Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Master Your Own Intelligent Power Plant

Want to get in shape for the summer huh? Understanding your body will get you the results you need. No matter what your goal is, by understanding your body you can change the way you look forever. Bulk up good weight or simply loose the plump.
Thousands of people keep asking questions and finding different answers about health and fitness. Why is that?
People are different. Every one of us has a unique type of body; therefore what may work just fine for me might not work for you and vice-versa.
Our inherited characteristics (genetics) make us exceptional. Many people are concerned about their physical appearance especially in summer because of the sudden increase in the exposure of their body. Some people start looking for fat loss or weight gain diets and end up spending a lot of money on exercise and diet books, but some people decide that they want a radical change and start starving or eating a lot of food.
This psychological phase may cause huge health problems like anorexia nervosa (An abnormal loss of the appetite for food) or bulimia nervosa (An eating disorder in which the sufferer eats huge amounts of food and then vomit).
The secret behind a healthy & fit body lays in the basic facts. Knowing the basic facts will help you find your own way of dieting according to how your digestive system works. Only this will ensure long term health and fitness. For example, reducing your daily food intake is not necessarily the best way to loose fat. Understanding the quality of food, how the body uses energy, how the digestive system works, and other related information will give you the base 'know how' to make the change you want.
How does the digestive system work?
Simply explained, our body works like an intelligent power plant as suggested in the heading of this article. The food we eat is the fuel. Our muscles are the motors that enable us to do our daily functions such as breathing, moving objects and walking from one place to another.
When our stomach is empty and our body needs energy, our brain sends signals requesting food (hunger). The food we (ingest) is temporarily stored in our stomach. Our brain will then command our stomach to send the required acids to break down the food (digestion). After the food is broken down it will become the source of energy for our muscles.
Where does body fat come from?
The food we eat is made up of different substances namely carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, water and salts. Carbohydrates and Fats are the main sources of energy and protein is normally used by the body for muscle repair and growth. Any excess food that we eat is either excreted or stored in the body as fat.
Why do some people look like a Michelin commercial?
The body keeps fat stored underneath the skin to prevent the body from death as a result of severe starvation. When the body is starving the brain sends a message to the body to reduce the amount of energy being burnt; in this case the brain will command the body to feel tired and to break down muscle and fat tissue for energy.
Why? The muscle burns energy just by being there. The bigger the muscles are the more energy they burn. Therefore by breaking down muscle tissue for energy the brain will be both reducing the amount of energy needed per second and also getting some extra energy in return.
Eat like a pig look like a stick!
In the above paragraph I explained how, when starving the body breaks down fat and muscle tissue right? And I also explained that the more muscle mass we have the more calories (unit for calculating energy) we burn no? OK now I want you to combine those together. The best solution would be to maintain the good mass (muscle mass) and get rid of the fat. Sounds impossible?
NO! In fact it's easier than you think. Well here's the formula.
The average man burns around 2500 calories per day and the average woman burns like 2000. It doesn't matter what you eat unless you don't exceed your amount of calories per day.
If you eat more often and in a more regular way your brain will think that there is enough food to eat and that there is no need to store food like crazy. The result is... You are feeling better (food is a great antidepressant) and satisfied more often and you won't pile up the plump.
A very good timetable would be:
(Wake up + 20min walk + cereals)
[3 hours]
(meal 2)
[3 hours]
(meal 3)
[3 hours]
(meal 4)
[4 hours]
(meal 5)
Now if you want to loose fat you will have to work out a calorific deficit of not more than 600 calories per week. Take a walk every morning on an empty stomach for 20 minutes and drink a glass of water every 3 hours. Try to reduce carbohydrates and fats. Eat more protein and drink more fruit juices.
Do some weight training to tone up any flab that you might get as a result of less fat under your skin and get ready for a new wardrobe!
Bulk up Mr. Thin!
If you have been pulled around or joked about at school or at work just because every one 'thinks' you cant bulk up muscle, I have good news for you.
What is happening to you?
Your digestive system works at a higher than normal rate and burns everything that you ingest as fast as it can. Your system is so fast that it burns both the fats and the proteins you ingest nearly as fast as it burns carbohydrates.
OK let's get to the point...
What you need is to reverse engineer what is happening to your opposite genetic type. Eating small meals often will only trigger your body to burn food faster. Your main aim should be to slow down your metabolic rate (the rate by which you burn food). Eat more fiber rich foods especially in the morning. Do not eat fats like there's no tomorrow because that is very unhealthy and no matter how much fat you pack on it will look ugly. You must pack on muscle. Eat larger meals less often and eat more carbohydrates.
Your typical timetable should be something like this:
(Wake up + cereals)
[4 hours]
(big meal 2)
[4 hours]
(big meal 3)
[4 hours]
(big meal 4)
And yes you must add weight training to your daily timetable. Do some resistance training to increase strength. Day on day off weight training is the best for you. If you change your eating style and do your weight training regularly you will start seeing results after a couple of weeks.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Great Health in 3 Simple Steps

Do you want great health, abundant energy, a fit, pain-free body, better-quality sleep, and an incredible sense of overall well-being? How would you like to wake up refreshed each morning and literally jump out of bed, filled with energy, vitality, and an eagerness to get things started? For most people, all the benefits of great health are just 3 relatively simple steps away.
But before you get too excited, remember that "simple" doesn't always mean "easy." The 3 steps you have to take to achieve incredible health and vitality are not really easy for most people. If you've eaten junk your entire life and rarely exercise, the transition to great health doesn't happen without a good amount of effort and a real desire to change.
Fortunately, the process can be significantly shortened -- and your chances of success dramatically improved -- by using the power of momentum. If you have to push a big boulder down a hill, 98% of the effort is made during the first few seconds. But once it gets going, it's difficult to stop!
The same is true when it comes to healthy living and developing positive habits. The first few weeks will be tough. But then it gets easier and easier, until it's so easy -- and the benefits so noticeable -- that it actually becomes enjoyable! This is how positive habits are formed. Most experts agree that, if you can do something on a daily basis for 21 days, it will become a habit.
So what are these 3 simple but powerful steps to great health and vitality? Here you go...
1. Positive Thoughts Are Vital
If you want to enjoy great health -- and a much better life all around -- you first have to "clear out" your mind and start thinking positive thoughts. Get rid of the junk -- all the negative, energy-zapping thoughts you're carrying in your mind -- and replace it with the good stuff. Positive thoughts are extremely energizing and they always lead to good things; it's as simple as that!
Fortunately, there are many good books and programs that can help you develop a positive thinking habit. But getting started is as simple as avoiding negative people, negative news, and negative activities. Force yourself to think only positive thoughts for 21 days and see how your energy and confidence literally skyrockets. Also, consider daily meditation, a proven method that's been practiced for thousands of years!
2. Eat Like a Caveman
Humans evolved over millions of years on a very basic (but extremely healthful) diet of greens, lean proteins, nuts, seeds, some tubers, small amounts of fruit, and water. Our bodies haven't had time to adapt to handle the foods most people eat, especially refined grains and sugars. Many health experts agree that this is a major reason for many of the epidemic health problems we face, including heart disease, cancer, and obesity.
The best option for most people is to follow a "caveman"-type diet. Basically, if a food didn't exist 3000 years ago, don't eat it! Base your diet around green, leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds, small amounts of lean meats and fish, some healthy tubers (like sweet potato) and small amounts of fruit. Obviously, changing to this type of diet isn't easy, but nothing worthwhile ever is. And most people notice such a positive change in their energy levels after only a week on this diet that they never want to go off of it!
3. Exercise First Thing in the Morning
For optimum health, exercise is a must. You probably already know that. But what you may not know is that exercising first thing in the morning is the key to getting maximum benefit AND enjoyment from just about any type of exercise you do. Exercising in the morning refreshes you, gets the blood pumping, "wakes up" your brain, and puts you in a positive mood that will carry over into everything you do for the rest of the day. It will be much easier to think positive thoughts and eat healthy foods.
Also, studies show that people who exercise first thing in the morning are much more likely to stick to a health and fitness program over the long term. Just remember to find something you enjoy, whether it's walking, biking, swimming, strength training or playing a favorite sport. No matter what, be extremely careful that you don't "train" yourself to hate exercise by choosing an activity you really dislike (like treadmill running!) or attempting to do too much exercise too fast. Also, if possible, always try to workout outdoors.
A Few Tips
Don't try to make all of the above changes at once. Definitely begin to develop a "positive thinking" habit first. It's not too difficult and the benefits are enormous. Then begin to incorporate a basic "caveman-style" diet and morning exercise into your daily routine. Start simply and make the process as enjoyable as possible. Remember, the key to long-term success is developing habits and enjoying the journey.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Cycling Is a Good Choice for Fitness

We keep hearing from medical professionals, news, magazines and friends that we need to get fit and I believe that cycling is one of the best options to achieve this.
If you are anyway like me then once you start doing something new, you tend to really go for it, sometimes a little too much and this can cause problems when it comes to keeping fit, so a word of advice is to start slowly and work your way up.
I'm Not a Doctor!
I have to start off by saying you shouldn't take this as any form of medical advice obviously (that is what your doctor is for) but I do truly believe cycling offers many advantages over other forms of exercises such as jogging. Just the fact that you're subjecting your joints to less impact surely must be a good thing.
Why I Think Cycling is Great
I know my knees are not in the best condition and they certain feel painful if I try to jog for a while but I do not tend to have this problem when I go for a bike ride.
For me riding a bike allows me to do short periods of intense exercise (usually up a steep hill) followed by longer periods of gentle exercise, all the while getting outside breathing fresh air and experiencing my local countryside views.
The intense periods of exercise tends to push my heart rate up which I believe is good for my cardio fitness yet I'm still keeping a sustained heart beat when I'm cycling in the less intense areas.
Do I Cycle in a Gym?
Some people like to cycle on a machine in a gym but I personally can't see the point. I know for the pure fitness benefit, there probably isn't much difference but I don't enjoy staring at a wall and I'd rather get out, pick a random route and enjoy the ride.
What About Cycling Tours?
Another thing I greatly enjoy doing is going on a cycling tour which is basically where you ride with a bike touring company in all sorts of beautiful locations around the world. They do all the work of planning the route, booking hotels etc.
Doing this is a fairly rare treat for me and my family but we really do enjoy these vacations. And we don't feel quite so guilty when we eat various deserts while on the tour because we know we're balancing it with the benefits we get from the cycling.