Monday, March 24, 2008

Monday Maternity

Well, I'm off to have a stay motivated while I'm gone! I'll be super motivated when I'm back...gotta lose those baby pounds! I'm thinking a week or so will give me time to get back...but we'll see. Check back :)

Thursday, March 20, 2008


A measure of energy content frequently used in nutrition. The term Calorie is frequently used synonymously with kilocalorie although strictly speaking it should be capitalized. The prefix "kilo" means 1,000. Thus, one kilocalorie (abbreviated kC.) is the amount of heat required to increase the temperature of 1,000 g of water by 1 degree C. while a calorie (small c.) refers to heating 1 g of water by 1 degree C. The caloric content of foods and daily energy requirements are given in kilocalories. A small calorie is one-thousandth of a kilocalorie. However, the international standard for energy content is based on the Joule; 1 kilocalorie equals 4.18 kilojoules.

Thank you.

(Encyclopedia of Nutrition and Good Health by Robert Ronzio)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Q & A

What can you do, while running, to alleviate the pain of a side ache? I've tried breathing out on the side of the pain as I step down, and I've tried contracting my abs(which works pretty well) but is there anything else?

From my experience, there are several types of side aches and each can be alleviated in different ways.

Nutritionally, there are several things you can do. Make sure to drink enough water during the day and limit food and beverage consumption to a few hours before exercise. Make sure you're getting enough calcium and potassium(high sources of potassium include, in order from highest to lowest: avocados, potatoes, bananas, broccoli, orange juice, soybeans and apricots) to help reduce side cramps.

Warming up properly, increasing core strength, and running on soft surfaces may also help you.

I also get really bad side aches, that can actually last for days, if I am not eating enough. I get these a lot when I'm 5k training because I run faster lighter. However, because I don't eat as much, I do a lot less training, especially due to these killer side aches.

Other times, it helps if you just stop for a few seconds or a minute and let the cramp go on its own. Most of the time I try to run through a cramp, but if it just isn't letting up, I'll walk and give it some time to pass. Often this is more time efficient because with a cramp I run much slower and am better off getting rid of it in a minute than ruining my whole workout or race trying to run with it. Mostly, try to be in touch with your body. Do the things before hand that will help, but when the cramp comes, let your body tell you if you should stop or if you can run through it.

Are "organic foods" really that much healthier for you? Do you really see significant differences in 'organic' food and your health?

Whether or not to buy organic food usually comes down to the price. Organic food sounds nice to everyone, but the price difference from conventional products might leave us questioning how essential it is to our health.

Organic foods have shown to have higher levels of vitamins and nutrients and fewer antibiotics, pesticides, and other potentially harmful substances than conventional foods. Based solely on these findings, I would say, yes, buying organic really does make a difference in our health. Just thinking about milk spiked with growth hormones gives me the ebbies.

So, back to the price of the situation…hopefully having cleared up that YES buying organic is safer, regulated (by the USDA), and more nutritionally beneficial than buying conventional foods. In an effort to make the most of your organic spending the Environmental Working Group has provided a few lists to show us when it’s most important to buy organic.

These 12 fruits and vegetables contain the highest levels of pesticides; buy organic to reduce your exposure (by eating the organic versions of these “dirty dozen”, you can reduce your exposure to contaminants by 90 percent):

Apples, Bell peppers, Celery, Cherries, Imported grapes , Nectarines, Peaches, Pears, Potatoes, Raspberries, Spinach, Strawberries

Also buy organic meats, poultry, eggs, and dairy to limit your exposure to antibiotics and growth hormones.

The pesticide levels of these 12 fruits and vegetables are low to undetectable; okay to buy conventional:

Asparagus, Avocados, Bananas, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Kiwi, Mangoes, Onions, Papaya, Pineapples, Sweet corn, Sweet peas

Choose organic breads, pastas, cereals, and other processed foods when cost and availability allow it.

Of course there are about a million other pros and cons to organic foods…but I think I’ll keep this simple.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Muscles to move

Why do we strength train?
It may be to look better or have a greater competitive edge, but hopefully we're also thinking about the ways it can benefit us in everyday life. For example, making it easier to carry the groceries up to a 3rd floor apartment or having more endurance to chase after a toddler. HOWEVER, the way sooo many people train in the weight room has very little to do with the way the body works in the real world. ex: laying the body out over a supportive pad while bicep curling. Do you think you'll ever find a situation outside of the gym where you'll have to lift something with your right bicep only and not have to engage your core muscles, your triceps, and may stabilizing muscles? Probably not!

Paul Scott, author of "Outside Fitness", puts it well when he says, "Strength is a more sustainable goal when you detach it from thinking about body parts and think instead about movements" (p. 32).

This is why you've probably heard a lot of pro's for free weights. They allow you to use a better range of motion while being more realistic as far as "out of the gym" strength. Beginners are fine starting off on machines and padded equipment, but if you want to advance, start thinking in terms of movements: push, pull, bend, rotate (or throw), squat, and step. We also preform these basic movements on multiple what we want is multi joint, multi planar movements.

Paul Scott bullet points these things to think about:
*Strength is manifested in movements
*Strength is manifested in the use of multiple joints in succession
*Strength is manifested in three planes of movement in off-balance and upon unstable settings
*Strength is manifested in different rates of force production or speed

Okay, so how can you use this? I'll give you some helpful hints, you use your noggin and think of everyday uses for your muscles, and then add weight!

Let's use PUSHING to get us started.

Types of Pushing movements:
1. Forward Pushing
2. Upward Pushing
3. Downward Pushing

1. take your bench press and turn it into a bench press with dumbbells and on a ball or a chest press standing with cable.

2. take your seated dumbbell press and seat yourself on a ball instead or stand on one leg while pressing overhead.

3. take your dumbbell tricep kickback and turn it into an overhead tricep extension from a prone position on ball.

You'll notice that we take the movement off of a stable, padded environment and add an element of instability (often in the form of a ball) to advance your strength training movement.

So, continue thinking of real-life ways to make your strength training more valuable. One I thought of today I'll call the Kayak. This one is good for the core and arms. Sit on top of a ball and lift a bar out in front of you. Make the motion as if your were paddeling a kayak down the river, moving the bar from side to side...make sure your core muscles are engaged and supporting the movement. We may not all be kayaking today...but maybe you have to move your heavey stack of books from one side of the desk to the the Kayak!

Monday Motivation

Run something fast this week!

Thursday, March 13, 2008


Hair: hair shaft (hair that has projected from the scalp or skin, or HAIR) differ in size, shape, and color. In the eyebrows, they are short and stiff, but on the scalp they are longer and more flexible. Oval-shaped hair shafts produce wavy hair. Flat or ribbonlike hair shafts produce kinky or curly hair. Perfectly round hair shafts produce straight hair. (p. 101 Body by Design: From the Digestive Systeem to the Skeleton)

Poop: No digestion takes place in the large intestine, only the reabsorption or recovery of water. As more and more water is removed from that material, it become compacted into soft masses (we hope) called poop! Poop is compsed of water, cellulose and other indigestible material, and dead and living bacteria. (This is the best part)The remnants of worn red blood cells give poop it's brown color...huh.
(p. 44 Body by Design: From the Digestive System to the Skeleton)

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Q & A


why does my face turn SO RED when I workout hard? Some days aren't as bad as others ??


Well, considering that you don't have rosacea I'll continue with my educated guess (that you've probably guessed as well). When the body temperature begins to raise above it's normal 98.6 degrees, blood fills the capillaries closest to the skin in order to cool down. How visible this reaction is may have a lot to do with the amount and type of melanin, or pigmentation of your skin. The degree to which your face turns red could also depend on water intake, temperature, and diet. Remember, that these factors may come into play several days later, as my good doctor tells me, "You are what you eat, last week."
Don't feel alone though...apparently there are a whole lot of people out there who share your complaint!


When you say yoga, do you mean power yoga or a more traditional yoga?


When I say yoga, I mean, PLEASE just do it! Find the type that you can connect with and that you feel is most advantageous to what you want to accomplish. Personally, I like a stronger, more western based yoga than the humming and omming of the traditional eastern style. I love the relaxation and meditation that comes with most forms of yoga, but what I really love is moving into a difficult position and enjoying it! Most of the teaching I've done is based on power yoga and a lot of the students I've taught weren't looking for a spiritual experience, but rather to gain flexibility, strength, balance, and control. However, gain all of that and your spirit is bound to feel good!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Power Yoga

Just another yoga horn I'd like to toot! I just finished reading over "Journey into Power" by Baron Baptiste. Baron pretty much invented power yoga and brought yoga into the lime-light as he made it popular among the stars. His book covers everything from the meditative side of yoga, to a clean diet, to multiple vinyasas. Although there were only 2 poses that I've never taught, just reading it over made me excited to hit the mat!
I like Baron's approach in teaching every person to be their own self. The point of yoga is not to push and shove yourself into a pretzel position, but to allow yourself to find where your body can naturally take you. The series of vinyasas he depicts are great for beginners and advanced, so this is a book you can grow with.

If you're a first timer, I'm still going to recommend a video or class, so you can actually see and hear what you're supposed to do, but once you're familiar with some of the poses and language, this book is great.

What I'd really like to get across here is that I really do not think there is any substitute for yoga practice in a healthy lifestyle. It has a way of centering you, making you more aware of your choices, and freeing you that is incomparable. I know there is value in flexibility and muscle strength as we age. Yoga give us that...keeping us young and light. Sadly, there are people out there who won't give yoga a good try. Either it's too weird, uncomfortable, or even painful. Luckily, you can make yoga what you want it to be. A nice stretch after your workout. A time to meditate and grow. A strength training program. Whatever! I challenge everyone to give yoga a solid effort for two weeks. You'll notice what was "painful" at first quickly melts into relaxing and rejuvenating. That's what's exciting about yoga as'll quickly see improvement!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Body by Design

Another current read spelled out muscle energy so perfectly and simply that I had to share it with everyone. Now you'll sound super smart and actually know what you're talking about!

"In order to contract, muscles need energy. That energy comes from adenosine triphosphate (ATP), a high energy molecule found in every cell in the body. ATP is the only energy source that muscles can use to power their activity.

"Yet, muscle fibers store only a limited supply of ATP-about 4 to 6 seconds' worth. For muscles to continue working, ATP must be supplied continuously. The most abundant energy source for ATP is glycogen (a starch form of the simple sugar glucose). In the human body, the liver stores glucose by converting it to glycogen. When the body needs energy, the liver is stimulated to change glycogen back into glucose and secrete it into the bloodstream for use by the cells.

"In the cells, glucose combines with oxygen to yield or produce carbon dioxide, water, heat, and ATP. Carbon dioxide, water, and heat are all waste products of this chemical reaction.

*I like this part

"Even though muscle fibers store some oxygen, that oxygen is quickly used up, especially during strenuous exercise. In order to convert glucose into ATP so they can continue working, muscles must receive more oxygen via the blood. That is why respiration or breathing rate increases during physical exertion. In times where work or play activities are exhausting, muscle fibers my literally run out of oxygen. If not enough oxygen is present in muscle fibers, the fibers convert glucose into lactic acid, a chemical waste product. (makes muscles sore)
"Lactic acid is normally carried away from muscles by the blood. It is then transported to the liver, where it is changed back into glucose. In order to do this, however, the liver needs ATP. To produce ATP in the liver, oxygen is once again needed. This is why breathing rate remains high even after vigorous physical activity is stopped. Only after the liver produces the necessary ATP does breathing gradually return to normal."
(Body by Design: From the Digestive System to the Skeleton p. 165)

**This is also why it's important to exercise, albeit gently, the day after you get sore.

glucose + oxygen = carbon dioxide, water, heat & ATP. ATP is energy for muscles.
Glucose + not enough oxygen = lactic acid
Lactic acid + ATP (using oxygen in the liver)= glucose

What a beautiful cycle!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Q & A

Thanks for all the Q & A! I love to answer your questions...hopefully in a helpful way!

Do you flavor plain yogurt or have a favorite over the counter one?

I love all yogurt! When eating plain yogurt I usually add some yummy stuff.. like grapes, apples, shaved almonds, and celery for a more fulfilling snack/small meal. Or I add some strawberries and cereal. My fridge is stocked with over the counter yoplait (the only kind my husband will eat), which I normally buy in the original form. I'm not a big fan of artificial sweeteners and tend to stay away from them in my yogurt even if that means eating more sugar. When I'm feeling really smart, I make my own yogurt and stick to adding fruit or honey if you like the taste. I'm eager to buy a yogurt maker, which is really easy to use and works really well.

When you lift weights, what is your recommended reps and sets?

That's a hard question to answer in one way because strength training is always contingent on WHAT YOU'RE TRAINING FOR. The average person looking to gain muscle tone and strength should stick to these guidelines:

*start at a comfortable weight you can lift 8-10 times for 3 sets.

*when you can lift that weight 12-15 times for 3 sets it's time to move up,
add another 5-10 lbs. (the different between 5 & 10 lbs may seem like a lot, but the larger muscles always adapt faster and can handle larger weight increases).

*once you've moved up weight, go back to 8-10 reps for 3 sets until you can make 12-15 reps for 3 sets and it's time to add more weight again.

*one of the most important things to remember is to CHANGE how you attack the muscle. Muscles will get complacent if you do the same type of lift every time and STOP responding to the weight, whether or not you're adding more poundage. This is why a trainer is invaluable because they should know about 3,000 different ways to attack the bicep muscle :) If a trainer is not an option, try searching online, reading books, checking back here and I'll try to get some posting done on different lifts for your muscles.

Do you hire out Kelly? I start going to the Rec Center in the morning and I am looking for a personal trainer. What do you charge and what is your schedule like? I ordered the book you recommend ‘Core Performance’ by Mark Verstegen and it came today.

Yes, I hire out. As a Nutrition/Exercise Consultant I help a client put together a personal diet plan, keep a food log, start an exercise program, stay motivated through daily interaction and much more. I truly LOVE showing people new ways to work and watch as they become more flexible, stronger, healthier. For more details you can just email me at

I really enjoy the "Core Performance" book because it focuses on several areas that many people overlook, such as flexibility and kinetic movement. I hope you like it!

What are some good muscle strengthening/lifting workouts for training for a marathon?

While training for a marathon I tend to ween off of the weights a bit largely because I spend all my time running and because the muscles become torn (thus strengthening and building the muscle) from running for long periods of time. It can do more harm than good to strength train even more on these worn muscles. I recommend following a simple training plan that allows you to strength train your entire body just two times a week through isotonic exercise (or lifting weights) and through isometric exercise (like yoga) the remainder of the week.

Plan on working isotonically on hard workout days, like tempo work or an interval session, but NOT on long, endurance days (like your 18 miler for the week). This will allow your body to recover more fully on the light days and really dig into the glucose storage on the hard days. All other days should be followed by isometric work to strengthen and retain muscle flexibility.

...Twice a week, following a fast/hard workout, lift on all major muscle groups of the body. Arms: bicep, tricep, lats, delts
Core: pecs, abdominal, obliques, transverse abdominis, hip flexors
Legs: quads, hams, abductor/adductors, calves
Make sure to mix up the type of lift you're using for each muscle group between the two sessions.

...All other days...YOGA, what more can I say? Look HERE for yoga help or try buying some videos or books. My fav. video instructor is Rodney Yee and my FAV book of all time is "Yoga Mind & Body" by Living at the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center. PLEASE do not overlook isometric training as you plan for your marathon! It will keep you feeling good, strengthen in ways you can't imagine, and keep you injury free!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

A controversial Topic

I've just finished a quick read of "Turn off the Hunger Switch" by Paul Rivas, M.D. It included a lot of new studies and information for this traditional nutritionist. To summarize the book for you, Paul Rivas is a Bariatric M.D. thus dealing with clients who are overweight or obese. He contents that many of these people are overweight, not because they lack willpower or because they haven't made a good many attempts to lose the weight, but because of a chemical imbalance in the brain.

Appetite and weight control begin in the hypothalamus. One part of the hypothalamus, the ventromedial region, is in charge of telling you when you've had enough to eat, or that you're full. If this part is damaged, enormous hunger and obesity always result. The feeling of hunger comes from another part of the hypothalamus, the lateral hypothalamus. If this part is damaged, loss of appetite and extreme thinness result.

Studies have shown that many overweight people do not necessarily eat more food, but they think about it a lot more, eventually leading to overindulgence or binge eating. Paul Rivas argues that these people have an underlying biochemical abnormality much like those with OCD or depression. By increasing brain levels of certain substances, like serotonin, that act as triggers for the hypothalamus, one can suppress appetite and overeating and also liberate people from obsessing over food.

Traditionally I would say that all people can lose weight and be healthy by diet and exercise, however, there do seems to be people, and studies to prove it, that respond poorly if at all to these traditional practices. Better said, if a person is dieting and exercising they may lose weight, but if they feel they are putting in a huge amount of effort for small results or starving themselves to lose a pound, these medical recommendations seem to make more sense.

Although I have personally experienced a wild appetite and bouts of depression, to the point where I felt out of control, I was able to pull myself from these symptoms over time, with much spiritual effort and without medication. However, these experiences lead me to better understand why people do seek out medical attention as these types of problems seem to be almost insurmountable by oneself.

Finally, I would always recommend diet and exercise as the primary means of losing weight and living healthy to all people. However, for those who feel completely at a dead end, hopeless and who absolutely NEED to lose weight for other health complications, I would suggest reading this book and making an appointment with a bariatric doctor.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Motivation Monday

Be Responsible! The key to being successful is being responsible. By this I mean, decide what you're going to do and DO IT! Own up to where you're at, where you want to go and how you're going to get there each day. If you decided you're running 3 times a week and strength training 2 times a week....DO IT! No more excuses or not enough time. Squeeze it in, make it work and feel good about it.

Tell me, tell a friend, tell your family your goal and be responsible to them too.

Here's a Contract I have my clients sign at the beginning of a six week session. Sign you're name and be responsible!

Success Contract

I ________________, understand that by signing this document I am committing both mentally and physically to myself and KSN (Kelly Swanson Nutrition). I fully understand all the program components and agree to adhere to the requirements outlined in this contract. I understand that by not following the outlined requirements I may not achieve positive changes in weight, body fat, and/or circumference measurements upon the completion of the 6 week program.

Program requirements are as follows:

-reading all information provided

-cardio, strength and flexibility train at least 3 times per week

-complete a nutrition and exercise journal

By adhering to all of these requirements I expect to achieve positive changes in weight, body fat, and/or circumference measurements upon the completion of the 6 week program.

Program Start Date: ___________ Program End Date: ____________

Print name __________________ Print name ___________________

Sign name __________________ Sign name ___________________