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Weight Loss in 10 Minutes or Less

April 8, 2013 in Blog

By Kevin Charles

As hard as you try, there are days when you can’t get a full workout in. And sometimes, those busy days turn into busy weeks. That’s no reason to put your fitness or health goals aside. If you can find 10 minutes in your day, and let’s face it, you probably can, you can strengthen your heart, gain strength and burn even hundreds of calories.

Tabata
This four-minute workout consists of eight rounds of exercise. Each round is made up of a 20-second interval of the most intense exercise you can manage, followed by 10 seconds of rest. When you repeat that cycle eight times, it equals a total workout time of four minutes. While you won’t burn tons of calories in four minutes, what you will do is shock your cardiovascular system. That means your metabolism will have to work extra hard to return your system back to its pre-exercise state. That could take up to 48 hours and in those 48 hours, you’ll burn up to an additional 200 calories. The key to Tabata, however, is to go all out. That means in those 20 seconds you will sprint, jump, perform burpees, etc. and generally push yourself beyond your limits.

Skip Rope
Skipping rope is one of the simplest, cheapest and most effective cardio workouts you can do. The American Council of Exercise estimates that a 160 pound person burns 145 calories in just 10 minutes of skipping rope. That’s over 15 pounds of weight loss a year in just 10 minutes a day.

Jumping Jacks
This is another simple exercise that requires absolutely no set up. Sparkpeople.com estimates that a 160-pound person will burn 98 calories in 10 minutes. That’s 10 pounds of weight loss in a year. Just stand in front of your TV, put on your favorite show and let the minutes fly by.

Push Ups
The push up is one of the pillars of exercise. This simple (but not easy) exercise strengthens your chest, your shoulders, your triceps and even your abdominals. Start with knee push ups and slowly advance to full push ups as you get stronger. While performing push ups won’t burn a significant amount of calories, it will build muscle and the more muscle you have on your body, the more calories you’ll burn throughout the day. Perform as many as you can and each time you work out, aim to do at least one more push up than you did the workout before. One warning: leave at least 48 hours between strength exercises that target the same muscle groups to allow your muscles to recover and grow.

 

Fitness & Nutrition Myths BUSTED

April 1, 2013 in Blog

By Kevin Charles

With a new “breakthrough” study or fitness report in the media every other day, it’s no wonder that people are often confused between what’s fact and fiction when it comes to health tips. You’d think more information would make the world more informed but it often just leaves everyone confused. We thought we’d share some of the more popular myths that we’ve encountered and fill you in on the real facts!

All Carbohydrates Are Bad
While it’s true that studies show low-carb diets are the best way to lose weight, getting rid of all carbohydrates from your diet can be quite dangerous. To begin with, carbohydrates contain a specialized type of energy that is required by your brain to work. So, if you skimp on carbohydrates, your brain functioning starts to slow down. You’ll feel sluggish and moody and let’s face it, nothing is worth that. You can still reduce your carb-intake and lose weight by getting rid of simple carbs such as sugar and replacing “white foods” such as rice, pasta and bread with the whole-wheat variety.

Choose Low Fat Foods
Your body actually needs fat to line your organs and help perform vital functions. When you stop eating fat your body starts to panic and starts storing all the fat it has. Before you know it, you stop losing weight. You should, of course, minimize saturated fats that come from meat but you can replace these with good fats that are found in avocados, nuts and olive oil. And don’t forget to add omega-3 fats and oils to your daily diet as these can actually help you lose weight. Many pre-packaged low-fat foods also have high amounts of sodium or sugar to make up for the lack of taste that comes from removing fat. Always check the label for total calories, fat, sodium and sugar content before making any purchases.

Skip Meals to Lose Weight
How many times have you seen people not eating as a way to lose weight? This is a surefire way to slow your metabolism and stop losing weight. When you don’t eat, your body goes into starvation mode and stores calories (as it does when you eat too little fat). Your metabolism slows and you stop losing weight. On the other hand, your body needs energy to digest food, so eating throughout the day forces your metabolism to work harder and burn calories all day long.

Exercise Is All You Need For Weight-Loss
This isn’t exactly 100% myth but it’s important to note that a lot of people who exercise don’t lose weight. That’s because many people who exercise overeat throughout the day assuming that they have burned more calories in their workout and are thus entitled to eat more. One of our favorite sayings is “you can’t outrun a bad diet.” Out it this way, you’ll typically burn between 300 to 500 calories during an hour-long workout.

Performing Crunches Every Day Will Give You a Six-Pack
Oh dear! How much do we hate to hear this? The truth is if you have any fat covering your stomach crunches alone will not get you to your six-pack goal. Crunches will inevitably strengthen your abdominal muscles, but they’ll still be hidden under layers of fat. The only way to have show-worthy abs is to get rid of your belly fat, and that can only happen by reducing your daily calories through diet and regular exercise.

 

Steady State Cardio is BAD

March 25, 2013 in Blog

 

By Kevin Charles

Admit it, you have been known to go to the gym and spend half an hour, sometimes an hour, walking or jogging on a treadmill. The calorie counter on the treadmill console slowly but steadily increases and at the end of your workout you leave the gym feeling like you’ve accomplished something. It’s a great way to lose weight, right? Well, you may be surprised to know that it’s actually not a great way to lose weight and it sure isn’t the best way.

Cardio Results
Several studies have shown that steady-state cardio, or exercise that remains the same intensity throughout your workout, is not really effective for weight loss. A study in the September 1998 issue of the ‘International Journal of Sports Nutrition’ compared women who dieted with women who dieted with those that dieted and exercised and found that the additional exercise didn’t lead to extra weight loss. The authors concluded that “moderate aerobic exercise training during a 12-week period has no discernible effects on body composition.”

HIIT
High-intensity interval training is a more advanced and effective way to exercise. A more recent study published in the 2012 issue of the ‘Journal Obesity’ studied the effects of interval training and found it superior to steady-state cardio. The authors noted that “twelve weeks of HIIE (high intensity intermittent exercise) resulted in significant reductions in total, abdominal, trunk, and visceral fat and significant increases in fat-free mass and aerobic power. That means you’ll lose more fat and weight than if you jog. You’ll also have better aerobic or heart health and you’ll even gain muscle. Did I mention that the exercise performed in this study amounted to 20 minute workouts three times a week? All of a sudden, jogging on the treadmill every day doesn’t seem as appealing as it did before.

Try It At Home
While you can certainly perform interval training at the gym, you can also do it in the comfort of your own home. A simple (but not easy) high intensity exercise is high-knee jogging. It’s jogging on the spot with your knees rising to your waist as you move. To perform a 20 minute workout, try regular jogging for four minutes as a warm up, then alternate 30 seconds of high-knee jogging with regular jogging for 12 minutes. Follow with an additional four-minute cool down of regular jogging or walking and end your workout by stretching all your major muscle groups. Perform this routine every other day and you’ll see changes on the scale before you know it.

 

Eating Before and After Your Workout

March 18, 2013 in Blog

By Kevin Charles

Choosing if and what to eat before and after your workout can be tricky. On the one hand, you don’t want to show up full to an intense workout, only to end up feeling nauseous five minutes into it and. On the other hand, you don’t want to show up to your workout on an empty stomach and feel sluggish the entire time and then ravenous for the rest of the day.

There are also those who will tell you that exercising on an empty stomach burns more fat than carbohydrates, you’ll still be burning fewer calories in total because you won’t have the energy to work hard. In the end, the goal really is to burn more calories in total and not worry where those calories came from.

Now that we’ve determined that you should eat something, the question remains what and how much to eat. The Mayo Clinic suggests eating large meals at least three hours before exercising, small meals at least two hours before exercising and small snacks an hour before your workout. Choose one of these options and make sure that your meal or snack includes both protein and carbohydrates to give your muscles all the nutrients they’ll need for the work that lies ahead. Examples of quick snacks are fruit and almonds, whole grain bagel with peanut butter or fruit yogurt.

What about after your workout, you ask? Your workout actually breaks down muscle so it’s important to eat something to stop this breakdown and to encourage muscle growth and recovery. Try to eat something within 30 minutes post-exercise. The American Dietetic Association recommends consuming 1 – 1.5 grams of carbs per kilogram of body weight to replenish glycogen in muscles and 10 – 20 grams of lean protein to help repair muscle tissue. Some great post-workout meal suggestions include protein shakes, bananas and nut butter or even a glass of good old chocolate milk

Burn Calories At Work

March 11, 2013 in Blog

By Kevin Charles

One of the top reasons people say they don’t work out is that they just don’t have the time, and with work taking up so much of our lives these days, it’s no wonder. But what if you could exercise and burn calories while at work? And we’re not talking about going to your workplace gym. It may sound too good to be true but adding some activity to your work day can burn hundreds of calories and help you meet your weight loss goals.

The easiest way to burn additional calories throughout the day is to fidget. Fidgeting is a form of non-exercise activity thermogenesis or NEAT. NEAT refers to all physical activity that is not structured or purposeful. This can include standing up, swinging your legs or jiggling your feet at your desk and even chewing gum. Incorporating NEAT throughout your day can lead to a loss of hundreds of calories per day. A study published in the January 2006 issue of “Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology’ noted that fidgeting increases your resting metabolism by almost 100 percent. That means that if you’re burning 70 calories an hour sitting down, you’ll burn an extra 70 calories in that hour just by tapping your toes. While that may not seem like a lot, it’s still six pounds of fat loss a year without you leaving your desk.

If you want to add even more activity to your day find a stairwell at your workplace and get climbing. You’ll burn an average of 30 calories by walking up stairs for one minute and then coming back down. Do that three times a day and you’ve burned an additional 90 calories without breaking a sweat. Climbing stairs will also give your legs and glutes a workout. Just make sure to keep your hands off the rails and really make your body work to climb those steps.

Whenever possible, you should also add extra steps to your day. If you drive, park one or two minutes further from work or get off the bus one or two stops before your workplace. While at work try to use the restroom that is furthest from your desk. Instead of buying lunch in the cafeteria, try walking to a nearby healthy restaurant. Aim to take at least 10,000 steps per day and you can burn anywhere between 250 to 600 calories a day.

Incorporating all these activities in your work day can add up to hundreds of burned calories per day. If you consider that just a 350 calorie burn a day can add up to a pound of fat loss every 10 days, it’s easy to see that real weight loss is achievable in for the busiest of workers.