Step Ahead Wellness Center Blog

Summer Vacations and Your Weight Loss Goals... How To Stay On Track!

Posted by deborah neiman on Wed, Jun 24, 2015 @ 04:51 PM

It’s summer!  Time for family fun, catching lightning bugs, staying up late and vacations!  Vacations are a wonderful way to take time out for yourself and recharge from your hectic
life. But how will you stay on track with your weight loss journey being away?

While it can be overwhelming and scary, if you plan ahead and stay organized it is possible to stay on track with your health and fitness goals while on vacation.  Here are 5 simple tips to maintain your weight loss:

vacation

1) Focus on your goal: Re-evaluate your weight loss goal before you leave.  Place stickie notes with your goal in your wallet, on your phone and in your bathroom mirror to remind you that you are moving in that direction.

2) Stay active: Enjoy evening walks watching the sun go down or early morning walks while the sun is rising, bike rides, swimming or even taking public transportation. There are lots of ways to burn calories and keep your fitness level consistent while enjoying vacation.

3) Pack snacks: Remember, when you’re sitting around at the airport or a long car ride, healthy food may be hard to come by. Plan ahead and pack food that fits your dietary and weight loss plan.  Leave the licorise behind and pack fresh fruit nd nuts instead.  Don’t forget to get
plenty of water and stay hydrated!

4) Reward yourself with a special activity instead of food:Fun and unusualexperiences will give you a dopamine lift that elevates your mood.
Vacation activity rewards can include a shopping spree, a massage, or something
else that makes you feel refreshed and rewarded. Maybe it’s paddleboarding or
kayaking.  Plus, feeling good makes it so
much easier to stick to your weight loss goals.

5) Indulge with some treats, but
don’t over do it:
Vacation is a huge reward in
itself, but exotic flavors and old favorites (like a good ol’ trip to the ice
cream parlor) are part of what makes life sweet. Share treats with your loved
ones, but plan ahead to burn those calories so you can do so guilt free and
stay on track with your weight loss journey! 
A good idea is to walk to/from the ice cream parlor. 

These are just a few of the ways you
can plan ahead and stay active while enjoying vacation. When you get back,
you’ll have lots of energy and you’ll be thankful you’re still on track with
your weight loss goal. And you will reconnect with yourself, your family &
friends in a healthy, positive way.  So
get out there and enjoy the dog days of summer! 

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

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

Tags: summer weight loss, Doctor Supervised Weight Loss, Personal Trainers, weight loss covered by insurance, Step Ahead Wellness Center

Mid-Life Fitness & Exercise Keeps Us Healthy

Posted by deborah neiman on Wed, Jun 10, 2015 @ 04:17 PM

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Many people exercise to look better – to improve body composition and control weight, but the other health benefits of exercise are motivating factors as we approach middle-age – for good reason. According to a recent study, exercise is “good medicine” for keeping common chronic health problems at bay as we age. After all, what good is it to look “hot” in a pair of jeans if you’re not healthy?

The Importance of Midlife Fitness

In a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, researchers looked at Medicare claims for 18,670 participants, both men and women, over a 26-year period. This group of people had undergone treadmill fitness testing during middle-age, around the age of 50. After adjusting for factors like blood pressure, body mass index, alcohol use and smoking history, they discovered the most fit participants, as measured by their treadmill test, had a lower risk for developing eight medical conditions – heart disease, emphysema, stroke, type 2 diabetes, kidney disease, Alzheimer’s disease, lung cancer and colon cancer over a 26-year period.

That’s a lot of prevention! Although this study doesn’t necessarily show cause and effect, it does suggest that staying fit is a simple and medication-free way to potentially reduce the risk of the most chronic health problems that rob people of their ability to fully enjoy life as they age. According to a 1993 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, an inactive or sedentary lifestyle is a contributing factor in 23% of deaths due to chronic disease. Pretty sobering, huh?

Health Benefits of Exercise: Other Ways Exercise Improves Health

Did you know that half of all women over the age of 50 and a quarter of all men will have an osteoporosis-related fracture at some point during their life? High-impact exercise and resistance training help to build stronger bones and reduce the risk of osteoporosis. The simple act of muscle moving bone, as when lifting a weight, stimulates bone-producing cells called osteoblasts to churn out more bone tissue to reinforce and protect your bones. Combine that with a calcium-rich diet and adequate amounts of vitamin D and you have a head start at preventing bone loss with age.

What about joint health? By the age of 65, about two-thirds of people have osteoarthritis on x-ray, although not everyone has symptoms. Weak quadriceps muscles increase the risk for knee osteoarthritis. The good news? Strengthening your quadriceps muscles through resistance training helps to prevent osteoarthritis of the knee. Plus, it helps with weight control. Being overweight or obese puts greater stress on joints, causing more loss of cartilage – not to mention resistance training helps to preserve lean body mass with age. Why is that important? There’s an epidemic of sarcopenia among older people. Sarcopenia is the serious age-related loss of muscle mass that puts older people at risk for frailty, falls and disability. Strength-training helps to combat this problem.

Exercise Boosts Mental Health Too

Exercise reduces stress and anxiety and may help to prevent depression. It even helps to ward off age-related memory loss and those “senior moments” that become more common after middle-age. One way it does this is by increasing the volume of a portion of the brain called the hippocampus that’s linked with memory and cognitive function. The hippocampus normally shrinks with age, and exercise, primarily aerobic exercise, reduces hippocampal shrinkage. Aerobic exercise boosts the volume of this portion of the brain even in people who begin exercising later in life. Just goes to show, it’s never too late to get the benefits of exercise.

The Bottom Line?

Who doesn’t want to stay healthy as they age? Exercise and a healthy diet are two of your best defenses against age-related diseases – and it’s never too late to start.  Start by walking utilizing the -10,000 Steps Program each and every day.  The more you move the more movement your body will crave.

For more great fitness tips, contact our fitness director/certified personal trainer, Noelle Lusardi, at noelle@stepaheadwellnesscenter.com.

ose 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

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

Tags: losing weight tips, health insurance coverage, health insurance, Diet and Nutrition, Doctor Supervised Weight Loss, Personal Trainers, group excercise classes, weight loss insurance coverage, lose weight with a partner, Step Ahead Wellness Center

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

Weight Training Tips for Women -- Achieve Your Weight Loss Goals!

Posted by deborah neiman on Wed, Apr 29, 2015 @ 02:58 PM

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If you’re a female who’s getting started on a Fitness Training routine using weights, there are a few vital tips that you must make sure that you keep in mind as you progress along your program so that you can see the optimal results that you’re looking for.  Incidentally it's imperative for all women to incorporate weight training into their fitness routines! Cardio is not enough for overall fitness.

Far too many women shy away from weight training altogether for a few reasons.  Many have no idea what to do with weights or how to use them, but most women think weight training will build them big bulky muscles that will have them looking more masculine. Sadly, this is a big mistake.

Women do not possess the testosterone levels in their body to develop these big bulky muscles, nor will they be consuming sufficient calories for growth of this nature.  Remember, developing big muscles even as a male takes a great deal of time and effort, so lifting moderately heavy weights in the gym a few times a week is just not going to produce these types of results.

On the contrary, weight training will help to define your body, adding curves in the right places while it enhances your overall muscle tone.  Plus, with stronger muscles you’ll be more capable of performing everyday tasks and you’ll also find that you’re less likely to become injured when participating in other sporting or athletic events.  Plus (and this is a big plus), the more lean muscle mass you have on your frame, the more calories you will burn just at rest, therefore the faster your metabolic rate will go.

So let’s take a look at a few of the weight training tips that you should keep in mind as you formulate your workout plan that will help transform your body.

1) Lift Heavier

The very first thing that you must make sure you’re doing is challenging yourself.  Far too many women go into the gym and think they’re doing good by lifting weights, but they’re only lifting 10 pounds or so for each exercise.

Try to lift heavier.  You might just be surprised at how much you really can lift if you put your mind to it. If you aren’t challenging yourself, you won’t be providing a reason for your body to change and grow stronger than it was before.

2) Focus On Compound Lifts

Moving along, the second thing that you must make sure you’re doing with your weight training routine is focusing on compound lifts.  Compound exercises are going to give you the most ‘bang for your buck’ due to the fact that they’ll work many muscle fibers at once.

The more muscle fibers that you have contracting all at once the greater your calorie burn will be not only during that workout session, but in the time period after it as well.

If you perform a series of three to five compound movements, you can rest assured that you’ll experience a higher metabolism for hours after that workout is completed.

Far too many women focus only on isolation exercises such as bicep curls, tricep extensions, or lateral raises.

While these are great to have in there to help finish off the smaller muscle groups, you cannot overlook the major movements such as squats, deadlifts, lunges, chest press, shoulder press, and bent over rows.

3) Use Superset Training

Another key technique that you might want to consider when doing your workout session is superset training.  This is especially ideal for women who are looking for fat loss as it will really enhance the metabolism and improve the rate of toning that you experience from that session.

With superset training, you’re going to take two different exercises and pair them right back to back from each other.  For example, you might perform a push-up and then follow that immediately by a lunge.  Or, you could perform a bent over row and then move directly into a shoulder press activity.  Those are just a couple of examples.

The idea here is to have your body performing more work in less time, so as to induce a higher stress response. The more stress you place on the body, the higher the post-workout calorie burn is going to be and the faster fat loss will occur.

Superset training is also good for those who are aiming to shorten their workout sessions because you’ll be performing two exercises back to back so quickly, thus reducing the total time you spend at rest during the workout session.

4) Use Good Form At All Times

The next quick tip to remember as you move through your weight lifting workouts is to make sure that you are using good form at all times.  If you ever let your form slip, either because you are too fatigued or you simply are lifting too much weight, then you’re going to put yourself at a high risk of injury.

What’s more is that if you’re using improper form, the chances that you are actually targeting the muscles in the best manner possible will also be much lower, therefore really hindering the progress that you make.

Form is an absolute must so get into the habit of checking your own form on all your exercises at least once per month.

This will go a long way towards ensuring that you see the results that you’re after.

5) Remember To Eat Properly

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Finally, last but not least, make sure that you’re eating well both before and after each weight lifting workout session that you perform.

Far too many women still believe that not eating before or after the session will help them burn fat faster, and this will really hinder their progress.  Your body needs the nourishment at this time in order to fuel the workout and put forth the most energy possible as well as to recover faster after the workout is completed.  If you're not sure about your nutrition, scheduling a session with a -Registered Dietitian is a good option.

So there you have a few quick weight lifting tips that you need to know about in you are a woman. Start spending less time on the cardio machines and more time in the free weight section and you will definitely notice a positive impact on how your body looks as a result of it.

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: Personal Weight Loss, Personal Trainers, Weight Loss Center, Step Ahead Wellness Center

Want Glowing, Beautiful, Youthful Skin? Try Exercise!

Posted by deborah neiman on Wed, Mar 11, 2015 @ 01:31 PM

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It's a known fact that exercise does the body good, but what about the skin?  Skin is an organ so it makes sense that exercise will help keep it healthy, youthful and glowing.  Discover the possible benefits working out has for your skin and how to maximize them.

The list of health benefits with regular exercise is endless.  It can decrease the risk of chronic health problems such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, some types of cancer and even mental conditions like depression.  Plus, it’s a great stress reliever. These are all good things – but what about your skin? Does exercise have benefits for the part of your body that’s the first to show your age?

Does Exercise Have Skin Anti-aging Benefits?

Looking for the magic anti-wrinkle cream or pill?  Save your money and try exercising instead.  Exercise can be beneficial to your skin because it helps keep inflammation in check.  Although you generate free radicals during exercise, your body becomes better at dealing with them so they’re less damaging. One reason exercise lowers the risk of chronic diseases comes from its ability to reduce inflammation and make your body more efficient at dealing with free radicals and oxidative stress.  Free radicals also damage collagen and elastin tissue that keeps your skin firm and youthful. Regular exercise may actually slow the skin aging process by helping your skin offset free radical damage. Be aware however that if you exercise outdoors and don’t wear a sunscreen consistently, you’ll accelerate the skin aging process by exposing your skin to damaging ultraviolet light.  Always protect yourself with SPF 35 or higher.

 Does Exercise Help or Hinder if You Have Acne?

Some people who have acne are afraid to work up a sweat. They’re convinced that sweating makes their acne worse. A study published in Pediatric Dermatology found no increase in acne outbreaks among exercisers who sweated during their workout. Another study carried out by Stanford University School of Medicine also found no link between exercise-induced sweating and acne. It also showed no link between the amount of sweating during exercise, time spent
sweating or the interval between exercise and showering and acne outbreaks.  Some people believe that sweating during exercise helps to open up clogged pores and release pore-clogging materials that trigger acne.

Here’s something to keep in mind. If you have acne on your body, avoid tight-fitting clothing when you work out. There’s a type of acne called acne mechanica that’s triggered by wearing tight clothing that doesn’t allow your skin to breathe. If possible, wear moisture-wicking fabrics. Stress is an acne trigger for some people and a vigorous workout helps to keep stress in check.

Exercise Brightens Your Skin

Ever notice the glow your skin has after a workout? Exercise increases heart rate and blood flow, delivering more nutrients to the outer layer of your skin as well as the deeper layer called the dermis. It’s the increased blood flow and oxygen that gives your skin that post-exercise glow. Who needs blush after a workout?  No one!

Skin Conditions That May Be Aggravated By Exercise

For some people, exercise can aggravate certain skin conditions including rosacea, psoriasis and eczema. If you have rosacesa, exercise in a cool environment. Heat can worsen the redness and skin flushing that people with rosacesa experience. If you have eczema or psoriasis, wear lose clothing so sweat doesn’t build up. Sweat can aggravate both conditions. Be sure to moisturize before and after exercise.

Bottom Line

Exercise may have benefits for your skin that can help you attain that beautiful, youthful flow we're all looking for – but also be aware of the pitfalls... always use sunscreen when exercising outdoors and if you do have one of the skin conditions listed above, be aware of your exercise environment.  If you take the proper steps to care for your skin, it will radiate for you!

If you'd like to get healthy, exercise and have glowing skin consider 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

 

 References:

Science Daily. “Caffeine and Exercise May Be Protective Against Skin Cancer
Caused by Sun Exposure, Study Suggests”

Pediatr Dermatol. 2008 Jan-Feb;25(1):126-8.

Medscape Medical News. “Exercise Does Not Appear to Increase Risk of Acne”

WebMD. “Skin Benefits From Exercise: Tone Skin, Collagen and More”

Tags: Personal Trainers, group excercise classes, Step Ahead exercise classes, personal training, muscle conditioning classes, Yoga classes

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

Tags: Personal Weight Loss, losing weight tips, medical weight loss solutions, health insurance coverage, Personal Trainers, doctor supervised weight loss center, personal training, muscle conditioning classes, health fitness advice, Weight Loss Center, personalized weight loss, lose weight fast

Outdoor Exercise... Safely Brave the Elements this Winter

Posted by deborah neiman on Mon, Dec 29, 2014 @ 07:04 AM

There are so many benefits to outdoor exercise so don't let harsh winter weather push you off your exercise bandwagon this winter.  You can safely exercise outside by following these Fitness Training cold weather tips.

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Winter can frustrate the most motivated exercisers. And if you’re not so motivated, it’s all too easy to pack it in when the weather gets cold.  But keeping up your exercise routine in cold weather can be rewarding and keep you feeling energized and healthy all winter long. 

For one thing, outdoor exercise is a sure cure for cabin fever and the winter blues.  For many of us, lack of sunshine and fresh air lowers our energy level and leaves us feeling a little depressed and unmotivated.  Aerobic Exercise outdoors combats the winter blues, increases energy and elevates our mood which is often times sapped by gloomy weather.  Exercise also bolsters your immune system — studies show that moderate exercisers get 20 to 30 percent fewer colds than nonexercisers do.  So staying on track with your Fitness Training this winter is a win-win!

Taking it outside...
Here’s how to safely get the most out of your cold-weather workout:

* Dress in layers that you can remove as soon as you start to sweat and then put back on as needed. Start with a thin layer of synthetic material such as polypropylene, which draws sweat away from your body. Avoid cotton, which stays wet next to your skin. Next, try fleece for insulation. Top this with a waterproof, breathable outer
layer.  If it’s very cold or you have asthma, wear a face mask or a scarf over your mouth.

* Protect your extremities.  Try wearing a thin pair of gloves under a pair of heavier gloves or mittens lined with wool or fleece. You might want to buy exercise shoes a half-size larger than usual to allow for thick thermal socks or an extra pair of regular socks. And don’t forget a hat or headband.

Remember sunscreen. It’s as easy to get sunburned in winter as in summer

Head into the wind. You’ll be less likely to get chilled on the way back if you end your workout — when you may be sweaty — with the wind at your back.

Drink plenty of fluids. Drink water or sports drinks before, during and after your workout — even if you’re not thirsty. You can become just as dehydrated in the cold as in the heat.

If you prefer to stay inside this winter but are feeling bored with the eliptical or treadmill, check out your local gym's group exercise class schedule.  Group exercise classes are a great way to make new friends, burn a ton of calories and have a lot of fun.  Some great high calorie burning, energizing classes are spinning, hot yoga and bootcamp.

To make sure you stay on track, use a pedometer to count your steps and calories burned throughout your workout and your day.  Following the 10,000 Steps Program is a great way to ensure you burn approximately 500 calories every day through physical activity.  This a great benchmark number to hit as you continue on your fitness journey.

The bottomline... stay motivated. When it’s cold outdoors, there’s no need to hit the couch. With a little knowledge and fortitude, you can meet the challenges — and reap the rewards — of winter exercise. For many people, the solitude and quiet alone are reason enough to brave the elements.

 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: medical weight loss solutions, Doctor Supervised Weight Loss, Personal Trainers, Fitness, winter blues, Lifestyle tips

Personal Training Costs vs. Benefits of Health Fitness Investment

Posted by deborah neiman on Wed, Oct 15, 2014 @ 01:45 PM

Sometimes, all you need to meet your health fitness goals is a little help from an experienced expert.When it comes to losing weight, many people wonder about the costs of finding a personal trainer, and whether or not the expense is worth it. For many people, their view of the worth of personal training is colored by past experiences with non- or underqualified personal trainers who were attached to a commercial weight loss plan.

However, the investment of joining a doctor supervised medical weight loss program that offers the services of a cadre of professionals can be well worth it.

Why?

To answer this question, we’ve assembled a list featuring a few benefits of investing in your health.

Benefit #1: Improved Health

Naturally, when you work with professional dietitians, doctors, and certified personal fitness trainers, you will find that you’ll be healthier.

How so? When working with certified professionals, you’re getting real, applicable, personalized advice from experts who understand your needs. These experts base their recommendations for you on an assessment of your actual health. In contrast, a commercial weight loss plan might ask someone with osteoporosis to try to practically starve themselves of foods with the vitamins that they need to maintain bone health.

Certified experts can make sure that you’re getting the right amount of nutrition and activity that you need to build lean muscle mass while you shed pounds. Over time, your overall health should improve, providing you with more energy and drive.

Benefit #2: Improved Safety of Weight Loss

When a certified personal fitness trainer creates an exercise regimen for you, that regimen will be based on what is both feasible and beneficial to you for improving your health. Extreme diets and un-certified trainers who provide plans formulated for the masses simply cannot make all of the right concessions to your pre-existing conditions.

Remember the previous example about a weight loss patient with osteoporosis? A generic, mailed-in weight loss plan might call for exercise and activity levels that simply aren’t safe when bone health has been compromised. On the other hand, an underqualified fitness trainer might go the opposite direction, encouraging a level of activity that’s actually too light for maintaining bone health. A certified personal fitness trainer, with the help of a dietitian and a doctor, on the other hand, can identify your specific health risks and come up with a safe, but still effective, weight loss program that minimizes the risk for injuries and medical complications.

Benefit #3: Support for When You Need it

With a little help, you can make weight loss happen more easily!Sometimes, just having a helping hand from time to time can mean the difference between sticking to your weight loss plan successfully and failing to meet goals. When you invest in a health fitness program that has the support of a dedicated team that includes a certified personal fitness trainer, dietitian, and a doctor, you’ll have help available for when you need it.

With a team of trained professionals who have experience in helping people meet their health and fitness goals, you can get the extra support you may need in order to lose weight and keep it off.

Benefit #4: Long-Term Health Planning

What do you do once your diet and exercise plan is “finished” and you’ve met your goals? For all too many people, the end of a diet marks a period of rapid weight gain because there was no plan created for after goals were met.

However, with the support of a team of weight loss and fitness professionals, you can easily establish a plan for after you meet your weight loss and fitness goals so that you can keep the weight off and continue to enjoy the benefits of being healthy.

Invest in Your Health with Step Ahead Wellness

When you invest in your health by joining a health fitness program that boasts the support of dedicated and experienced professionals, you get not only a great, personalized plan for losing weight, you get a happier, healthier you as well.

Find out if a personalized weight loss program is right for you using the link below!

Do You Need a Personalized Weight Loss Program?

Tags: Personal Trainers, Doctor, health fitness advice, Step Ahead Wellness Center

4 Tips for Choosing a Certified Personal Trainer

Posted by deborah neiman on Tue, Aug 26, 2014 @ 01:56 PM

Finding the right personal trainer means taking a good long look at a lot of different things.When it comes to keeping up with your exercise and diet programs and meeting your weight loss goals, few things are as important as having the support of others. Having a personal trainer can give you the support you need to make it through your health fitness program without missing a proverbial beat. The challenge, however, is finding the right personal trainer to help you.

Not every personal trainer will have the right qualifications, training, and experience to help you meet your personal goals. So, how do you find the right personal trainer?

There are actually a number of things to consider when choosing a personal trainer. To help you find the right one, we here at Step Ahead Wellness have compiled a short list of tips for choosing a personal trainer here4:

Tip #1: Check the Trainer’s Certifications

When looking at a trainer’s résumé, see what certifications they have. For example, does the trainer have an ACSM personal training certification from the American College of Sports Medicine? Furthermore, what certifications does that trainer have? On the ACSM’s certification page, they list several different types of certifications for health fitness, clinical, and other specialties. Examples of their health fitness certifications (the category aimed at personal training) include the ACSM Certified Personal Trainer (CPT) and the ACSM Certified Health Fitness Specialist (HFS).

A personal trainer with either of these certifications is knowledgeable when it comes to creating personalized exercise regimens to help others meet fitness and weight loss goals. The primary difference between the two is that the HFS certification indicates that the trainer is rated to develop exercise programs for people who have medically controlled conditions.

If a personal trainer cannot list any certifications, it may be time to look for another trainer.

Tip #2: Ask Past Clients about Their Experience

Talk to others who have used a personal trainer's services in the past. You can get a lot of great information about them this way.Sometimes, the details on a résumé can only tell you so much about a personal trainer, even one with all of the right certifications and experience. A big part of a successful personal training experience is being able to get along with your personal trainer. To learn if a given trainer is the right person to help you, look at what some of their past clients say about them.

Reviews of personal trainers can often be found on online business review sites (such as Yelp!) or on specialized trainer search sites. When reading reviews, look at both the positive and the negative ones. When a review is positive, see what it is that that person liked about his or her experience. When a review is negative, try to find out why that person was dissatisfied with the trainer.

For example, was the trainer insistent that clients make a specific lifestyle change? An important part of meeting weight loss goals is to break some of the bad habits that hold you back from being healthier. However, not all clients may have appreciated being told to change their lifestyle. As a result, the clients who were willing to make the necessary changes ended up being much more satisfied with their experience than the clients who didn’t want to make such changes.

Knowing what caused others to be either very happy or unhappy with a personal trainer can tell you a lot about whether or not that trainer will be right for you.

Tip #3: Find out What Kind of Training You Want to do

Different personal trainers will have different specialties when it comes to making exercise plans. Before you start looking at trainers, consider your goals and preferences.

For example, is your goal simply to get your BMI into a healthy range, or are you trying to get into athletic shape? Your ultimate goal will affect the types of training you’ll be doing, as well as the intensity of your training.

Also, consider whether you want to do private personal training, or if you want to be a part of a group. Some trainers specialize in one-on-one training sessions, while others are trained to manage whole groups of people who are exercising at a time.

Knowing your goals before trying to find a trainer can help you focus your efforts and better screen trainers who may not have the certifications/specializations that are needed to create the best results.

Tip #4: Consider the Gym/Fitness Facilities the Trainer Uses, if Applicable

If a trainer is a part of a gym or other fitness facility, see if the costs of using said facility are included in the trainer’s fees. When you go to that trainer’s gym, do you have to provide your own equipment, pay for rentals, or are equipment costs included? Do you need a separate membership to the gym on top of the trainer’s fees? These items can all add your personal training costs unexpectedly.

Beyond the facility and its costs, also check to see what services the trainer can provide, such as nutrition planning or lifestyle coaching. There are fitness programs out there, such as Step Ahead’s own OPTIFAST program, where trainers, lifestyle coaches, and other support personnel are all included in your personal training costs.

With some time and effort, you can find the perfect personal trainer with the right program to help you meet your health fitness goals. Learn more about Step Ahead Wellness’ health fitness programs today!

Do You Need a Personalized Weight Loss Program?

Tags: Weight Loss, Personal Trainers, Fitness, personal training

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.”

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