Thursday, December 31, 2009

Alcohol & Weight Loss

Negative Effects

One drink may be protective, but not everyone has the same response to alcohol. Those who have the genetic make-up that predisposes to alcohol abuse, those who don't metabolize alcohol well, those who have certain diseases, have existing liver problems, or are taking medications that cause side effects when alcohol is consumed, and those who are pregnant should avoid drinking alcohol. And although alcohol may raise HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol), there are better ways to do this - how about reducing body fat and exercising to raise HDL levels? In addition, drinking alcohol can raise triglyceride levels, which is another risk factor for heart disease, so the effects of alcohol vary from one person to another.

Alcohol and Weight Gain

For those who want to gain body weight, you need to increase calorie intake, but there are much better choices than alcohol to do this. Alcohol is very high in calories, but because alcohol is converted to fatty acids when it is metabolized, the extra calories are more likely to be stored as body fat. Healthy gains in weight come from a carefully planned diet, balanced in nutrition, not by the addition of low-nutrition calories like alcohol, sugar and low-nutrients snacks and desserts. Enjoy these foods occasionally, but don't use them for gaining weight!

Alcohol and Weight Loss

For those trying to lose body fat, drinking alcohol is going to slow down your weight loss progress, and again, because it converts to body fat more readily than most other nutrients, it's not the best choice for improving body fat percentage.

An Occasional Drink

If you want to add an occasional alcohol beverage to your weight loss or weight gain plan, you can add it your plan and consider that these are extra calories. Again, for weight loss, it will add up to extra calories that may slow your progress. You will need to increase your physical activity to make up for it!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Getting Started On A Fitness Plan

1. Schedule your workout as an appointment
Just like you wouldn't miss a scheduled doctor's appointment or
work meeting, you'll be more apt to fit in your workout if you set
aside time in your schedule.

2. If your time is limited, try to do something physical for at least
10 to 15 minutes
Any amount of physical activity is better than nothing! You never
know -- once you get started you may just keep going.

3. Add variety to your fitness regimen.
Don't bore yourself with the same type of physical activity over and
over again. Workout with a friend one day, take a walk one day,
and an exercise class the next. Mix it up!

4. Keep old photos, clothes in a smaller size or a picture of a how you
want to look to remind yourself of your goal.
Having visual reminders will help you to stay on track and remember
what you've set yourself up to accomplish.

5. Make sure your fitness plan is convenient
Join a gym or work with a personal trainer that is on your way home
from work or close to where you live. Or, if you plan to work out at
home, make sure the necessary equipment is easily available.

6. Avoid the expectation of immediate results
It is part of the American culture to assume results can be achieved
quickly. Avoid falling into that trap. You will see results if you
stick with a plan but give it time!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Benefits Of Eating A Healthy Breakfast

Studies show eating a healthy breakfast improves health by lowering cholesterol levels and aiding weight loss.

While skipping breakfast may seem like a good idea when in a hurry, studies show the benefits of eating a healthy breakfast are worth taking a few minutes to eat. There are many benefits of breakfast, including:

Boosts metabolism: Skipping meals causes the metabolism to become sluggish, but eating speeds the metabolism up because the body is burning calories when its digesting food. Breakfast is the first opportunity of the day to fuel the body and get the metabolism running.

Increases Energy: Studies indicate that those who eat breakfast have higher energy levels than those who skip breakfast.

Lowers cholesterol levels: Soluble fiber found in foods such as oatmeal, oat bran, citrus fruits and strawberries has been shown to lower cholesterol levels, thereby reducing the risk of heart disease.

Improves concentration: Research shows that those who eat breakfast have better concentration, memory, and problem-solving skills than those who skip breakfast.

Aids weight loss: Those who eat breakfast eat fewer calories throughout the day and lose more weight compared to those who do not eat breakfast. Also, those who opt out of eating breakfast are usually famished by lunchtime and tend to overeat.

Keeps blood sugar levels stable. Eating a breakfast consisting of sugary cereal or a doughnut causes blood sugar to spike, leading to hunger and carbohydrate cravings. A healthy breakfast keeps blood sugar levels stable, thereby decreasing cravings and hunger throughout the day.

Quick and Healthy Breakfast Ideas
A nutritional breakfast should always consist of complex carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Some quick and healthy breakfast ideas include:

•Oatmeal with fresh fruit and whole-grain toast
•Scrambled eggs with a slice of whole-grain toast and a pat of butter
•Veggie omelet with a sprinkling of cheddar or mozzarella cheese on top
•High fiber muffins with fresh fruit and a glass of juice or low-fat milk
•Whole grain waffles or pancakes and turkey sausage or bacon
•Cold cereal that is high in fiber and low in sugar with low-fat milk, and fresh berries
•Whole-grain toast with peanut butter and a piece of fresh fruit

Sometimes eating actual food in the morning isn't always an enticing thought. Another option is to drink a smoothie made up of fresh fruit, low-fat milk or juice, yogurt, and a scoop of protein powder. Another option may be drinking a meal replacement shake, but make sure to read the label and make sure that any meal replacement shakes has a well-balanced ratio of carbs, protein, and fat.

Friday, December 4, 2009

What Is My Body Shape?

Do you ever look at someone whose figure you admire and wonder why you can’t look like that?

I have women come up to me all the time with statements like "Can you help me get some hips" or "I want a butt like so and so." The reality is you have to be realistic in your goals and know that your body is shaped the way it is because of your genetics. No matter what you do, you just seem to have a body that will never look like that person. You might even have a very nice figure but it isn’t the same.

The reason is because your body type is different and it is impossible to change your bone structure.

To make the most of the body shape you have, you need to know what body type you are and which exercises will help to make your body look its best.

There are three basic body types and most of us tend to fit one type or another.

This body type is charactized by long lean muscles and a slim body with hips and shoulders the same width.

Ectomorphs do not find it easy to gain muscle mass and often have a difficult time keeping their weight maintained.

This body type is also more prone to injury. Some great exercises to help an ectomorph get and keep the optimum shape are lifecycle, treadmill walking, martial arts and kickboxing as a maximum workout.

Planks, step-ups and pushups are also very beneficial. Basic stretches will round out a good exercise routine for this body type.

This body type is often referred to as the pear shape. Its shape is rounder, curvier and softer than other body types with a large bone structure.

Putting on muscle is not a problem for endomorphs but losing weight, particularly fat, is not easy. Because they fear putting on too much muscle, women with this body shape will often shy away from weight training or only use very light weights.

However, the best exercise for endomorphs to do is moderate weight training.

This is enough to make the most of this body shape without making it too muscular while giving the metabolism a boost at the same time.

Some of the best exercises for endomorphs include walking on a treadmill with an incline, interval stepping, uphill walking at a fast pace, kickboxing and cross training.

If you are a mesomorph, you are considered to be rather broad shouldered and have either a medium to large frame.

You find that losing fat and weight are not especially difficult problems and gaining muscle mass is easy.

A fitness boot camp workout is a good option for you as well as moderate weight training. A few other good exercises are stairmaster and crosstrainer intervals, running workouts, step exercises, the pilates system and yoga.

Jump rope is also a very good choice for mesmorphs to help maintain a good shape.


No matter what your shape is, you can get it into its best shape and keep it there with the right combinations of exercises for your particular body type.

Just remember that, if you are a mesomorph, you are not going to have the same figure as an ectomorph or an endomorph and vice versa. You will have no choice but to accept that. You can be just as beautiful whatever body shape you have been born with.

Exercising For Your Body Shape

Everyone has a certain type of body shape. You might be a pear shape, an hourglass shape, a ruler shape, or an apple shape. Let’s take a quick look at what these shapes mean.

For Men:

Pear Shape – Before you accuse me of calling you a fruit, read on! A man with this type of body shape is usually larger in the hips and thighs than in the chest and arms. He is usually petite in the arms and chest. A lot of men with this body type have an athletic type build.

Hourglass Shape – No, guys. This doesn’t mean you’re girly. This is actually the shape many football players have, with small waists and hips, and broad shoulders and muscular thighs.

Ruler Shape – You are probably pretty thin, with minimal muscle build up.

Apple Shape – This type of body shape means that the man has a larger chest and arms, with a small waist. Men with this body shape usually have a small butt and legs, and may look top heavy.

For Women:

Pear Shape – You have larger hips, with a smaller chest and arms. Most women with this body type have flat stomachs and chests.

Hourglass Shape – This is one of the favorite shapes of a woman. Your shoulders and hips are about equal in width, and you have a small waist and normally flat tummy.

Ruler Shape – You have a thinner body, with minimal curves.

Apple Shape – You have larger shoulders and larger breasts, with smaller thighs, and thinner or smaller hips and butt.

Unfortunately, we all get our body shapes genetically, which means “tough cookie,” if we want to get rid of them. However, we can utilize targeted exercises to shape up our bodies, and this will help us look great, no matter what body shape we are. Here are some great targeted exercises for each shape.

Pear Shape – For this shape, you need some great exercises that will balance out the difference in the bottom part of your body, and the upper part. Do aerobic activities that target the lower body, and resistance exercises for the upper body. You will be slimming the lower part, and building the upper part. Some great ones for you are push ups, chin ups, leg lifts, jumping rope, and elliptical training.

Hourglass Shape – Cardio is great for this body shape, along with resistance exercises. Try things like swimming, stationary biking with a bit of resistance, jumping jacks, bicep curls, shoulder presses and squats. This kind of exercise will help keep your weight in check, ensure a good balance between upper and lower body.

Ruler Shape – You don’t really need to do much extra. Your regular and balanced routine is fine, and ensuring that you get a healthy diet and nutrition. Some people with shapes like this want muscle building, so go for resistance training that targets the upper and lower body.

Apple Shape – Most likely, if you have this shape, you want to focus on losing weight. Losing weight all over will balance out your larger upper body. Do low resistance exercises with lots of repetitions, such as stair climbing, running and incline walking.

Good luck, and remember, we might not be able to change our body shapes completely, but we can change them for the better.

Weight Loss For Heart Health

Obesity puts a strain on your heart. Exercise and fitness improve your heart health and constitute weight loss support, but some dietary adjustment is usually also called for if you want to lose weight. To lose weight, improve cardiovascular health, and lower cholesterol, cut back on calories from saturated fat, eat more fiber, and stock up on fruit and veggies.

The Best Pregnancy Exercises

It is important to maintain a healthy, pregnancy fitness program throughout your pregnancy. The following exercises are considered the best for pregnant women who want to remain fit.

* Swimming-Water supports your weight and gives you added resistance to strengthen your muscles and joints.

* Yoga-This exercise is great for reducing stress and helping you remain flexible.

* Low-impact Aerobics-There are many aerobic classes and tapes that are specially designed for pregnant women.

* Walking-This is the easiest exercise to add to your fitness routine.

Always check with your doctor before engaging in exercise programs, or if you experience any problems.

When You May Need To Limit Exercise During Pregnancy

In normal pregnancies, exercise is safe and often recommended. However, some complications during pregnancy may cause you to limit your exercise or, stop it altogether:

*Vaginal Bleeding
*High Blood Pressure
*Placental Problems
*Heart Palpitations
*Premature Labor
*Incompetent Cervix

It is always important to keep your doctor informed of your exercise routine. He or she will decide whether continuing an exercise routine is safe for both you and baby.

When To Avoid Exercise During Pregnancy
If you should develop high blood pressure during your pregnancy, it is probably best to put your exercise program on hold. Exercise in this instance can actually worsen the condition. ALWAYS check with your doctor, throughout your entire pregnancy. Let him/her know you are exercising.

Yoga During Pregnancy

Yoga is an excellent way to stay fit during pregnancy. This safe, low-impact workout offers an array of benefits to women who are expecting:

• Improves posture and muscle flexibility without putting excess stress on your joints

• Helps you master meditative breathing exercises that can be used during childbirth

• Allows you to practice birthing positions that can be used during delivery

• Reduces back pain, as well as other aches and strains

• Aids in overall relaxation and physical well-being

Ideally, you should look for a yoga program that is designed specifically for pregnant women, as these will avoid exercises that could pose a danger to your unborn baby. During the second and third trimesters, you may need to use a chair or wall to ensure that you don’t lose your balance when assuming yoga positions. After the first trimester, be sure to avoid poses that require you to lie flat on your back, as this can restrict the flow of blood and oxygen to the fetus.

Weight Training During Pregnancy

If you wish to continue or begin weight training while pregnant, keep the weight light. First, you do not need to strain which can dangerously increase your blood pressure. Second, if the weight is too heavy you will be more likely to hold your breath while lifting. This, again, can increase your blood pressure but also decreases the oxygen supply to the fetus. Lastly, your joints are lax as a result of the hormone relaxin thus heavy weights are likely to cause you to injure yourself.

Pregnancy And Fitness

Is it really important for you to exercise while you are pregnant? What are the true benefits of pregnancy fitness and exercise? The answer to the first question is an emphatic yes! Exercising will make you feel better during your pregnancy. The benefits include the following:

* Exercising improves balance which can be disrupted because of changes and weight gain in your body.

* Exercising stimulates the right hormones in your body leading to a better emotional health.

* Exercising helps to get your body in shape so that you are more prepared for labor.

* Exercising strengthens your heart, which is already working overtime to support you and your baby.

* Exercising also strenthens your muscles and your joints, getting you into better shape for labor and delivery.

Pregnancy fitness exercises are important to your health and the health of your baby! Always check with your doctor before engaging in exercise programs, or if you experience any problems.

Fitness Precautions During Pregnancy

While pregnancy fitness is important to the health of you and your baby, there are some precautions that you should keep in mind.

* If you haven't been regularly exercising already, see your doctor before beginning a fitness regimen.

* Avoid rigorous bouncing, arching of your back, and any exercise which involves even mild abdominal trauma.

* Maintain even, steady breathing while exercising.

* During pregnancy fitness, do not lift your feet over your hips.

* Do not do sit-ups that are past 45 degrees.

* Don't do fitness exercises that require precise balance.

* Be sure you always stretch before and after your fitness regimen.

* Don't overdo it! Cut back on your exercise levels as your pregnancy progresses.

Always check with your doctor before engaging in exercise programs, or if you experience any problems.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


If you eat more calories than your body burns, then the excess will be stored as body fat. Making healthy food choices is important so I want you to see how you benefit from the following macronutrients.

Protein. Protein is a metabolically active macronutrient that encourages muscle building. For those who are weight-training, it is beneficial to provide your body with a steady stream of amino acids in the form of dietary protein. That way, your body can make use of the amino acids for all the muscle-building and recovery processes that your body is undergoing during this training phase.

For best results, consume at least 20 to 35 grams of protein (depending on your total calories) at each of your six or so meals a day.

Complex Carbs. These are the slow-digesting carbohydrates found in such foods as oatmeal, brown rice, yams, and whole-grain bread products. They provide a slow yet steady release of energy to help fuel your full day. In the evening or later, they are less beneficial because you need less energy to fuel activities at this time of day. At this point, these calories are more likely to be stored as body fat, so reduce consumption of them.

The list below shows some food products that contain a large percentage of simple carbohydrates. Foods containing lots of added table sugar can also be added to the list. These foods contain lots of added sugar and most are high in calories. These foods should be limited to lose weight.

Table sugar


Biscuits - plain







Boiled sweets

Mint Sweets



Soft drinks

Tinned fruits



Puddings - some

Simple Carbs. Simple carbohydrates are usually considered to be "bad" carbs, but these are those that have been processed and broken down before being put back together again in an unnatural way such as to produce a sweet product like chocolate. Natural simple carbohydrates are the best carbs to include in the diet, especially if trying to lose weight.

The most common example of simple carbs is sugar. It's quickly absorbed into the bloodstream, and if it's not used for energy in the short term, it's likely to be stored as body fat, particularly when you consume a great deal of it in a short period of time. However, consuming sugar before and after your workouts can give a big boost to muscle building. Simple carbs-sugars-help drive nutrients and amino acids from protein to your muscles to help them recover and grow after they're trained. Simple carbs have their place before and after workouts; at other times of day, they're much more likely to be stored as body fat.

Following is a list of some natural foods made up of mostly simple carbohydrates. These foods are low in simple sugars and do not promote weight gain.
















Good Fats. Despite low-fat fad diets, fats are essential for optimal body function. Fat is crucial for numerous body processes and is key for the anabolic, or muscle-building, process. Consuming fats also helps promote healthy joints, hair, and skin. While many fats are considered unhealthy-especially trans fats (hydrogenated fats, found in margarine and baked products such as crackers and cookies)-others, such as mono- and poly-unsaturated fats, are good for you. These can help reduce cholesterol levels and protect the heart. Good sources of healthy fats include olive oil, canola oil, avocados, nuts and seeds, and fatty fish such as salmon. Flaxseed and fish oil supplements are also beneficial. Consume healthy fats at most meals, but avoid them directly before or after workouts, as they slow digestion and the workout recovery process, which will cost you some muscle.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Exercise And Smoking

Exercise can help you quit smoking. And quitting smoking can improve your exercise and sports performance. If you crave a cigarette, go out for a walk or run or bike ride instead, and let the craving pass.
If you can't quit cold turkey, try a fitness break from nicotine. One week of not smoking doesn´t allow your lungs to recover from the effects of smoking, but it does improve your muscle fitness and exercise performance. And that may make it easier for you to quit for good.

Body Mass Index

Body Mass index, or BMI Body Mass Index is the ratio of weight to height. Your BMI can be calculated by dividing your weight (in kilograms) by the square of your height (in meters). A BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 is considered normal for most adults.

A BMI of over 25 is considered overweight and a BMI of over 30 is considered obese.

Sugar & Weight Control

Sugar and sugary foods should be eliminated when dieting. Eating sugar causes a spike in insulin production in the body thus increasing appetite and cravings.

In the long run, peaks in insulin level lead to decreased insulin sensitivity, which then leads to depositing excess fat in fat depots around the waist. These depots are indicators of high risk factors of diabetes and heart disease.

Detox Diet

The term detox generally means removing any toxins from the body. Depending on the kind of toxins, there can be different or combined approaches to dieting. Toxins can include cosmetics, alcohol, cigarette or psychoactive herb smokes, pesticides, mercury, food additives, oral contraceptives, and household chemicals.

Removing them with urine takes diuretics. When we are talking about detox dieting, we usually want to use diuretic foods rather than drugs. Here are some examples of diuretic foods:


Water melon




Dandelion greens





Tea (green or black)

Herbs include (but are not limited to):

Juniper berries

Linden flowers

Stinging Nettle


Uva Ursi

Another area to remove the toxins is gastro-intestinal tract. It is usually done using laxative foods or herbs

Here's a sample list:








Red beets





Flax seed

Psyllium husk


It is also important to take care of the friendly bacteria because they help to remove the toxins from our intestines. The major source is live-culture yogurt and fermented foods generally, like sauerkraut, vinegar-free pickles, etc.

The third important area is bile-moving enhancement that help the gallbladder and liver. The most common measure is a tablespoonful of warm olive oil taken first thing in the morning. There's also a tea recipe to manage liver congestion:

Dandelion root 1 part

Artichoke leaves 1 part

Oregon grape root 1 /2 part

Licorice 1 /4 part

Turmeric 1 /4 part

Ginger root, fresh 1 /8 part

Gentian root 1/8 part

Simmer the herbs in a covered pot 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let steep, covered, for 10 minutes. Drink one cup morning and evening and one more if desired. Persist as long as you experience benefits (Source: Herbs for the Liver; Natural Liver Therapy, 1986).