Step Ahead Wellness Center Blog

Are You Exercising Hard Enough?

Posted by deborah neiman on Wed, May 06, 2015 @ 12:22 PM

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It's true that any exercise is better none.  However, some workout plans are better than others in terms of overall effectiveness. While you may think you’re getting a good workout by spending an hour reading a magazine on the stationary bike, the truth is, if you’re leaving the gym with your make-up still perfectly intact, you’re probably not working hard enough.  In fact, if you're able to read a magazine or book while exercising, you probably need to amp it up.  So leave the reading material at home, and focus on increasing the intensity of your workout to see the results you are striving for.

There are several ways to monitor your workout level. So put your routine to the test by utilizing the following...

CHECK YOUR HEART RATE

Whether you’re on a cardio machine or doing some high intensity interval training (HIIT), your heart rate should fluctuate between 75% of your maximum when you’re just starting out, eventually building to 100%. (To roughly determine your maximum heart rate, subtract your age from 220). An easy way to track this is by using a heart-rate monitor that will let you know, in real time, where your heart is at. Some people mistake sweating to be the only indicator of working out hard enough, when in reality some people may just be more prone to sweating than others. A heart-rate monitor is simply the most effective way to gauge your intensity level. These days they’re easy to come by and definitely worth the investment. But if you don’t have one, go old school and stop to check your pulse halfway through your workout.

THE TALK TEST

A leisurely stroll with a friend is a nice way to pass the time, but not if you expect that activity to help you lose weight. To put it simply, if you can hold a conversation during your workout, you’re just not working hard enough. Short phrases, perhaps, but if you’re able to belt out Taylor Swift while jogging, you need to reassess your workout plan (and maybe your level of shamelessness). 

THE SORE MUSCLE TEST

No pain, no gain. A good way to tell how hard you worked out is to wait 24 hours and see how you feel. When you exercise, you cause microscopic damage to your muscles. The muscles then adapt, repair themselves, and grow stronger. Basically, you should feel moderate soreness or muscle tightness after a workout; if not, you probably didn’t stimulate your muscle enough to get results. (But not so sore that you can’t go about your regular routine.) Give yourself a day in between to rest and rebuild those sore muscle groups while you work another, alternating days so you don’t overwork one particular group.

UP INTENSITY

Once you’ve been on a workout plan for a while and aren’t becoming as sore or tired, it might be time to up the intensity. If you want to gain lean muscle mass and definition, start adding more weight; if you’re using lighter weights to tone up, add some extra repetitions (Instead of 10-15 reps, try 25). If you’re doing cardio, try going a little faster or start incorporating more interval training into the mix. Because your body is constantly adapting, if you do the same thing over and over again, your body won’t be challenged enough to make a change. Be mindful that the more you work out, the more effort you’ll have to expend to keep making progress.

CROSS TRAIN, CROSS TRAIN, CROSS TRAIN

Not only do you need to change the intensity of your workout, but also the variety of what you’re doing. Get creative. Fit people don’t stick to one regimen, they cross train. If you’re doing the same set of squats and bicep curls day in and day out, you’re probably creating imbalances in your body (not to mention it’s just plain boring). Don’t be afraid to mix it up. Force yourself to be uncomfortable. If you’re a runner, try adding some yoga and weight lifting. If you only lift weights, try adding -Aerobic Exercise or Pilates into your routine to balance out your body’s ratio of strength and flexibility. You don’t have to do everything all at once, but start by challenging your body to do something it’s not used to doing.

YOU'RE NOT SEEING PHYSICAL CHANGES

That’s not to say if you don’t see results after a week you should give up. After all, how long did it take for your body to get to where it is now? But if you’ve been consistently working out and eating healthfully for more than a few months and you haven’t noticed even a slight physical change—be it a number on the scale or inches lost depending on your fitness goals—then you might need to reassess your routine. It should be a slow progression if you’re doing it the right way, but a progression nonetheless.

If you're feeling overwhelmed and don't know where to start, consider hiring a certified -Personal Trainerto get your started on the right track.  A small investment will give you the gains you're looking for. 

Lose weight and gain confidence with a personalizedprogram and the ongoing support of Step Ahead's expert team, including a physician, certified fitness trainer, and certified nutritionist. We now accept health insurance!

Get Started Today!


Sincerely,

 Dr. Deborah Neiman MD, Sari Greaves, RDN & Noelle Lusardi, CPT

49 U.S. Highway 202
Far Hills, NJ  07931
908-470-2235

www.stepaheadwellnesscenter.com

Tags: medically supervised weight loss center, Doctor Supervised Weight Loss, Personal Trainers, Noelle Lusardi, doctor supervised weight loss center, Weight Loss Center, personalized weight loss, Step Ahead Wellness Center

Strength Training Improves Health and Increases Weight Loss

Posted by deborah neiman on Wed, Apr 22, 2015 @ 03:52 PM

Why Strength Train?

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Research has shown that strengthening exercises are both safe and effective for women and men of all ages, including those who are not in perfect health. In fact, people with health concerns—including heart disease or arthritis—often benefit the most from an exercise program that includes lifting weights a few times each week.  Strength -Fitness Training, particularly in conjunction with regular aerobic exercise, can also have a profound impact on a person's mental and emotional health.

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Benefits of Strength Training

There are numerous benefits to strength training regularly, particularly as you grow older.  It can be very powerful in reducing the signs and symptoms of numerous diseases and chronic conditions, among them:

arthritis

diabetes

osteoporosis

obesity

back pain


depression

Arthritis Relief

Tufts University recently completed a strength-training program with older men and women with moderate to severe knee osteoarthritis.  The results of this sixteen-week program showed that strength training decreased pain by 43%, increased muscle strength and general physical
performance, improved the clinical signs and symptoms of the disease, and decreased disability. The effectiveness of strength training to ease the pain of osteoarthritis was just as potent, if not more potent, as medications.  Similar effects of strength training have been seen in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.

Restoration of Balance and Reduction of Falls

As people age, poor balance and flexibility contribute to falls and broken bones. These fractures can result in significant disability and, in some cases, fatal complications. Strengthening exercises, when done properly and through the full range of motion, increase a person's flexibility
and balance, which decrease the likelihood and severity of falls. One study in New Zealand in women 80 years of age and older showed a 40% reduction in falls with simple strength and balance training.

Strengthening of Bone

Post-menopausal women can lose 1-2% of their bone mass annually. Results from a study conducted at Tufts University, which were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 1994, showed that strength training increases bone density and reduces the risk for
fractures among women aged 50-70.

Proper Weight Maintenance

Strength training is crucial to weight control, because individuals who have more muscle mass have a higher metabolic rate. Muscle is active tissue that consumes calories while stored fat uses very little energy.  Strength training can provide up to a 15% increase in metabolic rate, which is
enormously helpful for weight loss and long-term weight control.

Improved Glucose Control

More than 14 million Americans have type II diabetes—a staggering three-hundred percent increase over the past forty years—and the numbers are steadily climbing. In addition to being at greater risk for heart and renal disease, diabetes is also the leading cause of blindness in older
adults. Fortunately, studies now show that lifestyle changes such as strength training have a profound impact on helping older adults manage their diabetes. In a recent study of Hispanic men and women, 16 weeks of strength training produced dramatic improvements in glucose control that are comparable to taking diabetes medication. Additionally, the study volunteers were stronger, gained muscle, lost body fat, had less depression, and felt much more self-confident.

Healthy State of Mind

Strength training provides similar improvements in depression as anti-depressant medications. Currently, it is not known if this is because people feel better when they are stronger or if strength training produces a helpful biochemical change in the brain. It is most likely a
combination of the two. When older adults participate in strength training programs, their self-confidence and self-esteem improve, which has a strong impact on their overall quality of life.

Sleep Improvement

People who exercise regularly enjoy improved sleep quality. They fall asleep more quickly, sleep more deeply, awaken less often, and sleep longer. As with depression, the sleep benefits obtained as a result of strength training are comparable to treatment with medication but without the side effects or the expense.

Healthy Heart Tissue

Strength training is important for cardiac health because heart disease risk is lower when the body is leaner. One study found that cardiac patients gained not only strength and flexibility but also aerobic capacity when they did strength training three times a week as part of their
rehabilitation program. This and other studies have prompted the American Heart Association to recommend strength training as a way to reduce risk of heart disease and as a therapy for patients in cardiac rehabilitation programs.

Research and Background About Strength Training

Scientific research has shown that exercise can slow the physiological aging clock. While aerobic exercise, such as walking, jogging, or swimming, has many excellent health benefits—it maintains the heart and lungs and increases cardiovascular fitness and endurance—it does not make your muscles strong. Strength training does. Studies have shown that lifting weights two or three times a week increases strength by building muscle mass and bone density.

One 12-month study conducted on postmenopausal women at Tufts University demonstrated 1% gains in hip and spine bone density, 75% increases in strength and 13% increases in dynamic balance with just two days per week of progressive strength training. The control group had losses in bone, strength, and balance.  Strength training programs can also have a profound effect on reducing risk for falls, which translates to fewer fractures.

 

Lose weight and gain confidence with a personalizedprogram and the ongoing support of Step Ahead's expert team, including a physician, certified fitness trainer, and certified nutritionist. We now accept health insurance!

Get Started Today!


Sincerely,

 Dr. Deborah Neiman MD, Sari Greaves, RDN & Noelle Lusardi, CPT

49 U.S. Highway 202
 Far Hills, NJ  07931
908-470-2235

Tags: Doctor Supervised Weight Loss, doctor supervised weight loss center, Physician Weight Center, personal training, muscle conditioning classes, Weight Loss Center

Diet Fact or Fiction?

Posted by deborah neiman on Wed, Apr 15, 2015 @ 11:47 AM

fast weight loss

Fact or Fiction?


CLICK HERE TO START YOUR WEIGHT LOSS SUCCESS!

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Most of the nutrients of a fruit or vegetable are in the skin, so you shouldn’t peel it.

If you peel fruits and vegetables, recognize what you’d be giving up- the nutrients and fiber that the peel contains. Any pesticide residues in foods you buy are present at minimal levels. It’s safe to say that they probably won’t pose any health risk. You can add more to your safety net by the way you handle your food in your kitchen. Wash fresh fruits and vegetables with water to remove residues on the surface and in the crevices. For foods such as carrots, squash, apples, and pears, use a vegetable brush to clean them even more. Rinse well. Avoid soap, (unless it’s a produce wash formulated to remove wax, pesticides, and soil) because it leaves its own residue. Bottom line: Leave edible skins on vegetables and fruits and trim away as little as possible. Most vitamins and minerals are found in the outer leaves, skin, and area just below the skin- not in the center. Peels also are natural barriers that help protect nutrient loss. 
 
Eating after 9pm makes it easier to gain weight.

The truth is simple- a calorie is a calorie no matter what time you eat it. The number on your bathroom scale will start to climb when you consistently eat more calories that you burn off with physical activity. However, mindless munching in front of the television at night can push calorie intake over the edge. The reason why people may feel sluggish after late-night eating has more to do with overindulging in a grease-, beer- and salt-fest, which can cause bloating and stomach upset. Eat at regular intervals to help avoid extreme hunger and plan balanced meals that include a variety of healthy foods. Studies show that people who skip breakfast and eat fewer times during the day tend to be heavier than people who eat a healthy breakfast and eat four or five times a day. This may be because people who skip meals tend to feel hungrier later on, and eat more than they normally would. It may also be that eating many small meals throughout the day helps people control their appetites.

Bottom line: No matter when you eat, your body will store extra calories as fat. If you want to have a snack before bedtime, think first about how many calories you have eaten that day. Be aware of social situations that trigger eating-such as parties, entertaining friends, dating, talking around the coffee pot at work, and happy-hour business meetings. Create your ways to avoid overeating. Food journaling on your i-phone, blackberry, or notepad can help eliminate mindless eating; it’s like a personal diet GPS, helping you stay on course, and navigate around eating trigger. Make a list of fun “non-food-related” activities: enjoy your garden, choose an active hobby as a stress-buster, surf the internet, treat yourself to a massage, or buy something new to wear or read. 

 

Sincerely,

Dr. Deborah Neiman MD,

Sari Greaves, RDN & Noelle Lusardi, CPT

49 U.S. Highway 202 Far Hills, NJ 07931 908-470-2235

Tags: quick weight loss, doctor supervised weight loss center, personalized weight loss, diet myths, diet fact or fiction

Lose Weight and Keep It Off with Weight Training

Posted by deborah neiman on Wed, Feb 11, 2015 @ 01:49 PM

 

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So you've lost the weight, and you're feeling great, but are you ready for the next challenge, keeping it off?  Staying consistent with your exercise routine, especially weight training exercise, might be the key to your continued success. 

A new study shows that consistent exercise can alter the body's response to weight loss and potentially stop unwanted pounds from creeping back on.  The study was published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise and offers good news about exercise and body weight.  Most Registered Dietitians will agree that to lose weight, you must reduce calories, whether you exericse or not.  Take in fewer calories than your body burns and you will lose weight.  The general rule of thumb is create a 500 calorie deficit in calories in vs calories out to lose on average 1 to 2 pounds per week.

Unfortunately, as you get smaller your body burns less calories because there is less of you.  So after losing weight, your body burns fewer calories througout the day than it did before, because you have less body mass using energy.  Fitness Training becomes imperitive during this stage of the journey.  Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham decided to closely study the effects of exercise during that pivotal time just after someone reaches their goal weight.

They began by recruiting about 100 overweight, sedentary women, all of whom agreed to undertake a strict diet of only 800 calories a day.  The group was divided into thirds.  One third of the women were asked not to exercise at all.  Another third began a supervised cardio program consisting of about 40 minutes of walking/jogging on a treadmill three times a week.  The final third started supervised weight training three times per week.

Each woman, regardless of the group she was in, stayed on the 800 calorie diet until she lost 25 pounds.  At that point, she continued to follow the exercise instructions and transitioned for a month to a customized, supervised diet designed for maintenance. 

The findings... women in the non-exercise group didn't move much at all throughout their days.  The women who did cardio exercise continued moving throughout their days so the calories they burned outside of exercise was significant.  However the women who weight trained moved the most, movement felt easier for them and their bodies continued burning through calories more efficiently.  Overall, the data suggests exercise, particularly weight training, after weight loss prompts people to move more throughout the day thus burning more calories, and with some discipline about food intake, should stave off weight gain.  It seems clear that weight training has a positive effect on weight management overall.

Lose weight and gain confidence with a personalized program and the ongoing support of Step Ahead's expert team, including a physician, certified trainer, and certified nutritionist.

 Get Started Today!


Sincerely,
Dr. Deborah Neiman MD, Sari Greaves, RDN & Noelle Lusardi, CPT
49 U.S. Highway 202 Far Hills, NJ 07931 908-470-2235

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How To Stay Motivated To Exercise This Holiday Season

Posted by deborah neiman on Sat, Dec 13, 2014 @ 06:35 AM

Follow these fitness tips that will help keep your exercise motivation running high this holiday season.

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Set Realistic Goals:

Knowing it's a busy time of year, think ahead and revise your schedule if necessary, and then stick to it!  Think quality rather than quantity.  If you can’t squeeze in concentrated exercise,
move as much as possible throughout your day and stay away from the sweet treats to maintain healthy weight loss between Thanksgiving and New Years.  Something to keep in mind, incorporating the -10,000 Steps Program into each day will help ensure that you walk approximately 5 miles per day equalling approximately 500 calories burned through movement! 

Be Creative with your Time:

If you are finding it difficult to keep up with your fitness goals and the parenting demands this holiday season, then work out with your children.  Need to go Christmas shopping? Go to the mall for an hour or so before it opens and walk with your kids (maybe bring the hand-weights too
to increase the intensity). Or, go to a local gym and play basketball or go ice skating or swim at an indoor pool with your kids.  

Stick to a Routine:

As much as possible, try to have a general schedule for your days. You and your family will be much happier if you do. Don't think you need "to do it all." You'll be surprised how much your kids would love to help with the baking, wrapping and decorating. You may have a little extra time here and there if you let them help, and more importantly, you'll be making great memories with them.

Take Care of Yourself:

It is so easy to get stressed with all the shopping, decorating, baking, wrapping, family obligations, parties, but breathe and relax.  As much as possible, strive for 7-8 hours a sleep a night, drink plenty of water and continue to eat well.

It's okay to enjoy holiday parties, just don't indulge in all those sweet treats. Have a taste, then move on to something a bit more healthier.  Don't forget to set time to exercise; you'll feel much better and will be able to maintain your healthy weight loss goals this holiday season.  And if you're just starting an exercise program, it's a good idea to consult with a medical doctor before starting a new exercise program. Exercise reduces stress and cortisol levels, factors that have been shown to increase food intake and fat gain around the midsection. Do activities that you enjoy!

Learn more about how you can make lifestyle resolutions with our personalized program. Click below to start the journey to a healthier, new you with the support of a medical doctor, registered dietitian, and certified personal trainer.

Optifast 4 Week Membership

 

Sincerely,

Dr. Deborah Neiman MD, Sari Greaves, RDN & Noelle Lusardi, CPT

49 U.S. Highway 202 Far Hills, NJ 07931 908-470-2235

 

 

 

Tags: losing weight tips, doctor supervised weight loss center, health fitness advice

EXERCISE OUTDOORS THIS SUMMER... WITH STEP AHEAD!

Posted by deborah neiman on Tue, Jun 10, 2014 @ 06:53 AM

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Our fitness director/certified fitness trainer, Noelle Lusardi, has created a 12 week summer program to get you outside!  Join our Power Walk/Yoga Stretch In The Park classes every Wednesday night from 7 to 8pm, now through August 27th.  Email Noelle directly at Noelle@stepaheadwellnesscenter.com for more information.

 

Enjoy the benefits of outdoor exercise as discussed in the New York Times article below.

 

From The New York Time: The
Benefits of Exercising Outdoors

By GRETCHEN REYNOLDS

February 21,
2013 12:01 am

While the
allure of the gym — climate-controlled, convenient and predictable — is
obvious, especially in winter, emerging science suggests there are benefits to
exercising outdoors that can’t be replicated on a treadmill, a recumbent
bicycle or a track.

You stride
differently when running outdoors, for one thing. Generally, studies find,
people flex their ankles more when they run outside. They also, at least
occasionally, run downhill, a movement that isn’t easily done on a treadmill
and that stresses muscles differently than running on flat or uphill terrain.
Outdoor exercise tends, too, to be more strenuous than the indoor version. In
studies comparing the exertion of running on a treadmill and the exertion of
running outside, treadmill
runners expended less energy
to cover the same distance as those striding
across the ground outside, primarily because indoor exercisers face no wind
resistance or changes in terrain, no matter how subtle.

The same dynamic has been shown
to apply to cycling
, where wind drag can result in much greater energy
demands during 25 miles of outdoor cycling than the same distance on a
stationary bike. That means if you have limited time and want to burn as many
calories as possible, you should hit the road instead of the gym.

But
there seem to be other, more ineffable advantages to getting outside to work
out. In a number of
recent studies,
volunteers have been asked to go for two walks for the same
time or distance — one inside, usually on a treadmill or around a track, the
other outdoors. In virtually all of the studies, the volunteers reported
enjoying the outside activity more and, on subsequent psychological tests,
scored significantly higher on measures of vitality, enthusiasm, pleasure and
self-esteem and lower on tension, depression and fatigue after they walked
outside.

Of course,
those studies were small-scale, short-term — only two walks — and squishy in
their scientific parameters, relying heavily on subjective responses. But a study last year of older
adults
found, objectively, that those who exercised outside exercised
longer and more often than those working out indoors. Specifically, the
researchers asked men and women 66 or older about their exercise habits and
then fitted them all with electronic gadgets that measured their activity
levels for a week. The gadgets and the survey showed that the volunteers who
exercised outside, usually by walking, were significantly more physically
active than those who exercised indoors, completing, on average, about 30
minutes more exercise each week than those who walked or otheStudies haven’t
yet established why, physiologically, exercising outside might improve
dispositions or inspire greater commitment to an exercise program. A few small studies have found
that people have lower blood levels of cortisol, a hormone related to stress,
after exerting themselves outside as compared with inside. There’s speculation,
too, that exposure to direct sunlight, known to affect mood, plays a role.

But the
take-away seems to be that moving their routines outside could help reluctant
or inconsistent exercisers. “If outdoor activity encourages more activity, then
it is a good thing,” says Jacqueline Kerr, a professor at the University of
California, San Diego, who led the study of older adults. After all, “despite
the fitness industry boom,” she continues, “we are not seeing changes in
national physical activity levels, so gyms are not the answer.”

Tags: Exercise, losing weight tips, losing weight fast, medical weight loss solutions, fat burning classes, Dr. Neiman, Doctor Supervised Weight Loss, Personal Trainers, Noelle Lusardi, doctor supervised weight loss center, best weight loss, Weight Loss Center, lose weight fast, Step Ahead Wellness Center

POWER WALK/YOGA STRETCH CLASSES START TOMORROW NIGHT!

Posted by deborah neiman on Tue, Jun 03, 2014 @ 06:08 AM

POWER WALK/YOGA STRETCH CLASSES IN THE PARK START TOMORROW NIGHT!!!

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Tags: losing weight tips, summer weight loss, Doctor Supervised Weight Loss, Personal Trainers, Noelle Lusardi, doctor supervised weight loss center, personal training, diet to lose weight, lose weight in 2014, lose weight fast, Step Ahead Wellness Center

TODAY IS "GIVE-AWAY" WEDNESDAY AT STEP AHEAD!

Posted by deborah neiman on Wed, May 21, 2014 @ 01:12 PM

Wednesday is “GIVE-AWAY” DAY at Step Ahead!

    

 

Come in for a weigh-in, personal training session, or check
in with the Doctor and Registered Dietitian and leave with these

 

red apple resized 600
Each medium-sized apple -- approximately 3 inches in diameter -- contains 95 calories. Roughly 87 percent of these calories come from carbohydrates, and the carbs found in apples help you metabolize fats, allow your nervous system to function and help your muscle tissue hold onto its protein stores. Each medium apple also contains 4.4 grams of dietary fiber, a nondigestable carbohydrate that fights chronic diseases -- including diverticular disease and type-2 diabetes -- and helps keep you regular. The fiber in one apple contributes 18 percent toward the recommended daily fiber intake for women and 12 percent for men.

Call Erica at 908-440-2235 to schedule your appointment. 

 Don’t delay… offer is good for today only and while supplies last.

We hope to see you today!!

 

For more information on all the weight loss programs we
offer, visit us at www.stepaheadwellnesscenter.com

Tags: diet, fruit recipes, healthy eating, Fitness, doctor supervised weight loss center, Nutrition, health, Weight Loss Center, give-away day, apples, metabolize fats, fight carbs, fiber