Friday, May 30, 2008


Where has the time gone? "I don’t have the time." "There are not enough hours in the day." If we all had a dime for every comment we have made in our lives about time, we would be rich, and we would also have a-heck-of-a-lot more time. Time is a tricky topic. So many of us look for more in our daily lives and never find it; the mother with children who can’t seem to find the time to exercise; the person who, after a long day of hard work just wants to relax and not think about anything, and then wonders why nothing gets done. We all have the same 24 hours and none of us knows exactly how much time we'll have on this planet, so using time wisely is essential for a happy and joyful existence. Sometimes it's a good idea to take the time to figure out if your choices make for a happy & healthy life. When you're looking for solutions to help solve problems it hard sometimes to know if you're being sold a bill of goods. We don't have the time (or make the time) to clearly learn and understand the concepts and philosophies that can help make our lives better. When it comes to our health and fitness for example, the common belief is that you must eat measured amounts of healthy food and exercise regularly. Pretty simple, yet most people don't do it. Too hard, too complicated, no time. Because we're not willing to really understand the process of change, we take the lazy man's way out and buy pills, potions and gimmicks to solve our problems. A vicious cycle where somebody else is making a dollar and you're getting fooled again. 

We all possess the power to use the time we are given as efficiently or inefficiently as we choose, and since we're all on the same playing field as far as time goes, why do some accomplish so much and others so little?  It’s pretty simple actually, but some of us forget the process sometimes. Decide what you want, decide what you need to do, and organize those tasks or chores accordingly. (I told you it was simple…) For instance, I don't miss my workouts because they are my top priority. They make me feel good, it’s a chance to hang out with friends and since it’s something I love, it makes it fun too.  It’s why I designed my programs to be somewhat pre-organized, to make it as easy as possible for you to reach your own fitness goals, all you have to do is show up. If you fill your life with the things that matter, whether it be in your goals for fitness, work, personal, whichever, you will be actively involved in your life and your day will be filled with worthwhile activities. The thought of taking an hour out of your day to exercise is overwhelming to many people. "I don't have the time (or desire) for that!" The science of exercise physiology has shown that 3 ten minute workouts spread throughout the day is just as effective as routines lasting an hour. If you believe that Power90 and P90X routines are too time consuming then fine; now you have no more excuses. Ten Minute Trainer is the fitness time crunch solution. This program was designed to allow everyone to make the time for exercise and good health. I want you to organize, categorize and prioritize your choices in life. Take the time to map out the hours, days, weeks, and years you are blessed with, and I guarantee you will never run out of time again.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Kitchen Makeover

5 Steps to a Healthier Kitchen & Healthier Life.

We’ve all heard of face makeovers, home makeovers and clothing makeovers,
but a kitchen makeover?? You got it!! Spring is the best time to start anew,
clean our cupboards, clean our bodies & clean our closets…so let’s start in
the kitchen and jump-start your health and wellness for a fabulous feel-good
summer!! First step is to open your kitchen cupboards. Are they loaded with
primarily processed, canned and boxed food? Most of this food is void of any
nutritional value and is not good for us. Yet we’ve become so attached to
our favorite cereal or favorite loaf of bread that we have a difficult time
giving it up. The good news is that there are many alternatives available
today to create a healthier, more nutritious way of eating. Below are some
steps to help you makeover your kitchen into a smorgasbord of healthy, tasty

1. Whole Grain Products – Ditch those white flour products and look for
breads, pastas & even cookies made from whole wheat, whole grain or even
better, sprouted grain flours. Make sure your labels say, “whole wheat” and
not “enriched wheat” or “wheat flour” which are both just “fancy” names for
white flour. White flour is void of nutritional content and fiber. It causes
an extreme rush of insulin in the body, which in turn results in the well
familiar afternoon slump. The complex carbohydrates & fiber in sprouted &
whole grain flours will give you staying power and an even flow of energy
throughout the day. Your cravings for sugar will begin to wane and you will
have more energy! 

1. Vegetables – Do you get your daily servings of veggies out of a can or a
box that comes in the freezer section of your grocery store?? Most canned
vegetables are void of their nutritional value due to over processing. If
you are unable to buy fresh veggies, go with frozen over canned. Fresh and
organic is the best choice, but frozen will do. Stock up on plenty of dark
leafy greens, which are rich in minerals, micronutrients, vitamins & iron.
Try out some curly leaf kale or sauté up some Swiss chard with garlic and
olive oil. Your taste buds and your body will thank you!

1. Dairy Alternatives  - Look for cheeses made from Sheep or Goat milk,
which are easier to digest than Cow’s milk cheese. Even people who claim to
be lactose intolerant can usually handle these types of cheeses. Goat’s milk
Feta adds a zesty tang to salads and whole grain pasta dishes! Remember to
use cheese in moderation, as it is high in saturated fat. For all you milk
lovers, try these tasty alternatives available at most grocery stores in the
specialty foods section: rice milk, almond milk & even hemp milk which is
great on whole grain cereal with some freshly sliced strawberries!

1. Complex Carbohydrates (Grains & Vegetables) – Ban the white rice and
indulge in brown rice, wild rice, buckwheat, quinoa and the many other
grains available today. Eat plenty of beans (preferably freshly cooked from
dried beans), grains & vegetables together to give you a well-rounded
spectrum of complex carbs & protein. Sweet potatoes with Black beans are a
great source for this and they’re yummy too! Top with a little organic
butter or some cinnamon & nutmeg for a dessert like side dish.

1. Healthy Fats – Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, Peanut Oil & Almond Oil are a few
examples of healthy fats that are fantastic for the body in moderate
amounts. All of these oils are good to cook with and are stable under high
heat. Get rid of those highly processed margarines, shortening or any other
product containing trans-fatty acids.

Remember that taking small steps toward your health is better than no steps
at all. Start by clearing out the white flour & sugar products and replace
them with the healthier whole grain alternatives. Try these alternatives for
a couple weeks and feel the difference they make in your energy, well-being
and mood. Makeovers are sometimes hard to maintain, but if you take baby
steps, you will learn to change your eating habits into a healthier eating
lifestyle that will stay with you for a long time to come.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Pillow Talk ~ 9 Steps to Better Sleep

In 1965, a 17 year-old college student tried to set a world record for staying awake. During 264 hours and 12 minutes this record-seeker managed to stay awake (that's just over 11 days straight, by the way) he experienced the following symptoms: visual and auditory hallucinations, increased heart rate, low blood pressure, and psychosis. Luckily, he managed to make a full recovery after sleeping hard for 14 hours and 40 minutes.

The amount and quality of sleep we get each night has a significant influence on the way we feel and perform during our waking hours.  Inadequate rest reduces our ability to remember, concentrate, plan, make decisions, and do math. Too little sleep also results in drowsiness and reduced physical performance, which makes us more prone to injuries, including motor-vehicle accidents.  On the other hand, sleeping deeply at night allows the release of growth hormones, efficient cell growth and repair, and helps us be at our best to engage with others, both emotionally and socially during the day.
A lot of people who have difficulty falling or staying asleep turn to medication for help. If this is a problem for you, the following are 9 steps you can take to help ensure a good night's sleep without a prescription:
1. Limit the use of your bedroom.
Your bedroom should be reserved for sleep and sex. Keep office work and other stressful and stimulating activities outside the bedroom.  That includes TV and other entertainment media.  The idea is to not associate stress or any unnecessary stimulation with your bedroom. By doing this, you will condition your body to relax and anticipate sleep (and little else) when you enter your bedroom at night. 
2. Be consistent with sleep and wake times.
Go to sleep and get up around the same time each morning and night. This will condition your body to fall into a routine of sleep and wakefulness.  This works best if you can keep the same routine every day of the week, meaning don't go to bed and rise too much later on the weekends than you do during the work week.
3. Avoid nicotine, caffeine, sugar, and alcohol close to bedtime.
Nicotine, caffeine, sugar are stimulats that cause you to sleep lightly and wake up earlier than you need to because of withdrawal. Common sources of caffeine are coffee, soft drinks, non-herbal teas, and some over-the-counter and prescription medications. Alcohol prevents deep sleep and interferes with REM-stage sleep, the stage of sleep that stimulates the learning centers of the brain.
4. Sleep in complete darkness.
Melatonin is a hormone that initiates our desire to sleep and affects the depth of sleep we achieve. Darkness stimulates melatonin production while light inhibits it. The darker it is in your room during sleep time, the better your melatonin production, and the better the quality of your sleep. Even a dim light from a night or hall light can disrupt your sleep cycle and prevent you from getting deep sleep.
5. Exercise regularly.
Just another benefit from working out with your old pal Tony. Exercising at least 30 minutes a day promotes a greater need for deep sleep and decreases stress. Do not exercise close to your bedtime, because exercise is stimulating and can create difficulties in falling asleep. Ideally, you don't want to exercise vigorously within 3 hours of your bedtime, so when you bring it, bring it early.
6. Make sure you have a comfortable mattress.
Invest in a mattress that you feel comfortable sleeping on.  As simple as that sounds, there are way too many people who aren't sleeping well simply because they're on a mattress that's too hard, too soft, or just not supportive enough.
7. Claim your bed space.
Don't share your bed with someone who crowds your space or moves around so much that you have difficulty falling or staying asleep. This includes your partner, children, and pets. If you share a bed with your partner and/or children and find it crowded, consider investing in a bigger bed, push two beds together, or try sleeping with separate blankets.  For some of us, this one may be easier said than done, but it is important, so I had to tell ya.
8. Get up if you can't sleep.
If you can't fall asleep after 15 minutes, get up and do something else (relaxing and not involving bright light) in another room. Thinking about your inability to sleep will contribute to your inability to sleep, which creates a vicious cycle. Reading and listening to music can be good activities. Watching TV or surfing the net however, may keep you up longer.
9. Figure out how much sleep you need.
Not everyone needs exactly the same amount of sleep to function well. To determine how long you need to sleep, choose a day when you don't have early commitments and sleep until you wake up on your own (without an alarm, loud noises, or other external motivation).  Note when you went to bed and when you woke up.  This exercise will determine the optimal amount of sleep for you.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Do Fish Oils Prevent Alzheimer's Disease?

If a drug company announced that a new drug reduced the incidence of Alzheimer's disease by 60% in a large, impressive study, the news would fill newspaper headlines and be the talk of many a cable news and daytime talk show for weeks. But what if this remarkable discovery wasn't a new drug, but a natural substance from which the pharmaceutical companies don't stand to make any profit (and therefore have no incentive to promote) - would it get the same attention?
That would be a no. A growing number of studies are showing that fish oils (omega-3 fatty acids) can help treat mild Alzheimer's disease and may even prevent Alzheimer's from developing in the first place. One of the most impressive prospective studies on this topic followed 815 older people over 4 years.  By following people before any illness had developed, researchers were able to identify factors associated with Alzheimer's disease development in some participants. One of the most compelling findings of this study found that participants who consumed fish at least once per week or more had 60% less risk of Alzheimer's disease compared with those who rarely or never ate fish.  For those who ate the most fish, the reduction of developing Alzheimer's was even greater, at 70 percent.  This positive result was also correlated with people who took omega-3 fatty acids as a supplement, particularly DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), which is a component of fish oils and a major component of human brain tissue.
Since the mid 1990's a number of studies in the U.S. and abroad have found similar findings. In a 7-year study of 1674 people over age 67 conducted in 2002, participants whose diet had the greatest consumption of fish also had the lowest incidence of dementia. A 2006 study found that taking fish oil supplements can slow cognitive decline in people with mild Alzheimer's disease. No matter the study, the same essential findings were consistent in each one.  The more fish people ate (or omega-3 fatty acids they consumed), the less likely they were to develop dementia, including Alzheimer's disease.  It is believed that fish is beneficial because omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation in the brain and assist the regeneration of nerve cells.  The evidence is not complete, but it is promising, more promising than many of the drugs that are prescribed by doctors every day.
Experts believed that much of the degeneration of aging is due to chronic inflammation. The anti-inflammatory effect of fish oils or other forms of omega-3 fatty acids has been proven in studies of people with inflammatory disorders like rheumatoid and osteoarthritis. There are other reasons to get enough fish oils in your diet. Fish oils can reduce the risk of sudden cardiac death by 40%-80%. Fish oils are also shown to improve glucose metabolism, improve vascular flexibility, reduce blood pressure, and may even help prevent some cancers. One important note of caution: Fish oils also have antithrombotic effects, that is, they cause a slight thinning of the blood. If you have a bleeding disorders or take Coumadin (warfarin) or other blood thinners (even low dose aspirin), check with your doctor before taking fish oils.

Saturday, May 10, 2008


So a duck and a lawyer walk into a bar… did you know there is actually a scientific name for the study of laughter? Gelotology. Laughter is such an important part of our everyday life it can actually make us healthier. Smiling and laughter release all kinds of good chemicals and hormones in our bodies, the physiological and psychological effects are well documented, and lets face it, laughing at a good joke or situation funny or not, just plain old makes us feel better. But how does it work? And how can we use it to make our lives a healthier and happier place to be?

We actually get exercise when we laugh or smile. Yes it takes fewer muscles to laugh or smile than it does to frown, but it’s much more fun, so for once I’m telling you to exercise less, smile or laugh more and you’ll be healthier. Laughter is such an important part of my life I make an effort to surround myself with friends who make me laugh.

Research shows that laughter actually protects the heart, they don’t know exactly why, but studies show that when stressed our endothelium, which is the protective layer in our blood vessels decreases allowing cholesterol to build up in our arteries. Heartfelt laughter can lower the serum cortisol released during the stress response and can therefore lower our risk of hardening of the arteries. It has also been linked to lowering blood sugar levels in people with diabetes; it increases antibodies and killer cells in our bloodstream thus helping us to fight off disease; it increases blood flow; and, get this, laughing 100 times equals the same aerobic output as 10 minutes on a rowing machine or treadmill.

So how do we use laughter in our daily lives? How do we turn around the tide of negativity and stress that is so often the bulk of our day? We simply make a choice. Decide in your head you are going to seek out the positive, the humor in any given situation. Not that all situations warrant laughter or smiling, I don’t want anyone to get punched…but, the next time you see another person, anywhere, smile at them. Not only will you feel better, they will too, and it’s fun to watch people’s reactions. Flood your mind with thoughts that make you smile, a good joke, a friend you haven’t seen in a while, a great trip you once took, a goal you reached or are going to conquer, anything positive that will bring a smile to your face or make you laugh and that’s half the battle, the body naturally takes over from there. When confronted with a stressful situation, smiling actually reverses the chemical response in your body and chances are if you smile the situation will be diffused before you can even think about stressing.

In every aspect of your daily life and interactions with others, a smile goes a long way in getting people to do things you may need or want.  The next time you get ready to work out, put a smile on your face and think how great it will be, not what a burden. We do have a conscience choice over the emotions we choose to allow to flood our bodies. Laughter and smiling is a natural physical response to those emotions, and now that you know it can actually make you feel better and live a longer, healthier life, well, there’s no other choice. Laughter really is the best medicine.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Getting The Most From Your Fruits and Veggies

Nothing beats fresh fruits and vegetables. How many times have you heard me say that?   After all, they come packed with vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals. Or do they? As it turns out, that might depend on how you treat them. What happens to our produce pals between the time they’re picked and swallowed can have a real effect on what you get out of them. 

Does microwaving really zap away the vitamins and minerals? Is it better to buy fresh instead of frozen? And is your body able to absorb all the good-for-you nutrition anyway?
It's true that fresh fruits and vegetables tend to taste better and have more nutritional value than frozen or canned. But that's not always the case. 

Fresh is best when it really is farm-fresh and ripe. However, the commercial produce you get from the grocery store has probably been picked early, before its nutritional peak, to avoid spoilage between the farm and the shelf. And the longer they sit on the shelf -- during transport, in the supermarket, and in your fridge -- the fewer nutrients they have left to pass on to you. 

On the other hand, fruits and vegetables intended for freezing are usually picked closer to the peak of ripeness and are flash-frozen immediately after harvest. The process of freezinig does tend to deplete some nutrients, but it locks in the rest for up to 12 months. So that means that often, frozen fruits and veggies may actually have more vitamins and minerals than what you buy fresh from the produce aisle and eat later the same day. 

To help retain the highest levels of vitamin C, don't thaw frozen veggies before cooking. Studies show that vegetables cooked directly from frozen retain more vitamin C than vegetables that are thawed first.  To get the most nutrient-rich fresh fruits and veggies, buy locally grown produce in season and eat within a few days of purchase.

Although some studies suggest the microwave is to blame for sucking nutrients out of your food, others point a finger at the water in which they are cooked.  For most fruits and vegetables, any type of cooking lowers the nutrient content. So for now, a good rule of thumb is: less is more. The only exception is red tomatoes.  Cooking them actually increases their levels of lycopene.  Lycopene is an antioxidant thought to help prevent heart disease, vision loss, and some types of cancer.
For the rest, eat fresh, raw and leave the skins on whenever possible.  Most fruits and vegetables carry most of their antioxidants in their skins.  Just wash well before eating and go organic whenever possible.  When you do cook, lightly steaming your vegetables instead of boiling, sautéing, or roasting will keep the greatest concentration of nutrients.  And if you prefer to blanch your veggies, dip them in boiling water for the least amount of time possible.
Last but not least, dip your veggies in a little cold pressed olive oil to help your body absorb the vitamins and minerals even better.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Skipping Meals

When a person doesn’t eat, their metabolism slows down and goes into “starvation” mode. It holds onto any calorie it gets and stops burning fat too. That’s why eating Breakfast is SO starts the “fire burnin”. When your body goes into starvation mode, once a person starts eating again, the weight will pile on cause the body wants to hold onto whatever it can. Bringing fruit to work is a great idea. Even if it's a healthy AM "to-go" snack when you're “on the go” all the time. The bottom line for most people (there are rare exceptions) is that most of us need to eat 5 to 6 times throughout the day. The meals need to be small and loaded with fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean protein and healthy fats. If you continue to skip meals, your body and mind won't have enough fuel to get-the-most out of the workouts. The wrong kind of fuel and no fuel at all makes it harder to build muscle, and may also cause connective tissue, joints and ligaments to become weak and brittle. The idea behind eating healthy food often throughout the day is to assist in burning excess fat properly, build muscle (which helps in the fat burning process) and protect skin, bones, connective tissue, ligaments and joints. Don't play Russian Roulette with your health, body and mind by skipping meals. You'll pay a price sooner or later. Your body does NOT run on exercise, it runs on healthy FOOD and proper supplementation. 

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Committed Delegates

This health and fitness thing is one of America's biggest conundrums. We all say we want it, most of us could easily figure out how to get it, yet very few of us (people in this country) can live it. Especially in the long term. We're all very aware that choosing healthy food and exercise will improve our lives in hundreds of ways. Yet the daily battle continues for most of us. How do we make it automatic like sleep, eating and breathing? We can't. It's like work or traffic or family issues. It takes time, practice and patience. Super wealthy people get that way because they want it... badly. Achieving wealth, fitness, or even true happiness requires courage, determination and the willingness to fail often and being perfectly okay with that. Eating, sleeping and breathing is easy. Everybody's managing to do it. Healthy and fit people are rare these days because a vast majority of them don't have the right tools. No-one in this community has that excuse. You have the tools. Now you need to decide if using them every day is worth it. Time, practice, patience, a plan and staying accountable is how you'll get it done.

T. Hortonhead