feel better.

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Trends in corporate employee wellness programs

Check this out. According to the article, Trend: Employee Wellness published by Great Place to Work, 55 of the top 100 best workplaces in 2013 offered financial incentives for employees to participate in wellness programs. And the incentives ranged from an average of $460 to a best of $2600 so it’s not just a token. The article also credits companies for having onsite gyms or subsidies for offsite fitness centers. Gym benefits have been around a bit longer though but the point here is the trend.

The trend involves two good things:

  • More companies are actively supporting health & fitness
  • Companies are getting more creative and flexible with their programs

I really love the idea of an incentive for participating in a wellness program on your own. Gyms aren’t for everyone but if they’re your thing, you will probably use one with or without a subsidy. An incentive for a wellness program could (and should) be for whatever it is that works for each individual. It might be food counseling or a step tracker or personal exercise therapy.

With all of the changes and unknowns related to how health care is and will be paid for it makes intense sense for employers who have a stake in it on many levels to invest on the prevention side of health care. Do you agree?

If you got a financial incentive for a wellness program, what would you use it for?


First in Training, NC

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64 ounces of water daily. Why is this so hard?


The prevailing advice on water intake is eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day. Do you drink that much? Do you count? Do you agree with the recommendation?

I have three thoughts on this:

  1. One thing many people miss about this … the recommended 64 ounces is total fluid intake, not necessarily glasses of water in addition to the fluids you get from other sources. Food can provide up to 20% of your daily fluid intake. Soda, coffee and alcoholic beverages should be measured negatively if you’re keeping score. They dehydrate.
  2. I’m sure you’ve heard about the possibility that drinking too much water can kill you. You might also be able to kill yourself by trying to do 10,000 burpees … but you won’t. Google it if you’re concerned.
  3. Like everything else, water consumption should be about balance. The goal is to match the intake with the outgo – drinking vs. sweating. So the guidance I live by includes …
  • I don’t try to count – it’s probably unnecessary and kind-of obsessive
  • I make water my beverage of choice
  • I always keep water with me and drink it throughout the day
  • I drink water before, during and after exercise
  • If I’m thirsty, I might be dehydrated.

What do you think?


First in Training, NC

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Juicing is the new craze, so what are some of the pros and cons?

Juicing probably is not any healthier than eating whole fruits and vegetables. Juicing extracts the juice from fresh fruits or vegetables. The resulting liquid contains most of the vitamins, minerals and plant chemicals (phytonutrients) found in the whole fruit. However, whole fruits and vegetables also have healthy fiber, which is lost during most juicing.

Some juicing proponents say that juicing is better for you than is eating whole fruits and vegetables because your body can absorb the nutrients better and it gives your digestive system a rest from working on fiber. They say that juicing can reduce your risk of cancer, boost your immune system, help you remove toxins from your body, aid digestion and help you lose weight.

However, there’s no sound scientific evidence that extracted juices are healthier than the juice you get by eating the fruit or vegetable itself.

On the other hand, if you don’t enjoy eating fresh fruits and vegetables, juicing may be a fun way to add them to your diet or to try fruits and vegetables you normally wouldn’t eat. You can find many juicing recipes online or mix up your own combinations of fruits and vegetables to suit your taste.

If you do try juicing, make only as much juice as you can drink at one time because fresh squeezed juice can quickly develop harmful bacteria. And when juicing, try to keep some of the pulp. Not only does it have healthy fiber, but it can help fill you up.

Also keep in mind that juices may contain more sugar than you realize, and if you aren’t careful, these extra calories can lead to weight gain.


First in Training, NC

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FAT facts


What is the purpose of body fat?  To release hormones that control metabolism. Fat is known to have two main purposes: 1) Fat stores excess calories in a safe way so you can mobilize the fat stores when you’re hungry, and 2) Fat releases hormones that control metabolism.

Excess body fat increases female hormones in men. True or False?  False! The truth is that overweight women have higher levels of male hormones, which increases their risk of heart disease. Those hormones also cause male pattern balding, some excess facial hair, and acne.  More truth? Overweight people often suffer from sleep disorders such as sleep apnea which is dangerous. Sleep apnea causes breathing to stop many times during the night. This makes oxygen levels drop, which affects the heart and increases risk of heart attack, stroke and diabetes. But relax; a certain amount of body fat is necessary for storing energy, heat insulation, shock absorption, and other functions.

Fat maintains healthy skin and hair. True or False?  True!  Believe it or not, healthy skin and hair are maintained by fat. Fat helps the body absorb and move the vitamins A, D, E, and K through the bloodstream.

How many calories are in a gram of fat?  9 calories. The number of calories you need each day varies depending on your body size and activity levels. Someone who needs about 2,000 calories a day should be eating no more than 65 grams of fat a day on average. To determine your ideal daily dietary fat intake: 1. Take the number of calories you eat each day and multiply it by 30 percent (.30). For example: 2,000 calories x .30 = 600 calories from fat. 2. Divide your answer by 9 because there are 9 calories in each gram of fat. This will give you the number of grams of fat per day that should be your upper limit goal. Here, it’s: 600 / 9 = 65 grams. A person who consumes 2,000 calories per day should ideally consume not more than 65 grams of fat. Some researchers suggest that even 65 grams of fat in a 2,000 calorie diet is still too much fat.

First in Training, NC