Archive for September, 2013

Three Good Reasons to hire a Personal Trainer

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

Considering hiring a personal trainer? Maybe you’ve hit a plateau with your fitness level or weight loss. Or maybe you’re brand new to the world of exercise and don’t know where to begin. Whatever your reason, a personal trainer can help.

Not Seeing Results?

If you have been exercising regularly for several weeks and aren’t losing weight or seeing results, hiring a personal trainer may be a good idea. A trainer can evaluate your current program and eating habits and offer some changes to create more effective workouts. A personal trainer can help you identify realistic goals, hold you accountable for your workouts and help keep you motivated.

Bored with the Same Old Workout Routine?

All out of ideas for workout routines? A personal trainer can add some variety to your workouts and get you motivated and seeing results again. A trainer can also introduce new ways to exercise (fitness protocols) e.g., circuit training, Tabata training, superset training, etc.

Need Accountability and Motivation?

If you’re finding it easy to make excuses for not going to the gym, then hire a personal trainer. A trainer will not only motivate you to get in shape and lose those extra pounds, they’ll hold you accountable. Having a standing appointment with someone other than yourself will make it harder to skip your workout.

Tips to help you reach your goals

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

When setting any sort of fitness / weight loss goal…make sure they’re S.M.A.R.T.: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. Here are a few tips that will help with your goal setting :

1. Tell friends, family and coworkers about your goals. Better yet…POST THEM TO FACEBOOK! This makes your goals more real and also holds you accountable.

2. Set multiple goals. Get excited and write down several goals! In addition to losing weight, what about dropping a few pant or dress sizes? Run a 5K or even an obstacle 5K, i.e., Warrior Dash or Spartan Race.

3. Be specific with your goals. Don’t just say you want to lose 30 pounds in 12 weeks, lay the specifics out. “I will lose 2-3 pounds every week until I reach 30 pounds.” This will make it easier to measure your progress and it keeps you moving forward. Small changes lead to big results!

4. Review your goals daily. Post them where you’ll see them; on your mirror, refrigerator or computer monitor. This will keep you mindful of your goal as well as your progress.

Tips for making your weight loss permanent!

Monday, September 16th, 2013

Congratulations on your weight loss…now the challenge is keeping it off for good!

All the lifestyle changes you made to lose the weight, i.e., regular exercise, eating healthy and frequent meals, watching calorie intake, etc. are now your new routine for as long as you intend to keep the weight off. If one of these changes falls by the wayside…so will your weight.

To maintain your weight loss, you must accept that this is your new lifestyle of eating healthy and being more physically active. To help maintain your new weight, focus on all the positive benefits that have come from your weight loss: feeling better, looking better, having more energy, fitting into smaller sizes, getting off medications, a lower/healthier blood pressure, and sleeping better.

Don’t think of your weight loss efforts as dieting, but rather as shifting into a new gear in which you’re adopting small, realistic lifestyle changes that make you feel and look your best!

So how do you beat the odds of the stories we hear so often of gaining all the weight back? Here are some tips from successful weight losers that have kept it off:

1. They follow a relatively low fat, calorie-controlled diet; controlling portions and eating meals containing lean protein and vegetables. limit the variety of foods you eat, simplify your diet and make it easier to not overeat.

2. They follow a consistent pattern of eating from day to day, even on holidays. This establishes a routine, and even though there is room for splurges, this set eating plan is the cornerstone of their success. Since everyone needs a special treat once in awhile, plan your splurges in advance.

3. Successful weight loss maintainers eat frequently, every 3 to 4 hours, or 4 to 5 times a day. Frequent eating helps you control your blood sugar and manage your appetite. And make sure to drink plenty of water or, because being thirsty is sometimes confused with hunger and extra fluids can help take the edge off your appetite.

4. They start the day with a healthy breakfast; whether it be a meal or meal replacement shake/bar. This is an essential step to get your metabolism going and to help you perform better throughout the day.

5. They keep active, exercising for at least 30 minutes each day. Exercise not only burns calories and shapes those muscles, it’s a great stress reliever. So go to the gym, pop in an exercise DVD like P90X, play some basketball, or do whatever it takes to boost your heart rate each day.

6. This is a BIG one. Successful losers get on the scale regularly, whether it’s daily, every other day, or weekly. When the scale goes up…step up the activity and tighten up the calories.

The longer you keep the weight off…the more likely you are to keep it off for good!

Which is better for losing weight… cardio or weight training?

Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

If you’re wanting to lose some extra pounds, you might be wondering if you should focus on cardio or weight training? The answer is both. In today’s fitness world, most workout programs incorporate both cardio and weight training during the same workout session. Combining these two fitness components allows the body to burn more calories, increase lean muscle, and improve cardiovascular performance. Which in turn leads to more weight loss.

One size doesn’t fit all when figuring your target heart rate zone

Sunday, September 8th, 2013

Heart Rate

You’re probably familiar with the traditional method for figuring your Target Heart Rate (Target HR); 220 minus your age multiplied by the Target HR percentage. Well…the problem with this method is that it doesn’t factor in your level of cardiovascular fitness. For example, a 40 year old with a Resting Heart Rate (Resting HR) of 60 beats per minute (bpm) would have the same Target HR as a 40 year old with a Resting HR of 100 bpm.

The Karvonen Formula

If you want a more personalized and accurate Target HR you can use the Karvonen Formula. The Karvonen Formula is a Heart Rate Reserve (HR Reserve) formula, and it’s one of the most effective methods used to calculate Target HR. The formula factors in your Resting HR, therefore, you’ll need to find out what your Resting HR is by doing the following:
First thing in the morning, before getting out of bed, take your pulse on your wrist (radial pulse) or on the side of your neck (carotid pulse). Count the number of beats for 60 seconds. Now you have your Resting HR.

To find your Target HR using the Karvonen Formula you need to determine your Maximum Heart Rate (Max HR), Resting HR, and HR Reserve. The HR Reserve is simply the difference between Max HR and Resting HR.

The calculations for the Karvonen Formula variables are shown below:

220 minus (-) your age = Max HR
Your heart rate at rest = Resting HR
Max HR – Resting HR = HR Reserve
(HR Reserve x Training%) + Resting HR = Karvonen Formula

So with the Karvonen Formula, if you’re 40 years old with a Resting HR of 60 bpm, your 65%-85% Target HR training zone would be 138 to 162 bpm. And with the older traditional formula it would be…117 to 153 bpm. That’s a huge difference!

Karvonen Formula Solution:

Max HR = 180
Resting HR = 60
HR Reserve = 120

65% Target HR using the Karvonen Formula is (120 X .65) + 60 = 138 bpm
85% Target HR using the Karvonen Formula is (120 X .85) + 60 = 162 bpm

Here’s a tool that’s done all the calculations for you, all you need to do is put your age and resting heart rate…then click “calculate”. Karvonen Heart Rate Calculator

Alcohol and Weight Loss Don’t Mix

Saturday, September 7th, 2013

Whether you’re doing a 12-week transformation or preparing for a contest, you want to make sure you are consuming all the right things and avoiding the wrong ones. Unfortunately, proper nutrition can sometimes be complicated, and it might even result in you throwing in the towel. But when it comes to losing weight, alcohol is a no-no.

As you may know, carbs and protein contain four calories per gram, while fats have nine. Alcohol has seven calories per gram, but it’s processed differently than carbs and proteins. It’s not an essential nutrient, and when consumed, your body typically identifies it as a toxin and works quickly to get it out of your body.

Although alcohol is nothing but empty calories (no nutritional value), it is extra calories…and those calories can still add up fast. But it’s not just the extra calories that make alcohol a bad choice when dieting, it’s the fact that alcohol severely decreases the body’s fat oxidation rate. Fat oxidation is the body’s way of breaking down fat so that it can use it for energy (fat burning process). And if fat oxidation is severely decreased (which studies show to be as much as 73%), so is weight loss.

Furthermore, alcohol can increase your appetite, giving you the “munchies” and make you want to eat more. Studies have shown that people tend to eat more (additional calories) when they drink alcohol with a meal.

So, if your serious about losing weight…ditch the alcohol!

One of the best weight loss and fitness investments!

Friday, September 6th, 2013

A heart rate monitor measures your heart rate whenever you wear it, at rest, during exercise, or just working around the house. Today’s heart rate monitors have gotten pretty fancy. Now they can do much more than just measure your heart rate:

• They can tell you when you’re in or out of your target range.
• Some measure calories burned (this is an estimate and may not reflect your actual calories burned).
• Some can help you analyze your training and plan future training sessions off that data.

Choosing A Heart Rate Monitor

• Choose a heart rate monitor that fits your needs. There are some made for cycling, running and multi-sport athletes.
• If you’re getting one for weight loss, choose one that reads heart rate and calories expended.
• If you’re a cyclist or runner, you might want to get one with a built in GPS.

Heart Rate Monitors Can Help You Lose Weight Quicker

Train harder and for longer durations and you’ll burn more calories, which will help you shed more fat. Engage in high intensity interval training (HIIT) and you’ll minimize your total aerobic time and achieve better results, more weight loss.

A heart rate monitor that measures calories burned can help you determine what your total daily caloric intake should be. Take in less calories than you burn and you should lose weight. It takes a 3500 calorie deficit to lose a one pound of fat. So, Consuming 500 less calories than you burn daily, for seven days, should give you a one pound loss on the scale for the week.

In my opinion, Polar heart rate monitors are the best! You can find more info about Polar monitors at

What Is Tabata Training?

Thursday, September 5th, 2013

Tabata training is a particular type of workout that provides similar health benefits to that of cardiovascular workouts, but Tabata training turns up the throttle a bit. If you don’t have a lot of time to spend at the gym, Tabata workouts just might be what you’re looking for. Tabata intervals can be completed in 4 minutes. That’s right… Only four minutes! Tabata falls under the category of high intensity interval training (HIIT).

The Birth of Tabata
Tabata training was founded by a Japanese scientist named Izumi Tabata. He conducted a study at a department of physiology in Japan to compare moderate intensity training with high intensity training. This study was conducted on two groups of athletes; one group used the moderate intensity interval training and the other used high intensity interval training.

In group one, the athletes trained for an hour at a moderate intensity (70% intensity) five days a week for a total of six weeks. Group two trained at high intensity (170% intensity) four days a week for a total of six weeks, with each session lasting only 4 minutes; 20 seconds of intense training and 10 seconds of rest for eight sets.

The Results
Group one had a significant increase in aerobic capacity (cardiovascular). However, the anaerobic system (muscles) gained little or no results. Group two showed great improvement among all its athletes. Their aerobic capacities increased much more than that of group one, and their anaerobic systems increased by 28%. That’s huge! Not only did high intensity interval training have more of an impact on the aerobic systems… It had an impact on the anaerobic systems as well.

Here’s an example of a Tabata Workout
Take two exercises and superset those to intervals of 20 seconds work and 10 seconds rest for eight sets (4 minutes total). For the example below I used two basic exercises, push-ups and jumping jacks.


Push-Ups (20 seconds)
Rest (10 seconds)
Jumping Jacks (20 seconds)
Rest (10 seconds)
Push-Ups (20 seconds)
Rest (10 seconds)
Jumping Jacks (20 seconds)
Rest (10 seconds)
Push-Ups (20 seconds)
Rest (10 seconds)
Jumping Jacks (20 seconds)
Rest (10 seconds)
Push-Ups (20 seconds)
Rest (10 seconds)
Jumping Jacks (20 seconds)
Rest (10 seconds)

The Dieting Mistake I See Most!

Wednesday, September 4th, 2013

The dieting mistake I see most is… not eating enough.

If you want to lose weight, the first logical step is to reduce your caloric intake, right? It makes sense then, that the more calories you cut the more weight you lose? Wrong! Drastically cutting your calories may work for a short while, but your metabolism will eventually slow down and eventually come to a halt.

If that’s not bad enough, when your caloric intake is too low, your body begins to use your hard-earned muscle as fuel, a process known as catabolism. If it happens, it could further hinder your weight loss. I realize that eating more sounds counterproductive to a weight loss goal, but trust me, more food from healthier choices is usually better. If you cut your calories too low for too long, you’re not going to see results.

Could This Be The Reason You’re Not Losing Weight?

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

If you’ve been making a conscious effort to lose weight, exercising and watching what you eat, and still not seeing results…this may be of interest to you. New research has found that a particular gene can mess with your food cravings, causing you to gain weight, according to the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Earlier research linked a gene called FTO, officially named the “fat mass and obesity associated” gene, to being overweight. Researchers at that time didn’t know exactly how the gene caused people to gain weight. But now, this new study looked at how this gene influences obesity. What researchers found was that ghrelin, an appetite stimulating hormone, was elevated much faster in FTO gene subjects than in those who didn’t have the gene.

When your body functions normally, it stops making ghrelin after you eat because there’s no longer any reason for you to feel hungry. But this research suggests that the FTO gene tells your body to keep producing the hormone anyway, which can lead to an increase in calorie consumption…which in turn can lead to pounds on the scale.

Currently, the only way to know for sure if you possess this gene is to undergo genetic testing. But even if you do have it, that doesn’t mean you’re doomed to be overweight.

If you feel like you’re constantly hungry, try consuming more lean protein and spending more time exercising. Previous research has shown that both strategies are effective ways to reduce ghrelin levels.