Archive for December, 2010

Artificial Sweeteners, Weight Loss, and Taste

Using Equal, NutraSweet, Sweet’N Low, Splenda, etc. is one of the most common diet practices around. These sweeteners help people to curb their calories and can help in the weight loss process. Their effect on our health is not without controversy. (see pros and cons in’s  “Artificial Sweeteners” article.) However, I wanted to talk about another reason for not using them.

 When we substitute an artificial sweetener for a natural sweetener, even though we’re cutting back on calories, we’re not changing our desire for sweet. So when we’re needing something to eat and there’s no low-calorie/artificial sweetener version, we’ll grab the full calorie, full sugar version. 

We can change what we desire by gradually changing the content and flavor of what we eat. Not only do you get used to it, you prefer it. And it’s not just for sweet. We can change our desire for fatty foods, salt, soda, etc. In example, I gave up fried food after college as part of a weight loss diet. To this day, I still have no desire for fried food and, if by chance I do eat something fried, I don’t feel particularly well afterward.

But, I’m also not saying go cold turkey. Just start by decreasing the amount of sugar (or artificial sweeteners) in the things you consume. Cut back in how much you have in your coffee/tea, how much you use in recipes, choose products that are lower in sugar. Bit by bit your taste and desire for sweet will change leaving you much more in control of your diet for the rest of your life.

FYI: The article goes on to discuss how artificial sweeteners can actually make you gain weight. Possible reasons  that they may actually increases sugar cravings so that you actually consume more calories, and they may interfere with the normal process of a complex food reward  pathway causing an increased craving for sweets.


12/22/2010 at 9:10 PM 1 comment

Fitness Trends for 2011: What’s Hot?

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recently published the Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends for 2011 This was a survey of over 2200 ACSM Certified Health and Fitness professionals. Based on what we saw you participating in, it’s our best guess as to what you want in 2011. Here they are – followed by my own thoughts:

Top 20 Worldwide Fitness Trends for 2011

1. Educated and experienced fitness professionals – the public is realizing that not all Personal Trainers are equal and want to make sure that they get their information from a qualified source.

2. Fitness programs for older adults – By year 2030 the US population greater or equal to 65 yrs will have doubled to about 71 million people. (CDC 2009) Older adults want to maintain active, independent lives and are willing to work(out) for it.

3. Strength training – Still a prime concern across the board.

4. Children and obesity – Interestingly, while we’re all aware these days about the youth obesity epidemic, this has slipped in importance from 1st in 2007, 2nd in 2008 & 2009, 3rd in 2010, to 4th in 2011. I wonder if that might be because there have been very few effective programs actually being created.

5. Personal training – Not that different from the 1st, people need qualified assistance in making their goals a reality.

6. Core training – While this is probably mostly driven by the desire to look more attractive, I do think there is also an increase in the understanding of the core’s role in back health and function.

7. Exercise and weight loss – The never-ending battle

8. Boot camp – One of the trendiest programs out currently will continue. They typically offer good variety, group support, and a high-intensity/fat burning workout. But, be forewarned, there are a lot of unqualified instructors out there trying to capitalize on this trend.

9. Functional fitness – If you’re working out to be able to do something better, your workout should be incorporating elements of that activity to give you the best results.

10. Physician referrals – Doctors are realizing the importance of how qualified fitness professionals can aid in our community’s health and wellness and are more willing to refer their patients.

11. Yoga – Been around forever and probably always will be.

12. Worksite health promotion – Most businesses have been slow to come around to this, but they are starting to realize how much more productive healthy employees are as well as how much the company can save on healthcare and workman’s comp. claims.

13. Outcome measurements – Whether it’s the scale or girth measures, everyone likes proof that what they’re doing is making a difference.

14. Group personal training – More social, more fun, more affordable, who wouldn’t like that? However, there is less personal attention from the Trainer and if you have special needs, this may not be for you.

15. Spinning (indoor cycling) – I think this is consistent, no real increase

16. Sport-specific training – People are starting to understand that you need to get in shape to play the sport, not play the sport to get in shape.

17. Worker incentive programs – While increasing worksite health promotion offerings, companies realize they need to find ways to get more participation in them from employees.

18. Clinical integration/Medical Fitness – Along with getting more Dr. referrals, Personal Trainers are being recognized as having a real role in healthcare.

19. Reaching new markets – An ongoing process of finding new ways to engage more people. There is something for everyone, fitness professionals just need to continually find those things.

20. Wellness coaching – I do believe that coaching is coming into it’s own with the public. It is a great way to create real behavioral change. I think all Personal trainers should become certified as coaches.

What about you? What fitness trend interests you as we head into 2011? Please comment below.

12/05/2010 at 8:01 AM Leave a comment

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