishment.

However, if you experience relapses, then you should think about resolving it. Sometimes adjusting your attitude or feelings toward something can be very beneficial for weight loss.

Next time you're stuck in a rut or think you've hit a plateau refer to these tips. Or call us! We're here to help. 

To your breakthrough!,

Tim Chudy
Fitness Together

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Surveys say men are better than women. Younger are better than older. How do YOU stack up?

Did you know the government gave us guidelines for physical activity? You can see the guidelines below. But first the results...

"The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) researchers have said that just over 20% of U.S. adults get as much aerobic and muscle-strengthening exercise as government guidelines recommended. Carmen Harris, MPH, and colleagues at the CDC found in data from a large Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey in 2011, with about 450,000 respondents, that only 20.6% of respondents indicated that their non-occupational physical activity reached levels recommended in the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans issued by the U.S.Department of Health and Human Services."

These findings are spot on with my "official" gym statistic that less than 20% of members use the gym on a regular basis.

But there is a silver lining. The survey shows half reported enough cardio exercise and about 30% reached the required amount of strength training.

Here are the guidelines:

Cardiovascular: at least 150 minutes per week at a moderate-intensity OR 75 minutes per week at a vigorous intensity.

Strength: at least 2 episodes of strength training per week.

Men were more likely than women to meet these goals. And the percentages also dropped with increasing age.

So how do YOU stack up to the guidelines?

Are you meeting them, below or above them?

- 119 -

That's the amount of hours you have in a given week (assuming you sleep 7 hours a night - which is pretty generous).

If you meet these exercise guidelines, you're spending 3% of your waking hours toward exercise. Add in a health magazine, eating some veggies, and taking the stairs and you'd be hard pressed to get up to 10% of your time toward your health.

It's not much.

So here's the loaded question... If you desire to lose weight, to get in shape, to just feel a little better, are you putting enough effort toward making that actually happen?

Only you can answer.

I could tell you if you're on track or not. But only you can answer it.

And only you can change it!

If you want to make a significant change in your health, your fitness, or your weight, I encourage you to do some math.

The government says you need about 3.5 hours of exercise every week. You have about 119 hours to work with. Find a way to make it happen. Certainly you can find some TV or other leisure activity to cut from your life. Or maybe even some sleep. I guess it all depends on what's really important to you.

To your success,

Tim Chudy
Fitness together

If you'd like to talk about how much and what type of exercise you should be doing to reach your goals, please give me a call, 314.909.9565. I'd love to help you. 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Problem With Fitness

Reuters published an article the other day on the problem facing older adults and exercise. It brings an important topic to light. (By the way, you'll see more and more articles, studies, surveys, etc... on baby boomers as there are more people age 50 and older than any other time in US history.)

The problem with fitness is it's not a one-size-fits-all endeavor. Put 5 people in line and I'll show you 5 very different fitness programs. And as those 5 people age, their programs differ even more.

This is why big box gyms do not work for most people. Just today my trainer (who used to work for a big box gym here in town) said he saw a ton of new people sign up, but always saw the same people come in. The crowd never changed. That's because 20% of gym members actually utilize their membership. And I'd venture to say 20% of the 20% know what to do and how to do it when they're there.

The gym is simply a holding place for a bunch of equipment. Yes, getting there is half the battle. But then what?

There are so many facets to a proper fitness program. Age, sex, height, weight, cardiovascular and muscular strength, gait, balance, range of motion, flexibility, mobility, and much, much more.

Just showing up for some pushups and treadmill time will put you on a quick path to nowhere.

Linda's Start

Linda is 54 years old and has plantar fasciitis along with some hip and back issues. It's  nothing that prevents her from exercise, but it does change the way we'll design her program.

We're still going to focus on progression. But she will move at pace that's suitable for her.

Customization is key. And it's why Dr. James Graves suggests in the article, "My recommendation is to work with a personal trainer or group leader..."

Hiring a professional saves time, and more importantly guarantees success.

Skip the wasted hours and failed attempts and call us today for help(314.909.9565). You'll receive a comprehensive health and fitness assessment, consultation, and fully customized program design and implementation. 

Linda wants to join a gym after she learns what to do and how to do it. And you know what? She'll be in the 20% of the 20% because she started out right. Learning from professionals. What to do and how to do it. You can bet she's already saved herself a lot of time, effort, and frustration.

To your fitness success,

Tim Chudy

P.S. Thick sweaters and fleece pants go back in the closet, and the sleeveless shirts, shorts, and swimsuits come out. Our Spring Slim Down starts next Monday, April 15th. Call me for details.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Baby Boomers Beware!!!

4 million people will turn 50 years old this year. That's about 1 every 8 seconds.

If you're in that group (plus or minus 10 years) you'll want to pay attention.

You may have the perception that a 50 year old today is much more able, healthy, vibrant, even younger, than the 50 year old of yesteryear. After all, 50 is the new 40 right?

But would you believe me if I said the 50 year old today is unhealthier than the 50 year old of 10 years ago?

A study released by the JAMA Internal Medicine shows just how unhealthy boomers are compared to the previous generation.

They compared those who were 46 to 64 years old between 1988 and 1994, and the baby boomers who were in the same age range between 2007 and 2010.

Here's what they found:

  • Obesity rose by 10%, from 29% to 39%
  • Diabetes rose 4%, from 12% to 16%
  • Boomers were more likely to have high cholesterol
  • Boomers were more likely to have blood pressure
  • Boomers were more likely to have exercise less
  • Twice as many walk with a cane or walker 

Dana King, the study's lead author was a little surprised. "I was surprised by the magnitude of the change. I suspected the current baby boomers would be not much healthier or maybe the same, but I didn't expect them to have such a big change in disability and obesity." 

Here's what's important... There's no question that life expectancy has risen. But it's a quality problem. Not quantity. There's nothing appealing about living longer with poor health. Quality of life is what really matters.

You don't want to live the last 15 years of your life in poor health do you?

Of course not!

According to this study, the majority of boomers will. Because this study tells us boomers sit more and exercise less.

And the worst part... it's totally preventable.

So the takeaway is to get moving. Now. And I don't mean walking the dog. Ask any one of our clients if a hike, bike ride, or walk with friends is the same as a real workout and you'll get a quick and definitive "No".

If you need help improving your cardiovascular fitness, strength, dropping weight... improving the quality of your life... then call me today to discuss our Discovery Session (314.909.9565). It's never too late to start. But you must start now.

In health,

Tim Chudy
Fitness Together

P.S. There were some marked improvements for boomers. But a lower rate of emphysema just tells me smoking and nicotine education is finally setting in. The facts tell us boomers are overweight and out of shape. If you fall into this group call me today.

P.P.S. Continue 'as is' and the statistic will change to ...a boomer dies every 8 seconds. Do something about that and prevent it NOW.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

January 15th... a significant day

Today is January 14th. Just about half way through the month. They say it's the day to determine whether or not you'll stick with your New Year's resolution.

Are you still following the diet? Have you stuck to your new budget? Are you still going to the gym?

If yes, then bravo!

If no, there's one thing you need to do IMMEDIATELY before you chalk up a failed resolution.

It's not something you have to buy. You don't have to follow any instructions. It's very simple really.


You must focus your time and energy toward your resolution.

There are 10,080 minutes in a week. Take out a 7 hour slumber and you're left with 7,140 minutes. Then subtract a 50-hour work week, maybe more maybe less, and you're left with 480 extra minutes a day.

If you workout for 45 minutes that's less than 10% of your free minutes. And that's not taking into account the days you don't exercise. Not much when you look at it that way, huh?

How much are you focusing?

Sure, there's other little stuff in there; getting your gym bag ready, warm-up... but ask yourself...

What amount of focus will help me achieve my goal?

Is what I'm giving it now enough?

Maybe you just need to tape a Nike running ad to your fridge to remind and motivate you of your workouts. Maybe you need to enlist the help of a friend or coach.

Whatever it is find out what will help you increase your focus. Do this and you'll surely succeed this year.

To a successful 2013,

Tim Chudy
Fitness Together

P.S. If you tried joining a gym and found out you need more help, please call me, 314.909.9565. Regardless of your situation I know we can help. Give me a chance to prove it to you.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

SERIOUS Weight Loss Warning Released Today

A study released today contains a serious warning with it:

"Severe toxicity" to your internal organs.

Sounds terrible doesn't it

The study warned of kidney, liver, and other organ damage from
the most popular weight loss drugs on the market.

Orlistat, called Xenical in prescription and Alli in over-the-counter drugs, can cause "severe toxicity" of your internal organs.

A study funded by the National Institutes of Health worried respected pharmacologist, Bingfan Yan, enough to report the findings immediately to the FDA which approved the drug in 1999.

As if organ damage wasn't bad enough, they also found Orlistat's metabolic actions can reduce the effectiveness of many medications. They even reported cancer cells multiplied faster on the medication.

The FDA warned of liver toxicity for Xenical and Alli in 2010, but glossed over the seriousness of it.

This is another case on our continued search for a magic little pill. But this situation begs the question...

Is it worth it?

Believe you me, I know the importance of losing weight. I know what looking good and feeling good can do for you. I know what that can do for your mind, for your health, and your overall outlook on life.

I know it's important.

But at what cost?

Believe it or not, I realize that exercising and sticking to a diet is not easy or much fun. I realize that you have to sacrifice some of your time and pass on some really good foods. But the only side effects to diet and exercise are burning body fat, improving your health, and feeling good about yourself (among a myriad of others).

No liver toxicity. No internal bleeding. No complications with medications.

None of that.

But regardless of those facts, we will continue to search for that elusive, magic little pill. My hope is you end your search quickly and realize the only little pill that truly works is diet and exercise

To your health,

Tim Chudy
Fitness Together

P.S. You should really check out the "pill" our clients are popping. You can see the list of side effects they're experiencing too.