Thursday, December 31, 2009

"More Fit In Less Time" OR "Step Away From the Magazine"

Get more out of your cardio workouts and do it in less time!

Are you one of those people who faithfully do long, steady cardio workouts? I see people at the gym running, cycling, stepping, etc, while reading a magazine, or plugged in to TV or iPod and usually with a bored, joyless expression. If this is you then here is the good news. You are way ahead of your friends who are still in bed or watching TV on the couch. A big pat on the back for self-discipline. There are times when a nice long run or walk is just what body and soul need. However, if you want to increase your fitness level, increase the fat burning effects of cardio and reduce the amount of time you are exercising, try an interval program. Here is how it works:

First, put down the magazine! Turn off the TV. Don’t multitask your workout. You might even consider leaving the iPod home. Some serious body builders feel that even music is a distraction. Vince Gironda wouldn’t even allow music played at his legendary Vince’s Gym in Southern California. Instead focus on the workout and appreciate what your body can do. We could all use a little time “unplugged”.

Next pick your preferred method of cardio. Any machine will work as well as being outdoors.
5 minutes warm up
1 minute sprint. *
2 minutes active rest **
1 minute sprint
2 minutes active rest
1 minute sprint
2 minutes active rest
1 minute sprint
2 minutes active rest
1 minute sprint
2 minutes active rest***

That’s it! Twenty minutes!
An hour on that treadmill will burn more calories, if you don’t die of boredom, but when you are finished so are the calorie burning benefits. With interval training your calorie and fat burning benefits last up to 48 hours, plus it creates a hormone environment conducive to weight loss. It will also strengthen your heart and give you an extra forty minutes a day to download iTunes.

*This is full sprint but not so fast you can’t finish the minute. I like to say on a scale of 1 -10, 10 feeling like a heart attack, work at a 9.
**An active rest is comparable to your warm up pace.
*** This routine is a sample. To get maximum benefits mix it up to keep your body not knowing what to expect next. A simple Google search for interval training will give you other options and explain more benefits.s

Monday, December 21, 2009

Eat and Lose Weight

For a long time we have heard about how weight gain or loss was all about calories consumed verses calories spent. Well certainly that is part of the picture but evidence is mounting that what and when we eat might be at least as important. One thing is certain - being hungry is not the answer to weight loss! Here is why:
1. Being hungry lowers metabolism while eating increases metabolism. The faster our metabolism is the more we can eat without gaining weight.
2. Hunger is a natural mechanism to make sure we eat, and eventually we will, and when we do we are much more likely to overeat.
3. If our weight loss program involves being hungry all the time we will eventually give it up. It just isn't very fun being hungry!
4. When we are hungry we are more likely to feel tired and sluggish. We are less likely to want to move and of course moving burns those calories.

So how do we eat and lose weight. Try this:
1. Eat first thing in the morning. It doesn't have to be a lot. Remember your body has gone a long time without food.
2. Eat often - every 2 1/2 - 3 hours.
3. Include protein with each meal. Good options are raw nuts, beans and lentils, fish, chicken, string cheese, and of course, the fabulous egg.
4. Skip the desserts. Sugar is not a food! A rodent or insect will starve to death in a barrel of sugar! We live in a society of obese people who are malnutritioned and the major culprit is a chemical we call refined sugar.
5. Don't over-eat! Remember you get to eat again in 2-3 hours.