Archive for News & Events

Redefined: a Faith and Fitness Conference

2016 marks the second year that the Redefined Conference will take place in Orlando, Florida. Set your calendars and plan to attend the week of November 16th -19th.

Faith & Fitness Magazine’s 2-day Redefined Conference delivers ideas, resources and contacts to help you truly integrate programs and services into your fitness business that meet the deeper spiritual needs of your members. Sessions led by key professionals in the industry target unique and specific areas of this rapidly-growing approach to fitness and ministry. If you want to create a more robust experience, achieve a more effective outcome AND reach the 140 million church-going Christian customers plus many more then this conference will empower you to redefine fitness in your community.

Co-located at the Athletic Business Show and Expo, no other faith focused professional development fitness event maximizes your time, travel and resources.


– Learn how to do fitness better utilizing proven faith-centered principles and practices.

– Discover a full array of ready-to-use services, programs and products to grow your business.

– Expand your professional network and connect one-on-one with key leaders.

– Gain the ability to reach more people in your community who value faith and want a more holistic approach to fitness.

– NEW THIS YEAR! Included with your Redefined Conference registration you’ll get quarterly personalized live phone support sessions with Brad Bloom, Publisher of Faith & Fitness Magazine.

– Get more! Our booth (#1525) at the EXPO hall is your destination during the Athletic Business Show for additional, ongoing and specific support. The EXPO hall is full of energy and we’re there to make it especially dynamic for you. Schedule one-on-one conversations with our team to get thoughtful focus on your goals and help so you can build a strong strategy.


Redefined Conference ONLY

This 2-day option is November 16 and 17 providing you with complete access to all of our sessions and a pass to the EXPO hall all for $99.

Redefined Conference + Athletic Business Show

This 4-day option is November 16 through 19. You get all nine sessions during two days of the Redefined Conference PLUS access to the educational sessions and activities at the Athletic Business Show along with your pass to the EXPO hall. Use the promo code “FAITH” during your registration to get the discounted rate of $294 instead of the full rate of $544 (a savings of $250).


Orlando is a world-class destination. Access a variety of resources to help you plan your hoteltravel and more.

Happy Gut, Happy Body: Boost Your Health with These Simple Keys

Lorie Johnson, CBN

Hippocrates, the father of medicine, once said, “All disease begins in the gut.” Now, 2,000 years later, that belief still rings true. Some of our latest medical breakthroughs focus on what’s happening in our intestinal system.

Bacteria, also known as bugs or germs, we assume they’re all bad, right? Not so fast.

Scientists recently discovered much, if not most, of the bacteria in our body is good for us. The key to good health depends on having enough of the right kind.

1. ‘Anti-Gut’ Antibiotics

We all have trillions of bacteria living in our intestines–hundreds of different species, each with different functions. Scientists call it our “gut flora.”

Neurologist Dr. David Perlmutter, author of Brain Maker, is one of many physicians warning against disrupting this fragile ecosystem.

“We all carry good and bad bugs, if you will,” he said. “And it’s the imbalance that seems to be the biggest trigger for our illnesses.”

Dr. Vincent Pedre, author of Happy Gut, agrees.

“The connection between the gut and the immune system is quite significant, because 80 percent of our immune system is located all along the boundary of the gut,” he said.

Unfortunately, when it comes to good gut bacteria, many of us are sorely lacking.

“We’re seeing an epidemic of disruption of the micro-biome of the gut bacteria worldwide,” Pedre said. “And the reason for that is because of the widespread use and prescribing of antibiotics.”

After all, antibiotics kill bacteria–bad and good.

Perlmutter says most people have no idea how severely antibiotics damage our gut flora.

“You’ve got to understand that taking an antibiotic will change the complexity of your gut bacteria and the diversity of the gut bacteria for the rest of your life,” he said. “Just one course of antibiotics.”

2. Processed Food Disruption

In addition to antibiotics, processed food can also disrupt the gut biome.

“There’s way too much sugar in our diet and that sugar breeds bad organisms,” Pedre said. “And when I say sugar I’m also talking about artificial sweeteners because it’s been shown that artificial sweeteners cause a dysbiosis and promote the growth of not very favorable bacteria, bacteria that can cause inflammation and disease.”

Perlmutter says processed foods contain heavy doses of the wrong kinds of fat, like heated oils such as soybean, corn and vegetable oils. He also advises against consuming hydrogenated oils, also known as trans fats, which are common in processed foods.

However, he points out not all fat is bad.

“We’ve got to welcome fat back to the table,” he said. “But only the good fats, not the modified fats. So be very liberal with your use of extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, grass fed meat if you can find it, wild fish, nuts and seeds.”

Even babies delivered by Caesarian section can miss out on getting enough good bacteria.

“We gain our first bacteria at the moment of birth,” Perlmutter explained. “When we are born and we pass through the birth canal, the baby is inoculated with bacteria that are transferred from mother to baby. And those are the seeds for the gut bacteria that will last a lifetime.”

3. Probiotics, Prebiotics

So while our lifestyle choices really do a number on the gut bacteria that’s so critical to our health, the good news is we can improve it with probiotics and prebiotics.

Probiotics are the good bacteria we need and often lack. You can find these living, microscopic organisms in supplements as well as in cultured and fermented foods like kim chee, sauerkraut, yogurt, kefir and kombucha.

Prebiotics are the food for the probiotics — they keep probiotics living and growing as they should. Just like good soil, they create a nurturing environment in your gut so your bacteria can thrive.

You can get prebiotics in supplement form as well as in foods, like asparagus, onions, leeks, garlic and dandelion greens.

Perlmutter says many people are only aware of the benefits of probiotics, but he stresses prebiotics are equally important.

“When people start increasing their prebiotic fiber, the changes in their health are remarkable,” he continued. “Weight loss, immediate improvement of mood… by adding prebiotic fiber to your diet. Who knew? This is revolutionary new information.”

Nurture the Gut, Nurture the Whole Body

Not only can it help your mood — Perlmutter says even serious brain disorders, like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, autism, even Alzheimer’s disease can improve by increaseing good bacteria. That’s because they help make neurotransmitters and vitamins while at the same time aid in reducing harmful inflammation.

“I lost my dad just last year to Alzheimer’s disease,” Perlmutter said. “So I really get it. And I want to stand up and be heard: that it’s great that we try to develop a cure for this disease. But we know right now, as we have this discussion, that it is preventable. And when we eat a diet that nurtures the gut, it will nurture the brain.”

And not just the brain.

Scientists are now identifying specific strains of good bacteria that treat all kinds of problems, from skin rashes to the flu.

That means a targeted probiotic could take the place of a prescribed drug. Pedre says that opens the door to a wide range of natural treatments.

“I think we’re just on the tip of the iceberg of learning how to harness that potential and use it for therapeutic interventions,” he said.

So if you want to boost your health, doctors say improve your gut flora. That means avoiding processed foods, even antibacterial cleansers and antibiotics when advisable.

Then add good bacteria with probiotics and boost them with prebiotics, also available as supplements or in certain foods.

More benefits to a high-fat Mediterranean diet, new study says

By Jacqueline Howard, CNN

Are you avoiding fats in your daily diet? It may be time to stop — that is, if your daily diet is Mediterranean.

A new paper confirms that a Mediterranean diet rich in “healthy” fats — such as those found in olive oil, eggs, nuts and fatty fish — might lower your risk of heart disease, breast cancer and type 2 diabetes.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death among adults in the United States, followed by cancer, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
More research is needed to determine exactly why certain foods in a high-fat Mediterranean diet are associated with alower risk of cancer and other ailments, said Dr. Hanna Bloomfield, core investigator at the Department of Veterans Affairs Center for Chronic Disease Outcomes Research and lead author of the paper.
“It is not known but may be because of an anti-inflammatory effect,” she added. Nonetheless, the paper offers even more support for the long list of benefits that the diet offers.
For the paper, which was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine on Monday, researchers reviewed 332 previous studies and analyzed about 56 of those studies, taking a close look at the health benefits of a Mediterranean diet that included a lot of fat.
“Healthy fats are mono-unsaturated fats as found in olive oil, canola oil and avocados,” Bloomfield said. Unhealthy fats include saturated and trans fats, such as those found in potato chips.
The researchers described a Mediterranean diet as a diet that placed no restriction on fat intake and included two or more of seven components:
  1. High mono-unsaturated-to-saturated fat ratio, which can be the result of using olive oil as a main cooking ingredient
  2. High fruit and vegetable intake
  3. High consumption of dark green leafy vegetables
  4. High grain and cereal intake
  5. Moderate red wine consumption
  6. Moderate consumption of dairy products
  7. Low consumption of red meat and meat products with an increased consumption of fish
The analysis showed that even though such a diet may not affect overall mortality, it may be effective at reducing incidences of certain diseases.
“I was not surprised because the literature on which this study was based has been out there for a while,” Bloomfield said.
Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, dean of the Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science & Policy who was not involved in the new paper, said that he’s also not surprised by these results.
“There’s not much new here,” he added. After all, in recent years, numerous studies have touted the benefits of a Mediterranean diet, finding that it boosts bone and heart health.
new study, published in the American Medical Association’s journal of Internal Medicine this month, suggests that replacing saturated and trans fat with unsaturated fats can help you live longer.
Separate research published in the journal Lancet last month found that a high-fat Mediterranean diet may be more effective than a low-fat diet at helping you lose weight.
“Probably because people who are on fat-restricted diets tend to get more of their calories from sugar, such as soda, and unrefined grains,” Bloomfield said.
She advises that Americans incorporate more avocado, nuts and olive oil in their daily diets in order to consume more “healthy” fat.

How workouts give your brain a boost

By Kristen Domonell for Life by Daily Burn

Have you ever felt like pounding the pavement or doing a couple of sun salutations seems to instantly melt your worries away? It’s not your imagination — but it is your brain.

“What benefits the body benefits the brain,” says Dianna Purvis Jaffin, PhD, director of strategy and program at the Center for Brain Health’s Brain Performance Institute. “You are not a separate brain walking around on top of a body.”
Exercise revs up complex processes inside your mind that can curb depression, help you keep your cool at work, and even one day give Betty White a run for her money. Here are three brain benefits of exercise, plus a look at the science behind them from the inside out.

3 Ways Exercise Benefits Your Brain

1. Boost Your Mental Fitness

Squats for the booty — and the brain? Inside your head, there are about 86 billion neurons designed to bark orders to the rest of your body — all with the help of chemical messengers called neurotransmitters. These neurotransmitters regulate everything from your mood and sleep cycle, to memory and appetite.
What’s it to you? Studies show that low levels of two of these neurotransmitters in particular, glutamate and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), can lead to mood disorders such as depression. The good news: moderate exercise can increase these levels, according to a recent study in The Journal of Neuroscience. The result, whether you suffer from depression or not, is an increased resilience and capacity to respond to mental challenges, a concept known as “mental fitness,” explains study author Richard Maddock, MD, a research professor at UC Davis Medical Center.
This study measured neurotransmitter levels in participants before and after 20 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, so Maddock says it’s not clear if lower intensity exercise would have the same effect on glutamate and GABA. But one small study suggests that GABA increases after 12 weeks of practicing yoga.

2. Banish Stress for Good

If you’re constantly feeling overwhelmed by the stressors in your life, you might want to step up your fitness routine. Why? When you’re stressed out your brain secretes the “fight or flight” stress hormone cortisol. This is good if you’re about to get mugged on the street, but if your cortisol levels are chronically elevated, it can cause problems, says Jaffin. (Studies have linked high cortisol levels to heart diseasediabeteshigh blood pressurememory loss and more.)
Hit the track, weights or heavy bag, though, and you expose your body to something called “controlled stress,” which helps sharpen your brain’s stress response, Jaffin says. “You turn it on when you need it and turn it off when you don’t.” Done and done.

3. Age With Grace

It’s never too early to think about having a healthy brain as you age, and exercise can help by increasing your cognitive reserve. Translation: Your brain will be able to handle the deterioration that comes with age without taking its toll on your memory, says Jaffin.
“If you have more to begin with, you have more margin to suffer any aging decline without actually exhibiting cognitive impairment,” she says. “Exercise seems to be preventive in aging and cognitive decline and potentially Alzheimer’s disease as well.”
Another A+ fact about exercise and the aging brain? Believe it or not, older adults who exercise actually have larger brain volumes than those who don’t, according to a 2006 University of Illinois study. After six months of aerobic training, study participants had significant increases in both gray and white matter regions of the brain compared to those who participated in non-aerobic stretching and toning activities. Gray matter includes neurons, which are the basic cells of the central nervous system, Jaffin says, and preservation of white matter is associated with improved processing speed.
Plus, the hippocampus, the brain system associated with memory and learning (and often shrinks with age), is larger in people who are active, says Jaffin. This won’t make you smarter, per se, but it will help you remember the important things the older you get. And that’s as good a reason as any to fit in a workout today!

ACE-sponsored Research: Are Activity Trackers Accurate?

Article Courtesy of American Council on ExerciseBy Caitlin M. Stackpool, M.S., John P. Porcari, Ph.D., Richard Mikat, Ph.D., Cordial Gillette, Ph.D., and Carl Foster, Ph.D.

Activity trackers are everywhere these days, but when it comes to tracking steps and calories, are they really accurate? A new ACE-sponsored research study examined five popular activity trackers to determine whether or not they are worth your time or your money.

Increasingly, people are turning to activity trackers—electronic devices that track everything from caloric expenditure to quality of sleep—to help them stay on course and meet their health and fitness goals.

An estimated 19 million devices were in use in 2014, and that number is expected to grow exponentially over the next few years. In fact, a recent report by Juniper Research predicts that the use of activity trackers—also called fitness wearables—will triple by 2018.

While all this new technology is really cool and some of it is really fun to use, very little published research exists demonstrating the accuracy or validity of these devices. How closely do they predict caloric expenditure or track the number of steps taken? Given the increasing prevalence of these devices, the American Council on Exercise enlisted a team of researchers from the Clinical Exercise Physiology program at the University of Wisconsin—La Crosse to examine five popular activity trackers to determine whether or not they are worth your time or your money.

The Study

For this study, five popular activity trackers were chosen: Nike+ Fuelband ($99-$149), Fitbit Ultra ($99), Jawbone UP ($99), BodyMedia FitCore ($99) and the Adidas MiCoach ($199). [Note: Since this study was completed, BodyMedia was purchased by Jawbone.]

Researchers recruited 10 healthy men and 10 healthy women, ages 18 to 44, to participate in the study, which was divided into two parts: one to measure energy expenditure and the other to measure the number of steps taken. The protocol was the same for both studies and they were conducted concurrently.

Along with wearing the activity trackers, subjects wore a portable metabolic analyzer and the NL-2000i pedometer, which has proven reliability, to make an accurate determination of calories burned and steps taken. Each subject performed a series of different exercises wearing all of these devices at the same time; the testing was conducted in two separate 50-minute sessions.

The first session included walking and running on a level treadmill. Each subject walked at a self-selected speed for 20 minutes and then rested for 10 minutes before running for 20 minutes at a self-selected pace.

The second session was completed on an elliptical crosstrainer that worked both the arms and legs; participants completed 20 minutes of exercise at a self-selected intensity. After a break, subjects performed sports-related exercises, including ladder drills, basketball free throws, T-drills and half-court lay-up drills.

After completing both sessions, the values were recorded from each device and compared to the portable metabolic analyzer energy expenditure values and the number of steps taken.

The Results

When it comes to tracking steps, the activity trackers were pretty reliable, says lead researcher Caitlin Stackpool, M.S., with the accuracy depending on the type of exercise being done. All five devices predicted within 10 percent accuracy the number of steps taken during treadmill walking and running, as well as during elliptical exercise (Tables 1 and 2).

Table 1. Comparison of steps taken measured using hand counting compared to steps taken from the activity devices.
Devices Treadmill Walking Treadmill Running Elliptical Agility
Actual 2425±177.9 3182±173.9 2631±371.5 805±51.9
Jawbone UP 2403±176.6 3186±171.5 2627±359.0 783±110.1
Nike Fuelband 2273±154.8* 3169±171.2 2580±458.7 533±70.4*
Fitbit Ultra 2425±177.2 2990±313.0* 2630±370.6 645±+90.0*
NL-2000i 2425±178.0 2869±247.1* 2477±471.1* 671±106.9*
Values represent means ± standard deviation.
*Significantly different than actual steps (p<.05).
Table 2. Correlation of steps taken between actual steps and steps recorded from activity devices.
Devices Treadmill Walking Treadmill Running Elliptical Agility
Jawbone UP 0.98 0.99 0.99 0.34
Nike Fuelband 0.55 0.98 0.97 0.17
Fitbit Ultra 0.99 0.44 0.99 0.49
NL-2000i 0.99 -0.19 0.70 0.44

During agility drills, however, there was a larger underestimation, but Stackpool explains that this is likely due to the variety of more complex movements.Smaller or quicker steps taken may not always register on the activity trackers, and also appeared to lead to less arm movement, which would then affect the accuracy of the activity trackers that were worn on the arms or wrists (the Fitbit is the only device in this study that is not worn on the wrist).

The devices were a little less accurate when estimating energy expenditure (Tables 3 and 4). Recording energy expenditure is a more complex process, explains John P. Porcari, Ph.D., head of the University’s Clinical Exercise Physiology Department. It also involves incorporating data measured by the device into a regression equation within the devices’ software. This is likely why there was more variation in the recordings.

Table 3. Comparison of caloric expenditure measured using the portable metabolic gas analyzer compared to kcal values obtained from the activity devices.
Devices Treadmill Walking  (n=19) Treadmill Running


Elliptical (n=20) Agility


Actual 109±19.6 240±47.3 161±25.6 90±20.7
Jawbone UP 123±25.2 288±63.6* 161±74.1 63±23.5*
Nike Fuelband 107±24.2 275±56.4* 118±38.0* 77±18.0*
Fitbit Ultra 111±22.8 230±50.5 154±34.1 75±19.2*
Adidas MiCoach 146±18.2* 261±52.4 36±6.8*
BodyMedia FIT Core 112±16.2 210±37.2 129±19.5* 74±19.2*
Values represent means ± standard deviation.
*Significantly different than portable metabolic gas analyzer kcal (p<.05).
Table 4. Correlation of kcals between the portable metabolic gas analyzer and the kcal recorded by the activity devices.
Devices Treadmill Walking (n=19) Treadmill Running






Jawbone UP 0.87 0.69 0.40 0.57
Nike Fuelband 0.49 0.72 0.08 0.47
Fitbit Ultra 0.24 0.63 0.41 0.67
Adidas MiCoach 0.55 0.81 0.65
BodyMedia FIT Core 0.68 0.73 0.47 0.56

The difference between measured and predicted kcals ranged from 13 to 60 percent, with some devices overpredicting and some devices underpredicting. None of the devices were accurate across all the activities for recording calories burned, so picking an activity device to record caloric expenditure may not be the best option.

The Bottom Line

When choosing a device, researchers advise consumers to think about the information they want to track. If looking at steps taken, the Jawbone UP appears to be the best activity device to choose. If an individual is more concerned about calories, there was a wide variety of results, depending on what type of activity was being performed.

“Most devices are pretty good for measuring steps taken during traditional activities,” says Porcari. “Once you start getting outside of that—like elliptical or sports-related movements—it becomes harder to detect actual steps taken.”

“These activity trackers work best for lower-intensity activities such as walking,” adds Stackpool, who thinks these devices are especially beneficial to new exercisers. “It gives them a way to assess where they are, set goals and see improvements.”

And what about caloric expenditure?

“Predicting calorie burn is a complicated thing,” explains Porcari. “People vary how they move their arms, for example. Some are more efficient and some are more variable. Most devices probably won’t get within 10 to 15 percent accuracy because there is simply too much biological variability.”

But that doesn’t mean there still isn’t a benefit to using an activity tracker, says Stackpool. “Activity trackers show people how active they are throughout the day. Being sedentary 90 percent of the time and performing 30 minutes of exercise does not necessarily make a person ‘active.’”

By wearing the devices all day, people can see whether or not they need to add more activity throughout the day. In fact, according to Porcari. Studies show that people are 30 to 40 percent more active when they use activity trackers.” So, perhaps the absolute accuracy of the device is less important than the fact that they do a good job of getting people up and moving.

And that, says Stackpool, is the take-home message for consumers: Do whatever it takes—whatever works for you—to be more active. If wearing an activity tracker helps you do that, your best bet is to choose a device based on comfort, ease of use and whatever additional features might appeal to you.

Churches are Increasingly Adding Health and Fitness to Ministry Outreach


She was riding by a church outside Washington, D.C., when its marquee cried out to her: “Weight-Loss Competition.”

“This is my last-ditch effort,” she thought.

Mates picked up the phone and called Capital Baptist Church in Annandale, Virginia, where Pastor Steve Reynolds himself had lost 130 pounds through a program he created called Bod4God.

“For me, that meant surrendering my knife and fork and ice cream spoon to God,” said Reynolds, who is part of a growing trend of faith intersecting with fitness.

“I had high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes,” he said. “Today I’m 57 years old, and I’m disease free.”

According to industry experts, the number of churches adding a health or fitness component to their ministry is on the rise.

“Rec sports has been with a lot of churches for a long, long time,” said Church Fitness owner Rob Killen, who works with faith-based groups interested in developing fitness facilities. “Now more of them are looking to add fitness as an outreach in part of their ministries.”

Large churches like Houston’s First Baptist Church, Prestonwood Baptist Church outside Dallas, and Bellaire Baptist Church in Bossier City, Louisiana, all have large recreation and fitness centers. They include basketball courts, weight rooms, group fitness rooms and indoor walking/jogging tracks.

Other churches and faiths offer screenings for high blood pressure and cholesterol and partner with groups like the American Heart Association to educate their flocks on the importance of health and wellness. And diet books come with titles like “The Maker’s Diet” and “How to Succeed on Any Diet: A Jewish and Friendly Guide to Dieting & Exercise.”

At The Luke in Humble, Texas, health awareness is one of four pillars of the church. Members recently completed a 90-day fitness challenge that included fitness trainers, Zumba and boot-camp sessions, weigh-ins and some seminars. Winners were recognized in front of the 6,000-member congregation, and the grand prize winner received two roundtrip tickets to a destination of his choosing. In the fall, the focus will be on childhood obesity.

“We really believe in ministering to the whole person,” said Erica Worley, director of development.

Brad Bloom, who publishes the online magazine Faith & Fitness, said people can often articulate their goals, such as losing weight or reducing their chances for a heart attack or attracting a mate, but they may have difficulty communicating or identifying the deeper spiritual needs that brought them to the gym.

“A lot of times those are things such as they’ve recently gotten a divorce, or lost a loved one to cancer or they’re just tired of the grind,” Bloom said. “There’s almost inevitably a deeper driving force, or several driving forces, that are spiritual in nature. So connecting faith with fitness, we believe, is absolutely paramount if people are truly going to have success.”

Four years ago, Pastor Joseph Williams started a 40-day holistic program within his congregation at Salem Bible Church in Atlanta called The Journey. It worked on him, helping the former college football recruit drop to a healthy size from his former 330 pounds.

“Like many Americans, everything worked until it didn’t,” he said.

There are about 2,000 graduates of the program, which teaches people to eat healthy and deal with emotional toxins, incorporating spirituality in the process in a small group setting.

“That’s nothing more than reinforcement of reading the word of God, meditation and prayer,” Williams said. “There are assignments that cause a person to reflect spiritually on their weaknesses, their strengths.”

Churches are increasingly adding health and fitness to ministry outreach Dr. Joseph Williams of Salem Bible Church – Atlanta.

Williams plans to share what he’s gained with attendees at MegaFest on Aug. 19-23 in Dallas, an extended weekend of faith, family and fun hosted by the well-known Bishop T.D. Jakes, founder of The Potter’s House, one of the nation’s largest megachurches.

“I’m pleased and proud to have something I can share with other churches that does work,” said Williams, who will be at the AHA booth at MegaFest. “So I definitely think people are open to this conversation.”

Pastor Reynolds of Virginia said overeating needs to be discussed.

“In the Christian community this is what I call the sin we forget to talk about,” he said. “It’s not about the weight as much as it is about honoring God with your body.”

Mates, who called about the weight-loss competition, initially put off answering Reynolds’ phone calls, but the pastor persisted.

Mates had lost several relatives to heart disease and figured she was next in line. After her father suffered two heart attacks and a stroke that ultimately cost him his life, she began eating uncontrollably to comfort herself.

“At that time I was eating a breakfast of a whole box of cookies, a bag of potato chips and cherry Coke,” she said.

She weighed 218 pounds, had developed high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, sleep apnea and bleeding ulcers. She also needed two esophagus surgeries.

“My daughter would come into my room in the middle of the night to see if I was still breathing, and she would cry every night and plead with me to change my unhealthy lifestyle,” Mates said.

She started attending the weight-loss “Losing to Live” events and liked the progress she made with small, simple changes that added up to big results.

“I started to pray before I would go into the grocery store that I would at least make some change,” she said. “So I started to shop at the perimeter of the grocery store where the good foods are, the unprocessed foods, the foods that God intended us to eat.”

And she made baby steps with exercise. At first she only walked around her house five minutes a week.

“And I felt so good, even though it was small, every day I kept adding to it and adding to it. So finally the five turned into a 5K.”

Now, at 59 years old, 65 pounds lighter and free of unhealthy risk factors, Mates, a national Go Red for Women spokeswoman, is a role model for others.

“It makes me feel good that I’m making a difference and people are changing their lifestyles and bottom line, they are going to live.”

10 Fitness Trends for 2016

Courtesy of Pete McCall, MS, CSCS and The American Council on Exercise

2016 brings another exciting year to the health and fitness industry. Here are the top 10 fitness trends for this year. # 2 is really exciting to see!


In an effort to help people make the healthier choices necessary to overcome the obesity epidemic, a number of health clubs, equipment companies and fitness organizations will look outside of their walls and become more involved in working directly with the public. In 2016, we will see more public-private partnerships like the one between TRX, the Drew Brees Foundation and local schools. For one month, TRX donates fitness equipment based on how many touchdowns Brees scores in a game. “TRX and Drew Brees share a common mission of championing the importance of physical activity for all, regardless of age or athletic ability. With so many physical education program facing dramatic budget cuts and childhood obesity continually rising, TRX and Drew are committed to making youth fitness a priority,” said Randy Hetrick, CEO and Founder of TRX. Public-private partnerships like these will provide more solutions for helping people make healthier choices while creating new fitness consumers.


Over the next year, faith-based exercise will become mainstream as churches, mosques, synagogues, ashrams, temples and other faith-based communities develop programs to promote fitness, health and wellness. Faith-based communities are gathering places where people come together based on shared values and beliefs. Over the past few years, many faith-based communities have begun offering classes, nutrition advice and health coaching to help people improve the physical and spiritual well-being of their adherents. David Jack, the owner of the ActivLab studio in Phoenix, is adamant about the role that spiritual well-being plays in creating the right physical well-being. “If an individual is a member of a faith-based community, he or she is already a member of a community that can provide an environment for community, emotional, mental, spiritual and physical growth. Fitness, wellness and health play an integral role in helping every individual honor their own faith. As people improve their faith and their fitness it helps promote stronger families and communities. Activate the best, magnify the good.” Faith-based exercise programs won’t replace traditional health clubs, but they will become more popular as people who share the same spiritual beliefs come together to improve their physical well-being.


Increasingly demanding schedules, coupled with an international trend toward understanding the role that regular physical activity plays in promoting health and wellness, will spur an increase in the popularity of workout-on-demand and video streaming services. Online video-on-demand subscription services fulfill a need by allowing individuals to do instructor-led workouts on their own time. Daily Burn, the online health and fitness trailblazer, will increase its offerings in the coming year. “With an outstanding year-over-year growth spike, we see an opportunity to further serve our current subscribers and fuel future consumer need,” says Lisa Wheeler, VP of Fitness Programming at Daily Burn. “We are excited to debut a unique, live steaming workout experience, “Daily Burn 365,” that we believe will do just that.”


Previously relegated to exercise physiology labs and elite performance centers, 2016 will see a significant increase in the use of technology for measuring all sorts of physiological parameters, from body composition to aerobic capacity to intermuscular glycogen storage. PostureCo, for example, uses data on body composition analysis that allows a personal trainer to accurately measure a client’s body composition by simply taking a photo with a tablet or mobile device. Instead of taking awkward (and not always accurate) measurements using calipers, trainers will be able to assess a client’s body fat simply be taking a photo.


After a few years of high-intensity everything, 2016 will signal a shift back toward understanding the role of low-intensity steady-state training (LISS) in promoting weight loss and overall fitness. HIIT works, but too much can cause overtraining and overuse injuries. Plus, recent research demonstrates that HIIT can cause a negative experience and emotional relationship with exercise, which could be used as a reason for quitting an exercise program. Trainers that know how to utilize LISS can give their clients long-term programming solutions that help promote adherence to regular physical activity.


Responding to consumer demand for instructor-led workouts that offer fun and creative ways to stay in shape, studios and health clubs will start offering group fitness classes that combine workout formats. After all, even with the best playlist, studio cycling is still sitting in the same place for an hour, and HIIT workouts get a little stale after the 1,000th burpee. In 2016, equipment companies will deliver solutions that enable clubs and studios to create a variety of combined formats, such as cycling and boxing, treadmill running and strength training, and rowing and body-weight training. These new formats will provide instructors and trainers with innovative ways for engaging members and producing results.


Astute, career-based personal trainers understand that the workout program is only one component of the long-term solution for helping clients. Professional trainers know that providing a high level of service isn’t just giving a client a workout for a single day. Rather, it involves coaching clients on how to make exercise and healthy choices a foundational part of their lives. Increasing numbers of fitness professionals will evolve their careers to become health coaches capable of guiding their clients to achieving optimal health, both in and out of the gym. For trainers interested in long-term career success, becoming a health coach will provide a number of resources for how to engage and lead clients to achieve the results they seek.


Boutique studios thrive because they create a catered fitness experience that surpasses the expectations of normal health-club patrons. Obstacle course races like the Spartan Race have exploded in popularity because they combine fitness with a unique, challenging experience that is not easily replicated in a traditional gym environment. In 2016, we will continue to see fitness entrepreneurs offer a variety of opportunities to combine people’s passion for exercise with a chance to have a one-of-a-kind, physically challenging experience.


While the workout provides the physical stimulus, the recovery period after the workout is when the body actually changes to adapt to the applied stimulus. As we learn more about how the body adapts to exercise, we are also increasing our understanding about the role that recovery strategies play in promoting successful physical performance. From cryotherapy in sub-freezing temperatures and compression clothing to understanding heart rate variability and the importance of sleep, 2016 will see more strategies that we can apply to help promote the appropriate recovery to exercise.


Over the course of the next year, we will see a significant increase in the number of fitness education programs designed for the fitness consumer. With the increasing popularity of barbell strength training, high-intensity weightlifting workout programs and Olympic Weightlifting, the average fitness consumer is being exposed to strategies and techniques for exercise that were once reserved for only high-performance athletes. As a result, there is an increased demand in education from professional strength coaches like Tony Gentilcore to help the average fitness consumer learn how to properly perform high-intensity strength training.

20 easy food swaps to help you eat healthier

By Aviva Patz,

Think you eat well? The truth is, most of us could do a lot better. Some 87% of American adults fall short on the recommended intake of veggies, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and 92% of us are missing the mark on whole grains. But you don’t need radical meal makeovers to improve your diet—just some subtle, strategic ingredient switcheroos at every meal. “Small ways to fill in those nutritional gaps can make a huge difference over weeks and months,” says Cynthia Sass, RD, author of Slim Down Now.

Try these easy, delicious ideas for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks, plus our favorite carb-smart sides, chain restaurant swaps, and salad bar swaps. You’ll pack in more nutrition—and you just might shrink a few sizes, too.

Instead of: Nonfat fruit yogurt

Try: Low-fat or nonfat Greek yogurt topped with fresh berries and unsalted nuts

Benefits: Greek yogurt has nearly double the protein of regular yogurt (9 grams vs. 17 grams per 6-ounce serving) for greater staying power; fresh berries add antioxidants and fiber; and nuts provide healthy fats that slow the release of natural sugars into the bloodstream. Plus you’ll drop nearly 12 grams of added sugar—and all for the about the same number of calories.

Instead of: Fried egg on a toasted English muffin

Try: Hard-boiled egg and avocado on a sprouted whole-grain English muffin

Benefits: Sprouted grains have more protein, fiber, and micronutrients (such as folate, vitamin C, and essential fatty acids), and fewer carbs than plain English muffins. Can’t find sprouted? Go for whole grain (just make sure whole wheat or another whole grain is the first ingredient). Adding a quarter of an avocado provides healthy fats so you’ll feel more satisfied. Boiling the egg instead of frying it in butter eliminates heart-clogging saturated fats. Boil a bunch at once and keep them in the fridge so you can prep this meal quickly in the a.m.

Instead of: Cheddar omelet with two eggs

Try: Veggie avocado omelet with one egg and three egg whites

Benefits: You’ll pack in more protein—three egg whites have nearly 10 grams of protein, compared to 6.3 grams for a whole egg—while being cholesterol conscious. An omelet is a great way to sneak veggies into breakfast—try spinach, mushroom, and bell pepper. Plus, you get healthy monounsaturated fat from the avocado (which is also high in potassium and a natural de-bloater). Eliminating the cheese saves 115 calories and 5 grams of saturated fat per ounce.”

Instead of: Store-bought smoothie

Try: Homemade smoothie with 1 cup fresh fruit, a handful of veggies (kale, spinach, celery), 1 Tbsp. almond butter, and 1 cup almond milk or Greek yogurt

Benefits: Making your own smoothie means more veggies and less fruit—so you’ll get fewer calories and less sugar, along with plenty of filling fiber. The almond butter provides good fat, which makes you feel satisfied, and which you need in order to absorb many of the antioxidants from the fruits and veggies.

Instead of: Pre-packaged sweetened oatmeal

Try: Homemade oatmeal: Blend together 1/4 cup rolled oats with 1/4 cup unsweetened whey protein powder; add 1/4 cup hot coconut milk (from the dairy aisle); top with a small apple, sliced or chopped, and 1 tsp. cinnamon

Benefits: You’ll ditch the added sugars of the pre-packaged stuff and, by adding protein powder, actually displace some of the oatmeal, trading quick-burning carbs for slow-burning protein. Coconut milk, besides being delicious, adds good fat (medium-chain triglycerides) that boosts metabolism and good cholesterol; the apple provides vitamin C and over 4 grams of fiber; and cinnamon has many health perks, including that it slows stomach emptying and improves insulin sensitivity.

Instead of: Chef’s salad with bacon and cheese

Try: Green salad with salmon, tuna, or sardines

Benefits: The word “salad” doesn’t guarantee nutrition. Swap out the bacon and cheese for fish. It provides the same protein—or more—and adds omega-3 fatty acids, which boost mood, help reduce inflammation in the body, and may help with weight loss (and a 2014 analysis found that we don’t get enough omega-3 fatty acids in our diets). Second best choice is grilled chicken, another lean protein that will save fat and calories over bacon and cheese.

Instead of: Meat and cheese sandwich on a roll with mayo

Try: Meat or cheese sandwich open-faced on whole grain bread with mustard, lettuce, and tomato

Benefits: Eliminate one source of animal protein to halve your saturated fat. Swapping out half the bread—and choosing whole grain over white—cuts out around 15 grams of carbs and doubles fiber, which can help lower blood sugar and cholesterol. Dropping mayo for mustard saves saturated fat. If you add hummus instead, you also get more flavor, protein and fiber; add guacamole instead and you get heart-healthy fats and fiber. Lettuce and tomato add phytonutrients plus extra fiber, so you’ll feel fuller longer.

Instead of: Creamy tomato soup

Try: Black bean soup with a dollop of low-fat Greek yogurt

Benefits: Ditching the cream base halves the calories, and beans add tons of filling fiber plus antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. “Beans are pulses, and studies show that people who eat them tend to weigh less and have smaller waistlines,” Sass says. Switching up the cream for a scoop of Greek yogurt still delivers calcium but without all the saturated fat.

Instead of: Beef burrito on a flour tortilla with sour cream

Try: Bean burrito bowl with veggies and salsa

Benefits: Ditching the flour tortilla saves up to 350 calories and 58 grams of processed carbs. Pick beans and veggies instead of beef to lose the heart-clogging saturated fat in red meat and score a major boost in both filling fiber and vitamins (beans are one of the highest-fiber foods you can eat). With salsa over sour cream, you get extra nutrients for fewer calories and less fat.

Instead of: Sushi with spicy mayo

Try: Sashimi with wasabi and miso soup

Benefits: Sushi is made with white rice, which offers little nutrition for its 29-gram carb, 133-calorie per quarter-cup price tag. Spicy mayo can add 99 calories and a whopping 11 grams of fat per tablespoon. Sashimi is just the fish—with all its lean protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Top it with wasabi, which is anti-inflammatory and certainly clears the sinuses. Pair it with a small bowl of miso soup; studies from Cornell University show that people who begin a meal with broth-based soup get fuller faster and eat less overall.

Instead of: Meatloaf made with ground beef

Try: Meatloaf made with ground turkey, mushrooms, and pureed spinach

Benefits: Turkey has less saturated fat than beef (choose at least 93% lean); the veggies add moisture, flavor, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber, and allow you to eat less meat. When you mix pureed baby spinach into the ground meat, you won’t even taste it.

Instead of: Pepperoni pizza on white-flour crust

Try: Veggie pizza on cauliflower crust

Benefits: A cauliflower crust replaces white processed carbs with veggies, upping fiber and other nutrients. Cruciferous veggies are also anti-cancer and heart-healthy, protecting the branches of blood vessels against buildup of plaque. Save on saturated fat by skipping meat toppings (or try a vegetarian “pepperoni”—just watch the sodium) and swapping out some of the mozzarella for smaller amounts of a more flavorful cheese like Parmesan.

Instead of: Spaghetti with beef meatballs

Try: Zucchini noodles with turkey meatballs (plus oats) and added veggies

Benefits: Switching from beef to turkey saves saturated fat, as does displacing some of the meat with rolled oats (use them as you would bread crumbs), suggests Lauren Slayton, RD, author of The Little Book of Thin ($14; Make sure to use a low-sugar tomato sauce. “Zoodles” replace carb-heavy pasta with a fresh vegetable that has vitamins, minerals and filling fiber. If you can’t live without real pasta, mix in noodles made with whole wheat, black beans, quinoa, or almond flour, for more fiber and fewer carbs. Top with flavorful veggies of your choice—try bell peppers, broccoli, tomatoes, mushrooms.

Instead of: Fried chicken

Try: Chicken dredged in almond or chickpea flour and baked

Benefits: You’ll save mega calories and carbs and get some added nutrients and fiber. Baking instead of frying slashes calories and prevents the formation of certain cancer-causing compounds which may develop when cooking with oil at high temperatures.

Instead of: Pork stir-fry with store-bought sauce

Try: Shrimp stir-fry with homemade sauce

Benefits: Lose the high-fructose corn syrup and sky-high sodium by making your own super-easy stir-fry sauce: 1 Tbsp. rice vinegar, 1 Tbsp. orange juice, 1/2 tsp. minced garlic, 1/2 tsp. grated ginger, and 1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper (or to taste). Shrimp has way less fat than pork and boasts inflammation-fighting omega-3 fatty acids. Use frozen shrimp to make this dish super fast and super cheap!

Instead of: Potato chips

Try: Roasted chickpeas or edamame

Benefits: Whole chickpeas or edamame, roasted in the oven with a bit of vegetable oil spray and sea salt until they’re crunchy, make a delicious, savory snack that boasts more fiber and vitamins than any chip. Not in the mood to DIY? Try The Good Bean Sea Salt Flavor Crispy Crunchy Chickpeas ($16 for 18 ounces; or Seapoint Farms Dry Roasted Edamame ($21 for 12 4-ounce pouches;

Instead of: Crackers

Try: Popcorn

Benefits: Popcorn is a whole grain, while crackers—even those made from whole wheat or ancient grains—are a processed food. And because popcorn is filled with air and fiber, it’s very filling, delivering long-lasting crunchy satisfaction. (Use salt sparingly.)

Instead of: Cheese and crackers

Try: Cheese and apple slices

Benefits: You lose the refined carbs of the crackers, which will just turn into sugar in your body, and gain instead a fiber- and vitamin-rich whole food with its own natural crunch and sweetness.

Instead of: Fruit-flavored gummies

Try: Dried fruit or low-sugar fruit leather

Benefits: Trade in artificial colors and flavors and added sugars for real fruit or low-sugar fruit leather and you’ll ditch near two-thirds of the calories, two-thirds of the carbs, and over half the sugar, and gain filling fiber and vitamins. (Keep the portions small—about the size of a golf ball.)

Instead of: Granola bar

Try: Trail mix made with nuts, seeds, unsweetened dried fruit, and/or dark chocolate chips

Benefits: Though homemade trail mix may have more fat than a bar, it’s heart-healthy mono- and polyunsaturated fat from nuts, which also provide long-lasting energy from protein, something you won’t find in a bar that’s primarily oats or puffed rice. You’ll also lose the added sugars many granola bars are loaded with. Just stick to a handful of trail mix (about 1/4 cup) because the calories add up.

This article originally appeared on .

Faith and Fitness at Athletic Business Conference

Redefined – a one day Faith and Fitness Conference is being hosted this year as part of the Athletic Business Conference in New Orleans. This one day conference is being held on Wednesday, November 18th, and all attendees are encouraged to stay and attend the Club industry Show and Conference on Thursday and Friday, November 19th and 20th.

Here’s some more information on the conference, and we look forward to your presence at this event:

Redefined – a faith and fitness conference

Wednesday, Nov. 18 • 8:30AM-5:30PM

(Also see us November 19-20 at Booth 1148 at the Expo)

Everyone talks “Mind, Body, Spirit”. This conference features ideas, resources and contacts to help you truly integrate programs and services into your fitness business that meet the deeper spiritual needs of your members. If you want to create a more robust experience and achieve a more effective outcome AND reach the 140 million church-going Christian customers and many other faith-minded, then this conference will empower you to redefine fitness in your community.

Take a Closer Look at How You Can Redefine Fitness

Registration begins at 8:30 with eight engaging 30-minute sessions from 9:00am-4:00pm. Then from 4:00-5:30pm, your Redefined Conference registration fee includes prescheduled personalized consulting. Through one-on-one conversations with our team, we’ll help you build your own plan for how you want to redefine fitness. Our presenters host sessions designed to help you get answers to your questions, understand the needs, develop opportunities and move forward with new ideas.


Dr. Debra Morton delivers the keynote greeting and prayer at the 2015 Redefined Conference. She serves alongside her husband, Bishop Paul S. Morton, Sr., as senior pastor of Greater St. Stephen Full Gospel Baptist Church in New Orleans and as co-pastor of Changing a Generation Full Gospel Baptist Church in Atlanta, two internationally renowned and thriving ministries.


“The Growth of the Fitness Industry and Why Churches Need Fitness Ministry”, Rob Killen,

This seminar will look at the humble beginnings of the fitness industry and study the history of well-known facilities and equipment. Exercise today is now considered one of the best forms of preventive medicine. The fitness industry continues its explosive growth, and churches have perhaps the greatest potential to impact lives and communities through fitness ministry.

“Bring Faith to Your Fitness Platform” and ”Reach Further: How to Market to the Faith Community” Michelle Spadafora – Faithful Workouts

“Capturing, Training and Retaining Obese and Super Obese Clientele”, Laurie Graves, Author, Fit for Freedom and trainer for the The Biggest Loser and Extreme Weight Loss reality shows.

“Superfantastic”, Mitzi White, a success story on ABC’s Extreme Weight Loss Season 5.

Superfantastic is how Mitzi Whie is doing today, and every day. She will share not the why’s or how’s, but rather WHAT happens in the lives of people who are given the opportunity to connect fitness and faith. Mitzi made her way through some difficult times in life. For a long time she talked the good talk, without walking the walk. Today, she’s a great motivator and certified Zumba instructor pursuing group, nutritional and personal training certifications. Mitzi believes the best is yet to come as she works to PAY THE BLESSING FORWARD by helping others help themselves.

Redefining Group Exercise” and ”Helping Your Fitness Staff Be a ‘Ministry’ Team”, Debbie Brown, Fitness Director, Houston’s First Baptist

“Leaders and Innovators – Whose Already Doing It and How You Can Do It Too” and ”The Culture Connection – Give Them What They Want” , Brad Bloom, Publisher, Faith & Fitness Magazine

Cost: $95 per person. Register now. (When registering, you will be able to add the Redefined Conference on step three of registration, the Package Selection page).

Churches combine fitness and faith by adding gyms

It’s an exciting time as we continue to see more churches across the country becoming involved with fitness ministry to help improve the lives of people in their congregations and communities. CBS This Morning featured a segment, which aired nationwide recently.

Please check out the CBS News video below

Churches combine fitness and faith by adding gyms