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CEU Quizzes

The National Council on Strength and Fitness offers its certified professionals the opportunity to gain Continuing Education Units (CEUs) with our easy Online CEU Program. The NCSF Online CEU Program allows fitness professionals to choose CEUs from a variety of categories.

Select as many quizzes as you like from the CEU categories listed below.
Add the quizzes into your shopping cart and simply follow the purchase instructions. Each quiz is $15.00 and valued at 0.5 NCSF CEUs upon successful completion.
Once purchased, you can access your quizzes from your account and complete them at your convenience online.
For every quiz successfully completed, you will receive confirmation from the NCSF and the CEU value(s) will be applied to your account.

CEU Quiz Categories

Nutrition & Weight Management

Did you know that anywhere between 3%-10% of your daily caloric expenditure can come from the biological processing of your food? Diet Induced Thermogenesis provides you with an overview of the caloric expenditure required to process and breakdown food into a usable form as well as the desirable chemical make up that increases the thermic effect of consumed food.
Nutrition Bars have become a common item in many diets due to the convenience and perceived nutritional value of the food source. The article examines the possible benefits of utilizing meal replacement bars before, during, and after exercise. This article provides information about the nutritional content of popular bars as well as insight into why some fitness enthusiasts over consume both calories and fat due to a heavy reliance on nutrition bars.
Weight Gain Supplements have become a staple in the diets of exercisers attempting to increase their lean mass. The article examines a few of the more common supplements available over the counter such as chromium, creatine, HMB, and protein as well as other popular ergogenic aids. The article will explore whether or not valid research supports the purported effects of each of these supplements and the possible side effects associated with their supplementation.
Establishing Peak Bone Mass examines the importance of accruing bone mass at an early age during the critical developmental stages. The article also looks at differences across gender, ethnicity, and age. The determinants of bone mass such as heredity, bone stress, and level of physical activity will also be reviewed.
Attempting to get the proper amount of nutrients into the body can be a difficult task. With foods undergoing unnatural processing and food labels difficult to understand, most consumers are left guessing as to the overall nutritional content of their diet. Reading Between the Lines will attempt to clarify the language of food labels and identify many of the misconceptions commonly encountered when planning a healthy diet.
Alcohol is a unique energy supplying substance linked with several aspects of human life. This article examines the pros and cons associated with moderate amounts of alcohol consumption on a day-to-day basis and how your overall health as well as physical performance capabilities can be affected.
This article examines the process by which your body converts extra calories from the diet into stored fat. Most people are under the impression that drinking fat in the diet is the main cause of weight gain. While this can be true, ingestion of excess carbohydrates can also result in elevated blood lipids and fat storage. Converting Carbohydrates to Fats examines that process and the negative health consequences associated with refined carbohydrates and excess calories.
This article examines the process by which your body converts the nutrients consumed after an intense workout, most notably carbohydrates and protein, into a usable form to replenish energy stores and promote muscular growth and strength gains. Post-Training Nutrition explores the specific nutritional needs of trained individuals immediately following their workouts and provides a great outline of dietary recommendations related particularly to the 2-3 hours immediately following an exercise session.
If product sales is an indication of need then there is evidently a deficit in energy. A growing craze to keep up with the hustle and bustle of modern society is to power down “liquid energy”. What better solution for daily fatigue than an on the go energy boost?
A variety of different techniques and calculations are available for personal trainers when the appropriateness of a client’s body weight is being assessed. One of the more popular and easy to calculate measurements is known as Body Mass Index, or BMI as it is more commonly referred to in the fitness industry.
One hundred years ago the average individual intake of simple sugar was less than 10 lbs. per year. Today’s estimates suggest the average person in the United States consumes over 100 lbs annually.
Unlike anything else we put into our bodies, water must be consumed in ample amounts on a daily basis. It is the ultimate essential nutrient. The body can sustain life without food for an extended period of time, but without water physiological processes are comprised and death occurs in a matter of days.
March is National Nutrition Month (NNM) 2007, and in the spirit of this month, the following information is designed to provide readers with an overview of some of the more commonly consumed nutrients, and the guidelines, suggestions, and pitfalls associated with each. Personal Trainers can play a large role in assisting in the proper dissemination of quality information, which does not often effectively reach most consumers. The constant bombardment of fad diets, misleading supplement advertising, and media messages “lost in translation”, further contribute to the confusion of establishing healthy eating and lifestyle behaviors. Focusing on balance, variety, and moderation still holds the s
Trainers consistently strive to address the goal of weight loss in many of their clients. The largest challenge is altering caloric balance. When the equation is viewed, Calories in - Calories out, it becomes very obvious that the easier of the two sides to manage is the calories in. Addressing caloric expenditure is equally important, but when running a mile burns only one hundred calories, skipping the coca-cola seems the easier of the two routes to take. Likewise the type of calories can present metabolic shifts that further complicate the problem and since most in
Carbohydrates stored in the muscle and liver are important for both anaerobic and endurance performance. The form of carbohydrate stored in the tissue is glycogen, a polysaccharide of glucose stored with phosphates and water in a 1:3 ratio. Muscle glycogen provides the necessary fuel for energy metabolism in striated muscles, while liver glycogen supplies glucose to other cells and maintains blood glucose levels for brain function. During exercise, muscle tissues begin to use glycogen while the liver releases glycogen into the blood at a proportional rate to thwart hypoglycemia. Fatigue during endurance events or prolonged anaerobic activity has been associated with low glucose levels in the
“Gluten-free” is becoming a more popular label descriptor found on many processed foods containing grains. Is gluten something we should be trying to avoid? Gluten is actually a mixture of proteins called prolamine, an insoluble protein constituent of wheat and other grains which allows baked goods to rise. Gluten is found in wheat, rye, and barley making it the common denominator in the majority of grain-based products consumed by Americans including breads, cereals, and pastas.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data collected with the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) from 2004-2006 demonstrates that an estimated 70 million Americans are negatively affected by chronic sleep loss or sleep disorders.
The data collected was analyzed for the prevalence of smoking, alcohol use, physical inactivity, and obesity as they relate to usual sleep duration. Furthermore, the data was stratified by gender, age, and race/ethnicity. The goal of the study was “to identify variations in prevalence of these health risk behaviors by usual sleep duration and to identify subgroups for which these associations may be particularly noteworthy.” Although determinations of causality cannot be inferred from correlation studies, conclusions can be drawn about the possible clustering of behaviors that result in negative health outcomes.
The New Year brings with it another opportunity to resolve to lose weight and get back the body image of past years or maybe even get into the best shape of one’s life. Conceptually, the possibility exists – roughly 40% of outcome is genetic dependent, while the rest is shear desire, effort, commitment and some knowledge of what to do. Therefore, with a new year and a reasonable gene pool it is not unreasonable to think those weight loss goals can become a reality this time. The real challenge is what is necessary to actually shed stored energy and the time it takes when one acts sensibly. Sure low carb diets can deplete glycogen stores releasing metabolic water making it look like one is losing fat weight and significant caloric restriction can certainly stimulate catabolism as the body’s starvation defense kicks the adrenal glands on to spare sugar, but why go down those paths again?
Skinfold analysis is a common field assessment used by fitness professionals to predict body fatness. The technique is based on the fact that 50-70% of stored fat lies between the skin and muscle, referred to as subcutaneous fat. The measurement technique requires the tester to identify gender specific sites which reflect predetermined assessment locations for regression equations calculated to predict body density. Two of the most popular groups of equations identified by their respective name sake are the Jackson & Pollack, and Durnin & Wormersley multi-site skinfold equations. The equations are based on the measure of skinfold at select sites expressed in millimeters of thickness. The skinfold measurements are entered into the population specific regression equation to predict body density which is expressed as a percentage of fat. According to the literature, use of field method prediction equations developed from 2-component model (Siri equation) reference measures of body composition systematically underestimate relative body fatness based on comparisons to hydrostatic (underwater) weighing. Ethnic differences further invalidate the Siri equation as seen in American Indian women, African-American men and women, and Hispanic women when standard equations are used. Researchers suggest that this is due to the fact the average fat free body (FFB) density of these ethnic groups exceeds the assumed value (1.1 g/ml). Unfortunately, the overwhelming majority of field method prediction equations have been developed and cross-validated for Caucasian populations and are based on 2-component model reference measures. Because ethnicity may affect the FFB and regional fat distribution, race-specific prediction equations should be used to enhance the accuracy of the assessment.
Personal training has always been associated with golden handcuffs. Although quality personal trainers provide proper instruction and exercise programs for numerous benefits, the limited contact time presents a ceiling to results. Unlike the “Biggest Loser” clients are completely responsible for their lives outside of the two or three session periods each week. During a one hour session, most clients can burn between 200-400 calories per session. In most cases, the average personal training client does not meet the minimum recommendations for health related physical activity (1000 kcal/week) through exercise with their personal trainer alone. This limitation is exacerbated when clients do not control caloric intakes. It’s often stated that for the 120-180 minutes of training performed with a trainer a week, a client has 9900 minutes a week to ruin the effort. Many people are surprised to find that a person who engages in no structured exercise, but is physically active most days of the week, has a lower risk of weight gain than a personal training client who works out two or three times a week but is otherwise sedentary.
All the media coverage and press on supplements and ergogenic aids used by athletes, recent lawsuits and injury associated with weight loss supplements, and increasing knowledge of the lack of regulations of the supplement industry in general, has led government agencies to commit resources to help consumers make more educated decisions regarding the supplements they buy. A cohort of governmental agencies including the Nutrient Data Laboratory (NDL), Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center (BHNRC), Agricultural Research Service (ARS), and the USDA along with the Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institutes of Health (ODS/NIH) and other federal agencies have been working to develop a Dietary Supplement Ingredient Database (DSID). The goal of the project is to evaluate levels of ingredients in dietary supplement products for consumer protection and product safety.
Vitamin D has gained greater attention over the past few years based on a growing body of evidence that suggests a greater physiological need of the vitamin may exist for optimal health and function. This information has been compounded by an increasing concern of worldwide deficiency. Due to the fact that vitamin D supports a large number of physiological processes the current pandemic (50% of the population) increases international susceptibility to health problems. Early on, the known benefits of vitamin D were essentially limited to calcium homeostasis and the prevention of bone disease. Today it has become clear that vitamin D is actually an emerging super nutrient, serving a role in disease prevention including cancer and heart disease, inducing cellular differentiation, increasing cognitive function, enhancing muscle morphology and of course reducing the risk of osteoporotic fractures.
The correlating factors behind systemic inflammatory dynamics and various lifestyle behaviors such as physical activity and diet are presently a topic of significant interest to scientists and health experts. This interest has spilled over to the general public as evident by an increase in anti-inflammatory products like omega-3 fatty acid supplements. Most individuals are familiar with the classic signs of injury-related inflammation including; redness, swelling, pain, loss of function, and heat at the site of a given wound. In modern research, significant focus has shifted from acute inflammatory response to chronic low grade inflammation associated with android obesity, physical inactivity, and poor dietary sources. Chronic systemic inflammation is now associated with premature aging, autoimmune disorders and several epidemiological ailments including diabetes, heart disease, and kidney disease. Systemic inflammation is heavily affected by behaviors and may be promoted or diminished through intricate dynamics related to body composition, nutritional choices, physical activity levels, hormonal balance, and stress.
Weight loss is a factor of caloric balance, or more easily stated, energy-in, versus energyout. The seemingly simplistic equation suggests that if a person consumes less energy than they expend per day they will lose weight. This in fact is true, but the weight that is lost does not always offer the benefit that is expected.
Drug-induced toxicity is the leading cause of acute liver failure and acute hepatitis in the United States. Prescription drugs such as amoxicillin-clavulanic acid, troglitazone, antiretrovirals, angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs), angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE-I), anti-diabetic agents (acarbose, gliclazide, metfomin, and insulin), anticonvulsants, antiepileptics, and other psychotropics (e.g. selective-serotonin reuptake inhibitors [SSRIs]) have all been implicated in liver damage.
One of the more trying, and yet rewarding components of personal training is assisting clients with successful long-term weight loss. And with 100,000,000 obese individuals in the United States this clientele and specific goal is not going to go away. The old adage of calories-in versus calories-out seems like a logical approach, but is not quite as simple as the statement itself. Most professionals realize that weight management dynamics are more complicated than a basic in and out equation and that the type of activities, albeit movement based or tension based, play a role in both metabolic and endocrine responses, as do the foods and drinks an individual consumes. This being said, the first step to successfully engaging and guiding clients to goal oriented outcomes is to establish tracking metrics. Metrics are quantifiable measures that provide useful information in gauging treatment effectiveness and monitoring changes. For example, to implement the calories in, calories out equation it becomes relevant to be able to measure the factors of thermodynamics - how much energy was put into the body (metric 1) and how much energy was expended by the body (metric 2).
Two “expert” fitness websites contradict each other – according to one “each additional pound of muscle equates to an increase of 50 kcal of resting metabolism each day” but the other online site suggests “you will burn an additional 30 calories a day by adding a pound of muscle mass.” Which is correct? As you may expect from the internet, neither website is correct. Presumably these inflated numbers come from antiquated studies with poor conclusions that looked at the effects of resistance training on muscle mass gains and metabolism. Several early studies demonstrated gains of 1.5-2 kg of lean mass in untrained individuals performing resistance training for 8-12 weeks. The metabolic result was a daily increase of 200-300 calories above previous measured daily expenditure. Doing some simple math, if a person added 3 pounds of muscle and burned 240 calories more per day the net gain would be 80 kcals per pound. But this would not be the doing of lean mass alone.
Popular bodybuilding websites that promote products for muscle mass suggest that branched chain amino acids (leucine, valine, and isoleucine) are so key to muscle hypertrophy that they are a requisite dietary supplement to mass gain. Other claims include branched chain amino acids are needed by athletes to fuel exercise, spare glycogen, increase protein synthesis, reduce protein loss during exercise, reduce muscle soreness, reduce fatigue, improve immune function, and consequently improve performance from potentially any of the above. Although a lack of supportive evidence has been demonstrated in controlled trials, fitness enthusiasts, body builders, and athletes still use the dietary supplements in hopes of gaining a training edge.
New research published in the Public Library of Science Biology (PLoSB) Journal reveals that exercise can induce the sensation of satiety due to the triggering of specific neurons in the brain. A research panel at the University of Campinas Exercise in Brazil affirms they have found that an exercise stimulus can actually improve (or restore) sensitivity of neurons involved in the control of satiety, and therefore contribute to reduced caloric intake and weight loss over time.
Caffeine is the most widely utilized psychoactive substance among people of all age groups and cultural backgrounds. This is most likely due to the fact it is legal, easy to obtain, and socially acceptable to consume. It is classified as a stimulant drug, and is typically used to arouse the central nervous system for cognitive or physical endeavors. It is generally recognized as safe by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but when taken in excess can result in serious side effects, health hazards, or even in rare cases, death. Caffeine is produced by a variety of beans, leaves, and fruits; but is most commonly consumed in the forms of coffee (70%), soda (16%), and tea (12%). Approximately 9 out of 10 adults report regular use of caffeine, with an average daily intake of around 230mg.
New and experienced exercisers alike are always looking for the most rapid results and the easiest way to attain them. In addition to the role of training most exercise enthusiasts recognize the relevance of proper diet in health and physical fitness goal attainment. This helps explain the extreme proliferation of the supplement industry. Although most supplements have not demonstrated any efficacy during clinical investigations there are strategies that use energy yielding nutrients for optimal returns.
Professionals should recognize that the three energy yielding nutrients (carbohydrates, fats, and proteins) have varying roles and functions in the diet. For instance, proteins serve over 50,000 different functions in the body and interestingly energy metabolism is not a primary role. Carbohydrates function to maintain the central nervous system and fuel work, while fats serve to spare glucose and fuel low level efforts and resting activities. Due to the role carbohydrates, fats, and proteins serve in exercise and recovery, gaining a thoughtful understanding of each will promote the desired outcomes of the training.
Much like many scams, the hCG injection and very low calorie diet (VLCD) has cycled back into mainstream media and is being advertised as the cure for obesity. Advertisements suggest as much as a pound a day can be lost using this “medical” treatment, drawing the attention of many individuals wishing to lose weight. The injections are comprised of low-dose human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG) and when combined with a severe diet, functions as a popular treatment for obesity, despite a lack of evidence of its effectiveness. hCG is secreted by the placenta during early pregnancy to maintain corpus luteum function and stimulate placental progesterone production. It is found in the urine and blood serum of pregnant women and is commonly used as an indicator of pregnancy.
Sports drinks and energy drinks have become main stream and the consequent market has erupted in recent years. Hundreds of different brands are now marketed, and according to Drug and Alcohol Dependence (2009) caffeine content ranges from a modest 50 mg to an alarming 505 mg per can or bottle. Mini markets now have whole cooler sections devoted to the products, and if 16 to 20 ounces is a bit much, there is an assortment of shots available at the checkout counter. While energy drinks are marketed more socially, sports drink companies glamorize the products using superstar endorsements. Although an effective marketing scheme, the market reach has exposed children to these products and in some cases the lines are being blurred between sports and energy drink purpose. Children want to be just like their sports heroes and certainly attempt to emulate their lifestyles so that they may someday walk in their footsteps. Based on new research, the American Academy of Pediatricians (AAP) has outlined how these products are constantly being misused and poorly consumed by the majority of youth athletes.
It is no secret that the typical American diet contains too many processed foods, while at the same time not nearly enough fruits and vegetables. This consumption imbalance has led to a diet high in salt and often insufficient in potassium. Recently reported by the CDC, this dietary practice is extremely detrimental to physical health. The study data conducted by researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Emory University and Harvard University was published in the Archives of Internal Medicine (2011). According to the CDC, Americans who consume a diet high in sodium and low in potassium have a 50% increased risk of death from any cause, and about twice the risk of death from heart attacks.
Weight loss is difficult. Not in theory – eat less and move more – but in implementation. One of the major obstacles for most people is the lack of knowledge and/or confusion surrounding caloric intake and expenditure. Most people consume more calories than they realize and burn far less calories than they expect. Knowing what (# of calories) is actually in the foods they consume is one problem and knowing how calories are referenced is another. A breakfast muffin for instance may have 400-600 kcal. While the label says 200 kcals/serving, some overlook that the label also states there are two servings per muffin. At quick glance the calories and fat presented are only half of the actual value. A similar problem occurs in the gym. The Stairclimber shows 300 kcal after a 30 minute workout. In reality, the value is only correct if the individual maintained an upright posture, did not lean on the machine, and maintained proper pace and range on the pedals; or more importantly sustained heart rates. Just like the serving and portion sizes matter in food, heart rate matters when performing continuous exercise aimed at achieving weight loss.
A recent review of the body of evidence around weight-loss supplements performed at Oregon State University and published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism suggests, again, that a magic pill does not exist for weight loss. Supplements are a $2.4 billion dollar business in the United States, but the data collected on hundreds of weight-loss supplements showed that, for the most part, the results they produce are disappointing. The primary researcher, Dr. Manore, a professor of nutrition and exercise sciences at OSU, suggests “no research evidence exists that any single product results in significant weight loss – and many have detrimental health benefits.” Among those evaluated, a few products, including green tea, fiber and low-fat dairy supplements, demonstrated a modest weight-loss benefit of three to four pounds (two kilograms), but an important caveat is these supplements were tested as part of a reduced-calorie diet. Consistent with the belief of most experts, Manore said that "for most people, unless you alter your diet and get daily exercise, no over-the-counter supplement is going to have a big impact.”
According to the Boston Medical Center, approximately 15% of the population attempts to lose weight each year, mainly through dieting. That same group will spend $33 billion on weight-loss products and countless dollars on books and magazines advertising dietary solutions. For their time and effort, only about 2% of these people will attain and maintain long-term weight loss as a result of dietary restraint. For those who add exercise to the mix, however, the likelihood of both weight loss and weight maintenance improve. According to researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, obese patients can lose weight and keep it off using the most traditional method of eating less and exercising more. In an article published April 10 in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, Nicklas and colleagues analyzed data culled from more than 4,000 obese (BMI >30) individuals. Of those surveyed, 63% reported that they had attempted weight loss. Of the 2,500 individuals in this category, 45% reported they were able to lose more than 5% of their body weight, and another 20% lost 10% or more of their body weight.
According to the most recent data released by the Centers for Disease Control, approximately 36% of the American adult population is obese, and 17% of American children are following suit. If this trend continues, a recent study predicts that 86% of Americans will be overweight or obese by 2030, and by 2048, every single American will be either overweight or obese. We are progressively getting fatter, and alarmingly enough it appears we no longer recognize how large we are becoming. With the advent of vanity sizing, women who would have worn a size six or eight fifty years ago now fit into a size zero or one. Children are not aware of their size because they see everyone around them at the same size. Michelle Justus of the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement said “part of it’s the way our lifestyle is now.
Weight loss is likely the most sought after goal exercise programs. Self-proclaimed gurus and DVD divas are constantly coming up with new movements and methods to optimize caloric expenditure per given time segment. And while some programs falsely flaunt +1,000 kcal/hour workouts, research has indicated these claims are simply not true. In a recent study published in Obesity (2012), investigators cited the less than expected caloric expenditure associated with common exercise regimens. Weight loss expectations remain high when engaging in routine physical activity but weight loss resulting from an exercise intervention tends to be significantly lower than predicted. Additionally, repeated studies have shown that many people who begin an exercise program lose little or no weight while others actually gain weight. Researchers comparing weight loss to actual expenditure conclude that the small magnitude of weight loss observed from the majority of evaluated exercise interventions is primarily due to low doses of prescribed exercise energy expenditures compounded by a concomitant increase in caloric intake. So while some people believe they should lose weight because they perform exercise, most of them do not engage in enough exercise to offset the calories consumed.
Phytonutrients (phyto = Greek for plant) are specific, organic components found in plants believed to promote health benefits. They are officially categorized as non-nutrients and unlike vitamins are not considered essential due to the fact that no known nutritional deficiencies occur without intake. Even though phytonutrients are considered nonessential, there are several means by which they are believed to protect human health. These mechanisms include serving as antioxidants; enhancing immune system function; enhancing cell-to-cell communication; altering hormonal balance (such as estrogen metabolism); converting beta-carotene into vitamin A; eradicating cancer cells; and repairing DNA damage caused by smoking or other toxic exposure. The numerous types of phytonutrients can be divided into different classes. The common classes include carotenoids, flavonoids (or polyphenols), isoflavanoids, inositol, lignans, isothiocyanates, phenols and cyclic compounds, saponins, sulfides and thiols, and terpenes. Carotenoids and polyphenols are currently the most understood and have received the greatest deal of attention in research.
For centuries, caffeine has been the stimulant of choice among humans. Evidence suggests that even in Upper Paleolithic times (10,000 years ago), the raw fruit of the coffee plant (Coffea Arabica) was used to brew a beverage with stimulant properties. Caffeine naturally originates in 63 species of plants as various types of methylated xanthenes, but the most common forms consumed today include coffee beans, tea leaves, cocoa beans, and cola nuts.
The skeleton is well-designed to resist various types of mechanical stresses while providing shape and support to the body and its internal structures. It is comprised of various types of bones which possess mineral and protein components that optimize its rigidity and resistance to tension. The protein component is mostly collagen (and forms the attachment sites for muscle) which represents about 33% of bone, while the mineral components (calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, carbonate and phosphate) represent the structural component.
It is well known that proper nutrition is an integral component of successful exercise and sports participation. The quantity and quality of nutrients consumed as well as meal timing can have a significant impact on measures of athletic performance or goal-specific milestones associated with routine exercise. That being said, personal trainers should become familiar with specific challenges and considerations related to clients who do not subscribe to optimal dietary strategies. In some cases, clients do not follow recommended dietary prescriptions for economical, social, religious, or other personal reasons; or they may have specific health or idealistic purposes such as is common of vegetarians. It is believed that a plant-based diet is a much healthier way to eat compared to the more common omnivorous diet. But many people do not fully understand plant-based diets, and some vegetarians actually make unhealthy food selection in their efforts to avoid animal products. A vegetarian’s dietary intake can vary greatly depending on the individual’s palate, dietary knowledge, access to food, and how strict the individual is on avoiding animal-based foods (e.g., meat, poultry, seafood, fish, eggs, or dairy). The following figure briefly describes the dietary measures engaged within the common forms of vegetarianism.
Understanding the difference between hunger and appetite and how to control the latter is a key component to weight management. Hunger is a physiological perception of energy needs directly regulated by the brain while appetite is a physiologically-driven, but psychologically-based perception of energy needs. When hunger is not properly managed, appetite will present itself and greatly increase the risk for overconsumption of calories as the psychological perception of energy needs typically outweighs true needs. Appetite is essentially tied to the old adage, “he ate with his eyes and not with his stomach”
The World Health Organization has estimated that by 2030, the obesity rate in the United States will increase to 70%. The steady rise in obesity is already causing a significant strain on the health care system to the point that it affects the US economy. The pertinence of the obesity problem has caused Universities and government organizations to allocate increased resources towards researching the leading factors and the major roadblocks of successful weight loss. In conjunction, weight management has become a leading responsibility of personal trainers. Therefore, it is integral for personal trainers to understand both the health risks of obesity as well as proper management procedures. Countless clinical trials have found that dieting alone is insufficient to cause long-term weight loss. More recent research has focused on the specific effects of sitting and lack of exercise on public health, finding that both appear to be bigger threats to obesity than previously expected.
Nutrition will always be at the forefront of discussion amongst personal trainers, exercise enthusiasts, and competitive athletes alike due to the critical role it plays in adaptations and performance. With any fitness goal in mind, nutritional support must be considered as it often plays a large part in overall success. The old concept was to maintain a balance in nutrient intake along with meeting total energy needs. Today, nutrient timing nd nutrient mixtures get more attention due to the known relevance of endocrine system involvement, the role hormones play in energy storage and usage, as well as the demands for recovery. Today’s exercisers know to maximize gains nutrition must be part of the equation.
During the flu season, those who exercise vigorously on a regular basis should take extra steps to ensure their immune system remains strong. Many do not realize that an intense training regimen can suppress immune function; especially when combined with inadequate recovery and nutritional support.
Dietary supplements are consistently used as part of regimens to increase physical performance or aid in weight loss. Protein powders and individual amino acids are very popular options among health enthusiasts.
A2 milk is currently marketed as a heathier choice over “regular milk”. It is purported to provide explicit benefits including easier digestion for those who are lactose intolerant and reduced risk for several disorders. But what is the difference between these products and are the claims actually true?
The immune system plays a major role in training adaptations, but is poorly understood by most exercise professionals. Part of the reason is medical science has yet to unravel all of the functions, reactions and interactions of this system.
Human caffeine consumption is by no means novel, dating back almost 5,000 years - but todays’ on-the-go society certainly thrives on the stimulant.
Anabolics, or compounds purported to increase lean mass, are one of the most popular categories of dietary supplements amongst bodybuilders, athletes and exercise enthusiasts alike. Legal compounds purported to increase muscle mass have experienced a “mixed bag” of results in the literature.
Bottled water is a staple in many people’s households and generally consumed daily at the office, gym, or when running errands. Statistics estimate at least 30% of the American public regularly consumes bottled water with the U.S. seeing double digit growth since 2014; but how many of these consumers know what is in their bottle or where it comes from?
The current top three causes of mortality in the United States are #1 heart disease, #2 cancer, #3 chronic lower respiratory disease – collectively accounting for 50% of all yearly deaths. Heart disease (HD) has widely been the main cause of death to Americans and accounts for nearly 1 in every 4 deaths(23.4%).
Nearly everyone involved in the fitness industry is interested in seeking out supplements for improved health and/or performance. The allure of a pill that can work magic, or at least improve upon one’s hard work is very appealing.
Many people go to the gym but few realize the potential benefits of the routines they perform. The body adjusts to newly-perceived stress, not the same stress. Certainly, performing a weekly group of exercises can help maintain strength, flexibility and body composition; but performing the same program ensures consistent outcomes – which explains why people go to the gym every day and look the same and perform the same. Progressions allow for continued improvement, and when applied over phases of emphasis, blend day-to-day programs into larger training cycles.
Small changes over time can go a long way towards positive outcomes. It is the consistency of effort towards behavior change that has the greatest impact. For health, dietary practices have significant implication but seem to be one of the more challenging areas for chronic behavior change for most people. Part of the reason is the “all or nothing” mentality that has manifested from fad diets. Abrupt and complete change rarely is sustained, so it would seem taking a different approach may make for a more sustainable outcome. Rather than full scale dietary adjustment, it makes sense to start by focusing on the primary agitators; those foods and beverages that fail to contribute to health or take away from it.
The relationship between gut health and immune function is clear (and anatomically connected) as we find about 75% of all lymph tissue/nodes surrounding the intestinal tract. Various studies have shown that the quality of one’s gut bacteria (combined with genetic factors) plays a major part in body composition and risk for obesity.
Herbal teas have been consumed since ancient times among people of all cultures. However, despite the name, herbal teas are not actually true teas. True teas include green, black, and oolong teas that are brewed from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. Herbal teas are made from simply steeping dried fruits, flowers, bark, roots, spices or herbs in hot water to release their phytonutrients, antioxidants, and other healthful elements. Essentially almost any edible plant can be made into an herbal tea to reap all the plant’s benefits in a form that is easy to digest.
Nutrient and energy absorption is dictated by age, hormonal factors, the presence of artificial ingredients, and the genetically- and behaviorally-determined microbiome in one’s intestinal tract, among other elements. Therefore, simply counting calories on food labels is not necessarily the best single-practice for enabling healthy weight loss or management; furthermore, one could argue that other practices could be implemented to greater effect without counting a single calorie at all.
Antioxidants limit the potentially damaging actions of free radicals produced during metabolism, which is expedited during physical activity or exercise. Free radical production can also be accelerated due to environmental or behavioral influences such as sunlight exposure, cigarette smoke, alcohol consumption, pollution, radiation exposure, stress or even high-fat diets. Dietary antioxidants, critical for limiting the negative impacts of free radicals on both health and performance, are found in various vitamins, such as C, E, and A as well as minerals including selenium. There are also various forms of phytonutrients known to possess antioxidant properties such as lycopene in tomatoes and polyphenols in grapes or berries. Adequate daily antioxidant intake is important for maintaining immune function and managing internal physiological stress – especially during periods of heavy training, exercise or stress. They are also theorized to reduce premature aging, the risk for certain diseases (including neurodegenerative disorders impacting the brain) and thwart the progression of certain types of cancer.
Vegetables have long been touted as nature’s best foods, providing relevant balance to energy- and non-energy-yielding nutrients, often in low-calorie offerings. The phytochemical and non-energy-yielding compounds they contain make these food sources valuable additions to all diets. In fact, plant-based food is so nutrient-rich that they can be consumed independent of any animal foods - as seen in vegan diets. But the benefit lies in the diversity of nutrients the vegetables provide, because variety promotes balance. When foods are assessed for their relevance to the diet there exist two primary categories: 1) the total quantity of energy and nutrients a food source provides, and 2) the richness of particular essential elements needed in the diet. Therefore, when selecting foods, it helps to know what foods contain what nutrients, and which are good sources of those nutrients relative to recommended daily values.
The stress of Covid-19 mixed with lockdown orders have driven people to cope with the situation in the confines of their own home. It should be no surprise more people may be turning to alcohol to cope with this unprecedented level of uncertainty and stress. According to an article published in JAMA (2020), alcohol consumption among adults increased by 14% in 2020. There was a surprising rise in consumption among women specifically; according to the study, they exhibited a 41% increase in alcohol consumption over a known 2019 baseline.
It is commonly said that a body in motion stays in motion, and a mind that is challenged never grows old when talking of functional aging – these concepts suggest one should continue to learn, grow and improve across one’s life to evade physical and cognitive decline. The past year and a half has put many lives on standstill while dealing with the additional rigors and challenges of a global pandemic heightened by an uncertain economic climate. That makes this summer ideal to focus on improving oneself and retracking life for the better. On this positive note, the following tips provide various ways in which to improve one’s physical and mental well-being while gaining a sense of control back.
Television commercials, media coverage and daytime doctors are all touting ‘memory formulas’ amongst an aging population’s concerns of cognitive decline. A host of dietary supplements have been marketed with claims that they enhance memory or improve brain function and health. But can simply taking an adjunct of dietary supplements promote cognitive function, and decrease risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease (AD)?
Certainly influenza (flu) viruses are detected year-round in the United States, but according to the CDC, the last four decades of flu viruses typically reached highest circulation during the fall and winter - commonly known as the flu season. And while the specific timing of the highest incidences vary, flu activity commonly begins during mid-Fall and reaches its highest activity between December and March… sometimes lasting into May. Things though are harder to predict since the start of the COVID pandemic, and according to the CDC the duration of flu activity has been less predictable.
Novo Nordisk is the only company in the U.S. with FDA-approved products containing semaglutide. Semaglutide is currently found in three drugs under the trade names Wegovy®, Ozempic®, and Rybelsus®. Currently the FDA has not approved any generic versions of semaglutide. Of the three, most people are interested in Wegovy as it is designed to treat overweight or obese adults – it is not yet approved for children but is approved for ages 12 and up who require chronic weight management. Wegovy is a GLP-1 agonist which functions to lower food intake and assist in controlling blood sugar levels. While Ozempic boasts the same qualities it is not approved as a weight loss drug - but rather is designed for diabetic patients and uses a different dosing schedule.
While historically a common act among varying religions, fasting has gained popularity as a metabolic therapy using 24 hours to three weeks of no food energy. Today, many clinics provide physician-monitored, wateronly fasting programs lasting from 1 week or longer for weight management as well as disease prevention and treatment. It is important to note that fasting is distinct from caloric restriction (CR) used for dieting in which the daily caloric intake is reduced by 20–40%, but food consumption frequency is maintained. We now know that fasting results in ketogenesis, promotes potent changes in metabolic pathways and cellular processes such as stress resistance, lipolysis and autophagy. It is a useful medical therapy, even used to dampen seizures and seizure-associated brain damage and the improvement of rheumatoid arthritis conditions.

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