Sweet Poison Is Sugar Ruining Your Health

Sweet Poison Is Sugar Ruining Your Health

While sugar and products made with sugar, have a sweet taste, it doesn’t mean they’re sweet for your health or body. In fact, they may be ruining your health. Man has always had a taste for sweetness. It’s obvious when you feed a baby and find they love applesauce or pudding far more than green beans. One anthropologist hypothesized that man was created to love sweetness, since sweetness in fruits and vegetables meant they were safe to eat. While that may be true, manufacturers of food have taken that love to a whole new level and put sugar in almost all food we eat.

Just because it’s natural, doesn’t mean it’s healthy.

You hear a lot about healthy sugars, like honey, can sugar or corn syrup. While honey does have some health benefits, like its antioxidants, heart healthy benefits and aid with healing wounds, consuming too much is extremely unhealthy. Remember those commercials for high fructose corn syrup—HFCS—it’s natural so it must be healthy. No matter what type of sugar you’re discussing, too much increases your risk of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and impairs your immune system and accelerates aging. Not all natural things are healthy. Tobacco is natural and so are many poisons.

You might be surprised that fat isn’t the enemy.

While it’s not healthy to eat too much fat, especially trans fat, it’s not the enemy that it’s been made to seem. In the 1950s a mega study by Harvard scientists were conducted. Mega studies take all the available studies and compare the results for an overall conclusion. They found that fat caused heart disease. What wasn’t explained is that the sugar industry paid for the study and provided extra money to the scientists for that conclusion. They only used those studies that leaned toward fat and ignored the problems of sugar. While trans fat does contribute to heart disease, most fat, which includes the fat in avocado, coconut oil and the fat in nuts actually add to good health.

Science has taken it a step further with HFCS.

Check the label of those processed food and you’re bound to see a lot of sugar added. Some of the sugar comes from high fructose corn syrup—in fact, a lot does. It may be called natural, but it’s not. It’s removed from corn stalks by using a chemical and that product is even worse than normal beet or cane sugar. It’s a combination of glucose and fructose. The body doesn’t process fructose well. It doesn’t suppress your appetite, plus has all the negatives caused by sugar, insulin spikes, metabolic problems, increased risk for heart disease, dementia, fatty liver disease, obesity and damage to the stomach lining.

They’re different chemically and how they react in your body. Fructose causes all the same problems as regular sugar, but also adds more. It goes into the blood stream rapidly, can cause fatty liver, spikes insulin and creates metabolic problems. It boosts your appetite, increasing the risk of weight gain. It increases the risk of heart disease, dementia and can even cause damage to the stomach lining.

  • HFC is cheaper to make, so it’s in many processed foods. That means you’re eating it even when you aren’t aware of the sweetness, making it easier to eat more than you thought and overwhelming your body with it.
  • Sugar is addictive. It affects the same receptors as cocaine. It also alters the sense of taste to make naturally sweet fruit taste less sweet.
  • While doctors may focus on salt as an offender in high blood pressure, sugar plays a big role in making the numbers rise, too.
  • If you’re reading labels to see how much sugar is in a product, you might be surprised to find that manufacturers use several types of sugar in a product and when listed individually, are lower on the list. However, when added together creates a product high in sugar.

For more information, contact us today at The Worx by Maia

How Hormones Affect Your Health

How Hormones Affect Your Health

Clients who workout in Alexandria, VA, at the Worx, do so for a variety of reasons. One of the reasons is to help improve their overall health. Working out affects the balance of hormones in the body, such as cortisol and hormones affect your health. So while most just want to get into shape, the added benefit of balancing hormones is an added benefit. Hormones affect your health. They are the messengers that trigger all the functions in the body to keep it functioning at its best.

Stress hormones not only affect your health, they affect your appearance, too.

If you find that all your fat collects in your abdomen and your waistline just keeps getting bigger, you probably have a problem with stress and the accumulation of cortisol. Stress hormones make changes in the body to prepare it to fight or run. There are receptors for cortisol, one of those hormones, in almost all cells in the body. It’s the messenger that affects your memory, controls blood sugar levels, maintains blood pressure and regulates your metabolism.

Too much cortisol in your body contributes to health issues.

Do you have a rapid heart beat? That’s probably from too much cortisol that wasn’t burnt off with exercise. It does more than just increase your heart rate, it increases the potential for obesity and is one of the leading causes for heart disease and high blood pressure. One way you can improve your health is to keep stress at a minimum. It’s not an easy task, but finding ways to prevent it before it gets out of control, such as meditation or even immediate exercise like running up and down stairs can relieve the stress-response quickly.

There are all types of hormones, including sex hormones that contribute to health issues.

Stress can affect the balance of female hormones, just as toxins or poor nutrition can. If a woman has too little progesterone and too much estrogen, it can show itself with weight gain on the hips, thighs and abdomen, fibroid tumors and a low sex drive. Gall bladder disease, heavy bleeding, painful periods and mood swings are also symptoms. Women aren’t the only ones to face health risk by hormonal imbalance. There are issues with both too much testosterone and too little for men. Too much or too little can create heart issues, with too much increasing the risk of prostate cancer and too little causing weight gain.

  • If you’re having problems sleeping at night, maybe your hormones are out of whack. The pineal gland creates serotonin that affects your ability to sleep. Adequate sleep is important to good health.
  • The system that creates hormones is the endocrine system with the hypothalamus as the major gland. Hormones control thirst, sleep, body temperature and more.
  • One of the most severe hormonal problems comes from too much insulin or too little, also known as type 1 diabetes or hypoglycemia.
  • Exercise helps regulate many hormones. Eating healthy is another way to help boost hormonal health. Come in for a free training session and see how good you really can feel.

For more information, contact us today at The Worx by Maia

Keeping The Pounds Off

Keeping The Pounds Off

To often people come into my gym and they’re depressed, frustrated and at their wits end. Either they couldn’t take weight off or they did and within weeks it returned….and often brought friends. There’s a logical reason that dieting doesn’t work and it’s all about those pounds finding their way back home after the diet ends. When you diet, it always ends. That’s when you go back to your normal eating habits that put on weight in the first place. Of course, you’ll gain that weight back again. Keeping the pounds off requires more than just lowering your caloric intake for a few weeks or months, it means changing your eating habits for a lifetime. When you add a program of exercise, you keep your metabolism burning hot!

What’s the difference between eating healthy and dieting.

When you diet, you often feel deprived or hungry. You have are limited to the food listed on your diet. Some diets, like fad diets, limit that selection severely by focusing on a “magic soup” or “weight loss elixir to drink three times a day.” Eating healthy just means making smarter choices when it comes to food. For instance, just switching from white rice to brown rice can save a few calories, while also boosting the nutritional content of the meal.

You might have a diet to follow initially, but that’s only until you learn the best changes to make.

It takes time to change old habits. Those eating habits may have come from your childhood, so many are rooted in the comfort food area. These are go-to foods when anything significant affects your life. Changing that doesn’t happen overnight. Learning what’s healthy and lower in calories isn’t always easy. In fact, food manufacturers often do everything they can to confuse the average consumer. The easiest thing to remember is that eating healthy means eating food that’s closest to its natural state and less processed.

Eating healthy also means eating food without added sugar.

You won’t eliminate eating food with added sugar by skipping the bakery area or pushing the cart quickly past the candy area. Sugar is in everything. To make matters worse, the amount of sugar something contains is often hidden by using several different types of sugar and listing each separately. If there were just 8 ingredients in a food and four of them were different types of sugar, from dextrose to sucrose or HFCS, if they were listed separately, sugar might not be the top ingredient. The last four ingredients might be the sugars, even though combined, they equaled over 50 percent of the contents.

  • You’ll be surprised at how good food tastes once you get your taste buds back to normal. Today’s eating habits overload them with sugar. Once you give it up for a while, you’ll get more of the true taste of food.
  • Don’t despair if you think you’ll never get to have your favorite foods again. It’s just not so. When you eat healthy, you can eat almost anything, just not on an everyday basis and with portion control in mind.
  • Smarter eating is also combined with regular exercise. When you workout regularly, you’ll build muscle tissue and that boosts your metabolism to help keep pounds off 24/7.
  • Regular exercise also builds your energy level, so you’ll be more active. The more active you are, the more apt you’ll be to keep pounds off permanently.

For more information, contact us today at The Worx by Maia

Girls Gone Strong

Girls Gone Strong

It’s so much fun to watch clients in Alexandria, VA, get fit and make changes not only in their body, but also in their life. Whether it’s going from fitness zero to fitness hero or helping someone make the changes to extend their lives, it all brings satisfaction. It’s also why I do it. One of my biggest pleasures is seeing girls gone strong. Just thinking back and reading about the lives of women 30, 40 or 50 years ago, building muscles wasn’t encouraged or even suggested in many cases. Stick thin women, like Twiggy in the 1960s and the scary skinny models in the 2010s are gladly out of vogue and healthy and strong women are now a hit.

Healthy with lean muscle mass is what it’s all about today.

I love seeing women come into the gym, a little intimidated by the strength building workouts. It always makes me smile when they realize how great they feel when they do strength building and learn all the workouts that involve barbells and dumbbells. I’ve seen them go from intimidated to getting excited when it’s strength building day. I’ve even caught some flexing in front of the mirror and smiling. That’s okay. I do it too.

Why is getting strong important. Let’s start with weight loss.

One of the best types of exercise for weight loss is strength building. While running and other aerobic workouts will burn tons of calories, there’s no discrimination in whether those calories came from burning fat or muscle tissue. In fact, running will burn lean muscle tissue. Strength building burns lots of calories, too, but it also helps build muscle tissue. Why is that important? The more muscle tissue you have, the more calories you’ll burn 24/7. That means strength building will not only burn calories now, it will build muscles to burn more later.

How can getting stronger help keep you healthier.

Women are protected from high blood pressure and even bone loss, with hormones before menopause. Unfortunately, after menopause, that protection disappears. It’s at that time, that they’re more susceptible to these conditions, particularly osteoporosis, which can make bones fragile and impact lifestyle dramatically. Getting stronger at an early age and maintaining that strength, helps reduce the potential for both high blood pressure and osteoporosis.

  • Seriously, one of the great motivators to do strength training is the fact that exercise helps slow the aging process. It does it in a number of ways, from lengthening cellular telomeres to increased circulation.
  • Getting strong can help keep you safer. While you may never need to defend yourself, you’ll be fit enough to do it. Best of all, you’ll look more confident and feel more confident, which is a huge deterrent to anyone planning harm.
  • Being safer by being stronger is more than just defending yourself from others, it also prevents injuries from doing every day tasks. You’ll be functionally fitter when you get stronger, no matter whether you’re a male or female.
  • At the Worx by Maia, we offer a free week of boot camp to let you see how great getting strong and fit can feel. Try it. You’ll be hooked on that feeling.

For more information, contact us today at The Worx by Maia

How To Stay Motivated As A Beginner

How To Stay Motivated As A Beginner

We have a lot of variety at The Worx in Alexandria, VA, that should help keep your interest and we take a great deal of pride in the motivation we provide. If you’re just starting a workout and healthy eating program, it can be overwhelming and you may need more to stay motivated as a beginner. Don’t worry, there are a number of things you can do until fitness and healthy eating become a habit and something you’ll look forward to doing.

It’s all about mindset.

How you think of working out makes a difference. If you consider it with dread, you’ll find it’s harder to get yourself to go to the workout. Focus on the positive and identify the things you look forward to when you workout at the gym. Maybe that is the great feeling you get when you’re finishing up or how good you feel knowing you conquered another workout. Start looking forward to it and you’ll be more motivated.

Make sure you have goals you can measure that are short term.

If you want to feel more energized and motivated, you’ll do better if you have goals to accomplish and can accomplish them. Even if your overall goal was to lose 50 pounds and fit into a much smaller clothing size, that won’t help you stay motivated the first few weeks or months, since it’s a long term goal. Break your goal down to smaller goals and have a few that have nothing to do with results, such as weight or inch loss. Track your healthy eating and workout schedule, making it a goal to stick with it for a week without vary. You can measure that and celebrate in just one week when you’ve accomplished that goal.

Workout with a friend.

If you have a workout buddy, that’s even better. You can keep each other motivated. Not only does a workout buddy make you accountable for working out that day by meeting you at the gym, they actually make it a lot more fun. You have someone to share your successes with and someone to complain to when the going gets rough. A buddy reinforces the accountability that a trainer provides.

  • Make your workout part of your schedule. If you don’t put your workout into your schedule, chances are, you’ll start skipping it and end up quitting. If it’s in your schedule you make it as important as any other appointment.
  • Create a routine and stick with it. No matter when you choose to workout, create a routine to help you stick with the program. Get your clothes out, fill your water bottle and get dressed for starters. If you follow the same procedure each day, it all becomes automatic.
  • Post messages to yourself that remind you why you started the program in the first place. Maybe you started so you could lose weight and look better or maybe it was for health. Put it on a post-it or put a picture or phrase that represents the goal you hope to attain.
  • Come into The Worx if you want motivation. We’ll help you stay rev’d up and provide a program that gets fast results. If you want the biggest potential motivation, it’s getting results.

For more information, contact us today at The Worx

Fun Ways To Improve Your Fitness

Fun Ways To Improve Your Fitness

While I love our P90X training, some of our members swear by the small group training or Beach Body Live events as the most fun. It’s important to enjoy what you do and also to try new things to get fit. In fact, finding more fun ways to improve your fitness is a great addition to any fitness program. It creates variety that even makes your normal workout more enjoyable because you aren’t doing the same thing every day.

Have you considered rock climbing or hiking as an alternative to working out.

You might not want to go rock climbing every day or hike through the hills, but both activities will certainly add to your overall fitness. If you go to the gym every other day, use your days off to do active things when you can. It’s one of the reasons you’re working out, so you have the energy for more fun in your life. The best type of workout from hiking comes when you tackle uneven terrain and keep a brisk pace.

A night of dancing can be fun and a great workout.

Going out to boogie down can burn tons of calories, boost your flexibility and improve your stamina. You do have to make sure you do a ton of dancing. Just sitting at the table and ordering a drink or two is counterproductive. Stick with water or just one drink to help keep calories down. Go with someone who loves to dance so you aren’t warming the chair all night. If going out to dance isn’t your thing, turn on the music loud and dance at home. Get the whole family involved. It doesn’t have to look fantastic, just be energetic.

Swimming is perfect when you want to burn calories and enjoy the day.

Whether you hit the beach or go to a pool, doing laps can be enjoyable and provide great exercise. Some pools offer water aerobics, but if your favorite spot doesn’t, you can use your gym workout in the water. It will definitely be tougher when you try it in water. You can also play water games, such as water polo or race the kids across the pool.

  • Get out in nature and enjoy a walk, run or bike ride. Vary the speed and you’ll create a HIIT—high intensity interval training—workout by walking, running or bike riding at top speed for a few minutes and then going at recovery speed for a few minutes.
  • Shoot hoops with the kids or play a rousing game of tag or hide and seek. Playing with the kids can be super active and exercise can give you the energy to do it. However, doing it can also be great exercise.
  • Try Parkour. You’ve seen kids do it. They use the environment as their training tool. From jumping over tables to trying to run up a wall, Parkour can be a lot of fun, but you have to use common sense and safety, too.
  • Take adult gymnastics or adult ballet classes. Both of these will get you into shape, while providing an outlet that’s fun and gives you a special talent you can show off to friends.

For more information, contact us today at The Worx

5 Yoga Poses You Should Do Everyday

5 Yoga Poses You Should Do Everyday

If you want to get your fittest, there are some exercises or yoga poses you should do everyday. Keeping yourself limber and strong no matter how old you are is important. Many of the poses in yoga are similar or exactly like a Western alternative, but often done more slowly. In Alexandria, VA, I create many of the workouts that include these yoga like exercises to stretch the body, increase flexibility and strength.

Start with a pose that is a combination of two poses.

Start your day encouraging great circulation by doing the combination of the cat/cow pose. They’re a perfect combination since the poses massage and stretch the muscles in all directions. For the cat pose, you’re on your knees with your palms flat on the floor and elbows straight. Arch your back like a cat as you lower your head and exhale. Now it’s time to move back to starting position and then into the cow pose. In the cow pose, you move your head to look straight ahead as you drop your back toward the floor, leaving it with a dip mid back.

Do you want to work all major muscle groups? Do a warrior two pose.

Start by inhaling with your hands over your head. Take a large step to your right side as you exhale. Turn your right foot to the front of the mat as you lunge down with your thigh parallel to the floor and your knees over your ankle. Press down the back foot and lower the front knee toward the outer side of the right foot. Extend your arms so your right is pointing front, left toward the back. This pose stretches the body.

The forearm plank is also called the phalakasana forearm movement.

This pose starts kneeling on all fours. Bringing your elbows to the floor directly under the shoulders, clasp your hands together. Move one foot back and straighten the leg, followed by bringing the other foot back. Push your heels backward and lift up your kneecaps. Hold the position with your body straight for 30 to 60 seconds then slowly lower your body back as you reverse each step.

  • You can create a variation of the forearm plank by straightening your arms, rather than resting on the forearms.
  • Stretch your body to the side with the Vrksasana or tree pose. Lift one leg and place it on your inner thigh and you press your palms together in front of you. This pose, once learned is a relaxing way to stand.
  • The locus pose or salabhasana builds muscle strength. Lay on your abdomen with hands straight in front, then lift your arms and head as you lift your feet and legs. Hold.
  • There’s a lot of yoga exercises that are similar to Western workouts. At The Worx we ensure you get a great workout that includes all types of exercises. Come in for a free small group training session and see for yourself.

For more information, contact us today at The Worx by Maia

Good Exercises To Reduce Breast Size Naturally

Good Exercises To Reduce Breast Size Naturally

Everyone has heard of someone that wants a breast implant to get a Hollywood looking bosom, but most people aren’t aware that there are women whose bust size is so big, it causes pain and discomfort. If you’re one of those people, you don’t have to go under the knife to get a bust reduction. There are methods and exercises to reduce breast size naturally.

Excess breast tissue is adipose fat.

Breasts are made of nothing more than supportive tissue, glandular tissue and adipose fat. The glandular tissue is what produces milk after a woman has a baby. The adipose fat is what makes up the size of the breast. The more fat you have, the bigger your breasts. Hormonal changes affect the size of the breast, but so does weight loss. If you’re overweight and lose a significant amount of weight, your breast size will also change. A healthy diet can help you do this.

Exercise can help reduce those large breasts.

The right type of exercises help tone the breasts and makes them perkier, while others can reduce the size, while still improving their appearance. A wall press, incline press and decline press can do the latter and improve your appearance as it reduces pain. A wall press is an upper body push up while standing, using the wall as you would use the ground. If you have weights and a table, lay on your back with a weight in each hand and lift your hands toward the ceiling. It’s an incline press if the back of the table is up at an angle lifting your upper body and a decline press if it’s flat.

A push up builds upper body strength and can reduce the amount of upper body fat.

Add a pullover to that pushup and you’ll tone your chest muscles, while reducing the size of your breasts to improve their overall appearance. A pullover requires a lightweight weight. Hold the weight in both hands as you stand with your legs apart, weight in front of you and back straight. Raise your hands slowly until they and the weight are above your head. Hold then slowly lower the weight behind your head as far as possible. Hold and return to starting position by raising the weight above your head and back down in front of you. Repeat.

  • The chest press is one of the best breast reduction exercises around. Lay flat on your back on the bench with leg on the ground. Hold weights in each hand with arms extended out, then bend the elbows 90 degrees until they’re perpendicular with the body. Hold, return, repeat.
  • Do some cardio exercises for shedding weight. Cardio burns calories and the more you can burn, the more fat you use for energy. Run, jump or do a session of HIIT. It’s all good.
  • Try a yoga pose for some benefits. The tadasana or palm tree pose is effective. Start with your hands in front of you with fingers interlocked and feet apart. Raise your hands above your head and push the palms toward the ceiling. Push upward hard, lifting your rib cage as you raise your heels.
  • Come to the Worx, where we can help you achieve any fitness goal. I’ll be happy to create a workout to help you get the transformation you hoped to achieve and create the body you’ve always wanted.

For more information, contact us today at The Worx by Maia

How To Start Working Out For Beginners

How To Start Working Out For Beginners

Working out for beginners can be tough. You need to first find a program you like and then identify how much to do and how hard to workout. Too big of an effort early on can cause injury and stop the entire program before it starts and too little effort won’t bring the results you want. While I promote a formal exercise program that ensures you get all types of fitness training, strength, endurance, balance and flexibility, you can start simply by choosing an activity you enjoy that’s active and doing more of it.

The amount of time you spend exercising is important.

Whether you hope to improve your health, want to shed pounds or just build more energy, the amount of time you spend working out is important. According to the American Heart Association, getting at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise every day can help improve your heart health and even bring other benefits, such as some weight loss.

Not only should you make sure you work on all types of fitness, you need to ensure you use the right form.

Form is so important, especially if you’re doing a tough workout. Sometimes, just moving your arm the wrong way when you’re doing strength training or how you breathe makes a big difference on whether the exercise gets the maximum benefit. It can even cause injury if you’re doing an exercise wrong, so focusing on form is important.

Varying your workout can help prevent plateauing.

If you do the same workout repeatedly, you’ll see a lot of improvement initially. However, if weight loss is your goal, that improvement could dwindle after a few months. When you’re doing the same workout, your body becomes efficient at the movements, so it doesn’t burn as many calories, making weight loss a little harder. Varying your workout can also ensure you work all muscle groups on all planes, giving even better results.

  • Doing more or excessive exercise isn’t necessarily a good thing, especially if you’re doing more strenuous workouts like strength training. It takes time for muscle tissue to heal and working out too hard or too much can be counter-productive and actually cause you to get sick.
  • Not all types of workouts are equal, especially if weight loss is your goal. Trainers know the right types of workouts to get the best results. If you’re working out on your own, exercises that work the whole body at once and interval training work well.
  • Consistency is the key when it comes to getting results. Schedule your exercise for the same time every day until it becomes second nature.
  • If you want help starting a program of fitness, try our six weeks transformation challenge at The Worx. It even includes a plan of healthy eating, while also keeping you accountable for working out.

For more information, contact us today at The Worx by Maia

How Fitness Helps With Mental Health

How Fitness Helps With Mental Health

If you come to The Worx in Alexandria, VA, you know that working out can make you feel great, both physically and mentally. There’s a reason for that. Whether it’s boosting your cognitive functioning or raising your spirits, fitness helps with mental health in a number of ways. One of the biggest ways is to burn off the hormones created by stress, which can clear your mind and help you to think better. Those stress hormones are for running or fighting if there’s danger and the changes they make in your body cause health issues and mental fog if they’re not burned off with exercise that simulates running or fighting.

Studies show that exercise can actually help depression and anxiety.

There’s been a lot of interest recently in using exercise as an adjunct therapy for people who are depressed or anxious. It works for a number of reasons. Eliminating the stress hormones is just one. However, the body also produces hormones that make you feel good. Studies show that for depression or anxiety, even moderate exercise several times a week can get great results and eliminate the need for medication.

If you want more brain power, try working out.

A number of studies show that exercise is good for your mental functioning. It gives you more brain power and increases cognitive abilities. Several studies have been done using exercise as a method of fighting dementia and mental decline. Some show that cardio can actually boost the creation of new brain cells—neurogenesis. That improves how well the brain performs. It strengthens the hippocampus, which also boosts memory.

Lack of sleep can leave you loopy and fuzzy brained.

If you’ve ever tried to sit through a class and tried to learn after staying up late several nights in a row, you know that too little sleep can cause a decline in cognitive functioning. Insomnia or trouble sleeping can interfere with your thought processes, but insomnia can be prevented in many cases. Working out helps you sleep sounder and get the right type and amount of sleep that can improve your mental functioning.

  • If you don’t believe that working out can help you eliminate anxiety, consider people who pace. There’s a reason they do that. It’s calming. The next time you’re anxious, run up and down a set of stairs until you feel exhausted. You’ll be amazed at how much it helps.
  • Sometimes, lack of confidence can muddle your brain and put it on the back burner. Working out not only improves your posture, it boosts your confidence. Not only will you be looking more confident, you’ll feel more confident, too.
  • When you workout, you’ll increase your heart rate and that can stimulate the body to create neurohormones that help improve your mood, while improving cognitive functioning.
  • Come into the Worx for a free small group session and you’ll see how great you feel after you’ve exercised. Our six week transformation program not only helps transform your body, but also your mind.

For more information, contact us today at The Worx by Maia