Tag Archives: Metabolism

Goodbye love handles. Hello Sexy Abs!

Are you sick of muffin tops and love handles, or are you comfortable with the roll of flab that pops over the waistband of your jeans and ruins the sleek line of fitness clothes, clingy sweaters, and tailored shirts.

A lot of people think that they can get rid of this annoying bump with daily sit ups. While crunches do tone muscles this exercise alone will not get rid of love handles. Do you know why? Well it’s because love handles aren’t muscle. They’re fat, and to burn fat you need a healthy diet and a rigorous cardiovascular program.
A good overall plan for 30 to 45 minutes of cardio three to four times a week, strength training (including the exercises below) two to three times a week, and a day of rest every week so your body can rebuild muscle. Spice up your workouts with a variety of cardio approaches will be the most effective — don’t just stick to only the elliptical or just a few spinning classes. Getting stuck in a cardio routine can lead to a plateau. Instead, you want to keep challenging different muscle groups. My personal favorite high-intensity interval training to burn fat is TurboFire. You get results quicker instead of working at the same steady pace throughout your workout.
Your initial goals will be weight loss and trimming down the fat. Once you’ve done that — or at least made significant headway — you can start to tone the muscles underneath your love handles. As you burn fat and increase your metabolism through building muscle, that extra padding will eventually go away.

Ab Workout: Kiss Love Handles Goodbye

Make these five exercises part of your plan to tone waist and hips:
1. Bicycle Crunches: “This exercise will work your internal and external obliques as well as the rectus abdominis [the largest ab muscle],” Keigher says.
Lie on your back, knees bent.
Place hands behind your head without interlacing your fingers. Lift your head slightly.
Twist so that your left elbow goes toward your right knee while you extend your left leg.
Pull your leg back in and extend the other leg, twisting so that your right elbow goes toward your left knee.
Build up to 3 sets of 25 reps each.

2. Standing Trunk Twists
Stand with your feet about hip-width apart.
Keep hips and legs facing forward as you twist to the right, extending your left arm out (like a punch) to the right.
Twist in the opposite direction (left), extending your right arm out in a punch to the left.
Aim for 100 repetitions.

3. Lying Leg Twist
Lie on your back with your arms stretched out to the sides, hands flat on your mat.
Lift legs and bend knees so that your calves are parallel to the floor and your thighs form a 90-degree angle with your torso.
Lower both legs together to one side so that your outer right thigh touches the ground on the right side, maintaining the 90-degree angle.
Return them to center and then lower to the other side so that your outer left thigh touches the ground.
Build up to 3 sets of 25 reps each.

4. Side Planks: “This exercise strengthens your core, in the front and the back,” Nasser explains.
Lie down on your right side, leaning on your elbow.
Extend your legs out straight, with your feet stacked. The edge of your right foot should be on the floor.
Use your core to hold your body up in a straight line (you can modify it by putting your right knee down on the floor if you need support). Hold for 20 to 30 seconds, or longer if you can.
Lower yourself fully to the floor and switch sides.
For added challenge, lift the top leg and hold it up so that it is not touching the bottom leg.
Holding each side for about 30 seconds, do four or five reps, and increase as you get stronger.

5. Seated Russian Twists
Sit on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat.
Hold your arms out in front of you, hands pressed together.
Lean back about 45 degrees. With a slow, controlled movement, twist to your left side. Return to center, and twist to your right. That’s one rep.
One full rep should take about 20 seconds. Take a breath and repeat. Start with four to five reps, adding more reps as you get stronger.
For an added challenge, lift your feet off the floor as you do this exercise.
If you eat a healthy, low fat diet and burn more calories than you take in, and enjoy a good mix of cardio and ab workout time, you’ll watch your love handles start to melt away within a few weeks.

Resource: Healthy living from everyday health.

Don’t let summer binging wreck your hard work!

By: portions why Jillian Michaels.

Don’t let summer get togethers and picnics destroy your new diet and fitness goals. Here are a some tips to help keep you on track and you’ll feel better, too!

It’s Memorial Day weekend and summer is kicking off, even though we had snow in my neck of the woods yesterday. That means, summer foods, drinks, outfits – and challenges. Summer can throw people off their game plan because it seems fun to join in with the crowd, but it doesn’t have to.

Alright, so let’s break down the biggest issue — food. I’m not going to call names, but some of you are planning on hitting a barbecue on the weekends. Am I right? I can envision the usual spread. Burgers, hot dogs, baked beans, corn on the cob, potato salad, chips, cookies, chips, snack foods — the whole nine yards. Anyone thinking they’ll have a run in with an ice cream cone, icy, or a fruity, syrupy frozen drink too? Yeah, I thought so.

Let’s keep it simple. You can’t expect the world to be on the same page as you when it comes to your nutrition plan and goals. You also can’t expect to find a bounty of healthy, organic, and nutrient-packed foods at your friend’s cookout, your neighborhood block party, or along the beach boardwalk. You will need to plan what you’ll eat or what you’ll bring, and how you’ll respond to tempting situations before you face them.

You can bring healthy dishes to the cook out, snacks in your cooler for the beach and you can make smart decisions to skip the mayo-heavy potato salad. Preparation is the only way to know you’ll stay in control and won’t undo the good work you’ve started. Got it? It’s been said that “Discipline is about choosing between what you want now and what you want most!” This weekend, it’s all on you. What kind of summer will you have? One of regret and disappointment in yourself — or one that keeps you moving you towards your ultimate healthy goals? I know all of my rockstars will make the right decisions.

What fun summer plans do you have lined up? What’s your strategy to have a blast while staying on-track? Here are a few summery dishes to keep in mind this weekend.

5 Signs Your Body is Toxic

 

By Kim Kash

 

5 signs your body is toxic

Do you sleep 8 hours but wake up groggy? Are you perpetually grumpy? Do you crave sugar? Are you gaining weight even though you’re exercising regularly? Is your cholesterol through the roof even though you think you’re eating right?

If this sounds a typical day for you, your body may be overloaded with toxins. Toxins that are causing you to gain weight, feel fatigued, and crave all the wrong foods. How did this happen?

1. You have a hard time losing weight.
Possible Cause: In modern society, toxic chemicals are everywhere. They’re in the processed food you eat, the plastics you handle, the cigarette smoke you breathe in, and more. Some of these pollutants may trigger disruptions in the body’s endocrine system and this can cause you to gain weight.

Solutions: The harsh truth is that ridding your world of all toxic chemicals and pollutants is nearly impossible. But, you do have some control. Choose to eat more whole foods. Package and reheat your foods in glass instead of plastic. Stop smoking. These solutions do require some effort, but once you start to see the numbers on the scale go down, you’ll feel rewarded for it.

2. You’re always tired.
Possible Causes: Toxic chemicals in the environment and in the foods you eat could be the culprits here too. If you’ve been feeling severe fatigue for more than six months, you could have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Other symptoms may include forgetfulness, joint pain, irritability, depression, and achy muscles. Another possible cause for your exhaustion could be mercury poisoning if you eat a lot of fish or shellfish or have mercury fillings in your teeth.

Solutions: Once again, you’re not going to be able to avoid all toxic chemicals, but you can stop smoking, choose glass and other products over plastic, and eat less processed food. If, your doctor determines that you have mercury poisoning, steer clear of fish and shellfish for some time and have any mercury filings replaced with a non-toxic alternative.

3. Your cholesterol is too high.
Possible Causes: If you are overweight or obese, your weight is one cause for your high cholesterol. Obesity can decrease your HDL (good cholesterol) numbers and increase your triglyceride numbers. Triglycerides are particularly dangerous as they can increase your risk of having a heart attack or stroke. If you are in good shape, your high cholesterol may be due to certain medications such as beta-blockers, estrogen, and corticosteroids.

Solutions: To put it simply: lose weight. If that’s not an issue but you can’t ditch the medications that are causing your elevated cholesterol levels, eat foods–such as oatmeal, fish high in omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon and halibut, nuts, and olive oil–that can help you in your battle against those numbers.

4. You crave coffee, sugar, or junk food.
Possible Causes: The foods themselves. When you eat caffeine, sugar, and other unhealthy foods, they often cause your serotonin and/or your sugar levels to spike…and then sink to lower than they were before you ingested that food. Talk about creating an unhealthy cycle!

Solution: Kick your junk food habits. Expect a withdrawal period during which you’ll be cranky, have headaches, and feel fatigued, but this will likely subside within a day or a few days.

5. You’re grumpy.
Possible Causes: Likely, your irritability is caused by a combination of the environmental and food toxins that might be causing your other issues as studies have revealed that chronic exposure to low levels of environmental toxins can lead to depression, anxiety, and mood swings.

Solution: The best way to feel better is to eat better, lose weight, exercise (it boosts the serotonin levels in your brain that help keep you happy), and make smarter decisions when it comes to what chemicals your exposure yourself to.

Admittedly, making major changes to your lifestyle is difficult. But, we also want you to feel healthier and happier. That’s why we recently launched the Beachbody Ultimate Reset. It’s a 21-day program that will help you curb your cravings, lower your cholesterol, feel more well rested, and more. Isn’t it time to stop feeling toxic and start feeling better?

You’re stuck at the same weight, now what?

 

If this sounds like you then you may need to reset your metabolism.  The human body is a well-designed, amazing & complicated machine.  Many systems work together to help you maintain a stable weight.  But, when your metabolism slows down, you may feel tired and those extra pounds just seem to pile on.  According to the American Council on Exercise, a slow metabolism can be the result of an increasingly sedentary lifestyle, poor nutrition or lack of sleep.

Calories are important to track, but they are only one part of the equation.  In order to lose weight consistently you need to make sure that your metabolism is running at top speed.

One factor that influences metabolism is your set point.  Think of your set point like a thermostat for your body. When you are home, you set your thermostat to a comfortable temperature and expect your heating or air conditioning system to respond to outside conditions and maintain your home at that temperature. By the same token, your set point raises or lowers your appetite and metabolism — the rate at which your body burns calories — in response to how much you eat.  If you consistently eat less than you body needs your system will slow down.  After a while, you have a gap between the calories you eat and those you use up in exercise, your body’s regulation system will adjust your set point upward. Your body then settles in to maintain that higher weight. This is why it’s so hard to the weight back off.

When you start to lose weight, your body’s metabolic alarm goes off. It tells your body — which strives for stability, or status quo — that you are not eating as much as usual. In turn, your body demands more food. It’s a stubborn survival mechanism that is not reprogrammed easily.  You may be tempted by the lure of crash diets.  Don’t get me wrong, they work, but only for a little while.  Your body will think that it is starving of much needed nutrients and as a result your metabolism will slow down so that it can make the best use of the resources available.

As long as your set point remains elevated, you will have intense cravings every time your body senses that you are not eating enough to maintain your present weight.

Thankfully, there are some ways you can kick your body back in gear and reset your metabolism, giving you more energy to do the things you enjoy and help you maintain a healthy weight.

Know your numbers

  1. How many calories do you burn for your gender, age, body composition and activity level?
  2. How many calories do you consume/burn in a day?

To lose a pound you need to create a deficit of 3,500 calories.

Avoid temptations

Those hunger alarms make it very difficult for overweight people to lose weight, and even harder for them to keep it off. Your body is fighting to hold on to whatever excess fat it has become accustomed to, and it does its best to replace any weight you lose. This is where you need to stick to your plan and avoid temptations.  Don’t give in to those strong cravings.  Your body needs time to readjust its settings.

Temptation can be an early warning sign that you need support. We all have moments when we can be around our favorite foods and stick to our program. But, there are times when we just sit right down and give in. Think of that craving as the first step toward actually eating the off-limits treats; think of it as the signal to call for help and reach out to someone that will support you before you start to feel like heading for the treats.

If you feel tempted, STOP! 

Stop Sign

Stop Sign (Photo credit: ladybeames)

STOP is an acronym for a four-step process that you can use to good benefit.

S — Stop!
Visualize a stop sign and hear the word “stop.” Immediately stop whatever it is you’re doing.

T — Take a deep breath.
This creates time for you recognize and look at the temptation you’re faced with, and take steps to avoid it.

O — Observe your situation, yourself, and the options you have.
Analyze what’s going on. How are you feeling? What do you want? What do you need? In your observation, use the HALT analysis. Am I Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired? That’s because we often react automatically, sometimes inappropriately. The only good reason to eat is true hunger. If there’s something else tempting you, then eating is not the answer, plain and simple.

P — Plan your correct action.
You’ve got choices, so what are they? What’s really important to you? What actions will help you move toward what matters, toward an appropriate response, and away from the temptation and reactionary eating.

Go ahead and let yourself hear whatever voices inside you are suggesting that you abandon or sabotage your healthy intentions, and pause long enough to acknowledge and respond to those voices. A good response might be, “Thanks for sharing, now move along.”

Then shift the focus away from food by doing something else: Sit quietly for five minutes and let your attention rest on your breathing; phone a friend; review a list of your motivations for getting healthy (you have made that list by now, haven’t you?) or take a walk.

Guess what?  You need to encourage yourself as you would a friend or loved one. Sometimes we are so critical of ourselves and say things about our bodies that we would never say to another person.  We’re often too willing to let ourselves fail without offering the support we would give to even a casual pal. Remember that sometimes, if you’re not hearing what you need to hear, it might be because you’re not saying it yourself.

The more often you use the STOP method to manage cravings, the more easily and effectively you’ll be able to resist temptations and overcome your body’s natural tendency to push you back to your set point.

This does get easier the more you do it, but it takes practice. After a while you get good at it, and it just becomes a habit.

Here are some things to remember:

  1. Don’t skip breakfast. Your metabolism slows during sleep. The sooner you eat the quicker the metabolism restarts.
  2. Drink 8 glasses of iced water a day. It will make your metabolism speed up to warm itself.
  1. Eat a minimum of six (and up to eight) times per day. These feedings will consist of snacks and main meals.
  2. Make lists of your favorite protein and carbohydrate foods. You should have at least five different protein foods and ten different carbohydrate foods to choose from that include vegetables and fruits.
  3. Each meal should ideally consist of 60 percent carbohydrates (from grains, vegetables, and fruits), 30 percent protein, and 10 percent fat.
  4. Eat only one serving of each food and one plateful for the entire meal. Never have a second serving.
  5. Never skip meals or snacks between meals.
  1. Have an apple. They are full of fiber and pectin that help you feel full and provides slow, steady energy for a longer period of time.
  2. Have a chili pepper. Spicy foods can increase your core temperature and your metabolism

References

  • American Council on Exercise Personal Trainers Manual, Cedric X. Bryant; 2003
  • 100 Ways to Boost Your Metabolism; Cynthia Phillips, et al.; 2009

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