Give Yourself the Gift of Good Health"
Good health from a bottle sounds really nice, doesn't it? Might be why the supplement industry in the U.S. is worth billions! As a personal trainer/habits coach, I am occasionally asked about supplementation. It’s my job to provide information, not prescribe or sell you supplements. Especially in the midst of a pandemic. It’s not surprising that one response to the COVID-19 Pandemic is a further increase in the use of supplements, including those viewed as immune support such as vitamins C and D and Zinc. Despite their popularity, current research results are mixed. Both Vitamin C and Zinc supplementation have been shown to potentially shorten the duration of a common cold. Vitamin D deficiency may be linked to developing more severe illness. However, as of now, research doesn’t suggest that these supplements will make you cold, flu, or COVID-proof. Of course, you need sufficient vitamin C and D and zinc in your body but does that warrant supplementation? That depends on your diet and habits.
Supplements are considered any product intended to add one or more ingredients to your diet including vitamins, minerals, herbs/botanicals, amino acids, or other substances. Many of us have been taking supplements since childhood. Growing up in the 1980s, I gladly took my chewable Flintstones multivitamin daily. Interestingly, despite their common usage over so many years, the jury is out on how much multivitamins actually help us to stay healthy. Studies published in 2013 in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, found that “multivitamin and mineral supplements didn’t work any better than placebo” in relation to health improvements related to certain health conditions such as cardiovascular disease.
In 2019, results of a CRN (Council for Responsible Nutrition) Consumer Survey on Dietary Supplements found the highest overall dietary supplement usage to date, with 77 percent of Americans reporting they use dietary supplements. The most common supplements being used included multivitamins, individual vitamins such as C, D and E, minerals like calcium, magnesium, and iron, protein supplements, omega-3 fatty acids, probiotics, and turmeric.
With so many people using them, they have to be safe and effective, right?
Let’s talk about breakfast! I’ve always been a big fan. Although in my youth, I didn’t care too much about WHAT I ate, just that I ate SOMETHING. In my teens and early 20s, my first meal of the day was often soda and a pastry or sugary cereal. At the time, I never understood why I would get so incredibly hungry hours before lunchtime. Now I know better! I eat a balanced breakfast most days (a meal or super shake that includes protein, fats, carbs, and fiber). I purposefully skip breakfast a couple of days per week and occasionally I eat a not-so-balanced breakfast and enjoy the heck out of it! While my days of pop tarts and soda are LONG gone, a cupcake and coffee are definitely not out the question every once in a while.
We’ve all grown up hearing that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Lately, we are hearing that maybe it’s not. Currently, research studies offer conflicting information. I’m not gonna hash out the pros and cons according to the scientific literature here because, as is so often the case, “it depends.”
So, do you need to eat it? What should you eat? If you don’t feel like it, can you skip it? Should everyone skip it (or do intermittent fasting)?
The plank is a staple when it comes to core stability training. Variations of the plank are often found in "beginner" to "advanced" programs. What if you can't do them without pain afterwards? Examine your form. Here are three common areas that may need to be modified to make your plank strong, effective and pain-free.
Many of us are looking forward to getting back into the fitness studio or gym. However, even when these places resume business, it won’t look quite the same. Like it or not, exercise-at-home may remain your main option for a while as we deal with the Coronavirus pandemic. I’m hearing from many that you do not enjoy exercising at home. It may be that you don’t have adequate space or equipment. Or that you don't feel motivated without the group fitness atmosphere or a trainer there with you in-person. However, if you want to maintain or improve your fitness level and receive all the wonderful benefits of exercise, you can find ways around these barriers if you are willing to experiment. At-home exercise may not be your favorite but it can be effective and surprisingly satisfying!