Fitness: Discover the AVAC® Difference!

“Nugget” Is Not a Food Group

via – Lydia M., AbsoluteFIT Participant | AVAC®

I am a big fan of crap food: chili cheese nachos, french fries as a main dish, chicken tenders dipped in ranch dressing, pepperoni-and-sausage pizza, etc. I don’t eat it often; in fact, it’s pretty rare, as my main diet tends toward the kind of stuff you find in Whole Foods, mostly because I am a Responsible Grownup (who doesn’t want to have blood pressure or heart problems or weigh seven hundred pounds or poison myself with 1254 kinds of preservatives and petroleum byproducts).

The crappy junk food I ate on vacation was kind of a dream of childish indulgence... for about two meals. But then it started to wear on me.

The crappy junk food I ate on vacation was kind of a dream of childish indulgence… for about two meals. But then it started to wear on me.

So you’d think the way I ate over my family’s recent trip to beautiful sunny (unnervingly warm and snow-less) Lake Tahoe with another family would be kind of a dream of childish indulgence, right? Well, it was, for about two meals. But then it started to wear on me.

We made a delightful, grownup pasta dish with fresh green salad one night. Every single other meal was waffles, burgers, fries, onion rings, things covered in orange “cheez” and/or dipped in BBQ Ranch — that’s what’s available in the ski lodge past about 2:00, or for takeout at night, or in the kind of restaurants where they don’t mind four cracked-out little kids going feral in the booths.

And by the time we were packed up and heading back down the mountain on Sunday, I was desperately craving ALL OF THE SIMPLE UNPROCESSED THINGS: an order of poke and some miso soup; a piece of grilled chicken with asparagus and quinoa; a plate of nothing but fresh fruit; coffee without Kahlua in it (heh).

Ms. AbsoluteFIT, here, was ready — waaaaaay past ready — to get back to the plan. And not just the workouts — the eating, too, because I’ve realized, thanks to this unintentional crap-food experiment, that AbsoluteFIT has actually changed what I want. Whew. Amazing.


Want to Burn a Huge Chunk of those Excess Calories?

via – Jon Cebula | Personal Trainer, AVAC®

This is an example of a “1000-Calorie Burn-Off Workout” to free the body of those excess calories. The purpose of this workout is caloric expenditure. This is accomplished by maintaining a steady state of training and keeping your intensity levels between something “Somewhat Hard” and “Hard”. Good Luck! Work Hard and Burn those Calories!

  • “1000-Calorie Burn-Off Workout!”
    • Complete 2-sets of the following exercises:
      • 100 – Jumping Jacks (10-25 cals.)
      • 1-mile: Walk / Jog @ 3.5 mph+ (100-300 cals.)
      • 100 – Crunches (40-60 cals.)
      • 25 – Burpees (75-100 cals.)
      • 5-mile: Bike @ 75 rpm Level 2+ (90-120 cals.)
      • 100 – Squats (30-50 cals.)
        • Total Caloric Burn: 2-sets 670 – 1310 Calories

If you have any questions, comments or concerns about this workout, feel free to contact AVAC Personal Trainer: Jon Cebula (jcebula@AVAC.us)

Many Americans consume up to 30 teaspoons of THIS every day!…

A combination of a healthy diet and exercise is the best way to stay healthy. Don’t derail your fitness progress by falling into the sugar trap.

Nutrition Panel Calls for Less Sugar and Eases Cholesterol and Fat Restrictions

Credit: Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times and Barton Silverman/The New York Times

A nutrition advisory panel that helps shape the country’s official dietary guidelines eased some of its previous restrictions on fat and cholesterol on Thursday and recommended sharp new limits on the amount of added sugar that Americans should consume.

The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, which convenes every five years, followed the lead of other major health groups like the American Heart Association that in recent years have backed away from dietary cholesterol restrictions and urged people to cut back on added sugars.

The panel said that Americans were eating too much salt, sugar and saturated fat, and not enough foods that fit a “healthy dietary pattern,” like fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, fish and moderate levels of alcohol. Members of the panel said they wanted Americans to focus less on individual nutrients and more on overall patterns of eating, such as a Mediterranean-style diet, which is associated with lower rates of heart disease and stroke.

The panel singled out added sugars as one of its major concerns. Previous dietary guidelines have included warnings about eating too much added sugar, but for the first time the panel recommended that Americans limit it to no more than 10 percent of daily calories — roughly 12 teaspoons a day for many adults — because of its link to obesity and chronic disease.

Americans consume 22 to 30 teaspoons of added sugar daily, half of which come from soda, juices and other sugary drinks. The panel said sugary drinks should be removed from schools, and it endorsed a rule proposed by the Food and Drug Administration that would require a distinct line for added sugars on food nutrition labels, a change the food and sugar industries have aggressively fought.

Many experts, including some who disagreed with the panel’s cautions on salt and saturated fat, applauded its stronger stance on added sugars.

“That was one of the high points of these guidelines, and something that was sorely needed,” said Dr. Ronald M. Krauss, the director of atherosclerosis research at Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute. “There is a striking excess of added sugar intake in all age groups across the population.”

Dr. Krauss, the former chairman of the American Heart Association’s dietary guidelines committee, said that the advisory panel’s emphasis on overall dietary patterns was “a tremendous move in the right direction.” As part of that move, the panel dropped a suggestion from the previous guidelines that Americans restrict their total fat intake to 35 percent of their daily calories.

Since they were first issued in 1980, the guidelines have largely encouraged people to follow a low-fat diet, which prompted an explosion of processed foods stripped of fat and loaded with sugar. Studies show that replacing fat with refined carbohydrates like bread, rice and sugar can actually worsen cardiovascular health, so the guidelines encourage Americans to focus not on the amount of fat they are eating but on the type.

The guidelines advise people to eat unsaturated fat — the kind found in fish, nuts, and olive and vegetable oils — in place of saturated fat, which occurs primarily in animal foods.

The panel also dropped a longstanding recommendation that Americans restrict their intake of dietary cholesterol from foods like eggs and shrimp — a belated acknowledgment of decades of research showing that dietary cholesterol has little or no effect on the blood cholesterol levels of most people.

“For many years, the cholesterol recommendation has been carried forward, but the data just doesn’t support it,” said Alice H. Lichtenstein, the vice chairwoman of the advisory panel and a professor of nutrition science and policy at Tufts University.

Dr. Krauss said that some people experience a rise in blood cholesterol after eating yolks and other cholesterol-rich foods. But these “hyper-responders” are such a minority — roughly a few percent of the population — that they do not justify broad restrictions on cholesterol intake.

The advisory panel does not issue the official guidelines. Its report is sent to the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Agriculture, which publish Dietary Guidelines for Americans every five years. The agencies usually adhere very closely to the panel’s recommendations.

Although consumers rarely pay direct attention to the guidelines, they nonetheless influence the diets of tens of millions of people. The guidelines shape the menus of the school lunch program, which feeds more than 30 million children each school day, and they are incorporated into national food assistance programs like WIC and SNAP.

The advisory panel included the vegetarian diet as an example of what it called a healthy eating pattern, noting that a plant-based diet is also more sustainable, with less of an impact on the environment. But critics questioned whether the guidelines might overstep the mandate to focus on health and nutrition.

“It appears the advisory committee was more interested in addressing what’s trendy among foodies than providing science-based advice for the average American’s diet,” said Howard Hill, a veterinarian and president of the National Pork Producers Council.

The advisory panel was also criticized for its advice against saturated fat, which has been challenged by several recent studies. Dr. James DiNicolantonio, a cardiovascular scientist at Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute, said that replacing saturated fat with the polyunsaturated fats in vegetable oils could worsen blood cholesterol levels and raise cancer and heart disease risk.

“The recommendations on saturated fat are a farce,” he said.

Adele Hite, a registered dietitian and spokeswoman for the nonprofit Healthy Nation Coalition, said that in the decades since their inception, the guidelines had played a direct role in the explosion of obesity and chronic disease by steering people away from nutritious whole foods like meat, eggs and butter.

Since the 1980s, Americans over all have been eating more grains, produce, cereals and vegetable oils, while generally lowering their intake of red meat, whole milk and eggs, Ms. Hite said, and yet the population is fatter and sicker than ever.

“Despite the unavoidable conclusion that the guidelines have failed in some fundamental way,” she said, “the response from the advisory committee seems to be that an even more restricted list of acceptable foods will, this time around, do the trick.”

AVAC Swim School® Spotlight: Genna Le

AVAC Swim School® recently highlighted the story of a special little girl, Genna Le. Genna is one our amazing special needs swimmers who has thrived in AVAC’s Swim School program.

swim spot



Geena with Stephen Hockemeyer, her instructor

Geena Le

Geena Le came to us a few years ago to learn to swim. A lot of kids come to AVAC in hopes of learning to swim, but Geena’s story is a little bit different. At a young age, Geena was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy, which is a neurological disorder that permanently affects body movement and muscle coordination. Cerebral palsy can’t be cured, but treatment will often improve a child’s capabilities. In Geena’s case, she has never been able to walk. When Geena came to AVAC for the first time, her mom, Sally, was skeptical as to whether or not we would be open to working with her, but what she didn’t know at that point was that here at AVAC, we have what we call an “Open Door Policy.” Anyone is welcome to come in for lessons and we will always do our best to get them into the pool. Our teachers are not therapists, but we do train them to have a solid foundation of knowledge about potential needs of students we might encounter (ie. The autism spectrum, Down Syndrome, Visual Impairment, amongst others). Geena has worked with multiple instructors throughout her time here, but something pretty amazing happened early this spring. When diagnosing Geena, her doctors and therapists told Sally that Geena would not be able to walk; not even in a pool. Thanks to the work of our instructors here at AVAC, Geena took her first steps with her teacher Stephen Hockemeyer in the Spring of this year. Congratulations Geena!

View the entire Swimmer Spotlight story here.

via – Danielle Griffith-Jones, AVAC Swim School Director

Is Speed Training For You?

via – Jon Cebula, Personal Trainer | Team AVAC®

Benefits of Speed Training in Cardio

As a Personal Trainer I see a lot of common mistakes made on the fitness floor. The most frequent mistakes I see are made during cardio. More often than not I see people “Steady State Training” during their cardio workout. Steady State Training is simply maintaining a consistent speed or intensity throughout the entire cardio workout. There is nothing inherently wrong with this type of training; it does burn calories and promotes general activity. Although it does not promote many more cardiovascular benefits other than that. If the purpose of cardiovascular training is to improve the general function and strength of the cardiovascular system, this can only be done when training at higher levels of cardiovascular effort for extended periods of time.

My simple suggestion: Speed Play!

Whether you are on the Elliptical, Treadmill or Cycle, you can easily boost cardiovascular benefits by increasing your speed. Below is an example of a cardio workout that promotes Speed Play.

Fartlek Training (Swedish word for “Speed Play”) – this is a 30-minute cardio workout. Follow the workout down the list like a script. The words in parenthesis are descriptive terms to describe the intensity you should be feeling. Example speeds for a Treadmill workout are provided in the brackets.

  • 3 minutes @ “Moderate” (Warm-Up) {3.8 mph – fast walk}
  • 1 minute @ “Easy” {3.5 mph – walk}
  • 1 minute @ “Somewhat Hard” {5.5 mph – jog}
  • 1 minute @ “Very Hard” {7.0 mph – run}
  • 1 minute @ “Easy” {3.5 mph – walk}
  • 1 minute @ “Somewhat Hard” {5.5 mph – jog}
  • 1 minute @ “Very Hard” {7.0 mph – run}
  • 1 minute @ “Easy” {3.5 mph – walk}
  • 1 minute @ “Somewhat Hard” {5.5 mph – jog}
  • 1 minute @ “Very Hard” {7.0 mph – run}
  • 1 minute @ “Easy” {3.5 mph – walk}
  • 1 minute @ “Somewhat Hard” {5.5 mph – jog}
  • 1 minute @ “Very Hard” {7.0 mph – run}
  • 1 minute @ “Easy” {3.5 mph – walk}
  • 1 minute @ “Somewhat Hard” {5.5 mph – jog}
  • 1 minute @ “Very Hard” {7.0 mph – run}
  • 1 minute @ “Easy” {3.5 mph – walk}
  • 1 minute @ “Somewhat Hard” {5.5 mph – jog}
  • 1 minute @ “Very Hard” {7.0 mph – run}
  • 1 minute @ “Easy” {3.5 mph – walk}
  • 1 minute @ “Somewhat Hard” {5.5 mph – jog}
  • 1 minute @ “Very Hard” {7.0 mph – run}
  • 1 minute @ “Easy” {3.5 mph – walk}
  • 1 minute @ “Somewhat Hard” {5.5 mph – jog}
  • 1 minute @ “Very Hard” {7.0 mph – run}
  • 3 minutes @ “Easy” (Cool-Down) {3.5 mph – walk}

Give it a whirl! Your heart will thank you! If you have any questions, comments or concerns about this workout, feel free to contact AVAC® Personal Trainer: Jon Cebula (jcebula@AVAC.us)

The Best Arm Workout For Beginners

Do you ever find yourself at the gym wondering, “where do I start?” Here are a few great arm exercises for beginners to try:

via – popsugar.com/fitness | by Lizzie Fuhr

The Best Arm Workout For Beginners

The Best Arm Workout For BeginnersIf your gym routine is new to you, it’s natural to feel hesitant about heading to the weight room. From weight loss to toning up, there are many reasons why weight training deserves to be a part of your life, but it can be a little nerve-racking if you’re not sure where to start. Luckily, POPSUGAR Fitness host and personal trainer Anna Renderer has taken all that anxiety out of the equation with an easy-to-follow dumbbell circuit workout that’s designed with the beginner in mind.

Anna says that doing two moves back to back is a great way to feel the burn, and this workout does just that. Perform the first move in the circuit 10 times to complete a set, then the second move 10 times to complete a set. Switch back and forth until you’ve completed three sets of each. Then, do the same for the second and third circuits.

Circuit 1, Move 1: Lying Chest Fly
Circuit 1, Move 1: Lying Chest FlyWork your pecs to give your chest a little lift while toning your lower abs.

  • Lie on your back with your hips and knees both at 90-degree angles. Using your lower abs, press your lower back into the mat. Raise your arms toward the ceiling, palms facing each other, keeping the elbow joint slightly bent.
  • Keeping your torso stable, open your arms out to the side until your elbows are about two inches from the floor.
  • Raise your arms back to the ceiling, bringing the weights together over your chest. This completes one rep.
  • Do 10 reps to complete a set.
    Use five- to eight-pound dumbbells.

Circuit 1, Move 2: Lying Triceps Extension
Circuit 1, Move 2: Lying Triceps ExtensionStrengthen the backs of your arms and get ready for tank-top season with this effective triceps move.

  • Grab a set of dumbbells, and start by lying on your back.
  • With one dumbbell in each hand, raise your arms so they are above your chest, making sure your elbows are straight but not locked.
  • Slowly lower both arms toward your head, bending your elbows to 90 degrees as the dumbbells reach the mat. Aim to lower your dumbbells so they are on either side of your head, elbows bent and pressing in toward your head.
  • Lift arms back up to starting position. This is one rep.
  • Do 10 reps to complete a set.
    Use five- to eight-pound dumbbells.

Circuit 2, Move 1: Squat, Curl, and Press
Circuit 2, Move 1: Squat, Curl, and Press

Moving from a squat to an overhead press gets the heart rate going while working your butt and legs.

  • Stand with your feet directly under your hips, holding a dumbbell in each hand. Sit back into your squat, keeping the weight in your heels, bringing your thighs parallel to the floor without letting your knees go beyond your toes.
  • Push through your heels to return to standing while bringing the weights to your shoulders, performing a bicep curl.
  • Stabilize your torso and keep your arms moving upward, performing an overhead press with your palms facing out.
  • Lower your arms back to your side to complete one rep.
  • Do 10 reps to complete a set.
    Use eight- to 10-pound dumbbells.

Circuit 2, Move 2: Bent-Over Row
Circuit 2, Move 2: Bent-Over Row

This move makes for shapely shoulders and a powerful back. Stand up, pick up your dumbbells again, and follow these steps.

  • Lean forward and bend both knees, remembering to keep a flat back.
  • Extend your arms so they are straight. Lift the dumbbells straight up to chest level, squeezing your shoulder blades together as you do. Be sure to keep your elbows in and pointed upward. Don’t arch your back.
  • Slowly lower the weights back to the starting position to complete one rep.
  • Do 10 reps to complete a set.
    Use 10- to 15-pound dumbbells.

Circuit 3, Move 1: Reverse Fly

Circuit 3, Move 1: Reverse FlyStrengthen your upper back and stand tall with the Reverse Fly.

  • Holding a dumbbell in each hand, stand with knees slightly bent. Keeping your back flat, bend forward at the hip joint.
  • Exhale and lift both arms to the side, maintaining a slight bend in the elbows and squeezing your shoulder blades together. Then, with control, lower the dumbbells back toward the ground. This completes one rep.
  • Do 10 reps to complete a set.
    Use five-pound dumbbells.

Circuit 3, Move 2: Lateral Raises
Circuit 3, Move 2: Lateral RaisesTarget your shoulders and upper back with this easy-to-follow move.

  • Stand with your feet hip’s distance apart. Hold a dumbbell in each hand so your palms face in toward the sides of your body.
  • Start with the right side first. With control, keep your arm straight (but don’t lock that elbow), and as you inhale, raise your right hand up toward the ceiling. You want your palm to be facing down and your arm to be parallel to the floor. Then, as you exhale, slowly lower your hand back to your body. You should be able to see your hand in your peripheral vision. So your arm won’t be directly out to the side, but slightly forward.
  • Do the same move with your left arm.
  • Then do both your right and left arms at the same time.
  • Continue these moves of right, left, together, right, left, together, for a total of 10 reps.
    Use five-pound dumbbells.

Source: POPSUGAR Studios