Author Archives: Megan Czuchra

Seasonal Affective Disorder

Seasonal Affective Disorder

What it is and What to do About it?

It’s almost that time of year again—a time of cool breezes, colored leaves and holiday preparation. Fall and winter are exciting times… Unless you suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). If you struggle with winter depression, this time of year is not filled with joy and anticipation. Instead, you probably feel like hiding under the covers until spring arrives in several months…

What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Everyone has the blues now and then. But SAD is a depressive state that occurs seasonally, year after year, usually in the fall and winter. If you suffer from SAD, you may feel perfectly normal during the spring and summer months, but starting around October or November, symptoms begin showing up.

Because this type of depression come and goes with the seasons, you may wonder if it is all in your head. It isn’t. This is a real condition and can have a devastating impact on your life.

Researchers still don’t know the exact cause of SAD, but there are some factors that seem to be involved, and they involve the decreased amount of sunlight that fall and winter bring.

• Melatonin: Melatonin is a hormone that impacts mood and sleep. As the seasons change, your melatonin levels can fluctuate and may cause feelings of depressions.

• Serotonin: When the amount of sunlight drops, so can your serotonin levels. Since this chemical helps you have feelings of well-being and happiness, not having enough of it can cause your mood to drop.

• Internal clock: Some scientists think that decreased sunlight disrupts your normal rhythms of wakefulness and sleepiness. The result is sad and depressed feelings.

What are the Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)?

SAD will often manifest itself as feelings of sadness or depression. You may feel as though you cannot get enough sleep—struggling to get out of the bed in the morning, feeling drowsy during the day and going to bed earlier than you usually do.

Your energy and concentration may also run low, and this can affect your productivity at work and at home. Of course, not having the energy to ‘get things done,’ only leads to frustration and more feelings of depression. You may also notice weight gain. Typically, SAD sufferers will crave foods high in carbohydrates and can gain between 9 and 30 pounds each year.

Finally, your social life may suffer. If you are depressed, you just won’t enjoy being around others as much as you used to. This can turn into social withdrawal which makes your feelings of depression and sadness even worse.

Now for the Good News – Ways to Combat Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
If you think that you may be one of the millions of people who are affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder, you will be happy to know that you have many treatment options available. Try experimenting with different treatments until you find one or a combination that works for you:

1. Light therapy: Up to 85% of winter depression sufferers are helped by simply sitting under a therapy light. The bright light stabilizes the out-of-balance chemicals in your body, helping you to feel less depressed and more like yourself. The best lights are those between 2,500 and 10,000 lux.

2. Vitamin D3: Vitamin D is frequently referred to as “The Sunshine Vitamin” because your body produces it when exposed to sunlight. In fact, just 20-30 minutes of sunlight will produce 10,000 – 50,000 IUs of Vitamin D. Why is this important? Vitamin D is actually a hormone that has important roles in supporting a healthy heart, cellular replication, immune system, mood & mental health, muscles, blood sugar levels, and more!

3. Exercise: Exercise is a powerful player in the fight against SAD. When you exercise, your body releases “feel good” chemicals called endorphins. These chemicals cause you to feel happy, confident and bring about a feeling of well-being. The elated feelings that endorphins bring are comparable to the feelings that morphine and heroin create. To release endorphins, you will need to sustain your workout for about 30 minutes.

4. Dawn Simulators: Unlike the spring months, in which the light of dawn and dusk changes gradually, the winter months bring a much more abrupt change of light. This may be one of the aggravators of SAD. Try a dawn simulator. These appliances can be programmed, much like an alarm clock, to gradually brighten your room each morning before you wake up. Some SAD sufferers have had great success with dawn simulators.

You are not alone if you are beginning to feel depressed with the shortened days that we are experiencing. Experiment with some of the treatment options and especially start exercising. Before you know it, the days will begin lengthening out again!

Dedicated to Your Health and Fitness Success,
Scott Newton, MS, CPT
Founder, Evolve Personalized Fitness
Office: (949) 661-1213
Cell Phone: (949) 294-7555
scott@evolvefitnessdp.com

Balancing Cortisol for Weight Loss and Health

Balancing Cortisol for Weight Loss and Health

How too Much Cortisol can lead to Decreased Health and Increased Belly Fat. Some have called it the “master” of all hormones. Others curse it for its ability to wreak havoc on our body’s fragile endocrine balance. In spite of the mixed opinions one thing is certain: cortisol is a powerful hormone necessary for life. But if its level is not optimal in your body, your health could suffer.

What is Cortisol?

The hormone cortisol is produced in the adrenal glands and is primarily responsible for regulating blood sugar, helping to metabolize fats, protein and carbohydrates and assisting in managing our stress response. We all have times of stress in our lives, and cortisol helps us to function during these times.

When the stress goes up, cortisol kicks in and delivers help. We get a quick burst of energy, our memory sharpens, our immunity increases, and our sensitivity to pain decreases. These are all important and natural functions of cortisol and ensure that we are able to weather the curve balls that life throws at us.

However, if the stress doesn’t let up, neither does the cortisol. Unfortunately, what is healthy in small bursts becomes dangerous over the long term. If you have persistent stress in your life, then you have cortisol levels that are out of balance: your body makes so much cortisol that it detrimentally affects your health. This leads to adrenal fatigue.

When you have prolonged, high levels of cortisol in your bloodstream
• you will crave foods that are high in carbs (like cake and cookies),
• you will gain weight in your abdominal area (which increases your risk of heart disease and diabetes), and
• you will have trouble sleeping

Cortisol and the Circadian Rhythm

Our bodies produce different chemicals during the day and night that control our sleep, energy and mood. The natural rhythm of this cycle is known as the Circadian Rhythm, and cortisol is a key player.

Under normal circumstances, your body produces cortisol in amounts largely determined by the clock. Levels tend to be higher in morning—triggered by the emerging daylight–giving you a boost of energy to jump start your day.
As the day wears on, cortisol levels should drop, helping to prepare you for a good night’s sleep. Likewise, Melatonin (another hormone that affects your energy and sleep habits) levels should be lower in the morning but as the daylight fades, they should increase, helping you to begin relaxing and preparing for sleep.

However, if you are under constant stress or if your adrenal glands are not functioning properly, your cortisol level may not drop off during the day. Instead, it may actually rise and stay at a dangerously high level. By the time bedtime rolls around, you will not feel sleepy. You will feel “tired but wired,” and be unable to relax and fall asleep.

Reset Your Circadian Clock

If you suspect that your natural, circadian rhythm is disrupted, don’t despair. There are several things you can do to reset your clock so you can start sleeping better at night and waking up more refreshed in the morning.
Try the following tips:
• Reduce stress. Easier said than done, I know. But many times our stress levels are correlated to our response to stressful situations. Learning how to cope with stress more effectively may be all it takes to balance your cortisol.
• Be consistent. Going to bed and getting at the same time each day will help to regulate your circadian rhythm. Practice this habit to slowly coax your body into a schedule.
• Use light wisely. Since your circadian rhythm is partially controlled by light, darken your room well when you go to bed, and flood it with light when it is time to get up. Try using a full spectrum light in the mornings.
• Avoid naps. If your circadian clock is off, you may find that you get very sleepy in the afternoon. However, taking a nap may make it more difficult to fall asleep at night. Try to resist naps.
• Eat most of your calories early. If you can eat the bulk of your daily calories earlier in the day as opposed to later in the day, you may find that you can re-calibrate your circadian rhythms more easily.

We all need a great coaches! If you need some extra help getting back on track with your health and fitness routine send me a text message today!

Dedicated to Your Health and Fitness Success,
Scott Newton, MS, CPT
Founder, Evolve Personalized Fitness
Office: (949) 661-1213
Cell Phone: (949) 294-7555
scott@evolvefitnessdp.com

Just RELAX!

Relax and Lose Weight

Want to get healthy and lose weight? Then relax. It’s true. Relaxing is good for you! So relax and read on for tips!

The role of cortisol

One of the most important reasons that relaxation is good for you is because it prevents the release of excess cortisol. Cortisol is a hormone that your body releases when it is stressed. If you only have small amounts of cortisol, there is no problem. But when stress is persistent, as it is in many of our lives, the amount of cortisol in your bloodstream rises and stays elevated. The result? Weight gain.

When cortisol is released, you begin craving foods that deliver quick energy, such as potato chips, candy bars, pastries, etc. If this were not bad enough, cortisol goes on to store those extra calories as fat, mainly around your abdominal area.
Cortisol also interferes with the hormones that control your appetite; you will find that you are hungry more often and have a hard time staying satiated.
And if that were not enough, cortisol can also cause decreased muscle mass because it lowers testosterone levels. The less muscle you have, the less fat you will burn.

The science of relaxation

The good news is that intentional relaxation can combat stress and combat cortisol. Scientists have discovered what they call “the relaxation effect.” Specifically, Harvard researchers have learned that deep relaxation causes bodily changes all the way down to our genetic level. For those people who practiced yoga long term, their disease fighting genes were active, as opposed to people who did not make relaxation a part of their lives.1
The participants in the study who practiced yoga had ‘switched on’ genes that protect them from high blood pressure, rheumatoid arthritis, pain and even infertility.

But wait! There’s more…

When the researchers in the study asked the non-relaxation practicing participants to start using relaxation methods, it only took two months for their bodies to begin changing. Genes that fight inflammation and help prevent cancer began turning on! And the more they practiced relaxation, the more improved were the benefits.

The take away message? You can’t afford not to relax. Too much is riding on this. Start now and in just a couple short months, you can be enjoying the genetic benefits of robust health.

Do you need accountability with recovery? We can help. Call TODAY for a FREE success session to get you on the right track!

Dedicated to Your Health and Fitness Success,
Scott Newton, MS, CPT
Founder, Evolve Personalized Fitness
Office: (949) 661-1213
Cell Phone: (949) 294-7555
scott@evolvefitnessdp.com

Source:
http://www.smh.com.au/…/relax–its-good-for-you-20090819-eq…

Protect Your Brain from Alzheimer’s Disease

Protect Your Brain from Alzheimer’s Disease

Surveys have shown that there is something that Americans fear more than death. It is Alzheimer’s disease. For most of us, losing our personhood–those characteristics which makes us who we are–is a fate worse than death.

What is Alzheimer’s?

Named after Alois Alzheimer, who discovered the condition in 1906, Alzheimer’s is a disease that affects the function of the brain by causing the brain cells to degenerate and then die. There is no cure, and the progression of the disease leads to eventual death. The first symptoms of the disease usually show up as forgetfulness, but as it worsens, more long-term memory loss occurs, along with other symptoms such as mood swings, irritability and inability to recognize languages.

How Prevalent is Alzheimer’s?

Alzheimer’s affects 5.3 million Americans, and it is predicted that by 2050, 1 in 8 Americans will be stricken with it. The Medicare system spends three times as much money on Alzheimer’s treatment as it does on any other disease.

Is Alzheimer’s Inevitable?

The good news is there is much you can do to reduce the chances that you will develop this disease. Because of the prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease in our country, many people view it as a normal and inevitable part of the aging process. But this is not so. Alzheimer’s is a disease, and you do not have to get sick with this disease.

In fact, in spite of it being so common in America, there are societies in which dementia and Alzheimer’s is rare, even for people in their 90’s and beyond. The
elders in these cultures maintain clear thinking without the burden of dementia that we have come to associate with aging.

Preventing Alzheimer’s

Following are some steps you can take right now to protect yourself from getting Alzheimer’s.

1. Get plenty of physical exercise
In his book, Healthy at 100: The Scientifically Proven Secrets of the World’s Healthiest and Longest-Lived Peoples, John Robbins cites study after study that demonstrate the stunning effect of exercise on the brain’s ability to function well, even at advanced ages.
In one such study, documented in the Archives of Neurology (March 2001), it was found that the people with the highest activity levels were only half as likely as inactive people to develop Alzheimer’s. Further, these active people were also substantially less likely to develop any form of dementia or impairment in mental functioning.
In another study(1), some mice were bred to develop the type of plaque that is associated with Alzheimer’s in their brains. Some of the mice were allowed to exercise and some were not.
Two important findings emerged.
a. The mice who exercised developed 50-80 percent less plaque in their brains that the non-exercising mice developed.
b. The exercising mice produced more of the enzyme that prevents the buildup of plaque in the brain.
The takeaway conclusion? Those people who exercise more are much less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease or any other kind of dementia.

2. Eat a healthy diet
Exercise is not the only thing that can reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Diet also plays a crucial role. The best diet for preventing dementia is one low in animal-derived foods but high in plant foods such as
• fresh vegetables
• fresh fruit
• whole grains
• nuts
• seeds
• legumes

Scientists think that the protection these foods offer against dementia stems from their high concentration of anti-oxidants. Anti-oxidants neutralize free radicals which are responsible for the damage that causes dementia. A healthy diet also helps you avoid other health problems such as obesity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes and arteriosclerosis.

In another study cited by Robbins, researchers found that persons who are obese in middle age are twice as likely to develop dementia in their later years as those people who had normal weights. Further, if these people also have high cholesterol and high blood pressure, their risk for dementia in old age escalates to six times higher than normal weight people!

What are you waiting for?

Remember, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease. Once symptoms start showing up it is too late. Start now to defend yourself against this fate-worse-than-death disease: get moving and eat a clean, healthy diet. You will reap the benefits literally for years to come!

Joining us for our GET FIT CHALLENGE is a great way to get started on an awesome nutrition and exercise program! Send me a text message TODAY to get started!

Dedicated to Your Health and Fitness Success,
Scott Newton, MS, CPT
Founder, Evolve Personalized Fitness
Office: (949) 661-1213
Cell Phone: (949) 294-7555
scott@evolvefitnessdp.com

1http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/alzheimers/MY00002

Be Smart about Gluten-Free Foods

Be Smart about Gluten-Free Foods

Are you going gluten-free? If so, you are in good company. Many Americans are reducing the gluten in their diets. Some are doing this because they have a confirmed diagnosis of Celiac disease, some are gluten sensitive, and others are finding that reducing gluten aids them in weight loss.

What is gluten? Gluten is a protein found in certain grains such as wheat, barley, rye, spelt and semolina. It not only gives baked goods their characteristic texture and chewiness, but it is also used in the processing of many other foods to add thickness, flavor and added protein.

If someone has Celiac disease, they have a condition in which the body experiences an immune reaction when gluten is eaten. The result is damage to the inside of the small intestine, which impairs absorption of nutrients.
Gluten sensitivity is different in that the reaction to gluten is less severe and less damaging to the small intestine, but physical symptoms are still present, such as nutritional deficiencies, gastro intestinal difficulties and headaches. In spite of their differences, both conditions are treated by removing gluten from the diet.

It is not just those who have a diagnosed sensitivity to gluten who are removing it from their diets, though. Many healthy people are reducing gluten, usually because they are interested in reducing carbohydrates in their diets. Most breads, pastas and baked goods contain carbohydrates, because they contain wheat. If you are interested in lowering your carb intake, going-gluten free is one way to do that because traditionally, many baked goods are made with wheat, which is high in gluten. When you remove wheat from your diet, you have fewer choices when it comes to carbs.

But “fewer choices” does not mean “no choices.” With the explosion of interest in gluten-free products, food manufacturers have stepped-up the production of baked goods that look, taste and feel like traditional, gluten-containing foods, but are in fact, gluten-free. From breads to cinnamon rolls to pastas, there is a gluten-free food to satisfy nearly any craving you might have.

This is good news for those who need alternatives, but it is also bad news, because it is easy to mistake gluten-free for carb-free. The two are not the same. Carbs are found in many other grains and foods, and are often present in significant amounts in gluten-free products. It is tempting to think that because a cracker or brownie is gluten free that you can eat as many as you want. You can’t. Those crackers and brownies are likely to be very high in carbs and calories, as well as other unhealthy ingredients, such as sugar. When you eat these foods, you are simply trading one carb source for another. If weight loss through carb restriction is your goal, this will slow down your progress.

Your best defense is to be informed. Know what you are eating. Before you eat a gluten-free product, read the label. Check the ingredients, the carb and sugar count and the number of calories it contains. And stay on the lookout for foods that are both low in carbs and low in gluten. And of course, practice moderation. Too much of anything is seldom healthy.

If you’re interested in combining an easy to follow nutrition and exercise program join our GET FIT CHALLENGE starting on 9/16/19! Send me a text message TODAY if you’d like more information!

Dedicated to Your Health and Fitness Success,
Scott Newton, MS, CPT
Founder, Evolve Personalized Fitness
Office: (949) 661-1213
Cell Phone: (949) 294-7555

Why You Need a Personal Trainer!

Why You Need a Personal Trainer!

There’s a reason why celebrities and other highly successful people use coaches and trainers:  IT WORKS.

And that is why so many people are turning to personal trainers to help them move from mediocre to excellence in their pursuit of health, fitness and weight loss.

The reality

More than 91% of people who start an exercise program quit early—even before their new routine becomes a habit, and 61% will give up within the very first week!

Why? Because changing your lifestyle is hard. In spite of all the infomercials and ads claiming that you can lose weight and transform your body in thirty days (or six weeks at the longest), the truth is, getting fit requires a lifestyle makeover that takes:

• Time
• Determination
• Support

If any of these components is missing, the odds of success plummet.

The fix

The good news is that one component virtually guarantees the continued presence of the other two, and that is support–and support is the heart of what a good personal trainer provides.

A personal trainer helps with the time factor in two ways:

1. Finding time in your schedule to actually work out
2. Sticking with your program long enough to reach your goals.

A personal trainers supports you looking at your schedule and find ways to make fitness fit. A seasoned personal trainer has much wisdom in the area of time management and is a master at figuring out how to work exercise into even the busiest schedules. He can also design workouts that are both efficient and effective. Finally, a personal trainer can also provide the motivation that you need to keep going, long after you would have stopped were you doing working out by yourself.

Determination is also an area that a personal trainer supports you in. At the beginning of your new fitness program, you have excitement, novelty and the joy of discovery to keep you going. But eventually, what used to be new and fun becomes old and boring. If determination fades, you will find yourself wandering off track in search of the next exciting pursuit.

Your personal trainer will help you keep your determination. He will remind you why you are doing what you are doing. He will get into your life and help you move past obstacles that arise, and he will talk you out of excuse-making. He will constantly hold before you the consequences of your choices. He will keep you moving forward.

And finally, a personal trainer supports you as your source for practical, step-by-step instructions for building health. Your personal trainer is an expert in the field of exercise science. While under the tutelage of a personal trainer, you do not have to design your own program of fitness, constantly wondering whether you are doing the right exercises in the right way. A personal trainer will create a customized blueprint that will help you achieve your goals.

A personal trainer is your insurance policy against being another number in the appalling fitness drop-out statistics. Don’t try to go it alone; we all need help. Position yourself for success by working with a personal trainer and watch fitness and robust health become part of your life.

Need help? Send me a text message TODAY to schedule a FREE success session!

Dedicated to Your Health and Fitness Success,
Scott Newton, MS, CPT
Founder, Evolve Personalized Fitness
Office: (949) 661-1213
Cell Phone: (949) 294-7555

It’s Summer! Beat the Heat with these Summer Workout Tips

It’s Summer! Beat the Heat with these Summer Workout Tips

Baby, it’s hot out there!

If you have been working out over the past winter and spring months, you may be surprised at the new challenges that summertime fitness throws at you. Today is the first day of summer, and you are probably discovering that your body reacts to the heat and humidity differently than it does to cooler, drier conditions.

But don’t let the heat cause you to lose your momentum. You can keep working hard in the summer, you just have to adjust your approach a little. Keep the following summertime fitness tips in mind as you continue getting stronger and healthier.

1. Cool down first! You can improve your performance in the heat by lowering your body temperature before heading outside. Taking a cold shower or simply putting ice cold cloths on the back of your neck can help you to better tolerate the heat.

2. Find some shade. You may need to move your workout to a different area in order to be in the shade. If you are a runner or biker, change your route to a wooded area.

3. Avoid caffeine. Because caffeine acts as a diuretic, it forces water out of your system. This is the last thing you want when exercising in the summer heat. Save your caffeine intake for several hours before or after your workout, rather than near the time you will be exercising.

4. Stay hydrated! Drinking plenty of water before, during and after your workout will reduce the heat stress on your body.

5. Choose your clothing carefully. Now more than ever it is important to wear clothing that will move sweat away from your body and help it evaporate it quickly. A cotton t-shirt may be fine in the winter, but you will be much cooler in a fabric designed for exercise.

6. Change your workout time. If you are used to exercising during lunch or in the afternoon, you may need to adjust your schedule for the summer months. Early mornings and late evenings are the best times for outdoor exercise. On blistering, hot days, even the shade will not bring much relief.

7. Wear white or light colored clothing. Lighter colors reflect the heat better than darker, more intense colors.

8. Take breaks. Your body can only handle so much extreme heat. When the thermometer climbs, you may find that you need more frequent breaks to keep performing at your best. Be sure to take them. Listening to your body and caring for it is not a sign of weakness: it’s smart.

9. Monitor your heart. The heat places greater stress on your heart. Keep tabs on your heart rate as you work out in the heat. If it spikes quickly or stays too high, give it a rest.

10. Hit the gym. You may find that it is best to simply move your workout indoors for the summer. If you would prefer not to put your body under summer stress, work out in a gym. You will have the added benefit of personal attention and group accountability. It’s a great time to work on form, increase intensity, and plan out a new and exciting workout routine. Beat the heat by mixing things up this summer-try a gym workout.

Dedicated to Your Health and Fitness Success,
Scott Newton, MS, CPT
Founder, Evolve Personalized Fitness
Office: (949) 661-1213
Cell Phone: (949) 294-7555
scott@evolvefitnessdp.com

Can you believe July 4th is almost here again!? LIVE FREE and BREAK FREE!

Can you believe July 4th is almost here again!? LIVE FREE and BREAK FREE!

Independence Day: How to Break Free from a Weight Loss Slump

It’s almost Independence Day! We’re surrounded by all kinds of reminders about the priceless freedom that we enjoy in our country. Flags, fireworks and fun cookouts all symbolize the bravery and determination of our ancestors as they fought to secure our freedom and help our country to break free from tyrannical rule.

With so much emphasis on breaking free, July 4th is a good time to take a close look at where you are with your exercise and nutrition plans. How are you doing? Are you pleased with your daily habits and progress? Are you in a slump from which you need to break free?

We are 6 months into the New Year—how are you doing with your New Year’s resolutions?

Daily life keeps us so busy that we can slowly lose motivation to work out and eat healthy food. And it happens so gradually we hardly notice it. Before we know it, we’re off track and old habits are slowly getting the upper hand.
You know you are in a slump when you look back over the past few weeks and realize that you are not working out much (or your workouts are very low intensity), you are being a little more lax with what you eat, and worst of all, you feel discouraged. The further behind you get, the harder it is to revamp and start again.

Break free!

If you are in a slump, this is a perfect time to break free.

The hardest part of breaking out of a slump is taking action, but once you get moving again and take some positive steps, you will quickly find your feet and resume your forward momentum to fitness and health.

Try this:

• Schedule some exercise time into your day today. It does not have to be a long session; it can be 10 minutes. Just move. The biggest predictor of whether you work out tomorrow is whether you work out today. The tough part is to begin. Take a walk, make several trips up and down your stairs, jog in place—it doesn’t matter what it is, just do something.

• Decide on your July 4th eating plan. You will likely be in the presence of unhealthy holiday food. What is your plan? One of the best things you can do to get back on track is draw a line in the sand and don’t step across it. Make healthy choices tomorrow. Eat for energy and vitality.
Once you take the first step, the next will be easier, and the next even easier. Declare independence from your slump, dust off those resolutions and make the second half of 2019 the best half!

If you’re interested in a “BREAK FREE” gift that will last a lifetime text me TODAY and include “BREAK FREE” in your text message!

Dedicated to Your Health and Fitness Success,
Scott Newton, MS, CPT
Founder, Evolve Personalized Fitness
Office: (949) 661-1213
Cell Phone: (949) 294-7555