Go Take a Hike!!! By Quinn McAdams

One of the hardest parts of staying active is finding exercise that is enjoyable, stimulating, and not repetitive. Going to the gym so often can begin to blend into a mundane routine. You should always try to mix in different types of workouts with different types of scenery in order to keep your mind and body guessing. With the fall colors fully in bloom, today is the day to consider shaking up your workout and taking it into the great outdoors.

Hiking is an amazing way to get a full body workout as well as a way to get your entire family involved in exercise and bonding. My family in particular absolutely loves getting out and braving a mountain. It will help your children to develop a love for nature and in turn a love for physical activity. Hiking is a sport that requires some essential gear and pre-planning. These are important both for your comfort and your safety. The following is a list of what every hiker should bring, even on short family hikes.

Backpack – A sturdy backpack that is the correct size for your body and sits comfortably on you is a definite need. You want this backpack to be large enough for both longer hikes and shorter hikes so size and capacity is definitely important.
Pro-tip – For a recent anniversary, my husband bought me an awesome picnic backpack from an anniversary gift-giving page. For our family hikes I can now carry the picnic backpack, which yields all the essentials for a great picnic on top of the mountain, and my husband can carry our large hiking bag that contains most of our gear.

Food and Water – A water bottle and a filter is necessary in order to stay hydrated. You never know how much a hike is going to take out of you until you get going. You can fill the bottle before you leave, and if you need to refill it somewhere on the trail then the filter comes in handy. Dehydration can occur quickly, so do not take chances. There are no guarantees on any trail of a clean water source. For food make sure to bring healthy, high-energy options that don’t go bad too quickly.

First Aid Kit – Band-Aids, antibiotic cream and tweezers for the removal of stingers or thorns are essentials in a first aid kit that you can bring while hiking. Also, be sure to include any prescription medication, allergy medicine and inhalers if anyone in your group requires them.

Flashlight – Remember, darkness falls faster when you are in thick woods. A little reassurance from your light will make the trip back easier and more enjoyable. Make sure to also check your flashlights batteries and if going on a longer hike I would suggest changing those batteries before heading out.

Hiking Boots – A sturdy pair of well-fitting hiking boots is something that is not an absolute necessity, but they are very helpful for sure-footed climbing and walking. Hiking boots will give you more stability and provide support for your ankles. You should be certain they are comfortable and fit well to avoid any blisters.

Sun Protection – Sun protection includes sunglasses, hats and a good sunscreen. They are important for both safety and comfort. Even when there is cloud coverage the sun’s powerful UV rays will be able to hit your skin.

Weather Appropriate Clothing – If it is cold starting out, layer and remove as the day warms up. If it is warm in the morning, do not assume it will stay that way. Bring clothing you can add on if the temperature drops. A rain jacket, change of socks and gloves are also smart to pack.

Discover the full-body workout that will let you enjoy the sweet smells and sights of nature. Bird watch, collect leaves, take pictures and have fun. Once you discover the enjoyment to be found on a hike you will be hooked.

Winter Hydration

By Lori Pine
Love this article by Lori Pine, it’s so easy to forget to drink up in the cooler months, this is a good reminder!

Dehydration, the loss of body water, is not a summer problem. We can become dehydrated even as the thermometer drops. When the weather is cold people don’t drink as much because they don’t feel thirsty.
As the air becomes cooler during Fall and Winter months many including athletes fail to be aware of the water loss that still occurs despite the cool air, rain, and snow. Outdoor athletes will wear more clothing to keep warm, and this adds to increased fluid loss. Our bodies work harder under the extra weight of extra clothing. Even the suits many athletes wear retain body heat. They sweat and lose fluid before ever feeling thirsty because sweat evaporates quickly in cold, dry air.
Why do we need to drink water? It is necessary for life! Babies’ bodies are approximately 78% water, toddlers 65%, men 60%, and women 55%. Blood is mostly water, and your muscles, lungs, and brain all contain a large amount of water. Water provides the means for nutrients to travel to all your organs, transports oxygen to your cells, removes waste, and protects your joints and organs. If there is not enough fluid left in your system after digestion, the shortage of fluid for your muscles will lead to muscle aches, pains, and cramping.
Your body sweats to get rid of excess heat, and as the sweat evaporates you cool off. Exercise will increase your core body temperature, and fluids help keep the temperature from reaching dangerous levels. When we lose body water, our heart also has to work harder

If you wait to drink until you feel thirsty you are already a quart low which for an athlete may mean up to a 15% decline in maximal performance capacity. Stay at 95-100% hydration all the time.
To prevent dehydration, drink a glass of water each hour. An easy way to accomplish drinking half of your weight in ounces of water each day is to drink an 8- or a 10-ounce glass each hour on the hour. Drink until your urine is clear to pale yellow.
Though the amount of water you need may depend on your age, gender, level of physical activity, altitude and climate, an easy method with which experts agree is that the amount of water one needs for health and ideal weight is half of one’s weight in ounces of water each day.
Body weight (in pounds) / 2 = Daily Fluid Needs in Ounces
Hydrate before you exercise. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that athletes drink 16-ounces of non-carbonated and non-caffeinated fluids prior to exercise. Sipping on a sports drink containing sodium for the last hour prior to the event will help increase absorption of the water into your cells, and also prevent muscle cramps. In extreme cold, try hot chocolate to warm up your core.
Don’t neglect electrolytes when training/or racing longer than an hour. You will need electrolyte replacement in addition to fluid replacement. The five most important electrolytes to consider include sodium, chloride, potassium, magnesium, and calcium.
Hydration within 45 minutes of endurance training or event is essential to aid recovery. Fluids along with protein and carbohydrates soon after an endurance event will help repair and rebuild damaged tissue. A sports recovery drink with carbohydrates and electrolytes is recommended. Whole, nonfat or chocolate milk is also an excellent recovery drink and source of hydration because it is composed of 87% water and 13% solids. Milk is an excellent source of calcium, protein, carbohydrates and Vitamin D, contains the right percentage of potassium and sodium, and helps maintain ideal electrolyte balances.
As you pull out your skis, jump on the bobsled, or go for a cold weather run be aware and maintain proper hydration for better performance and recovery. Grab your water or sports drink even if you don’t feel thirsty, and DRINK UP !

Beyond Prednisone

If you read my blog Prednisone Chronicles you would know that in 1999 I was diagnosed with the rare autoimmune disease Polymyositis, an inflammatory condition that affects the muscles and leaves you exhausted and weak with severe muscle pain. Essentially the immune system attacks the muscle cells and kills them and at the same time leaks high levels of protein into the blood. The disease is diagnosed through blood tests and a muscle biopsy. At that time I was put on a huge cocktail of medications including a high dose of Prednisone.

Over the years I struggled as much with the disease as I did from the side effects of the medications. My Prednisone dose would go from between 40mg to around 20mg. The other medications left me feeling tired, sick and dizzy. But I continued to approach it from the Western medical approach.

A couple of years ago I got fed up and started looking for better alternatives, acupuncture, Chinese herbs and diet. I went to an integrative nutritionist who put me on a gluten free diet. Initially I was pretty slack at following directions but did my best. I went back to my doctor with some blood test results and was pleasantly surprised to find that my CPK (an inflammation marker in the blood) had dropped from over 900 (70-130 is normal), to around 400.

Feeling excited by the results I then committed further to a dietary intervention, I cut all dairy products from my diet…No easy feat, I’m a die-hard yogurt, cheese and milk fan. Within the first three weeks my bloating, gas and indigestion disappeared. My skin stopped breaking out (love this!!!) and I stopped having a perpetual runny nose and clearing my throat. I stopped dairy for 6 weeks and had decided that if I didn’t see a change in my inflammation levels I would go back to eating it…you would think that the lack of acne, gas and endless snot would be enough, but no, I was missing my yogurt and my cream in my coffee!

I went back to the doctor to get my test results and low and behold my CPK levels were 160!!!! Holy McRoly! I couldn’t believe it, I knew I was feeling better, that when I got out of bed in the morning I was no longer in agony but this amazed me! Feeling encouraged I added in a high dose of Omega 3’s and found that my eyes were no longer dry and my hair was getting thick again, NICE!

I had always been skeptical of fad diets and the gluten free craze actually annoys me, but having seen such incredible results I’m now a convert!

Marathon Training Tips for the College Student

By Paige Calahan

Training for a marathon while in college is a great way to stay in shape — and it could actually help your studies. Penn State University has reported that student athletes had about an 88 percent graduation success rate as compared to 80 percent rate for non-athletes.

Running a marathon also puts a college student into an elite group. Runner’s World magazine reports that only 0.5 percent of Americans will ever aspire to tackle a marathon in their lifetime. Graduate successfully and aspire big by experiencing a marathon in college and training for the event with these pointers.

1. Know Your Limits

Make sure you’ll be able to balance the rigors of marathon training with your school commitments. You’ll need at least 16 weeks of training time to get into marathon shape, and you’ll have to devote 10 to 20 hours per week to training. Be aware that marathon training puts you at a much higher risk for injury than casual jogs. Exercise physiologist Jake Emmett, PhD. says that marathon-level running can significantly stress your endocrine, cardiorespiratory and neuromuscular systems. Running in extreme weather conditions can put you at risk for hypothermia, hyperthermia and/or hyponatremia. Be sure to consult with your doctor before starting any training program.

2. Plan Your Training Schedule

While planning runs around classes and a study schedule, keep in mind that an ideal marathon training schedule looks something like this:

  • Week 1: Total Mileage = 20 – 40 miles; Longest Run = 6 – 8 miles
  • Week 2: Total Mileage = 30 – 50 miles; Longest Run = 10 – 13 miles
  • Week 3: Total Mileage = 50 – 60 miles; Longest Run = 14 – 16 miles
  • Week 4: Total Mileage = 50 – 65 miles; Longest Run = 17 – 20 miles
  • Week 5: Total Mileage = 45 – 65 miles; Longest Run = 15 – 18 miles
  • Week 6: Total Mileage = 35 – 55 miles; Longest Run = 13 – 16 miles
  • Week 7: Total Mileage = 50 – 65 miles; Longest Run = 18 – 21 miles
  • Week 8: Total Mileage = 40 – 55 miles; Longest Run = 10 – 13 miles
  • Week 9: Total Mileage = 45 – 60 miles; Longest Run = 18 – 20 miles
  • Week 10: Total Mileage = 45 – 60 miles; Longest Run = 16 – 18 miles
  • Week 11: Total Mileage = 45 – 60 miles; Longest Run = 12 – 14 miles
  • Week 12: Total Mileage = 45 – 60 miles; Longest Run = 15 – 18 miles
  • Week 13: Total Mileage = 40 – 55 miles; Longest Run = 12 – 14 miles
  • Week 14: Total Mileage = 45 – 60 miles; Longest Run = 15 – 17 miles
  • Week 15: Total Mileage = 40 – 55 miles; Longest Run = 14 – 16 miles
  • Week 16: Total Mileage = 40 – 50 miles; Longest Run = 12 – 14 miles

3. Watch Out for “the Wall”

Many runners hit a “wall” of fatigue at around the 20 mile mark of the 26.2 mile marathon race. Bear this in mind during your training and aim past it. Your body can only store so much glycogen, the primary fuel during long runs. Consuming small amounts of carbohydrates during your run can help prevent the dreaded wall. Tuck some energy chews, an energy bar or a few pouches of nutrient-packed baby food in your pocket or water belt. Aim for 50 to 60 grams of carbs per hour during the marathon. Also, choose your motive for training and always keep it mind. Whether your goal is to meet a personal challenge, lose weight, inspire others, or raise money for a cause, this motivating force can be what sees you though those training lulls, leg cramps, nasty weather, or “the wall.”

4. Practice Nutrition

Fuel up properly while training and right before the race. A balance of lean proteins, plenty of vegetables, fiber, and fruit will fuel a healthy lifestyle. Avoid excess sugars, alcohol and caffeine. Before a race or during a long training run, light and easily digestible carbohydrates are the way to go. Avoid milk, dairy or any foods that make you prone to stomach cramps. Before a long run, indulge on the following superfoods:

  • Bread
  • Oatmeal
  • Honey
  • Quinoa
  • Light pasta salad

5. Consider Online Classes

Schools like Penn Foster offer alternative education with extremely flexible schedules for students who want to earn trade degrees, certificates or their high school diploma. This type of flexibility helps while trying to balance your training and coursework. Check into online schools that offer online classes for degree and certificate programs in a number of areas, including medical and health careers, veterinary studies, construction and maintenance, and education and childcare.

6. Proper Footwear

Lastly, don’t underestimate the importance of good running shoes that:

  • Match your foot shape/type
  • Provide spring and rebounding energy
  • Are flexible and lightweight

Go to a specialist shoe store to find the best ones for you. Proper footwear can make all the difference in your journey as a student marathoner, reducing the likelihood of injury and helping to make the experience the very best it can be.


Challeng Yourself to Stay Fit While Traveling by Mike Manning

Challenge Yourself to Stay Fit While Traveling


You’ve been working out regularly, have a good exercise routine all set up, and now your boss is sending you off on a business trip. A week or two, or even a few days can do a number on your body if you let your workout regime go completely. Why not challenge yourself to stay on track and stay fit while traveling?


Check out the scene ahead of time


Are you a walker or runner? Choose the hotel with the trails or track nearby. Do you work out at the gym? It’s worth the research to find a hotel with gym equipment most similar to what you’re used to using and with a gym that’s open during the time you usually work out. On a recent trip to San Francisco I was able to book a hotel with a 24-hour gym by using a site called Gogobot to perform some due diligence. Here I was able to scan through a list of hotels in San Francisco where I could scroll through and see which ones offered the right amenities for me. Plan your workout times in advance, based on your itinerary, and don’t forget any equipment that’s easy to pack such as ankle weights, resistance bands or small dumbbells.


Stick to your normal diet


Plan ahead for meals out by researching restaurants before you even leave your house. Make a list of eating establishments that serve the sort of healthy food you normally eat and make note of the hours they are open. That way when you find yourself tired and hungry you are prepared (instead of ordering a pizza)! A little bit of planning goes a long way when it comes to snacks and light meals. For instance, oatmeal can be an easy breakfast that can be cooked in the microwave with just a cup. Drinking lots of fluids is also helpful in staying hydrated so you don’t get too tired and you feel more full between meals.


Keep your anxiety levels in check


Airports are beginning to offer interesting options for the health conscious traveler. The San Francisco International Airport offers a yoga room, or “zen room” to provide a calm, quiet space with dim lighting, yoga mats and all. Seeking out tools like the “zen room,” where you can fit in an anxiety-reducing yoga routine, pilates workout or meditation session between flights will pay off. Take advantage of the opportunity to relax along the way to keep your attitude positive and your stress levels low.


Easy tips for the extra busy business person


Sometimes a full workout just isn’t an option, especially if it’s that or a few hours of sleep. So take the stairs instead of the elevator. Do a few stretches or take a short walk between meetings. Use your resourcefulness, awareness and creativity to intersperse your trip with fitness.





Get Fit for the New Year! The Ultimate Resolution!


This 14 DVD set of extreme workouts features 7 Top Instructors. Myself, Gay Gasper, Greg Simms, Amy Bento, Patrick Goudeau, Gregg Cook, JB Berns each provide two super intense, progressive workouts guaranteed to get fast results. The box set also comes with an easy to follow eating plan to ensure you will change your body shape and get ripped! Click here to learn more.

14 DVD 3-Month total fitness program

Eating in the Zone

You most likely think I’m talking about the Zone diet, but read on and see that eating in the Zone has little to do with what percentages of carbohydrate, protein and fat have to do with this plan. Eating in the Zone is an action plan I use with my clients that really works!

To give you a little background for those of you unfamiliar with heart rate training, let me explain the inspiration of my action plan. Heart rate zone training is a system of putting cardiovascular training intensity into levels represented by how fast your heart is beating (HR) or how hard you feel like you’re working (known as rate of perceived exertion or RPE).

For example, Zone 1 training is used to warm up or cool down, as a recovery workout or as recovery between hard efforts when performing interval training. It feels easy, you could easily converse and is performed 50-65% of your hear rate maximum (HRM). Zone 2 (65-75% of HRM) feels challenging but comfortable, you could speak a sentence but not a paragraph. In zone 2 you are training your aerobic system and building your endurance. Zone 3 feels challenging and uncomfortable, you couldn’t speak a sentence, only a few words and it feels hard; it’s 75-85% of HRM. Zone 4 is a pace that cannot be sustained for much longer than 30-90 seconds(depending on your fitness level), it feels very hard and would only be able to speak a couple of words at a time. It’s 85-90% of HRM. Zone 5 (if you are using the 5 Zone model of training) is 90% and above and is your maximal effort and cannot be maintained longer than 10 seconds, your breathing becomes rapid and you can’t speak since you’re too busy breathing!.

So you might be wondering what this has to do with eating, right? What many people don’t realize is that it takes your brain approximately 20 minutes to register satiety (that you’ve had enough to eat). This means that if you eat fast you usually eat too much. As anyone who’s ever tried to lose weight through exercise alone realizes is, how much you eat counts! In fact I would say that it’s at least 60% of the weight loss equation. It’s simple but not easy. It’s a matter of calories in vs. calories out, and let’s face it, it’s much easier to get the calories in than burn them!

What I coach my clients to do is to eat more slowly or coming back to the concept of Zone training, eat in Zone 1. You could hold a conversation while eating. People in Europe have been doing it for centuries! Here’s how you do it. Put your fork down between each mouthful, eat smaller bites and chew thoroughly. Since carbohydrate digestion begins in the mouth, by chewing thoroughly you can potentially improve your digestion. A real win-win, eat less and digest better!

By taking longer to eat you meal, you not only realize when you’ve had enough, you’re less likely to eat everything on your plate. As a former ‘plate cleaner’ this is something that has personally helped me maintain a healthy weight over the years. I also find by consciously eating slowly, you have time to actually enjoy what you’re eating and feel more satisfied both physically and emotionally.

Give it a try! Eating at a breathless pace, shoveling food without thinking or even registering what you’re eating is a habit that can be hard to break, so every time you find yourself eating in Zone 4 or 5, stop! Put your fork down, chew, take a sip of water and take a few deep breaths. Not only will you be less likely to reach for the antacid pill, you will start to win the battle of the bulge. Remember, eating is one of life’s great pleasures, especially when we take the time to enjoy the experience.

The Prednisone Chronicals

In 1999 I was having serous trouble with fatigue, muscle soreness, stiffness and weakness, I could hardly walk around the block. At the urging of my physical therapist I went to a a doctor and after many tests, including a muscle biopsy, I was diagnosed with Polymyositis and was promptly put on a huge cocktail of medications that included high doses of Prednisone, as well as Methatrexate (a cancer drug, a form of chemotherapy to suppress my immune system).PM is a rare disease that effects approximately 1 in 100,000  (aren’t I lucky?) which means that no money is spent researching for cures or specific medications. Instead patients are put on a multitude of meds for other ailments. I’ve been on meds for Rheumatoid Arthritis, anti-rejection medications for transplant patients and with every new med came a new set of side effects. Charming.

As soon as I was put on the Prednisone I immediately responded and started feeling better, stronger, more energetic but still not great. Far too many side effects.Weight gain, bloating, facial swelling, belly fat, water retention and then there’s the danger of osteoporosis, and the softening of dental enamel. The cure is almost worse than the disease, but none the less Prednisone worked incredibly well at controlling my illness, well enough for me to go back to work and start teaching and training again.

Over the years I’ve tried to get off the Prednisone but every time my doc reduced the dose, my inflammation markers from my blood tests showed that the disease was really active. With PM the immune system attacks the muscles and causes permanent damage, so it’s critical to control the inflammation.

My doc kept increasing my Methatrexate dose and that seemed to help with the inflammatory response but made me really tired, nauseous and lethargic. THEN I started getting Melanoma’s cut off me, I know I baked myself in the sun growing up in Australia, so that’s the true cause. So far I’ve had 6 cut off! I now have to go to the dermatologist every 3 months and it’s rare that she doesn’t cut something malignant off some part of my body, my back is a mass of scars. My Derm feels there is a connection between the malignant cancers and the Methatrexate. So….last month after yet another had been cut off and my dentist said my teeth enamel was dangerously soft I knew I had to do something. My cure is killing me at worst and at best by the time I’m 55 I’ll have full dentures! NOT GOOD!

So I decided to take an alternate route. I’ve stopped the Methatrexate and Prograf (anti-rejection med) to try a more natural approach. I’ve been going to an acupuncturist who has been giving me Chinese herbs and aromatherapy and I’ve started to taper the Prednisone. Right now I”m on 12mg, the lowest I’ve been in over 7 years. I will be tapering 1mg per month. My recent blood test was very positive but time will tell. Good news is, I feel really good, so much more energy, less pain and fatigue. More to follow….

Ballast Ball and The Body Bar

This reclining paddling move using the Ballast Ball and the Body Bar is an excellent exercise for your core. Simply sit tall, lengthen your spine, lean back slightly and then start to paddle. Alternating for 15-20 reps not only works your whole core, but also your arms and shoulders!

Calorie Combustion

G-Series Fit

Super excited about the new Gatorade fitness nutrition system, G-Series Fit. What I’m actually excited about, is being sponsored by them. Not only have they done a complete physical fitness and nutrition assessment on me, but they have been feeding, hydrating and helping me recover with great tasting, calorie controlled portions, it’s easy to get just the right amount of calories that help you work hard enough to burn the calories….

Interval Training

According several lectures I went to at the ACSM Summit in Anaheim in April, interval training can burn up to 9-10 times more calories from fat than exercise done at a low to moderate intensity at a steady pace. It seems a good argument for why the programs like Insanity and P90X are doing so well. Dr Len Kraviz and Dr Michael Bracko spoke in depth about calorie burning and how high intensity exercise has the potential to burn 9-10 times the calories from fat than steady state low intensity training. The after-burn (Excess Post Oxygen Consumption or EPOC) is highest when the intensity is high.

That’s not to say that you should only be interval training. You need to your energy systems according to your needs. If you do a competitive sport such as cycling, running, triathlon, soccer, then you know that at certain times of the year you are training certain energy systems. For the Fitness athlete who trains at a gym year round with no particular performance  goals, other than feeling better, looking better, clothes fitting better, etc. This person, the fitness athlete has specific needs. 1. Energy balance 2.Hydration 3. Recovery. Enter Gatorade G Series Fit! The perfect balance of nutrients for the active person.