Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Fast Fitness-Related Weight-loss Tips

Boualem's Fit 'N Healthy Times, May Newsletter

Many weight-loss exercisers keep a predictable workout program, light to moderate cardio for extended periods with a strength training regimen once or twice a week, light weights, many repetitions, as for muscular endurance.

Is there anything wrong with this?

Not at all. For the sedentary beginner, it’s a great start. However, if you want faster results--body transforming results, it’s time to challenge your body. Don't be afraid of the "sugar-burning" zone!

Here are a few fat-burning challenges:

1.) For runners: change the focus from endurance or distance to speed and time. Throw in a few sprints. It's a great workout for your abs and lungs!

2.) For cardio machine addicts: be realistic about the intensity of your workout.

Did you know that a moderate level on a stationary bike is when you’re at about 150 watts? For stationary rowing, 150 watts is a vigorous intensity. Brisk walking is 4.0 mph.

If you can easily converse with the next person on the elliptical or if you're breezily breezing through a favorite magazine, it's time to bring the focus back to where it should be--exercise!

3.) For bodybuilders: if you’re stuck with the same routine and the same weight, it’s time for change--even if ever so slight. Sometimes it’s simply switching hand positions or barbells to dumbbells. For others, it may be time to recruit a safe spotter. Sometimes you have to really push for change.

4.) For weight loss strength training… Yes, the prescribed repetitions for weight loss is light and long. But, I swear that faster results come with heavier, shorter repetitions. Just try 10 heavier repetitions for 6 weeks. Give your body a change. Despite the commonly held belief amongst women, nobody turns into a bodybuilder that easily!

5.) For real fat trimming tricks: do a variety of cardiovascular challenges. Don’t stick with one thing unless you’re training for a particular sport. Mix it up. It keeps your body constantly responding.

6.) For walkers, you can get a better result from walking by paying attention to every step. Suck the gut in and keep the stomach muscles engaged--this doesn't just help work the abdominal muscles but will help keep your posture. Also, chest out; shoulders back--feel the bottom squeeze with each heel strike. Save strolling for dates.

7.) For anyone with only one cardio option--like a cardio machine. You can still change it up. If you use a cardio machine, they have a variety of programs and levels. Use them. If you're walking around the dining room table, throw in some interval plyometrics work.

8.) Video and TV exerciser? Don't stick with one dvd for 12 months straight. Instead, try sampling another workout dvd every 4 weeks, preferably increasing the intensity and moving from beginner to intermediate or to intermediate to advanced.

Change isn't easy. But good changes make good results!


Despite the cool new moves in the most current body building books and magazines, there are some things that don't change. I'll let you in on the basics of bodybuilding, month by month. If you want to transform your body into a calorie-burning, sculpted machine, pay attention.

This month's spotlight? THE BICEPS!

(Why? Because I often prescribe chest and biceps exercises on the same day. Most chest exercises also work the triceps, the opposing muscle group of the biceps.)

The 3 basic movements for strong biceps are these: Alternating Bicep Curls, Barbell Curls and Hammer Curls

TIPS FOR BICEP CURLS: Remember to raise the elbow at the point your biceps are contracted. This engages the front shoulder muscles.

TIPS FOR BARBELL CURLS: If you have wrist problems and have the option of using an ezbar instead of a straight barbell, do so. (It's a bar with four "bumps" in between the weighted ends.) Also, wide grip and narrow grip variation works different parts of the muscles.

Fat & Weight-loss Truths

Fat is an essential nutrient. It cannot be taken out of the diet. In fact, our diet, according to the Institute of Medicine, should consist of 20-35% of fat. The problem is that most of us exceed the recommended amount.

If you're trying to lose weight or cut body fat, shoot for no more than 20% of your calories to be from healthy fats.

What is healthy fat? Unsaturated fat that has not been hydrogenated, often from plant sources, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. Canola, flax seed and olive oil are our favorites, along with oils from fish and nuts.

How do you calculate 20%?

A.) You have to have an approximate idea of how many calories you need. (Try nutritiondata.com for a daily needs caloric calculator.)

B.) Once you have an approximate number, let's say it is 1800 calories a day. Multiply 1800 (or whatever your number is) by .2. Our example result is 360 calories.

C.) For some, counting grams is easier than calories. If so... Divide the number of fat calories by the amount of calories in just one gram--9. (Example: 360 divided by 9 = 40 grams)


Spicy Mustard Slaw

Mayo-free cabbage salad is refreshingly tangy and a little bit spicy. Great source for vitamins C and A and high in fiber. Low in saturated fat--no cholesterol!

1 head of cabbage
1 medium cucumber
1/2 lb Carrots
1/2 c white vinegar
2 T canola oil
1/4 t. pepper
2 T. mustard
2 T. sugar
1/4 t. hot cayenne pepper
Pinch of salt

1.) Clean produce and run through a food processor. Place in large bowl.

2.) In a small bowl mix vinegar, oil, spices, sugar and mustard.

3.) Whisk briskly and pour over vegetables.

4.) Mix again to disperse dressing evenly. Serve or refrigerate.

Note: Flavor is best when the slaw has a chance to marinate in the dressing!

SERVING SIZE: 4.2 ounces

Nutrition data: 66 calories per serving, calories from fat, 27
Total fat: 3 g, saturated fat: 0.2 g
Sodium: 37 mg
Total carbohydrates: 9.1 g, dietary fiber 2.4 g, sugars 5.5 g
Protein: 1.6 g
Vitamin A 65%
Vitamin C 40%
Calcium 4%
Iron 3%

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