Friday, July 29, 2016

The Flat Ab Secret

A couple of weeks ago, I exposed the myth that doing 100 crunches a day will practically guarantee flat abs. I noted that all the ab and core muscles need to be strengthened for a strong mid-section. But, regardless of how tight your ab muscles are, they can't erase belly fat that lies above (subcutaneous) or below them (visceral fat).

The best belly fat-melting method is Tabata intervals. You do any cardio move (running, swimming, cycling, etc) as fast as possible for 20 seconds, recover while moving slowly for 10 seconds then repeat the combo seven more times, for a total of four minutes.

Maximum effort cardio intervals like these raise your level of adrenaline which is the secret to burning fat. Higher adrenaline levels cause fat cells to release more fat more efficiently. Tabata releases more adrenaline throughout your body than typical cardio because of the high-intensity effort required. Not only do you burn more fat and calories during Tabata but your body also continues to burn more even after you finish.

To maximize the amount of belly fat you melt off, combine steady-state cardio and Tabata intervals. The steady-state segments (sustained tempo movement) insure that you burn calories and melt subcutaneous fat. The intense intervals do the same but also guarantee you'll work away at the deep stubborn visceral fat.

Complete your Tabata workout three times per week. Start with 10 minutes of moderately hard, steady-state cardio of your choice (power walk, run, bike, swim, elliptical trainer) then do a four-minute Tabata round. Complete that steady state cardio/ Tabata combo three times for a total of 42 minutes.

Your strong ab muscles will be more visible very soon!

Stay Active, Keep Moving and 
Enjoy Your Food

Friday, July 22, 2016

Tennis For Fitness

I've started taking tennis lessons! I have been wanting to learn tennis skills for a couple of years but have always found a reason to say I was too busy to add in another activity. Finally I bought a tennis outfit. That motivated me to sign up!

The best active sports are the ones that you can enjoy your entire life. According to a meta-analysis published in The British Journal of Sports Medicine, tennis is a good fitness fit for almost anyone because of its wide range of health benefits across the age spectrum. Perhaps most interesting were the conclusions reached based on a study of more than 1,000 students in medical school between 1948 and 1964. At the start, the students were asked to rate their ability in tennis, golf, football, baseball and basketball. Researchers assessed these students again 22 years later and then again 40 years later and found that tennis was the only sport in which a greater ability during medical school was associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. Researchers credit this benefit to the fact that tennis was the sport played most often through midlife.

Playing tennis regularly can:

Boost your heart and lung function
Exercise-related oxygen use and capacity diminish with advancing age, but tennis appears to decrease the rate of this age-related decline. Even moderate-intensity tennis players 30 to 74 showed better overall lung function. Tennis players also proved metabolically more fit, with improved lipid metabolism and lower incidence of hyperlipidemia (the single most meaningful predictor of coronary heart disease). Tennis players older than 55 sported significantly better blood-cholesterol profiles.

Rev up fat-burning
Exercise performance physician Massimo Testa lists tennis as a good choice for moderate aerobic exercise, but his new research takes it up a notch. It notes that singles tennis can provide a vigorous workout, and ranks it among the top five activities in terms of energy expenditure — higher than swimming, rowing, weightlifting, Jazzercise, hiking or golf. 

Strengthen your bones.
In study after study, tennis was found to bolster bone strength in both genders and in all ages. Those who started playing at a young age showed a stronger correlation than those who started at an older age, but healthier bones were maintained even after players decreased their participation.

Streamline coordination
In an analysis of the impact of aging on coordination using tennis players and non-players 20 to 80, non-players showed an increasing decline in their ability to respond with advancing age, while tennis players showed no decline in response at different ages. Researchers cited evidence that in honing focus, tennis outperforms golf, running, weight lifting, inline skating and downhill skiing.

Stay Active, Keep Moving and 
Play Tennis

Friday, July 15, 2016

Unexpected Ways To Eat Less

We are all striving to keep active and clean up our diets. Vague statements like, "I should cut back." won't get us the results we are looking for. Here are four small specific changes that can help us eat less.

Distract Yourself
One study showed that people who played Tetris for three minutes found their desire to eat diminished. We tend to visualize cravings; mind-stimulating activities stop is from picturing that brownie.

Go to Sleep Earlier
Sleep-deprived people consumed an extra 549 calories per day compared with those who were well-rested. Get seven hours of sleep a night.

Choose Your Plate Carefully
When food contrasts with the color of the plate, people tend to eat less. Spaghetti in red sauce on a red plate makes it hard to determine portion size. Additionally, a smaller plate makes a moderate portion look bigger. Choose to use the salad plate for your meal instead of the dinner plate.

Turn Off the TV
Seeing commercials for food while watching TV can trigger people to snack. DVR the show and skip the commercials, choose Netflix, or open a book.

Stay Active, Keep Moving and 
Enjoy Your Food

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Common Fitness Myths

It can be hard to separate fitness fact from fiction, especially when you're just starting out. Misinformation from unreliable sources and the internet creates confusion. Top experts, Neal Pire of the American College of Sports Medicine, and Michele Olson, professor of exercise science at Auburn University, check in regarding the following fitness myths and confirm facts we can count on.

Doing 100 crunches a day practically guarantees flat abs
Crunches improve one abdominal muscles' strength and endurance (if you do a lot of them) But ultimately, your body fat level dictates whether or not your abs are flat. For well-rounded fitness and balance, you should work all the muscles in your abs, core and back. Planks are one exercise that can target a range of ab muscles.

Skip weights and do only cardio if weight loss is your goal.
Weight training is a must if you want to lose body fat and keep it off. Resistance training helps preserve lean muscle tissue during calorie deficits, which you have to achieve if you are going to lose fat over any length of time. Since muscle burns more calories at rest, weight training also boosts calorie burning even when you're not working out.

If you don't sweat a lot you didn't work out hard enough
How much you sweat depends on the type of workout and your training goal rather than how hard you're working. Power lifters tend not to sweat as much at those who do a high-intensity interval workout. Your environment influences how much you'll sweat. Cooler temperatures and lower humidity result in less sweating. Plus, some people simply sweat more than others.

You should be sore the next day after a good workout
Soreness occurs when you are first starting a program, changing a workout or increasing the amount of weight or number of exercises you are doing. You don't have to feel sore each time you work out in order to train properly. Also, you're not likely allowing yourself enough recovery time if you're sore on a regular basis.  

Exercising smarter makes your limited workout time more productive and safer. Ditch the myths and keep the facts.

  Stay Active, Keep Moving and 
Enjoy Your Food

Friday, July 1, 2016

Flavor Strategies

Eating is one of life's great pleasures. How can we indulge our senses of sight, smell, and taste while keeping the calories in check? Here are a couple of ideas that should please your palate.

Darker Chocolate
Intense dark chocolate savored slowly can last a long time and deliver the satisfaction you want. Dark chocolate has half the sugar of milk chocolate. Try two squares versus a whole candy bar.

Darker Beer
One glass of full-flavored sipping beer, even with higher alcohol content, can beat two glasses of a light lager. Be careful: some specialty beers can have up to 10% alcohol - more than wine.

Swap in whole grain treats
Two handfuls of nuts are heart-healthy but calorie-heavy. Downsize the two handfuls of nuts to one handful plus a handful of air-popped popcorn and whole grain Chex cereal. There are 400 calories in a 1/2 cup of nuts so portion carefully. You can add dried fruit, if you like, but again, be careful as dried fruit can bump up the calorie count.

Swap out the crackers for fruit
Enjoy savory sharp cheddar cheese with tart, crisp apple slices instead of crackers. Up your daily fruit count and reduce your sodium intake at the same time!

Intentionally make smart food choices. 
     Sit & pause to appreciate your food. 
          Indulge your senses as you eat.

Stay Active, Keep Moving and 
Enjoy Your Food