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Filtering by Category: Fitness

The Holiday Movie Workout Game

Lisa Eberly

Okay so a couple years ago I posted this game on my previous blog, The Skinny on Health. It not only kept me in shape throughout all the holiday lounging around I did, but my readers loved it! Total hit. Now that it’s pouring daily and we’re cozied up watching holiday movies again, I’m bringing it back around for round two! 

Yes, yes, holiday drinking games are fun, but they won’t tone your tushie! This game will AND it involves watching some of the best movies ever.

If your favorite Christmas movie isn’t on this list, here are the rules: Do 10 squats every time someone says “Christmas” or wears a santa hat.

So hop to it! If you do one of these workouts, post a photo and tag us in it so we can support your awesomeness and repost! (Bonus points if you can get a family member or two to do it with you!) :)

Happy holidays!

How much working out is too much?

Lisa Eberly

Not sure how to workout without burning out? 

Today, people can get a little intense about their workout. In fact, crazy workouts and exercise schedules is becoming the norm. 

Many of my clients are reporting working out upwards of 5-6 times per week for over an hour at a time and you know what? They aren't seeing results. 

Instead, they're seeing: injuries. sleep problems. missed social events. fatigue. 

I've got some surprising news for you: overdoing it at the gym can not only hinder your progress, but can actually lead to reversing progress and packing on pounds from fat. Dr. Holly Parker, personal trainer and PhD at Harvard (heard of it?), has found that “The benefits you want from working out—getting leaner, stronger, healthier—reverse when you don’t take breaks.”

The science works in three ways:

1. You actually see the benefits from exercise during the recovery stage. While working out, muscle fibers tear (teeny tiny tears), and once healed, they build muscles. However, if you're constantly tearing the muscles without the healing in between, the tears can build up, and changes in tone and strength can't happen. 

2. Exercising too much puts stress on your body, which increases cortisol levels. This hormone, cortisol, promotes fat build up and weight gain AND --wait for it -- INHIBITS the hormones necessary to build strength and muscle. So working out too much literally prevents muscles from toning and strengthening. 

3. Metabolism slows. Increasing lean body mass helps increase metabolism, leading to increased calorie burning throughout the day. However, too much exercise without enough calories to support it makes the body want to hold on to any calories it gets, slowing your metabolism. 

Here at Nourish, we recommend working out in 30-60 minute sessions, 3-5 times per week max. If your sessions are intense, daily back to 3 per week for maximum results. If less intense, feel comfortable 5 times per week. 

If you're unsure about managing your workouts, or are feeling anxiety about changing up your schedule, please book an appointment with us to chat it out and get you in a good groove! 

The Absolute Most Important Part of your Fall Workout

Lisa Eberly

Fall is always a busy time. People start getting into their productive groove again after enjoying summer. This usually means speeding up their workouts to make more time for work (or just to get back into a warm and cozy home!). Well, this may not be the smartest move...

This colder fall weather is really significant when it comes to our workouts, particularly outdoor ones. Our body runs at 98.6F at our core, but our extremities are subject to slightly colder temps when the weather is extra chilly. This means our muscles are not as warm as they are in summer. 

Working out with 'cooler' muscles puts you at higher risk of injury than warmer muscles. So, that's why we always 'warm up' before a workout. But, this warm up becomes twice as important when the temperature drops. Meanwhile, we start skipping it. So, make sure you stretch, stretch, stretch before you fall and winter workouts! Even if you think you won't be using that muscle, stretch it anyway! 

Additionally, a stretch is nothing without form and pace. Slow stretches with proper alignment are form are key for preventing injury. If you're stretching and not feeling it in the right muscles, try adjusting your form until you do! 

Keep your workouts safe and injury-free this fall! :) 

Curing Digestion Problems at the Mall

Lisa Eberly

First things first, I asked my client over and over again if I could share this story with the world and she very generously said 'yes please!' so, first, THANK YOU to my amazing client willing to share her story. 

Second, this article is going to talk about what most health bloggers are scared to mention: bathroom problems. Yep.

My client's problem: she couldn't *ahem* "go" to the bathroom until...wait for it...she was at the mall. 

That's why she came to see me, a dietitian, to help her fix her situation and get her going to the bathroom more regularly. 

The mall thing was an interesting twist. 

When getting my masters and in my clinical internship I learned something very important about the career path I chose: if you work in medicine, more conversations than you'd guess will revolve around your client's pooping habits. Whether you're a doctor or nurse or dietitian, you've gotta get reeeeaallll comfortable around da P-word. 

Back to the mall. 

I'm not sure if any of you notice this pattern or a similar one ("I only get the urge to go when I'm ________"), but after careful scrutiny, my client and I determined the root cause of her shopping-induced urges. 

Can you guess what it was? 

I'll wait...


Yep, walking. After discussing her usual habits, my client and I discovered that, more often than not, she wasn't walking quite as much as she should be daily. That is, unless, she was walking around the mall that day! 

It turns out shopping IS great exercise! 

Cardio exercises, like running, jogging, and yes, even walking, all help digestion. 

How does this work?

Well, exercise helps constipation by decreasing the time it takes food to move through the large intestine, therefore limiting the amount of water absorbed from the intestines into the body (more water in the intestines --> easier it is to "go"!). Also, aerobic exercise increases your breathing and heart rate. This helps to stimulate the natural contraction of intestinal muscles. These are the muscles that are going to move anything in your intestines out of your body. 

So, my client was using exercise to stimulate her intestines without even realizing it!

Needless to say, she and I had fun figuring that one out. 

If you've been having problems in the bathroom, try taking a walk around the block for 30-45 minutes and see if that 'gets things going,' if you will. :)

If that doesn't do the trick, you can always make an appointment with me to get to the bottom of things! Plus, since you're a reader, that means we're friends, which means you get 20% off an appointment with the code FRIENDS. See you soon! 

Boosting your Metabolism with Muscle

Lisa Eberly

The Myth: Eating small, frequent meals will boost your metabolism

True or False? FALSE.

Got your mother’s slow mo-tabolism? Trust me, I feel ya. Everyone is constantly looking for ways to speed up their metabolism to burn fat faster and be one of those people who eats everything and gains nothing.

Pop culture shoves this idea of eating small, frequent meals in our face and it’s not true.

Eating small, frequent meals keeps you from over-eating. This prevents you from sitting down for a large meal and overloading your body’s production of insulin. (Insulin inhibits fat breakdown). However, insulin is still produced when you eat smaller meals, and it will always be elevated if you are consistently snacking on food (even if it’s healthy food).

By waiting in between meals (and not snacking), the production of insulin stops, allowing fat breakdown to occur.

You might be saying, “Well, I snack on small meals and lost weight doing it!” First, that’s AWESOME. If eating like that works for you and helps you stay in shape, keep it up! However, it is not increasing your metabolismYou’re likely just losing weight because you are eating less food and less total calories every day. 

Think of it this way: a meal at a restaurant is typically almost 1,000 calories. If you show up hungry, you will likely end up eating the whole thing (plus some bread before) which is over 1,000 calories. Eating a full meal just twice a day can add up to over 2,000 calories (more than the average person needs!). By snacking on smaller, low calorie foods throughout the day you never really feel hungry enough to eat a big meal.

The main determinant of metabolism is genetics. Your genes determine a larger part of your metabolism, and that is unfortunately something you cannot control. But, there is one way (and only one) to change your metabolism: building muscle.

Lean muscle mass burns calories faster than fat. That is why people with more lean muscle (athletes, men, etc) need more calories than people with a higher percentage of body fat. As you age, your metabolism slows down which mirrors the decrease in lean muscle mass that accompanies aging.

(This is why I am a firm believer in strength exercises for women!)

You don’t need to be “buff” or anything crazy, but building up toned muscles increases your metabolism and helps burn more calories naturally. Simply running, cycling, or doing cardio exercises won’t do it. You need the added strength workout to build up your lean muscle mass and burn more fat to lose weight or maintain your shape as you age.

My Rx for boosting metabolism: 15 minutes daily or 20 minutes 3-4 times per week of weight lifting (even just 8-10 lbs) or what I call “body lifting” including push ups, sit ups, or squats using your own body weight for resistance. Even some yoga poses that build strength will work! 

Mythbusting: the fat burning zone

Lisa Eberly


Let’s mythbust.

Myth: Working out at a lower intensity burns more fat, while working out at a higher intensity just burns carbs. Thus, you should workout at a low-moderate intensity (ex. walk or jog) to lose fat instead of a high intensity (run).


Working out at a low-moderate intensity burns a higher percent of fat relative to carbs.  However, it overall burns a lot less total compared to a high intensity.

Make sense?

So, if you’re working at a low intensity, you might be burning 60% fat and 40% carbs, and burn off around 100 calories of energy total. That’s 60 calories of fat.

If you’re working at a high intensity, you might burn around 40% fat and 60% carbs. But, you’re burning 400 calories total. That’s 160 calories of fat.

You would have to keep up that low-moderate intensity workout going for hours to compare to a quick, intense workout.

So the next time someone tells you to walk or jog lightly to burn off your fat instead of kick your butt in the gym, tell them NOPE. Get more bang for your buck, get intense.