Let’s not overlook our GUT health when we talk about IMMUNE health!
Given the global topic of COVID-19, it is a good time to look at the Functional approach to immune boosting for all year round! It is sad that in all the talk of IMMUNE health we totally disregard GUT health – especially since 70% or more of our immune system is in our gut!
Here are some basic lifestyle modifications that can add up to a more resilient you! NOTE: This is not treatment for any virus, nor is this preventative of transmitting any viruses to those around you. We are looking at ways to boost your own immunity for your overall health.
Our bio-terrain is diverse and makes up so much of who we are – modifying our cravings, our compulsive eating habits and even our mental health. This is something that gets out of balance very quickly with illness, stress, poor diet, and anti-biotic use.
LET'S TALK ABOUT PROBIOTICS
Not just any probiotics will work, however, because many health topics are strain dependent and commercial probiotics are often poor quality and never even make it to the areas within the gut that they need to be to populate. The best sources of probiotics are actually in real fermented foods.
Fermentation is either utilizing yeast or bacteria, here we need bacteria fermented not yeast fermented foods. So your Kombucha? Maybe not the best option, because kombucha is fermented by yeast its final product does contain small amounts of alcohol and vinegar, which isn’t going to work for people with dietary issues like Candida, diabetes, alcoholics, or those with alcohol or caffeine sensitivity.
According to Fermentationist and Gut Health Expert, Summer Bock “The healing effect of kombucha is often more from the fermented byproducts rather than the probiotic effect. I recommend kombucha for people who have never really had a sweet tooth.”
Best REAL WHOLE FOOD source of belly balancing probiotics? Traditionally fermented RAW UNPASTEURIZED Sauerkraut! 2 Tbs per day for good happy belly health. Must be raw and unpasteurized otherwise the probiotics you are looking for have been compromised and killed during processing. You can even make you own at home super easy! https://detoxinista.com/how-to-make-raw-sauerkraut/
If you chose to purchase your sauerkraut (or even raw and unpasteurized kimchi) these brands will be located in the refrigerated section at your co-op or health food store. A few health benefits derived from eating fermented vegetables are that they boost the immune system, support digestion, and offer dense nutrition for rebuilding energy and mineral reserves.
Additionally, these raw and unpasteurized foods contain native intestinal flora that will inoculate and live in your digestive tract to help you:
Best Yogurt Drink source for overall digestive and immune support? Yakult probiotic drink (go to https://www.yakultusa.com/store-locator/ to find where to locate near you!) Each bottle of Yakult contains Lactobacillus casei Shirota (LcS) which is clinically shown to improve digestive health.
If you are coming back from a round of anti-biotics or years of anti-biotic use, an acute illness, or digestive distress, you can use a probiotic supplement to re-load your biome. The best OTC versions out there that are readily available that I have found in my research have been specifically Garden of Life Primal Defense and “All Flora” by New Chapter. Strain is vitally important to the probiotics doing their job, so working with a professional well versed in probiotic research and therapeutic usage can be very beneficial so that you are not wasting your hard earned money!
According to Bock, one drawback she’s seen regarding probiotics is that some people get an overgrowth of bacteria in their small intestine due to chronic over-usage of probiotic supplementation. This is called SIBO – Small Intestinal Bacteria Overgrowth – and can cause even worse issues.
Bock’s General dosage guidelines for a Repopulation Intensive:
Bock does offer a note for individuals who have severe Candida, mycotic infections, certain stages of cancer, or histamine intolerances:
“Sometimes people have such a severe overgrowth of yeast, parasitic, bacterial, or histamine intolerance they have to completely eliminate probiotics in all forms (inconjunction with a specific healing diet) until they turn off the composting button from within their body. This is a more extreme situation and requires private coaching to provide the proper support and specific tailoring to the individual to create a healing diet that will reset the body. It is believed that in these cases, the probiotics actually become food for the yeasts and parasites, which keeps them living and growing even when all sugars have been eliminated from the diet.”
Regardless of your health status - if you choose probiotic repopulation, please work with a functional practitioner with extensive knowledge in probiotics research and application. I am able to help you with this topic, or can help you find someone locally to refer you to.
Jenniferlyn Kryvicky, MS, LN
Functional Nutritionist and Lifestyle Practitioner
In my last post, Blood Sugar Control - Understanding Blood Sugar, we went over the basics of sugar and the effects of our hormone insulin has on blood sugar. The big take-a-way of it all is that our goal is to have balanced blood sugar in order to help bring the rest of our health into balance - to protect our waistlines, our heart health, and reduce our systemic inflammation.
There are many ways to do this, but as a functional medicine trained nutritionist I always "back it up" to basics and start at the beginning.
LIFESTYLE MODIFICATIONS FOR BALANCING BLOOD SUGAR
Eating a balanced diet rich in fiber, heart healthy fat and plenty of lean proteins is crucial in balancing sugar. As you increase protein and fat, your satiety increases and your desire for sugars decrease. CROWD IN leafy greens, colorful whole fruits and vegetables to CROWD OUT sugary drinks and processed foods.
If you want to change your health - you are going to have to change your habits. There is no negotiating here, however going cold turkey may be a recipe for disaster. We have found that the concept of crowding in new behaviors helps to ultimately crowd out bad ones.
Try not to focus on SUBTRACTING OUT the foods and habits that do not serve your health, but rather look at ways to ADD IN healthier things. Find ways to make vegetables and fruits the center of your diet, accessorize with lean proteins and heart healthy fats.
If you are a hamburger and fry freak - there is no way that having you switch to salads 4 times a day is going to work for you... right now. You will find that you start to order your burger dinner differently if you take an additive approach.
Start by ADDING IN a side salad to your burger and fry meal. Do not SUBTRACT the fries, but eat the salad first, then you can eat as much of the fries as you are comfortable with. By CROWDING IN the good stuff and not DENYING yourself the less than optimal stuff - you naturally avoid triggering the reptilian brain that is there to stop you from making too many changes too fast.
If you are a 2 donuts for breakfast person - ADD IN fresh fruit first then go ahead and eat your donuts. You will find that naturally your CROWDING IN the nutrient dense whole foods will lead to CROWDING OUT of the fatty fried foods and processed food like substances we are used to eating.
If you are a 6-pack of diet soda a day person, ADD IN sparkling or flavored water (using fresh fruit to infuse your water) or unsweetened tea in between your sodas. You will find that you are consuming fewer calories and doing less harm, and over time you drink more of the water/tea/etc and less of the diet soda.
Crowd In... but Brown Out.
It is ok to love your starches, but switching out white for color is your best nutritional bet in foods. Brown rice, whole wheat (if you are OK with gluten), steel cut oats - these are all examples of foods with many branches of fiber in them, slowing down the digestive process allowing for a slower, more steady burn of your energy fire. White rice, white flour, instant oatmeal all digest very quickly which means that the limiter on the glucose entering your bloodstream is basically non-existent.
The longer it takes to cook (sorry if you are an instant oatmeal fan) the longer the glucose will take to circulate, lowering your insulin release response. Additionally all that heart healthy fiber is going to be wonderful for your digestive system!
FAT! FIBER! PROTEIN!
The key to balance is to make sure that you are eating plenty of fat, fiber and protein in your diet. Notice that I did not mention carbohydrates, but rather said fiber. This is because we get so hung up on carbohydrates that we ignore that they provide us a KEY element in regulating our blood sugar, keeping our digestive system on track, and feeding our gut's microbiome. Fiber is no joke.
The key is to eat foods lower on the Glycemix Index list, eat plenty of protein (about 0.75-1g per lb of lean body weight), and add in heart healthy fats and fatty acids to every meal to keep blood sugar nice and steady.
If you are a fan of a morning smoothie or juice, all is not lost. You can ADD IN some upgrades to keep your tasty morning kick off without dropping a literal sugar bomb into your gut.
I Like to Move It Move It
Exercise also helps move the glucose into our muscles, improving our response to insulin. This is in part due to the GLUT transporters. The GLUTx transporters are the enacted during different processes and they shuttle glycogen to where it needs to be in order to be used as fuel for the varying systems. Doing some body weight work such as push ups or light dumbbell work such as arm curls can activate GLUT4 transporters moving the glucose into the muscles being used!
TARGETED SUPPLEMENTATION FOR BLOOD SUGAR CONTROL
Sometimes we need a little #betterlivingthroughchemistry to help support our efforts.
My Top Hitters for Glucose Control:
Chromium picolinate has been shown to reduce insulin resistance and to help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.
Chelated Magnesium Glycinate has been shown to be one of the most efficacious magnesium supplements out there to improve intercellular Mg levels without digestive system upset.
Glucoresolve by Biotics Research is a new product for insulin resistance and stimulating AMPK but could also be used as a daily multi for those dealing with insulin resistance or blood sugar stability issues.
By making small changes daily that add up to sustainable change long term, you will be able to control your blood sugar, reduce your inflammation and live a truly shining life!
Jenniferlyn Kryvicky, MS, CFSPP, CHHC
Certified Functional Nutritionist
There is an innate problem with refined sugar. It increases system inflammation, contributes to hormonal dysregulation, reduces dental health, and can cause weight gain due to all the above.
Taking control of your blood sugar does not mean living a life free from sweet! What you will learn about is how to fight cravings and balance your blood sugars so that you have a shining bright life!
THE SCIENCE OF SUGAR
Anything ending with an -ose is a saccharide, a sugar.
The Monosaccharides are Glucose, which is blood sugar (Dextrose is similar); Galactose, milk sugar; and Fructose, fruit sugar . These are sigular molecules. When 2 mono's are bonded together, they are called disaccharides which are Sucrose, Glucose + Fructose; Maltose, two Glucolses; and Lactose, Galactose + Glucose. When multiple molecules are bonded repeatedly, they are called polysaccharides.
There are also sugar alcohols: Xylitol with the same sweetness as sucrose, Maltitol, Mannitol, and Sorbitol with half the sweetness of sucrose, however have a low glycemic response, therefore often labeled “sugar-free”.WARNING! Can have a laxative effect since they bypass the small intestine, where digestion and absorption take place! The reason these do not affect the blood sugar levels like the other sugars is because these are not sugar - they are sugar alcohols and instead of being processed through the digestive system, they are processed through your liver.
And of course there are sugar alternatives known as artificial sweeteners - think Aspartame (Nutrasweet, Equal), Sucralose (Splenda), and Sachrain (Sweet 'n' Low). These have all been found to create health issues and honestly should be avoided - so put down the diet soda and sugar-free gum!
THE EFFECT OF SUGAR ON BLOOD GLUCOSE AND HORMONES
Our bodies release insulin to manage our blood sugar levels at a rate that is consistent with our circadian fluctuations. Meaning that even while we are asleep, our body is attempting to keep everything in balance from the days stressors.
After every thing we eat, our blood sugar levels increase triggering the pancreas to release the hormone insulin to bring the blood sugar level back down. Exercise also affects our blood sugar levels by increasing the muscular use of sugar for fuel, reducing glucose levels. The goal is to keep our blood sugar in a healthy range - this means that we have balanced blood sugar. If we loose control of our glucose levels, then insulin levels rise suddenly resulting in a sudden decrease in glucose resulting in us needing to eat more sugar to increase our glucose levels... this severe peak and valley wreaks havoc on our hormones, our stress levels, and our waist lines!
This is because, as the cycle of peaks and valleys continues, over time our bodies become resistant to the insulin being relieased, so our blood sugar levels become less stable over time requiring more insulin to remove less glucose. When we are in a state of insulin resistance, we gain weight and we are at higher risk of cardiovascular disease thanks to increased systemic inflammation and arterial damage caused by the increase of glucose. When we are in the valleys it is no better as too low blood sugar means that the body loses energy, craves sugar to get the bump in energy, and further increases our weight as the body will become reluctant to release fat.
In the next blog post, Blood Sugar Control - Taking Control Back!, we will discuss ways to manage our blood sugar through lifestyle modifications and targeted supplementation.
Jenniferlyn Kryvicky, MS, CFSPP, CHHC
Certified Functional Nutritionist
In my last post (Cooling The Fire Within - Part 1: Understanding Stress and the Body) I explained the basic stress response at the hormonal level. Recall that The hypothalamus evaluates a trigger as being a stress (perceived or real) and then starts to secrete CRH which calls to the pituitary gland to secrete ATCH which calls to the adrenal cortex to produce Cortisol.
We also discussed how as this keeps happening, such in cases of chronic stress, over time the body starts to steal away the master hormone, stopping it form converting into other necessary hormones such as testosterone, or estrogen, and to create exclusively cortisol in a process called the Cortisol Steal.
So we now understand the base physiological process behind stress - again perceived or real - but what can we do in our lifestyle to reduce cortisol and to start to bring the system back into balance?
Lifestyle modifications and targeted supplementation for cortisol management (high cortisol)
First off, back that baby up and let's start at the beginning with optimizing your diet. By optimizing your diet, I am speaking about taking control of your blood sugar and eating a diet rich in FIBER, heart healthy FAT and plenty of lean PROTEIN. We are aiming for anti-inflammatory as we do not want to increase additional stress at this time.
Next up, look at cutting out caffeine as it increases the physiological stress response. The same goes for alcohol, if you will not eliminate it definitely cut back on it.
Next up let's look at lifestyle modification such as reducing your physical stress by switching out high intensity cortisol boosting sports like running, biking, HIIT, and Functional work such as Cross-Fit for stretching, yoga, meditation, journaling. Massages are great tools for cortisol reduction as well! I have an article on breathing for stress reduction here.
Adding in adaptogenic herbs in either supplement form or teas.
Vitamins and supplements such as
How to make it work without becoming a walking pharmaceutical? Start with DIET AND LIFESTYLE first - always. Then start to incorporate small changes into your routines to reduce stress.
If you make morning smoothies, adding in something like "Amazing Grass brand Greens with Adaptogens" powder will boost your phytonutrients and adaptogens while staying your day off right.
Four Sigmatic is a brand of mushroom teas that you can make in replacement of your coffee. You can also replace your coffee with a roasted dandelion tea or a drink called Dandy Blend that is a great not-bitter replacement for coffee. I add in cinnamon (an anti-inflammatory agent that also is critical for blood sugar regulation!) coconut oil, ghee and canned full fat coconut milk to make a balanced and hearty morning drink!
My personal favorite drink is Sweet Rose Tulsi Tea - a great way to battle your stress response while increasing fluid intake. It literally even says it's magical right on the label! Tulsi Teas come in many flavors if floral isn't for you.
By taking control of your stress you can manage and re-balance your hormones without HRT, expensive blood work, and frustrated efforts. Yes you may need to change your lifestyle to be conducive to stress management, however your quality of life truly depends on YOU and your actions. YOU ARE WORTH IT - and you do not need to feel like a stressed out, frazzled, overweight, unhappy person.
Jenniferlyn Kryvicky, MS, CFSPP, CHHC
Certified Functional Nutritionist
**a word of caution on botanicals such as Rhodiola, they are GRAS (generally regarded as safe) however if you're on medications check to make sure they're not contraindicated or have a conflict with with one another before taking. Check with your Dr. to verify if there is a conflict with your medication and the specific botanical you're taking.
There is a complex science to hormones, however let's back it up to the basics and focus for this example, only on the stress response to the Hypothalamus, Pituitary gland, and Adrenal glands in the greater endocrine system.
The image below illustrates the hormonal stress response.
Cortisol, the so-called stress hormone, affects many areas of the body and if you have high levels of cortisol coursing through you continually, chronic stress, you run the risk of adrenal fatigue ultimately, and even more common ailments of hypertension (high blood pressure), chronic fatigue, poor sleep (which fosters more cortisol to be released), excessive cravings, and mood swings to name only a few.
Additionally, over time, high stress hormones make your body store fat, especially in your belly. High cortisol is also linked to depression, food addiction, and craving high-sugar foods. In other words, stress can make you fat.
To make the situation even more complex, if you are under chronic stress, your hormones shift. Stress in a way pulls the hormone synthesis within the adrenal gland away from converting the master hormone (pregnenolone) into all the various hormones (DHEA, Testosterone, Estrogen, Progesterone and Cortisol) by stealing it's efforts and forcing it to only make Cortisol. This is called the Pregnegalone or Cortisol Steal.
So the longer you remain stressed, the more cortisol you will continue to make at the DETRIMENT of your other hormones!
The interesting catch here is that having high cortisol for too long means that you can ultimately have low cortisol as well - even high and low cortisol at the same time, on the same day. Is your mind blown yet?
The big take away is that chronic stress leads to many health issues, weight gain, chronic illness, and a reduction in your overall health status.
How to Manage Stress and mitigate the effects of high cortisol? In my next post I will share with you the lifestyle interventions and targeted supplementation to help Cool the Cortisol Fire!
Jenniferlyn Kryvicky, MS, CFSPP, CHHC
Certified Functional Nutritionist
Got Leaky Gut? The Institute for Functional Medicine's 5-R Gut Restoration Protocol (with bonus better butter for the gut recipe!)
With today, January 13th, being National Gluten Free day, I thought that it would be a good day to talk about intestinal permeability, leaky gut, and ways to restore your gastrointestinal health.
It is often said that health begins in the gut, and this is very true as issues within the GI system often underlie chronic health conditions such as Autoimmune Disease, arthritis, and even diabetes. The Institute for Functional Medicine has created a broad approach to healing and restoring the gut with the 5 R's:
Remove means to eliminate any stressors - be it environmental or nutritional. Here we typically start with an elimination diet for a short term to help get to the root of which food allergies or sensitivities may exist. I strongly suggest working with a functional medicine trained professional, be it doctor or nutritionist, to support you through the diet and reintroduction phases, along with the remaining gut restoration steps for best results.
After we remove the stressors, we then add back things like digestive enzymes, hydrochloric (hcl) acid, and bile acids that are required for proper digestion and that may be compromised by diet, medications, diseases, aging, or other factors.
Once we have the gut in a state of proper digestion, we need to reintroduce the good bacteria that keeps out systems thriving and our immunity in good status - we are talking both probiotics, specifically the bifidobacteria and lactobacillus species, and prebiotics (the food for the probiotics) specifically high fiber foods. Artichokes, garlic, leeks, onion, chicory, tofu and other soy foods are good natural sources of prebiotics as are grains such as barley, flax, oats and wheat however if you are gluten free you will want to avoid barley and wheat!
Here we look at the micro-nutrients and vitamins needed to restore the GI health - zinc, antioxidants, fish oil, and l-glutamine.
These are the lifestyle changes needed to restore balance in our minds and bodies. Yoga, stress management techniques, breathing techniques, and body work are all part of the rebalancing of our gastrointestinal health.
The gut is very important for our overall health, but with the 5R process, you can heal and restore functioning so that you can not only thrive but SHINE!
Jenniferlyn Kryvicky, MS, CFSPP, CHHC
Certified Functional Nutritionist
Bonus recipe! Better Butter for Gut Health
Recipe credit to The Institute for Health Realities, Colorado Springs, CO 80949
Ghee is another name for clarified butter and is a traditional healing food in India. It is made by heating butter until it liquefies into a golden liquid. The milk solids are removed, making it suitable for those who are lactose intolerant. It may be purchased in health food stores.Ghee contains a combination of saturated and unsaturated fats. About two thirds of its fat content is saturated, and one third is mono-and polyunsaturated.
Of the saturated fat content, most of it is of the short-chained variety (including butyric acid), making it easily digestible.Ghee also contains antioxidants, conjugated linoleic acid, and fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K.
1 small jar (1/2 lb)organicGHEE, softened at room temperature
1/2 cup olive oil, extra virgin, cold pressed
3 teaspoons friendly bacteriaB.bifidum (suggested: Bifidus powder)
3 teaspoons colostrum powder (suggested: Colostrum powder)
2 teaspoons L-glutamine powder (suggested Glutamine powder)
6 tablets zinc carnosine (suggested: Zinc Carnosine tablets), crushed to powder
1 tablespoon raw honey or agave nectar, organic preferred (OPTIONAL)
Mix with a whisk or food processor briefly until evenly mixed. Refrigerate. It will store in the refrigerator for about 2 weeks. Use 1–2 tablespoons. daily on warm food as a butter substitute. Good on warm vegetables, brown rice, and winter squash. Enjoy!
Description of ingredients:
Clarified Butter: This is a rich source of butyric acid,which is a short-chain fatty acid that supports the health and healing of cells in the small and large intestines and serves the natural processes of aerobic energy metabolism. Short-chain fatty acids can have the protective ability of impeding the proliferation of damaging cells in the colon, and they have been associated with helping to maintain healthy blood lipid and sugar levels.
L-Glutamine: The gastrointestinal tract is by far the greatest user of glutamine in the body; the cells in the intestine use glutamine as their principal metabolic fuel. Most of the research on glutamine is connected to maintaining intestinal permeability.
Colostrum: Immune factors in colostrum can help balance and support a healthy immune system; which is the key to good health.
Zinc Carnosine: A specific chelate of zinc known as zinc carnosine has been used as an antiulcer/mucosal healing drug in Japan for several years. It has demonstrated prevention of stress-induced ulcers
Envision it and it will come...
The key to starting a vision board to be clear about what you want to focus on. I like vision boards because they are sort of like Pinterest in a way - you think of something you want or are inspired by and pin it for reference later. Your vision board is a living breathing embodiment of your goals and aspirations - your joy and passion. You should look at your vision board as a very carefully curated collection of powerful imagery and wording to help focus your energy and drive in the new year.
The first step in creating a vision board is determining what format you would like, either paper where you cut and paste clippings and visuals from magazines and print media or digital where you create it electronically and then can house it on your computer, phone, etc. and even print out to post in a highly visual place in your home or office.
There is no right or wrong way to create a vision board - do what comes naturally to you.
Once you determine how you want to create your vision board, you will need to either gather the materials for your physical paper version, scissors, glue, double sided tape, magazines, print outs, images you have around the house, pictures, pamphlets, leaflets, etc. or create a template or decide how to create your digital version on your phone or computer. Yu can do this in any productivity software like Microsoft Word or PowerPoint, or in MS Paint, or even create a private Pinterest Page for your Vision Board.
I personally use Microsoft PowerPoint for my vision board as I am in it all the time and it comes easily for me to create within in, and then I inserted in pictures I found from the internet and my computer that spoke to key words and goals that I have for myself in the coming year. This allowed me to make everything fit in an organic way as well as to get really creative! I will be sharing my board with you all so you can see what I did for myself, but know that you can do anything you like.
The fun part is putting it all together! Once you have the materials you will be using, carve out some time away from distraction to put your ideas, passions, goals, and dreams to paper. If you like words over pictures, then clip out or write words that are meaningful to you. Some people prefer language over pictures and that is absolutely fine. We all visualize differently, the key is making sure that you are following a format and using what will work for you.
A fun thing to do is to grab your friends and have a Vision Board party! Have everyone bring over magazines and materials to use and make a night out of it. Looking for additional inspiration? Check out the end of this blog where I link to a fun and free virtual event I am hosting December 30th!
My plan from now until race day (45 days!!!) is to keep on swimming and biking and then doing all that I can to keep and grow my "run" fitness and overall core strength so that when it comes to the run I am able to do as much of it as I can even if that means walking until the clock runs out on my day.
Many people naturally gravitate toward the more moderate-intensity cardio sessions under the assumption that they’re working hard enough to see results. Gym-goers, runners, cyclists alike tend to find this mid-range effort the sweet spot that they stay in. The truth is that you’re probably not getting the most out of your workout if you’re not monitoring your heart rate and considering your anaerobic threshold (AT) or Lactic Threshold Heart Rate (LTHR), the point at which your body shifts from aerobic to anaerobic activity and starts burning primarily carbs as fuel. As a coach and mentor I like to meet my clients where they are. If they are starting out in their fitness journey then we go for total active time with a focus on consistency. No matter the level of athletic ability and desire, consistency is key for growth and injury prevention. You absolutely can be successful training for an event by focusing on putting in the time however where you spend the time is important.
We want to make every effort count and we do that via identifying your AT and creating your workout zones.
ASSESSMENT OF BASELINE
The most accurate way to determine your AT/LTHR requires a heart-rate monitor and professional assistance (like the assessments available at many health clubs). Lifetime Fitness offers different Aerobic Metabolic Assessments that do this very efficiently and run about $175 out the door for the test and the mask. If that’s not in your budget, then a do-it-yourself method can provide a good estimate — and help you get closer to meeting your fitness goals.
ESTIMATE OF AT/LTHR WITH HEART RATE MONITOR
To find your AT/LTHR, I have my clients use Joe Friel's method by doing an all our time trial. The process is easy even if you have never done anything like this before. You do a 30-minute time trial all by yourself (no training partners and not in a race). It should be done as if it was a race for the entire 30 minutes but at 10 minutes into the test, click the lap button on your heart rate monitor. When done, look to see what your average heart rate was for the last 20 minutes. That number is an approximation of your AT/LTHR.
CALCULATING THE ZONES
In order to determine your training zones, take the % and multiple by your LTHR. The below zones represent different physiological markers for the energy systems and for exercise intensity. It is also key to note that your Zones will be different based on sport so I have included the two most popular types of cardio for reference - standing exercises such as running, skiing and elliptial, and then sitting exercises such as cycling, rowing, etc.
For activities where you are on your feet (running, elliptical, skiing, etc.)
- Zone 1 Less than 85% of LTHR
- Zone 2 85% to 89% of LTHR
- Zone 3 90% to 94% of LTHR
- Zone 4 95% to 99% of LTHR
- Zone 5 100% to 102% of LTHR
- Zone 6 103% to 106% of LTHR
- Zone 7 More than 106% of LTHR
For activities where you are sitting (bike, row machine)
- Zone 1 Less than 81% of LTHR
- Zone 2 81% to 89% of LTHR
- Zone 3 90% to 93% of LTHR
- Zone 4 94% to 99% of LTHR
- Zone 5 100% to 102% of LTHR
- Zone 6 103% to 106% of LTHR
- Zone 7 More than 106% of LTHR
- Zone 1 Less than 127BPM
- Zone 2 127 to 133 BPM
- Zone 3 134 to 141 BPM
- Zone 4 141 to 149 BPM
- Zone 5 150 to 153 BPM
- Zone 6 153 to 159 BPM
- Zone 7 More than 159 BPM
EXPLANATION OF THE ZONES
Zone 1: Recovery Zone (Aerobic Threshold or Lactate Threshold)
Zone 1 is the exercise intensity at which anaerobic energy pathways start to operate. Zone 1 is primarily used for light recovery workouts (increasing blood flow to muscles to improve recovery from previous hard training sessions). It can also be used as a guide while warming up or for cooling down.
Zone 2: Aerobic Base 1
Zone 2 is the primary exercise intensity for long duration events (8-12 hours in duration). Training in Zone 2 increases aerobic capacity, fatty acid oxidation, and recruitment of Type IIa muscle fibers for aerobic function.
Zone 3: Aerobic Base 2
Zone 3 is the primary exercise intensity for events lasting 3-8 hours in duration. The physiological benefits for Zone 3 training is similar to Zone 2 but recovery time is often greater.
Zone 4: Sub-Anaerobic Threshold
For events lasting 1-3 hours in duration Zone 4 is the primary training zone. Training in this zone increases muscular endurance.
Zone 5: Anaerobic Threshold (Lactate Threshold 2)
This is the zone where an athlete will begin to "redline". It will be the primary intensity in events lasting 20-60 minutes in duration. Training volume above this effort level will be limited due to increased acidosis, however will improve the body’s buffering ability and clearance of lactate. This in turn will increase the Anaerobic Threshold
Zone 6: Aerobic Capacity
This zone is primarily trained using intervals (short periods of high intensity typically followed by rest periods of equal or greater length) and is great for increasing VO2 max, the body's ability to uptake oxygen into the bloodstream.
Zone 7: Maximal Anaerobic Capacity
Zone 7 is at or near maximum effort. Like Zone 6 it is trained using intervals and is great for increasing both VO2 max and AT. Because intensity is at or near maximum effort, the duration of intervals at this zone is very short. Here heart rate is not a good indicator of Zone 7 training and your Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) is preferred.
TRAINING WITH YOUR ZONES
Each zone has its purpose and place in training however not all zones are to be trained in at all times. A bulk of training should be in the Zones 2 and 3, with the use of Zone 1 for warm ups and recoveries. Going into Zones 5-7 are key for increasing the base line, and should be used with specific purpose and timing based on desired goals and place in the training plan.
Popular High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) programs and classes such as Orange Theory are based around working out in varying zones and are a good model of showing how adding some intensity with purpose can result in major growth in fitness and performance.
But what if I am not ready for intensity? That is fine! You can use knowledge of your AT/LTHR to help you in your "putting the time in" workouts too! A good general rule is to try to stay below your AT/LTHR for 80% of each workout to burn fat, and just above it for 20% of the time to improve fitness.
Retest every six to eight weeks to maintain an accurate measurement. Your AT/LTHR is a highly individualized number; it will decline as you age and change based on your overall fitness level at any given time.
I have found that the best possible way to live a healthy lifestyle and have healthy and delicious meals all week long is by meal planning, being mindful of reducing food waste by making only what I truly intend to eat, and shopping wisely.
Having a plan saves time, money, and stress all the while staying on track with eating healthy.
STEP 1: PLAN & SHOP
I begin meal planning by making a list of recipes and meals for the upcoming week. I create a list based on what I will have for breakfasts, lunches, snacks, and dinners. I use a weekly shopping list as my guide and then I’m off to the store!
If this step alone overwhelms you, this is where my meal plans come in! I have done all the work for you. I break down all my plans into recipes, shopping lists, and even meal prep ideas for each week, based on the servings you need! This option will be returning to my site in Summer 2019 - so stay tuned!
I also have spent some time recently comparing prices for quality foods at my local grocers. I have found that Aldi foods actually has an amazing selection of organic and whole foods for much less than the next budget-minded grocery store, and a fraction of the cost of Whole Foods. I think we as a culture tend to be extremely label aware, so when we see things that are "off brand" we tend to assume they are poor quality or cheap knock-offs. In reality - much of the off-brand products are just as high quality as name brand, if not the EXACT SAME PRODUCT just repackaged. Marketing comes at a cost - and we the consumers pay for the brand awareness we crave!
Next time you are heading out to grab groceries - pop into an Aldi if they are local to you and see for yourself the savings.
STEP 2: PREPARE THE FOOD
When I get home from the store I keep out the items I plan to use for my meal prep. I pull up my meal plans and get to washing and cooking! Throughout the week, I typically have a protein shake, slow cooked steel cut oats, or fat free plain Greek style yogurt with granola and blueberries for breakfast, but I find that many of my breakfast recipes are great for mid-morning snacks, and/or if I am in need of a breakfast on-the-go. Check out my Food Formularies page for my Steel Cut Oat recipe that is a must this winter!
I generally prepare big batches of veggies. I start with washing the greens, then set aside to dry and move onto slicing, dicing, and dividing veggies into containers for use in cooking and salads. I also find that spending a little more for pre-cut veggies is a huge meal prep time saver for me.
When a recipe calls for sautéed chicken or lean protein, I cook it in big batches in my biggest pan or crock pot, that way I am only prepping chicken and/or lean meat once for all the recipes. I also will buy a rotisserie chicken or pre-cooked proteins to save time. I store the extra chicken in the freezer for use later.
STEP 3: PUT EVERYTHING TOGETHER TO MAKE THE RECIPES
To keep it simple, I make a large salad in advance and then add the extras when I’m ready to eat it. If I’m taking it to go, I divide it into containers or use as leftovers.
For dinners, I typically make two favorite main dishes, which allows me to prepare and freeze in advance making it easy for during the week.
STEP 4: PUT IT ALL AWAY!
After all the food is prepped and the recipes are made, I put everything in containers and place it in the fridge. Now I have delicious, fresh, whole foods for all meals during the week in minutes.
If you are still scratching your head, don’t let it discourage you! It can take time to learn and get in the swing of things.
My best advice - keep it simple. Have a few recipes that you keep in rotation that you have the ingredients on hand for in a pinch. I always have the makings for Chili Verde,Pasta and Sauce, and Tacos ready for any time I am in a pinch.
functional nutritionist, transformation coach, and lighter of paths.
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