Exercise For The Ages

By Betty Murray

Staying active throughout your life is important, but exercise becomes even more important as you age. Many health conditions are associated with age, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and colon cancer, but being physically active can lower your risk of developing these and other health issues.

Whether you are 25 or 65, your exercise program should include aerobic activity (cardio), strength training, and stretching — how you accomplish each of these may change with age. Here is your guide to exercising in your 20s, 30s, 40s, and 50s+.

Exercise in your 20s

Your body is strong and resilient during your 20s, so take advantage of that and be willing to explore new forms of exercise. Shoot for 45-60 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio exercise four to six days a week, being sure to alternate between different types of activities. Add strength training in at least once or twice each week to build your bone and muscle strength, which will naturally begin to decline when you hit 30.

Exercise in your 30s

During your thirties is when you will probably begin to notice signs of aging, such as weight gain, or that it takes you longer to recover from strenuous activity, injury, or even illness. Strength training, cardio, and stretching are all important, and you should vary the different kinds of exercise you do each day to ensure your body is getting all three. Your 30s is a great time to participate in team games such as dodge ball, ultimate Frisbee, or a community soccer league. If you enjoy being active with others, take advantage of that now, while you are still less prone to injury and have more strength and power than you will when you are older.

Exercise in your 40s

If you have lived a lifestyle of inactivity most of your life, your 40s is when you will start to reap the consequences of unhealthy habits. Cancer, heart disease, and diabetes are on the rise among middle-aged adults.

During your 40s, strength training isn’t just something that’s good to do, it’s something you must be doing. Think of it as a “use it or lose it” scenario. Without regular strength training, muscular performance declines after age 40. If you want to maintain your muscles as you age, strength training must be a priority. Strength training will also help keep your bones strong and help you avoid frailty when you are older.

Regular stretching is also more important now than ever before. Yoga and Pilates are great forms of exercise for both strengthening and stretching your muscles.

Exercise in your 50s+

These are the golden years of life, as you will enjoy the fruits of all of your labor. You want to be strong and healthy for your grandchildren, so don’t let exercise slack just because you’re getting older. For women, menopause often begins in this decade, and that can mean an increased risk of bone loss, osteoporosis, heart disease, and weight gain.  Weight-bearing exercises can help slow bone loss in middle-aged and older people. Try exercises like stair climbing, tennis, weight lifting, walking, and jogging.

Now is also the time to begin to incorporate balance training into your exercise routine, as balance is often one of the first things to go as we get older. You can practice your balance with simple exercises at home, like standing on one foot while brushing your teeth. Yoga can also help improve balance.

Betty Murray, CN, HHC, RYT is a Certified Nutritionist & Holistic Health Counselor, founder of the Dallas-based integrative medical center, Wellness and founder of the Metabolic Blueprint wellness program. Betty’s nutrition counseling practice specializes in metabolic and digestive disorders and weight loss resistance. A master of the biochemistry of the body, Betty teaches her clients how to utilize nutritional interventions to improve their health. Betty is a member of the Institute of Functional Medicine and the National Association of Nutrition Professionals.

Exercise For The Ages

By Betty Murray

Staying active throughout your life is important, but exercise becomes even more important as you age. Many health conditions are associated with age, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and colon cancer, but being physically active can lower your risk of developing these and other health issues.

Whether you are 25 or 65, your exercise program should include aerobic activity (cardio), strength training, and stretching — how you accomplish each of these may change with age. Here is your guide to exercising in your 20s, 30s, 40s, and 50s+.

Exercise in your 20s

Your body is strong and resilient during your 20s, so take advantage of that and be willing to explore new forms of exercise. Shoot for 45-60 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio exercise four to six days a week, being sure to alternate between different types of activities. Add strength training in at least once or twice each week to build your bone and muscle strength, which will naturally begin to decline when you hit 30.

Exercise in your 30s

During your thirties is when you will probably begin to notice signs of aging, such as weight gain, or that it takes you longer to recover from strenuous activity, injury, or even illness. Strength training, cardio, and stretching are all important, and you should vary the different kinds of exercise you do each day to ensure your body is getting all three. Your 30s is a great time to participate in team games such as dodge ball, ultimate Frisbee, or a community soccer league. If you enjoy being active with others, take advantage of that now, while you are still less prone to injury and have more strength and power than you will when you are older.

Exercise in your 40s

If you have lived a lifestyle of inactivity most of your life, your 40s is when you will start to reap the consequences of unhealthy habits. Cancer, heart disease, and diabetes are on the rise among middle-aged adults.

During your 40s, strength training isn’t just something that’s good to do, it’s something you must be doing. Think of it as a “use it or lose it” scenario. Without regular strength training, muscular performance declines after age 40. If you want to maintain your muscles as you age, strength training must be a priority. Strength training will also help keep your bones strong and help you avoid frailty when you are older.

Regular stretching is also more important now than ever before. Yoga and Pilates are great forms of exercise for both strengthening and stretching your muscles.

Exercise in your 50s+

These are the golden years of life, as you will enjoy the fruits of all of your labor. You want to be strong and healthy for your grandchildren, so don’t let exercise slack just because you’re getting older. For women, menopause often begins in this decade, and that can mean an increased risk of bone loss, osteoporosis, heart disease, and weight gain.  Weight-bearing exercises can help slow bone loss in middle-aged and older people. Try exercises like stair climbing, tennis, weight lifting, walking, and jogging.

Now is also the time to begin to incorporate balance training into your exercise routine, as balance is often one of the first things to go as we get older. You can practice your balance with simple exercises at home, like standing on one foot while brushing your teeth. Yoga can also help improve balance.

Betty Murray, CN, HHC, RYT is a Certified Nutritionist & Holistic Health Counselor, founder of the Dallas-based integrative medical center, Wellness and founder of the Metabolic Blueprint wellness program. Betty’s nutrition counseling practice specializes in metabolic and digestive disorders and weight loss resistance. A master of the biochemistry of the body, Betty teaches her clients how to utilize nutritional interventions to improve their health. Betty is a member of the Institute of Functional Medicine and the National Association of Nutrition Professionals.

Weight Training Will Not Make You The Hulk


By Betty Murray

Do you avoid the weight room at the gym because you fear “bulking up”?

Contrary to popular believe, women: lifting weights won’t make you look like The Hulk.

Yes, it is possible to add muscle bulk through weight lifting — as seen in body builders and in many men — but adding bulk doesn’t happen just by lifting weights. It requires a detailed plan for diet and training to build that kind of muscle.

What you may not know is that weight lifting is the secret to a slim, toned body. Muscle burns fat, so the more muscle you have, the more fat your body will burn. One study found that lifting weights can boost fat burn by as much as 44 percent!

Subjects of that particular study were divided into three groups: diet only; diet and aerobic exercise; and diet, aerobic exercise, and weight lifting. Researchers found that over the course of 12 weeks, those in the diet, aerobic exercise, and weight lifting group lost an average of 21.1 pounds, whereas the diet only and diet and aerobic exercise groups lost just 14.6 and 15.6 pounds, respectively.

You may not burn as many calories during a 30-minute weight lifting workout as you would during a 30-minuted cardio workout, but the after burn from weight lifting is far more than that of a cardio workout, meaning your body will continue burning fat, even after you leave the gym. By replacing 10 pounds of body fat with 1-10 pounds of muscle, your body will burn an extra 25 to 50 calories per day.

One other important note for women: muscle weighs more than fat, so although you may not notice a change in the number on the scale, regular weight lifting will result in a leaner body and after some time, you should notice a difference in how your clothes fit.

To get the most out of your weight lifting routine, focus on exercises that work more than one muscle group at a time. For example, while a squat and a leg lift both work the legs, the squat works more muscles on both the front and the back of the legs, while a leg lift targets a singular muscle group.

In order to prevent injury, start out working with a professional fitness trainer to ensure you are using the correct form with each lift. It is also important that you build strength in your entire body, focusing on your core. Balance and symmetry is key — if one side of your body is stronger than the other, or if certain muscle groups get more attention than others, your body is more prone to injury.

You don’t have to have access to weights to get in a good strength-training workout. Try body weight workouts such as squats, pushups, box jumps, and burpees (to name a few). Each of these exercises uses your own body weight as the “weights,” so you’ll continue to strengthen your muscles even without holding a weight in your hands.

Ladies: Don’t avoid the weight room. Instead, mix weight lifting with your regular cardio routine to increase your metabolism and continue fat burn even after you leave the gym.

Betty Murray, CN, HHC, RYT is a Certified Nutritionist & Holistic Health Counselor, founder of the Dallas-based integrative medical center, Wellness and founder of the Metabolic Blueprint wellness program. Betty’s nutrition counseling practice specializes in metabolic and digestive disorders and weight loss resistance. A master of the biochemistry of the body, Betty teaches her clients how to utilize nutritional interventions to improve their health. Betty is a member of the Institute of Functional Medicine and the National Association of Nutrition Professionals.

Weight Training Will Not Make You The Hulk


By Betty Murray

Do you avoid the weight room at the gym because you fear “bulking up”?

Contrary to popular believe, women: lifting weights won’t make you look like The Hulk.

Yes, it is possible to add muscle bulk through weight lifting — as seen in body builders and in many men — but adding bulk doesn’t happen just by lifting weights. It requires a detailed plan for diet and training to build that kind of muscle.

What you may not know is that weight lifting is the secret to a slim, toned body. Muscle burns fat, so the more muscle you have, the more fat your body will burn. One study found that lifting weights can boost fat burn by as much as 44 percent!

Subjects of that particular study were divided into three groups: diet only; diet and aerobic exercise; and diet, aerobic exercise, and weight lifting. Researchers found that over the course of 12 weeks, those in the diet, aerobic exercise, and weight lifting group lost an average of 21.1 pounds, whereas the diet only and diet and aerobic exercise groups lost just 14.6 and 15.6 pounds, respectively.

You may not burn as many calories during a 30-minute weight lifting workout as you would during a 30-minuted cardio workout, but the after burn from weight lifting is far more than that of a cardio workout, meaning your body will continue burning fat, even after you leave the gym. By replacing 10 pounds of body fat with 1-10 pounds of muscle, your body will burn an extra 25 to 50 calories per day.

One other important note for women: muscle weighs more than fat, so although you may not notice a change in the number on the scale, regular weight lifting will result in a leaner body and after some time, you should notice a difference in how your clothes fit.

To get the most out of your weight lifting routine, focus on exercises that work more than one muscle group at a time. For example, while a squat and a leg lift both work the legs, the squat works more muscles on both the front and the back of the legs, while a leg lift targets a singular muscle group.

In order to prevent injury, start out working with a professional fitness trainer to ensure you are using the correct form with each lift. It is also important that you build strength in your entire body, focusing on your core. Balance and symmetry is key — if one side of your body is stronger than the other, or if certain muscle groups get more attention than others, your body is more prone to injury.

You don’t have to have access to weights to get in a good strength-training workout. Try body weight workouts such as squats, pushups, box jumps, and burpees (to name a few). Each of these exercises uses your own body weight as the “weights,” so you’ll continue to strengthen your muscles even without holding a weight in your hands.

Ladies: Don’t avoid the weight room. Instead, mix weight lifting with your regular cardio routine to increase your metabolism and continue fat burn even after you leave the gym.

Betty Murray, CN, HHC, RYT is a Certified Nutritionist & Holistic Health Counselor, founder of the Dallas-based integrative medical center, Wellness and founder of the Metabolic Blueprint wellness program. Betty’s nutrition counseling practice specializes in metabolic and digestive disorders and weight loss resistance. A master of the biochemistry of the body, Betty teaches her clients how to utilize nutritional interventions to improve their health. Betty is a member of the Institute of Functional Medicine and the National Association of Nutrition Professionals.

Cardio or Strength Training: Which Comes First?

By Betty Murray

Weight loss cannot be achieved without a combination of cardio and strength training. Better said, losing inches, is dependent on a combined cardio and strength workout.

Cardio burns more calories in a set amount of time, but weight lost through a strictly cardio workout regimen is contributed to both fat and muscle loss. On the other hand, building muscle may actually make you gain weight, but lose inches.

And an added benefit of strength training: muscle increases fat burn, so for every three pounds of muscle gained, you will burn an extra 120 calories a day — even without exercising. Consider it the “after burn” affect of your strength training workout.

So when it comes to strength training cardio in the gym, which should you do first?

Researchers at the University of Jyväskylä in Finland found that the order of your workout routine doesn’t make much of a difference. In their study, they followed a group of young men for 24 weeks of exercise. Half of the men performed cardio first, whereas the other half started their workout off with strength training. At the end of the 24 weeks, both groups showed almost equal increases in strength, endurance and lean body mass. Researchers also concluded that intensity and frequency of exercise do matter and may affect results.

Ultimately, it’s a matter of your personal preference. Do you prefer a strength or cardio workout first? Do you have a difficult time making it through the second half of your workout if you do strength first, or vica versa? If so, try switching things up.

Another alternative: try an integrated workout, such as HIIT (high intensity training) or circuit training that works on strengthening muscles while increasing heart rate at the same time.

Betty Murray, CN, HHC, RYT is a Certified Nutritionist & Holistic Health Counselor, founder of the Dallas-based integrative medical center, Wellness and founder of the Metabolic Blueprint wellness program. Betty’s nutrition counseling practice specializes in metabolic and digestive disorders and weight loss resistance. A master of the biochemistry of the body, Betty teaches her clients how to utilize nutritional interventions to improve their health. Betty is a member of the Institute of Functional Medicine and the National Association of Nutrition Professionals.

Cardio or Strength Training: Which Comes First?

By Betty Murray

Weight loss cannot be achieved without a combination of cardio and strength training. Better said, losing inches, is dependent on a combined cardio and strength workout.

Cardio burns more calories in a set amount of time, but weight lost through a strictly cardio workout regimen is contributed to both fat and muscle loss. On the other hand, building muscle may actually make you gain weight, but lose inches.

And an added benefit of strength training: muscle increases fat burn, so for every three pounds of muscle gained, you will burn an extra 120 calories a day — even without exercising. Consider it the “after burn” affect of your strength training workout.

So when it comes to strength training cardio in the gym, which should you do first?

Researchers at the University of Jyväskylä in Finland found that the order of your workout routine doesn’t make much of a difference. In their study, they followed a group of young men for 24 weeks of exercise. Half of the men performed cardio first, whereas the other half started their workout off with strength training. At the end of the 24 weeks, both groups showed almost equal increases in strength, endurance and lean body mass. Researchers also concluded that intensity and frequency of exercise do matter and may affect results.

Ultimately, it’s a matter of your personal preference. Do you prefer a strength or cardio workout first? Do you have a difficult time making it through the second half of your workout if you do strength first, or vica versa? If so, try switching things up.

Another alternative: try an integrated workout, such as HIIT (high intensity training) or circuit training that works on strengthening muscles while increasing heart rate at the same time.

Betty Murray, CN, HHC, RYT is a Certified Nutritionist & Holistic Health Counselor, founder of the Dallas-based integrative medical center, Wellness and founder of the Metabolic Blueprint wellness program. Betty’s nutrition counseling practice specializes in metabolic and digestive disorders and weight loss resistance. A master of the biochemistry of the body, Betty teaches her clients how to utilize nutritional interventions to improve their health. Betty is a member of the Institute of Functional Medicine and the National Association of Nutrition Professionals.

5 Foods That Help You Slim Down

By Betty Murray

Summer is just a few months away; it’s time to start working on your beach body!

Even if you’ve been eating a relatively healthy diet, you may find that you’re struggling to lose excess pounds and inches around your waist. If you need an extra weight loss boost, check your diet for these five foods. Each of these foods can help you slim down just in time for summer.

Hot peppers – People tend to consume fewer calories when they eat spicy foods such as red chili peppers, compared to bland foods. Chemicals called capsaicinoids which cause the burning sensation have also been found to reduce cravings for fatty, sweet and salty foods. There is also evidence that once the capsaicinoids reach the gut, they cause an increase in brown fat cells, which burn calories at a faster rate and increase core temperature.

Spices – Tumeric, oregano, cinnamon, rosemary, cloves and paprika are all spices that have been found to improve insulin sensitivity. When you eat a fatty meal, your triglyceride levels and insulin spikes. Eat the same meal with about two teaspoons of some of these spices, and it will help keep your triglyceride and insulin levels down.

Water – Drinking a glass of water before a meal, and drinking water with your meal can fill you up faster so you’ll consume fewer calories. Similarly, foods that have high water content work much the same way. A study out of Tokyo found that women who a lot of ate foods that were high in water content (like fruits and vegetables) had lower body mass indexes (BMI) and smaller waistlines. Broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, grapefruit, lettuce, radishes and spinach are all foods that are high in water content.

Nuts – Keep nuts like almonds, walnuts and pecans around the house for snacks. If you get a mid-day craving for a snack, eat a small handful of nuts instead of a processed, high-calorie, high-carb snack. Research has shown that people who eat nuts for a snack will eat less at meal time. Nuts like almonds are high in protein, which helps keep you feeling full.

Apples – Another great snack option, apples are high in fiber and antioxidants that may help prevent metabolic syndrome, a condition that leads to excess belly fat. Apples contain natural sugar (as all fruits do), but they are a relatively low-calorie snack. A raw apple about 3-1/4” in diameter with the skin on contains just under 120 calories.

Your body needs calories to function, but you have control over the types of calories you take in. Keep these weight loss superfoods at close reach so you’ll be more inclined to grab a healthy snack when the craving hits.

Betty Murray, CN, HHC, RYT is a Certified Nutritionist & Holistic Health Counselor, founder of the Dallas-based integrative medical center, Wellness and founder of the Metabolic Blueprint wellness program. Betty’s nutrition counseling practice specializes in metabolic and digestive disorders and weight loss resistance. A master of the biochemistry of the body, Betty teaches her clients how to utilize nutritional interventions to improve their health. Betty is a member of the Institute of Functional Medicine and the National Association of Nutrition Professionals.

Simple Ways to Cut 250 Calories a Day


By Betty Murray

Losing weight comes down to one thing: are you burning more calories than you take in? Eating well and exercising regularly are essential for a strong, healthy body, but if you want to burn fat, you have to decrease the amount of calories you eat in a day and increase the amount of calories you burn in a day.

This should not mean you keep yourself on a strict 1,000 calorie per day diet. (You should consult with your physician before beginning any diet.) But you can easily cut out a few calories here and there. Doing so may make the difference between being frustrated or satisfied with your progress after working out regularly.

The calories you eat should provide nutrition in the form of vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, protein and complex carbs. Eat to fuel your body. Think about cutting out those “empty calories” that do nothing for you; calorie sources such as sodas, Starbucks drinks, and sweets.

Here are five simple ways to cut out 250 calories a day:

  • Swap your sausage, egg and cheese breakfast sandwich for an egg white and veggie wrap or sandwich on an English muffin instead.
  • Cut the cream. Creamy sauces, soups and salad dressings may taste great but they’re also loaded with calories that will do nothing for you.
  • Stop paying someone else to mow your yard. Some simple manual labor like mowing your lawn and raking leaves will help you burn extra calories in a day. Why pay someone else to get the physical benefit of keeping your yard groomed?
  • Split a meal with a friend when you eat out. Sharing meals isn’t about being cheap. It’s one of the best tactics for being sure you don’t overeat.
  • Combine strength training with cardio. Both are important, but cardio won’t help you burn calories as fast as strength training can. The more muscle you have, the more calories your body will burn.

Make a conscious effort to cut 250 (or so) calories a day by burning more than you take in and soon you’ll start seeing the slimming effects.

Betty Murray, CN, HHC, RYT is a Certified Nutritionist & Holistic Health Counselor, founder of the Dallas-based integrative medical center, Wellness and founder of the Metabolic Blueprint wellness program. Betty’s nutrition counseling practice specializes in metabolic and digestive disorders and weight loss resistance. A master of the biochemistry of the body, Betty teaches her clients how to utilize nutritional interventions to improve their health. Betty is a member of the Institute of Functional Medicine and the National Association of Nutrition Professionals.

 

To lose weight, less is more when it comes to exercise


By Betty Murray

If you’re looking to lose weight by working out, you will likely be disappointed in the results. Are you in denial that you need to change your eating habits in and exercise regularly to lose weight? Over the years, multiple studies have confirmed that exercise yields little weight loss when not combined with a change in diet. Surprisingly, new data reveals that less exercise may be more beneficial for weight loss.

A new study by researchers at the University of Copenhagen reveals that when trying to lose weight, less may actually be more. The study managed a control group of guys who maintained their diet and sedentary lifestyle, a group of guys who were asked to exercise 60 minutes each day and burn about 600 calories, and another group who were asked to exercise 30 minutes each day and burn 300 calories. In the end, the group of guys who worked out for just 30 minutes each day lost more weight.

Why? Researchers aren’t entirely sure of the reason, but consider two factors to be to blame. First, the men who worked out for 60 minutes each day also ate more calories each day. Additionally, those men were more fatigued, which in turn led to a primarily sedentary lifestyle outside of the 60 minutes of exercise. The men who only worked out for 30 minutes each day had more energy to continue to move and be active throughout their day.

What does this mean for you?

If you are trying to shed unwanted weight, don’t chain yourself to the gym for an hour or more each day. Moderate amounts of exercise (at least 30 minutes each day), combined with a low-calorie diet will yield the weight loss you desire. If working out is a struggle for you, here are a few tips to keep you motivated:

  • Choose exercise you enjoy. Whether it’s running, walking, Zumba, yoga or any other form of exercise, if you enjoy it you will be more likely to keep it up.
  • Exercise with a friend or in a group class. The majority of people are not self-motivated when it comes to exercise. Find a friend who enjoys the same form of exercise as you to workout with you. If you can’t find a friend, join a group fitness class at your gym.
  • Change it up. Variety isn’t only good for your brain, it’s also good for your body. Adding variety into your workout routine will keep your muscles from growing accustom to any one type of exercise. In the end, you’ll be more motivated by the change in routine and may even lose more weight.

Betty Murray, CN, HHC, RYT is a Certified Nutritionist & Holistic Health Counselor, founder of the Dallas-based integrative medical center, Wellness and founder of the Metabolic Blueprint wellness program. Betty’s nutrition counseling practice specializes in metabolic and digestive disorders and weight loss resistance. A master of the biochemistry of the body, Betty teaches her clients how to utilize nutritional interventions to improve their health. Betty is a member of the Institute of Functional Medicine and the National Association of Nutrition Professionals.

Healthy eating with a busy after school schedule


By Betty Murray

A busy back to school schedule means cutting corners on healthy meals for many families. Do you find yourself ordering pizza for the family or sitting in the drive-thru lane more often now that school is back in session? When the kids get home from school, are you more likely to sit them down with an unhealthy snack simply because you don’t have time to prepare a healthy snack for them to eat?

Every meal eaten away from home could add more than 100 calories to your daily intake. Going for what’s quick and easy could result in weight gain, as well as lack of energy and overall poor health. Your schedule may be busy, but don’t let that be a reason to settle on less than the healthiest meals for you and your family.

  • Pack your lunch — Whether it’s for the kids at school or yourself at work, packing your own lunch is one easy way to cut calories. Fresh, organic fruits and veggies, trail mix, hummus — fuel yourself and the kids for the day with healthy, low-calorie foods rather than relying on the drive-thru or school lunches.
  • Homemade after school snacks — Make a homemade yogurt parfait by layering Greek yogurt and fresh, organic fruit. Pair carrot sticks or celery with hummus. For protein, eat tofu or other soy-based foods for a source of lean protein.
  • Cook and eat dinner as a family — The best way for your children to learn to eat healthy is for to them to see you prepare and eat health meals. Take your kids to the grocery store with you and teach them how to buy nutritious foods. Invite them to cook with you so they’ll learn to make healthy meals. Sit down and eat as a family. Take time to engage your kids in conversation about their day. Conversation during dinner also encourages slower eating, allowing the body to fully digest and feel full before you eat too much.

Although your schedule may be busy this fall, do not allow yourself to cut corners with your meals. Providing yourself and your kids with healthy meals will ensure you have the energy you need to make it through the day.

Betty Murray, CN, HHC, RYT is a Certified Nutritionist & Holistic Health Counselor, founder of the Dallas-based integrative medical center, Wellness and founder of the Metabolic Blueprint wellness program. Betty’s nutrition counseling practice specializes in metabolic and digestive disorders and weight loss resistance. A master of the biochemistry of the body, Betty teaches her clients how to utilize nutritional interventions to improve their health. Betty is a member of the Institute of Functional Medicine and the National Association of Nutrition Professionals.