Archive for June, 2011|Monthly archive page

Why You Aren’t Losing Fat (And What You Can Do About It)

I’ve seen it countless times.  Someone does their cardio exercise almost everyday, usually it’s a run, eats right, but still cannot lose their excess body fat.  There really isn’t anything more frustrating in all of fitness than doing the things you think you are supposed to be doing, and STILL holding on to that body fat you so desperately want to see disappear. 

Maybe you’re on the elliptical or other machine which tells you how many calories you’re burning.  You use a food journal, do the math, and have calculated you are burning more calories than you are taking in; you SHOULD be losing weight you may think to yourself. 

You may start to feel like all your efforts to run, bike, whatever it is you typically do, are in vain.  You are simply maintaining and see no progress.  This is a classic thought process, and one of the biggest contributors to burn out.  Instead of being the benefit to your love handles, what if we told you your cardio routine may be the reason why you aren’t losing fat?  Keep listening…

For many people, running is their form of cardio exercise.  They’ll often go on 4, 5, 6+ mile runs and think they are doing what they are supposed to be doing.  In reality, your body is a pretty remarkable machine.  It can easily adapt to a given stimulus over a period of time.  Doing primarily the same runs at the same speed over a period of time is going to slowly decrease the effectiveness of the run.  Your body becomes more and more efficient at handling the same run, which leads to the workout becoming less challenging over time.  After some time of doing the same basic run, your body will burn less calories for energy than it did when you first began your running regimen.

There is some research out there that suggests long, slow-to-moderate paced cardio workouts may contribute to the LOSS of lean muscle mass over time.  As we should all know by now, the loss of muscle mass contributes to a decrease in your metabolic rate.  The body with less lean muscle mass is burning fewer calories at rest than the same body with more lean muscle mass.  Your goal is to keep your metabolism as high as possible for your body type.  Combine this with the fact that your body has adapted to your cardio routine, and you have recipe for non-existent fat loss and a loss of motivation.

You may have heard the myth that you burn more fat calories by doing low-intensity cardio, while high-intensity cardio uses more carbohydrate stores for energy.  Per a recent CNN Health article: 

“In general, low intensity exercise has its place — it’s less stressful on joints.

The myth is that if you exercise too intensely, you end up burning carbohydrates instead of fat.

It’s the most dangerous type of myth because there’s a kernel of truth in it, Hutchinson said.

The more intensely you exercise, the higher proportion of carbs you burn. You may burn less fat, but the total amount of calories burned is higher and that is the bigger picture.

When your body has burned up all the carbs, it starts burning fat.

“You can ignore zones and pay attention to how many calories you burn, which ultimately determines how much body fat you’re going to lose,” Fitzgerald said.”

Focus on how many calories you are burning during your exercise.  I realize this can be hard and confusing at times, so go all out and pull back from your training when your body demands that you do so.  You will no doubt be burning more calories, and ultimately, more fat, by training at an elevated pace.

So, what does all this mean for you?  Our mantra is this: if you want to look like an athlete (and here too), you need to train like an athlete.  How does one train like an athlete you may be wondering.  For one, athletes and people with lean, athletic, healthy builds, don’t simply go on the same run everyday and expect to keep losing weight.  Cross-training is the key to success, along with high-intensity interval training.

Don’t stay at one pace the entire time you do your cardio.  Work short, intense bursts of energy expenditure into your run, bike ride, etc.  Every few minutes, go at 90-100% for 30 seconds.  Ease up, and repeat this cycle for as long as you are exercising for.  This type of training keeps your body on its toes, and will never allow it to get comfortable with what you are doing, which is key to speed up fast loss.

Cross-training is just another word for training your body using various formats to achieve a higher level of success.  You should always aim to incorporate various forms of fitness into your routine.  Alternating your weight training program to include periods of heavy weights/low reps, and low weights/high reps, supplementing with pilates classes, cardio-based fitness classes, wind sprints, running stairs…..you get the point.

The principles of cross-training is what helped shape the Body Diversity Training method we founded here at Share It Fitness.  We believe combining a variety of strength/cardio based fitness classes with an effective weight training routine is the single best way to achieve that healthy, lean, and toned body everyone should be striving for. 

Above all, you need to develop the mental discipline to push yourself.  Whether you are going for a run, lifting weights, or taking a bike ride.  NEVER get comfortable with what you are doing.  If you ever get to the point where going for that run doesn’t seem like work, it’s because it probably isn’t anymore.  Always up your intensity when possible, push yourself to lift that heavier weight, and keep trying different forms of exercise.  Do this, and that stubborn fat is going to start melting away in no time.

The Most Overlooked Component of Health (and how it will help increase your muscle mass)

What does “being fit” mean to you?  Does it mean having a low-level of body fat?  The ability to run long distances?  The ability to run short distances quickly?  Having a low BMI? Having huge muscles?

Being fit means different things to different people.  However, many experts believe there are three core components that cannot be neglected to achieve a high level of fitness.  The first is muscular efficiency.  A lean, toned, and well-proportioned frame is important to a healthy metabolism and bodily function.  Second would be the cardiovascular piece to this puzzle.  Engaging in frequent cardiovascular exercise, that efficiently raises your training heart rate, will provide you with a wealth of benefits.  Not only will you have improved lung and circulatory function, but you will realize a reduced risk for a plethora of life-threatening diseases and conditions.

The last part of this equation of health, and one that is frequently ignored, is flexibility.  Flexibility training is vital to your overall health and well-being.  Engaging in just 10 minutes of stretching most days a week is all that is required to reap the benefits of having a flexible body.  Flexibility has several benefits which include:

  • Increased ability to perform exercises more efficiently, thereby allowing you to train better
  • Improvement of blood circulation throughout your body
  • Reduced risk of injury to muscles, tendons, and ligaments
  • Enhancement of muscle recovery when a stretching routine is performed after a workout
  • Increased ability to generate muscle mass
Now, all of the benefits listed above are great, however, I’d like to expand a bit on our last point.  Skeptical that stretching several times a week can lead to increased muscular gains?  Let me explain how.
Muscles in the human body are encased by something called fascia.  Fascia is a type of connective tissue that is quite tough and fibrous.  Fascia is great in that it helps to protect our muscles and keep them in place, however, it often hinders the ability of the muscle to grow since it is so tightly wound around the muscle.
Eating a strict, protein-rich diet and training like a freak is great, but you will never realize your full potential if you are up against, stiff and tight fascia.  Stretching loosens fascia so that a muscle has room to grow.  Why put in all the effort of eating clean and working out like a maniac if you aren’t even able to reap the full benefits of that work.  A little stretching will make any strength program instantly more effective.
Now, I know many guys who completely ignore their flexibility.  They view it as something that is unimportant to achieving their overall goals of gaining lean muscle mass.  Clearly, this is something that should not be ignored.  What if you could instantly improve the effectiveness of your time spent in the gym by doing one simple thing?  Wouldn’t you want to do it?  You’re killing yourself, constantly changing your routine to promote growth, and training to failure.  Make all of that sacrifice all the more beneficial by introducing flexibility training into your routine.  Whether it’s after you’re done weightlifting, or something you do for 10 minutes before bed, stretching is guaranteed to help your muscles grow faster.
When stretching, there are some key points to keep in mind.  These points include:
  • Stretch to point of tension, not pain
  • Breath naturally during your stretch
  • Hold each stretch for three 20-30 second intervals
  • If you experience serious burning or pain, back off
  • Gradually increase the stretch over each interval, especially when stretching a cold muscle
Give a stretch routine a try, either at the gym or at home, and start reaping all the benefits that this often overlooked component of fitness can bring about.

8-Week Bikini Ready Legs and Butt Program

Summer is just getting into full-swing, so what better way to get yourself bikini ready, than to start a serious lower body transformation program?  For all you ladies out there, getting a set of toned, tight legs, really isn’t that difficult.  All it takes is some dedication and a well-designed exercise program to take you from flab to fab.  The following program is designed to build lean muscle in your calves, quads, hamstrings, and glutes.  By using elements of an athletic training routine, we are able to significantly blast the muscle fibers in a way that traditional strength training cannot.

Think about it…athletes have pretty nice bodies, right?  It’s not coincidence. It’s the fact that these types of people use explosive plyometric training combined with strength training to failure.  Studies have shown that combining plyometric training with strength training is the best and fastest way to realize muscle gains.

Follow this program for 8 weeks and you are guaranteed to notice a serious change in your lower half.

Alternate between the following two workouts in each group as often as you’d like; just remember to leave 2 full days between training sessions.

Group 1; Weeks 1-4

Day 1

  • Barbell Squats 3 x 10
  • Box/Bench Jumps 3 x 25
  • Dumbbell Deadlifts 3 x 10
  • Dumbbell Lunges 3 x 15
  • Calf Raises on Smith Machine 3 x 20
Day 2
  • Sumo Squats 3 x 10
  • Exercise Ball Leg Extensions 3 x 15
  • Reverse Lunges 3 x 15
  • Bulgarian Squats 3 x 10
  • Leg Press 3 x 10
  • Calf Raises on Leg Press Machine 3 x 20
Group 2; Weeks 5-8
Day 1
  • Squat Jumps 3 x 25
  • Squats 3 x 12
  • Quad Extension 3 x 10
  • Dumbbell Step ups onto bench 3 x 15
  • Long Jumps 3 x 20
  • Jump Rope 3 x 1 minute
Day 2
  • Barbell Deadlifts 3 x 10
  • Lateral Hops 3 x 20
  • Reverse Dumbbell Step ups onto Bench 3 x 15
  • Prisoner Squats 3 x 25
  • Single Leg Press 3 x 12
  • Stationary Bike on Highest Resistance 3 x 2 minutes
Now that you know exactly what exercises you should be completing, lets quickly discuss HOW we are going to complete them.  First and foremost, and something I always preach; as a woman, lifting weights is NOT going to make you big and bulky IF you don’t the following:
  1. Take steroids
  2. Eat thousands of calories more than you are already eating (assuming you aren’t already eating massive amounts of calories)
Muscle doesn’t just grow because you lift weights.  If it did, millions of body builders wouldn’t have such a strict and regulated diet.  To build the kind of muscles you ladies are afraid of getting, you need to fuel your body with many, many calories to promote that growth.  Combined with the fact you are lacking the amount of testosterone needed to grow the kind of muscles a man has, you have nothing to worry about by lifting heavy weights to failure.
To expand further on that last point, lifting weights that are heavy enough to cause you to reach muscle fatigue is key.  While there are certainly differing opinions on the best way to train, it is in my opinion that individuals who train to muscle failure realize the greatest gains.  If you are breezing through your sets and requiring little rest time, you need to bump the weight up.  You should be savoring every second of that rest time between your sets.  You may be wondering how long your rest times should be, between sets.  A good rule of thumb is 60-90 seconds between sets.  Perhaps you can move a little faster early on in your routine, but require a bit more rest later in the workout.  That’s fine, take the time you need, but remember, keeping an uptempo and deliberate pace during your workout is important.  Don’t dilly-dally, or allow too much time to pass between sets.  You want to keep a steady amount of stress on your muscles so they are effectively worked.
Follow this routine for 8-weeks and you should notice increased muscle in your lower half, giving you a tight and sexy set of legs and butt.

If you liked this post, subscribe to our blog so you receive all of our expertly written health, fitness, and workout articles.  Also, sign up at shareitfitness.com to be given preferred access when we launch in March 2012!

Summer Vegetable Frittata

 
Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup diced zucchini
  • 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup chopped seeded tomato
  • 9 large eggs
Preparation

1. Heat olive oil in a 10-inch nonstick broiler-proof skillet over medium heat. Add zucchini, bell pepper, onion, thyme, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon black pepper, and garlic. Cover and cook 7 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in tomato. Cook, uncovered, for 5 minutes or until liquid evaporates.

2. Combine eggs, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1/8 teaspoon black pepper in a medium bowl; stir with a whisk until frothy. Pour egg mixture into pan over vegetables, stirring gently. Cover, reduce heat, and cook 15 minutes or until almost set in the center.

3. Preheat broiler.

4. Broil frittata 3 minutes or until set. Invert onto a serving platter; cut into 8 wedges.

Thanks My Recipes for the delicious and healthy breakfast dish!

Death by Deep Fried

It’s that time of year again for the Del Mar Fair! It amazes me the insane selection of deep fried foods they come up with each year. If you go for this type of thing you better pick wisely because I don’t think your arteries or waist line can handle more than one of these ridiculous items. This year the selection includes……

Krispy Kreme Chicken Sandwich

Zucchini Weenie

Totally Fried Avocados

Deep Fried Klondike Bar

Deep Fried Twinkie

Deep Fried Frog Legs

Cornucopia (deep fried corn on the cob)

Deep Fried Pigs-in-a-Blanket

Chocolate Covered Corn Dog

Chocolate Covered, Deep Fried Bacon

Deep Fried Kool-Aid

Deep Fried Brownies

Deep Fried White Castle Burger
(I have to admit I couldn’t resist trying this last year…but I was not impressed)

 

 

Deep Fried Girl Scout Cookies

Deep Fried Baby Ruth filled Jalepenos

Deep Fried Beef Jerky

Deep Fried Candy Kabobs

 

Would you splurge for any of these? Which would be your choice?

Does Your Weight Impact Your Salary?!?

An interesting new study from CNN indicates that your weight can influence your salary for both men and women. However, their is a double standard with the impact it has. Skinny women tend to have a fatter paycheck while skinny men have a skinny paycheck.  Check out the pretty significant graph below. A women who is 25 pounds overweight makes about $16,000 less than a woman of average size. A man who weights 25 pounds over the average male makes about $8,000 more.

The bigger, more muscular men in the office were described as polite, happy, brave, and smart while their skinny male colleagues were described as nervous, sneaky, afraid, and sad. The latter is not how anyone would want to be viewed in the workplace!

Furthermore, obese workers are thought to be less desirable, less agreeable and less conscientious. A worker with an average weight is thought to be more influential and is able get things accomplished effectively.

 Check out the full video from CNN here.

The Future of iTraining

Let’s get one thing out-of-the-way right off the bat; there really is no substitute to one-on-one personal training with an effective trainer.  There just isn’t.  Like all things in life, there are of course downsides that come with the positives.  First and foremost, it is costly.  Rates of $60 an hour and up are the norm.  You’re not really on your own schedule.  Any trainer who is worth his/her salt, should have many clients.  You have to work around other clients and the trainers’ schedule to get your workout in.  Lastly, if you do have a trainer, how often do you actually work with that person?  Maybe two or three hours a week max?  What about the rest of the time you are on your own?   

The rise of the internet has given way to new ways to keep your body fit and healthy.  Traditionally, most websites and individuals have sold themselves to you by promising great results if you follow their routine.  They give you a list of exercises to do each day and put you off on your own.  I’ve always wondered how effect this approach really was.  Is anyone really motivated by looking at a laundry list of items that their “online” trainer has assigned them to complete on any given day?  Lets take a look at an actual workout plan that was assigned by one of the big online training companies…

Monday June 6th

  • Bench Press 3 x 10
  • Incline Bench Press 3 x 10
  • French Press 3 x 12
  • Pushups 3 x 15
  • Dips 3 x 15
  • Incline Bench Flys 3 x 10

Really?  Could this be any more lame?  Are we really paying money for a laundry list of items that we need to complete?  A training company should be able to provide guidance on how to use correct form, motivate you during the workout, and adapt to your training needs.  These pre-designed workouts that are supposedly based upon your goals really aren’t worth your time or money.  Are they better than nothing?  Probably, but don’t you want “better than nothing”?

Studies have shown that the most effective form of training is when there is an actual person guiding and instructing you on what to do.  This is why for most people, group fitness classes are so effective.  If they were left to their own devices, they’d get half the amount of work done in the same period of time.  It really shouldn’t come as a surprise that an actual person instructing you is more effective in helping you reach your goals than receiving that laundry list of exercises to perform every day. 

Now, at Share It Fitness, we saw the potential to pull the best parts of multiple training types, which has helped form the basis for our Body Diversity Training (BDT) method.  Sure, we do customized workout plans based upon your needs and goals.  But unlike the laundry list of things to do, each days’ workout is delivered via video by a real life trainer.  When you start a new session, it will broadcast over your TV, computer, or mobile device, letting you take the workout with you anywhere you may be.  All you have to do is keep pace with your trainer and follow his/her instructions and form.  By keeping pace with the trainer on your screen, you are able to ensure that intensity remains high and progress is being made.  It’s as close as you can get to an actual personal training session without paying someone to be in your living room or at the gym with you. 

Now, the real basis of Body Diversity Training is the concept that muscles not only need to be hit with varying weights and exercises, but they also need to be hit with different stimulus completely.  We’ve spent over a thousand hours during the past 18 months recording the best fitness classes by the best trainers available.  Our database of full-length classes is simply the largest on the internet, bar none.  Now, keep in mind, I’m talking about full-length classes.  What’s the point in watching a 5-10 minute instructional?  Are you really getting a workout in 5-10 minutes?  I doubt it.  Our classes are filmed from start to finish, exactly like you would view them at an in-person studio or gym.  With that in mind, BDT incorporates various forms of fitness classes with a weight/cardio routine to keep things fresh and your body challenged.  A lift day on Monday followed by a Spin class on Tuesday, followed by a power yoga class on Wednesday, followed by a challenging treadmill class on Thursday is something that you would likely find on your own personal workout calendar via Share It Fitness. 

The goal of BDT is to help you build and maintain a strong, healthy, flexible, and lean body.  Increased muscle mass, lowered body fat percentage, and improved cardiovascular function should be the goal of anyone wanting to get healthy.  It should come as no surprise that some of the top athletes in the world like, Lebron James, Tiger Woods, and Michael Phelps practice various forms of exercise such as Pilates, Yoga, and Spin in addition to their traditional weight routines.  By combining these classes with a weight routine, you are constantly shocking and confusing your body, which in turn results in serious progress being made.

Remember, the key to actual growth isn’t made by spending hours in the gym just running down a list of to-do items.  Engaging in a wide range of fitness disciplines in combination with a well-designed weight training plan is key to getting that lean, athletic, and healthy body everyone should be after.  Keep checking out the blog and stay tuned for the Share It Fitness launch this summer. 

Perspective on Portion Control

You’ve probably heard this before, but I’ll re-iterate; your stomach is about the size of your fist.  Clench your first, hold it up in front of your face, take a nice, long, hard look at it.  That is the size of your stomach.  Now, take a look at this.  That is of course, a Chipotle burrito.  While not even the largest burrito I’ve ever seen, it’s still massive.  Now, we all know we can of course fit more than a fist-worth of food into our stomach.  What happens when you stuff down an entire burrito and a side of chips and salsa?  Our stomachs expand.  Constant overeating like this will eventually cause our stomachs to stretch larger than it should be.  This is the key concept behind competitive eaters like Kobiyashi or Joey Chestnut.  They consume extremely large amounts of lettuce and other food items that help expand the stomach.  Over time, their stomach expands so far that they are able to put down 50+ hot dogs in a single sitting.

Now, unless you are a competitive eater, you may want to avoid that stretched out stomach.  Having a stretched out stomach will cause you to eat more calories because you don’t feel full when eating a normal portion.  Obviously, the other downsides to eating a lot of calories in one sitting is that your insulin and blood sugar levels will rise, thereby causing you to hold on to more fat.  The excess sugar in your blood will be transported to fat cells as stored energy.  This means you’re getting bigger. 

Now, a 1,000 calorie burrito would take about 2.5 hours of continuous biking at a moderate to strenuous pace to completely burn off.  Ask yourself, when was the last time you did 150 minutes of straight cardio?  Probably not recently.  Everything you put in your body has a consequence; some good, some bad.  The consequences of over-eating are the rise in blood sugar, fat retention, and the ungodly amount of time you need to work out to burn those ingested calories.

The good news is your stomach will slowly return back to its normal size over time.  By abstaining from overeating, you are getting one step closer to getting back to your original stomach size.  After having stretched your stomach out, it is certainly a struggle to avoid overeating, but each time you abstain, the next time will be slightly easier.  Keep that in mind as you sit down to your next meal.  Each positive day is progress made towards getting yourself back on track.  Each negative day is a step further away from your goals.  Don’t ever be afraid to eat half of your meal and save the rest for later.  By avoiding a stretched out stomach, your healthy diet will be that much easier to live with.

Never Trust ‘Quick Fix’ Weight Loss Promises

Never trust advertisements trying to sell you on a magic pill or a life changing new fitness product. There is no such thing as a quick fix in the health and fitness industry.

Make gradual life changes to transform your life permanently to create a new and healthy you!

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