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Isolate and integrate: No more pain in the neck

I’ve been pretty faithful about doing my “homework” in my personal training – a series of stretches and exercises to build on what I’m learning with Jaime as well as help correct specific muscle weaknesses. My cranky hip is a lot less cranky and my back is getting stronger. But, wouldn’t you know it, as those first issues begin to correct themselves, other trouble spots begin to rear their ugly little heads.

For instance, my pain-in-the-neck neck. Between work and my graduate studies I am on the computer a lot, a position that naturally causes the head to creep forward and the shoulders to hunch over. I’m getting better about monitoring the shoulders, but the head keeps creeping forward. That’s a lot of weight for the neck to hold up.

“The human head weights about 15 pounds,” Jaime explains. “When you are not in proper posture – if your head is forward – its weight doubles for every half-inch your head is forward, so 30 pounds for a half-inch forward, 45 pounds for one inch forward. This adds lots of stress on the neck and upper back.”

Jaime had been noticing the muscles in my neck were the last part of my push up to shape up. My lower back is strong (thanks to my homework exercises) and I can do 12 standard pushups with pretty good form, except for my neck, which is still creeping out of neutral alignment. So, Jaime’s prescribed some new exercises to 1) isolate the muscles and 2) integrate the work my muscles learned doing the isolation exercises into larger movements.

This “isolate and integrate” strategy is the same one Jaime has been using in my core exercises. I’ve mainly been working on isolation exercises, but my new routine has more integrative exercises using the stability ball. These exercises also translate into the everyday movements that challenge us – like lifting my sleeping 40-pound 3-year-old. (Can you say dead weight?)

Now I’m working to integrate my new focus on keeping my head and neck aligned. From driving to working on the computer to yoga, I’m paying more attention to my head and neck alignment. So long, pain-in-the-neck neck!

Hilary, Client

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Common Questions Regarding Nutrition and Fat loss

One of the most common questions I get asked is “If I’m trying to lose fat, should I eat more protein?

Well with all of the fade diets out there this is a common misnomer. No. protein intake above 25% of your daily caloric intake or in excess of 1.5g/kg of your total body weight is considered to be excessive and sometimes can actually prevent fat loss. High protein diets are usually a fade and are generally a low-calorie diet; therefore weight loss can occur but, is generally short-lived and followed by a rebound. The lack in fiber and other essential nutrients that accompany a high protein diet may lead a dieter to:

  • Fluid imbalance
  • Calcium loss
  • Extra work for the liver and kidneys
  • Slow metabolism
  • Hunger which may cause cravings for carbohydrates

Remember that it is all about how many calories you eat and how many you burn off. The goal is to make your allotted calories keep you energized and satiated.

Does Protein powder or specially processed whey protein build muscle quicker than other protein sources?

NO. Often times people choose to use these formulas in order to get the right amount of protein with very low calories. For the well-fed individual with a stomach and intestinal tract in good working order, there is no nutritional advantage to using expensive protein powders.

Whey protein has a high biological value when compared to other forms of protein; therefore you can eat less to satisfy your protein needs. Once your protein needs exceed the amount needed to rebuild muscle, other tissue and life functions the excess will be used as energy or stored as body fat. Make sure you balance your protein with your calories so that you do not have a net loss or gain in energy to maintain your body composition.

Are Carbohydrates fattening?

NO. Any amount of food that you eat above the amount of calories your body needs or the calories you burn will be stored as fat. To my knowledge carbohydrates are the least likely of the three main macro nutrients to become stored fat.When too many carbohydrates are consumed, it can actually stimulate your metabolism before it is turned into fat and excess protein or fat can do the opposite, making more of the excess calories to be available to be stored as fat. Period bottom line if you eat to much of any one of these nutrients it will turn into fat. Our waistlines are expanding because we eat about 250 calories more per day than we did a decade ago plus we move less because of technology and lifestyle. If you over eat 250 calories a day in a 30 day period you will gain 2.14 lbs a month that is an extra 7,500 calories!! Yikes.

Does fruit or fructose make you fat?

No. Excess calories do.

  • Fructose is the natural sweetener in most fruits and an ingredient in higher quality meal substitute drinks.
  • Fructose does not create an insulin response. It can satiate better than other sweeteners for that reason and it has twice the sweetening power of sucrose(table sugar) and provides fewer calories and gives you the same sweetness.

Should I not eat food past 6pm because it causes body fat gain?

No. I hear this one all of the time and it is another weight gain myth. Your daily calories should be split between a 24 hour period the more meals the better. If you have a 2,000 calorie requirement then you should split that in to three main meals and three snacks throughout the day. Remember once again that excess calories make you gain body fat.

If I eat fat, will it turn into body fat?

No. Diets consisting of fat calories greater that 30% slow down you metabolism. You need fat because it is involved in cellular membrane structures and function, precursors to hormones and cellular signals to name a few.

How does dietary fat benefit a weight or fat loss program

The proper amount of dietary fat in each meal contributes to satiety by triggering a hormone called CCK (which tells the brain you are full) and slows down digestion to keep you feeling fuller for longer.

Well, that is some of the most common questions and misnomers that people ask about. I hope this information will help with your health and fitness goals. If you need any help putting together a health and exercise prescription that works contact me.

Thank you for your time and energy….Be well

Jaime J. Hernandez

Health and Exercise Prescriptions Inc.©

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You have reached your goal of body fat loss and general health now what? Maintenance

Wow you have worked really hard to reach your goal.

Now what? You do not have to work as hard now to maintain what you gained but, you do have to apply what you have learned for the rest of your life.  Remember that by now your Health and exercise prescription should be a habit and you should have a basic foundation of knowledge in the components of health and fitness.

Having accomplished your goals in health and fitness you have discovered a new confidence and control over your body !!

Now that you have reached your goals, there are three ways that you can proceed.

  1. Set a new goal
  2. Maintain you current level of fitness
  3. Rebound

Maintenance is vitally important to sustaining changes in body composition. adhering to your individualized nutrition and health and exercise prescription is your vehicle to continued success.

Tips for successful maintenance


  1. Plan meals at least one day in advance. I usually do all of my cooking for the week on Sunday before the week begins. In November I wrote this Blog on meal planning strategies for busy people check it out
  2. To avoid impulse eating, plan ahead for high-risk situations such as dining out, travel, holidays, etc.
  3. Make grocery-shopping lists to avoid purchasing highly processed foods containing excess sugar, fat and calories

Food journal

  1. Keep food journals that reflect what you have eaten, amount, time and how you felt after you ate.
  2. Keep exercise records that tell you what time you exercised, how long, what type, Distance, intensity/Heart rate How you felt when you where done.

Expend Energy; Remember Energy in (food) has to equal energy out (exercise/physical activity) = maintenance

  1. Routine, daily activity stairs, chores, walking
  2. Recreations activities and hobbies such as gardening, hiking,biking,
  3. Weekly routine exercise: aerobic exercise 3-5 times a week for 30-60min and resistance training 2-3 times per week

It is your lifestyle that got you to your goal so continue it!!

Everyday is another day to do the things you did not do the day before.

  1. Read labels
  2. Eat proper portion sizes or servings of foods withing your maintenance calories or energy needs (Energy in has to equal energy out)
  3. To avoid being hungry do not skip meals
  4. Eat slowly
  5. While eating, do nothing else (no TV, reading)
  6. Limit alcohol, sugar and fatty, fried or fast food
  7. Get enough sleep
  8. Do not feel guilty if you cheat or over eat, just return to your proper eating habits

Be Realistic

  1. Set realistic body composition and fitness goals
  2. Do not try to do too much this has to be a sustainable lifestyle change
  3. Remember you will have high and low energy days; so if you are not feeling 100% take it easy on your self and always taking account your stress levels.

Well I hope this help you figure out how to maintain all of the hard work you have done.

If you need some help putting together a plan for your self please contact me.

Thank you for your time and energy…..Be well

Jaime J. Hernandez

Health and Exercise Prescriptions Inc.©


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