fitness goals

Is Exercise Really Necessary?

Are you wondering if exercise is really necessary?

Did you know that regular exercise boosts brain power, reduces heart disease risk, and lowers cholesterol levels? According to researchers, just one and half hours of physical activity per week can decrease your risk of premature death by over 20 percent, and the risk of diabetes by 39 percent.

An active lifestyle is the key to optimal health. Yet, its benefits are often overlooked.

Why Is Physical Activity Important?

Health experts recommend at least one hour and 15 minutes of intense physical activity each week, two and a half hours of steady state cardio, or a combination of both. More than 80 percent of Americans fail to meet these requirements. Less than five percent engage in 30 minutes of exercise daily.

Only one out of three children is physically active each day. Most kids spend over eight hours a day on front of the TV or the computer.

These numbers may seem shocking, but they reflect the truth. Obesity rates are on the rise mainly because of poor nutrition and lack of exercise. A sedentary lifestyle can increase your risk of stroke, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease, type II diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and osteoporosis.

While it’s true that you can get away without exercise, this may affect your health in the long run. Not only you’ll gain weight and lose muscle mass, but also experience memory decline, high cholesterol, decreased range of motion, joint stiffness, and depression.

Regular exercise helps maintain a normal weight, prevents cardiac events, and wards off chronic diseases. It also stimulates the release of feel-good chemicals in your brain, which lifts your mood and improves mental health. Physically active people have a lower risk of breast, colon, endometrial, and lung cancer than those with a sedentary lifestyle.

They also live longer, have stronger bones, and find it easier to stay slim.

What Really Counts as Exercise?

Most people associate exercise with long cardio sessions, jogging, or strength training. Some hate these activities, or simply don’t have access to a gym. Others are too busy to commit themselves to a regular workout plan.

Is Exercise really necessary Yes, but the good news is that you don’t need a gym membership to stay active.realistic fitness goals

With a little planning, you can exercise anytime, anywhere.

Sports activities, such as hiking, swimming, baseball, soccer, tennis, and horseback riding, count as exercise. Push-ups, pull-ups, squats, burpees, jumping jacks, lunges and other body weight moves can replace most gym workouts.

If you don’t have a treadmill, go jogging or walk at a faster pace. Ride your bike around the house instead of using a stationary bike. If you really want to exercise, you’ll find a way to do it.

Regardless of what type of exercise you do, always watch your form.

Prevent injuries. If you lift weights, increase the load gradually. Ask a trainer for advice. Get enough rest and avoid training the same muscle group more than once in 36 hours. When you do cardio, stick to 30-40 minutes of exercise per session. Remember to eat well so that your body receives the nutrients needed for muscle growth and repair. If your goal is to lose weight, maintain a high protein intake and adjust your carbs along the way.

To your health!



Burn Belly Fat- Even If You Hate To Exercise

How To Burn Belly Fat- Even If You Hate Exercise

burn belly fat


If you want to burn belly fat because having a flat stomach  is your dream, why wait until next year to start making it a reality?

Is putting your plan of action on hold for a month or two really going to make a big difference?

Don’t be that person looking forward to binge during the holidays, meanwhile hiding their growing spare tire in layers of sweat shirts and sweaters during the winter.

The good news is, losing that spare tire is possible

The best part about it is that there is no secret formula.

No magic bullet. No special diet plan, or specific food that especially targets belly fat.

Let me repeat that: There is no secret formula. No special diet plan, or specific food that especially targets belly fat.


Because once you start losing overall weight, belly fat is usually the first fat you lose.

This is a very good thing, not only from an aesthetic perspective. This type of fat is the most dangerous to have.

Recent research has linked fat around the abdomen with cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer. More specifically, it is not the fat that you can grab that poses the highest health risk, but rather the deepest layer of fat which produces hormones and other substances that negatively affects your health.

This fat is called visceral fat –located next to and in between other organs in the abdominal cavity.

Want to know if you are setting the stage for type 2 diabetes in your own life?

Take a tape measure and measure around your waist at the level of your bellybutton. A measurement that is greater than 35 inches in the women is considered unhealthy.

If most of the fat is in the abdominal area your health risks are greater than if it is in the hips, thighs or rear end.

Why  is belly fat the most dangerous fat to have?

 Researchers have discovered that belly fat is metabolically active and can increase the risk of colon cancer by raising certain hormones that affect cell growth.

Today, scientists and physicians use a waist to hip ratio which is a measurement of waist size divided by hip size as a more reliable gauge of risk factors. A ratio above 0.85 for women or 0.90 for men is higher than average and typically indicates a greater risk.

The way to get your ratio is to use a tape measure to measure the distance around your waist at your belly button and around your hips at the widest part.

If your waist is 28 inches and your hips are 38 inches the equation would look like: 28/38 = .73. This falls below the 0.85 for women.

The question now becomes how do you get rid of this belly fat?belly fat burning foods

Like I said, best way is to begin to lose overall weight because belly fat is one of the first places that most individuals lose weight.

Studies show that a diet with a higher ratio of monounsaturated fats contained in avocados, nuts, seeds and chocolate, can prevent the accumulation of body fat. Fruits high in fiver but low in sugar, like apples and blueberries, and of course leafy, green veggies.

Foods to avoid to reduce belly fat

Trans fats such as margarine, excess carbohydrates of any kind, but particularly processed, refined wheat products, as well as tropical fruits like pineapple, bananas, watermelon, grapes, oranges among others.

Keep in mind that we cannot change the way  fat is distributed on the body due to genetics, childbirth, or  menopause, BUT we can control the foods we eat, and in the right quantities to avoid the excess being stored as fat.

To this end, the objective should be to increase the consumption of high quality, lean protein, and reduce your daily carbohydrate intake. 

Does this mean you never need to exercise to burn belly fat?


It means that you can certainly start burning belly fat – and overall body fat- by eating certain foods more often and in greater quantities than others to actually stimulate metabolism and muscle growth, which will help you burn fat and lose inches around your waist.

To Your Health!

Luz L

MayoClinic: Belly Fat in Men: Why Weight Loss matters
MedlinePlus: Belly Fat May Hit Your Heart the Hardest
Washington University: Belly Fat May Drive Inflammatory Processes Associated with Disease
University of Michigan: Missing Link Between Belly Fat and Heart Disease
Harvard Health Publications: Belly Fat and What to Do About it
what are the best sources of protein

What Are The Best Sources Of Protein?

Protein And Its Amazing Weight Loss Power

How protein affects fat loscomplex carb-protein combos and the best sources of protein

According to the latest statistics, the obesity epidemic continues to grow worldwide and shows no signs of stopping anytime soon. More than half of the American population is overweight.

Luckily, you can escape being part of this alarming trend by having adequate amounts of protein in your diet, particularly a higher ratio of animal based protein vs plant protein. There is sufficient evidence  that animal protein has numerous dietary benefits that give a boost to fat loss, muscle building, and overall weight management efforts.

First lets look at some of the ways you can benefit from a healthy daily protein intake

One of the advantages of eating an omnivorous diet  (A diet that includes a wide variety of meat and plant protein) is that it creates a feeling of fullness and satisfaction in the body that makes overeating much less likely. So it makes sense to add animal protein to your weight management program, because of the effect it has on carbohydrate cravings.

What Are Proteins, And What Are The Best Sources Of Protein?

To borrow a simple definition from Lucho Crisalle, founder of Exercise & Nutrition Works:  ” If it walks, swims or flies it’s a protein”  more to the point, proteins are made up of building blocks called amino- acids which are essential to life and tissue growth.

Every living cell in our body needs protein. Simply put, their function varies from healing wounds and fighting infection, to building muscle.

Proteins can be complete and incomplete. Complete proteins are the best sources of protein  because they contain all of the essential amino acids. These are:protein source

  • Meat- lean beef
  • Fish- salmon, tuna, sardines
  • Skinless Chicken
  • Egg whites
  • Dairy -low fat cottage cheese
  • Turkey breast
  • Whey Protein

Incomplete Proteins are those that do not contain all of the essential amino acids. Plant/vegetable  proteins are examples of incomplete proteins. Besides lacking essential amino acids these proteins are indigestible to humans, and tend to cause gas and bloating due to their large molecular size.

Our digestive system does not have the necessary enzymes to break them down for absorption. Though important for their vitamin content and colon cleansing properties, vegetable proteins such as beans, corn and brown rice among others, are not considered ideal sources of protein when trying to burn fat or maintain your normal weight.

Key Point: Balance your protein sources.

Here’s how eating protein helps you lose weight

Remember the feeling of fullness you got last time you ate an entire pizza, only to feel hungry all over again within less than 2 hours?

That’s because  simple carbohydrates trigger the brain to crave more carbohydrates, leading to a cycle of carbohydrate eating that becomes hard to control.

Protein stops that triggering effect in the brain. So when you eat a carb, combine it with a protein to reduce the carb craving effect.

Also, remember that an adequate daily protein intake is essential for building and maintaining lean muscle mass. The higher your percentage of lean muscle mass, the more calories you can burn in a day.

 So, how much protein do you need every day?

Women need approximately 80-100 grams daily, while men need roughly 120-150 grams. The exact protein requirement is also affected by factors such as age, activity levels, body size, and state of health (physical and mental stress increases nutritional needs)

But as you incorporate more complete protein into your diet, remember that not all animal protein is equal when it comes to calories. For example, a serving of prime rib has 1,500 calories! That’s why it is important to remember the best sources of protein from healthy, lean protein sources as I  mentioned before.

To Your Health!

Luz L

How To Burn Fat After A Physical Injury

If you have been stressed out looking for ways to learn how to burn fat, but unable to exercise due to pain from an injury, today I share a few techniques our patients used at the clinic with excellent results.low back pain

But first things first:

Let me say that after a brief hiatus, I am happy to be back!  


Brief Update: Just moved back to sunny  Phoenix AZ.  from  Los Angeles, where  I worked as a nutrition counselor and medical historian, which left me with no time to post to stay in touch.

So, I’m  back- No more long commutes, no more parking tickets, and best of all…no more  stress! 

But I digress

As  you may know,  I worked with moms and kids who struggled with overweight and obesity problems; I also worked  with patients who suffered from acute or chronic pain who also needed to lose weight, which was frustrating because the last thing they wanted to do was exercise! Learning how to burn fat was certainly not a priority for them, so we developed a specific plan for them to lose weight without exercise.

It was crucial for them to understand a few, simple basics of food and nutrition, if they were to efficiently follow a plan long term, so here’s the four basic principles they learned about fat burning:

How to burn fat while recuperating from a physical injury

1-The first thing patients learned was that certain foods have thermogenic properties, which means that they boost metabolic rate, causing the body to burn fat.

By definition the Thermic Effect of Food (TEF) is known as the amount of calories required to digest, absorb and metabolize nutrients – we burn more calories when we eat certain foods- More about these foods later.

2-Patients were told about the importance of eating a portion of protein with every meal to effectively increase and maintain their metabolism at a higher rate.Protein loaded breakfast

3-Next, they began to eat more often. Most of them were doing what most people do when they try to lose weight, they practically stopped eating. They would go long periods of time without eating during the day, and would go to bed on an empty stomach.

By doing that they were lowering their blood glucose levels, which slowed down their metabolism, setting  their body in non-fat burning mode, a process called gluconeogenesis, in which as your metabolism slows down cortisol is secreted to actually turn muscle into glucose for fuel.

This is NOT a good thing, because the excess glucose gets stored as fat

Remember: Do not go to bed on an empty stomach

4- Last but not least, they learned the effect carbohydrates (portion size and sources) have on blood sugar levels. Understanding that blood sugar level control is a direct factor in fat loss, but most importantly, in overall healing and wellness,  patients learned about nutrient  or caloric “exchanges” and began making the appropriate substitutions to build and implement their own meal plans to the tune of  fat loss results of 1-3 lbs per week without having to exercise.

Here’s a list of  foods and supplements with thermogenic properties we recommended for them 

Lean Proteins– Eating daily servings of chicken, turkey, lean beef, salmon and most nuts. Protein consumption boosts metabolic rate as much as 25%, with the rate decreasing when protein is mixed with carbs and fats. Patients were advised to eat a portion of protein with every meal.

Whey Protein–  Known for its filling and nutritious properties, having an average of just 2-4  whey protein servings per WEEK aided the process of fat loss for our patients.  Check out more info here.

FACT:  Studies also found reductions in liver fat with whey protein supplementation vs other sources of protein.ginger tea

Ginger tea– A decrease in appetite has been noted with ginger intake and has been found to increase the thermic effect of food products. Patients were recommended to drink 2 -3 cups per day.

*Ephedrine HCL–  Ephedrine is one component of the herb Ephedra. It is able to induce fat loss by increasing the amount of fat available for fuel as well as by increasing heat expenditure (metabolic rate).

Studies prove that most weight lost with ephedrine administration is due to fat mass, due to a slight muscle preserving effect.

Patients were given ephedrine HCL at a dose of 20-24 mg, per day for 8 weeks to avoid side effects.

Hope these recommendations help you with your own weight loss goals.

To Your Health!

Luz L



*Recommended to use under the supervision of a Medical Provider