Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Got Goals?

So, around 5:00 or 5:15 this morning you heard an obnoxious noise and couldn’t figure out what was going on. Then you remember the noise is your alarm and that this is your first day with Rialto Wellness Boot Camp! After those thoughts of “what was I thinking?” left your head, you got up, got dressed and headed out to the location of choice. You have now become one of those weird people who roll around in the dirt for fun! Was it everything you expected? Were you pushed beyond your comfort zone? For those of you with Montclair/Lowry & DTC Locations, are you excited for your first workout?

Here at Rialto Wellness we really want you to succeed. But how do you define success? It is different for everyone. Do you measure success by fitting into those “skinny jeans” that we all have? Do you want to run a 5k? Win a 5k?! Improve your PT results? Lose a few pounds? Whatever your goal, Rialto Wellness Boot Camp is a great way to get started or move to the next level.

Have you set a goal for yourself? We want to hear about them! Our instructors are here to help hold you accountable. They hold you accountable for what you eat and for making it to camp. Now they want to help you to attain your goals. Setting a goal and determining how you are going to achieve that goal is an important part of any fitness routine. You have already started working out and have probably heard some success stories from other boot campers. Now it is time to write your success story.

When setting your goals it helps to determine what results you expect. If you want to lose 10 pounds, losing the weight is the end result you are expecting. But it won't happen if you don't do the right things with exercise and nutrition, so you have to break it into actions that support that goal, such as making it to boot camp every day, writing down everything you eat (and not listing wine as "grapes"), and watching your portions. All these little action steps are necessary to get you to that end goal!

The same goes if your goal is to get faster. If you want to decrease your run time by 45 seconds during the month, you should push yourself every time you run, whether it be hills, sprints or just running from point to point. Set a goal of passing someone in front of you every time, or of remaining at the front of the pack. Those little bursts of speed throughout the month will get your body accustomed to the higher level of effort.

This article about setting a fitness goal reminds us that our goals need to be achievable. Setting short term goals like making it to boot camp every day gives us a sense of accomplishment before we reach the end result of losing 10 pounds. The sense of accomplishment you feel with the short term goals makes staying on track to reach the long-term goals easier.

The article also mentions that keeping a record of your goals is important…so instead of keeping it to yourself, blog about your goal!

Monday, July 13, 2009

How Much Calcium Is Too Much?

Getting to the heart of claims about calcium supplements

By Harvard Health

We seem to get more mail about calcium than any other nutrient. The questions and comments vary, but many reflect the same exasperation. On the one hand, we've been told to take calcium pills to keep bones strong, prevent osteoporosis and reduce the risk of fracture.

On the other, information seems to keep popping up that calls into question the value of calcium — and even suggests that large amounts might be counterproductive. Throw in the occasional query about calcium absorption and which calcium pills to take, and the mailbag — or, more literally, the e-mail inbox — gets full.

Here are some of the questions we get most often:

Q:How much calcium should I be getting?

A: The official recommendation is 1,000 milligrams (mg) a day for adults ages 19 to 50 and 1,200 mg for those past the half- century mark. Those amounts include calcium from all sources: dairy products, other food and drinks, and calcium supplements. But there's a dissenting point of view that 600 mg to 1,000 mg a day is sufficient, perhaps even more healthful. Dr. Walter C. Willett, chair of the Harvard School of Public Health and a member of the Health Letter's editorial board, is a leading voice among the dissidents.

Q: How much calcium am I getting if I don't take a supplement?

A: A reasonably good diet that includes some fruit and vegetables provides about 200 mg to 300 mg daily — and that's without any dairy products. A cup of milk adds another 300 mg, and the typical serving of many dairy products provides 150 mg or more (cheese lovers should go for the hard stuff — it has more calcium). So a well-rounded diet with some servings of milk and dairy products puts you well into the neighborhood of 600 mg to 800 mg a day.

Q: And what about the supplements — which type should I take?

A: This presupposes you should be taking a calcium supplement, but we'll deal with that question below.

Most calcium supplements are made with either calcium carbonate or calcium citrate. Calcium carbonate needs stomach acid to be absorbed, so if it is the source of calcium in your supplement (you may need to read the fine print) it's best to take it just after a meal. Calcium citrate isn't as dependent on stomach acid, so it can be taken any time. People taking medications that reduce stomach acid — such as the proton-pump inhibitors (Prevacid, Prilosec) or the H2 blockers (Tagamet, Zantac) — should take a calcium citrate supplement because lower amounts of stomach acid mean they won't absorb calcium carbonate properly.

The big advantage of calcium carbonate over calcium citrate is that it contains twice as much calcium. The labels on the bottles sometimes make it seem like both kinds of tablets provide the same amount of calcium, usually 500 mg to 600 mg. But that's the amount of calcium per "serving" and if you read the label you'll see that the serving size for the calcium citrate supplements is usually two tablets, but for the calcium carbonate supplements, it's just one.

It's a waste to double the serving size. The body can absorb a 500- or 600-mg dose, but more than that and absorption becomes inefficient. You'll get about the same amount of calcium by taking 1,000 mg as you would if you stuck with the 500 mg or 600 mg.

Harvard Health Letter: mailto:healthletter@hms.harvard.edu.