Weight Loss Basics: Obvious…or Not?

Weight Loss Basics: Obvious…or Not?

Everything in this post should be obvious.  But sometimes we ignore the obvious in favor of the expedient.  So it’s always worth a quick review!

As we all know, if you want to lose weight the two indisputable universal factors are healthy eating and exercise. In fact, everything you will ever read about how to lose weight will fall into one of these two categories.  That said, here are some simple, but very effective tips to remind you of the obvious.

Walk!

We all have to get around.  So walk whenever possible.  Even if you have to drive to get where you are going, stop looking for that close parking spot.  Park on the other side of the lot and force yourself to walk!  Forget the elevator and take the stairs.  Walk!  Best of all, you don’t have to make time to fit these walks in.  You have to go anyway!  Just don’t be lazy.  Look at it as an opportunity.

Exercise First

If you exercise first thing in the morning, your body is a lot more likely to actually burn away fat.  This is because when you are asleep, it is as though you are fasting.  So when you wake up, your body is in a state of low blood sugar and a high amount of fat-burning hormones like adrenaline.  So by doing cardio exercising first thing, research shows you end up burning more calories and fat than exercising during other times of the day.

If You Are Going to Eat Carbs Do It After Exercising

This is called carb backloading, eating complex carbohydrates after intense exercise that was done after essentially fasting, i.e., sleeping.  The benefit of this that the carbs you consume after the workout will not be stored as fat, but will by your cells to replenish depleted amounts of glycogen.

So you can kill two birds with one stone, as the saying goes, by exercising early and then enjoying your complex carbs for breakfast.

Brrrr.. Cold Showers!

A cold shower is great for waking you up.  But it can also help you lose weight since your body will use up calories trying to warm itself.  Cool! (pun intended)  In addition, the shocking cold increases your levels of adrenaline and testosterone.

Don’t Drink Sugar. Drink Water.

You want to lose weight and save money?  Drink water.  Very simple.  Enough with the soda that is dripping with sugar.  Just switching to water alone is enough to improve your health and lower that number on your scale.  It’s wasted calories!  And for what?  A candy hit?  Grow up.  And that includes all the fancy coffees and cappuccinos that are loaded with fat-giving cream.  Oh yah…and chuck the beer too.  Okay, okay, I hear you.  Fine, you can cheat with a periodic light beer.  But the bottom line is drink water.  Believe it or not, drinking water will even accelerate your metabolism!

Get More Sleep

Most Americans are sleep deprived.  We are also mostly overweight.  It could be that there is a correlation here since sleeping helps burn fat!  So sleep often and sleep well to maximize all of your fat burning opportunities.

Eat Slower

Slow eating will not, in and of itself, help you lose weight.  It’s not like exercising your jaw more or less is going to burn calories.  It’s psychological, but it works.  If you chew slower and eat slower you will feel fuller and your food will digest easier.  Consequently, you will also end up eating less.

So there you have it.  Hopefully, there was nothing new here for you.  But if there was or if you have been ignoring the obvious, time to get back to basics.

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The Top 9 Exercise Lies Many People Believe

The Top 9 Exercise Lies Many People Believe

Get up and go! That’s all it takes, right? Not so fast! Many things that people think are true about exercise are actually wrong. Like anything else, if you don’t do it right, you are unlikely to get the results you expect. So let’s cut the fat and slim on down to the facts.

Lie Number 1. You will always achieve your goals if you stick with your exercise program.

Well, obviously, this depends on your goals and your program. Goals must be realistic and your exercise program must be designed with you in mind. Not everybody responds the same to the same exercise program. Given each of our genetics, it is likely that your personal gains in speed, power and endurance may be very different from that of other people you know.

Lie Number 2. You can lose as much weight as you want just through exercise.

Exercise is very important. But it will not do the job alone. As with all responses to exercise, weight gain or loss is dependent on many factors, including dietary intake and genetics. As discussed above, not everybody will lose the same amount of weight on the same exercise program. Believe it or not, it is possible to be active and still be overweight. You won’t believe how many black belts in karate I have known who were quick, strong and talented, but they just could not lose their beer bellies! Nevertheless, even though exercise by itself probably will not guarantee you reach your desired weight, regular physical activity is one of the most important variables in achieving a healthy and fit body.

Lie Number 3. You will burn more fat with low intensity workouts.

It’s a darn lie! The truth is that you will burn up more calories per minute the faster you move. The problem is that high-intensity exercise may be hard to maintain in the beginning, so most people are not able to exercise very long pushing so hard. Because of this, it is much safer and more practical to start out at a lower intensity and gradually work your way up. In general, the main benefit of low intensity exercise, other than as a starting point, is that it is less stressful on joints. However, the bottom line is that fat reduction depends on the total energy cost or how many calories are used up when exercising.

Lie Number 4. With specific exercises anyone can build their arm muscles or get a six-pack.

It’s just not true. What is true is that specific exercises will definitely tone and strengthen specific areas of your body. But if you have fat there you may not be able to see those strengthened muscles as they are covered with your fat! Not only that, but you cannot control where you will lose fat on your body through dieting or exercise. That is all genetic. That’s why being careful with what and how much you eat goes hand in hand with exercise. It’s a package deal. The good news is that research continues to show that any exercise is better than no exercise. For example, regular walking or even gardening for as little as an hour a week has been shown to help a person feel more energetic and reduce the risk of heart disease.

Lie Number 5. People who are obese are not likely to benefit too much from exercise.

That’s outright nonsense. Everybody benefits from exercise and everybody should consult with their doctor before beginning any workout program. Those who are very overweight probably need much more professional oversight and guidance so they do not try to do too much too quickly. But the truth is that research shows that obese people who participate in regular exercise programs have a lower risk of all-cause mortality than sedentary individuals, regardless of the fact that they are so overweight. Even a little bit of exercise is significantly better than no exercise.

Lie Number 6. If your goal is to lose weight, forget about strength training since it’s going to bulk you up.

Life is about balance. Your body needs cardiovascular exercise, such as aerobics or running, as well as strengthening, through push ups, planks or weight lifting. Strength workouts help increase muscle mass and decrease your body fat ratio. Everyone needs both.

Lie Number 7. Yoga and Tai Chi may be enjoyable but the fitness benefits are still unsubstantiated.

That may have been true years ago. But more recent research clearly illustrates that these exercise forms are quite beneficial in multiple ways. Some of these benefits include, improvements in coordination, flexibility, posture, balance, strength and stress management. Tai Chi has even been shown to help improve fibromyalgia and pain in the lower back.

Lie Number 8. Exercise programs in water are mainly for seniors and the handicapped.

Just because water fitness programs are primarily marketed to the handicapped and seniors, does not mean that they aren’t terrific alternatives for all of us. Water exercise offers many benefits, such as going easier on the joints, but don’t be fooled. These fitness programs can be just as challenging and successful for improving fitness and losing weight as any other. There are many athletes who incorporate water fitness programs into their workouts.

Lie Number 9. The best way to get healthy and lose weight is by going to a gym.

Poppycock! The best workout is one you are going to do! It has to be at least somewhat enjoyable, convenient, easily accessible and affordable. In fact, studies have shown that many people strongly prefer a home-based fitness program for all of these reasons! So ignore the hype about the latest fitness fads and trendy exercise equipment and facilities. Your best workout is what fits into your schedule, budget and needs. Do what works for you. But ya gotta do it!

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How Snacking Affects Your Weight Loss Journey

How Snacking Affects Your Weight Loss Journey

Many people have different ways of trying to cope with boredom. For some people a pastime would be to go for a walk. For many others, it may even be to indulge in a snack or two. But if you’re looking to lose weight, is snacking away your boredom really a good option?

Although snacking can sometimes have a bad rep, snacking on healthy snacks, fruits, and vegetable can actually be very beneficial for you on your weight loss journey. According to expert, Dr. Luiza Petre, a board-certified cardiologist and weight-management specialist, “Even though weight loss means cutting calories, that doesn’t mean you have to get rid of snacks.” The right kind of snack “can be a secret weapon to fight excess pounds, while at the same time keeping your energy level up and giving you more opportunities to get in all your nutritional needs”. However, we have to remember that simply snacking itself is not what’s beneficial for weight loss. It’s beneficial because it helps you to avoid binge-eating at your next meal by keeping you satiated for a longer time and prevents your blood sugar from dropping while also maintaining your metabolism rate.

It’s best to avoid carb-only snacks since they’ll only end up making you feel hungrier. Instead, eat protein based snacks that have fewer than 100 calories. Additionally, try limiting your snacks to only 1 or 2 per day and portion them out. Make sure you have control over yourself so you don’t end up overeating! We hope you can enjoy eating a healthy snack now and then without feeling guilty!

 

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Yoga in Bed for Better Sleep

Yoga in Bed for Better Sleep

After a long tiring day, all we look forward to is going home and getting some sleep. Yet sometimes, even doing something we need and love, like sleeping, can be hard due to our bodies aching or feeling sore. But what if we said that doing some simple yoga can help ease this pain and help you sleep better? Here are some yoga poses you can try in bed to ease your pain and help you get better sleep:

Fire Log Pose
First sit on your bed with your legs in front of you. Then bring each leg toward you, as if you were about sit cross legged, and then put your right leg on top your left leg and your right ankle on top of your left knee. Lastly, sit straight and slowly breathe in and out. This pose helps to combat lower back and hip pain.

Puppy Pose
Begin by getting into a tabletop pose. Then bring your hands forward, keeping your arms distant from your shoulder. Keep your hips above your knees and rest your forehead on the bed. Breathe in and out. This pose helps to ease pain located on your upper back.

Cobra Pose
Start by laying flat on your stomach. Place your hands right under your shoulder and keep your elbows next to your rib cage. Lift yourself using your back muscles and breathe in and out. The cobra pose helps to combat spine pain and also eases digestive issues.

Seated Forward Fold Pose
Sit up with your leg stretched out in front of you and make sure your heels are pushing forward. Fold forward over your legs and try your best to keep your back flat. This pose helps to release tension by stretching your muscles in your hamstrings and upper back.

Supine Hamstring Pose
Begin by laying flat on your back and lift either one of your legs. Then place both your hands underneath your thigh and pull your leg towards yourself. Make sure to not lift up your shoulders off the bed. Breathe in and out and then do the same using your other leg. This pose combats pain in the lower back and reduces hip pain.

We hope these simple yoga poses that you can do right on your bed help ease your pain and you get the sleep you deserve!

 

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Facts about Female Muscle Building

Facts about Female Muscle Building

Female muscle building is all about building a toned and muscular body. It may take a lot of dedication to reach your muscle building goal but it is definitely possible. For any fitness goal, being patient and having a lot of motivation to achieve your goal is very important. By dedicating your time and coming up with a workout routine, you will reach your muscle building goal within no time.

To start off, we want to remind you that the phrase “quality over quantity” applies for everything including muscle building. Don’t start off with heavy training because you probably won’t need it. Instead, try doing a few sets of reps and slowly increase the amount of weights you lift on a regular basis.

Another crucial point to remember is that there are a few differences between building muscle and burning fat. While weight training is the best way to burn fat, it does lead to breaking down muscle instead of building it. Many people also tend to focus mainly on cardiovascular exercises when burning fat and avoid it almost entirely when building muscle because they are unsure of how it would affect their bodies. However if you want to involve cardio in your exercise, try performing high intensity interval training sessions.

Lastly, always remember to eat properly while building muscle. Include at least 2 grams of protein for every pound you weigh and cut back on carbs. Additionally, add about 3 pounds of vegetables per day and always eat a healthy and balanced meal. By following these few tips, we are sure you will start seeing your muscle building results within no time!

For more tips on muscle-building, check out the infographic below!

Master Your Muscles: Optimise Your Workout

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Run Smart, Not Hard

Run Smart, Not Hard

It takes a lot of determination to be able to have the motivation for going on a run on a regular basis, but fortunately there are many benefits that come along with it. Running is great for losing weight, preventing diseases, and is also an excellent stress reliever. However, you will only see these benefits last for long if you’re running properly. You may feel confused right now and it’s completely understandable because you may be thinking that there is no “proper” way to run. Many people might think that it only has to do with moving your legs but there is actually way more to it than that- there’s a whole strategy and technique behind it!

A running coach, Michael Olzinski, says “The most common thing that I seem to point out every week to runners is simply the way they position their upper body, namely their shoulders, arms, and upper torso.” Although that may sound strange at first, your upper body has to do a lot with when your legs give up while running. The more relaxed your arms and shoulders are, the faster and longer you will be able to run.

Proper Running Form Cues InfographicBefore going for a run, it is important to always do warm up exercises that incorporate the upper body. It is also important to mentally prepare yourself to feel relaxed before you go for a run. According to many runners, the mind can be your greatest obstacle and that you can actually keep running even if your mind tells you to stop. The same rules apply for the treadmill as well. Even if your mind is constantly telling you to stop, you should push yourself to always reach your running goal. Another mistake many runners make is doing the same running routine everyday. Although it’s great to have a routine, sometimes it’s good to switch it up a little! So the next time you go for a run, be sure to keep these tips in mind and you will see many lasting results!

 

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Exercises are the Fountain of Youth

Exercises are the Fountain of Youth

Do you want to look younger in the most healthy way possible? Who wouldn’t! Before you head over to the store to pick up a fancy set of anti-aging solutions, you should go for a run instead. Studies show that exercising can not only have a strong impact on your mental and physical health, but it can also slow down many elements of the aging process.

When exercising, your blood flow increases, and this increase in blood flow will cause your skin cells to receive more oxygen, which therefore helps it become healthier. Exercise will also play a big role in improving your posture, which in turn keeps your bones strong and will allows you to shave additional years off of your appearance. It can also improve your flexibility, and by increasing flexibility you can avoid many injuries as you get older.

Yoga is a great way to improve on your flexibility, and you shouldn’t be intimidated to try it if you don’t consider yourself flexible enough. After all, you would need to start out slow in order to gradually improve your flexibility. Another excellent way to exercise to look and feel younger is by cycling, which also many added health benefits. Cyclists manage to preserve strength with age, and also tend to have a healthier immune system. After reaching puberty, an organ called the thymus stops producing as many T-cells as it would before a person reached puberty. However many older cyclists were found to be producing as many T-cells as someone much younger would. Additionally, exercising can also keep your metabolism high which tends to slow down as you start aging. This lowers the risk of becoming overweight that can lead to diabetes and heart diseases which many people tend to develop at a certain point. Exercise doesn’t just make you appear younger, but it also literally makes you younger by keeping your cells young and slowing down the aging process in your chromosomes. All in all, exercising is a great way to help you feel and look younger, and most importantly makes you feel and look healthier!

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How to Squeeze Exercise into your Travels

How to Squeeze Exercise into your Travels

It goes without saying that it’s important to stick to your exercise routine into your daily life. That also applies to your travels. Whether you’re on a business trip or a family vacation, you must devote time to work out, even if at a lesser capacity. It doesn’t take much to get on that slippery slope once your routine gets broken, nor does it take much to regain what was lost due to inactivity during travels.

Here are some great ways to squeeze in at least 30 minutes of exercise while you are traveling:

Pack Fitness Gear
Many people feel more motivated to exercise if they have the appropriate clothes or gear to work out in. Pack your workout clothes so you have more motivation workout even while you’re on vacation!

Take Breaks While Traveling
If you are traveling to your vacation spot by car, take a break. For example when you get out of your car to buy some snacks or fill up your car with gas, stretch a little or even walk around for a few minutes. You will feel more energized and you may even drive better.

Take A Hike
If your vacation spot is at a scenic place, go for a hike! You can enjoy the views and also get a quick workout done. Explore the area without having to take a car.

Take Advantage Of Local Facilities
If you’re staying at hotel, find out if there is a gym. If not, you can even go to the pool and go for a swim! Swimming is a great way to burn calories and also have fun with your family if it’s a family trip.

Stick To What You Normally Do
As mentioned before, sticking to any routine is important even while you are on vacation. It is also important to somehow incorporate your exercise routine if you are busy throughout the day. If you are a morning person, try waking up an hour earlier and go for a jog. If your day was busy, unwind with a quick and relaxing yoga session. Do some squats, jumping jacks, pushups, and arm exercises while at your hotel room. Bottom line: don’t look for an excuse to not exercise- look for opportunities to actually do it!

 

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