Thursday, May 29, 2008

Do you know what's in that?

It’s Wednesday evening. You just got home from work, there’s nothing to eat in the house and the kids are starting to complain because they’re hungry. Not to mention you yourself have not eaten since the handful of almonds you scarfed down before your meeting.

So out to dinner you go. Kids in the car and off to…Applebee’s, Mexican, MickyD’s, or another similar spot.

Sound familiar?

Of course it does. In our fast paced world, eating out is a fact of life. It’s quick, easy, and tastes good.

Well, the unfortunate part is staying on your nutrition plan while eating out. Yes, I know you might order the chicken salad, or the grilled chicken and veggie entrĂ©e, but even if you do, you’re not necessarily in the clear.

A study done at the University of Arkansas looked at how accurately consumers estimated the calories, fat, and other nutrient levels in foods they ordered. What they found was that most people underestimated the levels of calories, fat, saturated fat, and sodium in menu items. In fact, the items ordered had two times more than what the person thought!

Hmmmm. Interesting.

But there’s more…

A Scripps Television investigation ordered food from chain restaurants in 8 different cities around the country. What they found was shocking. And it fired me up! It’s disappointing, and flat out deceptive.

When the food was examined they found it to contain DOUBLE the calories and fat that the menu item was labeled for. For instance, Macaroni Grill’s Pollo Margo Skinny Chicken is listed as having 500 calories and 6 grams of fat. The test showed it having 1,022 calories and 49 grams of fat!!! Chili’s ‘Guiltless Grill’ Salmon listed as having 14 grams of fat, but revealed 35 fat laden grams of fat! Can you believe that? And the list went on.

And it gets worse.

Macaroni Grill apologized for the incorrect information. Gee, thanks a lot. The spokesman went on to say, "On occasion, in restaurant preparation, portion size variances and guest customization of menu items can impact nutritional content. To the extent that any of the items were not prepared to our exacting standards, we apologize to our valued guests."
“Impact nutritional content” by 500 calories and 40 grams of fat?! I don’t think so. Unless you’re drizzling lard on your food nothing should impact it that much.

That’s deceptive and they’re misleading us to believe we can eat healthier so they can line their pockets with more money.

Macaroni Grill's parent company, Brinker International, which also owns Chili's and On the Border, uses independent labs to test nutritional content. I’d venture to say their other restaurants aren’t too far off.

You can read the full article here.

So once your blood pressure returns to normal after reading this, what can YOU do to avoid the lies and deception of restaurant food? Here are 3 tips I suggest you start practicing immediately. You can also call our studio to set up a nutrition consultation and find out the good, bad, and ugly of your diet and how to fix it.

1. Order smart. Order all of your dressings and sauces on the side. Use them sparingly. Eighty six the fattening stuff like butter, cheese, and fried foods.

2. Practice portion control. The normal menu item is 2 -3 times what a serving actually is. Stuff like pastas, breads, meat, and main entrees should be cut in half. Apryl, our FT Ladue Manager, always gives the tip to get a To Go box right when they bring your food out. This way you can immediately put half of it away so you don’t mindlessly eat the entire portion. And, now there is such a thing as free lunch!:)

3. Don’t eat out! (as much). I’m a realist and know that everyone eats out. Unless you have all the time in the world to cook and prepare your meals and you never travel and socialize, you will eat out. But you don’t have to do it every other night. Limit your restaurant trips to twice a week. If you know you’re going out with friends on the weekend, prepare your menus for the week and don’t get caught stranded during the week.

Follow these tips to keep yourself on track toward your health, fitness, and weight loss goals. But remember, you must use caution when you’re not preparing the food yourself.

To your success,


P.S I have an idea on my ‘list’ (but it’s waaaay at the bottom) that would help people make the right choices at specific restaurants in the St. Louis area. And no, Ted Drewe’s is not on the list:) If you would like to know good choices vs. bad choices, or just some general help and guidelines with eating out, post a comment or email me. If I get enough response I might move my idea up on the list to help you!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Finally...they 'get it'

For years I've been touting how using weight and BMI (body mass index) which is calculated by using a person's height and weight, are the WRONG indicators to measure someone’s health and fitness.

Measuring someone's body fat percentage is the RIGHT way and the BEST indicator for health and fitness.

A recent survey by the Mayo Clinic discovered that a majority of Americans that are of normal weight actually have a high body fat percentage. (Up to 20% for men and 30% for women)
And believe it or not, they’ve actually named this new ‘phenomenon’! It’s now called Normal Weight Obesity. Can you believe it! I can’t.

The statistics on overweight and obesity in our country are alarming. And they continue to rise. But now we have ‘normal weight’ obesity.

I will tell you at first read I was a little fired up. But after thinking about it and letting it soak for a bit, I’m actually ok with the new name. Here’s why...

Let’s pretend you’re of normal weight. Maybe you have some extra weight, maybe you don’t. But for argument’s sake, let’s say you're in a normal range.

After a trip to the doc’s office, looking at your charts he says to you, "You’re in pretty good health, but since your last visit you now fall under the obese category." "What? I’m not fat! That can't be right."

If that would motivate you into incorporating exercise into your daily schedule and motivate you to begin eating a healthy and more balanced diet, then I’m all for it. And kudos to your doc!
But if this is another way to add on ‘problems’ and adjust the categories to push more pills, then it’s flat out wrong. (I believe it’s the former.)

But let this be a warning to you. If you think you’re within a normal weight range, then yes, you might be. But it is body fat that is most important. Getting this measured is vital to help you determine just how healthy, or unhealthy, you are. If you would like to receive a complimentary body fat test please call me or email me to set up a time to do so. It only takes a few minutes and is easy to do. It’s far from embarrassing, and most importantly will help shed some light on where you stand with your TRUE health and fitness.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Are Wii getting fit or not?

I was getting ready to post a blog on body fat and BMI when another day of constant Wii Fit headlines came to my inbox. If you're not familiar with Wii Fit, it's Nintendo's new fitness game. As far away from gaming that one could be, I thought I'd still give you my two cents on it. But keep in mind, I have not actually used this. I don't see myself playing it anytime soon either. I just never got into the gaming thing. I was too busy being the Ozzie Smith and Michael Jordan of my neighborhood! But if you have kids, you might be hearing about it if you haven't already.

Let me first start by quoting Dr. Judith S. Stern, professor of Nutrition and Internal Medicine at the University of California, "My understanding is that Nintendo is saying that if you track BMI, and by using this program, that you'll improve your BMI, or lower your BMI. I say baloney to that. In fact, I'm sure you'll see very little change in BMI. It's not just BMI you want to look at, but how fat you are. When you are physically fit, you tend to replace fat with muscle, and your BMI probably won't change...I really think it's false and misleading."

Oh Baby!! Wii are on the same page. What's more interesting is that before seeing headline after headline of Wii Fit, I was going to post an article about the differences of BMI and body fat percentage. A new study by the Mayo Clinic has shed some light on what I've been talking about for years...body fat is more important than BMI! I'll post that over the weekend for you to see. But back to what Wii were talking about.

Wii Fit includes a balance board and software for about 90 bucks. When you begin, it takes your weight and gives you your BMI and then scores a balance test to give you a Wii Fit age. One personal trainer in his 20's was aged at 39. What does that mean? Most of our FT clients are between 35 and 65. I can easily point to them and argue that they are more fit than a LOT of people in their 20's. And then of course giving BMI vs. any other measurement. What about cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength, flexibility or body circumferences?

Once you get started, you can do yoga, strength training, aerobics, and balance games. One thing to keep in mind is that if this is getting people off the couch, I'd venture to say that they are not exercise savvy. This means that their form could be far from correct and the risk of injury is higher than normal. For example, it would be easy to cheat on lunges or pushups and risk injury or not maximizing the exercise.

But those that tested the Wii said the yoga was "pretty cool" and the hula hoop was "fun, and a good way to get your heart rate up". Another commented on the other games like soccer and skiing “It’s really fun — the games are the best part of this thing!”

The bottom line: Wii Fit is a fun way to get some activity, but I don't foresee this taking the place of gym memberships or personal trainers. People buy and play video games for fun. And that's the way it will remain. Of course, the first Wii Fit success story will make me eat those words!

To your health,


P.S. I'll post my article on the Mayo Clinic study this weekend. If you don't know your bodyfat, you'll definitely want to read it. I've got a little bit of work on Saturday and then some good 'ol R&R. I hope you have a safe, fun, and enjoyable holiday weekend!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

3 Tips For More Energy

The past few weeks have really seemed dreary don’t you think? We’ve had an occasional day of sunlight, but a heck of a lot more rain and gloom. It’s tempting to curl up in a ball and go back to bed. But instead, I thought I’d give you 3 tips for more energy.

Everywhere you go people are looking for 'energy'. You’ve heard and seen all the ‘Hi Energy’ stuff out there.

But where should you go for your energy fix? And is it really a fix at all? Or just a remedy that leads to an inevitable crash and burn?

In reality, the "energy" we're chasing is simply mental alertness.

And it's no secret that coffee, energy drinks and cigarettes contain drugs that stimulate your brain, giving you the mental alertness we often mistakenly call 'energy'.

If you are searching for a better way of living, a life that doesn't depend on chemicals - literally, drugs! - to keep you awake and motivated, if you are tired of being tired, then being jacked up, and then being tired again, then set the coffee cup down, step away from the supersized Diet Cokes, and turn to a more natural solution.

There are better, healthier ways to achieve higher levels of physical and mental energy.

Here are 3 ways to gain more energy, naturally.

1) Exercise

It doesn't matter what time you exercise, just be consistent with your efforts. Just pick a time that
fits with your schedule and personality. If you have to do it first thing when you wake up, just do it. Don't even let yourself think about it. Just get started.

A lot of people think too much about their plan. They want to have everything perfect before they begin working out.

Focus on intense strength training for 30-40 minutes followed by a brief cardio interval training session to boost your metabolism all day long.

Exercise is like a drug. Like caffeine and nicotine, exercise causes the release of many 'good for you' chemicals into your blood stream, resulting in mental stimulation and an improved sense of overall well- being. Exercise just makes you feel awesome.

2) Eat smaller, more frequent meals

Skip the cycle of starving and overeating characterized by no breakfast, a high-carbohydrate lunch, and a huge dinner. Instead, eat a supportive breakfast and then continue to eat supportively every 3 hours for the rest of the day.

Research shows that a high-fiber, high-protein breakfast helps control appetite and increases mental alertness all day, and improves your ability to process information.

Don't skip breakfast and rely on a coffee to get you through the day. Got no time? C'mon! You're an adult, you can get up 10 minutes earlier to have a protein shake, some almonds, and an apple. You're not in high school anymore. No excuses!

3) Eat only whole, natural foods, such as fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, raw nuts, Green Tea, water

Trying to survive on processed foods is a recipe for an energetic disaster. Stick to whole, natural foods during the day, snacking rather than eating huge meals and you'll never feel like dozing off again.

If a food is from a bag or a box, it doesn't deserve a place in a supportive nutrition plan. Try to avoid all added sugars.

Bonus Tip:

Take 2-minute breaks during the day to perform some light stretching or deep breathing.

Sitting at a computer all day zap our 'energy'. From poor posture, to eye-strain from computer screens, your office, cubicle, and car seat definitely sucks the life out of you.

Daily exercise breaks are essential to not only boost energy, but mobility. Each day, as your slump over your computer, your upper body becomes rounded forward and tense. You need to reverse that movement by incorporating some light shoulder and chest stretches.

In addition, get outside into natural light whenever possible.

For a complete exercise and nutrition plan to help you burn fat, sculpt your body, and give you all-day energy, you can get started with our Fitness Together Body Back Program!

To find out how you can increase your energy and mental alertness request a complimentary personal training consultation today.

Follow my complete system and you will successfully guide yourself to the fat loss you deserve and desire.

Have a fit day,


Monday, May 12, 2008


Hi and welcome to the Fitness Together Blog!

Never in a million years would I have thought to be blogging. But I'm trying to keep with the times:) Our job is to provide you with the BEST health, fitness, and nutrition coaching, tools, and resources. This is just another vehicle to get it to you. And if you're not on the FT bus, request your free no risk consultation here.

We also have a new main website. If you haven't stumbled across it, check it out at You'll find some great info available to you and all of our contact info.

Make sure to bookmark this site. I'll be posting periodically and even invite some exciting guest posts!! In the meantime, say hello and post your comments.

Talk to you soon,