Finding time for exercise- (and yourself!)

What is your greatest barrier to getting daily exercise? If you said ‘no time’, you are not alone. Lack of time is one of the most common reasons given when people are asked if they regularly engage in exercise. Family commitments, work commitments, friend commitments, school commitments- the list goes on and on. But is there any greater commitment you can make than the one to your health? Pencil daily exercise into that busy schedule and consider it one of your more important appointments.

Tips to fit in fitness

• Put it on the calendar! Schedule daily exercise like you would any other appointment. Blocking out a specific time will prompt you to plan other appointments around your exercise time and prevents having to fit it in after the day is already filled up.
• Combine exercise and social hour! It you are meeting with a friend to grab lunch, how about suggesting doing something active instead? Go for a walk, sweat though a spin class, or try indoor rock climbing! Socializing while also getting that heart right up will leave you both feeling energized.
• Rise and shine! Exercise in the morning before your day even has a chance to get too busy. Leaving exercise to the end of the day opens up ample opportunity for unplanned circumstances to get in the way. Lay your workout clothes out the night before, set the coffee pot timer, and off you go!
• Plan it out! If you are heading to the gym for a work out, write down the exercise routine you plan on completing. Do not waste time deciding what machine you want to use next or how many reps you are going to do. When you have a set plan, your work outs become more effective AND more efficient.
• Ramp up the intensity! If you only have a short amount of time to allot to exercise, focus on making every move count. HIIT (high intensity interval training) has proven to be effective for fat burning and these work outs can be completed in 20 minutes or less! Incorporate intervals of sprints, add resistance to your routine, or jump around with plyometric exercises to really get the blood pumping! 7 high intensity work outs that take 20 minutes or less:

Remember that exercise does not have to be structured and it certainly does not have to be boring! Increases to your activity throughout the day- i.e. taking the stairs whenever possible, walking around the office at the top of every hour, bringing hand weights to work to do between appointments, or choosing the parking spot that is farthest away- all add up! Get creative and find ways to fit it in! Life is busy, but we must remember to prioritize our health. After all, ‘Those who think they have not time for bodily exercise, must sooner or later find time for illness’. –Edward Stanley

How do you find time to exercise? Share your ideas!

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Belly Fat Diet For Dummies is Released Today!

Today is the day!!! My new book “Belly Fat Diet For Dummies” is now available in stores around the country! If you are looking to shrink your waistline and improve your health, look no further- your solution is here! This book incorporates the latest research along with practical advice to help you lose weight quickly and effectively, but most importantly- keep it off for good!

To kick off the book launch we are having a blog tour. Follow the tour over the next two weeks for great recipes, interviews, and even giveaways! And to wrap up the tour, join me live for an interactive web-based video chat at Shindig Events on November 26th at 7pm to discuss the book and answer all of your belly fat blasting questions and concerns!

November 7th Wednesday- Interview with Chew the Facts
November 8th Thursday- Book Review by Healthy Mom Magazine Blog
November 8th Thursday- Recipe with Fat Fighter TV
November 9th Friday- Review and Giveaway with Appetite for Health
November 12th Monday – 5 Ways to Fight Belly Fat Before Christmas (Vitamin G Blog)
November 13th Tuesday- Interview and Giveaway with Around the Plate
November 26th Monday- 7:00PM EST- Live interactive web-based chat with author at Shindig Events

Belly Fat Diet For Dummies can also be purchased at online retailers here.

Book Review: Calorie Counter Journal For Dummies

I was so excited to be able to review “Calorie Counter Journal For Dummies” written by two terrific dietitians: Rosanne Rust, MS, RD, LDN and Meri Raffetto, RD. As a dietitian who works with clients one-on-one, I know the value of keeping a food record. And I know that keeping a food record in the proper manner is essential for weight loss. In fact, as this book points out, research has actually shown that people who keep food records lose TWICE as much weight as those who don’t! That just shows how important this tool is.

What I love about this book it starts out by helping you determine what you need to do to improve your health and meet your weight loss goals. First, it shows you how to determine what a healthy body weight is for you, so if you are looking to lose weight, you can set a realistic goal. It also shows you how to accurately calculate your calorie needs for the day. And this isn’t just for those who want to lose weight. Knowing your daily calorie needs is essential to anyone looking to lose, gain, or maintain weight and for avid exercisers and athletes who need to fuel their bodies. In fact, this book even includes a section specifically for athletes and how they can fuel their bodies and track their intake to improve performance!

In order to improve health and achieve your desired body weight, you must also set goals for yourself and establish as routine. To help you with this, “Calorie Counter Journal For Dummies” shows you in detail how to create achievable goals by using the SMART method (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely) and gives you a step by step guide to forming a routine to help you develop habits that will allow you to not only achieve your goals but to stick with them for the long haul.

My favorite part of the book is of course the food journal. This book provides step-by-step guidance on how to correctly keep a food record. For instance, if you have cereal and milk in the morning, it is not as helpful to just write “cereal and milk” as it would be to write out exactly how much cereal and how much milk you had, such as “1 cup cereal and ½ cup milk.” And throughout this book, the authors stress how weight is not the only way to track your success. Tracking success through improved energy, mood, and even improved health status, such as lowering blood sugar or blood pressure are all ways to measure success. The food journals provided in the book allow you to track this as well. It allows you room to track your energy levels, weight, fluid intake, and even check off how many fruits and vegetables you have had each day. You can even track your mood to see how it impacts your food choices.

“Calorie Counter Journal For Dummies” is a must have for anyone looking to lose weight, improve their health, increase their energy levels, or improve athletic performance. It is also a great tool for health professionals to use to show clients the right way to use a food journal to be successful. Click here to buy this book on Amazon.

Is Your Student Athlete Fueling Their Body & Mind?

As student athletes are often pressed for time trying to juggle their schedules with classes, homework, practice, and games. At times, their attention to a healthy diet may begin to wavier. Just as practice is important to performance, nutrition is vital to an athlete’s success on and off the field. Follow these tips to help your student athletes consume a well balanced diet, improving both athletic performance and brain power!

Adequate nutrition and hydration can make or break a workout and greatly affect how an athlete feels, works and thinks. What and when an athlete eats determines the level of energy storage in the muscles (glycogen) and how quickly muscles are ready to train again at peak capacity.

In order to fuel their bodies for an optimal athletic performance, athletes must make sure to consume adequate calories to provide energy for your muscles. However, where you get your calories from is also very important. An athlete needs to consume an adequate intake of carbohydrates to fuel the working muscle. An athlete also needs to consume adequate protein to preserve and build lean body mass (muscle) and promote more stable energy supply. Adequate hydration is also vital to prevent dehydration and replace fluids and electrolytes lost via sweat.

Here are some guidelines athletes should follow before a workout or competition:

• Always take in a good source of carbohydrate prior to exercising. A general “Rule of Thumb” is to include 15 grams of carbohydrate for every half hour of aerobic exercise you plan to perform. (15 grams of carbohydrate is equal to 1 medium piece of fruit, 4 oz of juice, 8 oz of milk, 1 slice of bread, or 6 oz of a sports drink)

• Include some protein or fat for long-term energy, however avoid over consumption of protein (more than 2 to 3 ounces) or fat (more than 2 servings) prior to any aerobic exercise, as protein takes longer for your body to digest and may promote cramping during exercise. (3 oz of protein is equal to the size of a deck of cards or the palm of your hand. 1 oz of protein is equal to the size of a golf ball)

For muscles to recover, it is also important to pay attention to your eating habits and nutrition intake after a workout as well.
• Within 30 minutes of exercise completion make sure to have a balanced meal to aid in replacing energy stores, repairing and rebuilding muscle fibers, and help to increase performance of your next workout.
• A balanced meal should include at least one to two servings of carbohydrate (15 to 30 grams), two to four ounces of protein (more may be required after intensive weight lifting/ body building exercise), and at least one to three servings of fat.

To help athlete’s optimize performance and stay adequately hydrated, try these tips. Consume 16 oz of fluid one hour prior to exercise and then drink 6-10 oz of fluid every 15-20 minutes during workout. Consider consuming fluid amounts in the form of a sports drink if workout is greater than one hour, or extremely hot weather condition. However, do not use sodas or juice as fluid during exercise as these beverages have a higher concentration of sugar per ounce than sports drinks which may lead to cramping and impaired performance.

If you are looking to revamp your diet, lose weight, or get in shape- you’re in luck! I now offer online and phone nutrition coaching, E-nutrition Mail packages, Mini Meal Makeovers, and Custom Meal Planning. Contact me today for more information or schedule your session online:

Copyright 2012. All Rights Reserved.

For more information, check out Erin’s website, America’s Belly Fat Fighter, at

Essential Tips for 1st Time Marathon Runners

With the NYC Marathon happening this Sunday, I figured this would be a good opportunity to discuss the main nutrition and hydration tips every marathoner, and especially first time marathoners, need to know for a successful and safe race!

Tip #1: Stay hydrated during the race:
Aim to drink 3-6 ounces of fluid every 15-20minutes of running, or about 1 cup every other mile.

Tip #2: Know Your Sweat Rate
The best way to determine your individual fluid needs is to know your sweat rate, which can be determined when you train. How to do it: Weigh yourself completely naked before and after an intense one hour run. The amount of weight you lost represents how much fluid you sweat out (in addition to any fluid you drank). So for instance, if the scale reflects you lost one pound (16 oz) and you also drank 8 oz during the run, this means you sweat 24 ounces per hour. So, going forward, you would want to plan on replenishing 24oz per every hour of intensive exercise to stay adequately hydrated.

Tip #3: Include Sports Drinks, not just water, especially on hot days
When we sweat, we lose both water as well as electrolytes. During long races, such as a marathon, you also deplete your energy stores. Sports drinks help to restock your energy stores with the carbohydrates they contain, as well as help replenish both fluid and electrolyte losses. This can help prevent hyponatremia (low blood-sodium level caused by excessive water intake).

Tip #4: Develop a Race Day Plan
During the race is not the time to make decisions about refueling, since you may be too tired to think clearly and make the best decisions. Know in advance how often you plan on rehydrating and refueling. Make sure your plan includes consuming some for of calories (simple carbohydrates are best during a marathon) along with fluid within the 1st 45-60 minutes of the race. If you wait too long, you may lose energy or become dehydrated, making it harder to finsih the race.

Tip #5: Now is not the time to drastically change your diet
In the days leading up to your race, stick with foods that you know your body digests easily and you have eaten before. Some runners become irritated with high fat, high fiber, or excessive dairy foods. Try including a good source of complex carbohydrates each day leading up to the race (whole grain pasta, brown rice, whole grain cereals, etc) to make sure your glycogen stores are fuelling fueled for race day. However, try not to eat more calories then you normally would.

Tip #6: Energy Gel Warning
Energy gels are a great way to provide your body with energy during a race. However, having an energy gel at the same time as a sport drink can cause stomach cramps or diarrhea since the excessive sugar at once can pull too much fluid into the GI tract. Instead, drink your energy gels with water or have a sport drink alone.

Tip #7: Start your recovery right after you cross the finish line
You want to refuel and re-hydrate right after completing the marathon to help your body recover quickly. Aim to eat/drink about 300 calories within an hour of completing the race. This meal/snack should include a good source of complex carbohydrates (to replenish glycogen stores) as well as protein (to help muscle repair). This can be as simple as a glass of chocolate milk or a turkey sandwich on whole grain bread. Drink fluids slowly and continuously after completing your race to help rehydrate.

Good luck to all the runners this weekend! It looks like it will be beautiful weather!

For more information visit

Copyright 2012. All Rights Reserved.

Too Much of a Good Thing? Investigating Protein

I just finished up an interview where we were discussing issues that can occur with excessive protein intake. So I figured this would make a great topic to discuss.

In general, protein is an important nutrient. Our bodies need protein to build muscle, repair cells, and promote growth. When losing weight, we also need adequate protein to help our body reserve lean tissue (muscle tissue). Protein is also a very filling food. So, when I have clients trying to lose weight, I encourage them to consume protein (along with vegetables) with each meal as a way of increasing fullness and preventing them from overeating less filling/ higher calorie foods, such as refined starches (white pasta, etc).

Athletes need protein as well to help support muscle growth and development. After resistance exercise, you want to consume one to two ounces of protein (7-14 grams) within 30 minutes- 1 hour of completing your workout to maximize the effectiveness of the protein in muscle growth and repair.

But, can there be too much of a good thing? Absolutely! Individuals who follow low carbohydrate, high protein diets, or those consuming large amounts of protein shakes and supplements may very well be taking in far more protein then they need each day. The average adult needs around 50-65gm or protein per day (7-9 ounces of protein). Even elite strength training athletes only need as much as 120 grams/day (based on a 150lbs athlete with protein needs of 1.8gm/kg of body weight/day).

So what about those people who drink protein shakes as meals or eat protein bars all day long? Some of these shakes contain as much as 42grams of protein per serving! If you drink this 3x per day, you are already consuming 126grams of protein just from supplements alone. Then add in the amount of protein you most likely consume from food, and you could easily be taking in as much as 200grams of protein or more per day!

What can happen if you take in too much protein? A lot! If you are an athlete or even a recreational exerciser, you are putting yourself at an increased risk for dehydration. Protein requires additional fluid to metabolize and excrete it’s byproducts. Studies have shown that as an individual’s protein intake increases, their dehydration level decreases. These studies have also shown this happens silently, meaning the individuals did not feel an increased thirst level, so they did not increase their fluid intake. Dehydration can lead to a number of issues. In mild cases, it can decrease athletic performance and endurance, it can also cause muscle cramps, cardiovascular disturbances, and in extreme cases can even put one at risk for heat injury such as heat stroke.

Another major concern, especially for females, is the risk of decreased bone density with a high protein intake. When we consume a large amount of protein, this breaks down into amino acids, which then enter the blood stream. This causes the blood to become more acidic. In order for our body to maintain a healthy blood pH, the body needs to pull calcium from the bones, which is one of the most basic minerals in the body, to neutralize the blood. When calcium is removed from the bones, this can weaken the body and over time put one at an increased risk for osteoporosis.

The excess calcium that is entering the blood stream now needs to go somewhere. It can now find it’s way to the kidneys where it will deposit the calcium. These calcium deposits can develop into painful kidney stones. Your risk for kidney stones is even higher if your dehydrated.

In the absence of adequate carbohydrates, you can also enter into a state of ketosis. This is when the body if forces to use fat for energy rather than carbohydrates. This can result in fatigue, headaches, decreased athletic performance and mental acuity, and if someone has underlying kidney issues, this can cause further decline in kidney function.

So what is the bottom line? For most people, if you consume protein from food sources rather than supplements, you are less likely to over consume protein. I do recommend having a good source of protein with each meal, as this can help regulate appetite. However, unless you struggle to meet your protein needs, I do not recommend protein shakes and supplements. If you are an athlete or recreational exerciser, a busy schedule can make it difficult to have protein after a workout. Having an occasional supplemental protein source after a workout in these situations is fine, but watch which one you choose. Look for a supplement that contains no more than 15-20 grams of protein at most and only have one supplement per day. Real food is always the best choice!

For more information visit

Copyright 2012. All Rights Reserved.