Friday, February 13, 2009
The "fat burning zone" business is very misleading. It’s true that low intensity exercise uses more fat as fuel and that moderate intensity exercise (that you can maintain for 20 minutes or more) burns both fat and glucose. But, you're better off exercising in the aerobic zone as much as you can, because exercising at this higher intensity burns more total calories. You will burn a larger percentage of fat in relation to glucose when you are working at a lower intensity, but you will also burn fewer total calories and less total fat. The relative percentage of fat burned has nothing to do with weight loss—it's the total amount calories burned that counts.
Weight alone doesn’t tell you the whole truth about your progress or fitness level. Forget your preconceptions about the number on the scale. Knowing your weight is good, but not crucial—you want to lose fat, not necessarily weight. If you must weigh yourself, don’t make it a daily habit. Weight tends to fluctuate throughout the day, and from day-to-day, by as much as 5 pounds or so. Most of these regular changes are due to food and water. Read Body Composition Measures Results to learn about measuring your progress without the scale.
While on a weight lifting program, the right hormones (testosterone) are necessary in order to bulk up. Women’s testosterone levels are much lower than men’s, so in most cases, they are not capable of building large muscles. In fact, since muscle takes up less room than fat, women tend to lose inches when they strength train. So in addition to the physical benefits (increased metabolism, decreased risk of osteoporosis, increased strength), strength training will help you slim down too! Women, in fact, are more likely to tone up from strength training rather than bulk up. Research shows that women can add up to 30% lean muscle and end up looking thinner, feeling stronger and being firmer. No matter how many repetitions you do, you should be lifting a challenging weight and feel muscle fatigue by the end of each set. Learn how to Add Strength Training for Lean Muscles.
These products (diet pills and herbal supplements) are not regulated by the FDA the way that other medications and drugs are. So basically, no one is checking to make sure their claims are true, that the pills contain what they say they do, or that they are actually safe to be taking at all. Remember, even "natural" doesn’t mean safe. Plus, if you lose weight by taking a pill, that weight loss is usually temporary, and not part of a healthy lifestyle change. Read Weight Loss Supplements: Fact or Fiction? to learn more.
There is no way to target weight loss to a specific area of the body because your body decides where it wants to put on weight and where it wants to take it off. The midsection is a common "problem" area for many people. The best way to lose fat is through cardiovascular exercise. It is important to do a variety of abdominal exercises (including crunches) to keep your core strong, but until that excess fat is gone, you will not see the muscle definition.
Cutting calories today (through diet and exercise) will not necessarily show up on the scale at the end of the day or even by tomorrow. Your weight can fluctuate from day-to-day for reasons that have nothing to do with your diet and exercise program. Much of this fluctuation is due to water and food intake. While your scale may show changes throughout the day, fluctuations that could be due to food & water alone are not permanent weight losses or gains. Weighing yourself immediately after wearing a "sweat" suit, getting into a sauna, or finishing an intense workout might (or might not) show a loss on the scale. But that is temporary water loss that will come back after you re-hydrate yourself by drinking. Remember—you’re trying to lose fat, not simply "weight" or water weight.
It's a myth that eating late will make you gain weight. Your body doesn't know what time it is when you eat, and it metabolizes all calories the same way, regardless of the time of day they are eaten. There is no real concern with eating late or close to bedtime, unless you find it disrupts your sleep or makes you feel a sick when you lie down to go to bed.
In the morning, your body has gone 8+ hours since eating or drinking anything. Your blood sugar levels are lower at this point, and your body doesn't have adequate fuel to workout optimally. Usually, experts recommend eating something—even if it's just a small snack—within 2 hours before working out. When your body doesn’t have proper fuel in it, many problems can result, the lesser being that your workout performance suffers, and the greater being something like passing out during exercise. Some people say that it will burn fat stores, but overall, the number of calories your burn during a workout (regardless of where they come from) is much more important. Plus, fat burns in the carbohydrate flame. This means if you exercise without eating (such as after "fasting" during sleep) your body does not burn fat efficiently, or sometimes at all.
For fat to be metabolized properly, carbohydrates must be present. The basic message is simple when it comes to selecting the amount and type of carbohydrate foods. Carbohydrates should make up 45% - 65% of the total daily calories in a healthy diet. At least 130 grams of carbohydrate should be included in the diet to prevent ketosis. Whenever possible, replace highly processed/refined grains, cereals, and sugars with minimally processed whole-grain products.
Today was leg day, my least favorite, mostly due to my problems with my knee. I have been doing machine only exercises, and felt that wasn't really enough to progress. So, today I did a few different things, trying to limit the stress on the knee.
wall sits/w/ball 1x25 12lb
step ups 3x15 20lb no rest between sets
deadlifts 3x12 75lbs
plie squats 3x15 25lbs
donkey calf raise 3x25 160lbs
plank 6 x 60 seconds
plank w/leg lift 4x30 seconds
side plank 4x30 seconds
side plank w/leg lift 2x15 seconds
60 min spin class
Insight into learning
There is no difference between living and learning...it is impossible and misleading and harmful to think of them as being separate.
- John Holt, author
Every season in life is full of learning experiences. One step leads to the next and we can draw on the past and walk confidently through trials as our wisdom grows. Our thoughts eventually turn into our habits, which determine where our lives go. Put your dreams in capable hands--your own. Don't let the "wisdom of the world" become the internal voice that guides you. What has your own life taught you? What experiences have brought you to where you are now?
It's really quite remarkable how we can continue to learn and grow and improve and re-invent ourselves each and every day of our lives. We are truly a work in progress and as long as we understand that and utilize that ability we can accomplish anything. It's really never too late for anything (well almost anything) and the only failure is wasting the opportunities we are given. If we take this journey and only focus on one aspect, say cutting calories, and don't relish the opportunity for learn all we can about improving our health and well being, than that would be failure. But, if we take each step and inspect it, analyze it, and try to learn all we can about ourselves, than we will be can become the person we want to be. This is so much more than just losing weight...
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
I did my scheduled spin class as today was a cardio day. But since the weather was so unbelievable I had to go for a run. On my way home from the gym I stopped at a local park and did a 3 mile run. It was gorgeous and I felt so great afterwards! The sun really does have a positive affect on one's mood. It also makes you feel so strong when you push yourself a little harder than you think you are capable. I'm caught in such a quandary because I'm totally into spin class but I also would like to run more. I really wasn't sure I could go right from class out to run (I don't want to run on the treadmill or the inside track) and once I come home and shower, I don't want to go out and get all sweaty again. But, I found that I'm more than capable and I've reasoned that it may even help me train for the 5k's I'd like to run in this spring. Since my legs are already pre-exhausted it replicates the way you feel towards the latter part of a race. So, as the weather improves, I'll run more frequently, especially o cardio days.
Today it occurred to me that one of the things about this process is that I've learned to eat healthy because I like it, instead of because I "have to". That would explain why I don't have cravings or feel deprived. I'm not certain that's a revelation, but it certainly made me stop and think. It's really the same mindset I take with me with exercise as well. In the beginning I did it because it was the means to an end-losing weight-now it's my gift to myself, something that I enjoy and look forward to. I can't stress enough how much our mental approach to everything determines success or failure. Everything we do is the result of the choice we make. It's the difference between being a optimist vs a pessimist. If you always look for something positive and good than you will find positive results. Focusing on what's bad/wrong with our lives is so counterproductive in the journey to get fit and healthy. So, whenever a negative thought tries to creep into my head I replace it with a positive one. Like when you're running and going up a hill, instead of thinking, "ohhh, this is so hard", try thinking how great it is that you are capable of climbing that hill, and how strong it's making your legs and heart to be pushing yourself beyond our comfort level. Whenever I'm struggling to lift those final reps, or finish the sprint in spin class, I remind myself how strong I've become and how amazing my body is to be able to allow me to do these things. After all, I was barely getting out of bed until late afternoon in December of 2005. Climbing stairs was as taxing as a 3 mile run and everything was clouded by constant loathing and self-defeat. My re-invention has been nothing short of a miracle. It's the difference between seeing the sun rise and loving it, and having that beautiful sight in front of your eyes and refusing to appreciate that. I don't think I'll ever fail to recognize the turn-around I've made, and still feel amazed by it.
Monday, February 09, 2009
lateral raise 3 x 12 25 lb
overhead press 3 x 12 40 lb
upright rows 1 x 12 45lb
upright rows 1 x 15 45 lb
upright rows 1 x 12 45 lb
upright rows 1 x 12 45lb
upright rows 1 x 8 45 lb
overhead barbell press 1 x 6 45 lb
overhead barbell press 1 x 12 45lb
overhead barbell press 1 x 6 45 lb
overhead barbell press 1 x 15 45lb
overhead barbell press 1 x 5 45lb
lying flutter kick 1 x 40
lying flutter kick 1 x 50
lying flutter kick 1 x 75
lying flutter kick 1 x 120
walking plank 3 x 12
side plank w/leg raise 3 x 30 sec
one leg plank 3 x 30 sec
What an amazing workout this is! The lat raise and overhead db press are done without rest alternating between each exercise as a pre-exhaust. Then it's on to upright rows with the barbell, grip inside shoulder width, then without putting the bar down shimmy hands out to shoulder width and immediately go into overhead presses...you do as many as you can, then rest 1 minute and repeat continuing to failure. That's the whole workout...seems like nothing, feels like I lifted a Mack truck! I also continued on my ab work sans the crunch and did a variety of core exercises for 40 minutes...very intense workout....
I'm happy with this workout I put it together myself from various workouts from Muscle & Fitness Hers and Oxygen magazines. I couldn't find a workout that was set-up for a 4 day lift so I wrote up my own from one's that I liked most.
I backed off the eating more calories at meals thing. While it helped with the evening hunger, I just couldn't eat that many calories. I have been concentrating on getting more protein instead. It's good to keep the following in mind.
10 Sources of Hidden Calories
If losing weight is on your mind, you've got to be conscious of how many calories you consume each day. Although the foods listed below are small amounts, if you add all those up, and they could be preventing you from reaching your goal weight.
1. One pat of butter on your toast: 36 calories.
2. One tablespoon ketchup with your fries: 15 calories.
3. One container of half and half in your coffee: 20 calories.
4. One teaspoon or one cube of sugar in your coffee: 9 calories.
5. One tablespoon mayonnaise on your sandwich: 100 calories.
6. One teaspoon each of oil and vinegar on your sandwich: 39 calories.
7. One cubic inch of feta cheese on your salad: 45 calories.
8. One tablespoon of grated Parmesan on your pasta: 22 calories.
9. One tablespoon of sour cream on your baked potato: 26 calories.
10. Handful of M&Ms (10 pieces) off your co-worker's desk: 34 calories.
With the exception of mustard, I try to avoid sauces, etc. Never mayo, white potatoes, any full fat dairy, or real sugar in any form. Also, instead of ketchup, I use salsa, which has more fiber. It's surprising how quickly the "extras" will add.
And then the day came, when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.
- Anais Nin, Danish diarist
What leaps of faith are you willing to take?
Trying new things can give you a real zest for life. Pushing beyond your comfort zone in a responsible way helps you grow confidence and creativity that you can apply to your everyday life. Do not let fear control what you do (or don't) do? While taking risks can be scary, doing nothing is a big mistake, as it produces nothing fruitful within you. There is a direct relationship between the things that we achieve and the effort we put forth to obtain them. To reach the fruit, you have to climb the tree first!
Every day when I get to the gym, no matter how I might feel, I challenge myself to do more than I think I'm able to do. Whether, doing cardio or lifting weights, I look for a way to push myself. In spin class, I use my HRM to keep me pushing and elevating my heart rate. When I lift, I use my exercise log to see what weights/sets/reps I did during my last session and try to bump it up. Sometimes, because I don't have a spotter, in the name of safety, I wait until I know I can lift the heavier weight safely and always with good form. If I can't then that means I've gone to "failure" and I note in my book when I can't finish the required number of reps, so I know to adjust the weight.
No matter how badly I feel before I get to the gym, I make sure I do the required workout (which is why I write out the workout for the week every Sunday night).
Sunday, February 08, 2009
Though it was great to see my baby girl and hear her sing, I'm really glad to be back at home and sleep in my own bed. I'm also glad to be able to get back to normal with food. Today, I unknowingly consumed 2000 calories! It all started with skipping lunch because we were driving and my car mates do not like to stop. We also missed lunch yesterday because they ate big breakfasts (which we at around 11 am) and so the weekend was horrific as far as food. Though I ate healthy food, there were too many snacks in the car...cottage cheese, trail mix, yogurt, fruit...I did thankfully, workout on Saturday morning 30 minutes on the elliptical, and 30 minutes of yoga/core work. We also did a good bit of walking around including shopping and a number of treks up and down the streets of Boston, so that helps, but overall, I'm disappointed in myself for not insisting we stick to a better eating plan.
But, it's over and done with and I'm back on track again. I'm in my second week of a new workout program and I must say that I'm still feeling the effects from Friday's lift! It's nice though to be reminded of how hard I worked.
So, here's to getting back into my routine!!!!
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