Cardio vs. Resistance Training: Do You REALLY Need To Do Both?

When it comes to exercise, there has long been a debate about which type is best. Is CARDIO the gold standard? Or do the benefits of RESISTANCE TRAINING far outweigh those of cardio?

While both forms of exercise provide huge benefits for your health, the choice depends entirely on your goals.

So, we’re going let’s examine some common goals and evaluate the pros and cons. And what are the “rules” of cardio for different goals anyway?

What if your specific health goal is weight loss?

For years we’ve been told that cardio is the answer to weight loss.

Well, one Duke University study demonstrates that this still holds true.

The study examined the results of 119 previously sedentary individuals over 8 months. Some participants performed cardio only, others did strictly resistance training, and a third group did a combination of both.

THE RESULTS?

The cardio-only group lost the most amount of weight (4 lbs) while the resistance training group gained 2 lbs. Although this 2 lbs. was in fact lean muscle mass, it didn’t result in any additional fat loss over the course of the study.

What if your goal is overall better health – and longevity?

While cardiovascular exercise is beneficial for heart health and disease prevention, when it comes to longevity, resistance training is the clear winner.

As Dr Robert Schreiber, an instructor at Harvard Medical School states, “just doing aerobic exercise is not adequate. Unless you are doing strength training, you will become weaker and less functional. The average 30 year old will lose one quarter of their muscle by age 70 and half of it by age 90.”

How much cardio do I need to do in general?

According to the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology, you should aim for 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise each week.

Choose from running, power walking, cycling, aerobics or cross-country skiing — the choice is yours! Aim for three x 50-minute sessions (or divide it into shorter more frequent sessions) of any activity that gets your heart rate up. Break a sweat too!

So, how much resistance training is enough?

According to the  Harvard Medical School we should aim to train all the major muscles of the body 2-3 times per week.

Regular resistance training sessions will not only increase your overall strength but allow you to do everyday activities with more ease. (more…)

Can Lack of Sleep Cause Weight Gain?

Are you stuck trying to figure out why you’re gaining weight — or why it’s so difficult to lose those extra pounds that just seemed to sneak up on you despite not changing your diet or exercise habits?

This is often referred to as Weight Loss Resistance and it is exactly how it sounds: weight that just won’t stinking budge no matter what you do!

Here’s one surprising reason why you might be gaining weight or experiencing weight loss resistance: lack of good, quality, restorative sleep.

In fact, there are actually science-backed reasons why a lack of sleep can be a strong contributing factor to not being able to maintaining a healthy weight.

Why Lack of Sleep Causes Weight Gain

If you thought unsightly dark circles under the eyes were the worst outcome from cutting corners on sleep, you may want to think again.

Sleep is of the utmost importance to nearly every bodily system and losing out on it, even just a little, creates a vicious cycle in your body.

For example, where a healthy body weight may be of concern, the more sleep deprived you are, the higher your levels of stress hormone (cortisol) will be, which tends to increase your appetite.

Then, once the appetite is increased, lack of sleep also thwarts your body’s natural ability to process sugar and carbohydrates. Which of course is what you’re craving after a crappy night’s sleep!

Additionally, when you’re overtired, the mitochondria (little cellular factories that turn food and oxygen into energy) actually start to shut down. This causes glucose to stay in your blood, and you end up with high blood sugar levels.

Insulin is a hormone whose job it is to signal the body’s muscle, fat, and liver cells to absorb glucose from the bloodstream to be used for energy. A study in the Annals of Internal Medicine reported that skimping on sleep can cause fat cells to become less insulin-sensitive by up to 30% – meaning they lose their ability to use insulin properly.

Yet another reason you might pack on pounds when you’re lacking in sleep is because your body goes into survival mode – much like when we deprive our bodies of too little energy & calories. Therefore, survival mode = extra fat storage. (The body thinks it’s better to be fat than dead!)

And all of that isn’t even the worst of it! (more…)

What Are The Healthiest Oils & Fats To Cook With?

If you haven’t heard by now, fat is your friend! Dietary fat provides energy, supports cell maintenance, enhances nutrient absorption, and is essential for producing some hormones.

Dietary fat got a bad reputation back when, blamed for increasing rates of obesity and heart disease. Now, thanks to science and the increasing popularity of fat-containing diets, like Paleo and Keto, we know fat is an essential nutrient and a critical component of a healthy diet.

However, not all fats are created equal. Some fats come with extra health benefits and some can be harmful to your health and should be avoided all together.

One of the best ways to include healthy fats in your diet is using high quality cooking oils. When it comes to cooking, the type of cooking and amount of heat matter when selecting which oil to cook with.

In general, oils that are highly processed should be avoided. These include vegetable oil blends, like canola, soybean, sunflower, and safflower oils.

These oils undergo chemical and high heat processes during production, which often turns the oils rancid – aka full of oxidation, trans fat, and other inflammatory byproducts that aren’t best for your body.

Oils that have a low smoke point or contain a high percentage of polyunsaturated fatty acids, like walnut and flaxseed oil, shouldn’t be used for cooking. That’s because heat damages the flavor and nutrition profile of these oils and causes the formation of unhealthy free radicals.

There are a few tried and true oils that lend flavor and nutrition no matter what cooking method you’re using.

Here are the 4 healthiest oils/fats to cook with:

OLIVE OIL

The monounsaturated fats found in olive oil are linked to reduced inflammation, decreased risk of heart disease, improved triglycerides and cholesterol levels, and many of the other health benefits associated with the Mediterranean diet.

Olive oil is best for low-heat cooking, such as a quick sauté or baking at 350 degrees and below. It has a low smoke point, which means high temperatures will cause olive oil to degrade, so it shouldn’t be used in high heat roasting or frying. (more…)

Your Daily Self-Care Routine

In these trying, stressful times we can all use a little self-care, self-love, self-support, self-nurturing… whatever you want to call it. It’s one of the greatest investments you can make for your physical, mental, and emotional health & well-being.

Because when you nurture yourself, you are better equipped to help others. But self-care isn’t all about rewarding yourself at the end of a hard day or stressful week(s). It’s about engaging in something that is self-supportive and looks after your own needs first.

“Self-care isn’t selfish. It’s mandatory. Fuel your soul so you can give your best to your people. We need all of YOU!”
~ Dr. Sara Gottfried MD, Author of The Hormone Cure

And if you’re someone who actually finds it hard to care for yourself, and give yourself permission to carve out that time, then you probably need it more than anyone else!

Your Daily Self-Care Routine – 50 Easy Ways To Start One Today!

If you’re not in the habit of nurturing yourself regularly, here are 50 ways to begin your self-care practice. Start small and START TODAY!

The list was created prior to the COVID-19 pandemic so please make sure you are following the guidelines within your community in regards to staying home, social distancing, etc. as there are items listed that have you going outside of your home. If you want even more ideas, please check out each of these self-care blog posts:  Healthoholics  Wholefully  Tiny Buddha  CanPrev (more…)

Chronic Stress – Am I At Risk?

Who out there is a little stressed these days? COVID-19. Businesses closed. Working from home. Schools Closed. Home schooling. Toilet paper and cleaning supplies shortages. I could go on… Serious folks no one can avoid it these days. And even if we weren’t in a full out pandemic – it literally surrounds us in everyday life and virtually no one is immune to it. However, a little bit of stress is actually a good thing! It keeps us – and our neurological systems on its toes, for lack of a better term.

But, while short-lived stress is generally harmless, and sometimes even helpful (hello there, motivating adrenaline rush!), it’s when it persists and becomes chronic that it can really start to create havoc in our lives – and in our health.

Chronic stress can cause a range of concerning symptoms, and not just the psychological ones we often associate it with. It can also contribute to the development of a multitude of physical and mental disorders, it truly is a full-body response!

In fact, chronic stress has become so stealthy at infiltrating every part of our lives that health professionals have dubbed a new illness for a new era… Chronic Stress – the health epidemic of the 21st century.

What Does Chronic Stress Feel Like?

First, we must understand what our natural or normal stress response feels like:

  • Encounter a perceived threat – whether that’s real or imagined, physical, mental, or emotional.
  • Hypothalamus, a tiny region at your brain’s base, kicks into gear and sets off the alarm system in your body.
  • Via nerve and hormonal signals (sent as a result of the alarm system), the adrenal glands are prompted to release stress hormones, including Adrenaline and Cortisol
    • Adrenaline increases heart rate, elevates blood pressure and pumps up energy reserves
    • Cortisol, the primary stress hormone, increases glucose in the bloodstream, enhances the brain’s use of glucose, and bolsters tissue repair function
    • Cortisol also downgrades nonessential functions that would take up precious resources needed during the fight-or-flight response. For example, the immune system, digestive system, reproductive system, and growth processes are all put on the back burner.
  • Perceived threat has passed, hormone levels return to normal. For example, as stress hormone levels drop, heart rate and blood pressure return to baseline levels, and other body systems resume their regular activities too.

 But what happens when your normal stress response goes into overdrive? (more…)