Archive for July, 2011

Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS)

What is YOUR ESS score? Click here to take the test, then review commentary below.

> 10 is normal, 10-12 borderline, 12-24 abnormal

Are you excessively sleepy?  Surveys show people need at least seven hours to feel at their best– but most adults need between 6-8 hours of sleep per night. (1)

What is Sleep Deprivation?

Less than six hours per night for at least one week or more.

Is there a Down-Side to being Sleep Deprived?

Yes – glucose metabolism is severely thrown off.  In one week of sleep restriction, healthy young men were seen to have disturbances in blood glucose metabolism. (2)

Sleep deprivation may also cause slower storage of glycogen.  Why this should matter to you: as a corporate athlete, you want your glycogen stores (carbohydrate storage in the liver and muscle for quick energy) to remain elevated — this prevents injury, bone and and muscle loss.

How Can I Track My Sleep Patterns? offers an excellent sleep log to begin tracking hours per night.  If you’re more into smart phone apps, which is likely, then there are a bunch of cool products out now that will follow your sleep-wake cycle, such as the Wake Mate and Zeo.

I Am Interested in Sleep.  Where Can I Learn More?

Check out my NJU on Reinventing Sleep Habits.


(1) Notes I took from the Collegiate & Professional Sports Dietitians Association (CPSDA) conference that I attended back in May.

(2) van Leeuwen et al. Prolonged sleep restriction affects glucose metabolism in healthy young men. Int J Endocrinol. 2010;2010:108641. Epub 2010 Apr 19.


Coffee: What’s a Normal Amount?

How much coffee does the NYC office drink? Our Coffee-Service Contact from Fresh Direct stated that the 8th floor has consumed 5,222 cups over the past year. The 7th floor has consumed 4,307 cups over the past year.  This is not counting the Keurig machine or the Starbucks in our lobby, meaning the entire office has probably consumed at least 10,000-15,000 cups of coffee in one year!

What is a Normal Amount Per Day?

Up to 300 mg per day is safe.  This is three cups of coffee.  More than this amount per day has been shown to increase the jitters, cause diarrhea, and could even promote anxiety.

Is Coffee Healthy?

Without cream and sugar, coffee is a healthy addition to the day – coffee is loaded with antioxidants.

Do You Drink Coffee?

Yes.  I am a walking endorsement of coffee.  As a dietitian, I am asked this question quite often and am constantly surprised that people still equate coffee as being unhealthy.  Mmm coffee!

How Does Coffee Keep me Awake?

Caffeine blocks adenosine (a neurotransmitter), which is one of the natural sleep chemicals.  The longer you are awake, the more adenosine you produce.  Caffeine doesn’t do anything else but BLOCK this chemical.  Coffee gives us a boost because caffeine prolongs the wakefulness state.

Treating Sunburns

Did you burn yourself this past weekend at the Summer Outing? Here are some tips to alleviate the pain, redness and peeling skin (woof!).


According to our UnitedHealthcare Summer Wellness Update, the key thing to implement right after a bad sunburn is keeping the affected area cold.  Some ideas: wet compress directly on the skin (damp towels are fine) and/or taking a cold bath.


Another tip from the newsletter is to apply after-sun soothing lotions, such as aloe-vera.  Doing so will keep the area moist and help prolong and possibly avoid the inevitable flakiness and peeling that comes along with bad burns.

STAY HYDRATED (…but of course!)

What do fluids do?  They keep the body cool.  In order to avoid a potential heat exhaustion or heat stroke case, having plenty of fluids before and after the sun is a sure way to keep body temperature in check.


NSAIDs (non-addictive anti-inflammatory drugs) like ibuprofen, advil and aspirin are special for alleviating inflammation.  Taking medication can help prevent infection, according to the newsletter.  For minor burns, it will help deal with the swelling and pain.  Additionally, NSAIDs will reduce pain as the area heals up.

Health Graph API | RunKeeper

Not dissimilar from our own Next Jump Fitness Portal, RunKeeper is the new Facebook of fitness.  With its facebook single sign-on, RunKeeper allows you to share fitness data with friends and track performance over time.  If you want everyone to know how you’re pounding the pavement, RunKeeper is pretty awesome.

“Imagine a system that can identify correlations between a user’s eating habits, workout schedule, social interactions and more, to deliver an ecosystem of health and fitness apps, websites, and sensor devices that really work, based on a user’s own historical health and fitness data,” states Jason Jacobs, RunKeeper blog author.  Read more about the launch: Introducing the Health Graph and Health Graph API | RunKeeper.

Ping Pong Weight Loss?

Can one hour of ping pong really burn 400 calories? This is certainly the case for the serious players.  According to an article in Refinery29 (thanks Kate K!), ping pong is the latest way to be active without the bore.  Next Jump Balls of Fury is on par with the new “brawl” at Blink Pong, which is a tournament hosted by a NoHo fitness club.  How can you turn up the volume during your game?

Ping Pong Burns… How much?

According to calorie count and my-calorie-counter, ping pong burns 250-272 calories per hour–but it is possible to burn upwards of 400 calories.  Professional players, such as those to the left, can burn anywhere from 400-600 calories per hour since they are moving and sprinting around the end of the table continuously.

Turn Up the Heat

Rally back and forth for 20 minutes and burn 50 calories.  Play a hard game and break a sweat for 20 minutes–you can burn almost twice that amount.  Hard serves and spikes take practice and require good arm strength, too.

Playing a Game

If you aren’t sure about the rules, here are some ways to get your buddies into the mix and start up some competition:

Round Robin Singles Match

  • 4 players participate in each match
  • Each player plays one game against each participant
  • Please referee your own games, disputes are settled by replaying the point
  • 5 serves each before switching the server
  • The first to reach 21, win by 2, wins the game
  • 1 Match Point is awarded for each game won
  • The person(s) with the highest match points at the end of the Match wins

Round Robin Doubles Match

  • 8 players participate in each match OR (4) people by having people switch partners for each game
  • Each team plays one game against each team
  • Please referee your own games, disputes are settled by replaying the point
  • Serving: same as singles but the ball must bounce only on the right half portion of the table for both the server and the receiver
  • The receiver returns it, then the server’s partner must hit it next followed by the receiver’s partner and so on.
  • Each team should play 3 games until 11
  • 1 Match Point is awarded for each game won
  • The team with the highest match points at the end of the Match wins

Trail Mix Make-Over

Tired of eating the same old trail mix?  Come up with your own! Here are some ideas about where to begin, and how to add more protein, more sweet, more fiber and fruit.

What is Trail Mix and Why Have It?

Trail mix is a high-calorie snack full of lean protein, good fats and complex carbohydrates.  Trail mix is a good snack to enjoy mid-afternoon, 1-2 hours pre-exercise, and immediately post-exercise.  Additionally, trail mix is well-known as a snack during hikes, since it provides long-term energy for the body.

Slappa De Base, Mon

First, you have to have a great base.  If you don’t slappa de base right (quoting, “I Love You, Man”) then you won’t have a tasty and nutritious trail mix.  Base ideas are those higher in your carbohydrates and fiber, such as whole wheat pretzels and high-fiber cereal.

What’s in the Middle? The Right Stuff

The next ingredient in trail mix should be high in protein and healthy fats.  This is where to add mixed nuts and seeds.  Besides being healthy for your skin, hair, nails and heart, nuts are tasty and a great source of long-term, satiating energy since they are high in protein and fat.  Those nutrients sit in the stomach longer than carbohydrate, meaning, your body will stay fuller for a longer amount of time.

A Few Sprinkles of Genius

… with a chance of doom.  Sprinkling in salty or sweet ingredients (chocolate chips, dried fruit) is a great way to add flavor.  But notice the key word: sprinkle.  Including too much saltiness or sweetness to your mixture can turn a healthy trail mix to doom.

Recipe Ideas

Mix together anything from the below categories — toss into a zip lock bag and shake!

STARCH (for your base): Pretzels, Cheerios, Fiber-1, Weetabix, Goldfish, Cracklin’ Oatbran, Puffins, Kashi GoLean crunch, Bear Naked Granola

PROTEIN/FAT (for your middle): dry-roasted edamame, soy nuts, peanuts, mixed nuts, cashews, pistachios, walnuts, almonds

SWEET (for your sprinkles): dried fruit (apples, banana, raisins, craisins), m&ms, dark chocolate chips, coconut, crunched up yogurt covered pretzels

How to Slip ‘n Slide

The Summer Outing is approaching and that means so is the annual SLIP ‘N SLIDE!  I am embarrassed to admit that I almost killed myself last summer competing in this event (due primarily to improper form and that, as a true Next Jumper I was bloodthirsty to win).  Therefore, I feel compelled to share anecdotal evidence on what I now call, “PROPER SLIP ‘N SLIDE FORM.”

Did someone just hear a snap?  This is me during the fall of doom…


Difficulty Level: Intermediate

Muscle Groups Used: Latissimus Dorsi, Back, Rhomboids, Chest, Shoulders, Core, Abdominals, Hamstring

Benefits: Integrated total body exercise with an emphasis on back and core

Prerequisites: Make sure you are fully hydrated 🙂  Participants must not be hung-over. Participants must demonstrate adequate functional movement with their upper and lower bodies.  Participants must also demonstrate stability and control in the bent-over, superman position.

Preparation: Stand with feet straight apart with one foot slightly ahead of the other and knees at a slight bend.  Ensure that you are about five steps away from the start of the slip ‘n slide.  This should be your “get-ready-to-run” stance.  You might feel people screaming in your ear and patting you on the tush before your take off.  Disregard, and get into your zone.

Movement: Accelerating into the run, make sure you are running on the grass and not on the black tarp.  Before you hit the tarp, bend your knees as though you are getting ready to dive low into a shallow pool.  Keep your head up and arms flexed straight (like Superman).  Pushing off the grass with your feet, glide onto the slip ‘n slide tarp chest and belly before hips.  This ensures that you do not land on your hip bones.