Linking sugary drinks to obesity, Philadelphia has become the first major city in the U.S. to approve a tax on sugar-sweetened and diet beverages. The so-called "soda tax" will help raise money for impoverished school systems, as well helping to combat the many health issues related to consumption of sugary drinks.
If you're addicted to soda, you're certainly not alone, but Philadelphia's soda tax makes it clear that the negative effects of soda are steadily coming into the public eye. Here are just five reasons why kicking your soda habit is important to your overall health.
5 Reasons To Stop Drinking Soda
1. Soda Contributes to Weight Gain
Drinking soda adds up. When you consider that one normal-sized can of Coke contains around 160 calories, drinking one can every day for a month comes out to 4,800 extra calories. That's scary when you think think that most soda "addicts" drink far more than one can a day. Here's the other thing: Studies have shown that diet sodas are counteractive to weight gain, as well. Why? The artificial sweeteners in diet soda actually make your body crave sweet food.
2. Soda is Bad For Your Teeth
Soda has been shown to corrode 10 times more tooth enamel than natural fruit juices. It's not just the sugar; it's also the high acid content of soda that will drive your dentist crazy. You know how coke can be used to clean car batteries? Well...
3. Soda is Bad to the Bone, Literally
Frequent consumption of soft drinks may lead to a higher risk of osteoporosis, and in children can lead to the impaired growth of bones. Some scientists believe that the acidity of soda weakens bones by promoting the loss of calcium.
4. Soda is Bad For Your Kidneys
If you've ever suffered from a kidney stone, you probably pray that it will never happen again. Research has clearly demonstrated that consuming large quantities of soda places a person at a greater risk of developing kidney stones. Moreover, drinking two or more sodas a day has been linked to a greater risk of developing chronic kidney disease.
5. Soda Puts You at a Greater Risk of Diabetes
This is clearly linked to No. 1 above (soda makes you gain weight), because anything that promotes weight gain increases the risk of diabetes. It also compromises the body's ability to process sugar, while the high fructose syrup in soda puts more strain on insulin-producing cells than other foods. In turn, insulin itself becomes less effective at processing sugar.
Working with a personal trainer can help you raise the bar on your health, nutrition and fitness program. Amarillo personal trainer Ralph Roberts show you how to meet all of your wellness goals. Contact Ralph today to schedule a free personal training session.
Cutting out soda isn't the only way to lose weight. No matter how busy you are, be sure to get a few workouts in a week. Download our free at-home workout eBook!
Generations of women were told to avoid any type of exercise while pregnant. This was based on the idea that even moderate exercise could pose potential harm to both the baby and the mother. Fortunately, decades of research have taught us otherwise.
The only condition that a pregnant woman needs to be careful with what types of exercises she undertakes is how strenuous her exercise routine is.
The first step is to talk with your doctor about what your current workout includes and what steps you should take to modify it. Most doctors know the importance of fitness for a healthy pregnancy and are glad to work with patients.
Exercises To Avoid While Pregnant
Your body is going to go through steady changes over a 9-10 month period. You need to get in tune with your body and the changes it is going through. What you can do in your first trimester is not going to be what you are capable of in the last.
Reduce the intensity of your exercises. Your body is going to go through major changes as you move from one trimester to another. Be prepared to reduce your intensity as needed.
Cut back on, then eliminate, jumps and twists in your routine. As your body changes to accommodate your growing uterus, you are going to experience weight gain and a shift in your center of gravity. Add in twists and jumps with these changes and you have a recipe for disaster.
Find low-impact exercise options for the third trimester. Walking and swimming are both good options. Being prepared before you reach this point will make the transition easier.
And always, always listen to your doctor. If your doctor tells you to stop doing a particular exercise, stop.
Amarillo personal trainer Ralph Roberts who knows how to modify exercises for pregnant women. Contact him today to schedule a free personal training session.
During the summer, some people tend to fall off the fitness wagon. Even if you’ve worked hard all year to get in shape, parties, vacations and ball games can derail your progress if you’re not careful. Here are three tips for staying committed to your fitness goals during the summer.
3 Ways To Stay On Track This Summer
1. Have Fun
Working out should always be fun. If you don’t enjoy what you’re doing, you’re less likely to stick with it.
Summer offers the perfect opportunity to spice up your routine and go on an adventure or two. Consider these ideas for a great way to stay in shape and have a little fun at the same time.
Trips out of town can be scary when you’re trying to stay on track with your fitness goals. Here are a few ways you can still enjoy a vacation without putting on extra pounds.
Over the summer, you probably get several invitations to social gatherings. Why not host your own party or barbecue? This way, you maintain control over the menu and can more easily avoid falling off the wagon. Hosting also gives you something to do so that you stay active, rather than lounging around all summer.
Staying Fit with Ralph Roberts
Personal trainer Ralph Roberts knows how to help you get fit for summer and keep working toward those goals—no matter what the season brings. For more healthy tips, subscribe to our newsletter.
One of the most important elements of your workout program is rest. That can be hard to accept for someone who applies a "more is better" approach to everything, including fitness, but rest doesn't imply slacking off or not putting in a full effort during your workouts.
Instead, rest days can help you achieve optimal fitness in the most efficient, safest way possible.
Why Are Rest Days Necessary?
Rest Helps Prevent Injury
Rest leads to overuse and overuse can lead to injury. If you continue to push yourself without a break, your muscles and joints can start to break down. That's when injuries can occur.
Rest Helps Your Immune System
Your immune system can become over-taxed from repairing muscles and joints when you're in the midst of long periods of heavy activity. If you're immune system can't catch up, you can get sick and/or suffer injuries. If you suffer from an autoimmune disease or other illness, it is even more essential for you to rest your body.
Rest Helps You Mentally
Mental fatigue can be every bit as difficult to overcome as physical fatigue. Taking a rest can recharge your hunger for exercise, both physically and mentally. It's important enough that you should even schedule rest days as a standard part of your weekly workout routine.
Rest Can Help Sleeplessness
The benefits of working out include helping you sleep better, but too much physical activity without rest periods can have the opposite effect. Excessive exercise can put your body in a constant state of restlessness that makes it difficult to fall asleep and maintain adequate rest.
Rest Won't Affect Your Fitness Level
You may be of the mind-set that taking time off will decrease your exercise performance, or cause you to lose the fitness gains you've worked so hard to achieve. Studies have shown that it actually takes two weeks of non-activity before you'll experience a noticeable drop in your progress or performance level.
Rest Will Help You Avoid Weight-Loss Plateau
In a similar way that exercise helps and hinders your sleep (if done in excess), it can actually stall or halt your weight-loss efforts. Yes, exercise is a key component of any weight-loss program, but overtraining can cause you to reach a plateau caused by your body's built-in protective mechanisms.
Rest Helps You Have Energy
If you're finding it hard to get through your day because you're too tired or sore from working out, then over-training is a likely culprit. Listen carefully to your body to understand when rest - not more activity — is needed.
Working with a personal trainer such as Ralph Roberts can help you achieve your health and fitness goals in a safe, smart and effective way. Contact Ralph today to set up a free personal training session.
There are so many advantages to meals prepared in a slow cooker - from saving time (you're only responsible for the initial prep), to reduced energy use, and even easier clean-up. It's also a great way to cook healthy, flavorful meals that can cut calories while not skimping on taste. Here's a look at eight healthy slow cooker meals that all weigh in at 400 calories or less.
1. Chicken With Carrots and Potatoes
All this recipe takes is 20 minutes of preparation and you'll have an excellent meal waiting for you later that is just 229 calories per serving. Use additional chicken broth if you'd rather not use wine as an ingredient.
2. Low Calorie Sweet and Sour Chicken
Instead of ordering from your favorite takeout place, try this healthy version of sweet and sour chicken instead. It's only 350 calories per serving and packed with 48 grams of protein. Plus, it will help satisfy your craving for Chinese food.
3. Slow Cooker Beef Adobado
The dried chilies in this recipe add heat and smoke, as well as a depth of flavor that's difficult to get with canned sauces or fresh peppers. They're just part of an incredible sauce that the brisket will cook in for hours. And it's only 249 calories per serving.
4. Chorizo Spiced Pulled Pork
Lean pork tenderloin and chicken broth is substituted in this recipe to make a leaner - yet no less delicious - version. It's ideal for tacos and sandwiches.
5. Easy Chicken Fajitas
This easy recipe needs only five ingredients and it's a perfect low-calorie meal (233 calories per serving) for busy weeknights - or anytime. It makes four servings each.
6. Chinese Pork Tenderloin Noodles
Another delicious medley of Chinese flavors that's a great alternative to takeout, this recipe is only 303 calories per serving with 28 grams of protein. You can add lime wedges for a zesty flavor.
7. French Country Beef Stew
This is a classic French recipe that's made with beef, vegetables and red wine. The slow cooker melts and softens the connective tissue of the lean beef shanks to produce delicious results. You can substitute non-alcoholic wine if you prefer, and can serve with barley to soak up the tasty sauce.
8. Coconut Basil Chicken
This sauce can be used on almost anything, from noodles, to brown rice, and veggies, but is especially delicious in this slow cooker chicken recipe. You can add green curry paste to suit your taste, or brown sugar or honey to make a sweeter sauce.
Working with a personal trainer like Ralph Roberts will help you reach all of your health and fitness goals. Contact Ralph today for a free personal training session.
To get the body you want, you must eat healthy AND work out. Download Ralph's free 30-Day Toned Arm Challenge!
Pregnancy is an amazing and mysterious period in one’s life. From the second you find out you are pregnant your life is irrevocably changed.
While the miracle of birth is one thing, the process of being pregnant isn’t always pretty, and there are some issues that all women face during their pregnancies. One of the most common concerns that newly pregnant women have is just how much weight they should, ideally, gain during their entire pregnancy.
Pregnancy Weight Gain
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could go through the process of pregnancy without gaining a single pound? It sounds like an ideal situation, but that simply isn’t to be.
Pregnancy weight gain actually serves an important purpose. According to doctors and experts, between 6 and 8 lbs. of your total weight gain will be your actual baby, although that number varies. The rest of the weight you gain is likely in the form of fat, which is used to prepare the body for breastfeeding. The placenta, enlarged uterus and amniotic fluid will add additional pounds on the scale, as well, and your breast can gain up to two pounds of weight. All of this is important to the health and well being of your growing child.
How Much Weight Should I Gain?
There is no perfect number for weight gain during pregnancy. Instead there is a wide range that doctors will consider acceptable, and much of it hinges on your weight prior to your pregnancy. For example, a woman who is underweight when she gets pregnant will be expected to gain more weight during the course of her pregnancy than a woman who was overweight when she became pregnant. This discrepancy is for the purpose of fat stores for breastfeeding.
Underweight women are expected to gain between 28 and 40 pounds, depending on their starting weight. Woman who have an average body mass index should gain between 25 and 35 pounds over the course of their pregnancy. Women who are considered overweight or obese prior to becoming pregnant should look to gain between 15 and 25 pounds over the course of nine months.
The pregnancy process is a magical time, but it isn’t a time to gain weight with abandon. Heavy weight gain can be bad for both you and your growing baby. Doctors also suggest soon-to-be moms should stay fit and active during their pregnancy, and eat healthy foods.
Once you’ve had your bundle of joy, and are ready to kick your fitness back into high gear, contact Ralph Roberts, an Amarillo personal trainer who can keep your healthy, happy and fit as you navigate new motherhood.
Taking your workouts outside is an enjoyable option during the summer. But exercising in the great outdoors is not without hazards that you don't encounter in the gym. Here are some tips for when you exercise outdoors.
1. Protect Yourself Against UV Rays
Sunglasses aren't just for casual wear. You'll need a quality pair for working out in the bright sun because over-exposure to ultraviolet rays can lead to serious eye problems, such as cataracts and glaucoma. Make sure your sunglasses have both UVA and UVB protection.
2. Get Used to the Heat Gradually
It can take a week or two to get used to working out in 80- or 90-degree weather. Start with lighter workouts (or train early in the day) and listen to your body. If you get tired more quickly, or experience a headache or dizziness, get out of the sun immediately.
3. Carb Up
Load up on complex carbohydrates the night before a hot-weather workout. The sugars of complex carbs will become glycogen, which helps your body retain water.
4. Beware of Animals
Being active outdoors (such as hiking or trail running) in the Amarillo area can put you at greater risk of encountering scorpions, rattlesnakes, and the like. If you're hiking, wear tall boots and thick socks, and use a stick to tap the ground in front of you. If you opt to carry antivenins with you, be sure to check with your doctor first in case you're allergic to them.
5. Protect Your Skin
Never leave home without applying sunscreen to all of your exposed skin. Give yourself 30 minutes to let the chemicals bond with your skin. Reapply after a few hours. Don’t rely on “sweatproof” or “waterproof” sunblock.
6. Always Hydrate
Even slight dehydration can raise your heart rate and decrease its efficiency. Experts advise drinking 16 to 32 ounces of water before you go outside, as well as having water with you during your workout. If you’re hiking in Palo Duro Canyon, heed the signs. There’s a reason the Lighthouse Trail advises to bring one quart of water per person.
7. Take Antioxidants
Some studies have shown that taking vitamin C and E can help protect against sun damage.
8. Beware of Pollution
When ozone and carbon-monoxide levels are high (consult a local weather report), consider working out indoors instead.
9. Heat Stress is Cumulative
If you exercised in hot weather yesterday, you're more susceptible to heat-related problems today, even if the weather is milder. Switch up your workouts by alternating between indoors and outdoors.
10. Beware of Humidity
When it's humid, your body doesn't sweat as efficiently. Warm, humid weather can affect you as much — or more — than hot, dry weather.
Amarillo personal trainer Ralph Roberts can help you reach your health and fitness goals effectively and safely. Contact Ralph today to schedule a free personal training session.
Expectant mothers, especially first-timers, have plenty of questions about what to eat and how to ensure their baby remains healthy.
You’ve heard of all the foods you shouldn’t eat, such as sushi, luncheon meat and soft cheeses, but what about the foods you should be consuming.
If you have the same concern during your pregnancy, check out these seven foods that are approved for your growing belly.
7 Foods To Keep You And Your Baby Healthy
This delicious green fruit is full of healthy fats you and your baby need. Avocados also pack a punch in the calcium, B6 and potassium departments, too. These nutrients are essential to your well being, as well as the growth of your unborn child.
Beans and Lentils
There is a reason that beans and lentils are a staple in the diets of vegetarians. Legumes are a great source of protein without a lot of added fat. For pregnant women, they also offer plenty of folic acid, which reduces the risk of birth defects.
Pregnancy can do a number on your energy stores and digestive tract. It can also make you super hungry. To avoid cravings and to keep your energy up while you are pregnant, experts suggest loading up on oatmeal in the morning. The fiber will also help you avoid constipation — a common pregnancy symptom.
Healthy bone growth is imperative to your baby’s overall health, and calcium is one way to ensure that. Doctors suggest women who are expecting to up their calcium intake, and yogurt has plenty of it. Yogurt is another easy, morning food that can be eaten while in a rush. Plus, it’ll keep you full through your entire morning commute.
For expectant mothers, omega-3 fatty acids should be eaten regularly. Fish is an excellent source of that. Omega-3 fatty acids are vital nutrients for your baby’s brain development. Doctors suggest only eating low-mercury fish and to avoid uncooked fish at all costs.
A hardy fruit with plenty of potassium, bananas are a dream for a pregnant woman with an upset stomach. Not only are they easy to digest, but they are easy to get down if you are in a hurry. You can throw them in smoothies, too, for a quick on-the-go meal.
There isn’t just one you should be eating, because they are all good for you and your baby. Kale, cabbage and spinach are chock full of iron, magnesium and beta-carotene. Your baby requires these for healthy bone and eye development, so feel free to stock up on leafy green vegetables.
If you are pregnant, but wish to continue working out, Ralph Roberts can help you work out safely. If you have already welcomed your beautiful bundle, he can help you kick that baby weight to the curb. Contact Ralph Roberts today for a free personal training session.
Too busy with your newborn to get to the gym? Download Ralph Roberts' FREE 2 Weeks of At-Home Workouts eBook.
The hotter it is outside, the shorter the sleeves, and that means you want your arms to look sleek and sculpted not just this summer, but all year round.
Get the arms you want in just 30 days with my FREE 30-Day Toned Arm Challenge.
The challenge includes a variety of arm exercises, such as push-ups, dips, curls and punches. Slowly increase your reps each day so your arms become leaner and stronger.
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