February 25, 2016

How is sleep affecting my weight loss?

It’s true that sleep has a significant impact on your health, and more specifically, your weight loss. This was shown in a study from November 2015 called “Interactions Between Sleep, Stress, and Metabolism.”

The study pulled together information to explain how a lack of sleep can adversely affect one’s health. It found that sleep is a major component to keeping the body healthy and the metabolism working well. When you’re not getting enough sleep, your body continues to stay in a stress mode. The body is not fully recovering, adrenals are being overstimulated, and cortisol is being produced. Excess cortisol can lead to weight gain.

Another interesting study showed the connection between sleep deprived individuals and exposure to unnatural light in the evenings, such as from a television or computer. This stimulation from the unnatural light was throwing off the individuals’ hormone cycles. As a result, they were gaining more weight than those who were only sleep deprived and not exposed to the unnatural light. This is a cautionary tale to those who stay up late to watch TV or work on the computer, as these activities could be adversely affecting fat loss.

The key is to maintain good sleep hygiene and adopt a pattern of behavior that will allow you to enter and stay in a rested state for the night. Be sure to select a noise-neutral location. Don’t eat or drink things that could be disruptive to sleep, such as caffeine or alcohol. There are also apps that can monitor your sleep and provide information as to how long you maintain a deep sleep or if you have issues with snoring or sleep apnea. Sleep studies can also be an option. Simply find tools that will help you to manage your sleep better.

If you’re not sleeping well, you will struggle in getting healthy. Sleep is so very important to your overall health, including your weight loss. Getting adequate, solid sleep will allow you to have more energy, feel better, and experience fat loss.


Sleep smarter | Shawn Stevenson

The magic of sleep


Music: Ben Sound Royalty Free Music

Note: Link to episode 107

February 24, 2016

How to not die of diabetes | Dr. Michael Greger

This episode contains Part 2 of a two-part series with Dr. Michael Greger, author of How Not To Die. Dr. Greger’s book includes information and real stories of individuals who were able to reverse the signs of diabetes simply by adopting a plant-based diet.

The health benefits of a plant-based diet are incredible. In fact, the plant-based diet is the only diet that has ever been proved to reverse heart disease. In the 1930s, the first studies that showed the reversal of Type 2 diabetes with a plant-based diet were released. Individuals who went on this diet were essentially cured. Their blood sugar levels became normal and they were able to go off all of their medication.

The truth is, there is no excuse to not eat healthier, especially for those who have diabetes. Dr. Greger discussed his “Daily Dozen” – a checklist of all the things one should fit into their daily routine. This includes the best greens, berries, nuts and seeds, and beverages to consume, as well as how much exercise to get.

After all, diet is the key driver to the reversal of diseases including hypertension, heart disease, and chronic diseases in general including diabetes. Premature deaths are preventable with simple changes in diet. The key is to recognize that we are all on the path to gradually improve our diets. Any steps we take will accrue significant health benefits.

In the last few decades, much awareness has been brought forward, but there is still work to be done. One issue is that people have a tendency to underestimate the power of diet and its effect on our bodies. Switching to a plant-based diet is a proven method of reversing Type 2 diabetes and has many other health benefits. Be sure to make any changes with the supervision of a physician, who can keep a close eye on your levels and remove any medications at the proper time. To connect with Dr. Michael Greger, author of How Not To Die, go to www.nutritionfacts.org to find his contact information.

How to not die of heart disease | Dr. Michael Greger

Music: Ben Sound Royalty Free Music

Do you have patience, persistence, and progression

It’s time to check in with clients, John and Tammy. Their journey has been one of patience, persistence, and progression, and they’re not done yet.

Tammy mentioned that while she was on the treadmill, she was watching her heart rate. She can actually gauge the intensity of her workout based on her heart rate. The maximum heart rate to achieve during a workout is calculated by subtracting one’s age from 220. Of course, there are varying levels that can be achieved depending on where one’s heart rate falls. In an aerobic state, the body is getting plenty of oxygen and burning fat. In a more intense anaerobic state, the body burns sugar and not so much fat. In either case, the body is burning some fat. While Tammy was on the treadmill, she noted that her heart rate did not exceed 110. This may indicate that she should add intensity to her workout to give her a greater challenge. This will allow her body to respond by burning more fat. However, any physical activity is burning calories and improving her cardiovascular health.

Tammy explained that she was unable to do squats like John, but that she used dumbbells and did the leg press. In doing the leg press, it is important to be cognizant of form. She will want to ensure she has a solid base and keeps her knees from extending beyond her toes. Doing this exercise will help to build her strength.

Finally, Tammy wondered about the inside of her thighs, which have begun to droop since losing some weight. Fortunately, skin is very elastic and may retract over time. Though some areas of loose skin may not go away completely, this can be aided through using moisturizer and building muscle in these areas. If those alternatives do not fix the issue, skin removal surgery is always an option in extreme cases.

John and Tammy are getting stronger and building endurance every day. As they continue along their fitness journey, their success is evident in the patience, persistence, and progression they have displayed thus far.


You are in the gym, now what?

Stepping it up


Music: Ben Sound Royalty Free Music

February 22, 2016

What is high intensity interval training?

What exactly is HIIT or high intensity interval training? HIIT is an intense workout where you are giving a full 100% during your intense sessions. However, the intense sessions are followed by a recovery session that usually lasts three times the length of the intense session. HIIT is designed to put a metabolic challenge on your body, which helps to rev up your metabolism. HIIT is a quick and easy way to get an intense workout while improving your cardiovascular fitness and boosting your metabolism.

With HIIT, it’s important to focus on your diet first. When you do intense work, you burn certain calories and set up your metabolism for a post-workout burn. This increased metabolism can last as long as 24 hours. It’s important to know how your body will react, and then monitor what you’re eating. You will need enough fuel to fully recover before your next high intensity interval training.

In the work phase, you need to hit 100% effort. Move and work hard, but only do it for 30 seconds or less. An example of a good work phase would be doing sprints. Remember, the rest interval that follows will last three times the length of the work phase. This allows the body to hit recovery. During the work phase, a heart rate can go up to 190. Once the heart rate is back to 125, then it’s time for the next work phase.

When first starting high intensity interval training, you may only be able to do three or four rounds. That is normal. You want to take it slow at first. With HIIT, it is possible to over train and stress yourself. Because of this, you will never want to do more than 10 rounds in a session.

When trying high intensity interval training or HIIT, the key is to start slow and work hard. Try one session per week. If you’re recovering fully, add another. Give it a try and see what you think!

A secret weapon in your health and fitness journey


Ben Sound Royalty Free Music





February 19, 2016

Mel goes from couch to infinity

Mel, a 54 year-old married, mother of two, has a very inspiring story of how she was able to go from couch to 5K and beyond. She has even run an ultra-marathon! However, Mel wasn’t always so active. At one point, Mel weighed 275 pounds and was very inactive. She was on medication and oxygen 24/7. After moving to Mississippi, she saw a new doctor who had started to wean her off her medications, when she suddenly went toxic. Though she was OK after that incident, she lost 30 pounds during the process. She soon started to wonder if she could lose even more weight.

Mel began taking action. She started cooking recipes from diabetic cookbooks. She joined a gym and began participating in water aerobics. After making these initial changes, Mel dropped 65 pounds and was feeling better than ever. However, she still looked ahead to what else she could accomplish.

Mel’s sister asked her to do a Couch to 5K, as she didn’t want to do it alone. Mel agreed and promised her sister she would complete the Couch to 5K. Though it was challenging, Mel recognizes that it was one of the best ways to learn to run. At that point, Mel caught the running bug. Four years later, Mel has stuck with it. She ran her first 5K, then a 12K, then a 10K, half-marathons, full marathons, and even an ultra-marathon, which is any distance past 26.2 miles.

With running and using My Fitness Pal, Mel has lost a total of 170 pounds. She now has her life back. Though she worked her way up to running ultra-marathons, Mel really credits that initial Couch to 5K as being the game changer for her. Her biggest tip includes having patience with yourself. Forgive yourself for the days in which you don’t eat well. The weight will not come off overnight. It’s going to take time. Have patience and persistence, and don’t get caught up in the gimmicks. Eat smart and move more. To connect with Mel, find her on My Fitness Pal as MelisRunning.



The tao of running | Gary Dudney


Music: Ben Sound Royalty Free Music

February 18, 2016

Should I take protein supplements post-workout?

Have you ever wondered if using protein supplements after a workout is necessary? Many professionals will advise that you should take in protein and carbohydrates during a critical feeding window after a workout. During this window, muscles are able to absorb the nutrition and put it to use.

A study that was featured in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition in August 2013 examined this very dilemma. The study entitled, “Effects of Whey Proteins and Carbohydrates on the Efficiency of Resistance Training in Elderly People,” evaluated 141 men and women between the ages of 65 and 91 over a 12-week period. These people participated in resistance training three times per week. Some then consumed 20 grams of whey protein after their workout, while a control group did not.

So what happened? As it turns out, there was no real difference in the results of both groups. All participants gained strength and saw increases in muscle mass, but didn’t show a sizeable difference from the protein supplements.

The truth is, you don’t need a ton of protein. In fact, excess protein is converted to sugar in your blood. Then insulin kicks in and can lead to weight gain. Of course you need to ensure you’re getting enough protein, as it is a building block for building muscles, but be sure to avoid consuming too much.

Instead of opting for a protein shake, consider swapping it out with other foods that contain protein and have other nutritional benefits. Think about it more holistically. There’s also a cost factor involved with protein shakes and bars, as they can get a little pricey. They may be quick and convenient, but you are essentially paying for that convenience.

While elite athletes may see a small percentage difference in using these protein supplements, the rest of us may not find that they’re worthwhile. Focus on the larger picture and get nutrition from whole foods. You’ll feel healthier and you’ll likely safe a few bucks in the process.



Creatine 101

Understanding macros


Music: Ben Sound Royalty Free Music

February 17, 2016

How to not die of heart disease | Dr. Michael Greger

This is the part one of a two-part series with Dr. Michael Greger. He is the author of the book “How Not To Die”.
Dr. Greger says the number one cause of death for both men and women in the United States is heart disease. The good news is a vast majority of premature death due to heart disease is preventable.

Inflammation is the primary cause of heart disease. Death from heart disease occurs when a plaque within the arterial wall of our coronary arteries bursts. Coronary arteries feed oxygen to the heart muscles. When blood flow is cut off due to this bursting plaque, a part of the heart dies. This can lead to certain cardiac death. One of the first stages is the buildup of cholesterol. High levels of cholesterol in blood

One of the first stages is the buildup of cholesterol. High levels of cholesterol in blood damages the wall of the arteries.  White blood cells go into the arterial wall and eat up the cholesterol. This results in the eventual bursting of a plaque.

Heart disease is preventable without drugs and surgery. Simple changes in our diet can be enough to reverse heart disease.  He recommends a plant-based diet to prevent and reverse heart disease.

To connect with Dr. Michael Greger, author of How Not To Die, go to www.nutritionfacts.org to find his contact information.


How to not die of diabetes | Dr. Michael Greger

Music: Ben Sound Royalty Free Music

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