The Thyroid a Powerful Weight Regulating Gland

22 09 2018

Updated 22 September 2018

The thyroid is a small gland in the neck no bigger than a buckeye butterfly.  But this glands hormone also influences other hormone producing glands which have much to do with our weight and other important metabolic interactions and bodily functions.  Just because these glands are small, does not mean they are insignificant.

Walk More to Burn Additional Calories

It is seen through patient and animal research that hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid gland) can cause many types of problems:  weight gain, depression, sluggishness, fatigue, bad mood, unhealthy appearance, impotence, water retention that adds to excess weight and cellulite, pear-shaped figure, infertility, PMS, hardening of the arteries, cystic breasts/ovaries (including breast/ovary cancer), irritability, bad complexion, puffiness under the chin, forgetfulness, irritability, apathy, dry skin, intolerance to cold, enlargement of the thyroid and unhealthy hair, nails and teeth.

If you have hypothyroidism to the degree where one quarter of the thyroid hormone thyroxin is produced, you may also suffer from chronic fatigue.  On the opposite end of the spectrum, hyperthyroidism causes an overactive thyroid gland condition that has the opposite effect on the body’s metabolism.  The “hyper” condition speeds up the metabolic process, causing underweight and hyperactive tendencies.

A more serious disorder from an underactive thyroid is a goiter (swelling in the neck area).  This occurs because the thyroids enlarge to compensate for lack of iodine in the diet.  However, a goiter can occur, even if you’re not iodine deficient.  This swelling or enlargement of the thyroid glands is also known as Graves Disease.  Regardless of whether you have a hypo/hyper thyroid condition, both conditions untreated can become a life threatening situation.

Before I get more into the meat of the matter let’s first understand what trace mineral stimulates the thyroids hormone “thyroxin” secretion.   A very important mineral is iodine.  There is also another one needed that works with iodine to manufacture the thyroxin hormone.  And that mineral is Tyrosine, an amino acid.  Luckily Tyrosine can be consumed through many types of high-protein foods such as chicken, milk, cheese, beans, bananas, soy products, peanuts, almonds, fish, turkey, etc.  Iodine, along with tyrosine is required to produce a normalized balance of the thyroxin hormone to stabilize our caloric burning furnace.

Spoil your children in moderation. Walk and share fun exercise activities with them.

There is a TSH (Thyroid-Stimulation Hormone) test that tells a treating physician if your thyroid is producing proper amounts of thyroxin hormone to keep your metabolic system balanced.  The test determines if your thyroid is working correctly through reading TSH levels in the blood.   This stimulator hormone is produced by the pituitary gland.  So as the pituitary gland slows down within the metabolic system it releases more TSH to signal “speeding” up the thyroids production of thyroxin.  This test can determine proper levels of TSH hormone in the blood.  The TSH hormone release is directly related to many interconnecting metabolic processes.  If all other metabolic processes are working correctly, the thyroid hormone release stimulated by TSH should normalize all metabolic functions which impact weight loss/gain and mitigate other disorders.  But if too little, or too much TSH is produced than the test will show ranges from under/over active and normal thyroid gland.

Normal TSH test scores will be between 0.4 and 2.5.  A low score of 0-0.4 is hyperthyroidism.  And if the score is between 2.5 and 4, this means there is risk for hypothyroidism.  Anything higher can lead to a major health concern.  Many doctors will resist treating patients until they hit a 10.  This is basically due to the delicate balance and interactions these hormones and chemical exchange relationships have on the entire metabolic system.  Nevertheless, if your measurement is at 4 or above, or below 2.5, you should discuss a treatment course with your medical specialist.

Although your thyroid only requires a hundred thousandth of a percentage of your body weight in iodine (150 micrograms daily – the best sources of iodine comes from seaweed, onions, seafood and salt); without it the thyroid cannot function.  If you don’t have enough of this mineral, you gain weight.  But if you get enough of it in your diet, adding more through supplementation will do absolutely no good because the glands function is balanced, or better known as “normalized effect”   That is, if your thyroid is functioning normal, iodine will not help because the thyroid is already normalized and functioning correctly.

If you must take an iodine supplement for an underactive thyroid, kelp is the best organic source.  It appears to have “the best “normalizing effect on the thyroid gland.  However, if your iodine dose is incorrect, it is possible to supplement with too much, or too little.  Some of the symptoms of iodine over supplementation include:  Severe acme, become underweight, emotional imbalances, hyper-activity, mental and emotional instability, negative effects on thyroid glands, skin irregularities (welts on arms/face, rough skin) and problems with focus, or spaced out feelings.

Getting enough iodine in the diet should not be a problem since we get it in our everyday table salt, processed and fast foods and through its presence in crop fertilizers.  However, the key issue with our iodine in our everyday diet is, most of us do not get organic iodine (e.g., seaweed, “kelp”).  Homeopathic doctors have prescribed kelp, vinegar, B6 and a lecithin diet for treatment of obesity and other types of preventative disorders for years.  The diet is also beneficial to brain tissue, sensory nerves and spinal cord.

However the normalizing effect of iodine benefits for an overweight problem gets lost in translation within the market place for those desperate to lose weight.  That is, consumers are lead to believe if iodine is good for the thyroid, than more is better whether you need it or not.  But there could be nothing further from the truth.   There is another way to look at this statistically.  Eighty percent of all thyroid cases are diagnosed as the hypo-type.  But this percentage does not equate to eighty percent of those that are obese have a thyroid problem.

Aerobic workouts good for the cardio Muscular endurance

Let’s also not forget those who choose “not to exercise, or eat healthy diets,” but have healthy thyroids with plenty of iodine in the diet.  They will not lose more weight by increasing iodine intake.  Also, 8 times out of 10 thyroid disorder diagnosis are more prominent in women than men.  And as a natural progression of aging, increased risk of thyroid disease occurs naturally.  And if you have an autoimmune disorder, type 1 diabetes, or rheumatoid arthritis your at higher risk for thyroid disease.  These diseases and other factors are the tip of the iceberg when it comes to diagnosing whether or not your thyroid needs stimulation to help you manage your weight.

If you do supplement your diet with iodine, it is important to understand it is also important to get enough vitamin A as well.  Vitamin A allows the thyroid gland to absorb the iodine.  If absorption of iodine through the gland does not occur optimally, then the production of thyroxin will occur relative to the glands absorption rate.  Recall, with reduced thyroxin hormone production, you have a lower BMR that does not help your weight loss and overall health goals.

One last point I’d like to touch on regarding a hyper-thyroid condition.  There are many cases documented where speeding up the thyroids function will cause weight loss.  But there are also cases where speeding up the thyroid function causes weight gain.  You ask how this is possible.  Because, by increasing the metabolic function, you also increase appetite.  Here is another truth, for those that lost weight during hormone treatment, once the hyper-active treatment stopped the weight came back.

Dogs need exercise as well to keep their body weight healthy.

Therefore, it appears that thyroid treatment to treat obesity does not appear to be real useful in many obesity cases.  This is why you should seek a treating physicians advisement to get help identifying the cause of your weight gain problem.  If you are diagnosed with thyroid disease, then you’ll likely be prescribed a synthetic thyroxin to replace the hormone your thyroid can no longer produce.

By working with your doctor to adjust to the necessary doses, you’ll begin to look and feel better.  In other cases some of you may need a combination of treatments to regulate, or lose body weight that include thyroxin prescription, diet and exercise.  And in other weight loss/gain situations – relative to disease and disorder(s) diagnosis…

Varying medical treatment strategies may be necessary as opposed to thyroid treatment. The point being, your thyroid may not be the problem. It may be one of several other connecting hormone functions dependent on the thyroid hormone that has malfunctioned and needs treatment.


American Thyroid Association.  Thyroid and Weight.  2005.

Hastings, John.  The Truth about the Thyroid.  The Oprah Magazine. Jan 2009.

Veracity Dani.  How Iodine Accelerates Weight Loss by Supporting the Thyroid Gland.  Natural, June 25, 2005.

Woodard, Marc T.  GH-Hormone Stimulator the Fountain of Youth Elixir?  Mirror Athlete’s Fitness Secrets!  23 February 2012.

Woodard, Marc.  Low Testosterone, another Man-Made Risky Fix?  Mirror Athlete Fitness Secrets. January 22, 2012.

Author: Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, ARNG, CPT, RET. 2012-18 Copyright. All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Inc.,, Sign up for your Free eNewsletter.

Walking is a Superior Fat Burning Activity

17 07 2017

What many people don’t know is during low-intensity aerobic exercise like walking the muscles prefer to burn fat fuel.

That’s right the metabolic energy needed to walk prefers stored body fat to move the large muscles in the legs and buttocks.

But those same muscles used during high-intensity aerobics exercise like running, sprinting or high intensity aerobic dance or boot camp training prefer mostly blood glucose [sugar] and stored liver and muscle glycogen fuel from carbohydrate conversion.

When intense exercise is performed the priority of fuel need by the metabolism is blood sugar and stored carbohydrate energy… and less body fat fuel. Thereafter the body needs to replenish the quick energy storage tank. That’s one reason why high intensity exercise cause carbohydrate food cravings… thereafter many become famished, overeat and gain weight. The point here is – “you don’t have to train hard to lose body fat weight and experience extreme carbohydrate food cravings that add undesired body weight.”

City trail pathways are a great for daily walking activity.

It will take approximately 1-2 weeks to become addicted to a daily walk habit to lose more body fat and body weight. However everyone differs slightly in metabolism, exercise and activity interest, intensity, frequency and duration where fitness results and weight loss do vary. But in the end, daily low-impact aerobics exercise will help moderate food cravings and increase will power to continue the exercise and natural weight loss course

Join a walking group and stay motivated to repeat the daily activity..

To improve the odds of sticking to a daily  exercise habit, 10 lifestyle changes will help sustain daily exercise activity and weight loss goals 1) Stop substance abuse and unhealthy over indulgences.  2) Get 6-8 hours of sleep. 3) Remove yourself from unhealthy and stressful environments. 4) Make the time for “daily” low impact exercise activity. 5) Eat more fresh whole foods like fruits and vegetables and less processed and high sugar foods. 6) Invest in a good pair of walking shoes with insole inserts if needed. 7) Don’t quit after 1 or 2 days of walking activity, be consistent and exercise on a daily basis. 8) Give up artificial sweeteners, they cause weight gain and acute and chronic disease. 9) Drink more water daily – up to 8 glasses will help with weight loss and reduce weight bearing joint pain. 10)  Find a walk group, or walking partner.  This will provide more will power to stay the course.

When beginning a daily walk program it doesn’t’ require much will power to get started. But it does require commitment. The excuse I often hear people use to avoid any form of exercise, “I don’t have the time.” But if you can make time you’ll lose weight and feel better almost immediately. If you haven’t exercised for awhile it may feel uncomfortable and you may experience a little soreness. But if you can walk or bike at least 15-30 minutes or more each day you’ll notice results and feel better in no time.  Remember, “Rome was not built in a day.”  Slow down and let your body adjust to the weight bearing exercise activity.  Then increase duration and intensity over a period of days.

Low Impact Aerobic Dance is a great fat burning activity.

I’ve had plenty of overweight clients walk or ride a stationary bike for a year before they achieved successful weight loss. Thereafter participated in a long distance walk, hike, jog or ran or biked a marathon. They never imagined being capable of doing anything like it. They simply believed it possible because they could relate to the low-impact aerobics and fat burning engine truths.  Truths that got them pointed in the right direction to achieve greater fitness goals.

Now go get addicted to the natural feel good chemicals and fat burning metabolism produced by your own body through low aerobic exercise.  Dance, walk, jog or ride a bike but don’t overdue it.  Then reap the ideal body weight, healthy longevity and increased mobility and energy benefits you need, want and deserve!

Good Health to You and Your Family.

Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, ARNG, CPT, RET. 2017 Copyright. All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Inc.,

Manage Irritable Bowel Syndrome

22 11 2015

Hike where ever in comfort. Even in an inactive Hawaiian volcano

Updated: Nov 22, 2015

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) may cause much discomfort in the large intestine. But it is not considered a serious health risk. It also does not cause more serious diseases such as intestinal bleeding, inflammatory bowel disease or cancer. IBS can also irritate, aggravate and inflame hemorrhoids which is a separate medical condition.

What causes IBS? No one knows for sure. There is not one identifiable organic factor. However clinical studies and research show symptoms are likely caused by various internal and external stimuli.

Those sensitive to IBS may be influenced by weakened immune system, reproductive hormones, diet, environment, mental health and lifestyle choice. Where 1 out of every 5 adults experience IBS or ~58 million Americans. The condition is more prominent in women starting as early as 20 years of age. And for all it is typically experienced under the age of 45. Women also tend to be two times more likely than men to become symptomatic via stimuli response.

Common triggers associated with IBS discomforts are thought to be mentally, environmentally and genetically stimulated. For instance, if IBS runs in a family, suspect genetics and environment may influence the same stimuli response within offspring. Whereas environment may cause stress, anxiety, depression and where poor diet, drug use and sedentary lifestyle cause similar IBS symptoms. It is then reasonable to assume like-cessation and treatment, or change in lifestyle may alleviate the condition.

Internal and external environment stimuli influence the digestive food coordination process. The intestines, rectum and colon have reactive triggers that are piped to the brain and are partly controlled by the autonomic nervous system [much like the heart and the lungs]. However the signals from the brain to the intestines are also lined with muscle that work in a rhythmic contraction and relaxation coordination to move food through the body.

City environment can trigger stress and IBS.

City environment can trigger stress and IBS.

Environmental stressors may cause intestine function for some to contract too little, or too much whereas the following discomfort conditions result. Removing too little water through the intestinal lining causes diarrhea. And when too much water is removed constipation occurs. It is when arithmetic muscle coordination incrementally increases within the large intestine so do the IBS symptoms. Either condition can cause cramping, bloating and gas felt within the stomach and accompanied to varying degree of either condition. Since we’re all wired a little bit different not all of us react the same way to stimuli sensitivity triggers.

Another common IBS trigger occurs when too many bad bacteria buildup within the intestines. Where antibiotics or probiotics may help to alleviate this problem.

For some cruise aversion prevents stress triggers that cause IBS symptoms. For others it’s just what they need to relieve them. That’s how different we’re wired. Identifying triggers is the first step to feeling better and living life to the fullest.

IBS “IS NOT” considered a disease. It can be more or less thought of as an aggravated condition triggered by lifestyle, environment or relationship stressors that interrupt the connected mind-body digestive coordination process. The most common stressors include: undiagnosed mental health disorders, relationship and employer stress, anxiety, depression and obsessive compulsive behavior, etc. Or where other behavioral habits, illness and disease and drug use stimulate and trigger IBS-like symptoms.

Common treatment for diarrhea and constipation,

Prescription for Diarrhea: Lotronex, Prevalite, Colestid or Welchol. Over-the-counter drugs: loperamide (Imodium), or Kaopectate could help.

Prescription for constipation: Zelnorm or a laxative such as milk of magnesia, etc. Over-the counter drugs: fiber supplements like Metamucil or Citrucel could help.

Be sure to ask for specifics of IBS treatment from treating physicians. And when purchasing an over-the-counter drug be sure to speak with a pharmacist to determine best product and application use. If either prescription or over-the-counter products are not used correctly, they can cause other health problems. Alternative IBS treatments includes: herbs, acupuncture, massage, meditation and hypnosis.

“IBS has no cures. You must manage what triggers the symptoms!”


1 Make a medical appointment with gastroenterologist and prepare in advance. For instance, keep a journal of the foods you eat, how much of suspected food irritants, daily exercise and any drugs taken. Then be mindful of what may likely stimulate the IBS episodes, time of day and how severe the symptoms feel. E.g., on a scale of 1-10. Ten being the worst.

2 Reduce large meal intake, which can cause cramping, and diarrhea [try consuming smaller and more frequent meals], slow down when you eat. And stop chewing gum, both results in too much gas (air).

3 Check risk warnings on medicines prescribed. Ask your doctor about questionable medications.

4 Remove chocolate, caffeine, milk-dairy products [determine if lactose intolerant], bread [determine if gluten intolerant] and alcohol from diet. Try removing one at a time to see if symptoms improve. Log this information in your daily journal.

5 Remove stress, conflict and other emotional upsetting factors from environment.

6 Drink 6-8 glasses of water/day, especially for diarrhea. This seems counter intuitive, but it will make you feel better by flushing your system. And you must rehydrate when losing too much water within the body. Don’t drink carbonated drinks. It’s a no brainer to drink more water when constipated.

Choose exercise activity that helps reduce stress and anxiety while increasing fitness levels

Choose exercise activity that helps reduce stress and anxiety while increasing fitness levels

7 Try consuming low fat & higher in carbohydrate foods, such as pasta, rice and “whole grain breads & cereals, unless you have “celiac disease. This disease mimics IBS… If you are diagnosed with this, your body can’t digest gluten (wheat, rye, barley, etc.,) a blood test can rule out if you have celiac disease).

8 Increase fruits and vegetable consumption within your diet.

9 Get enough exercise and sleep.


Bolen, Barbara, Dr. “What Is IBS and Do You Have It?” Health., 24 Mar. 2015. Web. 19 Nov. 2015.

Cunha, John P., DO, FACOEP. “Irritable Bowel Syndrome, IBS: Symptoms and Diet Info.” MedicineNet. MedicineNet, Inc., 2015. Web. 19 Nov. 2015.

Staff. “Irritable Bowel Syndrome.” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 21 July 2014. Web. 19 Nov. 2015.

Staff. “Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)-Topic Overview.” WebMD. WebMD, LLC. 2015. Web. 19 Nov. 2015.

Author: Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, ARNG, CPT, RET. 2015 Copyright. All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Inc.,, Sign up for your Free eNewsletter.

Monitor Fitness Progress without Trainer Services

24 01 2015
Walking beaches is great aerobic exercise.

Walking beaches is great aerobic exercise.

How to monitor and sustain healthy body weight, appearance, physical performance and fitness levels like a pro, and without spending any money.

Believe it or not, if you use a weight scale and monitor two bodily vitals; blood pressure and heart rate, these measurements provide a good indicator of oxygen utilization, fat burning capacity, metabolic efficiencies and overall health condition.  There is a direct correlation between these particular vitals, fitness levels, health and physical results thereof.

For example when you fall within a healthy heart rate and blood pressure range it is much easier to achieve your fitness goals.  For example, when oxygen enriched blood circulates unobstructed throughout the body, it is easier to achieve a desired body weight, improve muscle tone, increase strength and cardio-muscular endurance and flexibility [Range of Motion].

The basics of vitals monitoring as related to healthy blood circulation and heart-lung circulatory capacity is pretty easy to understand.  If your heart rate and blood pressure fall within a normal range for your age, it is easier to begin, improve and advance a fitness goal, or improve health condition.  Likewise, if these vitals are outside normal ranges, it makes exercise and will power to start and continue more difficult, while health risk increases.

Start a New Activity and Meet New People.

Start a New Activity and Meet New People.

If you’re interested in determining how your blood pressure and heart rate stack up against a comparable populace, or want to date and record vitals baseline at no cost to compare future results, visit a local pharmacy.

Almost every retail store pharmacy has a free blood pressure cuff and heart rate monitoring station.  I can’t resist using the cuff to see if my vitals are within a normal range, or if I need to work on diet, exercise, or visit my doctor.  Pay attention to the blood pressure and heart rate charts, then document your results.  If your blood pressure and heart rate are significantly below or above age standards seek medical consultation.  Regardless of the results, write them down and use them as a historical vitals comparison and/or share them with a medical professional.  Then check at a later point in time to see if diet and exercise activity improves past results.

If you’re too far outside a normal range health risk increases.  Or the test equipment is out of calibration.  I’ve experienced faulty cuff monitoring stations a couple of times. Then visited another pharmacy and vitals were fine.  If you get the same readings at 2 separate locations, seek medical advisement and testing.

Blood pressure and heart rate indicators tell us a lot about metabolism and circulatory-heart health.  When blood pressure and heart rate are too low or high relative to sedentary and daily exercise activity; the metabolism, hormone and circulatory systems are experiencing cellular and functional stress.  For example, body fat may continue to store and add load to weight bearing joints causing pain and further health risk, while effecting the fat burning furnace.

The weight scale is probably one of the most convenient measuring devices I use. Body weight is either up or down.  If you’re up, concentrate on balanced diet and meal proportions and aerobic exercise activity to burn more body fat.  You’ll also note in many cases, when body weight is up, so is blood pressure and heart rate.  But not always.


Walking requires a break with trail mix fuel to re-energize and endure the long haul hike back onto the trail.

It is aerobic walking, jogging and moderate running exercise, to include biking and swimming that injects oxygen enriched blood into the circulatory and metabolic systems when optimum aerobic exercise activity occurs…  And no health condition exists at specific efforts of physical intensity.

This physiological fat burning fact is measureable and known as THR (Target Heart Rate) zone, or the fat burning zone.  Which simply means, if you’re in the appropriate aerobic heart rate zone during exercise and performing at specific aerobic effort of intensity, you’ll burn more body fat.

Use the simple THR formula below to monitor HR and stay within the Fat Burning zone.  Then follow the 40 year old client example to apply formula on self to burn more fat fuel.

   Simple formula: ((220 – age) x Intensity of Effort%/6) = Beats per Minute (BPM)

Plug in your intensity % to determine heart rate range and stay within the fat burning zone and lose more body fat weight.

Intensity of Aerobic Effort Percentages:  50 – 60% – Efficient fat burning zone, 60 – 70% – Optimize fat burning furnace.  71 – 100% – Increasing physical effort beyond 70% begins to step up a greater anaerobic lactic acid environment.

First determine your maximum heart rate by taking 220 – age.  For example, if your 40 years old, your heart beats per minute would be 180 (220 – 40 = 180 bpm).

Then multiply 180 by 50% THR and physical effort needed to burn fat at the lower aerobic intensity range (180 x .50 = 90 BPM).

Or multiply 180 by 60-70% THR and physical effort needed to burn fat at the higher aerobic intensity range (180 x .70 = 126 BPM).

“These calculations provide only estimates of your heart rate maximum and cardiovascular work zone. To precisely determine your individual heart rate maximum, you would need to undergo physical testing, like in an exercise science lab (Richey 2013).” [ref:

To learn more about THR click on the following link “How Cardio-Muscular Endurance Melts off Pounds.”

I use both vitals tracking and body weight weekly and TRH zone monitoring as quarterly practise to determine my level of fitness and overall health condition for my age group.

I make adjustments to daily diet and exercise activity if my numbers begin to fall outside an unfit range.  I also have blood draws taken every 6 months.  Blood lab results are great indicators of internal bodily functions and health condition.   if your dietary glucose (sugars), Cholesterol and Triglycerides (blood fats) are too high…  do journal these results for later comparisons against adjusted diet and exercise programed changes.

Continue to read all MirrorAthlete Fitness Secret articles.  Learn more about how to further improve fitness levels, reduce health risk, look and feel better and live longer in good health.

Save money learning how to customize your own fitness and nutrition  programs.  But in no way do I advocate avoidance of medical advisement, examination and/or treatment.  It is wise to see your doctor on a regular basis.

Author: Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, USA Medical Services Officer, CPT, RET 2015 MirrorAthlete® Copyright.  All rights.


Enjoy Holiday Meals Without Weight Gain or Guilt

21 12 2014

It’s that time of year again. What will be your New Years Resolution?

I can’t believe how fast the end of year Holidays roll upon us.  And for some it can be a stressful time.  Especially if you have a hard time managing body weight.

I have some food management and modified behavioral habit tips that may help alleviate fears of eating your traditional Holiday meals without gaining weight.

These tips may help you resist the temptation to overeat foods craved at this time of year.  I’m sharing a “no weight gain strategy” I’ve provided past clients and have helped to keep weight off within a 48 hour window of time and longer.  Although most didn’t lose weight… they didn’t gain any either.

It was through a diet consulting session a client asked if I could create a work around food strategy so they could eat their favorite foods during the Holidays.  And without derailing a weight loss diet plan.  Of course I told them there’s always a risk of falling back into a bad food habit when you eat rich foods.  But for this individual it was worth the risk to enjoy a good Christmas meal with family and not fear losing control over foods and body weight.

For some, it’s almost as if we have to harden the body for the rigors of war because of all the tempting food nemesis in front of us.  The smells and tastes are enough to drive anyone crazy and want to go on a food binge.

The worse part of consuming too many calories in a day, as we age our body’s metabolisms become less efficient at processing to remove the excess food fuel from it.  Instead, our metabolisms get very efficient at storing body fat weight.  It is also true during the Holidays we all have a tendency to over indulge and then continue this pattern through the New Year.

We all know excess body fat has a direct correlation to poor health conditions and disease.  Some of the better know diseases directly related to obesity for example are diabetes, atherosclerosis, congenital heart failure, weight bearing joint pain, etc.

I also understand some of you have had tremendous success in melting the pounds away last year as you stuck to your new year’s weight loss resolution commitment.

Congratulation to you!

For those still struggling to lose weight don’t give up!  I’ll provide the same client tips to help you modify food habits in a way to enjoy a tasty meal in good company without fear of weight gain.  And quite possibly this may be a habit changing plan to supplement  your continued weight loss effort during the New Year.

But the tips alone may not be enough to meet your ultimate weight loss goal.  Since weight loss, health condition, medical history and fitness levels are all interrelated it is advised you seek a medical doctors consultation if you have a serious obesity or health problem.  These food strategy tips will not help if you are in poor health, have substance abuse problems, obsessive compulsive tendencies and/or carry excessive body weight.


A Time to Celebrate With Family

I’m no different than you with regard to all the tempting foods during the Holidays, I’m greatly tempted to eat more than I need.  However, awareness of our food habit weaknesses combined with a food management strategy is the best deterrent to minimize an uptick in body fat weight you don’t want.

There are many reasons one may over consume foods daily [stressful environment,  compulsive behaviors, bad relationships and depression to name a few].    However when over consumption occurs frequently, the body tends to accept this habit as the norm.  Hence a new habit of overeating is formed and weight gain is inevitable for most of us.

The fact is as you age the body simply doesn’t require the excess calories it once needed during the developmental years.  This does not mean you have to give up all your favorite foods.   For the most part you can consume a selection of your choosing.  Your only real requirement is to cut out excessive calories and participate in some form of low stress aerobic exercise daily [i.e., walking, biking, hiking, jogging, dancing, yard work, rowing, cross country ski, swimming, etc.].

Since everyone’s metabolism is different due to age, sex, medical conditions, genetics, etc.,  I can’t predict or provide a one fit “hold the weight” solution that will work for everyone for a few days.  Especially when I know the program was designed and worked for a few client types that wanted to indulge during the Holidays without experiencing weight gain.  But since I know these tips can work through short-term modification of food behavior and habit it’s worth sharing because it can work for you.  Especially if your the type that has enough “will power” to apply a short term off-the-wagon dietary strategy to self control within the 8-Tip Holiday Meal Plan guidelines below.

Can this food tips strategy work long term?  Yes I believe it can for certain individuals.  But determining each individuals fitness and weight loss goal nuances, habits and behaviors within environment etc., is best accomplished through 1:1 professional consulting services that make these connections and provide relatable  information  that resonate with clients.   Personalized fitness programming with a safe weight loss long-term strategy has the best chance to succeed when unique lifestyles are analyzed and prescribed relative to the individual.

For those of you that are disciplined enough to pace yourself and turn off the feeding frenzy… My hats off to you!  You have will power that most of us can only dream about.  For others, to help reduce calorie consumption during the Holidays, My 8 tip Holiday Meal Plan plan may be of some assistance.

Best Time Ever

Best Time Ever

Now, let’s get to the meat of what you’ve been waiting for. Here are the tips clients and I have used to minimize weight gain during the Holidays.  If you take this 8-Tip Holiday Meal Plan to heart and apply it, it can work for you short and possibly long term.

Tip#1Never!  I repeat Never!  Go to your mother, mother-in-laws, or Grandmothers home for Holiday meals hungry!

The habit of starving ourselves in preparedness for the Holiday meal feeding frenzy seems to be ingrained within the American culture.  I know my family, like so many others during the Holidays have repeated this ritual.  It’s no wonder we can’t stop ourselves, before you know it, we’re all lying around like beached whales on a lido deck with “Hot… Hot… Hot,” playing in the background.   So, it stands to reason, you must eat a normal meal not less than 2-3 hours before you go over for a Holiday meal.

The way our digestion system processes food your stomach will not be empty for the next 4-6 hours after each meal depending on metabolism.  This digestive function varies within each one of us.   I don’t suggest being selective when choosing Holiday foods.  Just serve the foods you want to eat and don’t over load your plate.  The point is when you get to the table, you won’t be as hungry and you just won’t want to eat as much.

Tip#2Never!  I repeat Never!  Drink alcohol prior to going into the meal.

You don’t drink and drive do you?  Well, what makes you think you could drink and consume without injury to your body?  Although I’m being facetious, I’m also serious in the way I want to make my point.  Alcohol is a depressant, pain killer, relaxant, taste intensifier and social inhibitor.  The point made of over consumption is easy to understand here, eat and drink like Vikings… No pain… Much calorie gain!

Limit yourself to two 8oz glasses of cheer after the meal (your choice).  Remember alcohol also contains calories that add up fast.

Tip#3Drink plenty of water throughout the day when attending Holiday meals.

Water is a natural solvent, absorbs well in the stomach and intestinal lining assisting the body’s digestive system to process food intake more efficiently.  Plus, water will make you feel fuller faster.

Tip#4Do not stay at the dinner table after eating for further conversation.

This is where most of us fall prey to over eating indulgences.  It is very difficult to resist picking at the Holiday turkey, cranberry, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, pies, olives, sipping on Champaign…  “Ohhhhhh the dressing and gravy… Give me a break!  I’m dying here; I think I just made myself hungry.”

See how hard this is and I’m supposed to be giving you advice.  Look, I never said I wasn’t human, or this would be easy.  More so the reason to have a pre-meal battle strategy that advises one to move away from the table and out of the kitchen after the meal.

Tip 5#Take your first serving, after you consume this wait 20 minutes before you think about seconds.

Take at least 20 minutes and enjoy the meal before you even think about seconds.

“Seconds is not recommended.”  This will be the hardest part of the meal plan.   It takes your brain approximately 20 minutes to register whether you’ve eaten enough or not.  Focus on satiety not a feeling of fullness.  But if you do decide you can’t resist a second helping focus on a favorite serving that doesn’t take up more than 1/4 the plate diameter.  And no piling on.

Tip#6Never!  I repeat Never!  Eat desert after you’ve eaten your meal.

This will only add insult to injury.  Your body simply is not designed to handle this mass assault without consequences, especially if you’ve achieved fullness after eating the main meal.  Wait 1 hour to see how your body processes the feeling of fullness.  If you experience a feeling of satiety after a period of time then do enjoy some dessert.  But if you begin to experience fullness again back off.

Tip#7 Never!  I repeat never!  Take home left over’s.

This can set you up for failure early on into the New Year.  Simply by continuing to eat these foods stimulates and addicts some to a continued and similar eating patterns for months.  And thereafter another 10 pounds is added to body weight.

Tip#8Don’t quit your exercise program during the Holiday season.


Marc prepares for the Holiday festivities with family. A time of Year to reflect and be thankful for all we have.

This is very important!  When you consume excess calories on “any day,” you will need to assist the body in removing the unspent food fuel.   I highly recommend a daily walking program, or other Low-Impact aerobic activity at least 30 minutes daily.

Hopefully, I’ve provided a few tips you can relate to and apply this Holiday season.  You’ve now learned how it’s possible to embrace Holiday foods without guilt and doesn’t’ compromise taste buds or the social meal experience with family.  And best of all, if taken seriously and applied correctly, you won’t gain any weight.

Many can enjoy tasty meals during the Holidays without gaining weight when a reasonable food consumption plan is known in advance to help modify traditional Holiday food habits.

Please have a wonderful Holiday season with family and friends and don’t let your food fears and weight loss diet plans compromise having a great meal experience with loved ones.  Plan, prepare and participate in the spirit of the Holidays, you’ll be glad you did.

Merry Christmas and have a Happy New Year!

Author:  Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, ANG, MSC CPT RET.  2014 MirrorAthlete® Copyright,  All rights reserved.  Sign up for your free monthly eNewsletter.

Scientific Studies Show Exercise Causes Weight Gain

20 08 2014


Aerobic workouts good for the cardio Muscular endurance

Aerobic workouts good for the cardio Muscular endurance

Original Publication:  Oct 24 2009.  Revised 20 Aug 2014

Although your favorite fitness guru or celebrity may be the picture of health and you want to look just like them…  Keep this in mind, they make a lot of money selling fitness products and services that may actually cause you to gain weight rather than lose it.  Which may be just the opposite of the fitness results you hope to achieve.

Regardless of exercise equipment and dietary products that guarantees weight loss… The odds are not in your favor for long term weight loss success and you may actually gain weight.  Unless you have a customized fitness program developed specifically for you, or you use a program designed for someone else, weight gain may be the result as opposed to loss.

Relative and customized fitness program development should include and address individual lifestyle and environmental factors:  e.g., culture, behaviors and habits, medical condition(s), genetics, motivation, energy levels, body type and fitness goals.  For example, body fat, lean muscle mass, strength, cardio and muscular endurance and flexibility.

If your not sure how to custom design a fitness program might I suggest securing a professional fitness trainer or consultant for 1:1 fitness sessions that include assessments and development of a relative exercise program to get you on track.  The encompassing being requires task specific exercise and diet relative to individual mind, body and spirit needs and wants.   In the long run this strategy will pay off because you can optimize your efforts and results.

Now science supports the fact that exercise can add on the pounds if other considerations are not modified within lifestyle and environment as we age. Let’s look at a significant study that specifically addresses the compensation effect on body after exercise and what this really means for your weight management program.

“45 million Americans now belong to health clubs, up from 23 million in 1993. We spend some $19 billion a year on gym memberships. One major study illustrates – The Minnesota Heart Survey found more of us say we exercise. From 1980 to 2000, 47% of respondents exercised regularly and then these figures increased to 57%, ending the 20 year survey. Even with 45 million people today using fitness centers obesity figures increased during this period. The Federal government’s definition of obesity classifies 1/3 of all Americans as obese. Those that participated in the survey admitted after they exercise, their hungrier and eat more. This is not to discount the notion that those who may not participate in gym activities may weigh more otherwise.”

“In general, for weight loss, exercise is pretty useless,” says Eric Ravussin, chair in diabetes and metabolism at Louisiana State University, a prominent exercise researcher. Although exercise does burn calories, it also makes us hungrier. “Exercise, in other words, isn’t necessarily helping us lose weight. It may even be making it harder.” “The compensation Problem – The PLoS (Public Library of Science) published a remarkable study supervised by a colleague of Ravussin’s Dr. Timothy Church. Four groups totaling 464 overweight women who didn’t regularly exercise were selected for this study. Women in 3 of the groups worked with a personal trainer for 6 months; Group 1 exercised – 72 minutes/wk, Group 2 exercised- 136 minutes/wk and Group 3 exercised – 194 minutes/week. Although the study did not specify the exercise routines, one gets the notion exercises were balanced between aerobic and anaerobic activity with a personal assigned trainer.”

“The women in the 4th cluster did not change their lifestyle activities, but did fill out a monthly health questionnaire. The results were surprising. All groups of women lost weight, even the control group. It is most likely the control group through the use of monthly questionnaires learned more about their health and thereby modified their diets by eating fewer donuts, muffins, Starbucks coffee, for example. Some of the women in each group actually gained weight, some up to 10 pounds. Church calls this the compensation effect. Whether exercise made them hungry, or they wanted to reward themselves… Most of the women who exercised ate more than they did before they started the experiment!”

“This is an important study because our government’s medical organizations since the 60’s tell us to exercise if we want weight loss. Including in 2007, the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Heart Association issued new guidelines stating that “to lose weight…60 to 90 minutes of physical activity may be necessary. That recommendation covers most days of the week.”

“It’s true that within the study most participants were able to trim their waistline by only about an inch. The other interesting aspect, even so, they lost no more overall body fat than the control group. Church asks the control group other questions to further understand this phenomenon. He finds within each group the women are rewarding themselves with Starbucks coffee and muffins for example. Well, after you add these calories to calories burnt, you get a wash in weight loss benefits.” Another good example, a bottle of Gatorade electrolyte drink, 20oz bottle has 130 calories. You can drink this in a matter of seconds if you’re really thirsty. If your aerobics activity is treadmill walking for 15 minutes this is probably a wash from net calorie expenditure.”

“Steven Gortmaker, heads Harvard’s Prevention Research Center on Nutrition and Physical Activity, he studies child obesity. Since its proven exercise makes you hungry, one must ask a question regarding our kids and fast food places. He is suspicious of playgrounds at fast-food restaurants. The contention is, if a kid plays 30 minutes, it may be enough to stimulate hunger where the child instead of consuming 500 calories, instead consumes 1000.”  ‘In 30 minutes of play, for example, the child may have only expended 200 calories to play, creating a net 800 calorie gain!”

“Church states, we all need to move toward proper weight control, but stressing and depleting the body’s muscles in short bursts using stressful exercise is not necessarily the best way to loss body weight. Also the brain may feel greater entitlement to eat fast foods after we’ve exerted most of our high intensity energy at the gym. Instead, energy would have been better served by increasing daily activities like walking, healthy food shopping, preparing wholesome meals, gardening, a balanced mix using gym activities, walking, biking, etc.”

[Quote excerpts posted above, Published by Time Magazine, August 17, 2009, “Why Exercise Won’t Make you Thin,” by John Cloud. Posts have been modified by the author within quotes to quickly make points in support of this article.]

Science tells us anaerobic activity typical during strenuous weight lifting activities increases muscle mass which is heavier by volume than fat. Muscle mass increases will tip the scales heavier when muscle bulking and anaerobic out pace aerobic exercise and you’ll burn less body fat.

Optimizing weight loss and toning the body requires a customized fitness training program with a focus on aerobic activity.  Where low-medium intensity aerobic activities such as walking, jogging, biking and hiking burn more body fat as the preferred fuel.

Regardless of the exercise program,

Any muscle groups worked daily at any intensity of effort will tell the mind the body is hungry. The will power to ignore the brains signal to over nourish the working muscles after glucose and muscle glycogen are used, or depleted is a great mind over matter challenge at any age before and during meal times.  Having a preplanned and balanced diet in place prior to starting an exercise program is important when looking to increase muscle mass and/or decreasing body fat.  Otherwise food rewards and convenience snake foods may become your weight gain nemesis.

One thing I can assure you… To not remain active with some form of activity exercise as you age, opposed to becoming a couch potato is a grave mistake!  Regardless of how many calories you burn/don’t burn or weight you gain/lose during exercise… to not move the body enough throughout the day can only cause the body circulatory problems, weight bearing injuries and pain and additional unhealthy body weight and other illness and disease.

If you’d like to dial in on the weight loss or muscle development potential contact a certified fitness trainer to help you optimize your results and meet expectations.  Especially if your not satisfied with your current fitness program and results.

Author:  Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, USA Medical Services Officer, CPT, RET.  2014 Copyright, All rights reserved.  MirrorAthlete Corp. Publishing @:, Sign up for your free eNewsletter.



MirrorAthlete® 1st Book Publication, A Powerful Principled Fitness Philosophy

17 07 2014


Read MirrorAthlete® Book Publishing Story: “Write Passionate Content, Publish a Book, Build your Business”

Always thinking, how can we each do our part for a better tomorrow.

Updated: 06 April 2015

The principled fitness techniques and context within our 1st book publication, due 1st quarter of 2016 is unlike any other fitness, health, and nutrition, lifestyle change book you’ve ever seen or read.

It is now in a final publisher development format.  It is loaded with unique personal and fitness consultant perspectives, client and other relative newsworthy stories, self-help forms, tables and satire graphic depictions that support each chapter’s unique content and personality.

These things and more provides the reader with a unique entertainment and interactive experience while learning consumer and self-help fitness trainer-consultant skillsets and techniques that can be used for many years after the book’s released.  The book in many ways was developed and designed to be a timeless fitness trainer programming and healthy lifestyle consultant how to book.

The MirrorAthlete® Science and applied fitness consulting philosophy evolved through an  exercise science discipline and lifetime fitness consulting practice from the fitness industry, Exercise Science education and military service.  Which included, fitness center and recreational programming, consulting and medical health services experiences derived from two military branches of service.  One in the Army and the other in the Air Force.

The content within this book is not hype and provides a scientific, consumer wisdom and balanced fitness programming approaches that can be applied by anyone who desires to meet a specific fitness, nutrition and lifestyle change goals within changing environments.

Marc has managed to take multiple client and personal experiences as a lifetime fitness consultant and trainer that defines, relates and applies MirrorAthlete® Principled Fitness Philosophy in a very unique way.

This knowledge allows anyone to succeed in creating a customized fitness program without the cost of a professional fitness trainer or specialized consulting services  Marc provides the knowledge needed if you decide to take on advanced self-help fitness programming which is also in the book.  For those that need basic guidance on topic he provides safe informational instruction, illustrations, client examples, medical referred insight and how to build a basic fitness and lifestyle change program in a way anyone can learn to apply it.  Then get you to the next level if you’d like to take the challenge.

These fit healthy lifestyle principles and consumer choice and practices are also backed by hundreds of professional citations throughout the book.  So you don’t have to take the word of MirrorAthlete’s years of specialized fitness consulting, training, education and other relative experience.  We back up our work.

If you lack motivation to get started with a basic or advanced fitness program, we shown how to overcome low motivation by increasing will power to stay the course.  When this wisdom is personally relatable and applied correctly, long term fit-healthy habits and behavioral change stick and it becomes easier to repeat the lifestyle changes.  As you work towards your fitness goals, you’ll do so without worry of being told you need to be on a restrictive diet plan, or buy an expensive product, service or fitness gimmick.  We don’t sell you anything but information you need and want to help you lose that stubborn body fat and/or help you achieve the next fitness goal or lifestyle change and/or remove bad habits, behaviors and addictions, etc.

It is understood many obese and out of shape individuals are looking for specific fitness results: i.e., weight loss, strength, muscular endurance, tone, flexibility and physical enhancement shortcuts that promise quick anti-aging and performance results. The marketplace is littered with manmade products and services that promise fast results… some work short term, while others don’t work and may cause harm to health.  In the long run to become dependent upon manmade chemicals of any type will cause long term risk to your good health. You don’t have to go the unsafe fast results route to reach your desired fitness or lifestyle goal and stress yourself out doing it.

We know the marketplace won’t provide consumers the entire exercise and diet  products risk picture for good reasons.  There’s no money in being completely truthful.

We’ll break down the consumer smoke screen for you by bringing more clarity on consumer hot button topics, divulge the marketplace fitness, nutrition, health and consumer truths and help connect  the cultural and environmental dots.  In many ways, your good health depends on truthful information that’s not always easily seen.

Because the marketplace is fickle and full of greed “many sales people lack honor and integrity for the sake of a buck.  By making these marketplace connections through a unique fitness philosophy and sense of humor will ”no doubt” resonate with anyone that reads this book.   Heck, many of you will relate to the humor and simultaneously be appalled and disgusted on how our marketplaces functions and treats consumers and voters.  This book is designed and guaranteed to question national consumer safety policies and get you thinking about a healthier lifestyle change action plan and making consumer decisions a family lifestyle practice.  Thereby limiting government control and reach over health care family decisions.

Getting more Americans engaged in supporting preventative resources for our K-12 schools to reduce childhood obesity through ill-health prevention and healthy lifestyle education courses will support communities in becoming more productive and healthier for the next generation that follows.  The books contents will also serve as the needed attention getter to steer a Nations’s ship that’s lost its spiritual and moral ruder.

If you are tired of paying hundreds and thousands of dollars for fitness and diet products and services that don’t work long term, or don’t work at all and your tired of being overweight and unfit, look no further.   We connect all the environmental and lifestyle dots by using specialized knowledge combined with 60 years of exercise training, fitness, nutrition and health consulting service experiences to relate to your specific needs.

MirrorAthlete Inc., is uniquely positioned through relative experience to expose these hard to find industrial and marketplace fitness and health truths and practices.    It is for good reason the marketplace hopes the majority of you never discover what’s in this book.  The unique contents threaten to fundamentally change habits, behaviors and industrial supply and demand and profit margins.  As our nations moral rudder is redirected by individual leading fit-healthy and moral lifestyles one at a time, the marketplace, consumers and government policies will change for the better.

I personally show how to apply these fitness and consumer principles by revealing 19 Powerful Fitness Principles [MirrorAthlete® Principled Fitness Philosophy ].  These principles provide the knowledge you need to customize your own fitness program without paying a fitness consultant-trainer; or need of questionable and untested manmade dietary, supplements, enhancement products or services.  Once shown how to decipher the healthy lifestyle consumer code you’ll become addicted to your new customized fitness program for life.  Why, because I show you how to create and develop one that’s safe, natural and fits like a glove and motivates you to participate daily.

Within ending each chapter there’s the authors ongoing personal fitness challenge that’s relative to each chapter’s content.  In doing so Marc shares how he applied this information on himself during injury and disease after military retirement and overcame adversity.  Those with physical and mental adversity challenges can relate and understand how using the same tool box can benefit fitness levels, health and quality of lifestyle.   No matter the fitness or health condition, when mobility exercise and balanced nutrition and healthy lifestyle principles become relative to the individual then quality of life can be improved upon and experienced.

We ask that you and your friends support our mission  “Saving a Nation in Pain,” by purchasing our book once published and help put a stop to childhood obesity.

We also accept donations at our home site to assist with further outreach to further promote more ill-health prevention resources to our subscribers and future leaders.

Please visit our home site – If you believe in MirrorAthlete® Principled Fitness Philosophy, please click on the BLUE FaceBook “LIKE” button.  We appreciate your support.

Good health to you and your family!

Author: Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, ANG MSC, CPT RET.  2015 MirrorAthlete® Copyright.  All rights reserved., Sign up for your free eNewsletter.