All About Fitness, Sports and Health

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Lift Weights So You Can Lose Fat

You may have been conditioned to believe that the only way to lose weight through exercise is through cardiovascular training, however that’s not really true.

In fact there are more than one ways to lose weight by doing resistance or weight lifting. The first and maybe most obvious is through exercise intensity. If you were to adhere to a complete body workout three times a week you would see not only strength and muscle gains but also fat loss. Notice I said fat loss and not weight loss. I will come back to that later.

By training hard and keeping the intensity high in your workouts you stimulate hormones in your body that will help build that better body. Keep in mind, during all this you are being smart about your diet taking in the proper amounts of protein, carbohydrates and fats (unsaturated fats).

Now one thing you may notice as you train hard and eat well, is that you may not be losing weight per se, but in fact the scale may say you are gaining. Don’t panic. This is probably normal, as you build muscle mass your weight may increase even if you are losing fat. The reason for this is that muscle is twice as dense as fat. The other interesting fact about muscle mass is that it actually requires calories to maintain – so the more muscle you carry the more calories you burn just standing around.

So if you are okay with carrying more functional body mass in the form of lean muscle all the while losing fat…then you should definitely consider resistance weight training as it is very effective in helping with that, whereas just doing cardiovascular training doesn’t directly help you gain that muscle or strength.

October 26, 2010   No Comments

Benefits of Dried Fruits

Dry fruits may look unappetizing to some but let’s face it, they provide a lot of energy, minerals and phytochemicals and are ideal as treats and as a power food for athletes or sports enthusiasts.

The great thing about dried fruits is that there are so many types of fruits that can be dehydrated, some typical examples are apples, pears, plums, grapes, peaches, apricots, and some red berries. Figs and exotic fruits such as pineapples, mangos, and bananas are also good choices.

When we dry the fruit, with its loss of moisture, the amount of or proportion of sugar inceases – which is why they make such tasty and energy packed snacks. Most dried fruits have a moisture content of about 20 percent which is the standard level for a preserved state.

Dried fruits are a very healthy choice, as they are quite nutritional – containing vitamins B2, B6 and minerals like magnesium, potassium, calcium, iron and sodium. 100 grams of dried fruit typically packs around 250 calories and 1 to 5 grams of protien.

Dried fruits are good for travelling and sports as they keep well without refigeration and because of their nutritional value can be considered for the 5 a day rule which is to say that we should have 5 servings of fruits and vegetables.

So go grab some dates, or raisins and enjoy a healthy and energy packed snack!

October 19, 2010   No Comments

Benefits of the Elliptical Trainer

If you have never stepped into a gym before, the long rows of cardio equipment can look pretty intimidating and confusing, heck, even veteran gym goers might be overwhelmed by the number of different machines or their various complexities. There is one particular piece of equipment that may look particularly odd, and that is the elliptical trainer.

The Elliptical Trainer can be identified by its two long handles and its similarity to the stair climber. Some folks may also call this piece of equipment a Cross-Trainer.

It is aptly named as it combines three machines in one, an exercise bike, treadmill and stairclimber.

You get the benefits of cross-country skiing, hiking, and biking, all with minimal impact.

What are the benefits of the Elliptical Trainer?

Reduced Impact

An elliptical trainer gives us all the benefits of jogging, biking, hiking, climbing stairs without the impact on joints that occurs when doing these things in the real world. An elliptical trainer is definitely a good solution for those people that have joint problems that limit their ability to do the outdoor exercises.

The reason there is far less impact on the joints, is because your limbs stay in constant contact with the machine.

Intensity

Because the elliptical trainer combines the movements of three different pieces of equipment you may burn more calories while using it as comparatively your are activating more muscles during your routine.

True Cross Training

Because of the combination of movements and dual action handle bars you can actually benefit from true cross training bringing your upper body into play – and like I mentioned before the increased muscle activation means a better workout and more calories burned. Not only that the elliptical trainer forces even more muscles of the leg to work as compared to individual or more specific cardio equipment as well as bring core stabilizers and abs into play.

If you haven’t tried the elliptical trainer at your gym yet, you should really give it a whirl. If don’t like going to the gym, you can also look at getting an in home elliptical trainer, there are tons of models to choose from, so its best to do some research first before you make that purchase.

October 10, 2010   No Comments

Sleep Blocking Food

If you are having trouble sleeping, one of the things you might want to consider are the foods you are eating, there are a couple culprits out there that love to interfere with out sleep. There are a number of ingredients or amino acids in various foods that we may not eve realize…so let’s take a look at the line up of some of the worst.

Caffeine- The Usual Suspect

Caffeine is in a lot of different things – perhaps even more things than we realize. There are obvious ones like, coffee, some teas, soft drinks and more. Some people are affected differently by caffeine, I for one can’t drink coffee after noon, or my night will be affected, I only drink it early in the morning if necessary for an extra boost.

Many people have managed to solve their nervousness, anxiety and sleep issues by removing coffee from their the daily intake.

Cheeses

Cheeses, especially those that are aged contain a higher than normal level of tyramine which can have stimulating effect, as well as a high amount of vitamin B6. Cheese has a history of causing some nasty nightmares so its probably a good idea to avoid cheese before bedtime – especially the smellier ones like blue cheese.

The Processed Meat Mystery

Processed meats are culprits on many levels and in general should be avoided, but they contain high levels of tyramine as well and from the notes about cheeses we know this amino acid is not sleep friendly. So for your health and for a good night’s sleep try to avoid processed meats.

Chocalate

Rich dark chocolate can be a surprisingly healthy food for many reasons and some people even eat it thinking it will relax them, but the truth is that it contains a number of potent stimulants. Avoid chocolate before bedtime.

The Villanous Night Cap – Alcohol

Alcohol can relax us and make us sleepy, and has often been used as a night cap, but the truth is it ruins our sleep. The relaxation and easy sleep that sometimes come from having a wee nip before the sack can actually affect our sleep negatively by waking us up in the middle of the night or early morning with a hangover, or without. The quality of sleep we get after alcohol is just not good sleep.

September 27, 2010   No Comments

The Home Workout – Using Household Items to Workout

Let’s face, not everybody has the time to get to the gym, or even afford them, but thats really no reason why you can’t get a half decent workout from your own home.

The idea behind resistance training is resistance. This is often achieved by lifting weighted objects, and in the gym the equipment is designed for this specific purpose…but thankfully gravity works in our own homes as well. It really only takes a bit of creativity to create your own impromptu equipment from common house hold objects.

Chair Dips
This exercise is fantastic for the triceps and shoulders, and only needs one or two chairs. Similar to bench dips at the gym, you simply use a chair instead. You can do this with one chair and your feet on the ground or place another chair under your feet for more of a challenge, either way, you are going to get a great triceps workout.

Push-ups, decline and incline push-ups
The old standby, push-ups, can be done just about anywhere, and at home we can use counter tops to lean against, and use to perform incline push-ups, or if you are into a real challenge place your feel on a chair or counter for deep decline push-ups. Another adaptation is to find a couple books that are fairly thick and of roughly equal size and place them under your hands while performing the push-up for that extra range of motion.

Lateral Raises
A good shoulder workout can be found at home by grabbing a couple of books of  roughly equal weight and holding one in each hand, perform lateral raises from all the different angles, front, side, and rear.

Crunches
Another of the standby exercises that can be performed virtually anywhere, the crunch is great for the home workout, and again with a bit of creativity you make these even more challenging by finding weighted objects you can hold to your chest as you perform the crunches.

Biceps Curls

Heavy books cupped by the spine and the book laying against the wrist make for some unique dumbbells for dumbbell curls. Broomsticks with some weighted bags on the ends can also work for barbell curls, the only limit is your imagination and safety (always be sure the equipment is sturdy before you try using your body weight against it, common sense is useful here).

September 25, 2010   No Comments