Quest Fitness 2022 Blog

Winter and Nutrition

With the snow comes the onset of hibernation, personally this time of year has me wanting to eat more and do less! So how can we stay healthy and happy through the holidays? Let's chat about the science behind weight loss and take some common myths off the table!

Bodyweight is affected by so many different factors, that sometimes are and sometimes just seem to be out of our control. Biological, environmental, and behavioral pressures affect bodyweight, all of which are inherently influenced by genetics.

Over the past 50 years, our environment has become more obesogenic, favoring behavioral choices that increase the intake of energy more than energy requirements. In other words, our society has been built around eating and socializing, and has become less about energy balance, (compensating for what you eat with exercise).

Dieting has been rampant since the 80s. Low carb, low fat, high carb, high fat, each diet tells you it will accomplish something different, but these diets only work in the short term. To lose weight and keep that weight off, you must find balance between diet and exercise. You must eat to fuel your body, as opposed to eating for fun, for punishment, for celebrations, etc. With that being said, I am a firm believer in 'everything in moderation.' As a personal trainer I never have, and never will tell a client to cut anything out, because I believe that creates an even more toxic relationship to food and your body!

Weight change is sporadic. Every person's weight will fluctuate daily. One of the biggest culprits of this is fluid retention and fluid loss. Restricting carbs for a few weeks will deplete your excess water content leaving you feeling lean. But this diet is extremely unhealthy in the long term and has limited success.

If you are trying to track your weight, and you don't do so regularly, these weight fluctuations can be very discouraging. Weight fluctuation during attempted weight loss is the biggest obstacle to success. While we can't avoid this fluctuation, we can account for it. To truly track weight and see progress you must weigh yourself first thing in the morning, after having a bowel movement, and do so every day. Take the average of the week, and that is the number you record and track progress with.

Studies have shown that weight loss clients who have long term success adopt a regular exercise routine. This isn't to say that if you exercise enough, you can eat anything you want, but instead we are creating a causal correlation: regular exercise has proven to result in a more consistent and predictable appetite. People who exercise regularly have increased sensitivity to satiety signals. You form better brain connections to the hormones that trigger hunger.

For a long time, studies were producing results that showed that high intensity workouts were best for weight loss because of EPOC: excessive post-exercise oxygen consumption. This was initially viewed as the golden ticket to weight loss because after the work out you will continue to burn calories at a higher rate than your norm. But in the past 5 years new studies have shown that EPOC doesn't occur at a rate high enough to really make a difference.

In fact, studies show that most people are working too hard in their cardiovascular workouts and are making weight loss more difficult to achieve.

Your body has three sources of fuel: carbohydrates, lipids, and proteins. Lipids, or fat, is the body's most concentrated source of energy. To use fat for exercise, the body breaks down fat into fatty acid and these fatty acids are transported through the blood to the muscles to be used as fuel. Ample oxygen must be available for the body to use fat for energy. Carbohydrates, or sugar, must be stored along with water. To use carbs as energy, the body doesn't need as much oxygen. Protein is not technically a source from which the body pulls to create energy, protein is used to build, maintain, and repair body tissues. If you have depleted your carb stores and are working hard (aka not getting much oxygen), your body will be forced to start breaking down skeletal muscle for you to keep working.

Here is an example:

To use fat as fuel, you must be aerobic: meaning you are getting plenty of oxygen. What does this look like? You can hold a conversation, you can breathe through your nose, you could hold this pace for 30mins-3hours. The moment you increase your heart rate and become anaerobic: your body is no longer getting ample oxygen; you stop burning fat and begin burning carbs. If you spend too much time here and don't have enough carb stored, then protein will start to be pulled from the muscles. (We don't want that!)

80% of your cardio exercise should be spent in the aerobic zone, that zone is unique to each person, but go based on how you feel, 20% of cardio should be anaerobic, where you feel breathless and sweaty.

When you are working hard, your body thinks you are in a stressful environment, and it wants to hold onto fat to keep you safe in the long term. Keep the cardio light and your body will burn the stuff you want to get rid of!

In health and happiness,

Heather Evans

Loneliness is Bad For Your Health

  Studies show that loneliness is tied to inflammation and hardening of the arteries. Loneliness raises levels of the stress hormone cortisol which has long term damaging effects on the body. Even fruit flies isolated from other fruit flies...

Read More

Are you overly focused on the Scale?

Do you weigh yourself daily or even multiple times a day? Do you find that your emotions are closely linked to the number you see on that scale? If you answered yes to one or both of these questions, you may want to re-evaluate how you think about...

Read More

Telomeres: The Secret to Slowing Down Your Aging

There is a direct correlation between telomere length and the rate at which human beings age. Telomeres are the structures located on the ends of our DNA strands and chromosomes - kind of like how shoelaces have a plastic bit on each end. If the...

Read More

Turning The Clock Back On Middle Aged Hearts

Can you turn the clock back and improve your heart health even if you leave it to middle age? It appears so. Recent studies of subjects who start exercising even at middle age are showing surprising results. Dr Ben Levine a sports cardiologist at...

Read More