WHITEBOARD WORKOUT – #159

nashville personal training

LFA’s whiteboard workout of the day.

2 min jumping jacks

20 medicine ball sit-ups
25 side plank pushups
10 hanging leg raises
50 superman swimmers
Repeat 4 times

5×5 renegade row
5×5 seated rows
5×5 single leg dead lifts
5×5 squat curls
5×5 upright rows

8 sprints

Eat Better–Train Harder Tee

We have a sweet new tee for you. It is an American Apparel 3/4 length sleeve. Black with white sleeves. You can order now via Paypal and pickup at the gym!


Eat Better--Train Harder


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Life Fitness Academy--Nashville, TN

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Making Nashville Fit!

A recent article in the Tennessean showed that:

Nashville and the 12 counties that surround it are no longer among the laggards on an annual fitness index.

The metropolitan area jumped 10 spots on the American Fitness Index, a report from the American College of Sport Medicine. Greater Nashville now ranks 27th, between Phoenix and Chicago on that list.

We are glad to see Nashville making some positive strides on the fitness index and we like to think Life Fitness Academy has helped play a role in that. If you are interested in making a change, getting disciplined with your health and fitness goals, staying active, losing weight, or just love to workout, come see us, contact us, or give us a shout.

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Dance Rants: Sunscreen

With the encouragement of the media, sunscreen use is a common, everyday occurrence. According to most people, if you don’t wear it, you are destined to get skin cancer. I wonder why so many people still get skin cancer when sunscreen is so prevalent. I also wonder what people have been doing for hundreds of years working outside much longer hours than we do now, and not shriveling up. They certainly weren’t wearing SPF 95.

The first problem with most sunscreens is that they only protect against UVB rays. UVB are the ones that turn skin red, but UVA rays go much deeper and cause premature aging, sagging skin and wrinkling. Sunscreens do nothing about those. There are no visual cues like red skin to let you know the damage that has been caused by UVA rays with or without sunscreen. Furthermore, the UVB rays are from what your body synthesizes vitamin D. You can acquire all the vitamin D you need from the sun. Vitamin D regulates the body’s concentration of calcium and phosphorous, which is related to bone health. Vitamin D is as essential as vitamin C to the immune system and has been used to treat cancer. It decreases the risk for diseases like multiple sclerosis, diabetes, hypertension and certain cancers. Vitamin D is most easily used in the form of D3, which is what comes from the sun. People that apply sunscreen everyday can actually become vitamin D deficient. Truthfully, most people get it in food too, so they may not experience deficiency symptoms other than being tired, cranky and more susceptible to other illnesses.

Toxic chemicals used to create sunscreen are the next problem. Your skin is your largest organ and absorbs a lot more than you’d think. Think about medications or supplements that are patches worn on the skin. Some sources say that medication absorbed through the skin are up to 95% more effective than those taken orally. This is because chemicals bypass the digestive system and are delivered directly into the blood stream. Many of the chemicals used are known carcinogens and hormone disrupters. This means they cause free radicals (damage on a cellular level: cancer-causing) and some have estrogenic actions that may interfere with reproductive development. Many sunscreens use a form of vitamin A thought to help with anti-aging, but studies show in the presence of sunlight, it can actually cause cancer. It is usually in the form of retinyl palmitate. The main hormone disruptor is oxybenzone. Quite a few other toxic chemicals are present in most sunscreens. Dr Josh Axe lists these other chemicals as toxic in addition: Octinoxate, padimate O, octisilate, avobenzone, octocrylene, homosalate, ensulizole, methyl antrhanilate, methoryl SX, sulisobenzone, and cinoxate.

As of December 2012 the FDA will no longer allow sunscreen companies to label their product with claims of “water-proof,” “sweat-proof” and “sunblock.” This was supposed to happen in May, but the FDA granted them an additional six months to comply (conveniently after sunscreen season). This is the first major attempt to regulate sunscreen in about thirty-five years.

Of course the best thing to do would be to stay outside only as long as you can without burning, sans sunscreen, while getting your vitamin D for the day. Unfortunately that is not always possible. When you’re going to be out there for an extended period of time, get a good sunscreen. For light exposure you can start with something like coconut oil which is excellent for your skin and a much better alternative to commercial sunscreens. Being that coconut oil has an SPF of 2-4, it does offer some protection and will only give health to your body. For stronger protection when you must have it, there are a couple things to consider. Zinc Oxide is the only FDA approved sunscreen for children under six months of age. It leaves a white residue on skin, so some companies are altering it, using smaller particles called nano zinc oxide, which is a no-no, too. Titanium oxide appears to be an alternative that is somewhat safer than what is used in most sunscreens. There are actually quite a few sunscreens that are of a higher quality. Here at Life Fitness Academy, I’ve seen Aubrey’s organic sunscreen floating around and from some research I’ve done recently, it seems a brand called Kabana is an excellent one. The EWG (environmental working group) has a wonderful website that explains in further detail many chemicals, effects and best brands of sunscreen.

Again, as always, your best bet is going without manufactured products being put on your skin!

By: Ashley Dance

Summer Cooking Series

In our quest to spread the health this summer, Life Fitness Academy is offering a series of cooking classes. We want to show you how to prepare all the foods we are constantly telling you to eat–in a delicious way. We love good food around here, and we want to help you love it too! You should be able to actually enjoy healthy food, and we will show you some of our favorites.

Our first class was a success and we learned how to make twice-baked rosemary sweet potato skins, stuffed bell peppers and chocolate dipped strawberries. All those dishes are great for taking to parties and friends won’t know they’re eating something good for them. We are preparing for two more cooking classes in July, so be watching Facebook and Twitter for the date and theme! Please be sure and RSVP early, because we may ask you to search for an ingredient so you can familiarize yourself with the items needed to prepare these dishes. It’s not just a demonstration, you will be talked through the process and get to taste the results!

If you are taking part in our Summer Sampler, this class is free, and only $12.50/person for the general public; so bring your friends!

Kefir Grains

We talk so much about cultured and fermented foods that we wanted to show our clients what kefir grains look like and how easy it is to use them when culturing milk. We always recommend only consuming raw dairy from pastured, grass-fed animals (cows that are guernseys, jerseys, or another old breed cow).

Feel free to ask any questions in the comments. For some more in depth instructions and an example of a tasty homemade kefir drink, check out Food Loves Writing’s Homemade Blueberry Kefir.

Chiropractic Workshop

Life Fitness Academy will be hosting a Chiropractic Workshop on May 12, 2012 at 12:00pm with Dr. Chad McClellan of Chiropractic Nashville. We will be discussing the importance of the spinal column and musculoskeletal system and how these things affect overall health.

The cost is $20 and includes a Beyond Organic Product (SueroViv or Amasai!). Please RSVP by May 10, 2012. Please contact us with any questions!

Chiropractor Nashville

Exercise Fundamentals: Isometrics

I want to ask you if you know what isometrics are? Or if you’ve even heard of them?

These questions will help me introduce isometrics to you. Isometrics are a very productive style of strength training in which the joint angle and muscle length only minimally change during contraction (unlike concentric or eccentric contractions, called dynamic/isotonic movements). Isometrics can be done in static positions, rather than being dynamic through a range of motion. With isometrics you can better control the intensity of the contraction as compared to weight lifting where the weights control the intensity of the contraction.

To answer the second question, you haven’t heard of isometrics because they don’t sell. The fitness industry is just that, an industry. If you tell your clients they don’t need any equipment or even a trainer to do these movements they will be less inclined to pay for it. There is a second reason for this answer/question: people feel stupid doing isometrics in public. I have to admit it’s not my favorite thing to do at a park or even inside my own gym… But the results are far worth the funny glances shot my way when sweating while shaking and breathing deeply.

Now you know what isometrics are, and what some of the reasons are for you not hearing of them, albeit highly opinionated, reasons nonetheless. We can talk about why I believe them to have such a high place in not only learning how to workout, but also how to avoid injury and develop more defined muscle as well as muscle density.

Isometrics are universal!

That’s what is so great about these exercises, everyone young and old can do them. They are so non-threatening that they are great for rehabbing joints, muscles and damaged tendons that are in recovery from an injury whether it is minor or severe. Using exercise, especially isometrics, for healing the body is what it’s all about! Pushing your body to be competitive in weight lifting or competing in running are fine, too, but can put unwanted stress on the body causing acute muscle failure somewhere along the line. Learning isometrics teaches you how to exercise every muscle supporting your joints for maximum result. Once learned, applying isometrics to body weight exercises, resistance, and finally weight lifting will give your body all the building blocks it needs for a strong muscular frame that’s dense, functional, and cut. In that order.

If you are wondering what these exercises look like stay tuned and we’ll have a video for a few of the moves I like the most.

By: Terry Barga

Enzymes, Enzymes, Enzymes

I’ve mentioned the importance of probiotics for digestion several times, but have you ever given a thought to enzymes?

Enzymes are molecules of protein that speed up chemical reactions in plants and animals, and are absolutely essential in digestion. Without them, reactions would occur too slowly to serve the needs of your cells. They also regulate the production of energy, hormones and the destruction of foreign substances. Enzymes break down large molecules of food into smaller ones that can be absorbed in the intestines. You must have enzymes to digest any food. Digestion begins in the mouth, as there are enzymes in saliva. Your liver and pancreas are enzyme producers as well.

Many foods contain the enzymes needed to digest them. For instance, raw milk contains lactase, which helps digest the protein lactose, of which many people are intolerant. When milk is pasteurized, the enzymes are killed leaving that protein to run free in your gut, causing discomfort for many. Pasteurization kills the enzymes and everything else, because it is heated to such a high temperature. To be fair though, even regular cooking denatures most enzymes. Therefore, it is important to include raw vegetables and fruits in your diet simply for the intact enzymes. Most vegetables contain cellulase that breaks down the cell wall of plant fiber. A lot of people suffer from indigestion or other digestive ailments because they eat too many processed, refined, cooked food. You need extra enzymes to help break down those foods that are problematic in the body. To compensate for the lack of enzymes in the food being ingested, the organs that produce them have to put out increasing amounts of them and can become overworked and eventually, fully exhausted.

When processed, refined or even cooked food is eaten, your body responds by increasing its white blood cell count—what happens when a disease or foreign object enters the body. Raw foods, however, do not elicit such a response. The more processed the food, the more severe the reaction. Raw food passes through the digestive tract in up to half the time of cooked food. Food left in the intestines taking forever to digest is the main culprit of many diseases and certainly obesity.

How do you make sure you get enough enzymes? The easiest way is, of course, to eat raw fruits and vegetables. Sprouted grains contain enzymes, as well as sourdough bread. Cultured and fermented foods are fabulous enzyme-containing treats. Kefir, yogurt, kombucha, raw milk, sauerkraut, pickles or other lacto-fermented vegetables are all examples. The veggies, pickles, and sauerkraut should be actually fermented, not just vinegar added, the regular jars in the grocery won’t do. In the refrigerated section of Whole Foods is a great brand called Bubbie’s, for your fermented needs. All those foods happen to be packed with probiotics as well. Funny how things that are good for digestion go together… Coconut water and raw nuts and seeds contain enzymes as well. Instead of reaching for processed enzyme-less crackers or chips, substitute your snacks with raw foods. Make a bag of trail mix with raw nuts, seeds, and dried fruit, which contain some enzymes as well. Lately I’ve been enjoying almonds, walnuts, cashews, sunflower seeds, cranberries and raisins. Grab an apple or banana when running out the door. Have organic grassfed yogurt, nuts and berries for breakfast, or my favorite go-to, a smoothie! It is not necessary to eat an all raw food diet, cooking some food helps in other areas, just don’t neglect your raw ones!

By: Ashley Dance