Monthly Archives: February 2017

Don’t Give Frozen Foods the Cold Shoulder

People tend to frown on frozen vegetables and fruits, but fresh isn’t always best. In a paper published in the June 2017 issue of the Journal of Food Composition and Analysis, researchers measured the nutritional content (vitamin C, vitamin A and folate) of three types of produce—fresh, frozen and fresh-stored (purchased fresh and then refrigerated for 5 days)—over a 2-year span. Items examined were broccoli, green beans, blueberries and strawberries.

In the majority of cases, vitamin content did not vary among the three categories, but when there were significant differences, frozen fruits and veggies bested fresh-stored versions more often than not. While fresh produce is typically most nutrient-dense at harvest, nutrients degrade during shipping, while foods sit on store shelves and until we retrieve the items from our refrigerators. On the flipside, the frozen counterparts are flash-frozen almost immediately after harvest, which locks in nutrients and keeps them from degrading.

The takeaway? Buying fresh fruits and veggies from local sources and eating them pronto is probably still best, but convenient and budget-friendly subzero produce is a nutritious fallback. Besides, people who work subzero fruits and veggies into their diets have been shown to benefit from higher produce intakes overall than those who shun them, and the former also have loftier intakes of essential nutrients like potassium and calcium, according to research supported by the Frozen Food Foundation.

Strengthen the Program With Rotational Movement Training Methods

As the fitness industry continues to evolve, so must the equipment used by trainers and group fitness instructors. Many popular fitness classes and small-group training sessions feature traditional cardiovascular and weight training principles integrated with functional and flexibility training techniques. The growth and popularity of quick and efficient HIIT and total-body workouts have created a growing demand for innovative products that inspire new functional exercises and movement patterns.

The Rotational Movement Training® method can improve strength, rotation and ambidexterity, because it’s designed to be used on both the dominant and nondominant sides of the body. The RMT® Club is the perfect device to introduce RMT into a functional training program.

The RMT Club’s unique design not only makes it extremely versatile but also allows everyone, from fitness enthusiasts to recreational athletes, to use it in a wide range of exercises—from mobility to strength and conditioning. The RMT Club is portable, adaptable and extremely versatile, like other functional training favorites (kettlebells, battle ropes and resistance bands). But these additional features put the RMT Club a step above:

    • Flexible, durable club head. Built to absorb maximum impact when the user is training on padded surfaces. Also reduces the chance of injury, and limits wear and tear on the facility floor and equipment.

    • Strong, ergonomic handle. Allows for multidirectional swings to enhance an individual’s range of motion. Built to withstand high-intensity exercises, as it enhances rotational movement strength in all planes of motion.

    • Internal shifting weight. Filled with shifting weight pellets to create dynamic resistance. Allows the club to act as a counterweight and facilitate a shorter transition between acceleration and deceleration.

  • Comprehensive programming. Comes with a training DVD that includes detailed instructions for 21 foundational exercises to target the total body. Also includes FREE online access to additional videos and sport-specific workouts.

Being strong in strong positions is easy—but being strong in weak positions is a necessity for complete functional strength. The RMT Club builds the strength, core, mobility, coordination and agility needed to improve the performance of every client.

Is It Better to Exercise on an Empty Stomach?

It turns out there may be something to the gym floor “bro science” of exercising on an empty stomach to fire up that coveted fat-burning metabolism. Research published in the March 2017 edition of the American Journal of Physiology–Endocrinology and Metabolism shows that eating versus fasting before a workout can affect gene expression in adipose tissue (your fat stores) in response to exercise.

In the study, British scientists had a small group of overweight men walk at 60% of their maximum oxygen intake for 60 minutes in the morning either in a fasted or a fed state (a carb-rich meal 2 hours before exercise). The research team collected adipose tissue samples before exercise and again 1 hour afterward.

It turned out that adipose gene expression differed between the two trials. In the fasted state, an uptick in genes (specifically two called PDK4 and HSL) indicated an increase in the use of stored fat to fuel metabolism. When subjects exercised after eating, these genes decreased, which could indicate less fat-burning.

After eating, the researchers suggested, our adipose tissue is affected by the food and will not respond in the same way. The upshot is that for people who are eager to shed a few fat pounds, working up a sweat in a fasted state may bring about more favorable metabolic changes in adipose tissue to help treat Buddha-belly.

Still, it remains to be determined whether this outcome would apply to more intense bouts of exercise. Many people find it challenging to keep up the pace in a vigorous workout when their stomach is growling—and if pace suffers, calorie burning will drop overall. It’s important to note that we’re talking fat-burning here, not performance.

Ways to Target the Core from Different Angles

Essentially, any exercise that uses the anterior and/or posterior muscles to stabilize the spine—and is performed in a coordinated fashion—works the core. It’s important to include some kind of core moves in all classes, particularly those in which core training might not be emphasized. Try the following exercises in one of your next classes; the moves are appropriate in a range of settings and will be effective with various pieces of equipment. The best part: You can modify these movements to create more or less challenge with a simple body-position adjustment or equipment change. This vests attendees with options to help them flourish.

Note: Choose sets and reps based on the time allotted and preference. Switch sides on unilateral exercises.

Double-Tap Twist Crunch

  • Lie supine, hips and knees flexed, one foot on floor, other foot placed across opposite thigh (figure-four position).
  • Place fingertips lightly behind head, elbows pointing toward corners of room.
  • Flex spine, then rotate inside elbow to touch inside, then outside, of supported knee.
  • Rotate back to center, and lower to floor.
  • Progression: Lift foot off floor.

Side Plank With Rotation

  • From side-lying position, place flexed elbow directly beneath shoulder, with forearm and wrist extended, hand making a fist.
  • Maintain alignment from ear to hip and knee joint.
  • Place top leg in front of body, toe of back foot touching heel of front foot. This kinetic connection aligns the body and helps control rotation.
  • Place fingertips of top arm just behind ear, elbow pointing toward ceiling.
  • Lift hips into side plank; rotate top elbow down toward floor, touching fist.
  • Slowly raise elbow back toward ceiling.
  • Progression: Stack feet on top of each other. Regression: “Kickstand” back knee to increase base of support.