Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Keeping Your New Year's Resolution

Here are some tips to help you succeed at reaching your goals. 1) Assess where you are now and where you want to be in five years. 2) Set realistic goals and choose 4-8 not 20-30 different things. Make your goals achievable. 3) Set a deadline and don't procrastinate. Make various targets that you can achieve along the way. Use the ladder approach so your goals are broken up. 4) Get a resolution buddy or a trainer to help keep you accountable. Even if you can only see a trainer once a week for a workout and a weight in, it will keep you from backsliding. 5) Visualize for 3-5 minuets a day and see yourself where you want to be. Studies have show how the mind can't distinguish between real and imaged memories. ( This may be the biggest bang or secret for your success) 6) Set a measurable place where you want to be in three months. Three months is a long enough time frame to see results or make adjustments that may be needed. Finally, after you get ready in the morning, smile in the mirror. Tell yourself, This is going to be a good day and I have what it takes to get where I want to go. All these steps may sound easy or unimpressive. Put them together and give it a few months. What do you have to lose? (No pun intended)

Monday, December 27, 2010

Fat Free Equals Fat Gain

Many people are now trying to lose a few pounds for a good New Year's start. You may think of buying a few items that are fat free to help get the scale moving in the right direction. Here are a few examples of why that's often a bad idea. Two tablespoons of peanut butter are 191 calories but a reduced fat alternative is still 186 calories.( Not much of a help) A 1/2 cup of regular granola is a whopping 257 calories and so is its reduced fat partner at 237. Fig newtons are only 180 calories a serving but non fat newtons are 210 calories for the same amount. ( That was a surprise to me)
The main problem is, when they take out fat they add sugar, flour or some fake stuff that may be worse that the fat they replace. In addition some people eat more of non fat items thinking they are eating lower calorie. As you see by my examples, this can result in weight gain not weight loss.
When it comes to sweets, look at labels and watch your portion size. You may want to try fruit or even frozen grapes or other fruit to help slow you down a bit. Remember you need to take in fewer calories than you burn to lose weight. A few sweets a the end of the day can turn a day that would of been a win and turn it into another day of stagnation or even weight gain.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Burn Fat and Stay Motivated

People often ask me, what's the best way to burn fat. A few thing may help your chances of success in fat burning and therefore successful weight loss. In general you need to add weights to your cardio if that's all you do. Add cardio to your weight program if that's all you do. Weight lifting adds muscle which speeds up your metabolism and working in you target heart zone burns fat. One thing to remember, moderate intensity and longer duration is more effective than a 20 min. sprint when you hit the elliptical, bike or treadmill. Go for about 30 to 45 mins. at a rate where you could carry out a conversation. When you go full out you burn more glycogen (carbs) than fat. After min. 20 you start using fat as an energy source. Fat was initially intended as a slow burning energy source for our hunting ancestors. It takes a while to get it burning.
If your time is limited you may want to try circuit training. Most of my clients workout with a heart monitor which allows for cardio and weight training at the same time. The idea is to get the pulse up first with a 3-5 min. warm up. Perform various sets of weight lifting exercise then return to the cardio machine of your choosing. You can either talk or walk between exercises. One may be more fun but the other burns a lot more fat.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Get Fit for New Years

The best time to get fit has always been the beginning of January. In addition to wanting to lose the additional pounds we put on during the Holidays, the new year always has a clean slate feel to it. In my opinion, the best way to accomplish your goals is to be realistic and take it slowly. Remember a practical weight loss plan is one to two pounds a week. I know we all see the Biggest Loser and want to lose double digits a week but that's TV and we live in the real world.
If you start with a sound and practical plan, there is a better chance you will get where you want to go. One of the biggest mistakes people make is that they cut too many calories all at once. If you start to aggressively, you can slow down your metabolism and you'll be doomed from the start. Never cut more than 500 calories at a time. This is easier to do and much more beneficial in the long run. The best piece of advice is to get a book on food calorie counts. If you learn how many calories are in the foods you eat you will start making better choices.
As far as exercise, a good place to start is two days of weights and one day of walking or cardio. You want to increase your metabolism as you tone the muscles and this will help in both areas.