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MineFit Monday Move: Can I Actually Burn Calories with Crunches?

Posted By Darrell Smith, Monday, February 20, 2017
The classic abdominal exercise, the “crunch,” is a modern modification from the old-school “sit-up” routine. So, what is the best way to do this exercise, and can I really burn some calories by lifting my head up and down?  

Well, not exactly. Doing a full sit-up is actually a great challenge to do properly, which is why the “crunch” has gained popularity as a modification for those who cannot do a sit-up (which is most of us, who use the back and shoulders instead of our abdomen to complete the movement). Performing a crunch is a concentrated abdominal movement to target the core…but it doesn’t burn many calories performed alone.  

Your MineFit Coach Suggestion:  
Perform 30 crunches using proper form (listed below)...THEN perform 
- one set of full sit-ups
- one set of 20 squats (please see our Squat post for proper form!!
- one 60-second plank on your elbows to activate the entire body and keep you aware of your core muscles for your workday.  

This mode of exercise is the best and most efficient way to burn calories: encouraging a constant awareness of your body, and an activation of muscles without having to carve out time for the gym or skip the dessert that you are craving. 

Have a great week,

Proper “crunch" form: 
Begin flat on your back with your knees bent and the heels of your feet around 12” from your buttocks. Bring your hands to your temples with palms out, and elbows out. While exhaling, bring your shoulder blades off the ground fairly quickly, until you feel an intense pressure in the middle abdominal muscles. Hold for a one to two second count, then slowly release, beginning the next repetition when the head and shoulders are just about to touch the ground.


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Cabinet Confirmations Move Forward - Mulvaney & Pruitt

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Friday, February 17, 2017

Yesterday, Congressman Mick Mulvaney (R-SC5) was sworn in as the new Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The Senate confirmed Mulvaney by a narrow margin of 51-49, largely along party lines.  Senator John McCain was the only Republican to vote against the confirmation, a decision that was made due to Mulvaney's past opposition to budget increases for the military.  Under the leadership of a fiscal hawk, OMB will play an important role in the Trump Administration's plans to rein in overly burdensome regulations.  The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), in OMB, which conducts reviews proposed regulations and evaluates the economic impacts, is expected to fulfill its role as a check on regulatory overreach more effectively in the new Administration. The confirmation of Mick Mulvaney also allows for OMB to begin reviewing agency budget proposals, a process that has been on hold while there was not a Director in place.

The Senate confirmed Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) largely along party lines with a final vote of 52-46.  Senators Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Joe Manchin of West Virginia broke with the Democratic Party and voted for Pruitt while Susan Collins of Maine voted against his confirmation.  Pruitt's confirmation is seen as a coup for the Administration and Republican Party who criticized the EPA loudly for regulatory overreach under the Obama Administration.  Pruitt has a long history of legal challenges to various EPA regulations and his confirmation has been opposed by environmentalists who view him as an enemy to the stated goals of the EPA.  For industry, Pruitt's confirmation is another signal that the regulatory environment in the United States will become substantially friendlier to business and traditional industrial developments. 

As Congress continues using the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to revoke various regulations from the last year of Obama's Administration these two confirmations will be shaping the new Administration's regulatory agenda in its new direction.

Tags:  administration  cabinet  confirmation  EPA  Mulvaney  OMB  Pruitt  Regulations  Senate  Trump 

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Friday MineFit TidBit: Want to Lose Weight? Eat Your Fruit!

Posted By Darrell Smith, Friday, February 17, 2017

Most of us are aware of the common belief and drilled in message regarding produce and weight loss: you should to eat vegetables if you want to lose a few pounds.  

But, would it shock you to know that some research indicates that fruit is actually correlated with weight reduction?  

In a recent study, 77 overweight and obese dieters showed greater weight loss with increased fruit consumption. This is huge, especially given that increased vegetable consumption did not show the same positive correlation.  Meaning - the consumption of more veggies did not affect weight loss beyond a certain extent, but the increased consumption of fruit DID!  One theory is that when you consume this natural sugar (which our body craves from birth), you won’t be as likely to grab-and-go another little candy bar, cup of coffee, soda, bag of chips, or whatever is leaving you hanging from that salad you ate at 12pm.  

Please click here for a short summary of the study.  

What fruit might be the best for you?  
It's as easy as an apple a day... it's great to go with melon in the spring...and berries in the summertime are the most super of fruit food.  

Good News - frozen berries maintain the nutritional benefits of fresh. So, load up at Costco or your local store, and pack 1 cup of them into your morning smoothie with protein powder, spinach, 1/2 banana, and milk 

A Very Happy Friday From Your MineFit Head Coach,

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MineFit Monday Move: Your Smaller Stomach Could Be Just A Stretch Away

Posted By Darrell Smith, Monday, February 13, 2017

Happy Monday!  

Our Monday Move is not about abs or a flat stomach. It is about understanding that your “fake-it-till-you-make-it-flat-tummy” AND the health of your lower back and hips is just a hamstring stretch away!

Step 1: Draw your leg up into a hamstring stretch while laying on the floor, or stand and leaning over a bench to stretch your waist and leg, or sit with one leg crossed over the other for the top of the hamstring. You automatically enable your hips to open and your abdominals to turn on.  See the photos below for help.

Step 2: If you are on the floor, breath out as you bring your leg up to stretch it, and press your spine as much as possible into the floor.  If you are standing with your leg on a bench, follow this with pressing your spine against a wall to flatten it, and try to flatten your tummy.  

Rationale:  When your hamstrings are tight, they pull your lower back into an arched position. At the very least, it doesn’t look pretty from the front, as the stomach pokes out and appears more distended. Also, when your stomach is poking out, you can’t USE the muscles in the abdominal column, so you will end up with more fat build-up. Worst case scenario?  When you can’t use the abdominal column, lower back and hip pain are just one step away.  

So, get a smaller stomach, more lower back and abdominal support, and looser legs in one fell swoop.  

Happy Monday from your MineFit Head Coach,






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Friday MineFit TidBit: How Long it Really Takes to Lose 10lbs

Posted By Darrell Smith, Friday, February 10, 2017

There are 3500 calories in one pound…16oz of any fluid equates to one pound. ..There is a pay-per pound scale for meat, fruit, vegetables, all of which add up to weight in pounds. 

So, what does 10lbs mean to me, and how can I track it to make sure I am losing it?

The secret is that it is more successful to look at weight loss in percentages. For example, if I weigh 200lbs and lose 10bs, I have lost 5% of my body weight. If I weigh 140lbs and lose 10lbs, I have lost almost 3x that percentage of body weight (14%). 

Ultimately, the best way to determine weight loss (and maintaining this) is:

(1)   Take your body weight.

(2)   Multiply by .05.

(3)   That number is the amount you should start with to lose. 

(4)   Get your BMR using an online calculator.

(5)   Create a calorie deficit of 300-500 calories using diet and activity, and never dip below 1200 calories per day consumed (You just have to expend extra calories via activity to get them out!).

(6)   You will obtain your 5% weight loss goal in a matter of weeks – and, you will keep it off!  Keep in mind that the first week or two will be more “water weight” and you must keep your weigh-in time consistent.  First thing in the morning on Monday and Thursday are the BEST times to weigh in. 

Check out this study on the amazing effects of a 5% weight loss. The health impacts are encouraging!

Happy Friday from your MineFit Head Coach,


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IMA-NA Requests Extension to CERCLA Comment Period

Posted By Darrell Smith, Tuesday, February 7, 2017

IMA-NA, and other affected groups, have requested a 120-day extension to the 60-day public comment period currently established by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for its proposed rule, “Financial Responsibility Requirements Under CERCLA § 108(b) for Classes of Facilities in the Hardrock Mining Industry,” which was published in the Federal Register on January 11, 2017. To view the letter, click here. IMA-NA is preparing comments that will argue that all industrial minerals should be removed from this rule. 

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Registration for IMA Tax Reform Fly-In Is Open

Posted By Chris Greissing, Tuesday, February 7, 2017

The Industrial Minerals Association - North America will be hosting a fly-in for our Members to visit Washington, DC on March 6-8, 2017. The IMA-NA Executive Committee decided that in lieu of a Spring meeting in Washington, DC, we would hold this fly-in “as needed” in anticipation of their being a new administration and tax reform being high on the priority list.  The purpose of the fly-in will be to meet with Members of Congress and their staffs to educate them on the importance of retaining the Percentage Depletion Tax Deduction when they draft their tax reform legislation this year. This is an essential provision in the tax code for our member companies that means millions of dollars annually.

Here is a general schedule for the event: 

We will have a reception at our office on the afternoon of Monday, March 6, 2017.  We will then have a full day and a half of visits scheduled for you on Capitol Hill on Tuesday and Wednesday March 7th and 8th.  We will attempt to have your last meetings scheduled by early afternoon on the 8th, so that you can catch a late afternoon flight home if you desire.  

For our soda ash members, we will be adding an extra day of meetings for you to do visits on the American Soda Ash Competitiveness Act as well on Thursday, March 9th.

Once you register for the meeting, IMA staff will send you a packet of information including talking points and leave behind materials for you to review and use on this issue.  We will then attempt to have your final schedule of visits to you about a week in advance of your visit to DC.

To attend the fly-in, please register here.

You are on your own in terms of booking hotel rooms for this event.  If you would like any suggestions on possible hotels, please let IMA staff know. Please do try to register for this meeting at your earliest convenience so that staff can begin the process of arranging your visits.  

We look forward to seeing you all next month as we continue to fight for this essential provision in the tax code for our industry.

Download File (PDF)

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MineFit Monday Move Calorie Burn Series Continues: How Much You Really Get From 10k Steps A Day

Posted By Darrell Smith, Monday, February 6, 2017

Activity trackers have been under fire recently for the fact that the “10k Steps A Day” buzz-word might not do anything at all for weight loss or fitness.  

Fun Fact: The Japanese actually started this 10k trend in the ’60’s with Manpo-meters. “Manpo” means 10,000 steps in Japanese, and the number was selected after research revealed that men who burn at least 2,000 calories per week by exercising have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. That breaks down to about 300 calories per day, which most people easily burn in 10,000 steps.

Since then, there’s been plenty of other research - over 300 peer-reviewed articles in fact - which prove that 10k steps a day (about five miles) can help your health: lower blood glucose, lower blood pressure, improved CV health. But, can it help you lose weight?  The answer is…well, no.

Although 10,000 steps might sound like a lot, you’ll need to move more if your goal is weight loss. While this amount of activity can help keep your weight steady, it isn’t usually enough to make the scale go down.

For a 160-pound person,  a leisurely 30-minute walk at 2 mph yields a burn of 102 calories. Walk at a more upbeat pace (3.5 mph) and the calorie burn increases by 54% to 157 calories.

So, you do the math…

Assuming you weigh 180 pounds and walk at the necessary intensity: 100 calories burned x 5 miles equals 500 calories, which if you maintain 7 days week becomes 3,500 calories - the equivalent to 1lb. of body fat.  

Lesson Here: If you do not exceed your BMR calorie recommendation (get your BMR using a link in our resources) and you walk 10k a day, you could lose 1 lb. a week.  But assuming you eat more than your BMR, you’ll need to up the intensity of your exercise to see 1 lb. weight loss per week, or drop your calorie intake.  

Happy Stepping (and Stretching)!  
Your MineFit Coach,

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Friday MineFit TidBit: The Worst Thing You Can Eat For Breakfast

Posted By Darrell Smith, Friday, February 3, 2017

Everybody wants to know what they shouldn't eat, or what they should eat to help them lose weight.
So here it is - The worst thing you could possibly have for breakfast to not help you lose weight is…
(Drumroll please!)
Innumerable studies indicate that eating breakfast not only promotes weight loss, but helps maintain and keep the bodyweight you desire. This fact is somewhat counterintuitive. You think that if you cut calories out and only eat when you're hungry, (which is often not in the morning) you will lose weight. This is the short game, not the long game. Over time, your body will learn that it is not going to get food (energy) upon waking and in a fasting state. The result is that when you do end up eating, the food is stored as fat in higher levels. Your body learns not to burn, and your metabolism will suffer in the long run. 
So, now that you know that the best breakfast is any breakfast at all, let's take it one step further. Please see this link for some helpful and simple breakfast ideas. 
Aside: If put to the test, I would say that the second worst breakfast option is a bagel. This is because it is a high glycemic index starch, and will raise your blood sugar and insulin, then send you crashing right back down. If you love bagels, at least add some eggs on top!


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From IMA-NA Member Stoel Rives: MSHA’s New Rule on Workplace Exams

Posted By Darrell Smith, Friday, February 3, 2017

On January 23, and for the first time in nearly 40 years, the Mine Safety and Health Administration (“MSHA”) issued new rules governing the way in which metal/non-metal mine operators must conduct their regular workplace examinations. A Final Rule on “Examinations of Working Places in Metal and Nonmetal Mines” was published in the Federal Register on Monday, January 23, and will become effective on May 23, 2017.

Hours after the new President took office on January 20, however, his Chief of Staff ordered the withdrawal of all regulations finalized by the Obama administration but not yet published in the Federal Register. The directive seemed to include the workplace exam rule, which was scheduled to be published in the Federal Register the next business day, January 23. However, the instruction from the White House came after the decision deadline for the Federal Register’s January 23 issue, and the new MSHA rules were published as planned. For that reason, the Labor Department’s current position is that the workplace examination rules were not affected by the memorandum and that the May 23 effective date remains in place. However, a new Assistant Secretary for Mine Safety and Health has not yet been named, so it is possible that the incoming head of MSHA will take steps to amend the rules or even withdraw them entirely.

To continue reading, click here.

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