Monday, October 19, 2009

New Website

Please stay tuned for new website to go live this week

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 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
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.