Boost Your Metabolism with Intermittent Fasting

By Karen Malkin, Karen Malkin Health Counseling 

Train Your Body to Burn Fat for Fuel- The best of all medicines is resting and fasting.” —Benjamin Franklin 

Have you heard of intermittent fasting (IF) and wondered what it’s all about? Well IF simply involves alternating cycles of fasting and eating. Many studies show this can cause weight loss, improve metabolic health, protect against disease, and perhaps help you live longer.

Specific benefits of intermittent fasting include:

• Lower glucose and/or insulin levels

• Improved lipid profile and blood pressure

• Greater fat mobilization

• Slower cell proliferation rates

• Enhanced mitochondrial remodeling

• Lower inflammation and oxidative stress

• Slower aging and longer lifespan

• Increased HGH and athletic performance

Hardwired to Fast?

The whole idea of intermittent fasting is as old as eating itself. Back in the hunter-gatherer days we didn’t have the luxury of eating a meal every three hours. You only ate after you caught or foraged your food—and there could be long periods of fasting between those meals. Today, we still do some form of IF. When you go to sleep you literally fast for eight hours, wake up, and then eat“break-fast” in the morning.

Here are some of the popular methods of IF:

  • Alternate Day Fasting: Alternating fasting days with eating days.
  • Modified Fasting Regimens: Consumption of 20-25% of energy needs on scheduled fasting days (such as the 5:2 diet, in which you eat normally for 5 days of the week and restrict calories for 2 days of the week).
  • Time-Restricted Feeding: Consume food within specific windows, which induces fasting periods on a routine basis (such as the “16/8” method, in which you fast for 16 hours each day, eating only between a noon to 8 p.m. window).

I prefer a modified version of the 16/8 method, which is less restrictive, but delivers similar results:

  • Eat three meals a day.
  • Take time to enjoy a satisfying breakfast.
  • Make lunch your main meal of the day; eating enough to get to dinner without snacking.
  • Finish with a light dinner by 8 p.m. or earleir. No food after that. Eating late at night leads to weight gain.
  • Wake up and break your 10–12 hour fast
  • Drink lots of of water in-between meals

Skipping breakfast may not effect body weight, but it does increase 24-hour blood glucose levels in the short term. More studies are still needed to determine if breakfast skipping is beneficial, neutral or detrimental for your health in the long-term. Some say it’s wise to “Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper.”

How it Works

Burning fat actually refers to the process of using fat as fuel, or your main source of energy. But fat is only one kind of fuel that can be utilized by your body; the other is carbohydrates (or sugars). When your body has both available, it burns the sugars first and the fat second.

A widely popularized theory to stabilize blood sugar is to eat 5–6 small meals throughout the day. However, when your body is being fed every 2–3 hours, it has no incentive to burn its stored fat for energy. When you eat three meals a day with ample time between meals, your body is forced to burn stored fat.

Once fat is restored as an active fuel supply, you’ll enjoy the benefits of increased energy, more stable moods, greater mental clarity, better sleep, fewer cravings, and natural—permanent weight management. By doing these “mini fasts” between meals, you are training your body to use your fat reserves as fuel, which is one important way to Master Your Metabolism.

To your good health,
Karen

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Beyond The Body: How Sports And Exercise Can Improve Mental Clarity

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Being physically active has long been associated with numerous benefits for the body. But did you know that the benefits extend to the brain as well? Just as proper nutrition contributes to a healthy state of mind, playing sports and exercising on a regular basis, significantly benefits mental clarity in both direct and indirect ways.

Thinking skills and memory

Recent research led by Harvard Medical School suggests that participating in sports and being physically active changes the way our brains work by not only improving thinking skills, but by protecting memory as well. As soon as your heart rate is up and you begin to sweat, there is a notable size increase of the hippocampus, which is associated with learning abilities and verbal memory. While you can choose many different types of physical activity for these benefits, the important thing is to remain consistent.

Eliminating brain fog

Partaking in sports and aerobic exercise also improves mental clarity in a different way. We all know that dreaded feeling of ‘brain fog’, often associated with general confusion, a lack of motivation and even inspiration. Breaking a sweat significantly affects our cognitive functions by increasing blood flow to the brain, resulting in higher levels of both energy and oxygen. It also releases hormones such as adrenaline and dopamine that not only make you feel good and energized, but also enable you to concentrate and think clearly. What does this mean for your mental state? Better performance and a clear head. In other words, say goodbye to brain fog.

Indirect benefits

While physical activity directly impacts our mental health, it also affects us indirectly, but again in positive ways. When we exercise, we are naturally reducing both stress and anxiety, which can negatively impact our moods and mental state. Playing sports is a particularly good option as your mind will be focused on working with your team or towards a goal, rather than stressing out about things you cannot control. Consistent physical activity also results in a deeper sleep, and feeling rested is crucial to mental clarity and mood.

While playing sports and exercising has long been associated with benefits for the body, it also greatly impacts our minds. By strengthening cognitive function, providing clarity, improving mood and promoting sound sleep, joining your local sports team or incorporating exercise into your daily routine is a move both your body and mind will thank you for in the long run.

By Jess Walter

4 Weekday Prep Tips for the Weekend Warrior

By Tara Hackney, PT, DPT, OCS, KTTP for Athletico Physical Therapy

Weekend warriors are those that participate in higher levels of physical activity on the weekends with minimal activity performed during the week. In order to prevent injury, weekend warriors need to be aware of the risks their activity choices make on their bodies.

For instance, it is important to keep in mind that the body cannot go from inactive during the week to high intensity weekend warrior mode instantly. Exercise intensity and participation should be progressive to decrease the risk of injury. Here are some helpful tips to help weekend warriors stay fit for bouts of intense physical activity on the weekends:

1. Try to incorporate activity into your week

Oftentimes weekend warriors only participate in weekend activities due to time constraints during the week. However, if time does not permit a full workout during the week, even small bouts of activity can help the body with the demands placed on it during the weekends. Trying to fit in a couple of stretching sessions during the week is a good idea.

These sessions can be as short as 10 minutes but will help the muscles recover. Also consider trying strength training. There are some good strengthening exercises that require no equipment and can be performed quickly at home – such as planks or squats. These strengthening exercises will help the muscles adapt to the demands of weekend activities.

2. Eat a healthy diet and stay hydrated.

Exercise requires energy and hydration. The best way to fuel the body is with a healthy diet throughout the week and weekend. Drinking water will also help performance, as dehydration can lead to overheating and potential heat exhaustion. Having protein rich snacks as well as water rich fruits and vegetables around throughout the week will help build healthy habits for activities on the weekend. 

3. Change it up.

Weekend warriors may find themselves only performing one type of activity and this repetition can leave them at higher risk of injury. Switching up routines can allow the body to recover and provide better overall benefits. Remember a well-rounded workout utilizes both cardiovascular and strength training. Use the weekdays to research new types of activities to try, from a new Saturday morning spin class to a Sunday afternoon tennis match.

4. Know your limits.

There are tons of different types of workouts to pick from and sometimes it is difficult to know where to start. Understanding limitations is key to decreasing injury risk. Do not plan to go from completely sedentary to extremely active right away. Find an activity that you like to do and gradually increase the difficulty level as you can tolerate.

  • Tip: Use the RICE method to help relieve pain and swelling for minor injuries.

Don’t Ignore Injury

If you are a weekend warrior suffering from an injury or lingering aches and pains after activity, make sure to request an appointment at your nearest Athletico location so that our clinicians can help with the healing process so you can get back to activity as soon as possible.

REQUEST AN APPOINTMENT

MUSCLE MAINTENANCE

THE KETOGENIC DIET MADE EASY

MCT Makes It Easy for Bodybuiders to Stay on Ketogenic Diet

If you’re a body builder, you may have followed a ketogenic diet in order to lean out and look ripped right before an upcoming show.

When you eat a diet with few carbs, lots of fat, and adequate protein, your body responds to the lower levels of blood sugar by switching to an alternative power source. It converts fatty acids to ketones, which become your main energy source.

Translation: Instead of burning carbs, your body burns FAT.

Feel the burn. Not the pain. 

According to recent studies, a ketogenic diet is an optimal method for shedding body fat and exposing toned muscles. Here are some specific benefits of a ketogenic diet:

  • If adequate amounts of protein are consumed while in a state of ketosis, your body will spare protein and preserve muscle.
  • Many beneficial hormones (GH, testosterone, and IGF-I) are released, which leads to more fat breakdown and lean muscle growth.
  • You may experience decreased appetite and fewer carb cravings, making dieting easier to accomplish.

Here’s the problem: Preparing meals and adhering to the strict guidelines of a ketogenic diet can be extremely difficult for many as it involves a very rigid ratios of carbs, proteins, and fat.


Fortunately, simply combining MCT Lean MCT Oil with a reduced carbohydrate diet can generate therapeutic blood ketone levels and deliver all the benefits of following a ketogenic diet—without the struggle.


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