Browse Month: June 2016

body-building

Fitness Tailored To Your Needs

 

body-buildingWhether your goal is to lose weight, increase your fitness level, train for an event, or just feel better, individual and small group training can help you achieve that goal.

In your sessions, we will use a variety of equipment and techniques to help you achieve optimum fitness.  Each activity is geared towards your specific fitness objectives and your likes and dislikes.

Stability Ball

Resistance Tubing

Dumbbells

Bosu

Matwork

Training takes place in your home or outdoors, weather permitting.

A variety of packages are available to fit your lifestyle and budget.

Contact me for more information or to schedule an appointment.

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Frequently Asked Questions

phil-heath-and-jay-cutler-www-muscleshunk-blogspot-com-6Q. What does a personal trainer do?

A. A personal trainer will develop a fitness plan tailored specifically to your personal goals and needs.  He or she will provide guidance on the type, frequency, duration, and intensity of exercise activities you should perform.  He or she also provides feedback on proper form, body alignment, and exercise safety.  Most importantly, a personal trainer should motivate you to achieve your optimal fitness level!

Q. Why do I need a personal trainer?

A. If you are new to exercise, a trainer will help familiarize you with different types of equipment and various modes of exercise.  For intermediate and advanced exercisers, a trainer can provide new workout routines and techniques to take your fitness to the next level. 

Q. How often should I meet with a trainer?

A. This depends a lot on your personal preferences and motivation.  Some people find that 2 to 3 initial meetings to set up a routine, with periodic check-ins every couple months, are sufficient.  Others prefer the consistent feedback and motivation of 1 to 3 sessions per week.  Beginners may prefer more frequent contact with a trainer to start with, and reduce frequency as they become more familiar with the workouts and the equipment.  For those who are training for a sport or event, consistent contact with a trainer may be desirable.

Q. How do I know when I’ve found the right personal trainer?

A. First of all, you should feel comfortable with your trainer.  Some find they are more comfortable with a trainer of one gender or the other.  He or she should listen attentively to your health status and fitness goals, and keep them in mind when designing a program.  Your trainer should not only provide you with feedback, but accept feedback from you on what is or is not working with your fitness routine.  Finally, he or she should also provide encouragement and motivation in a positive– not critical– way.

Q. Can you create a diet or meal plan to help me lose weight? 

A. The short answer is no.  A personal trainer does not create diets or meal plans, unless he or she is also a Registered Dietitian (R.D.) or other qualified health professional in the field of nutrition.  I will be more than happy to discuss dietary basics with you, such as food groups, calorie intake vs. output, and healthy food choices.  If you need more specific guidance on diet or meal planning, I would recommend that you seek the advice of a doctor or R.D.

Q. Will you create workouts I can do in my home or while on travel?

A. Yes!  I can provide you with specific advice on fitness you can incoporate into all aspects of your life.

Q. What happens if I miss a session or have to cancel at the last minute?

A. If you do not give 24 hours notice before cancelling a session, you will be charged the normal rate for that session.

Q. Will weight-training give women bulky muscles?

A. For women, developing large muscles is very difficult and can take months or years of a true bodybuilding routine.  The average woman participating in a weight-training regimen can expect to gain muscle strength and endurance, but not a “bulky” appearance.  When combined with cardiovascular training and dietary modifications, a woman may also see increased muscle tone or “definition,” but again, developing large muscles is a myth.  For men, a progressive weight-training routine to continually overload the muscle fibers will generally result in the development of larger muscles.

Q. How often do I need to do weight-training?

A. The American College of Sports Medicine guidelines recommend 2 to 3 weight training sessions of 20-30 minutes each on nonconsecutive days of the week.  All the major muscle groups should be targeted in a weight-training routine.  Since the body needs time to recover from a weight-training workout, “more is not better” and may result in injury from overtraining.

Q. How often do I need to do cardiovascular training?

A. Current recommendations from the American College of Sports Medicine indicate 20-60 minutes of cardiovascular activity on most days of the week to achieve and maintain fitness.  Note that cardiovascular activity is cumulative, and can be performed in bouts of 10-15 minutes several times each day to reach the recommended total.

Q. If I have a health issue or physical limitation(s), can I still participate in an exercise program?

A. With permission from your doctor, you most likely can participate in an exercise program.  Your doctor should let you know activities or movements you need to avoid and at what intensity level you may exercise.  Exercise programs can be tailored to nearly any individual’s specific needs.

Q. If I am pregnant, can I start or continue an exercise program?

A. Yes, with permission from your doctor or midwife.  If there are no pregnancy-related contraindications to exercise, many women are able to continue workouts up until they deliver.  However, it will be necessary to alter some exercises and reduce intensity level as the pregnancy progresses.  For moms who are just starting out with exercise, pregnancy is not the time to begin a strenuous workout routine.  Moms who are already regular exercisers are often able to continue their pre-pregnancy routines with some modifications.  As a mom who has now exercised through three pregnancies, I can say that exercise is beneficial for a healthy mom and a healthy baby!

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Tips for Fitness and a Healthy Life Style

 

john-cena-muscles-photo-800x443Make small, attainable changes.  Don’t expect to immediately overhaul your entire life in one day.  Start with one change, such as deciding to eat 3 servings of fruit per day.  Once you have succeeded with this change for several weeks, add another small change.  Baby steps are the key to adopting a healthy lifestyle.

Avoid blanket pronouncements: “I’m never eating ice cream again!”  Not only is this unrealistic, it also sets you up for feeling as if you’ve failed by “falling off the wagon” even once.

Work up to your workouts.  If you are new to exercise, don’t try to jump into a 6-day-a-week routine.  You may place yourself at risk for injury.  Start with 2-3 days per week and add workouts as your fitness level improves.

Try something new.  If all you ever do is walk the treadmill, you may be missing out on something exciting.  Why not try yoga, a ballroom dance class, or martial arts?

Break it up.  Cardiovascular exercise doesn’t have to be completed all at once to be effective.  Try several 15 minute sessions throughout the day.

Burn more calories, Part 1.  Adding a weight training component to your workouts will help develop lean muscle tissue, which burns more calories than fat tissue, even when your body is at rest!

Burn more calories, Part 2.  Choose to be active in your daily life: Choose the furthest parking spot from your destination, use the stairs instead of the elevator, take stretching or walking breaks during the workday, walk or bike places instead of driving whenever it’s practical.

Be realistic.  Is it really feasible to try to get into your high school jeans?  (Besides, they’re out of style now anyway!)  Someone once said, “We can’t all be as thin as supermodels.  That’s why there’s only 10 of them and millions of the rest of us!”

Set reasonable goals.  Find something you can work towards, such as feeling your clothes get looser, losing 10% of your beginning body weight, or increasing the amount of cardio you can do by 5, 10, 15 minutes.  When you have achieved one goal, set a new one.

Reward yourself.  When you’ve made progress, whether it’s losing 10 lbs. or sticking with your workouts for 4 weeks in a row, be good to yourself.  Download some new music, get a manicure, or shop for new workout gear.  (But don’t go for a bag of Oreos or a Triple Whopper!)

Keep a food journal.  Even if it’s just for a short period of time.  Writing down every morsel that passes your lips (be honest!) can help you get a handle on your dietary patterns.  For example, if you raid the vending machine every day at 3pm, it might be time to think about bringing a healthy snack from home.  Or maybe you spend all evening picking at dinner leftovers in the kitchen, undoing all your conscientious eating during the day.  Changing these patterns can be the key to a healthier lifestyle.

Make exercise a social event.  Join or start a neighborhood walking club.  Agree to meet up with friends at the gym.  Find a “workout buddy” so that you both feel the pressure not to let the other person down.

Make exercise a family event.  Go for family bike rides, join a swimming pool, or play sports together.  Even a game of tag is great exercise for everyone.  Not only are you spending time as a family, you’re setting a great example for your kids by teaching that exercise is important.

Get enough sleep.  Research indicates that people who get less sleep tend to be hungrier and consume more calories the next day.  When you’re tired, you’re also less likely to have the energy to work out.  Strive for 7-8 hours a night.

Control portions.  At home, use measuring cups, spoons, and a kitchen scale to dole out portions in accordance with packaged serving sizes.  At restaurants, push half your food to one side of the plate and only eat the other half.  Or ask for a doggie bag to wrap up half before you even start eating.

Practice moderation.  Don’t set yourself up for deprivation!  No food is totally off-limits, but rich, fatty, or sugary foods should be saved for special occasions and eaten in small amounts.  If it’s not YOUR birthday, do you really need to eat a whole slab of chocolate cake?!

Don’t cut out food groups.  Cutting out all carbs or skipping fruit because it has “too much sugar” will lead to dietary imbalances.  Weight loss will be temporary at best.  A balanced diet of nutritious foods will help you lose or maintain your weight.

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Pre-And Post-Natal Fitness

 

9685d6e8ed634bd43053002e8c7a8410Having exercised through three of my own pregnancies, I have a particular interest in fitness for moms.  Stay in shape    throughout your pregnancy and regain your shape after your baby is born!  Throughout my pregnancies, men and women        alike approached me with many questions: “Is it safe for my wife to work out during her pregnancy?”  “Can I still (fill in an exercise) when I’m pregnant?”   “Can I exercise and still breastfeed my baby?”  There’s a lot of myths and misinformation         out there for expectant and new moms.  It is one of my own personal goals to help educate and inform mothers about the  benefits of exercise for their own health as well as their children’s health.

Learn more about MamaStroll stroller exercise classes.

Pregnancy

Pregnancy can be both an exciting and nerve-wracking time.  However, for women experiencing a normal, uncomplicated pregnancy, exercise is one of the best things you can do for yourself and your growing baby.  If you have been exercising        prior to becoming pregnant, in many cases you can continue your activities throughout the pregnancy with some modifications.  The most important aspect of exercising during pregnancy is to listen to your own body.  Do only what feels right to you.          This is not a time to push your boundaries or try to make significant fitness gains.  For women who were fit before pregnancy, think of this as a time of maintaining your current level of fitness.

If you have not been regularly exercising prior to your pregnancy, consult your doctor or midwife before beginning any type of regimen.  For women with low-risk pregnancies, walking, swimming, light strength training, and yoga are generally appropriate.  As your pregnancy progresses, you can expect to see some improvements in your fitness level as well as your sense of well-being.  But this is not the time to begin a rigorous routine or attempt a complete “fitness makeover.”

All women should check with your doctor or midwife to find out if your exercise activities are appropriate.  Some activities with  high potential for falls or injury are specifically contraindicated in pregnancy, such as downhill skiing, horseback riding, and   scuba diving.  Activities such as group exercise classes, cardio machines, and strength training, can generally be safely   attended by pregnant women.

You may find you need to make some modifications to your exercise activities during your pregnancy.  In the first trimester, fatigue and nausea often keep women away from the gym.  But light exercise can actually help combat these symptoms, so consider scaling back your workouts in duration and intensity before giving up completely.  If your symptoms are severe enough  to keep you away from your workouts for several weeks, resume them slowly when you are feeling better.  Don’t expect to jump right back in where you left off.  In the third trimester, a displaced center of gravity and significant weight gain often contribute to   a lack of balance and general feelings of awkwardness.  If this makes it difficult to attend your favorite step class or keep up    your jogging routine, consider switching to an aqua aerobics class or hi-low aerobics class geared towards pregnant women.  Fatigue becomes an issue again towards the end of pregnancy, so adjust your intensity and/or duration accordingly.  As in the first trimester, continuing to perform some exercise may actually improve feelings of fatigue.

During any exercise, you should STOP IMMEDIATELY if you experience dizziness, abdominal cramping, bleeding, or contractions.  Contact your care provider before resuming any physical activity.

Pregnancy is not a time for weight loss.  Be sure to eat a well-balanced diet and consume enough calories to nourish both you and your growing baby.  Drink plenty of water, not just during exercise, to maintain proper blood volume and amniotic fluid    levels.  Should you have any questions about what to eat during pregnancy, consult your care provider or a registered dietitian    for specific advice.

Postpartum

Most women can safely resume exercise within a few weeks of delivery.  Consult with your care provider to find out what is appropriate for your situation.  Once you have been given the go-ahead to return to your workouts, remember to start back  slowly.  One exercise you can resume within days of the birth are Kegels.  You can do them anytime, anyplace!

Research has shown that exercise does not affect breastfeeding in mothers who consume adequate water and calories for lactation.  Thus you can resume your workouts without worrying about being able to feed your baby!  Nurse just before your workout to prevent any discomfort, and always wear a supportive sports bra.  Post-workout, shower or wash off before nursing– Sweat is full of bacteria, and not very tasty either!

Many women are concerned about postpartum weight loss.  For some women, particularly those who breastfeed and/or   exercise, the weight comes off relatively quickly and easily.  But this is not always the case.  It may take 6 months or more        to lose all the baby pounds, especially if you had excess weight gain during the pregnancy.  Don’t get discouraged!  Through exercise and proper nutrition, the weight WILL come off.

If it is hard to find time to work out with a new baby around the house (and I know it is!), try incorporating your baby into your workouts.  Try a MamaStroll class, where you can get fit and meet other new moms!

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Company Philosophis

 

maxresdefault-6Fitness is not an endpoint or a finish line, but an ongoing effort to maintain a healthy body.  It is best achieved through consistent, well-rounded exercise routines incorporating cardiorespiratory training, strength training, and flexibility training.  Proper nutrition and hydration also play key roles in attaining and maintaining fitness.

MamaStroll Philosophy

A healthy family begins with a healthy mom.  Exercise pre- and post-natally contribute to a mother’s well being, self-confidence, and ability to cope with the demands of parenting.  It also benefits the child or children, by demonstrating a healthy lifestyle and importance of exercise.  Mothers should be able to get a full body workout, including strength and cardio training, without feeling like they are sacrificing time with their child (ren).

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How to Get Abs

rich-pianaAsk anyone what body part they wish they could change or alter. 99.9% will tell you their midsection or abs. Abs are extremely desirable. With them being so desirable, there is tons of bullshit surrounding the process of getting abs because everyone wants that quick fix. Everyone wants to find that next miracle training program or diet. It just doesn’t exist, folks. The magic potions, pills, powders, body wraps, and infomercial “ab blasters” routines just don’t work in the long run. The lack of proper information and overwhelming amount of misinformation is extremely misleading and confusing to most. I have personally fallen into the traps and gimmicks at some point and time in my life and I wish I knew now what I didn’t know then. I learned from the mistakes, but it was a waste of time and energy I could have been putting towards other fitness endeavors. My goal for this blog post is to properly inform you about what ACTUALLY works in the long term. Getting abs, contrary to popular belief, is extremely simple. With that said, there is no “quick solution” to your long term problem. It takes time and dedication, but the process is unbelievably simple.

Top 5 things to nail down to get abs:

1) Reducing bodyfat percentage. Everyone has abs believe it not. Some just have some extra “cushion” in front and around them. Visible abs are as simple as lowering your body fat to a desirable percentage. For women, anywhere from 12-18% is desirable. 12% being EXTREMELY lean. For men, anywhere from 6-10% is desirable. 6% being EXTREMELY lean. The lower ranges of these body fat percentages are not sustainable or good for your health, though. Anywhere in the middle of those numbers you will see your abs. You reduce your body fat percentage primarily by reducing the calories you eat. Refer to #2 below.

2) Caloric intake. I don’t care if you eat nothing but chicken and broccoli 6 times a day. If your calories are too high, you will not lose body fat and reveal your abs. I’m not saying to weigh every single drop of food on a food scale, but I am saying to monitor and have an overall idea of what you are eating on a daily basis in terms of calories. To reveal those abs, you have to lose body-fat. To lose body-fat, you have to decrease your caloric intake to be at a caloric deficit. Simply put, eat less than your body needs and you will lose body-fat. Depending on how severe you reduce your calories will dictate how fast the weight comes off. However, “starvation” type diets don’t work long term and calories should be reduced gradually. Fad dieting works, but not for the reason you think. Enjoy the foods you love and monitor caloric intake, it’s really that simple.

3) High protein consumption. No, high protein diets do not overload your kidneys or give you colon cancer or heart disease. High protein diets are extremely healthy and beneficial when it comes to losing body-fat. High protein consumption is associated with satiety (feeling full) and is extremely important when dieting on a calorie reduced diet. The fuller you feel, the less you eat. Also, high protein consumption ensures your body retains, or at least minimizes muscle loss. Sure, we can all lose weight, but we don’t want to lose hard earned muscle and have the “skinny fat” look. How much protein? 1 gram/lb of what you weigh. For instance, if you weigh 165, you need 165 grams of protein a day to ensure your body isn’t catabolizing it’s own muscle tissue.

4) Veggies. Really, veggies? How many times have you heard “eat your veggies”? Well, thank whoever told you this because they are right. The health benefits of veggies are numerous and everyone knows veggies are good for you, but probably not the reason you are thinking. Unfortunately, veggies don’t make us lean or make our abs pop out. That’s not how it works or why you should eat veggies. You should eat veggies because they are extremely satiating and fiber rich. Sateity + fiber rich content = fuller longer. Fuller longer = less calories eaten (majority of the time). Also, veggies are high in micronutrients which ensures your body is getting everything it needs in a state of caloric distress. The fiber content also allows your body to stay regular and digest the food you are eating.

5) Exercise. Obviously, I couldn’t leave exercise out of my top 5. However, it’s probably not the type of exercise you are thinking. No, it’s not some infomercial “ab shredder” program. No, it’s not me telling you to do 1000 crunches and sit-ups a day. No, it’s not some fancy machine that “makes your abs pop”. Listen, that’s all bullshit. The REAL workout approach that works is to lift moderate to heavy weight and allow more recovery time between sessions due to you being low on calories. Your body needs a stimulus as well as recovery time. Anywhere from 6-12 reps is fine. Lifting weights while dieting to get abs is ESSENTIAL. ESSENTIAL. Why? Simply put, when you train in such a manner (lifting heavy weights) you ensure that you are preserving your muscle mass while dieting. High reps aren’t necessary, don’t believe the “high reps equal tone” bullcrap. It’s simply not true. Also, in addition to lifting heavy (I advise 3-4 days/week), 30-45 minutes of cardio on off days is a good idea. Not absolutely necessary, but a good idea. Cardio will aid in your fat loss goals.

There are many “programs” out there that promise you results. All I am saying is don’t buy into the marketed BS. If it sounds too good to be true, it is. Especially in the fitness industry. Follow these 5 keys above and you will surely be on your way to six pack abs. It takes time and dedication, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. Simplicity is the name of the game when it comes to reaching your fitness goals. You just have to be willing to put in the time and sacrifice it takes to get to where you want to go.

Takeaways/Key Points:

-Reducing bodyfat is the only way to get visible abs. No one exercise or food is going to give you abs. It’s a combination of things.

-Reducing caloric intake is the only way to lose bodyfat. If you eat more food than you expend, regardless of food selection, you will not lose weight. Can you lose weight eating nothing but junk? Yes, but keep in mind your overall health is what’s most important

-High protein consumption keeps you fuller longer and preserves your lean body mass while your losing fat. Win, win.

-Veggies ensure proper digestion, sufficient vitamins and mineral intake, and are very filling. Veggies are good for you in every spectrum. EAT YOUR VEGGIES.

-Exercise accelerates fat loss, given that your diet is on point. Exercise increases your metabolism, preserves muscle mass, and improves the way your body uses the nutrients you are feeding it. Lift heavy weights. “High rep = more tone” is a myth. LIFT HEAVY WEIGHTS.

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Nutretional Basics You Need To Know

 

rich-featured1Nutrition plays a critical role in your fitness and physique endeavors, everyone knows that. We have all heard it before. We all have an idea of how important nutrition is and how important it is to nail down in order to have any success with transforming your body to your ideal physique goals. But with all of the different approaches to nutrition nowadays, it can be extremely confusing to pinpoint what is right and what is wrong. There is so much misleading information out there in regards to proper nutrition and it can be hard deciding on who and what to believe or what approach to take. Sometimes our own research can lead to more confusion than when we started. I’m here to tell you that it ISN’T that complicated. For majority of people, nutrition is actually quite simple. We try to over complicate things and think too much. Maybe you have jumped from fad diet to fad diet with little to nothing to show for it. It’s okay, we have all been there. My objective is to equip you with the only real knowledge you need to succeed with your nutrition.

I am going to cover some of the basics you need to know and apply in your every day nutritional regimen, regardless of your goals. There are so many “diets” out there and they all have their pro’s and con’s. Why do they work, though? What fundamental principle do they all encourage and incorporate into their “diet” approach? Why do people get results when trying these different diets? What makes these diets so special compared to just eating normally?

There are a number of reasons why most diets work, but the most important is CALORIE CONTROL.  For the most part, when you jump on a fad diet you automatically start consuming less calories than you were before because you have to exclude certain foods or food groups from your diets. That’s all fad diets are. You have to eliminate certain foods because the diet tells you to. In turn, your calories are decreased and you lose weight. Was it really the “diet” you were on that caused you to lose that weight? NO! It was the simple fact that you decreased your caloric intake. But after weeks of eliminating and avoiding the foods you love, you can’t take it anymore. You go right back to where you started and binge out for a few days or perhaps weeks in some cases. That’s not healthy and thats the dark side to fad dieting. There are actually many diets out there that claim you can eat as much as you want but still lose body fat and get lean; that couldn’t be further from the truth. Don’t believe the hype. It’s scientifically unsound to claim such. I’ll try to explain in layman’s terms and keep it as simple as possible for people who don’t care much for the scientific reasoning behind weight loss/gain. Losing weight and achieving your goals doesn’t have to be dreadful, and you don’t have to jump on a fad diet in order to lose weight. You have to follow one simple principle – calorie control.

Essentially, your body needs a set number of calories per day to maintain, lose weight, or gain weight. It’s really that simple. Figuring out these numbers are quite simple as well. Your caloric intake is dependent upon your goals, your bodyweight, and your activity levels. If the amount of calories you put in your body are less than what your body demands to maintain it’s weight, you will lose weight. If the amount of calories you put in your body is more than what your body demands to maintain it’s weight, you will gain weight. It’s pretty simple. It’s called thermodynamics. Energy in and energy out is the number one factor in losing or gaining weight. Depending on how drastically you reduce or increase your calories will dictate how fast or slow you lose or gain weight. In my opinion, and many other professionals in the nutrition industry, this is the most important and critical key in achieving your physique and weight loss goals. Calories are energy. If we burn more calories than we take in, we lose weight. If we take in more calories than we burn, we gain weight. Very simple, right? I could end this blog post right now and send you on your way but most people take this concept WAY out of context and assume you can consume nothing but junk food and fast foods and achieve your desired goals. It’s actually true. You can lose bodyfat and get a six pack by eating nothing but donuts and pizza, but let’s be smart here and use some common sense. Calories are calories at the end of the day but being mindful of your overall health is very important. Let’s get into some specifics of what calories are made up of and the details of each. Calories are made up of three different macronutrients:

1) Carbohydrates (4kcal/g)

2) Protein (4kcal/g)

3) Fat (9kcal/g)

Each macronutrient has their place in your diet. Before we begin, let’s understand that I am not trying to give you a biochemistry lecture. Instead, i’m breaking it down into simple terms you can understand. All too often I see complex posts that leave people more confused than when they started. That’s not my objective with this post. I will explain some science behind my reasoning, but i’m keeping it as simple as possible for your sake. Let’s begin…

1) Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates have gotten a bad rap lately. You see it everywhere. Low carb diets, ketogenic diets, etc. They promise weight loss, and although weight loss occurs, you usually end up right back to where you started because you can’t go the rest of your life without carbohydrates. With that said, carbohydrates are not an essential macronutrient. Meaning, carbohydrates do not need to be consumed in order to survive. However, you are different if you are reading this post. You are an active person and carbohydrates are your best friend. Carbohydrates are a fuel source for intense activity i.e. weight lifting, running, crossfit, bodybuilding, strength training, etc. Carbohydrates fuel your body for bouts of intense exercise. If you have ever experienced with a low carb diet while training intensely, you know why carbs are essential. You get that foggy feeling, you feel weaker, your muscles are flat, your energy is almost non existent, your recovery sucks, and overall you just don’t feel good. Carbohydrates are essential for performance in trained individuals. They give your body the energy it needs to perform at it’s best. If you are active and participate in daily intense exercise, you need carbs. Period. Carbs are also essential in terms of recovery and building muscle. After intense exercise, your body has more than likely depleted a good bit of glycogen and it needs to be replaced through the form of glucose in order for it to repair and recover properly. By consuming carbohydrates, you ensure your body is ready for your next exercise session. Carbs are also protein sparing. I’m trying to keep this as simple as possible for you guys. How many carbohydrates do you need to consume? It completely depends. First, you need to figure out your total caloric intake depending on what your goals are. When you have your caloric intake numbers, a good rule of thumb for active individuals is setting your carbohydrate numbers at 40-50% of your total caloric intake. That tends to be a great number for active individuals. Once you figure out your carbohydrate numbers, hit those numbers daily and adjust accordingly with how much weight you are losing. Does carbohydrate source matter? In terms of body composition i.e. losing weight, gaining weight, no, carbohydrate source is irrelevant. BUT, in terms of overall health, I always encourage people to opt for more micronutrient dense sources of carbohydrates: sweet potatoes, potatoes, rice, oatmeal, and vegetables. (Fruits are a completely different story. They are broken down into fructose, which has also gotten a bad rap as of lately for no apparent reason. There’s a lot of research behind fructose consumption and the takeaways are that you would need to consume insanely high amounts of fructose to ever have any issues. Simply put, enjoy your fruits, fit them into your total carb intake for the day. Fruits are your friend.)  Back to me encouraging micronutrient dense sources. Am I saying you should stay away from completely avoid “simple” carbohydrates? Not necessarily. Again, at the end of the day carbohydrates turn into glucose in the blood. That means sweet potatoes and twizzlers both turn into the same substance, glucose, at the end of the day. You’re probably telling yourself right now “I can eat twizzlers everyday and get lean and healthy!” The answer is yes you can to a certain extent, given that your micronutrient content for the day is met. It’s all about common sense, moderation, and context with regards to carbohydrates. Always opt for micronutrient dense sources of carbohydrates, but don’t be afraid to have some “simple” sugars every now and then. Use the 80/20 rule. 80% of the time, eat the micronutrient dense sources: sweet potatoes, potatoes, rice, etc. 20% of the time you can enjoy the sweets and candy you love, have the lucky charms and candy. Just don’t expect to consume ONLY junk food for your carb sources and get the results you want. Overall health is important, so make sure you are getting your vitamins and minerals for the day as well. Remember, though, glucose is glucose and in terms of body composition i.e. fat loss and muscle gain, carb source is irrelevant.

2) Protein

Protein is essential for your goals. I’m not going to get into the science here, just know that protein is essential. Tissues, cells, organs, cartilage, hair, nails. They are all formed by protein. It’s safe to say protein consumption is essential for overall health and well being. But, what about people who are active? Do we need more protein than sedentary individuals? You betcha. Why? Physical exercise by itself literally breaks muscle fibers down and in order for these fibers and their filaments to repair, protein has to be present. Now, your body does a pretty dang good job of replacing amino acids that are broken down by your body. It’s a natural process that occurs just sitting around doing nothing. Just think of it this way: physical exercise does this on a larger scale. It places the demand of protein consumption on your body. In order for your body to repair, recover, and grow, your protein numbers need to be quite high. Again, not getting into the nitty gritty science of it all, just giving you general guidelines for you to incorporate into your daily nutritional regimen. There are two different types of protein: incomplete and complete. Complete proteins contain all the essential amino acids. Incomplete proteins do not. What are some good sources of protein, and how much? I always encourage people to opt for animal sources of protein, as their amino acid profiles are much better than non-animal sources. With that said, non-animal sources of protein do have their place as well. Here’s some good sources of protein: lean red meat, eggs, chicken, turkey, pork, whey protein, and milk. How much? For people who train, .8-1 g/lb of bodyweight. Example: If you weigh 180 lbs, you would need to consume 140-180 grams of protein PER DAY to ensure your body is getting enough protein to preserve it’s lean muscle tissue. The awesome thing about protein is the numbers you need are pretty consistent regardless of your goal. If you want to gain muscle, that number doesn’t change much if you decide it’s time to lose some body fat. Protein is highly thermogenic as well, meaning your body uses alot of energy digesting and breaking down dietary protein. It’s a win win. Another benefit of dietary protein is it’s extremely satiating. You get fuller longer by consuming a high protein diet. Fuller longer = less total calories for the day, in most cases. Win win again. Keep your protein intake at .8-1g/ lb of your lean body mass and your good to go, regardless of your goals. Protein intake stays consistent no matter what the goal. Pretty simple

3) Fat

Ahhh, fat. The dirty culprit, right? The artery clogging, heart destroying demon, right? No, not at all. The low fat era put a really bad name on fat and some people still demonize fat and blame it for the cause of obesity and health issues. Research, however, has proven this to be completely false. Fat is an absolute essential macronutrient you need to consume if you want to be a healthy individual. In fact, fat is your friend. There are four different types of fats: saturated, unsaturated, polyunsaturated fats, and trans fats. Which are good, and which are bad? Let’s first understand no fat is “bad”, per se. Everything has to be viewed in a contextual manner. As long as you are getting enough of the essential fatty acids your body needs, some “bad” fats isn’t going to kill you or hinder your results. I will say this, though. I always encourage people opt to get ~90% of their total fat intake from healthier sources of fats: avocados, eggs, olive oil, coconut oil, peanut butter, nuts, and seeds. Again, i’m not getting into the nitty gritty science of the different types of fats and all of their benefits, i’m giving general, basic nutrition advice that I think everyone should know. How much fat, you ask? .3-.4 g/lb of bodyweight is a fine number. Example: A 200 lb male needs around 80-100 grams. Just do the math, it’s pretty simple. Why are fats essential? What good do they do us? Fats are essential in the sense that our body can not make what we need (triglycerides, cholesterol, essential fatty acids) on it’s own. We must consume fats that contain these in order for our body to carry out it’s functions properly. Fat soluble vitamins (A, K, E, D) are stored in the liver and in fatty tissues and play essential roles in our body. Just know that they are good and we need to eat them to be our healthiest. They help protein do their job, protect our vital organs, and insulate us. Pretty important stuff, right? Fat is also essential for men and women who want to keep their hormones functioning properly. Our ability to produce testosterone is highly dependent on our dietary fat intake. Testosterone, regardless of gender, is extremely important for quality of life, gaining/losing weight, and other bodily functions. Fat intake is also essential for women in the sense that it regulates and produces ample amounts of estrogen for healthy hormonal function. If our hormonal functions are not functioning at a high level, our ability to recover from intense exercise decreases and will hinder us from our goals. There’s alot of misinformation out there regarding fat and it’s sad that most people have fallen victim to the misinformation. I do not care what any guru says about fat, scientific research has proven fat is not the culprit in obesity and heart issues and is an essential macronutrient for our body. Now, I am not saying go crazy with the fat intake, because too much is just overkill. At 9 calories per gram of fat, it’s very easy to overconsume dietary fat. Keep a close eye on your fat intake in regards to your total caloric intake, they tend to add up pretty quickly. Again – moderation, common sense, and context. Too much of anything can cause us to gain weight, no matter how healthy it may be.

As you can see, every macronutrient has their role in a persons diet. Every macronutrient has unique differences and functions. No one food or macronutrient causes weight gain or weight loss, everything must be looked at in context. Too much of anything can cause weight gain, regardless of how healthy and filled with vitamins and minerals it may be. In order to lose weight, we must be at a caloric deficit. In order to gain weight, we must be in a caloric surplus. Always opt for the more micronutrient dense foods but never be afraid to include the foods you love in moderation. Always be cognitive of the calories you are consuming and don’t go overboard with any one macronutrient thinking it will enhance it’s benefits. Too much of anything is overkill and unnecessary. Calories are king when it comes to losing weight. Although food choice is important for ensuring your body is getting it’s vitamins and minerals it needs, it is not the determining factor of weight loss or weight gain. Calories dictate that.

Here are my dietary recommendations, regardless of your goal:

1) Eat plenty of vegetables

2) Reduce (not eliminate) refined sugars, junk food, fried food, soda

3) Increase protein intake (chicken, fish, turkey, eggs, lean red meat, etc)

4) Eat plenty of healthy fats (avocado, olive oil, coconut oil, peanut butter, etc)

5) Drink plenty of water, stay hydrated, and reduce (not eliminate) other sources of liquid calories

6) Consume carbohydrates in context, meaning eat the amount of carbohydrates your body needs to sustain your activity levels, always opt for healthier choices

7) Don’t worry about eating 6-7 small meals a day (it’s a myth), instead look at everything in the big picture and make sure your calories and everything are met on a daily basis

8) Do not eliminate foods you love , instead reduce the amount or reduce the frequency of eating these foods to ensure your sanity and well being

9) Enjoy your foods. It’s pointless to eat foods you don’t enjoy, regardless of how healthy they are. I’m not saying to eat nothing but McDonalds because you love McDonalds, but opt for foods you enjoy that are in accordance to your goals

10) Don’t look at your diet in the sense of it being a “diet.” Look at it as changing your lifestyle around and opting for healthier choices to improve your health

Conclusion & Takeaways:

Caloric intake dictates weight loss or gain regardless of food source

Carbohydrates are essential for active individuals

Carbohydrates turn into glucose regardless of source (except fruit – fructose)

Carbohydrates improve recovery, mood, and overall well being

Protein is the building blocks of our entire body and musculature

Protein consumption is mandatory for active individuals

Protein consumption is highly thermogenic, in which case can lead to weight loss due to satiety

Protein preserves lean muscle tissue in the case of a caloric deficit

Fat is not the enemy, in fact it’s quite healthy

Fat regulates hormonal production, which is essential for individuals trying to better their health and physique

Fat is twice as high in calories per gram than protein and carbohydrates

Fat is essential in the sense our bodies can not make up essential fatty acids on it’s own, we must consume dietary fat

Look at your diet as a means of becoming healthier and changing your lifestyle, not as something that’s dreadful or for shorter durations of time

Nutrition is very important, but don’t fall for the fads and quick fixes

Use common sense and moderation in your nutrition approach, reduce the things you know are holding you back

Always keep your overall health in consideration, look at everything in context instead of going to extremes

LAST BUT NOT LEAST – STAY ACTIVE, ENJOY YOUR FOODS, ENJOY LIFE, nutrition and fitness shouldn’t control your life, it should only improve it

I hope you guys enjoyed my advice. I tried to keep it as simple as possible for everyone who isn’t well read or informed about nutrition. I hope you can incorporate some of these concepts into your life and make use of them. Remember, fitness and nutrition both are marathons, not sprints. This is a lifestyle, not a quick solution for your long term problem. Treat your fitness and nutrition endeavors as a learning experience and never quit learning or evolving. What may work for someone else may not work for you. You’re your own unique individual and the only way to know what truly works best for you is through trial and error. I’m out!

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How to Choose the Right Fat Burners

leepriest-md-wallpaperIf using a fat burning supplement is already an option in your quest to finding a way to lose weight, then you need to study your choices. There are many fat burner pills available in the market and you need to know which one best suits you and provide you with the best possible results. To learn how to choose the right fat burners, you have to know about the things that you need to consider. 

Do your online research. So how do you choose the right fat burners? You can now do an online search to find the most effective and also the safest fat burners. Look for the one that improves your fat burning process and suppresses your appetite. Actually, this is so cliché because almost all weight loss supplements in the market today claim to speed up metabolism and suppress the appetite. When you search online, you’ll see that the weight loss pills are categorized into two, the natural fat burner pills and the prescription diet pills. All fat burners in both categories can block up to 25% of dietary fats from the foods you eat. The Food and Drug Administration and some medical communities have proven them clinically safe and effective.

Safety measures. In the case of natural fat burners, their efficiency was questioned in the past because of the presence of “Ephedrine” in their components. But this issue has long been corrected. But the thing is there are prescription fat burner pills that are specifically designed for treatment of obesity. Your health might be at risk if you consider taking such pills. Some of the harmful effects of these prescription diet pills to your body include loose stools, irritable bowels, oily complexions, and to some extent, brain problems. You wouldn’t want to be slim and dumb right? So make sure that you choose the fat burners that are clinically proven safe and effective.

Metabolism booster. As you pay serious attention to your weight problem, you need to learn how to choose the right fat burners for you. One of the characteristics of an effective fat burner is it increases your metabolism. Choose a fat burner that can provide your body more energy which will be used for burning more calories. Fat burners are amongst the weight loss supplements in the market that can help speed up your metabolism. They also help improve the fat burning process of your body whether directly or indirectly. 

Go for quality. All consumers want to buy high quality products including weight loss supplements. To make sure that your fat burner is of high quality, choose those that are of pharmaceutical quality.

Appetite-suppressing capability. If you want to achieve the best possible result, don’t just count on the fat burning ability of your fat burner pill. The ability to suppress the appetite must be given equal considerations because it can help reduce the amount of food that you eat. Check out also the tangible results that your fat burners produce. 

Go get yourself a doctor. You can ask your doctor early on before you look for the best fat burner pills. It’s always a good idea to seek the advice of a professional especially when you want to know which fat burner pill is right for you. Before you start your weight loss program, it is recommended that you first get a thorough physical examination. This is for health reasons so you may know if you have any health problem that might be seriously affected as you take any fat burning supplement. Most fat burning supplements available in the market today no longer have strong components that may be harmful to your body. However, this is what manufacturers claim so it is always best that you consult your doctor so you will be guided accordingly. 

Should cost be a huge factor? Lastly, you must also take into consideration the cost of your fat burner because we all want to get our money’s worth for this weight loss supplement or any product for that matter. But if sticking to lower costs would mean poor quality and higher health risks, you better think twice.

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5 Effective Ways to Flatten Your Billy

maxresdefault-7Diet and exercise may be a good combination to lose weight but they may not be enough to help flatten your belly. A lot of people despite doing regular crunches and sit-ups, feel that they are getting nowhere when it comes to toning their belly area.

It is undeniably difficult to flatten the abdominal area because of several reasons. The idea of some people of what a flat tummy should be is not viable. Actually, even some fit and toned people could not achieve a fully flat belly. This is typically true especially for women because their genes would allow them to allocate certain amount of fat in the belly area that comes in handy during pregnancy because the fat is used as a cushion for the growing fetus.

The fat belly area cannot only be accounted for the excess abdominal fat or the absence of musculature in the belly area. Abdominal bloating and distension can also be the reason for having a fat belly area. If you turn your attention to these problem areas, it would be easier to deal with the dilemma of having a fat belly. Aside from crunches and sit-ups, check out these 5 ways to flatten your belly and have the abs that you’ve been dreaming of.

1. Correct your posture. Many people don’t realize that even a flat abdomen can look fuller if you have a bad posture. And unfortunately, most people are unaware of their poor posture. In addition to your abdominal crunches, it would make a difference if you also do exercises that can improve your posture. Standing against a wall with your back pressed against it and your stomach muscles tightened is a good indication of what good posture should be. Until the time that having a good posture becomes a second nature to you, you’ll notice your belly area looks the way you want it to be.

2. Lessen your intake of gas producing foods. If you have too much of beans and vegetables in your diet, chances are, you will experience abdominal distension and bloating because of too much gas. Broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage are also known as cruciferous vegetables and discerned to be gas producers. Most beans, which include soybeans, are also on the same category. This means that if you take too much of soy based products; you can be prone to abdominal distension and bloating. These can also happen if your diet is too high on fiber or worse, you rapidly increase your fiber intake. Avoid eating too much of gas producing foods to help flatten your belly.

3. Change your lifestyle Habits for the better. Lack of sleep and excessive stress are two of the major factors that can cause abdominal fats. Your abdominal fat will increase if you also increase the secretion of cortisol in your body. If you don’t have enough sleep and you are always stressed, then the secretion of cortisol is definitely escalating which can lead to your fat belly. If you can’t avoid being stressed, at least find an effective way to deal with stress, and have at least 7 hours of sleep every night.

4. Avoid using artificial sweeteners. Sugarless products like chewing gum may seem healthy but in reality, they contain artificial sweetener that can also cause abdominal distension and bloating. When you are chewing gum, you allow air to be swallowed and this can cause abdominal fullness. If you have the habit of chewing sugarless gum, stop. It can make a difference to help flatten your belly.

5. Intensify your Cardio. If you want to flatten your belly area, you need to remind yourself that it’s not all about abdominal exercises. Even if you do hundreds of crunches and sit-ups every day, your abdomen will still look fuller if you have too much body fats all over your body. It would be a lot better if you also do exercises that will help strengthen your cardio system to help burn fat effectively and faster.

The above suggestions are just 5 of the many ways to flatten your belly. You don’t just focus on abdominal exercises but rather address the problems totally to make a difference.

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5workout Routines That Strip Down Fat

maxresdefault-8Having a regular routine that you do each day can really make a difference when you are trying to lose weight. It would be better if you can choose a workout that is not so hard to do. The goal is to find an activity that you can do each day or every other day, something that can be done consistently and the type that will not give you any reason to quit.

Most people who want to lose weight wanted quick results. But the thing is we have a body that is not programmed to seize results in an instant. You did not gain those unwanted body fats overnight so it makes sense that you cannot get rid of them quick and easy. Together with proper diet and nutrition, try any of these 5 workout routines that strip down fat to help you achieve long lasting results.

1. Running. One of the best workout routines that can help you strip down all those unwanted fat is running. It is a cardiovascular exercise that when done religiously on a regular basis can help you lose weight all over your body. When you run, you get to move every part of your body so it can be a heavy cardio routine. Running alone can provide you a high intensity body workout. Although it looks simple and easy, you still need to consult a doctor before running particularly if you have previously experienced knee, back or any other sort of physical injury. If you have a choice, sand and grass are the best surfaces to run although running on asphalt is also acceptable.

2. Swimming. This body building cardio routine helps strengthen your whole body. Swimming is a great workout to help you lose weight all over your body. Aside from strengthening your stamina and endurance, swimming can also improve your heart rate. If your weight is around 150 pounds, you can burn 900 calories when you swim one mile in 30 minutes. At first, it may seem odd to expect to swim at such speed but in time as you swim more frequently, you’ll see that it can actually be done effortlessly. 

3. Cycling. Not only does it help you burn calories but riding a bike also gives you the chance to explore your surroundings. If you can’t fit into your busy schedule a time for exercise, then this workout routine is just perfect because you can just use a bicycle to get to your school or office. That is of course if you know how to ride a bike. And if you do, always take extra precautions. Cycling helps improve your strength and stamina. Cycling can help you burn 480 to 596 calories when you go 12 to 13.9 miles per hour.

4. Walking. This excellent workout routine is good for your cardio and it’s so easy and accessible. For best results, you don’t just stroll but go brisk walking instead. And as much as possible, move your arms while walking to help burn more calories. You can also bring this workout routine to the next level by carrying small dumbbells or wrist-strap-on weights with you while walking. To accelerate your weight loss, combine walking with interval running.

5. Playing sports. Another great way to burn calories and stay fit is playing sports. Some of the best cardio sports include basketball, football, and badminton among others. When you include any of these sports in your workout routine, you can burn 560 calories when you play in an hour. Any kind of sports is actually an excellent way to burn calories. You just have to choose the one that you enjoy doing.