Archive for December, 2010

NxJ’ers Poppin’ Some Corn

It is four PM and the engineers in NYC get a little antsy.  Before you can say Pop Secret, a familiar whiff permeates the floor.  Are these NxJ’ers eating the right stuff?  They sure are!

Popcorn has an excellent nutrition fact profile– low in calories, fat, cholesterol, sodium, and a good source of fiber.  (Nutrition fact label below for one cup, popped).

The problem is when you want to add salt, butter, and other crazy ingredients (like powdered cheese! Yes – there is such an unfortunate thing).  Four grams of trans fat and 240mg of sodium later, you have yourself a terrible afternoon snack.

When searching for brands, look for a “no-trans fat microwave popcorn” and check the ingredients.  If it does say “partially hydrogenated soybean oil,” then there is more than 0.5g per serving in the product (even if the products states zero trans-fat).  Still confused about trans-fat?  See a previous post describing the labeling laws in more detail.

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Waist Trimming Over X-mas

NextJump University’s Weight Management participants are tracking progress through some key measures.  Here’s the “skinny” on how they have been trimming their trees.

1. Set realistic goals for yourself.  Use the SMART method (SMART stands for SPECIFIC, MEASURABLE, ATTAINABLE, REALISTIC, TIMELY).  A good example of a SMART goal: “By the end of 2010, I will have gone to the gym 3 times per week for 45 minutes in order to reach a weight loss of three pounds.”  A bad example of a goal (which obviously is NOT SMART): I want to lose 10 pounds by next week.  Not advisable; not realistic.

2. Setting a weight goal.  If you really do need to lose weight (BMI is > 24.9) set a weight loss goal of 1-2# per week.  1 pound can be high for someone who wants to lose less than 5% of body weight; therefore, 0.5 lbs is another option for a weekly goal.  Weigh yourself first thing in the morning post-voiding (urinating) to get an accurate weight.  Weigh yourself in the same environment 3x per week.

3. Monitor training and food intake.  Numerous studies have been done on food logging and exercise tracking.  The results show the same trends: those who track their food and exercise on a weekly basis are most likely to lose weight and keep it off.

For more successful weight loss practices, read how participants in the National Weight Control Registry (NWCR) lost weight and kept it off.


Beauty Sleep?

Take a nap before the NxJ 2010 Holiday Party and you might be more physically attractive.  Confused?  Researchers say sleep is tied to physical appearance in a recent study published yesterday in the British Medical Journal.  The study focused on sleep-deprived people aged 18-31.  After a normal (8-hr) night’s sleep, participants were photographed and observed as compared to their sleep-deprived night (31 hours awake after night of reduced sleep).

The researchers concluded that people looked more tired, less healthy and less attractive when they were sleep-deprived compared with their appearance when they had enough sleep.  One of the researchers stated that, “…sleep is the body’s natural beauty treatment… and more effective than any other treatment you could buy.”  ABC News 12/15.

That said, tonight is the time to party hard after a long year’s hard work — beauty sleep later 🙂

Chris Carmichael Debrief

Chris Carmichael, Lance Armstrong’s former coach, came to host the second annual TRAIN THE TRAINERS series.  His take-away message was not too dissimilar from that of other athletic and executive coaches: being fit is where one can gain an advantage — no matter the sport, job or hobby.  The idea being, with better fitness levels brings augmented focus, stamina and strength to overcome inevitable obstacles.  Below are my top three favorite take-away points from the day.  Stay tuned for the full video lecture and practical.

Top 3 Points

#3 — TRAINING TRIADS: create mini workout groups within NxJ’er population to create better accountability and help along personal results.  This is a way to do incremental challenges leading up to a big challenge.  (Think: mini races leading up to the JP Morgan Chase Corporate Challenge).

#2 — OVERUSE = UNDER-RECOVERED: If you are over-exerting yourself in or outside of the gym and not getting 7-8 hours sleep and adequate nutrition, you are possibly under-recovering or not recovering at all.  (Think: sprint, sprint, sprint … reload/recover… repeat).  On the exercise end, cross-train and recover when over-worked so you can drive harder when back.  On the flip side, if you are constantly lethargic and find yourself not pushing hard enough, then challenge your fitness routine.  Instead of low intensity exercising, which contrary to popular believe is NOT useful for long-term fat loss, keep intensity high, or try interval training.  This is how more calories are burned, and how the body can rip through both carbohydrate and fat reserves.  Unless exercising at long, slow paces for > 90 minutes, pushing oneself within an allotted time-frame is a better way to shred fat.

#1 — EVERYONE IS AN ATHLETE: every athlete has set-backs and needs ample recovery for success.  Elite athletes bring a competitive drive, much like NxJ’ers.  How does an athlete handle losing?  It might help if coaches and managers said something such as, “You are going to lose; everyone loses more than they win.  It is about having fun in the end.  Competing is healthy as it teaches how to work through winning, losing, conflict and disappointment.”

Thanks to all who came out and joined this NxJ U course.  Future open-series of TRAIN THE TRAINERS will be better-focused for mainstream so that everyone can benefit.

Top 3 Reasons To Eat Before Drinking

When NextJumpers get together, it is a party like no other.  In order to maintain your good reputation at the NxJ Holiday Party of 2010 (and in the company) below are three ideas to help avoid any sloppy drunkenness.

First, just a wee bit of dirty biochem to get you in the mood.  Alcohol cannot be stored as fat or protein.  Thus, your body has to oxidize it in order to get rid of it.  What does this mean?

Booze (ethanol) —> *acetaldehyde —> acetate —> acetyl CoA —> Krebs Cycle! (this is where we metabolize alcohol for energy)

*Acetaldehyde is what gives you hangovers

So why would we want food in our stomachs?  First of all, your body readily absorbs alcohol throughout the entire gastrointestinal tract.  The majority of absorption takes place in the stomach, (faster if your stomach is empty) and is then transported via the bloodstream to the liver.  So then …

#3 – Giving your stomach something other than alcohol prevents booze from irritating your gut.

#2 – Food delays how fast alcohol gets into your bloodstream – but FYI – it will not prevent you from getting drunk.

#1 – Not having food means you are more likely to hurl… And no one wants to see or smell that 🙂

What is the best meal to have before THE 2010 HOLIDAY PARTY!?

  • Carbohydrates: breads, pastas, and potatoes
  • Proteins: eggs, cheese, nuts, turkey, chicken
  • Salty Foods: pickles, salted nuts, pretzels will make you thirst for water, which is important to ward off dehydration from the alcohol!  Plus, water is helpful for hangovers (especially if it is a sports drink, such as Propel, Gatorade or Coconut Water since all three have electrolytes).

Where can you get these awesome food selections?  NextJump, (duh!)  Take advantage of the gourmet foods we will be offering, starting with a special NextJump-hosted lunch, full of healthy sandwiches and good carby pasta and potato salads.  The buffet will be another great idea to hit up before drinking.  Additionally, the after-midnight snack will keep food churning in the stomach so that alcohol is absorbed at a reduced rate.

For all you calorie-counters, see a previous post, which provides a brief blurb on the average calorie content of alcoholic beverages.

Drinking Water

How do I know if I am dehydrated?

Good question – you’re in the right place to find the answer (NYC posts their Daily Briefings in the bathroom stalls – pretend you are there, if reading elsewhere).  Determine hydration status by looking at the color of your urine every time you urinate.  Is it clear and copious?  Well-hydrated.

(Boston Water Cooler_Kitchen)

Do I really need eight cups of water per day?

No, this recommendation is not supported by good research.  Adults lose ~six cups per day via sweating, breathing and urinating/bowel movements.  Food (especially those high in water content like fruits and vegetables) count toward 20% of total fluid intake.  Coffee, tea, and any beverage can replace all other fluids lost through above mechanisms.

Besides NxJ Beverages, how can I just get a bottle of water?

In an effort to keep green, we have filtered water throughout all NxJ offices.  The NxJ water coolers provide filtered cold and hot water, and filters are changed every six months, as required.

Where are they in the various offices?

Boston has one in their kitchen (see above picture) and one in the gym:

The UK has one in the kitchen:

NY has five in total throughout the office:

7th fl:

o   1 in the gym

o   1 in the kitchen

o   1 in the Product Development side (by Adam’s office)

8th fl.:

o   1 in the kitchen

o   1 in the merchant side (by Jackie Edwards’s office)

DRINK UP!!

BEVERAGE BASICS: A Nutrition Rundown

BEVERAGE BASICS: A Nutrition Rundown of Popular Choices by NxJ’ers

NextJump has aimed to limit the quantity of high-sugary purchases for the refrigerators.  At issue are calories from added sugars, which means that the product has included sugar in the form of: brown sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, dextrose, fructose (not when found naturally in fruit – only when added to product), fruit juice concentrates, glucose, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, invert sugar, maltose, malt syrup, molasses, raw sugar, sucrose, sugar, syrup (source: https://briefing.nextjump.com/?p=819).

In order not to choose less nutritious beverages (and miss out on important nutrients that are already too low in the average American’s diet, such as calcium, vitamin D and protein), below is a rundown on NxJ’s popular beverages and the nutrients, including added sugars.

Take-Home Points:

1. If you enjoy drinking juice products, the healthiest way to consume is by adding water or seltzer to dilute the quantity of added sugars.

2. Post-workout, juices are okay to consume WITH A PROTEIN SOURCE since carbohydrates from sugar will help shuttle dietary protein for muscle recovery, preserving muscle and any possible muscular gains.

3. Chocolate milk is one of the best drinks to consume post-workout, since it has a combination of protein and carbohydrate.

4. If you eat little to no breakfast, any of the below can also be added to or as the meal. Ideally, you would be eating a full breakfast and not need to supplement with calories from beverages.