6 Survival Tips for Eating in Bars

Eating in Bars
Most of us think of fast food, office doughnuts, or that tub of ice cream in the freezer when we think of diet traps. But what about those unplanned little grazings that happen when we wander out to happy hour with colleagues after work, hit the nightclubs for somebody’s birthday on the weekend, or gather with friends at the local sports bar to watch the playoff game on Sunday afternoon? Somebody passes around a bucket of wings, a plate of calamari, or a couple of orders of fries and onion rings, and you decide you’re just going to try one of these, one of those, and you surely can’t refuse that one at the happy hour price—it’s like throwing money away! Emboldened by judgment-loosening alcoholic beverages (not to mention highly caloric), a whole diet plan can be shredded in one evening. But none of us wants to stay home with our celery sticks and cabbage soup while our friends and coworkers are out on the town. So let’s take a look at some of the worst offenders offered up at our favorite watering holes and some alternatives we can order instead.

1. Buffalo wings
These little deadlies took off like crazy in the 90s and now they, or some variation, are available at almost every bar in town. Sold by the pound, by the half-dozen, or by the wing, they are delicious, but watch out—these babies can give you a buffalo butt. The basic recipe for the classic Buffalo wing is to deep-fry separated wing sections and then toss them in a combination of butter and hot sauce. Some places have added breading to the mix to better absorb the fat and sauce, and most serve them with celery and carrot sticks with a healthy serving of full-fat ranch or blue cheese dressing. Why have they become so popular? Well, of course, they taste great, but more than that, think about the bar’s strategy. What are they in the business of? Serving drinks. And here’s where the wings become the perfect bar food. They’re spicy—which makes you want to drink more. They’re salty—which makes you want to drink more. They’re fatty—which makes you feel the effects of the alcohol less . . . and makes you want to drink more. It’s a perfect storm of high-calorie temptation to make you ingest more high-calorie drinks.

I initially went to the Hooters Web site to get nutritional info for their wings, and finding none, went to their FAQ, where I was informed they couldn’t possibly give out nutritional information for such a customizable dish. I found this to be the case at most of the popular chains. This reluctance to divulge didn’t bode well for the dainty chicken wing. I finally found a third-party site reporting that a 10-piece chicken wing appetizer order at Ruby Tuesday had 910 calories and 66 grams of fat. Add the blue cheese dressing, and you can knock it up to 1,090 calories and 85 grams of fat. This seemed pretty typical. If you add variations like breading, or syrupy sauces like teriyaki or sweet-and-sour, you can bump up the calories even higher. It’s safe to guess that for every wing you eat out of your table’s wing bucket, you’re getting around 100 calories and 7 grams of fat. Chicken wings are mostly skin, so they’re pretty much the least healthy part of the chicken you can eat. And chicken “fingers” or “nuggets” aren’t much better. Some grind up the skin into the meat, which ends up being the base for the nugget, and even the all-breast-meat versions have tons of fat from the breading.
Instead: Just treat yourself to one or two wings or fingers from the bucket. But then fill up on the accompanying celery and carrot sticks (however, skip the ranch and blue cheese; ask if there’s salsa or marinara sauce). You can ask your waiter and barkeep for extra sticks, too, so your friends don’t think you’re a celery hog.

2. French fries
Fries are definitely high on the bar’s salty-fatty scale. But they’re another perfect bar food. Loved by vegetarians and carnivores alike. Usually the cheapest appetizer on the menu and great finger food for passing around. But a basket of fries, depending on how they’re prepared, can have 500 to 1,000 calories, at least half of which come from fat. Not to mention the sodium content, and even the accompanying ketchup which is usually full of high-fructose corn syrup. And, you can also get creative by adding cheese, chili, bacon, or anything else to the fries. At the Outback Steakhouse, you can order the Aussie Cheese Fries, whose one-pound, 12-ounce serving contains 2,900 calories and 182 grams of fat. Outback—it’s Australian for heart attack! Hopefully, this dish is meant to be shared, but even an individual 10-ounce cheese fries order at Johnnie Rockets clocks in at 760 calories with 43 grams of fat.
Instead: Skip the toppings. Fries, at heart, are just potatoes, which, while a bit carby, aren’t unhealthy. If you have an option between steak fries and shoestring/thin-cut fries, go with the steak fries. The potato-to-grease ratio is much higher, so essentially each steak fry absorbs less fat than the shoestring/thin-cut variety. Also, if you’re at an Irish or British pub, you could use no-calorie vinegar as your condiment of choice instead of HFCS-laden ketchup.

3. Nachos
This “snack” plate is a fiesta of fat and calories—a bed of deep-fried tortilla chips, loaded with full-fat melted cheese and sour cream. At least there’s some salsa, which is low in calories; refried beans, which give you a little fiber with your fat; and some heart-healthy guacamole. But don’t let those ingredients justify the indulgence—nachos can often be the most caloric item on the menu. One order of Classic Nachos at Chili’s contains 1,570 calories and 115 grams of fat (58 grams of which are saturated). Even if you share this pile of fatty goodness with a friend, you’ve still inhaled almost your entire day’s recommended allowance of fat, and you haven’t even ordered dinner. Olé!
Instead: Let your fork be your friend. Instead of using the tortilla chips as your cheese delivery system, use a fork and pick at the healthier things on the nacho plate—the salsa, the guacamole, the jalapeños, the olives, the beans, or the lean chicken or steak (if the nachos come with that). I also recommend sitting/standing far away from the nachos. It’ll be less tempting to eat them absentmindedly. If you’ve only ordered chips and salsa, try keeping your salsa-to-chip ratio high. The salsa’s low-calorie and nutritious, the chip is fattening and virtually nutrition free. So load up a chip with healthy salsa. Better to get refills on the salsa than the chips.

4. Deep-fried delicacies
This year, a top seller at state and county fairs is deep-fried Coke. Clearly, as a society, we have arrived at a point where we are able and willing to deep-fry pretty much anything. From classics like onion rings and calamari to new innovations like deep-fried jalapeño rings, anything that can be dipped in batter and dropped into a vat of sizzling oil will be served at your local bar. But keep in mind that while these munchies may have begun their lives as vegetables and seafood, they are not for the health-conscious. A large raw onion has 60 calories and no fat; a typical serving of onion rings has 500 calories and 34 grams of fat. Three ounces of squid contain 78 calories with one gram of fat; an order of calamari fritti at the Macaroni Grill has 1,210 calories with 78 grams of fat (13 of which are saturated). Clearly the lesson is to stay away from the deep fryer.
Instead: The bright side of a deep-fried menu is that a deep fryer is usually a sign of a working kitchen—one that might have a refrigerator. If so, you could order an alternate appetizer like shrimp cocktail—a 10-shrimp serving only runs you 228 calories with 4 grams of fat. Or order a salad with dressing on the side. And if you feel bad that you’re not joining the crowd at the saturated fat trough, see if you can get a buddy to go halfsies with you on a healthy menu item like a salad. Then you can bond with your friend instead of having plaque bond with your artery walls.

5. Sushi
If your alcohol-themed gathering is at a Japanese-themed or sushi bar, you may have hit diet heaven. Sake is only 39 calories an ounce, comparable to wine, and sushi—generally a roll of fish, rice, and seaweed—is actually low-calorie, low-fat, and healthy! Score! Be careful though, not all sushi is created equal. Some rolls that contain spicy mayonnaise sauces or tempura batter can rack up the calories big time. For example, a plain tuna roll is about 184 calories with 2 grams of fat. A spicy tuna roll is 290 calories with 11 grams of fat; and a tuna tempura roll is 508 calories with 21 grams of fat. Of course, with true Yankee ingenuity, Americans have figured out ways to incorporate all manner of ingredients into sushi. I swear to you, I’ve seen cheeseburger and pizza sushi on menus. Watch out for the ones that will turn your heart-healthy snack into a gut bomb—like the salmon-cream-cheese roll which has 517 calories with 20 grams of fat. Traditional Japanese appetizers like tempura can also be as fattening as onion rings. Three pieces of vegetable tempura run about 320 calories with 18 grams of fat.
Instead: Stick to sushi made without sauces, tempura, or other caloric ingredients. If you really want to cut calories (and carbs), order sashimi, or sushi without rice. A typical serving of tuna sashimi is less than 40 calories and 3 grams of fat. Also, look for other low-calorie items on the menu like miso soup (76 calories) or edamame (100 calories for half a cup).

6. Peanuts, pretzels, popcorn, and mixes
The diviest bar in town might not have a menu from the kitchen, but they’ll probably have a barrel of some crunchy treat which will be served in small refillable bowls—gratis. Again, this isn’t just an act of incredible generosity by the bartender, it’s motivation for you to get full of salt and fat so you can order more drinks, early and often. Peanuts are a good source of protein, but they have about 164 calories an ounce (about 30 peanuts) and 14 grams of fat. Popcorn is 140 calories an ounce (about 2-1/2 cups) with 8 grams of fat. Pretzels are only 107 calories an ounce (about five pretzels), with almost no fat, but you also get a full 20 percent of your sodium RDA in that ounce. An ounce of Chex mix (about 2/3 cup) is 120 calories with 5 grams of fat. And Asian snack mix (largely seasoned rice crackers) is 142 calories an ounce (about a cup) with 7 grams of fat.
Instead:
You can pretty well name your poison on this one. They’re all around the same calorie count per ounce. I’ve yet to find the bar where the bartender dished out a healthy alternative from the bottomless snack bucket behind the bar. The main thing to remember is that the bowl is indeed bottomless, and the bartender will keep filling the bowl, so you keep filling your glass. And keep in mind Ben Stiller’s speech from Along Came Polly, where his risk assessor character explains to Jennifer Aniston the number of people in the bar who went to the bathroom, didn’t wash their hands, and then plunged those dirty hands into the communal nut bowl. The nice thing about joints like this is that they’re not going to give you a dirty look if you pull a P90X® Peak Performance Protein Bar out of your purse. Also, if you plan on getting your nutritional sustenance from a bartender in the evening, it might be wise to pop a couple of ActiVit® multivitamins in the morning. Bottoms up!

Fish Oil: Nature’s Miracle Ingredient

Fish Oil
For a number of years now, I’ve been telling our members that the simplest way to improve their diets is to take fish oil for its omega-3 content. I’m happy to announce that we’ve developed a fish oil supplement that’s up to Beachbody’s strict standards. Let’s take a brief look at what fish oil is and how it will improve your diet and your health, and why you will benefit from Beachbody’s all-new fish oil supplement, Core Omega-3™.

Fish oil is made up of two long-chain omega-3 fatty acids. These are hard to find in the modern American diet and, thus, our bodies tend to lack necessary omega-3 levels, leading to myriad poor health conditions. Though our diets may not satisfy our omega-3 needs, fish oil supplementation can prove helpful and has been linked to multiple benefits, including:
• Heart health and normal cholesterol levels
• Immune system health, improved mood and memory, joint health, blood sugar health, and stress relief
• Increased energy levels and greater cognitive function
• Nutritional support for pregnant women
• Regular cell growth and division
• Skeletal system strength
• Healthy inflammatory response

Why fish oil?
To reiterate, fish contains two omega-3 fatty acids. They are DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), which are hard to find elsewhere and support healthy cardiovascular and immune health. ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), another omega-3 fatty acid, can be found more readily, but ALA is not easily converted into EPA and DHA. Flaxseed is an example of a good omega-3 source that is all ALA. While flaxseed is healthy, fish oil is a far more efficient way to get your omega-3.

While you could just eat fish for your omega-3 needs, there is a downside—mercury contamination. Doctors now recommend limiting the number of servings of fish you have in a week. A good fish oil supplement puts you at no risk for mercury poisoning. For this reason, care should be taken when choosing a good fish oil supplement.

Health benefits of fish oil
The benefits of the omega-3 oils found in fish oil are still being studied. These benefits seem to begin at conception and increase throughout one’s life—including contributing to a reduction in Alzheimer’s disease. Studies have hinted at advantages like increased intelligence levels, fewer headaches, reduced incidences of and pain from arthritis, heart disease protection, fewer occurrences of depression and bipolar disorder, and even protection from breast cancer and prostate cancer.

In Europe, patients who survive heart attacks are typically given a prescription for purified fish oil, which has significantly improved the survival rate. One study of 11,000 patients showed a 20 percent reduction in deaths and a 40 percent reduction in sudden deaths for those who took fish oil. Studies done in 2003 at Harvard Medical showed that taking fish oil on a daily basis can help protect the heart from damage and disease. Recent human trials have proven that when using fish oil that includes EPA and DHA, you can expect a decrease in the incidence of and the pain associated with inflammatory diseases such as arthritis, colitis, and cystitis.

Further studies suggest that fish oil intake during pregnancy can contribute to healthy pregnancies, and omega-3 supplementation, along with the restriction of omega-6, helps support brain function and mood both during pregnancy and post-partum. Infant formulas are beginning to include DHA as studies suggest improved cognitive function in adults who were breast-fed up to nine months while the mother was supplementing with fish oils. After conception, the new baby’s brain calls on the mother’s store of omega-3 fatty acids to develop a healthy brain. Fish has always been rumored as a “brain food.” What’s interesting is that recent research has shown that nearly 70 percent of a baby’s brain and more than 60 percent of an adult brain are made up of the long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, like DHA, that come from fish.

Fat as a supplement
Fat as a supplement is a tough pill for many to swallow (pun intended) because our most basic sense of aesthetics tends to confuse dietary fat with body fat percentage. As we’ve stated many times, these two things are not the same. Your calories come from proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. And these are needed in the proper ratio to maximize your body’s functional capabilities. But all carbs, proteins, and fats are not created equal; and it’s probably more variable in the fat category than the others. The types of fats we tend to consume on a daily basis don’t give us the nutrients we need to fulfill our bodies’ potentials. Therefore, like with any nutrient we’re lacking, supplementing is a good option.

The skinny on fat
We need dietary fat to be healthy. But our diets don’t often provide us with good dietary fat and, thus, our diets lack balance. We should maintain close to a 1:1 ratio between our omega-3 and our omega-6 consumption; however, it’s estimated that the typical American diet is somewhere between 1:20 and 1:50! When you look at the list of benefits above and the things preventing this harmonious ratio (and leading to out-of-balance diets), it’s no wonder we have so many health problems related to improper fat consumption.

How much do I need?
It’s estimated that nearly 20 percent of Americans have such low levels of DHA and EPA that test methods are unable to detect any in their blood. Recommended intakes of DHA and EPA have not been established by the FDA. The American Heart Association recommends two servings of fish per week to support cardiovascular health. The American College of Cardiology recommends that heart patients increase their intake of omega-3 fatty acids to 1 gram a day. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends that adults consume at least 1,000 mg (1 gram) a day of pure omega-3 fish oil and 1,200 mg for pregnant and nursing mothers.

How do I make sure it’s safe?
International fish oil standards are increasingly being regulated, but it’s important, at this stage, to ensure that you chose a brand committed to the highest quality and the strictest purity guidelines. The two most important criteria are that your brand is free of mercury, PCBs, and other contaminants and that the fish are exposed to low oxidation levels during processing. Since there is no regulatory agency doing this on a broad scale, it’s important to spend a little time researching your brand of choice.

As far as our supplements go, quality is our most important criteria, and this is true of Core Omega-3. According to Beachbody Nutritionals Director of Product Development, Aaron Lowe, “It’s safe to say that the oil is protected from oxygen during processing and tested for impurities during the entire process. There is a certain baseline it has to meet before it even undergoes processing, and if it does not meet this spec, it’s not accepted for production.” To further drive this point home, Lowe adds, “Who are you going to trust with your health? Beachbody has built a reputation of providing excellent products and our nutritional supplements are no exception. Our customers can trust our products for their friends and families because we trust our products for our friends and families too.”

Yoga’s Stress-Busting Effect: It Decreases Inflammation

Yoga
Past research has shown how yoga could help to lower depression and improve cognitive functioning among caregivers — and now, a new study is showing exactly what is responsible for that effect.

University of California, Los Angeles, researchers found that participating in Kirtan Kriya Meditation — a kind of yoga practice — is linked with a decrease in inflammation.

“This is encouraging news,” study researcher Dr. Helen Lavretsky, a professor of psychiatry at UCLA, said in a statement. “Caregivers often don’t have the time, energy, or contacts that could bring them a little relief from the stress of taking care of a loved one with dementia, so practicing a brief form of yogic meditation, which is easy to learn, is a useful too.”

The new study, published in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology, included 45 caregivers for family members with dementia who were split up into two groups: one that did the 12-minute yoga practice once a day for eight weeks, and one that just listened to relaxing music for 12 minutes once a day for eight weeks.

The researchers found that the caregivers who participated in the yoga practice experienced a change in the response of 68 genes, leading to the decrease in inflammation. Inflammation has been linked with health problems like heart disease, depression, rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes, Scientific American reported.

According to the American Medical Association, 16 percent of caregivers have worsened health after they’ve begun caring for someone. And about half of Alzheimer’s disease caregivers go on to develop psychological distress.

In a previous study conducted by the UCLA researchers in the International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, they found that Kirtan Kriya was linked with better scores on a depression and mental health scale than just relaxation.

7 Foods That Can Lower Blood Pressure

7 Foods That Can Lower Blood PressureOranges

Stock up on this citrus fruit the next time you hit the grocery store. Oranges are bursting with vitamin C, and some studies suggest that people who get lots of vitamin C in their diet may reduce their risk of developing high blood pressure.
Best bet: Drink the juice (it’s loaded with other compounds that may reduce blood pressure) or eat the whole fruit for some extra fiber along with the vitamin C.
Other sources of vitamin C: Guava, grapefruit, broccoli, tomatoes, strawberries, bell peppers, kiwi
Try this: Toss together a fresh citrus salad of peeled sliced oranges, shaved fennel, thinly sliced onion, olives and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, recommends Aglaia Kremezi, author of Mediterranean Hot and Spicy.

Cranberry Orange Fruit Bars

The cranberries in these scrumptious treats boost their vitamin C content up a notch: One bar boasts 25 percent of the Daily Value recommended for C.
Get the recipe here.

Low-fat or skim Milk

Getting enough of the white stuff isn’t just good for your bones. Milk and other dairy products contain a trio of nutrients that may push down your blood pressure: calcium, potassium and magnesium. These nutrients are so important that the DASH diet (short for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) includes two to three daily servings of nonfat or low-fat dairy products.
Best bet: Stay away from artery-clogging saturated fats by choosing nonfat dairy products.
Other sources of calcium, potassium and magnesium: Hazelnuts, wheat bran, calcium-fortified orange juice
Try this: Whip up a healthy version of an old-fashioned milkshake by blending skim milk, frozen strawberries and nonfat vanilla frozen yogurt.

No-Bake Macaroni & Cheese

Don’t like to take your milk straight? You don’t have to! This grown-up version of the kiddie fave is studded with broccoli – and the cheese in the creamy sauce bumps of the dish’s calcium content to 40 percent of the Daily Value.
Get the recipe here.

Bananas

If your blood pressure has been inching up lately, make bananas your go-to fruit—they’re rich in potassium and fiber. “A diet with plentiful potassium-rich foods has been shown to help lower blood pressure,” says Joan Salge Blake, R.D., author of Nutrition & You: Core Concepts for Good Health.
Best bet: Bananas taste sweetest when their skins are slightly speckled with brown but they’re still firm.
Other good sources of potassium: Potatoes, tomato paste, apricots, lentils
Try this: “For a guilt-free dessert or breakfast, top banana slices with plain low-fat yogurt and a sprinkle of cinnamon,” Kremezi suggests.

Banana Pudding Pops

These frozen treats taste way more decadent than they are: One popsicle has just 1 gram of fat and only 82 calories.
Get the recipe here.

Sweet Potatoes

This super-sweet Thanksgiving staple packs a powerful potassium punch, which is why it deserves a spot at the dinner table year round. “Potassium causes the kidneys to excrete excess sodium from the body, and keeping sodium levels low can help drive down blood pressure,” Salge Blake says.
Best bet: Eat them with the skin for a tasty fiber boost.
Other sources of potassium: Beet greens, white beans, plain nonfat yogurt
Try this: Bump up the potassium content of potato salad. Boil sweet potatoes, then combine them with chopped apple, diced celery and sliced scallions. Toss with a dressing of olive oil, cider vinegar and honey.

Black Bean Smothered Sweet Potatoes

In less than 15 minutes, you can have this potassium-packed treat on the table: While the sweet potato is cooking in the microwave, just toss the black beans with tomatoes and Southwestern spices.
Get the recipe here.

Herbs and spices

Salt may be off-limits when you’re trying to lower your blood pressure, but you can spice up your dishes with fresh herbs. Even easier, raid your spice rack. “It’s no doubt stocked with wonderful dried herbs and spices that are naturally sodium free,” says Salge Blake.
Best bet: If you like fresh herbs but don’t have time to chop them, try herbs in a tube, like the ones from Gourmet Garden.
Other sources for flavor: Onions, garlic, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice
Try this: Make an exotic spice mix by combining Aleppo or Maras pepper (available at Middle Eastern markets or Kalustyans.com) with ground cumin, lemon zest, Greek oregano and chopped cilantro, Kremezi suggests.

Herb & Onion Frittata

The best thing about this single-serving egg dish is its versatility: Any combo of your favorite herbs will work – you can make it different every time.
Get the recipe here.

Salmon

Few foods have more heart-healthy benefits than this nutritional superstar. Salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which studies suggest not only lower blood pressure, but may also boost good cholesterol, cut triglycerides and slow the growth of arterial plaque.
Best bet: Turn it into a supper staple. Salmon and other omega-3-rich fish are so good for your heart that the American Heart Association recommends eating two 3.5-ounce servings per week. No time to cook? Canned or pouched salmon is just as good: Instead of tuna, mix it with nonfat yogurt and diced celery to make a tasty sandwich spread, or toss it with greens and other veggies for a main-dish salad. It’s available with or without bones and skin.
Other sources of omega-3 fatty acids: Herring, mackerel, sardines, anchovies
Try this: Give grilled or broiled salmon steaks or filets a tropical flair with a fresh and spicy salsa. Combine diced papaya, mango, pineapple, red bell pepper and red onion with chopped cilantro, olive oil and lime juice.

Black Bean & Salmon Tostados

A cut above fish tacos, these tasty tostados are made with canned salmon; leave in the bones (so soft you won’t notice them) for a shot of calcium to go along with the ample omega-3s and 12 grams of fiber.
Get the recipe here.

Dark Chocolate

The next time you crave chocolate, give in. Besides their mood-boosting effects, the flavonols in dark chocolate may protect against high blood pressure and stroke, in part by improving the elasticity of blood vessels.
Best bet: When choosing chocolate, go as dark as your taste buds can stand. Check labels for the percentage of cacao, which is the source of all that antioxidant goodness. Dark chocolate typically ranges from 45 percent to 80 percent cacao. And eat a square, not the whole bar.
Another healthy chocolate treat: Sugar-free hot cocoa—in one study it lowered blood pressure, but the sugared kind did not.
Try this: “Toast slices of chewy whole-wheat bread, then brush them with fruity extra virgin olive oil while they’re still warm. Sprinkle the slices with Aleppo or Maras pepper to taste, and top with shavings of good quality dark chocolate,” says Kremezi.

Chocolate Crunch

The bittersweet chocolate in this sweet-and-salty snack is a good source of flavonol-rich cacao and it has less sugar than semisweet chocolate, bumping its health benefits up a notch. Most important, it’s addictive!
Get the recipe here.

P90X vs INSANITY

P90X vs Insanity

P90X vs INSANITY – Which program is best for you?

I receive this question quite often from friends, family and patients. The key to any successful workout routine is consistency. In order to be consistent with any exercise program you have to like you workout program. In this post we will compare P90X vs INSANITY, 2 of the hottest at home workout programs so you can make the best decision for you. This is about getting results so let’s take a closer look at P90X vs INSANITY!

P90X vs INSANITY – Basic difference

When people ask me the question, “What is the difference between P90X vs INSANITY?” I give them this simple answer: P90X is a strength based program with some cardio mixed in, and INSANITY is a cardio based program with some strength elements. But to stop there with the comparison would do both programs an injustice, so let’s look deep into P90X vs INSANITY.

P90X vs INSANITY – The Results

I always say the greatest motivator for continuing any workout program is the results. Without question, both of the programs have a proven record of getting good results, but seeing is believing.

P90X Results:


Now those are some impressive results! But how does that compare to the results people are achieving with INSANITY?

INSANITY Results:


Equally impressive results! Does that make your decision any easier? Let me ask a simple question: as you watched the 2 different videos, did you find yourself identifying with one vs. the other? Did one of the videos get you a little more excited than the other? If so, I think you have your answer to which program you should start. However, if you are still unsettled in your decision about P90X vs INSANITY then continue reading below.

P90X vs INSANITY – My Experience

Having done both programs I can honestly say that they are both tremendous workouts and well worth the money I spent on them. They are great additions to my home exercise library. But let’s go back to the beginning.

P90X vs INSANITY: P90X is Where I Started

As a physical therapist people always ask me about different exercise programs, and I was hearing a lot from patients about P90X (including a patient who hurt his shoulder doing pull-ups). I decided to look into it. I purchased the program and was pleasantly surprised by what I found. I still believe that P90X is the most complete exercise program of any on the market today because it incorporates all parts of fitness: strength, explosiveness, cardio, flexibility, and core control. The P90X program incorporates what Tony Horton calls “muscle confusion”. This philosophy isn’t new but P90X is organized in such a way that people continue to get results over the 90 days. In working with patients I know that unless I challenge them, I can’t expect their bodies to change and respond. P90X is an all out assault on the entire body broken down into 3 different phases, each phase building on the previous phase to produce the kind of results that make people want to continue. The kind of results that make people ask, “How have you changed your body?”

P90X vs INSANTIY: INSANITY The Workout Evolution Continues

Once I completed a few rounds of P90X, P90X + and a few triathlons, I was looking for something new, a different challenge. I remember asking a fellow Beachbody Coach about this new workout program that had just come out INSANITY. My question to him was, “how does INSANITY compare to Interval X Plus?” His response, “INSANITY is ten times as hard as Interval X Plus, get ready to sweat!” Well, that is all the encouragement I needed. I purchased the program and jumped in with both feet, to find myself swimming in a pool of my own sweat. I quickly learned that INSANITY is properly named. I worked my way through the first month and started to feel my cardio improving. Then the second month started and I realized I still had a long ways to go – I never thought an additional 15 minutes added onto a workout could make that much of a difference. I was wrong! It makes all the difference and my greatest results with INSANITY came in the second month of the program.

P90X Vs INSANITY – A Comparison Chart

P90X vs INSANITY Comparison Chart

P90X Vs INSANITY – My Final Thoughts

The truth is that P90X vs INSANITY is a question that you can’t answer wrong. Both of these programs will help you get amazing results as long as you push play and pay attention to your nutrition. Poor nutrition has sabotaged my results in previous rounds of these programs, so don’t think you can out exercise a poor nutrition plan.

Both programs offer modifications for different fitness levels, but I believe that in order to avoid injury you need to have a better baseline level of fitness to start INSANITY than is required for P90X. They both come with a Fit Test to perform at the beginning so you can determine if you are truly ready (don’t skip the Fit Test!).

If you travel consistently for your work, it may be easier to do INSANITY in your hotel room than it is to do P90X. The P90X App now makes it easier to take on the road if you are staying at hotels with good gym facilites, but since INSANITY requires no equipment, it may be the best choice for frequent flyers.

Consistency over time is what brings true change, so choose a program that excites you and stick with it! Then when you finish, pick up the other program to add to your exercise library to keep your workouts fun and exciting. Grab a friend or family member and keep pushin’ play – your body will thank you for years to come!!

P90X vs INSANITY – Now it is YOUR Turn to Decide!

P90XInsanity

Now let’s get to work!

Hydration for Athletes

Water
Possibly the most under-emphasized aspect of sports nutrition, hydration can make or break an athlete’s performance. While fuel depletion during exercise can impair performance, inadequate water not only impairs exercise capacity, but can create life threatening disturbances in fluid balances and core temperature. With as little as 1% of body weight lost in fluid, athletes can experience thirst, fatigue, and weakness. (1) Thirst drives a person to drink, but it can actually lag behind the body’s need. When too much water is lost from the body and not replaced, dehydration develops. Dehydration refers to an imbalance in fluid dynamics when fluid intake does not replenish water lost. On the flip side, water intoxication occurs with excessive water intake or kidney disorders that can reduce urine output. In healthy individuals, dehydration is more common than water intoxication, but appropriate water balance is crucial to optimal performance and ultimately survival.

  • Water and Body Fluids

Water constitutes about 60 percent of an adults weight and it is the medium in which all life processes occur, including:* Carrying nutrients and waste products through the body* Maintaining the structure of large molecules* Acting as a solvent for minerals (i.e., sodium and potassium) and other small molecules* Acting as a lubricant and cushion* Maintaining blood volume* Helping the body regulate temperature.  Every cell in the body contains fluid specific for that cell called intracellular fluid, and around it is extracellular fluid. These fluids continually lose and replace their components, but the composition of each compartment remains remarkably constant. Because an imbalance can be devastating, the body continually adjusts water intake and excretion as needed. This type of balance is referred to as homeostasis. The body must excrete a minimum of about 500ml (about 2 cups) of water each day as urine to eliminate waste products that the body makes through metabolism. Above this amount, the body adjusts by excreting excesses to balance intake. In addition to water lost in the urine, the body also loses water from the lungs as vapor and the skin as sweat. The amount of fluid lost depends on the environment (heat and humidity), and physical conditions such as activity. On average, the body loses about 2.5 liter/day. Fluid maintains blood volume, which influences blood pressure. The homeostatic balance of fluids and solutes in the body is carefully regulated by the kidneys with assistance from several hormones including antidiuretic hormone (ADH) and aldosterone. The primary solutes that are involved in maintaining fluid balance are sodium, potassium, proteins, and glucose. Adequate intakes of water and electrolytes maintain hydration levels and regulate fluid shifts between the intra- and extra-cellular compartments. To maintain water balance, intake from liquids, foods, and metabolism must equal losses from the kidneys, skin, lungs, and GI tract.

  • The Needs of the Athlete

One of the primary functions of water for all individuals, especially athletes, is thermoregulation. A person can tolerate a drop in body temperature of 10 degrees (c), but an increase of only 5 degrees (c). Heat generated by active muscles can raise core temperature to levels that would incapacitate a person if caused by heat stress alone. (2)The body uses three mechanisms to dissipate heat:* circulation* evaporation* hormonal adjustment. The circulatory system works to deliver warm blood to the body’s shell. This produces the typical flushed face. Sweating begins within several seconds of the start of vigorous exercise and this evaporative cooling controls heat dissipation during exercise. Lastly, because sweat contains water and electrolytes, the body makes hormonal adjustments to help prevent the loss of salts and fluid. When the fluid lost in thermoregulation results in dehydration and a drop in blood volume, the end result produces circulatory failure and core temperature levels can increase to lethal levels.

  • Water Replacement

Total water intake at the reference level of 3.7 liters for adult men and 2.7 liters for adult women per day covers the expected needs of healthy, sedentary people in temperate climates. The obvious dietary sources of water are water itself and other beverages, but most foods contain some water as well. Most fruits and vegetables are almost 90% water, and many other foods like meats and cheese are approximately 50% water. The body also makes water during metabolism, when energy-yielding nutrients break down and their carbons, hydrogens, and oxygens combine to make carbon dioxide (CO2) and water (H2O).According to the Dietary Reference Intakes: The Essential Guide to Nutrient Requirements, published by the Institute of Medicine (3), most people get adequate fluids by drinking when they’re thirsty. However, the report does add that prolonged physical activity and heat exposure will increase water losses and therefore may raise daily fluid needs. Very active individuals, who are continually exposed to hot weather, often have daily total water needs of six liters or more. Both heat acclimatization as well as nutrition intervention is indicated for this population. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, general guidelines for fluid replacement are as follows: (5) Consume a nutritionally-balanced diet and drink adequate fluids during the 24-hr period before an event. Drink about 500 ml (about 17 ounces) of fluid about 2 hours before exercise to promote adequate hydration and allow time for excretion of excess ingested water.* During exercise, athletes should start drinking early and at regular intervals in an attempt to consume fluids at a rate sufficient to replace all the water lost through sweating or consume the maximal amount that can be tolerated.* It is recommended that ingested fluids be cooler than ambient temperature [between 15 degrees and 22 degrees C (59 degrees and 72 degrees F])] to enhance palatability and promote fluid replacement.* Addition of proper amounts of carbohydrates and/or electrolytes to a fluid replacement solution is recommended for exercise events of duration greater than 1 h since it does not significantly impair water delivery to the body and may enhance performance. Water loss by sweating peaks at about 3L per hour during intense exercise in heat. However, just about any degree of dehydration can impair performance. Adequate fluid replacement sustains the body’s potential for evaporative cooling. Rehydration protocols are often based on water lost as measured either by urine color, urine specific gravity, or changes in body weight.(4) If collecting urine is not feasible, sweat loss as reflected by weight loss can be used. An athlete’s pre and post workout (or event) weights are taken and whole body sweat rate can be calculated by dividing the sweat loss by the time period of collection. The following equation can be used to determine volume of fluid lost: (5) Sweat loss = (body weight before – body weight after) + amount of fluid intake – toilet loss. Alternatively, taking a simple measure of body weight each morning after emptying the bladder can show a pattern of hydration over time, provided gains or losses of fat and muscle tissue are not also taking place. Fluid balance, electrolyte homeostasis, cardiovascular function, and thermoregulatory control are intimately linked to fluid consumption and each has a major impact on health and performance. Fluid replacement helps maintain hydration and, therefore, promotes the health, safety, and optimal physical performance of individuals participating in regular physical activity. Athletes and their coaches should be aware of fluid replacement needs, and develop strategies and protocols to insure athletes drink enough to keep pace with sweat loss.

 

April 2012 Beachbody Challenge Winner, Barry

Barry won a cool $1,000 for his Power90, P90X Transformation Story
Barry Crawford, Before and After
Tell us about your life before you started the program. How did you feel about yourself and your body?
It’s embarrassing really,…I can blame my weight on my back/neck injury ? Which limited me and thus I ballooned in weight ? Yeah an excuse, I liked to eat, and I liked to sit around and not do much prior to starting the program. let’s be honest with each other the weight I carried wasn’t gained in a year or two,.. I was always “a little over weight”. it isn’t a good feeling when someone walks up to you and rubs your belly and you ask what they were doing, they joke “Rubbing the Buddha belly buddy, your fat !” The constant jokes about weight,..they can hurt,people think they are funny,some think they are encouraging you to lose weight,..no it hurts ! I felt like an embarrassment to myself and my family,..not a good feeling being called the “fat one” in the family.

What inspired you to change your life and begin your transformation journey?
The desire to play with my granddaughter , who loves to run, jump and play. She inspired me to say I can do this ! I was a walking heart attack, I want to live to see her graduate from high school, maybe even get married.My tai chi coach taught me about healthy food choices,told me I should do a basic dumbbell exercise program every night prior to being able to eat dinner. I went from 224 to 210, I said wo what results could I see if i had a regular routine/program..ENTER the Power 90 and a transformational life style.

What is the greatest challenge you faced before beginning the program? How did the program and Beachbody® help you overcome that challenge?
The greatest challenge I faced was my spine ! I had been injured in an accident, and my neck and back were in constant pain and agony ! I would sleep maybe a max of 2 hours a night due to pain ! Eventually I was able to get more sleep here and there, but the pain was constant.Part of the cause tho was the large amount of weight that I was carrying on my person.I had a choice to make to be a victim or a victor,..I choose to be a victor ! The program reduced the weight, which has reduced the pain ! The program strengthened my core even doing more reduction in pain !The program was literally a life saver ! Through modifications I strengthened my core so much ..back pain ? Ha ! the pain is virtually eliminated ! i didn’t need to modify by the end of the challenge,I’m actually LIVING again !

Why did you choose this particular program?
While doing research on the P90X, so many regretted not starting with the Power 90,the P90X would have been too extreme for me at that point in time. All the reviews for Power 90 were positive for those that worked the program.clearly it worked for them,it could/did work for me too ! The thought and research that Team Beach Body placed into this program is AMAZING ! How it builds you right up to the P90X and beyond if you chose to go that route. I have had friends and family start the program now seeing the results I had,I’d suggest this as a way to start a new life style anyday of the week and twice on Sundays !

What in particular did you like about the program you chose?
The progressive way that Tony builds you up in the Power 90. First he increases your self confidence. Once that is built up and you say wow I can do this ! You start to realize he is also building up your physical capabilities to achieve even more ! And before the program ends where I would have never considered myself capable of doing P90X, I cant wait to start it now ! The Power 90 program has my self confidence up, and my physical ability to do the program is there now. It challenges you in such a progressive nature that is achievable, but yet a challenge. And once achieved, it feels so good to say ‘I decided, I committed and I succeed!”

Describe the results you achieved with your Beachbody program. Which achievements are you proud of?
My body weight DROPPED !, i feel 120% better ! I feel comfortable in my own skin ! I feel healthy ! I look healthy ! I’m so much stronger then before. My cardio stamina is baffling to me ! THANK YOU Tony H ! WoW I never ever thought I would have cardio stamina ! I think that the cardio stamina that I had (nothing) and what i have now wasn’t even a thought, wasn’t a consideration at all. I thought i’d get toned, lose weight,..but the cardio never dreamt I ‘d consider going running in this lifetime EVER ! And now i have this new found cardio stamina, I’m actually going shopping for running shoes. SAY WHAT !? Yes from being lazy sitting on the couch making excuses to going for a jog…… WoW ! That impresses me the most !

How has your life changed since completing your Beachbody program?
I find that my lifestyle changed by now actually living life ! Getting up from the sofa and doing things you see people do on TV. Guess what there is a huge world out there ready to be explored ! If you get up and go for a walk, WoW , go to the park, walk by a stream,..stroll alongside a lake,..now that’s relaxing, not sitting on the sofa. I have energy to do so much more now. I’m not making excuses to go sit down, I like doing things now and look for activities to do. Ok here’s one for ya, I’m looking forward to going by the river this summer to work on my yoga, last year I’d be looking to find a way to nap.

Coach Prize!April 2012 Beachbody Challenge Winner