Step Ahead Wellness Center Blog

Summer Fitness Trend... Stand Up Paddleboarding

Posted by deborah neiman on Wed, Jun 17, 2015 @ 10:58 AM

Health and Fitness Benefits of Stand Up Paddleboarding


Stand up paddle boarding (SUP) is becoming more popular each year. Hawaiians have been using it for years as a means to keep fit when the waves are not adequate for surfing.

By using a paddle board surfers were able to enjoy the water and obtain some exercise simultaneously.

In the last several years millions of people have begun to enjoy paddle boarding, while standing. People now engage in stand-up paddling to enjoy the water, spend time with friends, and to improve their fitness level.

An Intense Workout

SUP can provide you with a very good overall workout. You will make use of balance and strength in order to remain upright and propel yourself in the water.

The level of intensity you will experience will be variable and be dependent on your venue.

If you are paddling in the ocean and there are a lot of waves and an ocean current, your workout will be intense. If you are simply drifting in relatively placid waters, it will not be so hard-core.

Core Benefits

Paddle boarding will provide you with a great core workout as well. Almost every muscle in the body is used at some point.

A large part of SUP is balance. Your leg muscles will be hard at work attempting to maintain your balance.

In addition, paddling utilizes the arms, back, and shoulders to propel the paddleboard in the water. The core back and abdominal muscles are constantly at work to maintain your balance.

Low Impact

An additional benefit that SUP provides is that it is a very low impact exercise. Therefore, it is unlikely that you will do damage to the tendons and ligaments of your joints.

If you lift weights in the gym or you engage in high impact sports, then your likelihood of injury is far higher than with stand-up paddling.

SUP is particularly useful for runners that are experiencing shin splints or knee and hip pain.

With this type of sport it is possible to use up a lot of calories without damaging your joints.

SUP Fitness Benefits

One of the clear benefits of SUP is the very fast and obvious improvement of the fitness level of its practitioners.

It is a very good sport to engage in if you are cross-training since it uses almost all the muscles in the body. SUP is a form of simultaneous aerobic and strength training.

Health Benefits

There are numerous health benefits to paddle surfing and the best part is it will not cause any damage to your body while you enjoy them.

The cardiovascular benefits are truly amazing. You will be able to substantially improve your level of cardio fitness.

Of course this translates into many benefits for your body, including a decreased incidence of heart attack and stroke.

In addition, you are going to consume a lot of calories. This will likely translate into a loss of weight.

Most of us are aware of all of the adverse conditions that are associated with being overweight.

You will reduce your chances of getting diabetes, heart attack, stroke, and joint problems by reducing your weight, and SUP can help you accomplish this.

There is one more great benefit to be aware of… it is very relaxing and a great way to relieve stress. Stress, has countless adverse health consequences and negative effects on the body.

I have personally found that stand-up paddling has always been an excellent stress coping method for me. Once I get out on the water and start paddling, I can literally feel my body and mind relaxing as I get into the paddling rhythm.

Improve Your Balance

Many activities and sports require good balance. SUP will definitely improve your sense of balance as you try to stay upright while paddling.

For instance, what football player could not improve his game with better balance? You may fall a lot when your first start out, but if you keep at it your overall core balance will great improve.

A Surfing Alternative

This sport is a very good alternative for people who have difficulty or fear of surfing.

You may have friends that surf, and you want to join the fun, but you are unable to. With SUP, you can still get out there and catch the waves and enjoy the surf with your friends.

Or you may have some health issues that make it difficult for you to surf. Once again SUP is a great alternative.


Recently there are numerous people that are experiencing a new fitness activity to do on their boards. They are practicing yoga while paddle boarding.

Performing yoga while on a paddleboard adds an extra dimension of balance to the activity. This can be a lot of fun as well as very challenging for someone who is already an experienced practitioner of yoga.

In addition the ambiance that is associated with paddle boarding is far more pleasant and relaxing than being in a cramped gym or fitness studio. The sun and water will enhance the experience greatly.

A lot of individuals are undecided about purchasing a stand-up paddleboard, however, once they become aware of all the benefits and joys that it has to offer, they may be prompted to give it a try.

What are you waiting for? Give it a try.

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

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

Tags: health insurance coverage, fat burning classes, Doctor Supervised Weight Loss, Step Ahead exercise classes, diet to lose weight, exercise classes, lose weight fast, weight loss success

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

How to Choose the Right Group Exercise Class...

Posted by deborah neiman on Wed, May 13, 2015 @ 02:25 PM
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Inevitably there comes a time in everyone's -Fitness Training when they get bored and hit a rut.  Most people are gung-ho in January as part of their New Year's Resolution to lose weight and get healthy.  But now it's May... four months later... and getting to the gym becomes difficult, and the treadmill and free weights seem downright daunting.  This is the perfect time to mix things up by trying some group exercise classes! 
But when it comes to group exercise, how do you choose what is right for you? There are so many options, from spinning to kickboxing to yoga to cross fit, and not everything works for everyone. This is the beauty of group exercise classes however, there is something for everyone.
Here are some tips and tricks that may help you decide what works best for you when it come to choosing a group exercise class.

* Pick a class that interests you.  If you like a good -Aerobic Exercise workout, consider a spin or kickboxing class.  If hard core intervals are your thing, try bootcamp or cross fit.  If your muscles are tight, try hot yoga for an increase in flexibilty as well as core strengthing.  BUT don't ever avoid a class because you don't  think you can physically handle it. 
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* Test your limits. NEVER avoid going to a class because you feel like you won’t be able to do it and you don’t want to embarrass yourself. Everyone starts somewhere and no one was an expert at their first rodeo.  Additionally, it's the physical challenge and pushing your physicality that makes you stronger and fitter so embrace it!

* Sign up ahead of time and get there early. If you sign up and even have to pay ahead of time, you are more likely to attend the class. That gives you extra incentive to be there. And, getting there early gives you a chance to talk to other participants and get an idea of what they think of that class, instructor, etc. They can also give you some tips on what to look for at certain times during the class and most will even share some funny experiences of what their first time was like.

* Contact the instructor ahead of time. Sometimes, you can contact the instructor of the class ahead of time by e-mail or on their Facebook page. Try reaching out to them and letting them know you are interested in their class but want to know what to expect. Many instructors have a “first-class free” policy where you can try it to see if you like it and then go from there.

* Don’t expect to get it all the first time.  It’s OK to maybe fall behind a step or two or to just watch for a few seconds to figure out the move before continuing on with the rest of the class.  It's also OK to take a breather or water break if needed.

* Have fun! Remember to smile and have a good time. Exercise isn’t supposed to make you miserable and the instructor truly wants to see you smile. Yes, you are sweating and might even be out of breath but a quick smile or a random “Whoop!” during class is a totally welcome expression.  The bottomline is keep moving and don't be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone.  You may find a new sport that you absolutely love.
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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: Doctor Supervised Weight Loss, Noelle Lusardi, toning classes, Step Ahead exercise classes, muscle conditioning classes, Yoga classes, Weight Loss Center

Exercise to Beat Depression

Posted by deborah neiman on Fri, Apr 17, 2015 @ 12:10 PM

We all know the benefits of exercise for weight loss and physical health, but did you know exercise is also beneficial for mental health?  Exercise not only battles the bulge, it also battles the blues. Exercise “addicts” will agree that they feel mentally/emotionally stronger, happier and have a clear head upon completing a workout.  Scientific studies back this up by showing that people who Exercise regularly benefit with a positive boost in mood and lower rates of depression.
happy woman after run

What Are the Psychological Benefits of Exercise With Depression?
Endorphins also trigger a positive feeling in the body, similar to that of morphine. For example, the feeling that follows a run or workout is often described as "euphoric." That feeling, known as a "runner's high," can be accompanied by a positive and energizing outlook on life.  You don’t have to run to experience this “runner’s high.”  Just completing a challenging workout will give you the same feeling of euphoria.  Not to get too scientifc, but endorphins act as analgesics, which means they diminish the perception of pain. They also act as sedatives. They are manufactured in your brain, spinal cord, and many other parts of your body and are released in response to brain chemicals called neurotransmitters. The neuron receptors endorphins bind to are the same
ones that bind some pain medicines. However, unlike with morphine, the activation
of these receptors by the body's endorphins does not lead to addiction or dependence.

Regular exercise has been proven to:

  • Reduce stress
  • Reduce feelings of anxiety and depression
  • Boost self-esteem
  • Improve slepp

Exercise also has these added health benefits:

  • Strenthens your heart
  • Increases energy level
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Improves muscle tone and strength
  • Strengthens and builds bones
  • Reduces body fat
  • Makes you look fit and healthy

Is Exercise a Treatment for Clinical Depression?
Research has shown that exercise is an effective but often underused treatment for mild to moderate depression.  Many professional trainers encourage clients to stick with their exercise routine to help fight feelings of sadness, anxiety and depression.

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Are there Types of Exercises That Are Better for Depression?

It appears that any form of exercise can help depression.  Some examples of moderate exercise include biking, dancing, gardening, golf (walking instead of using a cart), jogging, walking, low-impact aerobics and yoga.  Doing housework such as vacuuming, mopping floors and washing your car are also great ways to get your exercise in while getting chores done at the same time.
Because strong social support is important for those with depression, joining a group exercise class may be beneficial. Or you can exercise with a close friend or your partner. In doing so, you will benefit from the physical activity and emotional comfort, knowing that others are supportive of you.  Hiring a personal trainer is another great way to get the emotional and social support you need to look and feel great on the inside and out!

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: Personal Weight Loss, physician weight loss program, Noelle Lusardi, toning classes, Step Ahead exercise classes, personal training, Weight Loss Center, weight loss covered by insurance, Step Ahead Wellness Center, biological factors in loosing weight

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!

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



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

Spring 2014 Newsletter

Posted by deborah neiman on Thu, Apr 17, 2014 @ 09:46 AM

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                                                                                               SPRING 2014 NEWSLETTER


Spring Fit & Fuel Event
Wednesday, April 23rd 5:30-6:30 pm presented by certified personal trainer, Noelle Lusardi and Nutritionist Sari Greaves. 30-minute exercise class followed by 30-minute cooking demonstration. Event is free, RSVP by April 18th
Optifast Support Group
Meet, greet, and connect with others following the Optifast Weight Loss plan. Support group meets every Friday from 11:30-12:00pm and every other Wednesday from 5:00-5:30pm starting May 2nd. Register by emailing
Recipe E-newsletter with Personalized Recipes
Take the hassle out of calorie counting and cooking by signing up for Step Ahead’s weekly recipe, emailed directly to you. Learn how to prepare tasty and nutritious meals from start to finish under 30 minutes. Request a personalized recipe from Step Ahead’s Nutritionist, Sari Greaves.  Register by emailing
Friday Morning Coffee Chat with Step Ahead’s Nutritionist
Join Step Ahead’s Nutritionist & contributor to the Dr. Oz show, Sari Greaves at Starbucks coffee shop in Bedminster, NJ  Friday mornings from 10-10:30 am starting May 2nd. Enjoy a free skinny coffee and discuss your diet with Sari. Sari will also discuss seasonal nutrition topics and latest diet trends. Register by emailing
We are offering a "2 FOR 1" spring training special.  Buy any one of our personal training packages and bring a friend or family member in to train with you for FREE!!  This is a limited time offer so act now to take advantage of it. if you have any questions or to schedule appointments.  Offer is good until June 1!
Interested in taking your fitness routine to the next level??  Call today to schedule your FREE 30-minute TRX training session, 908-470-2235.  What is TRX?  The TRX Suspension Trainer is a workout system that leverages gravity and your bodyweight to perform hundreds of exercises. You're in control of how much you want to challenge yourself on each exercise - because you can simply adjust your body position to add or decrease resistance. TRX delivers a fast, effective total-body workout, helps build a rock-solid core, increases muscular endurance, and benefits people of all fitness levels (pro athletes to seniors).
We are taking you outside this summer!  From June 1 thru Labor Day weekend, our wonderful certified Yoga instructor, Alyssia,  will be offering a weekly 30-minute power walk followed by a 30-minute Yoga Stretch class in the park across the street from our office.  More detailed info on this exciting new summer program will be out soon!  In the meantime, email if you have questions or want to reserve your spot!
Our group exercise classes are still in full swing on Monday and Thursday evenings, and Saturday mornings.  Email to sign up or for more info!
Can you pass along a healthy recipe?
Have a success story to share?
Want to join a support group?

Tags: Exercise, diet, diabetes health, weight loss newsletter, fitbit, Diet and Nutrition, healthy eating, summer weight loss, Fitness, Step Ahead exercise classes, Healthy Meals, Healthy Recipes, weight loss goals, health, diabetes and weight loss, exercise classes, Step Ahead Wellness Center, healthy cocktails, healthy dinner recipe


Posted by deborah neiman on Fri, Feb 21, 2014 @ 06:09 AM

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You’ve seen charts that list a range for ideal body weight based on a
person’s sex and height. Some weight charts also add another variable – body
frame. People with smaller frames should theoretically have a lower ideal body
weight than someone with a larger frame.

A Quick Way of Calculating Ideal Body Weight

Health professionals sometimes use a formula to estimate an individual’s
ideal body weight based on their height. Based on this formula, women who are
five feet tall have a theoretical ideal body weight of 100 pounds. You would
then multiply each additional inch in height above 5 feet by five to get a
person’s approximate ideal body weight. For example, a woman 5 foot 4 inches
would have an ideal body weight of 120 pounds. (100 + 4 x 5). For men five feet
tall, 106 pounds is theoretical ideal body weight. For men over 5 feet, each
additional inch is multiplied by six to get ideal body weight. So, a man that’s
5 foot 10 inches would have an ideal body weight of around 166. (106 + 10 x 6).

BMI: Another Approach to Gauging Ideal Weight

Another way health professionals gauge a person’s weight is by calculating
their BMI or body mass index. There are BMI calculators online, like in our
Workout Manager, where you can plug in your numbers and get your BMI and look
at a BMI chart to see if you’re in a healthy range. BMI uses a formula based on
height and weight.

Both body weight and BMI are quick ways to assess someone’s weight but both
have limitations. They only take into account height and weight. There are a
growing number of people, especially those who don’t exercise, who are
“skinny-fat.” These people fall into the ideal range or under ideal on the BMI
and weight charts, but if you measured their body fat percentage it would be
high. That’s where BMI and body weight as measurements of ideal weight are
limited. They tell you nothing about body composition or how much of that
weight is muscle and how much fat.

The reality is an athlete with a very low body fat percentage and lots of
lean muscle tissue can fall into the overweight category based on body weight
or BMI. At the same time, someone with a high body fat percentage and little
muscle can still be in the “ideal” range. You can’t necessarily assume you’re
healthy from a weight standpoint just because you’re in the ideal range on
weight and BMI charts. A 5 foot 4 inch woman that weighs 120 pounds and has 35%
body fat is less healthy than a woman of the same height that weighs 132 pounds
and has 18% body fat.

 Body Composition Matters When it Comes to Health

A better indicator of health and fitness is body fat percentage. The most
accurate ways to measure body fat is a DXA scan (similar to an x-ray and
involves radiation) or air displacement plethysmography where you get into a
chamber that’s sealed off. Body fat percentage can be calculated based on how
much air you displace inside the chamber.

Another technique called near-infrared interactance delivers an infra-red
beam of light into a muscle and measures how much is absorbed by the fat
tissue. These are all accurate methods for measure body fat percentage but you
can’t do them at home.

What about body fat scales? Body fat scales for home use aren’t necessarily
all that accurate. They work by sending a weak electrical impulse through body
and measuring how quickly the impulse returns. The impulse moves more quickly
through lean tissue as opposed to fat. The reading is affected by factors like
how hydrated you are and when you last ate. Despite their lack of absolute
accuracy, body fat scales are helpful for following changes in body fat percentage.

Calipers that measure skin fold thickness are a low-tech way to estimate
body fat percentage. They’re reasonably accurate if you do the measurements
correctly and measure under the same conditions each time.

Another Measurement of Health and Fitness

When’s the last time you measured your waistline? An old-fashioned tape
measure can tell you a lot. Most importantly it can tell you your waist-to-hip
ratio or WHR. WHR is one indicator of cardiovascular risk and general health as
well. People who have a high waist-to-hip ratio have more visceral fat, deep
waist and belly fat that’s pro-inflammatory.

To measure your WHR, measure your waist at its narrowest point. If you have
a waist that bulges outwards, measure an inch above your navel. Get your hip measurement
by measuring at the widest part of your buttocks. Divide your waist measurement
by your hip measurement to get your ratio.

How did you score? If you’re female, your waist-to-hip ratio should be less
than 0.9. Males should have a WHR of less than 0.8 to place them in the lowest
cardiovascular risk category.


The Bottom Line?

Most people use the scale as an indicator of how fit and healthy, but
they’re not getting the full story. If possible, know and follow your body fat
percentage. Be sure your waist-to-hip ratio falls into a healthy range too.
These tell you more than your body weight or BMI.

For more healthy fitness tips and quick weight loss tips, contact our
fitness director/certified personal trainer, Noelle Lusardi, at
And visit our website
for our latest weight loss specials and programs, and get great weight loss



Medical News Today. “What is a Healthy Weight?”

Southwestern Medical Center. “Waist-to-hip ratio may better predict
cardiovascular risk than body mass index”

Tags: Personal Weight Loss, Sari Greaves, quick weight loss, losing weight tips, losing weight fast, Diet and Nutrition, Dr. Neiman, summer weight loss, Doctor Supervised Weight Loss, Personal Trainers, Step Ahead exercise classes, Physician Weight Loss, online nutrition, Physician Weight Center, diet to lose weight, lose weight in 2014, lose weight fast, Step Ahead Wellness Center

Sari's Delicious Demo of The Week!

Posted by deborah neiman on Mon, Jan 20, 2014 @ 02:44 PM
Sari's Delicious Demo of The Week!

Tags: Exercise, diet, HEALTHY DIET SHORTCUTS, losing weight tips, losing weight fast, fatty foods, diabetes recipes for the holidays, Diet and Nutrition, healthy eating, Dr. Neiman, Doctor Supervised Weight Loss, Fitness, Step Ahead exercise classes, Nutrition, online nutrition, lose weight in 2014, diabetes and weight loss, cooking demo, cooking video, healthy entertaining, lose weight fast, Step Ahead Wellness Center, healthy dinner recipe

Exercising During Middle Age Can Help Preserve Muscle Mass Later in Life!

Posted by deborah neiman on Wed, Jan 08, 2014 @ 01:44 PM


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Exercise now and reap the benefits when you get older? That’s what a new study suggests. Sarcopenia or loss of lean body mass during the later years of life directly contributes to balance problems and the reduction in functional strength so many older people experience as they age. It also increases the risk of falling. Not only does sarcopenia make it more difficult for older
people to do the things they enjoy, it increases their risk of dying prematurely.

How are muscles affected by sarcopenia? Sarcopenia leads to a reduction in muscle size as well as a decrease in muscle quality as fat replaces some of the muscle fibers. The number of motor units that supply muscle fibers also contracts. So you lose muscle fibers and muscles become weaker and less functional. The muscle fibers most profoundly affected are fast-twitch muscle fibers activated with lifting and high-intensity exercise. Type 1 fibers, those involved in endurance exercise, are less impacted by the aging process.

Exercising During Middle-Age: Does It Protect Against Sarcopenia?

Researchers at Tokyo University recently looked at the impact of exercise on age-related sarcopenia. They collected data like gait speed, one-legs standing time and grip strength and measured skeletal muscle mass in 1,000 Japanese men and women over the age of 65. The results? Elderly men and women who had exercised regularly during middle age were far less likely to be sarcopenic relative to those who hadn’t engaged in regular physical exercise.

The Driving Forces Behind Sarcopenia

Here’s a scary statistic for you. One study showed 27% of women and 23% of men between the ages of 64 and 70 have difficulty walking and an even greater number are unable to carry around a load weighing 25 pounds. Of course, these were adults who didn’t exercise. Exercise during mid-life, especially strength-training, makes it less likely you’ll fall into this category.

Three main factors directly contribute to sarcopenia: lack of exercise, hormonal changes and inadequate nutrition, especially dietary protein deficiency. Lack of exercise is an obvious one. You start to lose muscle mass after the age of 30, but a portion of this loss can be prevented with regular strength training. As they say, “use or lose it.” Research clearly shows middle-age and older adults who resistance train maintain a higher level of strength than sedentary adults.

What about Nutrition?

You’re probably familiar with the RDA for protein – 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight and more for physically active individuals. There’s some thought that older people could benefit from higher quantities of protein than this. According to research published Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism Care this amount may be enough for nutritional
purposes but not enough to prevent sarcopenia. This research suggests that older people should consume between 25 and 30 grams of protein at every meal to maximally stimulate protein synthesis. In addition, between 1 and 1.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight may be more appropriate for preserving muscle mass.

One of the best sources of protein is fish – and there are lots of reasons to add it to your diet. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed a dose of four grams of omega-3s stimulated protein synthesis in older adults. Omega-3s seem to activate anabolic pathways involved in protein synthesis.

Sarcopenia and Hormones

The age-related decline in anabolic hormones, growth hormone, testosterone and IGF-1, are other factors that contribute to sarcopenia. In addition, there’s some evidence that inflammatory chemicals like interleukin-6 play a role, possibly by damaging muscle fibers. High-intensity exercise boosts testosterone and growth hormone. There’s also some evidence that creatine
supplements help to preserve muscle mass in older people. Eating a clean diet of unprocessed foods rich in natural antioxidants also helps to reduce inflammation that seems to contribute to sarcopenia, at least to some degree.  So enjoy more fruits and vegetables!

Vitamin D and Sarcopenia

Vitamin D deficiency becomes more common with age – and low vitamin D levels may contribute to loss of muscle mass. A study published in Clinical Endocrinology suggests that getting adequate amounts of vitamin D is important for preserving lean body mass and preventing sarcopenia. Other research has linked low vitamin D with greater risk for sarcopenia. That’s why it’s so
important to check a vitamin D level. Remember, you begin to lose muscle mass at age 30, so it’s never too early to take steps to reduce loss of lean body mass through exercise and nutrition.

The Bottom Line?

Loss of muscle strength and mass is a very real concern and one that can lead to physical limitations and a reduced lifespan. You’re one step ahead of the game if you’re strength training – but nutrition counts too. Make sure you’re getting enough protein, vitamin D and omega-3s. The good news?  Resistance training during the middle years of your life may offer some protection against sarcopenia as you get older. Train hard now and be healthier now – and later.

References: “Regular Exercise in Middle Age Protects Against Muscle
Weakness Later in Life”

Aging, Physical Activity, and Health. Roy Shepherd. Human Kinetics
Publisher. (1997)

Am J Prev Med. 2003 Oct;25(3):226-31.

Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2009 January; 12(1): 86-90.

J Lab Clin Med. 2001 Apr;137(4):231-43.

Life Extension Magazine. “Preventing Sarcopenia”

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Post Holiday Gain? Here Are Ways to Recover...

Posted by deborah neiman on Fri, Dec 27, 2013 @ 12:27 PM


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How to get back to your healthy habits after the holidays. Painlessly.

Article By: Erinn Bucklan

"By adding just 500 calories per day, or three homemade sugar cookies and a glass of low-fat
milk, you could gain two pounds in two weeks over the holidays," says Jenna Bell-Wilson, PhD, RD, LD, a board certified specialist in sports dietetics.

Now the merriment has ended, here's how to get back on track to healthier habits in the New Year.

Up your fruit and vegetable intake

Ideally, you should consume at least five fruit and vegetable servings per day now. These vitamin-rich foods boost your fiber and antioxidant intake and help you feel full. A tip: Replace that midafternoon 16-oz. cola (200 calories) with an orange (65 calories) as a nutritious snack.

Pre-arrange exercise time

You'll stick to a regimen if you schedule exercise ahead, says Brad Cardinal, Ph.D., associate professor of sport and exercise psychology at Oregon State University. Try to get in 30 minutes almost every day. Wear a low-cost pedometer (it counts footsteps) or sign up for a charity walk/run to stick to a plan.

Resist depriving yourself

Focus on what you're going to eat rather than what you're not. "It sounds indulgent," says Colleen Thompson, R.D., a nutritionist at the University of Connecticut. "But concentrate on ways to feed
yourself now. It helps you to stick to healthy eating habits." For example, don't skip a nutritious, fiber-rich breakfast, like oatmeal or a half of a whole-wheat bagel with peanut butter. It can help prevent overeating later.


For more tips, or for more information about Step Ahead Wellness Center’s weight loss
programs, visit us at or call 908-470-2235.  Let us help you
get back on track and reach your weight loss goals in 2014!

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