Guest Post: Low-Intensity Fasted Cardio

Please welcome Sean, a certified CrossFit instructor and self-taught health & nutrition guru, who will be discussing low-intensity fasted cardio today. When he first mentioned this topic to me I thought it was extraordinarily interesting and immediately pounced on him to put it into writing.

Walking

Enjoy!

For quite some time, i have prided myself in being physically capable of overcoming demanding physical challenges at will.  Whether it be lifting heavy weights, running long distances, or some other overtly masculine challenge.  For this reason, i use to laugh at myself when i was humbled by seemingly simple tasks, which in my goal of attaining general physical athleticism, i would overlook.  This was never more apparent than when i would visit places like San Francisco where walking for an afternoon, yes walking, would leave me feeling beaten down and exhausted (my tiny girlfriend waiting for me to pant my way up every hill was demoralizing in itself). Little did I realize, that in neglecting one of the most fundamental forms of human locomotion, I was passing up a potent and extremely valuable health and fitness tool.  One that requires a little time and very little effort.

Living in a place like San Francisco, where walking is a valid method of transportation, is dramatically different from than the suburbs in which i reside. Here, i can not think of a single person that walks, or even rides a bike, outside of the specific purpose of getting exercise.  Funny enough, i know overweight people who will ride their bike for two hours straight when it is exercise, but when it comes to the half-mile commute to work or the store, the only option is the SUV.  Not to say that i was any different, it is a habit that you learn.

Then, a few months back, I found an article discussing the topic of low-intensity fasted cardio exercise to augment training for gymnast.  (I have a strange fascination with gymnastics training methods, the level of skill and strength required for basic competency is astonishing).  The highlight of the topic was how low-intensity fasted cardio was a simple and effective way to keep fat off a gymnast, whilst not compromising their performance in the gym and permitting them to eat more.  I thought this was very interesting and saw no reason why it would not be just as useful for anyone who was interested in a simple method of losing stubborn fat (who isn’t?).

First off, what is low-intensity fasted cardio?  The “fasted” part of the equation should not be taken in any extreme sense of the word.  Your body will begin to enter a fasted state about four to five hours after you eat.  It takes about that long for your body to either use the nutrients you have eaten or store them.  By this time you body begins using alternative sources of fuel which are derived primarily from your liver and increased metabolization of fat.  Since most people do not eat while they sleep, they will generally wake up with blood rich in metabolized fat ready to be used for energy (There are numerous other steps in there, but that’s the basics).  When you eat first thing in the morning, your body essentially reverses this process, turning to the more energy rich food and re-storing the fats you metabolized.  Just because you freed the stored fat (metabolized) doesn’t mean you actually use (oxidize) it.  So there is an optimal time (when you wake up or if you want to not eat for a while) for your body to access your stores of fat.  This is where the bit about walking comes into play.

Pairing fasting with low-intensity cardio (low-intensity cardio can be just about any steady state exercise that doesn’t require you to breathe heavily – i.e. walking) is an easy way to capitalize on the metabolized fat that i just described.  Why walk, when you can do more work in less time by running or some other higher intensity exercise?  One, walking is easier to do consistently, especially when you don’t think of it as exercise.  I walk to get coffee or to by food for the day, not to work out.  For some reason, turning it into a necessity (I must have coffee) changes the walking from an option to a requirement.  This makes doing it everyday easy.  Second, fat is not the most efficient form of energy for your body to use.  Once you begin to cross over into moderate to higher intensity exercise your body’s ability to meet your energy demands through fat metabolism isn’t adequate.  It will generally turn to other richer sources of energy like muscle tissue. 

First, thank you for the guest post. Second, and more importantly, thank you for calling me tiny. 🙂

While squeezing in some walking time is always good for you, whether you treat it as exercise or just need some time to yourself, low-intensity fasted cardio seems like an extremely beneficial activity to try on for size. I’ll confess, while I don’t read traditional dieting books, I will read almost any silly book that talks about French women and their approach to food {French Women Don’t Get Fat, Two Lipsticks and a Lover, A Woman’s Guide to Finding Her Inner French Girl…} The number one tip all of these books give you is: WALK! The French walk everywhere. If there’s a choice between taking the stairs or an elevator, they take the stairs. They walk to work, they walk to the market, they walk around their cities and towns rather than driving. In my mind this reinforces the benefits of walking and illustrates how the French maintain their slim figures.

Can’t go through the drive through if you’re walking!

Sean usually walks to the store in the morning or walks for a few miles along the river with his roommate, which sounds to me like an ideal way to start to the day. Unfortunately with a 4:30am start time for my days a leisurely stroll isn’t in the cards, however I have been lucky enough to live less than two miles from work for the last few years so I usually walk to the office, weather permitting.

So keep Sean’s advice in mind and hit the pavement or trail to burn off some fat in the am before treating yourself to a healthy breakfast.

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Restaurant Review – Millennium

 

Last week I enjoyed a phenomenal meal at Millennium, which is located in the Tenderloin/Union Square area of San Francisco. Here’s brief description of their goals from the official website:

Millennium Restaurant is dedicated to supporting the essential earthly concepts of organic food production, small farms, sustainable agriculture, recycling and composting. We cook with fresh produce delivered every day, and choose organic whenever possible. We believe that a gourmet dining experience can be created out of vegetarian, healthy, and environmentally friendly foods. We are proud to state that our restaurant is completely free of genetically modified foods.

The location may not be the nicest (the Tenderloin is fairly rundown) but it’s certainly convenient, only a few blocks from the Powell Street BART station and very close to Union Square for some pre or post meal shopping.

The interior is lovely, a very large, open space with plenty of tables and a giant bar in the center.

Now for the good stuff…

My friends Liz, Mark and I have a monthly dinner in San Francisco to explore new restaurants and introduce Mark, a new UK (via Spain) import, to California cuisine. They’re both omnis and were kind enough to accompany me to this veggie-friendly restaurant, which they both ended up enjoying. We ordered a number of dishes and there was plenty of me reaching across the table sharing going on.

Roasted beets w/ balsamic and hazelnuts

 

Pan-roasted new potatoes w/ Turkish chile aioli

 

Crushed oyster mushrooms w/ radish salad & grapefruit-Habanero chile jam and a side of greens w/ pine nuts

 

Black bean Torte w/ pumpkin-Habanero papazul, cashew "sour cream" & caramelized plantains

 

Huitlacoche tamale w/ cashew "cheese," roasted poblano chili, Habanero puree & sautéed broccoli

We all really loved our meals and I would highly recommend this restaurant, even for non-veg*ns. The food is incredibly tasty and healthy, a great combination no matter what your food preferences are.

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Chanel Resort Wear 2012

 

“Too much may not be enough.” These words, uttered by Karl Lagerfeld after the show, seem to sum it up perfectly.

– The backdrop? Hotel du Cap, in Antibes on the French Riviera, one of the most exclusive and expensive hotels in the world.

– The cast? All the big names from the past few seasons, Abbey Lee, Siri Tollerod, Jac, Natasha Poly, Karlie Kloss, Stella Tennant, Karolina Kurkova and Lily Donaldson, to name a few.

– The jewels? Real, darling. Of course.

– The front row? A-list fashionistas only, Blake Lively, Rachel Bilson, Alexa Chung, Vanessa Paradis, Clemence Posey, Laura Bailey and Poppy Delevigne among them.

The Chanel Resort 2012 collection began with slim, smart suits in yellow, lilac and cream, followed by black and white swimwear, cover-ups and dresses, and finally summery, hippie frocks and gowns.

While the wearability of the shin-guard inspired thong sandals is questionable, I thought that overall the show was lovely. In another life, far, far away, I can just see myself walking lazily along the water in one of these black and white swim suits, a gauzy white wrap thrown over my shoulder, or swirling regally around a ballroom in one of the crystal encrusted gowns. Right.

And the fashion didn’t stop there, off the runway the stars watched Karl’s masterpieces in their own stylish ensembles.

Clemence Posey looked adorable in a sunny dress (reminiscent of the blue one worn by Emma Roberts at the fall Chanel show) and gold heels.

Who wears short shorts? Too cute Rachel Bilson, who donned micro leather shorts, a boyfriend blazer and crocheted white top.

Blake Lively looked gorgeous and summery in a chic black and white Chanel ensemble, including a tiny skirt and sequined blazer.

 
Overall it was an elegant, sumptuous affaire. Come on Karl, did my invitation get lost in the mail?
 
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Laissez les bon temps rouler: Cocktail Dresses

Let the good times roll…

Whether the occasion is a romantic night on the town, cocktails after work, a bachelorette party in Vegas or Girls Night Out, we all have evenings that call for perfect cocktail dresses. Yes, the LBD is classic and will always be in style, but why not step out of your comfort zone and throw on a stylish new frock this Spring? Sequins, feathers, draping, vibrant jewel tones, nudes, understated elegance, glitzy glamour… Whatever you most desire, there is the perfect dress out there for you.

Here are a few party dresses that have caught my eye for the Spring/Summer of 2011. They range in price and in mood, and regardless of your age, height, budget and event, we should be able to find you something!

The three dresses below can easily go from the office to drinks with the removal of a blazer and/or tights and the addition of just the right pair of heels. They’re sophisticated, fun and chic, but demand that you still be taken seriously despite an out-of-the-office setting.

{Kay Unger – $210 @ Bloomingdale’s}

{Rachel by Rachel Roy 24/7 Dress – $100}

{BCBG Natalie Color-Blocked Sheath – $200}

Vegas baby, Vegas!

Nothing says “Let’s Party” quite like sequins and shimmer, so throw on a sparkly mini and head out for a night on the town, whatever the cause of your celebration.

{Winter Kate Nicole Dress – $400 @ Shopbop.com}

Hot summer nights call for low-key and understated glamour. Try pairing a flirty, floral frock with nude heels or booties, or a maxi dress with strappy sandals.

{BCBGeneration Printed Asymmetrical-Hem Dress – $130}

{Patterson J. Kincaid Cerise Jersey Long Dress – $110 @ Shopbop.com}

{Trina Turk “Playa Vista” V-Neck Dress – $300 @ Bloomingdale’s}

For date night you need something flirty and fun, something that hugs your curves in just the right places and reminds him why you’re the only girl for him. Whether you want to show some skin or keep it covered up, the key is to find a form flattering dress that makes YOU feel amazing.

{Tadashi Shoji Bandage Cap-Sleeved Bandage Dress – $330 @ Bloomingdale’s}

{BCBGeneration One-Shoulder Open-Back Dress – $120}

{Cut 25 Drop Needle Jersey Shift Dress – $270 @ Bloomingdale’s}

And what does the discriminating and experienced woman wear for an evening on the town? A sheath, darling, what else?

{Diane von Furstenberg Bateau Dress – $285 @ Saks}

{Eileen Fisher Organic Linen Sequin Dress – $250 @ Saks}

{Donna Morgan Belted Linen Sheath Dress – $140 @ Nordstrom}

Take a new style or a shorter hemline for a spin this Spring and remind yourself just how much fun fashion can be!

What’s YOUR go-to cocktail dress style for a night out?

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Things I’ve learned…

 

(1) The book is ALWAYS better than the movie.

(2) You can’t argue with genetics. Especially when you call your mom with a spoonful of peanut butter in your mouth only to discover she’s standing in her kitchen doing the same thing.

(3) Don’t dwell. Let it go and it will set you free.

(4) Having people who support you no matter what decisions you make is more important than how much money you make, who you’re dating, or what you’re doing (or not doing) with your life.

(5) Giving in to your cravings and impulsive desires is necessary to be a well-adjusted individual.

(6) You can’t stay in a bad mood if you sing out loud & dance around your apartment. I’m serious. Try it.

(7) Listen to your mother. She was right about the bad-boy phase. She was right about the sunscreen. She was right about higher thread-count sheets. Just listen.

(8) Appreciate what you have. Living your life wondering whether everyone else is doing it better or enjoying it more isn’t living. Life isn’t a competition. Life isn’t about winning.

(9) A relationship isn’t the answer to everything. If you don’t know who you are, don’t know what you want, or what you deserve – you wont be good for anyone. Sometimes you just need to be alone.

(10) Always keep a tool kit nearby because when you least expect it, you will need it. I  promise.

(11) Do something that you love every single day. Find a gorgeous view, read an inspirational book, watch a cheesy movie, listen to a song that makes you sing, laugh for no reason, kiss someone you love… It’ll keep you sane.

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