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12 Tips for Holiday Eating and Weight Maintenance

Joseph Coupal - Monday, December 11, 2017

FieldHouse, Sudbury, MAIt’s easy to get swept up in the holiday season. The feasts and parties that make up this time of year can tax the arteries and strain the waistline. By eating just 200 extra calories a day — a piece of pecan pie and a tumbler of eggnog here, a couple latkes and some butter cookies there — you could pack on two to three pounds over this five- to six-week period. That doesn’t sound like much, except few people shed extra weight in the following months and years.

You don’t need to deprive yourself, eat only boring foods, or take your treats with a side order of guilt. Instead, by practicing a bit of defensive eating and cooking, you can come through the holidays without making “go on a diet” one of your New Year’s resolutions.

1. Budget wisely. Don’t eat everything at feasts and parties. Be choosy, and spend calories judiciously on the foods you love.

2. Take 10 before taking seconds. It takes a few minutes for your stomach’s “I’m getting full” signal to get to your brain. After finishing your first helping, take a 10-minute break. Make conversation. Drink some water. Then recheck your appetite. You might realize you are full, or want only a small portion of seconds.

3. Distance helps the heart stay healthy. At a party, don’t stand next to the food table. That makes it harder to mindlessly reach for food as you talk. If you know you are prone to recreational eating, pop a mint or a stick of gum so you won’t keep reaching for the chips.

4. Don’t go out with an empty tank. Before setting out for a party, eat something so you don’t arrive famished. Excellent pre-party snacks combine complex carbohydrates with protein and unsaturated fat, like apple slices with peanut butter or a slice of turkey and cheese on whole-wheat pita bread.

5. Drink to your health. A glass of eggnog can set you back 500 calories; wine, beer, and mixed drinks range from 150 to 225 calories. If you drink alcohol, have a glass of water or juice-flavored seltzer in between drinks.

6. Avoid alcohol on an empty stomach. Alcohol increases your appetite and diminishes your ability to control what you eat.

7. Put on your dancing (or walking) shoes. Dancing is a great way to work off some holiday calories. If you are at a family gathering, suggest a walk before the feast or even between dinner and dessert.

8. Make room for veggies. At meals and parties, don’t ignore fruits and vegetables. They make great snacks and even better side or main dishes — unless they’re slathered with creamy sauces or butter.

9. Be buffet savvy. At a buffet, wander ’round the food table before putting anything on your plate. By checking out all of your options, you might be less inclined to pile on items one after another.

10. Don’t shop hungry. Eat before you go shopping so the scent of Cinnabons or caramel corn doesn’t tempt you to gobble treats you don’t need.

11. Cook from (and for) the heart. To show family and friends that you really care about them, be creative with recipes that use less butter, cream, lard, vegetable shortening, and other ingredients rich in saturated fats and cholesterol. Prepare turkey or fish instead of red meat.

12. Pay attention to what really matters. Although food is an integral part of the holidays, put the focus on family and friends, laughter and cheer. If balance and moderation are your usual guides, it’s okay to indulge or overeat once in a while.

For more information healthy eating and exercise during the holidays, contact FieldHouse in Sudbury, MA.

Harvard Health

Physical Fitness Can Promote Success in School

Joseph Coupal - Monday, December 04, 2017

FieldHouse, Sudbury, MAChildren who are physically fit absorb and retain new information more effectively than children who are out of shape, a new study finds, raising timely questions about the wisdom of slashing physical education programs at schools.

Parents and exercise scientists have known for a long time that physical activity helps young people to settle and pay attention in school or at home, with salutary effects on academic performance. A study found that fourth- and fifth-grade students who ran around and otherwise exercised vigorously for at least 10 minutes before a math test scored higher than children who had sat quietly before the exam.

More generally, in a large-scale study, researchers compiled each child’s physical fitness, as measured by a timed run, body mass index and academic achievement in English and math, based on the state’s standardized test scores. Better fitness in kids proved to be linked to significantly higher achievement scores, while, interestingly, body size had almost no role. Students who were overweight but relatively fit had higher test scores than lighter, less-fit children.

To date, however, no study specifically had examined whether and in what ways physical fitness might affect how children learn. So researchers at the University of Illinois recently stepped into that breach, recruiting a group of local 9- and 10-year-old boys and girls, testing their aerobic fitness on a treadmill, and then asking 24 of the most fit and 24 of the least fit to come into the exercise physiology lab and work on some difficult memorization tasks. Learning is, of course, a complex process, involving not only the taking in and storing of new information in the form of memories, a process known as encoding, but also recalling that information later. Information that cannot be recalled has not really been learned.

Earlier studies of children’s learning styles have shown that most learn more readily if they are tested on material while they are in the process of learning it. In effect, if they are quizzed while memorizing, they remember more easily. Straight memorization, without intermittent reinforcement during the process, is tougher, although it is also how most children study.

In this case, the researchers opted to use both approaches to learning, by providing their young volunteers with iPads onto which several maps of imaginary lands had been loaded. The maps were demarcated into regions, each with a four-letter name. During one learning session, the children were shown these names in place for six seconds. The names then appeared on the map in their correct position six additional times while children stared at and tried to memorize them.

In a separate learning session, region names appeared on a different map in their proper location, then moved to the margins of the map. The children were asked to tap on a name and match it with the correct region, providing in-session testing as they memorized.

A day later, all of the children returned to the lab and were asked to correctly label the various maps’ regions.

The results show that over all, the children performed similarly when they were asked to recall names for the map when their memorization was reinforced by testing.

But when the recall involved the more difficult type of learning — memorizing without intermittent testing — the children who were in better aerobic condition significantly outperformed the less-fit group, remembering about 40 percent of the regions’ names accurately, compared with barely 25 percent accuracy for the out-of-shape kids.

This finding suggests that “higher levels of fitness have their greatest impact in the most challenging situations” that children face intellectually. The more difficult something is to learn, the more physical fitness may aid children in learning it.

Of course, this study did not focus specifically on the kind of active exercise typical of recess, but on longer-term, overall physical fitness in young children. But in doing so, it subtly reinforces the importance of recess and similar physical activity programs in schools.

If children are to develop and maintain the kind of aerobic fitness that amplifies their ability to learn, they should engage in “at least an hour a day” of vigorous physical activity. Schools, where children spend so many of their waking hours, provide the most logical and logistically plausible place for them to get such exercise.

Or: “Reducing or eliminating physical education in schools, as is often done in tight financial times, may not be the best way to ensure educational success among our young people.”

For more information on physical fitness programs for kids, contact the FieldHouse in Sudbury.

nytimes.com

Weight Loss and Weight Maintenance Over the Holidays

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, November 28, 2017

FieldHouse, Sudbury, MAYou exercised and ate right all spring and summer to get in shape and healthy. But, now the days are longer and darker and colder. The holiday season is approaching and it can be intimidating if you are trying to lose or maintain your weight.

The holidays do tend to mean “food”, and this holiday season lasts for several weeks, if not a couple months. More parties, more dinners, more get-togethers, more cookie swaps, more food gifts, more cocktails. This means constant temptation for a longer period of time. Add holiday stress and busier lifestyles which can lead to more hurried and less planned eating, more cocktails, and no time for the gym. All of these reasons make the holidays challenging time for weight loss or even weight maintenance. But, you can keep up your healthy diet and fitness program, you may even be able to lose weight during the holidays.

Stick with your plan. If you want to lose weight this month, here are some tips that will help:

Track your food. That means all of it, from the spoonful of cookie batter you ate while baking to the free sample of ham at the grocery store. These "hidden" calories are easy to gloss over but can really add up.

Plan your holiday meals. Plan your meals and snacks in advance so you can enjoy your favorites and still stay on track. Pre-track your food for the day before the party. Find places to cut back on calories in order to splurge a little more.

Make fitness a priority. The food is only one part of the equation. Fitness is just as important. If anything, you should be trying to work out more to curb weight gain and extra eating. Burn it (exercise) to earn it (extra holiday calories).

Schedule your workout like an appointment. Add your workouts to your calendar so that other obligations don't get in the way of your gym time. Limit alcohol. It lowers inhibitions, making it more likely that you'll forget about your nutrition plan and overindulge. Plus, alcohol alone is pretty high in calories. Party hop without drinking or nurse your drink slowly.

Re-gift treats and food. There are plenty of opportunities to re-gift food gifts. Bring them to parties, potlucks, and other get-togethers. Or, donate store-bought foods to a local food pantry or hospital. Take home-baked goods to a homeless shelter or, bring the food to work for everyone else to enjoy.

Add 10 extra minutes of cardio to your days. Adding just 10 minutes of vigorous exercise to your usual workout routine can counter the effects of a little extra holiday eating. Even if you can't fit it in all at once, try to do small amounts throughout the day. High-intensity moves like jumping jacks, high-knee running in place, or jumping rope all work.

Maintain your active lifestyle. The more activity you can add to your days (in addition to planned fitness) the better off you'll be. Try sledding, snowboarding, ice skating, hiking, snowshoeing, and more.

Keep an emergency snack on hand. Stashing some healthy and portable foods in your car, purse, and desk drawer can help satisfy your cravings and prevent you from going overboard on all the wrong foods.

Watch your portions. There's nothing wrong with enjoying once-a-year favorites if you keep your portions in check. A little taste is all you need.

Focus on people. At parties and gatherings, enjoy the good conversation and activities instead of hovering around the food table.

Drink water. When people drink more water, they end up eating less. Water and water-rich foods can help fill you up longer.

Wake up with exercise. People who exercise first thing in the morning are more likely to exercise regularly than those who exercise later in the day. Morning workouts might be the best way to squeeze fitness into your days before other things come up.

Slow down. Savor your food and the experience of eating. You'll eat less, feel more satisfied, and recognize feelings of hunger.

Keep your eye on the prize. Before you take a bite or hit snooze instead of hitting the gym, remember your goals. It's going to take work to get there and survive the holiday season

For more weight loss tips, contact FieldHouse Subury.

sparkpeople.com

The Benefits of Foam Rolling

Joseph Coupal - Monday, November 20, 2017

FieldHouse, Sudbury, MALearning the finer points of self-myofascial release could help you train harder and look better while also reducing injury.

If you are still of a mind that foam rollers are for everyone else, then you are missing out on one of the most effective tools at your disposal for physique-building, recovery and injury prevention. Rollers are the most popular mechanism for self-myofascial release, or SMR, and are gaining popularity among elite athletes of all walks because of the drastic and usually immediate impact it has on their performance and overall health. Here are some of the most frequently discussed aspects of SMR as it pertains to dedicated lifters.

What the heck is Self-Myofascial Release?

Self-myofascial release is often called the “poor man’s massage.” Myofascial release is a hands-on technique that therapists have been using for years. To achieve this release, a therapist would apply a low load, long duration dragging force across layers of soft-tissue in the body. After a period of time, through some different mechanisms in the body, the body will “release” the tissue and mobility between those sliding surfaces is restored. To make these changes on oneself, a foam roller can be used in place of therapist’s hands. While the foam roller will never completely replace therapists, it serves as a great alternative.

What are the Benefits of SMR for the Everyday Gym Rat?

SMR can have a wide range of benefits for the everyday gym-goer. Some of the basic, most obvious benefits will be increased blood flow throughout the body, better movement and increased range of motion. These benefits can decrease the chance of injury and decrease recovery time after a workout. A decreased recovery time means more training sessions per week/month and results can come quicker. Increased circulation is huge for recovery and greater ROM means you get to work muscles more thoroughly on lifting days.

What are the Most Basic Things you can do on the Foam Roller to Start Seeing Performance Benefits?

The first thing to do to start seeing results is to foam roll your calves. Most of the things we do negatively affect our calves. From the shoes we wear to the way we sit in a chair, our calves are in a shortened position most of the time. This limits the range of motion of the ankle and reduces function up the rest of the body. To address this, begin by placing one leg on the roller, then place the other leg on top of it. Raise the hips and slowly begin to roll to the knee. If you find an extra tender spot, stop and hold. After about 20 seconds continue to roll through the area four times. Then set the hips on the ground and rotate the leg four times side to side.

The second best thing is to foam roll the quadriceps. Again, from the things we do, this area can become shortened and affect the function of the hips and put additional stress on the low back. Begin by lying down in a plank position and place the GRID Roller just above the kneecap. Slowly roll down (about an inch per second) towards the hip. If you find a tender spot, stop and hold for about 20 seconds. Then resume the rolling. After four rolls, bend the knee 4 times. Make sure to breathe through all of the rolling.

The third best thing to do is foam roll the upper back, the thoracic spine. This area is designed for rotation and extension. With the postures most people are in, this area gets stuck. Begin by sitting on the ground and lay back to where the roller is just below the shoulder blades. Support your head with your hands and lean back into slight extension. Raise the hips and begin to roll towards the shoulders. Make sure not get pressure onto the neck. This area normally does not feel as tender as the others but if it does, again feel free to stop and hold pressure on one spot. Roll through the area of the spine four times with the hips up. Then, set the hips down and perform four crossfrictions, by mimicking an oblique crunch (side to side) with pressure on the roller.

In a perfect world SMR would be done both before a workout as part of a dynamic warm-up and as part of a cool down. As part of the warm-up, it should be the first thing done, before any stretching or cardio. Here, it serves to get the blood flowing the areas that maybe aren’t receiving as much blood flow and helps to reduce tension in muscles. As part of a cool down, the rolling helps to flush out blood that has pooled in the working muscles and allows fresh nutrients and oxygen to come in and begin the healing process.

If one is limited with time (as most of us are) and can only choose one time to roll, pre-workout will get them the best results. For the benefits stated earlier, rolling for as little as five minutes before a workout can have a great impact on the quality of each training session.

For more information, contact The FieldHouse in Sudbury.

muscleandfitness.com

Tips to Keep Your Fitness Plan On Track During The Holidays

Joseph Coupal - Monday, November 13, 2017

FieldHouse, Sudbury, MAReady or not, the holidays are here. With all the feasting and shopping and party-going and year-end budgeting, it can be tough to keep up a regular exercise routine.

But research shows that taking just a week or two off from exercise can erase months of favorable metabolic gains, and gaining just 1 percent of your body weight can have serious health implications.

Fortunately, it doesn’t take a lot of activity to prevent both of those things from happening. So by developing these five small, but effective, habits, you can survive the holidays with your health and fitness intact:

1. Schedule Your Workouts

Sitting down on the weekend and planning your workouts for the week ahead can be the most effective 15 minutes you spend on your health and fitness. By writing your workouts into your schedule, you’ll be more likely to regard them as protected time and actually do them.

Just stay flexible by checking in a couple of times during the week to make adjustments as soon as you know about things that have popped up. This lets you create a back-up plan for those extra busy days, rather than being caught off guard and having to ditch your workout.

2. Put Exercise First

By far, the best way to ensure that you don’t miss a workout is to do it first thing in the morning. Not only does this guarantee that unforeseen interruptions in your schedule won’t interfere with exercise, but studies have shown that our will power is higher early in the day before we’ve had to exert a lot of self-control.

Devoting the first 20 to 30 minutes of each day to exercise not only makes it more likely to happen, but an early morning workout could help you fight food cravings throughout the day, too.

3. Recruit an Exercise Buddy

Another great way to motivate yourself over the holidays is to make a pact with a friend or group of friends. Even if you don’t workout together, checking in with someone else daily will make you think twice about skipping a session.

If your friends are all couch potatoes, head online to find an accountability partner. Around the holidays especially, social media is bursting with workout challenges and support networks.

4. Take Advantage of Seasonal Offerings

Your local gym is another great place to find inspiration, and it’ll almost certainly be offering specials on membership fees, class packages and monthly rates during the holidays.

If you’re lucky enough to live in a town with a few competing fitness centers, you may be able to enjoy free trials at multiple facilities. It’s the perfect way to compare facilities and find the one that offers the best mix of value and services.

5. Plan Ahead for Travel

If you’ll be spending the holidays away from home, it’s imperative that you have a quick and easy travel workout in your repertoire.

This needn’t be your typical high-quality workout to be effective. A simple routine consisting of three to five exercises you can do with no equipment in a very small space is enough to keep you on track until you can get back to your usual routine.

And Squeeze in Mini-Workouts

One more thing: Because you might not get to exercise every day during the holidays, or the workouts you do get in might not be as robust as usual, try to focus on sneaking in short bursts of activity as often as you can throughout each day.

These “activity snacks” can be as simple as a trip up and down the stairs in your home, a walk around the block with the grand-kids or a few deep knee bends during the commercial breaks when you’re watching football.

Studies have shown that walking just over a mile a day or doing three four-minute bouts of high-intensity exercise per week may be enough to help you maintain your weight and fitness level. By using the tips provided here, you should have ample time and motivation to do that much or more this holiday season.

For more information on for help creating a fitness plan, contact The FieldHouse in Sudbury.

huffingtonpost.com

Dispel the Cardio Myth and Lose Fat with Strength Training

Joseph Coupal - Monday, November 06, 2017

FieldHouse, Sudbury, MAYou run and run and run, but you don't shed a pound. What gives? It's one of the most common pain points for people who exercise. All of that effort and so little reward, but why is that?

Simple: Cardio often isn't the fastest way to lose weight, and it's certainly not the only way. There is a solution, though, which will allow you to spend less time in the gym and see even better results.

1.Burn More Fat With Strength Training

Far too many people are focused on how many calories they burn while they’re in the gym, but this is short-sighted.

Stop focusing on how many calories you burn in the gym and instead focus on how your body expends calories outside the gym. You burn calories throughout the day regardless of what you're doing, but exercise helps increase the rate at which you burn those calories.

With most forms of traditional steady-state cardio, you expend calories while you’re exercising, but once you stop, you quickly go back to your normal metabolic rate. Strength training, however, builds muscle, and more muscle helps you burn more calories — even when you’re sitting on the couch. Strength training is a critical component of any program than emphasizes long-term fat loss.

Think of it like this: The more muscle you have, the more fuel you're constantly burning. A treadmill or elliptical trainer is often seen as the quick fix to shed body fat — and they're certainly useful if your goal is to improve cardiovascular health or endurance — but strength training is a powerful ally.

2. Resistance Training Won't Make Women "Manly"

This myth just won’t die, and unfortunately, it’s horribly misguided.

It takes a lot of work both in and out of the gym to get big or bulky. You not only need to be dedicated to your training, but you need proper nutrition if you’re serious about putting on size.

There is a big misconception about what causes bulk. Bulk isn't muscle; it is muscle covered by fat. So if you feel that you are too bulky, then it is important to fine-tune your diet to lose the excess fat — not give up weight training.

Women have a distinct disadvantage if the goal is to put on size. They have about one-tenth the testosterone of males, and testosterone is a key component in the muscle-building process.

Women can build muscle, though. But in general, instead of big and bulky, they'll be the type of long and lean muscles many women desire.

3. Weight Training Benefits Your Athleticism

If your goal is to look, move and feel like an athlete, you need a corresponding strength-training routine.

Elite athletes need their body to function as an efficient unit. So focus on big-bang movements that utilize multiple muscle groups — both the prime movers and the smaller stabilizers.

The premise here is simple: Stop isolating body parts and pumping away mindlessly on the machines. Focus on compound, multi-joint exercises. Hire a personal trainer or coach and learn how to squat, deadlift, chin and overhead press safely and effectively.

The only reason your athleticism will be limited in the gym is if you follow an ineffective program or one that’s designed for “show” versus “go.”

4. Running isn't Always the Best Way to Get Fit

It’s not that running is bad, but it puts a fair amount of stress on your muscles and joints. Recreational runners can have injuries caused by weakness in the core and hip-stabilizing muscles. The better plan is to take time to develop the muscles of your core and hips first instead of jumping off the couch and running three miles.

For the hip stabilizers, start off with basic single-leg exercises like split-squats, lunges and step-ups. For the core, exercises like front planks, side planks and bird dogs will help get you stronger and more stable, making you much less likely to injure yourself when you do decide to run that 5K.

Some people need activities that are a bit more joint-friendly, as the pounding caused by running on a treadmill or pavement is simply too much. If you like more traditional options, a dual-action exercise bike or rower will not only engage a ton of muscles but take some of the stress off your joints as well.

If you want newer (and possibly more exciting) variations, consider kettlebell swings, medicine ball or barbell circuits, Prowler pushes or even battle rope exercises.

There are many different ways to get into shape, and while running is great, it’s just one option you have at your disposal.

The Bottom Line

Strength training can help you lose body fat and is likely a quicker ticket to better fitness than steady-state cardio. It also won’t limit your athleticism, but more likely improve it, and women can derive tremendous benefit from resistance training without getting bulky.

For those of you who like to run, remember it's only one way to improve your fitness, but definitely not the only way. So be sure to mix in some strength training to prevent injury and improve athleticism.

As with any program, though, you have to put in the work. It’s time to get into the gym!

Shake Up Your Workout

IF YOU... Run three miles, three days a week.

TRY THIS... Perform strength-training exercises with a moderate resistance for two to three sets of eight to 12 repetitions, focusing on the big muscle groups like your chest, back and legs. This should only take about 30 minutes. Follow it up with a 1- to 1.5-mile run to still get your cardio workout.

IF YOU... Lift three times a week using a machine circuit.

TRY THIS... Learn to lift with free weights and make those the cornerstone of your program. Make it a goal to learn one compound exercise per week. Good lifts include squats, deadlifts, chin-ups, rows, push-ups, bench presses and overhead presses.

IF YOU... Lift every day but don't do cardio.

TRY THIS... Shift to a more balanced routine. Strength training three to four times per week is plenty. At the end of your workouts, consider throwing in some form of cardio. If you don’t enjoy running, try different options like the rower, kettlebell training or even battle ropes if your gym has them.

For more information, contact The FieldHouse in Sudbury.

By Mike RobertsonMay 16, 2017

Welcome to FieldHouse Sudbury

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, October 18, 2017

About FieldHouse Sudbury, MA

FieldHouse Sudbury has been the premier indoor sportsplex in Metro West for the past 9 years. Since 2007, FieldHouse Sudbury has provided local athletes with regulation-sized hardwood courts, a state-of-the-art turf field, and complete exercise and personal training equipment.

FieldHouse is the go-to facility for athletes of all ages with space for basketball, soccer, baseball, softball, lacrosse, field hockey, volleyball, flag football, and more. FieldHouse can accommodate individual athletes, leagues, and groups of all sizes. We even offer adult personal training and group fitness classes to spark the inner athlete in you.

For youth sports, FieldHouse offers professionally-run leagues, clinics, and customizable training sessions. We can accommodate your team or just a group of friends looking to improve their skills.

FieldHouse is also available for action packed birthday parties or other events. Book your next party with us to create a one-of-a-kind experience your guests will rave about. We do all the work, and you have all fun. We also offer advertising opportunities for local organizations that wish to invest in our community. This is an excellent opportunity to gain exposure in front of an active community while supporting local athletes.

Whether you come for the sports leagues or the specialized personal training, make sure to leave your excuses outside. Rain or shine, FieldHouse Sudbury is the place where players become winners.

Come see how we can elevate your game!


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