Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Vegetables are very water-dense which helps make you feel full without a high calorie count. To help with portion control, start both your lunch and dinner meals with a salad. Make sure you have some broccoli, carrot, or cauliflower to help satisfy the "crunch" factor and increase chewing. Chewing more increases the time it takes to eat anything so you are more likely to feel satiated and eat less. Adding a heart healthy fat (dressing) will also satisfy your taste buds and increase your absorption of certain vitamins. Before you know it, you won't consider lunch or dinner complete without a salad.
Monday, December 29, 2008
Most individuals tend to ignore the calories associated with what they drink. Most calorie dense beverages have little nutritional value or are "empty" calories. Choosing only low-or-no calorie drinks makes sense if you are trying to lose weight. To make matters worse, studies show that people we eat as many calories whether they drink the high calorie or no calorie options, so you are thwarting your own efforts. Start with replacing one of your high-calorie drinks with a lower calorie alternative each week and see if you don't see more improvement with your weight loss goals.
Friday, December 26, 2008
It's the holidays and the time is ripe for having a lapse (brief periods of inactivity). Preventing lapses from becoming relapses (extended periods of inactivity) through prevention is key. Keeping these periods of inactivity short will make it easier to get back on track. Even better is identifying your own high-risk situations and proactively develop a plan to deal with them. Having friends and family over can disrupt even the most disciplined person so work on getting exercise in early in the day or plan to incorporate an activity with others throughout the day (walking in the neighborhood, flag football game, ice skating, etc.). Typically, there are preparations necessary for company or a large event, chip in and ask if there are tasks to be completed that may require some physical activity (raking leaves, cleaning bathrooms, vacuuming, etc.). Knowing that football and/or other fun spectator sports may be on television, plan to get up during commercials or half-time to move around and stretch. Maintaining the habit of being active is the primary challenge, so even a small amount each day will help keep you focused on your ultimate goals and reinforce the benefits of regular activity.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
As a personal trainer, I see individuals wanting to get fit and lose weight only through exercise. Exercise will only go so far without changing eating habits. According to a University of Missouri Study (Men's Health, November 2008), found that participants were able to lose weight through eating management and working out. Both groups were then asked to add 500 calories to their food intake. Half the group kept working out and the other half did not exercise. The results? Both groups gained weight. It goes back to calories in, calories out. Exercise doesn't always change that equation. Exercise can help in balancing the intake and improving overall fitness but to keep the weight off, we all need to watch what we eat.
Monday, December 22, 2008
In order to get the most out of your workout, you want your body to be functioning at it's best and being hydrated is key. How do you determine if you are drinking enough water? Some objective measures to use are:
- Losing more thant 1% of your bodyweight. Weigh yourself first thing in the morning and use the next two items to determine your hydration status.
- Your first urination will tell you the most about how hydrated your are--low volume and dark color indicate dehydration (these can be altered by sweating, so check volume and color before working out).
- If you are thirsty, you need water. If you combine this with weight lose, lower urine volume, and darker urine color you need to up your intake of water.
Friday, December 19, 2008
Although research has shown that breakfast is important to maintaining your health and fitness, lunch is not that far behind. Lunch meals can determine how much energy you will have for the rest of the afternoon and into dinner time. You need to accommodate for a number of factors. Do you workout during lunch? Do you have time for a "lunch hour" or do you have to squeeze it in between meetings? Are you heading out to happy hour after work? If there are other plans that may prove to be an obstacle for you to have healthy meals, you need to be prepared. For more information about eating a healthy lunch, check out the American Dietetic Association.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Most research supports the idea that writing down everything you eat as a strategy to both lose and maintain weight. The same strategy can be applied to exercise. Not only does writing down your workouts help keep you motivated, it can also help you work out longer. When researchers asked exercisers to write down ideas to make their workout more enjoyable, they increased their workout time; focusing on positive experiences appears to be more motivating. To incorporate this idea, take a few minutes each week to write down how you can make your routine more fun (i.e. try a new class, listen to new music, or exercising with a friend).
Monday, December 15, 2008
There has been some information out there stating that overweight but active women are better off than there non-active, normal weight peers. There is some contradictory research indicating that even if you are active, if you are overweight you still have a 54 percent higher chance of developing coronary disease than healthy weight individuals (Archives of Internal Medicine). Increased activity is unlikely to reduce your risk of heart disease if you are overweight. If you are fit, but carrying a few extra pounds, start to slowly cut calories from you food intake and add some higher intensity intervals. For additional information, check out the American Heart Association's website.
Friday, December 12, 2008
Sometimes pairing different intensity levels can lead to better results. For example, consider doing Yoga after a high-intensity aerobic workout. This will keep your contracted muscles loose and the cool-down will make the workout more pleasant. If you are an easy jogger throughout the week, why not try a long weekend run to increase your staying power and make your shorter runs seem effortless. On the slower side of the scale, if you are a walker, think about adding bursts of speed to increase your metabolism and burn more calories. Whether these particular ideas work for you, it is usually helpful to shake up your routine to keep motivated, make workouts seem less difficult, and boost your confidence.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Fitting your workout in is more difficult during the holidays. Why not do your workout at home? Developing a home workout can be easy and fun. The simplest way to workout at home is to go to the library and check out some exercise videos. Most libraries have a number of titles covering numerous activities. When you look for videos, make sure you choose one that is appropriate for your level of fitness. You can usually find this information on the cover. Choose a number of options, so you can rotate through the videos throughout the week. With the number of videos available, you can create your own "class" schedule for a few weeks. Make sure you have enough room to do all the movements required in the video without running into furniture and be sure to have a mat or cover for the floor exercises.
Monday, December 8, 2008
During the holidays, you want your workouts to be efficient as possible so consider the following to get the most out of each session.
- Make sure you have plenty of energy; you can't maintain intensity without fuel so eat properly before a workout.
- Use the active recovery principle. Perform opposite movements (pushing/pulling) in a superset fashion, letting one muscle group rest while the other works. Another strategy is to do a core exercise between sets.
- Work your whole body; don't bother with body part workouts. Working major muscle groups through compound exercises will build muscle and burn fat.
- Keep your rest time low. Keeping your rest period down to 60 seconds helps keep your heart-rate up, resulting in a more intense session.
Friday, December 5, 2008
When you exercise, the type of energy that is consumed differs as you change the intensity. As you increase your intensity, the contribution from fat decreases, while the contribution from carbohydrates increases. But where the energy comes from is not the most important thing but rather the amount of calories that are consumed which determines weight loss. The higher the intensity, the higher the total number of calories burned per minute. So, there is no "magical" zone that will burn fat just what you already know -- staying active daily and monitoring your food intake -- is the way to lose weight and stay fit.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
With the busy holidays you may be tempted to skip the stretching part of your workout to decrease time but this could backfire in the long run. You risk losing your range of motion and stability if you skimp on stretching. New research indicates that there is more than one type of stretching and they accomplish different things. Dynamic stretching increases muscle and body temperature, improves joint flexibility, and muscle functioning through a range of motion. This type of stretching is useful before you do a workout and after a light aerobic warm-up. The stretching you might be use to is static stretching; stretching a muscle until it relaxes. This type of stretching helps increase flexibility and is usually done after a workout. The newest type of stretching is myofascial stretching; applying pressure with a foam roller. This type of stretching can be done whenever you want and helps decrease overall tension in the muscle. If you get stuck for time, focus on stretching the muscles you are going to work or the muscles that are typically the tightest for you. Regardless of which stretching is most appropriate, make sure it gets done.
Monday, December 1, 2008
With all the holiday parties and activities, it pays to be prepared. Manage your festivities with the following tips:
- Never leave home hunger. You will be better able to resist some of the tempting tidbits featured as holiday events. This allows you to bypass items you would normally eat if hungry.
- If a craving occurs, do something else. Go wrap a gift, help trim the tree, go for a walk. Any activity that takes you away from eating will allow the craving to pass.
- Mingle, mingle, mingle. Rather than spending all the time by the buffet table, talk with people at the party. Make your goal to re-connect with friends you haven't seen or meet new people.
- If you are bringing something to the event, provide a low-cal item. If you are struggling with holiday temptation, so are others. They will be thrilled to have an alternative.