Healthy Summer Skin

We all know the importance and danger of summer sun exposure, but do we know how to maximize our diet for the best results? There are several simple rules to keeping a clean and clear complexion over the summer, even while getting that summer bronze that we all want.

Our skin is actually our largest organ on/in the body. It is made up of several layers that are constantly changing and need proper nourishment just like the rest of our body. As we age, the ability to replace dead skin and collagen fibers slows, which can contribute to wrinkles. Also, with the increase in temperatures, the skin may become more oily, making us more prone to acne breakouts.

The most important nutrient for healthy skin (and body) is WATER! Over the summer you will sweat more and this can lead to the skin drying out, which in turn can lead to more oil production and pimples. Staying hydrated will keep the skin “plump and rosy” while minimizing wrinkles and lines. You should aim to drink close to gallon of water every day, and more if you are exercising at high intensities.

The next nutrient is Vitamin C. It is the most abundant water-soluble antioxidant and plays a huge role in forming new collagen to keep the skin firm. High sources of Vitamin C include, citrus fruits, berries, tomatoes, red pepper, and broccoli.

Vitamin E is the most abundant fat soluble antioxidant and will strengthen and protect the lower layers of the skin. Try eating whole grains such as whole wheat, wheat germ, barley, sunflower oil, and almonds.

Vitamin D is naturally produced in the body when exposed to sunlight. Wearing sunscreen is important to prevent aging but it also blocks out the UV rays needed to produce Vitamin D. Try being in the sun for 10 to 15 minutes before applying sunblock. Dairy and mushrooms are good sources of Vitamin D, but it can also be regularly supplemented at levels of 2000 IU without any negative side effects.

If you’re not getting enough vitamin A in your diet, then your skin is majorly suffering. Not enough of this nutrient makes skin dry and flaky. The vitamin is also touted for its anti-aging benefits. Load up on red peppers, spinach, and kale.

Zinc is a very important mineral when it comes to healing of the skin. Shellfish and beef are great sources of zinc and will help your skin heal from potential scrapes and burns. Iron is also important for the blood to help carry essential nutrients to all organs including the skin. Women of child bearing age who avoid red meat should consider a women’s one-a-day vitamin to meet their daily requirement of 18mg.

Lastly, healthy fats such as Omega-3 oils are very helpful to keep the skin healthy and glowing. Avocados, flax seeds, salmon, and walnuts are all great sources of healthy fats. They are also known to suppress inflammation and can help reduce acne breakouts.

Diets high in sugars and low in zinc will lead to more inflammation thus increasing the chances for breakouts.

When it comes to exercise, increased muscle tone can help tighten up the skin, keeping it looking smooth and youthful. All exercise will increase blood flow, which increases the delivery of essential skin-healthy nutrients to the body and also shuttling away toxins that may harm the complexion.

Using sunscreen is a must to protect the skin and also showering right after exercise will help wash away the sweaty oils on your skin, but the diet can play just as big of a role in how you look during the hot months of the year.

Eat the Rainbow!

*Parts of this post were adapted from the ACE IDEA Fitness Journal: June 2012


Are You Using Proper Form? Squat and Romanian Deadlift

One of my biggest pet peeves in the gym is seeing people doing an exercise with bad form. Using proper form is the MOST important thing one can do when lifting weights. If you don not use proper form you are putting yourself at risk for injury and you aren’t working the proper muscles correctly. The two exercises that I see the most people doing wrong are the squat and the straight leg deadlift.

The squat is one of the best exercises for overall lower body strength and core conditioning. The squat movement is basically the same movement as if you were to sit back into a chair. The key to a proper squat is sitting back and not just down. The following are the proper steps to a perfect squat.

1. Stand with and even stance. Your feet should be at least shoulder width apart with your feet slightly facing out.

2. Keeping your shoulders back, and chest out, and head looking straight ahead of you, bend at your hips and sit back into the squat. With younger athletes that I have trained, I always used the somewhat goofy analogy that you should pretend you have a bee stinger on your rear and you are trying to pop a balloon behind you. The hips should always bend/hinge before your knees.

The hip "hinge" at the start of the squat.

3. While keeping your glutes back, start to bend at the knees. Keep your knees out. Your knee joints should be pointing in the same direction as your feet all the way down. If your knees buckle in it normally means that the weight is too heavy. Your weight should be back on your heels, NOT on your toes. At the bottom of the squat you should be able to wiggle your toes freely.

Near the bottom of the squat. Notice I'm pushing my butt back, as if sitting in a chair. Shoulders are back, chest up, head forward.

4. Once you get to the bottom of the squat, think about driving your heels through the floor and pushing up using your glutes.

BAD SQUAT FORM: Knees are going forward at the start, hips and butt are not hinging back. This puts a lot of stress on the ligaments of the knees

BAD SQUAT FORM: Chest is down and back is rounded. This will put added stress on the lower back.

BAD SQUAT FORM: Back is rounded and my weight is on my toes, instead of my heels. My knees are also in front of my toes.

BAD SQUAT FORM: Knees are buckled in and weight is on my toes. This puts added stress on all ligaments in the knees.

The straight leg deadlift or Romanian deadliftis another great lower body exercise which works the hamstrings, glutes, and lower back muscles. The following are the proper steps to performing this great exercise.

1. While standing upright and holding the weight in front of you at your waist, keep your shoulders back and chest and head facing forward, unhinge your hips back, just as you did with the squat. Contrary to the name, you should actually keep a slight bend in your knees and never lock them out.

Unhinging of the hips, pushing the butt back, and letting the bar hang freely.

2. Instead of bending at the knees any more, continue to keep pushing your glutes back, while bending forward at the waist. It is important here to keep your shoulders back and entire back straight. Keep the weight (bar, dumbbells, kettebells, etc.) close to your legs. Continue to lower the weight without rounding your back! You can slightly look up, without extending at the neck too mush. Go down until you feel the stretch in your hamstrings.

Slight bend in the knees, back is still flat. You should feel a stretch in the hamstrings.

3. At the bottom of the lift, you back should still be flat, and how far you are able to go down will be based off of how flexible your hamstrings are. From the bottom, reverse the movement and push your hips forward and begin to raise the weight by extending at your back and actively squeezing your glutes.

BAD RDL FORM: Shoulders are rounded forward along with the upper back.

By following these proper technique cues, you can prevent future injury while also building strong and flexible leg and core muscles.


Why Women Should Lift Weights

Many women avoid lifting weights, especially heavier weights due to the fear of bulking up. This is one of the most common misconceptions in the fitness realm. The fact of the matter is that women should lift weights, and not be afraid to go heavier. The reason men bulk up is because of the levels of testosterone that they naturally have. Women typically have ten to 30 times less testosterone than men and therefore have no need to worry about turning into the next Arnold Schwarzenegger.

By lifting more weights, women can reap many benefits that cardiovascular exercise just can’t provide.

1. You will become stronger.

By lifting weights, you increase the strength of your muscles and therefore will be able to perform everyday activities with more ease and less dependence on others. By being stronger you will also be at less risk for injury throughout other exercise programs that you may follow.

2. You will burn more fat.

By increasing your muscle mass (not by a ton), you will also increase your resting metabolism. This will help you burn more calories not only during your other workouts, but throughout the day. The more muscle you have, the more energy your body must burn to fuel your muscles with energy. The energy that is used to run your body on a daily basis can be provided by the fat stores that you have.

3. You will build stronger bones.

Osteoporosis is an all too common bone disease, especially in women. This is due to the hormonal changes that a woman’s body goes through during menopause. By lifting weights and doing weight bearing exercises (squats, deadlifts, standing presses, etc.) the bones in the body come under more stress and this causes them to naturally “remodel” themselves in order to accommodate the added stress of weight lifting. This will make your bones stronger and less likely to break down due to osteoporosis. It is also important to have adequate calcium and vitamin D in the diet to provide the important building blocks of bones. The current recommendation for calcium intakes for women is 1200mg per day.

For reference, a cup of skim milk is about 300mg.

4. You will build stronger connective tissue.

Not only will your muscles and bones be stronger, but you tendons and ligaments will become stronger through adaptation to the weights being lifted. As long as you have good form, this will help prevent against back pain, knee pain and arthritis in many joints. Lifting weights will help increase the density and strength of the connective fibers that hold your muscles together and your muscles to your bones.

5. You will help reduce stress and depression.

A study from the Journal of Medical Sciences found that intense exercise with weight lifting decreased signs of depression 50% more effectively than a low intensity workout. Also, there was a direct correlation with gains in strength and the reduction of depressive symptoms. On a vitality and quality of life scale and survey post experiment, it was found that there were better results from the high intensity and weight lifting group.

The next time you are at the gym, consider the weights your friend, and know that you have nothing to fear! If you are new to weight lifting, be sure to consult or even hire a personal trainer to help with proper form and exercise.


“Dressing” Up Your Diet

Store-bought salad dressings are often loaded with fat, sugar, salt and preservatives. By making your own, you can control the calories as well as the flavor! Try this simple recipe for a Citrus Vinaigrette:

1 teaspoon white-wine vinegar
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons canola oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


Supplements: Do We Need Them?

“What supplements do you take?” This all too common question can be heard in gyms all over the world. As a strength and conditioning coach for high school athletes, I got asked so many questions about what are good supplements to take and where to get them. The first thing I would do when asked these questions was to ask a question of my own. “What does your diet look like?” Some common answers were, “Well, I didn’t eat any breakfast” or, “I had a pop tart” and even, “I go to Burger King after practice everyday”. Needless to say, this was about as far as I went with them about what supplements to take.

They are called supplements for a reason. Supplements are intended to supplement your current diet! If you aren’t eating healthy already, there is no reason to supplement anything.  A car cannot run on fuel injection fluid alone, it needs quality gasoline first.

However, there are some supplements that may be beneficial to everyone, regardless of diet.

The Multivitamin

Multivitamins are probably the most commonly used supplement in the world. Essentially they provide the proper amounts of most micronutrients to meet our recommended daily intake (RDI).  Most commonly, multivitamins are recommended as a sort of “back up” to your daily diet. While you should try to get your proper micro nutrient intake from real foods, not everyone is perfect, and a multi vitamin may help. The most important thing to be sure of is that you are not getting a high amount of a certain micronutrient already in your diet, and adding a supplement for it on top. With some micronutrients, this may lead to a toxic overdose, which can come with many ill effects, depending on the vitamin or mineral.

Multivitamins are also helpful for special populations. For example, women of childbearing age need to be sure to get enough iron (18mg) in their diets. Special women’s multivitamins are made with extra iron, and calcium in them. Another example would be a vegetarian or vegan. Those two diets are commonly low in the readily available form of iron (known as heme iron) and also the important vitamin B12 (2.4 micrograms recommended).

Do you need a multivitamin? Maybe. The best way to check this is to track your diet using http://www.mypyramidtracker.gov/ or another form of dietary analysis to see what your intake looks like without a multivitamin. Then assess if a multivitamin would be helpful, and lastly (and most importantly) always ask you doctor or even better, a registered dietitian.

Fish Oil and Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Fish oil supplements have been growing in popularity over the past 20 years, and for good reason. These supplements contain a form of healthy fats classified as Omega-3 Fatty Acids. This classification just represents the chemical structure of the fat and where certain bonds are between the carbon atoms. In 2002, the American Heart Association released a statement after much research was done with fish oil supplements, concluding the following:

Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown in epidemiological and clinical trials to reduce the incidence of (cardio vascular disease) CVD. Large-scale epidemiological studies suggest that individuals at risk for (coronary heart disease) CHD benefit from the consumption of plant- and marine-derived omega-3 fatty acids, although the ideal intakes presently are unclear. Evidence from prospective secondary prevention studies suggests that EPA+DHA (the individual fatty acids that make up fish oils) supplementation ranging from 0.5 to 1.8 grams per day (either as fatty fish or supplements) significantly reduces subsequent cardiac and all-cause mortality. For alpha-linolenic acid (found most commonly in flax seed), total intakes of ≈1.5 to 3 grams per day seem to be beneficial.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Cardiovascular Disease: New Recommendations From the American Heart Association. Penny M. Kris-Etherton, William S. Harris, Lawrence J. Appel and for the AHA Nutrition Committee. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2003;23:151-152,

These recommendations can also be met by consuming flaxseed (1.8g per 1 oz.), walnuts (2.6g per 1 oz.), and fatty fish such as salmon (1.6g of Omega 3 per 3 oz.), tuna (0.3g per 3 oz.), or swordfish (1.2g per 3 oz.) at least two times per week. Consumption of a variety of fish is also recommended to minimize any potentially adverse effects due to environmental pollutants and, at the same time, achieve desired CVD health outcomes.

*1 oz of nuts is about as much as you can fit in the small of the palm of your hand, or around a quarter cup.

*3 oz. of fish is roughly the size of a deck of cards.

Vitamin D

The research behind vitamin D supplementation is still growing, but what has been found is interesting. Vitamin D deficiency was first found to cause the childhood bone disorder known as rickets. Since the fortification of milk, rickets is fairly rare in the developed world. When most people think of bone health, they think of calcium. While calcium is very important for bone health, vitamin D is just as important.  Vitamin D stimulates calcium absorption from the diet and can play a huge role in overall bone health. Bone disorders such as osteoporosis and osteoarthritis, along with an increase in bone fractures, are most common among postmenopausal women. As you may know, our bodies can naturally produce sufficient amounts of vitamin D via sun exposure. However, the farther north or south one is from the equator, the less sufficient the expose is to the proper UV light of the sun. Season, time of day, length of day, cloud cover, smog, skin melanin content, and sunscreen are among the other factors that affect UV radiation exposure and vitamin D synthesis. Vitamin D has other roles in the body, including proper cell growth, neuromuscular and immune function, and reduction of inflammation.

The upper limit (or the limit that one should not exceed) tends to vary in the research. The current upper limit is set at 2000 IU (international units) per day. More current research has shown that the upper limit could be set at high as 5000 IU per day. The adverse effects of over consumption of vitamin D may include,  anorexia, weight loss, polyuria, and heart arrhythmias. More seriously, it can also raise blood levels of calcium, which leads to vascular and tissue calcification, or hardening of the blood vessels, with subsequent damage to the heart, blood vessels, and kidneys. However, these symptoms are mostly found in high supplemented diets ranging upwards of 10,000 IU per day, for a long period of time.

Offices of Dietary Supplements, National Institute of Health. Vitamin D. 2011 http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional/#ref

The highest natural sources include, cod liver oil (1300 IU/3 oz.), swordfish, (550 IU/3 oz.) salmon (450 IU/3 oz.) tuna (150 IU/ 3 oz.) and milk (120 IU/cup)

*3 oz. of fish is roughly the size of a deck of cards.

As with all supplements, consult your doctor or a registered dietitian before taking anything besides food.


Meet Your Trainer: Mike

Name: Mike Gorski

Email: mike.gorski57@gmail.com

Hometown: Eden Prairie, MN

Education: Bachelor of Science – Nutrition/Dietetics – University of Wisconsin, Madison

Training Certifications: ACE Certified Personal Trainer – May 2011

Favorite Quote: “Don’t ask for a light load, but rather ask for a strong back”  - Unknown

Questions:

1) What is your personal exercise history, and when did you start?

I have been working out ever since freshman year in high school when I decided to go out for the football team. I came into high school with a 6′, 160 pound frame, and graduated at 6′ 2″, 235 pounds. I joined the track team (throwing) at UW and bulked up to 260 pounds my freshman year. While I was much stronger, I was also carrying some extra “baggage” as well. After my first year, I had to undergo surgery on my lower back to have a cyst removed. Unfortunately, I was not able to workout my lower body at all summer and lost most of my leg and lower back strength. I was not able to continue with track, and decided to shed the pounds that I had gained. In my first semester as a sophomore, I lost over 40 pounds by following a healthy diet and increasing my cardio intensity by using High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and got back to a healthy 220. Since then I have lost another 10 pounds and have maintained a body weight of 210 for over 3 years.

2) What do your personal workouts look like?

Lately, I have been adding in many  functional training exercises, working with TRX’s, Bosu Balls, Med Balls, Kettlebells and Strength Bands. I still follow a more “power athlete” style workout program, while incorporating more explosive cardio movements, and bodybuilder style workouts as well. I enjoy trying new exercises, and figuring out how to make them even more physically challenging.

3) What is your training background?

The past two summers, I worked at my high school (Eden Prairie, MN) as the assistant strength and conditioning coach for all fall sports. I was fortunate enough to work with the football, boys soccer, and girls volleyball teams; all which went on to become State Champions in the Fall of 2011. I worked with many future college athletes, including several division one athletes as well.

4) What are your hobbies (outside of working out of course) and other fun facts about yourself?

  • I have been playing guitar for over 8 years, and recently got a banjo and have been working on learning that as well.
  • Once the weather warms up, you can find me fishing in my free time.
  • I love the outdoors and the freedom that comes with it, and therefore I would rather go on a vacation to the national parks out west than a beach down south.
  • I was lucky enough to get to travel a lot with my family, my favorite vacation was a Mediterranean cruise two summers ago.
  • Unlike most college students, I really enjoy cooking and trying new healthy recipes in the kitchen. My favorite meal of the day is breakfast, and I make the worlds greatest breakfast burritos. I will eat pretty much anything, except tofu.
  • I am an “adrenaline junky” who loves roller coasters, cliff jumping, rock climbing and would like to go sky diving some day soon!
  • My favorite sports teams are the Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Twins, and all Wisconsin Badger teams.

Streets of Rome 2010


Welcome to the Hybrid Athletic Club Blog

The goal of this blog is to provide the reader with the training and nutrition tips that will help you obtain your fitness goals.  Our highly certified trainers and Registered Dietitians will look to expand your fitness experience by covering topics such as: weight-loss training, body building, sports specific training, cardio, dieting, and delicious and nutritious recipes.

So what is Hybrid Athletic Club?

Hybrid Athletic Club is dedicated to providing an inviting, positive, and individualized approach to fitness.  We are industry leaders providing an inclusive approach to ultimate health through a scope that includes scientifically sound fitness and nutrition opportunities.  We strive to provide an environment that encourages our members to engage in new forms of fitness and nutrition education for a dynamic, prosperous, and wholesome approach to ultimate health

We hope you enjoy the information we provide here and look forward to leading you on your fitness journey.


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