The only online publication for women in Greater Cincinnati

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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!


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

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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.
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 , 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.


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"My husband recently lost over 200 pounds through a sensible diet and exercise. He's so afraid of gaining it back, though, that he's become obsessive about it. On Fridays before weigh-in, he works out at least two times (runs and/or does the elliptical machine) and barely eats. Plus, he wears one of those plastic suits when he works out. When he's done, sweat pours from him like a waterfall. Is it disgusting? Yes. But, I really want to know: Is this healthy?
– Jennifer, West Des Moines

This question is so loaded that I feel like I’ve got a big-ass Bulls Eye on my chest. Sweating is healthy when it is done naturally. What your husband is doing is not natural. Plastic suits were banned for use from scholastic and collegiate sports, such as wrestling, because they can create a deadly state of dehydration. Sweat is produced to cool the body so it doesn’t over-heat and blow a gasket (very similar to your car's radiator). The so-called “weight” that is lost during this insane sweat-a-thon is easily regained when you ingest any liquids. If your husband continues on with this stupidity, his body will show extreme signs of aging. Skin and the body, in general, needs to be hydrated to stay alive. Almost everything in the body needs water to complete its chemical processes. Something in your question really disturbs me, but I have to mention it. If your husband is this obsessive about his weight, he really needs to go and see a therapist that specializes in weight loss psychology.


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

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Growing up on the West side of Cincinnati, my Presbyterian family was outnumbered among a sea of large Catholic families. As a child, I can recall friends asking me what I gave up for Lent. Although I respected my friends’ sacrifice, I chose to celebrate Lent in my unique nonconventional manner. This practice continues as an adult.

On Ash Wednesday, when my friends announced their Lenten sacrifices, I went in the opposite direction. I have found through the last few years that this is my time to partake in the last feasts of winter. The day after Easter is when I got busy. When everyone is gearing up to dive back into their soft drinks, desserts, alcohol, pizza and junk food, I have kicked into what I call "clean living."

So, that's one way to slim up for the summer months ahead. But, as a personal trainer, I have a few tips in the exercise department to help you shed the winter weight and look great in your tank tops, dresses and shorts this year.

This is the time when I look in the mirror and ask myself, “Do you like what you see?” “Would you be comfortable wearing a swimsuit in public today?” Usually, the answer is, “Well… maybe, but I have some areas that could be improved.” If you are like me, and the majority of other women out there feeling this way, the area of concentration you are looking at is your upper body – specifically your arms. Even if you never put on a swimsuit all summer, I can bet you won’t be wearing your long sleeves. So, here are my recommendations for a fit upper body. The only things that you will need are 2-3 pairs of dumbbells. You can start with 5lb, 8lb and 10lb weight selections. A big dose of wanting to change is helpful too.

Pushups – 4 sets, 12 repetitions with a 30 second rest between each set
Start by kneeling on your mat. Place your hands down a little wider than your shoulders. Walk your legs out until they are straight. Your body should be in a straight line from your shoulders through your hips all the way to your heels. Lower yourself down with your elbows traveling out to the sides. Stop one inch away from the mat. Push up through your hands and straighten your arms to come up.

Close Grip Bent Over Row – 3 sets, 12 repetitions with a 30 second rest between each set
Hold a dumbbell in each hand, hinge over from your hips. Your torso should be a few inches above parallel to the floor. Keep your knees slightly bent, abdominals pulled in. Bring your shoulders down and back. Your arms are hanging down with the palms turned in. Start squeezing your shoulder blades together as soon as you initiate the movement. Your elbows should move past the level of your back. Slowly lower your arms.

Overhead Triceps Extension – 3 sets, 12 repetitions with a 30 second rest between sets
With a dumbbell in each hand, bring the arms overhead with the arms extended palms facing each other. The shoulders should be down and back. Keeping your upper arms still, slowly lower the dumbbells toward your shoulders. As you extend the arms up, contract the triceps.

Front Shoulder Raise – 3 sets, 12 repetitions with a 30 second rest between sets
Hold a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing each other. Keep your elbows slightly bent and your wrists straight. Raise the dumbbells to shoulder height. Pause and then lower your arms.

Biceps Curl – 3 sets, 12 repetitions with a 30 second rest between sets
Hold a dumbbell in each hand. Hang your arms at your sides, with the palms facing forward. Slowly curl the dumbbells up toward your shoulders. Pause and then lower your arms.

The way to increase the intensity of these exercises is to increase the dumbbell weight until it is challenging to complete 12 reps. Make sure you are lifting in good form before you increase the weight.


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Question: I joined a gym in September. I guess I am pretty – blond, thin and a C cup. But that is my problem, I just want to workout and I not get treated like a piece of meat. Guys are constantly checking me out on the treadmill and keep asking me out with one-liners (like I am at a bar!). I signed a two-year contract at the gym and I can't get out of it. Believe me, I tried. Any suggestions for how to get left alone while working out? It is not fair. I almost dread going to the gym. I have talked to girl friends of mine and they have had similar experiences at their gym. Can you give a service announcement to the guys that hit on girls at gyms letting them know that we are there to workout?

Answer: There’s many ways to answer this question, but I will limit my wrath to only two. First of all, you paid a membership fee to workout and not be sexually harassed (by the way – that’s what it’s called, guys, especially at the gym). If you are at a bar, there is an inferred understanding that the girl may want to get picked up, so asking might not hurt. At a gym or health club, it is tacky and can be criminal.

Of course, the friggin' idiot guys out there are going to say something stupid like “Well, they shouldn’t dress like that at the gym.” And I say, “You shouldn’t be that f**kin stupid." My advice is to write me back with the gym name and number so I can deal with their sexual harassment policies and when a guy comes up to you starring at your breasts or asks you out in some tacky way… embarrass him. I say embarrass the sh** out of him. Tell him something like “with an ass like mine, I don’t talk to a face like yours."

If you can understand one thing about guys and their human nature, most of them are too stupid for their own good. If they bother you, bother them right back. When I owned gyms in the past, I used to take idiots like you’re describing and haul them out back and beat them into a bloody spot, but that’s me. Gentlemen, and I use them term loosely, treat women with respect and maybe you won’t get your balls cut off. Any questions?


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