Wednesday, June 27, 2012

5 Minutes Core Strengthening Workouts

If you want to develop a stronger core, then try this 5 minutes abs workout.

Monday, June 18, 2012

How Yogurt Can Help You To Lose Weight

Fitsugar today shares interesting points about yogurt. But I think you would like to know how yogurt can help you to lose weight.

Yogurt is rich with protein. This will help to keep you feeling satisfied. So, you eat less the next meal.

Protein also boosts your metabolism. If you are thinking of burning more calories, eat yogurt. Go for plain Greek yogurt as it contains twice as much protein as regular plain nonfat yogurt.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Why Running Backwards Is Good For You

[caption id="attachment_212" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Reverse Running Reverse Running[/caption]

Have you tried to run backwards? Not only it helps to tone your abs and butts, it also improves your posture, minimizes stress on knees and enhances your balance and peripheral vision. Now comes the best part.

"Running backwards burns a third more calories than going forwards. This is because you use all your leg muscles, as well as your tummy, bottom and back muscles. Running one mile backwards is the equivalent of running six miles forwards," Sally Raynes, fitness expert and event director at Wacky Nation says.

This means if you are short of time to exercise and you want to burn more calories, you should try reverse running.

Photo credit

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Are You Really Burning Maximum Fat

[caption id="attachment_202" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Are you struggling to torch stubborn fat?"]fat[/caption]

Have you been working out only to find that you can't get rid of some stubborn fat at places that are visible to everyone? What are you doing wrong?

According to fitness experts like Cedric Byrant, if you want to lose fat, you need to create a calorie deficit. This means that you have to use more calories than you consume. You also need to cut down your calorie intake as well. When you lose this fat, it is not because of the fat you burned during workout. Is this far fetched?

Well, I feel that it is correct to a certain extend but not entirely. I would agree with calorie deficit. However, when you burn calories, it doesn't mean that you burn fat. Apart from reducing your calorie consumption, you can still eliminate body fat through specific exercises.

When you work out, all you want is to lose fat. Losing fat is a complicated bodily process. So the first thing you should learn is your physiology.

How Does Your Body Get Its Fuel

Let's define what is calorie. Calorie is a unit to measure energy that our bodies need. Basically, you can obtain energy from fat, carbohydrates and proteins. Most of the time, your body will rely on fat and carbohydrates for fuel.

Your body needs to break down carbohydrates and fats through a series of metabolic processes into Adenosine-5'-triphosphate (ATP), the primary source of energy.

Glycolysis is a 10-step process that converts carbs into glucose, the simplest form. The production of glucose takes place in the liver, which releases glucose into the bloodstream. It will be stored in the muscles as glycogen.

The production of ATP for fat requires the disintegration of fat into free fatty acids. The fat has to be metabolized in the adipose tissues or fat cells before it can be delivered to the muscles through the bloodstream. In the muscles, it requires two more processes to become ATPs.

Although the process to convert fat into ATP is longer but it has more ATP than the breaking down of carbs. However, your body prefers carbohydrates as fuel because the ATP generation is faster.

Your body will use both fat and carb for fuel in any circumstances, even at rest. The ratio between fat and carb is usually even. However, it will change when you work out. This means that there will be a shift of balance between fat and carbohydrates, depending on the intensity of your workout.

Why Do We Have Body Fat

In the first place, where does the fat come from? When you eat, your body will use the calories from the food for energy. Regardless of its source, whatever calories that is not used will be converted into triglycerides, which will be stored in the fat cells. There is no limit for your body to store fat. That is why you see fat accumulated almost everywhere on your body.

Why Burning Calories Is Not Burning Fat

Burning calories does not always translate to burning fat. During the initial ATP generation, whatever calories that are used actually come from carbohydrates. So when do you actually burn fat?

When Do You Burn Stored Fat

There are two schools of thoughts when it comes to burning calories from triglycerides or stored fat.

Fat Burning Zone

[caption id="attachment_200" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Fat Burning Zone Chart"]Fat Burning Zone Chart[/caption]

The metabolism of triglycerides needs oxygen. When you perform aerobic exercises, your body will only burn glucose in the initial stage. Once you hit a certain heart rate (target heart rate), your body will receive enough oxygen to use stored fat for energy. As long as you maintain your target heart rate, you will continue to use calories from the fat. This is popularly known as fat burning zone. You can't miss seeing these charts of fat burning zone that are pasted on the walls in the gyms or on the display panels of some fitness equipment.

There are two situations where your body will not receive enough oxygen for fat burning. It is either your workout is not intensive enough or too strenuous. So, this leads to a belief that low intensity, long duration exercise is excellent for fat burning.

So how do you calculate your target heart rate? The easiest way is to use an online target heart rate calculator.

You can buy a heart rate monitor and check the reading when you exercise.

The least expensive method is take your own pulse rate. Do this the first thing you get up in the morning. Grab your pulse for 60 seconds. When you have your pulse rate, add a zero for your target heart rate.

If you want a mathematical formula, try Karvonen Formula.

206.9 - (0.67 x age) = Maximum Heart Rate (MHR)*
MHR - Resting Heart Rate (RHR) = X
X * 65% (low end of heart rate zone) OR 85% (high end of heart rate zone) = Y OR Z
Y + RHR = A
Z + RHR = B
Your target heart rate zone should be between A and B.

Tanaka H, Monahan KD, Seals DR. Age-predicted maximal heart rate revisited. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2001

*Maximum heart rate (MHR) is the highest number of heart beat per minute.
Jackson, Andrew S. Estimating Maximum Heart Rate From Age: Is It a Linear Relationship? Med Sci Sports Exerc. 39(5):821, May 2007.

Calorie Deficit

”The amount of fat you’re going to lose is totally dependent on expending more calories than you take in” Dr. Karen Reznik Dolins, a professor of nutrition and physical education at Columbia University said.

The easiest way to create a calorie deficit is to consume less calories.

When there is a deficit, your body will be forced to use stored fat as fuel. Fuel is essential to keeping your bodily functions going. It does not matter where your body gets its calories (from food or stored fat). It will burn fat when you create a calorie deficit.

However, if you feed your body with extra calories (a calorie surplus), you are not going to get rid of your body fat. You may think that your body will be running short of carb calories during workout and will access your fat storage. But even if it does, the fat burning is not enough for you to lose body fat.

With the surplus of calories, clearly any unused calories will be turned into triglycerides, making their way to the fat cells. In other words, you are burning calories but you are also storing fat.

Another way to encourage a calorie deficit is to burn more calories than your caloric intake. Obviously, burning more calories requires more activities in your body. So doesn't this include working out?

Then why do fitness experts think that the fat that you burn is not because of your workout. I believe they are referring to those exercises that fall within the mythical fat burning zone particularly the low intensity ones.

Why Low Intensity Workout Doesn't Burn Fat Effectively

[caption id="attachment_203" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Jogging"]Jogging[/caption]

The concept of burning fat by working out within the target heart rate has led to a false doctrine: Low intensity workouts that use 60 and 70 percent of your maximum heart rate burn the most fat. This is a myth that has been going around for quite some time.

Here is a detailed explanation on why people might draw such a conclusion.

According to Dr Jason Kapp, low-intensity exercises use a higher portion of calories from fat. But don't take it wrongly. It doesn't mean you are burning more fat. Fat and carbs are energy calories. In the caloric combination of carb and fat, your body uses more fat than carb in this context.

Lactate threshold is the build up of lactic acid in your blood when you reach a specific intensity of the workout. It is where the changes from aerobic to anaerobic occurs. When you make your workout challenging enough to reach lactate threshold, the ratio of fat and carb in caloric burning takes a new shift.  The usage of carbs from the ratio will be higher while the fat expenditure from the ratio will be lower. Why? When your body needs more energy at high intensity, it will switch to glycogenolysis and glycolysis for ATP or energy generation. Simply because glucose is quicker to be converted into fuel than fat. This also means that your muscles will receive less free fatty acids.

Carb calories or glycogen are used often when you work out just below the lactate threshold. However, carbohydrates will be the only source of energy when you go beyond the lactate threshold. For this reason, high intensity workouts use mostly carb calories.

When you perform endurance training which requires longer duration, the level of glycogen (carb calories in the muscles) and blood sugar drops. Although muscles prefer carb calories for energy, but the metabolism will have no choice but to turn stored fat or triglycerides for ATP as the shortage of carbs is imminent.

Based on these facts, it is natural for people to think that they can burn a lot of fat with low intensity training. But the truth is you burn more fat with high intensity workout.

Just below lactate threshold, carbs are mostly used. That is to say the percentage of fat used is low. However, the total calories burned and the caloric expenditure rate (the number of calories burned per minute) at that level surpass those that are found in lower intensity exercises. This also shows that the total amount of fat burned is significant. There is a major difference between the percentage of fat burned and total amount of fat burned. What you want to see is the final result: the overall amount of fat that you have lost. The takeaway is that your caloric expenditure rate will increase further if you work out above the lactate threshold.

Another reason why high intensity training burn more fat overall is that there is a limit to how much your body can store glycogen. When the storage of glycogen depletes and your body needs more calories to fuel your intensified workouts, your body will be forced to tap into the stored fats or triglycerides for immediate fuel.

Studies show low intensity exercises burn a higher percentage of fat from the calories than high intensity ones. Remember I mentioned earlier that calories burned is made up of a ratio of fat and carbohydrates? Yeah! Look great right? But, when it comes to the total fat burned, high intensity workouts fare better. Here is a comparison chart between low and high intensity workouts in terms of fat loss. Pay attention to total calories and fat calories expended.

Fat Burning - High Intensity vs Low Intensity TrainingAccording to the American Council of Exercise, although 60 percent from the calories burned during low intensity exercise comes from fat as compared to 35 percent from high intensity training, the end result of burning the most fat calories is in favor of high intensity workouts. So, why do you want to work out longer hours at low intensity when you can't maximize your fat burning capabilities?

I rest my case.

Let us look into fat burning zone again. Let me define what this is. Fat burning zone is how well your metabolism in using stored fats as energy. By now, you are familiar with the myth of low intensity exercises as fat burners. But there is more. If you are relying on target heart rate to shed excess fat, you must go above it. A better benchmark would be your maximum heart rate. Your target heart rate is not enough to intensify your workout. You should aim for 70-90% of your maximum heart rate and spend at least 30 minutes.

However, heart rate is not accurate in determining the intensity of the workout. When your heart rate escalates, it does not necessary equate to an increase in caloric expenditure. Sometimes, medicines, stress, anxiety, nicotine or caffeine can cause your heart to beat faster.

Another more effective fat burning zone is afterburn. The amount of calories used during workout is nothing compared to the total sum burned in 24-hours. Your metabolism must be high enough and sustained for 24 hours or more, achieving greater fat loss. This takes place when you are not working out.

Dr. Len Lopez, a nutrition and fitness expert and author of “To Burn or Not to Burn – Fat is the Question” and the creator of the “Work Horse Fitness Trainer” believes that what matters the most is that your metabolism must burn stored fat for the critical part of the day which is the 23 hours. Simply because most people just burn carbs and lean muscle throughout the day. Since everyone has a lot of fat in their bodies, “your metabolism burn fats more readily than carbohydrates and proteins (lean muscle)” he said. If you don't provide sufficient carbs to your body, then it will have to draw its energy from stored fats for the remaining of the day.

How To Maximize Fat Burning

I believe by now you can appreciate the fact that if you want to burn more fat, you need to focus on creating a calorie deficit and higher caloric expenditure.

Dr. Reznik Dolins remarked that you need to work out as hard as possible to create a calorie deficit. If you lower the intensity of your workout, your overall calorie burning will also decline.

For your caloric expenditure to be high enough to burn fat, you need to focus on the higher end of your MHR which is 70-90%. This means you need high intensity workouts.

As mentioned earlier, heart rate is not accurate in determining the intensity of your workout. A better assessment would be oxygen consumption (VO2). It is more accurate than heart rate as it measures the caloric expenditure during exercise. Calculating caloric expenditure using VO2 is based on an individual's metabolic demands of exercise. When the workout becomes harder and more challenging which is about 70% or more of VO2 max, you will use more oxygen. Remember I mention that the presence of oxygen is essential in fat loss. So in this case, you will burn more calories and fat.

If you want more bang for your workout by maximizing your fat burning, try High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and strength training. Both workouts focus on stressing your muscles to create metabolic effects. This is important because you want to burn more fat for hours after completing your routines.

During the recovery, your muscles need to be repaired and replace the energy that has been used when working out. Thus, your muscles require more metabolic processes to recover than cardiovascular exercises.

This explains why the total amount of fat expenditure for the next 23 hours is far greater than the total amount of fat burned during workout.

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

HIIT is a series of short burst, high intensity workout with intervals of rest for recovery. It can rev up your metabolism high enough to burn both calories and fat. This is one exercise that can help you to create a calorie deficit.

The key to maximum fat loss during interval training is to work as hard as you can for each interval. Because each interval is short and the whole session takes only 20-30 minutes, you have to put in as much effort as possible. You will burn a lot of calories in a short duration during the workout. Your metabolism will remain high after the workout. This sustained metabolism will promote more caloric expenditure for hours after your physical routine.

Because you only spend a short time in HIIT, it is ideal for anyone who don't have the luxury of time to exercise.

Strength Training

Strength training is an effective workout that can increase muscle mass and strength. You can either lift weights or use weight machines which is known as weight training or use your body weight to work against your muscles, commonly known as resistance training.

Strength training not only boosts your metabolism of fat for ATP but after exercise, your body will still burn calories. If you want maximum fat burning, the weights should be heavy enough to stress your muscles metabolically.

Whether high intensity workouts are right for you or not, you have to evaluate your fitness level first. If you are ready for high intensity workouts, check out this challenging training program that will turn your body into a fat-incinerating furnace.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

2 Tiny Changes Not To Screw Up Your Fitness After 40

[caption id="attachment_189" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Jennifer Lopez 'V' Cover Spring Issue 2012"]Jennifer Lopez 'V' Cover Spring Issue 2012[/caption]

Is it too late to regain your fitness in your forties? Well, look at Jennifer Lopez. She appeared in the cover of V magazine recently. She is 42. But look at her toned body.

It seems that many celebrities in their 40s look fit and sharp. Is it because of their genes? Do you think it is possible for you to have an amazing body like them?

Why People Fail To Stay Fit After 40?

Why many of us are so unfit, or worse still, we tend to put on extra pounds when we hit 40? You can blame it on the aging process.

As women reach mid-years, perimenopause is inevitable. At this stage, your estrogen level is low. This means whatever excess fat you have will end up in the belly. Or an appropriate term would be middle-age spread. This is not something that you can take lightly. Your heart is located not very far from your mid-section. As your belly accumulates more fat, your chances of getting stroke or heart attack is very high.

However, aging is not the only factor that changes our appearance. It is the little time you spend on exercise.

You have your peak probably between mid 20s and 30. However, it starts to slow down as you move into the mid-years. At this point, you gain weight faster than you can imagine.

Can you remember that you were more active when you were young? You burned a lot of calories each time you were involved in any physical activities. This is due to the lean muscle mass that you had.

Muscles burn calories better than fat. They are active tissues. For each pound of muscle, it can burn about 50 calories a day. Compared that to fat which only burns 4 calories a day for the same weight.

[caption id="attachment_190" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Muscle vs Fat"]Muscle Burn Calories Better Than Fat[/caption]

So, why does your efficiency of fat burning decline when you reach your forties? It is because of the lack of physical activities. When you don't move very often, you start to lose muscle mass, which is known as atrophy. After 30, you will lose 1/2 to 1 lbs of muscle every year due to inactivity. Once you hit 40, you have lost between 5 and 10 lbs of muscle. This means, your metabolism will lose the effectiveness to burn between 250 and 500 calories per day. By the time you reach your 65th birthday, you have lost up to 40% of muscle mass and aerobic fitness.

Besides inactivity, you hardly change the way you eat. You may consume the same calorie amount as when you were young or even more. Since your metabolism slows down, the excess calories is converted into fat and stored in your belly.

It is clear that your inactivity and your unchanged calorie consumption will just reduce your lean muscle mass and increase your fat tissues. Certainly, this will  affect your metabolism. Furthermore, all those fats will be making their way to your belly. Over time, you will put on weight.

The Secrets Of Staying Fit Over 40

So, what are the secrets to being fit again? Well, there are no secrets at all. If you have been active during your younger days, you should be doing the same at 40.

You just have to take control of your life again. Obviously, the other half of the equation which is responsible for your low fitness is inactivity. Just by making a new commitment to move more often, fitness over 40 is possible. Getting into activity will reverse the effects of atrophy and ramp up your cardio fitness.

First of all, you have to ask yourself “What is your motivation?”. At this age, what  you really want is to stay fit. Being fit allows you to do your regular tasks every day without any hitch. You can be physically self-reliant because you don't have to rely on other people. However, if your motivation is more than staying fit, by all means go ahead and have a hot body like Jennifer Lopez or Hugh Jackman.

Next, your mindset. If you are not in good shape, ask yourself what have you been putting your body through in the past. Once you understand that your poor lifestyle is the culprit, then you have to accept this new challenge to change, which is to adopt a healthy lifestyle. Willingness is the key here. Otherwise, you will return to your bad habits in no time.

There are two simple things you can tweak in your lifestyle: workout and eat less.

I understand when I talk about workout, some of you may take an extreme perspective. My advice is don't. As Colin Milner, CEO of the International Council on Active Aging (ICAA) based in Vancouver, British Columbia said ”Not moving is the worst thing you can do.

[caption id="attachment_191" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Are You Sitting Down All Day Long?"]Sitting Down All Day Long[/caption]

Challenges To Exercise

No doubt, there are challenges that you face when you are thinking about working out. During your mid-years, you are preoccupied with your career and family responsibilities that leave you very little time to exercise. As you grow older, you think you have more time. But your energy level is not what it used to be. Furthermore, your connective tissues like your tendon, ligaments, and cartilage weaken as you age. To make things worse, you spend a lot of time sitting down because you don't do the things you used to do during your youth.

One thing about celebrities is that they do press for time. They want the best results in the shortest possible time. I don't think J Lo is endowed with perfect genes. But her results are because of her consistency in working out. She has the time to exercise in the gym regularly. But most of you don't have the luxury of time.

It doesn't mean you can use this excuse not to exercise. You just have to make time to participate in a regular fitness program especially if you have a sedentary lifestyle. And you don't have to hit the gym for hours. Can you commit to exercise 30 minutes a day, at least 3 times a week? Just this tiny change in your lifestyle can set your biological age back more than 10 years, a study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine says.

Am I Too Late To Start Working Out

If you can make time for exercise, you probably feel that it is too late to start. Not true! It doesn't matter how old you are. You start getting fit the moment you start moving.
After adopting a regular fitness routine, people of age 55 to 75 who used to be sedentary became fit again, enjoyed higher level of good cholesterol, experienced lesser risk of cardiovascular disease, and fell sick less frequently, a study published in the March 2005 issue of Diabetes Care reveals.

People who started late in working out showed longer lifespan and reduced risks of heart disease, a study, published in 1999 in the American Heart Journal finds.

Circuit Training

The best workout for over 40 is circuit training, also known as cross training. It is a combination of aerobic and strength workouts. It gives you the best results in the least amount of time because you are performing different routines in one session.

If you stick to the same routine all the time, not only will you get bored, but your body will be able to guess what you are doing. And soon you will hit a plateau, losing lean muscle mass and gaining fat.

Preventing injuries is critical when you start working out late. Repeating the same exercise will cause overuse of muscles, increasing the incidence of injuries. That is why you should treat cross training as the best idea in the world.

The whole idea of circuit-training is to challenge your whole body with various physical drills, achieving overall fitness. Also, it is important to do warming up and stretching exercises too.

Warming Up

Before you begin any physical activities, always warm up. It should be part of your fitness program especially if you are over 40. You can easily hurt yourself during workout if you skip the warm up.

When you warm up, your muscles will receive more blood. More blood means more oxygen, preparing you for the intensive workout. Furthermore, you will have more range of motion and flexibility as you step into either strength training or aerobic routines.

Strength Training

Strength training particularly weight training is more important than aerobic workout for those in the forties. One of the effects of aging is osteoporosis.

The benefits of lifting weights are

  • keeping your bone strong to delay osteoporosis.

  • increasing your bone density to minimize stress on your skeletal system.

  • strengthening muscles around the major joints to improve joint elasticity.

  • maintaining and increasing lean muscle mass to crank up your metabolism.

[caption id="attachment_193" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Weight Training"]Weight Training[/caption]

In fact, when it comes to muscle mass growth, strength training does better than aerobic workout. Even if you are actively doing aerobic exercise, it cannot prevent muscle loss. According to William J. Evans, PhD, director of the nutrition, metabolism, and exercise laboratory at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences' Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging, strength training is the only way to build and maintain muscles.

Even at rest, your body is still burning calories after you have stopped doing strengthening exercises. Doing it right will enable your revved up metabolism to last up to 48 hours.

For best results, most fitness experts suggest that you spend between 20 and 30 minutes in weight lifting for each session. You need to perform 2 or 3 reps per set. Repeat it 2 to 3 times a week.

The best result from muscle growth is when you lower the weights. So, make sure the time to lift up the weights is shorter than the time to lower them.

When you start your weight training, begin your first set with light weights for warming up. Then make it more challenging for the last few sets using heavier weights.

Aerobic Workout

When you perform aerobic exercises, you will burn calories. Unlike strength training, after your workout, you will stop burning calories within 2 hours.

So why do you need aerobic workout? Apart from improving your cardiovascular fitness, it can manage your stress and help you sleep better. Do you know that stress and lack of sleep encourage fat storage in your belly?

Aim to boost your heart rate for at least 30 minutes. Do this 3 to 4 times per week.

If you are walking or jogging, carry some light weights. This will strengthen your bones.
If you want to pump your heart rate even more, then try out interval training. It is a series of high intensity training followed by a short rest in between the workout.

Stretching Exercises

People tend to believe that stretching and warming up is the same. However, the opposite is true. Usually after you have completed your workout, you do stretching. It loosens your muscles which have become tight over the years. In addition, it helps to improve flexibility which you may not have during your mid-years.

[caption id="attachment_192" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Stretch After Working Out"]Stretching[/caption]

Workout Tips For Getting Fit After 40

  • Evaluate your current fitness level. Before you begin any exercise, you must know how fit you are. You can request the service of a qualified fitness instructor to examine your endurance, strength, cardiovascular fitness, body composition (muscle to fat ratio) and flexibility.

  • Consistency of your workout is going to make a big difference. Once you have decided to change your lifestyle, you have to stick closely to your fitness routine. Otherwise, you will not see much results.

  • As your age is catching up, you may not be able to do certain exercises especially high impact ones which previously were easy for you. The pain they inflict on your joints can sometimes be unbearable.   Listen to your body when you are exercising. When your body tells you that it is time to change your routine that causes discomfort, do it. Choose low impact workouts instead like cycling, swimming, or walking.

  • Choose a physical activity that you really enjoy. Your fitness regimen is going to be a long term quest. Don't do a particular exercise just because somebody tells you that it is ideal for your age. If you don't enjoy it, pretty soon you will give up.

  • Beyond 40, you need more time to recover after your workout. Have enough rest so your body can perform better the next time.

  • Have you heard about Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (N.E.A.T.)? It is about making small movements every day, using energy for activities that do not involve exercise. For example, skip the elevator and use the stairs. Or take a walk to a nearby store instead of driving. If you adopt this new behavior, you may burn up to 1000 calories a day. Set a goal to walk 10,000 steps a day. Get a small pedometer like Gruve to record the number of steps you take.

[caption id="attachment_194" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Gruve Personal Activity Monitor"]Gruve Personal Activity Monitor[/caption]

Eat Less

At 40, you don't need the same amount calories as when you were in your 20s. Furthermore, you burn 100 calories lesser a day than you were in your 20s or 30s. So, you need to eat less.

Portion Control

Forget about restrictive diets. They only work temporarily. Opt for portion control, which can reduce the amount of unnecessary calories. If you find it difficult to control how much you eat, then Cedric Bryant, Ph.D., FACSM, Chief Science Officer for The American Council on Exercise suggests that you use a plate that should not exceed 9 inches in diameter.

Low Energy-Dense Foods

A study from Pennsylvania State University shows that not only the women who ate low-fat, water-rich foods lost one-quarter more weight than other subjects who just fed on a conventional low-fat diet, they felt full. So, choose low energy-dense foods as they usually have high water content, keeping you satisfied for hours. Even if you overeat, you don't have to worry as they are low in calories.

High Fiber Packed Foods

High fiber rich foods such as lentils, brown rice, and buckwheat are a must-have on your daily menu. This will increase satiety, reducing food craving. It also eliminate fats from your body.

Complex Carbohydrates

Leave out simple carbs that are found in processed foods. They are bad as they spike up your blood sugar level, causing you to feel hungry in a short time. Go for complex carbohydrates like oats, beans, and potatoes as they are usually loaded with resistance starch. Resistant starch will increase your metabolic activity, burning extra calories. Also, it stimulates the production of leptin, a hormone that suppresses your appetite.

Clearly by now, you can see that inactivity is the one that prevents you the most from staying fit in your forties. If you want to improve your fitness, check out our sponsor below.

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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

How To Get Stacy Keibler's Body In 18 Minutes

Can you imagine having an amazing bikini body like Stacy Keibler?

Well, the secrets are out. You don't need to exercise for long hours. Just 18 minutes each time. Do this four to five times a week and soon you will have a hot body like Stacy.

Thanks to Juliet Kaska, a celebrity trainer who designs this fast-paced resistance training. It focuses on shoulders, triceps, abs, butt and legs. All you need is a resistance band.

Each "sexy sizzler" lasts about 6 minutes. So, for each session, you need to complete 3 sexy sizzlers without any rest in between. This blistering pace routine will definitely rev up your heart rate, putting your body into a calorie-blasting overdrive. Even after you have stopped working out, your body will continue to burn calories for up to 48 hours. The concept is similar to Tabata. The only difference is that you have a short rest in between for Tabata.

Check out a total of 9 sexy sizzlers here which you can try at home.

Why You Should Eat Before Workout To Burn Fat

[caption id="attachment_183" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Eat Before Workout?"]Skipping Meals Before Workout[/caption]

You could burn fat if you don't eat before workout, a 2008 study by the University of Leuven in Belgium reveals. How is it possible?

If you don't feed your body with energy foods like carbohydrates before exercising, your body will have to turn to fat for fuel.

Peter Hespel, a researcher of the study explained that the absence of food before workout causes your body to have a higher level of adrenalin and a lower level of insulin. This condition allows the muscles to burn more fatty acids. In other words, if you skip your pre-workout meal, you can burn more fat than those who have a snack before performing any physical training.

Mind you that this study involved professional athletes. They are not the average American Joes.

How does this apply to ordinary people who just want to get rid of fat?

In this study, the fat loss occurs mostly in the muscles due to the lack of energy that is needed for the workout. This means you are not burning fat in other parts of the body. Without food, you need to perform many reps of very intensive workouts to burn other fats in your body. But, how much and how long can you exercise without food?

You need high intensity workouts to boost your heart rate. This will burn more calories and fat which eventually will lead to weight loss. If you try to perform this kind of workout on an empty stomach, how would you fare?

If you follow a fitness regimen, you need energy for your muscles to perform. That is why competitive cyclists like Lance Armstrong usually grab a quick bite that is rich with carbohydrates before the competition starts.

The journal of the American College of Sports Medicine reported that although the subjects who missed meals before intensive workout burned more fat than those who ate, but their performance dropped.

[caption id="attachment_184" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Are You Worn Out?"]Exhausted[/caption]

Ron Maughan, a professor of sport, exercise and health sciences at Loughborough University in Britain understands this fact well. If you don't feed your body with enough fuel, you can't keep up with the intensity of the workout to improve.

I strongly believe that skipping meals before workout not only affects your fat burning effort but your physical health as well.

Thinking of exercising in the morning? Your blood sugar level should be low. Why? By morning, you have used whatever energy you have from your dinner. So, leaving out breakfast will lower your blood sugar level even more. You may end up with hypoglycemia.

If you have exercised before on an empty stomach, don't you wonder why you feel sluggish or dizzy. Probably you give up half way during your workout, not being able to complete the numbers of reps that you have set. Simply because you don't have enough energy to go on.

Furthermore, you may hurt yourself when you exercise. Your mental focus is affected when you are hungry. You may even take a longer time to recover from each routine.

This brings up another point. What do you think is going to happen after working out? There is a tendency to eat more. This is true when your blood sugar is low.

You fail to perform to the level that you desire. I'm referring to optimal fat burning. In any workout, you want to maximize your performance. But without food prior to your training, you are less likely to optimize your performance.

Why optimum performance is crucial in fat burning? The researchers at the University of Georgia discovered that athletes with the best performance were those who had regular meals and meals before and after intensive workouts. They had more muscle mass and higher energy levels. No wonder they were leaner from those who eat irregularly throughout the day.

In fact, most studies involve athletes. I understand that you are not an athlete.  But I have shown you both sides of the coin as far as food prior to exercise is concerned.

What I want to emphasize is that food is important before workout particularly carbohydrates. You want to burn overall body fat and not just fat in the muscles. If you don't have enough fuel to exercise optimally, how are you going to shed excess body fat?

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Monday, June 4, 2012

Here Are 4 Secret Weapons That Women Over 40 Can Use To Fight Belly Fat

When women reach their 40s, they find it hard to get rid of belly fat regardless of what they do. Why? Probably it is because of their hormones particularly estrogen which is notorious for fat storage.

[caption id="attachment_175" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Do you want a flat tummy?"]Flat Stomach[/caption]

When your body is high with estrogen, it hoards fat especially in the hips, chest, and thighs. However, when your menopause sets in, your body produces less estrogen and more androgen, a male hormone. The hormonal imbalance shifts the fat storage to the belly.

You lose muscle mass during the aging process. Lesser muscle mass means you will burn fat less effectively.

So what can you do to reduce belly fat at 40s? Basically there are 4 things that you can do: workout, proper diet, sleep and stress management.

Total Body Workout

If you are thinking of spot reduction exercise, it is not going to help at all. You need to burn overall body fat. Cardiovascular workout and strength training are what you need. As long as you can boost your heart rate and exercise your whole body, you will get rid of belly fat.

Check out the video below on some of the best fat burning workouts that you can do at home.

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Healthy Eating

Proper diet is important. You have to stop eating foods that will add to your belly fat especially foods that require little digestion. So avoid fast foods and processed foods. If you want a smaller waistline, opt for fruits, vegetables, and lean meat. Control your portion too.


Have enough sleep. You need a minimum of 7 hours of sleep. Perimenopause and menopause can interfere with your sleep patterns. If you don't sleep enough, the level of ghrelin will increase, causing you to eat more. At the same time, the level of leptin will decrease. Leptin is important in overcoming food craving. Thus, lack of sleep will cause more fat storage in the abdominal area.

Stress Management

Manage your stress. Stress can increase the amount of cortisol in the body. This will promote fat storage in the middle section.

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