There is a continuous debate as to the fat burning effects of strength training versus a Cardio rich workout and some studies may be changing the general perspective. Picking up a set of dumbbells doesn’t have to mean you are in the gym to “bulk up” or aim for the infamous Arnold Schwarzenegger physique. If you rely solely on cardio as your workout of choice, it might be worth considering mixing it up as there are some great benefits to adding some weight training to your workouts.

In actuality, you need to use both techniques for the most effective caloric burn. The great thing about cardio is that it is continuous repetition, at an increased heart rate, with a high percentage of Oxygen intake. Strength training, on the other hand, requires bursts of energy for short periods of time with rest in between exercises. According to the Washington Post and Miriam Nelson, author of “Strong Women Stay Slim” and director of the John Hancock Center for Physical Activity and Nutrition at Tufts University. “You are probably burning more calories when you are actually moving a heavy weight than when you are doing aerobic exercise. But you are taking breaks, so over 30 minutes the actual number of calories burned doing strength training will be less.”

Another key attribute to strength training is that your muscles require rest for recovery. To put it shortly, if you want bigger biceps, doing curls everyday could actually have a negative effect. In strength training, the muscle fibers go through small tears and then are rebuilt. Proper nutrition and hydration can aid immensely in this recovery process. According to the Post, ‘Lance Berger, head trainer at Mint Fitness in Northwest Washington, he would recommend “circuit-style strength training” because it keeps the heart rate elevated, increases caloric after-burn and builds muscle. The exercises can be all strength exercises (switching muscle groups from chest to back or arms to legs) or a combination of strength and cardio exercises (a set of pull-downs followed by a lap around the track or three minutes on a bike).’ Calorie after-burn is your body’s ability to continue to burn calories long after your workout. Exercise scientists call this “excess post-exercise oxygen consumption,” or EPOC. Studies vary as to the length of this process but it could continue in excess of 36 hours. One of the great benefits of strength training is that it seems to push this a little longer than that of a constant cardio workout.

Burning calories is part of the weight loss equation but monitoring calorie intake is a crucial step as well. Have you ever gone for a long swim or run and finished incredibly hungry? The body responds to calorie output with the desire for replenishing the expensed nutrients. Making sure you are managing a proper amount of caloric intake is crucial any exercise program. As with any exercise program, it is important to consult your physician to determine the best methods to reach your goals. A nutritionist can be a great resource in helping you to structure a reasonable diet. We are here to help as well.

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A month ago we had a blog discussion pertaining to kids nutrition and I feel it is worth re-addressing. This article has some great ideas and techniques to aid in the health of today’s youth and for very good reason. Personally, I greatly underestimated the severity of our current situation with the health of Americans of all ages.

There is a new TV show called Food Revolution with chef Jamie Oliver where Oliver looks to help change the food distributed at local schools and promote kids to take an initiative in the quality of their own diets. If you have not seen the show, I would highly recommend it. He has a unique approach which seems quite effective.

On Oliver’s website, he offers some facts and figures about the current health issues facing America, which you can find here.

A couple of the facts that stood out to me include:

– “Obesity, and with it diabetes, are the only major health problems that are getting worse in this country, and they’re getting worse rapidly”
CDC Director Thomas Frieden, told the Weight of the Nation Conference in July 2009.

– After smoking, obesity is America’s biggest cause of premature death

– Today’s generation of children are predicted to be the first which will die at a younger age than their parents due to obesity-related bad health.

-8% of the population, 24 million people, in the US have diabetes (of which more than 90% is type 2).

-Type 2 diabetes is the problem. It used to be an adult disease, appearing over age 40, but it is increasingly being found in teenagers, even children as young as eight.

SCHOOL LUNCHES

I distinctly remember my personal experience of school lunches full of french fries, chicken rings and nuggets, nutty bars, and 50 cent sodas. How about 50 cents for a corn dog or three dollars for the salad bar? Little did I know that in fact these foods were not the healthiest options. Apparently I was not alone. According to Oliver, ”
31 million American children eat lunch at school, funded through USDA’s Child Nutrition Program. It was set up after the war to feed hungry children and deal with surplus agricultural commodities.” Now this all seems well and good but what happens when the food quality drops as the cost increases for healthier alternatives.

“The School Nutrition Association estimates it costs more like $3 to produce lunch – still cheaper than a cappuccino at Starbucks – but schools have to find the extra money, and often it comes from the sale of nutritionally poor foods sold through vending machines and snack lines. ”

I challenge you to consider what your kids are eating and what you can do to help prepare them for a healthier future. There are many examples of alternatives to “cheese zombies” and Chef by Request is only one of these options. Here are a few additional ideas- Healthy tips for kids nutrition If you yourself, or someone you know, has diabetes we have programs in place that can help. Check out the Chef By Request website for more information on availability and pricing.

If you are interested in the health profile of your community, check out the USDA’s Food Atlas website

I would love your feedback and further ideas on how to help kids, or adults, pay attention to their nutrition and diet.

-Karl Norelius