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Never Give Up, Stay Motivated

One of the big problems for some people is staying motivated when it comes to exercise. It is work.

Thus I have decided to post a lot of motivational info on this website, including quotes, so people can easily find inspiration for keeping up with their fitness routine.

"Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will."
- Mohandas Gandhi (Mahatma Gandhi)

"You must do the things you think you cannot do."
- Eleanor Roosevelt

"Self-pity is our worst enemy and if we yield to it, we can never do anything wise in this world."
- Helen Keller

"A single twig breaks, but the bundle of twigs is strong."
- Tecumseh

"Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass...
It's about learning how to dance in the rain."

- Vivian Greene

"Don't tell me what I can't do."
- John Locke

What good are Fat Calipers?

Tape measures aren't very accurate because of three reasons.

#1. It doesn't account for muscular changes under the fat. If you build up or lose muscle you won't be able to tell using a tape measure.

#2. Fat can shift around easily, making it difficult to get an accurate measurement.

#3. Tape measures don't measure the actual amount of fat you have.

When it comes to getting a more accurate measurement body fat calipers are one of the best ways to determine how fit you are and how fat you are.

BMI (body mass index) readings are also problematic because it doesn't measure muscle tone either. According to BMI many bodybuilders are overweight or even obese because they're carrying around a lot more muscle weight.

Same goes with just measuring your weight on the ol' foot scales.

Scales, BMI and tape measurements cannot differentiate between fat and muscle weight. A person can gain an inch in their waist (and freak out more than likely) but that could very well be muscle under the fat, and it probably shows in a more defined midsection, but on someone who has a round belly they would think they've become fatter. It is also possible to be very thin but still have high body fat, which is also very unhealthy and a source for chronic diseases.

 The disadvantage of body fat calipers is that they take getting used to and you have to learn how to use them. There are also different types of calipers, including some that require another person to take the reading for you. Considering that "pinching an inch" on your belly with someone helping you is not something everyone feels comfortable having done to them, it's advisable to start with a model of body fat caliper which allows self-readings in order to spare yourself embarrassment.

Try to find a body fat caliper kit that comes with instructions, body fat charts and a journal for personal progress tracking. You are more likely to succeed in your goals if you can measure and accurately see your progress.

Of course no amount of measuring will compare with the feeling of confidence when you look in the mirror.

Free Self Defense Classes = Exercise

If you're a woman and live in a major city you can shop around and discover there are a lot of places that offer free self defense classes.

As a man, I would have to pay to participate in similar classes, but women fortunately can signup for many of these classes for free.

I highly endorse such classes, being pro-feminist myself, and since I teach boxing lessons for both men and women the topic of self defense comes up regularly.

The good news is that at such classes you aren't just learning how to defend yourself - You are getting valuable exercise at the same time. Its certainly frugal if you're looking for that sort of thing.

If you're looking for more of a challenge and perhaps appreciate the sport of boxing, let me know and I can give you some lessons.

In the meantime check out this Homemade Pepperspray Recipe that a friend of mine over in England made. Over the counter pepperspray is illegal in Canada because it is a prohibited substance (although some places still sell it), but there is a loophole in the law which allows people to make homemade pepperspray.

Break Times = Excuse to Exercise

Ever found yourself waiting for a bus, train or taxi?

Ever discovered that you need to wait for someone to finish or deliver something before you can do something you're supposed to do?

Ever got really bored while standing in a lineup?

Well here is a hot tip!

Take that 6 minutes or 10 minutes or however much time you have available to do some basic cardio exercises.

#1. Run in Spot

#2. Jog up and down the Stairs

#3. Do Stretches or Yoga

#4. Do balancing exercises on your legs

#5. Do squats

#6. Do Counter Pressure Exercises (aka Isometric Exercises) with your arms (pulling or pushing one arm vs the other).

Now I admit some exercises may look silly if you do them in public. eg. Doing yoga while waiting in a bank lineup, but some exercises like the Counter Pressure Exercises or Stretches you can do anywhere and nobody will notice or care*.

* Although truth be told, stretching also has an effect of making people look more attractive to the opposite sex.

One famous user of Counter Pressure Exercises / Isometric Exercises was Bruce Lee, the martial artist / movie star. It made up the majority of his training exercises. His martial arts style, Wing Chun Gung Fu, placed huge emphasis on using such exercises to build up strength and speed.

Bruce Lee injured himself while exercising with free weights and swore off using weights, insisting from that point on that he would focus on using Isometric Exercises and bodyweight exercises.

The end result is if you have 6 minutes and nothing to do, why not do some quick cardio, stretching or any other kind of exercise? Think of it as an exercise break and you've got no excuse not to use that time productively.

And lets pretend for a moment you end up waiting around like that on a daily basis. Say half an hour every day while you wait to pick your kids up after school. That is 5 days per week, 30 minutes per day, 150 minutes worth of exercise. Burning 300 calories per hour you are looking at 23,400 calories per year or approx. 7 lbs. Maybe more if you're burning more than 300 calories/hour.

The Fat-Burning Zone Myth

You may have heard that if you go over a certain heart rate while doing cardio or aerobic exercises that you do not burn fat.

This is however an urban myth. It is one of those misconceptions that should be put to rest once and for all when it comes to fat burning aerobic exercises. The idea got its start in the mid 1990s when scientists reported that during high-intensity fat burning aerobic exercises, the body burned mostly stored carbohydrates for fuel, as opposed to burning stored fat as it did during lower-intensity activity.

The key word is 'mostly'.

Unfortunately a few unintelligent exercise instructors took the news and ran with it, encouraging people to pay for low-intensity "fat-burning" classes... classes that ultimately didn't help people much.

It is true that the body burns a higher percentage of calories from fat during more mellow exercise like walking and easy cycling... but the actual number of calories is very little.

When you pick up the pace for a higher-intensity cardio workout you burn a greater number of overall calories of both stored fat and stored carbs... and thus burned much more fat period.

For example, say a 140-pound woman performs either a fairly easy walk or a high-intensity jog. After 1 hour, she would have burned the following in total and fat calories:

Walk = 200 calories (75% fat for a total of 150 calories of fat)

Jog = 300 calories (60% fat for a total of 180 calories of fat)

Thus the higher intensity workout always burns more fat. Its really the result of your body drawing upon all available reserves to get as much energy to the muscles as it can.

NOTE! High-intensity aerobic exercises kick your metabolism into high gear even after you're done working out. That means that even after you stop exercising you are stilling burning calories because your blood is being pumped faster for a longer period in an effort to heal muscle tissue.

"When you exercise vigorously, you get a robust hormonal change, which causes your body to burn more fat during your recovery time," says Janet Walberg Rankin, PhD, professor of nutrition at Virginia Tech University in Blacksburg. Your metabolism also stays revved up five times longer after a vigorous workout than after an easy one. Over time, this can add up to burning an additional 100 to more than 200 calories a day.

High-intensity exercises are difficult to sustain, especially if you're just starting out. But practice makes perfect and you can build up more intensity and duration as you get better at it.

The easiest way to infuse intensity into your existing routine is to start adding 5 minutes of higher intensity exercises to whatever you are doing.
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