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Mistakes That Can Add Pounds

Mistakes That Can Add Pounds

It’s often easier for most people to gain weight than to lose it. Some of the reason is the misinformation that’s everywhere on the internet with mistakes that can add pounds. Some of the advice actually can make you gain weight. For instance, those “miracle” shed 10 pounds in 10 days diets that consist of magic elixirs made of juice from grapefruit, cabbage or other foods, may actually help you lose some weight in a short period, but lowers your metabolism. The minute you go back to eating normal meals, you put it all back on and sometimes more.

Eating a low fat diet might be one error.

Sure it’s fat and it only makes sense that if you eat fat, you’ll get fat, but that’s not how it works. The type of fat that you eat is ultimately important and the amount of fat in your diet is also important. Fat has been given a bum rap. It actually can help you shed pounds. It fills you up and makes it a lot less likely that you’ll overeat. It boosts your metabolism, balances hormonal activity, stops cravings and even aids in reversing heart disease. It’s not just any type of fat, however. Some foods with good fats are meat and butter from grassfed cows, avocados and whole eggs.

You’re eating processed foods that are labeled diet foods.

Special diet foods are everywhere. If you read the labels of most of the dishes, you’ll notice a chemistry lab of ingredients, which includes fructose. It’s sugar that, while natural, plays havoc with your brain and is in everything. It isn’t metabolized like other sugars and goes directly to fat. Eating refined sugar is the real enemy of dieters and it tends to be in all processed products. Stick with whole foods, organic if possible, and you’ll watch pounds fall off quicker.

You forgot to include exercise, particularly strength training in your weight loss regimen.

Exercise is so important when you’re trying to lose weight. It burns extra calories and provides many other benefits. It can burn off the hormones of stress, like cortisol, which is associated with abdominal fat—the most dangerous type. Stress hormones make other changes in your body and can also lead to “stress eating,” a real diet danger. Strength training helps build muscle tissue. That extra muscle tissue can boost your metabolism, since it requires more calories to maintain than fat tissue does.

One huge mistake is snacking on “diet treats.”

You think you can eat more if the package says low calorie, low fat, low sugar or any word related to diet and weight loss, but that’s not true. One study at Cornell University let overweight people choose their snacks. Those who opted for the lower-fat or sugar-free version actually ate twice as many calories as the ones who ate the regular snacks. It’s all about portion control. Let yourself splurge occasionally, but in small amounts.

  • One big mistake is not getting enough sun, which means, not getting enough vitamin D. Start working on a protective tan that prevents sun damage. Vitamin D can help you lose weight and it’s free.
  • An imbalance of beneficial bacteria in your body can add pounds. Lots of things can cause that, but one definitely does. It’s antibiotics. Farmers often use low doses to help fatten cattle. Need I say more?
  • Make your goals about improving your performance in the gym and eating healthy, rather than actual weight loss, and you’re more likely to stick with the program and get results.
  • Don’t just depend on the gym for exercise, get up and move around frequently. Walk to work, park further away from your destination or climb the stairs. Put more exercise into your daily life.

Should You Exercise When Your Muscles Are Sore?

Should You Exercise When Your Muscles Are Sore?

I always get a lot of questions about whether to exercise when your muscles are sore. My first thought is that if you’re working out hard, you should expect sore muscles, but I don’t say that. I know there are a lot of different types and severity of muscle pain and some require a period of rest to allow the tissue to heal. That’s when I begin to delve further and ask clients more about the pain. There’s good pain and bad pain.

Good pain stops when you quit exercising.

Good pain is the burn you feel while you’re working out. It’s also the mild discomfort you feel the next day. However, severe discomfort the next day and for up to five days is also a signal to give you muscles a rest. That doesn’t mean you should avoid exercise, just switch to a light form of exercise until the pain subsides, like walking or work other parts of the body that doesn’t have pain.

Even bad pain can be good pain.

That soreness that starts a few days after the workout means your stressing your muscles and they’re making adaptations that will get them stronger. It’s also a sign that muscle tissue needs to heal the small microscopic tears in the tissue. It’s called delayed onset muscle soreness—DOMS—which occurs most frequently when you’re just getting back to an program of regular exercise. It will go away and leave your muscles stronger than they were before you started working out.

Beware of extreme pain.

There’s a huge difference between discomfort and severe pain. You’ll know it when you feel it. Severe pain doesn’t go away and can come from injury. If it comes on suddenly, lasts more than five days or leaves you in constant pain, it’s time to see a doctor. Even if you do have an injury, you can still work around it and exercise at the gym. Just make sure you don’t work any of the muscles of the injured area.

  • Working out the pain of achy muscles can be as simple as walking. It boosts circulation and can help you get back into action more quickly.
  • If you’re new to working out, expect sore muscles and pain at first. It’s one of the leading causes for dropping a workout regimen, when it’s actually telling you that you’ve made progress.
  • It sometimes helps to track the pain. If you rank pain from one to ten and normally have a two that boosts to a four after a workout, but suddenly the pain is at a seven or eight, you may need to do a lighter workout for a few days. Consult with your personal trainer for help.
  • One study in Europe showed soaking in a hot tub could actually help DOMS. If you have access to one, perfect. If not, a long hot shower or bath may be an alternative that can help.

The Importance Of Strength Training

The Importance Of Strength Training

People automatically envision strength training as just a way to build huge biceps and muscles. While you can build up some great guns from weight training—don’t worry ladies, it’s almost impossible for you to do it—the importance of strength training comes from the other benefits it brings your workout. Strength training is one way to help reduce your chances of injury. It helps strengthen the tendons, ligaments, muscles and even bones to support the body in alignment. The ligaments and tendons become more flexible, so they can do their job better. If there’s an imbalance, it helps correct it with the proper guidance.

Strength training is a form of load bearing exercise, so it offers benefits to help prevent osteoporosis.

The more weight bearing exercises you do, the more the body will boost your bone density. Normally, as you age, bone mass decreases. Weight lifting can actually slow it and even reverse that loss. A year long study showed that women who did strength training just three days a week showed an increase in bone density. The more weight they lifted, the bigger the gain in density. There are numerous studies show that bone mass density loss will slow or even reverse with weight training. Several studies show that it works better than some of the medicine made for osteoporosis and the only side effect is a healthier body.

It adds muscle tissue, which helps boost your metabolism.

Muscle tissue requires more calories to maintain than fat tissue does, so the more you have, the more calories you burn 24/7. According to a study from Boston University published in 2008, the type of muscle tissue built by weight lifting is very important. It’s type II muscle fibers, which boost metabolism. The study with mice showed that the more type II muscle fibers the mice had, the more weight they lost, even if their diet never changed.

Weight lifting and strength training can lower your risk of diabetes.

It’s not a secret that a healthy diet and regular exercise can help lower the risk of Type II diabetes and even help control it. However, weight lifting and strength training can play a very important role in that risk reduction. The National Institute of Health funded a study that showed that adding five 30 minutes of weight training to regular cardio lowered the risk of diabetes by 59 percent.

  • Weight training can help reduce back pain and the risk of back injury. Sitting to long all day can increase back pain, adding weight training improve the muscle tone to support the spine.
  • Weight training improves balance, which is another reason it’s excellent for seniors.
  • While endurance athletes tend to build red muscles, which uses fat oxidation for energy, people who use strength training tend to build more white muscles. White muscle tissue uses glucose for energy, which means it helps to control blood sugar levels.
  • Department of Health, Leisure and Exercise Science in the College of Health Sciences at Appalachian State University did a study that found 45 minutes of moderate-intensity strength training decrease blood pressure 20 percent, which was equal or better to the results of taking drugs created to lower blood pressure.

Boost Your Confidence With Exercise

Boost Your Confidence With Exercise

You don’t have to workout very long before you notice that you feel more self-assured and confident. That’s because you can boost your confidence with exercise. There’s a lot of data to back up this statement, too. For instance, one study showed that people who started an exercise program had an improved self-image, even before they saw results. Exercise also helps burn off the hormones of stress that can leave you feeling fuzzy brained and confused. When you think clearer, you have more confidence.

Exercise boosts the hormones that make you feel good and helps you in other ways.

Not only will you burn off those negative hormones of stress, you’ll also boost the production of the “happy” hormones that leave you feeling good. If you’re working out and eating healthy, your circulation is also improved and the body has all the nutrients necessary to help your brain. Studies show that exercise helps boost cognitive thinking and also helps you complete mental tasks faster. That should give you a feeling of confidence, too.

You’ll feel strong and powerful.

Working on strength building not only helps physical strength, it helps mental strength as well. When you feel strong, no matter what your sex, you feel like you can conquer the world and fear is minimized. That creates a definite boost to your confidence level. The stronger you feel, the more self-assured you’ll become. Emotional strength and physical strength go together and boosting one, boosts the other.

You’ll walk taller and people will respond to your new found presence.

Exercising helps improve your posture, so you’ll walk taller and with more confidence. People respond to the new look internally and normally provide more respect. It’s just human nature. You also respond to that confident walk by increasing your overall confidence level. Remember, there’s an old saying, “Act as though, and it shall become.” When you look and move confidently, you’ll become confident.

  • As you see your fitness goals met, you’ll believe that you can do anything you decide to do. That’s good. Setting goals and meeting them creates a positive path for setting new goals and achieving them.
  • You’ll boost your energy level and the extra energy can help you achieve your goals and get more done. The result is more productivity and a higher confidence level.
  • You’ll feel healthy and good about yourself and your body. Feeling good about yourself is a huge boost to your confidence level. No matter what shape you’re in, you should always be your own best friend. Unfortunately, sometimes only getting fit will help you do that.
  • As you reach each fitness goal, you’ll become more assured of yourself and start to believe that you can achieve any goal you set, whether in fitness or any other area of your life.

Tips For Beginner Runners

Tips For Beginner Runners

When you first start pounding the pavement, you’ll find pitfalls and better ways to run. It’s easier to start out with some tips for beginner runners from someone who already experienced them or learned to avoid the pitfalls from other runners. For instance, everyone is super hyped when they first start running, but that can be a pitfall. It makes you feel invincible and you’ll probably want to run the whole way. Break your running up into sections at first, running some of the way and walking part of the way. Don’t push yourself unrealistically.

Give your body recovery time.

Take a day off between runs to let your body mend and get adjusted to the new task. Let your body get your muscles ready for the next run or you could be facing injury. You’ll feel better and enjoy the run more with a little rest in between them. Running too frequently leaves you prone to overuse injuries that put an end to your running for a while.

Make sure you have good shoes.

Go to a store that specializes in running shoes or has a knowledgeable staff. Normally, you’ll find this in well established Mom & Pop stores, not big chains. Use one that offers a gait analysis to ensure you get shoes that will be best suited to you, whether your gait is overpronated, underpronated or neutral. They’ll also help you to find the best type of shoe for the type of surface where you run, whether it’s on wooded trails, the beach or the pavement.

Time your snack.

Eat at least an hour and a half before you go out to run. Don’t make it heavy, but about two to three hundred calories with mostly complex carbs and a little protein. If you eat too close to running, you face the potential of stomach problems and not eating anything or with a longer period before the run can leave you feeling exhausted and out of energy quickly. Have a snack ready for after the run, too.

  • Don’t forget to hydrate. Don’t drink a lot right before the run or you’ll find yourself hunting frantically for a bathroom. Two hours and twenty ounces of water is a good combination. Take a bottle of water along, especially if it’s a hot day.
  • You can use HIIT—high intensity interval training—when you’re running. It’s blasting away at top speed for a minute or two, then powering down to moderate or slow speed for twice that long. It burns more calories and gets you fit faster.
  • Always warm up your muscles with dynamic stretching before you run and do some stretch and hold exercises after you’re finished.
  • Include cross training in your exercise program. You need more than just running to have your body totally conditioned. It also breaks up the monotony of only doing a daily run.

Stay Mentally Motivated

Stay Mentally Motivated

I hear all sorts of reasons from people on why they started their workout program. Some of those reasons include feeling better, getting healthier, adding endurance and looking fabulous. What often happens to the grand plans is they fall by the wayside when immediate results aren’t coming. There are ways to stay mentally motivated and stick with your fitness plan. You need to find ones that suit you and latch on to them.

Make fitness fun.

One reason I see so much success here, is that boxing brings a whole new dimension to the fitness game. It’s actually fun. If you’ve never boxed before or even mixed it up informally, it gives a feeling of empowerment. If you have a frustrating job or life, nothing is better than punching that bag to get rid of stress. For those who are super competitive, this is a great sport for you. It’s never boring and you’re always doing something different.

Reward yourself with more than just good health.

Sure, looking great and feeling great are the ultimate reward, but most people feel exhausted after their first few workouts and that good health and great body are just too far down the road to impress them. You need a real, immediate reward after you workout. Maybe it’s a power smoothie that’s yummy, but also good for you. Maybe the key to motivate you is cash! Keep a small bank in your gym bag and tuck a buck or two away after each workout. Decide when you get to spend it, whether it’s a month or longer, and take it out then, but only if you don’t miss a single workout. Give yourself permission to spend it anything you choose. Watching the money grow can be a visual reward.

Workout with others.

Comradery from others with similar goals is a huge motivator. You can cheer each other on to success. That’s also one reason boxing is so popular. While you may do some training solo, for the ultimate challenge, you need a partner. When you have a welcoming environment where you know everyone, you’re more apt to keep going.

  • Create written measurable goals with a time table achieving them. Once you have a goal, you can create a plan of action and track your progress toward the goal.
  • Don’t worry about impressing others or achieving more. Your main opponent is yourself and breaking your own records for athletic feats, like the number of sit ups you do, is what it’s all about.
  • Keep your eye on the ultimate goal, but also break it down to smaller goals you can achieve quickly to get a boost of confidence and success.
  • Keep a positive attitude. Sure you’ll have some nights when a few choice words might slip out, but that shouldn’t affect your overall positive attitude toward your fitness goal. Sometimes, you just have to do it, knowing that in the end it will all be worth the effort.

Get Your Abs By Summer

Get Your Abs By Summer

It’s not too late to get your abs by summer. In fact, it’s perfect timing. You could be shopping for a beachwear that doesn’t cover you from head to toe as soon as the summer wear arrives. The key to working on your abs is not just focusing on the abs, but the whole body. Some people actually have rippling abs, but you can’t tell it under the layer of fat. You have to work on total body conditioning and shed any extra pounds that threaten to cover that six pack.

Include all types of exercises to burn calories.

Whether it’s strength training, aerobics or even yoga it’s all good. Stretching, lifting and running hard will help burn the calories and get you in top physical shape. Focusing on specific muscle groups, like the abs, should be part of the workout too. High intensity interval training and core training not only burn calories, you can set up exercises to boost building the abs. Total body training doesn’t focus on just one muscle group in the abdominal area, but all the abdominal muscles. That’s what you need to get the look you want.

Make your workout more fun.

There’s a lot of fun activities you can do that help build abs. While bicycling works the legs, it also works the abs. Boxing is fun and a break from traditional gym workouts. Training for it can be the perfect way to build the muscles you want and the actual boxing can reinforce that muscle building. After all, have you ever seen a good boxer with a beer belly? I doubt that you have. Grab a hula hoop or go roller blading for a fun activity that works toward a flatter abdomen.

Eat healthy.

Eating healthy isn’t dieting. Dieting has an expiration date, either when you cheat or when you succeed. Then you go back to old eating habits that put on the weight in the first place. Before you know it, those pesky pounds have come home to roost. Eating healthy means making lifestyle changes and learning to choose your food more wisely. It might be as simple as substituting brown rice for white to save a few calories. Abs aren’t sexy if they’re covered by a layer of fat.

  • Practice tucking your tummy in when you’re sitting and improve your posture at the same time. Sit up straight and pull your stomach in as hard as you can. Release it just enough so you can breathe comfortably and hold. You can do this throughout the day.
  • Make sure you have adequate hydration. Too often dehydration disguises itself as hunger. That means you’ll be eating without being hungry. Adequate hydration gives you energy. Keep a bottle of water with you and sip throughout the day.
  • Get plenty of fiber in your diet. Low fiber can clog you up and leave you constipated and bloated. You also need adequate fluids to help prevent that from occuring.
  • Carbohydrate cycling is one way of eating that can help shed pounds and is has a easy technique. Eat the same amount of fat and protein all week, but alternate high carb and low carb days.

Say Goodbye To Back Fat

Say Goodbye To Back Fat

You can start wearing more revealing clothing and ones not so covering when you say goodbye to back fat. Back fat comes from lack of muscle tone in the back muscles and excess pounds or bad nutrition. There’s no such thing as spot reducing, just taking off the fat from one area, so to attack back fat, you have to first come to grips with your weight and overall body fat. That means a healthy diet and regular exercise. However, you can also focus on toning those back muscles, which can help define and improve the appearance as you shed those extra pounds.

Start strength training exercises.

Not only does strength training help build those back muscles, it also helps burn calories fast. You’ll want to strengthen the upper back so try some weights too. Bent over flys are excellent for reconditioning those upper back muscles that are flabby. Don’t forget the cardio. Working at top speed on cardio, including skipping rope, burns extra calories and helps eliminate the fat.

Try other activities where the upper back gets a workout.

You can bet the Harvard heavyweight rowing team doesn’t have back fat, nor do many boxers. That’s because preparing for those activities require strong upper back muscles. Grab a rowing machine and start working out. Better yet, learn how to throw punches at the bag and prepare for boxing. Both of these activities will banish backfat quickly, while also burning loads of calories.

Eat healthy, but don’t diet.

Diets don’t work. They always end and all the progress you made ends with them. Besides, diets are so restrictive that it almost seems impossible to stick with them. Most of all, diets always end. Sometimes that ending occurs at three in the morning with a gallon of Ben and Jerry’s. Other times, it’s a happier moment. You’ve lost the weight and quit the diet. What happens next is what makes success a failure. You go back to old eating habits that made you gain the weight in the first place. Those lost pounds find their way home…sometimes bringing friends. Eating healthy is the way to go. You’ll take off pounds and keep them off for life.

  • Stay away from the booze. Alcoholic drinks put on more weight than you might imagine. One drink might be okay, but it normally doesn’t end at one. Before you know it, you’ve consumed a hot fudge sundae of calories of alcohol.
  • Exercise all the muscles in your back to get the best look.
  • Cool the stress. While exercise will burn off the hormone of stress, overexercising will produce them. Workout to a schedule that gives your body breaks so it can heal. Your trainer can help you do that.
  • Drink plenty of water and get your zzzs to achieve the most when you workout. Water also helps release fluids. In fact, one cause of water retention is actually too little water.

Should You Worry About Hormones In Food

Should You Worry About Hormones In Food

In today’s world it seems to be all about supersizing and getting to the ultimate goal faster. New farming practices create beef cows that grow to full size 20% faster and salmon that are ready for use twice as fast as their wild counterparts. There are cows that produce 15% more milk because of some of these practices. Some of it comes from genetic engineering, such as the AquAdvantage salmon that undergoes genetic engineering to boost the growth hormone. However, some comes from the use of growth hormones directly given to the animals. The key to these increases all come from boosting the growth hormone. Does that mean when you consume these as food, whether the milk or the actual animal, you’ll get a dose of the same hormone? Should you worry about hormones in food?

The FDA and the Food Industry agree.

Both say there is no harm in consuming these substances, but this is also the same agency that took 40 years to find out that trans fats are bad for you. As for the food industry, it’s their dime you’re talking about and they aren’t about to stop the use of hormones that have increased production of food and made farming more profitable. So what can you believe? Eating second hand hormones sounds a bit frightening, but is there any studies that show it has a nefarious effect on the body?

One thing leads to another when it comes to hormones.

The hormones given to cows to increase milk is rBGH—recombinant bovine growth hormone. It’s a synthetic cow hormone that shows no effect in humans and won’t harm your health. But it does trigger the production of IGF-1—insulin-like growth factor. That has the negative effects caused by human growth hormones and is as much as ten times higher in milk from cows given rBGH. The negative effects of too much of this in the blood include a 50% increase in the risk of prostate cancer and a 65% increase in the risk of hormone-dependent premenopausal breast cancer than people with low levels of it in the blood.

There are other hormones used in raising food.

Sex hormones have been used in raising cattle for over a half century. The hormone used is primarily estrogen. Unless the beef is labeled organic, most cattle receive an implant that goes behind their ear and creates a delivery system for the hormone. Just as antibiotics are given to chickens and pigs, as well as cattle, these hormones make the animals grow faster, but could also be responsible for the increasing pattern of earlier and earlier onset of puberty in children.

  • Besides potentially increasing the risk for breast, prostate and colon cancer, increased IGF-1levels in the blood may also increase the risk of diabetes.
  • A review in the journal Medical Hypotheses in 2009 warned pregnant women that drinking milk or eating products from the milk from cows given rBGH might create health problems for the infant when he or she reached adulthood.
  • Growth hormones can increase the risk for cows to get infections, so often they’re given antibiotics. The antibiotics are passed to humans in the milk and add to the potential of antibiotic resistant bacteria.
  • While the jury is still out on whether these hormones can affect human health, consider purchasing foods with labels indicating they’re hormone free, such as “no rbGH” or “no rbST.”

Are Carbs Unhealthy

Are Carbs Unhealthy

Is fat bad for you? Are carbs unhealthy? Before you can get an answer, you have to provide more information. Just like not all fat is unhealthy, not all carbs are. In fact, both fat and carbs are necessary for a healthy diet, but you have to have the right type of each. Trans fat and flaxseed oil are both fat, yet trans fat is bad for you, but flaxseed oil has omega-3 fatty acids that are extremely beneficial for your health and eating a lot of trans fats can lead to heart disease. Carbs include fruits and vegetables, but the group also contains processed sugar. Sugar is a simple carbohydrate that negatively affects the body and fruits and vegetables are the complex form and important for good health.

Carbs can be broken down another way.

There is another way to categorize carbohydrates and that’s simple starchy carbs or sugar, complex starchy carbs and complex fibrous carbs. Even then, you can’t say that a group is good or bad. You have to break the groups down even further. Simple starchy carbs are normally vilified. But not all of them are villains and even those that aren’t healthy when eaten regularly have beneficial properties. This group contains table sugar (sucrose), fruit sugars (fructose), milk sugar (lactose) and glucose, the simplest form of them all. No one would ever say that fruit is bad for you, but high fructose corn syrup may be, particularly since it’s found in so many foods. If you want to lose weight or stabilize blood sugar levels, sucrose is the one to avoid.

Complex starchy carbs are made up of two different groups.

These types of carbs are in long chains and have vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and fiber. In their natural state, such as whole grains and beans, they’re good for you. Unfortunately, most of this group has been refined and the bran and germ has been removed from the grain. Instead of slowly breaking down, it now acts just like a simple sugar might act and quickly turn turn glucose. This processing changes healthy nutrient rich foods like whole grains or brown rice and turns it into instant energy with few nutrients, such as white rice or white refined flour.

You need complex fibrous carbs for good health.

When people go on a low carbohydrate diet, they often fail to realize that this group of foods is healthy and should be in your diet, even though they’re carbohydrates, especially when you want to lose weight. This group of food includes fresh vegetables and greens. The fiber isn’t digestible and passes through your body, cleansing the elimination system in the process. They’re packed with nutrients and extremely low in calories, making them a good addition to any weight loss effort.

  • Making food choices requires that you know more than just that it’s a carb. You need to understand the type of carbohydrate it is.
  • For a diet that’s healthy, you need to include complex fibrous carbohydrates, which include vegetables, starchy complex carbs, such as beans and simple carbs, like dairy products or fruit.
  • The rule of thumb is that colorful carbs (vegetables and dairy) are good and white carbs (refined sugar and flour) aren’t. Of course, that doesn’t take into account M&Ms (colorful but not healthy) or cauliflower (white but healthy).
  • A healthy diet has all food groups, including healthy carbs and healthy fat.