Saturday, August 28, 2010

Burn More Calories and Have Some Fun

If you want to improve your balance and at the same time increase your strength, the Bosu Ball is the answer. To keep my certification current I recently became certified as a Bosu Instructor. What I learned has become invaluable to not only my older clients but also to my most fit devotees. The thing I like best, is all that all the exercises can be done with various degrees of difficulty. You can do almost all the traditional exercises while standing (one or two feet) or while kneeling (one food up or two feet up). What you wind up doing is working the core and your balance in addition to the muscle you would be working anyway. For those of you who may not know. The Bosu Ball is a half dome ball that you can stand on. It has air in the middle and stands about 12" high and is 2 feet in diameter. If you don't have much room for equipment and want to workout at home, this is a good way to go. If you already know proper exercise form, try the same things but standing on the Bosu. If you want to take it up a notch, take a few lesson from a Bosu Certified Instructor. You'll be pleasantly surprised how much you like it.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Atkins, Zone, Jenny or Common Sence

There is one thing that all the major diet programs have in common. They all restrict calories. There is no magic eating program. If you need some structure to get going, it may be a good thing to give one of the above a try. When you first begin most diet programs there is an incubation period. This means it takes a little time before the body switches from fat storing to fat burning. Unfortunately most people are inpatient and want immediate results.
What you get with any of the major diet plans are quick results. In the first few weeks you will usually drop noticeable weight. What you get as a byproduct is usually some muscle loss. Fat will not be the only thing you will lose when you step on the scale. It's not fair but muscle burns more easily than fat.
If you want to lose fat and can hang in there for the long haul, take your time and eat smart. Most people know what to eat and what to avoid even if there are some sneaky exceptions. One thing to avoid however is starch based carbs. (bread, pasta, white potatoes, rice etc.) You can have starch but scale down the portion sizes. What you need to do is concentrate on water based carbs. (fruits and veggies) and lean protein and keep up your activity.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Will Sit Ups Give You a Flat Stomach

For years people have asked me for an abdominal routine to make their stomach flat. There are also countless women who want a magic exercise for a smaller butt and thighs. The sad truth is, there are no exercises to make anything smaller. You can encourage muscle growth to make your arms bigger. You can tone up your abs or thighs, but you can't spot reduce any body part. Some people spend a half hour on crunches and can actually increase their waist size. ( They wind up building muscle under the fat they're trying to lose)
Trainers may differ on their approach to fitness but most everyone agrees that the best way to decrease a fat body part is a combination of cardio and nutrition. It is important to include weight training but not for melting away a keg and turning it into a six pack.
If you want to get the best use out of a half hour, try 5 minutes (with a variety of crunches) after 25 minutes of cardio. Even better yet wear a heart monitor and stay in your target heart zone for a half hour while including your ab routine during your aerobics.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

How To Improve Balance

Most people first begin an exercise program to look better or to lose weight. The things that you improve first, some may find surprising. Along with increased energy, better sleep and a better attitude, you can also improve your balance. A good trainer will do a variety of exercise that you may see others doing in a gym, but will a balance challenge. What this entails is performing an exercise while standing on one foot or while seated on a Swiss Ball. You can also try to do some of the good old standards (curls, lateral raises or d/b presses) while standing on a Bosu Ball. This is one of my favorites. This devise is a half dome ball that can add variety and intensity to almost any routine. The idea is to challenge the body now and force adaptation so as we age we don't find, "We fallen and we can't get up".
What is very encouraging is how quickly people can improve. In under three weeks I have introduced a balance challenge routine to a lady I work with over 70. Things that she didn't even want to attempt before are now a breeze. The best thing is its fun. Any time you can put exercise and fun in the same sentence, its a good thing.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Cardio vs Free Weights - What's Better

If your main objective is to burn calories or fat, what's the best way to go? As I tell people, if you want to burn fat, keep your heart rate up for over 20 minutes. The first 19 minutes in your target heart zone (optimum heart rate intensity) you burn mainly refined carbs. After minute 20 you start using fat as an energy source. So cardio is a proven fat burner and the objective is to go longer for a sustained period of time.
Free weights on the other hand burns calories in the short run, but not necessarily fat. Weight training does however build muscle. This in turn will rev up your metabolism and create a calorie deficit. When it comes to weight loss, improved body composition and better definition it all comes down to one thing. You need to burn off more than you take in. If you put on ten lbs. of muscle you will increase your metabolism buy 300 to 500 calories a day. This means that you can eat the same (hopefully better) and lose weight. The key to putting on 10 lbs of muscle is to keep changing what you lift and the way you lift it.
So the answer to the questions is : They both are important. You can do both if you have time or try circuit training like we do with a heart monitor. Just keep the heart rate up while you do the weight training. It also make the time fly !

Monday, August 9, 2010

How Much Time Do I Need To Exercise

As the old saying goes, "A little bit of something is better than a lot of nothing". If you don't have an hour, sometimes 10 or 15 minuets will do. If you want to lose weight the best prescription is three to five times per week for about 30-45 minutes. Unfortunately that may be difficult for most people with busy schedules. Luckily you can actually have better results when you combine a little exercise with proper eating habits. Remember you can burn 300-600 calories in an hour and you can negate that with three fattening mouthfuls.
If you want to get started with some quick results, try a 10-15 min walk after lunch. This does two things. First is the walk, second is the fact you'll eat smarted just knowing the walk is coming. After this becomes a habit (which is important), try to do some strength training. You can buy a pair of dumb bells and do a quick routine in 10 or 15 minuets when you're pressed for time. Make sure you use good form and make sure the weights are appropriate for the exercise. ( I use over 200 lbs. for some exercises and 5 lbs. for others). We offer a three session package that teaches you how to do a dumb bell routine in no time at all. Call 818-248-0170 for details

Friday, August 6, 2010

What To Eat To Lose Weight

One of the biggest concerns with people I work with is weight loss. You can spend some money and go to a nutritionist or a personal trainer. You can try Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers or any of the others weight loss centers or you can just follow some basic advise.
There are three types of food, fat, protein and carbs. Without getting too specific, you want to have all three groups represented in every meal. The best bang for your buck is a book on food calorie counts. For under $10 Corinne Netzer has a book called The Complete Book on Calorie Counts.
Most people have the same thing 80% of the time. Learn the calories and make up that 80% and make sure their productive to weight loss. Look at labels and learn how you're spending your allotment of calories. Is that bag of chips worth it.
One word of advice, don't get too crazy when you start. Never lower your calories by more than 500 at a time. In the long run you'll do better because you won't slow your metabolism down. Its takes less pain and deprivations and its more doable in the process. Another thing you don't want to skip meals (that means breakfast ). You also can have a snack between your three meals and actually make better progress. (a snack is under 100 cals.)

Monday, August 2, 2010

Why A Little Sore May Be A Good Thing

If you want to access if your fitness routine is working, sore muscles are a good indicator. What actually happens is a slight breakdown of muscle tissue due to increased activity. Micro fissions or small muscle tears produces the soreness that along with proper nutrition causes hypertrophy. This is the opposite of atrophy which is what happens in time if you do nothing.
The trick is to just get a "little sore" which promotes growth instead of "hating life sore". The latter is not only unnecessary but counter productive. If you want to make progress and you've been working out you need to keep changing what your doing. The same routine for for too long will stop being productive. One thing Joe Weider (The Godfather of Body Building) got right was muscle confusion. A good trainer will make the necessary changes that will make the progress you want and the variety to make it fun and interesting.