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Benefits of Muscle Fitness

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Muscle Fitness
Muscle fitness can mean you have muscles that can lift heavier objects (strength) or muscles that will work longer before becoming exhausted (endurance). As you increase your muscle fitness, you will notice that you can carry heavy grocery bags more easily, pick up children without feeling as much strain, or carry heavy items longer before becoming too tired to continue. Having stronger muscles also protects your joints.

One part of muscle fitness is strengthening the muscles of your trunk. This strengthening is called core stabilization. It can help you have better posture and balance, and help protect you from injury.

Benefits of strength training


Muscular strength and endurance
Lean body mass (muscles)
Calories burned (metabolism)
Bone mineral density
Overall stability and balance


Blood sugar
Body fat
Psychological stress
Body aches and fatigue

Muscles become stronger through a 3-step process:

1) Stress

2) Recovery (rest)

3)Repeated stress

When you exercise against resistance, you stress your muscles slightly but not to the point of serious damage or injury. When you rest, your body rebuilds the muscles and the connective tissues between them (joints, tendons, and ligaments) in a way that prepares them for the next time they will be stressed. When you stress the same muscles again, the process is repeated, and the muscles gradually become stronger.

A resistance-training program to increase muscle fitness can include:

Basic muscle-conditioning exercises such as push-ups, leg lifts, and other familiar exercises.
Resistance training with surgical tubing or stretchable bands.
Weight training with free weights ("dumbbells") or weight-training equipment. See an illustration of muscle-strengthening exercises using weights.
Doing housework and yard work, such as scrubbing the bathtub, washing walls, tilling the garden, or pulling weeds, on a regular basis.
Experts advise people to do exercises to strengthen muscles at least two times each week.7 Examples include weight training or stair climbing on two or more days that are not in a row. For best results, use a resistance (weight) that gives you muscle fatigue after 8 to 12 repetitions of each exercise.

Swimming, cycling, ROWING, and skiing are activities that improve both muscle strength and aerobic fitness.

When you begin your muscle-conditioning activity, try to take 5 to 10 minutes to walk, jog in place, or do other activities to warm up, and do some stretches. Learn and pay attention to the proper form for all exercises.

As you build muscle strength and endurance, you will notice that you can do more and more of each exercise. Some people will see a change in the way their muscles look, but others will not see a change for a long while. A more important sign of progress is how many repetitions and sets of an exercise you can do, or how much easier it feels to do them. This means your muscle fitness has improved.

Talk to your health professional before starting a resistance-lifting program, particularly if you have high blood pressure, heart disease, or joint problems.

Medical review AuthoR:
Martin Gabica, MD - Family Medicine

Last updated
Shannon Erstad, MBA/MPH
September 1, 2006

© 1995-2008 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.

This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Since specific guidelines may vary, consult with your physician to find out which guidelines are recommended for you. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information. emoticon


Eat more and Do Less Cardio to Lose that Unwanted Weight

Friday, August 15, 2008

From: AtoZfitness Article Blog Post -

By Isabel De Los Rios

Is the above statement too good to be true? That's what Rory DeLuca thought. The 42 year old New Jersey resident, husband and busy father of 3 couldn't believe what I was telling him when he came to see me in January 2006. Like most people, after the holidays, Rory was frustrated with his increased weight and was even more frustrated that his previous "weight loss" efforts were not providing any results. He told me he was trying to eat less and run 4 miles every day, but every time he tried to stick to that routine, his back would hurt because of the running and he would end up starving at the end of the day. You can imagine his surprise when I told him that he would have to eat a lot more and do less cardio to achieve the results he was looking for.

Now, 3 months later, Rory has lost a total of 30 pounds and 9 inches off his body. Hi back no longer hurts and he is not starving. He eats tons of food all day and exercises less than an hour 5 days a week. So what is the secret to his success? Three very important weight loss principles that we can all incorporate.

1. Rory started strength training 3x's a week. The key here is Rory was doing the right kind of strength training for his weight loss goal. He was not going from one machine to the next, doing 3 sets of 10 reps on each one. His strength training routine incorporated exercises that used his whole body so his heart rate was up the whole time. Try doing 3 exercises, back to back, using only free weights, stability balls and your own body weight, and you'll see how quickly your heart rate goes up. No sitting on a bench and chich chatting in this workout. We keep the intensity high the whole time and the workout is complete in 45 minutes.

Incorporating strength training and reducing the amount of aerobic cardiovascular training was integral to his success. The ONLY tissue in the body that burns fat is Muscle. So the more muscle you have in your body, the more fat you're burning at any given time during the day. The amount of muscle you have in your body also greatly affects your metabolism. So someone with more muscle mass will have a higher metabolism (This is why most men can eat a lot more than women). For example, one pound of muscle in your body requires approximately 50 calories per day. So if I had two people, both weighing 150lbs, but one was comprised of 100lbs of muscle while the other was comprised of 120lbs of muscle, the one with the more muscle mass is burning more calories all day long. That means that this person can eat more during the day and still maintain their weight and will also have an easier time losing weight. Aerobic training does burn calories while you're doing it, but it does not do anything to increase the amount of muscle in your body, thus it does not help you to continue to burn calories when you're done

2. Rory only did aerobic cardiovascular exercise using interval training. This concept could encompass a whole article unto itself, but basically, your body becomes accustomed to anything that you expose it to for long periods of time. Aerobic cardiovascular exercise makes your body more efficient at burning fat. But that's exactly what you don't want (If your car was more efficient at burning gas, you'd use less of it). Same with your body. If your body becomes efficient at burning fat, you burn less of it for the same amount of work. So instead of burning 200 calories for your 2 mile run, you may burn 150 calories for the same distance in 2 months. So you'll have to increase the distance and continue to do this, just to burn the same 200 calories. This can eventually turn into running for an hour just to burn the same number of calories! I don't know about you, but this is exactly what I don't want to do.

Interval training refers to a series of intense activity separated with short rest periods. You want to make sure that you are constantly changing the intensity of your cardio workout during the whole workout, alternating from high intensity to low intensity. So a typical workout on an elliptical machine would be 5 min warmup, 1 minute at a high intensity (level 9or 10), then 2 minutes at a lower intensity (level 3 or 4). You would repeat this 3 minute round 3 or 4 times, gradually increasing the intensities once you feel like it's getting easy. Cool down for 5 minutes, and that is a total of 19-22 minutes of cardio, not 1 hour! Keep your body guessing the whole time and it will not become accustomed to the same cardio workout.

3. Rory ate a lot of food all day long. Rory couldn't believe his meal plan when I laid it out for him. He was going to be eating more than he was currently eating and couldn't believe this was actually going to help him lose weight. The biggest difference would be what foods he would be choosing. Every meal was comprised of a healthy protein, carbohydrate and good fat. Lots of eggs (whole organic eggs, not whites), poultry, meat, fruits, whole grains, vegetables, olive oil, and raw nuts and nut butters. In order for his body to burn fat, it had to believe it wasn't starving and the only way to do that was to feed it well.

So what can you do to achieve the same great results?

1. Incorporate both a good strength training routine and interval cardio routine to your workout regimen. Don't just do one all the time. Your body needs muscle to keep your metabolism high, and it also needs cardio to keep your heart strong, so find a good balance between the two.
2. Incorporate a strength training routine that focuses on whole body movements. No sitting on machines, please. Unless you are rehabilitating an injury, you want to keep your body moving the whole time. What do you think burns more calories, a squat with a shoulder press combination or sitting on a leg press? Just try to squat and raise your arms overhead a few times and you'll see how quickly your heart rate goes up. Keep your body moving through the whole workout and you'll be sweating just as much as during your cardio.
3. Eat consistently throughout the day. We've all heard it before: Eat five meals a day to lose weight. Well, guess what? It works, as long as those meals incorporate healthy food. Eat a protein with each meal. That is the biggest mistake I see. People are not feeding their muscles with enough protein. Remember, you want to keep your metabolism cranking all day and the best way to do that is to feed your body and to keep your muscle mass high.

Hopefully, this will help you to reduce those countless hours on the treadmill and stop starving yourself to lose a few pounds. I don't know about you but if eating all day and doing less cardio is going to keep me at a healthy weight and in shape, I say AMEN to that!

Learn "The Top 5 Essential Truths You Must Know Before You Go on Any Diet Ever Again" from Isabel De Los Rios. Isabel is a nutrition, exercise and lifestyle coach who has helped hundreds of people lose their unwanted weight and take complete control of their health. She is the author of The Diet Solution Program, a complete and comprehensive nutrition program that is helping people all over the world finally reach their ideal weight.




Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Young Man and the Starfish
By: Author Unknown

Once upon a time there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his journal writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work.

One day he was walking along the shore. As he looked down the beach, he saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself to think of someone who would dance to the day. So he began to walk faster to catch up.

As he got closer, he saw that it was a young man and the young man wasn't dancing, but instead he was reaching down to the shore, picking up something and very gently throwing it into the ocean.

As he got closer he called out, 'Good morning! What are you doing?'

The young man paused, looked up and replied, 'Throwing starfish in the ocean.'

'I guess I should have asked, why are you throwing starfish in the ocean?'

'The sun is up, and the tide is going out. And if I don't throw them in they'll die.'

'But, young man, don't you realize that there are miles and miles of beach, and starfish all along it. You can't possibly make a difference!'

The young man listened politely. Then bent down, picked up another starfish and threw it into the sea, past the breaking waves and said, 'It made a difference for that one.'

There is something very special in each and every one of us.
We have all been gifted with the ability to make a difference. And if we can become aware of that gift, we gain, through the strength of our visions, the power to shape the future. We must each find our starfish. And if we throw our stars wisely and well, the world will be blessed.



From Obsession to intelligence

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Aerobics are touted everywhere as the best form of exercise, but is it really best for everyone. It depends upon where you are and what your goals are. If you are grossly obese, especially with fat accumulations around your belly, it may be the last exercise that you need to do. The reason is that aerobic exercise is stressful and it produces the hormone Cortisol which causes even more fat to be accumulated around the waist, the unhealthiest place for fat to be stored. Aerobics also causes your muscle to break down and decrease in size, lowering your metabolic rate, making it even harder to lose weight.

What might be a more intelligent approach to weight loss is to do strength training instead, to build muscle, which will increase your metabolic rate, better handle insulin, and cause you to burn fat for up to 48 hours after the exercise is completed. This can be done with free weights, Nautilus type machines, or dumb bells. I can be done at home or in the gym. Up to an hour maximum per session and no more than 3 sessions per week is best for the beginner. It is important to learn how to do the exercises properly as posture, repetition, sets, and resistance are all important, but once the basics are learned—from a book, DVD, personal trainer, or friend—the exercises are simple and easy to fit into ones life. If you wish to walk, bicycle, row, or play sports on off days that is okay, but you should do them at sub-aerobic levels—called “fat burning” on most exercise equipment. The goal is to exercise moderately so as not to raise your heart beat to aerobic levels as this will raise the cortisol response, cataboize muslce, and mobilize fat to be stored on the waist.

After you have attained your proper weight, it is then okay to add aerobics, but keep up the strength training as we lose 10% of muscle mass per year as we get older and instead of giving into this loss as inevitable, it is preferred to build muscle to offset this loss or increase muscle mass. It will make so called “normal” aging a thing of the past.

I started my quest for health with a growing obsession for rowing and I have dreams of making rowing and bicycling a greater part of my recreations life, but it is more important to apply intelligence to my quest for health and not let my love of rowing to blind me to the facts of muscle building and fat burning.


More Equals Less

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

One of the posts on another team, a couple of days ago was suggesting how to make a posting easier by being able to copying and pasting the same exercise routine into their daily cardio. I realize that it is a pain to enter my strength training which I break into an “A” routine for loser body and a “B” routine for upper body, then rowing for aerobics, circuit training, and stationery bike riding. I also take the additional step to enter my rowing on I do all of this to keep myself accountable to my work out and health goals. Why do we look for a parking space near the front door of the gym, the supermarket, etc and then complain that we have no time to exercise? I do this just out of habit, but I put an hour plus at the gym. I should park in the back of the lot. (Should this be a new goal for me?)

More is less! When I go to the gym, I see people sitting on equipment that looks like a chair chatting or watching TV. It appears that they are putting in their hour at the gym, but not actually doing any exercise. Action is rewarded! Sitting on a bicep or triceps machine is not. Instead of worrying how to save time by entering time in our cardio tracking or driving around looking for a parking space in the front of the gym, we should take the few seconds it takes to enter the information and not looking for a time and labor saving way to do it. If we wish to burn up our excess fat, we have to build muscle. Muscle is only built by effort and increased effort over time. It is not made by sitting on an exercise machine and mindlessly lifting a light weight up and down 20 to 30 times and resting for 5 minutes and repeating this useless exercise over and over again. Muscle will burn fat. Muscle raises your metabolism causing your to burn fat day and night for up to 48 hours after the exercise, but only if the exercise causes your to experience “muscle burn” when you complete the last repetition. More weight equals more muscle equals less fat. Less effort does not equal more muscle; it equals a fatter body. It is a choice. Less is more (fat). More is less (fat).

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ZESTYLADY 8/14/2008 12:48PM

    I also gave up the relentless effort to track all the different exercises and activities I do. I tend to just put in my times, note what I did, make up calorie expenditures as realistically as I can and call it a day. Same with food tracking. I can get obsessive about that as well and find myself totally frustrated when I can't be completely accurate. It is a great tool for learning to let go of perfectionism! BTW, I'm really enjoying all your posts and am recognizing that you are amidst an active change in your approach. Here's to better balance!

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GOALBY66 8/13/2008 10:45AM

    I hear you. I get lazy about entering information ( I don't even track my food), but I am trying to get back into the habit of taking 5-10 minutes to track what I did for exercise on each day and just to check in with other people to see how they are doing. We all have busy lives, but it's all about the choices we make!

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