Adrenal fatigue affects close to 80% of the population and causes a multitude of health problems, from exhaustion and weight gain to decreased immune function. Adrenal dysfunction can result in mood disorders, insomnia, fibromyalgia, diabetes, cancer, fungal infections, hypertension, hypothyroid and kidney disease…the list goes on.
Most people with weak adrenal function don't realize their adrenals are the cause of their symptoms, or that they can heal themselves naturally. The majority of medical doctors ignore adrenal dysfunction unless it’s severe or part of an illness such as Addison’s (an underproduction of cortisol) or Cushing’s (an overproduction of cortisol). Your adrenal glands weigh less than a grape. They’re two tiny walnut-sized glands located above each kidney. The adrenals are the control center for many hormones including cortisol, adrenaline, DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone), progesterone, aldosterone, estrogen and testosterone. Cortisol is produced in response to stressors such as pain and inflammation, glycemic control and psychological overload.
The primary role of the adrenal glands is to control your energy levels and keep you alive during stressful events. Studies have shown that for every minute you experience stress, it takes 60 minutes to remove the flood of adrenal stress hormones from your bloodstream. Chronic stress creates a continuous production of cortisol which in turn overproduces cell-damaging free radicals causing your body to break down.

What happens when cortisol levels are consistently high or low? Muscle and bone atrophy, digestion is impaired, healing and normal cell regeneration decline, destruction of T-cells, the thymus gland shrinks, aging accelerates, all other hormones and brain chemistry are disrupted, along with a weakening of the immune system.
Do you experience?
  • Asthma, bronchitis, frequent colds
  • Bloating and/or swelling
  • Blood sugar imbalances
  • Body fat levels that don’t lower in response to sufficient physical exercise (excessive abdominal fat – spare tire)
  • Chronic heartburn and digestive difficulties
  • Crave salt and/or sugar
  • Decreased or zero sex drive
  • Dizzy when standing up suddenly
  • Elevated LDL cholesterol (excess cholesterol is manufactured in times of psychological stress and dehydration)
  • Excessive urination
  • Have to have a cup of strong tea or coffee in the morning to get going
  • Hypothyroid
  • Inability to tolerate or handle stress; Irritable; Mood swings
  • Insomnia
  • Intolerance to Exercise
  • Low blood pressure
  • Osteoporosis and muscle atrophy
  • Poor memory and concentration
  • Puffy and dark circles under the eyes
  • Severely cracked, painful heels (also an indication of essential fatty acid deficiency)                                                                                                                   
  • Tend to be a night person
  • Tendency to “need” to wear sunglasses; sensitive to light
  • Tenderness at low back under the 12th rib area
Your adrenals are your backup pharmacy. When the adrenals are depleted and chronically overworked, they’re unable to produce sufficient amounts of hormones.  Cholesterol is a precursor to all hormones, and DHEA is a precursor to the hormones, estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. Insufficient DHEA contributes to fatigue, bone loss, muscle atrophy, decreased sex drive, depression, achy joints, and impaired immune function.

Adrenal hormones act as important reserves in menopausal women and andropausal men. Therefore, if the adrenals are exhausted, menopausal symptoms will intensify. Before menopause or andropause, the adrenals produce 40% of your sex hormones; after menopause or andropause, the adrenals produce 90% of the sex hormones. The stronger your adrenals are, the easier your menopause or andropause symptoms will be.
For optimal health, vitality, longevity and fat loss, it is vital that we prioritize the health of our adrenal glands. Each person is individual in susceptibility to adrenal dysfunction based on their genetic make up. A child or fetus in the womb that experiences trauma whether physical, emotional, electromagnetic, environmental or psychological has a lower stress threshold in adult life. It’s important to remember that the nervous system, endocrine system and immune system are all interconnected.

What causes adrenal dysfunction? Any physiologic imbalance that taxes one’s physiology in its attempt to maintain homeostasis results in an alteration of stress hormones including:
  • Addiction to stimulants
  • Consistently staying up late at night (past 10:30 pm) and getting up early
  • Eating foods your body is sensitive to and cannot tolerate
  • Insufficient rest and relaxation
  • Long-term steroid drug use for arthritis, asthma, allergies, or MS which cause the adrenals to shrink in size
  • Over exercising and excessive cardio/aerobic exercise
  • Persistent injuries that cause inflammation and chronic pain
  • Prolonged stress
  • Skipping meals and blood sugar imbalances
  • Exposure to toxins
  • Digestive dysfunction
  • Infections
  • Liver Dysfunction
  • Unresolved emotions
Adrenal burnout is almost entirely caused by a poor diet and a high-stress lifestyle. You can never overcome adrenal fatigue if your blood sugar is not stable! You can’t nourish and support your adrenals if your digestive system is in chaos! You can never re-balance your estrogen, progesterone or testosterone if your adrenals are exhausted!
The good news is, you can heal your adrenals through nutrition, the correct supplements and proper exercise. Although adrenal dysfunction is extremely common, you can restore and recover. It can take 4 months to 1-1/2 years to fully heal the adrenals. Remember, it’s a journey and you don't have to do it alone, contact me today to get started! 



A healthy diet full of fruits, vegetables, plenty of fiber, plenty of essential vitamins and minerals, and high-quality lean proteins will help trim your waistline. Having a healthy breakfast, lunch, and dinner are great ways to maintain adequate calories for weight loss. However, sometimes you get hungry mid-morning or mid-afternoon and you have trouble finding the right snack to eat.
Nuts are a great food to snack on. They are full of fiber, healthy fats like mono and polyunsaturated fats, and low in saturated fats. Nuts are full of high quality proteins and provide a great pick-me-up during those hungry times during the day. A handful of nuts can be great for satisfying your hunger and helping you to lose weight. 

                                                                                                                                                               Here are 7 of my personal favorites:

1) Almonds     Almonds are a little powerhouse of nutrition. With heart healthy mono and polyunsaturated fats, almonds have been recommended to help reduce total cholesterol and raise HDL cholesterol. Almonds are low in carbohydrates, but high in fiber. Almonds also have high levels of Vitamin E, which is great for the eyes and skin. Almonds also have phytosterols found in the almond skin, which have been shown helpful in reducing cholesterol and protecting the heart. 
2) Cashews     Cashews are a great nut for helping battle Heart Disease. Cashews do have a higher fat content than most nuts, but the fat found in cashews can be considered a healthy fat. Higher levels of mono and polyunsaturated fats make this a perfect snack for heart patients or people looking to watch their dietary fat intake. Cashews have adequate levels of magnesium and copper, which are minerals needed to maintain a healthy functioning body.

3) Peanuts       Not only are peanuts loaded with fat-fighting fiber, but they are abundant in plenty of vitamins and minerals that have been shown to fight some diseases, including cardiovascular disease and some cancers. Peanuts have niacin, Co-enzyme Q10, and plenty of other amazing antioxidants, and Resveratrol, which has been linked to reduction in cardiovascular disease and some cancers.

4) Walnuts      Walnuts are a great source of heart healthy fats, with high levels of polyunsaturated fats, which has been linked to lower cardiovascular risk factors. Considered by some to be the best nut for better heart health, walnuts have been shown to decrease damage from free radicals to certain cells. The reason for this: walnuts are chock full of antioxidants, which have been shown to reduce damage caused by oxidative stress.

5) Pecans        At 10.4 grams of fiber, you are getting roughly 10% of your daily intake in 1 ounce of pecans. So if the fiber content blew your mind, wait for this: Pecans have an immense amount of the heart healthy fats that can help lower LDL cholesterol, and raise our good HDL cholesterol. Under 200 calories per serving, pecans provide a healthy supply of Vitamin A, potassium, calcium, and other trace minerals that our body needs for optimal functioning.

6) Macadamia Nuts     Macadamia nuts, like other tree nuts, have been shown beneficial in helping to reduce total and LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, and are recommended in a heart healthy diet. Having a high amount of mon-unsaturated fats, these nuts can be an alternative to other nuts for helping reduce cardiovascular risk factors.

7) Pistachios     Pistachios are another nutrient powerhouse that is low in carbohydrates with zero cholesterol. Full of healthy fats and low in saturated fats, this nut can provide you with a moderate amount of calories and nutrients from essential vitamins and minerals, namely potassum, calcium and Vitamin A. This nut provides plenty of nutrition.

Nuts can be a great source of heart healthy fats and plenty of high quality proteins and fiber. Eating nuts in moderation for a snack, in recipes, or as a topping, can add plenty of healthy calories to your meal, and provide you with essential nutrients that can help you lose weight, and keep your hunger at bay in between meals. Although nuts are naturally low in fat, low in carbohydrates, and sodium, the way the nuts are processed is just as important as the type. Make sure to buy natural, raw and unsalted brands.



While all athletes need both carbs and protein in their post-workout shake to replenish energy stores and help repair muscles, regular folks need a good ratio of carbs to protein to fully re-energize themselves after a hard workout too.  To jumpstart recovery, boost energy, and improve performance, mix up a post-workout shake that has roughly a 3:1 or 4:1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein. A 3:1 ratio is more appropriate for a lower intensity/shorter distance endurance training session (say, about 30 minutes to 90 minutes of training) and a 4:1 ratio for longer, harder workouts (typically over 90 minutes). Aim to have your post-workout shake within 30 minutes of finishing your workout.
Here are a few post-workout shakes that offer the right balance for proper recovery:
  1. Fruity banana shake. Vanilla Whey protein powder, 1 banana, 4 oz yogurt, ½-1 cup fruit juice, and ½ cup ice (75 g carbs, 25 g protein).
  2. Berry yogurt shake. 1 cup Greek yogurt, ½ scoop EAS whey protein powder, 1 banana, ½ cup berries, ½-1 cup of fruit juice, ½ cup ice (70 g carbs, 25 g protein).
  3. Chocolate peanut butter shake. 1 cup low-fat chocolate milk, 1 banana, 2 tbsp natural peanut butter, ½ cup ice (60 g carbs, 18-20 g protein).
Do you have a recipe for a delicious post-workout shake? Share it in the comments section below.


HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training)

Shorter duration exercise has a built in motivational factor- it's over quicker! This eliminates the dread of an hour on the treadmill or elliptical after a long day at work. Instead, rest assured that quicker more intense workouts will leave you burning fat for hours after the workout is over. Your biggest challenge is knowing what to do now that you don't have the cardio machines to depend on.
Short-duration, high-intensity exercise improves body composition. It is also a great way to spice up the traditional mundane cardio workout. For the fitness enthusiast not familiar with HIIT, it is alternating between short bouts of high intensity exercise, lasting seconds to minutes, with resting intervals.
HIIT not only packs a huge metabolic punch in a short amount of time, but there is scientific evidence to show that a single short duration , high intensity workout (as short as 1 – 5 minutes) not only burns more fat and calories during the workout, but also post workout. The ripple effect can last hours after a single one minute burst of all out effort. It is my belief that long duration, continuous cardio is not only inferior to HIIT in terms of body composition effects, but also leaves people who are short on time, chained to a treadmill, burning fewer calories and less fat no matter how long their on the machine. A person can sprint faster for 10 seconds than for 10 minutes and achieve greater metabolic gains.
The first step in putting together a short, high intensity workout, is to scope out your surroundings. For example; if you are near a school, use the track or stadium steps. If you are near a park, look for staircases, low walls, benches, walkways or short steep incline paths. Being that you do not need any equipment to perform these exercises, you can do many types of body weight only exercises such as, pushups, dips, step-ups, and squats. Ramp up the intensity as you advance by incorporating plyometrics or jumping movements like squat jumps, switch ups and bench jumps. Throw in a little sprinting too and you can achieve a full body workout. Perform each exercise in an allotted amount of time instead of reps or sets. The goal is to complete as many repetitions in the allotted time, keeping tight form, before moving on to the next exercise.
Remember the only caveat to shorter workouts is they must be intense to get results. Sprints are are not fast jogs, they are panting, out-of-breath bouts of all out exertion. Squats are low, lunges are deep, and pushups go to the floor. Since the workouts do not require any weights, it is important to contract the muscles as if you had weights. Finally remember to stay safe and listen to your body. High intensity workouts should and will push you outside of your comfort zone. Take rests and adjust exercises according to your current fitness level. If you are new to this type of workout, it is my recommendation that you contact me or your current fitness professional for proper instruction and a fitness assessment to make sure you will not injure yourself and are capable of performing the exercises correctly.



It’s finally time to crack the misconception that eggs are bad for our health, because they’re absolutely not. It’s unfortunate, but many people still think that you cannot eat more than one egg per day, or even more than 3 eggs per week because if you do, you’ll develop high blood cholesterol levels and fatty arteries. But this could not be farther from the truth.
So, why do we think this way?
In the 1960’s consumers were first “warned” about eggs as being a major player in the development of heart disease… without any conclusive evidence to back up this claim. News articles overwhelmingly focused on the egg- cholesterol - heart disease link when there was no real proof for this message.
Eggs were so demonized that egg substitute products became all the rage for cooking and baking, but they were no better, and sometimes far worse, than the whole egg itself.
Today, consumers need to understand that eggs are not evil, but in fact are healthy and important components of our diets. First and foremost, eggs an inexpensive source of high quality protein that almost everyone can enjoy in various ways – from scrambled eggs to deviled eggs to green eggs and ham, eggs are a versatile way to quickly and easily get more protein in your diet. And, they’re not just for breakfast, but for lunch and dinner too!
In terms of protein quality, most foods rich in protein are measured in terms of the availability of that protein to effectively promote growth (cell growth), and this term is known as biological value. Based on the amino acids contained in an egg and its ability to stimulate growth, egg protein is only second to mother’s milk for human nutrition. Eggs are among the few sources of naturally occurring vitamin D and K, which are known for cancer protection and longevity.
Eggs contain the highest source of dietary choline (125mg/egg), which is a nutrient necessary for proper nervous system development and structural integrity of cell membranes; particularly, choline is necessary for brain development in infants to impart lifelong enhancement of memory and attention.
They supply 6.3grams of high quality protein, 5 grams of fat primarily consisting of an even balance of saturates and monounsaturates, with less polyunsaturates, and barely no carbohydrates at all; they’re the perfect low carbohydrate food. Eggs contain up to 200 mg of
DHA, the essential omega-3 fatty acid needed by all humans for normal development and functioning, and prevention of depression and memory loss.
The whole egg contains 166 mcg of
lutein and zeaxanthin, two super antioxidants that contribute to eye health and prevent common causes of age-related blindness; research shows that the bioavailability of these nutrients from eggs is higher than other foods with higher contents.
So you see, if you have high cholesterol, it probably was not caused by eating eggs. More than likely it was caused by an overload of unhealthy types of fat, trans fats, to many overly processed carbs and foods loaded with processed sugars.



Your alarm rings and you hit the snooze button one too many times, so by the time you roll out of bed, you think it is too late for breakfast. Estimates vary, but around 25% of the population skips breakfast on a regular basis. The potential problems with that include a more sluggish metabolism as the body shifts into a starvation response mode. Coupled with a tendency to become ravenous and binge later which of course causes weight gain. Cognitive abilities can also suffer, you get headaches, feel fatigued and are less able to concentrate. Here are some of my breakfast solutions for you to put into action first thing in the morning;
Add high-quality complete Protein
Most breakfasts are lacking in protein – and no, oatmeal does not have enough protein in one bowl. Numerous studies show that including protein in your breakfast meal, such as having 1 or 2 eggs, keeps you feeling fuller, and prevents hunger much better than having simple carbohydrates (like a bagel). Higher-protein meal plans are also well-studied for their ability to promote greater fat loss and a quicker metabolism than less protein.

So, at your next breakfast, include a protein choice on your plate such as:

•Eggs - 2 eggs a day actually keeps the doctor away. Eat them scrambled with fresh spinach, tomatoes and mushrooms and a side of fresh fruit and your day is going to be great! Or poach or boil them for a quick meal on the go.

•Whey protein – mix a scoop of whey protein with milk or water and pour this over your favorite bowl of low-sugar high fiber cereal. Or, add whey to your blender with flax seed oil, almond milk and berries, for a high protein smoothie. You can also add a scoop of whey to plain oatmeal after cooking to give it a boost (one of my personal favorites).

Natural nitrite-free sausage or turkey bacon – enjoy this with fresh fruit, steamed vegetables, or toasted Ezekiel sprouted grain bread for a satisfying meal.

•Organic cottage cheese – mixed with fresh pineapple or tomatoes is a perfect start to your day!

•Organic plain Greek yogurt – combine this with organic fresh or frozen berries and slivered almonds or walnuts for a perfectly balanced meal.

Natural almond butter – spread on sprouted grain bread, 2 Tbsp of natural almond butter provides 8-12 grams of complete protein and plenty of healthy fat.

2. Embrace Fiber
Another important aspect missing from most breakfast plates is fiber. And no – whole wheat bread is not a good source of fiber. Neither are specialty fiber breakfasts bars that are so loaded with sugar that any fiber they do contain (usually poor quality) is not worth it. High-fiber meals are more satiating and filling. Fiber is also associated with lower rates of cancer and diabetes.

Here are ways to include body-beautifying, belly-filling fiber into your breakfast: 

Beans – add1/3 cup of beans to a breakfast egg burrito made with a sprouted grain wrap, or toss with scrambled eggs and add 5 grams of fiber to your plate.

•Berries – organic berries are a great addition to oatmeal, smoothies, low-sugar cereal, and yogurt, and can add 2-3 grams of filling fiber.

Oatmeal – the problem with most instant oatmeal is all the added sugar, but 1/3 cup of oats has 3 grams of fiber and no sugar! It’s perfect paired with eggs, organic cottage cheese or whey protein for a complete meal.

•Sprouted grain bread with nut butter – sprouted grain bread has 3 grams of fiber per slice, and nut butter has 2 grams for a total of at least 5 grams of fiber to start your day.

Fresh Fruit paired with a higher protein dish (yogurt, eggs) – one apple has about 5 grams of fiber, ½ a medium grapefruit has 6 grams of fiber, and 1 kiwi has about 2 grams of fiber.

Ground Flax Seeds – toss a tablespoon or two in with your breakfast protein smoothie, or add to hot cereal. Two tablespoons have 8 grams of fiber, and can help balance your hormones while lowering your bad cholesterol levels.

Avocado – this “skinny” fat food is great on eggs. When cut in half, it packs in a whopping 5 grams of fiber and plenty of healthy monounsaturated fat that help promote a flat belly and a healthy heart.

3. Include Vegetables
Unless you have a vegetable omelet, most breakfast dishes include little to no vegetables at all. However, vegetables are low-calorie, nutrient-dense and prevent many, many diseases that inflict us today. As one successful weight-loss client told me, “You can eat as many vegetables as you can fit in your body and you’ll still lose weight.”

Try these easy ways to add more vegetables to your meal and make your breakfast perfect:

Spinach – add spinach to your eggs while cooking or stuff a large handful in with your favorite smoothie, it may make your smoothie green, but it also makes it thicker and more satisfying without ruining the taste.

Tomatoes and cucumbers – add chopped to a bowl of organic cottage cheese for a crunchy, high- fiber breakfast.

Baked squash – gourds such as acorn squash and butternut squash are delicious vegetables to include at breakfast. Just sprinkle with cinnamon once cooked and eat with eggs and you’ll be in breakfast heaven.

Potatoes – no, potatoes are not evil, and yes, they can help you lose weight (especially sweet potatoes). Have a small side of homemade breakfast potatoes cooked with olive oil and a pinch of sea salt, along with your favorite protein item, and you’re adding at least 2 grams of fiber, and plenty of hunger-fighting, fat-burning nutrients to your diet.





Whether you’re sitting in your car stuck in traffic feeling anxious about getting to your appointment on time, or your stress levels are chronic in nature, the best way your body knows how to handle the situation is to release the stress hormone cortisol into your system.

No bigger than a walnut and weighing less than a grape, we have two adrenal glands that sit like a tiny pyramid on top of the kidney. These small endocrine glands manufacture and secrete steroid hormones such as cortisol. The main purpose of your adrenals is to enable your body to deal with stress from every possible source. Whether they signal attack, retreat or surrender, every cell responds accordingly, and you feel the results. It’s through the actions of the adrenal hormones that your body is able to mobilize its resources to escape or fight off danger (stress) and survive. In a more primitive society that would mean being able to run away quickly, fight or pursue an enemy or game, endure long periods of physical challenge and deprivation, and store up physical reserves when they are available. In modern society, these same responses are triggered by circumstances such as a difficult boss, family quarrels, financial problems, or even too little sleep. Often, our response to stress today is to sit and stew in our frustration and anger, without expending any of the calories or food stores that we would if we were physically fighting our way out of stress or danger.

More often than not, eating becomes the activity that relieves the stress. During the first couple of days following a stressful event, cortisol is giving you a clue to eat high-carbohydrate foods. Once you comply, you quickly learn a behavioral response that you can feel almost destined to repeat anytime you feel stressed. For some people, the effects of stress go beyond feelings of anxiety and discomfort. For these people, stress can mean facing each day ravenously hungry -- and adding weight gain to their list of worries. The reason you want a brownie instead of raw veggies when you're stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic is that cortisol demands the most readily available sources of energy: high-fat, simple-carb foods that your body can use quickly. That's why big bowls of pasta, chocolate bars, and potato chips have gained comfort-food status--they're exactly what your body craves in times of trouble. This is often referred to as emotional eating, best described as eating for reasons other than hunger.

Cortisol is also important for the maintenance of blood pressure as well as the provision of energy for the body. Cortisol stimulates fat and carbohydrate metabolism for fast energy, and stimulates insulin release and maintenance of blood sugar levels. The end result of these actions is often an increase in appetite. High levels of sugar and insulin set the stage for the body to store fat. Its job is to help replenish your body after the stress has passed. It can remain elevated, increasing your appetite and ultimately driving you to eat more than usual. Following those stress signals not only lead to weight gain, but also the tendency to store what is called visceral fat around the midsection. The fuel our muscles need during "fight or flight" is sugar -- one reason we crave carbohydrates when we are stressed.

In a survey of more than 1,800 people last year, the American Psychological Association reports that 43 percent of respondents admitted to overeating or eating unhealthy foods in response to stress during the previous month. Reasons for overeating relating to stress also include the fact that people feel too stressed and busy to make a healthy meal so they resort to fast food.

If you find yourself chronically stressed out, the best way to combat it is to decrease your stress levels, which can be helped by the following:

Eat a balanced diet -- Never skip a meal!
Don't lose sleep
Devote time to relaxation
Snack on whole grain, high fiber foods
Avoid caffeine, cigarettes and alcohol
Take your vitamins



All of the experts agree that working and strengthening the core is essential to overall well being, but there are differing schools of thought as to which abdominal muscles are the most important to enhancing the core. Most core exercises, when performed correctly, are effective; some are just more effective than others. One school of thought you can ignore is that all you need to do is crunches to successfully train your core. This couldn't be farther from the truth.
In order to effectively train your core, you must incorporate a variety of stabilization, functional and traditional exercises. The traditional abdominal floor crunch has been found to produce the least amount of muscle activity. That's not to say that you should never perform a traditional abdominal crunch; but this particular exercise should be done as part of a varied, well thought out core strengthening routine. I personally do not believe it is a good exercise for people with spinal issues.
It has been well documented that exercises that require constant stabilization throughout the exercise performed ignites the most muscle activity. Core exercises, specifically abdominal exercises, must be done in a variety of ranges of motion and in different angles and positions in order to engage all muscles.
It is helpful to think of your core routine in different segments: Traditional, Functional, Stabilizing and Extension Exercises.
  • Traditional Exercises are those that you are probably most familiar with, such as the standard crunch; a standard crunch with rotation, which incorporates your internal and external obliques; or a standing rotation with a band, cable or light hand weight.
  • Functional Exercises target most of the muscles within your abdominal wall and are performed by stabilizing your body while in motion. An example of such an exercise would be functional work on a stability ball, as your body is working to stabilize itself on the ball.
  • Stabilizing Exercises are best known for stabilizing your spine; drawing the transverse abdominal wall back into your spine and increasing lower back stability. Lying on the floor and pulling your belly back toward your spine and holding that position while maintaining deep breathing is an excellent exercise to start with. Once this is mastered, you can add movement such as a slow floor bridge or extending your leg while maintaining the drawn-in posture.
  • Extension Exercises are performed to strengthen the erector spinae in your back. Oftentimes, back exercises are ignored when devising a core-training program. However, it is an integral part of your core routine. A good extension exercise is to lay on your stomach with arms extended above your head. You then raise both arms and both legs, at the same time, off the floor. Hold for a count of five, or five breaths, and slowly return to the floor. This exercise is sometimes called Superman.
Ideally you'll want to include core exercises every time you work out. Firstly because a well-balanced core routine does not always incorporate heavy weights, and since there are so many muscle areas it's not a problem to include core exercises each time you exercise. These types of exercises, while varying what you do every time you work on your core, puts you on the best path to a well balanced, functional core.  Please remember it is always best to consult a fitness trainer for proper form when beginning any type of core strengthening exercise.  What can make you stronger and more fit, can also cause you injury if not performed correctly.


What Is Your Core?

In order to develop and maintain a strong core it is essential to first understand the muscles that make up that region of your body and what types of exercises work each specific section. While your abdominal muscles are relatively small in comparison to other skeletal muscles the core section of your body, as a whole, is quite large.  Your core region is complex and composed of many different muscles, both in size, shape and function.
The core region of your body consists of your entire trunk which includes everything from your pectorals (chest muscles) and back all the way down to your glutes (buttocks).
Paring it down further the abdominal section of your core consists of the following four regions:
  1. Rectus Abdominis - this is what is known as the "six pack."  It is the most superficial muscle group of your abdominal core area - it allows you to flex and bend your spine. This muscle group also helps to stabilize your pelvis for any type of walking or running movements.
  2. Transverse Abdominis - these muscles are the deepest set of muscle fibers in your abdominal wall. This area of the abdominal wall acts like a belt and helps compress the abdominal contents. You also use this muscle group when flexing and bending.
  3. Internal and External Obliques - these are the muscles on the sides of your core and can actually function independently. When they function independently, they serve to rotate your trunk and laterally flex your body. When both sides contract together at the same time, they help with flexion of your spine and compress your abdominal wall.
    It has also been suggested that strong internal obliques are essential in maintaining good low back health because the internal and external oblique muscles attach to the erector spinae muscles and aid in pulling your trunk laterally. If this attachment is strong, and the muscles on either side are strong, your spine will be supported better and movements involving rotation of the trunk will be more efficient. Therefore, strong oblique muscles improve lower back health.
  4. Erector Spinae- while these muscles are not actually abdominal muscles, they are the main muscles involved in back extension. This group of muscles begin at your neck and extend down to your lower back.  Any training of your core must include these important lower back muscles as they greatly aid trunk stability, agility and strength. These are the muscles that allow you to pick up and hold heavy objects in front of you, and to stand tall while doing so.
    Now that you know the muscles involved, discuss with your trainer how best to work them to get the most "bang for your buck" and to create a strong and stable core region.

There is more to "Rock Hard Abs" than aesthetics.

You may be thinking that doing a lot of sit ups will develop the type of abs you see in fitness magazines. But know this, no matter how many "crunches" you do, you will not be able to decrease the amount of fat on your waistline.
Several factors come into play when trying to decrease fat around your abdominal region.  One simple trick is to simply push yourself away from the table rather than over eat. But here we are going to focus on your core, the muscles that make up your core, and how to best train that region of your body. Having a strong core will allow you to:
  • maintain good posture
  • conduct everyday movements of reaching and bending more easily and safely
  • to move with little or no pain
  • sustain strong balance and stability
These are all solid reasons to work on and develop your core muscles, and as you can see, it's about far more than aesthetics. In fact, developing and maintaining a strong and functional core should be of interest to everyone -- not just body builders.
When you achieve a strong and balanced core, you also have a decreased risk of injury due to falls and most importantly, many other areas of your body will work better together.
Your lower back, hip flexors, pelvis, knees and even your feet will work harmoniously when your core is balanced and strong. Obviously this would be of great importance for everyone, regardless of your age. For the aging population a strong core will help you perform daily activities with greater ease and grace, and it will help with confidence.
A strong, balanced core is also integral for students in order to have good posture while carrying books, backpacks and playing sports, and is important for office workers sitting at the computer all day.  New mothers also benefit from keeping their core strong.  Before, during and after pregnancy.  You need strong core muscles to carry the baby on the inside and the outside of your body.  A strong and balanced core makes delivery much easier too. 
In essence, a strong core is directly related to having a pain free lower back. And it is a well-known fact that lower back pain can affect your overall health and well-being. Lower back pain can cause additional pain, from headaches all the way down to foot pain. So it is easy to see the importance of a strong, well balanced and well trained core.


My Nutrition Snack Bar Favorites

One of the questions I am often asked is, which energy bars are the best for snacks and can they be used as a meal replacement. I am not a fan of using snack bars as a meal replacement. Nothing can replace regular food. Most of the so called nutrition bars on the market are loaded with hidden sugars and extra carbs your body does not need. A large number of people rely on snack bars as a fast and quick meal not realizing that they are most likely eating more carbs and added sugars than a normal meal contains. If you are wondering why you're not loosing weight or perhaps even gaining, it could be because you're relying on snack bars too much. I recommend eating them only as a snack to ward off hunger or if there is nothing else to eat or as a recovery snack after a workout. I keep them handy to take on the road or if I know I am going to be away from a proper food source longer than three hours. Not all nutritional snack bars are created equal. Like I said most of them contain too much sugar and extra carbs. I have four favorites that I personally use and recommend. The types I prefer are labeled Gluten Free, Non GMO, Vegan, Dairy Free, no preservatives, no refined sugars, low glycemic, organic, no soy, live or raw food bar. I know, you are wondering what the heck is in the ingredients then, is there anything good? Well actually there is plenty of good stuff, like real food with a higher nutrient content than the average snack bar. The less items listed on the ingredient list the better. My four top picks for nutritional snack bars are Raw Revolution, LaraBar, Pure and Kind. These are usually found at Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, Henry's, Healthy Discounts and other health food stores. For example; Raw Revolution's 100% raw, organic live food bar only has five ingredients in their Cashew bar. These types of bars are generally lower in sodium, lower in fat, higher in protein, higher in fiber and do not use added processed or refined sugar. Your snack bar calories should not be much higher than 250 calories depending on what you are using them for. I like mine to be around 200 – 220 calories per bar. Always check the calories on the Nutrition Facts label of your bars and make sure the number of calories listed does not take you over your total recommended calories for the day.