Posts Tagged ‘exercise’

The Best Diet

How to decide?

Experts who counsel overweight patients say there are two keys:

Know yourself. That means being honest about what you will and won’t do, long-term.
Evaluate and pick the diet that best suits you, watching out for key phrases or promises that are probably too good to be true.
Choosing a weight-loss plan that’s going to work “takes some self-reflection,” said Amy Jamieson-Petonic, a registered dietitian who directs wellness coaching at the Cleveland Clinic and is a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association.

“Are you an online type who likes to chat?” she said. “Or do you want a formal meeting?”

Some people find that plans that offer prepared meals help them stick to the plan because it takes the whole portion-control task out of their hands, said Suzanne Farrell, a registered dietitian in Denver who also is an association spokeswoman.

As far as accountability, Jamieson-Petonic said, it’s important to figure out if you’ll do all right by weighing yourself at home — and can be honest about it — or if you would do better by going somewhere where your weight would be charted by someone else.

“Think about and analyze how you currently eat,” said Judy Rodriguez, a professor of nutrition at the University of North Florida and author of The Diet Selector, in which she rates diets based on long-term flexibility and other factors.

“We are all unique in our food preferences, values, lifestyle, etc., so it seems like trying to ‘fit’ yourself into someone else’s plan is likely to have only short-term benefits, if any,” Rodriguez said.

Once you know what features you need in a weight-loss plan, look closely at the plans that seem to fit. And be sure that ones you are interested in are scientifically sound, Farrell said.

Key factors to look for, she said, include:

Does the plan include a variety of foods?
Does it include high-fiber foods?
Does it educate you on the value of foods that are low in saturated fat?
Does it tell you about “good” fats, such as olive oil?
In addition, Farrell said, “look for a plan that emphasizes physical activity and encourages eating regularly throughout the day.”

And watch out for claims and promises that sound too good to be true, Farrell added. A common one, she noted, is rapid weight loss. “It should be no greater than two pounds a week,” she said.

She’s also skeptical of plans that say no exercise is needed. Weight loss means a lifestyle change, she said, and maintaining the loss is best done by keeping an eye on food intake and on staying active.

Another red flag, Farrell said, is a plan that totally eliminates foods or food groups.

But whatever plan you choose, focus on making small changes to your eating and activity habits, Rodriguez said. Look at what you currently eat and then figure out how you could make small healthy changes.

Just substitute low-fat crackers for the doughnut you usually eat, she said.

“Do this for one to two weeks, then go back and make another small change,” Farrell said. “Keep doing this. Continuing self-improvement is a great thing.”

Then do the same for physical activity, she said. Try tracking the steps you take in a day with a pedometer, and then increase them.

The bottom line? The experts agreed that if your diet plan is suited to you, chances are you’ll follow it longer, take the weight off at a slow but steady pace and maintain the loss.

Written by : Farrell

Exercise and Sex Life

Whether you’re a fitness junkie or exercising for the first time, learn the answer to the question, “Can exercise make a huge impact on having a better sex life?” Our article will help you find the answer to the relationship between exercise and better sex.

There are several rational reasons why a physically fit person is more likely to fully enjoy sex compared to a non-fit person. For instance, improved muscle tone can increase sexual gratification since orgasms depend on multiple muscle activity. In the case of the more mature man, improved cardiovascular fitness can be critical for maximum sexual function.

Physically fit men seem to benefit in the bedroom as it relates to increased libido and stable testosterone levels that often decline as men age. On the other hand, sex can be as much mental as it is physical, and a person’s physical appearance can be beneficial on an emotional level, as well. Looking and feeling healthy can increase your self-esteem while making you feel more attractive.

The relationship between physical fitness and sexual function is not the only factor that may increase a person’s sexual pleasure. Some researchers attribute a good exercise program, along with other healthy activities such as good eating habits, smoking cessation and getting plenty of rest, with having a positive effect on sexual performance for people of all ages.

A study conducted at the University of California-San Diego tracked 78 middle-aged men on an aerobic exercise program. The subjects exercised at moderate intensity for 60 minutes a day, three or four days a week. After nine months of continuous exercise, these subjects reported that their sex life was more satisfying as far as stamina and orgasms. In comparison, 17 male subjects that performed light workout routines such as walking at a comparatively slower pace stated that they had no substantial improvement in their sex lives.

In conclusion, exercise alone should not be considered the panacea for all sexual dysfunctions or dissatisfaction. However, if you hope to improve your sex life through exercise, you should carefully consider adopting a more comprehensive healthy lifestyle in order to increase the possibility of fully experiencing your sexual peak.

Greg Shealey is a health educator and president and founder of Bio-Fit and Wellness.

By: Greg Shealey
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger

Glute training 101

You’ve set your training goals for the year and on the top of your list is “Glutes Of Steel,” but your still not quite sure what exercises are most effective when it comes to achieving the ultimate Bum. Well, here are some that should be on the top of your list. But first lets take a closer look at what is needed to effectively stimulate this area of the body.

The gluteus maxi-mus is the uppermost of the three muscles. It is the largest of the gluteal muscles and one of the strongest muscles in the human body. It inserts at the iliotibial band and the gluteal tuberosity of the femur. Its action is to extend and outwardly rotate hip, and extend the trunk.

There are many myths and misconceptions about exercise and most of them center around weight training. One of the most popular myths in exercise today is that doing certain exercises will help you get rid of trouble spots. Despite evidence that spot training does not work, you might see people frantically doing crunches to get rid of a tummy pooch, or doing leg lifts to get rid of saddle bags.

While it is true that these exercises will strengthen and tone muscles, they don’t do much about the overlying layer of fat. The only way to truly get rid of fat is to burn more calories than you take in or, as the American Council on Exercise points out in their Personal Trainer Manual, “[f]at is burned through prolonged exercise (aerobic activity)…” Still, that doesn’t stop us from trying anything and everything to tone up one of the worst trouble spots on the human body: the butt.

For people looking to firm and tone their backsides, there are some exercises that are more effective than others in targeting the muscles of the butt. We’ve tried leg lifts, butt squeezes and the infamous ‘fire hydrant’ exercises from Jane Fonda’s heyday, but is there an exercise that works the best? Ask any personal trainer and they’ll probably agree that the squat is the best exercise you can do for your butt.

A squat is considered a compound or multi-joint exercise which is the basis for just about any weight training program no matter what your goal is. Compound exercises work more than one muscle group which means you can use more weight. Using heavier weight is how you build lean body tissue. The more lean body tissue you have, the higher your metabolism and the more calories you burn on a regular basis. Plus, you’re targeting every major muscle in your upper leg, up to and including your quadriceps (front of the thigh), hamstrings (back of the thigh), and gluteal muscles (the muscles in your fanny).

Squats~

Deep Bucket Squats:
You can do these on a Smith Machine or under a regular squat rack. The deeper you go, the more you will work your gluts. Keep your heels planted and push off when you come up, breathing out as you do. You want to start light and work your way up to heavier weights. Two warm-up sets of 15 reps each and four sets of 12-15 reps. This totals six reps.

Form Pointers: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Slowly lower
your body as though you are ‘sitting’ in a chair until your thighs are parallel with
the ground. Keeping the weight in your heels, push yourself up
slowly until you’re back where you started. Key points: don’t allow
your knees to extend over your toes and keep your torso tight and erect.

Do this exercise 1 or 2 times per week, 2-3 sets of 12 to 16 reps with medium
to heavy weight.

The Lunge~

Next to squats, lunges are the next best thing for your butt and thighs. This is also a compound movement so, like squats, when you do them you get more bang for your buck. There are many ways to do lunges. An advanced version of the lunge would be to start with your feet together and then step forward into a lunge, then back to starting position (front lunges). Dips or reverse lunges also start with feet together and then you step back with one leg into a lunge position and then back to starting position.

You can do these on the Smith Machine, under a squat rack or with dumbbells. Lunges work your gluts and hamstrings and front of the thigh. Lunges are essential to having full hard glutes. You can do six alternating reps on each leg. This is so that neither leg gets too tired or stressed. When doing lunges, make sure that the lead foot is lunging out heel flat, knee bent in front of you so that you can’t see your toes. The back leg meanwhile, is almost straight and as you come down it should almost touch the floor. While lunging forward, your back foot should be resting on the ball of your foot. One warm-up set, ten reps for each leg and three sets of 8-10 reps per leg. This totals four sets.

Form Pointers: Stand with feet together holding a medium to heavy weight.
Slowly lower your body into a lunge position, keeping the front knee and back knee at
90 degree angles. Keeping the weight in your heels, push back up
(slowly!) to starting position. Remember to never lock your
knees at the top and never let your knee bend past your toes. Keep
torso tight and upright (i.e., don’t hunch!)

Do this exercise 1 or 2 times per week, 2-3 sets of 12 to 16 reps with light
to medium weight.

The Plie Squat~

Another great exercise is the pli? squat, which targets the inner thighs, quadriceps, as well as the glutes. This move, which you may recognize as a ballet-type exercise, is a great addition to both squats and lunges and, like these other exercise, is a compound movement. Form is critical with this exercise as it is with squats and lunges. With your toes at an angle, it is very easy for your knee to twist out of alignment. Remember, your toes and knees should be pointing in the same direction.

Form Pointers: Stand with feet wider than shoulder-width apart, toes out
at a comfortable angle using no weight or medium weight. Bend your knees and lower your
body towards the floor, keeping your knees in line with your toes and squeezing through
the heels of your feet as you push back up. Remember, don’t lock your
knees at the top of the movement and keep your abs and back tight and straight.

Do this exercise 1 or 2 times per week, 2-3 sets of 12 to 16 reps with medium
to heavy weight.

The Dead-lift

Dead lifts are often thought to be a lower back exercise. It is true that dead lifts are great for your back, but if you change the exercise just a bit, dead lifts are great for your hamstrings and your gluteal muscles.

In a dead lift, you are tipping forward from your hips and keeping your legs straight or a little bent rather than squatting. This puts pressure on your back, which is why keeping your back flat is critical for this exercise to work without causing pain or injury. At the bottom of the movement you should tighten your butt and hamstrings as you pull your torso back to starting position. One variation is to prop your toes on plates or on a board to really trigger the gluteal muscles.

Form Pointers: Stand with feet wide or together. Keeping back straight
the entire time, tip forward from the hips and lower your torso until the
bar reaches mid-shin. Squeezing your butt and hamstrings, raise your
torso until the bar stops at mid-thigh. Keep the bar close to your legs
through the entire movement and always keep your shoulders back.
**Dead lifts are very hard to master, so keep at it and you’ll see great
results. This exercise is also great for the lower back.

Do this exercise 1 or 2 times per week, 2-3 sets of 12 to 16 reps with medium
to heavy weight.

Leg Curls:
You can do these on the lying leg curl or standing leg curl machine. This exercise helps develop the hamstrings, which is very important for having a nice butt. Remember to contract the hamstring muscle at the completion of each rep. Do not rest your feet on your butt after each rep! One warm-up set of 15 reps and three sets of 10-12 reps. This totals four sets. You can also do Straight Leg Dead lifts to work the hamstrings as an occasional alternative.

For all of these exercises, form is critical. Always remember to go slow and keep your knees in line with your toes, otherwise you could put strain on your knees and cause injury. You should also remember to use your abs and your back muscles to stabilize your body, especially if you’re using weights. Never swing or use momentum to get the weights up and, if you feel any pain, stop!

One important thing to remember is that weight training alone will not get rid of body fat. Doing cardiovascular exercise will help reduce body-fat while toning up the lower body as well. Some great exercises that target the backside are hiking/walking up an incline, the stair stepper, and cycling.

Each body type responds to different exercises. (i.e., flat, bubble, pear-shaped, ‘relaxed,’ and the heart-shaped backside). For example, a person with a flat backside would definitely want to add squats to his or her routine to increase muscle mass. If you have a heart-shaped behind you want to do activities like walking and kickboxing to tone up and then add some squats and leg lifts. Genes play a big role in how your body responds to exercise and it is important to understand that, while you can firm up your tush, you can’t always change the shape.

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