Did you just say Calories? (part 2)

In a general statement, calories are the units by which we measure our  food intake.  Scientifically, calories are a measure of energy.  Both statements are vital for individuals who count calories.  Knowing how many calories are present and how our bodies use the calories we consume can make the difference in a successful nutritional lifestyle and “yo-yo” dieting.  One of the most common issues with counting calories is not consuming enough calories to provide the body with enough energy for the day or a specific activity.

Truth: the body needs calories

Truth: you’re supposed get hungry

Understanding the above truths create a firm foundation for counting calories.   With those truths let’s approach the following statement:

“When I eat, I get hungry just an hour later.”

Consider this: Two things we deduct from that statement, 1) You didn’t eat enough calories 2) Your calories weren’t nutrient dense.

Nutrient dense food naturally has more calories, but the usefulness of the calories does not take away from the body’s function.  To the contrary, useful calories add to the body’s function.  Calories from protein, complex carbs, and good fats, are more sustainable than calories from pure sugar.  Foods that are nutrient dense generally sound “unhealthy” to people who count calories because they come with more calories.  “Health” fads that include 100 calorie packs or variations of poorly nutritious foods like cookies and snacks in smaller portions, leave individuals hungry, sluggish, and tired shortly after consumption because of the uselessness of the consumed calories.

Now consider: When consuming nutrient dense food, energy and hunger should be sustained for 2.5-3hrs.  Becoming hungry shortly after consuming a meal of nutritious calories, simply means, you didn’t eat enough.

If you are used to counting calories then consuming nutritious calories to sustain energy and body function for everyday activity will more than likely increase your daily calorie intake.  That is fine.  The body needs food to survive.  It’s counter-productive to starve the body and expect it to work to it’s fullest capability.

When counting calories, remember, the source of the calories is just as important as the number of calories.  Increasing calories for nutrition and sustainability is better than cutting calories with junk.



Did you just say Calories?


Let’s think about the logic behind counting calories.  First understand, calories are a measure of energy much like gallons are a measure of volume.  The sources of the calories are far more important than the actual calories themselves.  If a 20 Gallon gas tank for a vehicle is filled with 20 Gallons of Gatorade, the vehicle is definitely not going to work.  Honestly, the vehicle may work for a few miles.  Eventually, the engine breaks down because the fuel source causes damage.  Put this concept in perspective.

Counting calories works for a little while because the body will use itself as energy if it does not have enough calories to be fueled.  Muscle is the body’s energy source in times of starvation.  Essentially, the body uses muscle for energy, and stores fat.  Cutting calories with no regard for content trades good, for bad.

Fact, the more muscle/lean body mass, the more calories burned at rest. Fact, without feeding the body protein, lean muscle mass is depleted. Therefore, counting calories with disregard to content is the exact opposite of the desired outcome. (That may be why “that diet” failed.)

Counting calories with disregard for content breaks the body down instead of, the common misconception of making it healthier.  EAT NUTRIENT DENSE FOOD! (Lean meat, low sugar, mixed nuts, and a colorful array of fruits and vegetables-nutritional lifestyle change is for another post.  For now, research options.)

Hypothesis: People who understand and eat nutrient dense food (Group A) will have better success with more calories than those who count calories with disregard to nutritional content (Group B) and reduce calories.

Possible Outcomes:

Group A will build lean body mass while slowly increase their overall health, improving daily alertness, decreasing daily fatigue, increase desire for physical activity, and improve ability to be active.

Group B will lose weight fast in the beginning, fluctuate on motivation, feel tired throughout the day, and complain about lack of desired outcome.


Bodyshop Athletics X





April is Autism Awareness Month (Guest Blog by S.B. Kreidler)

For many people it takes a lifetime to find their purpose.  For me, that purpose presented its self when I was in kindergarten.  Of course I didn’t realize at the time that becoming friends with Sam would be my introduction to autism.  I only knew that Sam needed a friend.  I don’t remember the exact moment I met Sam but I do remember helping Sam and the other students get along.

Sam moved away during our 2nd grade year and it wasn’t until middle school that I recognized I had a natural talent for working with the students with special needs especially those with autism.  In honor of April being autism awareness month, I want to take this opportunity to help you understand the amazing world of autism and ask for your support.

What is autism?  Autism and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are general terms for a group of disorders that affect social, communication and behavioral development.  People who have autism/ASD are affected in different ways and symptoms can range from mild to severe.  They have deficiencies in verbal and nonverbal communication, social interaction and play activities.

Autism now affects 1 in 88 children. It is 4-5 times more likely to affect males than females. This year more children will be diagnosed with autism than those diagnosed with juvenile diabetes, leukemia and AIDS combined.  About 1.5 million people in the US have some form of autism.  In South Carolina over 42, 000 people have autism with many still undiagnosed.

The causes of autism are unknown and currently there is no cure.  However, there is hope. Early diagnosis and treatment are keys to success.  The most obvious signs and symptoms of autism appear at 2 to 3 years of age.  Eighty percent of individuals with autism learn to speak with the help of therapy and with vocational training; these individuals with autism can lead productive lives.  Current statistics report 47.7% of youth with autism spectrum disorders work for pay.

How can you help someone with autism?  A simple and easy way is by going to and clicking every day.  It’s quick and it’s free.  Sponsors of the website donate money for therapy and research.   Since June 2011 they have donate 1,805 hours of therapy.  It takes is less than one minute of your day to make a difference in the life of someone with autism and their families.

To learn more about autism visit these websites:   The South Carolina Autism Society  Autism Speaks


S.B. Kreidler

Ms. Hartsville Teen



Keep Going! #allornothing

Setting goals is natural, unfortunately so is giving up.  When we set our mind on a particular goal, in the beginning, it’s all out (#allornothing).  All plans change to accomplish the goal! You eat, sleep, and dream your goal.  Depending on who you are, the enthusiastic mindset may last a short period and for others it may last a longer period.  Either way it goes, the fire doesn’t continue to burn.

Hear this…It’s the last 10 min. of a soccer game where teams are most vulnerable.  It’s the last quarter of a basketball game where championships are won.  A simple race can be won in the last 15-20 yards.

All of these examples represent the approaching finish where the completed goal is in reach.  The victors will be the ones who continue strong or who keep going when odds don’t appear favorable.

When we’ve set fitness goals or health goals we have to continue strong.  Many people quit before they realize how close they are.  If you quit, chances are you’re going to want to do it again.  Then you have to start aaaaallll over. Really? Is that what you want to do?

It’s important to maintain momentum.  Start strong and finish strong! Uh oh.  Here it comes… “but I’m not seeing the results I want anymore.” THAT DOESN’T MEAN QUIT. THAT MEANS DO IT BETTER (aka Step up your game.) Continue with strong lifestyle choices, continue with good fitness. Quitters NEVER achieve.

Read carefully. It’s just this simple…KEEP GOING! You’ll do great!


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Eating Out? Know Your Options. (Guest Post by Laura Wooten)


Two common places we eat away from home are restaurants and family or friends’ houses. Neither place do you have TOTAL control of what you are eating but there are certainly ways to make it easier to eat more healthfully.

Why is it so hard though? Self-discipline and self-control seem to fly out the window as soon as we walk in a restaurant or Mom’s house and smell those aromas. Then, you hear what is being offered….the fancy “specials” being offered and those pretty pictures on that menu, it seems pointless to even try to eat healthy.  BUT YOU REALLY CAN!

Things you cannot control:

  • Restaurant food is often very processed and contains EXTRA additives and preservatives to stay fresh until they can use it.
  • Restaurants cook with oils, butters and creams to tantalize our taste buds as much as possible…they want you to come back and rave about their food to others.
  • Moms and friends will serve what THEY like and what they cook best.
  • Moms and friends will also cook with ingredients that will make food taste “better”…again oils, butters,  and sauces that you probably would not choose when you are trying to “do better”.

Yet, there are still SO many things you CAN CONTROL and prepare yourself for a healthier meal away from home:

  • Have an idea of what you want to order BEFORE you look at the menu. They don’t pour all that money into those pictures for nothing.  Check out their website!
  • You WILL get more food than you need. Your protein should be the size of a deck of cards and your starch (rice, bread OR pasta…not all 3) should be the size of a small computer mouse.
  • Ask for a doggy bag before you get your meal and put ½ in before you start eating

 OR split your meal with someone at the table and save $$$!

  • Avoid the bread and butter that are often served before a meal. Sip on water or ask for raw vegetables and dip to nibble on.  Ask if they have whole-wheat rolls or bread. Or if bread is your thing, skip the starch on the side of your entrée and have a little bread. It is even a great substitute for dessert.
  • Ask your server how the food will be prepared prior to ordering. Make specific requests such as “no butter or oil” or “please serve the sauce on the side”.
  • Order an appetizer and a side salad instead of an entrée
  • Choose the smallest portion of meat available; loin, flank, and round are the leanest steak to choose from.  Substitute fruit, steamed vegetables (no butter), tossed salad with light dressing, and sweet potatoes (plain) for high-fat side items.
  • Always ask for sauces and dressings on the side so that you may control the amount of the empty calories you eat. Hollandaise, cheese, and cream sauces are the worst. Tomato and broth based sauces are better.
  • Try using vinegar (red wine, balsamic) or lemon juice to flavor salads and vegetables.
  • Try the food before you salt. You may be surprised how much flavor food has all by itself.  Smoked, cured, pickled and canned meats are all high in sodium. Also, sauces, seasonings and marinades that use soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, dried stock, and MSG are high in sodium.
  • When you start to wonder IF you are full, YOU ARE! Stop eating and ask the server to take your plate.
  • Think about what you are drinking! Soda and alcohol are empty calories and will add up fast if you are sitting and socializing during a meal!!
  • After eating the entrée, wait at least 10 minutes before choosing to order a dessert.
  • Split a light dessert with someone or choose fresh fruit and yogurt if available.

Try these suggestions and if you have any further questions or need of nutritional consulting, let me know.

Laura Wooten, Bodyshop Athletics, M.P.H, N.S.

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Cooling down probably could have been included with Part 5.  There is not a lot of meat to this post.  Cooling down after a good run

1) allows the body to gradually return to it’s relaxed state

2) allows the body to slowly remove lactic acid and waste material out of the muscle

3) allows the body to maintain post workout mobility (decrease stiffness)

4) allows the body to decrease onset of muscle soreness (this is always up for debate…learn how your body responds)

5) feels really good.

Studies show a proper cool down aids in the prevention of and recovery from injuries related to running and other  physical activity (ie IT band syndrome.)

Beyond all the scientific information you can find, it all boils down to maintanence. Make sure you keep up with your body like you do a race car, guitar, motorcycle, or any other utility used for performance.  Take the proper measures to ensure maximum performance, maximum recovery and minimize injury.  Cooling down is as much a part of proper maintanence of an athlete’s body as much as keeping your oil changed in your car.

A cool down may last 5-10 minutes. It should involve stretching or exagerated movement and progressively lighter cardiovascular movements. Sometimes cooling down is as simple as reversing your warm-up.

Sample Cool Down:

200m light jog

Dynamic stretch routine (high knees, butt-kickers, etc.)

200m lighter jog to a walk

Dynamic stretch routine

100m walk

Static stretch

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Run?! (Part 5: Warm-up)

Warming up is possibly one of the simplest parts of learning to run, but can be well over looked by first time runners.  Common thought among many first time runners, “I don’t want to waste any energy.”  Fact of the matter is the body needs to be warmed up before performing at it’s peak.  The intensity of the warm-up will change depending on the intensity of your session.

What is the purpose of Warming?

Warming up prepares the body for work.  The body works most efficiently when the heart rate is safely elevated, breathing is heavier, and blood is flowing through the muscles of the body.  This state of readiness is not attained directly out of the car or by rolling out of the bed.  A proper warm-up will include some form of light cardiovascular activity and/or stretching or exaggerated body movements (which is another blog in itself.)  Without a proper warm-up studies show the body has an increased likelihood of injury.  A runner may also be able to work through a slight injury by warming the body up properly before activity.

How do I gauge the intensity of a warm-up?

As stated in an earlier post, it’s extremely important to learn how your body responds to certain activities. The intensity of a warm-up will depend on the intensity of the training session.  Slow running sessions may not need as intense of a warm-up as a speed session or a hill session.  During a long slow session, the body has time to safely adjust to it’s ready state.  In the case of speed sessions or hill sessions, the body needs more preparation before performing.  Hill and speed sessions start out at an intense level of movement requiring the muscles to be warm and “loose.”  (This science  applies everywhere. Increased temperatures increases fluidity/decreases viscosity.)

Warming up serves us well. There is a choice. Make time to warm-up, or take time off to heal. Warming up would be the preferable choice.  Espeically if you have a deadline or race date.  If you’re planning on using your body, you might as well keep up the maintenance.

Sample Warm-Up:

1/4 Mile easy run

Dynamic Stretch Routine (i.e. high knees, butt-kickers, lunges, etc)

1/2 Mile (slightly faster pace)

Dynamic Stretch Routine

1/4 Mile  Steadily increasing tempo to race (or session) pace



Run?! (Part 4: Rest and Recover)

For the first time runner resting can be a complicated issue.  First time runners sometimes attack running full steam ahead, running 7-10 days straight to find themselves hurting shortly after.  They may also find themselves taking unnecessary rest periods of 2-3 days with nothing else to supplement their activity.  Any signs of significant progress are then few and far between.

Importance of Resting:

When the body does strenuous activity is essentially breaking down muscle tissue to allow the muscles to repair themselves stronger.  And/or it is taxing one of the body’s energy system enough to where the body makes necessary adaptation for better efficiency.  (It’s just making you tougher.)  If something is consistently broken down with no time to repair, the breakdown becomes detrimental.  The body becomes weaker instead of stronger predisposing the body to injuries, both acute and overuse.  Rest is just as important as the exercise.  Overtraining is just as important an issue as undertraining.

How much resting (not taking into account resistence training)?

The amount of rest needed is not a set science and varies from person to person.  With that being said, learn your body and how it responds.  Also understand, there are more ways than your way or my way that are just as effective.  Here is a sample run schedule and by no means the end all be all of run schedules.  The more you run, the better you understand your body and you then find the best schedule for you.

Day1: run

Day 2: run

Day 3: core/yoga/pilates/stretch (no run, recovery day)

Day 4 run

Day 5  light run/cardio (spin class, rowing etc.)

Day 6: run

Day 7: no run (optional anything: spin class, rowing, working out, or nothing)



Run?! (Part 3: A Few Technical Issues)

March 31st, 2012

 The concept of running technique doesn’t often cross the minds of 1st time runners, and may never cross the mind of seasoned runner (excluding professionals.)  Understanding some general concepts about running technique can make running a more pleasant experience.  Sprinting and ”steady state” running cause for different body positions and big techniques.  First time runners may try to attempt cardio the same way they sprint.  This will cause the muscles to wear down at a higher rate, decreasing the amount of time or shorten the distance intended to cover.

1) Smaller steps (smaller strides), Shorter arm swings

Initially, 1st time runners may take off with long strides and big arm swings.  This is incredibly inefficient.  The body should naturally swing the arms.  They need to be placed in the correct position.  Bend the arms comfortably at the elbow and relax the shoulders.  There is no need to add to the natural arm swing.  The arm swing will be determined by the length of your stride.  With that being said, keep the strides smaller than a sprint.  As the body grows accustom to running, stride length may increase.

2) Don’t Heel strike

Allowing your heel strike may seem like the natural movement.  However, it is not the most efficient.  When your foot strikes the ground, it should land on the forefoot.  Note: Do not confuse forefoot with the balls of your feet or toes.  Landing forefooted means landing on the portion of the foot just in front of the heel. (It may require shorter steps.) Some books may consider this the front %70-85 of the foot.  You may find yourself moving a little more smoothly.  When landing forefooted you should hear and feel a softer landing.  To help remember to land forefooted, be mindful of the sound and feel of your foot striking the ground.  As people get tired, feet feel heavy and begin to strike the ground with heavier sounds.  Noting the heavier foot strike, remind yourself to shorten your steps and land forefooted.

3) Upper body posture

Upper body posture is the hardest one to explain. Lean slightly forward (key word: SLIGHTLY.)  Leaning back slows you down.  Leaning slightly forward makes it easier to land forefooted.  You may want to lean forward just enough to comfortably land forefooted, but not feel like you’re falling over.



Run?! (Part 2: Breathing)

March 30, 2012

Once you get over the intimidation of running, finding a steady breathing pattern will help your run efficiency.


Short shallow breaths are detrimental to your performance.  It’s a common mistake because many people feel they should just know how to breath.  Unfortunately, that’s not the case.  When you’re running, your body feels similar, and has similar biological reactions it would have if you were scared or in a panic (flight or fight).  Muscles need oxygen. Blood pumps oxygen. Heart rate increases.  Oxygen enters the body through breathing thus, we breathe faster or heavier or deeper.  Unconsciously, the body may feel like short quick breaths are the best way to increase our oxygen levels.  On the contrary, the body does not receive enough oxygen making our heart rate increase and we feel much worse than we should.  Hmmm…That may be a lot of information.

To the point: consciously breathe long deep breaths, both in and out.  Find a rhythm.  It may consist of breathing in for 2 steps and out for 2 steps.  It may be several beats of a song, in for 4 counts out for 4 counts.  At first you WILL have to tell yourself to breathe correctly.  Breathing appropriately may not be automatic, but learning to control your breathing will help bring your body to “steady state” a little sooner. (Steady state is where your body finds a consistant heart rate during sustained cardiovascular activity.)  Learning to breath appropriately will also help first time runners not feel so “panicky” or “in a rush” when learning to run.  Take your time.



Run?! (Part 1: Intimidation)

March 28, 2012

Running can be fun and is a great source of exercise.  However, if you’ve never really been active, running can be somewhat intimidating.  The intimidation can be subdued with a few tips.  Much of running is in your head.

1) Don’t go so fast…go further!

–Many first time runners head out of the gates in a dead sprint.  Generally thinking…”i just need to run 30 seconds, or “just make it to a certain point.”  Initially, these small goals sound great, but I’ve come across many 1st time runners who stop there.  They repeat the same routine week in and week out and feel like they’re getting nowhere.  If you only run that time you think you can go, you’ll just get better at running that time.or to that certain point.  Ideally, you need to increase your time or distance week to week, and just do it (almost sounds like a Nike commercial :-D) For first time runners, your body can go further than you think it can, but you may have to go much slower.  Speed comes with comfort and technique.  When it comes down to it…”Be slow, go long.”

2) It’s not a competition with anyone else but you.

Regardless of what fitness level you are, someone can do better, go faster, run longer, or has better technique…GET OVER IT!!! When you’re learning to run, it’s really all about getting to YOUR next level and not anyone elses.  Yes, sometimes competition is fun, and there is a time for it, but in the learning stages, it tends to do more harm.  Set your competition against your achievements from the week before.  Make the competition attainable, but not too easy.

3) It feels that way for everyone.

Truth: That feeling where you feel you THINK you need to stop? Everyone has it.  The difference? The people that continue to run realize that feeling doesn’t mean stop, it means get better.  Eventually, the body makes the necessary changes to push through it, you just have endure some discomfort for a short time.  Relax…don’t panic when you’re short of breath.