Posts Tagged ‘ FiTness ’

iCardioFiT: What is your Pre-Workout Meal?


iCardioFiT: What is your Pre-Workout Meal?

Are you one of those individuals that perform aerobic exercise and strength training anywhere from 35-50min a few days out of the week?  If so, great job!  The most important thing is to maintain proper nutrition!  Having a solid healthy diet as your foundation with you exercise patterns will allow you sufficient energy, prevent fatigue, and optimize your performance with aerobic and training.

In one of my previous posts, I mentioned how important protein plays a role in building muscle.  Carbohydrates are also important for immediate energy.  There is so much information out there from personal trainers, exercise specialist, media, magazines, etc. that can be somewhat confusing to the novice person as to the best or most optimal nutritional choices pre-workout.

Oatmeal with Fruit

Oatmeal with Fruit

Like I always say to my clients and patients, everyone should be able to consume all the food groups (Proteins, Carbohydrates, Fruits, Dairy, Grains, Fats, etc) in order to accomplish their desired goal.  Whether that is weight loss, weight maintenance, or weight gain, proper intake of the above macro nutrients in a BALANCED approach is most desirable.  Some examples of a simple pre-exercise snack with plenty of water should fuel the body sufficiently. The best pre-workout meal is one that works best for the individual and one that is not digested too rapidly.

Here are a few options:

▪ A banana with 1 tablespoon of peanut butter

▪ Low-fat yogurt and a piece of fruit

▪ Oatmeal made with skim milk and fruit

▪ Trail mix with nuts and fruit

▪ Granola with low-fat milk and fruit

▪ A smoothie made with low-fat yogurt, fresh fruit, and wheat germ or flax meal

Sip water throughout the activity and after exercise is completed. (Very important not to stay Hydrated!)

iCardioFiT Tips for Pre-Workouts:

Choose high-carbohydrate, low-fat foods—whole-grain, high-fiber foods, consumed 1 hour prior to exercise, are ideal; some examples can include:  Breads (whole wheat/whole grain), Oatmeal, Yogurts, as well as Pastas (Whole wheat/Whole grain).  Special note:  Your pre-workout meal should take into consideration the type of activity as well as the activity’s intensity and duration into account.

Lean Protein with Complex Carbohydrates

Lean Protein with Complex Carbohydrates

It’s best to avoid food products that do not agree with your stomach during exercise activity.  You will most likely know what those are based on your experiences.  You definitely want to avoid food products high in fat protein (burgers, fried meats, etc.)  The fatty foods tend to stay in the stomach longer and can make you feel sluggish.  High quality, low in sugar energy bars and protein shakes are some alternatives that can be utilized as your pre-workout meal.  To assist the digestion process, the importance of water comes back into play!

GeT FiT and Stay FiT with iCardioFiT! …

Comment and Subscribe!

Reggie Laroche

The Clinical Exercise Physiologist 

[Contact: Reggie Laroche — relaroche@yahoo.com — 954-205-9904 for Personal Training, Exercise and Nutrition consultations!!!!]

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iCardioFiT: Calorie “Energy” Dense Vs. Nutrient Dense


Calorie Dense Foods vs. Nutrient Dense Foods

Are all calories created equal?  That answer is NO!

Some of us think that having a 500 cal Burger is the same as having a 500 cal meal such as a 1/2 turkey sandwich, plain low fat yogurt, and small bowl of mixed fruit (blue berries, black berries, raspberries) are equal.   This misconception exists among most individuals.  In order to achieve your goals (weight loss, lean mass gain, or weight maintenance), you must understand the energy in which you’re putting into your body.

Energy dense foods are food options that contain very high levels of calories per serving of that given food product.   The amount of nutrients that these energy dense or calorie dense foods provide is an extremely low level and have a decrease nutritional value.   If the goal is weight gain, then these high energy foods are just for you.  However, these “empty calories” do not just provide an increase in body weight, if consumed in excess can increase your chances for health related issues such as diabetes.  Examples of calorie dense foods include:  Cookies, Sodas (Coca Cola & Pepsi), Candies, cookies, and cakes.  Those are your obvious choices.  How about burgers and fries?  Creamy pastas from Italian restaurants?  Energy dense foods also includes cooking oils especially when foods are prepared with it in excess.

Calorie Dense donuts

Nutrient Dense foods are much better options in how they provide increased levels of nutrients that provide quality fuel for the body.  The nutrients include vitamins, mineral, high quality protein, health fats, and complex carbohydrates.  Examples of such includes fruits and vegetables which are loaded with the nutrients that we need however choose not to have enough of.  Dark green leafy vegetables, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, lean meats, whole grains like quinoa, oats, and barley are enriched with nutrient dense properties that we should consume more of.

apple - nutrient denseDinner - Nutrient Dense

salad - nutrient dense

So when you think about your diet behavior, are you consuming calorie “energy” dense foods or nutrient dense foods?  Choose wisely to accomplish your goals!

GeT FiT with iCardioFiT! …

Comment and Subscribe!

Reggie Laroche

The Clinical Exercise Physiologist 

[Contact: Reggie Laroche — relaroche@yahoo.com — 954-205-9904 for Personal Training, Exercise and Nutrition consultations!!!!]

Protein – What’s its role in your fitness plan!?


Protein – What’s the Role?

When patients, clients, and friends ask me about protein, there seems to be a lot of confusing information as to the purpose of increasing one’s intake of protein for muscle building, fat burning, and the use of protein throughout one’s exercise patterns.

So let’s say that you want to build some lean mass.  Muscles growth occurs when a stimulus or range of stimuli placed upon the muscles, tendons, ligaments, and bones is significant enough that it causes the muscles to adapt and change by increasing the size of muscle fibers as well as the amount of muscle fibers a motor unit can innervate/activate to increase an individual’s strength.  In other words, lifting heavy weights and performing resistance exercises is how you grow and strengthen your muscles.  Consuming protein alone will not get it done.

An important principle behind hypertrophy (increased your muscle size) is the concept of progressive overload meaning that with increased sets, weight, and repetitions, this effect will cause growth in muscles.

If you choose to swap out carbs for a diet high in protein, you will also increase your chance of success with weight loss according to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.  Why you ask?  Your body spends more energy processing dietary protein than carbs.  For everyone 100 calories of protein that you consume, 20-30% of those calories are burn by your body as opposed to 5-10% of those calories being burned by the body for 100 calories of carbs.

high-protein-diet optionswhey-protein-powder

These are some of the reasons why the feeling of satiety becomes more effective with protein than carbs or fats.  Because it takes our body’s longer to burn protein than carbs or fat, our body tends to absorb more of the nutrients in a high protein diet.  This allows the body to preserve its lean mass which allows individuals to have faster metabolism to aid in body fat loss when at rest.

How much protein do I need?            

For those that are wondering how much protein you should incorporate into your diet is dependent on the specific goal that you are reaching for.  According the American College of Sports Medicine, the recommended daily protein intake for athletes is 1.2 – 1.8 grams per kilogram of body weight to achieve increase muscle mass along with resistance training.  Individuals that are less active will require less protein (0.8-1.0 grams)

Protein Power Foods include:

–          Lean Meat, Fish, Poultry

–          Eggs (Egg Beaters/Egg Whites)

–          Nuts

–          Peanut Butter (Low Sodium)

–          Soy

–          Beans

–          Greek Yogurt

–          Quinoa

If you would like more specific information regarding your needs, consulting a Registered Dietician or Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics/Fitness professional can provide you with personalized guidance.

Stay FiT with iCardioFiT!

Reggie Laroche

The Clinical Exercise Physiologist

iCardio: Benefits of Cross Training…


Tired of the same old routine??  If so, then it’s time to mix it up!  Definitely one of the major reasons I previously wrote “Keep your Body Guessing”. If you don’t know what Cross Training is, it’s pretty much a great to target different muscle groups and condition them to perform new sets of movements and skill.   One of the reason why individuals become bored with their exercise regimen is because they perform the same movements or exercises ALL THE TIME.   Our body is very smart and efficient, once  our bodies become used to the same types of movements or Exercises, it limits the amount of overall Fitness you can potentially possess.  As well as limits the amount of conditioning one can have.  Why maintain a certain level of conditioning when you can do other types of exercises to keep seeing GAINS in fitness and great RESULTS.

“Cross training is also necessary to reduce the risk of injury from repetitive strain or overuse.”

When you think of the term Cross training, think of performing  several different forms of exercise.  For example, you may use both Running and swimming each week to improve your overall aerobic capacity (Cardiorespiratory Fitness); change thinks around and incorporate other activities like…

  • Cycling
  • Rowing
  • Stair Climbing or Running the Stadiums
  • Rope jumping
  • Racquetball or Basketball

To help build muscle endurance, strength, and train the same and other muscle groups to perform different skill sets.

Don’t just perform Cardiovascular exercises either, let’s not forget about incorporating some Strength Training Calisthenics/Plyometrics, and Tubing/Band exercises.  Dynamic Flexibility exercises like yoga and Pilates.

So before I end this article, the benefits that you can receive from Cross Training will include: A reduction is exercise boredom, Increase your overall level of conditioning, reduce your risk of injury from repetitive motions, and most IMPORTANTLY improving your overall skill, agility, and proprioception (balance).

Reggie Laroche

The Exercise Physiologist

iCardio: Functional Exercise Training…For Men and Women


If you want to get more out of your exercise training, then I suggest that you start to exercise multiple muscle groups at the same time. The way to go about this is called FUNCTIONAL EXERCISE TRAINING!! Functional exercises are a great way to mix up your exercise routine because they train your muscles to work together simultaneously. iCardio Tip: (The more Muscle Groups you exercise at the same time, the more Calories you burn)

Due to fact that our bodies go through various movements throughout the course of the day, performing functional exercise will now make them easy. This will also allow you to perform your strength training routines with improved technique and control. Why you ask? This is because your bodies synergistic muscles (“stabilizers”) are now better adapted to activate while your muscles contract. Introducing these types of activities into your strength training regimen, will enable you to do more and with a lot less effort.

To all my Women out there; the common problem areas that affect most women is their Lower body. Most women want nice lean and tone looking legs. However, women want a great upper body too. So why not, target the most muscle groups that you can when exercising, like your Quads, Hamstrings, Butt, Calves and combing them with upper body and core exercises. So ladies, here are a few exercises that you can incorporate into your weekly exercise routine.

Walking Lunges with Arm Curls
Squat, Arm Curl, into an Overhead Press
Squat with a Side step

To my Male crowd; the typical male workout includes just upper body (ex. Chest, back, shoulders, and Arms). Come on now fellas, functional exercises are a great way to target those forgotten muscles. Instead of performing the same old free bench press, take two dumbbells and do the chest press on the stability ball. Believe me, if you take your usual routine and incorporate functional exercise days into regimen, an increase in strength, power, and agility will be seen. So here are a few exercises to incorporate into weekly exercise routine.

DB Chest Press on Stability ball
Single leg DB Row
DB Single Leg Lunge, Arm Curl, into an Overhead Press

My hope is that you find this information useful and that you can apply it to your healthy lifestyle. Please feel free to comment, share, and subscribe!!

Reggie Laroche

The Exercise Physiologist

iCardio: Keep Your Body Guessing…


Jadever Body Fat Scale. Old version of model J...

Image via Wikipedia

For those of you who wish to achieve a TONE and LEAN physique, then alternating  the intensities of your exercise program is very important.  Plateaus can hinder anyones progress to getting their body into great shape.  When people hit these plateaus within their exercise program, they tend to become frustrated and discontinue their healthy lifestyle.  Exercise and physical activity are what you want to keep consistent, but the TYPES of exercises are what you want to vary.

First of all, Forget the SCALE!!!!!

Do you tend to be the type that see an increase of  1 to 2 lbs in your bodyweight, and you equate it to an increase of 1 to 2 lbs of body fat? If you answered yes, then you are incorrect and you have been misinformed.  Stop buying clothes to fit in to and try to make the clothes you already have feel looser.  That means that you need to lose BODY FAT and retain your LEAN MASS.  A reduction of 1 inch within your waist circumference is equal to a loss of 1lb of body fat.  How many of you know the amount of calories you burn while @ rest? Here’s an example:  If your resting metabolism is ~1950kcals/day and you consume ~2600 kcals/day, I don’t have to tell you what that means….

To help reduce that annoying body fat, I have three ways to help you keep you body guessing.  These are also the same types of intensities that I tell my Cardiac Rehab patients to perform.  So here they are:

1.) ENDURANCE Training

Over the course of your iCARDIO sessions, you want to maintain a certain heart rate and intensity throughout the duration of that exercise to help build your endurance. (Refer to the iCardio: Exercising within your Target Heart Rate zone) .  The physiological benefits of endurance training is that you train you body to use oxygen efficiently and train your muscles to utilize that the fat stores as its primary fuel source.

2.) INTERVAL Training

A great FAT-Burning Training Technique.  This type of training allows  individuals to use whatever modality of exercise that they want. ( i.e running, walking, swimming or cycling). This type of exercise alternates between low intensities and short periods of higher intensities to help jump start your metabolism and energize your workout.  This unpredictable type of training exercise and the changing of velocities  between intensities cause your body to activate and alternate between the fuel sources (FATS vs. CARBS) to help increase your endurance, conditioning, and lactate threshold.

3.) High Intensity Interval Training (H.I.I.T)

This type of training is very strenuous but has many advantages.  You must perform short and high bursts of energy that will require you to push yourself past your 90-95% of your THR zone.  (Ex. 2 min at a low intensity, and 20-25sec at the High Intensity).  Total duration should be no longer than 20 -25 min.  So what’s the pay off Reg?  The benefits of performing H.I.I.T, is that such high bursts of intensities will jolt your metabolism to allow your body to keep burning those calories way after you’ve completed your exercise routine.  As well as improving your Cardiorespiratory fitness to tolerate aerobic exercises at such intensities that could compete with Superior Athletes.

So what’s the take home message?  To completely MAXIMIZE your workout, varying between  these types of training intensities are vital to achieving your GOALS in becoming LEAN and increasing your CARDIOVASCULAR Conditioning!

My Philosophy: You probably can’t be a Superstar athlete, but you can at least Train like an Athlete! Shout out to D-Wade and Lebron James!

Reggie Laroche

The Exercise Physiologist

iCARDIO: BeneFiTs of Exercising within your TarGeT HearT RaTe ZoNe


If you are an individual that wishes to MaXiMiZe your performance during your exercise session and overall level of FiTness, then understanding the importance of tolerating aerobic activity within your TarGeT HearT RaTe ZoNe is highly important.

So for those of your who don’t know, What is the Target Heart Zone?

To put it simply, this is the zone you want your Heart Rate in while you exercise.  The TarGeT HearT Rate Zone is 60-80% of your Maximum Heart rate.  So how do you calculate your maximum heart rate you ask?  Take 220-age = Max HR (Karvonen Method). Once you arrive at the Max HR, multiple by 60% and 80% to get your zone.  When you exercise, your fuel source is FAT and CARBOHYDRATES.  Exercising at your 60% burns FATS, and exercising at your 80% burn CARBOHYDRATES.

**For those who already know, I left out the HEART RATE RESERVE just to keep things simple to understand**

(Ex.  220 – 26= 194 …(194*0.6)(194*0.8) … my zone is 116 – 155bpm.  So, while I’m exercising at the gym, my heart rate should be within that range. Curious about yours, check out the graph..

Age Target HR Zone
50–85 %
Average Maximum
Heart Rate
100 %
20 years 100–170 beats per minute 200 beats per minute
25 years 98–166 beats per minute 195 beats per minute
30 years 95–162 beats per minute 190 beats per minute
35 years 93–157 beats per minute 185 beats per minute
40 years 90–153 beats per minute 180 beats per minute
45 years 88–149 beats per minute 175 beats per minute
50 years 85–145 beats per minute 170 beats per minute
55 years 83–140 beats per minute 165 beats per minute
60 years 80–136 beats per minute 160 beats per minute
65 years 78–132 beats per minute 155 beats per minute
70 years 75–128 beats per minute 150 beats per minute

For those of you, that are athletes, your “Zone”  will be higher then what is explained above.

My recommendation:

Keep “Aerobic” exercise CONSISTENT,…VARY the TYPES of exercise that you perform.  KEEP YOUR BODY GUESSING!!!!!!

RS300X Heart Rate Monitor Watch (2009)

Comments are welcome

RoChE OwT

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