Wednesday, April 29, 2015

What’s the Deal with Paleo?

The Paleo diet is quickly gain popularity and is taking the diet world by storm. It is also known as the “Stone Age Diet”.  What exactly is this diet? To simplify it, it is a diet that focuses on eating like our prehistoric ancestors did. This was back in time when we did not have processed foods, refined sugars, or dairy. The diet focuses on only eating foods that can be hunted, fished, or gathered. The belief behind this diet is that if we eat the way that our ancestors did that we will be healthier, lose weight, and curb disease. As with any diet, there are always going to be pros and cons. You also always want to check with a doctor or dietician before you start any kind of diet or change in your eating habits.

What the diet emphasizes: Meat, fish, nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables, and eggs

What the diet eliminates: Processed foods, whole grains, dairy, potatoes, sugar, and salt

Pros of Paleo:

  • Cuts out added sugars and sodium.
  • The combination of plant foods and diet rich in protein helps control blood sugar, regulate blood pressure, contribute to weight loss, and prevent type II diabetes.
  • Diet is rich is protein.
  • Emphasis on protein in fiber in this diet helps suppress appetite leaving us fuller for longer.
  • Potassium is still plentiful in this diet.

Cons of Paleo:

  • Expensive: The meats and other foods that are used in this diet can be very pricey to purchase
  • The diet cuts out certain food groups (such as dairy and whole grains) – Cutting nutrient enriched foods out of a diet can be tricky because that can lead to nutrient deficiencies which may lead to other health issues.
  • Low carb: In this diet only 23% of calories come from carbs when in reality it should be closer to 45-60% calories coming from carbs. Diets low in carbs can lower one’s energy source and leave you feeling tired.
  • It can be difficult to keep up with and maintain this diet.
  • It is low in calcium due to cutting out dairy products– We need calcium to keep our bones strong.
If you are looking to start this type of diet, I would suggest to keep eating whole grains and dairy but in moderation. It is never healthy to cut out a whole food group that has benefits to your body. As always check with you doctor or a nutritionist before starting any sort of diet program.

Blog post by Krista Post.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Yoga Pose of the Week: Pigeon Pose

In celebration of the Boston Marathon today I wanted to share the yoga pose that I feel has really helped me the most as a runner!

When I first began running a few years ago I had a lot of trouble with my piriformis, a small muscle located in the gluteal region – also known as runner’s “pain in the butt”!

Eka Pada Rajakapotasana or one-legged pigeon pose is a great way to target the piriformis muscle and done regularly this pose can help alleviate the tightness and pain that runners sometimes experience.

Since this pose is such a deep hip opener it should only be done AFTER you've already done some basic yoga poses that warm up and stretch the muscles in this area to be ready for this pose.

  • Begin in a low lunge position (I suggest staying here for a few breaths to begin to open up the hips and hamstrings before moving into the deeper stretch)
  • From the lunge, move your front foot towards the opposite wrist and then lower your hip until you feel a gentle stretch in your hamstrings, glutes and piriformis

**Be sure to move slowly and only go to the point that you feel a gentle stretch!**

Your hips should stay as squared as possible and your hip, knee and ankle of your back leg should stay in line with each other.  If your hip does not come to the ground you can put a yoga block, a folded towel or blanket or even a pillow under it so that it's grounded and you can stay comfortably in the pose without over doing the stretch.   

To deepen the stretch you can fold forward over your front leg if it’s comfortable.

For a modified version that is gentler on the knee and a less intense version of the stretch, you can do “reclined pigeon”:
  • Begin on your back, knees bent, feet flat on the floor
  • Cross your right ankle on top of your left knee so that your legs create a “figure 4”
  • To deepen the stretch you can lift the bottom foot off the floor, straighten that leg up and reach your hands around your straight leg to hold behind your thigh

Done regularly, pigeon pose is a great way to keep that pesky piriformis muscle happy as you build up your mileage!

Keep running and keep stretching!


Don’t forget you can join me for Yoga for Athletes every Thursday morning at 7am at Mashpee Fitness!

Blog post by Danielle Nardi.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Spring Cleaning Your Diet

Spring is a great chance to clean out almost anything including what you eat on a regular basis. As the cold weather goes away finally (Yay!), we start to lose interest in those winter foods such as soups and casseroles. The other good thing about spring coming is that many fresh fruits and vegetables are going to be coming to a store near you. This will make healthy food shopping a lot more convenient for many. Eating spring fruits and vegetables can make it easier for you to keep up with a consistent healthy diet. 

Although many fruit and vegetables will vary by area, here are a list of some of spring’s finest fruits and vegetables that will be sure to keep you going during these beautiful spring months.
  1. Apricots – Try some chopped up fresh apricot in your salad. It will give it a nice sweet flavor.
  2. Broccoli – Broccoli is loaded with fiber and antioxidants which makes it an obvious choice. Try steamed or sautéed.
  3. Spring greens (Swiss chard, mustard greens, etc.) – Whip together a salad and add some of the other fresh vegetables to this mix. If you want more flavor add some lemon juice and olive oil to spice it up.
  4. OrangesOranges are mostly in season during the winter but they carry over to the spring as well.
  5. Strawberries – This fruit is known as a summer fruit but taste sweeter in the spring.
  6. Spinach – Try spinach as a topping as your sandwiches. It is also great when you incorporate it into a smoothie with other fruits and vegetables.
  7. Mangos – One of my favorite spring fruits. Mangos can be added to almost any kind of dish to add an extra fruity flavor. Toss some cut up mangos into a blender with some low fat yogurt to make a delicious and tasteful smoothie
  8. Asparagus – Asparagus can be found fresh in many grocery stores during the spring months. Try sprinkling them with olive oil, pepper, and touch of salt then either baking or grilling them.

Another hint to add more spring fruits and vegetables to your diet is cooking them up on the grill. Grilling is one of the healthier ways to cook up your food. Just remember that no matter what time of year it is you can always incorporate healthy foods into your diet.

Blog post by Krista Post.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Sun Salutations: What are they and why do we practice them?

In the most literal sense, a Sun Salutation or Surya Namaskar as it is called in Sanskrit, the language of yoga, is a specific series of yoga poses performed in sequence.

While the history of the physical practice of the Surya Namaskar sequence is a bit unclear, it is known that it was originally a sequence of sacred words honoring the sun that would be chanted at sunrise each morning rather than the sequence of poses we are familiar with today.

Why do we honor the sun?  As Shiva Rea, creator of Prana Flow Yoga and founder of the Global Mala Project put it, “All of life on Earth depends on the sun.” 

Sun Salutations are an energizing sequence that links body, breath and mind in a moving meditation of gratitude for the life force and healing energy that the sun provides.  And while they can be practiced at any time of the day, it’s often suggested that the early morning hours are a particularly good time for Sun Salutations since the mind is most likely calm and clear first thing in the morning.

The Sun Salutation sequence is an important foundation in the vinyasa (or flow) yoga practice.  This series is used as an energy building warm up and is repeated often throughout a practice as a smooth transition between other sequences.  Because Sun Salutations are repeated many times during a class it is important to practice them with proper pose alignment and breath work.

To learn more about Sun Salutations, proper pose alignment and transitions and how to work them into your personal practice join me on Sunday, April 19th from 1-3pm for a special Sun Salutation Workshop at Mashpee Fitness!


Blog post by Danielle Nardi.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Your Desk Job could be Affecting your Golf Game

There have been numerous studies in the past few years about the detrimental effects of sitting all day.  Some media sites have even claimed that “Sitting is the New Smoking” because of the increased risk of disease and even death.  We know how important it is to get in 30-60 minutes of physical activity (on most if not all days of the week) but what you are doing the other 23 hours of your day could be offsetting the work that you are putting in at the gym or out on the course.

In addition to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, sitting can cause a change in your posture.  Think about how you sit when you are at the computer.  Most of us don’t sit up straight and tall like we should.  Spinal alignment is off as your shoulders start slouching forward causing your chest muscles to tighten.  Soon you notice a forward head position.  Long term sitting can cause your muscles and spine to stay in these forward bending positions even when we are standing.

In Titleist Performance Institute (TPI) language, we call this the “C posture,” also known as Upper Cross Syndrome or kyphosis.  TPI reported that 33.1% of all amateur players have C postures which is characterized by excessive roundness in the upper back.  More specifically it is tight upper trap and weak lower trap, tight levator scapulae, tight sternocleidomastoid, weak serratus anterior, weak deep neck flexors, and tight pec major and pec minor.  An unstable core could also lead to these C posture characteristics.

A golfer’s thoracic spine needs to be mobile.  Any arching of the upper back or lack of thoracic extension can result in a loss of rotation, specifically in the backswing.  If you’re not getting the club to the proper position in the backswing, you could be limiting both your power and consistency.  

The goal in the setup position is a neutral spine but it’s not a simple fix and these muscular imbalances need to be addressed off the course and in the gym.  Find a Certified TPI Professional in your area and schedule a golf fitness assessment.  They will be your greatest resource to help you improve your golf game.

What can you do if you have a desk job?  Get up and move!  Take small breaks throughout the day and get up and stretch, go for a drink of water or take a lap around the office.  Set a timer so every 30 minutes you are reminded it’s time to stand up.

Remember: A neutral spine and good posture will lead to more rotation.  Mobility is important for proper mechanics and injury prevention.  If you don’t take care of your body, your longevity in the game you love may be cut short!

[Related Posts: Desk Yoga & Desk Yoga - Part 2]

Blog post by Jen Skiba.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Go With the Flow

Finally we are starting to get some nice weather as well as a little sun. Along with the nice weather comes keeping hydrated. Whether you are preparing to run a 5k or just going for a walk along the beach you want to make sure you are keep your body hydrated and fueled with water.

Water is one of the most essential nutrients for our body. Our bodies could survive without food for about 2 weeks but could only last no more than a week without water. It is responsible for many of our body functions so no wonder it is so important. Water is also good for keeping a healthy weight: its calorie free, sugar free, and has no caffeine.

Sometimes drinking water can seem a little bland since it is tasteless. We must remember that we need water to keep moving. Here are some tips to including more water into your diet during these hot months ahead:
  • Add fruit to your water: You can do this by either just putting the fruit into your glass of water like a lemon or a lime or you could use an ice cube tray and put a slice of fruit in each spot then fill with water. It will keep your water flavorful throughout the day.
  • Get a bottle that shows measurements on the side: You will be more likely to drink the right amount of water if you know how much you are actually drinking. The recommended amount of water for men is about 3 Liters and for women about 2.2 Liters.
  • Eat foods that have high water content: Fruits and vegetables are packed with vitamins/minerals as well as water. Try some watermelon, cantaloupe, or grapes on a sunny day to get some water intake.
  • Keep your water close: For many people, having water in front of them is a sure way to remind them to drink more water throughout the day. If you work at a desk then make sure you keep you water out in the open as a friendly reminder. You can always make sure you carry a bottle of water around with you if you are on the move all day.
  • If water is too blah for you, trying sparkling water that has a little bit of flavor in it. Any water is better than no water!
  • Set a reminder on your phone: If you are one of those people that is too busy to even thinking about having a drink of water throughout the day then set an alarm or reminder on your phone to keep you hydrated.
  • Hydrate before, during, and after exercise: Keep hydrated throughout your workout and don’t forget the water. Even if you are not feeling thirsty, it is a good idea to take a few sips of it to keep you going.

Just keep hydrating and enjoy the nice weather that is ahead!

Blog post by Krista Post.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Yoga for Athletes

Most athletes know and understand the benefits of cross training, but have you ever considered incorporating yoga as part of your cross training?

Yoga not only has physical benefits like flexibility, balance, coordination and strength, but also offers the mental benefits of breath awareness and concentration – all things athletes can benefit from!

Many athletes don’t take the time to slow down and really focus on listening to and taking care of their bodies, which can lead to overuse and injury - spending time on your yoga mat can help avoid that!

While you don’t need to be flexible to do yoga (a common misconception!), you can definitely expect some stretching in a yoga class.  Tight muscles are more prone to injury, so taking the time to loosen up tight spots can help increase range of motion and avoid painful injuries in the future. 

Yoga also focuses on mindfulness and linking breath with movement, both of which can be taken off the yoga mat to benefit you in your everyday living and your sport.  And if you’re looking for a great way to relax and recovery after an intense training session, a restorative yoga class can help you physically and mentally recover quicker.

I could go on and on about the benefits of yoga for athletes, but the best way for you to understand is to experience them yourself! 

Starting this week you can join me on the mat for Yoga for Athletes on Thursday’s at 7am at Mashpee Fitness – hope to see you there!


Blog post by Danielle Nardi.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

What’s Really In Your Easter Basket?

Happy Spring! Easter is right around the corner and for many of us that means candy and lots of it. The bunny is known for bringing candy that is festive, fun, colorful, and sometimes downright irresistible! One of the main issues with Easter candy is the amount of sugar used in them. Another problem is the amount of calories that can be found in just one piece of those candies. Here are a few examples:

*Keep in mind that the daily allowance of sugar intake for men is 37 grams and for women 25 grams*

  • Peeps: 130 calories for 4 Peeps and 34 g of sugar
  • Cadbury Crème Egg: 150 calories and 20 g of sugar
  • Reese’s Peanut Butter Egg: 180 calories and 16 g of sugar
  • Jelly beans: 35 for 140 calories and 32 grams of sugar

All these servings may cost you calories that you don’t want or need. If you do want to indulge in some Easter candy make sure it is in moderation. That means you probably don’t want to eat a whole pack of 24 peeps as tempting as it sounds! Another idea is to change up what you are eating for Easter snacks and fill Easter baskets with some healthier options available. Here are some ideas:

  • Bunny Graham crackers
  • Chocolate covered fruit
  • Fruit snacks (organic) : Opt for the ones with less sugar and no food coloring or artificial preservatives
  • Yogurt covered raisins or cranberries
  • Dark chocolate (in moderation of course)
  • Trail mix
  • Homemade goodies: These are great because you can choose the ingredients that are going inside your baked goods. Try making some oatmeal cookies or even healthy rice krispy treats shaped as bunnies. You can easily swap out certain ingredients when baking to make your Easter treats healthier.

Just keep in mind if you are eating any sweets then it should be in moderation. Don’t overindulge just because it’s a holiday! Enjoy and Happy Easter!

Blog post by Krista Post.


Did you know that April 1st is National Walking Day?  The American Heart Association encourages everyone to “Get Up & Move” today.  There are so many reasons to walk.  Why do you walk?

Benefits of Walking (provided by the American Heart Association)

  • Walking can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease
  • Improve cholesterol
  • Improve blood pressure and blood sugar levels
  • Improve blood lipid profile
  • Promote weight loss, maintain body weight and lower risk of obesity
  • Enhance mental well being 
  • Increase energy

Tips for Better Walking

  • Push off your toes and hip. This will provide for proper kinetic propulsion and alignment.
  • Use long strides to involve more muscles and provide for tissue lengthening.
  • Keep legs close together. This keeps the legs under the hips for improved balance and stability.
  • Move your shoulders as you stride for proper gait and body rotation.
  • Focus on your surroundings and avoid looking at the ground when walking to keep you in proper posture alignment.

Blog post by Alan Harrison.