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A closer look at what some people claim is a healthy diet and how to improve it.

Are You Healthy?

By Susan Howard

So… are you?  “Of course, I am healthy,” you retort.  I had wheat toast with almond butter for breakfast, a salad for lunch, Cliff bar for a snack, and a bean and cheese burrito for dinner.  To you, I say, “Yes, those are all fairly healthy choices especially if you are working out 4 to 5 days a week.”

I hate thinking of food as the gate keeper and myself as a prisoner in my own dietary life.  If, however, you are not getting the results you desire, you must look more carefully at the choices you make.

Back to that eating day, let’s look and assess…

Although the day’s calories contain a salad, the intake is a bit light on vegetables and has no fruit at all.  On top of that, there are hidden calorie bombs.  Almond butter, although good for you, can be over-served jacking up your calorie and fat count.  A thin layer of something creamy and delicious ..read more

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You can choose to be as fit as you wish. Make the choice!

Fight, fight, win!

By Susan Howard

Today at my local gym, I was talking to a workout pal of mine that also happens to be a mega bro. He looks like a pro wrestler with big guns, strong legs, and ripped abs. He was eating a cookie at the time (granted it was the healthy kind with extra protein inside), and he offered me a bite. I took a little taste and said, “You can eat that stuff, I can’t.”

“No I can’t,” he retorted. “Everyone always says that and they are dead wrong.” He continued, “I watch what I eat all the time, that’s how I look like this. It’s tough to give stuff up, but if you want to look a certain way, you have to.”

There it is.  All the images of hot chicks in swim suits and shirtless dudes with their jeans pulled down past their hips, don’t just look that way, they choose to look that way.  This opens a whole ..read more

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Find out if using a scale is the right move for you.

The Scale: To Use or Not to Use?

By Susan Howard

Riddle:  What tells you things you don’t want to hear without speaking a word?

Answer: The scale.

Okay, I just made that one up.

Some of my clients that have had a large weight loss and in the wake of this massive success have taken to weighing themselves on a daily or at least weekly basis.  For this category of person, I say good on ya.  It keeps you honest and keeps the pounds from secretly creeping back on.  You are fighting the 50 plus pounds you lost last year.

For the rest of us, let’s decide what is the best fit.

Answer these questions:

How do you feel after getting off the scale?:

Freaked out?

Hopeless?

Inspired?

Depressed?

Motivated?

For some of you the scale can mean many things.  It could be used as a reward or a punishment.  If it sends you into a fit of over or under eating then it’s not for you.  If, on the other hand, it keeps you in check and focused on your ..read more

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Find out which fats are okay for your diet.

FAT is FAT is FAT

By Susan Howard

Okay guys so what’s the story with fat?  Well, you should have some in your diet. Are all fats equal? Yes and no. Some fats are better for you than others.

Recommended fats are those from olive oil, avocado, fish and nuts.

So, the question is, what about all the other fats?  Can we have butter, or coconut oil, or trans fats?

The word on trans fats is still a no-go.  Most packaged foods have removed trans fats so you don’t have to worry as much about that, but be mindful of fried foods like french fries or doughnuts as they may have trans fats in them.  Continuing on with butter and coconut oil… Both have come back into favor over the last decade.  Yes, these fats are okay to consume, but don’t go crazy.  It’s still recommended that about 10 to 20 percent of your diet comes from fat.  So, good or bad, it’s still fat.

Which brings me to my ..read more

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Some healthy foods might not be good for everyone. Learn to eat what's good for your body.

What’s Good For Ya

By Susan Howard

Recently I was talking to a new client and she said, “I know salad is good for me, but every time I eat it, I get a huge stomach ache.”

“Well, it seems, salad isn’t good for you.”

Nothing is right for everyone.  Yes, fruits and veggies are generally good for fiber and nutrients, but if you have major stomach cramps after eating something you have to think about whether it’s a match for your system or not.

“Try warm vegetables instead of raw salad,” I suggested.

Healthy fats, lean proteins, vegan, carb free diets are all fine for some of you.  If you find yourself bloated or tired after a meal you need to question that.

Some of the mean intruders are the acid levels of citrus foods, coffee, and raw vegetables.

Other people have issues with diary or gluten.  Be mindful, take care of yourself.

You are you, honor that.  You deserve to feel good in your body.

Stay Ready.

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Fight laziness by moving more!

Lazy Daze

By Susan Howard

In Indian sanskrit, there are certain steps to Nirvana.  Practicing the asanas, meditating, becoming selfless, overcoming the ego, and so it goes.  There is also a list of things that prevent you from reaching Nirvana.  One of those is, yes, you guessed it, laziness.

Before I get into this, it doesn’t mean you should push yourself around full steam ahead leaving this moment in the dust.  No, some of you reading this likely need to slow down and be a bit more chill.  But then there are the others of you that are, for lack of a better word, lazy.  You don’t want to be.  You are fuzzy in your mind, tired and perhaps a bit depressed.  Lazy is never just lazy, it signifies a hopelessness and a dimness that can’t be moved past.

How, I ask, can you reach your potential?

Well, you must move.  No surprise there.  Action begets more action.  Be in motion. Now I am here, now ..read more

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Going on a cruise or vacation can disrupt your healthy lifestyle. Here's why it's good to workout during vacation.

Row, Row, Row Your Boat

By Susan Howard

Hey fellow travelers,

I just got off a cruise and onto dry land and my head is still rocking.  The trip began with multiple days of navigating the Disney World theme parks Epcot, Animal Kingdom, the whole lot. There were days I did not work out, as we were with the kids and rising early to hit breakfast and the parks. At the end of those 12-hour days, my sad feet didn’t want to do it. Excuses I know.

Since my wife got invited on a media pass, we were invited to all these sponsored dinners and parties. I realized, like a little fish out of water, it was hard to say no again and again to delicious temptation and free booze. Even though I know better, I got tripped up.

By day five, I felt like a bloated beach ball. Maybe it was the beer, sugar, lack of exercise or all of the above, but a depression washed over me. Yes ..read more

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Here are some small ways to fight obesity.

Strange Shapes

By Susan Howard

On my recent vacation, I got a close look at a portion of our country, middle America. Here in Los Angeles, it’s all about the pretty people, the hyper-fit, the plastic, and the perfect.  Yes, L.A. has it’s own issues, but you don’t really see the obese population like you might in other parts of the U.S.

It’s incredible to me the different shapes people become when they over eat and under move.  It’s like their tummies are attached to their thighs, while their legs and calves are super fit to hold up the entire ship.  When I see regular-sized heads with narrow shoulders encased by this crazy fat frame, it’s really shocking.

I may sound mean here, but I am not poking fun, I am actually alarmed at the mismatch.  We are f@#!ing up!  I constantly worry that I am not doing enough as a trainer.  Yes, I encourage my clients, but that’s such a small fraction; it’s feels ..read more

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Eating well starts with knowing what your body needs.

Want : Need

By Susan Howard

The more I workout, the more I get deeply in touch with what my body needs.  If I wait too long between meals, my body gets seriously mad at me.  If I don’t have much protein one day, I need to get an omelet or a burrito the next day to compensate.

I have noticed when I am not working out the floodgates of “want” start to open up and cravings creep in.  Chips, scones, cookies, whatever I feel like starts to call my name.

No, we don’t have to be A+ food students all the time, but the more we can eat what we need rather than what we happen to want, the better.

Is this the most boring blog ever?

Maybe.

But it feels good to be a well-oiled machine, functioning at peak performance, and you can only get that with the perfect fuel.

Vroom.

Stay Ready.

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Don't worry about others when you work out -- fitness and healthy living is a personal experience.

One Size Fits None

By Susan Howard

Out on a 3 mile jog, my wife can run quickly past me kicking dust up from her heels as I plod behind.  I, on the other hand can get on a bike and speed past her little chicken legs, especially while hill climbing.  We are not the same in so many ways.

She has more slow twitch muscle fibers that suit her endurance runs, while I have more fast twitch muscle fibers that burst me up an incline at quick speeds.

Everyone is different.  Some people like red wine, some white (sorry Aziz).

The optimum workout for one person is not the best for another.  The optimum diet is not the best for another.  I think I was born a vegetarian and have to this day not really enjoyed eating meat products. In LA, the carb-free thing is really popular, but I hate it.  My body craves healthy carbs, it’s what I look for.  Certain seeds, nuts and products I ..read more

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