Tuesday, May 27

Rev your body's engine for better performance

by Jane McIntosh, MA, CNS

Before we close out the month of May in Indianapolis and all the auto racing that goes with it, we thought we'd take time to talk about fueling your personal engine for better health and performance. 

Start Your Engine
If you want to be at the top of your game physically and mentally, start with a decent breakfast. Breakfast has several benefits:
  • It “breaks” the “fast” and jump starts your metabolism
  • It leads to sharper mental performance during the morning
  • It leads to increased physical performance later in the day
The ideal breakfast consists of a whole grain carbohydrate, fruit and protein (e.g. oatmeal made with skim or 1% milk, slivered almonds, and raisins):
  • Whole grains (all three edible parts of the whole grain – the germ, endosperm, and bran- are intact) will sustain your energy level
  • Fruit is full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytochemicals that keep every cell in your body performing at its best
  • Protein reduces damage to muscles caused by workouts and improves recovery time. When possible, choose “real” food over protein bars and powder. These will do in a pinch, but check the ingredients for added sugars (i.e. ingredients ending in “ose”.)
Warm It Up
Several hours before your workout, eat easily digestible foods, preferably whole grain breads, fruits, vegetables and protein (e.g. large green salad with lean meat (chicken) or plant-based such as tofu, whole grain crackers). The combination of complex carbohydrates and protein will keep energy levels stable and your stomach satiated during your workout.

Keep It Going
Keep fluids in balance and avoid dehydration from water lost through breath and sweat by drinking water throughout your workout.  Every person’s hydration needs differ, but here are general guidelines:
  • Drink 17 - 20 oz. of water 2 - 3 hours before physical activity
  • Drink 8 oz. 30 minutes before working out
  • Drink 8 oz. every 10-20 minutes during workout to rehydrate
Commercial sports drinks can be helpful to those exercising at a high intensity for more than 60 minutes.

Caring For Your Engine
Immediately (within 30 minutes) fueling after your workout replaces lost fluids (essential for your body’s balance) and doubles the effectiveness of tissue repair. Combine 4g protein with 1g carbohydrates (e.g. as found in 1% chocolate milk) for an optimal fuel.

This article sites: American Council on Exercise, The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research

Tuesday, May 20

Heartland Films at the JCC

by Lev Rothenberg

One of the things that I love the most about Arts and Education at the JCC is the opportunity to partner with great community organizations. 

There is so much exciting programming here in Indianapolis that it makes great sense to work together with like-minded organizations. 

One of our very best partnerships is with the Heartland Film Festival. Not only do we get to work with a great organization and show very special Heartland Films here at the JCC, but we also get to speak, via Skype, with film directors. What a treat!

Thursday, May 22, at 7 p.m., we continue our partnership by showing As High as the Sky and then speaking with Director Nikki Braendin.

This is a thoughtful comedic drama about two sisters as different from one another as possible – one neurotic, the other nomadic – and their life changing discoveries.

Heartland and the JCC have built a reputation for screening entertaining and memorable films that you likely will not see at the theaters, and we hope you will join us for this one.

Know what? The first three people that get back to me at lrothenberg@jccindy.org will each win a free ticket to the show.

If you don’t win a free ticket, come on over anyway. It’s just $5 for JCC members and $8 for non-members – that is a deal!

More about Lev Rothenberg

Tuesday, May 13

Goal setting: keep it S.M.A.R.T.!

by Katherine Matutes, Ph.D.

Changing lifelong health and fitness habits can be challenging, but there are a few key strategies to help you succeed for the long haul. 

Get some skin in the game: paying for a health or fitness service with a personal trainer or for a specialty group exercise class will help hold you accountable and nudge you to “show up” when you might otherwise decide to hit the snooze button.

Get a work out buddy: if you don’t want to spend extra cash on accountability, find a work out buddy who will be expecting you to show up. It’s harder to make excuses to someone else than it is to yourself.

Hang out with the right crowd: studies show that individuals make healthier choices when surrounded by others who make healthy choices. Minneapolis is ranked by the American College of Sports Medicine as one of the fittest cities in the United States (in spite of some pretty chilly winters). Minnesotans consider outdoor exercise in winter the norm where other city populations with less extreme weather are less likely to engage in outdoor activity.

Set SMART goals:
  1. Specific - Plan a detailed goal to achieve: “I will eat 3 servings of vegetables a day” instead of “I will eat more vegetables.”
  2. Measureable - Be sure you can measure your achievement: “I will ride my bike 5 miles this week” versus “I will ride my bike more often.”
  3. Attainable - Make sure your goal is realistic: “I will lose 5 pounds in 2 months” is more attainable and sustainable than “I will lose 20 pounds in 1 month.”
  4. Relevant - Set smaller goals that are relevant to achieve larger goals. For example, if you are training for a mini-marathon six months away, set smaller goals of running 5 miles 3 times a week then increasing the distance over time to say 7 miles 4 times per week and so on. The smaller goals are relevant to getting to your long term goal.
  5. Time-bound - Give yourself a deadline to reach your goal. "I commit to swimming laps three days a week for a month" is more structured than "I will swim laps after work." The deadline gives you a gentle sense of urgency for the work. 
With all these ideas in mind, the JCC has created fitness challenges to help you achieve your fitness goals. Our latest challenge is the JCC 500, where members are signed up (for free!) to complete 500 kilometers of cycling during the month of May. Be on the lookout for this and future challenges!

More About Katherine Matutes, PhD

Wednesday, May 7

Join my journey to a healthier life

by Natalie Sirois

As the new JCC Membership Director, I’m learning a lot about the unique goals so many of our members are working towards: healthier life, weight loss, new hobbies, more quality time with family.

Group fitness Body Pump
Like some of you, I am a woman embarking on a journey to get fit and live a healthier life.

I have three goals:

1. Learn more about the benefits of group exercise classes.

2. Meet and interact with more JCC members, whose stories could help inspire me.

3. Lose weight and get in shape.

So, my first order of business was to select group fitness classes that people most frequently inquire about at the center. Once I had made my selections and added the classes to my calendar, I explained the nature of my journey to other JCC members so they would help hold me accountable.

Here’s how my first week of workouts was scheduled:

Monday was morning dance with Cherri. I found the dance to be great fun and high energy. The movements didn’t really feel like exercise, but I was getting a great workout.

Tuesday was 12 p.m. Body Pump with Rachell. The class is a combination of cardio and weight training. In no time at all, I discovered how out of shape I am, but my classmates were welcoming, helpful and supportive. I felt a part of the group and didn’t feel at all uncomfortable.

Wednesday Body Attack at 4:30 p.m. with Leslie was my next exercise destination. This class really got me. It is super-charged, high-energy cardio that I had some trouble keeping up with. The instructor amazed me with her agility. I’ll get there one day.

Thursday was my final workout, Silver Sneakers Yoga with Mary at 1:15 p.m. Believe me; my muscles needed stretching after the week I had put them through. The class was exactly what I needed. (By the way, the class is not restricted to only Silver Sneaker members. Anyone can take it.)

In addition to exercising, I also monitored my caloric intake for the week. I’ll continue to do that and watch what I eat with the help of an app on my phone.

I began this journey weighing in at 179 pounds but hit the ground running.

I am happy to report that in the first week I lost 2 pounds. Not a bad start!

Stay tuned. There will be more of my journey to come.

Blogger Natalie Sirois is an multi-media artist and Oma (grandma). She is the JCC Indianapolis Membership Director. Although she does not get to do it often, she loves to ride her motorcycle as a stress reliever. She loves to laugh and act silly, because sense of humor is so important.