A Vitamin D and Calcium Primer

When it comes to nutrition, the media often finds an ingredient, supplement or product that steals the spotlight for a period of time.  Sometimes the ingredient is lambased to the point where it becomes an outcast at warp speed, this happened with partially hydrogenated oils (man made trans fats).  Other times, the news is good.   And this is what has happened with vitamin D.  This vitamin has gone from the kid at the back of the class to center stage in a short period of time.  

Why Vitamin D along with Calcium?
When it comes to bone health, many of us automatically think of calcium and milk/dairy.  However, calcium alone can't do its job without adequate vitamin D.  Think of vitamin D as the gatekeeper to bone tissue, it aids in the absorption of calcium.  Many calcium supplements now come fortified with vitamin D to make supplementation easier for consumers.

Vitamin D may also decrease our risk for certain types of cancer.  Most notably, colon, prostate and breast cancer.  And, a deficiency in vitamin D can lead to osteopenia, osteoporosis, chronic pain, muscle weakness, fractures and autoimmune diseases.  A recent U.S. study in the June 9 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, found that Vitamin D deficiency may increase the risk of heart attacks in men.

We need sunlight - but in moderation
Vitamin D is manufactured in the skin upon exposure to sunlight.  Past recommendations have indicated that just a little exposure - say 15 minutes a day, will give us all the sunlight we need to make vitamin D.  However, recent studies have shown that many of us fall short.  Even people living in climates sunny throughout the year like southern Arizona.  How can this be the case?  Individuals with darker skin and older individuals just don't produce vitamin D as well as fair-skinned, younger people do.  And, people who live in less than sunny climates simply aren't exposed to the sun's rays often enough.  Lastly, many people have had skin cancer (basal and squamous cell carcinoma is on the rise) and are avid sun block users and therefore don't manufacture adequate vitamin D.

Calcium - our bones needs it!
Now, on to calcium. Aside from its role in bone health, calcium also aids in:  muscle contraction, blood vessel contraction and expansion, hormone secretion, heartbeat regulation, conducting nerve impulses and blot clotting.  And, all of these functions are considered more vital than keeping our bones strong.  So, when we fall short on our calcium intake our body leaches it from our bones. If this process occurs frequently, over time we end up with weak, porous bones, osteopenia and osteoporosis.

Make sure you get enough!
It's clear we need to take in adequate levels of calcium and vitamin D daily.  Calcium is more easily obtained from foods, especially dairy foods.  Greens like spinach are often noted for their calcium but, this calcium is bound to the oxalic acid present in these greens and therefore, not readily absorbed.  The same thing goes for calcium that is fortified into grain products - it is bound to phytic acid and not easily absorbed in the body.  Vitamin D is a bit harder to find in foods.  Salmon, mackerel, canned tuna, canned sardines, and milk are your best options.  If you don't drink 4 glasses of milk a day or a combination of other dairy and the fish mentioned above, try a calcium + Vitamin D supplement.

liquid calcium and Vitamin D supplement is very easy way to get what you need each day.  You can take it all at once or split up the dosage.  Calcium is best absorbed if you take 500 mg at a time, usually morning and evening doses.

SEE ALSO: What You Need to Know About Calcium and Vitamin D and  What You Need to Know About Osteoporosis

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10 Healthy Snacks to Replace Junk Food

Snacking is the bane of many people’s nutrition existence. They do so well in eating 3 healthy meals a day but almost always slip up when it comes to snacking. Maybe it’s because snacks are just so tasty that it’s hard to find a good alternative.

If you want to really get your health or weight loss under control its important to control your snacking. It’s amazing how many calories you consume throughout the day when you don’t even think you are. A handful of M&Ms here and a couple of potato chips there don’t seem like a lot at the time but when added up they can lead to hundreds of calories (this is especially true considering their relatively low volume to caloric content of most not-so-good for you snack foods).

Below you will find 10 savory, tasty snacks that can replace some of the junk food you may be accustomed to eating. Just replacing one bad snack with a healthy one could save you 50-100+ calories a day which can add to big weight loss over the course of a year (5.2 – 10.4 pounds worth of calories). Start small with sustainable habit forming practices to get your snacking under control!

10 Awesome Snacks

1. Peanut butter and banana slices on crackers 

This is one of the better combinations out there in my personal opinion. This great snack gives you a boost of prolonged energy while filling you up; meaning you won’t crash at 2:00pm. You can even use rice cakes as well!

2. Celery with peanut butter and raisins

Here you get deliciousness for a low amount of calories! Get the energy boost from the peanut butter and nuts/raisins on stomach-filling celery. Plus this snack is super easy to make and would be great at the office!

3. Greek yogurt and fruit

Greek yogurt and any fruit is killer in my book! A small bowl of Greek yogurt with blueberries, raspberries, or even peach slices is amazing! This snack will provide you with a healthy dose of energy, calcium, and probiotic. Try putting in a few cashews or almonds too!

4. Sweet potato fries and honey

This is also one of my favorites that I make all the time! With a long energy boost due to the slow breakdown of the carbs and natures energy drink (honey) this will have you energized and feeling full!  

5. Watermelon slices with mixed nuts 

Sound weird? It’s super tasty! Any type of nut (pistachios, almonds, almonds…etc.) combined with watermelon is going to make for a great snack. This snack is great for throwing into a container and taking with your to work!

6. Tomato slices, roast beef, and goat cheese

Sounds like a Mediterranean snack doesn't it? Chopping up a little roast beef and adding it as toppings really make this snack yummy! Consume your veggies with a healthy dose of protein!

7. Cucumbers, horseradish, and roast beef

Need to spice it up a little? The horseradish gives it a perfect amount of spiciness to combat the cooling sensation of the cucumbers! On top of that, the roast beef adds a nice salty flavor.

8. Hummus and vegetables

Hummus is amazing by itself but combined with vegetables, it flat-out rocks! This is convenient, making it a great office snack (or a great snack for anywhere).

9. Peanut butter, nuts, between apple slices

Make yourself an apple sandwich! Use the apple slices as “bread” with peanut butter and other mixed nuts in between! Simple and fun to make and it provides a good amount of protein and energy!

10. Meat wrapped mozzarella

Another Mediterranean-esque snack! This will hold you over until your next meal, trust me. Just wrap a string-cheese mozzarella stick with a piece of ham or roast beef! These two combined equal energy and sustenance!


As I said earlier, take it gently and start replacing a snack a day with some of these healthy alternatives (don’t want to dive in head first). Once you get into the habit and find the snacks you like, try to eventually replace all of your junk snacks with quality, filling healthy snacks!

SEE ALSO: Sneaky Calories - Identifying them is half the battle! 

For more healthy snacking ideas and fitness examples that you can do at home visit Always Active Athletics: “Your #1 Source For At-Home Fitness!”

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Health Tickets to Minimizing Breast Cancer Risk

A few nights ago I was talking to my mom about breast cancer and she interrupted me and started naming the women she knew on nearby streets who were breast cancer survivors. There’s a reason we are hearing so much about this disease and you too many know many women who have had it - breast cancer is the most common cancer in women worldwide. But here’s the good news: there are steps each of us can take to decrease our risk.

Maintain a Healthy Weight

Being overweight increases one’s risk of developing breast cancer and leads to a poorer prognosis if you have breast cancer as well as an increased rate of recurrence, particularly in post-menopausal women.

Make Time for Physical Activity 

According to the most comprehensive report on food, nutrition and cancer prevention from the World Cancer Research Fund and American Institute for Cancer Research, greater than 3 hours of physical activity per week reduces risk of breast cancer. Get your calendar out and schedule periods for exercise. If you are having trouble finding time, get an activity counter (Nike and several other companies make them and there are apps on your phone that you can use as well) and measure your physical activity each day (aiming for at least 10,000 steps per day). Activity counters make you accountable.

Minimize Alcohol Consumption

One or more drinks per day increases your risk of developing breast cancer. And, the more alcohol a woman drinks, the greater her risk of breast cancer.

Eat a Nutrient-Rich Diet

Eating a healthy diet rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber will help you feel better and keep your weight within normal limits. Also, diets that contain plenty of vitamin C rich foods including citrus fruits (oranges, tomatoes, grapefruit), potatoes and strawberries may help protect against certain types of cancer including lung, breast and colon cancers. And, be sure to consume vitamin D rich foods as well including fortified milk or a milk substitute, fortified yogurt (check the container since only a few have added vitamin D) and fatty fish. And, get your vitamin D levels checked and if you are having trouble maintaining them within normal limits through diet alone, take a supplement. The latest research shows patients with the highest levels of vitamin D in their blood had approximately half the death rate from breast cancer as those with the lowest levels of vitamin D in their blood.

SEE ALSO:  Calcium, Vitamin D & Weight?  and  Can Calcium & Vitamin D Supplements Reduce Breast Cancer Risk?



Food and Nutrition Board. Dietary Reference Intakes: Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Selenium, and Carotenoids. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 2000. Website: http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=9810

Anticancer Res 2014;34(3):1163-1166.

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Overcoming Commitment Challenges

Commitment Can Be So Hard

You just started a workout or nutrition plan and you are on cloud nine! I mean it seems so easy to stick to this plan that there is no way you will ever stop and the weight will be falling off before you know it! Okay, fast-forward 3 weeks…this plan sucks! You are finding it harder and harder to drag your butt up for a workout, plus you are about sick of those stupid meal plans. AND THE WORST PART; you’ve only lost 2 pounds!

Look we’ve all been there. Losing weight shouldn’t be incredibly hard but it does take commitment and the proper plan. You also need a hefty dose of patience to go along with it but we can save that for an entirely different article.

 But what are some ways to stay committed to your workout or nutrition program? Let’s go over 4 incredibly easy strategies you can put in place in a matter of minutes to help you stay on track!

Ways To Stay Committed

Your program must fit YOUR lifestyle:

There is nothing worse or more demoralizing then getting on a nutrition program that totally doesn't fit your lifestyle! For instance, if you hate to run don’t start a program that involves numerous sprints to induce weight loss. Or if you hate working out at the gym don’t get on a program that requires equipment you will only find at a gym. Find a program that fits your time availability, your career, and your family and you will be more easily able to stay committed!

 Make your loved ones your weight loss allies:

This is more than likely is the best way to stay committed to a program; get a friend to do the program with you. Nothing is more motivational then having a friend there by your side the entire time. You can also tell you family and friends what you are trying to do and have them check in on you from time-to-time to see if you are still on track. This accountability is incredibly motivating and will keep you committed as well! They should be more than happy to help you make positive changes in your life!

Create small goals:

This is huge; only create small goals! For instance, create a goal of only losing 5 pounds in a 2 week time frame. It’s important to be very specific and it will help motivate you to take weight loss 5 pounds at a time! Lose the first 5 then repeat the process! Keep on going!

Write your goals down on paper:

Write down that small goal we just created of “losing 5 pounds” and the date two weeks from now. Having to write them down and having that physical reminder is huge! Put it on a couple sticky notes; one on your computer and one in your purse…so they are always with you! This will be a gentle reminder about what you are trying to accomplish, keeping you committed to seeing it through!


Staying committed is one of the hardest parts about losing weight and keeping it off. There are a number of small changes you can make to help keep yourself committed and on the path to weight loss success. Implement these 4 small steps today and see how far you can go!

SEE ALSO:  The Art and Practice of Staying Active and  8 Tips to Break a Weight Loss Plateau

Need more tips for staying active and eating a healthy, well-balanced diet? Visit Always Active Athletics: Your #1 Source For At-Home Fitness!

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Banana Cream Pie Chia Pudding

The rich, smooth flavor of banana cream pie combine with bone-supporting calcium, vitamin D3, and magnesium is a delicious way to get your vitamins!

This chia seed pudding takes on the divine taste of a classic dessert. Banana, cream, and milk married together replicate the silky filling of homemade pie. Use your choice of any dairy or non-dairy milk and substitute chilled, full-fat coconut milk for the heavy cream. Wellesse Calcium & Vitamin D3 liquid supplement adds everything you need for healthy, strong bones. Your body and taste buds will thank you!

The benefits of adding Chia seeds into your diet are numerous as well.  Chia seeds are a concentrated bundle of wholesomeness, including healthy Omega-3 fatty acids and a whopping 10 grams of fiber in just 2 tablespoons!

Banana Cream Pie Chia Pudding

  • 1 banana
  • 4 Tbsp heavy cream (or full-fat coconut milk, chilled)
  • ¾ Cup milk (dairy or non-dairy)
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla
  • ¾ tsp lemon juice
  • ½ tsp stevia, or to taste
  • 2 Tbsp. Wellesse Liquid Calcium Supplement with Vitamin D3
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of turmeric, for color
  • ¼ Cup chia seeds

Combine banana, cream, and milk in food processor or blender until smooth. Add all remaining ingredients, except chia seeds, and process until well blended. Fold in chia by hand. Refrigerate 1-2 hours until thickened.

SEE ALSO: Matcha Chia Pudding For Strength and Energy  and  Immune Boosting Peanut Butter & Banana Smoothie

GUEST POST by Blogger, Recipe Designer and Test Chef Brittany Angell.  Visit her at www.brittanyangell.com and sign up for Club Angell to receive amazing Paleo, Gluten Free, Grain Free recipes.

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Isometric Exercises to Improve Strength

I get why many people can be intimidated by compound, complex exercise movements, “Burpees?...I might break something if I try that!

I also understand that sometimes doing these types of compound movements can be hard on people’s joints, especially if not performed in the right manner. Even with the best form, it can sometimes hurt! That’s where isometric exercises can come into play.

Isometric exercises involve holding a position for a predetermined amount of time. This static position doesn’t allow for your joints to move throughout the duration of the exercise. You are basically holding your muscles as they are against a force, which is usually your own body weight.

This can make isometric exercises great for people with joint problems (as always consult your physician before beginning any exercise program). 

Let’s break down a quick isometric workout that you can do at home with minimal equipment to help build your strength!

Isometric Workout

Wall Sits 

This exercise is great for you lower body! Lean back against your wall as if sitting in a chair with your knees at a 90 degree angle (indicating you are low enough). Hold that position as a timed exercise. You can hold a weight in your lap in order to increase the difficulty.


To strengthen your core put your body weight on your elbows and toes with your midsection off the ground. Keep your body as straight as possible;  your butt should not be high like a tent or sagging down low either.

Chest Squeeze

Holding your weights out in front of you at arms length, squeeze the weights together. Squeeze the weights together hard with your pectorals the entire time (will also work your shoulders).

Squat Punch

Sit down into a squat (knee over toe, back straight, head up) and hold that position the entire time. While holding the position and dumbbells in hand, punch out repeatedly the entire time! Although the second part (punching) isn’t an isometric move, it will increase the difficulty of the exercise. You can also get down into a squat and hold it while holding onto a table or chair for balance or support.

Leg Holds 

While on your back and your hands under you glutes for added support (take you hands out to make it more difficult) hold your legs about 6 inches off the ground throughout this exercise!


To help build strength while saving your joints, perform this set of exercises 3 times trying to hold each position for at least 30 seconds. If it is easy for you (and as it becomes easier) make sure to increase the time you are holding each position. With these simple, joint-friendly, yet highly effective exercises you can keep building your strength! Trust me they are harder than they look! 

SEE ALSO: Exercise Do’s and Don’ts … on a Joint-by-Joint Basis and  Get Physical For Free! Body Weight Exercises for Top Fitness

GUEST BLOGGER: Josh Anderson, Owner of Always Active Athletics

For more great at-home workouts from Josh that you can do easily that are effective and convenient visit the Fit Female Club – “Forget the Gym, You’re In the Club!”

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Happy Halloween from Diva Taunia and Wellesse!

I love living in the Greater Los Angeles area, but one of the things I miss the most from back home in New England is the foliage.  The changing color of the leaves, the crisp air, the sunny days with a bit of a chill to them - I miss it all. 
One of the other things I miss about home is Halloween.  It's one of my absolute favorite holidays because:
  • I love to dress up
  • I love to see the changing landscape of my neighbors homes turning into graveyards and haunted houses
  • Kids. Seeing how excited they get about being their favorite character and making off like a jewelry thief with a bag full o' loot.
One of the most important parts about Halloween in my family (and pretty much all the other holidays) is that my dad went, and still goes all out.  He's like an excited kid every year and tries to think of new ways to decorate and have fun.  One year, he took an old pair of jeans, stuffed them to the brink, somehow got boots to stick to the end of the pant leg, and then took the whole contraption and stapled it (he's a carpenter) to the wall so it looked like someone's body got stuck inside the house with only the legs being able to escape.  It was pretty clever, and the kids in the neighborhood LOVED coming over to my parents house to see what the decorations would be like.  I miss that, truly.

In the spirit of my father's love of doing fun things for Halloween, Wellesse and I have teamed up to create a super-fun Halloween photo contest and giveaway! 

We want to see your Halloween pictures.  They can be of you, your kids, your pets - anything and anyone as long as it's in good taste.  
But here's the catch:  You have to have to tagline:  "Happy Wellesse-O-Ween!" somewhere in the picture. 
Now, we realize that we're not even close to Halloween yet, so you can certainly use a picture from a different year and you can use a free editor to add the text.    One easy to use and free photo editing system is www.picmonkey.com.  Additionally, you can also take a picture in costume now and hold up a sign that reads "Happy Wellesse-O-Ween!"  

Once you've created your photo, please PIN it using the hashtag #Wellesse-O-Ween, either to Pinterest, and/or to Twitter.  You'll get one raffle entry for each picture you pin. 

Take a look at my example on  http://www.pinterest.com/divataunia/wellesse-o-ween-contest/ where I'll be grabbing and pinning all your entries as we go, so you can keep up on all the fabulous Halloween photos!

To determine the winner, we will manually enter each photo/name into a raffle drawing and announce the winner both online and on The Backstage Pass Radio Program on Monday, October 29th at NOON, PST at www.backstagepassradio.com.  There are no limits to how many photos and entries you can post.
We hope that you'll join in the spirit and fun of Halloween and post tons of entertaining photos!
This article was written by Diva Taunia, a Greater Los Angeles musician, music teachers, and nearly 7 yr gastric bypass post-op.  You can find out more about her at www.divataunia.com.
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Pumpkins...Coming Soon Everywhere!

Princes and princesses aside, fall pumpkin season is one of the best times of year to boost your intake of 'good for you' vegetables like the proud pumpkin.

Whether you love it or hate it, pumpkin 'everything' will soon abound;  pumpkin spice lattes (though they really don't count since they have no 'actual' pumpkin, pumpkin bread, pumpkin pie, savory roasted pumpkin side-sishes, and toasted pumpkin seeds just to name a few.

But did you know that pumpkin flesh, and pumpkin seeds are packed with healthy nutrition?  The nutrients in pumpkins cater to heart health, vision health, weight maintenance and healthy aging.  

One cup of cooked pumpkin =

  • Over 200% of the daily recommended amount of vitamin A
  • 20% of your daily dose of vitamin C
  • Antioxidants called carotenoids (they make pumpkins orange, and are very good at keeping skin healthy.)
  • A very good source of fiber (3 grams per 1 cup) which helps you feel fuller longer. 
  • More potassium per cup than a full sized banana

The seeds contain their own nutrition boost:

  • Phytosterols important to keeping your heart healthy
  • Tryptophan - an important part of seratonin production which keeps your mood bright during darker fall and winter months

So don't hesitate to pull out all the stops and take advantage of pumpkin season this year.  There are great, healthy recipes out there that incorporate pumpkin into dishes fitting for every meal!

SEE ALSO: Tiny Nutrition-Packed Seeds - How do you use them?  and  Fall Food Finds - The Best Nutrition in Autumn Harvest

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5 Easy Ways to Correct Posture

Don’t move. Stay exactly how you are. I bet you are leaning forward, back hunched over, neck craning forward…not the best posture. You’re not alone; they say at least 80% of us will experience back pain at some point in our lives. I wish I was in the other 20%, but who doesn’t.

Correcting that posture is one way to fix back pain or at least decrease its severity. Let’s go over 5 tips that can help us correct our posture and the muscle imbalances that this can cause! [Note: if you have severe back pain or other known back issues please consult your physician before beginning any exercise program.]

Get up and move

If you are like me you probably spend a large portion of your day sitting down in front of a computer screen which leads to the bad posture I described above. Sitting for hours on end can lead to tight and weak muscles. One tip that I always try to implement is, after every 45-60 minutes of sitting I will get up and walk 5 minutes to break it up. During this walk I try to stand tall, with shoulders back, and head up in order to help stretch some muscles. Go talk to your friend down the hall, go use the restroom, or go get some water… just break up your extended periods of sitting!

Strengthen your base

Many times when we are continually sitting it causes some of our muscles to stretch for extended periods of time which can weaken them. One such muscle group is the glutes (or your butt). You can strengthen these muscles to help your posture and alleviate back pain via exercises like lunges of glute kickbacks.

Strengthen your lower back  

Another way to help alleviate back pain and gain better posture is to strengthen your lower back. Having a stronger lower back can really help stabilize your spine. One great, easy way to strengthen the lower back is via an exercise called the superman. This gentle exercise can help with core stability.

Stretch your core

Your abs can really get tight when you are constantly bent and leaning forward. This tightening of the abs can cause them to pull and equate to back pain. There are a number of stretches you can implement to help stretch your abs. Stretches like trunk twists and the elbow press stretch (lay on your stomach with your hands under your shoulder, push your upper body off the ground keeping your abdomen/legs on the ground and hold that position) can help stretch your abdominal muscles.

Stretch your hips

Just like your abs, your hips can become incredibly tight due to sitting and being bent for extended period of time. This can cause them to pull on your lower back which can lead to back pain. One way to stretch your hips is by stretching your hip flexors. You can do this by kneeling on the ground with one foot in front of you with the knee slightly bent. Move your hips forward and you will feel the front of your hips pulling or stretching. Switch legs and stretch the other one.


Make sure to stretch your tight muscles and strengthen the weak ones to not only improve your posture but to help alleviate back pain. Work on your posture, and be conscious of it as much as you can. It not only makes your appear more confident but it can also help reduce your back pain!

SEE ALSO: The Endless Possibilities of Planks - Why You Should Love Them Too! and  Techniques for a Quick Energy Boost

To get more fitness and nutritional info, visit Josh at Always Active Athletics: “Your #1 Source For At-Home Fitness.”


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Celebrating Family Health and Fitness Day - September 27th

On September 27th, our nation celebrated Family Health & Fitness Day – a day set aside to promote staying fit and active.

The idea for this annual event, now in its 18th year, stems from the Surgeon General’s Report on Physical Activity and Health, which stated that the majority of Americans are not getting enough physical activity. Regular physical activity is one of the most important things you can do for good health.

​A regular regimen of exercise can help you:

  • Control your weight
  • Reduce risk of cardiovascular disease (diseases of the heart and blood vessels)
  • Reduce risk of type 2 diabetes
  • Reduce risk of metabolic syndrome   h
  • Strengthen muscles and bones
  • Improve mental health and mood
  • Live healthier and longer

Why is the focus on family fitness?  

Parents are role models for their children. Kids follow in the footsteps of the people they look up to and children of active parents are more likely to be active as well. Also, kids and adolescents who learn to love physical activity are more likely to encourage their parents to get out there and get active with them. Think about the child or teenager who wants to practice their soccer game, tennis serve or pitching a baseball or softball. They will probably grab one of their parents to play with them from time to time.   

How can you get involved in Family Health and Fitness Day?

Local organizations are hosting family-friendly health and fitness activities throughout the nation including fitness demonstrations, health screenings, games, health workshops and more. Check with your local city or county events calendar, YMCAs/YWCAs, schools, parks, hospitals and health clubs. 

SEE ALSO:  Back to School Exercises for the Whole Family and  The Let’s Move Campaign

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Is there any difference being an older athlete? The Loneliness Factor

Welcome back! This is the final blog in the series:  Is there any difference being an older athlete? 

This blog series selected topics that have discussed a gritty side to the life of an older professional athlete.  Our  families and loved ones are affected - not always positively, even when there is great communication and commitment to the goal, for the athlete by the family or spouse. 

This series is titled “Is there any difference being an older athlete?” which infers that it will cover topics specifically about being a older athletes; but the series also covered much of what the loved ones and inner circles within a professional athlete’s life have to cope with as well. 

That said, this final blog is all about the athlete.  

How lonely is it?  

Being an older athlete means juggling a lot of issues.  Between career, training, spouse, children, finances, medical visits, sometimes intimacy issues and competitions, it’s easy to feel isolated and lonely.

There is a difference between being alone and being lonely.

Let’s stipulate to the following:   We own our choices and that is that – no whining, or as I was raised “no blood, no Band-Aid.”  It is rewarding to be an older athlete, it is invigorating, and it keeps you healthy, young and well, not sure about “wealthy or wise.” But I would not trade my choice for the world – until the moment I do.  Being an older athlete means that at any point in time you might have to make a different decision for the family, for the retirement plan, for the career.  A younger athlete usually does not have all of these decisions to face.  

Being an older athlete can be extremely lonely!  It is exhausting!  I do not mean physically because of a hard work out - I mean the juggling of life.  I am going to use my specific sport because it is my experience. The sport of skeleton is the one I chose (somewhat) blindly to go “all in”.

I am a winter athlete which means if I do not live near an ice track, I have to go find one in EU, Canada, Japan or the USA.  We train at the gym in the morning –we train on the ice at night, on a track at higher altitude.  By the time we commence training, it is cold and dark.   We warm up, we slide, we go down the hill, and go back up in a truck, in the dark, at temperatures of -10 degrees, in a paper thin speedo.  If you are in Alberta it can be -20 (-25 and they close the track). 

The cold alone can create emotional fatigue and loneliness.   

In addition, there is something about training for something in the dark - Special Forces Navy Seals train in the dark in the water, Divers train in the dark. 

Darkness brings an entirely different dimension to any sport or training. 

3:17 AM – The alarm goes off and again it is dark and cold.  There is no one to say,  “come on Prata, you can do it! – we are doing deadlifts and core today.”  I wake up to silence and my own energy of mixing the right protein shake, planning food for the day and packing the car for the gym and then the laptop for a days work. 

During the day I train, mix protein shakes, take my daily supplements, try to stay warm, work on my sled, call the insurance, the 401K investment research, and work a minimum of 12 hours in corporate America – do conference calls on mute while sanding the runners on my sled in a basement that I rented with a hat on because it is damp and cold.  No one has checked on me to see how I am or if I have eaten enough or am I ready for the night.

3:30 PM – I still have to get my sled ready for the night, get to the track, night train, load up my gear after sliding, get home often chaining up to get out of snow and arrive home around 11:00 p.m., wet, cold and insanely hungry.  This is lonely.  I love it, but, after four days of physical and emotional pushing, even the energizer bunny is tired. 

 I have stood in curves of the track, in the dark, with my love for the sport and the ice, studying what I did wrong on that steer and cried.  I have cried hard knowing I am older and have to learn faster.  There is no learning faster in this sport – a friend said, “You cannot force it – it will come.” 

I have always been able to conquer- there were nights the harder I tried the worse I did. And after working so hard to do well and missing that mark, I still have a full night ahead.  This is lonely.   

There is no one to call who would understand, support or even know what to say.   Being an older athlete can or might mean you do NOT have emotional support.  Even your most inner circle does not really know why you are doing this, let alone agree with your choices.  

No one in your corner championing your efforts means you start every day out emotionally alone.

You have to dig very deep to find the drive.  I have tenacity and determination in spades and I use these to prevail.  I also happen to be a Girl Scout and survival trained so when I am stuck on the pass at night after training cold and hungry,  I already have protein bars, a sleeping bag and shovels and lights to dig out if I have too.  Talk about lonely!!! All you want is someone in that moment to care, love or support you or even just take a turn with the shovel.    

This is the time, as an older athlete, you dig deep and ask why you are doing it? 

For Fame?   Wrong answer. 

FOR the purity of the sport?  YES!!.  

For me, I fell in love with the ice.  Often falling in love is a beautiful thing.  In this case it has proven to be one of the most amazing blessings and also a curse.   Being alone can make one lonely but I mean the emotional loneliness of the internal struggle to drive forward.  I have been fortunate and figured out that sometimes the best love and support is from friends who become family.    

Do not expect support from someone who does not understand- that will never happen.  Do not pursue a dream like this for the purpose of trying to impress anybody!  

BUT, pursue your dream no matter what. If that means you learn to deal with a deep loneliness on occasion, then so be it.  I assure you, it will make you stronger, your resolve more intact and your focus more clear.

So I have pulled up to my temporary den, the snow is blowing and I cannot get down the driveway and into the garage without shoveling 40 meters of driveway.  What the hell!  At this point in the night I am thinking, “BRING IT!”  Another workout!   Thirty minutes later I am in the garage, unloading sled and gear bag- my sled weighs 34.5 KG (75+lbs). Picking it up and down at 11:30PM, even as a strong athlete will wear on you some nights more than others.  I still need to shower and get food in me fast so my muscles recover.  Strip, hit the shower- water is cold.  My heart rate has been high enough for such an extended period of time being in survival mode after training that I will burn in excess of 8000 calories this night.  I am so hungry!   I am emotionally processing my runs in the shower. It never stops!

There was no one to have watched or videoed, no one to say, “Nice job Prata or what the hell was that?”  No one to make sure the salmon does not overcook (prefer my salmon quite rare) and no one to dry the clothes, dry off Gabriel (my sled); and yet, as lonely as this can be, I have no regrets.

I fell in love with the ice, and anytime anyone falls in love and you are fortunate to have that happen in life, then you have to play it out! It is amazing what one will do for love and in my case the true purity of the sport. I have no regrets!  

This blog is dedicated to Louis Cardello- a precious kind human who has supported me emotionally from a distance and asked me on many nights, “Well, how did curve 6 go?”  He has never seen a track, he never will, he simply knows and trusts my commitment and passion for this sport and he respects that I must play it out.

SEE ALSO: Is It Different Being an Older Athlete? The Financial Impact and  Is It Different Being an Older Athlete? The Medical Impact

Anna Prata is an Olympic hopeful Competitive Skeleton Athlete. Otherwise known mainly by her last name of Prata, she is 100% committed and passionate about living every moment of her life and leaving it on the field every day.   In her non-athlete time, Prata is a highly successful executive in the niche of corporate turnaround.  Both her corporate life and her sports life have similarities of stealth, intensity, and speed in creating value and less time down the ice; while wearing Kevlar to protect from the dangers of companies in distress and from potentially hitting a wall of ice at 90 MPR.  Ms. Prata is not a nutritionist, a physical therapist or in any way should her opinions be considered medical, physical  or psychological advice. 

P/S Prata is 50 Years of age!


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Energize Naturally

How many times have you thought to yourself that you are more tired lately than you used to be? Or you simply don’t have the energy to do the things you love? Or things would be so much easier if you weren't tired all of the time?

While this does accompany aging, have you ever noticed that you seemed to have more energy back when you were more active, maybe it was due to being active all the time? There are many natural ways to energize from foods and exercise. Instead of drinking 3 pots of coffee before 9 a.m. let’s discuss some more natural  and healthy ways to stay energized throughout the day.

Energize with Morning Workouts

You may not like the idea of waking up 45 minutes earlier in order to workout before beginning your day, but it can help power you throughout the entire day. Taking 45-60 minutes extra to get in a quick workout will get your blood flowing, wakes you up faster than coffee ever would, and gets your endorphins flowing which can help make you feel happier, have a greater sense of well being, and be more energized after the workout is over (exercise in general is a great way to increase your energy levels). This can equate to a day full of energy and determination!

Eat for Energy: Top 5 Foods to Keep You Energized

1. Eggs –Eggs are an incredible source of protein and vitamins including B-vitamins and vitamin D. Vitamin D can help to keep your immune system running smoothly while B-vitamins help convert food into energy; instant energy. Grab some eggs and basically grab some energy!

2. Sweet potato – As with all good carbohydrates, sweet potatoes are loaded with energy. Carbohydrates help to fuel the body by providing glucose which energizes the brain, central nervous system, and bunch of other functions (there are GOOD carbs out there). The high load of vitamin A and C in sweet potatoes will help you stave off fatigue any time of the day. This makes sweet potatoes (think sweet potato fries) a perfect snack for energy.

3. Honey – This may be the first food that comes to mind if you want to get an energy rush. Honey is basically nature’s energy drink. Feeling sluggish, grab a spoon full of honey! Honey can help to refuel and replenish muscles during and after a workout. It does this by acting as a time released sweetener.

4. Bananas – You have got to love bananas they are full of natural sugars, which can provide us with a boost of energy. Not only are they full of fructose, sucrose, and glucose, they also have a high fiber content which can equate to a sustained energy boost.

5. Apples – Like the banana mentioned above, apples are also full of glucose. They are also full of antioxidants, fiber, and a ton of vitamins. This means that apples provide a convenient energy boost in a small package. Plus their high fiber content means that they provide us with a longer pick-me-up as well!

Just missed the list: spinach, beans, almonds, yogurt, and salmon, so keep these all in mind too!


There are many natural ways to energize yourself instead of reaching for a sugar laden cup of coffee. From exercising to natural foods, there is always a more natural way to stay energized and kick that sluggish feeling!

SEE ALSO:  Are Carbs Really That Bad? Nope. and Healthy Energy – Who May Benefit from a B-Complex Supplement?

Guest Blogger: Josh Anderson ~ For more of the latest at-home fitness and nutrition advice visit Always Active Athletics: “Your #1 Source For At-Home Fitness.”

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Celebrity Encounters in the WLS Community: Tim Gunn

A few years ago, I was contacted by ABC to appear on their program "The Revolution."  They wanted me to do a segment with Tim Gunn on shapewear.  As soon as I heard Tim's name I jumped up and down like a lunatic.  I absolutely adore him.  I've watched nearly ever episode of Project Runway and have always loved his very thoughtful candor when his job was to critique.  I also think he has mad style and always looks amazing.  I was very, very excited to meet him.
I got to New York on the morning of the show and as I was walking up to hair and makeup, Tim Gunn was walking down the stairs.  With his usual zeal he said, "Taunia! It's so nice to see you!  I'm looking forward to our segment together."  He hugged me and we parted ways.  

Now, I know that those of us who are not celebrities generally question the authenticity of a celebrities actions, but I assure you:  Tim Gunn is one of the nicest, sweetest, warmest people I've ever met.

Now forward to wardrobe, who had clearly NEVER styled anyone who was post-op with extra skin.  They put me in the most ridiculous dresses.  Anything I loved on, they hated.  Anything they loved on me, I hated.  But still, I had very little say in what I was wearing.  

Oh, and did I mention that I was packed in like a sardine into probably a minimum of 6 shape-wear pieces?  

Many were from Slimpressions, but I wasn't allowed to say that on air.  I also wore Spanx and some Bali pieces.  My body was sculpted into something pretty damn amazing.  Never mind that whole not being able to breathe thing.
When I went out to the set to start to segment, he was very calming and sweet and joked that even HE wore shapewear.  He made it so easy to be in front of a group of people talking about my body and all the ways I strap it in.  The audience was really great too.  And I have to admit, I loved the gasp the audience made when Tim told them I had lost over 150 lbs.  


Being able to stand up there, proud of the choices I made, and having people support those choices with their applause was a pretty great moment for me.

After the show, Tim and I chatted for a bit and I got a quick photo with him. We talked a lot about weight loss surgery, and he is very supportive of people who chose that option to better their health.  Even though he deals with supermodels on a daily basis, I think he has a heart of gold for those who struggle with anything personal, probably because of his own personal struggles growing up.  I know I am kind of mushy about him, but he truly is one of the kindest, most genuine people I've ever met, and I'll always be grateful that I was able to work with him for a few brief hours.

This guest post was written by Diva Taunia, an award-winning Los Angeles musician and almost 7 years RNY Gastric Bypass post-op.

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Matcha Chia Pudding For Strength and Energy

Matcha and chia together make this a superfood super-pudding!

In only 1 oz. of chia seed you get:

  • 10 g of dietary fiber
  • 4.7g of protein
  • 17% of your daily calcium
  • 23% of your daily magnesium

Cool, creamy, and packed with antioxidants, this chia seed pudding starts with a milk and cream (dairy or non-dairy) base. To that I add, matcha and Wellesse Liquid Iron to help restore your body’s energy levels and reduce fatigue. You can also add in a serving of Wellesse B-Complex Complete for a comprehensive boost of metabolism support!

Matcha Chia Pudding

  • 1 Cups Milk (dairy or non-dairy)
  • 2 Tbsp Heavy Cream (or full-fat coconut milk, chilled)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ½ tsp liquid stevia (or to taste)
  • 1 Tbsp Wellesse Liquid Iron supplement
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 ½ Tbsp Matcha Powder
  • ¼ Cup Chia Seeds

Mix all ingredients, except matcha and chia seeds, until well combined, use a food processor or blender for convenience. Whisk in matcha, and then fold in chia seeds. Refrigerate 1-2 hours until thickened.

SEE ALSO:  Tropical Protein Powerhouse Smoothie

GUEST POST by Blogger, Recipe Designer and Test Chef Brittany Angell.  Visit her at www.brittanyangell.com and sign up for Club Angell to receive amazing Paleo, Gluten Free, Grain Free recipes.


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5 Edible Ways to Increase Your Cardiovascular Health

Cardiovascular disease (encompassing both ischemia heart disease and stroke) is the leading cause of death in the United States. Even though this is the case, there are some simple ways to help protect your heart and decrease your risk. Minus the obvious ways to improve your cardiovascular health (decreasing your sugar and hydrogenated fats), let’s break down 5 tips to naturally eat your way towards improved cardiovascular health!

More Fruit

There have been several studies in the past that have depicted how eating more fruit can actually improve your cardiovascular health. One very recent study helped really drive this idea home. The study out of China found that those that ate fruit every single day had a 40% reduced risk of cardiovascular disease than those that never ate fruit. The simple act of eating fruit daily greatly improves your heart health. Not only that, but the more fruit you eat a day it seems the more heart health benefits you may receive.

Eat Breakfast

Improving your heart health may be as simple as eating breakfast every day. One study found that men who habitually skipped breakfast and instead ate larger meals later in the day had an increased risk of cardiovascular disease compared to those who ate breakfast every day. It was hypothesized that this was the result of metabolic stressors interrupting repair processes, leading to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease when you don’t eat breakfast.

More Legumes - No, jelly beans don't count...

A 2014 study published in Canadian Medical Association Journal found that eating one serving  (3/4 cup) of legumes a day can lead to a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease by improving cholesterol levels. In fact, legumes are able to help lower your cholesterol levels so greatly that it can decrease your risk of cardiovascular disease by as much as 5%!


If you have high cholesterol you may want to add more coconuts into your diet. It was found in a 2008 study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition that along with a proper diet and exercise you can considerably lower your bad cholesterol and reduce your overall cholesterol when you include coconuts to your diet. This is because of their high content of medium-chain triglycerides that are found to be heart healthy!

More Almonds

Want a simple, convenient, tasty way to improve your cardiovascular health? Look no further than almonds. Adding a handful of almonds a day (50g) can help reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease and help improve your blood vessel health (seems to go hand-in-hand). Almonds are a great snack to boost your anti-oxidant levels and therefore improving blood pressure as well!


There are many natural ways to improve your heart health. With cardiovascular disease being the leading cause of death in the United States, we all should be aware of these easy edible options. Add some of these foods into your daily diet to help keep your cardiovascular system running smoothly for years to come!

SEE ALSO:  Got Fiber? Digestive and Heart Health Depend on It! and  Plant Sterols and Your Heart

Get the latest at-home fitness and nutrition advice by visiting Josh at Always Active Athletics: “Your #1 Source For At-Home Fitness.”

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Overcoming the Hormone Connection to Weight Loss and Toning

It sure is hard to fight one's own physiology!

Especially as we get older, not only does our metabolism start to slow down to a mild crawl (unless you one of the lucky ones) but our hormones can start to become out of balance. This hormone imbalance can lead to a lot of wacky things and one of them is weight gain in our problem areas.

You know the problem areas I’m talking about. The ones that no matter what you do or how well you  eat they just don’t go away. For men this usually occurs around the waistline and for the women this seems to always be the hips and thighs (back of the arms/triceps occasionally too).

What Causes Weight Gain in Problem Areas As We Age?

Why is it so hard to get rid of? You can thank your own body in part for that one. For the ladies, as you get older estrogens cause fat to be deposited in these problem areas, while cortisol (commonly referred to as the stress hormone) causes fat to be deposited around the waist in men. This also means that as we lose weight, because of these hormones, we lose it proportionally more throughout the remainder of the body (although we do lose it from our problem areas as well).

Busting Those Problem Areas

So does this mean that we are always destined to have these problem areas and they will never go away? While it seems incredibly cruel that our body is making fat deposit in these areas we are striving to rid ourselves of, you still can work to remove these areas.

It all comes back to the basics: deficit, balance, and determination.


Weight loss is all about creating a caloric deficit to where you are consuming less calories then you are using (not to an incredible extent, we still want this to be sustainable). It has and will always be about creating a calorie deficit.

Through proper nutrition and exercise regime you can create this deficit. Remember that it takes a calorie deficit of 3500 calories to burn one pound. That equates to a 500 calorie deficit a day to burn one pound in a single week. This equals 4 pounds a month (…that doesn’t seem like much…) or 48 pounds a year (WOW…it adds up if you take your time). Even if you were to have a calorie deficit of half that you would still lose 24 pounds a year; that’s like losing the weight of a toddler.


As I mentioned above, hormones have a lot to do with weight loss and weight gain as we age. One thing to consider is whether you have a hormone imbalance. Are your cortisol or estrogen levels off? If so you can see a physician and together you can determine how to balance your hormones.


Lastly, you must have determination to remove these problem areas. They wouldn’t be called a problem area if they weren’t hard to remove. Because your metabolism may already be lower and your hormones are doing cruel things to you, it will take time and patience to reach your goals. But trust me it is doable. Just work hard, give it time, and you will achieve the results you want!


Cortisol and estrogen can definitely play serious hardball with our bodies, but by understanding the underlying problem we can tackle it and make great strides. Remember to create a sustainable calorie deficit, try to balance your hormones (if that is the case), and have the determination to see it to the end and you will achieve your goals!

SEE ALSO: Six Ways Stress May Cause Weight Gain and  When Will I See Diet and Fitness Results?

If you want more workouts and fitness tips that can be done at-home or on-the-go check out Always Active Athletics: “Your #1 Source For At-Home Fitness!”

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When Vitamin and Mineral Supplements Are Necessary
















It is now widely accepted that good nutrition starts with a healthy diet.  The USDA food pyramid, now a food plate, outlining the proportion of protein, whole grains, fruits, vegetables and fats that make up a healthy diet is the clearest  visual description of the best way to provide your body with proper nutrition.  But...

What if your body is struggling to use the nutrients in food you eat?

What if your diet is restricted due to food allergies, medical or financial conditions?

Certain circumstances make getting the proper amount of vitamins and minerals from food next to impossible.  Nutritional deficiencies are a common concern among those with a consistently poor or unbalanced diet, and for those with conditions that do not allow for the body's full use of nutrients from food.  Many factors can contribute to nutritional deficiencies and multiple reasons can come together in one person to greatly restrict healthy food intake and a body's ability to use available vitamins and minerals.  A vast array of medical and lifestyle conditions can restrict proper food intake or lead to an inability to absorb proper nutrients from food. 

  • Food allergies

  • Obesity

  • Continual use of antacids

  • Weight loss surgery

  • Celiac disease

  • Advancing age

Quality supplementation of essential vitamins and minerals is one key component of good health.  Continuing to eat a well-balanced diet, including whole grains, fruits, vegetables and lean protein is essential as well.  But faced with absorption hindering conditions, keeping a close eye on essential nutrient levels through regular blood panels and adding supplementation to offset deficiencies is very important.

Many supplements can present challenges for those trying to increase their vitamin and mineral intake.  Pills can often be too plentiful and too large to be comfortable swallowing what is needed.  There may be a lack of stomach acid needed to break down pills into their useful nutrient parts.  

Liquid supplements offer an easy alternative to pills.  The important nutrients are already broken down into a form your body can readily absorb.  The nutrients in quality liquid supplements are in their most bio-available form, making it quick and easy for your body to best use what it needs.  Do the research to find a reputable company manufacturing high-quality liquid supplements, and staying healthy will be that much easier.

SEE ALSO: Celiac Disease and a Gluten Free Diet - Watch for Nutrient Deficiencies in Both  and  Vegetarians and the Elderly & Risk of Developing B12 Deficiency


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Celebrity Role Models in the Weight Loss Community

Last night I was watching one of my favorite television programs, "Chopped," and it was the all-star celebrity series featuring someone we all know:  Carnie Wilson.
A few years back, Carnie Wilson had a reality show called "Unstapled."   I was admittedly not a fan, and I think that it's ok to not like something if it isn't your cup of tea. It's even ok to not like it when the show involves a topic so close to home and features a celebrity that many of us post-ops consider a pioneer in the field since she so openly and bravely had weight loss surgery and it was very publicly televised.  Her "Unstapled" reality show was just not for me.  
Instead of just not watching and keep my negative thoughts to myself, I decided to create a video blog about my opinions, and that was not ok.  And guess what I forgot when I made that video? Celebrities are people too.  People with feelings.  People who sometimes watch things on the interwebz.  

And yes, she did watch the video blog.  And then she called me.  SWEAR. TO. GOD.

She called me because she wanted to talk directly to me, without a camera in her face, without television editing, and wanted to connect on this common bond of surgery that we share.  At first I was freaked out that it was her (many people asked if it really WAS her, and believe me, it was).  After I talked to her a bit and realized some of my fairly harsh review comments hurt her feelings, I felt awful.  

But I apologized and she accepted.  

She was incredibly sweet to me despite my being a total jerk to (about) her.  I even made an apology video to which she responded all was cool with us.  Instead of  ignoring me as some type of internet troll, or even holding a grudge because of the mean things I said, she genuinely accepted my apology.  It truly humbled me.
After that, she appeared twice on my radio show, and we finally met in person in Las Vegas at the WLSFA conference.  She was once again very gracious, and we took some photos together.  After that, she spoke about her life after weight loss surgery and she was funny and sincere and talked about things we could all relate to. She made me laugh and made my cry, and after her speech I realized what a truly amazing person she is.  Yes, sometimes she can be loud, boisterous, and maybe even a little crass, but then again - so can I.  :)
(SPOILER ALERT)  During her episode of Chopped, she talked candidly about her love/hate relationship with food.  After she had the surgery, she realized that she needed to learn to cook so that she could be putting the nutrition she needed into her body, and also have the skills to make dishes that tasted great, but were still healthy for her.  She won and became a Chopped Champion.  And to me, she is also a champion of making the choices that she needs to make for herself, and having the grace to continue to work and grow.  And that's something we can all look up to.
This guest post was written by Diva Taunia, an award-winning Los Angeles musician and almost 7 years RNY Gastric Bypass post-op.
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Swim To Boost Joint Health

When an athlete gets injured, they often end up doing a lot of rehab work in a pool. The water’s buoyancy reduces stress on joints and bones while providing resistance to help build muscle. And continuous movement increases fitness and burns calories. Warm water therapy also helps ease many types of muscle and joint pain.

If you are considering diving in, here’s how you can get the most out of your pool workouts:

Drink Up 

Even though you are in water, you are still sweating. Therefore, it is important to drink plenty of fluids before you go to the pool and eveb put a water bottle on the side and sip on it throughout your workout. Don't forget to drink plenty of fluid after you are finished too. There are even liquid glucosamine and chondroitin supplements for joint health to give your drinking water an extra helpful element.

Join A Class 

If you aren't quite sure what to do in the water, consider joining an aerobics class. Check out your local public pool, gym or YMCA for a variety of classes that can challenge beginners and advanced swimmers alike.  Getting in the water with other participants can even help make exercise more enjoyable.  

Bonus: the instructor should be able to help you correct movement patterns (so you prevent injury or work around a current injury) while challenging and motivating you. 

Try Bands

Many band workouts can be adapted to the water. If you aren’t comfortable figuring out which band workouts you should do, talk to a personal trainer or aquatics instructor.

Challenge Yourself

If you want to increase fitness and burn more calories, it’s important to continually challenge your body. In addition to swimming, consider running in the water.

If you are a beginner, start in water that you can stand up in. Stand upright with your stomach tightly tucked (engage your core muscles), shoulders and head back (and chin in) and arms slightly bent by your sides. Now run!

Once you’ve mastered the movement, you can increase resistance by wearing hand paddles or gloves (make sure your shoulders stay upright). Or, move to the deep water with a flotation belt (or for a real challenge, don’t use a flotation belt!).

When you are ready, challenge yourself even more by trying intervals. Run as fast as you can for 20 – 60 seconds, take a 20 – 60 second break (ideally the break should be long enough for your heart rate to come down) and then repeat this pattern for several minutes.

Working out in water offers many of the same advantages of land workouts – there are several types of workouts you can do, you’ll burn calories and increase muscle strength without putting undue stress on your joints. 

SEE ALSO: Understanding Metabolism - Positive Changes to Rev Yours Up!  and   Tips for YOGA H20: Great Summer Poolside Exercise

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Water Soluble Vitamins for Everyday Health

Vitamins have several important functions, including helping the body produce energy, transporting oxygen throughout the body, supporting bone health, synthesizing and repairing muscle tissue. If you have a deficiency in any vitamin your body won’t function as well.

There are two main categories of vitamins:

Fat-soluble vitamins - stored in the body’s fat tissue  

Water-soluble vitamins - excreted in urine (with the exception of one – vitamin B12 - which does stay in your body longer) 

Because our bodies must use water-soluble vitamins right away and we excrete any that are not used, it is important to consume them every day.

 How can you make sure you are getting enough? Focus on eating a diet that includes the foods below:

Vegetables (including beans and lentils) & Fruits

Vegetables contain fiber, minerals (minerals help build your body including your bones, teeth, hair and more), and they are important sources of folate (folic acid), vitamins A and C. Fruits are also an important source of fiber, minerals, vitamin C and folate (folic acid). Folic acid helps the body form new cells including red blood cells. Vitamin A supports eye and skin health while also protecting against infections. Vitamin C is necessary for tissue growth and repair, would healing and keeping gums and teeth healthy. Plus it helps the body absorb iron from plant foods.

Whole Grains

Grains are not only a source of fiber and minerals but they contain the water-soluble B vitamins thiamin, riboflavin, niacin and folate. The B vitamins are necessary for metabolism – they help your body use the energy in food. And the B vitamins are also essential for a healthy nervous system.

Fortified Dairy Foods

Milk is the top source of calcium in the diets of Americans over the age of 2. Yogurt and cheese are also calcium-rich. In addition, fortified milk and fortified yogurt also contain vitamin D, which supports bone health, the nervous system, and muscle functioning. More than 90% of Americans do not consume enough vitamin D from foods alone. So, take a look at your diet and add dairy or other foods fortified in calcium and vitamin D. Or, consider a supplement.

People who cut down on their calorie intake, follow restrictive diets (such as a very low carbohydrate diet), eliminate one or more food groups, or follow a vegetarian or vegan diet are more likely to fall short on their vitamin and mineral needs. The best thing you can do is eat a balanced diet that includes a wide variety of foods (more different, healthy foods means you are more likely to consume more nutrients) and, consider dietary supplements and fortified foods to help fill any nutrient gaps.

SEE ALSO: Healthy Energy – Who May Benefit from a B-Complex Supplement?  and  Why do Water-Soluble Vitamins Need to be Replenished Every Day?


Fulgoni VL. Foods, fortificants, and supplements: where do Americans get their nutrients? J Nutr 2011;141(10):1847-54.

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