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"
It's a common problem that both men & women have, and it's basically the roll of fat around the midsection that spills over the top of pants or maybe keeps you from wearing that tiny bikini.
No Such Thing as Spot Reducing
First of all remember that you can't just lose the fat in one spot. Fat accumulates throughout the body and in some places more then others. The "trick" is to reduce your body's fat stores and build muscle at the same time. Note: The first place you gain the fat..will be last place your body will reduce.
HIIT Me! With the Correct Cardio
The correct cardio will burn fat...lazy cardio will just waste your time. Huh? If you are not being challenged by your cardio workout...then you will never lose fat, progress to the next level of a 6-pack or change your body shape.
The best cardio is something that you will do 3-5 times a week..enjoy...and will feel challenged every time. For example, a leisurely stroll is a challenge to some..but for most people you would have to walk for hours to get some benefit.
The best cardio is that which involves intervals of exertion like HIIT. First of all...HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training. The concept is that you work out at 110% intensity for 35 seconds, and then take a 40 second break.
Example of HIIT workouts are in the TurboFire program.
Do this for about five or ten minutes, you will have kicked off the 'Afterburn' effect. That's where your body continues to burn fat for up to 24 hours after your workout, burning more than NINE times the fat you would burn doing traditional workouts.
You can incorporate some HIIT intervals into your strength training...or add HIIT to other cardio workouts. Also remember that women tap into fat stores for energy much more slowly than men, usually after 40 minutes of exercising, so aim for at least this, but ideally building up to an hour, three times a week.
Give Me Some Strength
It's not just about cardio for overall fat loss. Make sure your workout plan includes about 2-3 strength sessions per week. During strength training, your muscles "break down" and need to recover/repair. This action sequence forces your body's metabolism to kick it up due to the repair process.
Work it All Over!
Most people workout the main body parts and call it done. That roll of fat is all around the body...not just the sides or the front. Think of adding lateral movements like skaters, or back kicks..side kicks and core moves. Kickboxing is an excellent workout because you are twisting, cross punching, kicking front-side-back and working all the muscle from all sides. Not into kickboxing? Well then convert those moves to the pool. Same thing...do intervals of laps with some cross punches, scissor kicks and leg pendulums for ab/core work.
Not Just About the Gym
Ok so here's the deal. Toxins are anything that is "foreign" to the body. In today's world this includes: processed foods, caffeine, alcohol, too many animal products or acidic foods, pollution, sugar and smoking to name a few. As a survival technique, our bodies try to protect us and keep toxins away from our vital organs by wrapping water, fat and cholesterol around them. This is then stored, particularly around our middle and hips.
Avoid those toxins but also eat a diet that includes colorful fruits and vegetables, avoid all processed sugars and foods, eat good essential fats, and make sure to take in enough protein to help the body repair and recover from activities.
Removing those toxins from the body is done with water..and sweat. Aim to drink half your body weight in ounces of pure water per day. More or less depending on how you feel and your energy level. This does not include sugar added-vitamin waters..or energy drinks or anything else that has sugar in it. Read your labels. So for a 150lb active woman, she would try to drink about 75oz of water per day.
This is a big culprit for women. Cortisol, the hormone released in response to stress, encourages the body to release blood sugar or glucose into the bloodstream to give us energy for the 'fight or flight' response. If we use this energy to get away from a physical danger, there is little chance for this sugar to be stored as fat, but if it is released repeatedly through stress, the increased blood sugar will be ultimately stored as fat.
The female hormone estrogen causes fat to be stored around the pelvic region anyway, so getting stressed makes matters worse. Try to stay calm
STAND UP STRAIGHT!
Having and promoting a strong core will make your middle look better and ultimately be better toned. Yoga and Pilates will help, but basic correct posture is even more important. This means sitting or standing tall, and pulling inwards and upwards by tensing your core muscles (stomach, lower back and hips) throughout the day. Over time, using these 'core muscles' regularly will work wonders.
SPA-AWAY THE FAT:
This goes back to the toxins in the body. By stimulating the cells, toxins (aka: FAT) can be released. This is done as we've said already by drinking water and through sweating. But if you want to further shed those fat cells think in terms of massage, spa baths & exfoliation.
Massage and exfoliation work the same. The idea is to stimulate circulation throughout the body and expel cellular toxins. At home you can exfoliate using a dry brush or body scrub and start in a circular pattern on the extremities and moving toward the heart. Then finish with a great Salt Bath using Epsom Salts which reduce muscle fatigue, and also rid the body of excess fluids including fat!
This has been a long week..I taught 4 Aqua Power Classes in addition to my "normal" P90X workouts. Oh yea and then add in "work" and Off-Ice officiating at 2 RUSH hockey games. What you say? The week isn't over? Oh lord. So this brings up my Tip For the Week.
During a workout, if your heart rate is so high that you can actually see it pulsing...then take a breather...literally.
I tell my class participants this all the time..but apparently I don't practice what I preach.
During my P90X - Core Synergistics' workout on Wed, which was after teaching my Aqua Power class my heart rate decided to take off like it was trying to start up a large engine.
I even took my time with the workout, not feeling terrible but when it was done my heart rate decided to start beating at about 200 bpm. I grabbed my recovery electrolytes' drink, laid on down with my legs up...and waited this out.
After my heart rate finally came back to normal..I was still weak. I took it easy the rest of the night and tried to understand what just happened.
I discuss nutrition ALOT...I know but this is another example of what you eat will determine how you feel. My diet is simple..no sugars, no grains which means fresh stuff...good stuff but I also have a problem with retaining nutrients to fuel my body.
I wake this morning to find a great article posted by Dr. Peter Osborne about Gluten Sensitivity & Magnesium Deficiency . Before I eliminated Grains from my diet...I remember I told doctor after doctor that it felt like my body wasn't properly using ingested nutrients/vitamins ingested. Like I was malnourished even though I was eating "properly". Well they all would look at me like I was crazy and tell me to work out more. (I've been a fitness professional for over 12 years now...and they still didn't take that info in".
After eliminating sugars & grains from my diet...I know now when I'm functioning on proper nutrients. And I also know when I don't have enough nutrients or they aren't processing correctly.
Stuff like your heart rate goes crazy & you collapse.
Looking back on my week so far...little too much and not enough nutrients. Yesterday (Thursday) I started the day with a large glass of electrolytes & himalayan salt...then drank my super Shakeology Shake and made sure to keep drinking water, electrolytes and proper food throughout the day so I was ready to teach Aqua Power last night.
So this is my tip for the week:
Listen to your body and make sure to properly fuel it.
Image from EveryMom to IronMom Blog.
Today's nutrition question is from Twitter and Rochell Selvey @karesskrafters
When trying to lose weight is it best to put on my calories for breakfast and reduce calorie intake (for the) rest of (the)day?
Step 1: Determine your caloric needs per day. Here is one that is easy and takes into account a variety of activity levels. then calculates how many calories for maintenance, or fat loss.
Step 2: Now you know about how many calories you need per day for your goal of maintaining weight or fat loss. Now there are a couple of different thoughts about when to eat those calories each day.
OPTION A: One is that you simply divide up your calories between about 5 mini meals per day or 3 meals & 2 snacks. What this does is keeps your body running on fuel all day long without getting too high or too low in terms of nutrition.
OPTION B: The other thought is to be heavier on calories around the time of day that you expend the most energy. So if you are a early morning exerciser or you have very active mornings at work, then you would take in higher calories at breakfast or lunch and then a smaller meal at dinner. Just remember to stay at your previously calculated calorie total for the day. It's easy to eat a big breakfast and then eat too much at night.
So what's the "magic" answer? There's a debate about this in that if you workout right away in the mornings and are more active during the mid day, then you would eat "bigger" during the day and ween off caloric intake later in the day...personal I think it depends on what time of day is your busiest. And also what feels the best for you?
For me, I'm not a morning workout type of person. I have Adrenal Fatigue that requires me to sleep longer then the average person and so I workout in the late afternoon when I feel at my best. Also because of my adrenals, I normally don't feel like eating a lot of food right away in the morning. I have to watch my Blood Sugar levels & Insulin to make sure that I'm fueling my body all day long...even right before bed I have to have protein/low carb to make sure my Blood Sugar doesn't get too low at night. Of course this is not the average for most people.
So I'm not answering the questions, am I? I truly believe that every BODY is different. Before testing make sure to have some sort of Fitness Journal/Calender/Phone AP to take measurements, jot down notes, and most importantly to write down how you are feeling along with your meals/workouts/activities.
STEP 3: Test it out. Determine your caloric needs and test out Option A for one week. Measure your water/fat/weight and write it down. With this option you can workout any time of the day as your calories will be spread out evenly all day long. Write in your "fitness journal" how you are feeling each day. Write down your calories, what you are eating and your workouts/activities.
For the 2nd week, test out Option B. Again measure your water/fat/weight numbers and write it down. You should now know your workout schedule and schedule your highest caloric meal around your workout. If you workout after waking, then your breakfast is your largest meal and it gradually decreasing as the day goes on. If you workout in the late afternoon then either choose your lunch or supper as the largest meal. Keep to a schedule for the whole week and again monitor how you are feeling and when you are eating/working out. Don't change anything for one week.
From here you can either tweek what you've found out from the 2 week experiment or you can try a 3rd week of testing where you try either moving your workout time or try moving your heaviest meal. Just make sure to take your measurements before and after your week test.
STEP 4: So how do you feel? You have either tested 2 or 3 weeks now and should have a good handle on what works for you. Look over your Fitness Journal. Did you feel weak or dizzy at any time? Were you able to get through your day feeling satisfied or were you starving my 7pm and wanting to raid the fridge?
Determining when you eat during the eat is as important as determining what you eat. You need to fuel for your activity level. It just begins with total caloric need, and then creating a workout schedule and then making sure your body is getting the needed fuel for the day AND night. Remember your body can't repair and renew itself during the night on no fuel.
Any questions? Thoughts? Tell me in the comments and we can continue this discussion!
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.
This is a common question that I receive from both class participants and other athletes. "So I get done with my workout, now what should or shouldn't eat?"
Your post workout meal/snack's main responsibility is to replenish the body with lost nutrients and vitamins that were lost during an intense workout and repair muscles.
The body needs these to be replenished within about an hour in order to repair muscles, restore any nutrients lost, restore muscle glycogen, and to reduce inflammation that may have occurred. Aim for a carbohydrate to protein ratio of three or four to one, as recommended by C. Kerksick in the Oct. 3, 2008, volume of the "Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition."
Before you decide on what to eat, you must first decide if this will be a meal or snack. Do you workout pre-breakfast? or maybe you are a mid-afternoon exerciser. No matter what time of day you workout, schedule in your meals and snacks so that your workout falls in between. Don't get caught not eating enough before and after your workout so that your body is too depleted of nutrients to carry your workout.
Some ideas of post workout foods:
So first determine your workout schedule. Make sure to also schedule your pre & post meals so you have enough fuel to take advantage of your workout. And remember that your post-workout fuel is meant to replenish the body & repair your muscles. "RECOVER" is the word post workout...
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.
PROTEIN NEEDS: It is recommended that during your pregnancy you should be consuming around 70 grams of protein per day. During pregnancy, a woman requires more protein than the usual 50-60 grams before pregnancy to support the developing fetus and increased need of the mother. The amino acids which make up protein also form the basic building blocks of your body's cells — which in turn also form the building blocks of your baby’s body too. During the second and third trimester is when you should make sure your protein levels are where they should be, especially as this is when your baby will be growing it’s fastest and that means placing more demand on you for all his/her essential nutrients.
PROTEIN SOURCES: There are many different sources of protein, so you shouldn’t really get bored with what you are eating. Foods such as beans, meat, poultry, eggs, milk, cheese, nuts, and yogurt, are just an example.Make sure you're eating good protein with every meal and snack every day.
Each food portion listed below is the equivalent of one serving, which is about 20 grams of protein:
Beans, Nuts & Legumes
1 cup firm tofu or 1 1/4 cup soft tofu
5 or 6 tablespoons peanut butter
3 oz. peanuts
1 1/2 cups cooked beans such as: chickpeas, kidney beans, baked beans, pinto beans, refried beans, lentils or black beans
three 8-oz. glasses soy milk
2/3 cup cottage cheese
2 cups yogurt
3 oz. Swiss, cheddar or most other cheeses
2 oz. Parmesan cheese
3 large eggs
two and a half 8-oz. glasses milk
Meat and fish
3 oz. chicken, turkey, beef, lamb, pork, or veal
**Protein Shakes: The question about protein shakes came up on Twitter yesterday and I want to pay specific attention to this source of protein.
Although eating a well-balanced healthy diet meets daily protein needs, protein shakes offer a convenient way to consume extra dietary protein. A woman should carefully read the ingredient list on food labels of protein shakes or supplements before consuming them during pregnancy
The source of protein found in protein shakes usually consists of whey, casein or soy protein, all of which are safe during pregnancy for most women. Protein shakes may contain ingredients that a pregnant woman will want to avoid. Some brands of protein shakes, specifically those made for sports nutrition or weight loss, may contain artificial sweeteners, herbs or performance-enhancing ingredients which are not recommended during pregnancy. Researchers have not yet established the safety of using herbs during pregnancy, according to the American Pregnancy Association, and some herbs may cause injury to the developing fetus.
Since many types of protein shakes promote weight loss, they may contain artificial sweeteners as ingredients. Some artificial sweeteners may be unsafe during pregnancy; research on artificial sweetener use during pregnancy is limited. According to the American Pregnancy Association, sucralose and limited amounts of aspartame are safe to consume during pregnancy, but questions remain about the safety of saccharin.
In general, stick to a pure 100% protein powder to make sure that you are getting just the protein and no additional ingredients that may interfere with your pregnancy. A great option, especially for those with nausea or food cravings is to create your own protein shakes. Start with good 100% protein powder, then add a liquid such as unsweetened almond milk or coconut milk, add some ice & fruit for a simple smoothie.
**If a company has a disclaimer "Do not take while pregnant" they may have added additional vitamins, minerals, herbs, or other ingredients that are not recommended for pregnant women. Read the labels and ask your health care provider for details and suggestions.
Strong Girls explores one of the fastest-growing competitive sports for high school girls. We join the Reston Raiders Hockey Club in Reston Virginia both on and off the ice. Filmmaker: Larry Allen
Teri Lang Patterson
Certified Fitness Instructor & Coach specializing in Aqua Power Training, Kickboxing, Weight Training & Yoga.
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