Tuesday, January 03, 2012
Cardio vs. weights
For most people, meeting their fitness goals requires that they do some of both, not one or the other.
Are you trying to lose weight? Lift weights. Lifting burns tons of calories, and lifting weights while dieting will cause you to retain more muscle and lose more fat than just diet and/or cardio. Because the name of the game when it comes to not looking awful is FAT LOSS, not weight loss. Do you want to be that guy who loses lots of weight and still looks flabby and useless? Of course not.
Are you just trying to "tone up"? Lift weights. "Toning" is kind of a nonsense term, because you don't actually "tone" anything. You can only lose fat and gain muscle, and lifting weights helps you do both, by burning calories and promoting muscle growth. Like I said before, you get huge by eating huge, not lifting weights; lifting just determines how much of your weight is muscle vs. fat.
Are you a woman? Lift weights, because I already explained why lifting won't turn you into a man, and all the other benefits still apply to you. And if you are a 1 in 1,000,000 woman who can pack on muscle mass like a man, just stop working out as hard and it will go away.
Lifting weights also makes you stronger, less injury prone and promotes stronger bones. It speeds up your metabolism a bit and makes you healthier in general.
But what about cardio? For one thing, it burns lots of calories. But cardio is also good for everyone because it improves your overall endurance and ability to exert yourself over an extended period. It promotes cardiovascular health and contributes to increased bone density. Basically, your ability to perform pretty much any kind of physical activity is helped by being in good cardiovascular health, and it makes it less likely that you will eventually die from your heart exploding.
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.
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