The only online publication for women in Greater Cincinnati
Health

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"I am a 26 year old female who is 5'5", 121 lbs. I am pretty athletic but I want to lose about 5 lbs. I work out 3-4 days a week. I do spinning mainly and lift a little before I go in. I'm kinda stuck at the weight I'm at and I know I need to change things up but I don't know what to do. Any thoughts?"
– Cari Lee

The first thing that comes to mind is why you would want to lose 5 lbs. Your weight, at 5'5", sounds like a pretty healthy weight to me. Before you go off doing something stupid, I would have your body fat to lean mass ratio checked. (Most certified fitness professionals can perform this task) Your body fat percentage should be between 14 and 18 percent. If it is, forget losing any weight. Fat, not weight, is what we want to rid our bodies of. So, please throw those hunks of metal you keep stubbing you’re toe on out the window. Looking at the scale for results is reserved for absolute idiots and I know you’re not one of them. With that said, changing your routine up is actually quite simple. Before you go into Spinning® class do more than a little strength training (mostly large muscle group stuff) and hit the treadmill for some weight bearing aerobic exercise, and you’ll see those pounds melt off like Northern Colorado snow in springtime.  Thanks for e-mailing me keep them coming! 

 

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Benefits of Hot Stone Massage

  • Promotes deep muscle and tissue relaxation
  • Alleviates stress
  • Releases toxins
  • Relieves pain
  • Improves circulation
  • Calms the psyche

Health Conditions Treated With Hot Stone Massage:

  • Muscular aches and pains
  • Back Pain
  • MS
  • Arthritis
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Stress, anxiety
  • Circulatory problems
  • Insomnia
  • Depression


Source: About.com – Holistic Healing

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Mick Jagger must have secretly loved hot stone massages. Think about it; by being on the road so much with “The Rolling Stones” he probably “can't get no” satisfaction from his hot stone massages.

Well, it’s a theory. But regardless of Jagger, the balsamic variety used in hot stone massage makes veterans and newcomers to the treatment feel like a “rock” star, without all those usual celebrity stressors.

Hot stone massage combines traditional massage with oiled, heated stones of varying sizes, resulting in the expected total relaxation. But for Dr. Robert Coppola of All-Star Chiropractic of Elsmere, KY, the treatment is more than just a massage. It’s a healing experience.

“It allows for a decrease in muscle spasms and muscle tension and releases endorphins, which is the body’s natural pain relieving chemical,” Coppola says. “Hot stone allows for muscle and tissue elongation and breaks up muscle restriction, including scar tissue and fibrosis, which are common post-injury or post-surgery. This helps break up that scar tissue.”

These health benefits of hot stone massage are a result of technique. Rather than just rubbing the heated stones on a client’s body, some therapists achieve this therapeutic effect by giving a full-body rub down with the actual lava rocks. Radiating more warmth, and a soothing effect, hot lava rocks are used as tools to give thorough, deep tissue and muscle massages.

Once the massage therapist wraps up a rub down of one particular area, heated stones are placed on the part of the body that has just been worked on. For example, once the lower back has been treated with lava rocks, the therapist places a heated stone in that spot, and moves to another area. Or, if the arms were just massaged, the therapist will place the stone in the person’s hand.

061107HEALTH.jpg “We incorporate therapeutic massage with just a ‘feel good’ hot stone massage,” Coppola says.

Before getting excited about the positive effects of hot stone, you should drink a lot of water afterwards. The treatment releases lactic acid, which is responsible for sore and tired muscles. After a hot stone massage, Coppola says clients should drink a lot of water to flush out that acid.

Also, you might want to cancel your plans subsequent to your massage. “Don’t plan on going out, you’ll be pretty greasy from the lotions and oils,” he laughs.

According to Coppola, something else hot stone seekers should consider is the location or treatment provider. “I would go to someone who is also really good with therapeutic massage. I would look for someone working in a health care clinic who understands the body, injuries and the healing process,” he says.

Hot stone is fairly new to this part of the country, Coppola says, first-timers won’t believe the outcome: “When they’re done they’re amazed at how it works—it’s a shocking experience when they get done,” he says. It’s amazing–It’s an overall more relaxing experience than a traditional massage. Because it’s newer and not as popular, it’s definitely more of an experience; clients look at it as a luxury.”

Anyone interested in trying hot stone massage should throw expectations out the window, Coppola says. “If you’ve not had it done, you don’t know what it is. Hot stone is a must-try service, just because it’s so unique and not that popular in this area yet. It was just for movie stars. We make it affordable so the general public can do it too.”

Depending on the length of time and experience level of the massage therapist, hot stone massages run from $60 to $100.

 

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Question: I'm a very poor. Poor with a capital P. So, a membership the gym is out. I'm also a Mom to a very adventurous crawler that lives to eat the cat's food while I'm not looking. My fitness solution is to walk for about an hour daily carrying my 20-pound cat food-craving child. I am working on becoming fit, and need to lose about 30 pounds. Along with a healthy diet, will this work?
-SJ

Answer: I’m glad you wrote me, because no one should actually have to pay for fitness and well being (don’t tell my clients that or I’ll be eating cat food). To answer your question: No. Your current program is lacking several real fitness components. First, I’d like you to pick the cat food dish up off the floor and put it where Spider Baby can’t get at it. Then, put down Spider Baby – preferably in a crib or playpen with a dome roof and a bunch of toys to keep him occupied for only five minutes. In order for you to lose fat, you need to gain muscle first. So, let’s perform some muscle building exercises. Then when you walk, you’ll just be burning fat. Do these exercises before you take your walk:

  • 50 jumping jacks with your arms perfectly straight
  • 25 Lunges each leg (do not alternate, that is for wusses),
  • Stairs, two steps at a time and come down that flight walking one step at a time (do not run; that would be stupid. You may fall and want to blame me. So again, don’t) Do eight flights of about 16-18 steps (or 8-9 double steps).
  • If you can do push ups, do 20 if not perform 15 negative push-ups
  • 50 more Jumping Jacks and go for your walk. Without the kid on your hip. We don’t want you looking like Quasimoto.


Good Luck! And if you don't know how to perform any of the above-mentioned exercises, go to askrocco.com to download workouts with exercise illustrations.

 

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If you like to eat out, your diet is probably suffering and you're definitely spending a lot of money. In a restaurant, you pay at least twice as much for the same meal that you could have prepared at home, and you miss out on all these nutritional benefits of preparing a meal at home:

1. Home made meals are under your control, which means several advantages: You are in control of portions, as well as the ingredients that can lower the fat content of a meal and the sodium content. Also, with smaller portions, you are more capable of weight management, if that is your goal.

2. You can use fresh ingredients from the grocery such as produce, herbs and lean proteins. When you eat out, that does not always mean fresh or good ingredients.

3. If you make a plan for your homemade meals, you will find eating in is easier if you give the days of the week a theme, such as Monday nights: Pasta night, Tuesday night: Mexican tortillas, and Wednesday night: Marinated Chicken and vegetables. This can make it easier to come up with ideas for the homemade meals to get prepared.

4. Stocking your shelves with good ingredients is essential: Frozen vegetables that can be steamed in the microwave are a great substitute to fresh vegetables steamed, with most of the same benefits. A good brand I suggest is Birdseye. Good pasta like Barilla Plus varieties, offers the fiber and the omega 3s, which are good for the heart. A good tomato sauce is Paul Newman brands, Bertolli Organic or Healthy Choice. Also, I suggest buying the Amish Chicken breast when they are on sale and stocking up in the freezer.

Think less sodium and less fat when you take the time to cook good home meals, and watch out for the portions. You are in much more control than a chef, who wants you to come back for more!

A great Web site for meal ideas is www.mealsforyou.com.

 

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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.

 

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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.