The benefits of working with a qualified personal trainer are many — from helping you follow a fitness program that's best for you, to keeping you motivated, to helping you avoid injury.
That's why finding a personal trainer who is right for you is an important task. It's not always easy finding one who has the right experience and personality to fit your needs. Here are some tips to remember during your search.
Not only should you ask for references, but you should also follow up on them. Talk to current or past clients, including friends who've trained with him or her. Find out what people are saying, good and bad.
Do Your Research
If you like your current gym, of course you should ask about the trainers there. But you shouldn't just stop there. Many trainers have their own websites. Look over those sites carefully, and in particular, pay attention to any professional certifications they may have. A National Strength and Conditioning (CSCS) is considered top of the line, while other highly-respected certifications include ones from the American Council of Exercise and the National Academy of Sports Medicine.
Pay close attention to what the trainer says about their training style. Do they have an approach that's been used to help people with a variety of training goals? This shows experience and the ability to adapt.
Schedule a Consultation Session
Once you've found someone that fits your criteria, schedule an introductory session with them to ask questions and get a feel for their training style. Most trainers will do an initial session for a reasonable price.
If the first trainer you meet with doesn't seem like a good fit, then keep looking. The bottom line is that you need to find the right person that you're comfortable with. You need to make sure that they're meeting your goals, not their goals. You need to feel like they're pushing you, while also meeting basic expectations such as showing up on time. If not, continue to shop around.
Are They Really Personal?
Evaluate your trainer to see if it seems like they're just going through the motions, or giving every client the same workout routine. Your trainer should work with you to understand your particular needs and body, and then develop an individualized program specifically for you.
An experienced, accomplished trainer like Ralph Roberts of the Downtown Athletic Club in Amarillo can help take your fitness to a whole new level. Call him today to schedule an introductory meeting.
The holiday season is a time for cheer, joy, and celebration. You gather with family and friends to celebrate your own holiday traditions and you even enjoy some time away from work.
However, it can also be a time of stress, sadness, anxiety and even loneliness. The holiday blues affect many of us and they can be tough to shake. Fortunately, there are a variety of ways to lift your spirits and help you enjoy the holiday season.
1. Escape Social Media
Connect with close friends the old fashioned way: By phone, in person, or even via text messages. Unlike Facebook, where you're often getting the “highlight reel” of people you haven't seen in years, you'll get better satisfaction hearing updates from people actually have a true relationship with.
When you suffer from the holiday blues, it can be easy to get stuck in a rut and skip workouts. By doing so, you're depriving yourself of exercise-induced endorphins that can help boost your mood. Challenge yourself to exercise when you least feel like it.
3. Do Something Different
Lift yourself out of your rut by trying something new, whether it's a new exercise class, a restaurant you've never tried, or even taking a new route to work in the morning.
Channel your inner Sinatra and sing out loud — in the shower, in your car, anywhere. You may not land an album deal, but you'll feel a lot better.
Want to feel better about yourself? Do something for others. There are many volunteer opportunities over the holidays, from distributing gifts to the less fortunate, to helping serve a holiday meal to the homeless. Moreover, you can have friends join you and make a real impact.
6. Walk It Off
Similar to No. 2, you can shake off those blues by doing something active. Even a simple stroll around the block can help clear your head when something isn't going well at home or work.
7. Keep Track Of The Positives
It can become easy to get bogged down in the negatives, like what you don't have, or the stress of the season. Make a list of all the things you are grateful for in your life.
8. Get Moving
Whether it's signing up for an exercise class, or making a list of Christmas activities you enjoy (perhaps taking a drive to enjoy the holiday lights), taking that first step of doing something positive can help lift your mood.
Partnering with a personal trainer like Ralph Roberts in Amarillo can help you achieve your fitness goals and develop the discipline to stay on track.
One common (and dangerous) misconception is that you'll accelerate weight loss by eating less in relation to how much you exercise. For women athletes, under-eating can bring with it especially damaging end results.
With under-eating at its core, a syndrome known as female athlete triad has become a growing problem as the number of female athletes has exploded over the last 40 years. This syndrome often entails an irregular menstrual cycle, low energy, and low bone density. It's found in women of all ages, from high school athletes on up.
The importance of recognizing the signs of when you're not meeting your nutrition needs is crucial.
Skipping Post-Workout Meals
You may think that eating after you workout cancels out the calories you've burned. But it's not simply a matter of calories in and calories out. Instead, your body is geared to use nutrients for healing, so a healthy meal after a hard workout will help your body recuperate. By not eating enough post-workout, you will become weaker, and susceptible to injuries and decreased performance.
Under-eating is right there with stress and lack of sleep when it comes to causing fatigue. Remember, your body needs calories to support vital functions — heart, lungs, circulation — and even if you're inactive, you still need a certain amount of calories to keep functioning. A rule of thumb is that you need 10 calories for every pound of body weight. You'll need even more to cover the calories you burn during exercise.
Not having regular periods is often a sign that you aren't getting enough nourishment to maintain adequate hormone levels. You don't even need to be underweight; it can happen if your body mass index is normal.
Worse, this imbalance can lead to a depletion of bone density, which increases the likelihood of fractures and osteoporosis. Just taking a calcium supplement won't stop these injuries if they're due to long-term under-eating.
Not eating enough can lead to a weakened immune system. If you're the type of person that catches every cold or flu that comes around, you need to take a look at your diet.
Obsessive About Food
Being obsessive about food can mean fearing what you eat. You can find yourself not wanting to eat when you're hungry, or becoming more restrictive about what you eat. You may avoid social situations because it may cause you to give up control of your diet. All of these can lead you away from optimal health.
One way to keep your fitness and weight-loss goals on target are by working with a personal trainer such as Ralph Roberts. You can contact him at the Downtown Athletic Club of Amarillo.
It's a pretty simple formula when you think about it — if you eat fewer calories than you burn, you should lose weight. For most healthy adults that's sound logic, but sometimes we want to take it too far and eat even less.
The result, experts say, can have detrimental effects on the body, including slowing down weight loss rather than accelerating it. That's why the latest recommendations of a minimum of 1,200 calories per day for women and 1,500 for men are considered safe when it comes to weight loss. To take in fewer calories than that is considered undereating.
The Body And Undereating
The difference between fasting and undereating is important. Fasting is typically done over a period of several hours and — despite negative reports about some fasting or detox diets — can be effective for weight loss. Think of it this way: Your body is already set up to handle some fasting when you consider that we sleep eight hours a night without eating.
The flip side (not eating for several days, or not consuming the minimum amount of calories over a long period of time) can lead to malnutrition. This, in turn, messes with your body chemistry, as it slows down and relies on protein and fat as its source of energy rather than carbohydrates. After 48 hours with no food your glycogen stores run out, and your body needs glycogen to power red blood cells and the brain.
Other Reasons Undereating Isn't Healthy
With not enough calories to help you get through your day, your body adapts by slowing your metabolism. This can make you feel sluggish and irritable. Moreover, it takes your body time to recover and your metabolism to kick in again once you resume normal eating.
Negative impact on muscles and organs
When you don't eat enough and your body doesn't maintain its minimum blood glucose level, it will break down muscles and organs. Over an extended period of time, the result is weakened and damaged vital organs.
Risk of nutrient deficiencies
Prolonged starvation leads to deficiencies in calcium, iron, zinc, and essential vitamins. In addition, it leads to electrolyte deficiencies and protein malnutrition.
Is Undereating Ever OK?
Some individuals have found benefit in a medically supervised low calorie diet. This involves eating less than 800 calories per day, but uses special shakes, soups and bars to make sure the minimum amount of nutrients are being consumed.
Looking for someone to partner with you as strive to meet your fitness and weight-loss goals? Personal trainer Ralph Roberts in Amarillo can guide you along the way.
Protein powder is a great resource for building muscle, getting stronger, fueling your body, and recovering after an intense workout. But downing the same tired old protein shake time after time gets boring pretty fast.
Mix up your protein needs by incorporating the powder in some foods you eat — or would love to eat — every day. Here are five fun and tasty ways to use protein powder.
Make Breakfast Better
Oatmeal is a breakfast staple, and for good reason. It’s heart healthy and nutritious. But sometimes, one little bowl of oatmeal isn’t quite enough to get you through a hectic morning.
Add a scoop of whey or casein protein powder to your oatmeal breakfast to give yourself that extra push. It helps you stay fuller longer and still tastes delicious.
Indulge In Pancakes And Waffles
Who doesn’t love a decadent waffle or fluffy pancake? Maybe you think these dishes are out of reach if you’ve adopted a healthy lifestyle. Fortunately, you’re mistaken.
Pancakes and waffles can be healthier if you avoid the syrupy sweet toppings, and add some brown rice or hemp protein powder. Just two scoops whisked into your mix give your meal the protein your body craves.
Make Soup More Filling
Soups are a great option for lunch. Depending on the ingredients, they can be healthy super-foods. The bad news? Soup isn’t all that filling.
By adding two scoops of hemp protein powder, your appetizer-sized entre becomes a full-fledged meal with enough protein to push you through the rest of your day.
Get Rid Of Dip Guilt
Guacamole, hummus, black bean dip — mouth-watering, but also guilt-inducing. And it’s way too easy to overindulge on the chips and dip when the dip is so tasty.
Adding one scoop of pea or hemp protein powder into your dips not only gives snack time added nutritional value, but it also fills you up more quickly. That means you’re less likely to go for seconds. Or thirds.
Bake The Best
Some muffins are on the healthier side of the nutrition scale, while others are, well, not. But even the most sinful baked goods can be saved. Simply replace the flour (up to 1/4 cup) in your recipe with whey or soy protein powder. Less gluten, fewer calories, and more muscle-building protein.
There you have it: five ways to get your daily dose of protein without that boring shake. Or, if you’re really hardcore, maybe five ways to sneak more protein into your diet.
Either way, when you’re ready to build muscle, look great, and feel amazing, reach out to personal trainer Ralph Roberts. With his custom workouts, your body will be begging for more protein in no time.
Choosing a protein powder can be daunting, but we’ve got you covered. Here are the seven most common types of protein powders and the benefits of each.
Whey Protein Powder
Whey is the most commonly used of all the protein choices. Perhaps this has something to do with its low price or its awesome results. As a dairy-based protein powder, whey repairs muscles right after a strength-training session and continues to build muscle strength and size when used within two hours of exercise.
Casein Protein Powder
Similar to whey, this protein is also dairy-based. But it differs from whey in one key aspect: digestion speed. Because it digests more slowly, amino acids are released into your body at a slower rate. This means it may not be as beneficial right after a workout, but is best used ahead of a fasting period (such as right before bed).
Pea Protein Powder
This protein powder is made from yellow peas. As such, it’s 100 percent plant-based, gluten-free, and dairy-free. This is good for those who suffer with lactose intolerance or gastric distress. An added bonus? It’s also naturally free of fat and cholesterol. Unfortunately, it’s deficient in one essential amino acid, so it shouldn’t be your only protein source.
Soy Protein Powder
Also plant-based, soy protein powder contains all the essential amino acids. Its makeup also includes isoflavones, which are thought to reduce the risk of cancer. But, these same nutrients can interact with hormones and reduce testosterone levels. An occasional soy shake is fine, but if you’re using it regularly, try a soy protein concentrate that contains fewer isoflavones.
Hemp Protein Powder
A derivative of cannabis, this powder is made from hemp seeds. It’s 100 percent plant-based, highly digestible, and packed with healthy omega-3 fatty acids. The bad news? It’s high in calories. If weight loss is your main goal, this isn’t for you.
Brown Rice Protein Powder
Another plant-based option, brown rice protein powder is almost as beneficial as whey. It’s a great economical option for those with gluten sensitivities, but it’s missing one essential amino acid. For this reason, be sure to use it in conjunction with other protein sources.
Vegan Protein Powder Blends
This option gives you the best of all the protein powders. It’s made of a mix of plants and is nutritionally superior to the alternatives. Choosing a vegan blend gives you all the essential amino acids you need — but without gluten, dairy, or soy.
With so many protein powder options, it’s difficult to know which to choose. Personal trainer Ralph Roberts can assess your fitness level and goals to help determine the one that’s right for you. Reach out to us now to learn more.
It’s easy to forget to hydrate when working out during the winter months. You likely aren’t sweating as much, especially if you exercise outdoors, and you’re more focused on staying warm than cooling off.
But dehydration is just as serious an issue in the cold as it is in the heat. It can lead to major problems, such as seizures and kidney failure. To prevent accidentally becoming dehydrated, check out these four tips for staying hydrated during the colder months.
Sip Without Sweat
It’s true that your body loses fluid through sweat, but this can also happen as you breathe during a workout, especially if you’re sucking in dry, cold air on an outside run in the winter.
Additionally, our bodies don’t register thirst as easily when they’re cold, so it’s harder to tell when you need to up your water intake. To play it safe, consider setting a timer for every 30 minutes or so during a winter workout to remind yourself to take a few gulps.
Doctor Your Diet
Drinks aren’t the only way to hydrate your body. A big part of keeping yourself hydrated regularly is by adjusting your diet to include more water-rich foods. A few examples are:
Root For Room Temperature
Hydrating helps keep your internal temperature at an optimal level. But because your body absorbs cold liquids quickly, this effect is short-lived. Even though a cold drink may be more refreshing, your body will respond better if you opt for room temperature when exercising in cold weather.
Acknowledge Activity And Altitude
The intensity of your activity and the altitude at which you exercise both affect the ability for your body to retain necessary fluid. As far as intensity goes, a good rule of thumb is to incorporate electrolytes and carbohydrates into your rehydration method if you’re working out for longer than an hour. Otherwise, plain water is sufficient.
For higher altitudes sports, keep in mind that you’ll need to hydrate even more than you would if doing the same activity at a lower altitude.
At Ralph Roberts Personal Training, we cater your exercise program to your body’s specific needs, guiding you on how much water intake is required to keep you safely hydrated. When you’re ready to take your fitness regimen to the next level, give me a call.
You’re going on a diet…again. You exercise but just can’t seem to lose weight. Or maybe you’re frustrated because the weight just won’t stay off. Successful weight loss can happen and reaching your goals doesn’t require magic. Avoiding some of these mistakes that may be sabotaging your success can help keep you on the right track.
Not Being Prepared
Sticking to your diet is easy if you aren’t hungry and are at home to cook healthy meals. But in reality, life isn’t perfect. You may get hungry in the middle of the afternoon or want to go to dinner with your friends. Decide what you will do ahead of time to stay on track. Have healthy snacks available and read nutritional information to find the healthiest menu options. Avoid unhealthy or calorie laden add-ons to otherwise healthy menu items.
You may be doing fine at meals, but those stolen bites in between can add up. Eating while cooking, finishing what the kids left on their plate, or frequently having “just a taste” of something to satisfy a craving may be adding more calories than you think. Eating while you’re distracted is another big one. If you’re snacking in front of the TV or eating lunch while working at your desk, you’re not consciously paying attention to what and how much you’re eating and you’ll end up eating too much. Avoid these types of situations when you can, divide snacks into appropriate portions ahead of time and don’t eat out of the bag.
Not Holding Yourself Accountable
Many people start a diet and workout plan but don’t have a way to effectively measure results or keep track of progress. You could write down what you eat and when you exercise with old-fashioned pen and paper, use a smartphone or web app to track progress, join a support group, or work with a personal trainer. Whatever you choose should be motivating and help you avoid making excuses.
Using Workouts As An Excuse To Overindulge
Thinking you can binge on fast food or overindulge in alcohol because you spent 15 extra minutes at the gym is setting yourself up for failure. Workouts should complement a healthy lifestyle. Varying your routine to avoid boredom and making a consistent effort to work out even when your schedule is hectic will get you better results.
If you need a little extra help reaching your weight loss goals, consider an effective customized workout routine from a personal trainer like Ralph Roberts. Seeing and feeling results can give you just the incentive you need to continue on the track to a healthy lifestyle.
The sandwich: A classic take on quick and easy lunches, but not always the most nutritious choice. Still, people continue to consume them day after day. Perhaps it’s hard to break the habit, or maybe the simplicity of a sandwich fits well in our busy schedules.
Whatever the reason for your persistence, don’t worry if you just can’t seem to kick the habit. In honor of the National Sandwich Day (Nov. 3), we’re giving you some healthier alternatives to the traditional sandwich.
Going sans bread with your sandwiches allows for fewer calories and carbs, can boost weight loss, and help prevent symptoms from certain ailments (such as Celiac Disease).
Breadless sandwiches sound crazy, right? Believe it or not, there are plenty of tasty ways to enjoy a sandwich without the use of bread. Here are just a couple ideas:
For The Bread Addict
Don’t like the idea of giving up bread altogether? Not a problem — you can still have a healthy lunch. Take a look at these more nutritious takes on the classic sandwich:
Making The Healthy Choice
When it comes to sandwiches, the important thing to remember is that nearly any classic can be modified to create a healthier version. Simply be smart about your ingredients and consider serving size, and you’ll be ready to tackle National Sandwich Day.
At Ralph Roberts Personal Training, we specialize in helping you take control of your whole health, from exercise to nutrition. To learn more about leading a healthy lifestyle, download any of our free resources.
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