fbpx Skip to content

Alexandra Williams

Alexandra Williams has taught fitness for 17 years and has a master’s degree in agency counseling, with an emphasis on marriage and family. Her professional training has forced her to scrutinize her own value system, especially as she attempts to raise ethical children. The author wishes to thank Jack Raglin and Jim Gavin for their helpful insights and suggestions.

View FitConnect Profile

Article Archive

Question of the Month

April 17, 2015

What is your experience or opinion of energy drinks for middle- and high-school students? Are you a fan or foe of them for yourself, and why?

Read More

For the Fifth Year in a Row, the Best Diet Is . . .

April 17, 2015

U.S. News & World Report has been ranking diets for 5 years. For all 5, the top spot for best overall plan has gone to the DASH diet, which is based on whole grains, vegetables and low-fat dairy. Developed as a way to lower blood pressure without medication, it was also chosen by a panel of health experts as the top diabetes diet and the best healthy-eating plan.

“It’s good for your waistline, in addition to your high blood pressure, because it is such a common-sense, balanced diet,” said Angela Haupt, senior health and wellness editor at U.S. News & World Report.

Read More

Bye-Bye to Big Food?

April 17, 2015

Yale medical researchers David Katz and Samuel Meller’s declaration in 2013 that a “diet of minimally processed foods close to nature, predominantly plants, is decisively associated with health promotion and disease prevention” may have been the camel’s proverbial straw when it comes to consumer food spending.

According to a February article in Mother Jones magazine, “Big Food” is falling on hard times. For example, Conagra slashed its 2015 profit projections and fired its CEO, while other large brands reported similar moves.

Read More

More Good News for Chocolate Lovers

April 17, 2015

The next time you bite into your favorite bar of dark chocolate, you may be lowering your risk for type 2 diabetes. A report just out in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2015; doi: 10.3945/ajcn.114.092221) supports what many want to be true— chocolate, especially dark,
may be a healthy indulgence.

The American Heart Association has already suggested that daily chocolate intake may lower blood pressure and improve blood sugar, and this is just one more study supporting that position.

Read More

Playing Hurt

March 16, 2015

When Gray Cook was a high-school athlete, his coaches would comment, “That Gray Cook sure can play hurt.” He had over 20 fractures before he was 18, what with his love of football and motorcycles. He played while hurt, he says, because he had the ability to block out pain. Flash forward to 2014, and Cook—now a practicing physical therapist, certified orthopedic specialist and founder of Functional Movement Systems in Chatham, Virginia—was no longer able to block out neck pain. It was affecting his life, his work, and his ability to share his message of fitness and health.

Read More

Challenges That Affect Fitness Pros

July 9, 2014

Like others who pursue helping careers, those of us who are trainers and instructors are professional givers, and the issues that affect this group are unique, varied, and sometimes even detrimental to our own health. lack of self-care has many consequences. This list of the challenges that fitness pros may encounter was derived from our experts’ own experiences.

Possible Adverse Outcomes:

Read More

Addressing Obesity And Exercise In Preadolescents

August 27, 2013

Preadolescence is a time of major change and growth, bringing psychological, physical and social shifts for boys and girls alike. Caught between the carefree days of childhood and the first throes of being a teenager, “tweens” (roughly aged 9–12) are a force to be reckoned with. Like many other populations, preadolescents are suffering from lack of exercise, which threatens to chart a course toward obesity and disease.

Read More

Fructose, Glucose and Weight Gain

March 28, 2013

The type of sugar in your beverage could affect whether or not you feel hungry after drinking it. In a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers determined that fructose and glucose are processed differently in the brain. Both are simple sugars, yet fructose did not cause participants to feel full,…

Read More

Sweet Greens Smoothie

March 28, 2013

This juice recipe is terrific for mornings when you feel sluggish. Very smooth and slightly sweet, it also makes a great afternoon snack if you have a sugar craving. Rinse the greens; chop the cucumber and pear in halves; and peel the lemon. If you have a Vitamix® or similar high-power blender, toss in all the ingredients and purée them. You’ll get a lovely, frothy, delicious juice with a beautiful bright-green hue. Add a few ice cubes if you wish.

Read More

Overweight and Obese Women Should Scale Back Weight Gain During Pregnancy

March 28, 2013

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has come out with recommendations for weight gain during pregnancy based on the mother’s body mass index and on updated tables from the Institute of Medicine. For overweight women with a BMI of 25–29.9, ACOG recommends a total weight gain of 15–25 pounds. For obese women (BMI 30…

Read More

Lack of Sleep, Hunger and Gender

March 28, 2013

When they don’t get enough sleep, women feel less full and men have a bigger appetite, according to a recent issue of the journal SLEEP. Twenty-seven normal-weight men and women (aged 30–45) were studied under short-sleep (4 hours) and habitual-sleep (9 hours) conditions. After a short night’s sleep, fasting blood samples indicated that fasting and morning ghrelin levels rose in men, while afternoon GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide) levels fell in women. Sleep duration had no effect on insulin, glucose and leptin profiles.

Read More

Professional Nutrition Groups and Ties to Corporate Sponsors

March 28, 2013

Public health attorney Michele Simon recently published an explosive indictment of the links between the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics—the largest association of nutrition professionals in the U.S.—and the food industry. In the report, titled “And Now a Word From Our Sponsors: Are America’s Nutrition Professionals in the Pocket of Big Food?,” Simon questions the influence and relationship that many leading food corporations have with the association’s 74,000 members.

Read More

Fast Foods and Pediatric Asthma, Rhinoconjunctivitis and Eczema

March 28, 2013

Researchers in New Zealand were curious whether fast food could increase or decrease the risk of developing asthma, rhinoconjunctivitis (itchy, watery eyes, with sneezing and nasal itching) and eczema (inflammatory reaction of the skin) for children and adolescents.

By looking at the prevalence of these three conditions in comparison with types and frequencies of food intake over a 12-month period, the study authors discovered two things of significance for public health policies:

Read More

Link Between Poor Diet and Depression in Women

March 28, 2013

Can a poor diet predict depression in women? Perhaps. The American Society for Nutrition just published the results of a long-term study of 4,215 people that examined whether or not dietary patterns were associated with future risk of depressive symptoms. Using the Alternative Healthy Eating Index (AHEI), self-reported use of antidepressants and the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale as measurement tools, researchers found a correlation between recurrent depressive symptoms and a poor diet, but only for women, not men.

Read More

Eat Yogurt! Lose Weight!

March 28, 2013

If you want to improve your energy metabolism and reduce body fat levels by up to 4%, try a daily dose of probiotic yogurt. According to the Journal of Functional Foods, 28 healthy, overweight people who ate yogurt that contained the probiotic strain Lactobacillus amylovorus or the strain Lactobacillus fermentum for 6 weeks experienced an increase in energy metabolism and a decrease in weight.

Read More

Neglected Greens

March 28, 2013

Many greens that are high in nutritional value don’t get the same amount of love and attention as, say, kale. For example, dandelion greens rank high in beta-carotene and contain vitamin E, calcium, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, potassium and zinc. Best picked when young, these bitter greens also support kidney functioning and toxin removal. Known for…

Read More