Step Ahead Wellness Center Blog

Want to Stay Injury Free? Stretch After Each Workout

Posted by deborah neiman on Wed, May 20, 2015 @ 01:27 PM

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How many times do you run out of the gym without stretch, or skip the cool down portion of your favorite group exercise class? Stretching is so often something people skip at the end of a workout because they are either in a rush or too tired to do anything else. Or when they do, they just rush through the stretches and don't get the full benefit. What many don't realize is that stretching is just as important as your actual workout, for many reasons.

We stretch to improve our flexibility.  Flexibility is the range of motion available to our joints and is so important because it improves muscle balance around a joint, thus improving posture, reduces the chance of injury from playing sports or in every day activities, and it increases blood and nutrient supply to muscles and cartilage, thereby reducing muscle soreness after training.  As we age, stretching becomes even more important as our bodies do not recover from workouts and/or injuries as quickly and as easily as it did in our youth.

Never stretch cold muscles... make sure you are warmed up and then focus on stretching each major muscle group in the body.  Hold each stretch for 30-60 seconds until the point of tension but not to the point of pain. The perfect time to stretch is immediately following your workout.

Do not stretch however if you have a muscle or ligmanet sprain, after recent fractures, if muscles are injured or torn or when sharp pains are felt in the joints or muscles.  It is vital however that you incorporate stretching into each and every single one of your workouts.  You will stay healthier, feel better and ready for your next workout.  For more intense stretching, try a restorative yoga class.  A restorative yoga class incorporates deep stretching where the poses are held for 1-3 minutes.  This may feel difficult at first, but when you go home you'll feel so relaxed and limber.  For more information about stretching, email our certified -Personal Trainer at

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!

49 U.S. Highway 202
Far Hills, NJ  07931

Tags: Personal Weight Loss, medically supervised weight loss center, physician weight loss program, losing weight fast, fat burning classes, Doctor Supervised Weight Loss, Step Ahead exercise classes, Step Ahead Wellness Center, biological factors in loosing weight

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...


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.


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). 


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.


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.


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.


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!


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

49 U.S. Highway 202
Far Hills, NJ  07931

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

Saturated Fats: What Now

Posted by deborah neiman on Mon, Mar 02, 2015 @ 10:00 AM

Now that it has been over 4 decades that the USDA recommendations have called for limited fat intake and most Americans are able to decifer fats from carbohydrates from protein, new evidence is emerging that Saturated FATS do NOT lead to an increase in Heart Disease.  New studies show that more important then focusing on ONE food group, such as dairy, meats, etc, it is MORE IMPORTANT to improve the daily eating habits and dietary habits of most Americans to improve health and longevity. 

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Saturated Fats have long been considered the main culprits driving the increase in heart disease.  However, new evidence has found that:

  1. Saturated Fats may improve some of the risks for heart disease by decreasing the LDL particles and increasing some good cholesterol
  2. Many times reducing Saturated Fats means replacement with HIGHER intake of carbohydrates which have been found to lead to more risk for heart disease and diabetes


Saturated Fats are fats that come from animal sources.  The main sources of saturated fats in the American diet are:

Cheese, pizza, desserts(grain based and dairy), chicken and chicken dishes.  Collectively they account for 1/3 of ALL saturated fats consumed

Polyunsaturated fats as well as mono unsaturated fats, which have felt to have been a healthier choice than the saturated fats are:

Polyunsaturated:  these are the omega – 3 and omega – 6 products, both animal and plant based, such as linoleic acid and fish oils

Monounsaturated fats:  are designated that trans- fats and include fats and oils such as canola, olive, sunflower, nuts and nut butters, peanuts, avocado, olives, sesame seeds and tahini.

 It appears that eating these fats in dairy products may be more beneficial then getting them from animal products.

However, the controversy remains regarding ANY dietary recommendations that emphasize specific FOOD TYPES.  Over emphasizing the amount of fats, types of fats and where to get the fats from has not helped in reducing the incidence or risk of heart disease or diabetes.

What is important is the amount of carbohydrates and the quantity of food that we consume.  Overconsumption of carbohydrates, which typically occurs when trying to lower the fat intake, leads to overload of carbohydrates and the body’s production of excess fat.  Also, overconsumption of the quantities of food is a sure way to increase your weight and your risk for subsequent disease.

Most important take away from these new findings is to emphasize healthy eating on the TYPES of FOODS, HEALTHY CHOICES and QUANTITY. 

The Mediterranean Diet, which emphasizes fresh vegetables, fruits, grains and nuts has been found to be one of the healthier choices.  Making the switch from processed foods to fresh, healthy foods can be one of the healthiest choices and be the ONE best thing you can do to PREVENT heart disease and diabetes.

Visit us at Step Ahead Wellness Center to see our recommendations and menus for healthy diet and lifestyles.

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Tags: medically supervised weight loss center, benefits of saturated fats, are saturated fats good for you, are saturated fats bad for you, saturated fats effect heart disease

Obesity: The Beast Within

Posted by deborah neiman on Tue, Feb 24, 2015 @ 12:03 PM

In a recent article in the Lancet, Feb., 2015 edition, leaders in obesity research and treatment ; Doctors Ochner, Tsai, Kushner and Thomas Wadden, reported that treating obesity is unlikely to be successful with diet and lifestyle modifications alone. The have found that there are many BIOLOGICAL factors that contribute to the failure of many obese patients to succeed with the long held protocol of lower calories and more exercise.

The authors have found that there are biological factors that are tend to make obesity a more challenging problem to treat and successfully overcome. First, there is the fact that with obesity comes an increase in adipose cells(fat cells) and there is a perpetual pull for the body, no matter how much weight may be lost, to return to a “stamped in” weight. There is a pull for the body to refill the adipose cells and it is drawn to the highest weight that it ever attained, and even sometimes a higher weight then previous seen.

Also, there are factors in the CNS, or dopamine pathways, that lead to a heightened sense of deprivation and lack of satisfaction. The obese individual is constantly reminded that they are in a “reward deprivation” state and are more prone to over consume foods to reward themselves.

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These are two of the most basic biologic forces that occur in the obese patient and it is necessary to realize that these are hormonal factors that need to be treated and followed with the patient. None of these changes can be CURED but they can be more adequately treated with adjuncts to diet and lifestyle changes. Some of the necessary additions to the typical recommendations are :

  1. The use of appetite suppressants – these may help short term but in the obese individual, they may need to be used over time for maintenance as well. The can help stop some of the cravings and some of the impulses that are driving patients to eat to feel satisfied.

  2. Surgery: Many times this can be a successful addition to changes in diet and lifestyle. Some of the new procedures – such as gastric banding and sleeve, are safer and have been found to be quite successful

  3. Vagal Nerve Blockade: This is used to help with maintaining lower intake as well as blocking some of the impulses to seek food for rewards


What is GROUND BREAKING about this article is that these well renowned medical professionals are educating the public in regards to treating weight loss and to increase awareness that obesity needs to be treated as a disease with true biological and hormonal changes that need to be addressed throughout one’s life.


To read the full article click here:


Visit Step Ahead Wellness Center to see what we are doing to help overcome obesity.

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Tags: medically supervised weight loss center, health insurance coverage, weight loss insurnace coverage, biological factors in loosing weight


Posted by deborah neiman on Mon, Feb 02, 2015 @ 07:49 AM

Need to lose a few pounds before Spring but the long, cold winter days are leaving feeling unmotivated and “blah”?  There is a way out!  Get yourself on track to a happier, healthier you this winter by setting short-term goals for yourself. 

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Be realistic, your ultimate goal is making lifestyle changes, not just temporary adjustments.
Giving yourself plenty of time to accomplish your goals will allow you to adjust to one change before diving into another, therefore breaking up one big challenge into several smaller ones. This makes it easier for you to commit to your new lifestyle without feeling overwhelmed.

Your first goal may be to exercise regularly and drink more water.  Keeping up the motivation
to exercise on a cold winter day instead of curling up under a warm blanket on the sofa can be difficult.  However, in addition to losing pounds, regular exercise will help you lose the winter blues as well.  Exercise is proven to improve mood, mental clarity and emotional well-being. 
So don’t let the weather slow you down… get out from under that blanket, and keep moving!  Participating in the 10,000 Steps Program is an example of ensuring you get enough exercise each and every day.

A second short-term goal example is eating cleaner.  Cut out some refined sugar and eat more fresh fruits, vegetable and whole grains.  Eating clean will give you the energy you'll need to stay in motion and beat the winter blues.  Unsure about how to prepare fruits/vegetables during the winter months when they are not as fresh and plentiful, consider scheduling a consultation with a Registered Dietitian.  He/she can give you some great tips/recipes that will both warm you up and trim you down this winter.

Keeping a food and exercise journal is another great short-term weight loss goal.  Whether it’s a video journal, online journal, or a spiral notebook, keep track of your goals and your time frames. This will help you stay organized and will remind you of your focus. The journal will also allow you to look back at previous mini-goals so that you can see the progress you have made.  And you can write down future goals to stay motivated and excited to tackle your next challenge/goal.

The best part of setting short-term goals...REWARDS.  Besides being proud of yourself for setting and accomplishing your goals, you should also treat yourself every single time you successfully accomplish your goal!  You earned it!!!  Your reward should not be food-related, but instead something that will make you feel pampered. If you reached your goal of toning your arms, buy yourself a sleeveless top.  If you drank 8 glasses of water each day, go get a manicure.  You get the idea!  Your rewards should be tailored to fit your needs. They should be something that will drive you to work harder and then make you feel as though it was worth all of the work. Great rewards will motivate you to stick to your diet and exercise goals, and they will make the road to your overall success even sweeter.

As you accomplish goal after goal, the only thing you’ll “gain” is a healthier, better, stronger and more successful YOU!  You  have nothing to lose but old habits and extra pounds!  If you want to try working with short term goals this winter and can procrastinate until Feb 16th, consider our 10 POUND TAKE DOWN WEIGHT LOSS CHALLENGE.  Give us just one month and we’ll melt up to 10 pounds off of  your body and put you on the fast track to lean, healthy and magnificent…
quickly, safely and naturally with no gimmicks!  You’ll receive a customized diet plan and weekly personal training sessions as well as all support from our certified staff.  Click the link below to sign up!

10 pound take down challenge

Don’t want to wait until Feb 16th, we can offer you a customized program anytime so you can get started Today!  Learn about Step Ahead Wellness Center's personalized weight loss plans created by a medical doctor, registered dietitian, and certified personal trainer.


Get Started Today!





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


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

Tags: jumpstart diet, beat winter blues, medically supervised weight loss center, Physician Weight Loss, personal training, lose weight fast

Medically Supervised Weight Loss Program Covered by Insurance

Posted by deborah neiman on Wed, Jan 07, 2015 @ 01:48 PM

Winter Woe: Your body's chemical switch has flipped to storing more fat.

Fix-it trick: To maintain your weight loss this winter, you must keep moving!  When University of Colorado researchers studied a group of 12 women and six men in both summer and winter, they discovered that their production of ATLPL, a chemical that promotes fat storage, almost doubled during the winter and dropped during the summer. But you're not doomed to don fat pants all season, scientists say. Exercise may increase SMLPL, the muscle enzyme that promotes the burning of fat, to offset the pudge-promoting effects of ATLPL. "We found that people who are normally physically active are more protected from weight gain," says study author Robert E. Eckel, MD. Get in at least 30 minutes of exercise on most days, whether it's Spinning, snowshoeing, or building a snowman.



Make your new year's health resolutions come true. Learn about Step Ahead Wellness Center's personalized weight loss programs created by a medical doctor, registered dietitian, and certified personal trainer.  




Due to the many exciting changes in the treatment of weight loss in the past year we are now able to offer Step Ahead Wellness Center Weight Loss programs through your insurance coverage*. We are now able to do this due to 2 important changes:

  1. Obesity has been recognized as a disease and we are formally able to submit claims with this diagnosis code.

  2. Changes in health insurance delivery have amended most insurance policies to cover some aspect of weight loss programs for those who qualify.

Because of these changes, the doctor related office visits for weight loss supervision, if applicable, will be able to be submitted through your current insurance program.** There will be some minor administrative fees if you are receiving appetite suppressants or other supplements but we will be able to submit the visits for you.If you are participating in the OPTIFAST Program, the meal replacements (bars, shakes and soups) are not covered under insurance and will still be offered at the same price (you will only be paying for the goods).Also, consultations with our dietitian will also be able to be covered under most insurance programs.

We are very excited about these changes and hope to be able to bring our established, supportive and successful program to many individuals with less out of pocket expense. At the same time, many of our programs will help you qualify for discounts in your out of pocket costs for health insurance(there are many incentives to reduce costs with lifestyle modifications).In the next month, please visit our website for updates relating to changes in programs we are offering. There have also been new appetite suppressants that have been approved in the past few months that we are also rolling out with great enthusiasm. 

We look forward to working with you and to continue our team approach to helping you make a healthier and happier start to the new year. 

*please check with our office prior, we participate with MOST insurance programs.

**  please check with your insurance provider to make sure you do have coverage for weight loss related programs.

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Tags: medically supervised weight loss center, health insurance coverage, weight loss insurance coverage, weight loss covered by insurance