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What's In Your Cupboard?
September 16, 2014

I’d like to start this month’s newsletter off with an apology for missing last month. I’ve had a lot of stuff going on with aging parents and such, and I ended up making two trips to Indiana from North Carolina in one month’s time. Needless to say, the time to write just seemed to elude me last month. However, I am back in the proverbial writing saddle and ready to rock and roll!

As I thought about a topic for the September issue, I decided to go with something I am focusing on at this time for my clients: a Nutrition Tip Handout. (I love the whole “two birds with one stone” scenario!)

Unfortunately, many people still do not understand the utmost importance of getting this extremely important component of fitness right.

Does It Really Matter?

You see, there is much more to the job of a personal fitness trainer than merely cracking the whip on our poor, unsuspecting victims…I mean clients in the workout arena. Seriously, the trifecta I constantly preach about is, of course, smart cardio and strength training along with a HEALTHY NUTRITION PLAN. One without the other is like a recipe that is missing the secret ingredient that makes it work.

So while I admittedly spend most of my time designing and implementing workout routines, my clients also seek my nutritional guidance. Though I am not a nutritionist or a dietitian, I have learned my fair share about healthy eating over the years, and as a part of keeping my fitness certifications current with ongoing research and education, I try to be as health-minded as possible when doling out advice.

I must admit that I do see how it can be confusing even to the most consummate health enthusiast. With all the information out there saying this is healthy and that will kill you, only to turn around and read the exact opposite in the next article or news feed can make the act of simply trying to eat right quite the daunting task.

In the past, I’ve dabbled in vegetarianism, paleo plans, whole food plans, fruit based diets, high protein/low carb (meaning leaving out unhealthy carbs like processed foods and concentrating on the healthy counterparts such as veggies), etc. I swear I think I’ve tried just about every possibility that seemed healthy to me, and I’ve finally come to a few conclusions (that I can live with) to pass on to my readers and clients. However, the bottom line is that you have to do some research and find what works for you. But it still needs to make good nutritional sense in the end. If someone lost weight eating nothing but bacon for a year, that certainly wouldn’t make it a healthy plan, right?

On the other hand, while Paleo and Whole30 plans have their place in the ranks of very healthy diets in my opinion, they are, in fact, quite radical to most people. Entirely giving up grains, legumes, dairy, sugar, alcohol, and processed foods may make perfect sense once you’ve read the science behind it all, but that doesn’t make it any easier to live in the real world and try to eliminate those foods on a regular basis. Believe me, I did it for 30 days and it was amazing. I lost weight and felt great. But to try and tell people they have to restrict or avoid those things is a radical order, and while I definitely see its validity, I am not willing to say it is the ONLY way to go.

My view on healthy nutrition has drastically changed over the years. I've learned a lot through research and study and I am continuing to learn. Mostly, I have learned by trial and error. Unfortunately, it took research a few years to catch up with what we once thought was healthy. Who knew all those fat-free products and sugar substitutes would make us fat and/or kill us? I believe the food pyramid and much of the info that the media would have us believe about proper nutrition is wrong. Sadly, I believe that the intentions behind this misinformation lend more towards bolstering consumerism than to encouraging the health and welfare of the consumer. I realize that not everybody will agree with my views. After all, in the end, they are "my views." If they fly in the face of yours, it is your privilege to let them go. Or you can take this opportunity to investigate a different way of thinking. With that said, here is my advice:
  • First of all, forget the food pyramid. That's right, I said forget it! I have come to believe it is completely wrong about many things. Nobody needs all those servings of refined carbs from grains, breads, cereals, and pastas. Seriously? If they are that wrong about grains...what else are they wrong about and what motivation lies behind such false information? I do not mean to imply some sort of conspiracy theory, but you owe it to yourself to do some self-experimentation and exploration when it comes to what you are putting into your own bodies. Don't take my word for it. Put in your due diligence and decide for yourself. I am trying to plant a seed of truth amongst all the deception and ambiguity concerning nutrition. Now take it and run with it! Or not, that is your prerogative.
  • Instead, try to eat a healthy diet that is rich in meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, fruit, healthy oils, nuts and seeds. Choose foods that were raised, fed and grown naturally, and foods that are nutrient-dense, with lots of naturally occurring vitamins and minerals.
  • Whenever possible: Your eggs, pork, and poultry should be pastured and organic. Seafood should be wild caught and sustainable. Beef, lamb, venison, etc. should be grass-fed and organic.
  • Eat legumes, grains and dairy very sparingly.
  • Avoid most fat-free and low-fat products, fried food, processed food, sugar, and sugar substitutes.
  • If you must eat them at all, when you do eat grains, replace white foods with brown foods whenever possible. Eat brown rice instead of white. Eat whole grain and whole wheat and stone ground breads and pastas instead of white.
  • Eat sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes.
  • If you are eating the way I have just suggested, you shouldn't need a multivitamin. If you insist on taking one, do your homework and find the healthiest one possible that suits your individual needs.
  • Even if you are following my nutrition recommendations, we are still living in the real world that is high-stress, with less than optimal sources of meat and produce, lack of sunshine, lack of sleep, and pollution. It is for these reasons, I suggest you take a quality multi-vitamin, probiotic and fish oil supplement.

    I hope these tips will help you to make better food choices and thus live healthier lives. After all, isn’t that what we all want?

    Disclaimer: Always check with your doctor before beginning this or any exercise program. For more tips and info that can help you get better results from your fitness plan, be sure and check out my new eBook So You Joined a Gym...Now What? Part II Essential Workout Tips & Secrets for Beginners: How to Exercise & Train Smart." The information in this book will kick your workouts into overdrive, no matter what your level of fitness. Because it matters HOW YOU WORKOUT! This book will show you how. Go to Smashwords for any other format that isn't covered at Amazon.

    I thought I'd take advantage of this opportunity to show the importance of proper form with an isolation exercise. For that reason this month's exercise is the DB Chest Fly. You must keep your arms locked in a slightly bent position rather than bending and unbending at the elbow. This ensures movement of only one joint (shoulder joint) thereby better isolating the chest muscles. If you bend and straighten them, using poor form, your biceps and triceps will be assisting.

    Incline DB Fly
    Primary Muscle Group Worked:

    To see a video of this exercise click here.

    Preparation: Lie on your back on an incline bench; hold a dumbbell in each hand above your shoulders with your elbows locked in a slightly bent position as shown. Optional: You may put your feet up on the bench as shown to protect lower back if desired, which is why I called it "modified" in the video.

    Execution: Inhale as you move the dumbbells away from each other and lower them towards the floor. Exhale as you slowly return the dumbbells to the starting position. Repeat as required.

    TIPS: As you lower the dumbbells keep a slight bend locked into the elbows being sure to keep them flared as if reaching around something big throughout the move (like hugging a tree). Picture making a circle with the arms at the top of the move and opening the circle as you lower the dumbbells, keeping the wrists straight and keeping the elbows flared throughout.

    HEREIN LIES THE CHALLENGE: Have I mentioned keeping the elbows flared? Sorry, couldn't resist, but it is majorly important for safety and effectiveness. So Just Do It! Go slow. Do Not Rush This. Pull out around 8-12 reps. Always choose a weight that makes the last two very challenging yet still doable in good form.

    Okay, peeps! You know I usually like to make you think, cry, or laugh with these vids, right? This week has been a bit stressful, so I decided to go with laughter. Today whilst perusing FB I watched this video and laughed til I cried. I hope you enjoy it too. Since laughing is good for you, let's just call this part of your fitness regimen for the day. :) Click here to view.

    Be sure and check out my new blog site! Just click here. to head on over and give it a read! I will be posting a new blog in the next few weeks.

    Please sign up for my mailing list and subscribe to my blog so that you can be informed when I post a new blog. I am a believer in less is more so don't worry about being inundated with posts telling you every time I had a snack or a new thought. On the other hand, I hope you find the wait between posts worthwhile as I plan to speak directly from my "writing" soul and I look greatly forward to it.


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    Thanks so much for subscribing to this newsletter and for reading it and for your support. Our relationship is reciprocal as I live and learn from all that happens in my life, just as you live and learn through yours. We are truly in this together, and I empathize with your challenges as I do my own. I promise to hang in there and learn and grow along with you, and I hope that sharing through my writing maybe helps you a smidge. If it does, that is my payback. It is why I continue to do what I do.

    If you enjoyed this newsletter, please feel free to pay it forward to anyone you think would like it too. That is the best compliment you could ever pay me, and I appreciate it very, very much.

    And don't forget to tell everybody about and Now What? Fitness Blog where they can get all the fitness info their heart desires and sign up for this newsletter while they are there.

    From my heart to your health,

    Linda Burke, CPT

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