Sunday, January 01, 2012
Introduction to exercise
After all that talk about the importance of diet, why exercise? Because, while it isn't as important as diet, it is still pretty hugely important to your overall health and fitness.
• Exercise determines HOW you gain or lose weight, and your body composition generally. You can diet down to, say, 120 pounds. But do you want to be 120 pounds of sleek, sexy muscle, or 120 pounds of gross, flabby loser? Exercise largely dictates the outcome.
• Exercise burns calories, which makes it easier to lose weight in conjunction with diet.
• Exercise promotes strength, endurance, and resistance to injury and illness, all of which are pretty great in and of themselves.
So exercise makes it easier to lose weight, and plays a big role in the composition of your body. There are two main kinds of exercise, cardiovascular (aka cardio, aerobic, etc.) and weight lifting (aka weights, lifting, resistance training, etc.)
Cardio: Any type of exercise that sustains an elevated heart rate consistently for a long period of time, such as running, cycling, or elliptical machine
Weight lifting: Pretty self explanatory, you push around heavy weights.
Sunday, January 01, 2012
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new." - 2 Corinthians 5:17
A new year, a new beginning,
Eat better, run farther, exercise harder, and
be thinner, stronger, healthier, and happier.
Let's make this a GREAT year!
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Your dietary staples should include:
• Lean animal protein sources, including but not limited to:
o Most turkey and chicken in general, especially if it is skinless. Turkey and chicken breasts especially.
o Ground turkey, chicken, beef or pork.
o Virtually all forms of fish, even the fattier fishes are very good for you. Tuna, while also good, should be eaten sparingly if you're concerned about mercury consumption.
o More exotic-type meats, if you can find them: buffalo, ostrich, lamb, elk, venison, alligator, etc.
o Whole eggs. The unhealthiness of whole eggs is a myth; contrary to past assumptions, they have no impact on heart disease at all. The main reason for this is that cholesterol in food does not impact the actual cholesterol level in your blood; almost all your cholesterol is made in you liver, based mainly on your saturated fat and trans fat consumption.
• Whole grains, including but not limited to:
o Whole wheat bread, bagels, rolls, etc.
o Whole wheat pasta
o Brown rice
o Whole grain breakfast cereals and muesli
• Virtually all fruits and vegetables, including beans and dry-roasted nuts.
• Healthy fats like olive oil (for sauces, dressings & low-temperature cooking) and canola oil (for high-temperature cooking), and Omega-3 rich fish oil.
• Low fat dairy products like skim milk, low fat/nonfat yogurt and reduced fat cheeses. Just be aware that some "reduced fat" cheeses are still relatively high in saturated fat.
Monday, December 19, 2011
Vitamins & minerals
Micronutrients are things your body needs in small quantities, like vitamins and minerals. In general, most people do not need to heavily supplement these, provided that their diet is optimal. However, few people have an optimal diet. Furthermore, there is scientific evidence that, in some cases, supplementation can provide concrete health benefits.
The recommended daily allowance (RDA) is a reasonable baseline for most vitamins and minerals, but keep in mind that it is a minimum value for preventing nutrient deficiency, not the optimal amount for the best possible health or performance, and does not take into account the most up-to-date research. As a result, taking a multivitamin supplement that gives you a flat 100% RDA dose is not necessarily the best way to go, but it is a reasonable and conservative way to cover any deficiencies in your diet.
Keep in mind that men will want a multivitamin without iron, while women will want one with iron.
Sodium is generally something that most don't need to be concerned about. Your body needs a small amount of sodium to function. However, an excess of sodium can cause major heart problems down the line if your kidney can't filter it fast enough. Stick to the dietary guideline of no more than 2300mg a day of sodium.
Saturday, December 17, 2011
Alcohol: Alcohol itself has calories, and some alcoholic drinks are very calorie-dense due to their sugar content. If there's anything like a useless source of calories, alcohol is it. Alcohol consumption has been consistently shown to result in sustained, significant decreases in testosterone and growth hormone levels. In addition, it also directly inhibits how the body processes proteins. If you're trying to build muscle, it is best to cut down on alcohol consumption.
Cholesterol: Cholesterol in food does not directly translate into high blood cholesterol for most people. For those with high cholesterol, specifically high LDL ("bad") cholesterol, focus on cutting saturated and trans fats, which contribute to cholesterol production in the liver.
Dietary fiber: Dietary fiber has many health benefits, and almost everyone should eat more of it.
Water: Drink more water. Water regulates virtually every bodily process in some way. Drinking more water is a simple, virtually cost-free thing you can do to improve your overall health. Also, if you drink water, you aren't drinking calories, and will feel fuller. Finally, drinking plenty of water is essential to getting the most out of your workouts in a safe manner.
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