Entries in Fitness (22)


Kate Middleton a Fit Role Model for New Moms

Oli Scarff/Getty Images(LONDON) -- We all love Kate Middleton for putting her "mummy tummy" on full display.

But the truth is, she was sleek and fit before she got pregnant with baby George and, if she's like most high-profile moms, she'll be back in fighting shape in no time flat.

Celebrity trainer Sara Haley says it possible for any woman to bounce back after having a baby even if she doesn't have the royal assistance from a stable of chefs and trainers. Haley offers these five tips for new moms who want to return to pre-baby form quickly, but safely and without breaking the bank.

9 Up = 9 Down
It took you nine months to fully expand and Haley says it usually takes about the same amount of time to completely restore your body to its former glory once you've had a baby. Keep in mind that having a baby is a major physical event. Even if you lose weight quickly, it may not be until your baby's nine-month landmark that your body looks the way you want and your pre-pregnancy clothes fit properly again. That timeline will vary by a few months depending on a number of factors, including your age, genetics, how many kids you've had, whether or not you breastfeed and if you've had a C section.

When You Go, Go Hard
Middleton, no doubt, has the luxury of having a nanny to help out with child care if she wants one. Maybe you do, too. But even if that's true, you still won't have as much time as you did before to hit the gym once the baby is born. Haley advises doing 20-minute interval workouts that alternate bursts of high-energy cardio exercise with periods of slower "recovery" cardio. One recent Auburn University study found that this type of training workout burns a whopping 13.5 calories per minute and doubles the speed of your metabolism for at least 30 minutes afterwards so you continue to burn fat and calories at a high rate, even after you've hit the showers.

Hit the Weights
Cardio is great for weight loss, but strength training is what picks everything up and puts it back in place. Pump iron that's heavy enough to make your muscles feel fatigued after 8 to 15 repetitions of an exercise, Haley says, and train every part of your body at least twice a week. That means doing exercises that focus on your chest, back, shoulders, arms, abs, butt and legs. If you have time, add in regular Pilates and yoga sessions to help tighten and tone the waistline, easily the No. 1 postpartum trouble zone for most women.

Watch What You Eat
You're no longer eating for two -- but that's tempting to forget, especially when you're groggy from lack of sleep. You don't have to starve yourself but, Haley advises, don't eat uncontrollably, either. Keep in mind that women who breastfeed need 450 to 500 additional calories per day according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. A turkey sandwich with cheese on whole wheat with a piece of fruit is a good example a high-quality, 500-calorie meal.

Match Expectations to Effort
What you put into your workouts is what you get out of them, Haley says. If you skip a couple weeks of workouts and double up on the ice cream, don't expect any miracles. However, if you are patient and consistent, your hard work will pay off. It may not happen quite as soon as you'd like, but you will be rewarded for sweating it out on a regular basis.

Don't beat yourself up if, unlike the A-list babymakers, your body doesn't slim down instantly after popping one out. True, some celebs are blessed with a body type that snaps back quickly, but they've probably also got a good stylist to help camouflage any extra baby pudge. And they've got another trick up their sleeve you don't: It's called air brushing.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Getting Fit in Middle Age Helps Lower Risk of Heart Failure

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Contrary to popular belief, middle age is not too late to start getting fit, says new medical research.

According to HealthDay News, the research not only shows that fitness is an important factor in terms of limiting risk of heart failure, but also that people who improve their fitness -- even in middle age -- diminish their risk of heart failure in the future.

The results of the study were presented on Wednesday at a meeting of the American Heart Association in Baltimore.

Heart failure is the most common reason that older adults are hospitalized, according to the American Heart Association, and as many as five million Americans currently have heart disease. Dr. Gregg Fonarow, director of the Cardiomyopathy Center at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, told HealthDay News that nearly 20 percent of American adults will develop heart failure in their lifetime.

Fonarow did say, however, that "heart failure is preventable by maintaining cardiovascular health and control of heart failure risk factors."

The study analyzed the fitness levels of over 9,000 middle-aged adults, who were tested twice each -- 8 years apart. According to HealthDay News, those people who were not physically fit at the beginning of the study had a higher risk of heart failure later in life. However, those who improved their fitness level had a lower risk of heart failure than those whose fitness remained poor.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


How Accurate Are Exercise Machines?

IT Stock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- They crunch your calories, calculate your distance and tabulate your heart rate, but how accurate are those exercise machines on the floor of every gym?

Sixteen percent of Americans belong to a health club, and many rely on the machines to keep track of calories burned, distance traveled and heart rate reached. Despite a still-faltering economy, health club memberships have increased by more than 10 percent over the past three years -- 50.2 million Americans belong to a health club, according to the International Health, Racquet and Sports Club Association.

So it's become more important than ever to learn more about what these machines can do. ABC News' Linsey Davis headed over to New York Sports Club in New York City to investigate.

After running for one mile on a treadmill, the machine logged 94 calories burned. But what was her body really burning? To get an answer, Davis was fitted with an oxygen analyzer, which can count calories burned down to the decimal point, at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York.

After doing the exact same warmup that she did for her first treadmill run, Davis ran another mile at the same pace. The oxygen analyzer counted only 75 calories -- about 20 percent less than the gym's treadmill.

Experts said the discrepancy in calorie counts occurs because treadmills take only limited factors into account, such as pace, weight and age. They generally do not factor in running form, metabolism or specific body type.

"The best it can do is give you an estimate based on generalities," exercise physiologist Polly de Mille told ABC News.

Manufacturers acknowledged that the machines produce rough estimates, but said they were getting more accurate as the technology improved, and that in any event, they provided useful guidance to exercisers.

What about the heart-rate monitor?

Davis hopped on an elliptical machine to compare its monitor to the specialized one she'd strapped to her chest. According to the machine, her heart rate stood at 136 beats per minute, while the specialized monitor logged 135 beats per minute. Even when Davis sped up her pace to test her own limits, the elliptical monitor showed 175 beats per minute compared with the monitor's 173 beats per minute -- it was pretty accurate.

And what about distance?

Experts said treadmill belts could wear out or stretch over time, but that with regular maintenance, a mile on the treadmill would be the same as a mile run outdoors.

But if a mile on a treadmill is truly a mile, why does it feel as if you're working so much harder when running outdoors?

"There are many things in that mile that might dramatically affect how you're maintaining a certain pace," said de Mille.

Treadmills are housed in climate-controlled gyms or homes. When running outdoors, the temperature can vary tremendously, which can have a notable impact on the difficulty of that mile.

When running on a treadmill, your legs are pulled back, whereas outdoor runners have to pull their body weight over their feet with each stride, meaning it takes more effort to cover the same distance.

But there is a way to make sure your treadmill workouts are as tough as your outdoor workouts.

"If you put it up to between one and two percent in elevation," said de Mille, "It'll re-create the demand of some wind resistance."

Some believe this is sweating the small stuff, but those calories do add up, and next time, you may have to run just a little bit faster.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Truckers Stay Fit and Healthy on the Road

File photo. Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- John Drury is a rare breed. At 6-foot-7 and 340 pounds he is a trucker who is also a dance fitness instructor. He cares a great deal about his health, but admits it's tough to keep in shape when you're behind the wheel 11 hours a day, often for weeks at a time.

"Last year, I lost 100 pounds driving a truck and dancing. In the last seven months I've gained back 40 pounds," Drury says of his constant battle with weight.

Like the rest of America's 3.5 million truckers, staying healthy on the road is a challenge for Drury. There are few opportunities to eat anywhere other than truck stops, and they aren't exactly famous for offering calorie-conscious meals. Opportunities to move and access to health care are also few and far between.

As a result, truckers are in bad shape. More than 50 percent of them are obese, nearly twice the national obesity rate -- and they have a 50 percent higher prevalence of diabetes compared to the general population, according to National Institute of Health statistics.

Hopefully the situation is about to change. Companies who promote wellness have begun to view truckers as an ideal target for their services.

Arlington-based Snap Fitness, in conjunction with the wellness company Rolling Strong, is opening gyms at truck stops nationwide. The first one is a 1,000-square-foot facility located at the Flying J on Interstate 20 in Dallas, one of the busiest truck routes in the country.

For about $20 a month, drivers now have access to free weights and cardio machines. Their membership also entitles them to access at any of the 1,400 regular Snap Fitness facilities, 60 of which have tractor-trailer-friendly parking lots.

"Truckers have huge unmet needs because of their lifestyle. Hopefully, the fitness centers help fill the void," said Gary Findley, Snap's chief operating officer.

Since opening about five months ago, 120 truckers have signed up.

Besides their Snap partnership, Rolling Strong offers truckside health evaluations that include a blood pressure check, body fat measurement and weigh-in. They provide printed workout manuals plus a special Internet health channel where truckers can log on for fitness classes and videos promoting healthy lifestyle habits.

Later this year, they will be introducing an exercise kit for in-cab workouts and a line of sandwiches made with natural ingredients that will be sold alongside the usual fried and battered truck stop fare. A series of roadside health clinics is also in the works.

Bob Perry, founder of Rolling Strong, was a trucker himself. His two brothers are truckers. His father was a trucker for 50 years. He said his company's initiatives are essential for improving the lives of truckers.

"Truckers are the ones who carry the country," he said. "They deserve access to fitness centers and good food and health care like the rest of us."

Trucking companies have begun to embrace health and fitness initiatives for their big rig road warriors. Eleven major carriers participated in the Truckload Carriers Association's Trucking's Weight Loss Showdown this past spring, with each carrier signing up 12 employees, half of them drivers. Last year, more than 11,500 of Con-way Freight's 21,000 employees consulted with wellness coaches. And U.S. Xpress has a points system for drivers that rewards healthy behaviors with cash.

The programs are aimed at reducing the number of drivers who call in sick, lowering on-the-job injuries and controlling health care costs. But they're also intended to keep drivers on the road.

Drivers are required by the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to take a physical exam every two years. They're checked for issues like heart conditions, diabetes and respiratory disorders that could incapacitate them while driving. Any driver who doesn't pass the exam immediately loses driving privileges.

Troy Robbins, a trucker for the past seven years, was pulled off the road last November for high blood sugar and a host of other potentially dangerous health problems. He says in the past he had few options for losing weight and improving his health, but this time around his company enrolled him in an intensive Rolling Strong program.

For three months he attended health classes and worked out with a personal trainer. He consulted with a health coach and learned how to lead a healthier life while on the road. He whittled his weight down 70 pounds, lowered his blood sugar and is back to driving.

"The program has made such a difference for me. Instead of just going to bed when I hit a stop, I now go for long walks and I've learned how to eat better too," he said.

Bob Perry hopes this is just the start of a trend towards a nation of healthier drivers.

"We need to change the trucker culture so obesity and bad health aren't the norm," he said. "We need to keep them going so they can continue to do their jobs and get home healthy and happy to their families."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Sarah Palin Writing a Fitness Book

by Spencer Platt/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Sarah Palin debuted a new look in Los Angeles this week: frosted hair, frosted lips, and a thinner figure than she’s had in the past. Turns out, she’s got a new project to go with it -- penning a diet and exercise tome.

In an email to People magazine Tuesday, the former Alaska governor and VP candidate wrote, “Our family is writing a book on fitness and self-discipline focusing on where we get our energy and balance as we still eat our beloved homemade comfort foods!”

Palin, who famously made moose chili and moose cheese dogs during a 2008 interview, promised a book that’s “unique and motivating.” She added, “We promise you what we do works and allows a fulfilling quality of life and sustenance anyone can enjoy.”

People noted that it’s unclear if Palin has a book contract or publishing date.

This is Palin’s latest foray into the entertainment world. From 2010 to 2011, she starred in Sarah Palin’s Alaska, a TLC reality show that featured her and her family (and Kate Gosselin, in one episode) exploring the 49th state’s outdoor splendors. It was canceled after one season.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Celeb Fitness Trainer’s 7 Tips for Improving Your Workout

Courtesy Noah Neiman(NEW YORK) -- Celebrity trainer and fitness instructor Noah Neiman of Barry’s Bootcamp offered these tips for improving your workout and day-to-day lifestyle. Follow him on Twitter, @noahDneiman:

How to Spice Up Your Exercise Routine:

1. Do ‘High Intensity Interval Training’ (H.I.I.T.):

While there have always been disparaging views on the best forms of fitness throughout the years, there has been an unanimous and consistent consensus that this style of training is the most efficient way to shed pounds and develop functionally lean bodies. In short; training at a high intensity for bursts of time, instead of merely doing sets and repetitions of an exercise, will help your body develop faster.

You want your body to have a certain amount of time under tension in order for your muscles to develop rapidly. Forgo sets and reps for seconds and minutes.  For example, to train biceps, try one minute of dumbbell curls instead of a set of 10 repetitions or for anaerobic training think 10 30-second sprints instead of 30 minutes of steady rate cardio on the treadmill.

Stop-and-go traffic burns the most fuel in cars. Think about applying that methodology to your workouts to really see a next level body.  

2.  For Developing Lower Abs, Take an Unconventional Approach:

Try training legs by doing dead-lifts, reverse lunges and machine leg extensions in order to target the hard to reach areas of your abdominal wall.

Be sure not to neglect your back, especially the lower back, as you amp up your abdominal training. Doing so will help quell lower back pain, as well as draw the skin of your abdomen back as your back muscles develop.

3. Add Jump Rope to Your Routine:

Not only will jump rope keep your heart rate up, but it will also target hard to hit tiny muscle fibers while allowing your body to work symbiotically together in order to complete the exercise. I’ve also found that 10 minutes of jumping rope before a workout has maximized the caloric burn I get throughout my whole workout.

It has also been shown that the impact of the jumping up and down will help increase bone density and muscle mass around bones; A great way to help your body stave off osteoporosis. Just be aware that there is a good amount of impact on your knee joints, so those with knee injuries may want to just start downing heaps of Kale and chug some Organic full-fat whole milk.

How to Get the Most Out of Your Workout:

1. Study Human Anatomy:

Do some research on the full breadth of muscles that should be trained and also look at how muscle groups function together. Every major muscle group has a supporting muscle group.

The problem with training yourself when you are not a fitness professional is that there are many muscle groups as well as many different ways to train them. Neglecting any body part makes you more prone to injury, and you will not develop that functional, sexy, symmetrical body you want.

2. Turn the Cell Phone Off, Put the Magazine Down, Turn the Music Up:

Distractions during what is arguably the most important part of your day is a big fitness no-no. If you are working out to better yourself and the functionality of your body, train like it.

Don’t text your friends or read magazines while on your favorite piece of cardio equipment. If you can read a magazine while “working out,” chances are you are not working out.

Listening to your favorite music, preferably something with a high number of beats per minute (around 135 BPM), which will subliminally amp up your workout, allowing you to train like you mean it. Remember, actions directly correlate with the results.

3. Fat Percentage Reduction Tip

The only time I really advocate long duration low intensity cardio, such as riding the bike for an hour at a steady rate, is to do so on an empty stomach in the morning.

For my celebrity clients who need to get camera ready and shed some quick pounds, I tell them to drink a glass of water after they wake up, sip some black coffee or green tea and keep your heart rate elevated at a moderate rate for 45-60 minutes. This will rev your metabolism up for the rest of the day and will help your body target fat stores for energy instead of any merely burning the food you may have consumed before working out.

4.  Watch What You Eat:

Food directly contributes to how your body functions and looks so eat right: More produce, veggies, lean animal meats or plant based proteins.

Try foods with one ingredient in them, and preferably always be able to pronounce the ingredients on the ingredient list.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Secret to Active 80s? Fitness-Heavy 40s

Ingram Publishing/Thinkstock(DALLAS) -- Whether you are spry in your 80s might depend on how active you were in your 40s, a new study shows more clearly than ever before.

Specifically, the study, published Monday in the Archives of Internal Medicine, shows that exercising in midlife staves off a range of dangerous diseases, even some cancers and cognitive conditions.

“It has been known for decades that people who are more fit live longer, but what has been unclear is that people who are fit live better,” says Dr. Jarett Berry, lead investigator and assistant professor of medicine at University of Texas Southwestern in Dallas.

Studies in the past have found a clear relationship between fitness and mortality. This new study observed men and women older than 65 and enrolled in Medicare, and found that those with higher midlife fitness levels had fewer chronic diseases decades later in life.

The researchers measured the fitness levels of those in the study with exercise treadmill testing. They then separated patients into groups depending on their fitness level. For the next 26 years, the researchers looked at whether the patients developed certain kinds of chronic disease. The diseases monitored were: heart failure, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, pulmonary disease, chronic kidney disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and colon and lung cancer.

“In general, we saw if you increased your fitness by 20 percent, you would decrease your disease burden by 20 percent,” Berry said.

Higher midlife fitness also appeared to delay the development of the chronic diseases; those with a higher level of midlife fitness spent a greater proportion of their final five years of life with a lower burden of chronic disease, suggesting an improvement in not only quantity, but quality of life.

“The benefit of fitness persists to the end of life,” Berry says.

Health experts not involved with the research say it is further proof that a little exercise in midlife can have big benefits later.

“The best time to take off extra weight is before chronic disease develops because many of these conditions can be prevented,” says Dr. Walter Willett, chairman of the department of nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health in Boston. “Losing weight is often more difficult after diagnosis of these conditions because many of them limit activity.”

Connie Diekman, director of university nutrition at Washington University in St. Louis, said, “Developing a healthy lifestyle, which include making the right food choices and getting regular activity, is essential to quality of life now and in the future.”

And Dr. Gerard E. Mullin, associate professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, believes that physicians should start writing for exercise just like they would for a new prescription drug.

“As physicians,” he said, “we all should carry pre-printed exercise prescription pads to promote disease-fighting physical activity.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


12-Year-Old, 200-Pound Star of Nike Olympic Commercials Finds Inspiration

Nike(LONDON, Ohio) -- The star of Nike's latest Olympics ads has created his own Olympic-sized challenge.

Nathan Sorrell of London, Ohio, the 12-year-old, 200-pound star of the "Find Your Greatness" ad recently launched by the sports company, said he has taken the ad as inspiration and will find his own greatness by getting in shape.

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Sorrell was chosen to participate in the ads by Nike after they put out a casting call for a "specific type" of student, and Sorrell fit the bill, according to ABC News' Columbus, Ohio, affiliate, WSYX.

Sorrell, who is 5-foot-3 and describes himself as someone who doesn't enjoy running, was filmed running down a lone highway for the cameras of the Nike commercial. He told WSYX that he ran roughly 70 yards about 55 times.

"I just kind of put the hatred of running to the side because it was just an experience," Sorrell said. "It was so fun."

Sorrell stopped during the first take because he felt so ill he had to throw up in a ditch on the side of the road. After that, he went back to running.

"I was out of breath, I took a drink, my stomach started hurting so I ran over to the side of the road and just let it go," he told WSYX.

The commercial aired Tuesday night during the Olympics. Sorrell and his mother, Monica, watched the ad and liked how it turned out.

"It's an incredible feeling as a parent to see your child on TV, let alone for Nike," said Monica Sorrell. "The dialogue that goes with the shoot is just perfect. It's such an inspirational message."

Sorrell and his mother have decided to work together to become healthier.

The younger Sorrell started in on the promise on Tuesday:

"Went to the gym for the first day! It was fun! Hard though, but that just means its working, RIGHT?" he wrote on his Facebook page.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Kids' Close Friends Influence How Active They Are

JupiterImages/Brand X Pictures(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) -- Kids can pass a lot of things around to each other -- germs, colds, a bad case of the giggles. Now, new research suggests that their activity levels, too, may be contagious.

A study from Vanderbilt University found that when children have friends that are more active, they themselves are also likely to be more active.

Moreover, when children have close friends that regularly engage in vigorous activity they will try to keep up.

Eighty-one children between the ages of 5 and 12 were enrolled in two afterschool programs and followed over 12 weeks. During that time children were asked with whom they were friends, and their level of activity was measured using a device called an accelerometer.

The findings showed that when kids were playing with others who had higher level of activity, they were more likely to increase their own levels of physical activity.

"They have conducted hundreds of trials across the nation that has not changed kids eating behavior," said Sabina Gesell, professor of pediatrics at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, Tenn. and lead study author.

"We needed a new novel approach... In order to move our intervention against obesity to a new level," Gesell said. "Now we have the evidence to move forward."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Bod4God: Faith-Based Weight Loss Plan to Honor God

ABC News(ANNANDALE, Va.) -- It's Sunday night and the members of the Capitol Baptist Church congregation in Annandale, Va., gather together and step up for the weigh-in.

It's like a Weight Watchers meeting, but different. It's a weight loss celebration for God.

Pastor Steve Reynolds created a diet and fitness weight loss system built around faith in Jesus, or as he likes to say, "based on the Bible."

"I don't believe there's a better health book in the world than the Bible," he said.

His book, Bod4God, promises four keys to losing weight -- Dedication, Inspire, Eat and Exercise and Team. In addition, Reynolds shows local churches how to host "Losing to Live" weight-loss competitions and team fitness regimens.

The faith-based weight loss program, where motivation comes from knowing God wants you to take care of the body he gave you, is catching on all over. There is now Karate for Christ, Body and Soul Fitness and Holy Yoga programs.

And while the non-believers may want to laugh at Bod4God, as they did on a Saturday Night Live skit in February, Reynolds said his congregation has lost 13,000 pounds together through his program.

According to a recent study published in the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, American Christians are more overweight than any other religious group, and among Baptists, nearly one of every three congregants is obese. One of them was Reynolds himself, who said he weighed 100 pounds in the first grade. After graduating from college, he became a pastor.

"The good news is I started a new church and the church got bigger," he said. "The bad news is I got bigger. I got up to 340 pounds. And so there I was with all the health issues that goes with that -- high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, digging my grave with a knife and folk and an ice cream spoon."

Reynolds said being diagnosed with diabetes and high blood pressure was like his flash of lightning, a sign that he had to do something to improve his health. He said he began to study different words in the Bible, starting in the Book of Genesis and working his way through.

"I said, 'I'm going to look up the word "body"' and I found it's in there 179 times," Reynolds said. "I want to say, OK, you know, I believe God made me so he probably gave me some good guidance here on how to honor him."

The pastor said one of the Bible verses that struck him in his pursuit of healthier living came from I Corinthians, Chapter 10, Verse 31.

"It says whether we eat or drink, do all to the glory of God," Reynolds said. "Just think about it. I mean how it boils down, glorifying God with what you eat and with what you drink."

Reynolds said he has now lost over 100 pounds. The fact that he can stand before his congregation and tell them he knows what they are going through, means a lot to his church members. One of whom is Marie Krowe, who said she tried Weight Watchers and Overeaters Anonymous, but the Bod4God program is the only thing that's worked for her.

"I think the difference is that God is missing from those programs," she said. "Philippians 4:13 says, 'I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.' That was a big thing for me, when I read that verse, you know, I really took it to heart. And I tried to lose weight on my own. I've tried many times, and I've lost weight on my own. And I always gained it back, you know. I was never able -- because I was doing it of my own will power. This time I feel like I have God on my side."

While the Bod4God program is inspired by Scripture, it is not much different from many other non-God-based weight loss systems. It boils down to proper nutrition and exercise, and the company of other people fighting the same battle. Reynolds also has a leader who teaches the program in Spanish.

By the way, you don't need to be a Christian to do Bod4God. Reynolds said he had an atheist join the program and finish the program as an atheist, but thinner.

So for all the people who are not on the weight loss spiritual journey, but have been looking for a sign that they need to start living healthier, Reynolds is offering them one.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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