Weight Loss and Dieting
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
When you're trying to drop the pounds, a snack doesn't have to consist of one cracker and then starving yourself until your next meal. In fact, snacking on the right foods will keep your metabolism going so that you burn more calories, even when you're sitting! Following a few general snacking rules can help keep you on track.
- Stick to a 100-200 calorie snack
- The best time to snack is three hours after breakfast and another three hours after lunch
- Mix it up – go for foods containing fiber, protein and nutrients
- Go with small portions
When you open up your kitchen cabinets or your fridge, however, it's not always easy to find a snack that pleases your palate that is also healthy. Snacking doesn't have to be boring. Here are a few snacks to keep you full in between meals and help you stay on track to losing weight:
Now that summertime is almost here, tomatoes are about to be at their peak of flavor. There's nothing better than a fresh tomato on a summer day. Slice one up and top it with a bit of olive oil and feta cheese for a quick snack that won't leave you overly full.
Next time you hit the couch and are craving a snack, make yourself a bowl of popcorn sans butter and tons of salt. You can eat four whole cups of the stuff and get healthy grains, fiber and even a little protein.
Pick up a few cantaloupes at the supermarket and when you get hungry, grab a spoon and dig in. This super sweet fruit isn't only delicious, it contains beta-carotene and lots of water to keep you hydrated (and full).
Brush corn tortillas cut into wedges with 1 tablespoon melted low-fat butter and sprinkle with cinnamon. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes and you have crispy chips to dip into cool nonfat vanilla yogurt that will completely transform snack time.
Strawberries and cool whip
If you have quite the sweet tooth, satisfy your craving without overindulging with some strawberries and 3 tablespoons of nonfat cool whip. You'll be getting antioxidants while still filling up on sweetness.
As you're running out the door, whip up a chocolate or vanilla meal replacement shake to keep you full. Add in a few scoops of Naturade Total Soy protein powder and enjoy a cool snack filled with protein, fiber and amazing taste.
When you work an eight-hour workday, there's not much time (or energy) left at the end of the day for a workout. Packing up and making a trip to the gym is sometimes just not an option. But what if the office was your gym? You may not be able to hop on the treadmill while you're on a conference call, but there are plenty of other ways to sneak in a workout at the office.
Take the stairs
You may be used to just grabbing your coffee and heading straight for the elevator in the morning, but you may want to think about taking the stairs instead. A little cardio can even boost the immune system. It may not seem like much, but that little bit of exercise everyday can really add up. Every stair is a quarter-calorie burn. If you come into work a little earlier than usual, go up and down the stairs a few times to burn even more calories and get those leg muscles toned. You could even do squats right on the stairs. Stand sideways on a stair and do half-legged squats on each leg – you'd be surprised how difficult they are!
Squeeze at your seat
Sitting in a chair for eight hours can be rough on the body. Keep yourself moving right at your desk by squeezing your buttocks for five to 10 seconds, then release. You could also try squeezing a pen and focusing on your forearm muscles. You'll be burning calories while just sitting there doing your work – and you won't even have to get out of your chair.
While sitting at your desk, straighten either one or both legs and hold them off the ground for five or more seconds. Then lower them back toward the ground without letting the feet touch the floor. If you want even more of a challenge, try putting a book or a briefcase on top of your feet for added weight.
To work your core, hold onto your desk and lift your feet off the ground. Use your abs to swivel the chair from side to side for about 15 reps – you'll be on your way to a more toned core.
While many have the goal to shed pounds, there are also those who wish to bulk up a bit and raise the number they see on that scale every day. Whether you wish to gain weight to achieve a more muscular and toned body or for health reasons, here are a few tips that are going to help speed up the process and get you to your goal weight:
Work on gaining muscle
Strength training is essential for speeding up your weight gain. Muscle weighs more than fat, helping you to get that much closer to packing on the pounds. Next time you hit the gym, try to do a combination of cardio and strength training to not only help you build muscle, but to stimulate your appetite as well. Work all muscle groups, doing exercises like squats, bicep curls, planks, seated rows, chin ups and more. As a general rule, lifting fewer reps with larger weights will help you gain bulky muscle, while lifting a greater amount of lighter weights will promote leaner muscle gain.
Consume lots of protein
Gaining weight fast means eating more calories. However, this doesn't mean that you can fill up on greasy fast food all the time. Instead, look for items that are packed with protein to help promote muscle growth. A meal replacement shake is the perfect way to consume more calories without all of the added fat. Reach for a protein powder like Naturade Weight Gain. It's packed with protein, carbohydrates and calories to enhance your weight training routine. Put a few scoops into your favorite shake and drink it for a post-workout meal that will feed your muscles.
If you expect to gain weight, you have to consume more calories than you expend. This means eating five to six times per day, at least. When you eat, your metabolic rate increases, helping muscle to grow. Stick to reasonable portions to avoid that overly full feeling. You can have three to four meals with snacks in between. Make sure you're eating a balanced diet with plenty of protein. Incorporate fruits, vegetables, whole grains and protein sources like beans, dairy, nuts, and meat or fish. It's not about simply packing your stomach, it's about what you put in it.
Have snacks on the go
Instead of reaching for a donut when you're running out the door, have protein-packed snacks ready to go. Foods like trail mix, peanut butter, dried fruit, veggies and dip, smoothies and sunflower seeds are perfect for getting extra calories without the added fat.
BMI, otherwise known as Body Mass Index, is the number you get when you calculate a person's weight and height in relation to what is normal and healthy. This number is used to determine if an individual has a healthy amount of body fat, helping adults identify possible weight loss problems. On average, women tend to have more body fat than men, and older people, on average, tend to have more body fat than younger adults. This is both easy to calculate and can help one get on the way to a better and healthier lifestyle. Here's how to find out your very own BMI:
In kilograms and meters (or centimeters): Weight (kg) / [height (m)]2
1. First, convert your weight from pounds to kilograms:
Your weight (in pounds) divided by 2.2 equals your weight in kilograms.
2. Second, convert your height from inches to meters:
Your height (in inches) divided by 39.37 equals your height in meters.
3. Calculate your BMI:
Your weight (in kilograms) divided by your height (in meters) multiplied by your height (in meters) equals your total BMI.
In pounds and inches: Weight (lb) / [height (in)]2 x 703
1. Calculate your BMI by dividing your weight (in pounds) by height (in inches) squared and multiplying by a conversion factor of 703.
If you don't want to calculate your BMI manually, the Bowflex BMI/Daily Calorie Scale is perfect for not only keeping an eye on your BMI, but for determining the number of calories you have to burn per day in order to maintain your current weight. All you have to do is step on!
What is considered a healthy BMI?
Once you figure out that number, it's important to know what to do with it. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, anything below a BMI of 18.5 for adults is considered underweight. A normal BMI should be anywhere between 18.5 and 24.9. An overweight individual would have a BMI in the range of 25 and 29.9, while an obese adult would have a number showing 30 or above. For example, for someone who has a height of about 5'9" and weighs 124 pounds or less, with a BMI of 18.5, they would be considered underweight.
Those who are highly trained athletes may have a high BMI. This is due to the increased muscularity rather than increased body fatness. Muscle weighs more than fat. It's important to remember that BMI is not a direct measurement of body fatness. Rather, it's calculated from an individual's weight, which takes into consideration both fat and muscle. Maintaining a healthy weight can help to boost immune system health and even lower cholesterol.
More and more individuals are pursuing a vegetarian diet – a diet that excludes animal protein and instead is replaced with plant-based protein. According to the Vegetarian Times, approximately 7.3 million Americans are vegetarians and an additional 22.8 million follow a vegetarian-inclined diet.
Vegetarianism goes back to the sixth century B.C. in India, Greece and the Greek civilization in southern Italy. This way of life was strongly linked with a desire to not harm animals. Peace toward animals in India is known as ahimsa, and was a common lifestyle among religious people and philosophers. People today choose to be vegetarians for many reasons, among them concern for personal health and the environment, compassion for animals, belief in nonviolence, spiritual reasons and food preferences.
This diet, although free of animal protein, serves many benefits to those who follow this lifestyle. Here are just a few benefits that come from being a vegetarian:
A lower body weight
Those who stick to plant protein are more likely to have a lower body weight than their meat-eating counterparts. In fact, according to a study, those who consume meat will continue to put on more weight over a five-year period than those who switched over to the vegetarian lifestyle.
Lower cholesterol levels
A vegetarian diet can help promote positive heart health. Over 100 million Americans have cholesterol levels that exceed the recommended total and 20 percent of Americans have levels that are considered too high. Products like dairy, meat, butter, cheese, poultry and luncheon meats all contain saturated fat, which can contribute to poor heart health. By eliminating these items from your diet and replacing them with whole grains, your good cholesterol levels may rise.
A better mood
Turns out, embracing a vegetarian lifestyle can make you happier and less stressed. High levels of arachidonic acid, or AA, have been linked to mood-disturbing brain changes. Animal products like meat and fish are higher in AA than plant-based products. Omnivores reported significantly worse moods than vegetarians due to the elevated levels of AA.
Helps the environment
What you put into your body every day has a significant effect on our environment. Switching from a standard American diet to a vegan or vegetarian diet is more effective in the fight against climate change than switching to a hybrid car, according to PETA. More greenhouse-gas emissions are produced in the feeding and raising, production, and transporting of livestock than in crop cultivation.
With beach season dangerously close, everyone is looking to tone and tighten. But it's going to take more than cutting back on the sweets and going for a run every once in awhile to achieve the results you're looking for.
Men and women tone their muscles differently because, typically, women tend to have more fat cells than men do in their thighs, hips and bottoms. Conversely, men's stomachs are more likely than women's to accumulate fat cells.
Body fat comes from the total number of fat cells in your body and the size of these cells. The human body has about 30 billion fat cells, but they are often not evenly distributed. When people lose weight, those fat cells simply become skinnier.
One of the best ways to start depleting those fat cells is by adding some strength training into your exercise routine and getting more protein into your diet, whether it's through protein powders or meal replacement shakes. By building muscle, you'll be burning more calories and be getting closer to that dream body of yours. As a general rule for both men and women, it's important to start off with an intensity you're comfortable with.
For your arms…
Tricep dips: Using your own body weight, use a chair or a bench to hold yourself up with your elbows locked. Lower yourself slowly down until your elbows are bent and reach a 90-degree angle. Keep your head straight as you press up to the starting position.
Chin ups: This exercise really works your biceps. Find a sturdy bar and hang onto it with your palms facing toward you and let yourself hang. Pull yourself up and reach your chin over the bar.
For your core…
Bicycles: Laying on your back, make sure your lower back is pressed to the ground. Place your hands behind your ears, lift your feet off of the floor and elevate your knees above your hips. Complete the exercise by touching your right elbow to your left knee, followed by your left elbow to your right knee. The exercise should be a continuous movement.
Vertical leg crunch: Lay on your back with your lower back pressed to the ground. Place your hands behind your ears, making sure your elbows are straight out to the side and not in view. Extend and lift your legs straight up over the hips with a slight bend in the knees. Keeping your eyes focused on the ceiling, lift your torso toward your knees and slowly release down.
For your legs…
Squats: This exercise tones your thighs. Start with your feet shoulder-width apart. Bending your knees, lower your rear end toward the ground. As your knees near a 90-degree angle, exhale and push yourself back up to the starting position. Make sure your knees never go over your feet as you complete the exercise.
Leg lifts: You can easily compete this exercise right in your own home. Lay on your right side on a mat and rest your elbow on the ground. Kick your right leg up toward the sky and slowly lower it down to the starting position. Once you've completed the appropriate amount of reps, switch sides.
We've all experienced that feeling when 10:30 rolls around and it's just a little bit too early to take a lunch, but your stomach is arguing otherwise. It's time for a snack. Sure, those donuts your coworker brought in look great, but when your job entails sitting in a chair for eight hours with little movement, sugary and salty foods may not be the source of energy you're looking for. By chowing down on the right foods and following these few tips, you can start snacking healthier at work right away:
Keep the healthy snacks visible at your desk
If a sugary pastry is right in front of you on the conference table but your healthy snack is tucked away in your bag, you're more likely to go for the calorie-packed pastry.
Prepare them beforehand
If your snack allows, prepare it the night before you go into work. This way, you won't be turned off by the fact that you have to leave your desk to go make yourself food. If it's already right there and ready to eat, you're more likely to snack on it.
Know the difference between "snack" and "treat"
Although we may want that chocolate bar or cookie to be a snack, it's probably considered more of a treat. Ask yourself if you're just eating it because it's there or because you're actually hungry and are trying to help bridge one meal to the next. Snacks offer nutrition, while treats only offer calories.
No mindless eating
Eating while working can lead to overeating. It's similar to when you're sitting on the couch with a bag of chips and all of a sudden they're gone. Instead, only bring small amounts of food to your desk so you don't eat more than you bargained for.
The best snacks to enjoy at work:
There's no easier way to snack with a smoothie or a shake. But stay away those beverages packed with calories and even more sugar. Instead, make your own right at work! These personal blender bottles can be great for whipping one up right in the office. Pack up fresh fruit of your choice along with ice and water and mix in a few scoops of Naturade Total Soy. This protein powder won't only add great taste to your smoothie, it's packed with all of the protein, vitamins and minerals your body needs to maintain a healthy weight.
Apples and honey with nut butter
You'll need crispbread, a whole apple, the nut butter of your choice (peanut, almond, cashew, etc.), honey and cinnamon. Smear whichever butter you chose over the crispbread, thinly slice the apples on top and drizzle it all with a bit of honey and cinnamon for a snack all of your coworkers are sure to be jealous of.
This creamy treat is delicious by itself, but when you add in your favorite fresh fruit and choice of granola, it's even better. Greek yogurt is a great source of protein, fiber, calcium and probiotics, which are good for your digestive system.
We're not talking about the movie theater style popcorn here, unfortunately. However, this airy snack made in a pot over the stove with a touch of olive oil and seasoning can actually be a healthy snack. This stuff won't leave you too full for lunch, either.
Looking at nutrition labels, you may always see protein, but you may not have a good idea of the role that it actually plays in food as well as in your body. There are plenty of reasons out there that may convince you to start paying attention to how much protein you're consuming. According to the Institute of Medicine, adults should get a minimum of .8 grams of protein for every kilogram of body weight per day – that adds up to about 58 grams for a 160-pound adults. The amount your body needs truly depends on factors like sex, age, height and weight. Here are just some amazing things that protein can do for your body:
Maintain a healthier weight
Exercise and staying away from fatty foods can only do so much when it comes to maintaining a desirable body weight. Protein is really what helps to keep your weight down. In fact, starting off the day with a protein-packed breakfast like eggs, lean beef or a smoothie can help you keep the weight off. Many are under the assumption that consuming foods high in protein will only lead to too many calories consumed, causing the body fat to increase. But when eating the best sources of protein, like lean fish, meat, dairy and beans, you'll feel fuller longer and be less likely to overeat later. Protein takes longer to leave your stomach, which causes the fullness. The moment you consume protein, your body gets to work on digesting, metabolizing and using the protein, which means you burn more calories processing them.
Start your morning off with a protein-packed smoothie. Add in your favorite fresh fruits and a few scoops of Naturade Total Soy for plenty of fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals that your body needs to keep going throughout the day. You could also add this protein powder to virtually any food, such as burgers, potatoes or muffins.
Promote heart health
Meatless sources of protein like nuts, legumes and soy foods have all been shown to lower cholesterol levels because of their combination of fiber and heart-healthy phytochemicals. Naturade Total Soy is a great source of protein that has been shown to reduce cholesterol in over 40 clinical studies. With a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, you may reduce your risk for poor heart health. When choosing protein, opt for low-fat options like lean meats, skim milk or other foods with high levels of protein.
Whether you're an athlete looking to bulk up or simply wish to look a bit more toned, protein is what's going to help you reach your goals. Protein is made up of amino acids, which are used by the body to build new muscle. If you don't consume enough protein in your diet, your muscles can repair and continue to build and your body will begin to break down the muscle. The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn and the less fat you'll see on your body. After an intense workout, grab a meal replacement shake to help your muscles to grow.
Whether it's your favorite cereal, scrambled eggs or a fruity smoothie, taking the time in the morning to chow down is essential. Many individuals may be under the impression that skipping this morning meal will help them to lose weight because they're consuming fewer calories: Research shows about 18 percent of Americans older than age two regularly skip breakfast. However, breakfast can be your ally in maintaining a healthy weight along with many other benefits. This meal sets the tone for the rest of the day. If you haven't jumped on the breakfast bandwagon, here are a few reasons you may want to reconsider:
Sparks your metabolism
You likely haven't eaten for about eight hours when you get up in the morning. Your body responds to this by decreasing your metabolic rate – the speed at which the body burns calories. When you do chow down in the morning, your metabolism essentially wakes up and starts burning those calories at a faster rate, helping you to maintain a healthier body weight.
Helps you stay alert
If you have a long day at school or work ahead of you, you're definitely going to want to make time for breakfast in the morning. Skipping breakfast can have a negative effect on the way students perform in the classroom and on problem-solving tests and may make you less alert at the office. When you don't give your body calories to turn into energy, you may feel sluggish later. Consuming fiber in the morning is especially essential to staying alert because adequate fiber prevents spikes in blood sugar that can affect how awake you feel. Stick to whole grains and fruits.
Crucial for losing weight
According to an expert panel at the Institute of Food Technologists conference, those who don't eat breakfast consume 40 percent more sweets, 55 percent more soft drinks, 45 percent fewer vegetables and 30 percent less fruit than those who do. Overall, those who skip out on their morning breakfast tend to weigh more than their counterparts. If you include protein in your diet, like adding a protein powder to a meal replacement shake or smoothie in the morning, it seems to have even more of an effect on weight loss. Add a few scoops of Naturade Total Soy to your favorite shake or smoothie recipe in the morning to help yourself love breakfast again. A high-protein breakfast helps you to stay full and avoid overeating later on in the day.