Photobucket - Part 111

Tips for Maintaining your Weight over a Life-time

Do you have a weight tipping point?  That is the weight that when you “tip it”- you get your butt in gear and finally get serious about taking the extra pounds off?  My tipping point over the years has been 140lbs.  There have only been a couple times I let my weight drift that high, but every time it has- Bingo- I finally get serious!  Well it hit it 2 days ago.  At least close.  When I got on the scale 2 days ago and it said 139.4 and that internal alarm went off in my head.  It’s that time to get serious!”

Now I realize  with the way I eat- which is high in veggies and fiber and a few other water retaining items and lately dairy- that my weight can have wide fluctuations.  Regardless, something about seeing that number on the scale  gets me to take action.  It’s easy to justify carrying a few extra pounds.  It’s holiday time.  It’s winter time.  I’m building  muscle so it’s all muscle!  My energy is super high.  It’s only a few pounds that can wait til the beginning of the year.  I often become passive with weight  which is perfectly fine when it’s just a few pounds.  But something about 140lbs , or more like- how my body starts to look when I near that weight gets my mind in game.  If it was all muscle, then of course, it wouldn’t be a problem but we woman, if we gain 10lbs, unfortunately will not all be muscle.

For maintaining weight over a lifetime, I think it’s good to have an acceptable range and a  weight tipping point that kicks you into gear.  For some people that weight tipping point might be just 5 lbs.  For others it may be 10lbs.  From my time outside college, I have maintained a weight range of 130-140 lbs- and the majority right dead in the center because every time my weight started creeping up to to the higher end- I became motivated to take action.

The problem most people run into maintaining weight is that they let their weight creep up a little, listen to the same justification I use myself, but then just let it keep creeping and creeping until suddenly they are 30lbs overweight.  Then it’s much harder!  Most of us know how to diet.  It’s really a matter of motivation.  I finally got it two days ago!

What did I do?  Well I made a conscious  effort to stick to an exact pre-written plan and with that  lost 4.3 lbs in two days.   This morning I was back to 135.2.  Call it crazy but I feel much better even though I know quick losses  are mostly water weight. Still,  quick results is what I needed to motivates me to stick with a diet for more than two days.  My plan is to stick it out for a while with minor adjustments and get through the holiday season a few pounds lighter.

Here are my tips for maintaining weight for a life-time.

1.) Have an acceptable range for your weight and a tipping point of which you don’t ever allow your weight to go over.

2.) If you hit your tipping point, get into immediate action.  Make a plan that suits your lifestyle and eating habits.  It’s not really complicated.  For all the time I focus on macronutrients, and they do play a part in weight-loss, for most people with normal metabolisms just cutting back on calories will almost always result in weight loss.

3.) Make a plan and stick with it.  If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.  I know this firsthand because I hate to track calories too.  I don’t ever do it until I need to.   I just don’t want to plain know how many thousand of calories in nuts or peanut butter I just ate.  Every time I’ve been successful in dieting though I’ve tracked calories and followed a plan.

4.) Go public or share with someone to make you accountable.  Nothing like a buddy for support and to check in with!  And with the internet- you go public, then you have major egg on your face if you don’t follow through.  That’s a good motivator!

I’ll keep everyone posted on how I do this week.  My first 2 days were pretty easy.  Today, (day 3) my bike ride went fine- but no second work-out for me!  No one can convince me energy is not adversely affected cutting calories and/or carbohydrates!  By going public with you, i’m sure I’ll be more encouraged to stick with it until I get back to 130!



Hate Cardio? Try these 7 classes to rock your work-outs!

Do you hate cardio machines as much as me?

I love to work-out!  There’s nothing I love more!   As often as you can catch me in the gym or biking or swimming  in the Florida sun, it’s a rare occasion when you would find me on a cardio machine!  I find cardio machines the most boring exercise ever!  And with the awesome group fitness classes available, there’s no reason to be bored!  At least not me!   Group fitness classes elevate my heart more, work my muscles more and motivate me more.  I’d like to  share my 5 favorite group fitness classes.  I hope they are available at your gym.

My gym Lifestyle Family Fitness offers almost all Les Mills classes.  Les Mills offers a great variety of cardio-pumping fun, original choreography, high intensity interval training, and lots of weight training using your body-weight, bars, bands and balls.  I am going to list my favorite classes and I will comment on the effectiveness of each class for your particular goals.

1.) Body Step- Great all over body work-out and cardio

Body Step has always been my favorite, but the newest versions are a  revolution in fitness!  They combine great music and high intensity cardio coupled with high intensity interval training which includes burpees, jumping lunges, and weighted squat jumps.  There is a 7 minutes of high intensity interval training which pushes you to your absolute max and when you are totally exhausted and can barely breath it finishes up with one more high intensity weighted song.  Step always gives you plenty of leg work with squats and lunges and has  introduced some weight work  along with stomach work to top things off.

2.) Body Pump- An all-over body pump, great for muscle strength and endurance

I recently added body pump to my work-outs.  I used to pass on it because I felt high reps was not effective at building muscle and that  it would interfere with my heavier strength work-outs.  But I’ve become a total believer!  I really love this class.  Body pump offers a 5-6 minute blast of high reps to exhaustion on every body part and very little rest.  Body pump gives you not only a muscle pump but a cardio pump as well and will leave your muscles spent.  Not only has this class not interfered with my strength, I believe it has aided my heavier work-outs and improved my muscle endurance.  And while high reps is not thought to build muscle as much as lower reps, I think the beautiful buff bods of the body pump instructors tell another story.  And I love the variety it adds to strength training!

3.) Cardio Fusion- High Intensity Interval Training

Fusion is the best mix of high intensity cardio and muscle strengthening.  The class alternates between Body Attack and Body Pump.  Fusion is the best of both worlds-great for strength, endurance, and high intensity cardio and never fails to exhaust

4.) Body Attack- High Intensity Cardio to the Max!

Awesome cardio pump  with 45 minutes of insanely high intensity cardio with added upper body resistance exercises, leg resistance work and stomach work.  The newest versions offer crazy burpees, and plyo lunges and jump squats as well as an agility track that is athlete worthy.  A great  calorie burner!

5.) CXWorks- 30 minute core-training

This core-training class blasts you abs, legs, shoulder, chest and back in a way that focuses on core strength.  Part of the class relies on bands and part of the class relies on body resistance.  Be prepared to plank.  But the great thing about this class, is at 3o minutes, you know you can make it to the end!

6.) Sha-Bam-  Dance til you drop

Shabam is a great dance oriented class with great music and choreography that’s not so complicated you can’t follow.  A fun class that still works up a sweat.

7.) Body-Vive  Low impact cardio and all over strength with balls and band

Body Vive is 30 minuts low impact cardio and 30 minutes strength and core training with balls and bands.  a welcome  breather from the higher intensity cardio classes and the core and strength moves are similar to the CXWorks exercises.

So there you go.  I might do each  most of these classes once in a week period.  I love the variety, the music and the personality the instructors bring.  Plus working out with a group, you always push yourself to a level you would probably not on your own.  So try them out!  You’ll never go back to cardio machines again!


How to zap a Slowing Metabolism

I hear it all the time.  After 30 or after 40 your metabolism slows to nothing.  Even my mom will say to me, “You know your metabolism slows down when you get older.  Look at all the exercise that you do and you never lose any weight.” Really?  Are we really doomed after 30? Should we give up after 40?  Well, there may be a grain of truth that the metabolism slows each decade  I always  point out to my mom- that I also eat about 3 times more food than I did in high school, and twice as much as I did my first 2 years of college.  During 2 years in high school I subsisted on no more than 800 calories a day and maybe 1200-1500 my first year in college.  Those calorie numbers doubled  once I started weight training my sophomore in college.  And now 20 years later it seems almost impossible to eat less than 2500 without being hungry.  I eat and eat and eat.  So does that sound like my metabolism is slowing?  Hmmmm?

They say a woman’s metabolism slows by 2% per decade after age 30.  So if the average woman eats 2000 calories a day we’re only talking about 40 calories less you can eat each decade.  That puny decline is caused by loss of muscle that happen as we get older-starting as early as our later twenties- that’s if you’re not weight-training.  If you’re weight training- you can eat as much as you ever did.

Here are a few tips to keep the metabolism churning.

1.) Don’t go too low on calories.  Your body will adapt to the fewer calories every time.  The metabolism will slow to account for the lower calories and as soon as you slip back to a “normal” number of calories you will gain the weight right back and then some.  A smartest way to lose is by a creating a modest 300-500 calorie deficit and adding 300-500 of calorie burning to your daily routine.  And on top of that, include one or 2 days a week where you eat a normal number of calories or have a cheat day.  This will help reset your metabolic furnace and keep the calories burning.

2.) Include plenty of protein

Protein has a thermogenic effect which actually allow you to eat an extra 100 or 200 calories a day.  Protein requires more calories to burn so  include some high quality lean sources of protein with every meal.  plus protein fills you up!

3.) Eat early and frequently

You’ve heard it all your life.  Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  Studies have shown people who eat breakfast tend to lose more weight than breakfast skippers.  A lot of body-builders start eating within an hour of waking up and continue eating every three hours after that.  Others like me prefer to get a work-out first on an empty stomach.  Either way, the first meal of the day definitely revs up your metabolism after not eating for 10-12 hours.  Frequent eating some may argue is not proven to speed the metabolism but if  top competition body-builders over the last 20 years, the leanest athletes on earth, were used as a case study, you’d find that that is exactly how they dieted to get to single digit body-fat levels.

4.) Pump the weights!

The most important thing you can do to rev your metabolism is hit the iron.  Muscle burns nine times more calories than fat.  So the more muscle you build the more calories you require.   The hormonal changes that occur with weight-training are favorable to fat-burning as well as increased metabolism for hours after the fact.

5.) Increase the intensity of your work-outs.

  There is a  growing body of evidence that short intense work-outs and high intensity interval training are superior to extended low to medium intensity work-outs for keeping the calories burning for up for an extra 48hours afterwards.  So work-out smarter not longer and go for that extra push to elevate your heart-rate.

6.) Split your work-outs

If you do your weights in the morning, try doing your cardio in the afternoon or split your cardio in 2 smaller sessions. Each session will rev the metabolism and keep the calorie after burn going longer.

7.) Get your shut eye!

Get 8 hours or more  to maximize your fat-burning and metabolism.  Lack of sleep creates hormonal disruptions that interfere with fat burning an appetite control.  Studies suggest people who run on lack of sleep will eat on average an additional 300 calories and be hungrier than those who have adequate sleep.

8.) Relax!

Stress increases cortisol levels which leads to abdominal fat which is considered the most dangerous.  The best way to eliminate excess cortisol is eliminate stress.  And if you’re already working out with weights you’re probably doing a good job already!

There are other suggestions I could put out there but these are the most important and significant ways to keep your metabolism stoked well into your thirties, forties, and beyond.  Hope you put them to use!




Faraday’s training, diet and fitness goals

I’ve been working out in some form or fashion all my life- even before working out became popular, although we called it gymnastics, tag, football, soccer, baseball back then, didn’t we?  In high-school I started doing “the 20 minute workouts”  which was my introduction to aerobics and once I went to college became introduced to weight-training.  My work-outs have varied somewhat throughout the years- but have always have had weight-training and aerobics in common.  I wanted to write a quick blog as a record of my current training, diet and goals.

My fitness goals have stayed pretty steady through-out the years.  Common themes have been building muscle, losing fat, increasing endurance and strength and improving my body aesthetics.  I’ve always had in the back of my mind the idea of competing in a show to celebrate my love of fitness, but seems other things always got prioritized above it.  I really thought I wanted to try a show this year, but seems I wanted  my vacations more.  And eating on vacation too!  And eating in general.  I love having  strong work-outs and the more I eat, the better, the stronger, the longer my work-outs are and the better I feel.  I hate reducing calories.  I hate eliminating carbs.  I hate the idea of having so much structure in my eating plan for such a  long a period of time.  I hate being overly strict with myself and my eating.

So it all boils down to if I really want it enough.  And so I’m not sure yet.  It’s definitely a big commitment.  So, we’ll see.  But I’ll set a new goal for next year and really do it this time.

Currently, I’ve been really enjoying my work-outs.  I’ve had tons of energy and endurance and putting it to good use with a lot of new metabolic conditioning classes.  Our gym has launched so many great new classes that combine not only high intensity cardio but also a lot of muscle work with weights, bands and balls and high intensity interval training.  So much so- that I’ve really had to do some shuffling with my weight work-outs so as not to over-train.  Which I probably am anyway.  I still make sure to fit in one heavy back and shoulder work-out and one heavy leg work-out each week.  I really don’t feel any need any additional chest, bicep and tri-cep work with all the weight work-out in the classes.  I was making these work-outs metabolic work-outs where I incorporate strength moves with complex multiple muscle movements and super-sets.  But sometimes with all the classes- I need to just focus on keeping maximum strength and just go as heavy as I can with straight sets.   I bike 20 miles most days of the week too but I consider that more recreational because I usually don’t push it to high intensity.

Overall, I’m happy with my level of musculature.  I really don’t need bigger muscles.  I’d just like to maintain what Ive got as I start to peel off the extra vacation pounds I can’t seem to get motivated to lose.

My diet has primarily high proteins and high veggies and medium fat for a long time.  But my calories are high- usually in the range of 2500.  Recently I started tracking and concluded my calories were hitting closer to 3000.  So that answered the question of why I wasn’t losing any weight with all the working out.   It’s very easy for me to go over-board with nuts or peanut butter if it’s around and I  can add a lot of calories to my totals with my protein shakes by the time I add a few things to it or eat a whole quart of yogurt.  I do indulge once in awhile and have a big sweet tooth.  And I eat late into the middle of the night which is just a habit I’m in for the last 20 years.  I’m always happy with my body whether I’m 125 or 135 but right now I’m more like 135- and I feel 130 is a more attractive weight on me and a more comfortable weight for my work-outs.

So what better place than to commit now on my blog?  I’m committing to getting back to 130 before the holidays, and keeping the work-outs going strong and long.  Maybe a competition next year.  How bout you?


The China Study- Is vegan the way to cure heart disease?

When I started reading the China Study, I really didn’t know exactly what type of diet T.  Colin Campbell PHD advocated.  Several people insisted I needed to read the book and I was curious to find out what the study was.   I quickly became highly impressed with Dr. Campbell’s extensive 50 year research background and lists of professional accomplishments.  I’ve never read a nutrition or diet related book  from a doctor  with more hands-on research  in the area of nutrition than Dr. Campbell.  And he came across to me as honest and sincere.  So I decided I was going to have open mind.  One of the things I liked was that  Dr. Campbell refers  to research and numbers and statistic to make statements for him-  not just throwing opinions out there with nothing  to back it up.  He lets the research do the talking.  He has a fascinating background which actually begins on his family dairy farm and a participant and proponent of the milk/eggs/cattle/poultry industry which he refers to a big part of “the mainstream Western diet”.   Dr. Campbell shares how the evolution of his current views on nutrition came to be over many years and based on the hundreds of research studies  over a lifetime  convincingly pointing him towards the same conclusions that a whole foods plant based diet, essentially a Vegan diet- is the solution to eliminate heart disease and essentially all chronic diseases.

Dr. Campbell starts by laying out the astronomical  heart disease and cancer statistics here in the United States, and points to other “diseases of extravagance” he calls them- because they don’t generally exist in high numbers  in less developed countries but are prevalent in Western culture.  I don’t think anyone needs convincing that we have a huge problem with obesity, heart disease and cancer in this country.  The China Study compares patterns of disease which exist highly among countries like our own who consume high levels of animal products and contrasts that to  many rural areas of China that are virtually free of the same diseases who follow a primarily whole foods plant based diet with very little animal protein. The study itself was the largest of its kind covering 2400 Chinese counties and 880 million people or 96% of their citizens and they gathered data on 367 variables.   When the study was concluded the researchers found 8000 statistically significant associations between lifestyle, diet and disease.

In America he says 15-16% of our diet comes from protein and 80% of that from animal sources as compared to rural China areas which consumes 9-10% of their calories  from protein with only 10% of that coming from animal sources. The main differences in disease rates Dr. Campbell attributes to the difference in animal protein intake.  Rural Chinese also ate more calories, less fat and cholesterol, and much more fiber from whole plant foods and more iron.  Dr. Campbell believes these differences support his conclusions that chronic diseases are closely linked to bad nutrition and in particularly high intake of animal-based products.

The study itself was an amazing undertaking and would seem to support his views that a primarily whole food plant based diet results in less heart disease and cancer.   His arguments are much more persuasive when coupled by the additional studies he sites.   The questions that came to my mind were: 1.)  How can you separate the Western diet problems of excess sugar and overly processed foods consumption with our high consumption of animal based products, fats and cholesterol?  2.)  Could  the answers not lie in the additional benefits of a higher plant and fiber consumption in rural China  independently of  their lower animal-based food intake?   3.) How do you separate the problems of obesity which exists because  of over-consumption in general?  4.) What about the problem of lack of exercise?

The  findings in the book I  find the most interesting and impressive included Dr. Campbell’s rat studies where cancer  was halted in its tracks 100% of the time  by simply altering the protein ratio  fed to rats from 20% to 5% protein.   Any research study with 100% results is pretty phenomenal.  After cancer cells were implanted in rats, the cancer proliferated into tumors 100% of the time when the diet was increased from 5% to 20% protein and was halted 100% of the time when the protein was then reduced to 5%.  The cancer never proliferated as long as the rats were fed only 5% protein.  The research was repeated many times with different variables changed and but always resulted in the same 100% conclusions.   This supported a previous researchers exact same findings. I don’t know about you, but this was the first I heard of any research in which cancer was halted 100% of the time.

Can cancer in humans be halted in the same way  by simply altering our animal protein intake?  Dr. Campbell believes this to be the case and believes the China Study backs up that conclusion with large based human studies.  The question that came to my  mind with the rat study were:  Can the results be related to the actual intake of casein (which was the type of animal protein used to feed the rats)  rather than  generalized to all animal proteins?   Dr. Campbell  did point out disturbingly high correlations between infants fed casein based formula (as opposed to being breast fed) and type 1 diabetes to a % which would make me never want to formula feed if I had a baby to consider.

Can a whole foods plant based diet actually reverse heart disease?  Dr. Campbell believes this to be the case, along with other doctors like Dr. Lester Morrison, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Dr. Dean Ornish among others who have done research in this area.   I thought the book provided the most compelling research to back this up this viewpoint.  I wondered why hadn’t I heard of this research before?  Why was I under the impression that heart disease was irreversible and surgical intervention was the only option?  Could it be because that is what we are supposed to believe?

As far back as 1946 research was being done by Dr. Lester Morrison to determine the relationship between dietary fat and atherosclerosis.  He took 50 heart attack survivors  and instructed them to maintain their typical American diet and another 50 heart attack survivors and  started them on a low fat low cholesterol diet which only included two 2 oz servings of lean meat a day. After 8 years only 12 of the 50 eating the typical American diet were still alive  vs 28 who were still alive in the experimental low-fat diet group.  After 12 years every single patient in the control group was dead but 19 patients were still alive in the low fat, low cholesterol diet group.  This research was part of the work which led to the current US recommendations of lowering our cholesterol intake to 200mg or lower for heart patients or 300mg for healthy people.

The Esselstyn heart study had the most impressive  results of all  and showed an actual reversal of athersclerosis by as much as 8% in 5 years.  In this study Dr. Esselstyn followed 18 heart patients for 5 years who had already experienced 49 coronary events, so a very high-risk group already.   He placed them on a plant based whole foods diet which eliminated all animal products except for one cup of yogurt or one glass of skim milk.  In 5 yrs on the plant based diet the average total cholesterol of the patients was reduced from 246 mg/dl to 134 mg/dl and the blockages on the arterial walls were reduced by 8%!  Equally impressive was the fact that in the eleven years following the dietary changes there were no new coronary events except for one patient who strayed from the diet for 2 years and experienced angina but which disappeared once he resumed the plant based diet.  I don’t know about you, but this was the first I heard of anything besides surgery or angioplasty for reducing blockages!

Dr. Dean Ornish did research which backed Esselstyn’s findings.   In Dr. Ornish’s study, 28  heart patients were put on a plant based diet eliminating all animal products except for egg whites and a cup of non-fat yogurt daily.  20 additional patients followed their typical American diet.  At the conclusion of one year the 28 patients on the no fat, no cholesterol, no animal products diet experienced a reduction in cholesteral from 227 mg/dl to 172 mg/dl and total bad cholesterol dropped from 152 mg/dl to 95 mg/dl.  Additionally, the patients with the best adherence experienced a 4% reduction in blockages within 1 year.  Frequency and duration of chest pains plummeted by 91% with the patients on the plant based diet whereas chest pains increased by 165% with the second group who didn’t alter their diet and  arterial blockages worsened in this group by as much as 8%.

So what do I think now?

Overall,  Dr. Campbell makes a compelling case for a solely plant based diet.   Am I ready to go vegan?  Maybe not just yet.   This was  the first time I’ve read anything advocating a Vegan diet so I plan to explore this further.  I am definitely asking questions that never entered my mind and I’m more open to looking at this type of diet, and even trying to giving Vegan a shot for some period of time.  Vegetarian?  I could do that no problem.  I’m not attached to meat.  I eat it to get my protein but  I could just as easily rely on egg-whites, low-fat dairy, protein shakes and  fish  for my protein.   Eliminating all animal products wouldn’t be so tough if I was already 100% convinced that Vegan eating was the healthiest way to eat.

What I do like about the whole plant foods based diet Dr. Campbell recommends is that I already eat tons of vegetables, so that confirms my own beliefs that veggies and whole foods are a great thing!   Whole plant based foods are much healthier than refined, processed and sugary foods and trans-fats.  The part  that is a greater leap is abandoning  my long held beliefs that  protein, including animal protein, is necessary for building muscle and a healthy body.  I have adhered to an even higher intake protein  than Dr. Campbell sites for the average American.  Many in the body-building community have been ingrained with the idea that we need even additional protein to build muscle and that we should eat 1gram per lb of lean body weight which would be double the USRDA for protein!  I’ve eaten that way for a long time and it appears to have worked for me. so far.   So that’s my resistance talking.  I’m extremely healthy by all standard measure  including low cholesterol, low blood pressure and  low triglycerides, high exercise endurance and strength.  So doesn’t that mean I’m doing something right? Or does that mean my exercise habits trump my higher protein intake?

I will say Dr. Campbell does have me questioning whether I need as high a level of  protein as I’ve been eating.   I really have not wanted to eat  meat since reading the book and I have cut down on my fats too.  I’ve  been eating  primarily vegetarian style (egg- whites, dairy and fish) while keeping my protein high.   I’m not sure if Dr. Campbell would think that is any better, switching one animal source for another but still keeping my protein intake 20% or more.   But I am open to researching Vegan effects on health more and trying to exchange some of my animal protein based meals for vegetable protein based meals.

Would I switch to a Vegan diet if my I  had heart disease, high cholesterol, blood pressure or triglycerides or cancer?  You bet.  If my diet wasn’t keeping me healthy, I would.   I do believe there are other  problems with the whole Western diet, cancer, heart disease,diabetes, obesity epidemic in our country and I don’t know if animal proteins are at the heart of it.    The truth is, I don’t know.  But Dr. Caldwell certainly gives me another credible viewpoint to consider.  And I certainly am doing that.  Read the book- and make your own judgments.  Hope this review was helpful.

3 Get Fit Tips! Getting the most bang for your buck!

As a life-time fitness enthusiast who has lived, breathed, studied and practiced fitness for my life-time and followed the current research and trends in fitness I think I can tell you a few things that will not only give you the most bang for your buck- but also save you time in gym.  Over the years I’ve tried it all- and definitely learned from my own mistakes. So if your goal is to get your best body ever in the shortest time possible, here’s my input.

1.) Make Weights the focus of your fitness routine.  You can’t shape a sexy body without  weight training.  You can lose weight  and become a smaller version of what you already are- but if you want to shape sexy legs and butt and shoulders- cardio alone won’t cut it.  Before college all I did was cardio.  I didn’t have much body fat- but I didn’t have much shape either.  You might think I was hot if you liked skinny girls.   It wasn’t until college that I became enamored of bodies like Rachel McLish and Corey Everson.  I discovered weight training and totally transformed my body in a short time.  Here are a couple college photos shortly after I started training with weights.  Untitled 1 300x209 3 Get Fit Tips!  Getting the most bang for your buck!Definitely had much more shape!  But you hate weights?  The good news is the amount of weight training needed to start shaping your body doesn’t require hours and hours in the gym.  In fact, if you are just getting started and you focus on basic core exercises- for each body part- you can see results with as little as 30 minutes in the gym 3 times a week.  Also, a lot gym classes now offer classes with the focus on weights or combination weights and cardio and the classes are fun.  Boot-camps are popping up everywhere.  So if you are intimidated by the weight room- weight based classes are a great starting place.  And while I don’t think they replace basic weight exercises in the gym- they are a great compliment or good starting place.

2.) Cardio- More is not always better.  The latest research suggests short intense sessions which get your heart rate up to 80% of your max heart rate- will give you more bang for the buck than longer slow or medium steady-state cardio.  And the “epoch effect” or calories burned after the fact which last for up to 48hrs will be more with short intense sessions.  So, no need to kill yourself with hours and hours of cardio everyday.  unless you just want to! icon smile 3 Get Fit Tips!  Getting the most bang for your buck!   Honestly, I’ve done lots and I’ve done less.  There really is no difference in results with me.  Cardio doesn’t change my weight and research suggests is not particularly great for weight loss.  The body is very sophisticated and quickly adjusts to longer cardio sessions by burning fewer calories or making you hungrier.  You ever wonder why many cardio instructors who teach 5 classes a day or marathoners who run 10 miles a day are no leaner than anybody else?  Not always the case, but often enough.  I can tell you- as someone who’s done 1hr or has done 3 hours- the only difference for me is the frequency of injuries.   Don’t misunderstand.  I do advocate cardio.  It will work your heart, decrease blood pressure, blood cholesterol, increase endurance and energy plus a host of benefits.  But more is not necessarily better.  What is the optimal amount?  I can’t say for sure- but my personal recommendation would be 1hour at least 3 days-5 days a week.

3.)  Focus on Diet- not cardio- to lose extra body fat.  So much can be said about diet that I’ll have to write multiple other blogs on it.  But in general, if you have a healthy metabolism and no under-lying condition that would prevent weight-loss- calories do count.  And for every time in my life that I actually adhered to it (I do love to eat), the law of thermogenisis applies.  A lb of fat consists of 3500 calories.  You need to eat less than you burn or create a daily calorie deficit in order to lose weight.  How do you  create a deficit?  Everyone’s calorie needs will be slightly different but a general rule is take your body weight and multiply by 10 to find your base calories needed for maintenance.  Add in calories you burned during exercise to find your personal maintenance level. So say you weigh 140lbs.  You would need a minimum 1400 calories to maintain with no exercise.  Add in 500 calories burned during exercise- then your needs would go up to 1900.  So you might try to adjust your diet to 1400-1600 a day to create a 300-500 calorie deficit a day.  I have much more to say on diet and what you should be eating.  But if you adhered to nothing else besides consciously cutting your calories- You should start to see a difference in the scale.  Hope this helps someone just a wee bit!

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