The mere sound of the word FAT sends a surge of anxiety through the minds of millions. Why is that? Well, aside from not wanting the increase in body size and bulges in places we do not want, there is the number one killer in America that claims the lives of thousands each year. That would be Heart Disease, Stroke, several types of Cancers, Type 2 Diabetes and a host of other over consumption of fat related issues.

OK, we know that unhealthy fats increase cholesterol levels, which is a known risk factor for heart disease. But we also know that not all fats are created equal. We do need certain types of fats to keep healthy, increase energy and maintain healthy skin and hair. Fat is important in a well balanced diet and should remain a part of your nutritional plan.

When you go to your doctor to have your cholesterol levels checked, and I do recommend that everyone do this before starting a new fitness and nutritional regimen, there are three important levels that should be checked in your blood workup. They are your Triglycerides, LDL and HDL levels. Triglycerides are the major form of fat. A triglyceride consists of three molecules of fatty acid combined with a molecule of the alcohol glycerol. Triglycerides serve as the backbone of many types of lipids (fats). Triglycerides come from the food we eat as well as from being produced by the body. LDL stands for low-density lipoprotein, this is the unhealthy cholesterol. HDL stands for high-density lipoprotein, this is the healthy cholesterol.

Now that you have some understanding of good and bad fat, lets discuss where the sources of these fats come from so we know which foods to eat and which foods to avoid. Unsaturated Fats are considered healthy fats because they contain Essential Fatty Acids that the body cannot produce on it's own. Those EFAs also lower LDL cholesterol levels and are rich in antioxidents which protect against cancer and heart disease. They can be found mainly in plant and some seafood sources. They are liquid at room temperature. Unsaturated fats are broken down into two categories, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated, these types of fats are essential. In order to get these healthy fats we need to consume them in the food we eat. This type of fat helps to keep our arteries flexible and can prevent sticky plaque from forming in the arteries which leads to Atherosclerosis and heart attacks. Healthy unsaturated fats can also be found in olive oil, flaxseed oil, some soy products, olives, nuts (like raw walnuts and almonds), seeds, natural nut butters, avocados, salmon, tuna, sardines and other coldwater fish. The ever important Omega-3 and Omega-6 polyunsaturated fats are also found in many of these same sources. The Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids help reduce appetite, elevate mood, decrease inflammation, increase energy and mental clarity. I recommend 30 to 50 grams of healthy fat per day.

On to the bad fats. They have names like Saturated fat and Trans fat or Trans Fatty Acids and are used as a preservative in a process called hydrogenation where soybean or vegetable oils are heated and hydrogen is added along with a metal catalyst like cobalt or nickel which alters the chemical composition in order to make it a solid and renders it useless and toxic to the human body. Sounds lovely doesn't it? Anyway, Trans fats have 15 times more risk for causing heart disease than even Saturated fats do. Some of the sources for Saturated fats are pork, beef, dairy products like cheese, palm kernel and coconut oils. If you can't imagine never eating animal products again, then choose low fat dairy products and extra lean cuts of beef, turkey and poultry. Food for thought: One 12 oz steak comes with a whopping 75 grams of Saturated fat, while one portion of skinless chicken breasts has only 2 grams of Saturated fat. One gram of fat is equal to 9 calories.

This is where learning to read the “Nutrition Facts” labels on the food you buy is going to come in handy for controlling the amount and type of fat you are putting into your body.

Remember if you do not want to spend your life trying to find ways to burn off that excess fat, then do not eat it in the first place.  But if it is already too late for that then it is time to call me.



Many pregnant women choose to participate regularly in some type of fitness program. The training of the pregnant client presents a unique challenge, as it not only involves the health and safety of the woman, but her baby as well. Fitness trainers must become familiar with the physiological needs of the pregnant woman in order to properly design a healthy fitness program for her.
It is common for expectant women to experience fatigue and nausea during the first trimester, therefore alterations in the program have to be made periodically. Some of the other discomforts that also may occur are back pain and/or sciatica (pain radiating down the leg stemming from the sciatic nerve). These types of symptoms are felt usually in the second and third trimester.
Physiological changes in pregnancy affect nearly every system of the body: musculoskeletal, endocrine, cardiorespiratory and metabolic systems.
It is accepted that exercise is beneficial for the healthy pregnant woman. There has been substantial research on the effects of exercise during pregnancy. This research has shown that women who actively engage in exercise have a more comfortable pregnancy and a shorter labor. Women who exercise regularly, prior to and during the first and second trimester, feel better in the third trimester and have less exertion during labor.

Another very important issue for the pregnant woman to remember is weight gain during her approximate 40 week gestational period. You often hear pregnant women say things like “I am eating for two now”. She need only add 10% more calories than normal or eat for 1.1 instead of eating for 2. Eating for two is usually why post pregnancy baby weight is so difficult to lose.
Exercise can still be a fun part of your everyday life.  There are simple ways to get 30 minutes a day of activity.  It does not have to be a solid 30 minutes of activity, you can break it down to three 10 minute sessions.  Daily walks are a good start if you decide to start an exercise program after becoming pregnant.  Always check with your obstetrician before starting any exercise program.  If your doctor feels you are a good candidate for exercise during your pregnancy, then contact a fitness trainer that works with pre/post natal fitness so that a safe and effective exercise program can be designed for you.  When done correctly, exercise is a wonderful benefit for both mother and baby.



Since the heart is a muscle it can become stronger and larger through exercise that progressively increases the bodies demand for oxygen. This type of exercise is called aerobic exercise. Aerobic exercise requires a constant and adequate supply of oxygen. The respiratory and cardiovascular systems transport the oxygen. There is another term called anaerobic which is the bodies ability to produce energy by metabolizing carbohydrates in the absence of oxygen. Cardiovascular training is simply training that involves and places a stress on the cardiovascular and respiratory system. Example activities would be, walking or running on a treadmill, playing basketball and even weight training. Cardiovascular exercise can also be used as a warm up to prepare the body for physical activity and as a cool down to transition the body back from exercise to a steady state of rest.

Performing cardiovascular exercise as a part of your weekly exercise routine has such benefits as decreased daily fatigue, anxiety, depression, coronary artery disease, cholesterol levels, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, osteoporosis and obesity. Cardiovascular exercise increases work, recreational and sports performance, sense of well being, glucose tolerance and immunity. With regular exercise, the body increases its output of blood and blood volume increases, which allows more blood to get to the cells. The result is a greater flow of oxygen to a greater number of cells throughout the body, which helps the muscle cells and the cardiovascular system work more efficiently.

When the goal is body fat reduction, the key is to focus on burning calories, not burning fat. There is still a popular trend of thinking that there is a magical “fat burning zone” for cardio exercise, however body fat reduction can only take place when there is more energy burned than consumed. This also is known as the “Law of Thermodynamics”. Oxygen allows fat and glucose to be burned as fuel. This produces waste products of carbon dioxide and water. You can think of it like a car burning gasoline, with the body's exhaust being carbon dioxide and water.

An important tip to remember is when starting a cardiovascular training program for the first time it is wise to obtain a certified fitness trainer who can design the proper program for your specific fitness level. A program designed by a qualified trainer can save you from injury and over training and monitor the proper heart rate training zones for your particular level of cardiovascular fitness.