Monday, June 27, 2011

Weight Loss Help and Tips

Weight Loss Help and Tips

10 fitness tips for women

Posted: 26 Jun 2011 06:56 AM PDT

There are many fitness tips for women but not all of them work for every woman. In this post our fitness experts have gathered the 10 most important fitness tips for women that can give you optimum weight loss results in the fastest way possible.

Fitness tips for women – Introduction

So you bought the book, joined the club, and read the myriads of articles, tips, and advice pages. You have the diet arranged; however, majority of them say 'for best weight loss results exercise'. If only it was that simple… Where do you start?

Well some of you may have already bought the gym membership or you are already killing yourself on the elliptical machine and you are nowhere near in looking like a Baywatch babe. What can you do?

Bellow I have listed 10 fitness tips to help you with the Baywatch body quest.

1. Consult a medical professional and the appropriate exercise/fitness professional.

Yeah, yeah, yeah… you heard it all before. No really. Exercise is actually a form of a stress response for the body. Everybody tells you that exercise is healthy and how many health benefits you will get from exercising. Yes you will but it also increases heart rate, breathing rate, blood pressure and a number of stress hormones take over your body. Don't be a casualty. You do need to know if there is anything which could contradict any form of exercise so you can choose the best weight loss exercise or workout to suit your needs.

In addition to a medical professional, the appropriate fitness professional should be able to advise you on a workout, and show you the correct techniques for exercises. I am sure you want to enjoy it and skip heart attacks and injuries.

No pain no gain

The no pain no gain slogan is often used by the fitness fanatics. The body uses pain signals to warm you about something potentially harmful. Pain could be indicating that a specific load/exercise is too much for the body’s structures. There is the principle of overloading the muscles but this is done progressively and it doesn’t mean destroying them. Exercising through pain could lean to injuries or health complaints.

2. Pace yourself and work on your own level.

Maybe you have read about this super high intensity – fat burning army style workout and you want to try it out. No doubt you will get there, but if you never done any exercise in your life then be prepared to be hit by a tone a bricks. Your body is not used to work and as a result your muscles will ache, you will feel sick and maybe be able to only move your finger without being in pain.

The solution? Pace yourself through exercising. Start by walking around the block 2 – 3 times a day instead of running a marathon, or go swimming for 30min; basically do small and light workouts and build on them in time.

You may be thinking that you hardly burn any calories this way, but believe me you do. If your muscles are not used to be doing a lot, walking around the block is hard work for them. Moreover, working on your own level and ability will minimise the risk of injuries.

Every day fitness ideas

1. Why not take the kids to the garden or park and play an active game with them. Play with a ball or do some skipping. You will be spending some quality time with your family, have fun and exercise at the same time.

2. Try doing a couple of bicep curls while you are carrying the shopping bags to the car or a couple of squats while you putting the shopping in the cupboards *(make sure you are doing exercise activities in the correct technique and at your own level and ability).

3. If you have stairs in your house why not go up and down the stairs for a couple of times. It will not be that much different than using the elliptical machine in the gym.


3. Make everyday life activities work for you.

Whether it is time, money or convenience going to the gym, running or taking on a sport it is not possible for everybody. That doesn't mean that you cannot exercise. Use everyday life activities to make up your daily workout. For example use the stairs instead of taking a lift, walk to the shops, walk to work or get off the bus one stop earlier and brisk walk the rest. If you look around your environment and everyday life you can find tones of activities which can be turned into an exercise opportunity.

Use some of the rest of the fitness tips for women (i.e. tips 4 & 7) in combination with your daily activities to get the most of it.

4.  Break the workout in 2 sessions.

Breaking the workout into 2 sessions per day can help in increasing your metabolism. In other words you could be potentially burning more calories. You don't have to increase the amount of time or exercises you do in a day or do your usual workout twice. Just cut it in half and do one half in the morning and one half in the evening. For example if you go running for an hour a day, go 30min in the morning and 30min in the afternoon/evening.

If you do use the gym and going twice per day is not feasible then do a slightly shorter workout in the gym and go for a brisk walk for your 2nd daily workout.

One thing you need to be careful is not to overload your body too much. When doing 2 workouts it is easy to fall in the trap of adding more exercises or more time. Too much exercising can place a lot of stress in the body and you could be having the opposite results.

Fitness tips for women

Fitness Tips for Women – 5 more tips

5. Do resistance exercise.

It is often advocated that people burn calories and fat with aerobic exercise and is better for weight loss. The idea is that during moderate intensity aerobic exercise the body burns a combination of glycogen (sugar) and fat whereas with resistance exercise the body burns mostly glycogen. However, studies indicate that in terms of post training results resistance exercise tends to increase metabolic rate and fat burning. One of the reasons is that resistance/weight training increases the body's muscle mass which is one of the main factors of increasing metabolic rate during rest.

The effect of exercise in using fat and energy (and therefore aiding in weight loss) is not only in terms of how many calories we burn while we exercise but also how many calories we burn once we stopped. Therefore, for best results do add some resistance exercises in your workout.

One important fitness tip: Make sure you warm up. A 5-10min warm up with light aerobic exercises is fine. A lot of people use the treadmill or elliptical to warm up. Don’t skip the warm up and go straight into lifting weights as you could damage your muscles and incur injuries

6. Do resistance exercise first and aerobic exercise second.

We worked out above that it is good to add resistance exercises in your workout. Now plan your workout in that you start with the resistance part and finish with the aerobic exercise.

With resistance exercise the body will be using mostly glycogen (sugar stores) for energy. When coming to do the aerobic part most of the glycogen will have been used and therefore the body will be mobilising your fat stores to fuel the exercise. Needless to say you will be potentially be burning a lot more fat.

7. You burn what you eat.

A common conception used in advising people is eating carbs before exercise and protein after. The principle for that is that carbs will give you the energy to fuel the exercise and protein is beneficial for muscle building post exercise. Well if you are going to run a marathon you do need to be stocked up with your carbs as you will need the energy. However, for the average daily workout if you pack yourself before exercising with loads of carbs all you will be burning during exercise is sugar. Yes the post exercise fat burning effect does count as well, but if you want to optimise the fat you are using, then avoid overloading yourself with loads of carbs before exercising.

If your diet in general includes a moderate amount of carbohydrates anyway, then that should provide sufficient energy for exercise. Some studies also suggest supplementing with protein before exercise. This is suggested to aid in increasing muscle mass. However, I tend to say that if your diet includes a moderate amount of protein (see also protein diet tips) then that should be sufficient. In addition, not all protein supplements, powders, shake and so on are off good quality, and choosing the 'best' can be a mind field.

8. Have a coffee.

Coffee increases the sympathetic nervous activity in the body and in result it can increase the metabolic rate and fat mobilisation. Studies also suggest that it can improve performance during exercise. As a result having a cup of coffee before exercise could potentially help in burning more calories and quite importantly more fat. The intensity and kind of exercise will affect which fuel your body will use more off; look at fitness tips for women 6 and 9 as well.

Be aware: Stimulating the sympathetic nervous system also results in increasing heart rate and having a few stress hormones floating around. Exercise can have the same effect as mentioned earlier, so be aware. Do not drink too much coffee (or a very strong one) as what you don't want is effects such as palpitations, anxiety etc. If you are sensitive to coffee or if you have any conditions (example high blood pressure) which may be made worst don't use coffee or consult a medical professional before you do.

9. Alternate the intensity.

Alternating the intensity of exercise can help in using the different energy systems of the body and also different muscle fibres. Alternating the intensity means exercising in high intensity then low intensity then high again and so on. Example run fast for 5min then walk for 5min then run again etc.

The theory behind it is that you use mainly glycogen during high intensity then mobilizing fat as a fuel during low intensity. Some studies suggest that this exercise intensity alternation can increase the amount of fat you burn and potentially can increase the amount of calories you use.

10. Have a rest day.

Last but not least, have a rest once a week. How can rest optimise weight loss? Well muscles recuperate and grow (adapt to the overload of exercise) during rest. To be perfectly honest for all the structures and systems of the body (tendons, nerves, ligaments, cardiopulmonary etc) to adapt to exercise, need rest. If you overload the body and its structures with too much exercise you could potentially get the opposite result. In addition it would increase the risk of injuries and illness.

A day's rest will help your body to recover and make any adaptations to exercise. This way you can enjoy all the benefits and gains of exercise which extend beyond than just losing weight.

Follow the above 10 fitness tips for women and you are on your way to a healthier body and mind. See also weight loss tips for women for 12 more weight loss tips.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Weight Loss Help and Tips

Weight Loss Help and Tips

The Flex diet review

Posted: 19 Jun 2011 08:59 AM PDT

We have already reviewed the most popular weight loss diets and today we add another diet review to our existing collection and this is the flex diet review. Our experts outline and explain what you need to know about the flex diet and help you decide if the flex diet is suitable for you. If you are interested in diets you can also read about the effectiveness of quick weight loss diets.

Review by: Hara Hagikalfa


Handsome, male, young doctor?  Check! Eye catching cover? Check! Magical properties? Not very sure about that… Promises weight loss without fail? Of course!

One more well marketed book came in the weight loss world in 2010. The flex diet, as it is called, has been created by cardiologist Dr. James Beckerman, who also acts as an expert in WebMD. As with many other diets before it, it guarantees weight loss and a life change. In its essence the diet claims to provide 200 ways to lose 200 pounds.

The flex diet details

The flex diet is divided into 3 phases which are the 'today', the 'every day' and the 'your way'.

The today phase lasts for 2 weeks and the main aim is introducing small changes. It essentially consists of a list of 30 'solutions' which dieters can follow during those 2 weeks. Some of the solutions suggested in the 'today' phase are: keeping a diary, taking a multivitamin, getting more sleep, apples, grapes, close the kitchen after dinner, wear a pedometer, don't use exercise as a punishment, try taking whey protein after exercise, blog, call your doctor, become someone's coach, follow people who inspire you on twitter do calisthenics and so on.

The every day phase is about making every day changes in diet and lifestyle and lasts 3 weeks; according to the flex diet it takes 21 days for behaviours to become habits. Dr Beckerman recons that there are 5 senses of wellness and changes are meant to be made in each of the senses. The 5 senses are eat, drink, exercise, act, and live and the book provides lists of 'solutions' for each sense such as:

Eat - eat breakfast every day, avoid bagels, switch to a healthier cereal, use spreads sparingly, use microwave meals, eat tofu once a week, eat salad most days of the week,

Drink - limit alcohol to once a week, switch to skim, save your starbucks don't drink fruit juices etc.

Exercise – curls, lateral raises, push ups, the fly, chair dips, split squats etc.

Act – walk after meals, walk your dog, etc

Live – read the labels, in restaurants ask questions, make your Mexican food healthier etc.

The your way phase for infinity and consists by more than 100 lifestyle changes and solutions for every day.  Like the 'every day' phase changes are made in the 5 senses of wellbeing.

The advice is to pick 2 solutions from every category to follow. If possible pick more solutions; however, the author explains that not all solutions are for everybody thus and it is a 'flexible' diet. Dieters are advised to make the diet and lifestyle changes as it suits them.

Something new? Something borrowed? Something blue?

Has the flex diet got anything new to offer? Well to be honest there is probably nothing you haven't heard before. It is a collection of all the usual things which majority of weight loss professionals, doctors, nutritionists and so on, have said over and over again until they have turned blue in the face. Make lifestyle changes, follow a healthy diet, exercise and try to do it for life in a way that it fits your lifestyle. No doubt it is the right way to go, but is nothing new I would say.

The book does contain some valuable tips (or solutions as Dr Beckerman names them) which can help in achieving a healthier diet and lifestyle. However, that all it is. It does contain some recipes which dieters can use as a guide and also some workouts. I would not go as far as to call it a diet, but I would call it a weight loss tips guide. It does cost to buy and you could possibly get a lot of that information from a number of free weight loss/health/fitness websites, magazines, newspapers and so on.

To the point. Does the diet work?

The flex diet could be described as the cross between a self help book and a weight loss tips manual. Will it help you to lose weight? In theory if people make simple changes to their diet and life style should be on the right way in losing some weight. However, it feels as if the flex manual fails to see diet, lifestyle and behaviours as a whole one picture and suggests that a couple of remedies will solve all the problems. I would question if choosing 2 tips from each category and nothing else, will necessarily work in achieving weight loss (see example box).

The point I am trying to make is that weight loss is not as simple as choosing 10 random tips (2 from each category). Possibly, if you follow each and every one of the 200 tips in the book then you may see some results.

Each tip is explained and backed with scientific research; however a lot of the areas explained are seen in isolation. I would personally question the validity or effectiveness of some of the things he suggests, but overall there is nothing too extreme. Dr. Beckerman seems to not have taken into account the multiple and interrelated factors which can affect weight, metabolism, and behaviours. He does say 'make the changes as its suit you' but I wonder if just that is sufficient to account for individualism and individual needs.

Moreover, not all changes are health appropriate for all the people, not every exercise is safe for everybody (see example box 2) and also research cannot always be generalised.

The author does say inform your doctor as a tip in the 1st phase and I could not stress enough the importance of seeking the appropriate professional's advice. Certain people for example those of older age or those who are obese and/or morbidly obese, and those with specific health conditions may need more specialised advice than Dr. Beckerman's 200 tips. The complexities involved with some specific populations may be they cannot be covered only by just 200 general tips.

Who is it for?

If you are looking for somewhere to start from and are none the wiser in filtering the plethora of tips and information from other sources then you will find the book helpful. Also if you belong in the category of people who don't like to follow specific diets and are just looking for a couple of ways to make a few improvements, then you may find it helpful as well. If you use the flex manual as a supplement to a weight loss diet and implement a few changes which you feel comfortable with, that may work as well.

If you are looking for a specific diet then this book is probably not for you. If you still have the trampoline, the Wii-fit games, the hand weights or the fitness video sitting along with the last revolutionary diet you bought, well you can try some of the tips in the book and find those who suit you. On the other hand there may be a reason why none of the previous diet and life changes worked. A good start would be to find that reason.