Sunday, October 9, 2011

Challenge #3 - No Fast Food + Exercise = Happier Heart!

Despite some soreness and adjusting to adding regular exercise into your daily routine, it seems last week's challenge was another success!  I'm ready to get started with week 3 (Monday-Friday), so here it is:


This week it's time to start looking at food labels closely.  There is a major difference between good and bad fats.  Good fats, like Omega-3s for example, are vital for our bodies to function properly.  It's important to eat good fats daily (ie: avocados, nuts, olive oil, flaxseed oil, walnut oil, and salmon to name a few).  However, trans fats can be detrimental to our health.  Companies who produce highly processed foods like to use trans fat because it makes food last longer on the shelf, and it's a taste that humans seem to really enjoy. 

Unfortunately, consumption of trans fats can cause many serious health issues:

-Increased risk of heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer's
-Lowering of our good cholesterol
-Excretion of bile acids suppressed
-Exaggerated deficiency of good fats in the body
-Competition for fat uptake (the good fats may not win here!)

According to Precision Nutrition, "Even a single meal with a high "bad fat" content can diminish blood vessel function and elasticity!"  Therefore, this week we will not consume one of the greatest trans fat contributors, FAST FOOD!  I'm talking about the burgers, fries, fried chicken sandwiches, etc.  You can do pretty well with a fast food meal though; it's just about what you choose.  Until this past Thursday, I had been living in a hotel with no kitchen the last two months, and Chick-Fil-A became a lunch staple for me.  That sounds bad, but I simply ordered the Chargrilled Chicken Sandwich, removed the bread, and wrapped the chicken breast in lettuce.  If you're forced to swing through a drive through this week, think about what healthy choices you can make (or ask me if you don't know!!).  BEWARE: Fast food salads can be almost as bad as a fried meal once you add the dressing.  Read the salad dressing labels carefully and always opt for olive oil and/or vinegar whenever possible!

Fast food is not the only trans fat culprit.  Many packaged cereals and cereal bars, margarine or fake butter spreads, packaged cake/pancake mixes, soups, cookies, candies, dips, toppings, frozen foods, and baked goods all contain trans fat.  Read your labels this week to identify the perpetrators in your home.  We are only focusing on fast food in our challenge, but you can try to avoid trans fat across the board.


Just like last week, if exercise isn't already part of your daily routine, I'm giving you SIX new exercises to add to your tool box.  Repeat them 3-5 times each day.  You can complete these 3-5 rounds all at once, or you can break it up throughout the day.  Feel free to mix and match with last week's routine too!  See my video for a detailed explanation of how to safely perform each exercise.  Let me know how you're feeling throughout the week!

-50 Squat Pulses
-10 Plank to Pushup (5 right, 5 left)
-30 second V-Sit
-20 Jumping Lunges (or Front Lunges or Reverse Lunges)
-15 each side Bridge with Leg Lifts
-20 Mountain Climbers

I will also be posting a warm-up and stretching video over the next few weeks, so stay tuned!

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