I want to simplify this as much as possible and clarify that I'm not discussing what workouts to do but instead how your body fuels itself.
You've heard for years that the best way to lose fat weight is to workout as soon as you wake up. But why? Well one of the reasons is that your stomach is empty...so when your body needs fuel during that workout it will look first for any carbohydrates in the stomach to burn. If it can not find carbs, then it will go to the next "source" of fuel which is fat stored in your cells.
Now let's look at the other scenario. You workout right after breakfast. Now image that you just ate a big bowl of oatmeal with fruit. You stomach is full of carbohydrates. Now during that workout, your body is needing some fuel and it finds those carbs first so uses them first. How many carbs are in your stomach? Let's take a single serving of Oatmeal with fruit with an average of 57g of carbs. So you have 57g of carbs (of fuel potential) in your stomach that is waiting for you to burn.
So let's just use some numbers based on a 150lb woman. A one hour water aerobics workout would burn about 5-700 calories and it's research shows that your body can burn about 62g of carbs if they are available. So you eat that bowl of oatmeal and then head to your Aqua Class. You will work off that bowl of oatmeal during an hour of class plus a little more. Another example is if you Walk at a pace of 3mph you will burn about 30g of carbs so only about half of that bowl of oatmeal will be burned and the other half will be stored.
So what if you workout before breakfast (or between meals)? You stomach will be empty and will look for fuel for that workout. Not finding any carbohydrates first, your body will look for "stored fuel" which is stored fat. So instead of waiting to burn fat, your body will start using stored fat first.
This of course is simplifying the whole process and of course we haven't taken into account the amount of stored fat, or your age, or the activity being done but this gives you a simple look at how the food in your stomach, or lack thereof, effects your fat burning. Now of course if you have very low body fat and run for hours at a time, your body will need carbohydrate fuel because your body doesn't have enough stored fat to provide fuel. But that's another blog post for later.
So what if you need to eat something before working out otherwise you feel awful? Then eat a little protein and very minimal carbs. A few almonds or a few bites of grilled chicken are good. Coconut water or milk with a little non sweetened and plain whey protein is good...or just some unsweetened coconut water which gives you some natural electrolytes, and natural carbs but not enough to fill up your stomach.
Remember this: Your body will use carbs, then stored fat and then protein to fuel itself.
As many of you know, I live a fairly low carb lifestyle and this is because my body just doesn't process carbohydrates like "normal" people.
I have been living on about 60g of carbs per day (not including veges) for almost 3 years and have felt good. Lately though, I have been gaining a few pounds, feeling "slow", bloated and my allergies have been worse which are all signs to me that my body is in need of a detox of carbs. So last week I decided to do my CARB FREE DETOX for 2 weeks and my husband decided to join me.
Because I've already did this detox for 8 weeks 3 years ago to clear out my system of glucose, I'm just doing 2 weeks now.
If you have ever went carb free, you will understand that the first 4 days are the hardest, since the body is trying to clear out the remaining glucose from your system and it WANTS you to eat carbs. Sugar is a drug in the eyes of your body. Detoxing really does mean "detoxing".
Last time DAY 4 was the WORST for me. I was so agitated and my body was fighting. I woke on Day 5 not knowing what to expect (except I was ready to just cave it in!) but actually awoke feeling a calm in my body and no more physical cravings.
DAY 1: Had a large breakfast of Eggs, & Bacon....I still have my coffee (black) but we're all not perfect! Hubby & I went to Spearfish Canyon to do some hiking & exploring and were out for about 4 hours. NO Fatigue (which is the first question I get from Carb-Lovers)...we ended up at the Spearfish Chophouse for steaks, grilled veges & salad. Felt great! I am already starting to feel not so groggy.
DAY 2: I found a protein shake that tastes great & has 5g of carbs per 2scoops so I had that with some egg whites & bacon. This breakfast is my fallback as I'm not much of a morning person...and don't want to think to hard on that first meal. Really had some good energy all day. I taught a 1-hour Aqua Power class and during the class a couple of people asked me how much coffee I had that day because I had so much energy. I normally have about 3 cups of coffee...same on that day...so the energy was more about the carb free detox then anything. I was planning on putting some fish on the grill but the wind/storms had other plans. I put together some chicken, pecans, celery & onion mixed with a little low fat mayo on a bed of lettuce. Not the most creative or complex meal but it worked. Then had a snack of gouda cheese later in the evening as I watched Hell's Kitchen & Masterchef. Why do I love cooking shows even more when I'm detoxing?
Add these tasty foods to your diet and take advantage of their natural properties to eliminate belly fat & charge up your metabolism.
BANANAS: Slice one over whole grain cereal or into Greek yogurt to beat puffiness. One banana delivers 422 mg of potassium, which helps limit the amount of stomach swelling sodium in your body.
GREEN TEA: Sipping three cups of this brew a day may rev metabolism enough to burn 30 extra calories, thanks to the antioxidant compound ECGC. That's enough to drop about 3 pounds a year without added dieting.
ORANGES: Foods rich in Vitamin C curb fat absorption, and studies show that low levels of the nutrient are linked to bigger waistlines. You need only 75mg a day (the amount in one orange) to trim your tummy. It doesn't get more a-peeling than that!
SPINACH: Diets low in calcium and Vitamin C can increase your odds of gaining belly fat. This leafy green boassts both nutrients, making it doubly slimming. Add fresh into your regular salads, slowly adding more each time. Or add an omelet to get your veges in at breakfast.
GREEK YOGURT: Add some culture to your slim down shopping list. Greek Yogurt encourages the growth of good bacteria in your gut, crowding out the bloat-causing kind. Opt for a greek, unflavored type to avoid added sugars, & flavorings. Instead add your own honey, or fruit to make a perfect pre or post workout meal too!
5 Signs Your Body is Toxic
By Kim Kash via Beachbody
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?
This question comes from one of my class participants in Aqua Power last night. I'm sure everyone at some point has yelled this at their scale. You've been working out for weeks and you've hit this "weight wall".
Well what you've done is gotten over that initial weight/water loss that comes from that first 2 weeks of working out. Now that your body is getting into the workout groove...it feels like the weight loss has stopped which it hasn't really.
There are many reasons why your body isn't losing weight. For the sake of this post I'm talking about the beginner that's in about week 3 or more of working out. This isn't the advanced exerciser that may be experiencing a plateau.
The main reason is probably because your body is building muscle and muscle weighs more then that fat you were carrying around. You'll see a point that the scale doesn't seem to be cooperating with you...but actually as you gain muscle and lose that fat, your scale will show a slow down or increase and that's due to the increase in muscle.
Another main reason. When you exercise, you are creating inflammation in the body as the muscles are worked and healing themselves constantly after every workout. If your workouts include a lot of strength training, you'll experience a bit more aches due to the muscles breaking down and then repairing themselves. This process will cause a little inflammation in the body which increases the fluid/water retention in the body as a whole. This retention of fluids will show up on the scale.
Another main reason that some people see no obvious weight loss on the scale is due to an injury that the body is trying to heal. If you have allergies...or head cold or a simple scratch on your leg. The body will use all of it's "energy" to healing and not in weight loss. This idea goes hand in hand with the previous process of muscle gain. The process of building muscle strength is also a "healing" process. The body views this as a healing process and will concentrate on healing the muscle before expelling fat cells.
So just be patient and keep going with your program. The best investment is a scale that measures weight, fat % and water %. You then have a measurement to go by each week and know that an increase in your water % is a good thing.
Also...don't rely on that weight number. How are your clothes fitting? Last night the person with this question then said her arms are more toned. So I explained all of this and then said that visual weight and how you fit in your clothes is the real bonus. It's not what the scale says you number is...it's how you feel and how you fit into your clothes. That' the real scale!
Leave a comment on how you handle the scale not "moving"
Today's Blog question comes from Diane on twitter (@pbkup). Question was: Pertaining to dieting, is Dried Fruit good for you?
Answer: Well the answer is Yes & No. What do you say? Dried fruit is sweet, chewy and delicious and is a good source of concentrated vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber and.....calories.
Because dried fruit is a concentrated source for good things...it's alot of calories in a small "package". So limit the dried fruit to topping on your unsweetened yogurt or as a sweet addition to your trail mix/nuts. In small amounts, dried fruits provide a portable source for carbohydrates & calories that is needed while hiking or after a workout but remember that the calories are compact.
A tiny warning about dried fruit. Pick an organic, unsweetened option. Did you know that most dried fruit contains many additional ingredients to make them sweeter & last longer on the shelf? Common additives in one dried fruit mix are:
Tart Cherries, Diced Apple, Diced Apricots, Raisins May contain 2% or less of: Sugar, Sunflower oil, Rice flour, Sulphur dioxide for color retention, Potassium sorbate as a preservative, and contains sulfites.
Look for naturally dried fruit and mix with nuts for a healthy on the go snack. Perfect to throw into your gym back for post-workout (see blog post below!) Use as a naturally sweet addition to a high protein snack not as the main ingredient.
US NEWS recently evaluted 25 common diets for diabetics. To view the entire article with full list of common diets, click here.
"Diet is a crucial tool for managing diabetes, and weight loss can help people who are overweight prevent type 2 diabetes. The experts who rated the 25 diets below evaluated each one on its ability to both prevent and manage diabetes. Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH), an eating plan endorsed by the government, and the Biggest Loser die...t came out on top."
Interesting that the "DASH" approach was on top with The Biggest Loser diet because, "..in the judgment of our expert panelists.. Its emphasis on whole grains, fruits, and veggies matches the sort of nutritional prescription that diabetics frequently hear their doctors recommend."
So the DASH approach was the "experts" pick because it's what they hear doctors' recommend to their patients. If the doctors had it correct, then the rate of diabetes would be decreasing, not increasing at such an astonishing rate, isn't that correct?
Their take on Paleo eating: "...The Paleo diet lagged behind other ranked diets when evaluated for its effect on diabetes. Without the research to show otherwise, most experts rated it a “minimally effective” way to prevent or control diabetes."
In my opinion, diabetes is not caused by being overweight. Insulin issues & metabolic issues create a lifetime of over reactions by the body when sugar & processed grains are constantly introduced to the already overstressed body. When the body can't "react" properly to insulin spikes anymore, diabetes or even pre-diabetic reactions occur. A diet that eliminates sugar & processed grains will benefit the diabetic in every case. Carbohydrates should be only introduced in the form of whole fruits & veges and in a controlled manner to not over stress the pancreas.
I have been dealing with insulin issues for about 6 years. High cholesterol for no reason, blood sugar problems and pre-diabetes. I came across the Metabolism Miracle diet about 3 years ago which gave me the info about the effects of sugar & carbs on the pancreas and the reasoning behind this. Not long after I began to follow a Paleo Diet which had similar facts...that the body can not handle processed sugar & grains for the same reasons. I will write more about my journey with Paleo eating...but I'll give you the facts:
1. My weight is back to near normal - down 30 lbs.
2. My cholesterol is down from 272 to 183
3. I maintain carbohydrates at about 75g or below per day which keeps my blood sugar steady and my pancreas happy.
4. I'm back to working as a fitness instructor and now playing ice hockey without the terrible fatigue I was experiencing.
So do you have any questions? Use the comments area and let's discuss.
Is It Time to Eat?
By Mark Nelson
It probably is. Because if you're like many people, you don't eat often enough. According to Turbo Jam® trainer Chalene Johnson, you should eat at least five times a day. That includes three meals and two snacks. So why eat so often?
It helps prevent your body from storing fat. I kid you not. Our bodies are actually programmed to store fat, and this trait has helped us humans keep going over the eons. At many stages during our existence, it was critical to our survival. If you look back in time with me, I'll show you why.
Picture yourself wearing an animal skin or scratchy woolen toga, a few smears of mud and no hair product. (Don't feel bad—no one else looked good, either.) If you look in your hand, you'll see that you're carrying a spear that you made yourself. The reason for making it is that you're hungry.
If you throw well, you eat. If you miss, you don't. So being able to store energy in the form of fat will hopefully sustain you until your throwing improves.
This same survival tool remains part of our makeup today.
So the best way to avoid slipping into this fat-storing mode is to keep your metabolism going with small meals and snacks. Eating frequently prompts your body to efficiently keep working and burning the calories.
And if that weren't enough by itself, there's another good reason to avoid long waits between meals.
Eating regularly tames wild cravings. By eating smaller meals on a regular schedule, you'll help your body work comfortably on fewer calories, and stay in an energy (fat)-burning mode. This will help you feel more energetic, and keep your blood sugar stable, which will reduce carb cravings before your next meal.
Now let's say you need even more help controlling your cravings for the wrong stuff. What do you do?
Start your day with the right stuff. Chances are, you don't eat in your sleep. So when you wake up, your cells are ready to absorb essential nutrients and, in particular, protein.
Throughout the night, your body uses excess or circulating proteins to replenish your muscles, hair, skin, and nails. In addition, your body uses proteins to create millions of antibodies for defense against bacteria, which often attacks while you sleep. That's why eating a healthy breakfast packed with protein is good for you.
Starting your day with eggs, nonfat cottage cheese, a P90X® Peak Performance Protein Bar, or Shakeology can help you get a good serving of the protein and nutrients you need.
And a good rule of thumb for the timing of this meal is within an hour of waking up. If that's not possible, have a meal or snack as early as possible to get your metabolism revving. So what about the rest of your day?
Lift weights, then lift plates. Another smart time to eat is about 30 to 45 minutes after a workout. At this time, the enzymes responsible for energy production are in high gear, and the energy-storing hormones within our blood are suppressed.
This means less energy will be stored as fat. Carbs will be immediately taken up to replenish the low glycogen stores caused through exercising. Protein will be used for the recovery and growth of new calorie-burning muscle tissue. And the best news is, your body will burn most of the nutrients from the meal to fuel these reactions. That's why eating after a workout is a good idea.
Having protein late in the day, for perhaps your last meal or snack, will also provide your body with the protein it will use overnight to revitalize your muscles, hair, nails, and antibodies.
Of course, remember portion size. If you're not sure how much that might be, use the palm of your hand as a guideline. It's a good trick, since you probably have your hands with you.
As with most things in life, timing is everything. So when you're trying to drop pounds, don't just think about what you eat—think about when. This will enable you to get more nutrients from fewer calories. Of course, the fewer calories you eat, the easier it is to lose weight. So eat right. On time. On schedule.
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10 Tricks for Losing Those Last 10 Pounds
By Whitney Provost for Beachbody 1/27/11
At the start of a new fitness program, you clean up your diet and hit the workouts, and the weight seems to fall off. But when you get down to the last 5, 10, or 15 pounds you want to lose, the scale may suddenly refuse to budge. You might be tempted to drastically reduce calories or increase the amount of time you spend working out. Don't do it. Instead, here are some simple tricks to help you lose those last 10 pounds.
Cutting calories too low will cause your body to think it's starving, and it will hold on to the fat you're trying so hard to lose. Working out longer will cut into your personal time and probably won't help you drop those last few pounds anyway. Instead, try making these tweaks to your program.
1. Clean up your diet. Once you find a diet that works for you, stick to it. Researchers at Tufts University followed 160 people on four different weight loss plans and found that the type of diet participants were on didn't matter as much as the participants' willingness to stick to their diets. If you've been dieting for a while, you might have become a little lax with your food choices and portions, so tighten them up again. To lose those last pesky pounds, stick to unprocessed foods (the kind that don't come in a box) and choose lean protein, vegetables, fruit, and whole grains. Keeping a food journal will help you track everything you eat and get your calories under control.
2. Cut out some carbs. A simple, short-term trick to losing weight is to cut back on carbs until you're at your goal. Eat lean protein and vegetables at every meal and limit carbs to before and after your workouts, and you'll probably see the scale shift rather quickly. Easy, low-carb meal ideas include egg-white omelettes with vegetables, Whey Protein Powder shakes made with water, salads with lean protein (chicken, tuna, or turkey), and grilled or broiled lean beef, poultry, or fish with vegetables.
3. Bump up the intensity of your workouts. No matter what workout program you're doing, you will lose weight faster if you kick up the intensity. Jump higher, squat lower, and increase the weight you're lifting to burn more calories, rev your metabolism, and stoke the fat-burning fire. Whether you're working out to Slim in 6®, ChaLEAN Extreme®, P90X®, or any other Beachbody® fitness program, you'll bust through a plateau by putting out more effort when you exercise.
4. Change your exercise routine. If you've already increased the intensity of your workout program and still find that your weight loss has slowed, it might be time to try something different. When you perform the same exercises over and over, your body becomes more efficient at them. As a result, you use less energy and burn fewer calories. By starting a new fitness routine, you'll shock your muscles, reignite your metabolism, and get the scale moving again. Check out TeamBeachbody.com to find the workout that'll take your weight loss to the next level.
5. Stand up. Researchers at the Mayo Clinic found that lean people spend 2 more hours per day on their feet than overweight people. Participants in the study who stood, paced, and fidgeted burned as many as 350 extra calories a day and were much leaner than those who didn't move as much. Get up from your desk at work, talk on the phone while standing, and stay on your feet in waiting rooms—the simplest effort will yield an extra calorie burn that may help you shed those remaining pounds.
6. Eat a little less. When your body gets smaller, it requires fewer calories to function properly. A 165-pound woman who works out three to five times a week may require 2,300 calories per day to maintain her weight, but the same woman at 125 pounds may only need 2,000 calories for maintenance. Trying to lose additional pounds in your lighter body means cutting back a little more. You do not need to make radical changes, however; if you're already increasing the intensity of your workouts and eating a clean, whole-foods diet, you could probably see the scale move with a modest 100-calorie reduction per day.
7. Zigzag your calories. Cycling your calories, also known as zigzagging, is the process of eating more on certain days and less on others. If you always eat 1,800 calories, try eating 1,500 calories one day and 2,000 the next. As long as you create a weekly deficit, you should see the pounds drop. Much like shocking your muscles into working harder by introducing new exercises, it's possible to shock your metabolism by zigzagging your calories.
8. Drink more water. You may not realize how important water is for weight loss—it's not just a tool to help you eat less. Being properly hydrated will balance your energy levels, which allows you to exercise with intensity. (Have you ever been so thirsty during a workout that you couldn't perform as well as usual?) Drinking enough water may also increase your metabolism and promote muscle building—a well-hydrated body can more efficiently repair and build muscles. On the other hand, being dehydrated encourages muscle breakdown. So drink up, especially since you are exercising regularly.
9. Relax. Believe it or not, you may be trying too hard to lose weight. If your workouts are very intense and your diet is too strict, you could overtrain and burn out. Your mind and body will just not respond in the same way when they're tired. Muscles need rest to repair and grow, and sometimes your brain needs a break from constant calorie counting and worrying about the last few pounds. Instead of becoming frustrated and diving into a box of cookies, try to relax and reduce the intensity for a little while. You may be surprised to find the scale moving again when you give your mind and body a rest.
10. Reevaluate your goal weight. First, congratulate yourself on getting to this point. Losing weight is not easy, and you've already accomplished a great deal—so enjoy your success. The next step is to ask yourself if the "magic" number on the scale is really the best weight for you. Perhaps you've lost fat and gained a lot of muscle; your new hard body might be healthier and happier with a few more pounds on it. Many people want to weigh the same as they did in high school or college. What if you're much more fit and muscular now than you were in those days? You may realize that the number on the scale today is perfect for you.
Teri Lang Patterson
Certified Fitness Instructor & Coach specializing in Aqua Power Training, Kickboxing, Weight Training & Yoga.
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