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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