Friday, June 15

Test !

Mind + Body Fitness Self-Assessment

Are you currently practicing mind + body fitness?
Do you understand the connection between being physically fit and mentally fit, and why it is important to your overall well-being?
Take a few minutes to ask yourself the following questions. Your answers will reveal how aware you are of the connection between mental and physical health.


Depression is a prevalent problem in today’s society. Clinical depression affects 2–5% of Americans each year (Kessler et al., 1994) and it is estimated that patients suffering from clinical depression make up 6–8% of general medical practices (Katon & Schulberg, 1992). Depression is also costly to the health care system in that depressed individuals annually spend 1.5 times more on health care than nondepressed individuals, and those being treated with antidepressants spend three times more on outpatient pharmacy costs than those not on drug therapy (Simon, VonKorff, & Barlow, 1995). These costs have led to increased governmental pressure to reduce health care costs in America. If available and effective, alternative low-cost therapies that do not have negative side effects need to be incorporated into treatment plans. Exercise has been proposed as an alternative or adjunct to more traditional approaches for treating depression (Hales & Travis, 1987; Martinsen, 1987, 1990).

The research on exercise and depression has a long history of investigators (Franz & Hamilton, 1905; Vaux, 1926) suggesting a relationship between exercise and decreased depression. Since the early 1900s, there have been over 100 studies examining this relationship, and many narrative reviews on this topic have also been conducted. During the 1990s there have been at least five meta-analytic reviews (Craft, 1997; Calfas & Taylor, 1994; Kugler et al., 1994; McDonald & Hodgdon, 1991; North, McCullagh, & Tran, 1990) that have examined studies ranging from as few as nine (Calfas & Taylor, 1994) to as many as 80 (North et al., 1990). Across these five meta-analytic reviews, the results consistently show that both acute and chronic exercise are related to a significant reduction in depression. These effects are generally “moderate” in magnitude (i.e., larger than the anxiety-reducing effects noted earlier) and occur for subjects who were classified as nondepressed, clinically depressed, or mentally ill. The findings indicate that the antidepressant effect of exercise begins as early as the first session of exercise and persists beyond the end of the exercise program (Craft, 1997; North et al., 1990). These effects are also consistent across age, gender, exercise group size, and type of depression inventory.

Exercise was shown to produce larger antidepressant effects when: (a) the exercise training program was longer than nine weeks and involved more sessions (Craft, 1997; North et al., 1990); (b) exercise was of longer duration, higher intensity, and performed a greater number of days per week (Craft, 1997); and (c) subjects were classified as medical rehabilitation patients (North et al., 1991) and, based on questionnaire instruments, were classified as moderately/severely depressed compared to mildly/moderately depressed (Craft, 1997). The latter effect is limited since only one study used individuals who were classified as severely depressed and only two studies used individuals who were classified as moderately to severely depressed. Although limited at this time, this finding calls into question the conclusions of several narrative reviews (Gleser & Mendelberg, 1990; Martinsen, 1987, 1993, 1994), which indicate that exercise has antidepressant effects only for those who are initially mild to moderately depressed.

The meta-analyses are inconsistent when comparing exercise to the more traditional treatments for depression, such as psychotherapy and behavioral interventions (e.g., relaxation, meditation), and this may be related to the types of subjects employed. In examining all types of subjects, North et al. (1990) found that exercise decreased depression more than relaxation training or engaging in enjoyable activities, but did not produce effects that were different from psychotherapy. Craft (1997), using only clinically depressed subjects, found that exercise produced the same effects as psychotherapy, behavioral interventions, and social contact. Exercise used in combination with individual psychotherapy or exercise together with drug therapy produced the largest effects; however, these effects were not significantly different from the effect produced by exercise alone (Craft, 1997).

That exercise is at least as effective as more traditional therapies is encouraging, especially considering the time and cost involved with treatments like psychotherapy. Exercise may be a positive adjunct for the treatment of depression since exercise provides additional health benefits (e.g., increase in muscle tone and decreased incidence of heart disease and obesity) that behavioral interventions do not. Thus, since exercise is cost effective, has positive health benefits, and is effective in alleviating depression, it is a viable adjunct or alternative to many of the more traditional therapies. Future research also needs to examine the possibility of systematically lowering antidepressant medication dosages while concurrently supplementing treatment with exercise. *

Daniel M. Landers

the relationship between exercise and anxiety reduction

There have been six meta-analyses examining the relationship between exercise and anxiety reduction (Calfas & Taylor, 1994; Kugler, Seelback, & Krüskemper, 1994; Landers & Petruzzello, 1994; Long & van Stavel, 1995; McDonald & Hodgdon, 1991; Petruzzello, Landers, Hatfield, Kubitz, & Salazar, 1991). These meta-analyses ranged from 159 studies (Landers & Petruzzello, 1994; Petruzzello et al., 1991) to five studies (Calfas & Taylor, 1994) reviewed. All six of these meta-analyses found that across all studies examined, exercise was significantly related to a reduction in anxiety. These effects ranged from “small” to “moderate” in size and were consistent for trait, state, and psychophysiological measures of anxiety. The vast majority of the narrative reviews and all of the meta-analytic reviews support the conclusion that across studies published between 1960 and 1995 there is a small to moderate relationship showing that both acute and chronic exercise reduces anxiety. This reduction occurs for all types of subjects, regardless of the measures of anxiety being employed (i.e., state, trait or psychophysiological), the intensity or the duration of the exercise, the type of exercise paradigm (i.e., acute or chronic), and the scientific quality of the studies. Another meta-analysis (Kelley & Tran, 1995) of 35 clinical trial studies involving 1,076 subjects has confirmed the psychophysiological findings in showing small (–4/–3 mm Hg), but statistically significant, postexercise reductions for both systolic and diastolic blood pressure among normal normotensive adults.

In addition to these general effects, some of these meta-analyses (Landers & Petruzzello, 1994; Petruzzello et al., 1991) that examined more studies and therefore had more findings to consider were able to identify several variables that moderated the relationship between exercise and anxiety reduction. Compared to the overall conclusion noted above, which is based on hundreds of studies involving thousands of subjects, the findings for the moderating variables are based on a much smaller database. More research, therefore, is warranted to examine further the conclusions derived from the following moderating variables. The meta-analyses show that the larger effects of exercise on anxiety reduction are shown when: (a) the exercise is “aerobic” (e.g., running, swimming, cycling) as opposed to nonaerobic (e.g., handball, strength-flexibility training), (b) the length of the aerobic training program is at least 10 weeks and preferably greater than 15 weeks, and (c) subjects have initially lower levels of fitness or higher levels of anxiety. The “higher levels of anxiety” includes coronary (Kugler et al., 1994) and panic disorder patients (Meyer, Broocks, Hillmer-Vogel, Bandelow & Rüther, 1997). In addition, there is limited evidence which suggests that the anxiety reduction is not an artifact “due more to the cessation of a potentially threatening activity than to the exercise itself” (Petruzzello, 1995, p. 109), and the time course for postexercise anxiety reduction is somewhere between four to six hours before anxiety returns to pre-exercise levels (Landers & Petruzzello, 1994). It also appears that although exercise differs from no treatment control groups, it is usually not shown to differ from other known anxiety-reducing treatments (e.g., relaxation training). The finding that exercise can produce an anxiety reduction similar in magnitude to other commonly employed anxiety treatments is noteworthy since exercise can be considered at least as good as these techniques, but in addition, it has many other physical benefits.


It is estimated that in the United States approximately 7.3% of the adult population has an anxiety disorder that necessitates some form of treatment (Regier et al., 1988). In addition, stress-related emotions, such as anxiety, are common among healthy individuals (Cohen, Tyrell, & Smith, 1991). The current interest in prevention has heightened interest in exercise as an alternative or adjunct to traditional interventions such as psychotherapy or drug therapies.

Anxiety is associated with the emergence of a negative form of cognitive appraisal typified by worry, self-doubt, and apprehension. According to Lazarus and Cohen (1977), it usually arises “ the face of demands that tax or exceed the resources of the system or ... demands to which there are no readily available or automatic adaptive responses” (p. 109). Anxiety is a cognitive phenomenon and is usually measured by questionnaire instruments. These questionnaires are sometimes accompanied by physiological measures that are associated with heightened arousal/anxiety (e.g., heart rate, blood pressure, skin conductance, muscle tension). A common distinction in this literature is between state and trait questionnaire measures of anxiety. Trait anxiety is the general predisposition to respond across many situations with high levels of anxiety. State anxiety, on the other hand, is much more specific and refers to the person’s anxiety at a particular moment. Although “trait” and “state” aspects of anxiety are conceptually distinct, the available operational measures show a considerable amount of overlap among these subcomponents of anxiety (Smith, 1989).

For meta-analytic reviews of this topic, the inclusion criterion has been that only studies examining anxiety measures before and after either acute or chronic exercise have been included in the review. Studies with experiment-imposed psychosocial stressors during the postexercise period have not been included since this would confound the effects of exercise with the effects of stressors (e.g., Stoop color-word test, active physical performance). The meta-analysis by Schlicht (1994), however, included some stress-reactivity studies and therefore was not interpretable.

Landers and Petruzzello (1994) examined the results of 27 narrative reviews that had been conducted between 1960 and 1991 and found that in 81% of them the authors had concluded that physical activity/fitness was related to anxiety reduction following exercise and there was little or no conflicting data presented in these reviews. For the other 19%, the authors had concluded that most of the findings were supportive of exercise being related to a reduction in anxiety, but there were some divergent results. None of these narrative reviews concluded that there was no relationship. *

Activity associated with restful sleep Activity associated with ability to respond to stress

Benefits (anxiety and depression) similar to those for other treatments

Activity associated with positive self-esteem

For some time now, it has been common knowledge that exercise is good for one’s physical health. It has only been in recent years, however, that it has become commonplace to read in magazines and health newsletters that exercise can also be of value in promoting sound mental health. Although this optimistic appraisal has attracted a great deal of attention, the scientific community has been much more cautious in offering such a blanket endorsement. Consider the tentative conclusions from the Surgeon General’s Report on Physical Activity and Health (PCPFS Research Digest, 1996) that “physical activity appears to relieve symptoms of depression and anxiety and improve mood” and that “regular physical activity may reduce the risk of developing depression, although further research is needed on this topic.”

The use of carefully chosen words, such as “appears to” and “may” illustrate the caution that people in the scientific community have when it comes to claiming mental health benefits derived from exercise. Part of the problem in interpreting the scientific literature is that there are over 100 scientific studies dealing with exercise and depression or exercise and anxiety and not all of these studies show statistically significant benefits with exercise training. The paucity of clinical trial studies and the fact that a “mixed bag” of significant and nonsignificant findings exists makes it difficult for scientists to give a strong endorsement for the positive influence of exercise on mental health. There is no doubt that the mental health area needs more clinical trial studies. This would be particularly useful in determining if exercise “causes” improvements in variables associated with sound mental health. However, until these clinical trial studies materialize, there is still much that can be done to strengthen statements made about exercise and mental health.

What evidence would prompt some scientists to “stick their necks out” in favor of more definitive statements? One reason for greater optimism is the recent appearance of quantitative reviews (i.e., meta-analyses) of the literature on a number of mental health topics. These reviews differ in several ways from the traditional narrative reviews. A meta-analysis allows for a summary of results across studies. By including all published and unpublished studies and combining their results, statistical power is increased. Another advantage of using this type of review process is that a clearly defined sequence of steps is followed and included in the final report so that anyone can replicate the studies. Two additional advantages that meta-analysis has over other types of reviews include: (a) the use of a quantification technique that gives an objective estimate of the magnitude of the exercise treatment effect; and (b) its ability to examine potential moderating variables to determine if they influence exercise-mental health relationships. Given these advantages, this paper will focus primarily on results derived from large-scale meta-analytic reviews.

Mental Health Benefits of Physical Activity

    Reduced anxiety

  • Best results with “aerobic exercise”
  • Best after weeks of regular exercise
  • Best benefits to those who are low fit to begin with
  • Best benefits for those high in anxiety to begin with
  • Reduced depression

  • Best after weeks of regular exercise
  • Best when done several times a week
  • Best with more vigorous exercise
  • Best for those who are more depressed (needs more research)

The Influence of Exercise on Mental Health


Acute. Acute refers to something that occurs at a specific time often for a relatively short duration. For example, acute exercise refers to a bout of exercise done at a specific time for a specific amount of time. Acute anxiety is anxiety that exists in a person in response to a specific event (same as state anxiety).

Anxiety. Anxiety is a form of negative self-appraisal characterized by worry, self-doubt, and apprehension.

Chronic. Chronic refers to something that persists for a relatively long period of time. Chronic depression, for example, would be depression that lasts a long time. A chronic exerciser is someone who does exercise on a regular basis.

Depression. Depression is a state of being associated with feelings of hopelessness or a sense of defeat. People with depression often feel “down” or “blue” even when circumstances would dictate otherwise. All people feel “depressed” at times, but a “depressed” person feels this way much of the time.

Clinical depression. This is depression (see definition) that persists for a relatively long period of time or becomes so severe that a person needs special help to cope with day-to-day affairs.

Meta-analysis. A type of statistical analysis that researchers use to make sense of many different research studies done on the same topic. By analyzing findings from many different studies, conclusions can be drawn concerning the results of all studies considered together. Both unpublished and published studies can be included in this type of analysis.

Positive mood. Positive self-assessments associated with feelings of vigor, happiness, and/or other positive feelings of well-being.

State anxiety. State anxiety is anxiety present in very specific situations. For example, state sports anxiety is present when a person is anxious in a specific sports situation even if the person is not generally anxious.

Trait anxiety. Trait anxiety is the level of anxiety present in a person on a regular basis. A person with high trait anxiety is anxious much of the time while a person low in trait anxiety tends to be anxious less often and in fewer situations.

Thursday, June 14

The 7 Things That Personal Trainers Do To Tick Clients Off

"Over the years we have had our share of both excellent and suspect Personal Trainers. From these experiences come the 7 things that they do to tick clients off.

1. Fail to keep appointments: perhaps this should be saved for number 7 as it is the most unbelievable; you know save the best for last. This is the case of the trainer that calls on the day of the appointment, sometimes within hours, and wants to let you know they will be unable to train because they got tied up. Still worse is the trainer that runs perpetually late. Picture yourself at the gym, warming up, and looking out for your trainer. At the appointed hour they are no where in sight so you begin to lightly workout. 10 minutes into the scheduled hour they come strolling in asking to be forgiven for running late. O.k., things happen. The question is do things happen 2 weeks out of 4. My advice? Get a new trainer.
2. Neglect to keep charts on their clients. How in the world is a trainer supposed to keep a mental note of all the particulars surrounding a clients health, contact information, goals, workout weights, injury areas, to name a few. Boggles my mind how many trainers simply write nothing down. They truly must have amazing memories.
3. Eating while training a client. Hey, I get hungry too and I also work a long day. It would be unimaginable for me to eat in front of a client unless we went out for a meal. Frankly it does not matter if it is a power bar, a peanut butter sandwich or a bag of trail mix. I pay you to work me out, eat on your own time.
4. Talking to other trainers, or familiar clients, while working me out. Here's a novel thought: my health and safety for that one hour is in your hands, your complete attention is required. It does not matter to me if your best friend from grade school that you have not seen in 10 years just walked in. Your attention is on your client for one hour.
5. Children do not belong in the gym. Not the client's kids or the trainer's. Last thing I want is to hear or see is kids when I am trying to concentrate on touching a cone while balancing on half a foam roller with a 20 pound jacket on my body. Don't get me wrong, I like children. I don't like children at the gym.
6. Talking on cell phones, or texting, while working out a client. This one might have been a contender for the number one position. As if the invasion of cell phones in not pervasive enough it has now entered the gym. Picture this: client is doing a deep lunge exercise down a lane at the gym. Following behind offering no words of encouragement, but "spotting" her is trainer on cell phone. Unbelievable. Unbelievable that the trainer is on the phone and equally nuts that the client does not care. Important caveat: clients are guilty too. Recently I witnessed a client doing step ups on to a platform while speaking on the phone. It was her husband who "always calls me when we hear this song". Could you just wretch?
7. Lack of creativity in workouts. Worse is the trainer who you know is making up the routine as we go along. Getting to the gym takes a certain amount of motivation for most clients. Help us out and add some variety to the exercise routine.
The last item is for the gym owners in the reading audience: stop being cheap and make sure the carpets are cleaned, the equipment is updated and in good working condition, the amenities in the locker room are clean and control your employees or contractors. At $50 to $75 per hourly session these are reasonable requests.

If you are shopping for a personal trainer, use this list to size up the trainer and the facility you are contemplating using. Know too that there a many, many simply excellent, diligent, qualified trainers that fit none of the faults mentioned above. In fact this article is a result of observations made while either warming up for, or working out with, my trainer who cannot be faulted for any of the issues sited."
R. Adam Shore -

Wednesday, June 13

Health And Fitness For People Above 50 *

Most aging adults don't get enough physical activity. Exercise, though, can improve health impairments and prevent some diseases. It can also improve mood and emotional well being. The keys, though, to a sensible senior workout are to take it slowly and keep it up. Older people need to find a realistic mild to moderate enjoyable program.

Let me give you 8 important reasons why You should work out.

1. Sleeping Aid for Seniors

Because exercise effects the body is so many positive ways, it is clearly the most natural option for helping address sleep related issues. Regular exercise will first of all help tire the body physically, ensuring a natural form of fatigue that the body will address with a
need to get appropriate rest.

2. Strength Training = Strong Bones

A critical aspect of aging is the general weakening of both muscle tissue and our bones themselves. One of the surest ways to reduce the stress on our weakening bones is to increase our muscles mass through strength training. Strength training has repeatedly been shown to be a safe and effective method of reversing muscle loss in the elderly

3. Strong Heart

People who exercise vigorously and often will reduce the risk of heart disease the greatest, but studies also show that any exercise can be beneficial. Studies have found that moderate exercise is also beneficial for those people with existing heart disease. *

Health And Fitness For People Above 50 - II *

4. Arthritis Help

Arthritis is defined as the inflammation of a joint, but it can certainly seem more painful than that. It can cause searing pain that leaves the body feeling weak for days. As people age, arthritis tends to develop from the extended every day uses of the body.

Exercise, though, can assist with arthritis by strengthening the muscles near the joint which helps reduce joint stress. While exercise is necessary for everyone, it is essential for those with arthritis

5. 58% lower risk for Type 2 diabetes

A study reported a 58% lower risk for Type 2 diabetes in adults who exercise for as little as 2.5 hours a week, even if the exercise was of a moderate level.

People with diabetes are at high risk for heart disease, so the protective effects of aerobic exercise on the heart are very important for people with Type 2 diabetes. Initial indications are that strength training to increase muscle mass and reduce patient fat is also helpful for people with diabetes.

6. Increased Overall Fitness

Being physically active appears to stimulate immune cells that target many viruses and infections. Though exercise appears to stimulate such cells, that stimulation appears to last only a few hours. However, regular exercise appears to lower the overall risk of being susceptible to the flu, colds, and other viruses.

7. Increased Stamina and Slowing the Aging clock

Physical fitness allows the body to perform to its full capacity. Fitness helps us appear, feel, and act to our full potential. Exercise is essentially the capability to complete everyday responsibilities energetically and actively, with energy remaining at the end of the day for appreciation of other activities.

8. No Brain Drain

How many times do you hear yourself or other seniors say, "Sorry, I'm just having another senior moment? Many seniors are making exercise more of a habit so their sharp and educated minds don't suffer. Studies across the country are showing that seniors who exercise their bodies have the least trouble exercising their minds. *

Thursday, May 10

Calories Expended During Certain Activities:

Data from ACSM Resource Manual for Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription Third Edition

ACTIVITY* Calories expended in 30 minutes Male (175 lbs) Calories expended in 30 minutes Female (135 lbs)
Biking 12-13.9 mph (moderate effort) 334 258
Circuit Training 334 258
Stretching, hatha yoga 167 129
Dancing - general 188 145
Dancing - ballet, modern 251 193
House Cleaning - vigorous (mop, wash car) 188 145
House Cleaning - light (dusting, vacuuming) 104 81
Playing w/ kids moderate - walk/run 167 129
Gardening 209 161
Mowing lawn - Hand mower 251 193
Running - 6 mph 418 322
Jogging 292 225
Basketball - Game 334 258
Children's Games 209 161
Football 334 258
Frisbee 125 97
Horseback Riding 167 129
Skating 292 225
Soccer 292 225
Softball/Baseball 209 161
Tennis 292 225
Hiking 251 193
Walking - 4 mph, level surface 167 129
Walking - leisure 146 113
Canoeing/Rowing - moderate 292 225
Kayaking 209 161
Swimming laps freestyle - moderate 334 258

Wednesday, May 9

Physical Activty Pyramid

Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia by Georgia State University (1999)

"Exercise Lite" *

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend the following as a means of physical activity:

  • "Accumulate 30 minutes or more of moderate-intensity physical activity over the course of most days of the week"
  • Incorporating more activity into your daily routine can improve your health status
  • Daily activities may include:
    • walking stairs (instead of taking the elevator)
    • gardening
    • raking leaves
    • dancing
    • mall walking while shopping
    • carrying a grocery basket rather than pushing a cart (when applicable)
    • parking in the farthest parking spot and walking to the office or store
    • carrying or pushing a golf bag instead of taking a cart while golfing
  • Alternately, 30 minutes of activity may come from planned exercise or recreation*

Tuesday, May 8

Facts in Keywords

  • More than 60% of US adults do not engage in the recommended amount of activity.
  • Approximately 25% of US adults are not active at all.
  • A 1993 study concerning causes of death in the US: #1 Tobacco, #2 Lack of exercise/poor diet, #3 Alcohol.
  • Chronic disease costs the US $655 Billion in healthcare costs.
  • In this year, 1.5 million people will have a heart attack in the US and 500,000 will die.

  • Control your health status through a medical checkup before beginning a program.
  • Progress slowly in the exercise program.
  • Choose primarily activities which engage as large a muscle mass as possible, ie: jogging, cycling, swimming, cross-country skiing, etc.
  • Remember, it is not necessary to be exhausted to achieve improvement in physical fitness.
  • The training should be accomplished continuously and intermittently.
  • The improvement in physical fitness will depend on your initial fitness level.
  • It is never too late to start exercising regularly.

Monday, May 7

Signs and symptoms of inadequate hydration may include:

  • Thirst
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of coordination
  • Mental confusion
  • Irritability
  • Dry skin
  • Elevated body temperature
  • Diminished urine output

Water, Protein and Fats

Protein and fats: Important, but not your body's top fuel choice
Protein isn't your body's food of choice for fueling exercise, but it does play a role in muscle repair and growth. Most people can easily get the protein they need from such foods as meat, dairy products and nuts, and don't need additional protein supplements.

Fat is an important, although smaller, part of your diet. Fats, as well as carbohydrates, can provide fuel for your muscles during exercise. Try to get most of your fat from unsaturated sources such as nuts, fatty fish or vegetable oils. Avoid fatty foods just before exercising, though. Fats remain in your stomach longer, causing you to feel less comfortable.

Water: Drink plenty to avoid dehydration
Your body uses the water in your blood to carry nutrients such as sugar (glucose) to cells and to remove waste products from the cells. The presence of water in your body ensures that you can safely sustain physical activity. As you exercise, your body produces heat. This heat leaves your body as you perspire, taking with it electrolytes — elements, such as potassium, calcium, sodium and chlorine. If you don't replace the fluid you lose during exercise, your heart rate increases and your temperature rises, putting you at risk of dehydration as well as compromising your workout.

To stay well hydrated during exercise, the American College of Sports Medicine recommends that you drink eight glasses of water every day and more on days when the temperature and humidity are high.

Drink at least one glass of water before and after your workout and every 10 to 15 minutes during your workout to replace fluid lost in perspiration. Avoid substituting coffee, tea or soda for water, because they often contain caffeine, which acts as a diuretic that causes your body to lose even more water.

Water is generally the best way to replace lost fluid, unless you're exercising for more than 60 minutes. In that case, sip a sports drink to help maintain your electrolyte balance and give you a bit more energy from the carbohydrates in it. The sodium in sports drinks also helps you rehydrate more quickly.

What to eat: Getting the right fuel for your best performance

Food provides your body with necessary energy. To make the most of your workouts, focus on:

Carbohydrates: Your body's chief source of fuel

You'll feel better when you exercise if you eat foods high in carbohydrates and low in fat. Your body stores excess carbohydrates as glycogen — primarily in your muscles and liver. Your muscles use stored glycogen when needed for energy.

Cereals, breads, vegetables, pasta, rice and fruit are good sources of carbohydrate. But right before an intense workout, avoid carbohydrates high in fiber, such as beans and lentils, bran cereals and fruit. High-fiber foods may give you gas or cause cramping. Fructose, a simple sugar found in fruit, can increase the tendency for diarrhea with high-intensity exercise.

If you don't like to eat solid foods before exercising, drink your carbohydrates in sports beverages or fruit juices. "Research shows it makes no difference in performance whether you drink your carbohydrates or eat them," says DeBoer. Do what feels best to you.

A diet containing at least 40 percent to 50 percent of calories from carbohydrates allows your body to store glycogen, but if you're a long-distance runner or you exercise for long periods of time, you might want to consume more carbohydrates regularly and consider carbohydrate loading before a big athletic event.

To get the most from your workout, follow these guidelines:

  • Eat a full breakfast. Wake up early enough to eat a full breakfast. "Most of the energy you got from dinner last night is used up by morning," says DeBoer. "Your blood sugar is low. If you don't eat, you may feel sluggish or lightheaded while exercising." If you plan to exercise within an hour after breakfast, eat a smaller breakfast or drink something to raise your blood sugar, such as a sports drink.
  • Time your meals. Eat large meals at least three to four hours before exercising. If you're having a small meal, eat two to three hours before exercising.

    Most people can eat snacks right before and during exercise. The key is how you feel. Some people feel lightheaded during the first 10 to 15 minutes of their workout if they eat within the hour before exercise. Do what works best for you.

  • Don't skip meals. Skipping meals may cause low blood sugar, which can make you feel weak and lightheaded. If you're short on time before your workout, and your choice is candy or nothing, eat the candy because it can improve your performance, compared with eating nothing. But keep in mind, all candy is high in sugar and low on nutrients, so a snack of yogurt and a banana would be a better choice.
  • Eat after your workout. To help your muscles recover and to replace their glycogen stores, eat a meal that contains both protein and carbohydrates within two hours of your exercise session if possible.

Eating and exercise: Time it right to maximize your workout

Knowing when and how much to eat and drink before you exercise can make a big difference in how you feel during and after your workout. Here are some tips.

When you eat and what you eat can affect your performance and the way you feel while you're exercising. Coordinate your meals, snacks and what you drink to make the most of your exercise routine.

Eating a lot before exercise can slow you down

When you exercise after a large meal, you may feel sluggish or have an upset stomach, cramping and diarrhea. That's because your muscles and your digestive system are competing with each other for energy resources.

"Your body can digest food while you're active, but not as well as it can when you're not exercising," notes Stephen DeBoer, a registered dietitian at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. This is partly because your body is trying to do two things requiring blood supply and energy simultaneously — digesting the food you just ate and providing fuel to keep your muscles active.

Time it right: Before, during and after your workout

On the flip side, not eating before you exercise can be just as bad as eating too much. Low blood sugar levels that result from not eating can make you feel weak, faint or tired, and your mental abilities may be affected as well, making you slower to react. So what can you do?

Sunday, May 6

Red-line Zone *

The last training zone is called the Redline Zone, which is 90-100% of your max HR. Remember, training at 100% is your maximum heart rate (maximum HR), your heart rate will not get any higher. This zone burns the highest total number of calories and the lowest percentage of fat calories. Ninety percent of the calories burned here are carbohydrates, only 10% are fats and again less than one percent is protein. This zone is so intense that very few people can actually stay in this zone for the minimum 20 minutes, or even five minutes (you should only train in this zone if you are in very good shape and have been cleared by a physician to do so). Usually, people use this zone for interval training. For example, one might do three minutes in the Aerobic Zone and then one minute in this Redline Zone and then back to the Aerobic Zone (this is called interval training and will be discussed further in a future article).

I hope you have found the information in this article helpful. You now have the knowledge to achieve the results you desire and the benefits your body deserves.

Your greatest challenge, however, is not learning new cardiovascular exercises or the proper technique; it's not learning the heart rate zone to train at for your goals and interests or how to monitor the intensity. Nor is it deciding when to try new cardiovascular exercises. The greatest challenge facing you at this moment is deciding whether you are willing to take action and make time for yourself and make cardiovascular exercise a priority.

When you begin achieving great results, the excitement and fun you experience will make the change well worth the effort. Action creates motivation! Good luck: I hope you enjoy all the wonderful benefits of an effective cardiovascular exercise program.

* By Chad Tackett, president of GHF

Fitness Zone *

The next zone is the Fitness Zone, which is 60-70% of your max HR. Once again, 85% of your calories burned in this zone are fats, 5% are proteins and 10% are carbohydrates. Studies have shown that in this zone you can condition your fat mobilization (getting fat out of your cells) while conditioning your fat transportation (getting fat to muscles). Thus, in this zone, you are training your fat cells to increase the rate of fat release and training your muscles to burn fat. Therefore, the benefits of this zone are not only the same as the healthy heart zone training at 50-60% but you are now slightly increasing the total number of calories burned and provide a little more cardiorespiratory benefits. You burn more total calories at this zone simply because it is more intense.

Aerobic Zone

The third zone, the Aerobic Zone, requires that you train at 70-80% of your max HR. This is the preferred zone if you are training for an endurance event. In this zone, your functional capacity will greatly improve and you can expect to increase the number and size of blood vessels, increase vital capacity and respiratory rate and achieve increases in pulmonary ventilation, as well as increases in arterial venous oxygen. Moreover, stroke volume (amount of blood pumped per heart beat) will increase, and your resting heart rate will decrease. What does all this mean? It means that your cardiovascular and respiratory system will improve and you will increase the size and strength of your heart. In this zone, 50% of calories burned are from carbohydrates, 50% are from fat and less than 1% is from protein. And, because there is an increase in intensity, there is also an increase in the total number of calories burned.

Anaerobic Zone

The next training zone is called the Threshold or Anaerobic zone, which is 80-90% of your max HR. Benefits include an improved VO2 maximum (the highest amount of oxygen one can consume during exercise) and thus an improved cardiorespiratory system, and a higher lactate tolerance ability which means your endurance will improve and you'll be able to fight fatigue better. Since the intensity is high, more calories will be burned than within the other three zones. Although more calories are burned in this zone, 85% of the calories burned are from carbohydrates, 15% from fat and less than 1% are from protein.


Heart Zone Training *

How do you know if you are training too intensely or not intensely enough for what you want to achieve? This is where Heart Zone Training comes in. Refer to the chart below. The top of the chart reads "Maximum Heart Rate," which is 100% of your heart rate (the fastest your heart will beat). This is different for everyone. To use Heart Zone Training you must first determine your maximum heart rate (max HR).

You can determine your max HR one of two ways. One way is to use the age predicted max HR formula, whereby you subtract your age from 220. So, if you are 40 years old, your predicted max HR would be 180 bpm. The other method, which is much more accurate and more individualized, is actually having a medical or fitness professional administer a max HR test for you, which is usually done on a stationery bicycle or treadmill for several minutes and requires very hard work. Thus, only those cleared by a physician should do this test. We do not explain how to administer this test because only trained professionals should do so. Please refer to the Global Health and Fitness Personal Training Directory for professionals in your area (may or may not be trained in administering a max HR test).

Once you have determined your max HR, you will need to decide what zone you want to train at. There are five different training zones separated by 10% increments, each having different characteristics and benefits.

Healthy Heart Zone

The first zone is called the Healthy Heart Zone. This is 50-60% of your max HR. This is the easiest and most comfortable zone within which to train and is the one that is best for people who are just starting an exercise program or have low functional capacity. Those of you who are walkers most likely train at this zone. Although this zone has been criticized for not burning enough total calories, and for not being intense enough to get great cardiorespiratory benefits, it has been shown to help decrease body fat, blood pressure and cholesterol. It also decreases the risk of degenerative diseases and has a low risk of injury. In this zone, 10% of carbohydrates are "burned" (used as energy), 5% of protein is burned and a whopping 85% of fat is burned.


Saturday, May 5

Cardiovascular Exercise Principles and Guidelines: Part Two *

For maximum effectiveness and safety, cardiovascular exercise has specific instructions on the frequency, duration, and intensity. These are the three important components of cardiovascular exercise that you really need to understand and implement in your program. In addition, your cardiovascular program should include a warm-up, a cool-down, and stretching of the primary muscles used in the exercise. The last article, part one of this two part series, explained the proper methods of warming-up, stretching, and cooling-down and discussed the frequency and duration of a sound cardiovascular routine.

You learned that cardiovascular exercise should be done a minimum of three times a week, a minimum of 20 minutes per session and should be done after a 5-10 minute warm-up (at a low intensity of 50-60% of max HR) and a 5-10 minute cool-down (at a low intensity of 50-60% of max HR) should follow. Once your muscles are warm (after warm up) and after the cardiovascular exercise, you should stretch those muscles used in the exercise.

This article, part two, discusses how to monitor exercise intensity and heart zone training.

There are several ways to monitor the exercise intensity. The best way to test the intensity is to take your heart rate during the exercise, within the first 5 minutes of your cardiovascular exercise session and again just before the cool-down.

There are two ways in which you can check your heart rate during exercise. The most accurate one is to purchase a heart-rate monitor that you strap around your chest. It will give you feedback on a digital watch that tells you exactly what your heart rate is at a specific time in the exercise session. The other way to obtain your heart rate is by palpating (feeling) either the carotid artery, the temporal artery, or the radial artery. The easiest site is either the cartoid or the radial artery. The cartoid artery may be felt by gently placing your index finger on your neck, between the middle of your collar bone and jaw line. Palpating the radial artery is done by placing your index and middle finger on the underside and thumb-side of your wrist.

When you're taking your heart rate you measure it in beats per minute (counting the number of beats for 60 seconds). For convenience, many people take their pulse for 6 seconds and multiply that number by 10, or simply add a 0 behind the number just obtained. So, if in 6 seconds you counted 12 beats, that would mean your heart rate was 120 beats per minute (bpm). Although counting for 6 seconds is most convenient, keep in mind that the longer the time interval used, the more accurate the results will be. For example, counting your heart rate for 30 seconds and then multiplying that number by 2 will give a slightly more accurate reading than counting your heart rate for 15 seconds and multiplying by 4, or 10 seconds and multiplying by 6. What ever time interval you use, be consistent.


Duration of Exercise *

The second component of cardiovascular exercise is the duration, which refers to the time you've spent exercising. The cardiovascular session, not including the warm-up and cool-down, should vary from 20-60 minutes to gain significant cardiorespiratory and fat burning-benefits. Each time you do your cardiovascular exercise, try to do at least 20 minutes or more. Of course, the longer you go, the more calories and fat you'll "burn" and the better you'll condition your cardiovascular system. All beginners, especially those who are out of shape, should take a very conservative approach and train at relatively low intensities (50-70% max HR) for 10-25 minutes. As you get in better shape, you can gradually increase the duration of time you exercise.

It is important that you gradually increase the duration before you increase the intensity. That is, when beginning a walking program for example, be more concerned with increasing the number of minutes of the exercise session before you increase the intensity, by increasing your speed or by walking hilly terrain.

Please check back for Part Two, where I'll discuss how to monitor your training intensity and how to use heart zone training to achieve the specific results you desire. Until then, remember that cardiovascular exercise should be done a minimum of three times a week and a minimum of 20 minutes per session. Once your muscles are warm (after warm up) and after the cardiovascular exercise, you should stretch those muscles used in the exercise. For example, after bicycling, stretch your quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, hips, and low back. After doing the rowing machine, stretch your legs, back, biceps, and shoulders. Good luck and enjoy all the wonderful benefits of cardiovascular exercise.


Thursday, May 3

Cardiovascular Exercise Principles and Guidelines: Part One *

For maximum effectiveness and safety, cardiovascular exercise has specific instructions on the frequency, duration, and intensity. These are the three important components of cardiovascular exercise that you really need to understand and implement in your program. In addition, your cardiovascular program should include a warm-up, a cool-down, and stretching of the primary muscles used in the exercise. This article is part one of a two part series discussing the very important principles and guidelines of a safe and effective cardiovascular exercise program. Part one will explain the proper methods of warming-up, stretching, and cooling-down and discuss the frequency and duration of a sound cardiovascular routine. Part two will discuss how to monitor exercise intensity and heart zone training.

Warming Up and Stretching
One very common mistake is stretching before muscles are warmed-up. It is important to stretch after your muscles are warm (after blood has circulated through them). Never stretch a cold muscle. First warm up. A warm-up should be done for at least 5-10 minutes at a low intensity. Usually, the warm-up is done by doing the same activity as the cardiovascular workout but at an intensity of 50-60% of maximum heart rate (max HR). After you've warmed-up for 5-10 minutes at a relatively low intensity, your muscles should be warm. To prevent injury and to improve your performance, you should stretch the primary muscles used in the warm up before proceeding to the cardiovascular exercise.

Cooling Down
The cool down is similar to the warm-up in that it should last 5-10 minutes and be done at a low intensity (50-60% of max HR). After you have completed your cardiovascular exercise and cooled-down properly, it is now important that you stretch the primary muscles being used. Warming-up, stretching, and cooling-down are very important to every exercise session. They not only help your performance levels and produce better results, they also drastically decrease your risk of injury.

Frequency of Exercise
The first component of cardiovascular exercise is frequency of the exercise, which refers to the number of exercise sessions per week. To improve both cardiovascular fitness and to decrease body fat or maintain body fat at optimum levels, you should exercise (cardiovascularly) at least three days a week. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends three to five days a week for most cardiovascular programs. Those of you who are very out of shape and/or who are overweight and doing weight-bearing cardiovascular exercise such as an aerobics class or jogging, might want to have at least 36 to 48 hours of rest between workouts to prevent an injury and to promote adequate bone and joint stress recovery.


Sunday, April 22

Pregnancy Exercises: Three key exercises

Improve your posture

Backache is one of the most common pregnancy niggles. There are many causes, but one of the main ones is bad posture caused primarily by the weight of your bump. This exercise should get you in good habits.

Stand with your feet hip-distance apart, making sure your knees are soft. Feel the weight of your feet on the floor and feel your trunk lifted and open.

Tilt your pelvis forward, your tailbone down towards the floor, and pull your baby up and in towards your spine. Make sure you have a natural curve in your back - it shouldn't be arched. Lengthen through the spine and aim for a nice straight back. Keep your shoulders back and down, and imagine you have a string pulling your head upright.

Work your deep abdominals

Strong abdominals will also help you to maintain good posture. Before starting this exercise, though, you need to know what you're working and why. The deep abdominals refer to the transverse abdominal muscles, which come around from your back and act like a corset. It's these muscles that will help to give your stomach a flatter appearance after the baby is born.

Even though you're not directly working the rectus abdominals (the muscles that run down the front of your abdomen) as you would when you do a sit-up (which shouldn't be attempted during pregnancy), don't worry; this exercise still works these muscles. When they're strong they also contribute to core stability and good posture.

Breathe in and as you breathe out again, pull in your pelvic floor and the deep abdominal muscles. Lift the baby up and in towards your spine, drawing the navel to the back, then lift your pelvic floor muscles to deepen the contraction. Hold this position.

You can do this exercise standing or on all fours. If you're standing, check your posture. If you're on all fours, make sure your hands are in line with your shoulders and your hips are in line with your knees. In both cases, make sure you have a natural curve in your back. You may need to tilt the pelvis to align your back correctly.

Advanced versions of this exercise that you can do after the birth include the plank. Ask an instructor to show you how to do these exercises.

Work your pelvic floor

The pelvic floor describes the sling of muscles at the base of the abdomen that keeps all your internal organs, including your uterus, in place. Pregnancy puts pressure on these muscles, while during birth they are stretched to allow the baby through. You should do these exercises every day of your life, to avoid problems such as urinary incontinence and prolapse. A strong pelvic floor will improve your sex life, too.

Breathe in and as you breathe out again, close up your back passage as if you were trying to prevent a bowel movement. At the same time, close up the front passage and draw the muscles up and in, as if you were trying to stop a flow of urine (but never do this when you're actually on the toilet as it could increase the possibility of infection). Contract the muscles to a count of three - imagine a lift going up, one floor, two floors, three floors.

When you get to the top, hold and squeeze, making sure you keep breathing. Hold the contraction for five to ten seconds, then slowly and gently release the contraction. Repeat as often as you can (at least ten times a day).

Try to link the exercise routine to an activity such as washing your hands after you use the toilet, so you don't forget. Start with slow contractions; as you feel the muscles getting stronger you can speed them up.

This exercise may seem simple, but it does work. Norwegian researchers found that women who had followed an eight-week pelvic floor strengthening programme had less urine leakage a year after the birth than women in the control group. If you're one of the 20 to 30 per cent of new mothers who still suffer from stress incontinence three months after delivery, ask your doctor to refer you to a specialist obstetric physiotherapist. *

To Be Fit In Pregnancy

Improved circulation

You and your baby are linked by the placenta, so anything that affects your circulation will also affect your baby's. Good circulation supplies the baby with more oxygen and nutrients.

Good circulation also helps to reduce the incidence of piles, varicose veins, swelling, cramps and constipation in you. In fact, exercise is a great way to beat many of the minor complications of pregnancy.

Improved posture

The weight of the baby alters your centre of gravity. This, combined with the softening effects of the hormone relaxin on your ligaments, can lead to bad posture and backache.

Strengthening your abdominal and back muscles will improve posture and your chances of avoiding backache.

Better state of mind

Exercise releases feel-good endorphins into your system. Add to this the physical benefits - better body shape and definition, better complexion - of regular activity and you'll certainly feel stronger, happier and more positive about being pregnant.

Lower risk of miscarriage

Keeping active can also reduce your risk of miscarriage by 40 per cent, according to researchers at New York's Columbia University. This doesn't mean you have to be a slave to the gym. The researchers found that being active could include doing housework, walking or chasing around after young children.

However, if you've had more than one miscarriage in the past, you should contact your GP before embarking on any exercise programme during pregnancy.

Controlled blood pressure

Moderate exercise, such as walking or cycling, can help to prevent pregnancy-related high blood pressure, according to an American study. Researchers looked at 16 women with a personal or family history of hypertension. At 14 weeks of pregnancy, the women were split into two groups: exercisers and no activity. After ten weeks, the exercisers had a decline in diastolic blood pressure (the minimum arterial pressure, when the ventricles in the heart are relaxed), while the no activity group's pressure went up.

However, if you already have pregnancy-related high blood pressure, you should check with your GP before starting any pregnancy exercise programme.

A better birth

The better your cardiovascular system (your heart and lungs), the more stamina you'll have for huffing and puffing your way through labour. Improved muscular strength will also help you maintain birthing positions such as squatting.

Pregnancy fitness expert Dr James Clapp has found that women who exercise are less likely to have a caesarean or episiotomy, or go into premature labour. Recently, though, he updated his research and found that: "It is the amount of exercise in late pregnancy that helps. It takes a lot to achieve this benefit, about 40 to 60 minutes of moderate intensity, five times a week."

A healthier placenta

Dr Clapp found that when pregnant women exercised, the placenta grew almost a third faster in mid-pregnancy and had about 15 per cent more blood vessels and surface area at full term. This is good news for your baby because the placenta is her substitute lungs, kidneys and liver, and transfers oxygen and nutrients from you.

Your baby will be bigger

Women who exercise three to five times a week have babies that are heavier, longer and have a better overall weight and body fat than those born to mums who don't exercise, according to researchers from the Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology in Cleveland, Ohio. Dr Clapp also found that the offspring of exercising mothers stay leaner at five years of age.

The bigger babies were due to the spurt in placental growth, promoted by exercise. But is bigger better? Apparently so. Another piece of research in the British Medical Journal found that the bigger the baby, the better the future exam results.

You'll give your baby a head-start

Want a happier, more intelligent baby? Exercise might help. A study in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology compared the newborn babies of women who exercised no more than once a week with the infants of mothers who ran, swam, used stair climbers or did aerobics three or more times a week for at least 20 minutes. Five days after the birth, the babies born to active mums were more alert and less fussy, suggesting that their mother's exercise may have given their babies a developmental boost. *

Saturday, April 21

Weight Loss - IV

The metabolic rate increases as you achieve maturity but it's downhill from then. In fact by the age of 65, some 25% of peak force will be lost. This is almost all due to the loss of muscle mass as you age and a great contributor to this is inactivity. Thus if you reduce muscle, you reduce metabolic rate and we all know what happens next. Calorie accrual, leading to higher bodyfat levels and overall weight increases!

So, stop laying the blame squarely at your slow metabolism or your body type, and shift your focus to what can be done about it. The answer doesn't lie in a 30 min cardio session or in severely reducing calories (also known as the billion dollar industry of dieting). Stop looking to burn calories or severely reducing them. Instead help yourself in building a better body that allows you to eat more and stay lean, thus supporting your eating habits. Building muscle is perhaps the most fundamental component in staying lean. So please, use it!

Stefan Angheli

Weight Loss - III

Bodybuilding women on the other hands, especially those that appear in magazines are on a very tough diet and strength program and some even supplement with the illegal steroid: testosterone. Testosterone is a predominantly male hormone and is not plentiful in women. In fact males have around 18 times the testosterone of women. Without it, your body has a hard time building lean muscle mass. With all this talk of muscle you may be wondering what advantage will having more muscle bring apart from being stronger? Lets face it, when are you ever going to be required to lift a 50 kg object?

Apart from increasing strength, preventing osteoporosis (which two in three women will develop and 3 out of four guys) and other health related benefits which even go so far as to conditioning the heart and the respiratory system, building muscle is an essential part in controlling bodyfat. Yes, if you want to lose bodyfat and more specifically keep it off forever, you need to perform muscle building exercises such as weight or resistance training.
It does that by allowing your body to burn more calories, so that less excess calories remain to be stored, usually as bodyfat. You see muscle is a vital component in your body's furnace. Basically the more muscle you have, the more furnaces you have operating in burning energy or food. In fact putting on around 0.5 kg of muscle will allow you to eat an extra 300 calories per week without affecting your weight. This inevitably allows you to control bodyfat by allowing you to eat more and still stay lean. Yes, you'll be able to eat more, stay lean and feeling great.
No way you say?

Surveys from the Australian Bureau of Statistics* have confirmed this. They discovered that men with body mass index (BMI) see our calculator) in the acceptable range reported having the largest intakes of energy as well as most vitamins and minerals. Conversely obese males reported the smallest intakes of energy. Wow, how's that for radical thinking! So I know you love to eat, everybody does?
Still not convinced?

That's the reason 100 kg bodybuilders eat two chickens, one kilo of rice, twenty egg whites and seven rolls plus 2 protein shakes and that's just his desert, yet they're still leaner that you and even me. Clearly, muscle mass is proportional to metabolic rate. The more active muscle you have the more calories you burn throughout the day.

We've all heard of metabolism and metabolic rate. (This is the energy expenditure that the body undergoes continuously, even at rest. This energy is burned in order to keep your body functioning normally.) With that usually comes the misguided thinking that we were just born with a slow metabolism. When you increase muscle mass you increase metabolism. Since most of our day is spent at rest, on the couch or at a desk, by simply having more muscle, literally on you, you burn more calories compared to your less muscular self. More muscle, more calories burned. It's as simple as that.

Conversely, this also means that those with a high bodyfat level, have a lower metabolic rate and therefore burn less calories. They burn less calories while driving, sitting, walking, or whatever the activity. They burn less calories when compared to an identical individual, at the same weight but with lower bodyfat.
So as you can see it's a win-win proposition. GET MORE MUSCLE !!!


Weight Loss - II

But wait, you say, wouldn't that lead to more weight loss and thus quicker and faster results?
While this may look good from a bathroom scale perspective, I assure you that this is detrimental to your ability to achieve permanent weight loss. That's because if you lose muscle, you lose your ability to burn calories. With less muscle, you burn less calories. It's that simple. People trying to lose weight should stop and think about that last statement.
And what happens when you now burn fewer calories?

You need to eat less compared to before your training program. This means that you are now more susceptible to gaining back your bodyfat and more. Oh yeah, and it doesn't do anything in helping you control appetite and in developing healthy eating habits.

Eating extra protein will not counteract this destruction because total dietary energy must be first increased to meet the body's energy needs. Fat, be in dietary or bodyfat, will not stop this muscle wasting because some tissues such as the brain need energy as glucose. While amino acids, which come from muscle protein can be metabolised to produce glucose, fats cannot. As a consequence, a person with more than adequate fat stores may suffer loss of muscle and other tissue if the diet is too restricted in calories.

The primary exercise prescription for those wanting permanent weight loss must be weight training or resistance training or strength training.

I know there are some out there, particularly women, who seem to think that their muscles grow like weeds and are afraid of becoming too big or masculine. While the men usually can't get enough and many unfortunately turn to anabolics. I can assure you that it's not easy to gain lean muscle. Losing bodyfat is the easy bit. Gaining muscle is the hard part. I laugh privately when a beginner comes to me and says that he doesn't want to get too big, like Arnold. To be like Arnold you have to be as great as Arnold: genetically and psychologically, mentally and of course follow his "supplementation" program.

Almost all the bodybuilders appearing in magazines these days are on or have used anabolic steroids. I would probably say that at least 85% of all bodybuilders in magazines today and if I include those taking prohormones the number could go as high as 95%. (Prohormones are biological substances one step away from testoserone or closely mimic it. These are deemed illegal in Australia, and in most sports organizations but are freely available in the US as sport supplements. They have been found to increase LDL or 'bad' cholesterol and other negative side effects which leads to cardiovascular problems.)

The ones that do it naturally would have had to work out optimally for at least 3 years with a sound diet before you can achieve anywhere near that. I'm not being negative I'm being real. But of course you do get the genetically gifted ones that gain considerable muscle after a year or two training naturally. For that to happen you must be on the right program for you. (And in case you're wondering, bodybuilding magazines and gyms are amongst the worst place for great resistance training programs.)

So, that's the men. *

Weight Loss - I

Building muscle is the key to reducing bodyfat!

In this article, I will discuss a fundamental principle that is imperative in losing weight or more specific body fat loss. I think that the fundamentals have been drowned in an enormous mass of information. Most of it is great and can definitely help but there is a major misconception about weight training and it's "weight gaining" effects.

We've been lead to believe that aerobic exercise is necessary for weight loss. Common prescription for weight loss is walking, running or other cardio type exercises. "You run to lose weight" is the common thinking. While this may work in some cases, research has shown that aerobic exercise alone is not sufficient for weight loss.
Wanna know why?

Because although you burn calories when training aerobically, you only burn a relatively small amount. For example in a 30 min jogging session you may burn around 200-300 calories depending on your body weight (especially muscle), age and other things. What you've just burned is the equivalent of a large apple and banana. But that's comparing it to fruits. Considering a Big Mac is around 500 Calories and a Hungry Jacks Vege Burger Supreme coming in at more than 600 Calories you can see how that's a relatively small amount.
Don't get me wrong, I'm in no way saying that aerobic exercise has no value. Aerobic exercise has been shown in numerous scientific studies to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, prevent the onset of diabetes, prevent some cancers and many other health benefits. But aerobic exercise alone is not the most effective way to lose bodyfat or "lose weight". And again science has proven this.

This may be not only because of the relatively small amounts of calories burned but also due to the potential loss of muscle mass. Aerobic exercise, especially heavy exercise may increase your chances of burning muscle. This muscle burning effect is further enhanced when coupling aerobic exercise with a reduced calorie diet. This is a situation you want to avoid at all costs.

When aerobic exercise is performed your body burns both carbohydrate and fat. But when you increase the aerobic/cardio intensity your body also switches to burning more carbohydrates and less bodyfat proportionately. If not enough carbohydrates are consumed your body will switch to making carbohydrates from protein. That is called catabolism and results in losing muscle mass, which is the exact opposite of what you should be aiming for. Therefore, if you are already on a low calorie diet and you add aerobic exercise, you will further accelerate this catastrophe.

Friday, April 20

The Enchanting Equation!


Water Works for Weight Loss*

Nothing quells the appetite like water, lots and lots of water. Start out with two quart bottles in the morning and carry one with you to work or wherever you go. If you like, divvy up the 64 ounces of water into eight (8-ounce) bottles or four pint (16-ounce) bottles to carry around with you all day. Freeze half of them the night before and they will last all day, even in a hot car. Keep some unfrozen so they will be ready to drink immediately.

Yes. You will have to make more frequent bathroom trips, but it is worth it. Drink your 64 ounces of water before dinner, if possible, so you're not up half the night going to the bathroom.

Water not only fills you up and lessens your appetite, it prevents those "hungry horrors" we all encounter when our blood sugar drops and we reach for cookies, candy, ice cream, fries or other high-calorie treats. Water also flushes out the system, rids the body of bloat and toxins and rosies up the complexion. Now, start splashing. *

Thursday, April 19

Basic fitness equipments

There are lots of fitness equipments on markets, since some of them are very useful, some of them are not. So, there is some basic fitness equipments which you can use at home:

Cardio Machine Type
  • Treadmills
  • Exercise Bikes
  • Elliptical Trainers
  • Rowing Machines
Abdominal Equipments
  • Ab rollers/sliders
  • Ab lounges
  • Ab ex benches
  • Dumbbels
  • Weight Bench Sets
  • Barbells
  • Racks
You can also use
  • Jump Ropes
  • Exercise Mats
  • Steppers
  • Belts
  • Multi Function Trainers

Wednesday, April 18

Principles of Pilates II


Every movement in the Pilates method has a purpose. Every instruction is vitally important to the success of the whole. To leave out any detail is to forsake the intrinsic value of the exercise. The focus is on doing one precise and perfect movement, rather than many halfhearted ones. Eventually this precision becomes second nature, and carries over into everyday life as grace and economy of movement.


Pilates mat exercises are supposed to be performed fluidly. There are no static, isolated movements. Concentration and body awareness replaces the quick, jerky movements of other exercise regimes. Grace of motion is emphasized over speed; ultimately the movements are meant to feel as fluid as a long stride or a waltz. Uniformly developed muscles are then developed to complement good posture, suppleness, and natural grace. However, with the usage of the apparatus, clients will need to take at least some time to adjust their equipment settings and props.


Because of the extensive and expensive education that most Pilates instructors must complete, plus studio rentals and equipment, instruction can be costly. It is possible for the method to be taught in a class setting, but this will not allow an instructor to take the individual students personalized needs into consideration. Ideally new trainees will be given close, personally tailored supervision until they develop sufficient knowledge to continue their training in a class or group.

In recent years the term "Pilates" worked itself into the mainstream, and following an unsuccessful intellectual property lawsuit, a US federal court ruled the term "Pilates" generic and free for unrestricted use. Whilst this ruling prevented artificial restrictions on the use of the term "Pilates" by legitimate, qualified Pilates trainers, it also permitted a small number of untrained or under-qualified practitioners to capitalise on the name. Consumers now face extensive and conflicting information about what Pilates really is, how it works, and what credentials they should seek in an instructor.

Another less obvious drawback to Pilates is that while it can tone the rectus and transverse abdominis muscles, when performed wrongly or too often, certain of the exercises can also cause over-development in the external and internal oblique muscles of the abdomen, resulting in a flat stomach and a thick waist. This is because much of Pilates is practiced through extension with the torso moving in a linear, forward fashion.

Principles of Pilates I

Mind over matter

The central element of Pilates is to create a fusion of mind and body, so that without thinking about it you will move with economy, grace, and balance; using your body to the greatest advantage, making the most of its strengths, counteracting its weaknesses, and correcting its imbalances. The goal is this: to produce an attention-free union of mind and body, the method requires that you constantly pay attention to your body while you are doing the movements. Paying attention is so vital that it is more important than any other single aspect of the movements or the method.


Joseph Pilates believed in circulating the blood so that it could awaken all the cells in the body and carry away the wastes related to fatigue. For the blood to do its work properly, it has to be charged with oxygen and purged of waste gases through proper breathing. Full and thorough inhalation and exhalation are part of every Pilates exercise. Pilates saw forced exhalation as the key to full inhalation. “Squeeze out the lungs as you would wring a wet towel dry,” he is reputed to have said. Breathing, too, should be done with concentration, control, and precision. It should be properly coordinated with movement. Each exercise is accompanied by breathing instructions. Joseph Pilates stated, “Even if you follow no other instructions, learn to breathe correctly”.


Pilates called the very large group of muscles in our center – encompassing our abdomen, lower back, hips, and buttocks – the “powerhouse.” All energy for Pilates exercises begins from the powerhouse and flows outward to the extremities. Physical energy is exerted from the center to coordinate one's movements. Pilates felt that it was important to build a strong powerhouse in order to rely on it in daily living.


Pilates demands intense focus. For instance, the inner thighs and pelvic floor may be accessed when doing a standing exercise that tones the triceps. The beginner learns to pay careful attention to their body, building on very small, delicate fundamental movements and controlled breathing. In 2006, at the Parkinson Center of the Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, Oregon, the concentration factor of the Pilates method was being studied in providing relief from the degenerative symptoms of Parkinson's disease.


Joseph Pilates built his method on the idea of muscle control. That meant no sloppy, uncontrolled movements. Every Pilates exercise must be performed with the utmost control, including all body parts, to avoid injury and produce positive results. It's not about intensity or multiple repetitions of a movement, it's more about proper form for safe, effective results.

Discovering Pilates

Pilates refers to the way the method encourages the use of the mind to control the muscles. The program focuses on the core postural muscles that help keep the body balanced and are essential to providing support for the spine. In particular, Pilates exercises teach awareness of breath and alignment of the spine, and strengthen the deep torso muscles, which are important to help alleviate and prevent back pain.

Pilates follows principles based on a well-constructed philosophical and theoretical foundation. It is not merely a collection of exercises but a method, developed and refined over more than eighty years of use and observation. While Pilates draws from many diverse exercise styles, there are certain inherent ruling principles that bring all these elements together under the Pilates name. One interpretation of Principles: Centering, Concentration, Control, Precision, Breathing, and Flowing Movement.

4. Stability and balance

Stability and balance are associated with your body's core muscle strength — the muscles in your lower back, pelvis, hips and abdomen. These core muscles provide the support system for almost any activity or motion your body makes. They help you maintain stability and balance during your daily activities.

You can improve your stability and balance through core exercises that strengthen the muscles at the center of your body — the area around your trunk — where your center of gravity is located. A strong midsection helps combat poor posture and low back pain. It also helps prevent falls, especially in older adults.

Cover all 4 elements

Whether you create your own fitness training plan or work with a personal trainer, make aerobic fitness, muscular fitness, flexibility, and core strengthening for stability and balance a part of your overall exercise plan. Factoring in these four fitness elements can help you live a longer, healthier life.

3. Flexibility

Flexibility is the ability to move your joints through their full range of motion. You maintain your body's flexibility through stretching. When you're flexible, routine tasks, such as lifting packages, bending to tie your shoe and hurrying to catch a bus, are easier and less tiring.

Fitness training activities that lengthen your muscles increase your flexibility. One way to become more flexible is to include stretching exercises in your fitness routine. Yoga and tai chi, if performed correctly, can be effective for improving flexibility. No matter what type of stretching exercises you choose, make flexibility training an integral part of your fitness plan.

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2. Muscular fitness

Muscular fitness refers to the strength and endurance of your muscles. The more fit your muscles are, the easier your daily tasks become, whether they include lifting groceries, raking the yard or pushing a vacuum cleaner.

Strength training can help you improve your muscular fitness. It also enables you to increase your body's lean muscle mass, which helps with weight loss.

Training options include using free weights, resistance bands, weight machines or your own body weight to increase muscular strength and endurance. Fitness training that includes more than one option will help ensure greater overall muscular fitness.

Fitness training

As Mayo Clinic says, Fitness training has 4 elements of a rounded routine.You're a committed fitness fanatic looking to optimize your results. Or perhaps you've just begun your journey to improved health and want to establish a rounded fitness training routine. Regardless of your present level of physical fitness, it's important to base your exercise goals upon these four primary elements of fitness.

1. Aerobic fitness

Any activity you do — from taking a walk to washing the dishes — requires oxygen. Regular aerobic fitness exercise increases your body's ability to use oxygen. How well you use oxygen is termed your "aerobic capacity." When your aerobic capacity is high, your heart, lungs and blood vessels efficiently transport and deliver large amounts of oxygen throughout your body.

Aerobic exercise helps you in your daily activities. It helps your heart, blood vessels, lungs and muscles complete routine tasks and rise to unexpected challenges, such as running to your car in pouring rain.

The key to achieving aerobic capacity is to find fitness training activities that you enjoy and can do regularly. You needn't limit yourself to a single activity, such as running. Add variety and increase your motivation by trying different types of aerobic activity, such as dancing, bicycling or water aerobics. Aerobic exercise at least 10 minutes in length is required to obtain health benefits.