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Should I Eliminate Salt In My Diet?

Should I Eliminate Salt In My Diet?

When you come to Prime Fitness in Totowa, New Jersey, we focus on your exercise needs to help your body function at its best. That doesn’t mean our personal trainers ignore the role that a healthy diet plays. Some of our clients have asked if they should eliminate salt. The answer for that question is that your health care professional will know what’s best for you. However, reducing your intake of salt and sugar can play an important role in your health. Too much of either isn’t good and can drive up your blood pressure, plus play other roles in deteriorating your health.

New studies show that maybe salt is not really the culprit.

You need salt in your diet. In fact, one study showed that people consuming fewer than 2300 mg a day—the minimum daily requirement, had a higher mortality rate than those that consumed more. Salt helps improve insulin sensitivity, sea salt acts like a natural antihistamine and it can reduce adrenaline spikes. Salt can improve sleep quality, plus maintain the proper pH of stomach acid. Salt can help balance your hormones and iodized salt is important for thyroid functioning. With all that said, you can get too much salt and that’s not good either.

Salt sensitivity may be part of the problem.

Salt sensitivity may also be the reason there’s so many studies that disagree. Not all people benefit from lowering salt in their diet. One study showed that high sodium intake was also an indication of a poor diet. The study showed that it was the lack of other nutrients, such as vitamins and minerals, that accounted for high blood pressure. Other studies show that people in their 40s and older could improve blood pressure with low salt diets. Salt sensitivity makes the difference. People of color and obese people benefit the most from salt restriction. Three classes of people are the most prone to vitamin D deficiency, which is linked to high blood pressure, people of color, obese individuals and seniors.

Start eating healthier and you’ll naturally get less salt.

Most processed foods contain high amounts of sugar and salt. It helps give back flavor to highly processed foods. Eating more whole foods not only boosts your nutritional intake, it also reduces your intake of salt. You can use herbs to add flavor and keep salt on hand to use sparingly. Unless your doctor directs otherwise, there’s no need to completely ban salt from your diet, but simply use it more sparingly.

  • Salt can help if you have an allergic reaction. It can help with congestion, hay fever and runny nose. Put a little salt on the end of your tongue if you’re having those symptoms, let it be absorbed then rinse. Normally symptoms disappear quickly. Salt and a glass of water can also work for hay fever.
  • Eliminating processed meat, such as smoked fish, sausage, ham, bacon and canned meats can reduce your salt intake dramatically. Use egg salad, chicken or tuna to replace it on sandwiches.
  • Have snacks ready for those times you need a little extra. Instead of salty, crunchy chips, try crunchy celery and hummus or whole fat Greek yogurt and frozen black cherries to substitute for something sweet. Only use whole fat yogurt, since low fat has additives to make it more palatable.
  • Make sure you get adequate potassium. Potassium helps flush excess sodium from the body. It works better than water. It relaxes vessel walls, lowering blood pressure. Bananas, sweet potatoes, avocados and spinach are all good sources of potassium.

For more information, contact us today at Prime Fitness Studio


What Makes A Food A Superfood?

What Makes A Food A Superfood?

What makes a food a superfood? That’s a good question. Since there’s no official definition for a super food, the unofficial one would be a food that contains and extraordinary number of nutrients and health benefits. Some of these are locally grown and you may have eaten them your entire life, like beets or spinach. Others are from distant places and until recently, you never knew they existed, such as the king of fruit, durian.

Marketing has something to do with superfoods getting that label.

There are no rules and regulations about how a food is marketed and whether it can be called a superfood, so sometimes food is marketed as a superfood. You need to check into the claims yourself before you make it a primary dish every meal. Superfood has dense nutritional content, particularly compared to the calories it contains. It also has phytonutrients, enzymes, and other beneficial compounds, besides the traditional fiber, vitamins, minerals and healthy fat.

Superfoods generally are found in nature.

Some superfoods, like ancient grains, have been around for ages and lost favor with the public. Due to recent discoveries and changing circumstances, foods like ancient grains are now far more popular. Most superfoods are minimally processed, since processing may affect the nutritional value of the food. That should alert that the value of any processed food touting a specific superfood as part of the ingredients may not be as healthy as the wrapper suggests.

Make superfoods part of your diet.

While a well-rounded diet is important, don’t forget to include at least one superfood with every meal. Unlike supplements, you can’t overdose from eating superfoods. For instance, taking too many vitamin A supplements can cause hypervitaminosis A, but you can’t get it from eating food. The vitamin A in food comes from converting beta carotene, but instead of causing a lethal problem, the only problem you’ll have is discoloration of your skin to an orange color.

  • Crucifers and many green vegetables are often considered superfoods. Broccoli, for instance, contains phytochemicals that help fight cancer and eliminate carcinogens from the body.
  • Nuts are a superfood, especially walnuts and almonds. Other food that are easy to include in a diet are flaxseed, yogurt, avocados and garlic. Make a beautiful green salad of spinach, another superfood and add all the others listed, saving the yogurt to make dressing.
  • If you carve a pumpkin or cook down the flesh to use, don’t throw out the seeds. Not only does the flesh of the pumpkin have loads of nutrients, the seeds are a great source of zinc, plant protein and essential fatty acids.
  • Some fabulous superfoods are berries, especially blueberries. They contain antioxidants that fight cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and more. Combine them with walnuts, flaxseed and Greek yogurt for a super delightful dessert.

For more information, contact us today at Prime Fitness


The Truth About Artificial Sweeteners

The Truth About Artificial Sweeteners

My clients at Prime Performance in Totowa, New Jersey, are pretty savvy about the dangers of too much sugar, and in most cases, they’re also aware of the health issues from artificial sweeteners. While it might seem like drinking a diet Coke is far better than drinking the original, since there’s no sugar, that’s not necessarily true. In fact, diet drinks may actually be worse, depending on the drink and type of sweetener.

Artificial sweeteners have side effects.

Some sweeteners can cause rashes, while others can cause digestive upsets, which include explosive diarrhea and gas. Sorbitol, maltitol and mannitol are probably the worse offenders, but there’s a whole list of others that can cause problems. There are links from artificial sweeteners to life altering diseases like Alzheimer’s, cancer, chronic fatigue syndrome, MS, autism, Parkinson’s and systemic lupis.

There are some natural sugars that don’t create health issues and discomfort.

Stevia is one of those products that are sugar substitutes, but not artificial. It’s actually the juice taken from the leaves of a plant called Stevia rebaudiana. The Stevia plant comes from South America and not only touted for its sweetness, but also used as medicine. In fact, the compounds that trigger your taste buds to let the brain know something is sweet are hundreds of times sweeter than table sugar. It’s been used to help lower blood sugar levels in diabetics as well as lower elevated blood pressure, by as much as 14%.

Recent studies show that drinking diet drinks with artificial sweeteners, may be worse for weight.

One study showed that people who drank diet soft drinks developed more fat around their middle than those that didn’t. The study showed that the circumference of diet soft drink consumers was far bigger than people who never or seldom drank diet drinks. One of the reasons may have been because of the potential for glucose intolerance and other metabolic conditions. One study showed that using artificial sweeteners frequently interfered with metabolic functioning. It’s not just the calories that can cause harm. Tricking the body can be a problem, too.

  • Xylitol and Erythritol are from sugar alcohol from fruit, but have also been known to cause some digestive problems. That complaint isn’t lodged as frequently. Be aware, xylitol is extremely dangerous for dogs.
  • It won’t occur overnight, but take time to get your taste buds back to normal. Since, like any drug, the more sweetness you get, the more you need. Once you do, you’ll find that fruit is extremely sweet and great as a dessert.
  • Watch your children’s health products and foods. Artificial sweeteners are in everything from chewable vitamins to cough syrup and toothpaste. It pays to read labels.
  • Artificial sweeteners are now being identified as dangerous and some companies are replacing them with different ones. For instance, one company replaced its aspartame with sucralose and Ace-K (Acesulfame Potassium), which also create serious health concerns.

For more information, contact us today at Prime Fitness


Workout For Your Unique Needs

Workout for Your Unique Needs

Not everyone needs the same intensity or type of workout. Not only does each person have a different body type, physical strength and weakness, but each person has their own goal or vision. Some people just want to tone and firm their body, while others want to build muscle tissue. You need to workout for your unique needs, including any special needs, such as health conditions or lifestyle limitations. Lifestyle limitations may include anything from traveling frequently to a busy schedule with children that doesn’t allow much gym time.

Each exercise session doesn’t have to be a specific amount of time.

You may have heard you have to exercise at least 30 minutes every day or 300 minutes a week. If you only work out every other day, that means you have to workout for at least an hour. For those that have a busy schedule, an hour can be like a lifetime. Others who want to see fast results may be tempted to workout more than that amount of time. The intensity and type of training you do dictates how long you should workout, just as your fitness level does. That’s why personal trainers work with each person individually to create programs that fit their needs and fitness level.

Kettlebell training is quicker, but also more intense than normal calisthenics.

If you’re sweating to the oldies or getting buns of steel, you’re following a program designed to meet just one need and one person. While you might want buns of steel, you also need more than just training one area to get into shape. Aerobic programs may also help improve your overall stamina, but they’ll do nothing for your strength. Besides working out to achieve a particular goal, you should have flexibility training, strength training and balance training. Kettlebells can do it all at one time, making the workout far quicker.

What you eat is just as important as how much you move.

You definitely need to remain active to remain vital, so a program of regular exercise is important. However, if you don’t feed your body the right type of fuel, you probably won’t maximize the benefits you get from working out. Instead of following a specific diet, learning how to eat healthier can help you create healthy eating habits that fit your lifestyle.

Some people start out working with a personal trainer to help them get on the right path and then switch to group training or train at home alone only meeting with the trainer occasionally.

Not everyone wants to build muscle mass. There are strength training techniques, such as kettlebell training, which allow you to create lean muscle tissue and other types, like weights, that help you build mass.

Some people want to be functionally fit, but don’t necessarily want or need to lose weight. Personal trainers can create programs for that goal.

As you train and become fitter, your goals will change. A personal trainer can help you evaluate your present workout program and make adjustments for your new goal.


Unlock Fat With Kettlebells

Unlock Fat with Kettlebells

You don’t have to work hard to get rid of that excess fat that clings to your body, you can unlock fat with kettlebells. A kettlebell workout is a superior way to get back into shape, while eliminating those boring long workouts that entail riding the bike to nowhere or walking a treadmill for hours. It helps you build functional strength, while also burning far more calories in a short time than you ever would with other types of exercises. They burn an amazing 20.2 calories per minute minimum and sometimes more. You’d have to run fast, so fast you’d be able to complete a six minute mile, in order to burn as many. In fact, there are very few exercises that compete. The only one close is cross-country skiing UPHILL as fast as you can.

You don’t need a lot of equipment for this training.

Kettlebell training just requires a kettlebell, good instruction and a place big enough to swing the kettlebell. If you aren’t sure what size to get, your instructor will help you find the ideal weight and may even provide kettlebells for you to use for a few visits. You can workout almost anywhere. You’ll notice how hard the workout is, but also how quickly it ends. Since it includes flexibility, cardio and strength training, it’s like running at top speed to catch a bus with a huge bag of groceries or a 20 pound baby in your arms. You can also add to that dodging low hanging branches as you run. It’s pretty intense.

Fat doesn’t have a chance.

You might say fat doesn’t have a fat chance of surviving regular kettlebell workouts. While you’re exercising you’ll burn calories, just as you would with any type of exercise, but you continue to burn extra calories for as long as 30 hours after training. Most other exercises stop burning calories when you stop exercising. The complex core movements of kettlebell training also stimulate the body to create HGH, which boosts fat burning.

The slightly off-center weight makes stabilizer muscles work harder.

If you didn’t see much improvement using either dumbbells or barbells, don’t automatically discount kettlebells. While the balanced weights, such as dumbbells and barbells, help you build bulkier muscles, the unbalanced weight of kettlebells works your core muscles, as well as many other muscle groups. Rather than building bulk, it tones and defines the muscle, while also burning tons of calories.

Say good-bye to boredom with kettlebells. These are fun to use—when you learn to use them properly. You’ll look forward to your workouts.

Use kettlebells for shorter workout sessions. Since kettlebell training burns so many calories so quickly combines cardio, strength, balance and flexibility training, while also providing a total body workout, you don’t have to exercise as long, making it great for busy people.

Kettlebell workouts strengthen everything, besides just muscles. Your tendons and ligaments will become stronger and you’ll have stronger joints.

Kettlebell training replaces fat tissue with lean muscle tissue. Muscle tissue burns more calories than fat tissue does so you’ll boost your metabolism.


Living Healthy Can Be A Challenge

Living Healthy Can Be a Challenge

You may plan on starting a workout program, eating healthier and getting more sleep, but never get around to it. Let’s face it, living healthy can be a challenge. Everywhere you look someone’s saying they have the direct route to staying young and healthy forever or they can help you lose weight without changing your lifestyle. In order to find the best diet and exercise program for your needs, you first have to understand the synergy of all the muscle groups and have a crash course on nutrition, unless you use the services of someone who does that for a living, such as a personal trainer.

Your time is valuable so use it for what you do best.

Trainers have already studied the body extensively and learned a wide selection of different ways to exercise to help the body gets stronger and overcome inadequacies. They know how to match the right exercise for your needs, whether it’s to build strength in various muscle groups, lose weight or stay healthier while also cutting workout time. It’s only logical to use their expertise rather than trying to start from scratch and create your own program, which can take a lot of time and delay it indefinitely.

Trainers can help you learn how to lose weight by eating healthier.

Trainers don’t give you a diet, but help you make wiser food selections. The difference between what they do and a diet is that you’re not limited to specific foods, which can be extremely restrictive. One reason it’s so hard to live healthier is that society is extremely mobile. You don’t always eat lunch and supper at home. Most people eat in restaurants at least once a week. Learning how to select foods off the menu that are healthy and how to make them even healthier is a huge benefit.

Finding time to workout is difficult.

No matter how important it is, working out takes valuable time from your day. Even though you may know that your workout time helps to protect your health and give you more energy to finish tasks quickly, while also boosting your brain power, it’s hard to make it to a gym several times a week. If you have a crowded schedule, a personal trainer can show you ways to cut your exercise time in half and still reap all the benefits. He or she can also show you exercises you can do anywhere that require little or no equipment. Kettlebell workouts are one example of time saving exercising.

Stress is everywhere and sometimes it keeps you awake at night. When you stick with a program of healthy eating and regular exercise, it burns off the hormones created by stress. It also helps you sleep better at night.

If you think it takes a lot of time to exercise, consider how long it takes if you have to sit in the doctor’s office frequently. A program of regular exercise can prevent many serious conditions.

You may think you’re too exhausted to exercise, which can easily occur after a stressful day. Once you start working out, you’ll find your body starts to develop more energy and renewed zest. Keep that in mind the next time you decide to skip workouts.

You can do many things to improve your fitness in everyday life. Parking further from the doors of a store, rather than circling the lot for twenty minutes to find the closest spot and taking stairs rather than the elevator—at least part of the way—are just two things that will boost your physical fitness.


Burst Through Plateaus

Burst through Plateaus

No matter who you are or what your fitness goal, at one time or another, you’ve hit a plateau. If you’re trying to lose weight, you may be stuck on that last few pounds. For those who want to get fit, they may find they simply aren’t getting stronger or building muscle tissue. You can burst through plateaus easily if you follow a few simple steps that have helped many others in your position.

Be honest.

There are plateaus in the fitness world that occur for a number of reasons. If you’re trying to lose weight, but don’t track all the food you eat or how long you exercise, you may be very surprised once you start doing it. Sometimes we forget those bits of goodies we indulge in and think we’ve stuck with a rigid diet, but when the calories and food intake is tracked, the real truth rears its ugly head. Our workouts may be the same too. It’s hard to measure intensity unless you have a heart monitor, which is an excellent tool. You may not be working out as hard as you should and just be putting in your time. Winners keep score and you should too to see if you’ve reached a plateau or just need to try harder.

Change your exercise program.

If you’re running and using weights to exercise, why not take a break for a while and try using kettlebells? You’ll be challenging your body in a new way and making it react. That’s the key, waking up your body! Shaking up your program and creating variety can make the workout more interesting and more fun. It also can increase muscle tissue or burn extra fat. You’ll want to workout longer and harder if you have a more variety exercise program. That can also push you through the plateau to success.

Are you getting plenty of rest?

If your body doesn’t have adequate rest at night or even between strenuous sessions, you won’t do your best during exercise and can find yourself plateauing. You can also overdo when it comes to weight loss. If you shave off far too many calories while intensifying your workout schedule by doubling the time and number of days you workout, your body will rebel and protect itself by slowing down your metabolism. Resting at night and between workouts, while also eating healthier is a good way to bust through a plateau.

Make the little wins count. The more you workout, the harder it will be to see big improvements in your fitness or weight. You’ll always see more improvement initially and slower progress later. Count the little wins by tracking everything from heart rate and inches to reps. You’ll win at something each day.

Challenge yourself. If you’re doing the same routine you started with, it’s no wonder you hit a plateau. As your fitness level improves, you need to adjust the program to reflect that improvement.

Make sure you’re getting all types of exercise. You need strength, flexibility, endurance and balance training on a regular basis. If you’re just doing strength training, such as working with weights, you’ll miss all the benefits you get from other forms of exercise.

Stay focused. If you’re doing everything right, you’ll break through that plateau in no time. Have patients and keep on working out.


Get Personal Training in a Group

There are a number of reasons people start exercising again. The two most popular are fat loss and getting healthier. There’s no doubt that exercise will help with both and that they’re both interconnected. Starting out on your own can be intimidating, particularly if you haven’t worked out for a while. People often workout too hard for a few days and either injure themselves or lose focus. The services of a personal trainer can be helpful in preventing those problems, but it comes with a price for that type of expertise. The solution many people turn to is personal training in a group. You get all the benefits of having a personal trainer, but at a discounted price since the cost of his or her time is divided amongst the group.

You’ll find plenty of motivation when you workout in a group.

Just knowing you’re meeting with your personal trainer is often motivation enough to keep you working out. However, you’ll also think twice about skipping your workout when you workout in a group. Everyone in the group knows when you miss a session, so it multiplies the “guilt effect” and keeps you coming, even after a wearing day. Group sessions also provide comradery. While everyone works at his or her own fitness level, each person has a challenging workout that’s difficult but still within his or her capability, so each person knows how tough it can be to achieve a goal. There’s plenty of encouragement and empathy from the group. Sometimes you’ll even hear cheering when someone achieves a tough goal.

You’ll workout harder and smarter than you’d ever work on your own…but it also will be fun!

You may spend hours on your own “sweating to the oldies,” when you could accomplish the same thing in far less time working out with a personal trainer. There’s more to personal training than just knowing the right way to do each exercise. You’ll get the benefits of all the latest scientific knowledge on fitness. For instance, did you know that high intensity training is not only better for you, but achieves results faster than many other forms of exercise or that training with kettlebells can burn fat faster?

You’ll have more fun than you’d ever have working out alone.

Lots of people create their own group and use it as their time with friends. It is far more productive…and sometimes less expensive…than sitting in a bar after work, having a drink and eating greasy bar food. Not only will you look and feel better by working-out, you don’t spend as much money and still have fun. It’s also a great way to meet people or reconnect as a couple.

You’ll learn the right way to do each exercise, so you’ll get the maximum benefits and decrease the potential for injury. A trainer not only shows you how to do the exercise, he or she watches to insure you do it right.

You’ll never get bored when you workout with a personal trainer. Gyms can be boring, particularly if you go from machine to machine. There’s never interaction with others or any variety. Personal trainers vary the routines, keep them fun, so you stay focused and want to continue.

You can create your own group or make new friends. If you’ve recently moved to the Wayne, Totowa, Fairfield area, you know that while people are welcoming and warm, it’s still hard to make new friends. You’ll not only meet new people working out in a group, you’ll get to know them while exercising, which takes a lot of pressure off that comes with the normal small talk.

You’ll look and feel fabulous after training for a short time. Not only will your body and health improve, your mood will improve also. Exercise is a stress buster and it’s a great way to eliminate all the negative stress you’ve built up during the day. Not only will you get rid of the stress, you’ll get rid of excess fat and build muscle tissue in the process.


The Benefits of Heart Rate Monitors

Heart rate monitors have been around for a long time, but have become increasingly popular for use during exercise. One reason is that the new studies on exercise indicate that high intensity workouts tend to be more beneficial and get you back into shape faster than longer sessions of traditional cardiovascular training. However, in order to keep it safe and maximize the benefits, you need to push your heart rate to the highest rate possible while still keeping it safe. You want to drive your heart, but not to an excess, where it can create stress, increase the risk of injury or play havoc with the immune system. Monitoring your heart rate is the only way to do it.

You find it easier to track your progress when you wear a heart rate monitor.

Some monitors allow you to save the information and store it for several training sessions. Of course, knowing it, allows you to write it down if your monitor doesn’t allow storage. After several days or even weeks, you’ll be able to see the progress you’ve made. Winners track their progress. That’s true of all things in life, whether it’s exercise, sales or any other endeavor.

Using a heart rate monitor will help you step up your game as you become fitter.

While you might notice it’s easier to do your routine and even notice your increased endurance, most people don’t increase their level of exertion as they improve with exercise. When you use a heart rate monitor, knowing when to increase your workout level is never a problem. The monitor tells you when your heart isn’t working as hard as it should be and let you know you should up the ante and work harder. You’ll get more out of your exercise time when you use one.

Heart rate monitors can help you exercise safely if you have a health condition.

People who are grossly out of shape and have health issues often need to take it slow when they first start exercising. The heart rate monitor is one of the easiest ways to monitor the exercise and a far better solution than trying to take your pulse while you’re exercising. Monitors help reduce the worry of those who are afraid to exercise because of health, while encouraging them to do a more vigorous workout.

Heart rate monitors help you exercise to your maximum, so you lose weight faster. It’s an important addition for those who do high intensity interval training.

Heart rate monitors tell you when to give it a bit more as you exercise. It might be easy to coast a bit if you’re the only one monitoring your progress, but the monitor will tell you to do a bit more if your rate isn’t high enough.

You can use a heart rate monitor to judge whether your rate is too fast even when you’re not exercising. That may be a clue that your body needs rest.

A heart rate monitor helps you exercise safely, while still maximizing your effort. No matter what type of exercising you do, your heart lets you know if you’re overdoing. Tracking its effort gives you important information.


The Benefits of High Intensity Training

One of the most efficient programs for fat loss is high intensity personal training. High intensity training is a program that combines short burst of high intensity movements followed by a longer period with slower, far less intense movement. For example, if you’re on a treadmill, you’ll go at for a period of anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes. This type of training is also called burst training, interval training or high intensity training. The key is maximizing your heart rate during those bursts of intense training.

High intensity training burns fat fast because it burns it long after the exercise ends.

Your body responds to the intermitted burst of exercise by creating a metabolic response, but unlike many forms of exercise where you go at a continuous pace for as long as 40 minutes to an hour, it boosts the metabolism, burning fat, for as long as 24-48 hours after you finish. That creates more fat loss than normal exercise. Several studies show that 20 minutes of interval training creates fat loss that is as much as three times that of 40 minutes of continuous steady paced training.

High intensity training is perfect for people who have a busy schedule.

One reason many people turn to personal training is to insure they schedule in exercise time. A personal trainer can also provide additional benefits for busy people, such as show them ways to exercise that won’t take hours from their schedule. One of these is high intensity training. A trainer will help you identify your maximum workout level then create a program that helps you reach it for short bursts, then back off to a slower pace. While you might only work out for 15 minutes, you’ll get the same benefits of someone that did their normal hour workout on a treadmill and have more fat loss in the process.

Say good-bye to fat but keep your muscles with interval training.

High intensity interval training has proven to help lose weight, but keep muscle mass. Most cardio training doesn’t discriminate on the type of tissue you lose. People who do traditional cardio training, without doing any other type of training, such as weights, often lose muscle mass right along with their fat loss. Burst—high intensity training—doesn’t do this. Instead, you’ll see mostly fat loss, just as you would with weight training—only you’ll get cardio benefits too!

High intensity training doesn’t require a lot of equipment. While equipment makes it easier to control, a personal trainer can show you ways to do it when you don’t have access to a gym.
High intensity training is fun and challenging. It’s hard, but it’s short and sweet so you won’t ever find yourself bored.
You’ll get heart health benefits from high intensity training, while you lose fat tissue. While you might jog to lose weight and keep your heart healthy, you’ll accomplish more fat loss and do it quicker with high intensity training.
You’ll improve your aerobic capacity in shorter time. A recent study showed that two weeks of high intensity training improved subjects’ aerobic capacity as much as six to eight weeks of traditional endurance training.