Tuesday, November 10, 2009

My Blog Has Moved! You Should be Automatically Redirected to the New Site Now...

If you are not automatically redirected in a moment, please visit my new site at http://www.cindylaifitness.com.

This blog is no longer active!

Thank You,

Cindy Lai

Sunday, November 8, 2009

New website launch + new email

Hi everyone,

Hope you all had a good weekend! I'm very excited to announce the launch of my new website tomorrow: www.cindylaifitness.com

Please note I will no longer be utilizing this blog. Thanks to subscribe my new website for access to all future information associated with Cindy Lai Fitness.

In addition, please direct all future emails to cindy@cindylaifitness.com

Thank you all for your support, it means the world to me!

Cindy Lai Fitness

Monday, October 19, 2009

New Website

Please stay tuned for new website to go live this week www.cindylaifitness.com...

Fighting off the Winter Bulge

Now that the weather is getting colder, all those extra layers of clothing are piling on...are they the only layers? Don't let all that progress you made during the summer fall apart! It's soooo easy to let things slip out of your control...and then the excuses start accumluating!

It's too cold, you're too tired, all you want to do is cuddle up in your bed after a long day at work. There's less daylight out so you feel more tired or even depressed...NO!!!!! This is even the more reason you need to nip it in the bud before the laziness even gets a chance to settle in!

Being healthy is a lifestyle. If it's important to you, you WILL make time! If you are working longer hours at work, get your exercise in before you start your day! Preparation and planning, just like you're supposed to do in nutrition, is key to sucess!

There's nothing better after a hard work day to go to the gym, a class or studio to go relieve your stress! Stop yourself from going home immediately and make the time to get in at least an hour! If you're feeling tired, you won't once you start getting the oxygen pumping!

If you're not up to it, doing something is better than nothing! warmup on the treadmill or bike and I guarantee you will feel better after 10 minutes! You can devote a good portion of your time to stretching. Loosen up those muscles and realign yourself after sitting in front of the computer all day long.

Remember, this is "YOU" time. Compromising with yourself to have your own downtown will help balance you and keep you sane. Forget about your boss, your significant other, your family for that one hour. Zone it all out, take deep breaths and just pound it out or stretch it out. You will always feel better than when you first stepped through that door.

Winter can get downright depressing! I'll be the first one to vouch to that, but if you keep yourself busy and healthy, you'll stay out of trouble! Sure the holidays are coming up but by making smarter choices and certain sacrifices, you can still indulge in food and alcohol without overdoing it. Life is not all egg whites and oatmeal!!! Yuck. If you're good for the most part and work on your balance, you'll be just fine!

If you have a social event that day..you need to earn your meal! Did you put in your time during the week? Minimum of 3 days is a must! If not, then you had better do your cardio first thing in the morning on an empty stomach to burn off all those extra calories! Make time! Get into a good routine of taking care of yourself!

On days you absolutely have no time to exercise, then be super strict with your eating and keep yourself on your feet as much as possible! Walking to and from work, on all your lunch break, take the stairs, get off your butts every hour to take a few steps. ANYTHING is better than NOTHING!!

I cannot tell you how many times I'd rather stay at home instead of going out into the cold. This weather totally affects me, but I feel even worse if I just sat home all day long. I feel the same just as you do sometimes which is why I need to schedule my classes and workouts for my own time.

Do what works for you so long as you take action! Otherwise, what those 5 lbs become 10lbs, then 15lbs, etc....Don't become the winter statistic. You are better than that and you owe it to yourself!

Cindy Lai Fitness

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Snowboarding Trips Dec - March through Zhitours


Have you ever tried snowboarding or skiing before? It's a great overall workout, especially for your glutes and legs, not to mention your core. You can burn anywhere from approximately 250-630 calories an hour, and for skiing approx 365-545 an hour. This is all dependent on weight and activity level .

If you already have experience in these winter sports and REALLY want to excel on the hills, you are going to need more than just a lot of practice. Strength training, flexibility and cardio exercises will ALL help you improve you’re performance! How good is your balance, endurance, strength, speed, upper body and core strength? Improving your fitness level will help you become faster, stronger and more steady on the slopes in addition to avoiding injuries.

My brother arranges Ski/Snowboarding tours through www.Zhitours.com
It's great especially if you want to get away for the weekend.
Check it out!

If you want to get in shape for these winter sports, join my bootcamp to optimize your fitness level! I cover a wide variety of exercises such as calisthenics, plyometrics, upper/lower bodyweight exercises, core strength, and flexibility in Cindy Lai Fitness bootcamp every Tuesday and Thursday @630pm in Central Park (Sheep Meadow area). Kettlebell Bootcamp Classes every Saturday downtown off the West Side Highway, 9am – Beginners, 10a-Advanced. Kettlebells are an amazing and extremely functional workout combining strength training, cardio, balance, coordination, flexibility and core all in one! Technique is crucial and power movements are incorporated to give you the most intense workout!

Happy Skiing!
Cindy Lai Fitness

Monday, October 12, 2009

Proper Nutrition for Active Individuals (part 2)

A few days ago, I spoke about the importance of a healthy diet for active individuals. I went into why nutrition is important to optimize your fitness level. Without the right source of fuel, you will never be at your best! I also covered how protein and fat plays a role in nutrition. Read on for the rest of the information.


Carbohydrates are your body’s CHIEF source of fuel. They are NOT evil!!! You cannot burn fat without it, but you need the right types of carbs. Your body stores excess carbohydrates as glycogen — primarily in your muscles and liver. Your muscles use stored glycogen when needed for energy. It’s the first form of energy expended during activity.

There are two types of carbohydrates: simple and complex. Simple are found in fresh fruit, soda, candy and cookies. With the exception of fresh fruit, it is best to avoid these sugary foods before exercise because high sugar foods lead to feelings of fatigue and heaviness. Complex carbohydrates are high in fiber and are found in foods such as brown rice, beans, lentils, oatmeal, sweet potatoes, etc, and are the preferred carbohydrate foods for health, performance, steady blood sugar levels, and reducing bodyfat levels.
Stay away from highly processed foods such as pasta, bread and white rice which are totally inadequate in fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

You'll feel better when you exercise if you eat foods high in carbohydrates and low in fat. A diet containing at least 50 percent of calories from carbohydrates allows your body to store glycogen, but if you exercise for long periods of time, you might want to consume more carbohydrates regularly and consider carbohydrate loading before a big athletic event.

Vitamins and Minerals

Vitamins are used by cells in small amounts to perform metabolic functions. Minerals are chemicals necessary to promote activities like nerve tissue function and muscle contraction. Vitamin and mineral requirements also vary from person to person.

A properly balanced diet provides all of the vitamins and minerals necessary for the average person. Otherwise, you can take a good active multivitamin such as the GNC Active brand for men and women or Source of Life Liquid multivitamin by Nature’s Path. The more you exercise, the more your body is depleted of nutrients!


Water is used to transport nutrients and waste products in the body. It is also necessary for metabolism and temperature regulation. An inadequate supply of water, called dehydration, slows body function and severely impairs performance.
As you exercise, your body produces heat. This heat leaves your body as you perspire, taking with it electrolytes — elements, such as potassium, calcium, sodium and chloride. If you don't replace the fluid you lose during exercise, your heart rate increases and your temperature rises, putting you at risk of dehydration as well as compromising your workout.

The human body is fifty-five to sixty percent water and some of that water is lost through sweat during exercise. Drink plenty of fluids during and after exercise, at least eight glasses a day. Do not wait until you feel thirsty to begin replenishing fluids.

Adequate diet

An adequate diet comes from eating a variety of foods from the four food groups. The average daily caloric requirement for adults is twenty-seven hundred calories for men and twenty-one hundred calories for women. Athletes will require more calories depending on the intensity and frequency with which they exercise. When planning your training diet be sure to include the following every day:

Milk/milk products 2-3 servings
Meat/High protein 2-3 servings
Vegetables/Fruit 7-10 servings
Cereal/Grains 6-10 servings

Pre-exercise meal

Before an important event or strenuous practice, eat a light low-fat, low-sugar, low-protein, high carbohydrate meal and allow two to three hours for digestion.

Diet and endurance

The type of fuel necessary for your activities depends on the intensity and duration of the activity in which you participate. During continuous, moderate activity, energy is provided mainly by the body's fat and carbohydrate stores. If activity becomes more strenuous and glycogen stores in the liver are depleted, a greater percentage of energy is derived from the breakdown of fat.

Although low levels of glycogen lead to fatigue, the fatigue occurs only in the muscles that are active. Inactive muscles retain their glycogen supply. Drinking a solution of glucose in water, commonly found in sports drinks, can prolong exercise for a short time, but energy production becomes severely limited.

Repeated periods of strenuous training can bring on fatigue due to the gradual depletion of the body's carbohydrate stories, making exercise more and more difficult. After prolonged or strenuous exercise, allow at least forty-eight hours and ensure sufficient carbohydrate intake to restore glycogen in the muscles to preexercise levels.

Eat a healthy breakfast. Most of the energy you got from dinner last night is used up by morning. Your blood sugar may be low. Start your day off right! It’s no mystery you will be tired later on in the day while training if you didn’t eat enough during the day to begin with!

Time your meals based on their size. Eat large meals at least three to four hours before exercising. You can eat small meal two to three hours before exercising. Most people can eat snacks right before and during exercise. The key is how you feel. Do what works best for you.

Don't skip meals. Skipping meals may cause low blood sugar, which can make you feel weak and lightheaded. If you're short on time before your workout, grab a protein bar with carbs, greek yogurt and a banana, or brown rice cakes with peanut/almond butter. For some people, eating something less than an hour before exercise can cause low blood sugar. Find out what works for you.

Eat after your workout to help your muscles recover and to replace their glycogen stores. Eat a meal that contains both protein and carbohydrates within two hours of your exercise session if possible.

Foods high in fiber and fructose right before an intense workout may cause problems. High-fiber foods, such as beans and lentils, bran cereals and fruit, may give you gas or cause cramping. Fructose, a simple sugar found in fruit, can increase the tendency for diarrhea with high-intensity exercise.

Consider beverage sources if you don't like to eat solid foods before exercising. You can drink your carbohydrates in sports beverages or fruit juices. Do what feels best to you.

Let experience be your guide

When it comes to eating and exercise, everyone is different. So pay attention to how you feel during your workout and your overall performance. Let your experience guide you on which pre-and post-exercise eating habits work best for you.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Cindy Lai Kettlebell Bootcamp- Always FUN + FITNESS :)

Proper Nutrition for Active Individuals

You run, bike, strength train, take bootcamp and perhaps participate in other activities several times a week. Some days you have a lot of energy while other days you feel exhausted. By the end of the week, you’re ready to pass out. Aside from rest and recovery, are you fueling yourself properly? Is a balanced diet part of your regimen?

Proper nutrition keeps you healthy and helps improve your fitness level. Regardless of skill level, you can become a little faster, stronger, able to resist and repair from injuries and train better!
The need for speed, agility, strength, flexibility and the ability to recuperate from tough workouts is paramount to the success of your program! Your body requires more nutrients than the average individual since you are working harder during exercise. Thus you are burning more calories and use up energy supplies faster.

Here are some important facts you should know:

Proper nutrition helps to avoid illness. Eating properly ensures you have a good balance of vitamins and minerals to fight off sickness.

Diet plays an important role in recovery. When you train hard, your body breaks down and you need to be able to rebuild it.

A good diet helps you manage your weight

Good nutrition improves performance level. If you have the right fuel in you, then you can train more intensely and work harder. Train hard and eat to stay fit. In order to reach top physical condition, increase speed and endurance, improve dexterity and flexibility, and sharpen your mind, it is essential to fill your body with the right balance of nutrients.

Today, sports nutrition has developed into a science and is responsible for the increasing number of athletes pushing their performance towards excellence. This is the same for martial artists. Training intensely requires good nutrition along with fitness in order to be at the top of your game!

Carbohydrates, proteins, minerals, vitamins and antioxidants all play an important in helping you achieve maximum performance. Proper intake of these not only betters energy, they can sharpen minds too. Fibrous carbohydrate sources like vegetables, lentils and brown rice to name a few aids performance and reduces body weight.

Just because you run, bike, strength train, play sport, etc. doesn’t mean you can grab fast food or eat like garbage! One's nutrition can affect their overall health and performance in many ways, so it makes sense to eat as healthy as possible.

When you eat and what you eat can affect your exercise performance and the way you feel while you're exercising. Coordinate your meals, snacks and what you drink to make the most of your exercise routine.

Time it right: Before, during and after your workout

Eating too much before exercising can make you feel sluggish or have an upset stomach, cramping and diarrhea. That's because your muscles and your digestive system are competing with each other for energy resources. But, not eating before you exercise can be just as bad! Low blood sugar levels that result from not eating can make you feel weak, faint or tired, and your mental abilities may be affected as well, making you slower to react. (oh-oh…did you feel nauseous before bootcamp or drag yourself through your workouts?)

Nutrition 101


Proteins are made up of amino acids, build and repair muscle growth. They are an essential part of virtually every function in our body from the muscles, to certain hormones, to our immune system(s) and more. In particular, the amino acids known as the "branched chain" amino acids (leucine, isoleucine, and valine) and the amino acid L-glutamine are of particular interest to active people as they are anti-catabolic (muscle sparing) and immune enhancing, to name only a few functions and benefits of these particular amino acids.

The majority of athletes and/or highly active people will benefit from higher intakes of high quality proteins. Proteins with the highest biological value (BV) are the proteins that should constitute the majority of the active person's diet, as they are superior for maintaining positive nitrogen balance, reducing recuperation time from workouts, and improving immune function. Whey protein concentrate and isolates have the highest BV of any protein and are approximately 50% branched chain amino acids, and high in L-glutamine. These are found in whey protein powders and bars.

There are two types of protein: animal protein and vegetable protein. Animal protein is found in foods like eggs, lean meat, milk and cheese. Vegetable protein is found in foods like wheat, rye, and green vegetables. Other sources are soy products, cottage cheese, greek yogurt, beans, nuts, almond and peanut butter.

For a person who is active, has a busy job, and probably does some weight lifting and/or aerobics, an intake of .7 - .8 grams of protein per pound of lean body weight is generally recommended. For high level bodybuilders and competitive distance athletes, the protein intake will be higher, approximately 1g of protein per lb of bodyweight being the most common.

Protein should make up ten to fifteen percent of your daily calories. Choose high protein foods carefully, because high protein often equals high fat. Stay away from low grade and preservative loaded luncheon meats such as hot dogs, etc.


Fats provide energy to muscles during prolonged periods of exercise. Your body primarily relies on carbohydrates as the top choice of fuel. As exercise intensifies or continues, especially beyond one hour, fats become increasingly important sources of energy. You should not eat fatty foods before exercising. Fats require three to five hours of digestion, which reduces the physical capabilities of the body and creates a general feeling of lethargy.

The two fats known to be essential to health are Linoleic acid (LA) which is an Omega-6 fatty acid and Alpha-linolenic acid (LNA) which is an Omega-3 fatty acid. Both of these fats can be found in foods such as flaxseeds, flaxseed oil, hempseed, hempseed oil, pine nuts, pistachio nuts, raw sunflower seeds,pumpkin seeds, olive oil, olives, evening primose oil, black current oil, chicken, cold water fish such as salmon, herring, sardines and trout, fish oil and many others that have not been heavily processed.

The membrane that surrounds every single cell in your body, the sheath around nerves, various hormones, prostaglandins, and countless other parts of the body (especially the brain) depend on the dietary intake of the right fats. The importance of the essential fatty acids for health and performance cannot be understated.

It is true that certain fats, such as, saturated fats, rancid fats, and trans fatty acids (found in margarine, Crisco, and other products) , can cause numerous health problems from heart disease to cancer and insulin resistance, to name only a few issues of a diet high in the wrong types of fat. However, the essential fatty acids (especially the Omega-3 fatty acids) are anti-lipolytic (stop fat storage), anti-catabolic (stop the break down of muscle tissue), increase metabolic rate and beta oxidation (burn calories).

Fat is an important, although smaller, part of your diet. Fats, as well as carbohydrates, can provide fuel for your muscles during exercise. Try to get most of your fat from unsaturated sources such as: Nuts, Fatty fish, Vegetable oils.

Fats, preferably unsaturated, should make up twenty-five percent or less of total daily calories. Avoid fatty foods just before exercising, though. Fats remain in your stomach longer, causing you to feel less comfortable.

Stay tuned this weekend for the rest on Carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Food poisoning

Next time you get an upset stomach which lasts a day or more, chances are high that it was food poisoning. Eating contaminated food which contain infectious organisms – various bacteria, viruses, parasites or their toxins are the most common cases of food poisoning.

Symptons vary with the source of contamination. Most types of food poisoning cause one or more of the following signs and symptoms: Vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, abdominal pain, stomach cramps, loss of appetite, fatigue, fever. Signs and symptoms may start within hours after eating the contaminated food, or they may begin days later. Sickness caused by food poisoning generally lasts from one to 10 days.

As many as a quarter of Americans suffer a food-borne illness each year (approximately 1 in 4 americans). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that in the United States, food poisoning causes about 76 million illnesses, 325,000 hospitalizations, and up to 5,000 deaths each year. One of the most common bacterial forms of infection, the salmonellae organisms, account for $1 billion in medical costs and lost work time.

Food can be contaminated at any point during its processing or production. Contamination can also occur at home if food is incorrectly handled, improperly cooked or inadequately stored. Illness is not inevitable after you eat contaminated food. The effects depend on the contaminant, the degree of contamination, your age and your health.

Contamination of food can also happen at any point during its production: growing, harvesting, processing, storing, shipping or preparing. Cross-contamination — the transfer of harmful organisms from one surface to another — is often the cause. Be careful of raw, ready-to-eat foods, such as salads or other produce. Because these foods aren't cooked, harmful organisms aren't destroyed before eating and can cause food poisoning.

Salad bars are hot spots for the top cause of food poisoning, the Norwalk virus. Hundreds of people breath on the salad and the virus loves water.**

"If you're eating deli meats, the safest is to eat fresh, recently cut, or immediately cut deli meat, not something that has been already processed and put into another package," according to Dr. David Clain of Beth Israel Medical Center. Deli meats can become infected with bacteria during the packaging process.

Alfalfa sprouts are a top offender. The seeds can be contaminated with salmonella and E. coli. E. coli causes 73,000 illnesses a year, often from undercooked meat or even street food stands but now it's popping up more and more in fruits and vegetables.

The risk from chicken isn't only from eating it rare. The bacteria campylobacter is transferred from the meat to other foods during cooking. If you use the same board to chop up the salad as you did to prepare your chicken, the inevitable will bound to happen! Campylobacter is blamed (one of the most common bacterial causes of diarrheal illness in the United States.)

Contaminant Onset of symptoms Foods affected and means of transmission

Campylobacter 2 to 5 days
Meat and poultry. Contamination occurs during processing if animal feces contact meat surfaces. Other sources include unpasteurized milk and contaminated water.

Escherichia coli (E.coli) 1 to 8 days
Beef contaminated during slaughter. Spread mainly by undercooked ground beef. Other sources include unpasteurized milk and apple cider, alfalfa sprouts, and contaminated water.

Hepatitis A 28 days
Raw, ready-to-eat produce and shellfish from contaminated water. Can be spread by an infected food handler.

Listeria 9 to 48 hours
Hot dogs, luncheon meats, unpasteurized milk and cheeses, and unwashed raw produce. Can be spread through contaminated soil and water.

Salmonella 1 to 3 days
Raw or contaminated meat, poultry, milk or egg yolks. Survives inadequate cooking. Can be spread by knives, cutting surfaces or an infected food handler.

Other types not discussed are botulism( transmitted in foods such as home-packed canned goods, honey, sausages, seafood), shigella (traveler’s diarrhea), mushroom toxins, pesticide toxins amongst many others.

Wash your hands, utensils, cutting boards and food surfaces often with warm, soapy water.

Keep raw foods (meat, fish, shellfish) separate from ready-to-eat foods to prevent cross-contamination

Cook foods to a safe temperature and use a food thermometer. You can kill harmful organisms in most foods by cooking them to temperatures between 145 F (62.8 C) and 165 F (73.9 C).

Refrigerate or freeze perishable foods promptly within two hours of purchasing or preparing them. If the room temperature is above 90 F (32.2 C), refrigerate perishable foods within one hour. Put food in the freezer if you don't expect to eat it within two days.

Defrost food safely. Do not thaw foods at room temperature. The safest way to thaw foods is to defrost foods in the refrigerator or to microwave the food using the "defrost" or "50 percent power" setting. Running cold water over the food also safely thaws the food.

Throw it out when in doubt. If you aren't sure if a food has been prepared, served or stored safely, discard it. Food left at room temperature too long may contain bacteria or toxins that can't be destroyed by cooking. Don't taste food that you're unsure about — just throw it out. Even if it looks and smells fine, it may not be safe to eat.

Food poisoning often improves on its own within 48 hours. To nurse yourself back to health and prevent dehydration while you recover, try the following:
- Stop eating and drinking for a few hours to let your stomach settle

- Drink water, seltzer clear broths or Noncaffeinated sports drinks such as Gatorade.
You should drink at least 8-16 glasses of liquid every day taking small, frequent
sips. To judge if you’re getting enough fluid, your urine should be clear not dark.

- Ease back into eating with easy-to-digest foods such as toast, crackers, bananas
and rice. Stop eating if your nausea returns.

- Avoid certain foods and substances until you're feeling better. These include dairy
products, caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, and fatty or highly seasoned foods.

- The illness and dehydration may have made you weak and tired.So get plenty of rest!

- Don't use anti-diarrheal medications. Drugs intended to treat diarrhea, such as
loperamide (Imodium) and diphenoxylate with atropine (Lomotil), may slow
elimination of bacteria or toxins from your system and can make your condition

You can never be 100% immune to food bourne illnesses, but minimizing any risks factors will keep the chances of food poisoning slim. Be conscious of where you buy your food and how it’s prepared. Of course a healthy immune system and a well balanced diet will help you in the fight against those nasty toxins and bacteria as well. The winter is coming and a good immune system will go a long way.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Alcohol and the calories

So you worked out really hard during the week and pratically killed yourself. Friday night rolls around, then Saturday...a few drinks here, more drinks there and next thing you know, you drank enough to undo allllll that work!! Yes, it all adds up!

Some popular drinks:

Pure alcohol contains about 7 calories per gram, which makes it nearly twice as fattening as carbohydrates or protein (both contain about 4 calories per gram) and slightly less than fat (9 calories per gram). This means that if you want to lose weight and reduce excess body fat, alcohol is not a good choice! Alcohol are empty calories and there is NO nutrition value!

Here are some facts you should know about alcohol and nutrition:

•Alcohol is not a carbohydrate.

•Your body processes alcohol first, before fat, protein, or carbs. Thus drinking slows down the burning of fat. When alcohol is consumed, it gets special privileges and need no digestion. This could account for the weight gain seen in some studies. Alcohol gets absorbed through the stomach wall into your liver very quickly.
Your liver gives alcohol all its attention, the carbs (glucose) and dietary fats are changed into body fat, waiting to be carried away for permanent fat storage in the body.

•Alcohol is a diuretic causing water loss and dehydration. Along with this water loss you lose important minerals, such as magnesium, potassium, calcium and zinc. These minerals are vital to the maintenance of fluid balance, chemical reactions, muscle contraction and relaxation. This is why you need electrolytes...coconut water, gatorade (actually great for a hangover). See my blog on electrolytes.

•Alcohol affects your body in other negative ways. Drinking may prevent you from getting a good night of rest. It can also increase the amount of acid that your stomach produces, causing your stomach lining to become inflamed. Over time, excessive alcohol use can lead to serious health problems, including stomach ulcers, liver disease, and heart troubles.

• Alcohol lowers your inhibitions, which is detrimental to your diet plans. Alcohol actually stimulates your appetite. While you might be full from a comparable amount of calories from food, several drinks might not fill you up. On top of that, research shows that if you drink before or during a meal, both your inhibitions and willpower are reduced. In this state, you are more likely to overeat—especially greasy or fried foods—which can add to your waistline. To avoid this, wait to order that drink until you're done with your meal.

•Skipping a meal to save your calories for drinks later is a bad idea. Many drinkers know they'll be having some alcohol later, whether going to a bar, party, or just kicking back at home. Knowing that drinking entails extra calories, it may be tempting to "bank" some calories by skipping a meal or two. Bad move! If you come to the bar hungry, you are even more likely to munch on the snacks, and drinking on an empty stomach enhances the negative effects of alcohol. If you're planning on drinking later, eat a healthy meal first. You'll feel fuller, which will stop you from overdrinking. If you are worried about a long night out with friends, include an extra 30 minutes of exercise to balance your calories—instead of skipping a meal.

•Hard liquor is distilled and does not contain carbohydrates. The current “Zero Carb” campaign for vodka and whiskey is bogus and may encourage mindless consumption. It’s like bragging that a candy bar is “cholesterol or fat free.”

•When grapes are made into wine, most of the fruit sugars (carbs) convert to alcohol, but a few carbs remain. A 5-ounce glass of wine typically contains 110 calories, 5 grams of carbohydrates, and about 13 grams of alcohol (which accounts for 91 of the calories). A 5-ounce glass of wine supplies roughly the same amount of alcohol and number of calories as a 12-ounce light beer or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof spirits.

•Beer too, contains carbohydrates. The new low-carb beers are not new at all, though this type of beer does indeed have fewer carbs. Low-carb beers are simply the old light beers with a new label and ad campaign. The old Miller Lite has 96 calories and 3.2 grams of carbs in 12 ounces. The “low-carb” Michelob Ultra has 96 calories and 2.6 grams of carbs. Coors Lite has 102 calories and 5 grams of carbs. The differences are tiny and hardly worth mentioning. In contrast, a regular beer has 13 grams of carbs and 150 calories.

If you must drink, Here are some of the best options:

1. Rum and Diet Coke (1 oz. rum) - 65 calories (1.5)
Tip: Use diet sodas as mixers, such as gin and diet tonic, diet 7Up and Seagrams 7, diet ginger ale and Jack Daniels, and so on.

2. Vodka and Soda (1 oz. vodka) - 65 calories (1.5)
Tip: Try this with flavored vodka, such as raspberry, vanilla, or mandarin

3. White Wine Spritzer (4 oz. white wine topped with club soda) - 80 calories (2)

4. Bloody Mary (1 oz. vodka, 4 oz. tomato juice, dash of Tabasco and pepper) - 90 calories (2)

5. Light Beer - 100 calories

Don't forget to drink plenty of water in between to make yourself more fuller, not to mention avoiding dehydration.

"Low-carb" does not mean "Low calorie"!, Alcohol contains calories, not carbs that contribute to weight gain. Between overindulging in food and overdrinking, the combination will not help keep you lean no matter HOW much you exercise! Moderation people, is key! You've heard it day in and day out. I'm not saying you can't drink at all! Depending on your goals, if you're looking to lean out or lose weight, watch your consumption!

Cutting down your intake by 1 or 2 beers, wine, high calorie drinks, etc. little by little will go a LONG way! If you don't believe it, try it for one week! If you can hold out a little longer, 2 or 3 weeks and see how your body reacts. It's totally up to you. Don't complain when you know why your body isn't changing. Experiment and note the results. You can gage how far you go before you let it get out of control.

Balance is key!

If you're feeling guilty, you can burn off all those sinful calories in Cindy Lai's Bootcamp ;-)

P.S. For a list of calories, please go to

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Staying on Track and updates..

How's your week going? Are you so emerged in work, you've already made a dozen excuses how you don't have time to work out, have been eating badly, or are just too tired to care?? Stop!!! Don't let yourself get there. So you can't work out the way you planned to during the week..It doesn't mean this give you any right to overindulge on all that junk! Most of you are at desk jobs, so get up walk around, up and down the stairs, to and from work, but just try to stay active somehow!

If on the other hand, you're just being plain lazy...who's to blame when you start gaining all the fall/winter weight? Learn to balance your social life with your work, health and fitness. Schedule it in, plan your meals, and give your mind and body a rest when you really need it! Being overexhausted and overtraining won't help either. But why are you so tired? Did you eat your healthy 5-6 meals today? Did you get enough rest? Is your immune system lacking? Take your vitamins? Burnt out? Sometimes you need to take a step back and re-evaluate what you need to sacrifice and what you need to incorporate. We are all busy New Yorkers!! If staying in shape and feeling good in your mind, body and soul is important to you, then make the time!

I'm always running around like a madwoman but I don't feel guilty on the days I am not physically at the gym. You can burn enough calories by being on your feet all day and not being a couch potato. I will watch my eating more carefully that though. On other days, I like to enjoy my "scheduled" social brunches, dinners, outings, etc.
Don't you just feel better when you eat better? Cut out all that processed garbage and start incorporating veggies, lean protein, whole grains, drink more water.

It's really simple...Don't make it harder than what it is!

In the meantime, bootcamp schedule is now officially:

Central Park Tuesday and Thursdays: 600p & 700p
West Side Kettlebells: 900a Beginner, 10a Advanced

You must reserve with me in order to guarantee a spot.

Also, join me in the Capoeira Festival this Sat @5pm. If you've never experienced capoeira before (which I've been practicing for a few years), you need to come uptown and see it for yourself! There will be a lot of great capoeiristas performing. Details here: http://en.brazilny.org/index.php?/consulado/t_c/

Cindy Lai Fitness

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


1/Check out "Capoeira and The importance of cross training" for capoeiristas, www.rodamagazine.com
It's a great online magazine for all capoeira related material.

2/Bootcamp Schedule Change:

Central Park Tuesday remains 630 and 730pm
Central Park Thursday changes to 600pm and 7pm
Kettlebell Saturdays remain 900am (beginners), 10a(advanced)

Stay tuned for any new updates.

Cindy Lai Fitness

Monday, September 7, 2009

New Season, new changes

Summer came and went all too quickly. The humidity is gone, fall is here, the days are getting darker sooner. With the changing of the season, it's time to re-evaluate your goals. Have you been consistent with your health and fitness? Or have you been indulging in one too many barbecues, late night drinking, or just have been slacking off?? Stop making a million and one excuses! Beat the fall/winter weight gain by getting into a good routine. Being healthy is a lifestyle and any little changes you incorporate will go a long way. You do not need to look like a supermodel or celebrity to be "healthy". Of course, proper nutrition is just as essential. It's about being balanced in not only your physical but your mental well being. Exercising consistently will help you build self-esteem, relieve stress, help you look and feel better and help keep you sane! NY is such a hectic place, never enough time for everything, but you ALWAYS have time to take care of yourself! What's the point of working like a maniac if you are going to deteriorate as you get older? How are you then supposed to enjoy life?

As the days are getting colder and you will most likely be taking your workout indoors more often at some point, you need to start focusing on changing your bad habits and discipline yourself before you lose control. Here are a few tips:

- Stop saying and start doing! Words don't mean anything until you take action

- Cut out all processed foods or at least start reducing all the junk in your diet

- That goes for alcohol too..control your intake, you don't need to be drinking every
night and feeling guilty the day after. (Depending on the type of alcohol,
calories can be anywhere from 65 calories for vodka and soda, 100-150 calories for
beer, wine and over 800 calories for frozen drinks!

- are you balancing your workouts? Cross-training? See my previous blog for details

- It's all about scheduling,if you can't get your workouts in after work,do it
before! There is always time to fit in a workout whether it's 20 minutes or an hour

- Consistency is key! Treat exercise as a necessity and work it into your life! If
you have time to be social and time to work, a few times a week is nothing.

- There is always room for improvement! Stop doing the same routine over and over to
set yourself up for a plateau, work on your weaknesses..what are you lacking in
your program? Flexibility, strength,cardio, balance,core training?

If being healthy is important to you, then take charge! Don't wait until New Year's to make a change. The sooner you start, the better you will feel. Don't wait until it's too late, when you get injured or for something bad to happen. You are still young and so long as you are willing to improve your lifestyle, you will feel a whole lot better about yourself in the long run.

Cindy Lai Fitness

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Importance of Cross Training

You consider yourself to be in better than average shape. You run several times a week for health and fitness and maybe do an occasional fun run on the weekend. You play sports or practice martial arts several times a week. You decide to go skiing, snowboarding or surfing for the weekend. After a few days, you felt like you’ve been run over! What’s wrong?

You may be in great shape for the exercises you do routinely. But if that's ALL you do, day after day, you may be setting yourself up for injury or mental burnout and that is not a good way to get fit. What can help prevent injury and burnout? Cross training.

The term cross training refers to a training routine that involves several different forms of exercise. While it is necessary for an athlete to train specifically for their sport if they want to excel, for most exercisers cross training is a beneficial training method for maintaining a high level of overall fitness. For example, you may use both biking and swimming each week to improve your overall aerobic capacity, build overall muscle strength and reduce the chance of an overuse injury. Cross training limits the stress that occurs on a specific muscle group because different activities use muscles in slightly different ways.
Cross training is a great way to condition different muscle groups, develop a new set of skills, and reduce boredom that creeps in after months of the same exercise routines. Cross training also allows you the ability to vary the stress placed on specific muscles or even your cardiovascular system. After months of the same movements your body becomes extremely efficient performing those movements, and while that is great for competition, it limits the amount of overall fitness you possess and reduces the actual conditioning you get while training; rather than continuing to improve, you simply maintain a certain level of fitness. Cross training is also necessary to reduce the risk of injury from repetitive strain or overuse.

**Runners, how many of you have knee or hip injuries?? Cross-training is essential to any running plan because it gives your joints a break. Running is incredibly hard on your body- your feet hit the ground an average of 800 times per mile, which is not great for your knees or ankles. Cross-training is an awesome way to get your heart rate up and increase your endurance while decreasing impact.**

**Capoieristas, if you haven’t already started experiencing knee pain for the countless squatting, lunging, twisting or turning, how long do you think it will take before your incur an acl or meniscus tear? You are constantly working your dominant quad and glute muscles but neglecting the hamstrings, adductor and abductors!**

Incorporating different exercises into your fitness schedule will give your body a more balanced workout and make your body stronger overall, instead of just working one particular set of muscles. For example, if you only run, you will have a strong legs and good cardio but your core and upper body will be weak; if you only lift weights, your cardio will be weak so that even a quick jog to catch your dog will make you tire very easily. The ideal fitness routine would be to include exercises that will build your cardio, strength, endurance and balance. This may seem like a lot but varying your workout in the week with different types of exercises will improve your fitness. For example, you can take an aerobics class for cardio, pick up some weights to improve your strength, try some yoga moves to increase your flexibility and balance, and run for endurance. The more variety you bring into your workout, the better.

Exercises you can do for cardiovascular activity can be running, spinning, elliptical, stair climbing, jumprope, rowing, swimming, sports and martial arts.
Strength training would be calisthenics (pushups, pullups, squats, lunges using bodyweight), free weights, machines, tubing and bands.
Pilates and Yoga can be incorporated for core strengthening, posture, alignment, flexibility and lower back conditioning.
Speed, agility, balance drills, circuit training, sprinting and plyometrics are other forms of skill conditioning than can help improve your level of fitness and what I incorporate in my bootcamp
Kettlebell training is a very functional method of strength training in a very non traditional manner. a kettlebell looks like a cannon ball with a u-shaped handle where you learn to use your entire body as a unit. You swing, press, and clean, executing power movements to build your strength, flexiblity, core, balance, coordination all in one workout. It comes from Russia and is very popular amongst mixed martial artists to enhance their fitness level. I have seen the results on myself and my clients in a very short period of time using this method of training. For more info, go to "kettlebell training" in this blog.

Exercise can strengthen the cardiovascular system, bones, muscles, joints, reduce body fat and improve flexibility, balance and coordination. But if you want to see all of these benefits, you'll need to start cross training!

Join me in for Central Park bootcamp Tuesday and Thursdays 630 and 730pm and Kettlebell Saturdays 9am (beginner) and 10am (advanced) off the West Side Highway if you want to be fitter, stronger and leaner!

Cindy Lai Fitness

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Labor Day Schedule

I can't believe summer practically flew by..but it's not over yet! Bootcampers are still going strong and kicking ass! Humidity or not, people show up week after week to get fitter and overcome their obstacles! Good job for keeping up and not making a billon excuses! The rest of you have a lot of making up to do...

In the meantime, the labor day schedule is as follows:

Tues 9/1 630 and 730pm classes taught by me
Wed 9/2 7pm class taught by Adriano

NO THURSDAY OR SATURDAY CLASSES. Regular schedule resumes Tues 9/8.

You MUST reserve in order to guarantee space.

Thanks and see you soon!

Cindy Lai Fitness

Sunday, August 23, 2009

What is being healthy? Pics from last week's Cindy Lai Fitness bootcamps

Despite the heat, humidity, rain and the heavy air, Cindy Lai Fitness bootcampers roughed it out and came to class ready to kick ass!! Like real troopers, everyone came ready to work and brought their energy after a hard day of work or woke their butts up on an early Saturday morning. Good job to you all!! That kind of discipline will keep you healthy and happy in the long run. Being healthy is a lifestyle, not something you tend to once in a blue moon. The more you discipline yourself and learn to balance what's important in your life, the better you will feel!

I hear excuses day in and day out. I'm tired too, sometimes dont feel like working out, no energy, it's too hot, etc, etc. If I operated like that all the time, I'd fall apart!! Between training private clients, bootcamp, working out, maintaining my blog, marketing, errands, social life..I barely have time to sleep! I'm a workaholic by nature and am basically working 24/7 running around like a madwoman. By no means do I expect anyone to be like me, but I absolutely believe in good work ethics. Us New Yorkers never have enough time for anything, but if it's important to you, you WILL make the time to be healthy in your mind, body and soul. Life is all about balance. Of course, if you look good, you feel good too ;-)

So, Rock on!! Keep up the good work but remember to give yourself a break every now and then to rest up. See you next week!

Here are some pics from the bootcamps this past week. Impressive!!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Exercising in the humidity, electrolytes and potassium

Are you dying or out of breath when you're going for that run or taking bootcamp? How about just walking outside? The weather has been extremely brutal this month with the humidity making it feel like it's almost 100 degrees! It becomes almost unbearable running around in this heat all day...but you get used to it.

If you are not used to this weather, you need to acclimate yourself to it. Make sure you drink plenty of fluids throughout the day. Water is essential but your body needs electrolytes especially if you're sweating most of the day.

Electrolytes are chemical substances which, when dissolved or lost in sweat, are missing the electrically charged particles or ions. Nutritionally, they serve as aids to rehydration and many bodily functions are dependent on these substances. If you consume large amounts of pure water during periods of physical exertion, the water can dissolve salts in your cells, impeding the normal function of the cells. In extreme cases, it can even lead to fatal water poisoning. But a drink containing electolytes allows your body to use the water to rehydrate without suffering those ill effects.

Normal body functions, not to mention performance, are severely compromised if adequate levels of electrolytes are not present, especially in the heat and/or when exercise goes beyond the two-hour mark.

With that said, one of my favorite electrolyte drink is Coconot Water. I prefer Zico or One which you can easily find in your gourmet grocery, whole foods and delis.

Coconut water naturally has about 650 mg of potassium (15x more than a banana), 25mg of magnesium, and 35 mg of sodium! All of this in a 10 oz, 60 calorie package. It's like nature's gatorade!

Coconut water is high in electrolytes and potassium making it a great workout recovery drink. It hydrates the body, replacing fluids and minerals that are lost while sweating. The essential electrolytes it contains are potassium, sodium, magnesium, calcium and phosporous. It is nearly fat free, low in carbs, and low in sugar. (The sugar being all natural). If you drink it regularly you will notice a difference in your skin. It smoothes and hydrates your skin leaving it noticeably softer.

Exercising rigorously and sweating causes a mineral imbalance and depletion in potassium levels. You MUST replenish what your body has lost in order to stay healthy! If you can't get your hands on coconut water, you can opt for Gatorade which has more sugar. It does the job but there are definitely more calories. Upon many ocassions, I've turned to Gatorade to save me during long endurance activities.
Whether Gatorade or Coconut Water is better, it's up to you. See which one works more effectively. I like to use both.

As for Potassium rich foods, here's a list of foods loaded with it:
Bell pepper
Crimini mushrooms
Brussels sprouts

Aside from replenishing your body's nutrients, you need to acclimate yourself to the high humidity. Just like exercise, anything you haven't done in a while you need to go at your own pace. Take it one step at a time! Get yourself used to the weather and don't overdo it, wear sunscreen, avoid exercising during the peak times of the day and stay by the shady areas. Wear comfortable clothes. Mesh-like fabrics and cottons are preferable since they allow the skin to dry faster. Always warmup and cool down, no excuses!

Of course, if you're coming to my bootcamp, You know you are not allowed to faint! Hydrate and keep up your fitness level! Most importantly...DON'T FORGET TO BREATHE!!!

Cindy Lai Fitness

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Must you feel sore after every workout?

So you felt intense muscle soreness upon your initial workouts, lasting up to days but over time you felt less and less sore. Does that mean your workouts aren't effective anymore? Do you feel that you didn't have as good of a workout on some days because you don't have that crippling soreness you first felt? People seem to equate muscle soreness to an effective workout and if you're one of those people, this is why you shouldn't.

Muscle soreness is NOT, I repeat, is NOT an indicator of a good workout. Sore muscles the day after does not mean you had an effective workout or productive workout or a results-causing workout. Therefore, NOT being sore the day after doesn't mean your workout was bad, or ineffective, or unproductive, or useless. As far as effectiveness, muscle soreness means nothing.

So then, what's the deal? How come you only get sore some times and not others? How come you used to get sore every time, but now you hardly ever do? Well, it's all pretty simple. Muscle soreness usually occurs when you make your muscles do something that they just aren't used to doing. For example, when you first started working out, that was very likely when you experienced the most soreness. Forget the next day... you were probably sore for the entire next week! But then as your body gradually gets more accustomed to what you're doing, your body gradually experiences less and less muscle soreness until it reaches the point where you are barely sore or even not sore at all anymore the day(s) after a workout.

But this only explains the "why was I sore then, but not now" question. What about the "why was I sore after this bootcamp workout, but not my last 10 bootcamp workouts" question?

Muscle soreness in the day or days following a workout is caused by your muscles having to do something they aren't used to doing.

If all you've been doing is running, yoga, biking, swimming, etc and never did strength training, plyometrics, calisthenics or kettlebells. All of a sudden you're subjecting your body to something different, you can't move the next few days!
Was it because this workout or these exercises were better or more effective in some way? Not at all. It was only because you changed something (in this case exercises), and in doing so you caused your body to do something it wasn't used to doing. This is what would cause muscle soreness.

In time, it's very possible that this new workout may not cause you to be sore just like the original workout did. Is it not longer effective? Of course not... it's just that your body has become more and more used to doing it. It's not just changing exercises that may cause the muscles to be sore. It can be a change in the way you did the same exercises. Did you do more reps? Or maybe lift more weight? Were you on the treadmill or bike longer than last time? Did you increase intensity? Any of the above could be enough to cause muscle soreness the next day.

Another thing to keep in mind is that some people just get sore after certain workouts (no matter how long they've done them) and never get sore after others. For example, my back is always sore for the 2 days following a back workout. My legs? sometimes. My abs? Always. My shoulders? hardly, if anything. Sometimes if I change something I still don't get sore. However, my progress is just fine. Muscle soreness or not, my results are just the same.

So, no... muscle soreness is in no way an indicator of a good or bad workout. If anything, it may just indicate you did something different in some way. Use a scale, a mirror, pictures, tape measure and/or workout log to judge whether or not what you're doing is actually working. Use muscle soreness as an excuse not to have to take out the garbage.

The real results in terms of toning and weight loss comes from the consistency of a good program and proper nutrition. You can work out until you're blue in the face, even overtraining, but that's no indicator of weight loss or building lean muscle mass to burn more calories.

Nutrition is key in changing your physique. The exercise just accelerates your result. Yes, you must shock your body from time to time so you don't plateau. At the same time, discipline in clean eating and cutting out the alochol will make a huge difference.

Cindy Lai Fitness

Monday, August 3, 2009

Why isn't your body changing?

Are you doing the same routine over and over? Increasing your cardio doing the same exact exercise as you have been doing the last few months? Don't you know your body adapats very quickly to cardio and as result you burn fewer calories? You can run for miles and even do a marathon but that doesn't mean you're going to tone up or lose weight.

Are you doing strength training to build lean muscle? Are you eating properly? (Go to my previous blog "why diets don't work" for more info on nutrition) It's the same formula day in and day out. Eat well, increase lean muscle mass by doing your strength training in additional to your cardio and voila! Magic!! Oh, I forgot to mention, it's hard work!! Discipline, motivation, consistency are all elements necessary to achieve success!! We can't all look like superheroes but even tney have to work! Learn to balance out your life and everything will fall into place.

The key to results is CHANGE! Shock that body, STOP doing the same routine you did last year and incorporate your strength exercises! Or you can just come to my Central Park Bootcamp Tuesdays and Thursdays at 630 and 730p or Kettlebell Saturday @9 and 10am by the West Side Highway. You need to reserve in advance as all classes are full and email me for more details.

I am always pushing my students to new limits, challenging themselves to work harder to develop that strength, endurance and mindset to achieve the best of their abilities! If you don't push yourself, how are you going to accomplish new goals? You will only stay in that comfort zone and therfore plateau!! You're not allowed to plateau in my classes. Yes, fun is involved and the group environment is very encouraging. Mostly everyone is working towards similar goals and we are all hear to motivate each other to do better!

So change it up entirely! Start fresh, throw out the old and shock your system! If you're up for a challenge, Cindy Lai Fitness will help you bring it up a notch! Bst, Cindy Lai

Monday, July 27, 2009

Additional Central Park classes added this thursday 7/30

So how good were you over the weekend? Did you drink too much, eat too much, or overindulge all two days? EVERYTHING adds up! How many calories do you think you consumed in one day?? Remember all that hard work you put in during the week, you don't want to ruin it one day! Again, it's all about balance. Just because you had a few drinks or a piece of cake does not mean you need to add fries, pizza, soda, or candy on top of it! Try to be at least 60% good as opposed to being 100% bad! Yes, you need to cut yourself some slack but having a cheat meal every day or eating those small pieces of chocolate or even having 3 drinks a night will ALL ADD up!

If for any reason, you don't have the chance to work out, then take a long walk or a bike ride. There's no reason for you to sit on you butt for hours! Back to business, eat your smaller meals throughout the day, have you fiber and veggies, good complex carbs, lean protein, drink plenty of water and you're set!

Also, due to a huge demand, I am adding 2 more class this thursday only 7/30 at
Central Park South and Columbus Circle:


Please reserve in advance.


Thursday, July 23, 2009

Cindy Lai Fitness Central Park Tuesday and Kettlebell Saturday Bootcamp Update

When was the last time you exercised?
Are you ready for summer?
Are you challenging yourself? Stop doing the same old routines!!!
Hit a plateau...Why not take your workout outdoors and have a blast!

1. You'll Push Harder Than a Regular Gym Workout
2. Get Outdoors for a Change
3. Meet Other People
4. Burn More Calories
5. Get Stronger and Leaner
6. Lose Unwanted Pounds
7. Be More Confident
8. Awesome Stress Relief
9. Sleep Better
10. Prevent and Heal Injuries

As a NASM certified Personal Trainer with experience in Strength and Conditioning, Kettlebells, pilates, kickboxing, boxing, Muay Thai,Capoeira, Functional Training, Injury prevention and rehab, Weight loss, I get just as bored working out of a gym. I love the outdoors and understand how important it is to change things up for my clients so they don't become bored with their current exercise programs. It's great to get a breath of fresh air while working to your full potential in a group setting.

Get out of your slump and get ready to KICK ASS! Take advantage of the weather and jumpstart your program with a fun filled hour workout which will include a total body workout, cardio and resistance training, KETTLEBELLS, core strengthening, intervals, running, calisthenics, plyometrics, agility, stretching and most of all, FUN!!!

FIRST intro class SPECIAL at $25, so please reserve now.

Each class will be 10-14 people max for a more personalized experience.

ALL levels are welcomed and exercises will be modified accordingly.

You must reserve with me to guarantee a spot in the class.

Please also advise your current level of fitness, exercise history and any injuries or medical conditions.
West Side highway bootcamp on Saturdays and Tuesdays in Central Park designed to challenge yourself to the best of your abilities! Combination of cardio, plyometrics, calisthenics, core and muscular endurance outdoors to keep it lively and FUN! Workout changes every time so you don't get bored!

Tuesdays in Central Park:

Meet at Entrance to Central Park South Fountain (Maine Monument gold statue) on 59th Street and Columbus Circle. Take the 1, A,C,B,D to 59th Street Columbus Circle or R,Q,W train to 57th & 7th Street.

Saturdays off the West Side Highway by 14th street, email for location:

9am (Beginners)
10am (Intermediate/Advanced)

What to Bring: Water Bottle
Wear a good Pair of Sneakers
Wear comfortable Clothing
Do not bring valuables
**Make sure you EAT 1-2 hours beforehand, no passing out!**


After your intro class, pricing will be as follows:
Single = $45/class
5 Package = $39/class = $195
10 Package = $34/class = $340

Any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Best Regards,

Monday, July 20, 2009

Sleep is a forgotten Component of Fitness....

What is sleep? Our society is so busy catching up on life, career and personal things that we forget to sleep! The quality of our days is often heavily influenced by the quality of our nights. I am certainly guilty of it myself at times but at the same time realize how crucial sleep is in terms of a good fitness program and better way of life.

When we sleep well, we are more inclined to live well. Healthy sleep finds us more alert, more refreshed, more productive and most certainly more responsive. When we don't get enough sleep, we become more vulnerable to illness, have more chances of developing diseases,decreasing heart health, increasing accidents, irritability, conflict, and depression. We have less energy and are unable to focus clearly when we constantly get less sleep than needed. So why don't we sleep??

When it comes to time or sleep, time seems to win. Americans have ample reasons to cheat at sleep. We are a time-starved, do-more society! We cheat sleep to give us more time...Time to do more at work, time to do more for others, time to have more fun, or just a little time to be alone. Sometimes we cheat sleep so we can lay awake and worry for an hour or two in the middle of the night.

For nearly 30 million Americans and many more around the globe sleep disorder is an unfortunate reality. Everyone needs to get enough sleep to feel rested and energetic throughout the day. For most this means at least six hours a night and at least 8 or more for teenagers and children. Sleep is a very important behavior that is supersensitive to many things that can disrupt it. Pain, rumination, anxiety, mood disorder, new surroundings, uncomfortable temperature, lack of exercise, poor nutrition, and medication side effects can all disrupt a normal night sleep.

-A study conducted at the University of British Columbia suggests that people who sleep less than 5 hours per night are 39% more likely to develop heart disease than those who register a full seven to eight hours per night.

- Inadequate sleep affects the way we make decisions. According to a report from the National Sleep Foundation, at least 2/3 of adults say sleepiness interferes with their concentration and ability to handle stress. That means that we may be more likely to eat in an effort to increase energy or cope with stress. When we are not well rested, we may not exercise at all or exercise at a lower intensity.
A new study has begun to test whether obese adults who get too little sleep will lose weight if they sleep more. Meanwhile, if you feel that you've been fighting an uphill battle trying to manage your weight, test yourself! Find something that relaxes you before bed, and make seven to eight hours of sleep nightly a priority. You’ve got nothing to lose by increasing the amount you sleep as part of an overall healthy lifestyle!

- Several studies show that lack of sleep seems to change the levels of two appetite-related hormones. A hormone called ghrelin that stimulates appetite may increase, and the hormone leptin that tells our body we have had enough food may decrease. Together these changes would lead us to feel we need to eat more, even when we may have consumed all the calories we need. Some research suggests that other hormones, including those affecting blood sugar, may also be affected by lack of sleep.

- Before quickly blaming our bathroom scales for unexplained weight gain, it's important to make sure that we're spending enough time lost in peaceful dreams. Researchers at the University of Chicago have determined that sleep deprivation (even in the most modest amounts) can interfere with how efficiently the body regulates the release of cortisol.

This stress-related hormone is produced by the adrenal gland, and plays a significant role in hunger, stress and appetite. What's worse, excessive cortisol levels can interfere with the production of serotonin. As a result, we may feel depressed and hungry - even in situations when we've eaten to the point of being full.

- Sleep May Prevent Cancer: People working the late shift have a higher risk for breast and colon cancer. Researchers believe this link is caused by differing levels of melatonin in people who are exposed to light at night. Light exposure reduces the level of melatonin, a hormone that both makes us sleepy and is thought to protect against cancer. Melatonin appears to suppress the growth of tumors. Be sure that your bedroom is dark to help your body produce the melatonin it needs.

- Sleep Reduces Stress: When your body is sleep deficient, it goes into a state of stress. The body's functions are put on high alert which causes an increase in blood pressure and a production of stress hormones. Higher blood pressure increases your risk for heart attacks and strokes. The stress hormones also, unfortunately, make it harder for you to sleep. Learn relaxation techniques to counter the effects of stress.


• Accept the limits of your energy. You can only produce so much.
• STOP being a perfectionalist...it makes you boring anyway!
• Establish boundaries with friends, relatives, co-workers, and bosses.
• Learn to say "no."
• Give yourself the same slack you allow others

Sleep habits are the key to getting a good night’s sleep. We can either train ourselves to fall asleep quickly every night, or we can train ourselves to lie awake in bed through bad habits. Exercise, caffeine, alcohol, stress and other factors can influence the quantity and quality of our sleep. Changing your sleep habits can lead to greatly improve sleep quality and quantity.

If changing your sleep habits doesn’t help, you may have a sleep disorder. The most common sleep disorders include the following(for which you would need to go to a sleep center):
• Insomnia
• Sleep apnea
• Restless Legs Syndrome
• Narcolepsy

There is a myth that people need less sleep as they age. This is simply not true: Older adults need 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night. However, good sleep is harder to get as we age because of health conditions, medications and other reasons. Protecting your sleep as you age will give you more energy and better health.

Napping can be a great way to increase your sleep and improve your energy. Napping has been shown to increase productivity and even protect against heart disease. Napping strategies will help you take effective, short naps and then go back to your day recharged.

Getting the rest we need keeps our eyes bright and our energy levels high. Moreover, sleep is an integral element of training. Without enough, your body simply won't have the time or biological resources to reach its full potential.

"Believe it or not, that groggy feeling you experience after a night of tossing and turning all night has a physiological explanation. Somewhere between the time our head hits the pillow to the time we hurl blunt objects at our alarm clocks, our brain's third shift goes to work.

Their job, in a nutshell, is to repair damaged cells, replenish neurotransmitters, restore our immune system and recharge us for the following day. Not getting the sleep you need prevents these absolutely imperative processes from taking place. This can ultimately leaves you dazed, down, and uninspired.

Instinctively, millions of people turn to OTC (over-the-counter) sleep aids and alcohol to quickly eliminate the problem. Not only does this discourage one's ability to establish natural sleeping patters, it can also leave you feeling more tired and sluggish throughout the day. And while there's no magic formula to winning the insomnia battle, there are alternatives."

Use Aromatherapy

Dozing off after a grueling workout can be a tall order. One of the most tucked away secrets among many elite athletes is the use of essential oils such as Lavender, Chamomile, Sandalwood, Oregano and others with natural "calming" properties that can help induce peaceful sleep.

There are a number of ways to incorporate essential oils into your sleep routine, though the most popular are through mist and diffusion. Adding a few drops to a muscle soak is also popular. You can try adding Lavender to your pillows 2-3x times a week. It's surprisingly effective.

Try Sedative Herbs

Sedative herbs and extracts such as valerian, kava, skullcap, and passionflower are safe, natural, and have been successful in helping many find rest without resorting to potentially habit forming OTC sleep aids, prescription medications and alcohol.

Develop A Sleep Ritual

Lack of preparation is honestly one of the most common pre-sleep mistakes a person can make. Trying to accomplish everything on our daily to-do list can leave us scrambling around at hours that should be spent preparing mind and body for slumber. And while there's no definitive formula that defines a good "nighttime" ritual, the most important things to consider are the amount of noise, light and stress you're exposed to.

All in all, find the time to sleep and take better care of yourselves. This will make a huge difference in your lifestyle!

Cindy Lai Fitness


"Benefits of a good night's sleep" By: Jayson Kroner, www.bodybuilding.com
"Sleep is a forgotten component of Fitness" By: BJ Johnson, www.cyberparent.com
"Why Sleep Matters to you" By: Mark Stibich, PH.D, May 8,2009, www.about.com
"More Studies Link Lack of Sleep to Overweight", By: Karen Collins, MS, RD, CDN
October 23, 2006, American Institute for Cancer Research
Archives of Internal Medicine

Monday, July 13, 2009

Why Diets Don't work?

Diets can be very dangerous. If you're looking for a quick-fix, sure...you can starve yourself or limit certain elements in your diet. Who doesn't lose weight that way? But can you keep it off?? Everyone always wants to follow the next fad not taking into consideration the consequences that may follow. It's easier to take a pill or starve ourselves psychologically but what happened to living a healthier lifestyle??

It's really quite simple. We as human beings like to make everything complex. If you want to lose weight, stay toned and maintain your lean body mass, you need to incorporate a balanced lifestyle. Going on a "diet" may temporarily give you results but majority of the statistics show you end up gaining more weight than when you originally started!

Keep everything simple, here are a few tips:

- Start off with a good balanced breakfast. Your most important meal of the day should contain lean protein, complex carbs (good carbs with fiber to keep blood sugar low), and veggies or fruit

- eat several meals throughout the day to keep your metabolism steady and KEEP burning calories! the moment you starve yourself, your metabolism drops and your body goes after muscle for fuel. Your body eats away at itself so the more it takes away from muscle, the less calories you are burning!

- Eat dark leafy greens as much as possible throughout the day for fiber intake

- Eat good fats in the form of extra virgin olive oil, unsalted nuts, peanut, almond or soy butter, avocado all in moderation

- Do NOT skimp on carbs!!! There is a huge downfall for many people. If you don't have anough carbs (40%) with your meals, you will still remain hungry and binge later on. Stick with fibrous carbs, whole wheat bread, pasta, beans, sweet potato, brown rice, wild rice, quinoa, barley, buckwheat noodles....the good stuff! Eat with your lean protein at least 3 x during the day depending on your level of activity

- you MUST eat lean protein! How else are you going to build the sexy lean muscles? It can come in the form of eggs, egg whites, fish, tofu, veggie products, greek yogurt, cottage cheese, soy products, grilled chicken, turkey, lean red meat,beans, tempeh, seitan, nuts, etc.

- Fruits have simple sugar so better to eat them during the day or right after strength training for recovery

- Limit alcohol consumption. I appreciate a good drink but I won't drink every night, it ALL adds up!

- Same with desserts or your indulgences...we are human and need to live life, but a piece of red velvet cake or nachos every day will not bring you closer to your goals! As my clients have heard many many times...Earn your cheat meal!! You don't need to go crazy. So long as you have been consistent during the week, enjoy your brunch or dinner during the weekend! Or if you know ahead of time you have the wedding, shower or big function to go to, no use eating bad all day long. Work out, eat healthy and you won't feel so guilty afterwards!

- Most importantly..Exercise!!! It's all about balance. If you want to eat something, do so. I love food and I do drink but I will always make sure I put in my work for the week. When you get older, your metabolism doesn't work the way it used to so you have to know how to work within your limitations. Of course, if you want to lose or tone up a few extra pounds, you can certainly do so by being more restrictive and cut out all the bad stuff temporarily.

Never do anything extreme (like a diet). It'll never last. You're better off making healthier choices in life. You will feel a lot better and much more in control. I had my delicious burger and fries yesterday along with some really delicious sangria. Today, I an back on track and doing my kettlebell and cardio training first thing in the morning to burn off all those calories! Don't let it sit in your system. Be good for the rest of the week. This will go a long way rather than a quick-fix.

Cindy Lai Fitness

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Thoughts on Kettlebell Bootcamp and Central Park Tuesdays

Wow, we had a superfull class last week! Everyone came to get in their last workout before the long weekend...very impressive! Although the kettlebell bootcamp is fairly new, it's been going very well and everyone totally kicks butt! As the weeks go by and the improvements are made on techniques, everyone is getting stronger, fitter and tougher!!! It's awesome to see such inspiration from those who not only care about their fitness but can also have fun doing so!! This bootcamp is not about punishing or torturing people. The purpose is to push each other to their limits and promote team effort. You're not allowed to join my bootcamp unless you include the "fun factor"! You need to have fun when you work out, otherwise it's BORING!!! There is no militant style in these classes. It's all about challenging yourself to the next level while you're working on your strength, endurance, balance, coordination, speed all in one workout.

I love the change of scenery, especially the outdoors for my classes. It was a gorgeous day yesterday in Central Park and boy did everyone work! Rest is NOT an option while you're exhausting and tightening those muscles! Huff and puff away but you must continue! Between running, lunging, bear crawling, squats, pushups and abs, everyone pushed their limits! It's great to see everyone toning up and their sexy muscles come out. You guys rock!!! No negativity here! I don't scream like a drill sergeant, just push you to do your best.

In general, I'm very grateful to have the opportunity to work with such inspiring individuals. I cannot begin to express how proud I am of everyone and their dedication to living a better lifestyle. Keep up the good work! You are what makes my job so gratifying. Thank you for being part of Cindy Lai Fitness Bootcamp. Rock on!!! xoxo

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Independence Wknd Kettlebell Bootcamp 7/3

Are you prepared for the 4th? How hard have you been working this week? Many of you will be having bbq's or will be consuming a ton of food and alcohol...If you haven't gotten a head start, you need to put in your time! You have 3 more days and plenty of work to do! Be Strict with yourself this week, EARN your July 4th meal!! It's all about balance! If you don't want to feel guilty adding all those calories this weekend, get your cardio and weights in at least 3x, eat healthier and cleaner meals throughout the week. On the day of your foodfest, do your cardio or a combination of weights, bodyweight exercises that morning! If you happen to overeat or overdrink, the next day...cardio first thing within the hour you wake up in order to burn the most calories! Reward yourself, but make sure you work to get there!

Otherwise, you can come to my Kettlebell bootcamp which will be held this Friday July 3rd @11a instead of Saturday for some extra calorie burning, sweat-dripping, heart-pumping, super intense workout!! Time to Burn! It will be held at our usual Saturday location on West Side Highway and Charles Street Pier 46. Take the 1 or Path to Christopher St, walk West to West Side Hway and South to Charles St-grassy area to left, or Take the A,C,E,L to 14th St&8th.Walk West tp Hgwy,North to Charles, *SPACE IS LIMITED SO YOU MUST reserve ahead*

We had a great Kettlebell class last Saturday. Everyone rocked!!! Between the heat and the workout, everyone kept up! Good job guys!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

If Michelle Obama has time to be healthier, why don't you??

I couldn't agree more with Michelle Obama when it comes to balance in life in terms of health and fitness. She said on Channel & this morning that not too long ago her family used to eat fast food several times a day because it was quick and easy. Her 2 daughters would accept what was given to them because it was under Michelle's control. As soon as she started to cut out the processed foods and add more nutrition to her family's diet (fruits, vegetables, etc), she noticed the difference in the way everyone felt and the need to stay healthy. One of her favorite foods is french fries (I love those every now and then). The trick is not to have fried foods, alcohol or sweets every day but in moderation.

As my clients heard many times from me, earn your "cheat meal". Working out like a madman (woman) does not mean you can eat ANYTHING you want! Add veggies as much as posssible to every meal, add your fruits during the day, multigrain carbs (whole wheat bread, brown rice, sweet potatoes, beans, oatmeal), cut out processed foods as much as possible, increase lean protein, add good fats. Keep it simple!

We are all busy people, there's never enough time for anything. You don't have time to take care of yourself?? Make the time! It's all about planning and scheduling. If it's important for you to be healthy, you will incorporate it into your lifestyle. This is why diets never work and you gain even more weight afterwards. You need to start making small changes in your life to incorporate a healthier lifestyle. Doing anything drastic will most likely end in failure. How many times have I heard all the excuses? Try my job when I have trained 7-10 clients back to back. I may not have time for a sit down meal (protein shakes and bars had to compensate), but i always knew exactly when I had time to eat. There is no reason you can't wake up 10 minutes earlier to have breakfast or take a quick break in between clients to eat something. It's your choice! It's all about preparation!

Cindy Lai Fitness

Monday, June 22, 2009

Kettlebell Bootcamp last Sat 6/20


Talk about being drenched in sweat! We had an amazing and high intensity class this saturday. Due to the rain, we worked indoors with music and a whole lot of energy! Between 2 minute intervals of jumping, kettlebell swings, lunges,woodchoppers, deadlifts, figure 8's,shuffling across the room, kb jumping jacks..there was no time to rest and barely any talking. We kept it moving the entire time with active rest. Everyone kept up and did a fantastic job swinging away! Good job guys! Ready for more next week! yay!!! Cindy Lai Fitness

How good is your posture?

Ever since technology has taken over, majority of society is now sitting behind the computer these days. This leads to poor posture, lower back pain, forward head syndrome, tightness in neck and shoulders and often times..injury. I cannot stress the importance of correct posture in a good exercise program. If you do not fix these issues which are already placing stress on your spine, you are loading your body with even more unnecessary stress when going into a workout!!

Take a look at the image on the website I referenced below...How ape evolved into man and now "de-evolving". Looks familiar? Pretty scary if you ask me. The longer you remain in your present unfixed state, the longer it will take to reverse the damges. Good posture is crucial whether you are just standing or sitting,besides exercising. Do you carry a shoulder bag,laptop, or constantly find yourself crouching over your computer? Do you stretch enough, unlock yourself out of your 8-10 hour days behind that desk, have good core and lower back strength? I specifically work with clients in improving their postures so they can alleviate their pain, stand up taller and sleep better. Don't wait until it's too late. Add another 5-10 years and you may be looking like the image behind the computer desk.

Here are a list of several youtube videos I reviewed and feel are very helpful.

How to get perfect posture:

Seated Shoulder Squeeze:

Scarecrow against wall (progression from shoulder squeeze):

Yoga Cat and Cow pose:

Floor prone cobra:

Opposite arm and leg lift:

Hip Flexor Stretches:

Posture exercises at work:

Stretching exercises to grow taller:

Spinal Stretch:

Cindy Lai Fitness