The only online publication for women in Greater Cincinnati
Health

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Question: Hey, Rocco.. I lead an extremely busy life with my career. I travel a lot and on top of that have a family to take care of. I find no time to get into the gym. I did buy a treadmill, but of course, I hardly ever use it! What kinds, if any, of exercises can I do in the little bit of time I have.

Answer: Slow down, I think you’re going to have an aneurysm. I love when people tell me they’re too busy to workout because I tell them that they better get a lot done because they’ll be dead in a few short years. Everyone has excuses, and I can’t stand excuses because if you can’t find 30 minutes out of your day to get a workout in, you’re full of shit. I wish I could use the verbiage I would normally say. So here’s the rundown, busy bee. Five exercises. That’s right, you read it right, five exercises. And if you’re blind, I’ll say it a little louder, FIVE EXERCISES. All you need to stay in some sort of decent shape is five exercises. 1) Lunges (same leg) 25 reps 2) Jumping Jacks (50 reps) 3) Push-up or negative push-ups (as many as you can do) 4) Arm Circles 5) Criss-cross crunches. If you don’t know how to do any of these exercise, please feel free to go to my Web site www.askrocco.com to view video of the exercises. Now, stop making stupid excuses and get to working out.

 

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Question: I have heard that it's better to workout opposite muscles groups (i.e. back and chest, bi's and tri's) Is that really more beneficial than devoting a full workout to just one muscle group?
– wf_strength

Answer: It seems to me that more and more people are afraid to clue us in to their identity. It feels like I’m fielding questions from MySpace friends. Everybody’s got a handle. I think it’s because no one wants us to know how friggin stupid they really are. And that brings me to your question. What you heard about working opposite muscles is a bodybuilding myth that has been around as long as the so called “sport” (posing in Speedos, all oiled up) has been around. You have me confused, are you talking about working opposite muscles on different days, (back and chest-Mon-Thursday, Bi’s and Tri’s-Tuesday-Saturday) Or are you suggesting just working opposite muscle throughout your workout? I’m going to take the liberty and accept that you are asking the stupider question which would be working the opposite muscles on different days.

There is no evidentiary research to prove that working opposite muscles on the same day is better or worse than any other ridiculous body building workout, but I will give you my opinion; Breaking up the workout into body segments doesn’t allow the auxiliary muscle amble time to rest. Auxiliary muscles are biceps, triceps and shoulders and are used in almost every compound body movement. Compound body movements can be described as; Bench press, Lat Pulldowns, etc.


Now getting to your other unbelievably idiotic statement of focusing on one body part throughout the entire workout is not only absurd it’s downright insane. Why the hell would you train a muscle and than let it go untrained for five days or so. It’s stupid. Your muscles need to be trained in tandem with themselves (meaning working all the muscle groups together) within at least two days of each workout and not more than three days between workouts. The reason is muscles will begin to atrophy (melt away) after 96 hours of no physical activity. So commonsense would tell you to workout every other day with a full body workout.

 

Click here to get your "One Day Free Pass" for Rocco's boot camp.

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“Journaling is one of the most powerful tools we have to transform our lives.”
-Deepak Chopra

Chances are, you kept a diary sometime between the ages of 9 and 15. It may have been pink and fuzzy – like comfy bedroom slippers – or lime green vinyl with purple flowers, but I’ll bet it had a lock and that you kept the key in a very special place where no one (especially your Mom) could find it.

What you may not know is that writing down those feelings has health benefits. Journaling can reduce stress, heal wounds and release creative blocks. It is a way to find your personal truth. And on top of that, it can be a fun, relaxing pastime.

Research from the Dr. James Pennebaker at University of Texas actually shows that writing can heal deep traumas among really diverse groups of people from honor students to the elderly. Other experts, like poet Gregory Orr (Poetry as Survival) and Louise Desalvo (Writing as a way of Healing) agree about the healing power of the writing. Julia Cameron (The Artist’s Way) is a long time aficionado of journaling to get your creative juices going.

So, it seems like you were on the right track in seventh grade with your fuzzy pink diary. And the good news is that journaling can still be an outlet for expressing your deepest concerns – a place to record triumphs and joys, as well. Instead of crushes on “boy bands” or the cute quarterback in high school, you can write about the bitchy colleague at work who talks behind your back, how the neighbor you thought was a friend turned out not to be such a good one and all the challenges of introducing 3-year-old Ally to a new playgroup (to say nothing of her Mom).

But where to start once your decided to give journaling a try? Local Life Coach, Sally Ray, who counsels women on how to keep their lives on track, offers up a few of her tips on how to go about lifting your spirits and unloading your burdens by writing:

Find a journal you really love. Journaling is all about you and you should love the way your journal looks, feels and even smells (think leather). A journal will be like your best friend for months, so you really ought to indulge yourself and get one you adore. Great sources here in Cincinnati are Joseph Beth Books in Norwood, any Barnes and Noble or Borders. If you really want something extra special try Poeme on Edwards Road off Hyde Park Square for upscale handmade and leather tooled journals.

Find the right time of day. Not everyone is a morning person. If you are, good news – set your alarm 15 minutes early and make a pot of your favorite coffee and pour your heart out. But if you are a night owl, your best journaling time may be 2 a.m.

Make it a habit. Keep your journal in a place where you’ll see it and it will call to you to write. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t journal every day. The key is regularity – even if it’s every three days or once a week. I’m a regular journaler, but let’s face it, I’m busy and I miss some days.

Be creative – tailor your journal to you. Are you artistic? Doodle in your journal to express your feelings. If you like to scrapbook, spiff up your journal with concert tickets and photographs of places you’ve been. If spirituality is key in your life, keep a prayer journal.

Open up your heart and soul. This is really where the healing comes in. Be totally honest in your journal. Get all your negative feelings down on paper…disappointments about not getting that promotion or having the fight with your significant other.

But what, you ask, if someone reads my journal? When you were 13, it was important to keep your diary private and that is just as true now…or you won’t be honest in your journal. Find a hiding spot no one will think of. I know of one woman who has a pact with her best friend that if she dies, the best friend will go in and take all her journals and burn them. That may be a little drastic, but you get the idea…to be totally honest and get the benefits of journaling, you have to feel safe.

So, treat yourself to a pretty journal…even fuzzy pink if you want, and start reaping the benefits. It’ll be the start of a beautiful relationship – with yourself.

Resources:

  • The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron
  • Writing As a Way of Healing by Louise DeSalvo
  • Journalution by Sandy Grason
  • Sally Ray, MSW, Life Coach (513) 533-0715

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You just logged in a tiring 10-hour day at work and after being stuck in traffic for an hour, picked up the screaming kids from daycare, you realized that you don’t have a clue what’s for dinner. Instead of pulling into the nearest fast food drive thru; you opt for making a quick stop at the grocery store to pick up ingredients for tonight’s dinner.

But since you’ve been trying to eat healthy – and most importantly – trying to get the rest of your family to eat healthy as well, you want to make sure you get the most nutritional bang for your dollar, all the while not wasting precious time around the dinner table by pulling your hair out reading the nutritional labels in the aisles.

Once in the food aisle, food cartons in hand, make sure you keep the following tips in mind, before you load up your grocery cart.

There are six main items on nutritional labels that you should pay close attention to:

  • Serving size
  • Total carbohydrate
  • Dietary fiber
  • Calories
  • Total fat
  • Saturated fat


Serving size: Make sure that you only eat one serving, as most foods contain several servings per package.

Total carbohydrates: The weight of simple and complex carbohydrates; 300 grams daily.

Dietary Fiber: 25 grams daily.

Calories: Calculations are be based on a 2000-calorie diet for adults and children four-years-old or older.

Total fat: 65 grams daily or 25 percent of total daily calories.

Saturated fat: 20 grams daily or about 10 percent of your calories.

Also, when shopping and reading labels, you’ll be bombarded with a variety of health food claims. What exactly does “fat free” mean? Here’s a breakdown of the most common, and FDA approved, nutrient content claims stamped across our food packaging these days.

“Low-calorie” – 40 calories or less per serving.

“Reduced-calorie” – at least 25 percent fewer calories per serving when compared with a similar food.

“Light,” “Lite” – one-third fewer calories or 50 percent less fat per serving; if more than half the calories are from fat, fat content must be reduced by 50 percent or more.

“Sugar-free” – less than 1/2 gram sugars per serving.

“Reduced sugar” – at least 25 percent less sugar per serving when compared with a similar food.

“Fat-free” – less than 1/2 gram fat per serving.

“100 percent fat free” – meets requirements for fat free.

“Low-fat” – 3 grams or less per serving.

“Reduced-fat” – at least 25 percent less fat when compared with a similar food.

“Cholesterol-free”- less than 2 milligrams cholesterol per serving and 2 grams or less saturated fat per serving.

“Low-Cholesterol”- 20 milligrams or less cholesterol per serving and 2 grams or less saturated fat per serving.

“Sodium-free,” “Salt-free” – less than 5 milligrams sodium per serving.

Nutritionists are the experts when it comes to decoding health labels. Places like Personal NEWtrition will even tailor what's on those labels to your individual nutrition needs.

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Question: I've had a constant debate with a girlfriend for months over a couple fitness questions, so I'm hoping you can settle this once and for all:

  1. Which burns more calories – jogging at a constant speed or doing intervals (walk, jog fast, walk, jog fast, walk)?
  2. Which burns more calories – doing cardio before or after lifting weights?


Thanks in advance for your thoughtful, yet sarcastic insight! I'm looking forward to it.

– Kimberly, Cincinnati

 

 

Answer: Sarcastic, huh?! Insightful, yes, but sarcastic, never! Come on, is it really a debate, or is it a bet that you want me to settle? If it’s a bet, then I want half of the winnings. Go on, call me greedy. If you don’t like it, then call “Body by Jake.” He may even have something insightful to say besides “abbadabbas.”

To answer your question and settle the debate once and for all, an individual will burn more fat calories performing an interval-style aerobic workout, i.e. walk two minutes, run two minutes, walk two minutes, rinse and repeat, than they would with sustained speed training. The reason for this is that the body becomes very efficient at utilizing energy during sustained training. However, when interval training is introduced, the body doesn’t know what the hell to do, so it keeps burning fat. That’s the simple explanation.

To answer your second question – wait a minute – how lucky are you guys? You're getting two questions answered for the price of one. OK, back to business, now; I’ve been saying this for years and I hope it finally sinks in. First, you need to do a little warm-up, nothing too crazy, just 6-8 minutes on the treadmill, elliptical trainer, bike, whatever. Then, perform a strength training workout. After that, you should finish up with aerobic training. The workout is much more efficient this way. To illustrate my point; let's say you begin your workout with 30 minutes of aerobic training before you do your strength training. Now, you’ve just wasted about 15 minutes, because during your first 13-17 minutes all you’re burning is glycogen, which is the fuel the supplies your muscles. It’s only around minute 18 that you even start to burn fat; but by now, you’ve already depleted much of the glycogen stores that you’ll need for your weight workout. Clearly, this is not a very good use of your time in the gym.

 

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Question: I recently went through a bad break up and lost some weight, I have since put the weight back on but lost 2 inches in my hips. I have gone from a size 3-4 to a 2. How can I regain the inches and gain weight I am tired of shopping in the juniors department. At my age, most clothes are not appropriate in a professional forum.
– Lauren

Answer: OK, maybe I’m crazy. Well, no, we have established that already. Let’s start that all over. Maybe I’m not getting all the information here, but what I am getting is a little confusing. You lost weight because of a bad break up and now you want to gain it back in your hips. I’m sorry but almost every question I get has to do with taking inches off the hips. I’m going out on a limb here so bear with me. Let’s not put inches on your hips, let’s put good solid muscle on your butt and thighs because we want you back on the market looking hot! Trust me; saddlebags (just because everyone has them) are not the new black.

The exercise that I recommend the most is… of course “The Lunge," (25-35 reps on the same leg) but I want you to also find about a six floor stair case and do the stairs two at a time for two sets. Click here to see a video demonstration of Mountain Climbers. Mountain climbers do nothing but build your butt and help flatten your abdominals. So perform at least two sets for 60 seconds and you’ll be out of the juniors department before long sporting the new “bootylicious” you. Now that you’re back on the market, please let us in on some of the cheesy pick up lines guys use on you. It still amazes me…the stupidity some guys call “game." Viva la Mountain Climbers!

 

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Sound familiar? After an active weekend, you know your key ingredient to work week survival is energy, the fuel for mental and physical stamina that keeps you at the top of your game.
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Some energy "power point" suggestions:
Don't skip breakfast. After an active weekend, and those planned nightly workouts, everyone needs to restore glucose, or blood sugar. Each morning, your sleepy brain cells need lots of glucose for the heavy mental (not metal) work you perform every day.

Although a coffee and a Danish might seem to be the quick solution, the combo provides only a short term energy burst. Better: a wake-up menu. Try chai tea: a teabag of chai steeped for 5-10 minutes in 8 ounces of hot water during your shower time and stirred with skim sweetened condensed milk satisfies your caffeine fix with 35-55 mg caffeine. A cup of coffee is 100-150 mg caffeine. A quick mix of carbs, protein and fat is provided with a bowl of cereal with skim/low-fat milk and a banana.

Tomorrow, try a fruit smoothie: one cup of yogurt, some frozen fruit, a little vanilla, and ½ cup fruit juice. Pop it in a blender and you're good to go.

Plan your energy day. To help pass on the tempting high fat, no-brainer options at the office, stock your desk with bottled water, nuts and fruit.

Carrying your own water helps you keep track of how much you drink and it also reminds you to do so. Dehydration causes fatigue and poor on-the-job performance. If you can't stand plain water, try some of the flavored powder "tubes" now sold everywhere.

Almonds are tasty and provide the fiber and protein balance to help you make it through a busy day. A piece of fruit provides fiber, too. Foods with dietary fiber move through the body more slowly and help you to feel full and energized longer.

Survive business lunches. Many business lunches feature fatty/fried foods and simple carbs, and are usually topped off with high calorie sweets. Munching those 1,000+ calorie meals can run a person down. When you returning to your desk, you won't want to finish that high priority project. No napping today! Soup, salad and a serving of good whole grain bread can keep you going.

It's gym night. If you plan a late dinner after your workout, just go easy on the quantity, not the quality: a salmon filet, some quick-cooking brown rice, a small salad or some steamed veggies, plus plenty of water, herbal tea or diluted fruit juice will be just enough to prep you for the next work day. With energy to spare!

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I have a disease and it scares me to death. I've come to the realization that I'm not perfect and it's possible that I will be incapable of fulfilling my childhood dream of being a mother. But that's not what scares me the most.

An estimated 10 percent of females have the same disease. Most of them won't find out until they try to have children and it's too late.

My mission is to shed light on this disease to break the silence, even if it means exposing my health condition to our thousands of readers. I hope the readers of this issue will truly take it to heart. The theme of this issue is "Underneath it All." That's what I had to do – uncover layers of band-aids I had been putting on all my warning signs – and it's the only reason I still have a possibility of being a biological mother one day.

I noticed my first symptoms in high school. But being the typical pubescent teen, those signs were overlooked because I just wanted to be "normal." I had excessive facial hair. We're not just talking a random dark hair here and there. It was black, thick, curly hair on my chin and sides of my face. So, I bleached. Problem solved, or so I thought.

I also had a weight issue. But I managed it with excessive exercise, a very strict diet and a myriad of appetite suppressants. Oh, and I had extremely irregular periods too, but what sane woman would complain about having fewer of those, right?

But these band-aids on the exterior weren't inhibiting the activity of the interior. In retrospect, I learned that with every missed period, my ovaries would grow another cyst. Because I ignored my body's signs, my ovaries are now covered in these cysts. The medical term for "many cysts" is polycystic. So, when my doctor discovered my polycystic ovaries, he diagnosed me with Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). It is the leading cause of infertility and it indiscriminately strikes women between the ages of puberty and menopause. Left untreated, it can lead to diabetes, heart disease and endometrial cancer. 050707HEALTH2.jpg

The symptoms of PCOS frequently rob a woman of her self-esteem and femininity. They can include irregular menstrual cycles, male hair growth patterns, acne, obesity/weight gain, depression and infertility.

The cysts vary in size. My largest one was the size of a golf ball, and doctors considered me lucky. the longer the symptoms are ignored, the larger the cysts grow. The cysts cause many problems and imbalances, and those irregularities lead to other problems and imbalances, creating a vicious cycle.

Believe it or not, insulin resistance is the root of most PCOS problems. Doctors still have not discovered why, but PCOS sufferers' bodies do not read insulin levels correctly. This causes two big problems: low blood sugar levels and high androgen levels. The low blood sugar causes constant cravings (maybe K.D. Lang has PCOS!) for sweets and carbohydrates. Those are of course stored as fat int he body. The high androgen levels cause the unsightly acne and excessive hair growth.

If you have symptoms of PCOS, or relate to my experiences with it, contact an endocrinologist immediately. They specialize in glandular disorders. They will run several tests, such as glucose tolerance, cholesterol, testosterone and ultrasound to determine a definite PCOS diagnosis.

New discoveries are being made all the time. For more is known now, than 80 years ago when the syndrome was discovered. Yes, there is still no cure. This is a condition to be managed and closely monitored, rather than cured. Treatment of the PCOS symptoms can reduce the side effects as well as your risks of future health problems.

I can remember the endless tests and the numerous doctor consultations. I had a tough time accepting and dealing with it all at first. I would sit there and think, "Why me? Why can't I just be normal like all of my friends?" I realize now, my friends might also be part of this large percentage of women hiding behind the same band-aids I was using to appear "normal."

So, take off the band-aids, shed light on the disease and stop the silence. Your health, happiness and future family depend on it.

 

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"I joined Weight Watchers online over a year ago and have lost 30 pounds and have kept it off. I work-out at the gym 3-4 days a week, doing elliptical, stepper, fast walking on treadmill and weights. I usually do 60 minutes of aerobics and switch up area of body with free weights. I also cycle 20-50 miles a week. My problem is how to firm up and lose cellulite from my hips and thighs. I've considered trying to loose 5 more pounds, but don't want to loose any more than that. What do I need to do?"
– Mindy, Cincinnati

You’re a friggin' lunatic! I see this all the time and it’s not going to be pretty. All I see in the question is aerobics…aerobics…aerobics and more friggin' aerobics. Holy s**t! Then I see that, you decide to switch one body part with free weights. Oh, how noble.

To be able to lose fat (which cellulite is) around any area you need to replace it with muscle. Gaining muscle in your hips and thighs will round out that area create a smoothing effect.

I would do 25-30 lunges on the same leg for two sets and one set of Mountain Climbers for sixty second before the lunges and one set after. If you don’t know what Mountain Climbers are, go to askROCCO.com , get a free Boot Camp Workout Card and I'll show you in person. Keep your rear down on the Mountain Climbers, and in no time you’ll be getting way too many compliments on it.  

 

Click here to get your "One Day Free Pass" for Rocco's boot camp.

 

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Just think about if pigs really could fly. I wonder if their bodies would burn more calories flying or if they ran the race? I know a lot of you have run or walked in a race for a charity event at one time or another, but have you ever wondered if this has increased your metabolism?

The body requires energy, also known as calories, everyday. Our metabolism is the amount of calories our bodies burn daily. Resting metabolic rate is the amount of calories your body needs for body functions like heart beating, breathing and muscle tone. Each person has a unique metabolism, similar to our fingerprints. Your resting metabolic rate accounts for about 75 percent of the calories we expend daily. There is a way to measure this unique burn by using a handheld medical device called a Medgem. This tool is a breathing test which takes about 5 to 10 minutes and measures the volume of oxygen your body consumes which is how our body converts food into energy by burning oxygen. This test puts a number on our metabolism, which is what many of us claim we do not have.

If you are looking for ways to increase the burn rate of your body, it is important to recognize that eating regularly scheduled meals and snacks will improve the amount your body actually burns. Complex carbohydrates fuel your metabolism. Along with your scheduled meals, it is important to realize that eating calories earlier in the day may also improve your metabolism. This means eat a well balanced breakfast, lunch, snacks and a light dinner. Remember, starving your body is not going to support the bodies basic needs and the body will actually slow down to protect itself. Do not eat less than 1200 calories per day, unless being medically supervised by a physician.

043007HEALTH.jpg A great way to rev up your metabolism is to engage in an aerobic activity like running. This has been shown to improve the rate of calories burned by using up those complex carbohydrates. A regular running routine will actually require a higher intake of calories to support the amount of calories your body will burn. A number of people make the mistake of increasing their running routine and not upping their calorie intake and their metabolism will slow down just like it does when you starve it.

Another way to increase your metabolic burn rate is to build muscle tissue. An increase in lean body mass will improve your bodies’ burn rate at rest. If you want to improve how much your body burns calories at rest, weight training or strength training is a most! Engaging in strength training at least three times a week can improve your natural burn rate, especially for those of us who are beginning to age. As we age our metabolisms naturally slows down, so if you want to eat more you will need to improve that burn rate or weight gain is inevitable.

Have a great time walking or running in any of the many local races this year and don’t forget about weight training to rev-up your metabolic rate. If you’re interested in getting your metabolism analyzed, Personal NEWtrition offers this service at their Western Hills and Blue Ash offices.