Archive for the Health Category

Fitness Tip of the Day: Flexibility Training to Improve Squats

If you are unable to perform a squat, one of our body’s primal moves; flexibility may be the problem not strength. A properly performed squat requires flexibility through the kinetic chain from the ankles, up to the legs, hips and shoulders. If range of motion is limited, squat technique will be poor. The body will compensate with dysfunctional movement patterns such as the rounding of the back, head and chest may drop forward, and heels may lift off the floor. These patterns can result in injury.

As a fitness trainer, I first recommend developing flexibility through a progressive stretching program. I recommend stretching the same amount of time that you spend exercising. If you worked out for an hour, stretch for an hour.

Never stretch upon waking when muscles are cold. Optimally, stretch after a workout or before bed. Always go in to a stretch slow and controlled; no bouncing or jerking movements. Stretch each muscle 3 times holding each stretch for 30 to 90 seconds.

The better your flexibility, the better the squat.

Author: Sharon’s Personal Training
Female Fitness Trainer of Tucson

Personal Trainer Health Website Recommendation

As a Fitness Trainer, I am always looking for resources that provide valuable and accurate information on diet and health. One such website is:


Dr. Comstock is a physician board certified in emergency medicine as well as antiaging medicine. He worked for over twenty-five years in emergency medicine, and for the past ten years has practiced antiaging medicine at Lifestyle Spectrum in Tucson, Arizona.

His website promotes better health through lifestyle changes. Dr. Comstock’s blog posts include important topics such as: “Anti-Aging Exercise”, “Fat Burning Metabolism: FAQs”, “14 Reasons You Should Eat More Fat” and “Why You Shouldn’t Count Calories To Lose Fat”.

Check it out and bookmark the blog page! Better yet – apply Dr. Comstock’s exercise and diet tips. Knowledge is useless without action.

Sharon of Sharon’s Personal Training

Female Fitness Trainer of Tucson


Personal Trainer Challenge: How Many Consecutive Days Can You Eat Real Food?

To attain all health improvement goals from weight loss to increasing muscle, or improving Type II diabetes or cardiovascular health – eat REAL food. What is real food? Any food in its whole, natural state that you can hunt, gather, fish or pick. If the food is boxed, canned, or frozen – it’s processed. If it has a label – most likely it’s processed. Charles Poliquin, world-renowned strength coach says, “If a caveman could find it, then it’s whole food.”

Avoid any and all processed foods. This includes fruit juice such as, orange juice. Eat the whole fruit! When you eat the whole fruit, you get all the nutrients and fiber. When fruit is juiced, i.e. processed; it destroys the fiber and many of the nutrients. What you have left is a high concentration of sugar. At that point, you might as well drink a soda. Processed foods also include dairy.

For most, eating real food and avoiding processed food is difficult. So much of our food product is processed. Think about it. Even ketchup and mayonnaise is processed. And how often do you eat out? Is everything on the menu fresh and cooked from scratch? I recommend eating a diet high in grass-fed, free range meats, organic, free range eggs, loads of fresh vegetables and fruit. If your goal is weight/fat loss, stick to low glycemic fruit and limit servings to one to two per day.

Take my EAT REAL FOOD challenge. See how many days in a row you can go without eating anything processed. Plan ahead. I shop every two to four days to keep a fresh supply of vegetables in stock. My freezer is packed with meats from local ranchers so that I always have a supply of quality protein available.

The longest I’ve eaten REAL FOOD was nine weeks. It was easier than I thought it would be. I cooked everything fresh and ate lots of beef, bison, salmon, chicken, eggs and as many vegetables as I wanted. No restricting calories! I felt great, leaned out quick and saved a lot of money since I avoided eating out.

So, take my EAT REAL FOOD challenge! Let me know how many consecutive days you can go with eating real food only.

Sharon of Sharon’s Personal Training

Female Fitness Trainer

TRX Suspension Training

I am now certified in TRX Suspension Training. Suspension Training is a system that uses your own body weight and suspended cables to give you a full body workout.The concept is that one part of the body is always grounded, similar to movement of everyday life. Most jobs are sedentary and require sitting for most of the day. Why do you go to the gym and sit more at a machine? Strength and mobility gains made on the TRX will transfer to activities of daily living and sports.

TRX is useful for all fitness levels and ages because you adjust the difficulty and load by changing your angle or position to the anchor. Even my senior clients and overweight clients perform well on the TRX and actually enjoy it. The suspended straps allow for greater range of motion than one might ordinarily have.

If you’ve never trained using Suspension Training, I highly recommend it! For more information or to find a TRX Certified Trainer in your area, click on the link below.


Sharon of Sharon’s Personal Training

Fitness Trainer of Tucson

Are Your Skin Care Products Toxic?

Not all products are safe. Here are some facts you need to know. Skin care products are underregulated and commonly made from chemicals that have not been thoroughly tested. Manufacturers can use almost any ingredient they choose. Current laws do not require safety tests or the recall of harmful products. Some products may contain chemicals linked to serious disorders.

EWG, the Environmental Working Group, the nation’s most effective environmental health nonprofit organization, created this Skin Deep mobile app to help the consumer when purchasing skin care products. I use it myself and is very helpful. Swipe the barcode or enter the product by name. The app then gives you that product’s rating of safety on a scale of 0 to 10.

Check it out – it’s free!

Skin Deep Mobile App

For more information on the Environmental Working Group, go to:  http://www.ewg.org

Sharon Powell

Female Fitness Trainer

Personal Training Tip of the Day: MOVE!

The structure and function of the human body was designed to move and be active. Muscles function best when they repeat a cycle of contraction under tension, followed by relaxation. This process has many health benefits such as, reducing muscle glycogen which in turn reduces insulin resistance. If you have Type II Diabetes or are at risk, exercise will help. The structure of joints were designed to bend and rotate. This action releases such chemicals as synovial fluid which lubricates the joint.

Our bodies were not meant to be sedentary. Sadly, most of our current jobs are. Even sitting for as little as 20 minutes has negative effects. Certain muscles shorten like the hip flexors (muscles located in the front of the pelvic bone). This can create hip and low back pain. Sitting for extended periods of time also lowers various chemicals (hormones), which set up your body to store more fat. Worse, when we get home from our jobs or school, we sit all night watching TV or at the computer.

Whenever I have a day where I have to sit much of the day, I always experience more soreness and stiffness. On days where I move a lot, I feel great. If you have a job that requires you are seated, I recommend getting up every 20 minutes to stretch and move. Even if you are not able to leave your desk, move at your desk. Perform body squats, leg swings, march in place – anything to get your blood flowing and the body moving.

Take away for today – MOVE!

Sharon Powell

Fitness Trainer of Tucson


Fitness Trainer Tip of the Day: Avoid These Unsafe Foods

In the mood for a Yoga Mat Sandwich? Check out the article below. A chemical found in yoga mats is approved as a food additive in the U.S. The article includes a database listing the food manufacturers and products using this chemical.

Yoga mat chemical found in nearly 500 foods

Sharon Powell

Personal Trainer of Tucson

How To Lose Belly Fat? Part One

The number one question I get as a Personal Trainer is, “how do I lose belly fat?”. And thanks to many infomercials, it is portrayed as easy to attain and is a marker of health and success. Our society is obsessed with being skinny;  skinny is sexy – thin is healthy. But is it really? What is the truth about fat?

“Why do we even need fat cells? The flippant answer is that without them, girls would look like boys. The evolutionary answer is that fat cells are repositories of energy and are necessary for survival of the species, especially in times of famine. Fat cells are protective; they provide cushioning of vital organs. In addition, specialized fat cells provide heat after you’re born, to keep you from succumbing to the elements. Fat cells are not just storage devices. They are active participants in, and are necessary for, your metabolic health.” Excerpt from “Fat Chance” by Dr. Robert Lustig.

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Fat cells have a purpose. Unless you are an elite athlete or professional bodybuilder (actively competing), it is actually unhealthy to have extremely low body fat percentage. There are two kinds of fat in the human body; subcutaneous and visceral. Subcutaneous fat is the fat just below the skin. It’s the fat you can pinch. Visceral fat is internal around and in your organs. It’s the visceral fat that is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, type II diabetes and other metabolic diseases. Visceral fat is the one that you want to lose. Research shows that individuals with some subcutaneous fat are healthier and live longer.

Watch for future blogs on the facts about fat and the elusive question – how do I get flat abs?

Sharon Powell

Female Fitness Trainer

The “No Trans-Fats” Scam

It is well accepted that trans fats are bad for you. Any health-conscious consumer looks for food labels stating “No Trans-Fats”. Well, guess what? Regardless of the claim, there still may be substantial amounts of trans fats in the product. Here is an excerpt from the book, “The Great Cholesterol Myth” by Drs. Jonny Bowden and Stephen Sinatra:


When the government mandated that trans fats be listed on the nutrition facts label of food, big food lobbyists sprang into action. They somehow created a loophole that lets manufacturers use trans fats while legally claiming “no trans fats!” on their packaging. Here’s how:
Manufacturers can claim “no trans fats” as long as there is less than half a gram of the stuff per serving. Sounds reasonable, until you remember how clever and ruthless Big Food can be. By making “serving sizes” ridiculously small, and by keeping trans fats to just under half a gram per “serving,” they were able to technically comply with the rules. But the end result is that if each artificially small “serving” contains, say 0.4 g of trans fats, you could quite easily consume a gram or two of the stuff just by eating what most people would consider a “normal” serving size. Do that a few times a day and before you know it you’ve raised your heart disease risk by quite a few percentage points.
What to do? Simple. Ignore the “no trans fats!” legend on the front of the package and read the ingredients list instead. No matter what the label says, if the list of ingredients contains partially hydrogenated oil or hydrogenated oil, the product has trans fats. Period. (Typically, you’ll see partially hydrogenated soybean oil in the ingredients list, but it could be any type of oil at all. What you’re looking for are the keywords hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated.)

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If you’re thinking that a small amount of trans fats won’t hurt, “research shows that for each 2 percent increase in trans fat calories consumed, the risk for coronary heart disease roughly doubles!” Dr. Sinatra’s recommendation: “The ideal intake for humans is O grams.”!

Sharon Powell

Personal Fitness Trainer of Tucson



Apples are the latest super food

That apples are healthy probably comes as no surprise to any of us, an apple a day keeps the doctor away is a rhyme most of us know well and wouldn’t question, it’s a fruit after all. While some fruits such as blueberries have suddenly become popular as super foods with a wide range of health giving properties the apple has maintained its ongoing popularity mainly by being delicious and of course easy to eat wherever you are. Now though Apples could be the latest super food themselves as it is revealed that they help with stroke prevention; people who eat apples and also pears are far less likely to suffer from a stroke.

Strokes are one of those conditions that can be life threatening very quickly if you don’t get treatment; with most medical conditions you find out you have them and then you choose your medication and treatment. Stoke is a very scary condition as often it hits you and that is it, especially if you don’t have someone with you when the stroke happens who can identify it and get you to a hospital quickly. Of course all disease should be avoided where possible but stroke prevention is particularly important, especially if they run in the family or you have already had one yourself.

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