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50 Reasons why it's Harder to Lose Weight as you get Older

Once you hit the age of 40 everything becomes more difficult.

Especially if you were out of shape during your 30s and suddenly realize its time to fix that. Aside from the fact that you no longer look great in your clothes, it becomes harder to lose weight. And there is a long list of reasons why it becomes more difficult as you get older.

Physical Effects

When you hit the BIG FOUR O you will notice a few things are different. You may have noticed gravity is no longer your friend. Gravity isn’t your only problem; the human body tends to go through some pretty crazy changes, beginning around age 35. Here’s a look at a few of the things that may impact weight loss.
  1. If you’re a woman, you’re probably dealing with what is known as perimenopause, which is a decrease in estrogen. Yay! Oh, wait… That is not as good as you think.
  2. Hormonal changes make you hungrier. That second loaded baked potato is looking mighty tasty right now, isn’t it?
  3. Metabolic rates tend to slow. In other words, even if you stick to that all-vegan, macrobiotic-anti-whatever-else diet, you may still gain weight. Who knew green beans could cause muffin top?
  4. Cortisol production increases. Cortisol is a stress hormone that may contribute to the aforementioned muffin top. Don’t give up and think that because you appear to be a muffin you should eat more muffins.
  5. The sudden incidence of insomnia may result in lower energy levels the next day. Although you might get caught up on your scrapbooking, you are less likely to burn any meaningful calories.
  6. Believe it or not, you may lose a few inches as you progress past 40. Gravity has a lot to do with this. Your weight doesn’t go south with your height; in fact, it can be more difficult to lose.
  7. It’s almost guaranteed that you’ll lose some lean muscle mass. Losing muscle not only means it’s harder to open that jar of spaghetti sauce, exercise becomes more daunting.
  8. Fat cells increase and grow. You can’t lose fat cells without surgery, but you can always grow new fat. Maybe it’s better to skip that second piece of German chocolate cake, after all.
  9. Joints begin to creak and ache more. Does this mean you shouldn’t exercise? Of course not. Does this mean you will exercise less? Probably yes, unless you’re into masochism.
  10. You move more slowly. Call this a combo of many of the aforementioned effects. Although you may experience less discomfort, you’re also burning fewer calories. Kick it up already!
  11. Your skin loses its elasticity. Although this does not have a direct impact on weight loss, the sight of floppy skin may give you the impression that your efforts aren’t working; in turn, you may give up prematurely.
  12. Thyroid changes can develop after 40. If you are working your butt off and still not seeing results, visit your doctor. You may need medication.
  13. A decline in melatonin can cause you to wander the house at all hours. Unfortunately, we tend to wander to food when we’re bored or sleepless. Put down the brownies and try a cup of chamomile tea, instead.
  14. For women, the effects of osteoporosis can be an inhibitor to exercise, which in turn can make it difficult to lose extra pounds. While you should be careful, your doctor can guide you to a safe exercise program.
Mental and Sensory Effects

Yes, this does refer to the fact that all-nighters are no longer a good idea. However, it’s not just your desire to party that changes. There are mental and sensory aspects that can impact your weight loss, as well.
  1. You’re tired. Remember how tired you were after a night of clubbing? You may not have gone out last night, but you feel like you did. You need more sleep as you get older, and if you don’t get it, you won’t have the energy to get moving the next day.
  2. Now that you’re older, you might think “To heck with it.” After 40, you may feel you’re past your prime; if you already think you’re less attractive, you may be less inclined to exercise or watch what you eat.
  3. If you don’t partake in any enjoyable activities for yourself, you may feel depressed once your children grow up and move out; this sadness can lead you to eat more for comfort.
  4. You may become more absent-minded. No, that’s not a reference to dementia. As we age, small lapses in memory are common. You may forget that you only exercised for 15 minutes this morning, and promised yourself another 15 minutes at night.
  5. Anxiety and depression are more prominent in older adults. Perhaps it’s the thought of our own mortality. In any case, mental health can have a direct impact on physical health and well-being.
  6. After 40, you might find it harder to focus on a task. What does this have to do with weight loss? Have you ever tried to cook a healthy meal while imagining bunnies chasing a rubber ball in a field? As silly as it may sound, if you can’t gather your concentration to fix a meal, you’ll probably end up at your local drive-though.
  7. Like memory and focus, balance can be affected by age. If you feel off-balance, you may be too self-conscious or afraid to exercise, for fear of looking silly or of injuring yourself.
  8. Have you noticed that it takes more salt to flavor your food? Yep, the sense of taste can start to decline, as well. If you’re not careful, you may end up dumping an entire bottle of ranch on that side salad you’re having with dinner.
  9. Are you worried about your job? As we age, we often worry that we appear less useful than someone half our age. Fear of your future at your company may contribute to stress levels and make you more likely to snack around the clock.
  10. If you used to read the nutritional labels on food, but have recently experienced a change in eyesight, you might opt to avoid the tiny print rather than admit you need glasses. This is more likely to be a concern if you used to pride yourself on having 20/20 vision.
  11. If you can’t come to terms with the fact that you aren’t in your 20s or 30s anymore, shaping your body to what you want it to be can be difficult. Accept yourself and strategize accordingly.
  12. Overzealous determination to look the way you did 15 years ago can backfire. Don’t skip breakfast because you MUST lose five pounds. Your already slowed metabolism will slow even further from lack of fuel.
Changes in Family and Home Life

By the time you’ve hit 40, there’s a good chance that your home life has reached a comfortable stride: it’s unlikely you’re still raising infants, but you may be dealing with teenagers. Family situations can impact weight loss, as well.
  1. If you’re old enough that the kids have left the nest, congratulations. Now you can go out to eat at places that don’t serve toys with meals. Unfortunately, your newfound rich, exotic eating experiences can contain up a day’s worth of calories in one sitting.
  2. Even if your kids are still at home, they’re probably a bit older. Chasing after a young child tends to burn more calories; yelling at a teenager, not so much.
  3. If you’ve been married for a while, it’s likely you and your spouse are very comfortable with each other. So comfortable, in fact, you don’t feel the need to impress each other anymore. Seconds on everything, please.
  4. If you’ve downsized recently, you might find you have less area to clean and sanitize. Less to do=less calories burned.
  5. Remember when the kids were younger and there were trips to the park, the zoo, the beach…. All that walking was great exercise. Now your family is older, and no one wants to see the new manatee at the zoo.
  6. If you do have teenagers, you are probably restraining yourself from strangling them at this very moment. Stressful family situations can provoke overeating.
  7. Blame the kids: if your growing children demand having more snacks in the house, it can be harder to avoid munching. Remember, you don’t burn calories like you used to.
  8. If job security isn’t a concern because you’ve moved up in the company, you might find yourself with more responsibility. At the end of a long day, the last thing you want to think about is broiling and steaming up a healthy meal. Burgers and fries are a lot easier to collect on the way home. Besides, didn’t the Reagan administration declare ketchup a vegetable?
  9. Dinner problems can be the same on the weekends. The last thing you want to do on your weekend is cook, isn’t it? Besides, your clan would rather have pizza. You’re too tired to cook anyway, and that pie covered in extra cheese and pepperoni sounds too good to pass on.
  10. If you have reached the age where the kids have moved on, you probably feel it’s time to sit back, relax, and enjoy “me time.” Unfortunately, me time might include an uninterrupted movie and a container of cheese balls that you don’t have to share. I bet you’d swear that container was nearly empty when you grabbed it.
  11. If you have downsized and it’s just you and your spouse, the two of you may decide there’s no need to cook. Even if you don’t dine out, fast snacks and meals can contain far more calories and fat than a regular meal. Go ahead and cook that meal; your body will thank you.
  12. If you suddenly take extra interest in your appearance, your spouse may believe you are having an affair after so many years of marriage. Jealousy and uncertainty can lead you to want to ease his or her mind, and can hamper your efforts.
  13. If you have waited to start a family until after 40, you have a host of challenges in front of you. The exhaustion of raising an infant later in life can leave little time for personal consideration and health.
  14. If you are over 40, single and sans children, you have all the time in the world, right? All that time will do you no good if you aren’t motivated, and sometimes family is the best motivator. If you still have parents or siblings, turn to them for a little kick in the rear.
  15. If your spouse has let himself or herself go, it can be harder to lose weight. Don’t ask me why. I hear spouses start to look the same the longer they’re together. Does that mean the wife will grow a beard, too?
Friend Challenges

Whether you’re a man or woman, you probably have buddies. If not, you should make some. However, your friendships can interfere with your weight loss goals, whether or not the interference is intentional. Here’s how.
  1. Friend get-togethers often include snacks and alcohol. Lots of snacks and alcohol. It might have been easier to burn off that second glass of wine or beer ten years ago.
  2. Have you ever heard the expression, “birds of a feather flock together?” If the rest of your friends are putting on weight, you may feel more comfortable letting yourself go, as well.
  3. Over-40 girls-day-outs (or guys-day-outs) may include less activity and more sitting. Remember when you enjoyed shopping with your girlfriends or working on a car with your guy friends? Now, you may be too tired to exert that much energy on your day off. You may opt to veg out in front of a television with a bag of nacho chips, instead.
  4. Ice cream gatherings among women are an opportunity to vent your life frustrations, and an opportunity to stock up on empty calories. The same holds true for beer socials and men. Remember, your metabolism is slower now; all that junk food is wreaking havoc on your frame.
  5. Your friends mean well, they really do. However, you are less likely to take on a new diet and exercise regimen if you don’t have the support of your pals. If your friends are comfortable with extra weight, they may not be inclined to support your plans for personal restructuring.
Environmental Challenges

Sometimes, the biggest hurdles are things we can’t change.
  1. Now that you’re past 40, you may not want to wear those tiny jeans or those muscle-enhancing shirts. Don’t give up because you can’t fit into them; learn to ignore labels.
  2. You may be trying to watch what you eat and do, but have you noticed that portions seem to be growing when you dine out? With a slower metabolism, you have to be cautious about how much food is served. It’s not a contest; you aren’t required to finish the meal.
  3. You can’t do anything about society’s perception of healthy or beautiful. If you are healthy and are working out, but not losing any weight, stop trying to look like that 20-year-old billboard model. Even she doesn’t look like that.
  4. The media would have you believe it’s perfectly normal to be overweight and unhealthy past 40. Don’t believe that for a minute. How you look and feel is up to you, not primetime television.

Sweat, Determination and Looking Amazing





You have the Power to Exercise Today

You have the Power to Exercise Today!

Now stop reading this blog and go out and do it!

Plus more motivational images from motiveweight.blogspot.ca. :)



Motivating Yourself to Lift Weights

I am loving these motivational images from motiveweight.blogspot.ca. :)


Not Motivated? Go Exercise Anyway!

Not Motivated? Go Exercise Anyway!

Your body doesn't care if your brain is not motivated. The results will be the same if you get out there and just do it!


Motivation and Persistence

"Success is almost totally dependent upon drive and persistence. The extra energy required to make another effort or try another approach is the secret of winning." - Denis Waitley

"Ambition is the path to success, persistence is the vehicle you arrive in." - William Eardley IV

"Continuous, unflagging effort, persistence and determination will win. Let not the man be discouraged who has these." - James Whitcomb Riley

“Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.” - Robert J. Collier


Anatomical Terms for Athletes

Ever had a personal trainer refer to a part of the body using a word you didn't know? Well here is a handy guide to the various body parts / muscles most commonly referred to and likely a few you didn't know.

Well here is a two handy diagrams showing all the muscles of the human body so you can take note of the names of muscles you didn't know before. Also important if you ever get a sports injury and want to tell the doc where you hurt yourself.


If you are ever in doubt ask your personal trainer to slow down and explain which muscles they mean exactly. It never hurts to ask.

If you live in Toronto (or any other major city) you can also find lots of bookstores that will have a variety of anatomy books which can explain what you are looking for. Try to find an anatomy book that is more attuned to exercising.

In the future I may even post reviews on books I think are particularly useful.

Body Weight Exercises

THE BENEFITS OF BODY WEIGHT EXERCISES

#1. No Investment Needed. You don't need a gym memberships or expensive equipment - Seriously, you can get started with a fitness program today just by Googling bodyweight exercises and clicking images to search for ideas (examples shown here).

If you do decide to invest in equipment, buying a rope or chin up bar (or rings) is pretty cheap and frugal.

#2. Highly Effective - Our bodies are heavy. That's all the weight you need. Other cardio based body weight exercises such as mountain climbers, step climbing and jumping jacks raise the heart rate fast because you are lifting your own body weight.

#3. Very Easy to Learn - Body weight exercises are a lot less technical than the form for weightlifting free weights. No messing around with machines.

#4. No Need for Spotters - A heavy bench press needs a spotter to keep the workout safe. 50? 100 push ups? It doesn't matter, you'll be okay on your own!

#5. Anytime, Anywhere! - Need I explain more? You can do body weight exercises anywhere, even in bed!

#6. No Need to Hire a Personal Trainer - I admit this website is for my personal training business in Toronto, but I also love to give free advice on how people can exercise on their own in a frugal manner without the need to hire anyone. You don't even need a gym membership to do body weight exercises!

Body weight exercises can be a workout all on their own or used in conjunction with free weights, machines or as intervals in between bursts of cardio.


Vitamin D: Essential for Your Winter Diet

Being outside in the sunshine gives you lots of Vitamin D. Vitamin D is unusual because it can be ingested as cholecalciferol (Vitamin D3) or ergocalciferol (Vitamin D2) and also because your body can synthesize it (from cholesterol) when sun exposure is adequate (hence its nickname, the "sunshine vitamin") thanks to your exposed skin in the warmer months.

However as the days grow longer and the sun shines less, people often develop a Vitamin D deficiency in the winter months. A lack of Vitamin D causes your body to start storing extra fat (thanks to evolution, our bodies naturally start storing more fat during the winter months for survival purposes).

Thus as it gets colder humans start wearing more clothing, covering up more (which means less Vitamin D being synthesized through your exposed skin), and the shortage of Vitamin D results in you packing on the extra pounds.

HOWEVER you can fix this through 4 methods:

#1. Go outside and exercise!

Even if you just go for a walk, it doesn't take much to get your daily Vitamin D needs outside. Running around in a swimsuit in the summer you can get all you need in a mere 5 minutes. Wearing a jacket, hat, scarf, etc in the winter and its going to take 60 to 90 minutes outside in the sun.

#2. Vitamin D supplements. Huzzah for Vitamins!

Pay attention to the dosage on the bottle and how much Vitamin D you eat / absorb anyway. Ideally you want 5,000 to 10,000 IUs per day (depending on your size/weight) or the equivalent in micrograms, which is 125 to 250 micrograms per day. A typical Vitamin D pill might have 25 mcg/1000 IUs or 50 mcg/2000 IUs in it.

1 or 2 pills, plus your regular food (depending on what you are eating) should provide all your daily needs. Don't bother to overdo it.

#3. Regular foods. Track your current Vitamin D consumption.

Some of the foods you are eating might have Vitamin D in it already. eg. 125 ml of 2% Milk has 25% of your daily Vitamin D needs. That is roughly the amount you put on your cereal in the morning. It helps to check the label. Thus if you LOVE milk and drink a litre per day you are getting 100% of your Vitamin D needs just from the milk.

#4. Eat foods that are high in Vitamin D.

If you are low in Vitamin D you can increase your intake of foods high in Vitamin D to compensate.

Now immediately you think fruits and vegetables, and you are partially correct. Some veggies are high in Vitamin D, but there are number of foods that are even higher in Vitamin D.
  • Shiitake & Button Mushrooms (especially dried shiitake mushrooms). Mushrooms in general are rich in Vitamin B and D.
  • Mackerel. A 2 ounce portion of Mackeral provides 51% of your daily Vitamin D needs. Also rich in Omega-3.
  • Sockeye Salmon. Same as Mackerel. A 2 ounce portion provides 51% and is rich in Omega-3.
  • Herring. These fish eat plankton, which is really high in Vitamin D.
  • Sardines. A single small tin of sardines provides 70% of your daily needs.
  • Catfish. You won't see catfish in your average supermarket, but like herring its chockful of Vitamin D.
  • Tuna. 3 ounces of tuna daily provides 50% of your Vitamin D needs.
  • Cod Liver Oil. If you can get past the aroma, 1 tablespoon of the oil provides more than enough Vitamin D for the day.
  • Eggs. 1 small egg provides 10% of your daily needs.

Health Benefits of Vitamin D
  • Helps prevent cancer, osteoporosis, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension.
  • Protects and lubricates of your bones, teeth and hair.
  • Regulates muscular cellular growth and healthy cell activity.
  • Reduces storage of fat.
  • Reduces the inflammatory response to cancer, diabetes, obesity, etc.
  • Protects against adult osteoporosis.
  • Reduces risk of breast cancer in women and prostate cancer in men.
  • Reduces the "Winter Blues", the feeling of depression from lack of sun.
 Tracking your vitamin consumption can be quite helpful in understanding what your body needs.

Mind Body Fitness Vs Zen Exercising

There is a new trend in the fitness industry called "mind-body fitness" (or various other names) which combine tough physical workouts with lighter and less stressful components for what some personal trainers are calling "a total mind-body solution".

In reality mind-body is a misnomer. People like to use the words mind-body (or mind-body-soul) whenever they want something to sound New Age in an effort to appeal to people's more religious/spiritual sentimentalities.

Now there is nothing wrong with being spiritual and trying to look for moral guidance. Moral guidance can teach you to be less lazy, less gluttonous, more proactive, more patient about your goals... more virtuous and less sinful = More Exercise and a Better Diet. So nothing wrong with trying to be moral and virtuous, especially when it comes to exercise.

However just because something says "Mind Body" doesn't mean you should buy it. If anything you should instantly recognize it as a slogan / catchphrase, the same as "Authentic", "Traditional", "Old School", or anything else that screams "New and Improved".

Take for example Yoga: Traditional Yoga sounds pretty good, doesn't it? So does Mind-Body Yoga. New and Improved Yoga just sounds like the person is trying too hard.

Mind Body Fitness really is a bit like Interval Training... except Interval Training alternates the difficult and easy exercises multiple times instead of just one each. One Stressful, One Less Stressful. But if you repeat them both 5+ times then it IS Interval Training.

Anywho, back to my main topic: Some examples of this more stressful/less stressful so-called 'mind-body' trend include:
  1. Cy-Yo-One hour workout that combines spinning with yoga.
  2. YogaFit-Stength, cardio and yoga merged into one.
  3. Pilates-Yoga - The core strengthening benefits of Pilates combined with the full body + relaxation of yoga.
  4. Extended Stretch Sequence - Personal trainers may leave the last 10-15 minutes of every few sessions for a good, thorough (and more than likely, much needed) stretch.
  5. Jock Yoga - It's challenging enough for athletes but involves the relaxation that active people need to stay physically healthy.
So when you think of it you can basically combine any light exercise with any heavy exercise to make a combined 'Mind-Body' workout.

Examples:
  • Weightlifting followed by Yoga
  • Cycling or Spin Class followed by Stretching 
  • Running followed by Surfing or Wind-Surfing.
  • Helping Your Friends Move all their Furniture... followed by tossing around a frisbee or football.
So really, pretty darn easy to do these things. But do they really engage your mind? Not really. The latter component is really just more physically relaxing compared to the previous activity.

How to Add Less-Stressful Exercises into Your Workout

Easy. Think of a really physical stressful activity that you don't like doing, but you know you should do (eg. intense cardio for 45 minutes). Then add an activity you enjoy doing which is more relaxing but still keeps you moving (eg. 30 minutes of archery).

So anyone can do this on their own if they choose to. It takes only a little effort to add it your daily regimen and what you will discover is that the enjoyable exercises make the whole thing worthwhile and enjoyable.

What is ZEN EXERCISING?

Well Zen is the idea of really focusing on what you are doing. You avoid thinking about other things (distractions) and your goal is to get really into the activity you are doing to the exclusion of everything else. Doing this will result in a more intense workout, create better harmony between mind and body (and better hand-eye control and reflexes.

So Zen Exercising therefore is a very different thing from Mind Body Fitness (which is really more about stressful / non-stressful exercises) because Zen Exercising really gets more into your mental state while exercising.

Some people like to exercise when they're angry. The adrenaline rush from their anger makes them stronger and more energetic. However if you only exercise when angry you probably won't be exercising very often unless you have some serious anger management problems.

HOWEVER!

Some exercises are really good for developing your mental abilities. Examples:

#1. Zen Archery. Archery combines physical strength and balance with your ability to aim and concentrate on the target. Even your breathing comes into play because if you breathe into your chest and move your shoulders your aim will be knocked off, so you need to concentrate on breathing into your stomach.

#2. Tight-Rope Walking. If you're not paying attention to what you are doing you WILL fall.

#3. Acrobatics / Gymnastics / Figure Skating. Many balance oriented exercises (like surfing) require full concentration.

#4. Yogic Breathing. Concentrating on your breathing patterns is more difficult than you think.

Thus someone wanting to add Zen to their exercise routine needs to be adding things which will cause you to concentrate on your balance, aim and breathing.

Archery Testimonial

"Charles was great. Patient, gives good advice and his approach to setting up for a shot was helpful and resulted in consistent shots." 

- Cesar O.

Are Frozen Veggies Bad For You?

If you can get fresh vegetables, preferably picked, purchased and prepared for dinner all within 48 hours, then yes, that is absolutely healthy for you.

But lets pretend you can't always go to the grocery store to buy fresh vegetables. Maybe you like to stores veggies in your fridge and they tend to go bad easily. So you ultimately end up throwing out rotten onions and other things you meant to eat, but simply didn't get to them in time to save them from a grisly rotting demise.

So the question then is:

Are frozen veggies bad for you?

The short answer? NO.

They're actually quite healthy for you.

Frozen vegetables have a tendency to lose a bit of their taste, but all the nutrients are still there. Just frozen nutrients. They're perfectly healthy and if you toss them in a stewpot, boil them, toss in some cooked beef or chicken, and you've got yourself a healthy veggie and meat soup.

HOWEVER! Not all veggies can be frozen. Onions and potatoes for example, just don't freeze that well. But corn, peas, carrots, beets... perfect! Works great for berries too!

And what is better, if you get flash frozen vegetables you will discover they maintain the quality of the taste too. All the convenience, all the healthy goodness and all the great taste too!

Three Ways to get rid of Cellulite

First what exactly is cellulite?

It's actually just fat.

It is just fat that is arranged differently than the other fat on our bodies. Fat is separated by connective tissue and on a woman's body some of those tissues are honeycombed shaped. An excess amount of fat in these areas will bulge out and that is the cause of cellulite.

However contrary to popular belief, it is not caused by poor circulation, or toxins in the body, although
lack of exercise certainly is part of the problem. With age, women put on more weight and their skin becomes thinner and they exercise less. This causes an increased appearance and occurrence of cellulite.

But can it be "cured" naturally? Not really (because there is no cure for fat), but like all fat cellulite can be reduced. There is no miracle exercise or diet, just old fashioned fat burning to reduce the excess fat that is being stored, and weight training, to build muscle and tone the area. You really want full body exercises that cut down on all your extra fat stores and this will, with time and effort, reduce your cellulite. (Or prevent it altogether by exercising regularly.)

Tips to Reduce or Prevent Cellulite

1. Exercises that target the lower body
 


  • Squats (try with a side leg raise)
  • Lunges (try one foot on a chair)
  • Lying inner and outer thigh raises
  • Step Ups
  • Standing Leg Curls
    2. Diet Changes to Reduce Cellulite
     
  • Cut out Junk food, eat more healthy greens
  • Clean up the diet to reduce the chance of unhealthy weight gain. Cut out fried and fatty food.
  • Drink more water
    3. Add more Cardio plus a dash of weight lifting

    Cardiovascular exercise burns fat in large amounts. A reduction in overall body fat will decrease the appearance of cellulite and prevent more from developing. Any exercise that can be maintained for 20 or more minutes and elevate the heart rate will achieve this result. It can be walking, cycling, dancing, rowing, boxing, power yoga, etc. You have to do this daily to get the benefits.

    Add a dash (5 to 10 minutes daily) of weight lifting and you will also maintain your muscle tone and maximize your fat loss.

    For many women cellulite has always been a problem, but don't stress about it. You can work our butts off and eat as healthy as possible, but ultimately self-acceptance, loving your bodies and noticing all of the positive attributes that you have to offer is more important than a little bit of weird looking fat!
  • Exercising while Watching TV

    The average American spends less than 30 minutes daily exercising, but spends 3 hours watching television.

    This means that if the average American simply exercised while watching television they would increase the amount of exercise they get by 700%.

    With that in mind here is 10 Tips for Exercising while Watching TV...

    1. Fidget while you watch your shows. Science has proven that people who fidget even while sitting down can burn up to 350 more calories per day. If your body is in motion, it is burning calories. (Note that this also can be done at work at your desk.)

    2. Move your exercise equipment in front of the TV. If you have a treadmill stuck in the corner doubling as a clothing hanger, now is the time to dust it off and move it right in front of the TV. You cannot see around it, so you’ll be forced to get on and walk while your favorite shows are on. Keep some dumbbells / etc in the same room as the TV so you have something to do with your arms while you watch.

    3. Set up a circuit training route in front of your TV. If your living room is large enough, you can set up “stations” that you go to in order to perform cardio routines while your shows are on. You can jump rope, walk in place, or use equipment like dumbbells, exercise balls or steps to get your heart rate up.

    4. See how many pushups you can do during a show trailer or commercial. If you’re just starting out, then you might start with pushups during commercials, but once you become more adept at exercising, see how many you can do during a half hour or hour long show! If pushups are too tiring, do jumping jacks instead.

    5. Do lunges while you watch TV. You can do lunges in place or walking lunges around the room while your shows are on.

    6. Walk in place as you catch up on your favorite show. Walking in place requires no special equipment and it won’t put a strain on your body while you do it. Just march your legs up and down and rest during the commercials.

    7. See how many squats you can do. Squats can be done in place or up against a wall in a sitting position. See how long you can hold it. Can you reach a certain number of squats before the next commercial?

    8. Become a commercial crunch Queen (or King)! Crunches take less effort than a full sit up, but they help tone your abs a lot better. See how many crunches you can do during commercials or if you’re brave – during the length of the show itself!

    9. Watch exercise shows on TV and move along with them. You don’t have to invest in a lot of expensive exercise videos if your budget is small. There are tons of free cable channels that have daily exercise shows on them for all levels – beginner through advanced.

    10. Switch up your exercise routines with your TV watching habits. You do not watch the same TV show over and over every hour, do you? No – you switch it up between the news, a reality TV show, and maybe a sitcom or police drama. So do the same with your exercise routines, too. Switch it up so that you don’t get bored and are more likely to stick to it for the long haul.

    An Apple per Day helps Shed the Pounds

    According to a study published in May 2011, two groups of postmenopausal women aged 45 to 65 were given either dried apples, or prunes every day for one year to see how it would effect their cholesterol and weight.
    After six months the findings determined that the women who ate the dried apples had lowered their LDL "bad" cholesterol by 23% and increased their "good" HDL cholesterol by 4%.

    The extra calories consumed daily from the dried apples did not cause any weight gain. In fact, the women in the apple group lost on average over three pounds. This is said to be because apples help satiate hunger so you don't feel as hungry and don't feel the urge to binge on food.

    So if you are not already making apples a regular part of your meal plan, there's some motivation for you to make apples part of your daily snack routine.
    While the women in the study were using dried apples, it probably doesn't matter what kind of apple it is. The old adage "an apple a day keeps the doctor away" is likely because of some very good scientific reasons.

    The Benefits of Apples

    #1. Reduced Appetite

    #2. More Good Cholesterol, Less Bad Cholesterol.

    #3. Long Term Weight Loss

    #4. Nutritious!

    Does Exercise Stunt your Growth?

    A commonly asked question that people have when they see an image like the one on the right here (a boy who clearly does weightlifting) is how does this effect his physical growth?

    Does exercising stunt his growth?

    This, as it turns out, is actually a myth. Exercising actually does the opposite. It actually INCREASES growth by triggering the brain to release Human Growth Hormone...

    Children who exercise and eat healthy grow up to be "big and strong". Its an old concept similar to Popeye's "I'm strong to the finish because I eat my spinach!"

    Exercising, any exercising, causes the brain to release more Human Growth Hormone (HGH), which in turns triggers the body to both regenerate existing tissue, but also triggers growth spurts in children, and in adults HGH works to hinder diseases like cancer and keeps the body feeling younger.

    It is one of the reasons why people who exercise are typically taller and also appear younger than counterparts in their same age group. (I am frequently told I look to be approx. 25 years old and almost no one ever guesses I am 33. That is the result of exercise and healthy eating.)

    For children who are growing regular exercise needs to be part of their regular routine. Lack of exercise and unhealthy eating will result in children growing up to be "short and stout". Exercise, vitamins, calcium and a balanced diet make a big difference in a growing body.

    If children excel at a particular sport, for example competitive weightlifting, it isn't going to stunt their growth and will actually make them taller. Look at the weightlifters at the Olympics. A lot of them are hovering around 6 feet tall or over. That is the result of exercise and eating their proverbial spinach.

    Now lets pretend you don't believe me or don't believe in the science behind HGH.

    Go ahead and ask some pro-weightlifters when they started exercising and how tall they are. The majority of them will say they started weightlifting around 11 or 12 years old and say they are between 5'9" and 6'6" tall. No shortage of tall people amongst weightlifters.

    But they will also stress the importance of proper diet. Nutrition and exercise go hand in hand when it comes to growing both taller and bigger physically.

    Understanding Interval Training

    Targeting Maximum Fat Loss Through High-Intensity Interval Training

    High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a form of exercise that is growing in popularity. HIIT combines two of the most effective fat-burning methods.

    The first method is high-intensity training, which pushes the body to maximum effort to achieve muscle fatigue and maximum oxygen use in a quick burst. Think sprinting or heavy weight lifting. The harder muscles work, the more oxygen they require. This is measured relative to one’s maximum amount of oxygen their body consumes during exercise. Working your body close to its oxygen max triggers the Afterburn Effect, where the body continues to consume oxygen (and burn calories) up to 48 hours after the workout (it takes approximately five calories to consume one liter of oxygen).

    The second method is interval training, which alternates periods of intense effort with periods of moderate-to-low intensity effort. Interval training boosts metabolism significantly longer than a steady workout of equal or even greater length (for example, a 20 minute workout of alternating high/low-intensity periods burns more calories than a 20 minute workout of steady intensity). Interval training also builds lean muscle tissue faster than steady state training.

    So instead of jogging for 30 minutes you alternate between sprinting and brisk walking for 30 minutes. Due to the Afterburn Effect it burns even more calories than plain jogging, even though the distance traveled and the time is the same.

    By combining the above two exercise methods, exercisers can maximize fat-burning and muscle-building potential through significantly shorter workouts. HIIT also maximizes increased metabolic rate, optimizes muscle building and muscle retention during fat loss, and increases calorie burn during and after workouts.

    The Science Behind Interval Training

    HIIT taxes and maximizes both aerobic and anaerobic fitness, while light cardio addresses aerobic only. Aerobic respiration requires oxygen to generate energy in the form of ATP, while anaerobic respiration does not. HIIT affects muscle tissue at the cellular level, actually changing mitochondrial activity in the muscles themselves.

    University studies indicate as little as 27 minutes of HIIT three times per week produces the same anaerobic and aerobic improvement as 60 minutes of steady state cardio five times per week.

    Anytime, Anywhere Fitness


    Okay, admittedly there are some times when maybe you should NOT do exercises.

    #1. At a funeral.

    #2. Jumping jacks in an elevator.

    #3. When your best friend tells you that their mom has cancer.

    #4. When your boss is threatening to fire you and you suddenly have the urge to do boxing...

    But the basic concept of "Anytime, Anywhere Fitness" is to be able to exercise when waiting for something (like your friend to pick you up on the side of the road because your car broke down) and you've got nothing better to do.

    So instead of pacing back and forth, which I admit is still exercise, try skipping, doing jumping jacks, yoga, jogging in one spot, etc. If you have something heavy that you can use as a weight you can even do weightlifting with your groceries, briefcase, backpack, books, etc.

    Once you learn how to do this you start to realize how there is no shortage of time available to exercise. You can exercise in the shower (I like doing chin ups in the shower, but make sure whatever you are using can support your weight), you can take the stairs at work instead of the elevator, you can lift your own bodyweight while sitting in your chair at work using your arm rests, you can do chin ups on the monkey bars while waiting to pick up your kids after school, you can play tag with your kids or if they're older take an interest in whatever spots they are into (including archery, which is really popular now, but you will need equipment for that).

    If you tell a personal trainer you have no time to exercise they will look at you with a pained expression of disappointment because they're well aware that people have plenty of time to exercise... but choose not to because of lack of motivation.

    There's always time! If you truly want to workout there's a time in the day that can be put aside no matter how busy life gets.

    Three Tips to Squeeze in a Workout

    1. The Morning

    It's not uncommon for me to wake up at 4 or 5am and my neighbour wakes up at 3! Working out early in the morning has the benefit of getting the routine out of the way early so that no matter what the days throws your way it won't derail the fitness plan.

    2. Pencil it in

    A lot of people miss their workout because they have other priorities that they have to get through, before they can hit the treadmill or weights. Fitness should be booked just like a meeting, doctor's appointment or picking up dry cleaning. If you say that you'll workout when you have time the fact is, when will you ever? There's not enough time in the day as it is!

    3. Fitness Anywhere, Anytime

    I'm not unaware that people actually do lead very busy lives. Some work long hours and simply do not have the energy for fitness late in the evening (and need to unwind) while others are busy parents who are trying to balance their work, family and social life. In this case just fit in some exercises whenever you can. Do squats while you cook, or push ups while you're on hold with a corporate client. Walk a few extra blocks to grab a healthier lunch.

    Really all it takes is some extra effort and motivation. It has very little to do with time.

    How to Measure Muscle Mass

    Some weightlifters like to know what percentage of their total weight is muscle and the lbs / kgs of muscle they have. There are several different methods for measuring or calculating the amount of muscle mass in the human body... And the methods are all highly inaccurate.

    The only way to directly measure muscle mass is via cadaver dissection, which is not a good option! The methods described below are estimations, and based on different assumptions, and with varying degrees of accuracy. You've been warned!

    The human body is made of several things:

    Muscle Mass
    Fat Mass
    Bone Mass
    Blood Mass
    Waste Mass (Urine, Excrement)
    Organ Mass

    And so forth. Usually what people want to know is how to measure their Fat Mass and their Muscle Mass, often represented as a percentage of their total weight. Body Fat % X Total Body Weight = Fat Mass; Muscle % X Total Body Weight = Muscle Mass.

    There are machines (electronic gadgets) at gyms that can give a rough estimate of fat mass and then using your weight it can be used to calculate the approx. muscle mass. But its based on a percentage and makes a number of assumptions that, including that the fat estimate was accurate and ignores things like above/below average bone and organ weight.

    GIRTH MEASUREMENTS

    Girth measurements can be used to monitor changes in muscle mass. As the girth measure will also include the fat underlying the skin, any changes in your body fat will affect the results. Therefore, girth measures themselves are only a rough guide to muscle mass changes. The calculation below adjusts the girth measures based on skinfold levels in the calculation of muscle mass.

    The Girth Muscle Mass Calculation equation to use is as follows, where: H = height, FG = forearm girth, CG = calf girth, CCG = corrected calf girth, TG = mid-thigh girth, CTG = corrected mid-thigh girth.

    CTG = TG - π(mid-thigh skinfold/10)
    CCG = CG - π(calf skinfold/10)
    Muscle mass (g) = H(0.0553CTG² + 0.0987FG² + 0.0331CCG²) - 2445

    24-HOUR URINE CREATININE MEASUREMENTS

    Another method for determining muscle mass is through the measurement of the 24-hour urinary excretion of a chemical called creatinine. This method is based on on the correlation between total body creatine and urinary excretion of creatinine, and assumes that nearly all creatine is within muscle tissue, that muscle creatine content remains constant and that creatinine is excreted at a uniform rate.

    BODY SCAN

    The following methods are not used routinely to measure muscle mass, though it is possible to get estimates of muscle mass from these measurements. Most of these methods require sophisticated and expensive equipment, not usually available for most people.

    Dual-Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry (DEXA) - using this method you can determine body components including non fat soft tissue.
    Total Body Potassium (TBK) accurately determines the body's total cell mass (that is, the active growing tissues in the body), which in turn can be used to estimate fat-free or lean body mass. When this measurement is combined with measurements from the Total Body Protein, you can determine total organ and muscle mass.
    Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) - with MRI it is possible to get accurate measurements of the composition of body tissue, by identifying muscle, fat and organs etc.
    Total Body Electrical Conductivity (TOBEC) - can be used to estimate lean body mass.
    Computed Tomography (CT) - the high quality images can be processed to differentiate and measure the amounts of fat and lean body tissue.

    WHAT'S THE POINT???

    So yes, you can try to measure your total muscle mass. But do you really need a number? What difference will that number make beyond bragging rights?

    If you're going to do any kind of measuring the things I recommend measuring is your Personal Best.

    How you do that depends on you, but what I like to do when weightlifting is to once a week see what the maximum amount of weight I can lift with a specific group of muscles. And to me it doesn't count as successful unless I can do 10 repetitions of that weight. If I can only do somewhere between 1 and 9 then it doesn't count. If I am going to lift something I don't want to lift it for a few seconds and then drop it and be unable to lift it again because my muscles are too tired. I want to be able to lift it and sustain that weight for a reasonable amount of time.

    Once I know I can do that I can say that is my Personal Best and then aim to improve upon that.

    Knowing my Muscle Mass percentage is comparatively useless.
    Looking to sign up for archery lessons, boxing lessons, swimming lessons, ice skating lessons or personal training sessions? Start by emailing cardiotrek@gmail.com and lets talk fitness!

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