Introducing Elite’s Nutrition Educator & Diet Counselor: Rita Larsen

Hello & welcome!

To start off, I have a very simple message:

Part of the reason that we, at Elite, take the time to work with each individual through exercise and diet is because each person is completely different than the next person. In other words, what works for one person, may not work for the next person. You are an individual and need to choose what is going to work best for you! It is in some ways, an awesome responsibility. Many people can get sidetracked with lots of other family & work responsibilities, and never take the time to care for themselves; through fitness and a good diet/nutrition program. As a result, they never really know “what is best for ME?” So, take some time to explore what your very “best” is. Type of exercise, days of the week, indoors or outdoors, a stable eating plan or one that is flexible (but very healthy). There are lots of choices for you!

Your Health & Fitness Journey Begins Today, But Where Should You Start Photo

With lots of choices to explore during your health & fitness journey, trying new programs and so on, you may just be able to LOCK IN your own personal fitness and nutrition plan that will last a LIFETIME. So, my task for you is: from now on, don’t just think about today and tomorrow; think about a lifetime of good health and wellness!

I look forward to sharing my knowledge with you. And please come visit me during my open office hours “Ask the Dietitian” at our Brookfield, Mequon, and North Shore locations. Otherwise I’m always available by appointment!

Best wishes for a good start!

Rita W. Larsen, RD, CD
Nutrition Educator & Diet Counselor
Elite Sports Clubs

Official Guidelines for Physical Activity

Beginning an exercise program has become one of the most important public health issues of today.

United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently met with combined support from the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the American Heart Association (AHA) and released jointly published physical activity recommendations. These separate guidelines collectively and effectively support each other and are all based on the most relevant science available that links physical activity to improved health and wellness.

  • ACSM/AHA guidelines focus on 30 minutes of moderate-intensity daily physical activity five days a week.
  • HHS guidelines call for a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate physical activity a week, an amount most reasonable on five days a week at a duration of 30 minutes.

The associations note that the core recommendation as it relates to health gains of physical activity are highly consistent.  These recommendations conclude that relatively modest amounts of physical activity will improve the health and cardio-respiratory fitness of inactive persons, while expanded health gains, such as weight loss or weight maintenance, require more than the minimum 30 minutes of moderate activity most days of the week.

“Guidelines for physical activity have long been based on research demonstrating that even relatively moderate amounts of physical activity will have positive benefits on health,” said William Haskell, Ph.D., FACSM, lead author of the ACSM/AHA guidelines.  “A very important idea, especially for people who are inactive, is that health and physical activity are closely linked.  The more days a week that you can be active or accumulate some activity, the higher the significance for your health and wellness.”

“Numerous studies now suggest that if we can simply move people out of the lowest levels of cardio-respiratory fitness, it can have a profound (and beneficial) impact on public health”, says Barry A. Franklin, PhD, national American Heart Association spokesperson and Director of Cardiac Rehabilitation and Exercise Laboratories at William Beaumont Hospital.

Health Benefits of Physical Activity for Adults & Older Adults

Strong Evidence:

  • Lower risk of:
    Early death
    Heart disease
    Stroke
    Type 2 diabetes
    High blood pressure
    Adverse blood lipid profile
    Metabolic syndrome
    Colon and breast cancers
  • Prevention of weight gain
  • Weight loss when combined with diet
  • Improved cardio-respiratory and muscular fitness
  • Prevention of falls
  • Reduced depression
  • Better cognitive function (older adults)

Moderate to Strong Evidence:

  • Better functional health older adults
  • Reduced abdominal obesity

Moderate Evidence:

  • Weight maintenance
  • Lower risk of hip fracture
  • Increased bone density
  • Improved sleep quality
  • Lower risk of lung and endometrial cancers

Health Benefits of Physical Activity for Children & Adolescents

Strong Evidence:

  • Improved cardiorespiratory endurance and muscular fitness
  • Favorable body composition
  • Improved bone health
  • Improved cardiovascular and metabolic health biomarkers
  • Moderate Evidence
  • Reduced symptoms of anxiety and depression

In summary, the investment in a daily 30 minute or more exercise regiment betters your quality of life, delays diseases and reduces the medical expenses regardless of your age or your current condition. There is no time sooner than the present to invest your time and energy in a professionally developed and administrated physical fitness program.

Choosing the Right Goal & Finding Success

Everyone works out for different reasons.  Whether it is to lose weight, get stronger, to lean up and tone the body, help prevent health issues or fight against family history, it is important that whatever your reason or objective is that you first define your goal and make sure that it is right for you to help you find success.  Setting a goal that is unrealistic or purely based on an urge, no matter how well intentioned it may be, is only going to set you up for failure and ultimately lead you to stop working out.  So when you decide that you want to get started in an exercise program or start leading a healthy lifestyle, there are six simple steps that you can take to make sure that your goal is right for you.

The first step that you need to take is to make the goal personal and share it with someone you trust and feel comfortable with.  If you aren’t starting an exercise program for yourself, whether it’s to look better, feel better or to get healthy, there isn’t anything binding you to it.  We always know that there is an out.  When we make the goal about us and it is something that we feel passionately about and when someone else knows about it, we are going to do anything and everything we can to make sure that we succeed.

The second step in making sure that your goal is right for you and a success is to make it specific.  Losing weight is the number one goal that I hear.  And while that is a worthy goal, it isn’t specific enough to make you feel satisfied.  A one pound weight deficit is still losing weight, but I doubt that was your goal.  So the questions is, how much weight do you want to lose?

The next step is to make sure that the goal is measurable.  To get healthier is a very commendable goal, but how can you tell if you are reaching your goal?  You want the goal to be measurable so that you can get baseline numbers that can be compared against throughout your training.  What was your initial weight?  What was your initial blood pressure and resting heart rate?  Where are you starting at with your aerobic capacity?  All of these factors can be measured so that 3 months, 6 months, 12 months down the road, you can go back and check them to determine your progress and if no progress is being made, to make adjustments so that you can.

The fourth step to deciding the appropriate goal is to make it action oriented.  This means to determine a plan that is going to get you to reach your goal in the safest, most efficient way possible.  Often, the best way to go about this is to set up an appointment with a personal trainer or physician to have them set up a program for you.  You want to make sure that you are working at the proper intensities based upon your current fitness level and then progress your workout at the proper moment to maximize your results.  It is important that this program works within your everyday lifestyle so that adherence to the program is easier where it can be scheduled into your day so that there aren’t any excuses.

The fifth step is to make your goal realistic.  This may sound simple enough but more often than not, perception and reality don’t match.  Again, if weight loss is your goal, determining how much weight you can expect to lose or is a healthy amount to lose is not an easy task, but is also crucial in determining your success and eventual happiness.  Again, here is another time with this particular goal that making an appointment with a personal trainer or physician is an integral part of the process.  These individuals will be able to determine your current body composition, factor in any health risks, and determine what is realistic and safe and then help guide you through the process.

The sixth and final step is to make your goal timed.  This means simply when do you want to achieve your goal by?  Putting an end date to your goal gives you something to work toward, as opposed to leaving it open ended where there is no real rush to achieving it.
So by following these steps, not only will you find success in achieving your goal, but you will also know that it is truly the right goal for you.  And when that happens, you feel better about yourself, you are happier, feel a sense of pride and accomplishment, and are more likely to keep exercise a part of your life!

Sincerely,
Luke Lewitzke
A.C.E. Certified Personal Trainer
Elite Sports Clubs
(262) 241-4250