Last weekend I traveled to South Lake Tahoe, California to hike for the weekend. If you were like me and never heard of Tahoe before, then you need to set aside some vacation days and head there. Now, Tahoe isn't just for hiking and being one with nature. There are plenty of places to party and socialize including casino's, bars, and live music. So of course, I gambled, drank and stayed up all night. Even though I drank heavily and slept little, I still woke up for my morning hikes. Don't get me wrong, it was hard to wake up on five hours of sleep, but once I got outdoors, I felt my fatigue disappear. I was shocked to have high levels of energy throughout the day on such little rest. Usually, I need between seven to nine hours per night to function, but I was running on five to six hours a night. And it wasn't like I was sitting around all day doing nothing. Over the course of the weekend, I hiked three trails that collectively totaled about 20 miles. My two favorite hikes of the weekend were Mt. Tallac and Maggies Peaks. (Excuse the selfie and click through to see Tahoe's beauty.)
The exercise ball, also known as the Swiss Ball, was developed in 1963 by Aquilino Cosani, an Italian plastics manufacturer. According to Wikipedia, the term "Swiss Ball" was used when American physical therapists began to use those techniques in North America after witnessing their benefits in Switzerland. And According to Dwight Schrute (my favorite character from The Office), "This ab workout is specifically designed to strengthen your core. It has numerous health benefits, strengthens your back, better performance in sports, more enjoyable sex." I agree with Dwight and the physical therapists. And so does the latest research.
It can be quite the struggle to buy healthy groceries these days, especially when you have to walk into a store with every food imaginable. Remember, grocery stores are businesses, and it is their job to get you to spend as much money as possible. Gone are the days where you have to fight against your wants and desires. Now you have to deal with the best advertising money can buy. For instance, I had the intention of going to Trader Joe's to buy one item, and an hour later I had 100 dollars less in my bank account. Another time I went to Whole Foods with the intention to buy snacks for a movie. I had my mind set on dark chocolate covered pretzels, but guess what happened? I walked into the store, and right away I see a table with the sign "Self Serve: Potato Chips. And if you know me well then you know I love salty foods. So, of course, I went ahead and filled up my bag with the chips.
In my six year experience as a personal trainer, I am constantly asked if we should be eating past a certain time. When I am asked the question, the client expects a quick yes or no answer. Unfortunately, it is not a black or white. From a calorie perspective, the timing of food has minimal importance. The most important factor is a caloric balance. But, nothing in life operates in a vacuum. We can't just look at calories in versus calories out when we are focused on overall health. We must look broader and include all the pillars of health.