Tag Archives: weight loss

What’s the Best Time to Exercise?

30 Nov

gym-weight-plate-clock[1]Generally, the best time to exercise is anytime you can drag yourself to the gym.  Life can be hectic, and most of us have to coordinate and manage schedules that include family, work, school, and other responsibilities and obligations.

However, depending on your training goal(s), there may be some logic to scheduling your workout based on the benefits you wish to achieve:

  • If you have a stressful event scheduled, like a test or meeting, exercising just before it can lessen your body’s physiological reaction to stress by helping your brain turn off its stress response.
  • If you have trouble sleeping, try exercising before bed.  Although some believe exercising before bed makes it harder to fall asleep, new research shows that people who exercise at any time of day or night sleep better than those who don’t (yoga seems to work best).
  • For injury prevention, exercise in the early evening.  If you’re prone to strained muscles and soreness, your “cold” muscles may not be ready to jump out of bed and workout.  Try exercising between 4 PM and 8 PM, when your core temperature is generally at its highest level.
  • If you want to lose weight, get your workout in before breakfast.  People who exercised before breakfast burned about 20 percent more fat compared with a group who ate breakfast first, according to a recent study published in the British Journal of Nutrition.
  • If you want to improve your muscle tone, try exercising after dinner.  The increase in core body temperature later in the day can translate to an improvement in exercise performance.  Muscle strength increases slightly, coordination is better, and your VO2 max (the amount of oxygen delivered to muscles) rises.  It’s a small improvement, but these factors my enable you to work a bit longer and harder.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Don’t Let the Scale Define You

23 Sep

weight-loss[1]While I realize (statistics indicate) the average American can stand to lose a few pounds, the scale doesn’t always tell the entire story.

Your body weight is not a reflection of your worth.  It’s more productive to focus on eating clean (and not overeating), exercising, improving strength and mobility, increasing energy, and NOT a number on a scale.

There’s not necessarily a definitive relationship between body weight and overall health.  A person can have a healthy body weight, yet eat (qualitatively) poorly and be relatively physically inactive.

I don’t do a lot with scales and body weight at our facility.  I would rather concentrate on how people feel, function, and perform.  Keep in mind muscle takes up less space but weighs more than fat.

“Healthy” is not limited to any particular shape, size, or weight.  At least some of that is determined by genetics, anyway.

Part of the problem is our referent.  We try to compare ourselves with others  — unfairly and unrealistically —  instead of aspiring toward self-improvement: being better today than we were yesterday.

We all want to look and feel good, but the fads and gimmicks we chase to get there are not the answer.  In simple terms, eat cleaner, eat less, be more active, and exercise more.

An examination of ounces and pounds shouldn’t start your day any more than it should end it.  Don’t let the scale deflate your efforts if you know you’re on the right track with your nutrition and exercise plans.

Even if weight loss is part of your plan (and it’s okay if it is), detach the number on the scale from how you feel about you.  Be fair to yourself, eat well, stay active, and stay on track.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Low-Carb or Low-Fat?

4 Mar

A study from Tulane University in New Orleans corroborates that a low-carbohydrate diet is better for losing weight and may also be better for lowering the risk of heart disease than a low-fat diet.

In this Reuters article, study authors found that “those in the low-carbohydrate group had lower levels of fat circulating in their blood and had lower scores on a measure often used to predict the risk of a heart attack or stroke within the next 10 years.”

Please see related blog posts, Fat is not the Enemy and Eating Fat Won’t Make You Fat.

Above all, remember that moderation — portion control — is the key.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

What’s Your Workout Motivation?

1 May

Why do you workout?  (and, conversely, why don’t you workout?)

Are you working toward a goal or do you just enjoy the process?

Is it for health and wellness?  Do you want to improve your quality (and quantity) of life?

Do you want to look better, perhaps get more lean and muscular?  (I saw a quote, recently, that said, “Diet if you want to look better in clothes; workout if you want to look better naked.”)

Do you want to feel better?  Are you working out to improve your energy level or functional movement?

Are you trying to lose a few pounds and, perhaps, get closer to your ideal body weight and reduce stress on your joints?

Do you work out with a friend or group of friends and enjoy the social interaction?

Do you want to get stronger, faster, and more athletic?  Is one of your goals to improve your performance?

Are you doing it for you, or for someone else?

The bottom line is, there is no wrong reason — and no one right reason — for working out (they’re all right).  As that shoe company says, “just do it.”

Please tag me back with a comment and share your motivation for working out (or your reason for not working out).  I will compile a list and share the best responses in a future blog post.  Thanks, in advance, for your feedback.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Don’t Fill Your “Tank” When You Eat

20 Jan

4924931[1]Are you the type of person that “eats to full” every time you sit down for a meal?

Here’s a great analogy/strategy I picked up from Men’s Health magazine, courtesy of a weight-loss behavior coach:

Think of your stomach as having a gas gauge.  “E” (empty) means you’re ravenous and “F” (full) means, of course, that you’re full.  Your goal should be to stay between 1/2 and 3/4 of a tank by eating a meal or snack before you feel famished and stopping when you feel satisfied, but not stuffed.

Think of your meals and snacks as a way to fuel your body and maintain your energy level throughout the day, and avoid that sluggish, “food coma” feeling that invariably accompanies overeating.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

What’s the Best Time to Exercise?

30 Nov

gym-weight-plate-clock[1]Generally, the best time to exercise is anytime you can drag yourself to the gym.  Life can be hectic, and most of us have to coordinate and manage schedules that include family, work, school, and other responsibilities and obligations.

However, depending on your training goal(s), there may be some logic to scheduling your workout based on the benefits you wish to achieve:

  • If you have a stressful event scheduled, like a test or meeting, exercising just before it can lessen your body’s physiological reaction to stress by helping your brain turn off its stress response.
  • If you have trouble sleeping, try exercising before bed.  Although some believe exercising before bed makes it harder to fall asleep, new research shows that people who exercise at any time of day or night sleep better than those who don’t (yoga seems to work best).
  • For injury prevention, exercise in the early evening.  If you’re prone to strained muscles and soreness, your “cold” muscles may not be ready to jump out of bed and workout.  Try exercising between 4 PM and 8 PM, when your core temperature is generally at its highest level.
  • If you want to lose weight, get your workout in before breakfast.  People who exercised before breakfast burned about 20 percent more fat compared with a group who ate breakfast first, according to a recent study published in the British Journal of Nutrition.
  • If you want to improve your muscle tone, try exercising after dinner.  The increase in core body temperature later in the day can translate to an improvement in exercise performance.  Muscle strength increases slightly, coordination is better, and your VO2 max (the amount of oxygen delivered to muscles) rises.  It’s a small improvement, but these factors my enable you to work a bit longer and harder.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Should You Skip Breakfast?

28 Nov

470_2677148[1]In the interest of balance, I thought I would share a recent article from Healthy Living titled, 5 Reasons to Skip Breakfast.  Obviously, I’ve extolled the virtues of breakfast in this blog — as well as in my personal and professional life — repeatedly.

This is the type of conflicting information that can make it confusing for people to make sound, educated choices regarding diet and nutrition.  Clearly, this article is more of an editorial than evidence-based research.

The article also lacks balance, as it only addresses a high-carb breakfast, and not the benefits of incorporating lean protein into your morning meal or snack.  There is a voluminous (and growing) body of research that supports eating something — anything — within 90 minutes of waking, especially for athletes.

A balanced, nutritious breakfast — along with smaller, more frequent meals and snacks throughout the day — can improve energy level and cognition, and help you reach your fitness, weight-loss, and/or performance goals.

Please see related article, Eat Breakfast!

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Boost Your Metabolism With These Protein-Rich Foods

2 Nov

Protein-Rich-Foods[1]The benefits of dietary protein are well-documented.  Unfortunately, most of us do not get enough protein in our diets.  It is estimated that we should consume 0.6-0.8 grams of protein per pound of body weight, each day, to help protect against age-related muscle loss (that’s 105-140 grams of protein per day for a 175 pound man).  Active individuals should aim for the upper end of this equation, and athletes may need even more.

Additional benefits of adequate dietary protein consumption include:

  • Muscle repair
  • Increases fat-burning
  • Increases satiety (full feeling) after a meal
  • Decreases subsequent energy (calorie) intake
  • Leads to weight loss

I found an interesting article in Prevention magazine that lists several protein-rich food sources that can help you get 20-30 grams of protein at each meal.  I especially like the idea of supplementing your daily protein intake with whey protein powder.  8-10 oz. of milk, mixed with a scoop of whey protein powder, provides 30+ grams of quality protein.  Mix it the night before, then drink it the next day — a few sips, throughout the day — at work, home, school, etc.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

I’ll Just Go to the Gym Tomorrow…

5 Aug

Stop-300x200[1]Does this sound familiar?  Perhaps something you, yourself, have thought or said?

Don’t let a busy schedule derail your exercise or weight-loss goals.  Exercise isn’t about having time, it’s about making time.  If it’s important, you’ll make time (and it is important).

So how do you solve the time problem? Maybe you need to convince yourself that  lack of time isn’t actually the problem. It’s you. Instead of coming up with  creative ways to talk yourself out of your workout, spend some brain power on  talking yourself into working out.

Stop wasting time on unnecessary activities.  Many of us spend far too much of our precious time lounging on the sofa watching mindless television programs, or sitting in front of a computer.

Get up earlier in the morning or go to bed later at night.  You really only need 30 minutes of daily exercise to help with weight loss and maintain good health and fitness.

Fit in exercise sessions during downtime.  Whenever you have as little as 10 minutes to spare you can perform a few exercises.  And if you can manage to do 10 minutes three times each day, you have done your 30 minutes of daily exercise.

The hardest part is getting started and making it a routine. After it’s a habit it’s a cake walk.

Pack your gym bag the night before, so it’s there as a reminder of what you need to do the next day.

Keep a notebook and plan your workout schedule for the week in advance each week so you have an idea of what you’re going to be doing.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Why You Should Try an Herbal Cleanse

20 Jun

HerbalCleanse[1]Have you ever tried an herbal cleanse?  I have, and I’m hooked.  A few years ago, one of my colleagues persuaded me to try AdvoCare’s 10-Day Herbal Cleanse (prior to that, the only cleanse I had ever tried was the “Taco Bell” cleanse).  Initially, I was a little reluctant because I had heard that these cleanses could be really hard on a person’s system.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that the AdvoCare cleanse was actually quite mild (I wasn’t running for the bathroom every few minutes), and I felt great.

AdvoCare’s Herbal Cleanse is a great way to “kick-start” a new diet or nutrition program.  It can help rid the body of toxins and impurities; supports better digestion and healthy weight loss; and provides 10 grams of fiber per day.

The key to the AdvoCare Herbal Cleanse system is its combination of products: ProBiotics, Fiber Drink, and Herbal Cleanse Tablets.  The instructions are easy to follow, and the cleanse should be complemented by a healthy, well-rounded diet.  Drink clear liquids such as water, herbal teas, and diluted fruit juices; follow a diet rich in whole, fresh fruits and vegetables with light lunch and dinner options; and avoid fried, heavy foods, junk foods, and fast food.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

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