Tag: lose weight

New member loses 35 pounds in 12 weeks with the help of the Evolve weight loss program.

Leela, a new member to Seattle Athletic Club, joined looking for help losing weight. After meeting with the Wellness Director Kelly Callison, she decided to challenge herself with the 12-week weight loss program, Evolve. Evolve is where Fitness, Nutrition, and Wellness come together to assist weight loss. Most diets are unsuccessful because the very word diet suggests that the change is temporary.

During the Evolve program Leela worked with Personal Fitness Trainer Thomas Eagen twice a week and met with Nutritionist Kathryn Reed every couple of weeks. Thomas and Kathryn worked with each other to develop a course of action best suited to fit Leela’s needs. Starting with the RMR or Resting Metabolic Rate, Leela was able to find out exactly how many calories she required to sit in a room and breath. With this information she could work with Kathryn on developing the caloric intake plan. This allowed her to lose roughly 2-3lbs a week by eating throughout her entire day, tracking calories and protein throughout. The simple change of eating breakfast made a huge impact on Leela’s energy levels not just for workouts but day to day activities in general.

“I have always struggled with my weight, but lately it had been getting so out of hand that I decided to make my health a priority. SAC seemed like the perfect choice because it was close to my office, has a wide variety of activities and especially because it has a specialized weight loss program. I really needed the structure and support that Evolve gives me. Thomas and Kathryn have outlined a very reasonable workout schedule and diet for me that doesn’t interfere too much with the rest of my life. I’ve actually been really surprised by how little I’ve had to change. For exercise I workout with Thomas twice a week, do Zumba twice a week and then I have one day to do whatever exercise I feel like. I’ve really enjoyed getting to try out the different classes and programs available at SAC. And I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how little I’ve had to change my diet. I still get to eat things that I like, I’m just much more conscious of portion size and having smaller meals throughout the day. I count calories and really focus on reaching my daily goal for protein. I’ve already started noticing some big changes. My clothes are getting looser, I’m getting stronger and I have much more energy. I’m really excited for more changes in the future. My eventual goal is to get back down to a healthy weight for my height. It’s still a ways off, but I am fully committed to working on my weight and setting up a healthy lifestyle for myself. I want to stick with the eating and exercise habits I’ve developed in Evolve for the long term. And I think with the fairly simple changes I’ve made it won’t be that difficult to do.”

Currently at week 12, Leela has lost 35 pounds, 6 % body fat, and has reduced her measurements around her entire body. Keep up the great work!! If you would like more information on our Evolve weight loss program please contact Wellness Director Kelly Callison.

USDA MyPlate

The USDA MyPlate was based on the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. MyPlate was designed to help American consumers eat healthfully and make better food choices. The image has been changed from a pyramid to a more familiar place setting visual to show the five food groups: vegetables, fruits, grains, protein, and dairy.

Vegetables and Fruit

  • Fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables, putting the emphasis on the vegetables. Always vary your choices so you get a good range of vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and other nutrients found in different produce. Choosing dark leafy greens and red, yellow, and orange produce gives you the variety of nutrients your body needs.
  • Choosing whole fruits and vegetables over juices increases your intake of fiber, decreases your calorie intake, and keeps you full longer!
  • Aim for 9 or more servings of vegetables and fruit per day. Keep in mind that about one cup raw or ½ cup cooked vegetables or fruit counts as a serving.
    Try something new: Try sautéing rainbow Swiss chard with oil, garlic, and lemon.
  • One quarter of your plate should include a whole grain. Options include whole wheat bread, brown rice, oats, quinoa, whole-grain pasta, bulgur, barley, and many others.
  • Try to limit your intake of refined grains like white rice and white bread. Refining grains removes the endospore and bran of the grain; along with it goes the fiber, B vitamins, and vitamin E.
  • Try something new: Quinoa is a delicious (gluten-free) whole grain that’s easy to make: just follow the simple instructions on the box then try adding some toasted pine nuts and feta cheese crumbles.


  • Fill a quarter of your plate with lean proteins like fish, poultry, legumes, beans, and nuts.
  • Choose red meat, cold cuts, and processed meats like sausage and bacon less often.
  • Animal protein contains more saturated fat than plant protein. By choosing plant protein options such as beans, legumes, nuts, and tofu, you are choosing less fat and more vitamins and minerals. You even get extra fiber when you choose plant sources of protein.
  • The USDA recommends 5-6 ounce equivalents of protein in a day.
  • Try something new: Lentils are a great source of protein and fiber. They taste great in soups, as a lentil salad, or mixed into pasta sauce.

Dairy/Calcium-Enriched Products

  • Include 2 or 3 servings of low fat dairy or calcium-enriched products per day.

    Try something new: Kefir is a probiotic-rich yogurt drink that is great by itself or mixed into a fruit smoothie.

Other things to remember

  • Try to limit your intake of added sugars. The USDA recommendation for individuals who need 2000 calories per day is 260 “discretionary calories” or “empty” calories. These include not only added sugar but solid fats as well. These empty calories provide no nutrients, only added calories. They can be avoided by choosing nonfat milk instead of whole milk, avoiding sugary cereal and soft drinks, as well as other sweets, fried foods, and high fat foods like cheese and red meat. Choose unsweetened beverages, baked fish or chicken instead of fried, and smaller portions of naturally high fat foods like cheese.
  • Include healthier oils such as olive oil and other plant oils with your meals and limit saturated and trans fat. In general, oils (liquid at room temperature) are full of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which have more health benefits than the saturated and trans fats found in solid sources of fat like butter, margarine, lard, and partially hydrogenated oil.
  • Remember to always stay active! While no longer part of the official MyPlate, physical activity remains as important as ever. The USDA recommends 2 ½ hours of physical activity per week for adults. Physical activity should include both aerobic activity and strengthening exercises. For children, the recommendation is one hour of physical activity each day of the week.

Metabolic Conditioning Workout

Summer is approaching fast! Get your mind and your body right for the warmer months! Whether you’re getting ready for a marathon, squash tournament or bikini competition conditioning is one of the most important elements to building cardiovascular fitness as well as added calorie burning. Try this metabolism boosting interval workout to help give you a little extra push!

  1. Begin with 5 sets of abs at 12-20 reps.
  2. Stepmill : 5 min at 75spm
  3. Rowing machine: 4x200m sprint at resistance 6 with 1 min rest in between
  4. Stepmill: 5 min at 85spm
  5. Rowing machine: 4x100m sprint at resistance 8 with 30 sec rest in between
  6. Box push: 4x30yds
  7. Bike: 10 min at Level 4 sprinting every other minute at double the resistance.
  8. Cool down for 5 min at light resistance!

Going into the gym with a plan will help guarantee you make the most out of your workout! Don’t cheat yourself, beat yourself!

Small bouts of exercise add up!

We all have busy schedules and finding time to fit everything is nearly impossible. The first thing we tend to throw out is our workout. Well, forget this all or nothing mentality, you do not have to workout 30-60 minutes all at once. Instead, squeeze your workouts in where you have 10 extra minutes. It is proven that doing 10 minutes of medium to high intensity workouts at least 3 times a day, 5 days a week, will help you live a healthier life and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.

Besides fitting in the 10 minute workouts when you have a little bit of free time, you can also make simple choices that will help you burn a few extra calories. For instance, park at the far end of the store parking lot and walk briskly to the store. Whenever possible walk wherever you need to go. By taking the stairs instead of the elevator you can burn 75-115 calories for every 10 minutes spent in the stairwell. While watching your favorite show doesn’t just sit on the couch, on those commercial breaks get up and get you’re heart rate up and your blood pumping. Just think if you did 5 minutes of jumping jacks, crunches, pushups, squats, and lunges, each time you had a commercial you would get in an extra 20-30 minutes of working out.

Also spring is just around the corner and it is time to do spring-cleaning. Get out there and do some gardening, 30 minutes of gardening will burn roughly 140 calories, mowing the lawn for 30 minutes will burn about 160 calories, raking the leaves will burn about 125 calories in 30 minutes. Clean those dirty windows! Wash all your windows inside and out for 30 minutes and burn 85 calories. 30 minutes spent cleaning out the garage can burn 100 calories. Rearrange your furniture, and vacuum and dust behind everything can burn an extra 135 calories.
As you can see it does not take much to burn those extra calories! Your goal is to squeeze in your workouts whenever you have a few extra minutes, and to move more!

How to Workout with Medical Issues…Being Overweight

Many of us are aware of the fact that 2/3 of the US population is overweight and 1/3 of it is obese (and those numbers are still on the rise). Of that 2/3 there are more men overweight, but there are more women than men in the obese category. It seams that with our increase in technological ease comes an increase in our waist lines. The recommendations for getting out of the Lazy Boy and moving is 30 minutes of accumulated exercise each day (at least) but the average American does not get 30 minutes of accumulated exercise in a week. What I am going to try and do is break down exercise for someone overweight into an easy information system that can be followed to aid in starting weight loss and healthier habits.

With all the infomercials on TV showing weight loss pills, shake weights and new fad exercise stuff its hard to know what to do to lose weight. I always like to say, you did not gain all your weight overnight, it won’t come off that quickly either. There have been many studies looking into what causes excessive weight gain; being too much food, too little exercise or both. One key factor that is consistently present in weight gain of children, adolescents and adults is a sedentary lifestyle!

  • Excess weight gain has been shown be closer related to reduced physical activity rather than increase eating.
  • Studies have shown that excessive weight gain among children, adolescents and adults is directly related to hours spent watching TV; each 2-hr a day increment in TV watching coincided with a 23% increase in obesity and 14% rise in diabetes risk.
  • Overweight individuals often do not eat more on average than persons of normal weight.

So now that we know we need to take steps to increase our activities and get our diet under control to begin a long term weight loss habit, what is the next step? We should try to create a negative energy balance (burn more calories than we consume) through:

  1. Increasing the amount of calories we burn with daily activities:
    • Normal daily activity – this means walking to work or the grocery store, move as much as possible, don’t take the easy route
    • Daily exercise – increase your exercise intensity or duration
  2. Improve physical fitness
  3. Alter body fat and fat distribution

Debunking two myths about exercising:

  1. Exercise causes one’s appetite to increase; negating the calories burned performing that exercise.
    • This is a two part answer depending on body type: first the athletic/fit person, who could require 5000 kcals daily, needs to consume much more energy (food) to maintain their current weight and fitness level. Second is the overweight person, whose large energy reserve makes it easier to tolerate weight loss without that increase in post workout calorie consumption.
    • In a nutshell most people who workout and then eat a lot of food afterwards are the thinner athletes who need to eat a lot to maintain their weight, where as the overweight people don’t need to eat near as much post workout because their body is using their fat stores for energy.
  2. Working out does not have as much of a “dent” on the body’s fat store as dieting does.
    • Many people feel that is takes some huge amount of exercise in one outing to burn off 1 lb of fat (3500 kcals); for instance it would take someone playing golf for 20 hours to burn off 1 lb of fat. This is true, and no one wants to play golf for that long, so lets figure out how to make it work…shorter rounds of golf more often. If someone played golf for just 2 hrs a day two days a week it would take them 5 wks to lose that 1 lb of fat. Remember slow and steady wins the race, in a year this person would be down 10 lbs of fat. Who wouldn’t want to lose 10 lbs of fat with golfing twice a week?
    • Remember, the calorie expending effects of exercise will add up, whether it happens rapidly or over an extended period of time.

Resistance training for people looking to lose weight can be very beneficial by burning over 9 kcal a minute, increasing muscular strength and endurance and increasing one’s Fat Free Mass.

  • Ideal exercise consists of using large muscle groups during moderate to high calorie burning exercises (such as swimming, stair climbing, circuit training).
  • A reasonable goal would be to progressively increase the moderate activity between 60 and 90 min daily.
  • Increase total daily energy expenditure substantially and regularly rather than increase exercise intensity to induce a training response (increase exercise duration before intensity).
  • Exercise a minimum of 3 days a week to do favorable changes to your body composition.
  • Make it a goal to burn at least 300 kcal in each exercise session.
  • Meaningful changes in bodyweight and composition will happen over at least 12 weeks.
  • Think about adding lifestyle changes in your daily physical activity, such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • People that join a weight loss program or exercise with friends lose more weight than those trying to do it alone!
  • Weight bearing cardio exercises will be the best for losing weight safely and at a faster pace.

The ideal combination for weight loss…Diet plus Exercise. Combining diet with exercise allows people more flexibility in their weight loss plan and gives them longevity in maintaining that fat loss. By combining diet with exercise two you reduce the intense feelings of hunger seen by dieting alone and you protect against muscle loss by exercising aerobically or with weights. Some experts think that its not exactly the increase in structured exercise that aids in weight loss but rather the psychologic-behavioral aspects that change ones “regular” physical activity; meaning that when people start to go for walks instead of watching TV, join a sports team and start to move again there is better sustained weight loss than just going to a gym regularly.

Weight loss really is in the hands of the individual seeking it. You want to be the tortoise in this race, slow and steady to win the race; after all the weight didn’t suddenly appear on your body so don’t expect it suddenly drop off overnight. A quote from the National Task Force on the Prevention and Treatment of Obesity best summarizes weight loss: “obese individuals who undertake weight loss efforts should be ready to commit to lifelong changes their behavioral patterns, diet and physical activity.” Also remember that there is strength in numbers; so go find a friend or coworker to join you in your weight loss adventure. If you would like more information on weight loss or just have questions on how to get started please feel free to contact Fitness Director Jacob Galloway.

Cardio vs. Lifting Weights: Which burns more calories?

There is a great deal of confusion surrounding body composition improvement. Conflicting information saturates the media concerning what methodology is most appropriate to help us reach our goals, which leads to many of us expending unnecessary time and energy in the gym doing the wrong things. Approaching our goals from the wrong direction, unfortunately, keeps them out of reach.

First, we need to get a few things straight. Body composition is the comparison of adipose tissue (fat) to lean tissue (everything else). Those of us who desire to shape, tone, and define our bodies often mistakenly identify our primary goal as simply “weight loss”. In reality, our goal is more accurately described as “body composition improvement”. Losing weight alone will not produce the result we strive for. We also need structure – in the form of lean muscle. To put the bottom line up front: Lifting weights (resistance training) is a better way to improve body composition than cardiovascular exercise. Disagree? Read on…there are two main reasons resistance training is so effective – one occurs in the short-term, one in the long-term.

The short-term can seem a little tricky, and is often misinterpreted. While you are actively exercising, cardiovascular exercise burns more calories than resistance training of the same relative intensity. This fact alone causes a great deal of confusion and feeds misinformation to popular fitness media.

There is more to the story than how many calories we burn during a workout. How many calories are expended post workout is relevant as well. When our cardiovascular routine ends, it takes the body merely a few minutes to return to resting heart rate, and therefore resting metabolism. However, when we finish resistance training, our metabolism is positively affected by tissue repair and growth for up to 72 hours. When we finish with cardiovascular exercise, our metabolism returns to normal before we hit the locker room, while after a resistance training workout we continue burning extra calories for several days. Still not convinced? Consider the long-term.

The long-term picture is a little simpler. Resistance training over time will cause the body to create additional lean muscle mass. Lean muscle is more metabolically active, that is, it requires more calories to maintain itself than adipose tissue does – so the more lean muscle mass we have, the higher our metabolism. Elevating our metabolism causes the body to burn more calories during everything that we do, day and night.

Restated simply: Resistance training is a more effective way to improve body composition than cardiovascular activity, both in the short-term and the long-term. Cardiovascular training is still critical for good health – the heart is the most important muscle, after all. But we call it “cardio” for a reason: it is primarily for the heart. The road to train the rest of the body runs straight through the weight room.

So stop worrying about weight, step off the scale, and pick up some dumbbells.

If you have questions about how to plan your workouts based on body composition measurements, please feel free to contact Personal Fitness Trainer Damien K. Krantz.

Push it up!

If there is a single exercise to do on a consistent basis, it would be a PUSH UP. Push ups are an awesome compound movement that is going to work your chest, shoulders, triceps, and core.

The great thing about push-ups is that they use your body weight as resistance, so you don’t have to use any equipment. When done correctly, a push up is one of the most effective exercises to strengthen your upper body.

Military Push Ups

  1. Place your toes and hands on the floor, making sure your back and arms are straight. Keep your hands slightly more than shoulder-width apart and tighten your abdominal muscles.
  2. Inhale as you lower yourself to the floor, stopping as your elbows reach a 90-degree bend. Keep your body from touching the floor.
  3. Exhale and push yourself away from the floor. Don’t lock your elbows, and don’t bend your back.
  4. Repeat several sets.

Modified Push Up

  1. Place your hands and knees on the floor. Keeping your gluts and abs tight, your back should be in one diagonal line with your head and neck, and your feet should be lifted from the floor.
  2. Inhale as you lower yourself to the floor, stopping as your elbows reach a 90-degree bend. Keep your body from touching the floor.
  3. Exhale and push yourself away from the floor. Don’t lock your elbows, and don’t bend your back.
  4. Repeat several sets.

To make your workout more challenging, place your hands on a chair or bench for an incline push up.

For help designing a new workout, or information on planning modifications to your existing workouts, please contact Fitness Director, Jacob Galloway.

How to Workout with Medical Issues… Diabetes

One of the most frequent things I see at the gym is people working out without eating breakfast or food before they start their gym routine. Your body only has so much energy floating around in it that it can quickly utilize for movement (about 30 min). After that it has to start to pull from stores in you muscle and kidneys. This is usually when I will see my clients start to turn pail, have super low energy and become dizzy. Their body is trying to pull enough stored energy for quick utilization; but there is a little bit of a time lapse where you are running on empty. This is much like what happens to someone who has Diabetes and is referred to as Hypoglycemia. The easiest remedy would be to get some kind of sugar in the body; I have found that orange juice or just fruit works wonders for the “bonking” that happens during exercise on an empty stomach or if you are a diabetic.

Warning signs of hypoglycemia are:

  • Mild Symptoms: Trembling or shakiness, nervousness, rapid heart rate, palpitations, increased sweating, excessive hunger
  • Moderate Symptoms: headache, irritability and abrupt mood changes, impaired concentration and attentiveness, mental confusion, drowsiness
  • Severe Symptoms: unresponsiveness, unconsciousness, convulsions

Insulin’s normal response to meals would include an increase in blood glucose, causing an increase in insulin. Insulin is transported throughout the body and causes the body to enhance its glucose uptake and utilization. A defect anywhere along this pathway for glucose uptake signals diabetes. During exercise low levels of glucose are the main problem to deal with during prolonged intense exercise where the liver does not release enough glucose to match the need of the working muscle.

Benefits of exercise on Diabetes:

  • It increases insulin sensitivity, causing a long term improvement in glycemic control (meaning your body needs less insulin to clear the glucose).
  • Decreased Cardiovascular disease risk factors
  • Weight loss and reduced body fat
  • Better psyche
  • Reduced occurrence of Type II diabetes

How to exercise to get the best benefits:

  • Try for 170 min of weekly exercise
  • Combine weights and cardio to your daily routine
  • Combine diet and regular exercise
  • Exercise must be maintained to keep results

Exercise is a must for anyone, but especially those with diabetes; you can increase your quality of life and make diabetes more manageable. Every day will be different with exercising and your energy levels so you will need to watch how your body reacts to exercise; especially 30 minuntes into it. Remember to eat for exercise and to have some quick energy on hand in case your body needs a little more to finish up the workout.

If these benefits seam like something that interest you and you would like to be taught by one of the Seattle Athletic Club’s highly educated fitness staff please contact Fitness Director Jacob Galloway.

Mediocrity vs. Greatness

What is mediocrity? The state of being mediocre.

What is mediocre? “of only ordinary or moderate quality, neither good nor bad, barely adequate”

Well, I don’t know how that sounds to you, but who wants to be mediocre? Sounds like a boring existence.

How about greatness? Having greatness in your life does not mean you have to graduate magna cum laude, it does not mean you have to be a professional athlete or win the Tour, it does not mean you have to land on the moon or lead the human genome project…it means that you set yourself apart from the mundane of the day EVERY day and you do something above the best of your ability.

Bring greatness into your life by smiling at everyone you see on the street one day…imagine what others will feel as well. Bring greatness into your life by doing 8 reps in your workout with PERFECTION instead of just trying to hammer through 12 them. Bring greatness into your life by not giving your best… give more…go above…go beyond. You can, we are capable of much more than we believe and the human brain has more capacity than you can imagine.

So, set out today and do it right. Mediocrity MIGHT get it done…GREATNESS gets it done with purpose, pride and perfection!

What you really should know about starting a workout routine!

How do you make sure that on your own you are doing what is best for your training? Beyond just having a great routine and pushing yourself, how do you make sure that your training is smart, effective, and safe?

Here are a few tips to make sure you are on the right path to success and health!

  1. If you don’t know for sure ask a professional. You can only learn so much from pictures from a magazine or from videos on YouTube. When in doubt always consult a fitness professional. Better to build good habits and perform movements correctly than guess and cause injury or teach your body wrong movements that will have to be undone somewhere down the road!
  2. Throw out the idea of “No Pain No Gain.” If something you are doing is causing you pain, making you uncomfortable maybe that exercise is not for you. You should be challenged and you should work hard but there is no need for actual pain. Getting tired, breathing hard, muscle fatigue, those are all good things to a degree but you should always avoid pain inducing movements and seek a professional for advice or modifications.
  3. Don’t be Hercules right away. If you are performing new exercises or a new type of routine you should make sure that you are using reasonable weights. The goal of a new program is to learn new movements and build upon the knowledge you already have. The goal is not to put up the heaviest weight you have ever lifted doing an exercise you have never done before. Be smart, learn the exercise before challenging yourself with weight.
  4. If you are getting too tired or too fatigued to perform an exercise correctly or safely take a break! Sometimes if you are racing the clock or your partner you may have the inclination to push yourself to the edge. This leads to muscle fatigue which will surely lead to injury eventually. Be smart, make sure that the form comes first and if and when you start to lose that it’s time for a break. Push yourself but always know your limits.
  5. Lift safely, always use a spotter with heavy weights or with a new movement. If you do not have a spotter than stay away from near maximal efforts. Better safe than sorry
  6. You’re gonna feel it tomorrow! Whenever you start a new program you are almost guaranteed to end up sore as all get out. So pace yourself with weight, reps, etc. when starting on something new. A little soreness is bearable but when you can’t even get out of bed the next morning you’ve gone too far. Your goal with a new program is to learn and perform movements correctly, not to take on the workout like it’s your purpose in life. So beware and don’t push it too much that first time around!
  7. Hard workouts are awesome but not every day! Make sure to mix in high intensity workouts with lighter stuff. 3-4 times a week of high intensity workouts are more than enough. Your body needs some down time so make sure you are getting some good cross-training in, whether that’s Yoga, basic cardio, basic circuits, or just plain old rest days. You need to make sure that you are giving your body workouts that are not always super demanding. This will decrease chance of injury, over used muscles, muscle depletion, and allow you to see the best results from all your work.
  8. Never skip warm-ups. This small but crucial amount of time should be put into every workout. You cannot expect your muscles or lungs to perform at their best ability cold. The warm-up doesn’t have to be extensive but you need to make sure that your muscles, lungs, and brain are ready for a workout. Warm-ups are crucial for staying healthy and injury free but they also allow you to get the most out of your workout!
  9. If you know you have an injury be extra vigilant about listening to your body. This goes along with, if it hurts, don’t do it. Most injuries do not magically disappear so make sure to avoid movements to any joints, muscles, bones, etc that you know you have injured. Consult with a PT or doctor before getting in over your head!
  10. Keep an open mind. A lot of times things are harder than maybe you expect them to be. Jump roping was so easy when you were 10, you could do it all day. Now you can hardly get over the rope 15 times before screwing up or feeling like your lungs are going to explode. Just remember everything takes time, learning, gaining muscle, gaining flexibility, gaining general muscle recruitment patterns, and increasing your overall fitness takes time. Just be ready for some things to be harder than you though. Don’t get discouraged.

For help designing a new workout, or information on planning modifications to your existing workouts, please contact Personal Fitness Trainer, Adriana Brown.