Weight Loss and Dieting
There are always plenty of new fitness crazes to try out these days, but not all of them are created equal. One trend that has been sweeping the nation is CrossFit.
What is CrossFit?
CrossFit is an exercise program which allows users to perform a mix of strength and conditioning exercises, as well as cardio. The program includes different exercises like running, jump rope, rowing, weight lifting, rope climbing and more. It enhances physical qualities including flexibility, power, speed, agility, coordination, endurance, stamina, strength, balance and accuracy. The intensity of the program aims to burn a high number of calories in a short period of time, while simultaneously improving aerobic fitness.
The history of CrossFit
While this exercise trend is fairly new, the general ideas behind the physical activity have been around for much longer. In the 1970s, former gymnast Greg Glassman started a concept that closely resembled CrossFit. It began in a Santa Cruz, California, garage in 1995. He discovered that through the use of dumbbells and a barbell, he could tone his muscles more accurately than any other gymnast he knew who was working with bodyweight only. In that same year, he was hired to train the Santa Cruz Police Department, which is when CrossFit was born. It was formally established in 2000 and by the year 2012, there would be 3,400 CrossFit affiliates worldwide. In 2007, the United States Marine Corps even started shifting their focus from a traditional training program to more of a CrossFit-oriented exercise regimen.
How to get involved
CrossFit isn't for everyone, due to the high-intensity exercises it involves. It's not recommended for those just starting to exercise or returning after a fairly long hiatus. It's a good idea to first work with a personal trainer to develop the necessary strength, skills and mobility needed for CrossFit.
If you find that CrossFit is something you would like to try, the good news is that you don't need to join a CrossFit affiliate gym in order to participate in the training program. If you choose to work out on your own, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- For those with little to no gymnastics or weightlifting skills, try to learn the movements for a month or two until you can perform the common exercise.
- Don't hesitate to substitute exercises to meet your fitness level – knowing how and when to substitute is an art of sorts, and as you practice, you'll become more familiar with the moves and which ones need perfecting.
- Follow the workouts of the day, otherwise known as WODs. However, before actually taking part in them, just watch them to get a good idea of what you'll be expected to do. Read the comments people are making on the CrossFit website and the substitutions they may have to make the workout more suitable to their fitness level.
- If you don't attend a CrossFit gym, here are a few of the equipment items you'll want to think about getting: power-lifting barbell, rowing machine, set of dumbbells, lifting rack and bench, plyo-boxes, ab mat and medicine balls.
- Maintain a diet which builds lean body mass. You need to be able to maintain and recover from frequent CrossFit workouts, which means having a healthy diet. Protein meals are essential for building muscle and giving the body the proper energy to continue with CrossFit.
Being in the midst of beach season, everyone is working on tightening up their core. But in between work, family, friends and other obligations, our abs fall pretty far down our list of things to do. Heading to the gym can be an ordeal that not many have the time or energy for, resulting in abdominals that need some work. But worry no more, you only need a few minutes in your living room or office to get to that stomach that you've always dreamed of. And you don't need any weights, balls or other equipment to get there. Here are some easy ab exercises you can do on the go:
Laying on the floor on your back with your arms and legs extended straight out on the ground, lift your arms overhead and begin to curl your body off of the floor. Breathe out when you're halfway up and continue to roll forward to reach your toes. Inhale and reverse the exercise, exhaling halfway down, and returning to the start. The key to this exercise is to move slowly – that's what really works your abdominals.
Modified leg extension
For this exercise, all you need is a chair, whether it's in your office or living room. Sit on the edge of the chair with your arms behind you, holding onto the sides for support. Then slowly pull your knees into your chest, so you're in a tucked position. Then straighten your legs out in front of you, slowly, not letting them touch the ground – only hovering. Your body should be in a straight line from your shoulders all the way to your toes. Then, bring your knees back to your chest to complete one rep. Try to do about 15 of them.
In order to have toned abdominals, you have to work your obliques, which are the sides of your stomach. One of the best ways to do this is with the side crunch. Lay down on the ground in a typical sit-up position and let your knees fall to one side, with your chest, chin and torso still facing the ceiling. Bend your arms, placing them gently behind your head, and lift your upper body and shoulders off of the ground as high as you can. Don't let your knees come off the ground at any point during the exercise. Do about 15 repetitions then switch to the other side.
Using the weight of your own legs is a great way to work those lower abs – especially with this exercise. Lying on your back, straighten both legs and extend them up toward the ceiling. Breathe in and tighten your abs, then exhale and slowly lower your legs toward the ground, until they're about four inches away. Be careful to not let the small of your back come off of the ground. Breathe out as you lift your legs back to the starting position. Repeat 10 times. For the beginner, try putting your hands underneath your bottom for extra support.
Now that you're done with your workout, whip up a quick post-workout shake with Naturade Total Soy protein powder to help tone your muscles and get you one step closer to your goal.
Your phone may not be a protein meal, but it can be more helpful than you know when it comes to reaching your fitness goals. Here are some of the best fitness smartphone apps:
1. Nike Training Club
Select your goal and your level and choose from a list of workouts that fit your fitness abilities. A Nike professional trainer guides you through each step of the workouts that you choose. After you've finished breaking a sweat, review a short summary of your training to discover how many calories you burned and how close you are to reaching your ultimate goal.
2. Lose It!
This free app allows you to create a personalized weight loss plan. Enter your goal weight and the app will calculate how many calories you need to consume and how many you should be burning off. You can log the food you've eaten during the day straight onto the app and see how much progress you've made.
Track your workouts whether you're outside or in the gym. The GPS system will track anything you do outside, whether it's hiking, running or biking. The app also alerts you of your progress via their audio system as you workout.
This app helps beginners looking to stick to a strength training and conditioning regimen. Type in your fitness goals and level and it will generate an effective series for you to try out.
When you head out for a run, this app calculates how many calories you burned and even measures the length and time of your run. When you're done exercising, sync your data with your web-based profile and take a look at charts from your past workouts to see how you've improved.
This app brings a little friendly competition into your life. If you're the type who needs motivation from others to get going, this app is perfect for you. You can join virtual teams and compete in challenges, all while tracking your fitness goals and progress. It takes your workout from solo to social!
This app builds customizable workouts for each user's specific needs. Start with your goal, whether it's to lose weight, gain weight or just be healthier in general. Enter in the equipment you have to work with, like a chair or a table, and you'll receive a customizable workout just for you.
8. Fitness Buddy
Featuring more than 1,700 exercises and more than 45 full-length workouts, this app is different in that it allows you to listen to music while you exercise. Just enter in your body weight, reps and the weight you used for each exercise, and the app will track your progress for you.
9. CountEat Calories
A healthier body starts in the kitchen. If your goal is to lose weight, you need to be expending more calories than you're taking in. This app helps you to estimate how many calories you consume for each meal and allows you to find a range for how much you should be eating.
This app, despite the name, allows you to track walks, runs, biking and other activities. It collects significant data like calories burned, distance, speed, average speed and time remaining to allow you to track your workouts.
Despite doing exercises and going to the gym regularly, losing those stubborn belly fat can be an uphill task. But you have to try to lose belly fat, as how much flabby you are around your belly is likely to have a huge impact on your health. Usually, you store fats in two ways, one of which is visible, under the hips, thighs, abdomen, buttocks etc. and the other, which you cannot see, gets stored in some of the most vital organs of your body, like heart, liver, lungs, digestive tracts etc. However, the later, known as visceral fat, leads to most of the crucial diseases like heart diseases, obesity, type 2 diabetes, dementia and certain cancers like colon cancer, breast cancer etc. Hence, having a flat stomach is important not only to look chic and smart, but also to have a healthy, disease-free life.
There are a number of foods as well as supplements for weight loss that can help you to burn belly fat naturally. For men and women of all age groups, such supplements, when complemented by a healthy diet and regular exercises, can work wonders.
Let’s take a quick look at the list of fat burning foods, so that you can include some of them in your diet today!
- Apples – According to the common adage, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”. No wonder why apple works wonders for weight loss. As researches have shown, people who made it a point to consume an apple daily lost more weight than those who didn’t. Packed with rich nutrients, as well as lots of vitamins and minerals, this fruit also contains pectin, which prevents colon cancer.
- Oatmeal – Oatmeal is a fiber rich content that stays in your stomach for a long period of time and thus cuts your craving for food, leading to weight loss. Moreover, it’s a great source of selenium and boosts the immune system in your body. Oats also absorb the LDL cholesterol, which is known to be the “bad” one and wash it out from your body.
- Almonds and other raw nuts – You might be shocked to see this in the list! But yes, while having with the skin intact, almonds act as a good food that helps in weight loss. They help to slim down your belly by keeping it absolutely full. In fact, these nuts are rich in fats, which are good for your body and attack the bad fats.
- Whole grains – Though carbohydrates and fats are completely a no-no, especially while you’re on a diet, good carbs are actually required for your health. They are rich in nutrients and the fibers keep you from getting hungry, thus leading to a lesser amount of food intake. Make sure the groceries you buy clearly say “100% whole grain” instead of just “whole grain”.
In case you think that you’re too busy to buy these foods regularly and include them in your diet, supplements for weight loss would be a smart alternative solution for you. Most of these supplements have no side effects, and work wonders to help you get rid of belly fat. Let’s take a look at some of the most effective ones:
- Green coffee bean extract – Being derived from the coffee beans, which are not roasted, green coffee bean extract contains huge level of chlorogenic acid and helps improve the glucose tolerance in your body. It also reduces fat accumulation in your body and speeds up the fat burning process. Because of these salient features, it is extremely popular as a weight loss supplement.
- Green Tea – Just like green coffee, green tea, too is known to be a popular weight loss product. This product is full of antioxidants, and works as an excellent metabolism booster as well as a fat burner. Since this type of tea contains a huge level of polyphenol, which dissolves triglycerides, it helps to burn fat to a great extent. Moreover, it also contains epigallocatechin-3-gallate, which helps reduce the level of low density cholesterol in your body that’s largely responsible for blocking the artery walls. Thus, it plays an important role in preventing cardiovascular diseases.
- Raspberry Ketone – Largely available in red raspberries, this aromatic compound is highly recommended for weight loss. This is so because raspberry ketone is a natural phenolic compound that enhances fat loss and has a number of anti-oxidant proponents within it.
- Creatine powder – It is another well known weight loss supplement that helps increase the strength of your body as well as improves the muscle mass. You can get the best results of creatine powder when you consume it in combination with a resistance training program.
- Garcinia Cambogia extract – Due to the presence of HCA (Hydroxycitric Acid) – a natural ingredient that promotes you to burn fat faster, this extract helps you to lose weight faster, even from problem areas like your belly.
So, if you are looking for belly fat burning solutions, try these foods and natural supplements for weight loss to notice faster and effective results.
Written by James Hundson. James isa fitness expert that researchs & writes reviews on health, fitness, muscle building, exercise, weight loss, massage, yoga, diet, alternative medicine, sports, etc. If you are looking for better and easier option to lose your Weight, than Green coffee bean, Garcinia Cambogia, Raspberry ketone, Green tea are the perfect choice for you.
During the summer months, many choose to take their workout outdoors so they can enjoy the beautiful weather. After all, the fresh air can help boost your immune system and an outdoor workout can even improve attention and focus and lower an individual's risk of being overweight, according to the Huffington Post. But in order for you to have a successful workout, you must stay safe while doing so. Factors like sunburn, heat and dehydration can really put a damper on the overall effectiveness of your workout and can be dangerous. Here are a few safety tips to keep in mind the next time you venture outdoors for exercise:
Check the forecast
While it's often not too hot to run outside, there may be days during the summer that pose a danger to anyone breaking a sweat outside. Before you begin your workout, check the weather forecast. Pay special attention to the humidity, because about 50 percent humidity can make a 90-degree day feel closer to 96. Debi Pillarella, ACE-certified master trainer and fitness expert, told Fitness Magazine that high humidity prevents sweat from evaporating, which prevents the body from naturally cooling off. If the humidity is too high, you may want to reschedule your workout or take it indoors.
Drink plenty of water
Warmer temperatures often mean you'll be sweating a lot more. Because you'll be losing so much water, you need to be sure that you're taking water in just as fast. Remember to stay hydrated at all times and bring a water bottle with you on those outdoor workouts. The H2O may also help to cool your body down on a particularly hot day.
Even if it's a particularly cloudy day, never skip the sunscreen if you're going to be breaking a sweat outdoors. Use about a shot glass worth from head to to toe. If you're going to be outside for more than two hours, remember to reapply to avoid getting burned. Keep in mind that the more you sweat, the more you're going to have to reapply sunscreen. For extra sun precautions, wear sunglasses and a hat to protect your scalp from the rays.
Go at the right time
The early morning and late evening are when air pollution levels are at their lowest. Things like car exhaust, construction dust and factory fumes can contaminate the air, which could cause poor lung health.
There are lots of ways to find happiness: hanging out with friends, chowing down on your favorite meal or maybe sitting down and watching your favorite comedy. But there is one activity that is significantly underrated when it comes to lifting your mood: exercise. You may not be laughing, but going for a run or going to yoga class can really make a difference in your attitude, not to mention promotes anti-aging and a healthy immune system.
When you start to break a sweat, exercise releases feel-good endorphins into your body. Endorphins are chemicals that have the ability to cross through the gaps between neurons in order to pass along a message. There are many different kinds of endorphins, but one thing is for certain: they make you feel good. Michael Bracko, an exercise physiologist and spokesperson for the American College of Sports Medicine, told MSNBC that just one 30-minute session of moderate to intense exercise can help ease distress, depression, tension and anger. Other chemicals that contribute to the boost in mood include serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine.
What many don't realize is that there are certain workouts that alter different parts of their mood. Some can make your brain feel shaper, while others relax you or make you happier. Try one of these mood-boosting workouts next time you hit the gym:
Grab a mat and some comfy clothes and get ready to find your center. Yoga can help you to feel more content. The deep, slow breathing involved in the practice of yoga increases oxygen flow, which leads to optimal functioning of all your organs, including your brain. According to a 2010 study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, yoga is associated with increased levels of GABA, an amino acid and neurotransmitter that may help to reduce anxiety.
If you're looking for an increase in your energy levels, hop on a spin bike. You may immediately associate exercise with feeling tired and drained of energy afterwards, but that's not the case. Many gyms offer spin classes so you can give it a try if you're new. Cycling may activate brain neural circuits which make a person have more energy.
If your brain is feeling a little clouded, you may find clarity when you pick up a pair of dumbbells. It may be great for toning your biceps, but it's also perfect for your mental muscles. Researchers suspect the mental clarity may be due to neurotrophic growth factors. These growth factors help the brain generate new neurons even later in life, and help to increase the flexibility of existing ones.
For those who have trouble sleeping at night, Pilates may be the answer. Those who report having sleeping issues also reveal that they have a difficult time relaxing, de-stressing and winding down from a tough day. One fix is Pilates – it has been linked with better sleep at night. The theory is when you're more in tune with your body, you're better able to let go of that stress you're holding onto and feel more relaxed when you crawl into bed at night.
If you're trying to shed the pounds, you're likely sticking to a diet of whole grains, fruits and veggies. Of course, there is going to be the occasional moment when you choose to indulge, which is totally okay. But if you really want to stay slim and keep that glowing and youthful complexion, there are some foods that you should steer clear of.
There's nothing better than a little cake topped with a lot of frosting, but next time you whip up a tiered confection, make sure your frosting is made from scratch. Not only is it more delicious that way, but the store-bought frosting is packed with trans fats, which are your waistline's worst enemy. Trans fat raises your levels of bad cholesterol and lowers the good, and can lead to belly fat. Plus, the more sugar you consume, the more prone your skin may be to maladies like acne and premature wrinkles.
This popular morning meal smeared with cream cheese is a top choice among many. Although it may fill you up and satisfy your taste buds, you may want to pick a new breakfast item. Just one bagel provides between three and six servings of grains, which is some peoples' carbohydrate allotment for the entire day. You may grab a whole wheat bagel and think you're making a healthy choice, but even the whole wheat bagels are usually only partly whole wheat, which means you're getting refined flour with no fiber or nutrients.
We've known for years that soda isn't good for us because of the large amounts of sugar it contains. But some forget about other drinks that are disguised as healthy alternatives to soda, but pack just as much sugar, like sweetened teas or juices. Those empty calories camp out right on your waistline and although they lower cholesterol, they're lowering the good cholesterol levels and increasing triglycerides, which contribute to poor heart health.
This is a hyper-refined carbohydrate that lacks significant amounts of vitamins and minerals. What they do contain, however, is lots of butter and heavy cream, making them a worst enemy both to your waistline and to your heart.
Processed baked goods like donuts and mini muffins are great for a quick and tasty breakfast if you need to run out the door, but they have tons and tons of calories as well as unwanted sugar, making them hard to digest. Because they have preservatives, they can sit on the shelf for a long period of time without breaking down. The amount of sugar in these pastries can cause inflammation of the skin. As hard as it may be, skip the donut and go with fresh fruit or yogurt when you're looking for your morning breakfast fix.
You know the cereals I'm talking about – all of the ones you used to enjoy as a kid (and probably still enjoy as an adult) could be contributing to weight problems and poor skin. Frosted Flakes and Cap'n Crunch can wreak havoc on those with sensitive skin, causing them to break out and even see an uneven skin tone. Try low sugar options and if you need a little sweetness, try adding fruit like strawberries, bananas or raspberries.
In order to reach your goal weight, whether that's bulking up or shedding a few pounds, it's a combination of eating right and exercise that will get you there. But there's one thing that you need to keep an eye on in order to reach your goals, and that's calories.
What is a calorie?
A calorie is a unit of heat energy. It's what fuels our bodies – much like gasoline fuels a car. But you don't want to put in too much or too little, otherwise your car won't run properly. Different foods have different amounts of calories, which can come from three things: fat, carbohydrate and protein. Fat is what has the highest amount of calories – 9 calories per gram of pure fat. Carbohydrates and protein are a little less, with four calories per gram. This is why in order to lose weight, many ditch the fatty foods and reach for protein-packed meals instead.
How many calories do I need to lose weight?
There is no set magic number of calories a person needs to expend in order to lose weight. It depends on a number of factors, including activity level, body type, age, height, weight and gender. For example, an active person burns more calories, and therefore needs to consume more to stay healthy. If you want to lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you're consuming. When your calories out is higher than your calories in, you will be at a caloric deficit, meaning body fat, muscle tissue or both will be burned. One pound is equal to 3,500 calories. So if your goal is one pound per week, you would need to cut out about 500 calories per day.
To gain weight?
Not everyone is looking to lose a few pounds; many are trying to do the exact opposite, whether it's to build more muscle or put on some weight after a surgery. Either way, it's all about consuming calories – and not calories from greasy fast food. Look for foods with lots of protein, like a healthy shake. Whip up a tasty shake using protein powder post-workout to help you bulk up in no time. Naturade Weight Gain is perfect for amplifying your caloric intake. But exactly how many calories do you need? You need to eat more calories than your body burns in order to create new muscle tissue. You must be above your calorie maintenance level, which is where your body is at when you consume and burn the same number of calories – if you do this, your weight will stay the same. But if you want to see the number on the scale increase, you want to be above the maintenance level, otherwise known as a caloric surplus.
Whatever your goals are, if you wish to reach your desired weight, keeping a calorie journal is a great way to do it. It will help you keep track of exactly what you're eating and how much you're exercising to help you see how you can improve or if you're on the way to reaching your goal.
Whipping yourself into shape requires you to eat right and do a combination of cardiovascular exercise and strength training. But you don't always have time to get to the gym in order to use the weight training equipment. The good news is, using your own bodyweight, you can take your workout virtually anywhere. If you're at home, all you need is your living room floor for a great workout that will help you shed the pounds fast, boost your immune system and promote anti-aging. Here are some bodyweight exercises you can do anywhere:
Tuck jumps: Stand with your knees slightly bent and jump up in the air as high as you can while lifting your knees toward your chest. Arms should be extended straight out. Be sure to land with your knees slightly bent. Not only is this a great cardio exercise, but the act of bringing your knees toward your chest works those abs!
Plyometric pushup: Get into traditional pushup position on a well-padded surface. Hands should be directly below the shoulders with no arch in the back. Lower down to the ground, then push up hard enough to come off the floor for a second. Once your hands touch the ground again, go immediately into the next repetition. For an extra challenge, see if you can clap your hands while you're in the air!
Plank: This exercise is really great for your lower abs. Get into a pushup position with forearms, rather than your hands, on the floor. Then, keeping your back straight and core tight, hold the position for about 30 to 60 seconds.
Bodyweight lunge: Starting with your feet together, step one leg forward and slowly lower the body until your front knee is bent at about 90 degrees. Be sure not to let the knee go past the toe. Then push yourself back up to starting position as quickly as you can. After you're done with repetitions for that leg, switch to the other.
Mountain climber: Start on your hands and knees in the pushup position. Then bring your left foot forward directly under the chest while straightening the right leg. Keep your hands on the ground and switch legs quickly, as if you're climbing a mountain. You should feel it in your core and your legs.
Burpees: Get yourself into a squatting position with your hands on the floor. Next, kick both of your feet back at the same time, jumping into a pushup position. Complete one pushup then return to the squatted position as fast as you can. Repeat this exercise for multiple repetitions.
It's often hard to find the motivation to get out of bed in the morning and head straight for the gym. In fact, simply making yourself exercise is often more difficult than the physical activity itself! But working out improves the immune system and may even lower cholesterol among many other health benefits, so it's important to schedule a workout into your calendar. One thing that may help to increase your motivation and get you on your way to exercising to the best of your ability is music.
According to a study conducted by the Research Institute for Sport and Exercise Sciences, music can indeed have a profound effect on a workout. In the study, 12 healthy male college students were asked to ride stationary bikes while listening to music of various tempos popular among the undergraduate population. The results showed that when the tempo decreased, their pedaling did too, along with their heart rate and mileage. On the other hand, when they listened to more upbeat tunes, they produced more power per pedal and covered more miles in the same period of time. A faster tempo often forces the body to move in time with the rhythm of the music.
While these fast-beat songs didn't seem to take away from the toughness of the workout, participants of the study did notice that they seemed to be more motivated to push themselves.
As many may already know, working out isn't always the most mentally stimulating activity. It often gets boring and we need a way to keep that motivation going throughout the duration of the exercise. Listening to music is a way of keeping your mind busy so you're not as focused on how hard you're working. It may not be that music directly motivates you – it's a combination of your body responding to the music even before your mind realizes it and your heart rate increasing in correspondence with tempo.
Here are some upbeat songs that may pump up your workout and take it to the next level:
- "Seven Nation Army" by The White Stripes
- "Harlem Shake" by Baauer
- "Wolfmother" by Joker and the Thief
- "Troublemaker" by Olly Murs & Flo Rida
- "Take A Walk" by Passion Pit
- "Here It Goes Again" by OK Go
- "Please Don't Stop the Music" by Rihanna
- "Shake It Out" by Florence & The Machine
- "Come & Get It" by Selena Gomez
- "Get Lucky" by Daft Punk & Pharrell