Blog Posts by Brett Blumenthal - Sheer Balance

  • User Post: 3 Ways to make your workout useless

    Exercising with Weights

    As an architect, I was trained to think that design was approached with either Form following Function or Function following Form. Depending on your schooling, your personal beliefs and your client, you may practice both approaches during your career. This morning, in the gym, I had a true flashback watching several other gym goers.

    You've seen them before: the beef-cake who pumps and grunts, lifting way too much weight than his brawny body can manage; or the fully decked out, fully-put together bombshell, who whips around a 1.5 - 3 lb dumbbells, barely engaging any muscle in her body and lastly the lady who gets on the stationary bicycle, reads a trashy tabloid and spins slower than she actually walks for an hour. These are three very different types of people, who actually have a lot in common: they are letting form follow function. Why does this matter? Because letting your form come second during a workout can be counterproductive, dangerous and a waste of time. Let's

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  • User Post: 7 Ways to keep your diet healthy while on the road

    When you travel, there are things that can throw you off your healthy lifestyle. An occasional trip doesn't normally have that much of an impact, but if we travel regularly, it can do some major damage. Unfortunately, we can't avoid travel, especially if it is for work, but what we can do is prepare for our impending trips and find ways to keep ourselves on track so that we can maintain the healthy lifestyle we love to live.

    Here are a few ways to keep your diet healthy while on the road:

    1. Eat Your Breakfast: It is important to eat a healthy breakfast every morning, but when you travel it is even more important. It sets you up for your day and helps keep your energy level high so you can be productive during your trip (especially in the case of a business trip).
    2. Pack Snacks: I'm a big believer in packing snacks. Preferably nutrition bars that won't go bad. They can ward off hunger during the day and help from letting irregular travel schedules get the best of you.
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  • 4 Ways to strengthen your willpower

    Throughout my lifetime, I think I've been able to maintain strong willpower over various things. Sometimes it was specific to diet and exercise, other times it was specific to relationships, and other times, it was specific to 'doing the right thing' even when I desperately didn't want to. That said, I have had moments where my willpower was less than stellar.

    Every person has different degrees of willpower, and for that matter, different ways of fueling it to stay as strong as possible. For some it might be faith based, while for others it might be an ideology; and for others, it might be rooted in how they were raised. But what is interesting, is how willpower can be strong...very certain situations, and weak in others. As a result, I would say willpower is biased.

    Take Sally for instance. She is attractive and fun, loves to socialize and has a great career. When it comes to doing things for her health, she doesn't really have a great amount of willpower: she puts

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  • Economic crisis: The bright spots

    As I watched the news this morning and heard the special on the emergence of 'tent cities' that are booming across the country in areas like Sacramento and Reno, I had to say to myself..."GOSH! This is not going away!" I admit, I've been somewhat in denial about this for awhile. Regardless of my lack of interest in topics of finance and economics, I think there was a part of me that was hoping that the economic problems would just slowly fade away, like a bad dream. The news this morning woke me up. This is real and this is bad.

    The eternal optimist in me, however, believes that with great challenges come great opportunities. And, yes, this does not discount the severity of the situation, but part of me really thinks that there are some positives in all of this...and that everything happens for a reason. So, that said, here is my logic around hopeful improvements in the world, as a result of these "tough economic times."

    Improved Lifestyle: Our lifestyles have

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  • 5 Ways to squeeze in exercise when you are short on time

    Although a regimented fitness program is important to a healthy lifestyle, there may be times that we can't fit it into our hectic schedules. Instead of getting upset or feeling guilty for missing a day of exercise, find creative ways to fit activity into your daily routine. The more active you are throughout the day, the more you will keep your metabolism working hard. Here are some easy ways to keep yourself moving:

    1. Forget the Elevator: You probably have heard this one before, but it is really one of the best ways to burn a few extra calories. Whenever you have to travel vertically, forgo automated transportation (such as the escalator or the elevator). Instead opt to take the stairs. A good gauge is to use the stairs when going upstairs for 7 flights or less and when going downstairs, use the stairs for 9 flights or less. Also, if you do take an escalator, choose to walk up it, versus just standing on it.
    2. Pass on Public Transportation: If you take public
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  • User Post: Nutrition bars: Which are best for you?

    Generally speaking, I try to eat every three to four hours. If I don't, I become ravenous and can end up doing something I regret when feeding time does kick in. Although I'm a big believer in eating whole foods (not processed), it isn't always possible. As a result, I tend to resort to Nutrition Bars for easy, on the go snacking. There are TONS of different nutrition bars on the market, and it can be somewhat confusing as to which ones really are the best for you.

    To help you through the nutrition bar jungle, I have done the analysis for you. The chart below compares many popular nutrition bars. See how they stack up and which pack the most powerful punch and which ones you might want to forgo:More...

    These bars were rated for nutritional content, as well as quality of ingredients. The percentages shown refer to the percentage of calories that are dedicated to that particular nutrient. For instance, Zone Perfect is made up of 30% protein, 40% carbs and 30% Fat. In summary, those

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  • Kiss My Face: You can kiss my _ss!

    At heart, I consider myself a naturalist. For instance, when I choose foods to eat, I tend to opt for those that are minimally processed and have no additives, artificial preservatives, artificial ingredients and chemicals. And when possible, I will buy organic. This also holds true for personal care products, such as make-up and skin care. In the last year or so, I've made a significant effort to avoid buying products that have fillers, preservatives and parabens. Unlike food products, however, there really aren't any industry standards around labeling products as organic or all-natural in the personal care market. So, for the most part, you have to do your research.

    In my quest for keeping personal care products as natural as possible, I've discovered certain brands and product companies that I like and as a result, stick with. A few include: Cosmedix, Burt's Bees and Kiss My Face. Cosmedix is great for skin care, Burt's Bees is great for moisturizing my hands and body and

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  • 5 Ways to overcome seasonal weight gain

    Although my weight fluctuates three to five pounds within one day, it also fluctuates seasonally. In the winter I tend to carry about five pounds or so more on average than I do in the summer. Although this can be frustrating, I've come to realize that it is natural to some extent and that it is a cycle that I need to accept.

    Chances are, I'm not alone. Many people gain weight when daylight hours diminish and cold weather sets in. Some doctors even believe that we have little control over this phenomenon, and that humans are programmed to gain weight when it gets cold. In an interview with Prevention magazine, Dr. Lawrence Cheskin, founder of the Johns Hopkins Weight Management Center, stated "Your body may be working against you to hang on to it so you stay warm." So why is this so and what can you do about it?:

    1. Food Choices: During the winter, we tend to eat more 'comfort' foods that are higher in fat and contain less than healthy ingredients. Foods like french
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  • User Post: 9 Ways to live longer

    Back in the early 1500s, explorer Ponce de Leon traveled to present day Florida in search for the Fountain of Youth. The idea was that if you drank its waters, you would stay eternally young. Although this might sound silly, it really isn't so far off from modern day civilization: people are still looking for that 'magic potion' that will keep them young and beautiful. Sort of funny when you think about it. No matter how much time passes, we still are in search for the same thing.

    Personally, I believe that the true 'Fountain of Youth' is found in a healthy lifestyle. No pills. No potions. No magic creams and definitely, no magic fountains. Whether or not you want to believe in Ponce de Leon's quest, there are indeed places on earth where people live longer and healthier.

    In Dan Buettner's Best Seller, The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who've Lived the Longest, he give us a peek into these modern day cultures of longevity, which include: Sardinia,

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  • User Post: Glycemic index: What it is and why you should care

    You may have heard of the Glycemic Index or the GI diet. There was a lot of buzz about it a few years ago, especially when the Zone Diet was popular. Why has it become all the rage? In very simple terms, it helps you to understand what is a worthwhile carbohydrate and what isn't.

    The Glycemic Index (GI) is a way to measure how quickly your blood sugar rises after ingesting a carbohydrate. Each food is assigned a value on a scale of 0 - 100, based on how fast your blood sugar rises in the two hours after you consume the carb. The higher the number, the more rapidly your blood sugar rises. The lower the number, the more slowly your blood sugar rises.

    Why is this important? In the most simplest of explanations, the higher your blood sugar levels, the more insulin is released into your body. Too much insulin in your body results in your body gaining fat. This is not a good situation if you are trying to lose weight or even maintain a healthy weight. Additional benefits of

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