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TrainerTiff: July 2009 >

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Fat Topics in the News

Here's some of what I've been reading and talking about lately -- really, I can't stop thinking about that 555-pound 14-year-old. (To be that big, that young? Yikes.)

I think this -- from The New York Times -- is interesting and want to know more. It could lead to some important breakthroughs:

"A new approach to treating obesity has been opened up by a discovery about how the body creates brown fat, the cells that burn white fat and turn it into body heat."
For the rest of the article, go here.

Childhood obesity has been in the news a lot lately.

The Kansas City Star wrote about a program in KCK that aims to fix the problem:

"A recent study found that 51 percent of elementary school children in Rosedale are overweight or obese. Even in a nation where childhood obesity rates have more than doubled in the last 30 years, that number from a KU study is high — 10 times greater than the federal government’s national goal for next year.
Partly because of numbers like that, a coalition of Rosedale leaders received a $225,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for a two-year effort called the Healthy Kids Initiative."
For the rest of the article, go here.

And I know you heard about the 555-pound teenager, right? Here's something about that. But the most interesting part to me is these stats:

"An estimated 15 percent of all children in the United States are overweight, and as many as 25 percent of black and Latino children fall into the overweight category. Study after study has confirmed that childhood obesity numbers have reached epidemic levels - and they continue to soar.
Despite what well-intentioned parents may think, childhood obesity is a serious health threat. Being obese increases your child's risk for serious conditions such as: heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, sleep apnea, joint problems, reproductive problems and psychosocial problems.
Yet too many American parents turn a blind eye to their children's weight problems. Studies have confirmed that American parents of overweight and obese children severely underestimate their children's weight."

Here is something else about the boy.

And it looks like Kathleen Sebelius and Michelle Obama want to do something about childhood obesity, too. From USA Today:

"A national focus on childhood obesity is "overdue," Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Tuesday at a government meeting.
She said the administration, including first lady Michelle Obama, plans to take on the health of children."
For the rest of the article, go here.

The Kansas City Star had a story from on Ellen Goodman that compared unhealthy food to cigarettes:

"Now that two-thirds of Americans are overweight, the lethal effects of fat are catching up to those of cigarette smoke. We regularly hear the cha-ching of obesity costs in the healthcare debate. And we are beginning to see that Overweight America is not some collective collapse of national willpower, but a business plan.
A measure of the moment is “Food Inc.,’’ a documentary chronicling the costs to the land, worker, and customer of a food industry that’s more grim factory than sylvan farm. A system that makes it cheaper to buy fast food than fresh food.
A more personal measure is David Kessler’s bestseller, “The End of Overeating,’’ which is both a thinking person’s diet book and an investigation into an industry that wants us to eat more. The former head of the FDA had crusaded against smoking, but found himself helpless before a chocolate chip cookie. So this yo-yo dieter set out to discover what exactly we’re up against.
Kessler is a scientist, not a conspiracy theorist. He takes you to an industry meeting where a food scientist on a panel called “Simply Irresistible’’ offers tips on “spiking’’ the food to make people keep eating.
We eat more when more is on the plate. We eat more when snacks are ubiquitous, when flavors are layered on and marketed as “eatertainment.’’ As one food executive admitted to Kessler, “Everything that has made us successful as a company is the problem.’’

For the rest of the article, go here.

Uggh. This makes me want to do extra cardio tonight. It's frustrating because all of this is unnecessary. All you have to do is work out and you avoid all this mess!

Tiffiany Moore is a certified personal trainer and NANBF figure competitor. Check out her site at Questions or comments? E-mail

Monday, July 27, 2009

TrainerTiff: There's No Such Thing as Fitness Season

Can you believe it's already "Back to School" season? A friend and I were talking the other day about how we hate this time of year because it signals the end of summer.

For a lot of people, "Back to School" ads signal the end of another season, too: their workout season.

Consider this a personal plea: Don't be one of those people! Please!

(Seriously. I'm willing to help. I'll give you a free nutrition consultation ... a free workout ... a free fitness assessment ... whatever I can do to keep you from hibernating this winter.)

Summer clothes are light and revealing. Having your legs and arms bare provides a lot of incentive to do squats and cardio.

But soon those clothes will be put away in favor of heavy and concealing winter clothes. And since everything's covered up, there's no need to worry about how your body looks under there, right?


You can't just workout today and look good tomorrow.

Looking good in summer clothes is a byproduct of being healthy and fit, which requires consistency. (If in the past you've hit the gym only in January or in preparation for a big event like a vacation, you probably know this already.)

Despite what the ads say, products that promise quick results are typically gimmicks that either:

A.) don't work
B.) don't last
C.) are dangerous
or D.) are some combination of any or all of the above.

Being in shape is a year-round thing, not a seasonal thing. So when you hear a "Back to School" ad, take it as a reminder to head back to the gym. (And, seriously, if you need some help when you get there, just ask me.)

Tiffiany Moore is a certified personal trainer and NANBF figure competitor. Visit her site at Questions or comments? E-mail

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Recipe: Mashed Cauliflower

I love mashed potatoes! Unfortunately, they're a terrible choice if you're trying to have a clean diet.

The side dish tastes best when it's loaded down will all kinds of fattening ingredients -- like butter, sour cream and gravy. And even if you leave that stuff out of your recipe (which I wouldn't) white potatoes are a fast-burning, starchy carbohydrate, the type of food that the body processes into fat.

Here's an alternative: mashed cauliflower. First of all, forget about taste here. If you try mashed cauliflower while thinking that it's going to taste exactly the same as mashed potatoes then you're going to hate this dish.

But, it is a good alternative if you're having a mashed potato craving, but don't want all the extra calories.

Here are the numbers (approximate) for a 1 cup serving of each dish:
  • Mashed potatoes (no gravy): 237 calories; 9 grams of fat; 35 g of carbs; 3 g of fiber; 4 g of protein.
  • Mashed cauliflower: 106 calories; 5 g of fat; 15 g of carbs; 6 g of fiber; 5.5 g of protein.
When you're trying to lose a few pounds, substitutions like this make a huge difference toward meeting your goals.

And remember, having a clean diet means thinking of food as fuel for the body, not a source of pleasure.

Also, swapping out high-calorie, high-fat foods for choices that are cleaner-burning (and, yes, less tasty) throughout the year means that you can have the foods you like at a fancy dinner or when the holidays come around. Who wants to pass on -- or feel guilty about eating -- mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving or Christmas? (Not me, that's for sure.)

Finally, with mashed cauliflower, who knows? You might really like it.

Check out this recipe from

Tiffiany Moore is a certified personal trainer and NANBF figure competitor. Check out her site at Questions or comments? E-mail

Monday, July 20, 2009

TrainerTiff: Not Feeling the Crunch

Are you trying to get rid of that spare tire around your mid-section? Have you done more variations of crunches than you'd care to think about and still can't rid of it? Well, you're not alone.

Repeat after me: I can not reduce the amount of fat on my abs by doing thousands of crunches.
One more time: I can not reduce the amount of fat on my abs by doing thousands of crunches.

Spot reduction is the reduction of fat from a specific part of the body. It is also a myth -- a physiological impossibility.
You can't pick and choose where you lose fat.

So, the best way to lose that spare tire is to follow a total body workout routine (which includes ab training) and watch your diet. Sorry, but there's no simple fix -- despite the tons of products out there promising you amazing results by using some device for mere minutes a day.

Cardio and strength training several times per week in combination with a proper diet followed over a specific period of time (say, one month), ought to at least start deflating that spare tire. The longer you stick with a good program, the more results you'll see.

Tiffiany Moore is a certified personal trainer and NANBF figure competitor. Check out her site at Questions or comments? E-mail

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Get Up and Eat Your Breakfast

It's easy to do. You hit the snooze button one too many times and now you're running around the house like a madman trying to get to work on time. You're rationalizing that you can make your normal 15 minute commute in just 5 minutes.

And then you do it: You skip breakfast.

You can almost hear the screeching sounds as your metabolism grinds to a halt.

Eating breakfast -- or "breaking the fast" -- kick starts our metabolisms. Here's how it works: After fasting all night, our bodies need fuel in the form of calories. (Not just any calories, of course. No donuts.)

Once we eat something, our bodies are then able to start burning calories more efficiently. If we don't eat quickly after waking, then our bodies will hoard calories later in the day, thus holding onto that unwanted fat.

If we get calories on a regular schedule -- starting with breakfast -- then we burn calories at a regular pace. (We have set the stage for a steady metabolism.)

If we get calories on an irregular schedule -- especially if we skip breakfast -- then we burn calories at an irregular pace. We actually hold onto calories, storing them as fat, when we do get them. (We have set the stage for a slow metabolism.)

Also, our brains benefit from eating breakfast. It helps improve our thinking ability. It's already hard enough to operate first thing in the morning, let's help ourselves out a bit. Right?

Tomorrow, try hitting that snooze button one less time and grab something to eat before you head out. Your body and brain will thank you.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Break Out of Your Workout Rut

We've all been there: bored.

It's so easy to adapt to a routine that we don't even realize when it turns into a rut. Working out shouldn't be a dreaded chore. Instead, it should be something you look forward to.

That's not going to happen if your workout has become monotonous.

With that in mind, here are few suggestions to help you keep things interesting:

Cardio: Switch it up. If every time you go to the gym, you make a beeline for the treadmills, pause. Try using the elliptical or cross-trainer for a change. Or at least change the program. So, if you always do an interval program, try doing the random program instead.

Weights: If you've been using the same weight for months and months, please, increase the resistance. Or if you don't do strength training at all, give it a try. (Remember, the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn at rest.)

Classes: There are tons of classes out there from yoga to kickboxing to bootcamps and beyond. Find one that fits your schedule and do it.

Partner: Bring a friend. It can motivate and push you in ways you can't do yourself. Plus, it will make you more accountable.

So, if you find that your workouts have become dull and tedious, try one of these suggestions before you find yourself giving up.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Is Your Yogurt Making You Fat?

Yogurt is a common go-to snack for people who are being conscious of what they are eating. But that's not always a good thing.

Be sure to read those labels. Just because it is "low fat" doesn't mean it's the best choice.

Many low fat yogurts have too much sugar. If your yogurt has 25 or more grams of sugar per serving, put it back! That's like eating a candy bar.

Look for yogurts that are low in fat and low in sugar. (The yogurt I usually get has 7 grams of sugar -- way better than 25 grams, right?)

The next time you are at the grocery store make sure to stop and read the nutrition facts. Make sure you're not sabotaging your good efforts by choosing a bad yogurt.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Find Your Target Heart Rate Zone

There is a lot of confusion about how hard you should be working in order to burn fat most effectively.

Without any actual calculations, I always recommend between a level of 6-9 on a perceived exertion scale of 1-10. This is method if left strictly to your own interpretation of what 6-9 is.

For some people, a 6 could be walking up a flight of stairs. For others a 6 is running a mile. So, to be more accurate, here is how you calculate your target heart rate.

220-age=maximum heart rate (it is dangerous to work at or beyond this level.)

maximum heart rate x .60 = the low end you should work at
maximum heart rate x .90 = the high end you should work at

So, for an example, let's say we have an individual who is 40 years old.

220-40 = 180 (maximum heart rate)

180 x .60 = 108 (the low end you should work at)
180 x .90 = 162 (the high end you should work at)

So, this person should work in a heart rate zone of 108-162 beats per minute to burn fat most effectively.