ASK A TRAINER: Get to Know Pro Results® Trainer Morgan Connors

ASK A TRAINER: Get to Know Pro Results® Trainer Morgan Connors

Ask A Trainer: Featured Question of the Week

Meet our Season 4 Ask A Trainer fitness expert and LA Fitness Pro Results® personal trainer, Morgan Connors! She’s talented, smart, and here to answer your questions.  


Do you have a fitness question? Ask one of our certified Pro Results® trainers here! Your question may be featured in an upcoming Ask Our Trainer video.**

7 + 2 =

**Selected submissions will be featured on the LA Fitness blog and possibly other LA Fitness digital media entities & websites. By making a submission, you hereby grant LA Fitness a non-exclusive, perpetual, worldwide, irrevocable license to use and make copies of the contents of such submission for any purpose and in any medium whatsoever, and you hereby waive and relinquish any copyright or other intellectual property right you may have in the contents of such submission and your right to pursue any claim for LA Fitness’s violation of those intellectual property rights.


Recommended 'Ask A Trainer' Videos

Sugar-Free Baking with The Sugar Alcohol Erythritol

Sugar-Free Baking with The Sugar Alcohol Erythritol

Question:

What do you know about the sugar alcohol erythritol? I’m looking to use it in sugar-free sweets this holiday.

– Candice C.

Answer:

Sugar alcohols (also known as polyols) are low-digestible carbohydrates, meaning that they are incompletely digested or absorbed in the small intestine then are at least partially fermented in the colon. Chemically a hydrogenated monosaccharide, erythritol is technically not a true sugar or an alcohol.  Erythritol is absorbed but is not fully metabolized enabling it to yield only 0.2 Cals/gram1. Erythritol is excreted intact in the urine, meaning it travels from gut to blood to kidneys unchanged. Um, you decide if that’s good or bad…

Erythritol is mainly derived from GMO cornstarch and is also natural-occurring in some other plants, fruit (like watermelon, pear, and grapes), mushrooms and fermented foods. In food products (often sugar-free foods) it can be used alone but is often found in combination with other polyols or non-nutritive sweeteners. For example, erythritol (along with rebiana) is a component of the sweetener TruviaTM. Erythritol would be part of the sugar alcohols section under carbohydrates in a Nutrition Facts panel of a food label. Erythritol is considered to have zero calories while other sugar alcohols have about half the calories of sugar1. Note that some lower-sugar foods have increased fat content for palatability2.

The US FDA determined that erythritol is Generally Recognized as Safe, as of 2001. The American Diabetes Association states, “Sugar alcohols and nonnutritive sweeteners are safe when consumed within the daily intake levels established by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)2.” The estimated daily intake of erythritol is 1 gram per day and an estimated tolerable intake range of 10-20 grams per day 1,3.

Erythritol does not appear to affect blood sugar levels4. Other erythritol benefits for those with diabetes include no contribution to dental caries, lower laxative effect than other sugar alcohols, and slower digestion (lower glycemic). Sugar alcohols have not been proven effective in the management of weight3. And keep in mind that it’s overall carbohydrate consumption, not just sugar, that has the biggest impact on blood sugar management1.

In the kitchen, erythritol can’t be used in a weight for weight replacement for table sugar as erythritol has 60-80% the sweetness of sucrose3. You can use erythritol in a variety of food applications but know that sugar alcohols don’t have the same microbial inhibition, browning, or crystallization properties as table sugar. Unlike non-nutritive sweeteners, erythritol offers bulk and stabilization which helps with structure or viscosity of the finished product. It also acts as a humectant to retain moisture. Sounds to me like you need to know a bit about food chemistry to get an ideal result if you aren’t following a tested recipe!

References

  1. Low-Digestible Carbohydrates in Practice. HA Grabitske and JL Slavin. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, Oct 2008; 108(10: 1677-1682.
  2. Sugar Substitutes: Useful Ingredients in Effective Diabetes Management. CL Seher. Today’s Dietitian, Nov 2010; 12(11):12-14.
  3. Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Use of Nutritive and Nonnutritive Sweeteners. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, May 2012; 112 (5): 739-757.
  4. Nutrition Recommendations and Interventions for Diabetes, a position statement of the American Diabetes Association. Diabetes Care, 2008 Jan; 31(Supplement 1): S61-78.

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

Ask our Dietitian

Have a nutrition question? Our registered dietitian is ready to help!

Email nutrition@lafitness.com or submit your question below and it may be featured in an upcoming article!

1 + 10 =


Recommended Reading - Q+A

The Best Foods to Eat Pre and Post-Workout

The Best Foods to Eat Pre and Post-Workout

If you ask any fitness maven walking (or more likely running) down the street, they will immediately condemn the idea of “fasted cardio”, referring to the method of not eating before a workout in order to burn and lose body fat.  They will tell you it is ineffective and potentially dangerous, and then probably start describing the simply seasoned chicken breast or protein-packed omelet (depending on what time of the day it is) they chowed down before they laced up their sneakers.

In order to get the full benefits of exercise, you need a healthy and balanced diet.  Whether you’re hiking outdoors or sweating it out in a spin class, the right foods before and after a workout provide you with more energy and aid your body in recovering faster.

The best food pre-workout is going to be packed with carbohydrates and proteins. Carbs are your muscles’ main energy source and protein helps to improve your muscles’ growth and recovery. You want to avoid eating too much fat before a workout as that will cause you to feel more sluggish and heavy, although healthy fats like avocado have been shown to be a good source of fuel for moderate-to-low intensity workouts. Ideally, you’ll want to eat 2-3 hours before a workout, so that your body has time to digest. Good sources of protein pre-workout include:

  • Apple wedges with peanut butter – Apples are a source of natural sugar, and combined with a protein like peanut butter can still be a great energy source
  • Chicken – Baked chicken is best.
  • Greek yogurt
  • Omelets
  • Homemade protein bars – Homemade is a great way to control what goes into your body!
  • Protein shakes

As your pre-workout time ticks down, eating a meal that contains mainly carbs and some protein is ideal to ensure digestion. Simple carbs like bananas, dried fruit, and fruit smoothies with a dash of protein powder provide a quick energy boost for a 30-60 minute workout, whereas complex carbs are slow releasing energy sources and have a slower metabolism rate.

Sources of carbs include:

  • Rice – Brown rice is ideal, combine with the chicken mentioned above and some veggies for a balanced, pre-workout meal!
  • Porridge/oatmeal
  • Wholegrain bread
  • Sweet potato
  • Pasta

Many of these foods can double up as energy sources post- workout as well. Complex carbs and proteins are a necessary foundation as the body rebuilds itself post workout. Proteins are key to help repair and rebuild muscle tissue. It’s recommended to eat your post-workout snack/meal within 30 minutes after the treadmill slows to a stop. And of course, make sure you are replenishing fluids to further help your recovery. So, get cooking, get running, happy workout and bon appétit!


Recommended Reading

Life is Busy, Try These Grab-and-Go Snack Options

Life is Busy, Try These Grab-and-Go Snack Options

Question:

Hi there! So, I work full time and try to get my workouts done in the mornings. I go straight to work from LA Fitness. Do you have some suggestions on snacks that you can pack and go in those situations? I have been making a smoothie the night before and putting it in the freezer to take the next morning. Also, healthy snacks for the office after workouts. Thank you!

– Nancy C.

Answer:

Besides the obvious shelf-stable choices (protein or granola bars, nuts/seeds, fruit, crackers, etc.) consider ready-to-eat canned or aseptic packed items like tuna salad, soup, or ravioli and individually portioned hummus, peanut butter and even bean salad. Lots of refrigerated protein sources are safe to eat within a couple of hours from your gym bag, such as hard-cooked eggs, lunch meat, cheese, yogurt, and milk singles. If you have access to a microwave or hot water at work, then consider instant oatmeal and lower-sodium ramen noodles.

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

Ask our Dietitian

Have a nutrition question? Our registered dietitian is ready to help!

Email nutrition@lafitness.com or submit your question below and it may be featured in an upcoming article!

6 + 13 =


Recommended Reading - Q+A

Member Spotlight | Aim for Progress, Not Perfection

Member Spotlight | Aim for Progress, Not Perfection

I have been a member of LA Fitness for the last 4 and a half years – I joined the LA Fitness Vanderbilt Beach location in January of 2014! Over the last 4.5 years, I have used my gym (my second home) to do countless things including lose fat, build muscle, gain self-confidence, train for a bikini competition, prepare for a mud obstacle course race, and just plain get my endorphin fix!

Right now, my fitness goals are to continue to beat my personal records, try new things, whether it is a fun Zumba or Cycle class, sign up for my first marathon that I need to use the cardio equipment to build stamina for, and last but not least continue living healthy and staying as active as possible.

When I joined LA Fitness, I had never lifted a weight or even stepped foot in a gym, I was actually the girl who opted out of PE and team sports in high school for fear of failure. I was self-conscious and shy at the time, but the other members of LA Fitness and its employees welcomed me with open arms. I enjoyed learning about the different machines, experimenting with different workout routines, and of course, rewarding myself with a delicious shake from the smoothie bar after a hard work out! I’m not sure of how much weight I lost or how much muscle I’ve gained, I’m only sure of how my transformation has made me feel.

I’m much happier in my own skin and I have a sense of confidence today that I never knew prior. LA Fitness has felt like a home away from home for me for close to 5 years and I’m excited to see what amazing changes the next 5 years bring! Thank you, LA Fitness, for changing my life!

My piece of advice to others would be – its progress not perfection that matters! Set little goals for yourself and pat yourself on the back when you conquer each one. If you focus too much on the long-term goal you may get discouraged and feel like you’ll never get there. Continue making progress on your short-term goals every day and every week and I promise you’ll blow your own mind when you look back at how far you’ve come!

Left: January 2014 | Right: January 2018


Recommended Reading

SUBSCRIBE TO

LIVING HEALTHY

Be the first to know about exclusive

content, deals and promotions

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest