News Roundup: 2015 Fitness Trend Forecast

Every year the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) announces the predictions for the most popular fitness trends of the coming year. These predictions are based on survey responses from fitness professionals around the world. The results were released in the article “Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends for 2015: What’s Driving the Market” published in the November/December issue of ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal.

Body weight training claims the top spot, followed by High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), and educated and experienced fitness professionals. Some trends are notably missing (crossfit), while others seem to stand the test of time (yoga).

This week’s News Roundup brings you a collection of articles and blog posts discussing the predictions for the top fitness trends of 2015. 

Survey Predicts Top 20 Fitness Trends for 2015American College of Sports Medicine. “It’s no surprise to see body weight training claiming the top spot this year,” said Walter R. Thompson, Ph.D., FACSM, the lead author of the survey. “These kinds of exercises provide the benefit of requiring little to no equipment and are incorporated into many fitness programs that are currently popular.”

Fitness Trend Forecast for 2015: 6 Trends on the RiseThe Huffington Post. “The other growing tech trend is web based fitness. More and more people are participating in online fitness challenges and weight loss contests or doing their workouts with streaming videos on YouTube or iTunes for example. The once prominent DVD has seen it's heyday.”

How Will You Work Out When CrossFit Is No Longer Hip?  NPR. “Fitness trends are also influenced by the economy. When the economy began shrinking in 2007-2008, the fitness industry also collapsed back to the basics, hence the growth of boot camp classes, which require few props. Purchases of pricy gym equipment like stationary bikes declined.”

How you’re going to be working out in 2015. Quartz. “But many recent workout fads—like Zumba, Pilates, and indoor cycling—have dropped out of this year’s top 20. ’Many of these fads are creative variations of the core fitness components and typically are driven by clever marketing and a perceived element of fun’…” 

It appears that fitness trend predications for 2015 are going back to the basics. Workouts based on body weight training and led by educated and experienced fitness professional may be here to stay…again. 

Superfood Series: Part 6


Blueberries can thank their high flavonoid/anthocyanin content which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects for helping them earn their superfood status.  Blueberries are also low in calories and high in nutrients and water content which make them a good snack choice. Here are 7 more reasons to love blueberries.     

*RDA= Recommended Daily Allowance

1 serving blueberries= 1 cup fresh blueberries

Digestion and Weight LossFiber aids in digestion and one serving of blueberries has 4g of fiber. That’s 14% of the DRA for fiber.  Fiber is not fully digested by the body, so it cleans out the digestive tract as it passes through.  Fiber also helps increase satiety (the feeling of being satisfied), which can aid in weight loss and healthy weight maintenance plans.

Lower Blood Pressure.  Blueberries contain anthocyanins and flavonoids which may contribute to the prevention of high blood pressure.  Anthocyanins have a beneficial effect on blood flow and blood vessels.  One study found that compared to those who did not eat blueberries, those eating at least one serving per week reduced their risk of high blood pressure by 10%.

Metabolism Efficiency.  Back to the anthocyanins.  Some research studies have shown they can prevent growth of fat cells while at the same time, encouraging the release of a hormone that helps reduce inflammation and blood sugar, which can help reverse insulin resistance.  Fresh or frozen blueberries will provide you with the highest amount of anthocyanins per serving.

Lower LDL cholesterol.  Blueberries can help reduce the buildup of LDL (low-density, “bad”) cholesterol which consequently reduces risk for heart disease, stroke, and atherosclerosis.  Normally, dietary cholesterol is reabsorbed by the body as it is digested.  Blueberries impact the digestive process by reducing reabsorption of cholesterol into the body, therefore, aiding in removal of cholesterol via the digestive tract.

Reduced Breast Cancer.  The anthocyanins in blueberries have been shown to prevent or stop cancerous cell growth. The results of one study indicated that mice which were fed blueberry extract had tumors that were 70% smaller and less likely to migrate to other areas of the body than mice that were not given the extract.

Graceful Aging. Due to their flavonoid production, blueberries appear to reduce rates of cognitive decline in older adults.  One study found that participants who drank wild blueberry juice daily for 12 weeks experienced such benefits as improved learning, memory recall, reduced depressive symptoms, and lower glucose levels. This preliminary research supports the idea that blueberries can improve memory in older adults.

Versatility.  Blueberries are eaten fresh or frozen. Raw or baked into your favorite dessert. The frozen ones are great raw or thrown into a smoothie.  They can easily be kept at room temp, which makes them a great option for an on the go snack. Bonus: they are naturally very sweet, so they are a great healthier snack for people trying to reduce their sugar intake (in moderation, of course).


Superfood Series: Part 5

6 Reason why Walnuts are Superfood All-stars:

  1.  Heart Health.  Walnuts are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids which help fight inflammation and preserve endothelial cell function that is associated with heart disease.  These heart healthy fats have a unique chemical structure that aides in unclogging arteries the same way drain cleaner unclogs your kitchen sink pipes.  Walnuts also contain a unique combination of fiber and unsaturated fats which can also help lower cholesterol (and reduce insulin resistance which often leads to diabetes). 
  2. Weight controlResearch indicates that diets containing walnuts are more supportive of weight loss and healthy weight maintenance.  Even though walnuts are relatively high in fat and calories for size, when eaten in moderation they can help suppress appetite in between meals and provide high amounts of satiety (the feeling of being satisfied or full).  This is because walnuts have a good amount of protein and fiber (1-.25 cup serving contains 5g protein and 3 g fiber), both of which contribute to the feeling of fullness.  There are many ways to include walnuts into your diet.  Try eating a handful or throw them into your cereal, oatmeal, or salad. 
  3. Brain Health.  Back to the Omega -3s, there is a link between Omega-3 consumption and the ability to fight depression and cognitive degeneration.  Research shows that people who ate walnuts as part of a Mediterranean style diet were associated with better memory and brain function.  A review of the literature postulates that antioxidants and polyunsaturated fatty acids in walnuts may help counteract age-related cognitive decline. 
  4. Slows Cancer Tumor Growth.  Antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients found in walnuts are arguably the two most important factors that can have an effect on the development of cancer.  Antioxidants help prevent cancer by repairing damaged cells.  Research has revealed that walnuts have the ability to help prevent, fight, and slow growth of certain cancerous tumors (i.e. prostate, gastrointestinal, and breast cancer). 
  5. Sleep.  Walnuts have the ability to raise melatonin levels by a whopping three times.  Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland in the brain.  It plays a role in sleep regulation by controlling the sleep wake cycle, helping you to feel sleepy at night.  Bonus?  Melatonin in walnuts is in bio-available form, which means it is easier to absorb than other supplemental sources of melatonin. 
  6. Metabolism booster.  Thecombination of protein and essential fatty acids found in walnuts can help boost metabolism.Walnuts also contain16% of the daily recommend amount of magnesium-which is needed for protein synthesis.  Magnesium functions as an electrolyte, which means that it is used to communicate between nerves and muscles. When muscles have adequate magnesium, they are able to function properly and continue to support a healthy metabolism. To sum it up, walnuts can help your body to function and continue to grow stronger and build muscle as you exercise.

*For full health benefits, make sure to eat the raw version of walnuts and stay away from anything that is coated in sugar or salt like candied walnuts.


Ditch the Resolution and Resolve to be SMART

Ditch the Resolution, Set SMART goals

Why You Make Resolutions

About half of Americans set New Year’s Resolutions.  However, only about 8% of people are successful at achieving their resolutions. A whopping 38% of New Year’s Resolutions are related to weight, exercise, and/or eating healthier.  Many people find the New Year as the perfect time to kick old habits.  But why are so few successful?   

Why You Fail

Many resolutions are simply unrealistic in nature. If you’re a self-proclaimed foodie who loves chocolate and your New Year’s Resolution is to lose 20 pounds and give up chocolate cake…you may have “false hope syndrome”.  False hope syndrome, coined by psychologists Polivy and Herman, is a cycle of failure and renewed effort, characterized by the unrealistic expectation that major changes will come easier and quicker than is truly realistic.  Basically, if you have tried and failed at losing weight or giving up chocolate cake before, it’s probably not because you didn’t have enough willpower.  Your goals were probably just unrealistic [for you] or not specific enough. You needed a reasonable plan.  

Lack of social support is often another major deterrent for making significant lifestyle changes.   If your goal is to eat healthier but your office kitchen is constantly full of doughnuts, you are going to have a much harder time eating healthy than someone who doesn’t have to fight the doughnut temptation every day.  Having the support of your family and friends is essential when changing your goals and subsequently changing your environment and your habits.  

What to do instead

This year, instead of setting a few New Year’s Resolutions, stick to SMART goals. Focus on one goal rather than several. Keep in mind that goals, like losing weight, are year-long goals. SMART goals are more of a lifestyle change rather than something you power through for a couple of weeks until you can no longer maintain it.  Let’s take a look at goal setting using the SMART method instead of setting a too ambitious (I want to climb Mt. Everest but never climbed before) outcome driven and not process driven (losing 50lbs), vague (I want to be healthier), New Year’s “resolution” of overhauling your body and your life. 

Focusing on one SMART goal at a time will allow you to concentrate your efforts on the goal that is most important to you.  Keep in mind that goals, such as losing weight, are year-long objectives that will entail more of a lifestyle change rather than a radical, temporary adjustment.  Using the SMART method of goal setting will become more intuitive with practice. Lastly, try not to be too hard on yourself if you fall off track. Everyone has setbacks from time to time, but it’s important that you keep moving toward your goal.  Change doesn’t happen overnight, but consistent progress facilitates long term results.


News Roundup: Exercise in Colder Weather

Colder temperatures don’t have to stop you from exercising outside. Cold weather exercise can be beneficial for the mind and body. Exercising outside ensures that you’re getting a daily dose of Vitamin D from the sun-which can help combat seasonal affective disorder and depression. Additionally, your body has to work extra hard to regulate its core temperature when you’re in colder weather, thus, boosting your overall fitness just a little bit more.  

This week’s News Roundup brings you a collection of articles and blog posts with tips and benefits of exercising outside. 

7 Big Benefits of Exercising Outside This Winter. The Huffington Post.  “Cold weather also makes the heart work harder to distribute blood throughout the body. For an unhealthy heart that struggles to manage the additional stress, this process can exacerbate illness and injury. But a regular exerciser with cardiovascular endurance can make their heart muscle even stronger with these cold-weather sessions, better preparing the body for more strenuous workouts in the future -- not to mention other non-exercise stresses in life.”

Winter Weather Exercise Tips. Runner's World. “Snow and ice can make things very dicey. When you do run or walk, don’t worry about how fast or slow you’re going. Just get into a rhythm that feels easy and comfortable.”

How to Dress for Winter ExerciseAbout Health.  “The base layer is in contact with your skin. A tight fitting and wicking material is best to keep you warm and dry. Polypropylene, silk, polyester, Thermax, Thinsulate, and wool are all good choices Avoid cotton because it traps moisture, so it stays wet and draws heat from you.”

9 Tips for Exercising in Winter WeatherLiveScience. “Just because it's not hot out doesn't mean that you can cut down on your water intake during a workout you can become dehydrated in cold weather too, the Mayo Clinic warns. Drink plenty of fluids before you head outside, and be sure to bring some along with you in a reusable beverage container. Skip sugary or caffeinated sports drinks, and load up on water instead.” 

This winter, don’t let the cold stop you from reaching your fitness goals. If you properly prepare and listen to your body along the way, you’ll be able to exercise outside all winter long…and reap the benefits all year long.