Corporate Wellness: Spreading Worldwide and Facing Cultural Challenges

Corporate Wellness

Corporate Wellness


While corporate wellness programs are gaining popularity throughout the world as multinational companies seek to offset rising health care costs, they’re facing cultural challenges, according to a new report [].

As wellness programs continue to spread worldwide, companies need to customize employee assistance programs to meet local laws and cultural traditions. Here are three examples of how cultural differences can impact wellness offerings.

  • In China, employees are accustomed to more comprehensive physical screenings compared to those offered in the United States. They also prefer phone counseling over face-to-face meetings due to poor transportation conditions.
  • In Brazil, local laws prevent counseling over the phone, so face-to-face meetings are required.
  • The word “assistance,” which is often used in the United States, isn’t used in the Russian language. So employers with wellness programs in Russia need to take this into consideration when naming and describing offerings.
  • Third-party nationals, employees from one country who work for a United States corporation but live in a country other than their home country, also need to be considered. For example, a German employee working for a U.S. company and living in Japan. So the cultural differences of the person’s home country and where they’re living and working need to be considered.

Companies must also be mindful of the expectation on return. In some parts of the world, the cost of wellness programs outweighs labor costs, making value and ROI a difficult case to make, but the cost of not implementing any wellness services could be even greater. According to statistics from the World Economic Forum, corporations will face a human capital shortage by 2020 due to the rise in chronic disease, aging populations, and poor educational opportunities in many developing countries, and diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and depression are estimated to cost nearly $47 trillion over the next two decades.

“The way people eat and move in all parts of the world plays a direct role in the health and vitality of the individual. Employees living with pre-disease or disease symptoms put financial strain on individuals, companies, and families. It also dilutes their ability to get the most out of life,” says Amanda Carlson-Phillips, vice president of nutrition and research at Core Performance. “Employees worldwide need education and support, with considerations being made for cultural differences, to make changes to improve their overall health and vitality.”

Arturo Espitia Certified Personal Trainer Everett,WA

The Benefits of Eating Chia Seeds


Ever think of eating your Chia Pet? It might not be a bad idea. The ancient Aztecs consumed chia seeds for energy and conquered their corner of the world. These days, many people still enjoy the nutritional benefits of chia seeds.

The chia seed (Salvia hispanica) is a cousin of the seeds (Salvia columbariae) once used to grow a crop of green “hair” atop the popular 1980s clay pets famously sold on infomercials. The chia seed is now sold as a topping for yogurts, salads and used in cereal, energy bars, and even pasta. Also, it packs more alpha-linoleic acid, a heart-healthy omega-3 fat, than flax seeds and provides fiber, antioxidants, calcium, and iron.

The tiny black chia seeds, cultivated by the Aztecs during pre-Colombian times, are slowly working their way into American markets. Similar to flax, chia seeds are also rich in phosphorous, and manganese. Sprinkle them on cereal, oatmeal, or salad for some crunch.

Source:cp  Arturo Espitia Certified Personal Trainer Everett, WA

Everything You Need to Know About Protein

Along with carbohydrate and fat, protein is one of the three main classifications of food (macronutrients). Found in many foods such as fish, meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products, your body breaks down protein to produce amino acids, the building blocks of lean muscle.



Protein builds, maintains and restores muscle. It’s responsible for healthy blood cells, key enzymes and strengthening the immune system.


In order to build muscle, protein must be consumed with enough carbohydrate calories to provide the body with energy. Otherwise your body will tap into the protein for energy. And if you’re avoid saturated fats, you’ll want to avoid certain forms of animal proteins such as heavily marbled beef.


Upon hearing you should include a source of protein in every meal, you might think this means you have to eat beef several times a day, but that’s not the case. Here is a short list of plant and animal protein sources:

Animal Protein

  • Fish (anchovies, calamari, cod, flounder, grouper, halibut, mackerel, mahi mahi, salmon, sardines, swordfish, tuna canned in water, tuna steak, sushi)
  • Shellfish (clams/mussels, crab, lobster, oysters, shrimp/prawn)
  • Poultry and other meat (chicken, turkey, buffalo, filet mignon, flank steak, lean ground beef, fat-free ham, London broil, lean pork loin, top and bottom round of beef, venison
  • Dairy (milk, cottage cheese, yogurt, cheese)
  • Eggs
  • Supplements (whey, casein)

Plant Protein

  • Legumes (beans, peas, lentils, soybeans)
  • Vegetables
  • Grains
  • Cereals
  • Nuts & seeds


Whey protein contains many essential amino acids that boost the immune system and promote overall good health. You can find it in food, but also as a supplement in powdered form or in pre-made post-workout recovery mixes. The flavored powder tastes great sprinkled on oatmeal or mixed with milk, water or juice.

Whey is quickly digested, which makes it great for eating around workouts. Many protein shakes combine whey protein with another type of slow-releasing protein, casein. This mixture provides a combination of fast and slow releasing proteins, which allows for complete coverage over two-and-a-half to three hour window between meals.

Protein shakes accelerate workout recovery. You can buy shakes in a ready-to-drink container, or easily make them yourself by mixing water with a scoop or packet of powder, so they’re a quick and easy snack that’s rich in lean protein but devoid of bad fats.

Whey vs Casein

Most protein supplements are made from either whey protein, casein protein, or a mixture of the two. The major difference between these two milk proteins is the rate of absorption:

  • Whey protein is rapidly absorbed helping to induce muscle-protein synthesis following a training session.
  • Casein protein is slowly absorbed providing a long steady flow of amino acids, helping to prevent muscle-protein degradation.

Post-training supplements containing a mixture of both fast and slow proteins are superior to their individual counterparts because they not only induce muscle-protein synthesis but they also help to prevent muscle-protein degradation.

Protein Quality

Fewer Legs, Better Protein

The fewer legs something has—or at least had when it was alive—the better its ratio of protein to healthy fat.

  • Fish, for instance, have no legs, and fish is a tremendously healthy source of protein. Fish also provides omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which promote cardiovascular health. Shellfish (crab, lobster shrimp and prawns) is the exception to this rule. Although they have many legs, they are better for you than red meat.
  • Chickens have two legs and are also a wonderful source of protein.
  • Meat from four-legged creatures can be good, too, provided it’s a lean cut—that’s the key distinction. Red meat gets a bad rap, some of which is deserved since the heavily marbled meats are more tender and often have more flavor. But lean red meat is a tremendous source of important nutrients such as iron and phosphorous.
  • Pork, the so-called “other white meat,” also gets a bad rap, but if you ask your butcher for a lean cut with little marbling, you’ll have a tasty and nutritious protein.

Complete Proteins Vs Incomplete Proteins

When choosing a protein, consider quality. Proteins can be divided into two categories: complete and incomplete.

  1. Complete proteins contain the appropriate amounts of all essential amino acids (amino acids the body cannot produce). Included in this category are animal/soy proteins.
  2. Incomplete proteins lack the appropriate amount of one or more essential amino acids. Included in this category are plant proteins (excluding soy).

Generally speaking, complete proteins are of better quality than incomplete proteins. But you can also create complementary proteins to form a complete protein to ensure that your body gets all the amino acids it needs. Examples:

  • Grains and legumes (rice and beans)
  • Grains and dairy (oatmeal and milk)
  • Nuts/seeds and legumes (hummus, chickpeas and sesame seeds)

How Much Protein?

Depending on your goals, you should aim to consume 0.6 to 0.8 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight. If you weigh, say, 180 pounds, you would want to shoot for between 108 to 144 grams of protein per day. Generally speaking, the leaner and more active you are, the higher your protein intake should be on that scale. That might sound like a lot, but consider how much protein is in common foods such as the ones listed below:

  • Chicken (4 ounces, skinless, size of a deck of cards): 35 grams
  • Tuna (6 ounces, packed in water): 40 grams
  • Fish (6 ounces of cod or salmon): 40 grams
  • Lean red meat (4 ounces): 35 grams
  • Lean pork (4 ounces): 35 grams
  • Reduced-fat tofu: 30 grams
  • Cottage cheese (1 cup, 1% or 2% fat): 28 grams
  • Milk (1 cup of 1%, 2%, or fat-free): 8 grams
  • Pre- or post-workout recovery meal: 20 to 45 grams

Source:core performance  Arturo Espitia Certified Personal Trainer Everett, WA

7 Tips to Train for an Obstacle Race

Jake Miola

Jake Miola


Obstacle races continue to be the fastest-growing segment of endurance sports. This year more than 2 million people will climb walls and monkey bars, plunge into icy water, and crawl through mud at races such as Tough Mudder, Warrior Dash, and Spartan Race.

Spartan Race founder Joe DeSena, a former Wall Street institutional broker who once completed 12 Ironman triathlons in one year, believes obstacle racing isn’t a version of running but a new endurance sports category.

“We view it as a sport and we think that’s why this is exploding,” DeSena says. “When you look at what you’re doing—running, jumping, climbing, crawling, perhaps throwing a spear—it’s a far more natural sport than football, basketball, or baseball.”

Obstacle races require both strength and cardiovascular endurance, combining running with climbing ropes and walls, slithering under cargo nets and barbed wire, carrying sandbags and logs, leaping over fire, and crawling through claustrophobia-inducing tubes and freshly-dug tunnels.

Since many recreational athletes fall into two camps—distance-running enthusiasts and anaerobic strength training folks—they sometimes lack the overall fitness to navigate an obstacle course without walking parts of it.

Runners have no problem covering three to 15 miles, but can be slowed by the challenges. The gym rats push through the obstacles easily, but can have trouble running long distances.

Instead of training by breaking workouts into separate strength and cardio days, think of obstacle training in terms of integrated workouts. That way you’ll be prepared to fly through any obstacle course, no matter how twisted the challenges. Here’s how:

1. Warm your core.

An active warm-up such as the Core Performance Movement Prep routine is important before an obstacle race or training session since you’re using your entire body, often in ways you don’t expect. Front and side bridges, glute bridges, walking lunges, and lateral lunges not only prime you for movement, they’ll boost performance and help prevent injury.

2. Be a kid.

In an obstacle race you’ll be called upon to navigate monkey bars, balance on beams, climb walls, and traverse ropes. Chances are you can find all of those things at your local playground. This is a great excuse to play more with your kids. Don’t have kids? Borrow some nieces or nephews. No kids available? Head to the playground early in the morning before families arrive.

3. Choose your own adventure.

Safety is always the primary concern, of course. But there’s no reason you can’t run up and down that mountain of mulch available to the public at your local park. Those huge concrete culverts along your running trail waiting for installation? Why not bear-crawl through them as you will in a race? Instead of avoiding muddy trails after rain, embrace them.

4. Run off road.

Obstacle races take place off road. So why train on concrete or asphalt, which is harder on your body anyway? Even in urban areas, you usually can run on the grass along sidewalks, through parks, on gravel or packed sand, and along waterways. Challenge yourself to run as much as possible off road, leaping over sidewalks and other paved areas.

5. Run intervals.

You’re probably already doing this for your running program, but it becomes more important in obstacle racing, which combines intervals of running and obstacles. After a warm-up run, alternate between intervals of work and rest (e.g. three minutes of running at 80 percent followed by three minutes of walking or light running).

6. Run hills.

Unlike the steady, paved inclines of many road races or the run portion of most triathlons, obstacle races feature short, steep, off-road climbs. Here, too, your local park can be a perfect training ground. Sprint uphill and take twice the time to walk down. Repeat several times. Be sure to keep your stride compact to prevent hamstring pulls.

7. Mix it together.

Obstacle race training isn’t just about running, of course. Simulate the rhythms and challenges of a race by stopping every half mile to do a dozen push-ups, pull-ups, or burpees. You can perform 30 mountain climbers or bodyweight squats. Or do a combination of two or three exercises after each half mile. The key is to make it continuous, mimicking a non-stop obstacle race.

Arturo Espitia Certified Personal Trainer Everett,WA

10 Under-the-Radar Power Foods

10 under the radar power foods

10 under the radar power foods


When it comes to power foods that pack nutrition, fiber, and other health benefits into every serving, most people are familiar with salmon, spinach, berries, olive oil, kale, and steel-cut oats. These foods form a strong base for any high-performance nutrition program. But there are many other foods that can be just as valuable (and tasty), even if they’re not as high profile. Amanda Carlson-Phillips, our vice president of performance nutrition and research, offers this top 10 list of underrated and under-the-radar power foods.

1. Chia Seeds

These tiny black seeds, cultivated by the Aztecs during pre-Colombian times, are slowly working their way into American markets. Similar to flax, chia seeds are rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, fiber, phosphorous, and manganese. Sprinkle them on cereal, oatmeal, or salad for some crunch.

2. Beets


Beets, an overlooked superfood

An often overlooked superfood, beets can be an inexpensive, colorful, and delicious addition to meals. Beets are a low-calorie fuel source high in antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, and immune-boosting properties. This root vegetable, available year round, is a good source of iron, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, folic acid, and vitamins A and C. Canned varieties make beets a quick, inexpensive way to pack nutrients into a meal. Try the golden and ruby red varieties and even make use of the greens.

3. Farro

A nutty, chewy grain used in Italian cooking, farro is packed with fiber, protein, zinc, and magnesium. Compounds in farro have been linked to increased immunity, lower cholesterol, and balanced blood sugar levels. Mix farro into soups or use it as a healthy side dish.

4. Hemp Seeds

First cultivated in China 6,000 years ago, hemp has a creamy, nutty flavor. A serving of hemp seeds (2 tablespoons) provides 6 g of protein and 2 g of anti-inflammatory omega-3 in the form of alpha linolenic acid (ALA). Hemp seeds are one of the few plant proteins that provide all the essential amino acids that our bodies can’t manufacture. Hemp seeds also contain phosphorous and magnesium, which are essential for bones and teeth, metabolism, and muscle contraction. Add hemp seeds to smoothies, salads, cereals, or oatmeal as a protein alternative.

5. Edamame


Soy Beans

These soybeans have a sweet, nutty flavor and are used in Asian cooking. Edamame is one of the few plant-based foods that contains all essential amino acids and is high in fiber, protein, potassium, and vitamins B and K. Research has linked edamame to a reduced risk of cancer and a healthier heart. Eat them as a snack or toss them in a salad.

6. Kefir

Growing quickly in popularity, kefir is a creamy, fermented milk product. With twice as much good bacteria as yogurt, kefir is excellent for digestive health and high in calcium, protein, and vitamin D and A. Eat it for dessert or use it for a smoothie base.

7. Rosemary

Common in southern European cuisines, rosemary has a crisp, piney scent and is believed to be a healing herb with antioxidant powers. It’s thought to help boost the immune system, have antibacterial properties, and aid with digestion. Studies have found that the antioxidant carnsol, found in rosemary, to be a potent anti-cancer compound. Fresh rosemary is terrific in soups, sauces, or meat dishes, and, like mint, can also be added to fresh water and teas as a refreshing alternative.

8. Quinoa




Known as the mother grain of the Incas in South American, quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) is the only grain that provides all nine of the essential amino acids, with more protein than rice, millet, or wheat. It’s a good source of fiber, folate, copper, phosphorus, and iron as well as the immune-building flavonoids quercetin and kaempferol. This vertical grain is a great alternative for those with gluten sensitivities and can be prepared as a breakfast porridge with nuts and fruits or as a side dish.

9. Swiss Chard

An often overlooked dark green leafy vegetable, swiss chard is high in vitamins A, C, and K. While the leafy portion is always a nice green, the stalk can be white, bright yellow, or red. It tastes slightly more bitter than kale or spinach, but less bitter than collard greens. Eat it chopped up in salad or sautéed in a small amount of oil with garlic and a pinch of salt and lemon juice or vinegar.

10. Tumeric

This dark yellow spice is used in Indian and Chinese medicine to treat jaundice, colic, toothaches, bruises, chest pain, and more. It’s powerful antioxidant properties have been shown to reduce the risk of some cancers, lower cholesterol, protect against Alzheimer’s disease, and alleviate arthritis. Add it to rice and stews for a punch of flavor.

Arturo Espitia  Certified Personal Trainer Everett, WA

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