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Showing posts with label Obesity and Weight Loss. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Obesity and Weight Loss. Show all posts

5 Easy Ways to Stay Active at Work

Guest Post by Cara Benson.

Wellness in the workplace is becoming a trending topic of discussion due to the advancement of research regarding the health risks of sitting all day. Sitting behind a computer screen all day is becoming the modern work-style within most businesses. Sadly, most desk workers are oblivious to the fact that sitting in an office all day can lead to some pretty serious health problems.

To avoid experiencing any sort of desk induced health issue, it is important that we motivate ourselves to move around more often during the day. Doing so will not only improve our overall health, but it can stimulate motivation in others to do so as well. Are you looking for some ways to remain active in your workplace? Check out these ideas:

#1. Stand Up and Stretch

When your muscles and ligaments aren’t moving enough, cramping, aches and sharp pains can occur in different areas of the body. In addition to an improvement in flexibility and better posture, stretching helps the body release tension that is built up from remaining stationary for too long. Taking frequent breaks from your desk to stand and stretch is a simple way to avoid such health problems and to make your work day a less painful one. Check out Cardio Trek's section on stretching where you can find some other great benefits and tips of stretching everyday!

#2. Walk or Bike to Work

Depending on the location of your workplace, walking or riding a bike to work are great options to fit in exercise before starting your day. Walking or biking might already be part of your transportation method on your arrival to work, but if not, park slightly further away from your job site to walk a block beforehand. If walking to work is part of your daily schedule, try extending your commute by strolling an extra block or two. That way, you’re entering your office feeling revitalized and ready to conquer the day! If walking or biking to work isn’t something you think will stick in your itinerary, try finding time during your lunch break for a brisk walk!


#3. Schedule a Group Fitness Event

Remember, as you’re sitting at your desk all day and feeling sluggish, most likely, some of your coworkers are as well. Spread motivation throughout your workplace by scheduling a group fitness event! By using an online event planning platform (eg. Meetup, Facebook or Eventbrite via https://www.eventbrite.com/l/registration-online/), you can establish a time and location for the fitness event, and track your RSVPs with the benefit of staying organized!

Sample Activities you can do with your coworkers on weekends or during the evenings after work:

  1. Archery Lessons (for up to 3 people).
  2. Boxing Lessons or Beach Volleyball.
  3. Cycling Outdoors. Or possibly Spin Class.
  4. Dance Lessons.
  5. Fencing Club. Or even Fishing (most of the exercise is carrying fishing equipment).
  6. Golf or Mini Golf.
  7. Hiking.
  8. Ice Skating.
  9. Jogging.
  10. Kayaking - Because who doesn't want to at least try kayaking?
  11. Laser Tag.
  12. Martial Arts Lessons or Mountain Biking.
  13. Nine Pin Bowling.
  14. Obstacle Course Races.
  15. Pokemon Go, the game is still surprisingly popular and great exercise.
  16. Rock Climbing.
  17. Swimming.
  18. Tennis. Or even various Team Sports.
  19. Volleyball.
  20. Water Polo.
  21. Yoga Classes - The more the merrier.
  22. Zumba Classes.

#4. Take the Stairs

An elevator is an easy ride, and requires a very low level of activity. Usually, individuals take the stairs when the elevator is broken or if it’s the only option to get one floor to the next. Using the stairs everyday can improve heart health, increase activeness, and actually save you time (according to Reuters the stairs are often faster than the elevator, reuters.com/article/us-stairs-elevators-idUSTRE7BB1B020111212). If you have the option to take the stairs in your workplace, do so to get in as many steps as possible, especially if you work at a desk.

#5. Take Frequent Walks Around the Office

Being stagnant all day is the definition of an unhealthy lifestyle. It is extremely important to make a constant effort to remove yourself from your desk chair to get your legs moving. Without motion, you are more prone to the health risks that come with sitting at a desk all day, such as blood clots, fatigue, and chronic pain. Along with the fitness related advantages, taking walks around the office is like pushing a mentality reset button, and can change your negative mindset to a motivated one!

Let’s reduce the amount of sitting at our desks all day by motivating ourselves and other desk workers to pursue a more active lifestyle!

How much does genetics effect weight and weight loss?

There are 4 major factors involved in determining a person's weight, and consequently their ability to lose weight when they want to.

  1. Dietary Habits
  2. Fitness Habits
  3. Metabolic Rate
  4. Genetics

Dietary and fitness habits basically comes down to the lifestyle of the individual.

  • How much are they eating?
  • How nutritious is the food they are eating?
  • How much do they exercise?
  • How intense is the exercises they are doing?

So the number of calories consumed daily, the nutrition value of the food being consumed, the amount of exercise they are doing, and hopefully the exercises being done are intense enough that they get the heart rate pumping harder (a higher heart rate on a regular basis increases metabolism).

Diet, nutrition, exercise and intensity all in turn effect a person's metabolic rate. The faster their metabolism, the more fat they burn.

Thus if a person wanted to they could harness specific foods and exercises that deliberately boost their metabolic rate.

Likewise, the metabolic rate effects hunger, sleeping, stress levels and a host of other factors.

But what about Genetics?

So genetics do effect your body quite a bit, but that doesn't mean you have zero control over your ability to lose weight if you so want to.

Lets look at 5 different genes that effect weight gain/loss, and how you can actually work around that specific gene to invoke weight loss. Note, there is no 1 "fat gene". There are many different genes which affect weight gain/loss, these are just 5 of them that play major roles.

#1. The FTO Gene

The FTO gene acts as a food and nutrient sensor, which affects appetite and hunger, the ability to regulate food intake and how "full" you feel while eating. Scientists have found that people with abnormal variations in this gene have a higher BMI, which effectively means the gene isn't working properly and causes them to overeat.

An abnormal FTO gene is often associated with inbreeding, which is why it is common amongst Amish / Mennonite people. However you may have noticed that the Amish and Mennonites don't have a big obesity epidemic, and this is because they are doing daily chores around their farms - thus they exercising daily.

So how do you fight an abnormal FTO gene? #1. Regulate how much you eat and #2, exercise daily. The recommended amount of exercise if 30 minutes per day, daily.

#2. The PPARG Gene

The PPARG gene affects fat metabolism, including a regulating a special protein responsible both the creation of new fat cells and metabolism the fat later to be used as energy. An overactive PPARG gene can cause too much of that protein, resulting in weight gain and increases the risk for heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.

When people with an overactive PPARG eat more unsaturated fats than saturated fats, their body stores the unsaturated fats as fat tissue. By contrast, when they eat more saturated fats than unsaturated fats, the opposite is true - they lose weight and become leaner.

Solution? Eat more saturated fats. Avoid unsaturated fats.

#3. The ADRB2 Gene

The adrenergic beta-2 surface receptor gene (ADRB2) plays a major role for a protein that breaks down fat. An abnormal ADRB2 gene has also been found to affect your metabolic rate and increase your chance of being diabetic by a factor of 6 (as in you are 6 times more likely to be diabetic). Essentially the gene isn't doing its job, which results in difficulty breaking down fat cells.

How do you combat this? People with this gene abnormality have to workout even harder, so the recommended amount of exercise for people with this is to exercise 60 minutes daily.


#4 and #5. The PGC1-Alpha and Tfam Genes

So many scientists lump these two genes together because they both effect methylation.

Methylation is a chemical process effecting protein conversion, which in turn increases your metabolism. An unhealthy or low rate of methylation slows down your metabolism. The two genes PGC1-alpha and Tfam also effect the creation of mitochondria, which are the energy-creating part of cells. Low rates of methylation have been determined to cause various types of obesity.

Methylation is also affected by age, sex, race, exercise, and diet. So you cannot change your age, sex or rare, but your exercise levels and diet are certainly open to change.

How do you increase methylation and your metabolic rate? Healthy food and intense exercise certainly helps. Aim to be exercising at least 60 minutes daily.


Conclusions

You might think you have specific genes from the list above, but that is not a guarantee. You would need to have your genes tested to know for certain if there were any abnormalities. Also there are other thousands of other genes we did not discuss here, so it is possible you have an abnormality with a completely different gene not mentioned here.

So you may have noticed that people with an abnormal FTO gene only have to exercise half as much people with an abnormal ADRB2 gene or people with slower methylation. Lucky them! 30 minutes per day is only 1/48th of their day. Roughly 2% of their day.

The people with an abnormal ADRB2 gene or people with slower methylation meanwhile have to exercise for 4% of their day.

True, we do sleep 33.3% of the day, but is 2% or 4% of the day really that big of a deal? For the people with a genetic disorder, that 2% to 4% of their day can be the difference between leading a normal healthy life and being obese, so clearly it must be worth it.

Do genes effect your weight and weight loss? Absolutely. 100%.

But if it only takes 2% to 4% of your daily routine to rectify the problem, then clearly exercise and diet is more powerful than genetics. Like 25 to 50 times more powerful.

There are a lot of success stories out there of people who beat their genetics too. Lots of before and after photos too.

Do you know what is even more powerful?

Willpower.

Willpower and self control is the driving force behind eating well and exercising. You decide to make it happen. All you need is a good dose of stubbornness and then you just get it done. Perhaps you motivate yourself using music or you choose exercises which are more fun, which makes it easier to find that needed dose of willpower because you are enjoying the process of exercising.

You cannot change your genetics, but you can beat it into submission if you are stubborn enough.

5 Tips on How to Use Shoulder Bags

Shoulder Bags are a rather simple but effective way to exercise and build a variety of muscles. They are a bit gimmicky, but essentially very easy to use and a great way to build core muscles faster.

Each bag, regardless of size, goes around your neck and sits comfortably on top of your shoulders. Walking around with one burns extra calories, as does jogging, and doing a host of other activities.

Tips on Using Shoulder Bags

#1. Avoid Dangerous Activities

Never use a shoulder bag while doing anything potentially dangerous, such as swimming or cycling. The added weight on a bicycle would make you top-heavy and more likely to crash. While swimming, that extra weight would dramatically reduce your bouyancy and put you in danger of drowning. So definitely avoid using shoulder bags during any activity that could lead you to crash, drown, or potentially sustain some kind of injury.

#2. Do NOT Wear A Shoulder Bag Constantly

Unless you love having back pain and developing sports injuries, then you really should only be using a shoulder bag while exercising - like when taking a walk, a jog, doing other weightlifting activities, and so forth. Wearing one constantly means your muscles don't get a chance to relax, recuperate and repair themselves. During a state of constant wear and tear your muscles would actually break down, become chronically painful, and would actually shrink instead of bulking up. Having extended breaks between exercises promotes healing and muscle growth and wearing a shoulder bag constantly would prevent such healing.

#3. Sleeping Position and Diet

You should find a sleeping position that allows your back muscles to relax more fully. This will allow them to heal and bulk up faster. The same goes with your diet, your diet needs to match your exercise routine so you are getting enough calories, protein and nutrients - so think lots of veggies and meat. This way your body gets plenty of sleep and has the right amount of protein to be used a building blocks and the right amount of nutrient rich veggies to speed up the process.

A lack of quality sleep and a lack of healthy food wrecks havoc with your potential muscle gain.

#4. Size Matters, as does Time

When choosing shoulder bags to use you should start off small and then gradually work your way up to heavier weights. Thus you should always start off with a 5 KG bag, regardless of your current physical condition.

Use the 5 KG bag during your exercise routine for 6 to 8 weeks and then switch to a 10 KG bag. Then use that for 8 to 10 weeks before switching to a 15 KG bag, and so forth.
  • 5 KG - Use for 6 to 8 weeks.
  • 10 KG - Use for 8 to 10 weeks.
  • 15 KG - Use for 10 to 12 weeks.
  • 20 KG - Use for 12 to 14 weeks.
  • 25 KG - Use for 14 to 16 weeks.
  • 30 KG - Good luck even finding bags in this size or bigger. They do exist, but are trickier to find.
This way your body adjusts gradually to the weights and you are over-straining yourself. If you switch to a larger bag and feel like it is too much for you, go back to the previous bag size and use it for an additional 4 to 6 weeks before trying the bigger bag again. This way you give your body extra time to build the necessary muscles.

Patience and Restraint are Virtues, not just in Weightlifting but also in Life.

#5. Specific Exercises

You should research specific exercises that work well with Shoulder Bags. Shoulder Bag are great for increasing core stability, thus you can add these bags to a multitude of exercises such as:
  • Lunges
  • Barbell Squats
  • Dumbbell Squats
  • Solitary Squats
  • Jumps
  • Jumping Jacks
  • Skip Rope
  • Boxing
 And many more! Enjoy!

Tips to Lose Weight at Work

TIPS TO LOSE WEIGHT AT WORK

By Beth Martel

Losing weight is hard work, particularly when you have a full time job you are trying to handle. If you truly want to shed those extra pounds, you are going to have to put a significant amount of time and effort into it, and in today’s crazy world of unexpected overtime and unprecedented employer demands, most people simply don’t have any time to set aside for a work out, nor do they have the energy it takes to follow a strict, healthy diet.

However, there are a lot of ways you can lose weight while you are at work without affecting your productivity in any way! Let’s start with how you can exercise a little at work to boost your fitness levels.

See 12 Things to do during your Lunch Hour
Office Exercises

Most of your work day is spent sitting at your desk, and this sedentary lifestyle is what leads to weight gain. However, there are a bunch of exercises you can do without even getting up from your workspace. Side to side stretched and torso rotations are a great example, as both can be done while seated and are great at burning off belly fat.

You can also do some seated leg raises by tucking your knees into your chest using the strength of your abs. This helps to tone your body and helps burn those pesky calories. If you want to exercise your arms you can use a stress ball throughout the day, and if you want something a little more intense you can use some light dumbbells during those inevitable five minute breaks you will often take.

See The Toronto Bicycle Trail Challenge
A Fitter Commute

There are a bunch of other things you can do outside of your desk. If you drive to work, consider getting a bicycle and using that instead. This will help you get some great exercise every morning! Even if you shift to public transport, this would often involve a lot more activity as you would have to walk to bus stops instead of just sitting in a car.

Taking the stairs is an underrated method of losing weight. Even if your office is on a high floor, you can take the stairs for a couple of floors and take the elevator the rest of the way.

See 100 Healthy Snacks
Your Work Diet

What you eat at work can also really impact your weight loss. Snacking is a great way to keep your energy levels up during the work day, but if you switch out the chips and candy for something wholesome like apple or celery with peanut butter you can end up avoiding a lot of unnecessary calories. Super foods like yogurt can help to boost your metabolism as well, and are a great source of energy so you would find your hunger satisfied.

Overall, losing weight at work can be easy as long as you are willing to make these little changes to you routine. You aren’t going to need to set any time aside at all if you just put a little effort into being active.

Author Biography

This post was written by Beth Martel. She is a mother of two, a medical professional and a humanitarian. She blogs at www.HealthyRecharge.com.

Check out a recent article by Beth Martel in which she discusses three of the best yet affordable running shoes that help you run with comfort and at your best by visiting www.healthyrecharge.com/affordable-running-shoes/.

Body Fat Analyzers vs Calipers: A Look at Two Methods to Measure Your Body Fat Percentage

Guest Post by Ruby.

Truth be told – one cannot depend on checking the weight alone when it comes to determining health status.

Weight does not give a clear indication of how healthy a person truly is. On the other hand, determining your body fat percentage offers a better insight on health status and serves as a more reliable method of charting physical improvement.

In general, there are two ways to check this. One is with the help of body fat analyzers and the other one is through the use of calipers. These two highly differ in precision, ease of use, and cost-effectiveness.

A Quick Check on Body Fat Analyzers

The modern-day body fat analyzers come in different forms. You can easily find the hand-held types these days.

Others are more comfortable using the body fat scales, which can be used just like the typical bathroom scales.

Body mass index and body fat are usually measured with the help of galvanized electrodes sent through the body.

For the step-on type, you will be required to stand for a couple of minutes without moving to obtain an accurate reading of measurement. You can compare the best body fat analyzers; see their features and advantages at bodyfatgenius.com.

Advantages of Using Body Fat Analyzers

As today’s body fat analyzers are digital, they can measure more than just the body fat. They can obtain measurements on the weight, body water percentage, bone mass, metabolic age, muscle mass, BMR, and the visceral fat.

In addition, these platforms can also be synced to your mobile phones or computers so you can see results and reports anywhere.

Disadvantages of Using Body Fat Analyzers

While some hand-held bioelectrical body fat testers may be affordable and offer fairly accurate reading, other types do not come cheap.

This is particularly true for the home-use body fat testers that are equipped with footpads.

A Quick Look at the Calipers

Calipers are used to perform the ‘pinch test’ or the skinfold method.

The two recommended areas for the test are the tummy and the thigh areas. The test begins by pinching the skin to raise the two layers of the skin and the adipose tissue.

The calipers are then clipped at about 1 cm at a right angle and the reading is done. Measurements are taken twice to get the median value which is used to calculate the estimated body fat percentage of the person.

Advantages of Using Calipers

Using calipers offers a number of advantages including a low cost and a relatively high level of accuracy. The digital type of calibers has quadri-features, which enable them to obtain four types of measurement ( inside, depth, outside, and step measurements).

Disadvantages of Using Calipers 

The use of the digital type of calipers also has disadvantages such as being non-water resistant. It takes a lot of time to take accurate measurement.

In addition, the use of calipers also requires a certain level of expertise to be used accurately.

Whether you intend to use a body fat analyzer or digital calipers, it is important to bear in mind the purposes of measuring body fat – to maintain a good weight, to be reminded to embrace healthier lifestyle choices, and to monitor your physical progress.

A Six Month Plan to Lose 10 Pounds using 6 Minute Exercises

Lets pretend you currently weigh 200 lbs and you want to lose 10 lbs over a 6 month period (or 20 lbs over the course of a year). What would you need to do to accomplish that using purely exercise and no changes to your diet?

Well, first lets look at the math.

10 lbs is the equivalent of 35,000 calories.

Divided up into 6 months, that is a goal of losing 5833.33 calories per month. Or 194.44 calories per day.

If you go for a simple 6 minute walk during which you walk 0.5 km, a person who weighs 200 lbs will burn 37 calories. (Admittedly that is a fairly slow and leisurely walk.)

The person in question would need to do that same walk 157.65 times per month to burn the necessary calories to meet their monthly goal. That would be roughly 5.25 walks per day.

So a 6 minute leisurely walk just isn't going to cut it.

But a slightly faster pace and more time, 30 minutes walking 2.7 km, that would burn 200 calories.

A significantly faster pace, jogging for 15 minutes a distance of 2.0 km, that would burn 188 calories. Counting the Afterburn Effect, it would end up being over 200 calories.

However if the goal is to get the Afterburn Effect, then you would actually get the best results with the least amount of effort by using Interval Training.

Sample Interval Training Routine

1 minute running or jogging, followed by 5 minutes of walking.
1 minute running or jogging, followed by 5 minutes of walking.
1 minute running or jogging, followed by 5 minutes of walking.
1 minute running or jogging, followed by 5 minutes of walking.
1 minute running or jogging, followed by 5 minutes of walking.

So the person is getting in 5 minutes of running/jogging, which gets the heart pounding hard, following by light exercise in the form of walking. By spacing it out into intervals it causes a combination of multiple hormonal releases and multiple triggers of the fat burning Afterburn Effect. Interval Training is also easier for people who lack stamina and endurance, and over time they can change the routine to add more time jogging and less time walking. As a result they are burning fat, and building endurance so that they will later be able to burn fat at a faster rate.

The above routine would burn over 250 calories, plus a bonus amount depending on the Afterburn Effect. In theory they could do less time, 25 minutes instead of 30, and still be burning the 200 calories per day.

So what about 6 Minute Cardio Routines?

Well, you are not going to burn 200 calories in six minutes. That is basically impossible. Even the most intense exercise won't be able to burn 200 calories in six minutes.

But a 200 lb person jumping rope (fast) for six minutes will burn 108 calories. That means that if a person did that twice per day (once in the morning, once in the afternoon/evening) they could burn 216 calories per day.

So it is possible to break the 200 calories per day mark by doing 6 minute cardio exercises, but you would need to choose a very intense exercise and most people will not be able to do an intense exercise for 6 minutes straight.

Other intense exercises and the calories burned for a 200 lb person:
  • 6 minutes of Jumping Jacks, approx. 73 calories.
  • 6 minutes of Sprinting/Running 8 mph, approx. 122 calories.
  • 6 minutes of Kettlebell Training, varies on the weight of the kettlebell. Approx. 90 calories.
  • 6 minutes of Kickboxing, approx. 90 calories.
  • 6 minutes of Cycling, approx. 103 calories.
  • 6 minutes of Rowing Machine, approx. 79 calories.
  • 6 minutes of Stair Climbing, approx. 64 calories.
Notice something about all of the above exercises? They are all exercises that use both the legs and arms. Want to know what else burns lots of calories? Swimming.

Here are the same numbers but for different kinds of swimming exercises, again calculated for a person who weighs 200 lbs:
  • 6 minutes of Leisure Swimming : 71 calories
  • 6 minutes of Backstroke : 82.5 calories
  • 6 minutes of Front Crawl (Slow) : 82.5 calories
  • 6 minutes of Breaststroke : 118 calories
  • 6 minutes of Front Crawl (Fast) : 131 calories
  • 6 minutes of Butterfly : 131 calories
So if a person really loves swimming, this is certainly an option. Doing the 6-minute Butterfly exercise 300 times over 150 days (5 months) would burn 39,300 calories or 11.2 lbs. Doable? It really depends on how much you love swimming.


What about dieting?

After seeing the amount of exercising many people may be thinking "Hmm, maybe I should just diet instead."

In which case you will want to reduce your daily intake of calories to a more reasonable level. Your best bet is to be calorie counting, as that multiplies your chances of success. Aim to be consuming 200 calories less than the normal amount of calories you need per day, which means you will be burning fat stores instead. So if your body burns 1800 calories per day, aim to eat only 1600 per day.

So yes, dieting is certainly an option.

Or you could do both, diet and exercise. The combination of both is a surefire way of burning more calories than you are consuming. It really depends how much you want to lose and over what time period. Trying to burn 10 lbs in 1 month is possible, but would be extremely grueling. Doing the same amount, but spread over 6 months is much more reasonable.

Happy Exercising!

Five Exercises for Increasing Your Metabolic Rate

Increasing your metabolic rate is one of the easiest ways to get in shape and lose weight. Below are five exercises that boost your metabolism - and they're frugal, using only your bodyweight.

The primary purpose of these exercise is to get your heart rate up, which kickstarts the Afterburn Effect - a major boost to your metabolic rate and starts a fat burning process in your body. You should do the exercises until your heart feels tired, and then rest.

Best of all, these are exercises you can do every day, for 1 to 2 minutes each. 5 to 10 minutes per day isn't much, but if you are getting Afterburn Effect going then it will give you more energy for the rest of the day as you will feel more energetic, more alert, and you will be burning fat for approx. 24 to 48 hours after the exercises. Do them every day, and the Afterburn Effect is extended and multiplied, causing rapid fat burning.

Note - If you have a known heart condition you should consult your doctor before doing any exercises which could effect your heart.

Step-Ups - use a step or platform that is about 4-6 inches high. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and jump onto the step or platform at least 15 times. Repeat after walking around the platform in a complete circle.


Squats - stand with your feet hip-width apart and place your arms to your side. Pretend there is a chair behind you and almost sit bringing your arms out in front keeping your back flat and abdominal muscles pulled in.


Push-ups - begin on your knees or feet and place your hands shoulder-width apart on the step or platform. Inhale as you lower your body to the step and exhale as you push yourself up. Repeat for 15 repetitions. Pay attention to your form while doing push-ups, you want to do them properly to get the full effect.



Tricep Dips - sit with your back to the step and place your hands behind you on the step. Lift and lower your body using your tricep muscles to do the work keeping your elbows in line with your wrists. Repeat 12 times.


Lunges - stand with one foot on the step and place your other foot behind you so that your front knee is over your heel. Lower your body keeping your shoulders in line with your hips at least 12 times for each leg. Repeat on the other leg.


BONUS EXERCISE

Jumping Jacks - These old school exercises are actually amazingly effective as they get your heart racing fast, use both upper body and lower body simultaneously, and they require minimal space to do. Jumping Jacks are amazing at boosting heart rate and consequently your metabolic rate.


Gardening - A Weight Loss Exercise Plan + Diet

Gardening can be a fascinating topic for some people - or really boring to anyone who has zero interest in plants. But if you are fascinated with the idea of growing your own food, I want to propose the following Exercise Plan / Diet.

The goal essentially is to grow your own food in your backyard. This will require lots of work (exercise), careful planning, time, cooking/baking skills, and a dose of determination.

I recommend planting the following, which I have listed in order of spectrum because I think it would be nice to have a garden that is ordered by colour:

Red Beats
Radishes
Tomatoes
Raspberries (Requires more space.)
Strawberries
Mini Red Potatoes (Smaller than regular potatoes, but tastier.)
Red Peppers
Carrots
Orange Peppers
Yellow Peppers (Because it is nice to have variety.)
Sweet Corn (Requires more space.)
Green Beans
Broccoli
Peas
Lettuce (There are many different kinds of lettuce, I recommend planting 3 different kinds so you have variety.)
Watermelons (Green on the outside, red on the inside.)
Herbs (There are likewise many different herbs, such as basil, parsley, cloves, dill, etc. They are commonly used as spices, not as a main dish.)
Cucumbers
Blueberries
Purple Cabbage
Purple Cauliflower
Eggplant
Garlic
Onions
Mushrooms

I recommend against planting anything huge like squash or pumpkins, because those plants take up a lot of space. So unless you have tonnes of space, you should focus on plants that produce more food for their smaller area. This is similar to the Sweet Corn above, which does take up more space, except that pumpkins and squash take up a LOT of space. Also don't expect to be growing any huge "prize winning pumpkins" on your first try. Most likely they will be quite small. (Also who wants to eat that much pumpkin???)

I also recommend against planting white or yellow potatoes, which contain a lot of starch and starch is fattening. I includes the Mini Red Potatoes above for variety and also because they taste better.

Baked mini red potatoes are also very tasty. Just bake on a pan, add some spices and yum!


Once you've got your garden growing your next step is to eat what you've grown. Some of that may require learning some new cooking / baking skills, but honestly the internet and youtube has lots of recipes for you to explore. Make a mistake? Oh well, you will know better next time.

The end goal is that you will be eating more healthy food that you've grown yourself - which often tastes better than anything found in a store.

All that exercise from tilling, planting, weeding, harvesting means you will have shed some pounds over the course of Spring to Autumn. Once you've harvested the food at various stages during the year you will reap the benefits of eating lots of healthy vegetables - whether they be the form of salads, stews, soups, berries with yogurt, on pizza, juicing, or whatever recipes you decide to cook up with them.

The end result is if you treat your garden as both an exercise plan and a diet plan, you are guaranteed to become a healthier weight / a healthier person in the process.

I also recommend weening yourself off sugary drinks and high sugar / high cholesterol snacks. Some foods are so addictive that people will get into a habit of eating them at a specific time every day and if they do not then they get cravings for sugary things at that time of day. (This happens to me every year when I visit my parents and my mother sends me home with bags full of cookies, squares, etc - and I end up developing a sugar craving during a particular hour of the day afterwards due to snacking on them that part of the day. Fortunately I eventually run out of them and the craving is forced to go into decline.)

There are three ways to ween yourself off addictive foods:

1. Eat less of them and stop buying them, you will eventually have to stop because you run out.

2. Go cold turkey, meaning cut yourself off from them completely. This is trickier because if they're in your cupboard / freezer you either have to ignore they are there or thrown them out. Option 1 suddenly looks more appealing, yes?

3. Eat berries. Berries have natural sugars in them, so they will fulfill your craving for sugar but you are switching your addiction from one food to a different food. Other foods that are also higher in sugar are: grapes, mangos, bananas, cherries, apples, pears, kiwis and pineapple. By replacing your addiction with something healthier this is a good way to ween yourself off sugary foods and make a gradual switch towards healthier options.


Exercise Addiction Induced Anorexia

Look at the two runners on the right.

Which of them looks more natural and healthy?

If you picked #396, you are correct. He looks way healthier than #301, mostly due to his more muscular physique, better form, whereas #301 looks like he could collapse and die any second.

The differences between #301 and #396 isn't limited to their clear differences in muscle mass however, it is also a matter of differences in how they trained their bodies, how much nutrition they gave themselves while training, and whether they overdid it during the training process or whether they optimized their training / nutritional habits.

There is also a difference in sport. #301 is a marathon runner, which requires endurance. #396 is a sprinter, which requires sudden bursts of sheer speed - which requires more muscle power. However being super skinny is not a necessity for being a marathon runner, rather it is a side effect of Exercise Addiction.


Exercise Addiction is very common to marathon runners because there is a strong tendency to get "Runners High". While running very long distances your brain starts to produce a variety of hormones which act as painkillers to the runner, so that they can keep running. Unfortunately those natural hormones make for a very unnatural cocktail of chemicals, and behaves like heroin on the brain. People get addicted to long distance running, they neglect their health in favour of going running, they aren't eating enough food to take care of themselves, and they end up becoming very skinny as their body starts cannibalizing their muscle mass as energy.

That cannibalization process makes the person head down a very dark road in which they slowly start looking like an heroin addict. (Celebrity and singer Amy Winehouse is an extreme example of this, as she had both an exercise addiction and a cocaine/heroin addiction before she died. She died of alcohol poisoning.)

Essentially what it comes down is that we should be encouraging people to take up sprinting more often, or hiking is also good, because jogging long distances clearly has its dangers.

Exercise Addiction also comes with a host of other health problems, including possible anorexia (which is potentially deadly).

Running marathons can be fun and challenging, but you have to know the risks and give yourself limits so you aren't hurting your body. eg. Anything more than 100 km per week is considered to be exercise addiction.'

Symptoms of Exercise Addiction
  • An unhealthy increase in exercise levels.
  • An unhealthy addiction to euphoric states, not just in the form of "Runners High", but the addict may also seek out other kinds of drugs to increase their addiction to euphoria.
  • Social dysfunction as their addiction causes the addict to push away friends and family.
  • Withdrawal symptoms include anxiety, restlessness, depression, guilt, tension, discomfort, loss of appetite, sleeplessness, and headaches.
  • Exercising despite injuries and despite emotional trauma.
  • Obsession with appearance and maintaining a skinny physique.
  • May be combined with eating disorders.
  • May lead to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).
  • Addict is dependent on exercise in order to feel happy and gains little or no happiness from social interactions.
As a personal trainer I try to steer my clients here in Toronto away from anything that could cause them physical harm, whether it be sports injuries or a mental disorder. It is in the best interest of my clients that they have a healthy appreciation for exercise and not an obsession which causes them harm. I have written a number of other articles about exercise addiction, often with respect to marathon running.

See Also

12 Tips for Running a Marathon

Tips for Marathon Runners

Running Gear

How to Succeed in a Marathon

Crossfit and Why it is Dangerous

The Importance of Rest Periods

Is Wearable Tech really going to help people lose weight?

Wearable technology like the iWatch, smart watches and other similar devices designed to track how much you are exercising is one of the big new fitness trends of 2015.

However, most of them are basically junk.

And those that are good at what they do, won't actually help you lose weight unless you're willing to put in the effort.

Which is really coming back to the same issue people always have with exercise - sometimes people just don't want to put in the effort.

Take for example the issue of counting calories in a journal.

Counting calories is basically a guaranteed way of losing weight through diet. You reduce your caloric intake and as long as you stick to the limit of how many calories you can consume in a day, and the limit is both sufficient for your dietary needs, but low enough that you will end up burning fat for energy, the end result is you will lose weight. Guaranteed. Even people with glandular disorders can lose weight using the counting calories method.

However counting calories every meal and every snack is time consuming and BORING.

So why not have a device that does it for you?

Well sadly having such a device is just as time consuming as using a pen and a journal. You aren't saving any time using an electronic device to count calories for you. If anything the operating system and the series of buttons to press is actually MORE time consuming as opposed to simply grabbing a pen and writing down "450" in the appropriate space in the journal.

On the exercise side of things smart watches can (sometimes) monitor heart rhythm and can attempt to calculate how many calories you are burning.

However a smart watch doesn't keep track of all of the following factors:

  • How much you weigh.
  • How much extra weight are you carrying.
  • Your speed / intensity while exercising.
  • Whether you have a heart condition which causes abnormally fast or slow heart rhythm.
  • Level of difficulty of the exercise which could effect caloric burn.
  • The Afterburn Effect.
  • Blood sugar levels - if you ate recently before exercising, you might be burning energy which was freshly consumed. Not stored energy in the form of fat.

It really comes down to the same problem devices and apps like these always have: They can never account for all the different factors, which ultimately means that such devices don't actually work as they claim they do. Furthermore when an app reminds you to go jogging/etc, you can always just turn it off - the exercise equivalent of a Snooze Button.

Years ago I experimented with an High Intensity Interval Training app. I later deleted it because I determined it was a pain to work with. You had to program in the number of intervals, how many breaks you wanted, and it was glitchy and annoying. There was no premade programs to choose from, no random HIIT workout. I was better off using an old fashioned stop watch...

Ultimately what I ended up using instead of the HIIT app was music. I would do one exercise until the song was over and the switch to either resting or a different exercise during the next song. The randomness of the music determined both whether it was an intense exercise, a relaxing exercise, or a break to catch my breath and drink some water.

Which begs the question, why bother with a smart watch when all you really need is a mp3 player? Or a record player if you prefer vinyl. Or a smart phone. Or a juke box.

What people really need is motivation. That is the true wrench that fixes the broken gears of exercise. If a person lacks the will to go exercise, no amount of new shoes, electronic gadgets, gym memberships or personal trainers* will matter.

* Ideally a good personal trainer should motivate a person to go exercise regularly - but trying and succeeding are two different things. The personal trainer can try to motivate the person, but if they are feeling unmotivated by other factors in their life the personal trainer is ultimately just another spoke in the gear. It is the other spokes which need to be unjammed in order to get the gears moving and the person exercising.


BONUS

I came across the following list on a website, which dubbed the list "Top 10 fitness trends for 2016". However how can it be 2016 if we are still in 2015? Is this a list of predictions? Or is it based on a survey that happened in 2015? Or is it just a random list create by a fitness writer who is just making up what they THINK will be the trends in 2016? I think it is the last one.

So how much stock should you put in something written by some fitness writer who is making predictions? Not a lot if you analyze the list. See my notes in red.

Top 10 fitness trends during 2015 according to Joe Schmoe

"1. Wearable Technology: includes fitness trackers, smart watches, heart rate monitors and GPS tracking devices. [We've had these before. I gave my sister a device that monitors foot steps 3 years ago for xmas. I am unsure if she ever used it.]


2. Body Weight Training: Body weight training uses minimal equipment making it more affordable.  ["Body Weight Training" has been a trend since the 1800s and likely earlier. It is not a "new trend" at all. It is old school exercises like push ups and chin ups.]

2. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT): HIIT involves short bursts of activity followed by a short period of rest or recovery. These exercise programs are usually performed in less than 30 minutes. [This isn't new. HIIT has been "trending" for over a decade.]


4. Strength Training: Strength training remains a central emphasis for many health clubs. Incorporating strength training is an essential part of a complete exercise program for all physical activity levels and genders. [AKA, weight lifting. Also nothing new. When were dumbbells invented?]


5. Educated and Experienced Fitness Professionals: Given the large number of organizations offering health and fitness certifications, it’s important that consumers choose ... bla bla bla. [Just another word for "Certified Personal Trainers" and "Coaches".]


6. Personal Training: More and more students are majoring in kinesiology, which indicates they are preparing themselves for careers in allied health fields, such as personal training. [Wait. This is exactly the same as #5. Clearly the author had difficulty coming up with a list of 10.]


7. Functional Fitness: This is a trend toward using strength training to improve balance and ease of daily living. Functional fitness and special fitness programs for older adults are closely related. [The elderly have been doing these exercises in senior homes for decades now. Nothing new.]


8. Fitness Programs for Older Adults: As the baby boom generation ages into retirement, some of these people have more discretionary money than their younger counterparts. Therefore, many health and fitness professionals are taking the time to create age-appropriate fitness programs to keep older adults healthy and active. [Isn't this just the same as #7 but more specifically about the elderly and general fitness? Yep, yes it is. That is not a trend. That is stating something that many elderly already try to do.]


9. Exercise and Weight Loss: Health and fitness professionals who provide weight loss programs are increasingly incorporating regular exercise and caloric restriction for better weight control in their clients. [Wait, what? How is "exercise and weight loss" a new trend? Isn't that what people have been doing for decades? The writer clearly has a Masters in BS.]


10. Yoga: Based on ancient tradition, yoga utilizes a series of specific bodily postures practiced for health and relaxation. This includes Power Yoga, Yogalates, Bikram, Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Kripalu, Anurara, Kundalini, Sivananda and others." [Again, yoga is nothing new. It is literally thousands of years old. It is as old as Christian carpenters who build Arks.]

Buff Vs Obese, Why BMI is confusing to muscular people

Yesterday I wrote a post on the topic of stubborn belly fat titled: Why is it so hard for skinny people to shed the last few pounds?

During the post I talked about how people get too obsessed with trying to weight a specific amount because they have been looking at BMI charts and think that they need to be a specific weight in order to be healthy / attractive.

On the right here you see two cartoon people, both are 6 feet tall and both weigh 250 lbs. Lets call them Dave and Bob.

Dave is extremely muscular and weighs a hefty 250 lbs. Bob in contrast, weighs the same amount but has a lot more fat than muscle. The trick here is that fat takes up more space than muscle, because muscle is actually heavier than fat. 1 lb of fat takes up lots of space, whereas 1 lb of muscle takes up very little space. Thus even though they look very different, Dave and Bob still end up weighing the same.

And having the exact same BMI measurement of 33.9. Which is so heavy it isn't even on the chart below, because this chart only goes up to 215 lbs.

But what we do know is that 33.9 is in the low 30s, so that is the lower half of obese which ranges from 30.0 to 39.9. 40.0 or higher would be extremely obese.

However there is an obvious problem. Nobody in their right mind would call Dave obese. He looks like a bodybuilder. Thus the BMI chart is flawed because it ignores the possibility that a person might have more muscle mass (or possibly even more bone density, which is a factor people often ignore).

Thus we need better ways of measuring body weight / obesity. Well luckily there are ways to do that.

The following three methods are recommended.

#1. Body Adiposity Index

BAI multiplies your hip circumference by your height. Although clinical studies have not shown any proof, it is widely believed that Body Adiposity Index is more accurate than BMI as the resulting figures are approximate. BAI is also useful in areas whenever scales are not be available.

#2. Waist Circumference Measurement

Ah, the old fashioned tape measure. By measuring the natural waist you can get a good indication of the amount of abdominal fat you are carrying. Knowing the circumference of your waist can help determine your risk of getting heart disease and other medical conditions. According to physicians, the following figures indicate individuals in the 'at risk' group:

Women with a waist circumference of 35 inches and over.
Men with a waist circumference of 40 inches and over.

#3. Waist-to-Hip Ratio

The waist-to-hip ratio is not only an excellent way of calculating how much excess weight you are carrying, it can also be used to indicate susceptibility to a number of health issues, including high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes.

Using a tape measure, take a reading from your natural waist line and the widest part of your hips. Now divide the circumference of your waist by your hip circumference measurement. The World Health Organization considers abdominal obesity is represented by a waist–hip ratio above 0.90 for males and above 0.85 for females.

The following two methods are NOT recommended.

#4. Hydrostatic Weighing

Hydrostatic weighing is NOT an effective way of calculating body fat. The weighing process takes place underwater on a chair that is placed on a zeroed out set of scales. You then sit on the chair before exhaling all the air from you lungs and then placing your head underwater. Once the scales stabilize, your weight is then noted down. The resulting figure is then passed through a series of formulas which, ultimately, produces a body-fat reading based on the buoyancy of your body fat. That is a hugely inaccurate way of measuring body fat however as it ignores muscle buoyancy, ignores bone density, ignores how much air might be in your lungs, etc. So don't bother.

#5. Body Fat Measuring

By using a special set of callipers skin and fat measurements are taken from the waist, shoulder blades, biceps and triceps. The resulting readings, in millimeters, are added up to produce a single figure. The figure is then plotted against a chart that takes the patient's sex, age and measurement into consideration to determine the body-fat percentage figure. In theory the higher the body fat, the higher your risk of suffering from obesity-related conditions. However this method also suffers from inaccuracy as it also is confused by measurements due to saggy skin / very elastic skin, a more muscular physique, and even factors like disproportionate body shape.



Conclusions? Maybe stop worrying about the numbers and just exercise because you enjoy feeling healthy. It doesn't matter HOW you do it. Just enjoy doing it.


Why is it so hard for skinny people to shed the last few pounds?

Q

"Hello! I have lost a lot of weight over the past 3 years - over 50 lbs - and my friends now describe me as skinny. However I still don't have abs. I have checked out other websites and articles on this topic, but nobody seems to have a proper answer for why is it so hard for skinny people to shed the last few pounds so I can see my abs? These days when I lose weight I only seem to lose muscle weight instead of fat, so I am definitely doing something wrong.

- Anonymous"

A

Hey there!

Many people have the same problem you do. They get down close to their desired weight and then they have difficulty attaining the desired number and the feeling / look of physical perfection they were hoping for.

Often people lose weight due to a combination of healthy diet, exercise and lifestyle changes, but when they try to get something specific - like great looking abs, they find that everything they try doesn't seem to get rid of that last bit of fat layer on top of their abs. The stubborn fat that just won't leave.

Part of the problem is that your body composition has changed dramatically... and to explain this I am going to need to use an example:

Bob started off weighing 250 lbs and was overweight. He lost 50 lbs and now he weighs 200 lbs, but he still has some stubborn belly fat that he just cannot get rid of. He tries dieting, he tries jogging and other cardio activities, but the stubborn belly fat just won't leave. Indeed, he does lose weight during these attempts, but what he discovers is that he seems to be getting weaker, not thinner. His body is cannibalizing muscle tissue instead of using up his fat reserves.

This is because his body composition has reached a point where he has very little fat left to choose from but he has plenty of muscle his body can cannibalize for energy. Thus when Bob loses weight due to doing lots of cardio, he loses a lot of muscle weight and his body fat doesn't seem to change.

Bob also has it stuck in his head that he wants to weigh 180 lbs because he is 6'0" tall and he has consulted a BMI chart that states that being 200 lbs and 6'0" tall means that he is overweight because he has a BMI of 27.

So how should Bob fix this problem?

#1. Bob needs to stop worrying about his BMI and stop trying to weigh a specific amount. There is no "cruise control" for your weight. Everyone is different. Some people are not meant to weigh the amount they think they should weigh. Instead they need to change their focus to being healthier and worry less about the numbers.

#2. Bob needs to try a new way of exercising, one that won't decrease his muscle tissue. In Bob's case he should try weightlifting instead of cardio - and building muscle instead of trying to shed fat. He can do this one of three ways:

  1. Switch his cardio regimen to a purely weightlifting regimen.
  2. Split his exercise regimen to half cardio and half weightlifting.
  3. Gradually change from a cardio regimen to a weightlifting regimen, possibly 10% more weightlifting per week and gradually reduce the amount of cardio by 10% per week.
 By building muscle instead of trying to reduce fat, especially in combination with abdominal exercises if his goal is to have more pronounced abdominal muscles, Bob would end up building up muscle tissue and restricting his body to using ONLY fat stores for energy instead of using a combination of fat and muscle for energy. I recommend starting off with a gradual approach (eg. option 3 above) and focusing on core muscles (chest, abs, back muscles) first to build a strong foundation.

#3. It is possible Bob might also have a high cholesterol problem that is clogging arteries and preventing energy from being transferred in a healthy manner from fat tissue to his muscles during exercise. A low cholesterol diet might be beneficial to see if it helps make Bob more energetic, give him more endurance and change his blood sugar levels.

You can get those "six pack abs" you are looking for, but it will take extra time and effort to shed those stubborn last few lbs of fat - and it might mean you have to build up lbs of muscle during the process, just so you are not accidentally cannibalizing muscle tissue.

That means that in Bob's case he might actually put on weight and become a more muscular 220 lbs instead of his desired weight of 180 lbs and skinny. Maybe Bob is meant to look more like a muscular caveman than he was hoping for.

And this goes the same for the ladies out there. Many women have it stuck in their heads that women with muscles is unattractive. Absolute nonsense. Amazons are beautiful. Thus for women, sometimes the answer to shedding those last few lbs isn't more cardio. Maybe it is time to accept that you are an Amazon at heart and that your ideal body isn't a skinny mini, but a strong and beautiful Amazon.



Essential Fat Vs Non Essential Fat

Lets start with some definitions!

#1. Essential Fat

Essential fatty acids, or EFAs, are fatty acids that humans and other animals must ingest because the body requires them for good health but cannot synthesize them. The term "essential fatty acid" refers to fatty acids required for biological processes but does not include the fats that only act as fuel.

So for example, omega-3 fatty acids is a chemical your body actually needs for brain function and other activities.

#2. Non Essential Fat

Non-essential fatty acids are important for the body too. Saturated fats are considered to be non-essential fatty acids because they are not required by the body and instead may cause harm - hence the name. Trans fatty acids, although these are a kind of unsaturated fat, are also non-esential fatty acids and should be avoided in the same manner that we should avoid saturated fats because of findings that increased consumption of trans fats is proportional to an increase in the risk of coronary heart disease. It is also used in supplements when used as development enhancements. Meanwhile, there are non-essential fatty acids which are simply classified as such because the human body can synthesize them from other nutrients like carbohydrates and other unsaturated fatty acids. These are the omega-9 fatty acids, which can lower bad cholesterol, increase good cholesterol, and control blood sugar. However, since the human body can create its own omega-9 fatty acids, there is no need to include them in one’s diet.


As shown in the above graphic men need dramatically less essential fat than women do, however their composition of non-essential fat is roughly the same.

People seeking to lose weight by dieting would be advised to add more eggs and fish to their diet, but cut back on sources of saturated fat. This way they are getting the fat that they need, but they are reducing their consumption of extra fat that their body doesn't actually need.

Understanding your Body's Composition

You have probably heard that the human body is mostly made of water - and this partially correct. But all that water is held together using carbon and other atoms. Some fad diets even try to reduce a person's body weight by reducing their use of water, and thus reducing a person's water weight - which makes a person dehydrated, long term lack of water can cause mental illness and a host of other problems. So those fad diets do work in the sense that person does lose weight, but because it is mostly water they end up regaining the weight as soon as they go back to a normal diet and have normal amounts of water again.

Attacking your body's use of water however is not the solution however. While water is found in both fat cells and muscle, it is not the cause of a person being overweight.

We should note also that fell cells never actually disappear. They just get bigger as they store energy or smaller as they expend energy. Eating healthier foods, getting lots of exercise causes the fat cells to store less energy and to be expending more energy than they are storing.

Your body's composition comes down a number of factors:

Bones and Bone Density

The more you exercise the stronger your bone density becomes. Thus bodybuilders and athletes often have surprisingly strong bone density. Not unbreakable, but still amazingly strong. (Although the film "Unbreakable" starring Bruce Willis suggests that it would be theoretically possible for a person to have unusually strong bones.)

Bone density can fluctuate due to diet, amount of exercise a person is getting, and genetic factors.

Muscle Weight

Muscles weighs more than fat. Try weighing some lean meat sometime and note how much little space 1 lb of lean muscle actually takes up space. Now compare that to 1 lb of fat further below. A person who is very muscular might not look very big, but they might still weight quite a bit. So someone who weighs 250 lbs, but it is all muscle will still look pretty impressive with their shirt off - but might look like a proverbial Bruce Wayne when they are dressed in a suit and tie. For fun see my past article about Christian Bale's muscle gains and losses. When preparing for the role he once weighed 210 lbs, but had to back it down a bit because he ended up looking too beefy.

Muscle weight can also go up or down quite suddenly and rapidly. Being sick for a week, a person could easily lose 10 lbs of muscle. When "Spring Training" athletes can often gain back 20 lbs of muscle in the first 2 to 4 weeks because they have been slacking off during the winter. I myself have a tendency to take it too easy during the winter and often put on 20 lbs of muscle every Spring when I get back into exercising outdoors. This year I am planning to put on extra muscle this upcoming winter.

Body Fat

Fat takes up a lot of space in your body. By volume it actually does not weigh very much, it is light weight - but it is HUGE. A lb of fat is roughly the size of an adult fist. So 5 lbs of fat is about the size of fists. All that space however is basically just for storing energy - energy for exercise, energy for keeping the body warm, and also acting as insulation against the cold.


During the Autumn, as temperatures drop and humans start getting less Vitamin D from the sun we start storing more energy inside our fat cells. Around Christmas time we store lots of food, not just because of traditions, but because our bodies crave more food when we are low on Vitamin D. This storing of energy as fat is hard-wired into our DNA, part of our "caveman genes" and is used as a survival mechanism to keep you alive during the long cold winter. Learn more about Vitamin D by reading "Can Vitamin D help you lose weight?"

Genetics

Speaking of caveman genes, lets talk about genetics in general. Your body's composition of fat, muscle, bone density, etc is effected by your body's genetics. The same thing that makes your hair black and your eyes green also effects how much fat you store, how easily you build muscle, your bone density, metabolism, etc. However it does not CONTROL it. Just because you might be genetically predisposed to having more muscle, does not mean you will automatically be muscular. It will still take years of exercising, weightlifting, helping friends move into new homes and carrying their furniture, working at the construction site, etc. In other words you still have to work at it. Nothing comes easily in the world of weightlifting.

The same thing goes for the reverse. You might have a genetic disorder that makes it difficult to lose weight. But that does not make it IMPOSSIBLE to do so. It simply means it harder than an average person trying to do the same thing. You might have to get it 150% effort compared to your peers in order to see changes, but you will see changes if you keep making the effort.

Organs and Metabolism

Some of your body's weight is made up of all your organs. Brain, heart, lungs, liver, spleen, cardiovascular system, endocrine system, digestive system, etc. These things are all necessary for life. Thus you can't really do anything about the weight of such things, and you shouldn't worry about them.

Sometimes people do get "fatty organs", such as a fatty liver which can lead to liver damage, cancer, fatty liver disease, etc. However such things can be prevented by exercising regularly and eating healthy. Your body's organs consume / produce chemicals that are used as building blocks to repair your body, and energy for both repair and for activities - all of which are necessities.

Definition of Metabolism: The chemical processes by which cells produce the substances and energy needed to sustain life.

CONCLUSIONS

There isn't much to worry about regarding your bones, organs and genetics. Those things will continue to do what they are meant to do. However the balance between muscle weight and body fat can be altered by the individual. How you choose to do so is up to you. You might choose to focus more on diet over exercise, or more exercise over diet, or some balance of the two - but in reality it is always a balancing act, because you have to eat and you have to move. How you choose to achieve your ideal balance might depend on whether your goals are to lose weight, build muscle or combinations of the two.

If you live in the Leaside area of Toronto and are looking for a personal trainer, you know who to call.



Gradual Weight Loss in 1 Year

The photos on the right is of a woman who gradually lost 88 lbs in 1 year through a combination of diet and exercise.

She didn't use any fancy diets or any special exercise program. She simply made an effort to eat healthier, watch her calorie intake, and she exercised more often.

That was it.

88 lbs in 52 weeks.

It is really more a matter of math, determination and knowing it can be done. In other words motivation to stick with the healthy diet and to keep exercising regularly was the primary reason she succeeded. Had she adopted a defeatist attitude of "this is impossible" or "I will never succeed" then she would have failed simply because she had no confidence in her own ability to succeed.

Lets say you have two twins who are identical in every way except the way they think, and these two twins agree to have a marathon race (42.195 km or 26.22 miles).

The first twin thinks "I can do this, all I have to is run slightly faster at the beginning than my twin does and then keep ahead of them the rest of the race."

The second twin thinks "I don't think I can even run 5 km, let alone 42 km. I might as well just quit now. Even if I try I only have a 50% chance of winning anyway, so why bother?"

Obviously the first twin is the one who will likely succeed simply because they have set a positive goal for themselves and have even worked out a strategy for staying ahead. The second twin will likely give up the moment their more positively thinking rival sprints ahead at the beginning.

The correct response to that situation is to set a goal of "I am going to keep pace right beside him the whole race and at the end I am going to sprint and pass him."

Thus knowing you can succeed through perseverance and positive thinking can make a big difference.

I also mentioned math earlier.

88 lbs in 52 weeks means she was losing approx. 1.69 lbs per week. One pound of fat equals 3500 calories, so she needs to burn or reduce 5915 calories in one week. Almost 6000 calories per week.

Or more concisely 845 calories per day.

If she adopts a diet of 1600 calories per day (a reduction of 400 from the 2000+ calories she is normally getting) and then spends 90 minutes per day exercising in an effort to shed an extra 445 calories, yes, it can be done.

Note - She doesn't have to burn a whole 445 calories from 1 exercise. By doing cardio activities she could trigger the Afterburn Effect and end up burning 25% to 100% more calories than normal. eg. If she burns 300 calories by doing High Intensity Interval Training, she might trigger the Afterburn Effect and burn an extra 200 or 300 calories. The Afterburn Effect is triggered whenever a person's blood sugar goes below a certain point and their heart rate is elevated due to intense exercise, thus triggering a fat burning effect that lasts up to 48 hours after the exercise is over.

Thus any person who adopts a more intense exercise routine will burn more calories simply because they are triggering the Afterburn Effect.

The beauty of the Afterburn Effect is that the fat being burned makes the person feel even more energetic, and it is addictive. The heightened level of energy makes the person want to do it again every day and the next thing they know they are exercising religiously every day, chasing that energy high. It is basically a fat burning induced sugar high.

Craving sugar? Go do an intense exercise and note the feeling of excitement and invigoration you feel afterwards. That is the Afterburn Effect burning fat and the feeling it gives you.

Positive thinking combined with positive reinforcement of getting a sugar high off exercising every day can have a dramatic weight loss effect on a person. It can change their life completely.

It can change your life completely too. All you have to do is try, keep trying, and keep doing it. When you see the results you will know it is working.

The #1 Reason Why So Many People Fail To Lose Weight

Do you want to know the #1 reason why many people who set out to lose weight via exercise fail to lose the weight they are looking for?

The answer is...

NOT ENOUGH CARDIO

Many people who go to the gym (or set up a home gym) do so by lifting weights or doing various forms resistance training, which in turn builds muscle.

What often happens is the person ends up GAINING WEIGHT due to increased muscle mass. They aren't reducing their overall weight and while their body fat percentage may go down slightly, they are not going to get the results they are looking for.

It is basically an issue of people equating cardio exercises like running, jogging, swimming, cycling, etc with weightlifting exercises and thinking that they can get the benefits of weight loss from weight lifting - and instead they gain weight by building muscle, while seeing no change at all in their waistline. They have fallen victim to the myth that "you can lose weight by weightlifting".

There are of course, exceptions. I will give you a few:

#1. Put weights around your ankles and go for long walks. That is basically combining weight lifting for your legs with cardio - but it is still effectively cardio.

#2. Put a 20 lb backpack on and then go cycling. Yes, you are lifting extra weight on your back, but the more important factor is that cycling = cardio.

#3. Combine aerobic exercises with small 5 lb dumbbells. Yes, you are lifting weights, but again the bigger factor is that aerobic exercises = cardio.

So yes, of course, if you combine weightlifting with cardio you could lose weight - but the bigger weight loss factor is always going to be the cardio.

Your primary goal during a cardio exercise is to get your heart rate going - and trigger the Afterburn Effect (heightened metabolism as your body burns fat for energy). If you don't get your heart rate high enough to trigger the Afterburn Effect, then you are going to have difficulty trying to lose weight. Often people exercising with just weightlifting are just going to use up the energy in their blood (sugar, fat, etc) and then feel hungry and tired.

In contrast if you trigger the Afterburn Effect you suddenly feel energized - more energetic and alive, for the rest of the day as your body starts burning fat to refuel your body's energy levels. Scientific studies show that the Afterburn Effect can last up to 48 hours after the person achieves a high heart rate from doing cardio - and the more prolonged their heart rate is higher, the more their body starts burning fat.

Triggering the Afterburn Effect is part of High Intensity Interval Training and other forms of Interval Training. So if your goal is to lose weight, you might want to consider Interval Training as a method of getting your heart rate up in your goal of losing weight.

The goal during High Intensity Interval Training is to get your heart rate up doing one intense exercise, and then relax while doing a less stressful exercise, and then get your heart rate back up again by doing another intense exercise.

Example 1. Sprinting, Walking, Sprinting, Walking, Sprinting, Walking, etc.

Example 2. Aggressive Mountain Biking, Relaxing Cruise, Aggressive Mountain Biking, Relaxing Cruise, Aggressive Mountain Biking, Relaxing Cruise, etc.

Example 3. Fast Swimming, Leisurely Swimming, Fast Swimming, Leisurely Swimming, Fast Swimming, Leisurely Swimming, etc.

Scientific studies have also shown that 30 minutes of  High Intensity Interval Training is more effective for weight loss than 30 minutes of jogging - because your heart rate gets higher while sprinting, and a higher heart rate triggers the Afterburn Effect better.

So not only are people often doing the wrong exercises for their goal, people are often opting for exercises they consider to be easier - because they know sprinting and similar intense exercises are pretty hard.

But not impossible.

Sprinting is basically just running as fast as possible for a short period of time. Anyone with working legs can do it, so chances are likely you have no excuses.

Anyone with bad knees would be advised to do swimming instead.

But once you start doing more intense cardio on a regular basis you will feel invigorated every time you do - that is how you will know the Afterburn Effect is working. The feeling of invigoration.

Walking to Fitness - Why many people ignore this as an option

Many people think they already walk quite a bit, but often they spend most of their days sitting in an office chair in a cubicle - or sitting on a chair or sofa at home.

In other words they really are not walking as much as they think they are.

Furthermore, when it comes to weight loss they ignore walking as an option because they don't realize how many calories the simple act of walking burns. They think it is such a tiny amount that they ignore it.

But I am going to show you the math behind how one woman in Iowa - who weighed 370 lbs when she started her walking regimen - lost 200 lbs just by walking around the airport terminal where she works. (You can Google the appropriate keywords to find this news story if you want to. The woman's name is Jill Vento.)

1 lb of fat = 3,500 calories.

200 lbs of fat = 700,000 calories.

Now you might think "Hey, that is going to require a lot of walking!"

But probably not as much as you think.

The woman in question did it by walking 15 minutes at a time (during breaks / etc), twice per day, 5 days per week. The news articles talking about her feat don't tell us how fast she was going, but we can assume as she got stronger and thinner she started walking faster.

Thus I have done the math for how many calories a 370 lb woman burns for 3 different speeds:

Walking 2 mph for 15 minutes - 117 calories
Walking 3 mph for 15 minutes - 183 calories
Walking 4 mph for 15 minutes - 216 calories

In the beginning she was only shedding 117 calories each time, and in the beginning she was only doing it once per day. But as she got stronger / more motivated she started walking twice per day and eventually three times per day. So for simplicity's sake we shall calculate that she was doing 10 fifteen minute walks per week. 117 x 10 = 1170 calories. Slightly more than one third of a pound of fat.

At that speed it would have taken her 600 weeks (11.53 years) to burn 700,000 calories. And yes, that would be a lot of walking - were it not for the fact that she started walking faster, getting additional exercise, and eating healthier too, thus speeding up the weight loss process.

In the first 9 weeks of walking she would have noticed that she lost 3 lbs - possibly more if she was getting additional exercise from other sources and eating healthy - which would explain why she eventually started walking around the airport terminal 3 times per day to speed up the process.

Plus as she got stronger she started walking faster and faster. So now we have to do the math again.

At this point lets assume she has already lost 70 lbs and now weighs 300 lbs instead of 370 (which conversely means she only has 455,000 left to go). But we will calculate that she is walking 4 mph instead because she gotten a lot faster.

Walking 2 mph for 15 minutes - 95 calories
Walking 3 mph for 15 minutes - 148 calories
Walking 4 mph for 15 minutes - 176 calories

As you can see she is using less energy at the slower speed, and the 3 mph speed is only marginally using more energy. The 4 mph speed is where she really burning calories fast.

At this point we will also calculate that she is walking at this speed 15 times per week. 176 x 15 = 2,640 calories. That is 75% of 1 lb. So she is losing 3 lbs every 4 weeks at this point.

At this point she has really started to see the difference. She is having to buy new clothes that fit her better, she is feeling super positive about herself, she doesn't binge eat when she is depressed any more (this is a common problem for obese people who binge eat their favourite comfort foods). She is seeing lots of results. At that rate she is losing 39.2 lbs per year.

Probably more if she is getting outside and doing other activities simultaneously, trying new activities, taking up bicycling or swimming.

Walking may not seem like it burns a lot of calories, but you know how people like to say that cigarettes/pot are gateway drugs? Well walking is a gateway exercise that gets you exercising plus opens your body and mind to the idea of other exercises.

Walking is a gateway exercise that gets you exercising plus opens your body and mind to the idea of other exercises.


And the next thing you know, it is several years later, you've lost 200 lbs and you feel really proud of yourself. Losing 50 lbs per year means you can be a whole new person in just 4 years. And all it takes is the will to start walking.


A journey of a 1000 miles begins with the first step.
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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