Sunday, March 22, 2009

Mom was right when she said "Eat your breakfast, it's the most important meal of the day!".

How many of you walk out the door each and every morning skipping breakfast? I would guess that a vast majority of individuals do. Personally, I can't function without it. I'm grumpy, tired, can't focus, and lack energy if I go without. It's pretty much a lock that I have my breakfast.....even if it's some sort of smoothie.

So, what are some of the benefits of breakfast that those who skip it are missing out on?

  • Studies show that eating a healthy breakfast (as opposed to the kind containing doughnuts) can help give you:

  • A more nutritionally complete diet, higher in nutrients, vitamins and minerals.

  • Improved concentration and performance in the classroom or the boardroom.

  • More strength and endurance to engage in physical activity.

  • Lower cholesterol levels.

How about in terms of weight control?

Many studies, in both adults and children, have shown that breakfast eaters tend to weigh less than breakfast skippers.

Why? One theory suggests that eating a healthy breakfast can reduce hunger throughout the day, and help people make better food choices at other meals. While it might seem you could save calories by skipping breakfast, this is not an effective strategy. Typically, hunger gets the best of breakfast-skippers, and they eat more at lunch and throughout the day.

But, will eggs increase my cholesterol levels?

"Compared to the bagel eaters, overweight women who ate two eggs for breakfast five times a week for eight weeks as part of a low-fat, reduced-calorie diet, lost 65% more weight, reduced waist circumference by 83%, reported higher energy levels, and had no significant difference in their … blood cholesterol or triglyceride levels," reports researcher Nikhil V. Dhurandhar, PhD.

Well, what are some good breakfast ideas?

Even if you think you don’t have time to eat breakfast, there are grab-and-go options that fill the bill. Some quick and healthy choices include:
  • A veggie omelet and a piece of whole-wheat toast
  • A whole-wheat English muffin with low-fat cheese, a scrambled egg, and slice of tomato or lean ham
  • Smoothie made with fruit and low-fat yogurt
  • Salmon on 1/2 whole-grain bagel with light cream cheese
  • Whole-grain cereal with fresh fruit and low-fat milk
  • Oatmeal made with skim milk, raisins and nuts, with 4 ounces of orange juice
  • Low-fat yogurt and a piece of fresh fruit
  • Yogurt smoothie and breakfast bar
  • Hard-boiled egg and a banana

Well, I don't like breakfast foods!

Eating breakfast doesn't mean you have to eat typical breakfast foods. The idea is eating something nutritious at the start of your day. If that means a turkey sandwich on whole wheat with a glass of milk and an apple, or chicken breast with brown rice.....perfect!

But I'm not hungry in the morning!

Breakfast doesn't need to be a full meal. Some low fat yogurt and fruit isn't a huge meal, but will provide fuel that your body and brain will appreciate at the start of your day.

Source: WebMD

Scott Fleurant


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Magic Bullet

Fat Burners, protein bars, meal replacements, creatine, protein powders.......everywhere we turn there is an advertisement for some sort of supplement. Watch an NFL game and see an ad for "Myoplex", turn the TV to a sports channel and see "Met-Rx's" Strongest man contest, walk down an aisle at your local grocery store pharmacy and see numerous vitamins, pills and powders. I think it can make a person feel like working out without a supplement is a waste of time.

As a personal trainer I'm often asked about supplements. For me to prescribe a certain supplement to achieve a certain benefit is really out of my realm as I'm not a licensed dietitian. However, if I'm familiar with the particular supplement in question, I can share my opinion on it.

Before getting into the benefit of any supplement the first thing we should examine is the actual definition of the word "supplement" Well, here it is as defined in the Merriam-Webster on-line dictionary: 1 a: something that completes or makes an addition. In other words, supplement are designed to be an "addition" to an already sound diet. Not to be used in lieu of whole foods. Think of it like this......supplements may be used to fill in the gaps where your diet may have deficiencies, but make every effort to have your eating habits as sound as possible. With he busyness of people's schedules, that is no easy task!

Do certain supplements play a role in improving muscle mass, strength, health, and performance? They can, but before spending lots of money on the next "Magic Bullet" make sure your eating habits are sound, and your exercise program is at a level that would warrant supplementation to your diet. If you only exercise one day a week, don't bother using would be a waste of money.

Also, make sure you do your homework on a supplement before purchasing it. Will the supplement interact with any physical condition that you have or any medication that you're taking? Does it match the goal your trying to achieve? Do you know of anyone who has used it that can give you feedback? Certified personal trainers, registered dietitians (RD) at your local health club, your primary care physician, as well as the Internet can be great resources in your supplement research.

Scott Fleurant
Saco Sport & Fitness
Saco, Maine 04072