Get Moving Monday: 5 Cold-Weather Workout Tips

If cold weather is derailing your fitness activities, personal trainer Kevin Gianni, author of The Busy Person’s Fitness Solution, offers these 5 winter weather workout tips:

  • Lace up your skates. During the winter it’s often too cold, too dark, or too slippery to walk or run outside. To get in a great workout, try ice skating — whether you go to a local pond for a pickup game of hockey, or to the local ice rink (which also offers the advantage of no wind chill).
  • Don’t push it. On days when the air feels too cold to even breathe in, heed your body’s signals and stay indoors. Cold air can trigger exercise-induced asthma (EIA). Symptoms include wheezing, chest tightness, coughing, chest pain, and shortness of breath.
  • Try a new home routine. Bodyweight routines are exercises that need no equipment and can be done in your own home. There are many types of bodyweight routines, such as yoga, Pilates, and aerobics. Pop in a fitness DVD or download a workout on your MP3 player to get you going.
  • Set up your own gym. Now’s the time to think about getting a treadmill, elliptical machine, or stationary bike. Having your own equipment and knowing how to use it will keep you motivated and help you stay on track.

When all’s said and done, says Tom Weede, a certified health and fitness instructor and author of the forthcoming book, The Entrepreneur Diet, it’s important to be realistic.

“Give yourself a little slack during the holidays,” he advises. “After all, it’s a time to have fun and be with family and friends, and if you have a rigid attitude toward your diet and exercise, you may end up just giving up because you’ve set the standard too high.”

So allow yourself some “cheat” days, Weede suggests. “In reality, what matters is the overall total calories you consume and the overall total you expend through physical activity over the entire holiday period. One or two splurges aren’t going to derail your efforts,” he says.

Remember, though, even if you find yourself simply too bogged down to exercise at all during the holidays, that’s no excuse to stay inactive once the season is over, Ray says.

“If you do fall off the exercise wagon, there’s no reason not to climb back aboard once your post-holiday routine is established,” Ray says. “You’ll find your stride again before you know it.”

Source: http://www.webmd.com/diet/healthy-holidays-8/holiday-fitness?page=4

Get Moving Monday: How to Stay on Track

You’re busy, you’re stressed, it’s chilly out … so why not just take a break from your fitness program until the New Year?

Sure, you can always come up with an excuse not to exercise. But slacking off on your fitness program during the holidays will only leave you with more pounds — and more stress — come New Year’s. Fitness experts recognize that this time of year is difficult for many people trying to stick to an exercise program, so they have some suggestions to keep you motivated and disciplined.

The first step, says lifestyle coach April Masini, is acknowledging the holidays probably will affect your exercise program to some extent. Then you can make adjustments that will help you stay fit during the season. For example, if you usually take exercise classes only offered at a certain time, skip the classes and take a hike or a swim at an indoor pool instead.

“Take an honest look at your schedule, and instead of trying to squeeze exercise into your schedule, take other things out,” Masini suggests. “The goal is not to do more (as we all have a tendency to do this time of year), but to do less, but do it all well.”

It’s also important to keep fitness a priority in your schedule, says Rich Ray, chairman of the Kinesiology Department at Hope College in Holland, Mich.

“Whether or not you already have well-established exercise habits, make sure you actually schedule time into your day for your exercise,” he says. “There’s nothing like having an entry in your Palm Pilot for exercise.”

Indeed, maintaining a workout schedule is even more important this time of year because most of us tend to eat more than usual, says Michael Thurmond, author of the 6 Week Body Makeover and resident fitness guru on ABC’s “Extreme Makeover.”

As such, Thurmond recommends not only keeping to your same schedule, but striving to add an extra workout session or two whenever possible.

“Not only will this make a difference physically, it will mentally remind you that your No. 1 objective is to lose weight and stay healthy,” he says.

Be Flexible and Mix It Up

Here are some more expert tips for staying fit during the time-crunched, temptation-packed holiday season:

  • Be flexible when your days get busy, Ray advises. Instead of simply blowing off your 5 p.m. trip to the gym in favor of an office party at the same time, wake up an hour early and walk or jog before work. Or fit a brisk walk into your lunch hour.
  • Mix up your routine to avoid boredom. “If you usually run four days a week, try running once, swimming once, and lifting weights twice,” Ray says. “The novelty of the new exercise will hopefully be a stronger motivator than the ‘need’ to do something else during your normal exercise time.”
  • To save time, Ray recommends combining exercising and family commitments. For example, hauling the kids up a hill a few times can make a sledding trip as beneficial as a jog. Taking the family snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, or on a backpacking trip will provide exercise as well as quality time with loved ones.
  • New York-based exercise physiologist and personal trainer Louis Coraggio advises his clients to book a long weekend getaway at a warm destination for January or February, This will motivate you to keep exercise a priority. When you’re tempted to slack off, envision yourself looking good on the beach.
  • Create a holiday wish list for one or more improved body area(s), Coraggio suggests. Expect this to take a certain amount of sacrifice. Keep your discipline constant.
  • Be ready for the mistletoe, says Coraggio. People are attracted to a strong, healthy body. Your confidence will show if you’ve been keeping up with your eating and exercise habits.
  • Coraggio recommends creating a home workout routine for those times you can’t make it to the gym. Crunches, push-ups, and many other exercises can be done without any gym equipment.
  • Increase your time management skills over the holiday season. Organize your day the evening before. Prioritizing your tasks beforehand will help you find time to exercise. Each week, make it a priority to fit in three exercise sessions.
  • Walking is an exercise that can go anywhere, from the woods to the mall, says health and lifestyle coach Jackie Keller, author of Body After Baby: The Simple 30-Day Plan to Lose Your Baby Weight. “Always have a pair of running or walking shoes with you, along with a set of light, hand-held weights, and a clean pair of socks,” Keller suggests. “If all else fails, you have the minimum equipment necessary to get in a walk.” Another Keller suggestion: add a heavy book to a backpack to make your walk more challenging.

Source: http://www.webmd.com/diet/healthy-holidays-8/holiday-fitness?page=4

Get Moving Monday: 20 Minute Holiday Workout

Realistically speaking, your goals this time of year should be to fend off the dreaded holiday bulge (the average weight gain is about a pound), hold on to your hard-won endurance (women can lose up to 20 percent of their cardiovascular fitness if they quit exercising cold-turkey between Thanksgiving and New Year’s), and put a dent in the inevitable stress of the season (so the stuff that’s supposed to be fun actually will be).Fortunately, you can accomplish all those things (and even lose a few pounds!)—and you don’t need to carve out a huge amount of time to do it. Adding short bursts of intense effort can fire up your metabolism and fast-track results. In an Australian study, women who cranked out high-intensity interval training three days a week for 20 minutes (for 15 weeks) shed more fat than those who exercised for 40 minutes at a lower intensity over the same period.

And quickies aren’t just good for your waistline: Studies have suggested that small doses of regular exercise—we’re talking 10 to 20 minutes at a time—can result in temporary mood improvement or anxiety reduction. So just imagine how much mall stress you’ll be spared! Exercise raises levels of serotonin, a feel-good hormone, while reducing your heart rate, blood pressure, and stress hormone levels. “You may think a workout is the last thing you have time for during the holidays, but you’ll actually feel calmer and more confident if you can fit it in,” says Jasper Smits, Ph.D., an associate professor of psychology at Southern Methodist University.

With our uberefficient plan, created by New York City personal trainer Hannah Davis, you can do just that. The routine uses supersets—back-to-back exercises that work opposing muscle groups—which torch calories and tone all over in less than half an hour. And don’t think you’re cutting corners by slashing your gym time: A study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that participants burned just as many calories in a 30-minute superset circuit (like ours) as they did in a longer weight-training workout, and even more calories after they finished exercising. Ready to get yourself some of that? Let’s go!

Incinerate extra calories with one of these 20-minute cardio interval sessions as often as your crazy schedule permits.

On the road or at home. . .
No equipment or gym required! Do as many reps of each exercise as you can in one minute, moving from one to the next without stopping. Rest 90 seconds, then repeat the circuit a total of three or four times.

1. Jumping Jacks
2. Squat Jumps
3. Side-to-Side Hops: Keeping your knees slightly bent and feet together, imagine you’re jumping back and forth over a line on the floor.
4. Burpees: Squat to place your hands on the ground, jump back into a plank position, and do a pushup. Reverse the move to return to standing, jumping off the ground to finish each rep.

At the gym. . .
Try this interval workout on any cardio machine. To up the effort, increase the incline, resistance, or speed.

0-5 minutes: Warmup (easy effort—you can sing at this pace)

5-7 minutes: Moderate effort (you can carry on a conversation)

7-10 minutes: Hard effort (you can speak a few words at a time)

10-12 minutes: Moderate effort

12-14 minutes: Recovery (easy effort)

14-16 minutes: Very hard effort (you’re huffing and puffing too much to talk)

16-20 minutes: Cooldown (easy effort)

Source: http://www.womenshealthmag.com/fitness/holiday-weight-loss

Get Moving Monday: Are You Eating Enough?

The majority of the time when you’re having a problem losing weight, it’s not because you aren’t making good food choices. The reason why your weight loss has stagnated is because you’re not eating enough calories to lose weight.

What Happens When You’re Not Eating Enough Calories?

When most people start dieting, they slash their calories and add a large amount of exercise to their daily routine. That’s fine, but they usually cut their calories way too low. Add in the extra exercise, and all of a sudden you have an extreme calorie deficit that is working against you.

Not eating enough calories causes many metabolic changes. Your body is a smart machine and senses a large decrease in dietary energy. Your large calorie deficit might work for a few days or even weeks, but eventually your body will wake up and sound alarms that it needs to conserve energy.

It doesn’t want to just waste away. It needs that energy (fat) to survive. So, what does your body do when it senses prolonged energy restriction? Not eating enough calories…

  • Slows down thyroid production – Your thyroid is responsible for fat, carbohydrate, and protein metabolism, among other things. Your body has the ability to slow down thyroid output in an effort to maintain energy balance.
  • Decreases muscle mass – Muscle is highly calorie intensive to maintain. In a prolonged extreme calorie deficit, it is one of the first things that your body looks to burn. Your body needs the fat, wants the fat, and the muscle can be spared. It breaks down the muscle tissue and uses it for energy.
  • Lowers testosterone levels – An important hormone for both men and women, testosterone is just one of many hormones that are affected with severe calorie restriction. Testosterone is anabolic to muscle tissue. Without it, it becomes that much harder to maintain, let alone put on muscle mass.
  • Decreases leptin levels – Leptin is one of many energy regulating hormones. More importantly, it’s a “hunger” hormone that tells you whether to eat or not. High leptin levels signal that it’s OK to stop eating, while low leptin levels are a signal to eat more energy. Because of this, leptin levels decrease in calorie restricted environments.
  • Decreases energy levels – There are many physical actions your body takes when you’re not eating enough calories, but there are also some mental ones. Neurotransmitter production is limited, which can lead to a lack of motivation. It’s your body’s way of telling you to “slow down” – conserve your energy.

How Many Calories Should You Be Eating?

Your goal should be to eat as many calories as possible and still lose weight. You always want to start high and then come down with your calorie intake. It’s much easier to do this than come up in calories after your weight loss has stalled and you’ve lost all your motivation.

How many calories should you eat? There is no perfect number. Each person’s metabolism is different. Calorie calculators are a good starting point, but they can’t take into account all the individualistic variables.

To do that, you need to find your calorie intake either through:

  • Experimentation – Journal your caloric intake and compare your weight loss and gain on the scale until you achieve optimal results.
  • Measure it with a device – A device, such as a type of pedometer watch, that measures steps and body movement are found it to be accurate within a 10% margin of error. Many will give you the amount of calories you burned in a 24 hour period. With this information, you should be able to adjust your caloric intake to reflect a loss on the scale.

The problem is most people want the weight gone, and they want it gone now. Weight loss is a patience game. It takes time and consistency to make it work.

Losing 1% of your body mass each week is the most I would aim for. At this pace, it will ensure that the majority of your weight loss is coming from stored body fat instead of muscle. You will also give yourself the best chance to build muscle while you lose fat, which is what you should be striving to do.

So if your progress has stalled, but you think you’re eating the right foods and exercising intensely, more than likely your problem is that you’re not eating enough calories to lose weight. Eat as much as you can, get in as many nutrients as possible, and your weight loss will start moving forward again.

Source: http://www.coachcalorie.com/not-eating-enough-calories-to-lose-weight/

Get Moving Monday: High intensity Interval Training Workouts

Just because you’re new to fitness doesn’t mean high-intensity interval training isn’t for you. Otherwise known as HIIT, these fast-paced workouts have been shown to torch tons of calories in a short amount of time — so you don’t need to spend hours in the gym. This type of training will have you alternating between periods of maximum effort (think: 20 seconds of jumping jacks) and short recovery.

If you’re just getting into fitness — or starting over after an injury —  the key to success lies in doing the right moves, at your own pace. Yes, HIIT should be intense, but pushing too hard, too fast can result in injuries and other setbacks. Your task: Listen to your body, modify as needed, and complete each movement with proper form.

To kick off your journey without a hitch, we’ve tapped Justin Rubin, trainer for DailyBurn’s True Beginner program, to create three workouts, ranging from 10 minutes to 30 minutes. Each one has easy-to-master moves, made just for you. All you need is water, a chair and a yoga mat.

Before each workout, start with this dynamic, two-minute warm-up to get your muscles ready to go.

  • Jog or march in place for 30 seconds.
  • Then, stand and circle your arms backwards, one after the other, (as if you’re pretending to do the backstroke) for 30 seconds.
  • Finally, perform a front lunge, side lunge and back lunge stepping with the same leg, then switch to the other leg and repeat. Continue one minute. Now, get ready to HIIT it!

10-Minute HIIT Workout

10 Minute Beginner HIIT Workout

Work up a sweat in less than the time it would take you to drive to your gym with this simple routine. Best of all, you don’t need any equipment to jump right in.

Jab, cross, front (right side): Stand with the right foot in front of the left, hips facing to your left side. Bring your arms up into a boxing position. Jab (punch) forward with the right arm, then throw a “cross” punch with the left arm, letting your body rotate as your left arm crosses over your body to the right. Your bodyweight should be over your right foot, with your back heel picking up off the floor slightly. Bring both arms back into the body, shifting your weight back to the starting position and facing front. (This is the “front” move.) Repeat on the left side. For more detailed instructions, try Cardio Kickboxing 1 and 2 in DailyBurn’s True Beginner program.
Jumping jacks: Start by standing upright with your feet hip-width apart and your arms at your sides. Jump your feet out while raising your arms. Repeat as fast as possible. If a regular jumping jack is too difficult, step side to side while raising your arms instead.
Sumo squats: Position your feet a little more than hip-width apart and point your toes out at a 45-degree angle. Keeping your weight in your heels, back flat and chest upright, lower yourself until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Engage your glutes and quads and push back to the start position. Repeat.

Cool down with an overhead stretch, reverse lunge and forward fold.

20-Minute MetCon: HIIT Workout

20 Minute Beginner HIIT Workout

Metabolic conditioning is designed to maximize your caloric burn, so you should expect this workout to feel challenging. You’ll go through five exercises that focus on full-body, multi-joint movements. Try to do as many reps as possible during each 45-second interval, then rest for 15 seconds before repeating.

Push-ups: If you can’t complete a traditional push-up, place your hands on a stable chair or plyo box instead of the floor. Or, try doing push-ups with your knees resting on the ground.
Squats: For extra assistance, use a chair for added support. Remember to keep your feet under your hips and your bodyweight in your heels, says Justin.
Butt kicks: Jog or walk in place, kicking your right heel up to touch your bottom. Repeat with the left leg.
Tricep dips: Place your hands on a chair or a low table, with your back to the chair. Put your legs straight out while balancing on your palms. Bending from your elbows, lower as far as you can, then press up to the original position. Engage that core!
Side Lunges: With your bodyweight in your heels and your toes facing forwards, step to the left in a deep lateral lunge, keeping your knee above your toes. Alternate legs.

Cool down with an overhead stretch, a quad stretch and a forward fold.

30-Minute METCON: HIIT Workout

Got half an hour? Try this longer workout to challenge your core, and your upper and lower body. (Fun fact: This will burn more calories than 30 minutes spent walking on the treadmill!) Complete the same three-minute warm-up as in the previous workout, then get ready to move it, move it.

30 Minute Beginner HIIT Workout

Remember: Focus on quality, not quantity. It is more important that you complete each exercise correctly versus how many you can complete in the time period. As you become stronger, you will automatically be able to increase the number or reps per set.

Source: http://dailyburn.com/life/db/hiit-workouts-for-beginners/

Curvesday Thursday: Exercise and Chiropractic Therapy

If a patient has a history of heart problems, it is important for the patient to consult with not only the doctor of chiropractic but their primary care physician to be certain that they can tolerate cardiovascular fitness-promoting activities.

Cardiovascular and strengthening exercises combined with chiropractic care are important in the management of low back pain.  Specific instructions are given by the chiropractor with respect to proper exercise for the patient’s condition before beginning any exercise program. In general, a reasonable amount of exercise that is performed daily and utilizes activities that are enjoyed is recommended for patients undergoing chiropractic treatment.

Many studies have reported the importance of exercises in managing acute and chronic low back pain, strengthening the low back, preventing and keeping back patients working, and to improve quality of life. The strength of the abdominal muscles was also found to be able to differentiate between those with vs. without chronic LBP. Overall and when combined with chiropractic care, aerobic exercise helps promote proper digestion, keeps the muscles in proper tone and promotes better circulation. Walking briskly around the block at least once or twice is a convenient and popular activity. Also, many forms of work and/or household tasks can function as an exercise program. The important point is to exercise!

There are many applicable back exercises that are available for patients also undergoing chiropractic care for lower back pain. The physician or physical therapist can classify the chiropractic patient into a flexion or extension biased category to determine the variety that is best for that patient and recommend specific exercises to be completed at home.

For example:

  • If a patient feels best when bending over (flexion biased), exercises that promote low back flexion such as pulling the knees to the chest, posterior pelvic tilts, bending forward from a sitting position and others are usually helpful.
  • If a patient is least symptomatic in extension, especially if leg pain centralizes or diminishes (extension biased), prone press-up type exercises usually yield the best results.

Other exercises that can help reduce lower back pain include:

  • Strengthening of the pelvic stabilizing muscles (trunk muscles)
  • Stretching of the hamstrings, adductors, and other overly short or tight postural muscles
  • Proprioceptive or balance promoting.According to the Scientific Commission of the Council on Chiropractic Guidelines and Practice Parameters (CCGPP):
    • Strong evidence supports exercise as being at least as effective as other non-surgical treatments for chronic low back pain
    • Moderate evidence supports use of a graded-activity exercise program in occupational settings for subacute lower back pain
    • Some evidence shows that exercises are no more effective than other nonsurgical treatments for acute lower back pain.

As with any chiropractic treatment, it is important for chiropractors to perform a focused reevaluation of an exercise program following its initial therapeutic trial to determine its effectiveness. Using spinal range of motion as a measurement of the effectiveness of exercise is just one way in which chiropractors can make such determinations.

Source: http://www.spine-health.com/treatment/chiropractic/exercise-and-chiropractic-therapy

 

Get Moving Monday: Avoid Winter Weight Gain

Do you dread the holidays with all those tempting, fattening foods? This year, be prepared for the season with this five-point plan to beat winter weight gain.

Winter can be a bleak time of year for dieters, and not just because of the holidays. The cold weather can interrupt your workout routine, make you more likely to reach for comfort foods like mac and cheese, and can even send you on a mood roller coaster that can lead to overeating.

“Although seasonal weight gain varies from person to person, there have been surveys that show an average of a five to seven pound gain in weight in winter,” says Lawrence J. Cheskin, MD, founder and director of the Johns Hopkins Weight Management Center and associate professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore.

The good news about fighting the pounds of winter is that cold and dark do not appear to be responsible for overeating, for most of us. “A small percentage of people in winter may develop seasonal affective disorder, which is clinical depression brought on by winter’s short days; many of these people may have trouble overeating,” says Cheskin. “But that is due to the depression itself, and people with this disorder are just as likely to undereat as to overeat, which is true of all people who suffer clinical depression.

For the rest of us, winter weight gain is largely the result of reduced exercise and increased eating, Cheskin says. “Research studies show that the ‘hibernation theory’ of winter overeating does not hold up for the vast majority of us who do not have seasonal affective disorder.”

So this year, be prepared for the season with our five-point plan to beat winter weight gain.

1. Exercise, exercise, exercise
“Setting a regular fitness schedule is the key to keeping weight off in winter,” says Lisa Giannetto, MD, an assistant clinical professor in the Diet and Fitness Center at the Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C. “Come five o’clock, when it’s pitch black and cold out, you’re a lot more likely to go to your warm home and watch TV if you don’t have a regular fitness schedule that includes a variety of types of exercises.”

2. Never go to a party hungry
“Fruits and vegetables are where we need to get our carbohydrates, and not from alcohol and brownies,” says Jule Anne Henstenberg, RD, director of the nutrition program at La Salle University. “Use high-fiber fruits and vegetables to fill up before a party.” Eat a bunch of baby carrots, a big salad, or an apple, for example, to curb your desire for empty party-food calories.

“When we eat outside the home, studies suggest that we may take in 40% more calories than we would otherwise,” says Cheskin. “We even have seen this finding replicated in animal models.” So much of our eating is not related to hunger, he says. The more variety of foods available at a meal, the more likely you are to eat more food.

“The stress of a social setting and an environment with many food choices and alcohol will tend to foster overeating,” Cheskin says. “So these are good times to be on guard.”

3. Avoid alcohol
Alcohol is loaded with calories. And since “many holiday celebrations involve drinking, it’s easy to take in a lot of calories without being aware that you are,” says Scott Isaacs, MD, clinical instructor of medicine at Emory University and medical director at Intelligent Health Center. “Drink a glass of water before and after each alcoholic beverage to help pace yourself and to dilute calories,” says Isaacs.

4. Practice calorie damage control
“If you do overeat, don’t ‘fall off the wagon.'” says Isaacs. “Make up for it by cutting your calories for a few days and adding extra exercise.” And get exercise in anywhere you can, says Giannetto. Take a brisk walk on your lunch break and after dinner. At work, use stairs rather than the elevator. “When you get just 100 fewer calories per day through dieting and exercise or both, that is the equivalent of 10 pounds per year.”

5. Remember to have fun
“The main reason you’re at a party is to see people and celebrate, not to eat a lot of high-calorie foods,” says Cheskin. “So be aware of why you’re there and make that your focus.”

Source: http://www.webmd.com/diet/5-tips-to-avoid-winter-weight-gain?page=2

Get moving Monday: Debunking Fitness Myths

The best defense against failure is good information. These debunked fitness myths will help you recognize right from wrong and truth from lies! Don’t hit the gym without reading this!

Starting a fitness journey can be intimidating, especially if you’re going in without any previous study. If you go to the Internet to find information, you might find yourself smack-dab in the middle of bad logic and bad ideas. It’s difficult to sort out the fact from the fiction—especially when the fiction sounds so good.

That’s where this post comes in! Check out these busted fitness myths so you can get started or continue moving down the right path. You’ll find that with the right information, your fitness goals will become much more tangible than a speck of light in the distance.

Myth 1: If You’re Heavy, You’re Fat

TRUTH: When you start weight training, it’s natural to initially gain weight. Weight training stimulates the body to build lean muscle which will help to improve your metabolic rate. But this muscle also contains a large amount of water.Weight training is also a source of inflammation, a well-known cause of water retention. After a week or two of weight training, you might jump on a scale and notice that you’re heavier than when you started. Don’t freak out. After a few weeks, your body will start to melt fat and your newly-acquired muscles will make you look leaner.

It’s common to weigh more while your clothes fit looser. Muscle is denser and takes up less space than body fat. That’s why a smaller, more muscular person may weigh more than a bigger person with more fat.

Myth 2: You Can’t Build Muscle With Veggies

TRUTH: To build muscle, you need three consistent elements: stimulus from exercise, calories, and nutrients to support muscle building and recovery. Vegetables are filled with slow-digesting carbs, minerals, and vitamins. They’re like grains, but with fewer calories. If you eat enough calories and sufficient, complete proteins, you’ll gain muscle.

Overeating is anabolic in itself and that’s why stuffing yourself all day is good for muscle. However, all that eating will also lead to unwanted fat gain. By eating vegetables as your carb source, you’ll be able to stay leaner, feel fuller, and be healthier while you build muscle.

The only time this myth is actually real is when you fail to meet your caloric requirement. Without enough calories, you won’t build muscle. Moreover, you can’t hope to build muscle if you only eat vegetables. You need food that gives you complete proteins. So, if you’re a vegetarian, combine those veggies with protein like nuts, dairy products, or soy and hemp protein.

Myth 3: You Have To Eat Fruit To Be Healthy

TRUTH: Vegetables have more minerals, vitamins, and even more anti-cancer properties than fruit. The difference between the two food groups is the calorie content. In general, vegetables have fewer calories than fruit. Also, fruit’s sugar is mainly fructose, which is stored in the liver instead of in the muscles.If you fill up on fruit, you’re unlikely to eat as many servings of vegetables as you should. It’s also true that filling yourself with high-calorie fruit means you won’t achieve your fat-loss goal. I know people who eat apples and grapes every night, thinking they’re helping themselves lose weight.

Myth 4: Women Tone, Men Build

TRUTH: Muscle is gained by stimulating muscle fibers to grow larger. We stimulate muscles by overloading them with resistance training. All bodies release growth hormone when they weight train, but men grow more muscle because they have more testosterone—a lot more. Men and women build muscle in the same way.

“Toning” and “building” are just different words to the same end: hypertrophy. Women use the word “tone” because they’re afraid of “getting big.” Most of the time, what they mean is that they want to see their muscles. So, most women want to be leaner with more muscle mass. In reality, most men want the same thing.

The typical rep range for muscle growth is 8-12 reps with limited rest time. The point is to exert your body and continuously add more weight during those sets. The longer your muscles are under tension, the better they’ll respond to training.

Myth 5: If You Take A Long Break, Your Muscle Will Turn To Fat

TRUTH: Muscle is created by exposing your body to things that make it say, “Unless I get stronger and plump myself up, I will get killed!” When you stop training, you change the environment for your muscles. Suddenly, the need for them to hang around and be ready for battle will cease. Why keep something you don’t need? Without constant tension, your muscle mass will atrophy and you’ll burn fewer calories.

Most likely however, your appetite will stay the same and you’ll suddenly find yourself eating way more calories than your body needs to maintain its weight. Muscle doesn’t literally turn into fat, but with a slower metabolic rate, you’ll accumulate more fat as your muscle size shrinks.

Myth 6: Salt Is Bad For You

TRUTH: Salt, just like all other minerals, is necessary for your health and your looks. If you’re lean but never get a pumped or vascular look when you work, you’re probably low on sodium. When your diet is lacking in salt, your body holds on to the little amount you give it.

When you finally increase your sodium level or eat a particularly salty meal, you’ll retain water and feel bloated. Eat a normal amount of salt (1,000-2,000mgs) each day and your body will stop retaining sodium and will get better at releasing it. Eating a proper amount of salt will balance your electrolytes.

Myth 7: You Can’t Be Ripped All Year

TRUTH: Ripped is a subjective state. But if by “ripped” you mean “visible striations and ultra-low body fat,” you might have a hard time staying there, especially if you’re a woman.Women are supposed to have higher body fat, so a woman’s body will fight her to keep it. To maintain an extreme condition, you’ll need a disciplined diet and training program.

As a woman, staying ripped year round can have detrimental effects on your hormones. To assure optimal health, you must use strategies to replace what your body lacks. An unnaturally lean body will usually lack in sex hormones. That’s just the way it works.

Most physique athletes are in great shape all the time, but they’re ultra-lean for only a couple months out of the year.

Myth 8: Carbs Are Bad

TRUTH: If you want to gain muscle, you’re going to need carbs. If you take them out completely, you’ll burn more body fat during training perhaps, but you can’t keep it up for long. Carbs are fuel for intense workouts, fats are not. Choose a macro plan that suits your athletic goals. If you’re an athlete, you’re going to need more than protein to make it through a game.

On a more serious note, you need a minimum amount of carbs to ensure that your brain functions properly. The brain needs glucose to work. Your body can be ketonic and use fatty acids to fuel your muscles, but your brain can’t.

Myth 9: Weight Training Turns Women Into Men

TRUTH: If women aren’t supposed to have muscles, why do we have them? The definition of “manly” differs from one individual to another, but we all have a different body structure. Some women have more feminine lines, others more androgynous. Wide hip bones and narrow shoulders are typical female shapes, but that doesn’t mean an athletic woman is less feminine. Our society forms our ideals; you choose what you find attractive.

What makes athletic women bulky is more-than-average muscle mass combined with “excess” body fat. If you couple weight training with a smart diet, you’ll be much smaller than you’d expect.

Myth 10: You Can Eat What You Want If You Train Hard And Take Fat Burners

TRUTH: To burn fat, you need to expend more calories than your body uses. Fat burners will increase your heart rate and aid in training performance, but it’s not a magic pill. You can’t hope to sit around and eat hamburgers all day and expect your fat burner to make you thinner. That’s just silly.

Myth 11: If you want to lose fat, avoid fat

TRUTH: Fats are necessary to maintain healthy hormone levels and make use of vitamins. Without it, you’ll create a terrible environment for muscle growth. Fats also help you regulate your appetite. A carb-and-protein-only diet can make any fat-loss or muscle-build goal almost impossible to reach.

Myth 12: Lots of calories make you fat

TRUTH: Chronically eating more calories than your body needs will make you gain weight. But you can gain both muscle and fat depending on where the calories are coming from and whether you stimulate your muscles into growth.

Occasional overeating will not make you fat unless you really gorge on thousands of fat and sugar calories and you’re prone to gaining weight. When you increase your calories, you’re at risk for gaining weight, but you’re also speeding your metabolism.

Myth 13: Cheat meals are the same as re-feeds

TRUTH: A re-feed is a strategic increase of calories—usually carbs—that will boost your training intensity, replenish your muscle glycogen, and lead to further fat loss. An example of a re-feed would be eating a meal consisting of more carbs than usual in preparation for a competition, such as a marathon. A cheat meal, in my opinion, is a treat, and should only be used occasionally to prevent chronic overeating or falling off the wagon completely because of constant deprivation.

Myth 14: Natural/organic/gluten-free foods are best for
weight loss

TRUTH: No matter how “organic” your bread is, it still has calories. Yes, these foods may be healthier because they’re more likely to be free of pesticides and other chemicals, but over eating “natural” food is still over eating.

Myth 15: Carbonated drinks suck calcium out of your bones

TRUTH: This myth got its start because soft drinks contain phosphorus. High levels of phosphorus/phosphate have been linked to reduced bone mass and higher fracture risk.

The effect is probably due to people replacing dairy with soda, not the phosphorus itself. Furthermore, carbonation has not been linked to depleted calcium levels.

Myth 16: If you’re a woman, don’t work your upper body more than once per week. You’ll look like a man

TRUTH: What? Once per week? Well, for bone health, you should definitely train your upper body. Without it, you’ll be fragile. It will also look weird to have a buff lower-body (which in general, women already have), and sport a tiny upper body. Ever heard about the hunt for symmetry?

Myth 17: If you want to lose weight, do cardio until you drop the weight you want. Start lifting only after you’ve lost the weight

TRUTH: If you do that, you’ll shed unnecessary muscle mass. More muscle helps your metabolism stay high. It’s true that weight training doesn’t burn a ton of calories, but the more lean mass you carry, the higher your all-day energy expenditure will be. Muscles require fuel all the time. If you kill yourself doing cardio, your body will get rid of muscle mass and it will be hard to lose fat at all.

Myth 18: Your metabolism slows down after age 30. After that, you’re doomed to fat-hood. It’s a woman’s destiny

TRUTH: The reason metabolism slows down as we get older is a combination of lower hormone levels and less athletic activity. If you don’t work out and eat healthy food, you’ll get out of shape. Sadly, an untrained body is even more evident as you get older.

Myth 19: Women cannot gain muscle after age 50, so there’s no point in lifting

TRUTH: You can build muscle at any age. As long as you’re challenging your muscles and feeding them the proper nutrients, your body will respond. As you age, building muscle gets more challenging. But like anything else, if you do your best, you’ll get good results.

Myth 20: Diet sodas make you fat

TRUTH: You can’t gain fat from something you don’t drink or eat. Diet sodas don’t have calories because they don’t have any nutrients.

It’s wrong to blame diet sodas for weight gain. They might, however, cause bloating and stomach discomfort, but that’s hardly the same as body fat. However, studies show that artificial sweetners, which is in most diet foods, have been linked to short circuiting the part of the brain that tells us when we should stop eating and may play a part in some people’s chronic overeating habits.

Myth 21: Do crunches for a 6-pack

TRUTH: A flat belly comes from being lean. If you eat too much, your abs will remain trapped beneath a layer of body fat. Everybody is born with abdominal muscles. You just need to lose fat to make them pop.

Myth 22: One cheat day per week won’t harm you. Eat, drink, and be merry!

TRUTH: This is only true for people who don’t struggle with getting or staying lean. Alcohol inhibits fat burning while your liver is detoxifying you. Alcohol is also indirectly fattening because we all tend to eat the wrong things after we’ve been drinking.

Myth 23: Stay in the fat-loss zone and you’ll be ripped

TRUTH: The fat-loss zone was “created” when research showed the body burns calories at a higher percentage during low-intensity cardio workouts than high-intensity ones. However, this study didn’t take into account the calories you burn after you work out.

After a high-intensity cardio workout, you’ll continue to burn calories long after you’re out of the gym. High intensity training usually works better. After all, losing weight comes down to expending more calories than you take in.

It’s difficult to do high-intensity cardio every day. So if you need to do cardio each day, you’ll need some variety.

Myth 24: If a product has no calories, I can have as much as I want

TRUTH: Zero-calorie syrups, jams, dressings, etc. aren’t really no-cal. In our country, a product can advertise being no-cal if it has fewer than 5 calories per servings.

In reality, most of these products have about 5 calories per serving, so if you’re going to down the whole bottle, you’ll actually end up having more like 60 calories. Although that doesn’t seem like much, adding 60 calories of meager nutrition to your diet won’t do much to help you meet your goals.

Myth 25: Healthy on the outside = healthy on the inside

TRUTH: That’s called denial! Many symptoms, deficiencies, toxins and diseases are silent. They show nothing on the surface or don’t have initial warning signs. You can never know if your organs are healthy or your bones are strong unless you do the right tests.

Source: http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/practice-smart-fitness-25-debunked-training-and-diet-myths.html

Get Moving Monday: Burn More Calories and Fight More Fat

For years, products have been marketed with the promise of helping you burn more calories. But is there really anything you can do to increase the number of calories your body burns each day? Well, yes and no, experts say. The truth seems to be that the No. 1 way to burn more calories is the old-fashioned way — by moving more.

“Essentially, we know of no way to burn more calories or up our metabolism than to move more,” says Barry M. Popkin, PhD, director of the Interdisciplinary Obesity Program at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Still, research suggests that there may be a few other ways you can increase calorie burn. Here are eight possible ways to burn more calories and fight fat:

1. Exercise to Burn Calories.

Christopher Wharton, PhD, a certified personal trainer and researcher with the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale University, put it simply: “The more time spent exercising and the more vigorous the exercise, the more calories will be burned.”

Indeed, obesity expert George Bray, MD, with the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, La., believes that taking a brisk walk every day is probably the single most important piece of advice for anyone wanting to burn more calories. Obviously, when you exercise, your body burns calories to fuel your activity. But exercise is the gift that keeps on giving. That’s because even after your workout has ended, your body is still burning more calories.

While it’s hard to pinpoint just how long this effect lasts (it varies depending on body composition and level of training), “it’s safe to say metabolic rate can be elevated with aerobic exercise for at least 24 hours,” says Wharton. If you want to prolong this calorie-burning effect, Wharton advises exercising for longer periods. “Studies have shown that with increases in exercise time, the elevation in resting metabolic rate is prolonged,” he says.

2. Do Strength Training to Build Muscle

When you exercise, you use muscle. This helps build muscle mass, and muscle tissue burns more calories — even when you’re at rest — than body fat. According to Wharton, 10 pounds of muscle would burn 50 calories in a day spent at rest, while 10 pounds of fat would burn 20 calories.

“The most effective way to increase metabolism and burn more calories is by aerobic exercise and strength training. Both are important,” Megan A. McCrory, PhD, a researcher with the School of Nutrition and Exercise Science at Bastyr University, says in an email interview.

Strength training becomes especially important as we get older, when our metabolisms tend to slow down. One way to stop this is to add some strength training to your workout at least a couple of times a week. The largest muscles (and therefore the largest calorie burners) are in the thighs, abdomen, chest, and arms.

3. Drink Caffeinated Green or Black Tea

Caffeine is a stimulant, and stimulants tend to increase the calories you burn. One likely reason is that they give you the short-term impression that you have more energy, which could mean you move more. Caffeine may also cause metabolic changes in the body that can result in more calories burned.

“Even older studies have suggested that 250 milligrams of caffeine consumed with a meal can increase the calories spent metabolizing the meal by 10%,” says Jamie Pope, MS, RD, LDN, a nutrition lecturer at Vanderbilt University School of Nursing. Over time, this could be significant, Pope says in an email interview: “About 75 calories per day translates to over 2,100 calories in a month’€™s time.”

Over the past few years, some studies have hinted that green or black tea may have benefits beyond the caffeine they contain. One study noted a reduction in food intake in rats that were given a polyphenol found in green tea. Another study, in humans, concluded green tea had heat-producing and calorie-burning properties beyond what can be explained by caffeine. When 31 healthy young men and women were given three servings of a beverage containing green tea catechins, caffeine, and calcium for three days, their 24-hour energy expenditure increased by 4.6%, according to the research from Lausanne University in Switzerland.

Drinking tea with meals may have another fat-fighting effect. Tea extract may interfere with the body’s absorption of carbohydrate when consumed in the same meal, according to a study published in the September 2006 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

While all these possible effects are slight, there is yet another bonus to drinking tea. Having a zero-calorie cup of tea instead of a beverage with calories (like a soda) will certainly reduce the number of calories you take in. Keep in mind, though that adding cream and sugar to these beverages, adds calories and negates the fat-burning effects.

4. Eat Smaller, More Frequent Meals

Every time you eat a meal or snack, your gastrointestinal tract turns on, so to speak, and starts digesting food and absorbing nutrients. It costs calories to fire up the human digestion machine, so it makes sense that the more small meals or snacks you eat through the day, the more calories you’d burn.

There isn’t much solid evidence for this effect, McCrory notes in an email interview. But many experts believe that, compared to eating one or two very large meals, this is a more healthful way of eating anyway. And if it leads to even a few extra calories being burned, even better!

5. Don’t Skip Breakfast

Evidence supporting a link between skipping breakfast and increased body weight is growing, according to a recent editorial in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association. Some research has shown that when people skip breakfast, they tend to eat more calories by the end of the day. Other studies have suggested that skipping breakfast is associated with a higher body mass index in teens. While we could use more research in this area, eating a healthy breakfast certainly makes sense as a lifestyle habit.

6. Eat Low-Fat Dairy

The calcium from low-fat dairy doesn’t specifically help burn more calories, but it may do a couple of things to help discourage body fat. Results from a recent Danish study suggest that we might absorb fewer fat calories from a meal when we consume calcium from low-fat dairy. In another recent study, eating more calcium-rich foods — including low-fat dairy products — appeared to be linked to lower amounts of belly fat, particularly in young adult white males.

7. Drink 8 Cups of Water a Day

“Just about everything you call on your body to do burns calories, including absorbing and utilizing water while maintaining fluid balance (sometimes by excreting excess),” says Pope. Drinking almost eight cups of water (2 liters) may help burn nearly 100 extra calories a day, according to findings of a small study from Germany, notes Pope.

That may not sound like much, but it could add up to 700 calories a week or 2,800 calories a month. And that’s by doing something we should do anyway to keep our intestines and kidneys happy, and to help keep us from confusing thirst with hunger. (Pope does add a caution not to overdo it; it is possible to drink dangerous amounts of water.)

8. Fidget

Any type of movement requires energy, and fidgeting definitely qualifies as movement. “Older studies suggest additional calories can be burned each day with fidgeting,” says Pope. One study even found that informal movement such as fidgeting may be more important than formal workouts in determining who is lean and who is obese.

Diet and exercise are good topics to discuss with your doctor. Before starting a new exercise regimen or supplementing your diet, it would be good to talk it over with your doctor. If you have certain medical conditions or are taking certain medications, there may be activities or dietary supplements that you should avoid.

Source: http://www.webmd.com/diet/obesity/8-ways-to-burn-calories-and-fight-fat?page=4

Get Moving Monday: Sarcopenia and How to Slow it Down Today

From the time you are born to around the time you turn 30, your muscles grow larger and stronger. But at some point in your 30s, you begin to lose muscle mass and function, a condition known as age-related sarcopenia or sarcopenia with aging. People who are physically inactive can lose as much as 3% to 5% of their muscle mass per decade after age 30. Even if you are active, you will still experience some muscle loss. As we age, the natural tendency even with proper nutrition and exercise is to lose muscle over time. If this did not happen, our life spans would be far longer than the present average. Maintaining homeostasis is literally a matter of life and death.

Although there is no generally accepted test or specific level of muscle mass for sarcopenia diagnosis, any loss of muscle mass is of consequence, because loss of muscle means loss of strength and mobility. Sarcopenia typically accelerates around age 75 — although it may happen in people age 65 or 80 — and is a factor in the occurrence of frailty and the likelihood of falls and fractures in older adults.

Symptoms of muscle loss include musculoskeletal weakness and loss of stamina, which can interfere with physical activity. Reduced physical activity, in turn, further reduces muscle mass. Muscle loss can cause a host of problems as you age from osteoporosis to problems with managing blood sugar. This is not to mention the loss of mobility and strength to do everyday tasks and enjoy physical activities like walking, sporting activities, dancing, ect.

Although sarcopenia is mostly seen in people who are inactive, the fact that it also occurs in people who stay physically active throughout life suggests there are other factors involved in the development of sarcopenia.

Researchers believe the following factors play a role:

  • Age-related reduction in nerve cells responsible for sending signals from the brain to the muscles to initiate movement
  • A decrease in the concentrations of some hormones, including growth hormone, testosterone, and insulin-like growth factor
  • A decrease in the body’s ability to synthesize protein
  • Inadequate intake of calories and/or protein to sustain muscle mass

Eating to maintain muscle requires both sufficient calories to equal your daily energy expenditure as well as:

  • sufficient quality proteins
  • good fats
  • quality carbohydrate sources to supply your muscles with what they need.

Blood type and metabolic type should also be taken into consideration, because each individual reacts differently to various types of foods. It is very important that the foods you eat allow you to maintain a stable blood sugar level. This is critical because significant drops in blood sugar due to a glycemic response to a food can trigger a rise in cortisol. Remember that cortisol breaks down muscle so you will want to keep cortisol levels under control as much as possible to avoid sarcopenia. Eating a low glycemic diet will help in this regard, as the foods you will be eating will not raise blood sugar very rapidly, and you will avoid the roller coaster effect on your blood sugar levels that can cause muscle loss.

Certain nutritional supplements such as vitamin-d , acetyl-l-carnitine, the amino acid glutamine, fish oil, and creatine can have positive benefits for preventing muscle loss and maintaining homeostasis. Protein supplements can also be of value in preventing muscle loss, however, you should start with a sound diet and add supplements as needed.

Stress can also raise cortisol and set the stage for sarcopenia to occur. The stress reduction techniques mentioned on this site are a good starting point for managing stress. In particular the Doyletic speed trace is particularly valuable for this purpose.

The best exercise for preventing sarcopenia is strength training, which is also called resistance or weight training. This is because it taxes your muscles in an intense manner and forces them to get stronger and larger over time. Resistance training has been reported to positively influence the neuromuscular system, hormone concentrations, and protein synthesis rate. Research has shown that a program of progressive resistance training exercises can increase protein synthesis rates in older adults in as little as two weeks.  Long duration cardio exercise is not recommended as it can actually contribute to muscle loss if overdone.

Sources: http://www.webmd.com/healthy-aging/sarcopenia-with-aging?page=2

http://www.longevity-and-antiaging-secrets.com/sarcopenia.html