There’s a Difference Between Exercise and Movement—and It Matters

“We don’t understand the difference between exercise and movement,” explains Katy Bowman, a whip-smart biomechanist based in Washington state who’s made changing that fact her personal mission.

Bowman’s company Nutritious Movement (great minds!) and books—like Movement Matters, Move Your DNA, and Don’t Just Sit There—all take aim at the problems of living a sedentary lifestyle.

In other words, running on a treadmill or hitting a strength training class are both good for you. They can’t, however, counter the negative effects of sitting still (hunched over a computer, no doubt) for the other 15 hours you’re awake. Most forms of exercise also focus on one part of the body: muscular quads are not going to help you stay active into old age if your core is crazy weak, for instance.

RELATED: Why Your Pelvic Floor Needs Strengthening Now

Instead of imagining you need to stop everything and step out of your life to exercise more, Bowman says there are simple ways to “engage in low-grade, constant movement” throughout your day, utilizing natural movement patterns like walking and squatting.

Here are a few ways to add more movement into your life right now.

exercise and movement

5 Ways to Move More

Sit on the floor.

Ever notice how often you have to adjust your position when you’re sitting on the floor? That’s a good thing. Bowman suggests sitting on the floor instead of the couch while watching TV or even during meals. In her house, the dining room table is just off the floor, and her family sits around it on the floor or on wood stools that force them to engage muscles to sit upright.

exercise and movement

Carry (and play with) your kids.

Bowman skipped getting a stroller and carried her kids everywhere. Depending on where you live, that may not be practical, but when you can swing it, it’s the most natural form of strength training there is. Chasing them around and across the monkey bars at the playground is a great idea, too.

Take (a lot of) walks.

Schedule walking meetings, take a walk during long phone calls, and turn coffee dates with friends into sip-and-strolls. Example: Bowman tells callers via voicemail that she does all of her calls during a stretch in the afternoon. While on said calls, she walks a mile to get her mail.

exercise and movement 3

Squat for pots.

Store something you use regularly in a low drawer or cabinet that forces you to squat every time you reach for it. Dishes, for instance, or the pot you use to make oatmeal every morning. Just make sure you engage in a proper squat—no hunching over and bending.

exercise and movement 2

Go barefoot.

Your feet need to move, too. (They support, well….your whole body.) Go barefoot to engage muscles along the bottom of your feet more. If you can add pebbled mats to spots in your house to walk on, even better. Foot, toe, and calf stretches are also key.

 

Dr. Jordan Metzl’s High-Intensity, Fitness-Focused Nutritious Life

Dr. Jordan Metzl’s mom had a motto that clearly stuck with him: “Rest means rust!”

The esteemed sports medicine physician, popular fitness instructor, athlete, and best-selling author almost never stops moving, and his new book reflects that ethos. Dr. Jordan Metzl’s Workout Prescription: 10, 20 & 30-minute high intensity interval training workouts for every fitness level brings the science of high-intensity exercise to the busy masses, with workouts you can do quickly, wherever you are, no equipment required.

To celebrate the launch, we asked Dr. Metzl to share how he lives his own most Nutritious Life daily, and he dished out the details on how he swims, bikes, and runs all over the town, the foods he eats for fuel, and more fun facts.

How Does Dr. Jordan Metzl Live a Nutritious Life?

If you had to name your healthy diet, what would you call it? “Dr. Metzl’s A Little Bit of Everything Diet.” I’ve done 14 Ironman triathlons and 35 marathons, and food is fuel to me. I love all different kinds of food, and the more efficient I make my body, the more foods I can enjoy.

What’s the one food you always have in your fridge? Greek Yogurt. It’s simple, fast, and packed with protein.

The one food you’d never buy? Peanut butter. I hate it!

What do you eat before and after a workout? I like doing the “naked workout” once or twice a week—as in working out on an empty stomach. If I do eat before a workout, it’s usually some type of complex carbs like whole wheat bread with honey and coffee. Afterwards, if it’s been a serious training session, I usually go for the first thing I can get my hands on.

Jordan Metzl

Your favorite food indulgence? Ice cream.

Other than water, what do you sip regularly? Coffee.

How often do you exercise, and what’s your workout of choice? Every day. I try to never miss a day. I vary my workouts regularly. I run, swim, bike, and I’m obviously a huge fan of HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) that focuses on strength. My latest book is all about that.

Which workout would you NEVER do? There isn’t a workout I wouldn’t try at least once.

How do you stay active outside the gym? I’m hardly ever in the gym! I get around New York City on my bike. If I have a meeting or an event downtown, I’ll put clothes in my backpack and run to the closest Equinox. I keep it moving all the time. My mother always says, “rest means rust!”

What’s your go-to tool for managing stress? Exercise, 100 percent.

How do you express and spread love? I try and do it as much as I can. I smile and high-five every single patient I see and every person I interact with. I try to build that same idea within my IronStrength fitness community, too. We do a lot of partner workouts and supporting and cheering each other on.

Which healthy habit do you wish you had more time for? Sleep!

Lighting Round

Meditation or massage? Massage.
A hot shower or a soothing bath? Shower.
Almond butter or peanut butter? Neither!
Coffee or tea? Coffee.
A long run outside or a dark spin class? Run.

“How Do You Live a Nutritious Life?” is a recurring column. Featured guests complete a questionnaire and select answers are then chosen and edited to share, here. Are you a wellness pro interested in sharing how you live a Nutritious Life? Email lisa@nutritiouslife.com to be considered.

5 Ways to Find Workout Motivation When It Feels Impossible


By Jane Hanisch, NLC

Workout motivation is often tough to tap.

Maybe the days have gotten shorter and the winter chill is making you want to stay snuggled underneath a fuzzy blanket, or your work and social schedule has gotten so crazy you barely have time to slip on sneakers.

Whatever the reason, there are specific tactics that can help you continue or even start exercising when it feels impossible.

Try these 5 workout motivation boosters, now.

  1. Schedule it. Setting and maintaining a consistent exercise schedule turns it into part of your day. In other words, prioritize working out as if it were a doctor’s appointment, no skipping allowed. Just remember that it’s important to make a schedule that’s realistic and can be maintained. Some weeks require morning workouts, others midday. Over time, an extra day can always be added to your schedule, but don’t start out with goals you can’t reach and end up discouraged (i.e. are you really going to get up at 5:00 a.m. for spin class the morning after your weekly work happy hour?).
  1. Invest money. Paying for a gym membership or buying classes at a boutique fitness studio is not always cheap, and not everyone has this option. But if you do have some disposable income (hey, how many nice bottles of red wine did you pick up last week?), maybe paying for a personal trainer is what you need. Money has a way of changing your perspective because no one wants to waste it. Think of it as the best kind of investment—in your health.
  1. Switch things up. If you dread your sweat sessions, get creative and try something new. It could be that you just haven’t found your workout motivation sweet spot yet. Love cardio? Look into spinning or boxing. Want to tone and tighten? Try a barre class. Hot yoga might be what your body needs on a cold, winter day; lifting heavy at a CrossFit box might feel better during summer.
  1. Find a workout partner. Working out with a friend creates accountability—it’s harder to bail when you know you’ll be letting someone else down by not showing up. Bonus: research has shown that exercising with a partner can push you to work harder during the sweat session, and it’s bound to be way more fun, too.
  1. Treat yourself (post-workout). Choose something to serve as a reward after working out (no, not a gallon of ice cream). Think along the lines of a warm shower followed by a great face mask, or bigger treats for hitting specific goals. At the end of a really successful week, for example, you could buy yourself those pumps you’ve been coveting or a bold new lipstick.Think of something that really resonates with you, personally, that makes you proud of breaking a sweat and working towards those bigger health and fitness goals.


About Jane:

workout motivationJane Hanisch is a Nutritious Life Certified personal trainer and yoga instructor based in Charlotte, NC. She holds a degree in Exercise Science and is an exercise physiologist through ACSM. As a former professional ballet dancer, she witnessed the dangers of resorting to unhealthy diet tricks in order to maintain a certain weight. The experience showed her that food could not be the enemy, and after stepping away from the dance world, she began a career in fitness and nutrition to help other women live healthy lives. Follow Jane on Instagram @janehanisch or on her website www.corefitactive.com.

Sexercise: Why You NEED to be Doing It

Sexercise. You either just blushed when I said it, or you already have your pants unbuttoned. No judgement either way, but, full disclothesure (ha!), I’m going to try to convince you to get comfy with the concept.

I may not be Dr. Ruth, but this I know: A healthy sex life is an important part of living your most Nutritious Life. Is it as important as eating empowered, sleeping deep, stressing less and all of my other pillars? You bet.

Sex is good for you. It helps you recover from stressors better, strengthens your immune system, benefits your heart health and lowers blood pressure. Need more sex benefits?

Sex prevents prostate cancer in men.

It prevents bladder cancer in women.

It’s a mood booster.

It’s a pain alleviator.

It can help you lose weight.

It can help you look younger and sleep better.

And the one tiny detail we don’t focus on enough is that sex is actually a form of exercise as well. It strengthens muscles and burns about 3 – 4 calories per minute, kind of like biking at a light to moderate pace. So if you haven’t been biking because your tire is flat or your chain is loose or your handlebars are rusty, no more excuses. You don’t even need a bike.

There’s plenty of sexercise apps out there to help you calculate your, er, expenditure and keep track of your favorite ways of expendituring. Yep, there’s an app for that.

There’s a sexercise website devoted to helping you and your partner record those passionate calories burned and it even plots it on a graph for all you visual learners out there. It also tells you the equivalent exercises that would have burned the same amount of calories, and how many ounces of that glass of red wine you burned off.

There’s probably alot of other resources out there but I don’t want to get you in trouble if you’re reading this while at work. You can do that research on your own.

Speaking of research, it tells us that the more lovin’ you get in, the more lovin’ you’ll enjoy. It’s a self-fulfilling wellness wheel that you should climb on responsibly. Basically, sexercise should fit neatly sometime between waking up and falling asleep, like brushing your teeth or checking your email. If you tend to brush your teeth or check your email alot, bonus.

Most of us just think of the fun side of sex, not the fact that it’s actually good for your health. I’m not telling you to skip your morning run, or that you don’t need the spin class. I’m just saying that maybe it’s time to enhance your workout with a little between the sheets cross training.

Now stop blushing, keep unbuttoning your pants, and get your sexercise on.

 

9 Weight Loss Tips During Thanksgiving

You’re looking for weight loss tips because you want to do Thanksgiving differently this year, right?

Usually, you eat until you’re stuffed then fall asleep on the couch and wake up in the 4th quarter of some football game. Oh wait, that’s every man in your family.

No, you retreat to a bedroom and pass out in a food coma on a proper bed like a lady, right? You tell yourself, it was all that tryptophan from the turkey.

But does the tryptophan in turkey really make you feel tired? Not really.

It seems like this common myth dates back to the Pilgrim era, but don’t just blame the bird for leaving you lethargic, because this is one myth that’s only marginally true…

Turkey contains an essential amino acid called L-tryptophan, which the body uses to produce the brain chemical serotonin. Serotonin can help us sleep by improving our mood, and promoting relaxation.

As it turns out, turkey contains almost the same amount of tryptophan as chicken, pork, and beef. What’s more, egg whites, soybeans and cheddar cheese have even more tryptophan than turkey!

So what are the real culprits behind your post-Thanksgiving marathon nap?

Aside from typical over consumption of food and alcohol, it’s usually just the result of too many carb-heavy foods and throwing your usual healthy diet out the window.

Mashed potatoes, corn bread, stuffing, and apple pie–oh my!–all of those starchy carbs can quickly raise blood sugar, and may encourage sleep.

This year, begin a new tradition.

Eat a little less, drink a little more, feel a lot better, and maybe you won’t even need the nap. You’ll be ready to show Black Friday who’s boss.

9 Weight Loss Tips During Thanksgiving

  1. Eat consistently throughout the day beginning with a well-balanced healthy breakfast.
  2. Choose from your arsenal of healthy snacks before you go to a holiday dinner (such as 2 high fiber crackers with 2 tsp natural peanut butter or a hardboiled egg) to control hunger.
  3. Offer to bring a dish. There may not be many healthy foods offered, so at least you’ll have one go-to since you’ll know exactly what’s in it.
  4. Load up on lighter and cleaner appetizers and healthy fats– such as  crudité with a portion of hummus.
  5. Set your sip limit – give yourself a drink maximum before the meal begins. Remember to sip slowly and choose lower-calorie and sugar options such as vodka and seltzer or wine spritzers.
  6. Exercise! An hour spent burning calories will also motivate you to make healthier choices later in the day.
  7. Control your portions – this includes veggies. Unless you’ve prepared them, they could be loaded with sneaky ingredients like margarine or sugary sauces. Don’t let desserts derail your healthy lifestyle either. Slice your own pie so you can control the size. And, skip that crust.
  8. Listen to your body and stop eating once you’re slightly satisfied. Period. You’ll have much better memories of a meal enjoyed than a meal over indulged in. Focus on your fam and friends.
  9. Drink lots of water. This will help to keep you from overeating and help you feel full so you don’t actually stuff yourself full.

And, don’t forget – enjoy your day, indulge in your favorite foods wisely, and have a happy Thanksgiving!

 

Why You Aren’t Losing Weight…Even Though You’re Exercising!

Have you been sweating it out at the gym in the name of squeezing into smaller jeans? And do those smaller jeans always seem to be too small, no matter how many walking lunges you suffer through?

Unfortunately, for anyone overweight, exercise alone doesn’t do the best job of shedding extra layers of padding…and working hard and not losing weight is so frustrating.

See, your muscles respond to exercise pretty quickly (the soreness means those muscles have been worked!), but your fat is less responsive to the charms of strength training and feeling that burn.{Tweet this}

If you’re only exercising to lose weight, it’s probably not going to work.

Not buying it? You should.

Here’s one possibility of why you are not losing weight, even though you’ve logged so many hours in the gym this month:

Science has already proven that our bodies are not caloric bank accounts. We can’t put in food (calories) and “burn” them, or take them out, with a “you just burned 500 calories” workout on the treadmill. It doesn’t work that way.

Storing fat is a complicated process, and it’s even more complicated to take that fat out of your cells and use it for energy.

You have to factor in your hormones, metabolism and genetics. Sorry Charlie, none of those are yours to control.

There is some truth to eating less and moving more, but that moving more part is tricky.

See, exercise stimulates your heart. Your muscles. Your immune system.

And, it stimulates your appetite.


 


 

The harder you exercise, the hungrier you’ll be. This makes it really, really, really hard to stick to your controlled meal plan, which leads you to feeling like a failure for the extra spoonfuls of peanut butter at the end of the day.

If you set your mind to it, you can do it, though. After all, you’re a warrior who would rather be fit and strong with a few pounds to lose, than an out of shape underweight cake for breakfast eating wimp, right?

If you have those few pounds you need to obliterate, it’s the food work that will get you most of the way there. Still, exercise helps, so I want you to use it wisely.

For now, intense exercise isn’t the best bet. Stick to low intensity activities. Taking fat out of your cells and using it for fuel requires a lot of oxygen, so make sure you can take good breaths.

If you’re panting like a dog, you’re not gonna burn fat.

Also, 15 minutes isn’t going to do the trick. A 30 minute or longer walk won’t stimulate your appetite and it’s long enough to kick into fat-for-energy mode.

My best advice for you: maximize your genetic potential.

Just as you may never get to be 5’10”, your body may be designed for strength and power (read: muscular) and not endurance (read: lanky), or vice versa.

Look at your body for what it is built for and embrace it. Make it as fit as possible.

Don’t waste your time aspiring to make your body into something it isn’t. Being strong is fierce, even if it doesn’t translate into you looking like an underwear model. {Tweet this}

Are Your Healthy Habits Being Blocked By Digestion?

By Ashley Koff, RD

You are what you eat, well, not quite…

On your path to a nutritious life you’ve been learning about all the great foods you can and should eat. Keri and her team are amazing at coming up with fun and delicious ways to get these foods into you for a healthier, happier you (and family). Are you eating your kale and quinoa, drinking your water with lemon, and using coconut oil on your bod and in the pan? These things are amazing for you IF they get where they need to go in the body. And that, my friends, is where so many of us have problems these days.  Last week, as us RD gals caught up, I shared “I know they say ‘you are what you eat’ but I say ‘ you are what you digest and absorb’” to which Keri said “love it! Will you guest blog for me and explain why.”

So here I go:

Did you know our digestive lining is meant to be like mesh (think panty hose) but many of us have the start of a run or worse, have runs that aren’t just letting some skin show through – they are actually letting the nutrients we want in our digestive tract to “leak” out along with stuff we should be eliminating too – this is creating a hot mess of intolerances, skin irritation, bloating, and suboptimal nutrient absorption.

But if I eat right and exercise, why would this be happening? Stress – even the good ‘I did a triathlon’ or ‘I birthed a baby’ stress – is often the culprit, along with medications we took when we needed (antibiotics, steroids, birth control) and those unfortunately coming in by way of our adulterated food and water (we know today to choose antibiotic-free meats and dairy but most of us have been consuming it for far longer than not).

UGH! So what can I do and does it mean I have to buy a whole new digestive tract? LOL! No. But we do need to start today to add to all the smart Nutritious Life steps, the step called – repair work – as in ‘How to heal and promote a healthy digestive tract’.   This begins with an assessment – ideally monthly – to see how things are or are not moving, and how they are or are not smelling.   If there’s something going on all the time, you would do best to talk to an RD or MD who knows about digestive issues ASAP. But for all of us who just feel we need and want to optimize our digestion to get all the benefits that go along with it (better energy, healthy immune system, healthy skin, and better body composition results – think bye bye belly fat) when combined with optimal nutrition, fitness, and sleep, we can consider adding the nutrients that work together for optimal digestion.  Symbiotics combine nutrients such as Lactoferrin, Immunoglobulins, and Proline-Rich Polypeptides – which are big words for nutrients the body uses to promote a robust intestinal lining and healthy intestinal flora – net, net, think of it as beyond the nail polish you would use to stop a run, it’s the goods that deliver a whole new pair of pantyhose without you having to go to the trouble of getting a new pair!

So consider that while we love an organic kale juice and water with lemon, part of a Nutritious Life is making sure your body gets the great nutrition you are bringing into it.