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.
This is going to be a quick post...but hopefully gets the point across fast!
Someone in one of my classes said that they don't workout with weights because they were afraid. So I asked, "...afraid of what?" To which they gave a long list of reasons from too much bulk to it's painful to "it's just not for women". Wow was my response.
1. Women can't bulk up because we're not genetically built to get like this. If you see a "woman" that's big and bulky like a man..they are using steroids and lots of them.
2. Don't be afraid of adding weights to your workout program. Adding weight exercises strengthens your muscles and builds stronger bones. Your "older" self will thank you.
3. Ok...so why do I lose weight if I train with weights. Besides the obvious "get healthy/lose fat" line...the surprising fact is that when you weight train, you are actually breaking down your muscles in the process to build them back up. This process takes A LOT OF ENERGY and this whole process which takes hours and hours is using calories to accomplish. That's the simplified explanation.
So think of this. If your normal routine is to jump on a treadmill and run, your body is using calories during that hour only to keep your body going.
If you create a circuit routine where you run, then lift weights, then run, and so on...then your body is using calories during the workout.. and then for the next 12-24 hours (depending on how much you did) you body is in "repair" mode. it's using calories to repair and rebuild that muscle.
So do you want to use up calories for an hour? or 24 hours?
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"
How Fitness Can Help After Cancer
by Liz Davies
There is a saying that cancer itself is not usually the painful part about having it- it's the treatments. Although many cancer treatments such as targeted radiation or chemotherapy do their job as designed, the side effects can be terrible. Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fevers, lack of appetite, pain when swallowing, and many more effects are common during these treatments. The worst part is that they all work to hurt the cancer survivor's nutrition and contribute to weight loss.
With the decrease in body mass and nutrition comes muscular wasting, which can have negative effects on the body for years after cancer patients have beaten their condition. That is why it's so important to begin exercising as soon as the doctor has cleared the patient. This goes for people with low survival rate cancers like pleural mesothelioma and epithelial mesothelioma or people dealing with cancers that have higher survival rates like breast cancer and testicular cancer. Exercising combats the side effects of cancer treatments by increasing appetite. The patient begins to eat more food and improve their nutritional status. With better nutrition comes more energy to get in shape and build muscle mass.
Walking is the best way for cancer survivors to start an exercise regimen. Simply begin walking three to five times a week for fifteen minutes apiece. As the former patient's energy grows, he or she will be able to walk for longer and faster. In this style, the rate of exercise can be gradually increased to include periods of running and, eventually, only running at faster and faster paces. Just as the cancer treatment journey was begun with a single step, exercise programs require a single walk on a day like today in order to get started.
It's also beneficial to visit a gym. Some local YMCAs even have special programs for cancer survivors and will offer a discount on a trainer in the weight room. An experienced trainer can work to slowly build muscles by beginning with a few select machines with low weights. As the weeks go by, the former patient will be able to lift more and more. The benefits last and include mental effects as well. Increased self esteem will be felt due to the milestones accomplished.
The cancer survivor needs motivation and encouragement to keep going. It's important to gain support from a spouse, friends, or coworkers. Sometimes setting goals can help too. An event like a 5k can set a date to be prepared for in the future and ensure that the former cancer patient continues exercising to prepare for it. 5ks can provide evidence of progress and improved strength too. Many 5ks benefit different types of cancers and so it does double duty: the cancer survivor can raise money to help people in their own situation while improving their fitness, endurance, and health at the same time.
Liz Davies is a recent college graduate and aspiring writer especially interested in health and wellness. She wants to make a difference in people’s lives because she sees how cancer has devastated so many people in this world. Liz also likes running, playing lacrosse, reading and playing with her dog, April.
Cellulite: Hold the Cottage Cheese, Please
By Stephanie S. Saunders
One of the most hated words in the English language must surely be cellulite. For the 90 percent of women who are plagued by the "cottage cheese" dimples that can run across the backs of arms and the entire lower body, it can seem like the ugliest thing in the world. Sure, you can hide it beneath clothing, but once bikini season hits, it's all over. From a self-consciousness point of view, it's as if you're back in middle school. You might as well make it a trifecta of humiliation by slapping on some braces and a lime-green prom dress. While there's no way yet to completely rid your body of cellulite, there are a few ways to help improve its appearance.
The term cellulite refers to the dimpled appearance of skin that can occur at any point on the body where the skin is thinner. Under the upper layer of skin, there's a layer of connective tissue that holds fat into place. In most women (and some men), this connective tissue has gaps in it, which allow the fat to push through, creating a bumpy appearance. The difference between fat and cellulite is simply where the deposit lies in relation to these gaps in the connective tissue. That, and the fact that even with weight loss and muscle gain, so-called "normal" fat may disappear, while cellulite seems to want to continue keeping your thighs company indefinitely.
Cellulite can occur in the thinnest of women and men (sorry, guys) and doesn't seem to discriminate based on nationality, financial standing, age, or weight. There are believed to be hormonal and hereditary issues that can contribute to causing cellulite. Other causes may include poor circulation, lack of exercise, and even too-tightly fitting undergarments. But no one really knows for sure why 10 percent of the female population is gifted with not having to deal with cellulite, while the rest of us have rear ends that look like a giant golf ball.
So when faced with the appearance of orange peel on your thighs, what should you do? Well, there's good and bad news. The bad news is that there is no actual way, surgical or otherwise, to get rid of cellulite completely at present. No amount of vacuuming, injections, creams, or painful massage will eradicate it permanently. But there are many things that can potentially improve the appearance of cellulite. The following is a list of options, ranked from the least to most invasive and/or expensive.
Remember, while many of these approaches can improve the appearance of cellulite, none seem to remove cellulite completely or permanently. Until a method is found that will accomplish the total eradication of cellulite, it might be better to spend less money on expensive creams and injections and more on nutritious foods and activities that support a healthy lifestyle. Not only will this help to improve your skin tone, but it'll make you feel better about your whole body, inside and out. And isn't that more important than a few extra dimples?
Teri Lang Patterson
Certified Fitness Instructor & Coach specializing in Aqua Power Training, Kickboxing, Weight Training & Yoga.
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