Skip navigation

Balanced Living for Athletes

2 Posts tagged with the calories tag

by Tiffany Houser, Green Monkey Interactive


People in my life know how much I enjoy physical movement whether it is an exercise class, going on a bike ride or participating in a competitive sport. As I mentioned in my other blog post, Movement Trifecta for Children, I was fortunate to have my parents enroll me in dance, swimming and gymnastics during my pre-school years.



Now, as a 34 year old former athlete, building a Balanced Living company with the main draw in our locations being yoga, I feel that my movement is coming full circle.



Over the past two years I have become ADDICTED to Spinning. Oddly enough, had you told me 5 years ago I'd become an avid spinner to the point of becoming a certified instructor, I would have laughed.



When I was an Intern in the New York corporate offices of Crunch Fitness back in 1996, spin was just coming into action in Manhattan. Intrigued by the excitement and publicity Spin was receiving, I decided to jump into a class and take part in the experience...7 minutes later, I jumped off that bike and ran out gasping for air and fearful that my ears were actually bleeding from the loud music.



Fast forward, over 10 years later, I decided to give it another try because there was this class that had a live musician and would always fill up. So of course I took a bike right by the door assuming when it was time to make my early exit I wouldn't disrupt the class nor make the instructor feel as though the class wasn't up to par.



Seven minutes passed, and I was still on the bike, seventeen minutes passed and I was still on the bike. To my pleasant surprise, I made it to the end! I decided to take the same class the following week which was the start of something I now love so much and look forward to doing every week.



With the Editorial work I do with Green Monkey, I am constantly on top of our industry, learning what's hot and what's not, gathering reports and scientific studies and talking to consumers and experts in each of our fields. In my constant search to do things smarter, I learned that weight lifting is one of the keys to burning calories and fighting the physical aging process. This led me to take weight lifting classes because I believe group classes are the best way to leverage your time in a movement venue. Having someone guide you, while being motivated by peers and covering almost every body part is what a busy person and efficiency seeker needs.



I never really thought too much about injury prevention, because I do not compete in sports anymore, until I twisted my knee. Injuries are one of the worst things that can happen to someone with an active lifestyle. Joint injuries in particular are worrisome because if they are not properly taken care of and rehabilitated they can be problematic for the rest of your life.



Since I could not spin or lift weights for at least two months I needed to find an alternative activity to maintain my cardiovascular health and my happiness. Living in Miami does have a lot of perks, one of them being the ability to swim outdoors all year round, especially when your friend's building has a lap pool. I began swimming and doing some of the sequences from the aqua fitness classes I used to teach when I was a lifeguard. I also took more yoga and Pilates classes as well.



As soon as my knee healed, I started back slowly by taking conditioning and weight lifting classes. I was craving spin, but I knew that I was not ready. I still to this day remember that first spin class. It was the most exhilarating feeling ever! Even though my knee ached the next day, I knew that was a part of the rehab process.



Now, I am a power house at the gym, I take on average one weight lifting class per week and about 4-5 spin classes body is starting to speak...'You're killing me with the constant routine!'.



Over the past 2 months, my body has felt like the day after skiing or snowboarding. I have also found myself using the 5 and 2.5 pound weights during class which is not doing any good for my body. I'm not into trying to bulk up, but the weights need to be heavy to some degree in order to get results and grow the muscle.



That is where the mind/body modalities have shown me the light (no pun intended).



Yoga and Pilates are key for a healthy physical body. The stretching, twisting, pressure and core work these two practices push the body to do, is like physical therapy mixed with plastic surgery! What I mean is that the body needs balance. As you may have learned from Christi Idavoy's blog post, Every Movement Creates a Body Pattern, if you only do repetitive physical movement your body will develop in a limited way, whereas if you combine your repetitions with the twisting, posing, and anti-gravity movements in yoga, you are enrolling your muscles in school. They are learning to move in new ways or maybe not new ways but in new sequences.



My comparison to plastic surgery stems from the fact that yoga and, more so, Pilates sculpt the body. Our bodies can be pushed with weights and cardio workouts and we may shed pounds or beef up, but the defining results that can be accomplished with yoga and Pilates practically make your body look like you sucked out the excess mass that you can see externally and feel internally.



Overall, I encourage you to continue to move and challenge your body for more than the obvious reasons. Movement leads to a better lifestyle, a balanced lifestyle.



445 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: fitness, yoga, pilates, exercise, calories, spinning, weight-training

by Tiffany Houser, Green Monkey Interactive


"You are what you eat," says the old adage, but what about "you are what you are not eating?"



Calorie Restriction (CR) is the practice of eating fewer calories (5 - 40% less) while achieving adequate or optimal nutrition. Since the 1930's extensive scientific research has shown that calorie restriction improves health and extends the life span of nearly every species tested due to the reduction of stress on the digestive and immune systems.

Tiffany Houser

The theory is that your DNA recognizes that you body is working more efficiently and re-creates efficient cells. Cardiologist and Oprah's medical expert Dr. Mehmet Oz believes that calorie restriction can have longevity benefits. "We think we can actually reach life spans of 150 years with calorie restriction," Dr. Oz says. However, Dr. Oz says it is far too difficult for most people to restrict calories.



Paul McGlothin and Meredith Averill, authors of The CR Way: Using the Secrets of Calorie Restriction for a Longer, Healthier Life, and Calorie Restriction Society Board Members, say CR can improve brain power, decrease inflammation, lower the risk of cancer, boost happiness and increase your life span.



Dr. Oz explains that calorie restriction sends a message to your body that you will not be able to reproduce because there is not enough food. The body is then sent a self-preservation message. "Preserve what you've got because you can't afford to waste it," he says.



According to the Calorie Restriction Society (CRS) the goal of Calorie Restriction is to achieve a longer and healthier life by eating fewer calories and consuming adequate vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients.


Simply eating less may not improve health or extend lifespan - it can lead to malnutrition. Before worrying about how many calories you're eating, make sure that the foods in your diet provide sufficient nutrition to avoid malnutrition once you begin to restrict them.



In order to chart your progress, and to make sure that you are avoiding nutrient deficiencies and other hazards, the CRS recommends getting at least the minimal recommended blood tests done. You'll want to know these results before your calorie restriction begins, so that you'll have a baseline for comparison as you move into calorie restriction.



Once your diet consists primarily of nutrient-dense, calorie-sparse foods, you can safely begin to reduce your total calorie intake. Make sure, however, you have considered your current state of well-being and consult with your doctor to ensure this is the right plan for you.



The recommended time for the transition from your current diet to increasingly introducing more steps towards calorie restriction, according to Dr. Roy Lee Walford, a pioneer in the field of life extension, is a minimum of 6 to 9 months, but preferably 1 to 2 years.



Adult mice that were suddenly put on calorie restriction experienced shorter life spans, than mice that were slowly transitioned into to calorie restriction.



Even though most people on CR cut their calorie intake by 30%, they say it is not necessary to follow a drastic diet in order to reap the benefits of calorie restriction. They suggest that even cutting calories by 5 to 10 percent, can be a great starting point.



Here are some things to consider before moving forward with calorie restriction:



  • "Negative" appearance changes due to weight loss

  • Bone health challenges due to weight loss is often accompanied by reduced bone mass

  • Cold sensitivity due to reduced body mass

  • Children, adolescents, and young adults (under approx 21) should be advised against starting CR.

  • Loss of "cushioning" - discomfort sitting on hard surfaces, etc., due to reduced body fat.

  • Reduced energy reserves due to less body fat

  • Hunger (both psychological and physical effects), cravings, or food obsession

  • Menstrual irregularity due to dramatic weight loss. Women planning to get pregnant soon, should not begin CR until after having (and weaning) their baby.

  • Pregnancy - low body mass index is widely regarded as a risk factor in pregnancy.

  • Loss of strength and/or stamina due to loss of muscle mass from the weight loss

  • Decreased testosterone

  • Rapid weight loss (greater than 1 - 2 lbs/wk) - may do more harm than good

  • Slower wound healing - potential hazard in major accidents, violent attacks, surgeries, etc.


The CRS also mention how it can affect other lifestyle factors including social interaction such as going on CR without support from people in your inner circle or the separation it can create if you cannot participant in social gatherings or need a different meal during holidays and family dinners. CR can also be costly since most of the food is fresh and organic. CR represents a dramatic change in diet which can appeal to people who are attracted to the extreme or who may push the limits of safe or healthy CR practice.


The Calorie Restriction Society was formed to inject some scientific responsibility into the discussion of attempts to slow the aging process. As any scientifically responsible review of research in the field of gerontology, the study of the aging processes and individuals as they grow from middle age through later life, will quickly reveal, the only valid life-extension method that has any proven scientific backing behind it at all is Calorie Restriction (CR), from which "The Calorie Restriction Society" derives its name.



The CRS stresses that calorie restriction is not a weight loss program and should not be approached as a dieting tactic. This is lifestyle approach to adding years to your life by easing the work your body does to digest an over abundance of food and processed food which is a major stressor on your immune system.



So if you are what you are not eating then according to calories restriction you are promoting your health and longevity.



Check out this follow-up video from the 1991, 60 Minutes Report, Wine Rx, on the French Paradox, discussing Resveratrol and calorie restriction diets.



484 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: food, calories, lifespan, calorie-restriction, dr.oz, bone-health



Member since: Aug 26, 2009

Tips and articles on the athletic body and the athletic mind from Tiffany Houser of Green Monkey.

View TiffanyHouser's profile

Recent Comments

No recent comments.