Category Archives: FitnessLab

Shawna Hamilton’s den of physical fitness. A place to get helpful advice on getting in shape, working out, staying fit and keeping yourself alive and well.

3 safe and healthy ways to decrease body fat

Build muscle, burn fat, get fit with HeadsUpDad

This Dad from the fifties is no couch potato

Do you want a tight and ripped body?

Read on to learn 3 Safe and Healthy ways to Increase Muscle Mass and Decrease Body Fat

I purposefully did not include these “muscle builders” in my discussion of healthy supplement options for you, because talking about muscular performance, endurance and muscle repair truly deserves undivided attention. There is a lot of information out there and some heavy marketing for these goodies and it can get confusing. So I am here to help set the record straight, so that you can make your fitness supplement decisions with good, sound judgment! Your hard work during your workouts will show amped results by learning how to use whey protein, creatine and glutamine.

Half the weight of your lean body mass is protein. The structure of your muscles, organs, brain cells and even your genes are pure protein. Thousands of enzymes that control your bodily functions are protein and so is the hemoglobin that transports your blood! But none of these protein structures are fixed. Each are constantly being re-built, and your body has no protein store to draw upon. Body structure is re-built day by day solely from the proteins you eat. So if you eat garbage protein, you build a garbage body. It’s just that simple.

It takes a lot more protein for your body to build new muscle than to maintain the muscle that it already has, so you need to ensure that you’re eating quality protein everyday. Your best bet for great choices are whey protein, egg whites, cow’s milk, fish, extra lean beef and chicken. A good quality whey protein powder right after a strong workout is absolutely necessary. Invest in a tub of low carb protein powder and mix one scoop with 250-500ml of water post workout. Your muscles will thank you.

Muscle mags rave over creatine. Ads show bodybuilders bigger than bulls. Athletes declare their Pecs grow so big; they have to strap’em down so they can see to shave! Creatine’s revolutionary effects took the supplement industry by storm well over a decade ago. People were afraid of its immediate, gargantuan results, so it was often mistaken as a steroid. But you know what? The stuff really works, and it has NO relationship to steroids whatsoever. When taken properly and responsibly, creatine monohydrate will increase the amount of work your muscles can perform, it promotes lean muscle mass, increases muscle cell volume (“big pump”) and increases strength and endurance. Creatine is safe when taken as directed and in my experience powder form is better than capsules because it absorbs into the muscle much quicker. Just take the recommended dose with some fruit juice 30 minutes before your workout and watch your muscles have a mind of their own!

Glutamine is a non essential amino acid (an amino acid is a building block of protein and non essential means our bodies produce it) that plays a key role in protein metabolism. This means it prevents muscle loss by minimizing muscle breakdown and maximizing muscle repair as you rotate your workouts each week. Glutamine also increases your body’s ability to secrete human growth hormone which helps metabolize body fat, and support new muscle growth. There are no hard and fast rules on how much to take, but generally 10-15 grams of glutamine daily, broken down into 5g servings is a good rule of thumb. The best times to take L-Glutamine powder (or capsule) are in the morning, after a workout and before bed.

I hope this information helps you on your journey to the new you!

Is your job making you fat?

Next week, I’ll cover some answers to the latest fat traps in the workplace!

Vitamins and Supplements for Optimal Health and Vitality

Optimal Health and Vitality

photo courtesy of Peter Argue

Are you looking to optimize your Health and Vitality?

I’m sure you have heard it. There are those that believe that taking any extra nutritional supplement is a very quick way to flush down expensive urine, and that all that our bodies nutritional requirements can come from the food we eat.

But vitamins and minerals are essential to life, and if we are not getting at least the recommended daily allowance of these micronutrients, our immunity and vitality is definitely compromised. Busy lives, high stress, illnesses, medications, poor diet and lifestyle habits or ANY one of the above can wreak havoc on our body systems. Therefore, let’s be safe, and add a few key supplements to your good health arsenal. Alongside a proper diet, exercise and a positive attitude, here are my recommendations. And please know, that the following supplements are generally extremely safe, but with any new addition to your daily regimen, always check with your physician to make sure there aren’t any contraindications to your present health profile.

Consider adding these top supplements to your daily diet:

A good quality men’s multi vitamin and mineral

Taking a daily multi is a good way to help reduce your chances of developing heart disease, diabetes and even stroke. A multi can help slow down the aging process, increase energy and boost the immune system. When you look for the men’s multi that best suits your needs, consider your age and overall level of health, and look for one with little or no iron. Men are at an increased risk of heart disease if/when they take too much iron. Centrum Silver is a good bet because it’s totally free of iron. And please remember to take your daily mutli after a big meal. Without a lot of food, a multi vitamin can nauseate you.

Essential Fatty Acids (EFA’s):

Omega 3-6-9 are called essential fatty acids because our bodies do not produce them, so we have to supply them. A good blend of “good fats” is integral for health as they help restore energy, aid in healthy hormonal balance (keeping a healthy level of testosterone is vital for optimal health), maintain good cardiovascular health and have been shown to lower cholesterol and decrease blood pressure. And they also have an anti-inflammatory response in most of our body systems and especially aid in better joint health. Find a supplement that combines all 3 of the EFA’s so that you are assured a good combination of each. I like Udo’s Oil. This can be found in any good nutrition store.

Boron:

Take boron to protect your prostate. Most men do not get enough of this mineral. Not only does it fight cancer, it can improve memory and concentration too! With as little as 3mg a day, your prostate health can be protected. It’s a tough little mineral to find, but I know that GNC carries it. And if by chance you can’t find it, eat raisins and almonds and plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. These foods contain lots of boron.

Next week, I am going to change my emphasis from supplements for health to supplements for performance and muscular repair. I’ll offer tons of insight for increased muscle mass and lowered body fat.

Got questions or concerns about vitamins and supplements and your health??

Post your questions right here and I’ll do my best to get right back to you here in the Fitness Lab at HeadsUp Dad!

Shawna L. Marshall B.A.,BKin.,H.D

Debunking 3 common myths about physical fitness

BeerBelly171, originally uploaded by Heavy Duty Bear.

Time to get fit?

Confused by bombarding fitness information? What’s truth and what is myth?

I never knew my life as a trainer could be so rewarding and so much fun. I have incredible passion for my work, and after several years in the business, I can honestly say that there are a few questions that I am always asked, and I feel it’s my duty to set the record straight and offer you guys the truth. Helping you conquer some common fitness myths will allow me to better serve you and your fitness goals!

Let’s rid of a few misconceptions together…


Myth #1: “If I do hundreds of crunches a day, my flabby tummy will disappear right?”

Answer: This is something we call “spot reduction” pick a problem area and do every isolating exercise under the sun and pray it goes away. It never works. To help alleviate any “laundry” on your washboard, you have to clean up your diet, lessen alcohol consumption, do a minimum of 30 minutes of cardio at least three days a week, weight train and add some resistance to your ab routine. One hundred crunches alone, just won’t “cut” it.

Myth #2: “How long will it take to turn all of my fat into muscle?”

Answer: Muscle and fat are two very different types of tissue. It is physically impossible for one to become the other. In order to stimulate muscle growth, you have to lift heavy things. To burn fat, keep your body moving, and trim your diet. Put both of these points together and you have a winning formula! And be sure to eat a healthful breakfast each day so that your metabolism is turned on and your body’s natural fat burning process has been set in gear.

Myth #3: “I guess I am wasting my time at the gym if I can actually walk after my workouts right?”

Answer: Always using soreness as a measure of training success isn’t a great idea. This could be your body’s way of telling you that you’re overtraining and overstressing your muscles. Hitting a plateau in your regimen isn’t ideal, but debilitating yourself each workout is going to slow you down to a halt soon enough. I’m not saying that some stiffness and soreness is wrong, because you want to feel that you have accomplished an effective workout, but I don’t want you on the market for walkers either! Change your workout routine about every 6 weeks to keep you on track and to offer some new challenges to your muscles.

I hope I have helped to clarify a few common fitness misconceptions for you.If you have any questions or other myths you would like to debunk, post your comments here. We’ll do our best to get back to you here in this space.

Remember to train hard, eat smart, and keep your eye on the prize! You CAN do this! Watch for the top vitamin supplements for men’s optimal health!

That’s coming up next on the Fitness Lab…

Shawna L. Hamilton B.A.,BKin.,H.D

Three Easy Steps to Put Your Fitness Routine in Gear!

Spring has sprung!
and with it, come the shorts, t-shirts and the bulges that have taken over since last summer…

Do you want to get fit and in better shape but are not sure where to start?
I’m not only an experienced, professional trainer, I am also a sister and a friend to a few good men, and I have to say that I am increasingly aware of what a busy dad contends with on a daily basis. With all of the demands that you guys juggle each day, its no wonder all aspects of your well being feel depleted. It takes a lot of energy to be the modern professional, a husband, dad, coach, disciplinarian, appeaser and your average household handyman. I’m sure plenty of you dads out there want to get in better shape just to be able to handle it all!

Lucky you—it’s my pleasure to help you get back in the game of fitness!

Let’s face it, without a strong, healthy body and a confident and happy mind, you won’t be able to put your best foot forward. It’s very important that you do what it takes to be your best at work, at home and with the kids! The key to our longevity is due much less to our genetics and more about how we take care of ourselves right?
So, my best advice to get you up and moving and feeling better involve a few easy “starter tips.”
These tips will help sway your scale in the right direction and help build a stronger you:

First; try a carbohydrate-cycled diet.

Alternate between days of low carb (intake is below 50g/day) and moderate carb intake (times 1.5 with your bodyweight to get your approximate daily grams) to maintain your muscle and lessen your level of fat. Cycle the starchy carbohydrates only, and include as many fruits and vegetables as possible.

Second; Plan to weight train three times a week and “superset” your weight exercises.

Super setting means performing two exercises back-to back without rest in-between. A good way to do this technique is by super setting opposite muscle groups like chest and back, and your arm muscles like biceps and triceps. I assure you, you’ll burn more calories in less time!

And lastly; just MOVE!

Get outside, walk or jog whatever you want at least 3 times a week at a moderate intensity for over 30 minutes. Include the dog, kids and/or your significant other. Exercising together is a great way to increase fitness and family fun!

So what are you waiting for?

Building a healthy, strong body doesn’t just happen over night! You need to empower yourself by setting realistic goals and begin with the good old fashioned basics. Clean up your diet, move some iron and get your heart pumping. I’ll be here with you along the way, and I’ll check in often to see how you are doing.

Stay tuned because next time, I will share the 3 most common fitness myths with you!

I’m simply determined to get you started off on the right foot!

Got questions? Comments? Specific requests?

Post a comment here and I’ll do my best to help you out!

Shawna L. Marshall B.A.,BKin.,H.D

Welcome to the Fitness Lab at HeadsUpDad

Hey guys!

Welcome to Headsup Dad, the latest and greatest online community of highly engaged and active dads! My name is Shawna Hamilton, and I run the FitnessLab here at Headsup Dad HQ.

Because our daily lives are typically very busy, it is easy to sympathize and to understand how getting in shape and staying fit may have slipped to the lower end of our priority list. In addition, our hectic pace begins racing even more with the introduction of kids and modern family life. I totally get it. But it is still no excuse for not making your personal fitness an important goal!

As you achieve improved health in both mind and body, you’ll notice how much better you are at addressing the myriad of challenges facing your life as a busy and active dad. Chances are, if you are reading this, you know this already and are wanting to learn how to do more. And how to do it more efficiently.

Rest assured, you’re in good hands my friends. It is my purpose to be here to help you.

Here within the pages of the FitnessLab,  I will be offering you expert guidance, opinions, critique and advice about overall health and wellness, with a specific focus on physical fitness. In fact, I will aim to cover all aspects of health. Including workout tips and tricks, diet and nutrition inclusive of vitamins and minerals and other supplements geared towards men’s health. You can believe that if its related to health and fitness, you’ll find it here.

So please join me in the FitnessLab, lets have some fun, get in shape and look good and feel better. If a healthy, engaged and active fatherhood is what you’re after, it all starts here!

I look forward to addressing your qualms and queries and also to kicking your butt!