Starting an Exercise Regime in 2017

by Heidi Toy, NTP

If exercise has so many health rewards, why do so many people find it so hard to do? Michael Otto, PhD, a professor of psychology at Boston University, has some theories about that. First, most of the health payoffs that make people want to exercise are not experienced instantly. Many of those payoffs take weeks or months to manifest. Losing the belly fat, or having your lipids normalize, is just not going to happen overnight.

Starting out too hard in a new exercise program may be another reason. When you exercise above your respiratory threshold, that is, above the point when it gets hard to talk, you postpone exercise’s immediate mood boost by about thirty minutes, per Dr. Otto. If you’re a novice, that delay might keep you from returning to the gym.
Many people set their fitness goals around the scale, which can be a recipe for failure. Weight loss may be your goal, but you can sabotage it with an unhealthy fixation on a number.

You will probably feel better quickly, so that’s a better short-term goal. For some, the hardest part of the workout is getting dressed for it—or getting to the gym. So start simply by walking around the neighborhood for twenty minutes. Much research now tells us that the first twenty minutes of moving around provide most of the health benefits.

Excessive physical activity may be as harmful to your health as being too sedentary. If this is you, then your goal is to find the middle ground and know when enough is enough.

Remember, when it comes to evaluating your fitness success, you are only competing with yourself.
Exercise should be balanced with strength training, proper stretching, core strengthening, stress reduction, restorative sleep, and good nutrition.


1. Stand up every fifteen minutes. Compelling research now tells us that prolonged sitting can have a tremendously detrimental impact on your health, even if you exercise regularly. Whenever you have a chance to move your body, do so.

2. Include interval (anaerobic) training. Interval training involves alternating short bursts of high-intensity exercise with gentle recovery periods. This is called a PACE or Peak Fitness routine, originally put forth by Dr. Al Sears. Check out this website:

3. Don’t forget strength training. Rounding out your exercise program with a one-set strength training routine will work different muscle groups and keep them in shape. It is especially important that women who are concerned about osteoporosis lift weights to keep their bones healthy.

4. Include core exercises. Our bodies have twenty-nine core muscles located mostly in the back, abdomen, and pelvis. This group of muscles provides the foundation for movement throughout the body, and strengthening them can help protect and support your back, make your spine and body less prone to injury, and improve your balance and stability. Enlightened chiropractors work with physical therapists who can teach the movements and how to use a ball, a balance board, etc., to work out and stretch the muscles that support the fascia.

5. Stretch. It is as important as weight lifting or any other part of an exercise routine. It becomes more important the older we get. It allows the body to repair itself and prepare for daily activity.

Heidi Toy is a Functional Nutritional Therapist, and the owner of “Educated Nutrition”, located in Altoona, WI. Her focus is helping people heal holistically, with an emphasis on digestion, weight loss, depression, female hormone issues, and fatigue. 

Real Food Is Healthy

By Heidi Toy, NTP 

When you think of traditional foods, what pictures come to mind? Little children running around a homestead pulling eggs from under chickens as in Little House on the Prairie? Grandma skillfully rolling out pie crusts made with lard? Or perhaps the booths at the local farmers market bursting with the colors of the spring harvest?

Simply put, traditional foods are those in their most natural state, unadulterated, unrefined, and grown in nutrient-dense soil. It is these real, whole, nourishing foods enjoyed for generation upon generation that provide the cells of our bodies with the necessary fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients needed for vibrant health. This state of well-being is characterized by a quiet and strong digestive system, blissful sleep, sturdy bones, a calm and clear mind, and an immune function that prevents infection.

A number of factors influence ones vitality: sleep quality, rest, companionship, physical activity, chemical exposure, and more. Yet food remains the key player for nourishing the body’s every cell. We now know that epigenetics is more important than genetics, that 75 percent of our health is dependent on whether we encourage good genes to express and bad genes not to express. The body’s genes are constantly communicating with the nutrients we take in through food. In other words, food either feeds or poisons a cell. And this is a powerful concept when one considers that cells make tissues, tissues make organs, and organs make us—our brains, our bones, our reproductive organs, our joints.

Health is a choice: we can say we “don’t have time to cook a meal.” But remember the old wisdom: pay the farmer today or pay the doctor later.

A study published in 2001 of organic versus conventional produce found that the organic versions contained 27 percent more vitamin C, 29 percent more magnesium, 86 percent more chromium, and 375 percent more selenium. The chemical-free foods were also lower in cancer-causing nitrates and toxic heavy metals.

Another study published in 2003 of the levels of pesticide metabolites in the urine found that children eating organic had 6 to 9 times lower levels than children eating conventionally grown food. Bear in mind, pesticides are up to 10 times more toxic to children than adults, due to their smaller body size and developing organ systems, so it is especially important to minimize their exposure.

The meat of cows roaming on pasture, munching away on their natural diet of fresh grass, have more omega-3s and more vitamins A and E than their commercial grain-fed, feedlot cousins. Hormone residues in meat and dairy products can disrupt our body’s natural hormone balance; many experts suspect that consumption of hormone-treated beef and dairy products may contribute to girls reaching puberty earlier. Chickens allowed to forage for bugs and grass and to soak up sunshine in the great outdoors produce eggs with greater amounts of vitamins E and A than their commercial, cooped up, pellet-fed counterparts. Eggs from pastured hens also contain omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in the beneficial ratio of approximately 1:1, unlike commercial eggs, which average an unhealthy 1:19.

In my practice and with my clients, it is my job to help them understand that purchasing organic doesn’t have to be all or none; pick and choose, evaluate your budget, the price of items, and re-organize your meals to include more seasonable organic choices. We are fortunate to be living in an area where there are many affordable options when it comes to purchasing organic and pastured animal products.

Heidi Toy is a Functional Nutritional Therapist, and the owner of “Educated Nutrition”, located in Altoona, WI. Her focus is helping people heal holistically, with an emphasis on digestion, weight loss, depression, female hormone issues, and fatigue.