Health/Nutrition

Skulpt Aim: Changing How To Track Fitness

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Skulpt AIMAs I mentioned recently, I was sent a new device to try out called Skulpt Aim to test.

The Skulpt Aim uses a technology called electrical impedance myography or EIM. ‘Myography’ literally means “The description of muscles.” EIM measures two separate features of the tissue: its resistive properties and its capacitive properties

Skulpt Aim measures body fat percentage and Muscle Quality (MQ). One of the first questions I have been asked is what is Muscle Quality (MQ)?

According to their website:

MQ, or Muscle Quality, is a rating of your muscles’ fitness that was designed to be intuitive. Aim uses EIM technology to send a small current directly through your muscles. It uses 12 sensors and multiple frequencies to get very accurate readings. Since current flows differently in muscles based on their composition and muscle fiber size, Aim is able to evaluate the quality of each muscle.

Similar to the IQ scale, the average person has an MQ of 100. Higher MQ scores correlate with stronger, leaner, more defined and firm muscles.”

So in layman’s terms, the higher over 100 your score is, the stronger, leaner and more efficient your muscles are.  Higher numbers mean better fitness.

 

Skulpt Aim

Skulpt AIM When it arrived, I took it out of the box and found it pretty easy to set up. I put the device on the charger for a while before testing as recommended. To see how easy it was to use, I decided to have my boxing instructor Connor try it out. Without telling him much about it overall, I showed him the Skulpt website and let him figure it out.  It took him only a few minutes — and he began using it.

To get started, he watched some of the videos to learn how to properly measure using the device.  It’s different for males vs females.

How to get your Total Body MQ & Fat percentage

To measure your body’s MQ score and fat %, you’ll need to measure four areas: biceps, triceps, abs, and quads. There are videos available to help you learn where to properly place the device to get accurate readings.

Muscle Quality on Skulpt AIM

It took only a few minutes to measure and what’s cool is there is a Skulpt app available to help you track your stats so you can see progress as you continue to work towards reaching  your strength and fitness goals.

My instructor/tester, Connor, thought it was useful and cool. It gave him an idea of where he was at fitness wise – which for the most part, was right where he should be. There were a few areas that were not quite where he felt they needed to be and in his words “I have some work to do.”   

Connor will retest in a few weeks to track his progress as he puts in the necessary work…

Here are some recent articles about this revolutionary device:

My initial thoughts: For people who thrive when they have actual data at their fingertips while working towards their fitness goals, this device helps you see if your workouts really are making your body stronger, even if the scale isn’t budging!  And it’s easy to use and you can track it  — this is the kind of info that we never really had at our fingertips. Now you just need this device and a few minutes –and you get accurate readings to help you adjust your fitness programming or goals as necessary.

This is really the future of fitness – being able to track and evaluate how your fitness program is working at the touch of an app whenever you want to evaluate your progress. I love it.

 

Thanks to Skulpt Aim for sending me their device.  Even though I received it for Free, there was no expectation on their part to influence my review. My opinions here are my own. 

 

 

GWU Weight Management and Human Performance Lab

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GWU Exercise Lab I mentioned that last week I visited the GWU Weight Management and Human Performance Lab to check out the lab and get some tests done so I can really figure out what the key is that will help get me where I want to be.

Todd Miller who runs the lab and is an Associate Professor in the Department of Exercise Science and was kind enough to offer me some testing so I can share my experiences with anyone interested in experiencing the lab.

Todd ran me through a series of tests and then we sat down, reviewed the results and discussed ways to get me where I want to be.

GWU Exercise Lab - DEXAFirst, he measured my height and weighed me and then had me stand on a the Body Composition – BIA machine that measured my weight, body fat etc using electromagnetic pressure contact, not unlike the scales and other machines readily available. Then we used the Dexa machine…

Body Composition – Dexa (or DXA) -The gold standard for body composition assessment. The DXA scan uses a low-dose x-ray (approximately 1/10th the radiation of a traditional chest x-ray) and provides information about bone mineral density, fat, and fat-free mass in to specific regions of the body with an accuracy of ±2%.

GWU Exercise Lab - RMRAfter that test was complete, which took maybe five or so minutes, it was time to test my Resting Metabolic Rate – The resting metabolic rate (RMR) is the amount of energy (calories) a body burns while at rest, which accounts for approximately 70% of the body’s daily energy expenditure. This is the amount of energy needed to perform vital body functions such as respiration and circulation.

results - GWU Weight Management LabAfter the testing was done, Todd and I talked through the results.  I gained some weight in the last year and half. It was as much as I had thought – so while that’s not great news per se, it wasn’t shocking and it confirmed my own sense of where I am. The good news… all the fitness I do – does make a difference whether I am at an optimal weight or body fat %.  I am fit — and the weight i gained, once I lose it – I should be in the ‘good’ categories all around.

  • Bone density is good.
  • My RMR is high. That means I burn a lot of calories just being.
  • I have a good amount of lean muscle mass.

I’m not going to discuss my actual numbers here – they are irrelevant to anyone but me. What I will share is that we talked about how much protein I need based on my lean muscle mass and what would be my optimal amount of calories to get me back to where I will feel most comfortable. The thing is my goal isn’t about being super lean. I want to feel comfortable in my own skin without being crazy about every little thing I eat or drink. I did that years ago – and it consumed my life. My goal is to be healthy and fit – not an Olympian or champion competitor. I am living this way so I am able to move, have fun, try new things and age without the fear of being immobile. That is what I discussed with Todd – he made some suggestions on what would be a reasonable caloric and protein intake per day to get me there.  As for exercise, I clearly don’t need help in that area. I am fit!

The one thing that caught me off guard is how much protein Todd suggested I eat per day: 146g  He based it on how much lean body mass I have. I am not sure how one goes about eating that much protein in a day but i have been trying without upping my overall suggested caloric intake. It’s been quite a challenge – the closest I have gotten is 96g.

I have also begun to track my fitness and food intake using fatsecret.com. Todd sent me an invite and he can monitor what I am eating from time to time to give me advice. Check it out –so far I am liking it.

One of things that has always confused me is why is it so hard? Todd explained that most of it is simple math – which is not hard but it is hard to put into place. Knowing that there is science and data behind what we discussed helped me leave the lab with a sense of an actual plan to get me back to where I will feel comfortable. Before that, i have just guessed at where I am and how much I need to eat. With Dr Miller’s suggestions, I feel confident about being able to do it.

Protein Intake – How Much Protein Should You Eat Per Day?

I will keep you posted on my overall progress – the good and bad of it as we head into Spring and Summer.

 

When is it good enough?

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There are just not enough hours in the day to get everything I want done lately. I had almost a year ‘off’ from the corporate life, which meant that I could take care of things on the regular. Now that I am back working full time, in an office, it has been challenging to adjust what needs to get done. And I have been finding it hard to spark up the energy to do some of the ‘other’ things – like write. But I am not a quitter, and I know that the spark with reignite if I keep at it.

As I am trying to juggle all of the things in my life, I keep asking myself When is it good enough?   

When Scotty got sick, I gave up the idea of an organized, super clean house. It just wasn’t possible and that has stuck years later. There is always a basket of laundry needing to get done and one needing to be folded in my house. There will always be stuff on my kitchen counters. I realized that my house has four different people living in it – and I can’t keep up. It just isn’t that important in the grand scheme of my life.  And my house is clean enough…

The other day I was looking at some old pics, before I started working out. I noticed how different how much stronger and better I look now comparatively. But yet, I find myself thinking I’m not good enough. My fitness level is not where it should be, my body doesn’t look like I think it should. In all fairness, I own that I have slacked off being 80% Paleo. I am more 60% now –and I can see the differences and it’s been gnawing at me. I am aware that I am my own harshest critic. I am also not the kind of person to sit back and wallow. I need to be challenged and seek out opportunities to learn, so I will never be able to just settle. But – will there ever come a time when I will be able to acknowledge how far I have come?

Which makes seeing untouched pics of ‘famous’ people re-affirming…

Boxing Buddies

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Be Inspired

Happiness is not something ready-made. It comes from your own actions.Dalai Lama

Workout

  • Tues: Boxing: 1 Hour
  • Weds: CrossFit: 1 Hour

 

Valentine’s Day: Love Seeks Real Moments

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This weekend is Valentine’s Day if you didn’t already know.  My friend shared this really meaningful post this morning: The One True Thing About the Perfect Valentine’s Date that I want everyone to read.  “Love doesn’t seek a perfect moment; it seeks a real moment.”

Valentines DayThere is no such thing as a fairy tale marriage. No relationship is perfect even if it looks that way on the outside and especially via social media. Relationships between two people – whether lovers, friends, family, co-workers- is work. We all come from different places in our lives, have had different experiences, have different filters to process what is going on. All of those factors create different perspectives. I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know. But, for me – once I realized fairy tale relationships don’t exist, my world became calmer.  I stopped having these insurmountable expectations of how things are supposed to be… and let them just be.

Which explains why I am perfectly OK with my husband heading off on a guy’s trip over this Valentine’s Day weekend. I believe that every day is an opportunity to show love for someone. It’s the little things that count when it comes right down to it.  I don’t need one day a year as proof that someone loves me.  Yes, acknowledgment of the day is cool but as a grown up, if I need flowers or a present – i go and buy them. Don’t get me wrong – it’s nice when the hubby surprises me with something but it’s more the fact that he was thinking of me or something reminded him of me and that he made the effort. Those are the moments that mean something to me – more than a designated marketing day to show love.  For example, when I get up super early to workout and I head downstairs to find that he pre-made coffee and it’s waiting for me – that matters.

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Make a Difference

Workout

CrossFit 

EMOM
20 Double Unders
5-8 Burpees

WOD
Tabata Something Else
Pull Ups
Push Ups
Sit Ups
Squats

Complicated Women Are Everywhere

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design yourself - live fit and soreOne more thought to share from the Golden Globes – Maggie Gyllenhaal talked about complicated women and how we are all complicated when it comes down to it. I love that way of putting it – complicated does not have to be negative. I am proud to be complicated – to me it means being interesting, smart, engaging, emotional, passionate, funny, compassionate, and strong. And I would rather be that any day of the week than easy. And Hats off to men who love complicated women!

“When I look around the room at the women who are in here and I think about the performances that I’ve watched this year, what I see actually are women who are sometimes powerful and sometimes not,” she said in her acceptance speech. “Sometimes sexy, sometimes not. Sometimes honorable, sometimes not. And what I think is new is the wealth of roles for actual women in television and in film.”

Today was my last day at XO. While my stay there was short, six months, I learned a lot and met some smart, sharp people. With that said -the role I had wasn’t a good fit for me. It was fine — but not challenging or engaging for me and I just don’t want to accept mediocre anymore. It’s time for me to jump into something new, challenging and fun. I have a few days off before I start on Monday. Here’s to new adventures – fear ain’t got nothing on me.

Yearly Mantra

My sisters shared with me that each year they decide upon a mantra to carry them throughout the year. To motivate, guide and inspire them. A mantra differs from a resolution in that it’s word or short phrase that is repeated mentally, often used to aid in meditation. It can help set your intentions and re-focus so that you develop the habits and become the You you envision. Maybe you want to uncuff yourself from fear or be kinder. Whatever it is – choose it and refer to it often to help reset your thoughts.

mantra live fit and sore

Choosing a Mantra for Your Most Memorable Year

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Cold Weather and Your Health

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8 Degrees iN Northern VA Baby it’s cold outside – like 8 degrees without the windchill. Talk about a polar vortex in the Northern VA area. I swear last week, it was in the 60’s. Such crazy weather shifts, it’s no wonder I can’t seem to get over this chest crud cold I have had since right before the new year. You know what helps break up the crud? Exercise! This morning – we did a bunch of suicides and sprints in addition to 8 rounds of boxing. By the end, I was hacking up my lungs which was actually a good thing because it is clearing the gunk out.

Did you know there are some recent studies that show being cold can actually lead to weight loss and improved health? The Atlantic recently published,  The Benefits of Being Cold, highlighting that perhaps year round warmth, something many of us enjoy regularly, may be affecting our body weight and health. Read the piece – it makes a lot of sense “Seven million years of evolution were dominated by two challenges: food scarcity and cold.”  Today, for most of us, neither of those things are real challenges to us on a regular basis and our bodies adapt to changes – some for the better, some for the worse. So, while it’s frightfully cold outside – take time to appreciate being chilly and realize that it’s perhaps better for you.

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Be Inspired

“The beautiful thing about growth is the ability to see our changes.”

Growth - Live Fit and Sore!

Your Mind Is a Powerful Thing

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If you haven't yet, head over to like my Facebook community page Live Fit and Sore! I've been sharing all sorts of news, information, resources and inspiration over there as well as on here. I figured there can't be too many ways to try to support and inspire others to live a life of wellness...  Tonight is the eve of Christmas eve and the stores were crazy today which made me feel better about being so behind in my preparing. When I went to Costco yesterday to pick up my holiday cards, the guy that rang me up told me that I wasn't alone and then gave me a high five just for getting it done. I liked that attitude...and it was much needed.  This past week has been stressful - in addition to my car needing a lot of work ($$$), Scotty has come down with bronchitis which will no doubt actually turn out to be walking pneumonia as usual. His immune system wasn't great to begin with and seemed to worsen after chemo. He's on some meds and hopefully will be feeling much better tomorrow. We have some serious gift wrapping to do tomorrow evening --  Someone mentioned yesterday that they really get a lot out of the quotes and motivational stuff I post. Hearing that really means a lot to me because the truth is I post them for me --and I figure that I can't be the only one needing some positive words and inspiration to focus on how great life is. I came across this quote this evening...  "If you realized how powerful your thoughts are, you would never think a negative thought."  It's easy to say, but so much harder to actually practice - what we all can do though, is learn to recognize negativity as it starts to creep into our thinking and purposely drive it out.If you haven’t yet, head over to like my Facebook community page Live Fit and Sore! I’ve been sharing all sorts of news, information, resources and inspiration over there as well as on here. I figured there can’t be too many ways to try to support and inspire others to live a life of wellness…

Tonight is the eve of Christmas eve and the stores were crazy today which made me feel better about being so behind in my preparing. When I went to Costco yesterday to pick up my holiday cards, the guy that rang me up told me that I wasn’t alone and then gave me a high five just for getting it done. I liked that attitude…and it was much needed.  This past week has been stressful – in addition to my car needing a lot of work ($$$), Scotty has come down with bronchitis which will no doubt actually turn out to be walking pneumonia as usual. His immune system wasn’t great to begin with and seemed to worsen after chemo. He’s on some meds and hopefully will be feeling much better tomorrow. We have some serious gift wrapping to do tomorrow evening —

Someone mentioned yesterday that they really get a lot out of the quotes and motivational stuff I post. That meant a lot to me because the truth is I post them for me –and figure I can’t be the only one needing positive words and inspiration to help me focus on how great life is.  I have had a ton of ups and downs the past year or so – as so many others have had – and I find reading others’ experienced words helps.

I came across this quote this evening…

“If you realized how powerful your thoughts are, you would never think a negative thought.”

It’s easy to say, but much harder to actually practice – what we can do though, is learn to recognize negativity as it starts to creep into our thinking and purposely drive it out.  Here are some other ideas to put into practice to help you up your game: How to Stay Positive: 11 Smart Habits. I know some of you out there don’t believe that there is power in positive thinking or that setting positive intentions each and every day can help make your life brighter – that’s OK.  Some of the quotes & inspirational sayings are bullshit for sure– but the ones that speak to me, I share. We have a choice in how we see the world. Life is challenging enough, why not face the challenge with inspiration and purpose?

Watch This

One Direction stops by the Tonight Show Music Room to perform “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town.”

Fitness

Boxing 1hour 6A

 

Obesity: In Black and White

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So here’s a gut kicker that happened to me today. Regularly, I go to my general practitioner for a med check and I for the most part I request that they don’t check my weight.  As much as I talk about how the number on the scale isn’t necessarily an accurate indicator of one’s health and definitely not a definition of one’s worth – there are times when that number grabs a hold of my self esteem and drags it down a few notches.

BMI Issues I received an invitation to my GP’s medical website that has all of my health information and records. As I logged in, guess what was the first thing I saw? My weight. The second thing? That it was classified as obese. My files show one of my diagnosis is Obesity. I know I have gained some weight in the past year –and it hasn’t been from strength training. The past year definitely knocked me on my butt emotionally and I am no different than many others out there — I wasn’t interested in being diligent in what I was eating and eating crap made me feel better – at least at that moment in time.  But.. even with that – there is no way I am obese. Intellectually I know this — even with my admission that I could stand to lose some poundage-I am not obese.

Even that pod test I did earlier this year didn’t put me at obese.

As I work to beat down the blow to my self esteem, it bears repeating that BMI is not a good indicator of health or a healthy weight — “We’re battering a ram into a brick wall trying to measure success through people’s BMI.

What Everyone Is Afraid to Say About Obesity 

Seeing that word OBESITY in black and white has added to the blah feelings that have been hovering over me lately. I’m exercising just as usual –maybe even at a higher intensity so I know that I have to put the focus on my nutrition. But knowing what I need to do – and doing it are two different things.  I have to figure out what’s going on my head first — and I know it will click.

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Have you ever eaten Pomegranate Seeds? 

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pomPomegranate seeds are antioxidant rich, and have shown to aid in the prevention of heart disease and cancer. One pomegranate contains approximately 50 percent of your daily vitamin C, as well as pantothenic acid (B5), which may help with muscle cramping and prevent insulin resistance.

I find them to be very refreshing but not in the same way a grape is. They are less sweet than a grape, akin to a cranberry but not as tart in my opinion.

Looking for a new twist on a Thanksgiving side meal?  Try making a Cranberry Pomegranate Sauce

How to Deseed a Pomegranate

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Obesity: What Can You Do

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I’ve shared a few interesting links the past few days about health and nutrition in case you missed them…

A few posts ago, I shared how the fact that people are getting fatter and sicker became crystal clear after my recent trip to Disney. Seeing the reality of how fat people are outside of my microcosm is still on my mind.

“People are fatter and sicker than ever before.

Obesity rates have tripled since 1980 and have increased particularly fast in children.

The reason why this has happened is still debated among scientists, but it must be due to changes in the environment because our genes don’t change this quickly.” 

I ask myself regularly “what can be done?” There is no one solution that will fix the issue, there are things we can all do on the regular to take control of our own health and wellness.

Fatter-People-Slimmer-Gadgets

Take a Sensible Approach to What You Eat

I personally have experienced how eating a “Paleo” diet does work but I do not believe that it’s a one size fits all solution.  It doesn’t work for everyone – although there is sound research behind the idea that if you eat real, natural, fresh food, the less processed or handled the better, you will see clear health benefits.

Does that mean you should never, ever, ever eat say Pizza? No. Life should be about having fun and enjoying a great meal or treat. Does that mean you should eat it all the time or huge portions? No.  Use common sense. I am not a hard fast follower of the Paleo diet –and in the past few years, even less so. I do know that I feel better when I stop eating crap. My digestive system, my sleep, my skin, my mood and more– improve when I focus on the quality of food and not the quantity.

But I do enjoy ice cream, pizza and caramel and think that a weekly indulgence is important too. Be sensible and aware of what you eat and how it makes you feel.

Exercise

Its Never Too Late To Start Over Find something you like to do and do it – regularly. If that means walking, then walk. You like Zumba? Dance your ass off. Just MOVE YOUR BODY. 2015 is around the corner, but why wait to make a change in your life.  Do 100 squats, 100 push ups, and 100 sit ups every day. Whatever – I am not a fitness snob. The key is to find something you like to do and do it. Don’t pick an exercise you hate. Guess what will happen? You will stop doing it before too long. If you like working out in a group setting, find one. Don’t set yourself up to fail and start slow. You don’t feel like you can keep up in a class? Then don’t. Go at your pace.

The other day in my boxing class, I noticed one new lady was struggling to figure out the combos and getting frustrated. At the end, I just went over as a fellow boxer and reminded her that the point is to keep moving, so if she couldn’t keep up with the combos, just punch. She will get it eventually. You don’t have to be better than anyone else next to you – do the best you can. And be open to trying new things. Who knows you may find you like it.

Think and Focus on Moving Forward

No one is perfect. We have off days and slip and slide all over the place. The important point to remember is it’s NEVER too late to get back on track. And don’t let fear hold you back.

 

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