Cardio or weights?

Training your body is all about balance. A complete exercise program should address not only resistance training but cardiovascular training as well. Proper balance between these two basic forms of exercise is essential to your training success.

Training balance basically boils down to the amount of cardio training you do compared to the amount of weight training you do. You are going to learn exactly what factors affect this training balance and how you can use them to ensure you reach your goals as quickly as possible!

The major issue you will need to take into consideration when balancing your cardio with your weight training is your primary training goal; if you’re training to lose fat, your balance is going to be very different than if you’re trying to gain muscle or if you’re training for a specific sport.

Your primary goal will give you a general starting point for figuring out exactly how to balance your training, as well as what type of cardio and weight training you should be doing.

In addition to your primary goal, you will also need to take into account two other major factors:

Your body type – Are you naturally slim? Do you gain muscle easily? Do you tend to hold onto fat readily?
The type of cardio training you’re doing – Is it high-intensity or low-intensity? Does it fatigue you for weights? Does your weight training fatigue you for your cardio?

As you read through this article, I want you to write down the points that apply to you. After explaining these factors, I will tell you how to integrate everything you’ve learned in your personal training program.

In order to successfully balance your training, you need to first identify what your primary goal is. Are you trying to lose fat? Are you focused on gaining muscle? Are trying to improve sports performance?

It’s very important to note, you will be far more successful in achieving your goal if you focus on one specific goal only. The training processes involved in losing fat or gaining muscle are very different and do not mix well with each other. If you try to do both at the same time, your results won’t be as good as if you focused on one at a time.

If you’re training to lose fat, you’re going to need to do more cardio than someone who is training to gain muscle. A good starting point is three times per week, 20 to 30 minutes per session. Depending on the other factors we’re going to discuss, you may need more or less than this. Weight training three times per week should be sufficient to maintain and even build muscle mass.

With fat loss, your primary goal should be burning calories while sparing as much muscle as possible. Since you’re most likely eating fewer calories, your body is not going to be eager to add muscle, therefore it’s best to focus on keeping what you’ve got. Any muscle you may add is just ice cream on the cake (bad analogy for this topic!).

If you’re training to gain muscle, you will need to do less cardio training. Too much cardio can actually hamper your muscle gain by slowing recovery and burning up calories that your body needs for the process of building muscle.

As a general guideline, one or two cardio sessions per week should be enough to maintain your cardiovascular conditioning and keep your bodyfat gains in check while not slowing muscle growth. You should train with weights at least three times per week, up to even six times if you can recover from it and still make progress.

If you are training for a specific sport, how many cardio sessions you need will depend greatly on the cardiovascular and muscle mass and strength requirements of your sport. Naturally, a long-distnace runner is going to have far different requirements than a hockey or football player. The type of cardio training you do will also come into play here (which we will look at below).

As a guideline, the more cardio-oriented your sport is, the more cardio sessions you will need and the greater your focus should be on cardio training. If your sport is more strength-oriented, your focus should be primarily on developing that strength, with fewer cardio sessions. Of course, there are many sports that require both strength and cardiovascular capacity. Training in this case should be more equally balanced.

Now that you’ve identified your training focus and the general guidelines for it, we need to take a look at your general body type. There are three main bodytypes: ectomorph, endomorph and mesomorph. The catogories operate on a sliding scale – a person may be an ectomorph but have mesomorphic tendencies, for example (we will go more into each type below).

The ectomorph is the naturally-slim person. They have a smaller bone-structure and can seem to “eat whatever they want and not gain an ounce.”

The ectomorph has a fairly easy time losing fat so they will will generally not need to do as much cardio for fat loss. Two or three times per week should be plenty. An ectomorph trying to gain muscle may need to lay off cardio training completely in order to have enough recovery energy available for their body to even build muscle. Once or twice a week should be the maximum cardio frequency. Even weight training may need to be less frequent (two or three times per week) in order to see results.

The endomorph type is the heavyset end of the scale. The endomorph typically gains and holds onto fat easily and has a harder time losing it. The endomorph does tend to carry more muscle mass than the ectomorph, however.

Endomorphs will need to do more cardio to see significant fat loss. The minimum would be three times per week but some may require up to five or six sessions per week for best results.

An endomorphic person trying to gain muscle mass should continue to do cardio two or three times per week. Their tendency to accumulate bodyfat when eating excess calories (which is a requirement for muscle gain) can be reduced by keeping a reasonable amount of cardio in their training program. The endomorphic body has plenty of energy in reserve for muscle gain.

The mesomorph has all the luck. This is the naturally-muscular person. They are characterized by having broader shoulders and a narrower waist (known as a “V” taper). They gain muscle easily and lose fat easily.

A mesomorphic person training to lose fat can get away with doing only one or two cardio sessions a week while still seeing fairly good results. They will have an easier time holding onto muscle while losing fat, which gives them a calorie-burning advantage (the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn in a day even while doing nothing). Mesomorphs who do more cardio sessions will see greater fat loss results than either of the other two bodytypes – their greater muscle mass helps them burn more calories.

The mesomorph has a relatively easy time gaining muscle. Their bodies seem to naturally want to add muscle and keep it. The mesomorph training for muscle gain should keep doing enough cardio training to maintain cardiovascular capacity (about once or twice a week). They can, however, still get away with doing more without compromising results.

The type of cardio training you do will have a tremendous impact on the frequency at which you can do it and still get the results you want.

Moderate-intensity cardio training, such as jogging or swimming, will need to be done a little less frequently. This type of training requires more energy both to perfom and for your body to recover from. A person trying to lose fat can generally perform four to six moderate-intensity sessions per week at around 20 to 30 minutes each. A person trying to gain muscle should reduce this amount to two to three sessions per week.

High-intensity training is the toughest of the bunch but can actually net you the greatest and fastest results. High-intensity training is exemplified in activities such as sprinting and interval training. If you’ve ever had a coach make you run up and down hills, you’ve done high-intensity cardio. Basically, anything that you do as hard as you can for a short period of time could be considered high-intensity training. In fact, intense weight training with short rest periods is very good for cardio capacity.

High-intensity training is extremely effective for fat loss as it not only causes you to burn a lot of calories during the activity, it also raises your metabolism for a long time after the activity is done. This type of hard training should be done less frequently than the more moderate forms of cardio as it is much harder for your body to recover from. If you are training for fat loss, you should do at least two but no more than three high-intensity cardio sessions per week. If you are training for muscle gain, once or, at the most, twice per week should be the limit.

The three major factors that determine how much cardio you should do in your program (your primary training goal, your bodytype and the type of cardio training you do) must now all be taken into account when determining how much cardio you should be doing compared to weight training.

Every body is different and every person reacts to training in different ways. To determine how much cardio you should do, you will need to look at each factor on it’s own then look at all three factors at once. When you write them all down, you will probably see a pattern develop. Here’s an example.

Fat Loss – 3 to 6 times per week
Endomorph – 3 to 6 times per week
High-intensity Training – 2 to 3 times per week
Weight Training – 3 times per week

This would mean an endomorphic person training for fat loss with high-intensity training could do cardio three times per week and weights 3 times per week.

Here’s another example:

Muscle Gain – 1 to 2 times per week
Ectomorph – 1 to 2 times per week
Low-intensity Training – 2 to 3 times per week minimum but can be done almost every day
Weight Training – 3 to 4 times per week

This would mean an ectomorphic person looking for muscle gain and doing low-intensity cardio training could do cardio two days a week at a minimum to maintain cardio capacity while trying to gain muscle.

Conclusion:

Every person’s situation is wide open to interpretation and, when it all comes right down to it, much of your training schedule is determined by the time you have available to you. These guidelines should help give you an idea of what frequency of training is most appropriate for your specific goals and situation. Take these recommendations simply as advice, not as rules written in stone and feel free to experiment. You may find out that what actually works for you is exactly the opposite of what is written here!

Title: BetterU, Inc. – Innovative and Powerful Fitness and Weight Training Information
Description: For top-quality, free information on fitness, exercise, fat loss, nutrition, muscle building and more visit us today!
Link: http://www.fitstep.com/

Cardiovascular Training Resource Links:

What Do You Mean Low-Intensity Training Isn’t The Best For Fat Burning?
http://www.fitstep.com/Misc/Newsletter-archives/issue7.htm

Cardiovascular Training Basics
http://www.fitstep.com/Library/Info/Cardio_fitness1.htm

Cardiovascular Activities
http://www.fitstep.com/Library/Info/Cardio_activities.htm

Cardiovascular Equipment
http://www.fitstep.com/Library/Info/Cardio_equipment1.htm

Exercises Excuses-Backwards Fitness

As you can imagine, I hear a ton of excuses from people on why they don’t exercise.

Sometimes the reason is self inflicted: I don’t have the time.

Other times the reason is procrastination: I’m going to start as soon as tax season ends.

And occasionally the reason is downright funny: The dog ate my gym shorts.

I usually point out to these well meaning folks that, despite their reason, exercise is a very important activity that will dramatically improve their life. I bring up the health benefits and describe how many of their physical ailments would improve. I talk about how great they will feel dropping excess weight and rediscovering a slender figure.

However, there was always an excuse that would get me.

The devious excuse of ‘being active’: Oh, I don’t need to exercise in a gym – I’m very active. I play tennis and hike in the summer and I ski in the winter.

Well, they have a point, right? Tennis, hiking and skiing are all active sports that burn calories. Maybe they can be fit without doing any other exercise, especially if they are at a reasonable weight.

Then I started to notice a trend.

The ‘active’ people couldn’t touch their toes in a simple flexibility test. The ‘tennis players’ couldn’t jump rope for 60 seconds. The ‘hikers’ needed a week to recover from a one mile jog. The ‘skiers’ encountered injury after injury. And then it hit me.

You don’t become fit by simply being active. That’s backward fitness.

Only by being fit can you become more active.

To become and maintain a level of fitness there is no replacement for a consistent exercise program. It’s the only way.

True fitness is when your body can do whatever you ask of it. This means having flexibility, strength and endurance.

Do you exercise? Or are you fooling yourself with the excuse of ‘being active’?

How happy are you with your level of fitness? Are you able to meet all of the functional demands of life? Or do you find yourself opting out of experiences or situations that you know would be too challenging?

If you’ve used the excuse of ‘being active’ in the past, it’s time to reconsider your options. Don’t practice backward fitness with the hope of true results.

Contact me to get started on a program that will make you truly fit. And if you’re furthest from active and simply want to lose those extra inches and pounds, make the decision to take action today.

After all, there’s no trial run in the game of life.

Be Excellent

The most important aspect in becoming and staying fit is to be persistent. You can exercise every day for a week, but if you follow that week with a month of no exercise then you’ve lost all ground. Find an exercise program that you are able to consistently do and then stick with it. In the words of Aristotle, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

Simple Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti squash is one of the easiest vegetables to prepare without adding fat in the cooking process. Each squash is filled with folic acid, potassium, vitamin A, and beta carotene – and best of all it is a low calorie food. Servings: 4

Here’s what you need…

spaghetti squash
1 Tablespoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
Cut squash in half and scoop out the seeds and fibers. With a fork pierce the squash skin a few times. Fill a microwave safe dish with 1/2 inch of water. Place the squash cut side down in the dish. Microwave on high for 10-20 minutes or until the skin gives easily under pressure (be sure to use an oven mitt, as the squash get very hot.) Let stand for a few minutes. With a fork, scrape the pasta-like insides into a medium bowl. Mix in basil and garlic salt.

The Aspartame Scandal

by Betty Martini

The Thalidomide of the 90’s is Aspartame, otherwise known as Equal, Nutrasweet or Spoonful. In May, 1992 an article in Flying Safety Magazine explained the dangers of this ubiquitous substance. Some people have triggered aspartame related disorders with doses as small as that carried in a single stick of chewing gum. This could mean a pilot who drinks diet sodas is more susceptible to flicker vertigo or to flicker-induced epileptic activity. It also means that all pilots are potential victims of sudden memory loss, dizziness during instrument flight and gradual loss of vision. Some pilots have experienced grand mal seizures in the cockpits of commercial airline flights and have lost medical certification to fly — and with it their careers.

The FDA has received more than 10,000 consumer complaints on Nutra-Poison. That’s 80% of all complaints about food additives, yet they remain comatose and have done nothing to alert the American consumer who assumes, since it’s so highly advertised, that it must be safe as mother’s milk.

If you are using aspartame and have headaches, depression, slurred speech, loss of memory, fibromyalgia type symptoms, loss of sensation in lower legs or shooting pains, loss of equilibrium, vertigo, anxiety attacks, chronic fatigue, vision loss, floaters, retinal detachment, seizures, heart palpitations, etc., you have Aspartame Disease! Many physicians are diagnosing multiple sclerosis when in reality it is methanol toxicity which mimics MS. Get off this dangerous drug right away. MS is not a death sentence, but methanol toxicity is!

Fifty-one percent of FDA approved drugs have serious risks and could cause adverse reactions that lead to severe or permanent disability or death. The Center for Disease Control, Johns Hopkins University and the New Jersey School of Medicine estimate that 80,000-120,000 Americans are killed by prescription drugs every year. That this atrocious holocaust persists has everything to do with money and nothing to do with public health. Monsanto reaps $2 billion per year from the Aspartame toxic bonanza. This can buy a lot of bureaucrats! Does FDA mean Fatal Drugs Allowed? The FDA works for industry, not citizens. FDA head Arthur Hayes overruled his own board of inquiry to approve aspartame and then went to work for their public relations firm. Federal attorney Sam Skinner was assigned to prosecute Searle for fraudulent tests in their application, but switched sides and went to work for Searle’s lawyers and the case died when the statute of limitations ran out. Honest FDA toxicologist, the late Dr. Adrian Gross, wrote to Senator Howard Metzenbaum: “The views of the FDA’s Center for Food Safety read like a script written for Abbott   Costello in the sense of their having perceptions inside-out and upside- down. … FDA may have gone through the motions. … such a ‘process’ or dance represents a farce and a mockery.”

Aspartame is a molecule composed of three components:
aspartic acid, phenylalanine and methanol. Methanol is wood alcohol that has killed or blinded thousands of skid row drunks. It converts into formaldehyde and formic acid (ant sting poison) in the gut. Formaldehyde, a deadly neurotoxin, is common embalming fluid, a Class A carcinogen. Phenylalanine is also neurotoxic when unaccompanied by the other amino acids in proteins. Aspartic acid causes brain lesions and neuroendocrine disorders in experimental animals. There are 92 documented symptoms including headaches, numbness, fatigue, blurred vision, heart palpitations, memory loss, dizziness, muscle spasms, weight gain, seizures, rashes, blindness, tachycardia, tinnitus, joint pain, nausea, depression , hearing loss, irritability, slurred speech, anxiety attacks, loss of taste, vertigo and insomnia.

Nutrasweet is in about 9,000 foods and on every restaurant table for the same reasons tobacco is everywhere:
Greed, Addiction and Profit! The NutraSweet Company and sister Searle, whose chemists discovered aspartame while testing an ulcer drug, are owned by Monsanto. If you are taking other medicine, consider possible reactions you may have. In 1969, Searle approached Dr. Harry Waisman to study the effects of aspartame on primates. Seven infant monkeys were fed the chemical in milk. One died after 300 days; five others had grand mal seizures. Searle deleted these findings when they submitted this study to the FDA! The best way to understand NutraSweet is to think of it as a minute dose of nerve gas that eradicates brain and nerve functions. Some diseases triggered by aspartame include brain tumors and other cancers, Alzheimers, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, epilepsy, mental retardation, fibromyalgia, lymphoma, Graves disease, birth defects, chronic fatigue syndrome, systemic lupus, Epstein Barr, Parkinsons and … death!

TResearchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology surveyed 80 people who suffered brain seizures after eating or drinking products with aspartame. Said the Community Nutrition Institute:
“These 80 cases meet the FDA’s own definition of an imminent hazard to the public health, which requires the FDA to expeditiously remove a product from the market.” America is seeing a tremendous increase in seizures. Phenylalanine in aspartame lowers the seizure threshold in the brain and blocks serotonin production. Today our nation is swept by a rage of violence. Researchers attribute this in part to low brain serotonin levels inducing depression, rage and paranoia. So President Clinton, Diet Coke in hand, programs billions of dollars to buy penitentiaries for the paranoid. Fetal tissue cannot tolerate methanol and Dr. James Bowen calls NutraSweet instant birth control. The fetal placenta can concentrate phenylalanine and cause mental retardation. Aspartame tests on animals produced brain and mammary tumors. No wonder breast cancer is growing exponentially! During Operation Desert Storm truckloads of diet drinks cooked in the Arabian sun and at 86 degrees aspartame liberates methanol in the can! Thousands of service men and women returned home with chronic fatigue syndrome and weird toxic symptoms.

On July 28, 1993 the National Soft Drink Association drafted a 30-page protest questioning the safety of aspartame in soft drinks. Then they found weight-conscious Americans would sip soda all day if it was sugarless, so they forgot their objections; nor did they tell us that aspartame makes you crave carbohydrates and so you gain weight. The formaldehyde stores in the fat cells, particularly on the hips and thighs. Drink diet soda, get fat now and later develop seizures, diabetes, blindness, Epstein Barr, MS, depression and death.

Similarly, the American Diabetic Association, which now receives mega-funds from NutraSweet, ignored a 1987 abstract submitted by Dr. H. J. Roberts (world expert on aspartame and diabetic specialist) summarizing 58 diabetic aspartame reactors. He says:
“I now advise all patients with diabetes and hypoglycemia to avoid aspartame products.” In his book Excitotoxins: The Taste that Kills, Russell Blaylock, MD, a neurosurgeon, says aspartame may trigger clinical diabetes! He says that excitotoxins such as NutraSweet literally stimulate neurons to death, causing brain damage of varying degrees. “What really concerns me about aspartame,” he says, “is its association with brain tumors as well as pancreatic, uterine and ovarian tumors. … and that so many develop an Alzheimers-like syndrome with prolonged exposure.”

The ‘active’ people couldn’t touch their toes in a simple flexibility test. The ‘tennis players’ couldn’t jump rope for 60 seconds. The ‘hikers’ needed a week to recover from a one mile jog. The ‘skiers’ encountered injury after injury. And then it hit me.

NutraSweet/Equal/Spoonful are the deadliest toxins in our society because of their ubiquitous presence in thousands of foods, even vitamins, medicines, Kool Aid, Jell-O, diet foods and the packets on every restaurant table. We are dosed with millions of pounds every year. Every product containing aspartame should contain the following warning: Chemical Poison: Keep Out of Reach of Humans! Genocidal!

Betty Martini can be contacted at: bettym19@mindspring.com

Betty Martini’s Web Page is http://www.dorway.com/betty

Got Muscle Confusion?

A question that I am often asked by frustrated fitness enthusiasts is “Why have my results stopped? I am doing the same routine as before – what happened?”

This is a common place to end up, usually a few months after starting a new exercise routine. At first your body responds to your routine in lost pounds and gained muscle tone, then one day your results screech to a stop.

What happened? And, more importantly, what can you do about it?

You may have heard the saying, “When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best idea is to get off.” This is the perfect analogy for your stale workout routine.

The problem: Your body has adapted to your routine. Let’s face it, when you can do your workout routine in your sleep it’s time for something new.

The Solution:
It’s time to shake things up, and to apply the concept of muscle confusion. Muscle confusion means that you keep your body guessing by changing your routine.

The following are great ways to do just that:

Exercises:
When you know that your routine has lost its effectiveness the first obvious thing to change are the actual exercises. It is important to include every major muscle group in your routine, so be sure to exchange each exercise for one that works the same muscle group.

Resistance:
Do you find yourself always reaching for the same dumbbells or placing the pin in the same notch of the weight stack? Change your weight as well as the number of repetitions performed. If you normally do 12-15 repetitions then increase the weight and do 6-8. The key is to challenge your muscles in a new way.

Equipment:
There are so many different pieces of exercise equipment out there—don’t limit your routine to just one type. If you love working with dumbbells but your routine has fallen flat, put them aside and try something new. A little creativity can really jump start your progress.

Style:
So often the training style that we are first taught sticks with us forever. For you this may be the style of doing one set, taking a rest period, and then doing another set. Or maybe you have caught on to the circuit training style that keeps your heart rate elevated throughout the routine. Whatever your chosen style, be sure to change it once your routine ceases to produce results.

Now, don’t worry, this doesn’t mean that you need a brand new workout every day of the week. In fact, your body will take some time to adjust to each new workout, so it should be done for the appropriate amount of time before results start to slack off.

What is that ‘sweet spot’ of time that each new routine should be used before moving on to the next? Well, the answer to that question is as unique as each person reading this.

For some this will mean a new routine every 3 weeks, and for others it will mean a new routine every 8 weeks. Typically the fitter you are the quicker your body will adapt to each new routine.

Muscle confusion plays a big part of the programs that I provide for my clients and it’s one of the little secrets I use to deliver fast results.

Small changes make a big difference

How many times have you told yourself that you need to lose weight?

I’m not talking about a couple pounds either – I’m talking about 20 or more pounds of extra fat that you’d like to see disappear.

I’ve come to notice a trend. Most people psyche themselves out before they ever start losing the weight. It’s as if the enormity of their goal simply puts them into shut down mode, and they give up on the idea entirely.

Has this ever happened to you? You try out a diet or exercise plan for a week or so, and then you get frustrated when your body looks the same as before. So you give up.

Weight loss isn’t a speedy thing. It takes time to gain weight – many people put on weight for years and then expect to lose it in a few weeks or months. It doesn’t work that way.

So instead of pressuring yourself into losing 50 pounds in two months, how about sticking with a realistic, proven way for long term weight loss: Small changes to your lifestyle over time will make the difference.

In practical terms, make it your goal to drop one pound a week.

Now, this may not seem like that much, but if you did this consistently for one year it would result in 50 lbs lost. All it takes are small changes in your daily lifestyle. Let’s break the process down…

How to shed a pound a week: Burn 3500 extra calories.

It really is that simple. Try the following three steps:

Record your normal weekly exercise – look at everything from walking to participating in sports to exercising in the gym. This is your starting point. You need to burn an additional 3500 calories on top of your normal weekly exercise. If you don’t currently exercise, then this step is really easy for you, a simple blank page will do.

Record your normal weekly food intake – this may be hard to do honestly, but remember that you are only cheating yourself by not recording everything. Calculate the total number of calories that you eat in an average day. In your quest for dropping inches you shouldn’t exceed your normal daily caloric intake – you should, rather, work at slowly decreasing that number. Remember, we are going for a 3500 calorie deficit each week – this can be done by a combination of increased calorie exertion (exercise) as well as a decrease in calories consumed (eating less).

Chart the difference – now that you know your starting point for both calorie exertion and calorie intake it is time to turn the tables in your favor. Take every opportunity to exert more calories by increasing your physical activity, and to decrease your calorie consumption by eating fewer calories and by making healthier selections. Record your progress in a notebook and refer back to it often. You will be surprised how encouraging it is to see your progress written down on paper.

Remember, if you burn up 500 calories a day you will drop a pound in a week.

Here are some practical ways to lose calories:

If you normally… Do this instead…

Drink regular soda pop Drink water or diet soda pop (160 calories lost)
Eat a snack from a vending machine Enjoy an apple (180 calories lost)
Hit the snooze button in the AM Jog for 30 minutes before work (150 calories lost)
Skip your workout See me for an invigorating workout (changes your life!)

Weight loss doesn’t have to be allusive. Make small changes each and every day toward a healthier, fitter you. Remember that small changes make a big difference.

I’m always available to help – call or reply to this email to set up your free consultation.

Emotion Creates Motion

Can you remember a time when you felt completely discouraged with your body? It’s easyto beat yourself up when the body that you have is miles from the one you want. When negative emotions flood over you resist the urge to get down on yourself, rather turn the tides in your favor. You may have heard the expression ’emotion creates motion’. This is a very powerful tool. Channel your dissatisfaction with your body into ‘motion’. Take control of your body and put a plan into action.

Weight-Loss Pills: Do they work?

Let’s be honest for a moment. You’ve seen the advertisements for weight loss pills-you know the ones with those amazing before and after pictures-and you’ve wondered to yourself…do they work?

Diet pills are everywhere, they tempt from store shelves, from infomercials and from glossy magazine pages. You probably know someone who is dabbling with diet pills or maybe you’ve tried them yourself. Have you ever wondered how they work?

Weight loss pills can be broken down into 3 basic categories:

Appetite Suppressants: These work just like it sounds. The appetite-regulating region of your brain (the hypothalamus) is tricked by blockage of the re-uptake of serotonin and norepinephrine. As a result you feel like you’ve just eaten a big meal, so you’re less likely to overeat.

Stimulants: These types of weight loss pills used to contain a combination of ephedra and caffeine to raise energy expenditure (thermogenesis) while also reducing appetite. You’re probably aware that these pills were proven in some cases to be deadly, so ephedra was taken off the market. Stimulant pills now contain other ephedra-like substances, vitamins and caffeine. The idea is to increase energy and boost metabolism.

Fat Blockers: These pills inhibit the action of the enzyme lipase, which is responsible for breaking down fat during the digestion process. The goal is to prevent a percentage of the fat you’ve eaten from being absorbed into your system.

So we return to our burning question. Do the pills work? Here’s what the diet pill companies say:

“You’ll lose 30lbs in 30 days”
“Achieve rapid weight loss results”
“Burn calories and fat 24 hours a day”
“Fights fat and delivers rapid weight loss”

Those claims are amazing…too bad they are just that-claims. It’s so tempting to imagine that those benefits could be gained just by swallowing a pill. Tempting enough to make diet pills a multibillion dollar a year industry. Hmmm, makes you wonder that if that many diet pills have been taken then why don’t we all look like swim suit models yet?

While diet pills showcase a few star subjects, none of whom live on your block, the world is full of real people who have lost weight and improved their lives with exercise and healthy eating.
Check out these proven benefits of exercise:

Increased Weight Loss
Strengthens Heart and Lungs
Improved Sleep Pattern
Increased Strength
Improved Coordination
Raised Self Esteem
Renewed Confidence
Feel Good Endorphins
Feel Younger Than Ever
Improved Mood

A pill may slightly increase your metabolic rate for a time or may suppress your appetite, and you may lose a few pounds. However, a pill alone cannot produce serious or permanent weight loss. A pill cannot deliver the same results as healthy nutrition and regular exercise.

And weight loss pills have been known to give the following side effects:

Raised blood pressure
Increased risk of heart attack
Cramping, gas and diarrhea
Constipation
Headaches
Dry Mouth
Insomnia
The bottom line is that true weight loss can’t be achieved by a pill.

If you really want to lose weight, if you’re looking for long term health benefits then look no farther than your sneakers. That’s right, lace them up and go for a jog. Then schedule a time to meet with me.

Together we will turn you into a walking talking billboard for the benefits of exercise.

Comfort Food…Your Two-Sided Friend

With one holiday under your loosened belt, you’re gearing up for many more celebrations…and piles of seasonal comfort food. If you don’t mind, I’d like to be totally candid with you today.

Sure, I could write you a ‘feel good’ article about cutting back a few calories and exercising a few minutes each day, but I’d rather be perfectly frank (and truly helpful).

Here’s the real deal: You abuse food.

That’s right. You’re overweight because you eat too much, and you eat too much because it brings immediate pleasure.

I am here to point out that this pleasure comes at high price…

The other side of comfort food: You’ve heard dishes being referred to as ‘comfort food’—some restaurants even have an entire section of their menu designated as comfort food. But comfort food is more than just a hearty dish.

It’s those extra calories that you eat to feed an emotional need rather than a nutritional need.
It’s excessively big portions that leave you stuffed.
It’s high calorie snacks.
It’s sugary treats.
It’s fried, cheese smothered appetizers.
It’s whatever you indulge in with mindless munching.
Could you relate to any of the above? Most of us tend to gravitate toward a particular form of comfort food. For many women it’s chocolate or other sugary treats. For men it often takes a saltier form.

Think of the last time you ate for pleasure rather than nourishment. Why’d you do it?

Out of Habit: Your body loves routine. If you always snack while watching television then you’d probably find it hard to relax without going through that munching motion. The good news is that once you break the cycle your body will quickly adapt to a healthier routine.

To Change Your Mood: Does the thought of a cupcake bring a smile to your lips? How about a large pizza to lift your mood? Pay attention to the emotions that trigger you to overeat—you may be surprised how often you use food to feel better.

Because Everyone’s Doing It: Who can resist comfort food when it’s offered among friends? Peer pressure doesn’t just apply to teenagers—it’s another reason to overeat. Remember that true friends will support your decision to refrain.

Can you remember how you felt after you last filled up on comfort food? If you’re honest, you’ll admit that the stuffed and bloated feeling was downright awful. So why do it?

Come on, where have your eating habits gotten you?

Into clothes that are a few sizes larger.
Drained and with less energy than ever before.
Plagued with health concerns and prescriptions.
Embarrassed and frustrated with your body.
Most people don’t realize it, but the battle to overcome your eating habits is decided by a single body part—and it’s not your mouth. (Your mouth is simply a puppet.)

It’s your brain. Once you’ve made up your mind, for better or for worse, you can bet that your body will obey your decision to the letter. You’ve proven it time and time again.

So make the decision to give up your unhealthy dependence on comfort food.

There is no better time than now.

Making a change is hard—that’s why I’m committed to being with you every step of the way. Call today to schedule a consultation.

You can end the abuse, once and for all.

What type of intensity should I be aiming for when I do cardiovascular exercise?

Depending on your fitness goals, recommendations about how difficult and how long cardiovascular exercise should be vary. 
If your goal is to improve general cardiovascular fitness then low to moderate intensity exercise for at least 20 minutes three to four times a week is a good start. The most common goal of those working out is to lose weight or at the very least to change their muscle to fat ratio. If you are somewhat deconditioned then you should aim for lower intensity, longer duration types of cardiovascular exercise. Once you build up endurance then you should aim to increase intensity to increase the total number of calories burned and also to strengthen your heart.

An effective way to do this is interval training. Interval training is basically varying the intensity of cardiovascular exercise. Often it involves intense periods of aerobic exercise that are followed by a lighter intensity “recovery” period.

The fat burn” or “weight loss” program on a cardiovascular machine is basically nonsense? 
It is outdated information.  When your level of aerobic intensity is low the percentage of calories burned that actually comes from fat is higher than if your intensity was high. In other words, if you are sitting on the couch watching TV the percentage of calories burned that are coming from fat is higher than if you are doing something more challenging. Does this really matter if you are burning such a small amount of calories in the first place? During interval training the percentage of calories coming from fat is not significantly lower than if you were doing something less intense. You are burning more fat in total and increasing cardiovascular capacity with an interval program.

Something to keep in mind is that if you do decide to incorporate interval training into your fitness program be sure not to do intense intervals on consecutive days. Interval training is anaerobic enough that your muscles will need to recover to some extent before working that hard again.

Start with what is realistic with your current fitness level and then add from there. 
Develop a solid aerobic base and most importantly make it part of your routine. If you are looking to see greater results regarding fat loss then look to incorporate an interval program into your routine.