Army H.e.a.l.t.h. Arsenal
August, 2016

The Motion Traxx app combines coaching from world-class trainers with music designed to set the perfect intensity for every phase of your workout. This app is great for those who get bored easily at the gym. Choose from cycling, treadmill, or elliptical and your coach will help get you through your cardio workout. Additionally, as you exercise, the app provides a custom made playlist that is tailored specifically to compliment your workout.

Motion Traxx is available for free in the app store for iPhone and Android.

Sleep Corner

Using your Smartphone to Improve Sleep: Do’s and Don’ts

Lie in bed for hours scrolling on your smart phone/device. Blue light from cellphones, laptops, tablets, TVs, etc., can interfere with your melatonin production (melatonin is a hormone that helps regulate your sleep-wake cycle). Try to put these devices away at least one hour prior to bedtime. Instead, try reading a book under low, non-blue light. This can be a good alternative to lying in bed with your smart phone.

Use sleep friendly apps in the hours before bedtime. Use apps that focus on relaxing and meditation (at least on hour prior to bed, as mentioned above). Any app that helps you relax and prepare for sleep will do the job. It may also be appropriate to use other apps in the bedroom (i.e. white noise or nature sounds). Just make sure that these apps can be used while your screen is off and your phone is “sleeping”.

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You Can't Out-Exercise an Unhealthy Diet

When it comes to losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight, it’s all about balance: eat the right amount of food and get enough exercise, among many other factors. This is getting harder and harder to do, as more than one-third of Americans are obese. Why? There are many factors that play into the equation, and not a single one can solely take the blame.

For starters, in America, there is an over-abundance of available high calorie, high added sugar, and high saturated fat foods. We also know that as a whole, we are not getting enough exercise either. There are companies like Coca-Cola, who’s adds imply that if you exercise enough, you can eat or drink whatever you want. Simply put, this is not true. You can’t out-exercise an unhealthy diet. This is an important concept to understand, as it seems we are inundated with advertisements for gym memberships, new exercise fads, and "Fitspo" images which tell us we are overweight because we are lazy, and don’t exercise enough…with no mention of other factors, such as diet.

The Math

Let’s say that, hypothetically, you eat an extra two slices of pizza at lunch with the intention of hitting the gym later to burn off the extra calories. There’s roughly 285 calories in one slice of pizza. Therefore, you need to burn off 570 calories at the gym in order to account for the extra pizza. Here’s what that looks like:

  • Walk for 2 hours at 3.5 MPH
  • Run for 50 minutes at 6.0 MPH
  • Use the elliptical machine for 95 minutes at a moderate level of intensity
  • Bicycle for 60 minutes at roughly 12-14 MPG with moderate effort

    It’s easy to see that burning off those extra two slices of pizza just turned into an hour or two of cardio at the gym. And that doesn’t include the time you would spend doing strength training or any other type of training.

    All Calories are not Created Equally

    When you’re eating unhealthy food or eating too much food, you probably won’t feel like exercising in the first place. Using our example above, pizza is a high fat (saturated fat), high-carb food. Meaning, you will probably experience a spike in blood sugar which will leave you feeling hungry and sluggish in just a few hours. Chances are, you won’t feel up to hitting the gym and if you do make it there, you may feel sluggish or sick.

    You would have much more energy for the gym if you had passed on the extra pizza and eaten a lean turkey breast sandwich on a whole grain bun instead. The turkey sandwich is high in protein and the whole grain bun is a good source of fiber. This combination would provide a long-lasting supply of energy due to a slow and steady rise of blood sugar, instead of the spike that pizza would give you. In sum, your body does not metabolize 600 calories of pizza the same way it does 600 calories of a lean turkey sandwich. Thus, no matter how much you exercise afterward, it won’t change the way your body metabolized the food.

    What’s Missing?

    When we eat unhealthy foods with the intention of burning them off at the gym, we are likely shorting our body of much needed protein, healthy (unsaturated) fats, vitamins, and minerals. For example, a diet high in processed, unhealthy food is likely to fall short in providing the recommended amount of Vitamin D, which helps the body absorb calcium. Without enough calcium, we are at risk for increased bone fractures and osteoporosis, to name a few. Which would be an even bigger problem for someone who hits the gym every day in order to burn off extra calories.

    It’s easy to see the pitfalls of the “I can out-exercise an unhealthy diet” mantra. Eating a healthy diet is more than calories in vs. calories out. Other factors, such as vitamins and minerals are essential for good health and reaching and maintaining a healthy weight too.

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    Ask An Expert

    I’ve heard that sitting all day is bad for my health. Should I get a standing desk?

    A. While it is true that too much sitting is linked with heart disease, diabetes, and risk of an early death, standing desks may not be the cure-all solution. There is no evidence that standing is any better than sitting. Furthermore, any additional calories burned by standing instead of sitting, are miniscule.

    Instead, try to incorporate more movement in your workday. For example, get up for a short walk once per hour, walk to the bathroom that is further away, or park further out, etc. If you want to exercise during your lunch hour, fantastic. However, simply adding in some movement throughout the day will also help decrease your sitting time.

    Mindful Moment

    Being mindful of the food you eat while eating will increase overall meal satisfaction and will decrease the chances of overeating.

    Bottom Line

    Practicing mindful eating in combination with the right amount of exercise will help combat problems associated with an unhealthy diet. Eating a healthy diet is more than calories in vs. calories out. Other factors, such as vitamins and minerals, are essential for good health and reaching and maintaining a healthy weight. Eating a more healthy diet will also help increase energy levels and reduce feelings of sluggishness.

    Although spending time on your smart phone while trying to get sleepy may be counterproductive, there is a place for your smart phone/device in your sleep routine. Apps that help you relax (e.g. mindfulness apps, gratitude journals) can be used prior to your bedtime to help you wind down. Other apps, such as white noise makers, are appropriate to use in the bedroom while sleeping.

    Lastly, as with many “too good to be true” quick fixes, standing desks may not be all they’re cracked up to be. If you’re interested in reducing the amount of time you sit each day, a better solution is to incorporate more movement in your day. Adding in small bouts of movement throughout the day will not only get you up and moving, but it will provide a small mental break as well.

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    Featured Recipe: Healthy Blackberry Crisp

    There's nothing better than homemade blackberry cobbler with seasonal August blackberries. Unfortunately, traditional cobblers are loaded with extra calories, fat, and sugar. This healthy twist on the traditional cobbler is much lower is calories, fat, and sugar, and is a good source of fiber, Vitamin C, and Iron.

    For the Filling
  • 3½ Cups of Fresh Blackberries
  • 1 Tbsp of Almond Flour
  • ¼ Cup of Coconut Sugar

    For the Topping
  • 1 Cup of Oats
  • ¼ Cup of Melted Coconut Oil
  • ¼ Cup of Maple Syrup
  • ¼ Cup of Almond Flour
  • 1 tsp of Cinnamon

  • Preheat oven to 350ºF. In a medium sized bowl mix together berries, coconut sugar and almond flour. In a separate bowl combine oats, almond flour, coconut oil and maple syrup until mixture is thoroughly combined. Lightly grease a 9x5" pan with coconut oil or canola oil. Place berries in pan and top with oat mixture. Bake in oven for 45 minutes. Let cool. Enjoy!

    Nutrition Information:
    Servings: 6      Calories: 290      Carbs: 44g      Fiber: 8g      Sugar: 20g                Fat: 11g           Protein: 7g         Sodium: 59mg     

    Featured Exercise: Core

    Featured Recipe from In it 4 the LONG RUN.
    You can't out-exercise a diet image from