Wednesday, May 1, 2013

A Great Way To Make Exercise More Effective

For the past 20 plus years people have come to train with us. Almost everyone wants to lose fat and tone up. A heart monitor is a useful tool that makes this goal easier to accomplish. You can see what your pulse rate is by looking at a watch you wear on your wrist. This keeps you accountable and makes your workout not only safe but more precise and effective. Most people who have never worked out are amazed at how little they need to do to get "aerobic". We’ve proven that if you don't overdue it and you don't hate the process; you may actually stick with it.
One reason to work out a little longer is because of the fat burning equation. This tells us that during the first 19 mins. of aerobic exercise you burn mainly carbs that you've eaten (glycogen). After 20 mins. you begin to use fat as an energy source and hence begin fat burning. Think about this next time you stop your cardio after 20 mins.
Don't worry about figuring out your target zone. Every heart monitor comes with a simple chart so you don't need to do any math. Finally you can spend about $40 or $400 and the difference is mainly bells and whistles. The cheaper ones are also easier to set up and get going.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Eat More and Lose Weight

What most people find in a conventional diet is quick weight loss followed by an eventual plateau. What may unfortunately follow is an eventual weight gain. The reason for this is something called starvation mode efficiency. The body reacts to a sudden calorie deficit by slowing its metabolism down. This has been done over the centuries as a survival mechanism. The body begins to conserve energy and stores fat. It sees that calories have become scarce. If you were used to 2500 calories and then go down to 1500 you will initially lose weight. The body in time will learn to make those 1500 calories a set point. In other words it maintains body weight on 1500 calories. For additional weight loss you will need to cut the 1500 down to 1200 or even 1000 calories a day.

For most people, after a few weeks of starving yourself, the willpower will wane. After you went to 1500 calories you may start to inch up to 1700 or 2000 calories a day. The upshot: the calories that used to maintain weight will now make you gain weight. The simple answer is never cut your calories by more than 500 at a time. Slow weight loss can be permanent weight loss. Quick weight loss is usually followed by quick weight gain.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Weights or Cardio: What's Best?

Most people who want to lose weight take the diet approach. Some of the more ambitious add exercise or cardio. Walking, treadmills, bicycles or elliptical trainers are considered cardio. As a trainer who specializes in weight loss, I’m often asked “What’s better strength training or cardio.”

Making an effort to watch your calories is a good place to start. As you get older, unfortunately restricting calories will often be accompanied by a slower metabolism. This is the main reason that experts recommend that exercise accompany eating more wisely. Notice I didn’t say dieting. The first three letter of diet are what: DIE.

The answer to the question what’s better, weights or cardio comes with much debate. The vast majority seem to favor cardio. The reason to me is the fact that anyone can walk and it’s easier. Cardio will burn calories while you walk and for a short period after.

Exercise when performed correctly adds muscle. This increases your metabolism even while you sleep. For every pound of muscle, your body needs 30-50 extra calories to maintain this new biologically active tissue. The side effect is a tighter body and the need to eat more to sustain new muscle growth.

As you can see both methods are important, especially as we age. In a perfect world or for those with great willpower the answer is to do both strength training and cardio. If you have limited time like most of us, I have a suggestion. Try circuit training.

Circuit training is moving from one exercise to another in with little or no break. This may sound exhausting but when done correctly it’s not. I do this with 90% of my clients. You warm up on the treadmill or elliptical for 5 minutes. After that step off and do one or two exercises and then back on the treadmill. The treadmill keeps the heart rate up in between exercises. This way you get cardiovascular benefits while you tone and sculpt your body. If you don’t have a treadmill you can still do circuit training but you may need some help designing an exercise routine you won’t hate.

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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Get Healthy and Lose Weight Too

Now that we’re all done with the Superbowl celebrations it’s time to get serious about getting healthy. I have a few tips that make it easy to do a little and get big results.

The first thing is easy. Eat a healthy breakfast every day. Make sure you have at least 20 grams of protein. Avoid starchy carbs. such as bagels, toast and pastries. My favorite choices are Greek yogurt or cottage cheese. I use fruit and walnuts to make it taste better.
Make an effort to eliminate excess sugar. The sugar habit is one of the worst culprits when it comes to weight loss. The good news is that in a fairly short time you can break the cravings. Like salt, sugar is a taste you will stop craving if you go without it for a short while. Take a month off from sweets and you’ll be glad you did.

Drink more water than you are currently drinking. Most people including myself don’t drink as much water as they should. Many authorities agree that drinking more water can lead to weight loss and better health. A good trick is to start first thing in the morning with a big glass while you get ready. Have a glass before lunch and dinner and your set.

Load up on water based carbs. Try to add veggies and even fruit into your diet. Veggies have three things your body needs on a daily basis: fiber, water and minerals. This one thing alone will help you lose weight and become healthier. You can add veggies as a mid day snack or replace a starch side dish with an extra vegetable for dinner.

Finally add more movement into your life to boost your metabolism. Most fitness experts agree that the prescription for exercise is three to five times per week. Don’t worry this includes walking. Don’t forget weight training however. Thin and flabby is not a good thing either. You would be amazed how adding one or two more days a week can be the difference between gradually losing all the weight you want or just spinning your wheels.

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Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Eight Hour Diet Follow Up

 My last post was to the millions of people looking for a sensible way to lose weight. The diet I’m reviewing says you can eat all the foods you love and lose weight easily. The only real restriction was that you were to eat during an eight hour window. This means delay breakfast until 10:00 AM and have dinner by 6:00 PM. You can use any eight hour window.

What I found after three weeks, this is a great way to eliminate late night snacking. You are a little hungry in the morning but any restrictive eating plan requires some sacrifice. The author said you could lose seven lbs. in just 10 days. I only lost about 3.5 pounds. I didn’t go crazy and kept to my usual smart eating plan. I think if I ate all the fun foods that I love this would have been a crash and burn experience.

A few things differ with me that the usual person trying to lose weight. I didn’t want to lose any significant weight. I also workout more than most and burn a lot of calories with my personal training clients. These factors make me less likely to be a “Big Loser”.

Eating any way you want for eight hours is only going to make you lose weight if you used to pig out for 10-12 hours. For most people eating smart to begin with, this plan will be OK but will only produce modest results. One thing I found, if you wait until 10:00 or 12:00 for breakfast you sometimes skip lunch. This alone will cut calories if you skip a few lunches a week.

In conclusion, if you want to lose weight you need to burn more calories and take fewer calories in. Any program that gives structure and restricts calories is better than no plan at all. You want to avoid impulse eating be it breakfast, lunch or dinner. The Eight Hour Diet is easy to follow but eat smart. You will avoid late night snacking, skip a few lunches and lose a few pounds. 

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Thursday, January 10, 2013

A Diet That Isn't a Diet

I was watching the Today Show and they had an editor for Men’s Health on the program. He has written several books called “Eat This Not That”. His new book has a program that made several impressive claims. You can eat for any 8 hour period and then have nothing for the next 16 hours. This he said leads not only to quick weight loss but also to more energy and less catastrophic disease.

This plan says you should concentrate on 8 super foods and that this it is not an excuse to pig out. You could have large quantities of food during the 8 hour period and can also indulge in comfort foods like pizza, ice cream, cake and even wine. (You can have all your favorite foods).

When you get up in the morning just delay breakfast and start eating about 10:00-11:00. One important thing you miss with a program like this is the metabolism “jump start” you get in the morning by eating breakfast. You can get around this by having some coffee or tea and then walking for as little as 8 minutes. This is only for the morning jump start and should not replace any exercise you have planned.

On the one hand the author says you can eat all your favorite foods but on the other hand he says this is not an excuse to pig out. He says to make sure to concentrate on the eight “Super Foods” like nuts, legumes, yogurt, asparagus, turkey, whole grain and dairy etc.  So you can see this is not calorie restrictive only time restrictive.
What I plan on doing at this point is to conduct my own personal experiment. I weighed in this Monday and have begun my version of this program. Stay tuned for as update on what I found next week.

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