Fitness & Wellness Corner – October 2018

When “Hanger” Strikes – The Reactionary Chain
of 
Hormone Response to Hunger
Maegen C. Stoner, Director, Fitness & Wellness

Have you ever felt the emotional impact that takes over when you’ve gone too long without food? Someone might label you as “hangry”, irritable, and/or grouchy. I’ll raise my hand for most of us 🙂 Usually if I’m in a foul mood, most people (especially my husband) will ask when was the last time I ate?  I’m the 30-year old that carries snacks in her purse for herself ( I don’t have children yet!) Well guess what, there’s actually some science behind this phenomenon that has recently been published to explain why this might happen.

“Empirical evidence demonstrates that emotions impact every aspect of our waking lives, from visual perception to decision making and interpersonal processes” (MacCormack & Lindquist, 2018, pg. 1). There is a small body of scientific research that explains the hunger-induced emotionality or feeling of hanger is more that a mere colloquialism. Studies have shown that individuals who have not eaten and have entered a glucose-depleted state tend to be more impulsive, punitive, and aggressive. Additional research links hunger to negative mood as well (MacCormack & Lindquist, 2018). As humans, we are capable of listening to our hunger and satiety cues. However, in the busyness of our daily lives, we often ignore internal signals and wait far too long before consuming sustenance (Lewis, 2018). As we deprive or ignore these signals, our body responds with an emotional reaction, such as anger, anxiety, or stress, to illicit a response for us to seek food. The longer we go without eating, typically the greater the emotional response (Lewis, 2018).

Did you know that your stomach and brain are connected to one another? Well surprise, they are! They communicate via signals of hunger and satisfaction. In a recent study conducted by the “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers found a correlation between hunger, feeling angry, and having low blood sugar (Lewis, 2018, pg.1). When the time between meals increases, your blood sugar levels drop, which releases several hormones into the body. The release of these hormones then alters an individuals perceptions, experiences, and responses (MacCormack & Lindquist, 2018).

Your body excretes four hormones in response to the feeling of hunger; Ghrelin, Cortisol, Adrenaline, and Neuropeptide Y.

Ghrelin is produced in the stomach and stimulates feelings of hunger and it can also trigger feelings of anxiety in the brain. A release of ghrelin causes your body to recognize that you are hungry and should signal that you should begin eating. As you consume food, the release of ghrelin ceases and the feeling of anxiety dissipates. If you continue to ignore the hunger signal, other hormones in your body can also be disrupted (Lewis, 2018).

As your blood sugar levels drop, your body also releases cortisol and adrenaline, two stress-related hormones. As the presence of these two hormones increases, the body exhibits fight-or-flight and the effects of hunger can present mentally, emotionally, and physically. As you become hungry, the function of your prefrontal cortex is inhibited. This reaction can affect “personality, self control, planning, and can even temporarily shut down long-term memory” (Lewis, 2018, pg.2). The longer you go without eating, stress, anxiety, and loss of patience and/or focus can set in. Heart rate, blood pressure, and respiration can also increase (Lewis, 2018).

 

Figure 1: Prefrontal Cortex (Dahlitz, 2017).

 

When ghrelin, cortisol, and adrenaline are released and you continue to ignore the feeling of hunger, your body resorts to full fledged panic mode. Basically, hanger in full effect! At this point, the body releases neuropeptide Y. In recent studies, the presence of this hormone has been found to make people behave more aggressively towards others (Lewis, 2018).  Neuropeptide Y is responsible for stimulating food intake and also has an affinity for quickly digestible carbohydrates. The release of neuropeptide Y is also linked to an increased intake of large quantities of food and delays the signal of satiety (Lewis, 2018).

Research suggests that you be mindful and prepared. Listen to your body for cues. If you are becoming irritable, think about when the last time you ate was. Hunger may be the cause for this irritability. Take a brief break and find a snack that aligns with healthy eating. A good rule of thumb is that most people should not go more that 4-5 hours between meals. Developing a healthy eating pattern will help decrease the likelihood of “hanger” and balance out your blood glucose levels so you avoid sharp peaks and low drops (Lewis, 2018). We want to avoid the roller coaster effect!

So remember when I was revealing about my snacks on hand habit? I do this so I’m always prepared whether I’m stuck in traffic, attending a meeting over the lunch hour, or just have not made the time to have a meal. I too get caught up in an overbooked schedule periodically.    Look for travel-friendly snacks that can be readily available. It’s best to have a snack that has carbohydrates, proteins, fats, and fiber. The carbohydrates will provide a quick source of energy, while the protein, fats, and fiber will provide longevity as they are digested slower and keep you feeling fuller for longer. Having snacks on hand helps to keep us from reaching for less healthy options that likely lack the nutrition your body needs.

 

Resources:

Lewis, Rebecca. (2018) The Science of Hanger. Retrieved June 25, 2018, from https://www.acefitness.org/education-and-resources/professional/expert-articles/7006/the-science-of-hanger.

MacCormack, J.K., & Lindquist, K.A. (2018). Feeling Hangry? When Hunger Is Conceptualized as Emotion. American Psychological Association, pp. 1 -17.

Dahlitz, M. (2017, January 4). Prefrontal Cortex [Digital image]. Retrieved September 25, 2018, from https://www.neuropsychotherapist.com/prefrontal-cortex/.

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This blog post was written to provide educational information only. This article should not be used as a substitute or a replacement for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have questions or concerns about your personal health, you should always consult with your physician. It is recommended that you consult with your physician or health care professional before beginning any fitness regimen to determine if it is suitable for your needs. The use of any information provided by this article is solely at your risk.

Fitness & Wellness Corner – September 2018

How much rest should you really be taking between sets? by Christie L. Simoson, Assistant Fitness Director

We’ve all experienced it – waiting for a piece of equipment and getting aggravated seeing the individual currently ‘utilizing’ said piece of equipment for what seems to be forever. Then, we can’t help but think to ourselves, how productive are they actually being, resting for 5 minutes between each set? On the opposite side of the spectrum, you may have experienced an individual who is like the energizer bunny, with no breaks and a ‘go, go, go’ workout attitude. This brings forth a question that is asked frequently – “how much rest is too little or too much between sets?” I am hoping to give you the answer you are looking for.

Let’s start with why it is important to rest between sets. The rest period dictates the metabolic stress of the workout and influences the amount of resistance that can be used during each set or exercise. You see, the ATP-CP system, which is the primary energy system used during resistance exercises, needs to be replenished. This process takes time (Bushman et al., 2014)! Furthermore, “A rest interval is essential to re-establish intra muscular blood flow and oxygen delivery that allows for the replenishment and restoration, returning the muscle membrane to resting levels (Willardson, 2008)”. If you continue to exercise with no rest, you are continuously breaking down your intra muscular structure, where it cannot repair/recover fast enough to provide the strength you may need to complete the exercise you are performing. According to Bushman et al., “the duration of the rest period significantly influences the metabolic, hormonal, and cardiovascular responses to a short-term bout of resistance exercise, as well as the performance of subsequent sets.” Therefore, not only is it important to rest between sets/exercises to help repair and prepare your muscles for the next bout, but the duration of the rest period can positively – or negatively – affect your workout regimen as well.

If you continue to exercise with no rest, you are continuously breaking down your intra muscular structure, where it cannot repair/recover fast enough to provide the strength you may need to complete the exercise you are performing.

Okay, time to define a goal. Many individuals begin a resistance training program to increase muscular power, strength, hypertrophy, or endurance. Your exercise regimen should be geared toward your main goal. For example, you would not be running mileage every day if your main goal was to increase muscle mass (hypertrophy), right? The same goes for rest between sets. The amount of time you want to take to rest between each set and/or exercise depends on what you are training for and what your desired goal is. Typically, a longer rest period is recommended for large muscle mass multi-joint exercises (i.e. squat, deadlift), whereas a shorter rest period may be sufficient for a smaller muscle mass single-joint exercise like a bicep curl (Bushman et al., 2014).

Below should give you an idea as to what your rest interval should look like when taking your goal into consideration:

Muscular Strength – 2-3 minutes between sets Muscular Power – 1-2 minutes for lower intensity, 2-3 for higher intensity Muscular hypertrophy – 1-2 minutes between sets Muscular endurance - <30 seconds between sets

If the goal is to increase both muscle mass and strength, both a long rest (with heavy loading) and short rest (with moderate loading) should be included. One way to determine if you are getting enough rest between sets is to be on the lookout for loss of force production (Bushman et al., 2014). If this occurs, you should practice longer rest periods. In sum, the heavier the resistance, the more rest that should be allotted between sets and exercises.

Another factor you may want to consider when determining the rest period for your exercise regimen includes your training age (how long you have been training); A longer rest period may be necessary until you have adapted both physiologically and psychologically, being able to perform the same given exercise and amount of weight/resistance with a shorter rest interval between sets (Willardson, 2008).

Want help crushing your goal by working one-on-one with one of our nationally certified personal trainers through a scientifically backed workout regimen? Click here!

There you have it! The rest between sets varies depending on your goal and experience. So while you may only take 20 seconds of rest between sets (with a goal of muscular endurance), it may be necessary for another to take a 3-minute break due to the fact that your goals are on opposite spectrums! While there isn’t a perfect solution to get on that piece of equipment you have been waiting a long time for, don’t be afraid to ask to work-in with them between sets!

This blog post was written to provide educational information only. This article should not be used as a substitute or a replacement for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have questions or concerns about your personal health, you should always consult with your physician. It is recommended that you consult with your physician or healthcare professional before beginning any fitness regimen to determine if it is suitable for your needs. The use of any information provided by this article is solely at your risk.

References:

Bushman, B. A., & Battista, R. (2014). ACSMs Resources for the Personal Trainer (4th ed.), 378-382. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins Health.

Willardson, J. M. (2008). A Brief Review: How Much Rest between Sets? Strength and Conditioning Journal, 30(3), 44-50. doi:10.1519/ssc.0b013e31817711a4

Fitness & Wellness Corner – August 2018

Which comes first- resistance exercise or aerobic exercise in concurrent training? Maegen C. Stoner, Director, Fitness and Wellness

A few helpful definitions: Aerobic Exercise- the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) defines aerobic or cardiovascular exercise as any activity that uses large muscle groups, can be maintained continuously, and is rhythmic in nature. A few examples of aerobic exercise include walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, hiking, stair climbing, rope jumping, cross-country skiing, skating, rowing, and dancing (The Exercise and Physical Fitness Page, 2018). Resistance Exercise- exercise in which a muscle contraction is opposed by a force to increase strength or endurance (The Medical Dictionary, 2018). Benefits of resistance exercises include increases in strength, muscle mass, and bone density. Properly performed resistance training has a positive impact on the entire musculoskeletal system (ACE, 2014, p. 326). Concurrent Training- the sequential training of both aerobic/cardiovascular and resistance exercises during the same training session or within hours of one another (Kravitz, 2018).

Aerobic exercise and resistance training are the two most utilized and common modalities chosen when engaging in physical activity. Aerobic exercise is effective in improving one’s cardiorespiratory fitness (hence the term “cardio”), energy expenditure, and fat utilization. Resistance exercise or training serves to improve the musculoskeletal system by gains in muscle size, strength, endurance, and power. “It is recommended that a comprehensive training routine combines both aerobic exercise and resistance exercise because improvements in both cardiorespiratory function and musculoskeletal function allow individuals not only to reduce health risks and symptoms associated with physical inactivity but also perform activities of daily living” (Kang, 2014, p.9).

“Concurrent training of either resistance training before aerobic training or aerobic training before resistance training can elicit both aerobic and anaerobic adaptations simultaneously provided that the training program is carefully designed” (Kang, 2014, p.13) .  There are some unique advantages associated with the sequence of the training elements. For example, research has shown that performing aerobic exercise first helps develop maximal aerobic power and that it can enhance post-exercise energy expenditure. It is important to note that engaging in a session of high intensity or long duration aerobic exercise may compromise the quality of the following resistance exercise component (Kang, 2014, p.11).

On the other hand, resistance training is favored when looking to develop strength, power, and muscle hypertrophy.  This sequence of training may be of particular interest to those whose sport demand strength and power. The resistance training before aerobic exercise modality can yield some metabolic benefits and the “high intensity nature of resistance training can potentiate energy expenditure and create a metabolic environment that favors fat utilization during a subsequent aerobic exercise session” (Kang, 2014, p. 12).

“It is recommended that a comprehensive training routine combines both aerobic exercise and resistance exercise because improvements in both cardiorespiratory function and musculoskeletal function allow individuals not only to reduce health risks and symptoms associated with physical inactivity but also perform activities of daily living”

So I’m sure you’re wondering what’s the answer? This is a question that we receive frequently. While there are several factors to consider when designing and implementing a program, it really just depends on what your fitness goals or desired outcomes are for the order in which you perform concurrent training. There is no right or wrong answer or that one way is significantly better than the other, it is simply dictated by your overall goal, whether that be aerobic power, strength or power gains, endurance training, etc.. Choosing aerobic exercise or resistance exercise first ensures the quality of the training segment based on your set of goals.

The overall design of concurrent training should consider a few variables; “exercise selection and sequence, intensity and volume, frequency, repetition velocity, and rest intervals” (Kang, 2014, p.12). These considerations should be based on goals, expected outcomes, and the training status of the individual.  It is recommended for healthy individuals to engage in moderate intensity exercise coupled with moderate volume for both modes of exercise regardless of sequence order. Concurrent training may be administered 3 to 4 times a week on nonconsecutive days to maximize recovery in-between workouts. The two exercise sections may additionally be separated by a rest period of 5-10 minutes (Kang, 2014, p.13).  It is also important to note that “concurrent training seems to produce little to no “interference” in older individuals. In fact, a combination of aerobic training and resistance training is recommended for the elderly as an effective strategy to maintain functional capacity and promote health” (Kang, 2014, p.10).

There are both aerobic and anaerobic benefits to utilizing the concurrent training method of aerobic and resistance exercise when engaging in physical activity. An individual’s fitness or exercise goals and training status typically determine the exercise sequence and intensity in which the training regimens are performed. Individuals seeking to improve cardio power or endurance training may consider pursuing the aerobic-first sequence. Individuals who are involved in sports or events that demand strength and power or are training for hypertrophy may choose the resistance-first sequence.

If you are interested in working with a Yates Certified Personal Trainer to design an exercise program that best fits your needs, please contact Maegen C. Stoner, Director of Fitness & Wellness: mch249@georgetown.edu

References:

Aerobic Exercise [Def, 1]. (n.d.). In Aerobic Exercise, The Exercise and Physical Fitness Page. Retrieved July 24, 2018 from http://www2.gsu.edu/~wwwfit/aerobice.html.

American Council on Exercise. (2014). Resistance Training: Programming and Progressions. In C. Bryant, S. Jo, & D. Green (Eds.) Personal Trainer Manual (pp. 326-390). American Council on Exercise: USA.

Kang, Jie. (2014) Which comes first? Resistance before Aerobic Exercise or Vice Versa? ACSM Health & Fitness Journal,18(1), 9-14. Retrieved from https://journals.lww.com/acsm-healthfitness/Fulltext/2014/01000/Which_Comes_First__Resistance_Before_Aerobic.5.aspx?WT.mc_id=HPxADx20100319xMP.

Kravitz, Len. The Effect of Concurrent Training. Retrieved from https://www.unm.edu/~lkravitz/Article%20folder/concurrent.html.

Resistance Exercise [Def.2]. (n.d.) In The Medical Dictionary. Retrieved July 24, 2018, from https://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/resistance+exercise.

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This blog post was written to provide educational information only. This article should not be used as a substitute or a replacement for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have questions or concerns about your personal health, you should always consult with your physician. It is recommended that you consult with your physician or health care professional before beginning any fitness regimen to determine if it is suitable for your needs. The use of any information provided by this article is solely at your risk.

Yates August 2018 Maintenance Closing

Dear Members,

Please take note that Yates Field House will be closed for maintenance work and facility updates from Saturday, August 4 through Sunday, August 19, 2018. Yates will be partnering with local facilities that all members will have access to during this time at no additional charge.

While the facility is closed, we have arranged for Yates members to swim at the University of the District of Columbia (UDC). Members may enter the facility on Yuma and 35th. While no sign up is required to gain this access, members must bring their Yates ID card or GU GOcard upon entry.

Furthermore, all Yates members will have the opportunity to gain access to the Sport and Fitness Center of the Georgetown University Law Center during these weeks. The center also has a pool that members can use. In order to use the Law Center fitness facilities, members must submit their name through the form below. Sign up for Law Center access will be closed on August 1st.

Submit your name for Law Center access here.

Access to the Law Center will only be valid from August 4th through August 19th. Members can visit the Sport and Fitness Center of the Georgetown University Law Center website to learn more about facility hours and offerings.

More information and resources regarding the closing can be found on our website. With many exciting updates on the horizon, the facility will be refreshed for the new school year! We hope you enjoy the changes, and we thank you for your patience while we get the work completed.

Sincerely,
Yates Field House Staff

Allow Us to Reintroduce Ourselves – Fitness & Wellness Edition

Meet your Yates Field House Fitness and Wellness Team - Maegen and Christie stand in front of The Rack, a piece of fitness equipment.

Our Fitness & Wellness department at Yates is led by Director of Fitness & Wellness, Maegen C. Stoner, and Assistant Fitness Director, Christie L. Simoson. They are thrilled to be sharing with our viewers this month! Please enjoy a brief Q & A with our team to let you know a little more about them and their roles here at Yates.

Picture of Maegen Stoner

Maegen joined Yates Field House in November 2014 as the Assistant Fitness Director. In February 2017, Maegen assumed her current role as Assistant Director of Yates Field House and the Director of Fitness and Wellness. Maegen received her Bachelor’s degree from Coastal Carolina University and Master’s degree in Public Health, with a concentration in nutrition, from Campbell University.  In her current position she develops, implements, supervises, and evaluates Group Fitness, Personal Training, Well Within, and various Health & Wellness programs and initiatives for the entire Georgetown community. She additionally oversees the fitness floor and all cardio and strength equipment, The Rack, and stretching areas in Yates. In September 2017, she and co-chair, Katharine Gray, launched the campus-wide Hoya Wellness Wheel.

Picture of Christie Simoson

Christie joined the Yates Field House team in July of 2017 as the Assistant Fitness Director. She plans, coordinates, and implements various fitness and wellness programs in collaboration with the Yates Field House fitness and wellness team and across Student Affairs departments. She directly oversees the Group Fitness Program at Yates Field House, which is why you may find Christie instructing Group Fitness classes as well! Christie earned both her Bachelor’s and Master’s degree(s) in Exercise Science from East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania.

What's your favorite workout?

I love a good combo of cardio and strength training. A solid HIIT (high intensity interval training) workout is definitely my jam. I try and make the most of the hour I dedicate to myself, which is why this format works so well for me. It combines various time intervals with cardio and strength components, increases heart rate, and always delivers a solid sweat session.

Weights are my thing. I have always found Strength Training to be a way for me to escape and allow time for self-reflection. I am able to turn off the outside world and focus on bettering myself; it is just me and the weights. As corny as this may sound, subconsciously, it is as if the heavy weights symbolize the current stress in my life, so to be able to lift, push, or pull that weight off or away from me, is an amazing feeling.

What's your favorite genre/song/playlist for workouts?

Till I Collapse by Eminem & Nate Dogg. It’s my go-to for the toughest part of any workout or when I really don’t think I have the energy to finish strong. While it’s certainly not a fast paced song, it carries a strong back beat and puts me back in my former athlete mindset!

Yikes, that’s a tough one! I listen to a bit more hardcore music while lifting weights, and then more fast beat dance-type music while doing cardio. It may seem as if I am doing interval training while I do cardio, and while that may be the case in most instances, in others, I am really just going to the beat of that particular song.

Are you a morning or evening exerciser?

Hands down-morning! I prefer to get my day started with a solid workout. I also have more energy in the morning, so it sets me up for a productive day whether I’m going to work afterwards or at home on the weekends.

While I feel great starting my day with a workout, I get the most out of it in the late afternoon/early evening. Working out at this time gives me my second wind. I look forward to going to the gym, so to be able to end my day on a high note, is such a great feeling!

What's your favorite pre/post-workout snack?

 Since I usually hit the gym in the morning, I tend to lean towards a homemade protein chocolate muffin or a Chocolate Peanut Butter RX Bar before a workout. Post workout is always homemade chocolate milk (can you tell I really like chocolate?!?) and honey almond butter if I need a little extra for recovery.

 As cliché as this may sound, my pre-workout go-to is a banana with peanut butter. I LOVE peanut butter. My favorite post-workout snack is chocolate milk (when I have it readily available). If that is not handy, I am consuming a high-protein food (i.e. chicken or eggs).

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

 I thoroughly enjoy being outside whether that’s cycling, running, hiking, rock climbing, or camping. I love to cook and try new cuisines, play with my dog, visit family, travel, and go antique furniture shopping!

 You can find me exploring the outdoors with my dog, cycling on a new trail, lifting weights, traveling to visit family/friends, or heading to a baseball game!

If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?

 While it’s certainly not mainstream or glamorous by today’s standards, I’d love to have the power to heal. Not just diseases, illnesses, or hurting hearts, but significantly difficult situations that people face on a daily basis that would restore a sense of hope to their lives.

 I think I would have to say teleportation. I would LOVE to travel the world, view all of the different sights of mother nature, and experience many unfamiliar cultures that I may not be able to otherwise.

What makes Yates great?

 First, our almost 40 years of operation in this facility! We are consistently working to provide quality services, programs, spaces, and equipment for our members as time and budget allow. We have a vast number of options and opportunities for members to engage in a physically active lifestyle across all of our program areas. Personally, I love that I am able to envision spaces that might be overlooked and re-imagine them for something they could be in the future!

 The sense of Georgetown Community. Georgetown is kind of off the grid; we have our own little community here and it’s a beautiful thing. That, and the fact that Yates is like a playground for the health and fitness field! We have so many options for everyone to choose from, and the professional staff to help you reach your goal – no matter what that may be.

What are some things to look forward to for the Fall 2018 semester?

 We’ve been working hard behind the scenes to evaluate how our spaces are being used on a daily basis. I’m really excited to bring some changes to our fitness floor that I truly believe will greatly benefit our members’ experience!

 We are bringing a couple new formats to our Group Fitness Program. We don’t want to spoil the surprise, so we’ll just leave it at that!

 

Thanks for reading and we’ll see you around Yates! -Maegen and Christie