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Thanksgiving is a great time to reflect on what we are thankful for and recognize underappreciated things in our lives!  I am extremely thankful for a loving loyal wife and my close relationships with family and friends!  I know I need to appreciate little things like having access to healthy food and clean drinking water.  I have spent time in Central America over the years on mission trips and have seen 1st hand malnutrition.  From a Dietitian's perspective its difficult to see kids with skin breaking down and hair falling out because of protein deficiency, or to see people die from diarrhea caused by unsafe hazardous drinking water!  Most of us are very fortunate that we are able to fuel our bodies with the nutrients it needs to perform optimally! 


The Holiday Season is a time that many of us pack on a few extra pounds with indulging on all the good Holiday yum yums!  I know I am looking forward to Alyea's pumpkin squares and my moms Carrot Cake!  Like always my recommendations are moderation and focus on the fellowship.  If you really do care about how much food you feast on, remember to start with non-stachy veggies and drink plenty of water.  Plus refuse to take any leftovers home or insist on everyone taking the leftovers.


Starting in January we are going to have a BodyFat Challenge, with the Winner receiving a Free Trip to the CaribbeanHow its going to work is simple; whoever loses the highest % Bodyfat between Jan 1 2015-April 30th 2015 wins!  We will be measuring bodyfat with the DEXA scan at MSU.  The Dexa is considered the Gold Standard for testing bodyfat %!  It measures down to the gram (there is 454 grams in a pound) so it is extremely accurate! 

If you are interested in participating, let a BigTime Results staff member know and we will need to schedule a time for you to get your baseline DEXA scan completed.  All clients of BigTime Results receive free entry into the challenge.  If you are interested in the challenge and not a client you will just need to pay for the DEXA scans. 

 -Noah Alldredge, RD, CPT


Logan's Wellness Workshop
 The Science Behind Our Annual Feast



The Science


Thanksgiving meal can be a major road block when seeking a healthy lifestyle and can be the catalyst that sends your diet spiraling out of control during the holiday season. Let's take a closer look at the science behind our beloved Thanksgiving meal and see if we can find a healthier path through the maze of stuffing, sweet potatoes, and of course, turkey.

Speaking of turkey, there is no better place to start when breaking down the traditional meal. Most people have a preference when asked the age old question, "White or dark meat?", but what constitutes this difference?


            White meat, traditionally found in the breast and wings of the turkey is made up of explosive, powerful muscle tissue. Turkeys have the ability to fly but they spend most of their time strutting on the ground, only using their wings in times of emergency. Because of this, they have developed the same muscle composition in their wings that we would expect to see in a power lifter. It is poorly vascularized (receives a relatively small blood supply) because it is more adept at burning glycogen (the type of sugar or carbohydrate stored in your muscles) for energy. Because of this adaptation, the muscle does not rely on the supply of energy from the blood. No blood = white coloring. White meat is very lean (low fat content) and thus has fewer calories than dark meat.

            As you might expect then, the dark meat (found predominantly in the legs and thighs) is so colored because of its vascularity. These red muscle cells are of the same composition that we would expect to find in a runner's legs. A turkey spends all day strutting on the ground and endurance activities require a large blood supply to replenish the muscles energy source and oxygen (aerobic respiration requires oxygen). Dark meat, having a higher fat content, yields more calories, but also has higher levels of vitamins and minerals

Another common talking point for this holiday bird is known as tryptophan. L-Tryptophan is an essential amino acid found in turkey and is often said to make you sleepy. L-Tryptophan is responsible for producing niacin (a B-vitamin), serotonin, and melatonin. The last two complexes are neurotransmitters that elicit a calming effect and help regulate sleep. What most people don't know, however, is that there is a comparable amount of L-tryptophan in foods such as chicken, pork, and cheese.


Now that we've covered the protein in you thanksgiving meal, let's cover the carbohydrates and fats in the meal. Carbohydrates (anything that breaks down into sugar when digested) are extremely bountiful at this particular meal table. Dinner rolls, mashed potatoes, casseroles. You name it, it's on the table. All these carbs stimulate the pancreas to secret insulin into your blood. Insulin is an extremely powerful substance that causes a number of important reactions in your body. One of these important reactions shuttles amino acids into muscle cells, amino acids that would normally be competing with L-tryptophan for uptake. This action increases the relative concentration of the compound in your blood stream and promotes the synthesis of serotonin, thus causing drowsiness. Likewise, fats can also make you feel drowsy but for a completely different reason. Fats are slow digesting and require a lot of energy to breakdown. For this reason, blood flow is diverted from other areas of your body and directed towards the gut to help with the digestion process. The diversion of resources causes energy levels to decrease after a meal rich in fats.

Now let's cover the final two aspects of the Thanksgiving meal, over-eating and alcohol consumption. Just like with fats, over-eating diverts blood flow to the gut to help with digestion. The large amount of food we tend to consume on holidays requires a lot of attention from our body, leaving our nervous system low on energy. Alcohol can compound the issue if you, like many, choose to partake during the thanksgiving meal. Alcohol is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant which leads to that sleepy feeling.


The Tips        

            Now that we've broken down the science behind our favorite feast, what can we take away to help avoid some of these pitfalls?

  • Exercise - Over-eating is common practice during this holiday. Why not boost your metabolism an hour or so before your feast with a quick cardio routine or high intensity interval training. Elevate your heart rate for at least 30 minutes to obtain a lasting boost to your metabolism. Any type of exercise will help, but high intensity cardio increases your metabolism the most.
  • White or Dark Meat? - White meat has less fat and fewer calories. Dark meat has higher fat content (albeit mostly healthy mono- and polyunsaturated fats) and a higher concentration of vitamins and minerals. Normally the decision would be rather trivial but when adding all the other food consumed with this meal, the lower calorie white meat makes a difference. Also, avoid skin to cut even more calories.
  • Drowsiness - L-Tryptophan may play a small role in your after-dinner snooze fest but the real culprits here are over-eating and carbohydrates. This sleep inducing cocktail can be easily avoided, however, with minimal self control. Eat your turkey and veggies to your heart's content, just cut back on the refined carbs and simple sugars. This simple action will decrease the carbohydrate load and the total amount of food ingested. Two birds, one stone, you're welcome! 
-Logan Wendt, Director of Corporate Wellness
Total WHALEness Minute
The Holidays Are Here....Have No Fear!

This month, I want to tackle the topics of stress, anxiety and fear. Part of helping clients set successful goals is finding out how confident they are in accomplishing them. We can't achieve our goals if we are fearful of failure!

What's worse- the holidays can add extra stress AND extra pounds, which in turn adds more stress and so on and so on! (there is a reason stressed spelled backwards is desserts!)

When we are stressed, we tend to overeat, produce more cortisol and store more fat. This can derail us from our goals.

SO what is your plan of attack this Holiday season? Well----it's just that----have a plan! If you can start now, you are a month ahead of most who set New Year's resolutions. Now I'm not saying you can't partake in the delicious treats and parties that this time of year brings. BUT you must supplement your extra calories with extra workouts!

START a new workout plan (sign up for boot camp or personal training) Get your body in the habit of moving so when the new year comes around, you've already awaken your muscles! And there's no better accountability than sore muscles during the Holidays. If you can barely pick up that piece of pound cake due to a killer arm workout the day before- then it might encourage you to reach for fruit instead (I said fruit, not fruitcake!!!)

START making a Vision Board in December that you can hang in your bedroom, bathroom, office, or even place in a private folder that only you can see. Start cutting out images and quotes of things you value and things that you want. In other words, if you build it, they will come. THEY meaning, YOUR visions and goals. (if you want more ideas/advice on Vision Boards and Statements, let me know!)

START letting go! Are you harboring any anger or unforgiveness? This can bring extra anxiety into your life. There's no better time like the end of a year to start fresh with someone. You can also let go of old clothes and clutter in your home.  Clean out a closet or drawer---this can have a great affect on how you feel.

Have you noticed a common action here? STARTING! Start doing and stop making excuses! Allow the Holidays to bring out the best in you----after all, they exist to celebrate the best things in life---things we are grateful for and why we are here on earth! Your wellbeing is a big part of all that. So take a moment to take a deep breath and think about all you are grateful for and how all those blessings can help you get through this Holiday season. If you can manage your stress, I'm confident you can have your best one yet- all while getting closer to your health and wellness goals.

 -Alyea Alldredge, Certified Health and Wellness Coach


New BigTime Team Member
Let's welcome Matt Hancock to the team!

Tell us a little bit about yourself?


I'm a 29 year old fitness enthusiast in my last semester at MSU earning my degree in Exercise and Movement Science.


How did you decide to go into the health and fitness industry?


Playing sports my whole life I have always lived an active lifestyle. In high school I became interested in weightlifting to improve myself in football. I kind of got hooked from there and experimented with all sorts of training, from powerlifting to running and cycling. After a few years I wanted to gain the knowledge behind the workouts I'd been doing for so long. So I went back to school and began my exercise science degree at MSU.


What motivates you to live a healthy active lifestyle?


My family and friends help me to stay on track to live a healthy lifestyle. I have a family history of cancer and hypertension so knowing the benefits that exercising will have now, as well as down the road motivates me immensely. I always love to try new things and seeing how far my body can go during workouts. From long bike rides, like the MS 150, to weightlifting competitions, I keep my routine fresh so I never get bored or get stuck in a rut.


What is a goal you want to get accomplish with your clients?


No matter who I train or what their goal may be, the one driving factor that motivates me is to see people reach their goals and see them do things that they never thought were possible before. For most people it's simply a mental block to push their body to a place that it's never been. My ultimate satisfaction is seeing people's satisfaction from reaching that ultimate PR or weight loss goal.


What is your greatest achievement when it comes to fitness?  


Being in sports and mostly football my whole life, I was grateful I had the opportunity to receive a full ride to play college football out of high school. That showed that all my hard work in the weight room and on the track had really paid off and taught me the value of hard work.


Give us some insight into having big biceps like you? 

Watch "Pumping Iron" and eat tofu rice cakes. That's all the insight you'll ever need.


Saturday Yoga
There will be no Saturday Yoga class through November and December.
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Our weight-loss extravaganza begins in January and ends in March. Earn prizes based on % body weight lost!
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