Health & Fitness: Your Health is Your True Wealth

By Ashley Aragona on November 23, 2012 from Health & Fitness via

In these last weeks I’ve been discussing the components of health and fitness. Today is that last post of this series and hopefully the one that will be the Pièce de résistance of the series.  The big finale!
To start, let me summarize what we’ve discussed so far:
Post 1: Carbohydrates
These not so evil guys actually act as the main source of energy for the body.
How Should We Consume Them? Skip refined carbohydrates and opt for whole grains such as legumes, fruits, veggies, oats, whole wheat and brown rice.  Avoid simple carbs, (sugar!) as much as possible.
Post 2: Cardiovascular Health
How Do We Obtain It?- Well while genetics do play a role here, there are still some things you can do. The main things: exercise, managing weight, lifestyle and diet.  One of the big things to remember from this one was cholesterol and how eating limited saturated and trans fats could reduce it.
Post 3:  Protein
How Should We Consume Them?  Lean proteins are always a winning choice with chicken,  turkey breast, tuna and salmon.  Soy and Whey proteins are common protein supplements, which are also complete proteins.
Post 4: Muscular Strength and Endurance
How Do We Obtain It?- This week we learned that muscular strength is how MUCH you can do and muscular endurance is how LONG you can do it for.  Remember, EVERYONE needs to be doing a strength- training program. The goal isn’t always to get big; it’s to make life easier on you and your body! Remember Jack Lalanne and be motivated! : )
Post 5: Fats
How Should We Consume Them: Remember, fats are not ALL bad. In fact, your body needs some to function normally. Key words here:
Unsaturated- Good fats- (but in moderation)- Avocadoes, Fatty Fish, & Nuts.
Saturated- Less Good- Beef, Poultry, Full Fat Dairy
Trans Fats-  Bad Fats- think words like: deep fried, margarine, and highly processed
Post 6:  Flexibility Training  
How Do We Obtain It? I had a list of things here, but my top three are
1: Don’t see stretching as your warm up- do some light cardio first to warm up your muscles.
2. Aim to hold for 30 seconds a stretch
3. Keep with it! Get a flexibility- training program and stick with it!
So, now that we’ve revisited all the past posts and touched on the highlights, let’s try to take it one step further and discuss your Body Composition.
Body Composition: is used to describe the percentages of fat, bone and muscle in human bodies. Because muscular tissue takes up less space in our body than fat tissue, our body composition, as well as our weight, determines leanness. Two people of equal height and body weight may look completely different from each other because they have a different body composition.
Say what? Same height and weight but look different? How? Well, let me show you
Exhibit A:
 What we have here is 5 lbs or fat vs. 5 lbs of muscle.
See why you can be the same height and weight but a person that is higher in body fat will look bigger than someone who has a lower body fat percentage?
So, how do you find out your body composition?
Standard body weight scales provide a measure of total weight, but don't determine the lean-to-fat ratio of that weight. Standing on most scales can tell you only if you weigh more than the average person, but not if that weight is fat or muscle, and this is very important. Based only on scale weight, a 250-pound athlete with 8% body fat may be considered "overweight" by a typical weight chart. Such charts are not a good indication of ideal body weight for general health or for athletic performance.
So, how do you find your percentage of body fat? Well there are multiple ways, but I always use the skin fold test. This test uses calipers, electronic or not, which measures certain “folds” of skin; the back of the arm, “love handle area”, etc. This is what you need to remember here though:  The American College of Sports Medicine says that when performed by a trained, skilled, tester, they are up to 98% accurate. So, lesson is, don’t try to do it yourself, for an accurate reading, go to a gym with a professional.
If you don’t want to hit the gym, or aren’t comfortable with having someone take your measurements there are scales available (at a pretty hefty price) which calculate this total after you input some data. While these are a good start, they aren’t as accurate as the skin fold test, however they will get you moving in the right direction. Remember; just get started…however you do.
So, now that you know what your body composition is, how do you improve it? Enter in ALL the previous blogs. Your body composition is determine by how you eat, and what activities you do.  Let’s look at it this way.
Lean proteins= lean bodies
Strength Training plus Lean Proteins= Strong Muscles, Lean Bodies
Strength Training plus Lean Proteins plus Cardiovascular Health= get where I am going here…
Body Composition, is made up of ALL the components of fitness. You can’t just pick and choose which ones you want to have. You may think, I don’t need flexibility training to have lean muscles, but oh contraire Pierre.
Question: If you don’t have a flexibility program and stretch your muscles before strength training, what could happen?
Answer: An injury
And injuries equal less training, more resting…see it’s all a circle! There is no way that I can explain how to have the body composition you and your doctor desires that you have, without incorporating ALL of these components.
See why I thought it was so important to do this series?
Now, I know I hit you with some facts and definitions… (BORING) but this really is important stuff because this is YOUR life.  You only get one life here, make the most of it man. If you got nothing else from this series, please take this from the bored baby to the side:
Your Health is your true Wealth.
Be fit, so you can be able to do the things you want. See the places you want to see, and share time with the people you want to share it with. This Thanksgiving, be thankful for the health you have and even if you’re not where you want to be right now, be thankful that you have the tools and knowledge to change that.
Until next week when I finally let you in on my 3 day Paleta juice detox,
Yours in Health and Fitness,

Connect Bridgeport
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