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13CommonWeightLossMythsDiscover The 13 Simple TRUTH’s You’ve Been Searching For About Weight Loss…

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Here are just 3 myths which will be revealed:

  • The single most important ‘trick’ to reducing your cravings and lose weight faster than ever..
  • The #1 UNHEALTHY food you MUST eat when dieting (or else..)
  • Are you drinking this ‘Healthy’ Drink? STOP! It’s ruining your weight loss attempts because..

Building Muscle Without Weights – Is It Possible?

man exercisingI went through a period of time, many years ago, when I didn’t have access to a gym.

Back then, I had associated working out with machines and other gym related equipment. So in essence – with this perspective – it was all or nothing for me.

Which meant no gym = no workout.

It was a great excuse to be lazy, however, I paid for it.

The good news though is that nowadays, I know better.

And I’m gonna let you in on something that I wish I had known back then…

Building muscle without weights IS possible!

Turns out all you need is a little motivation and some ideas.

And I happen to be in a position to provide you with both.

The Benefits of Doing Body Weight Exercises

The truth is that we don’t all want to belong to a gym – and not everyone has access to fitness equipment.

So when you realize that you can get a fantastic workout using nothing but your own body weight, it opens up an aspect of freedom that really is quite refreshing.

There are several benefits of doing body weight exercises.

A few of them are:

  • freedom from needing equipment
  • no cost
  • not location specific
  • not time specific

Yep – all you need is you!

So the next question may be -

What type of exercises can you do – and what benefits will they offer?

So this is what the rest of the post will be about.

I’m going to share a few of my favorite body weight exercises you can do with some instructional videos to help you understand the movements and use proper form.

***Just remember that if you have any prior injuries – please consult with your physician before attempting any of these exercises.***

Sound good?

Ok, great.

Squats

Squats are, in my humble opinion, one of the best exercises there is.

Not only does it work several large muscle groups at once (glutes, quads, hamstrings and calves) – but it’s functional…as it mimics the act of getting up from a chair (which is a great exercise in itself for a beginner).

The reason I chose this first video is because the instructor goes over the proper form while explaining how not to invert your knees (a common thing for women to do thanks to something called the q-angle).

She does incorporate the use of a stability ball and dumbbells in the later half of the video as an option, but it isn’t mandatory.

Now this next video demonstrates how to do a wall squat – which is another effective way to do a squat without using weights. You can progress this movement by coming down a bit lower in the squat, or by simply increasing your time.

Eventually you may decide to alternate legs to do a one-legged version of this…but ONLY once you have mastered the exercise itself and have built enough strength to enable you to do so.

The trainer also demonstrates another effective body weight exercise complete with beginner to advanced techniques – which brings me to my next suggestion…

The Plank

The plank is an exercise that works the entire body. Everything gets involved in this movement, and this is why it’s so effective.

Another benefit to doing the plank is that it’s a great way to work your core if you happen to have back pain – as you are building muscle without placing any stress on the spine.

I personally feel that the above video demonstrated how to do this exercise beautifully, so I don’t see the need to use another one.

What I do want you to keep in mind, however, is that if you have any shoulder/wrist or elbow issues, please consult your physician before attempting this exercise.

Push Ups

Push ups are fantastic!

They can be challenging, and it’s important to keep in mind not to get down on yourself if you experience any difficulties when attempting them at first.

Everyone has to start somewhere…and it’s easy to wish you were more advanced than you may be at the present time.

Just understand that it’s wise to exercise like a beginner if you ARE a beginner and allow yourself to progress safely and naturally.

So on that note, I am going to share a video that will take you from the beginner to advanced stages of how to do a push up.

Once this gets easy, there are other variations that can challenge you – such as the tricep (or diamond) push up as demonstrated below.

Bridge Exercise

The last exercise I’m going to share is the bridge.

The reason I love this exercise so much is because it’s fantastic for working the glutes while at the same time giving your hip flexors an opportunity to open and become more flexible.

Since so many of us spend a lot of time sitting, our hip flexors tend to get tight. Tight hip flexors can lead to other possible issues over time such as lower back pain and restricted gait.

In the following video, Jeremy Shore from Livestrong.com goes over a beginner’s version of the bridge and progresses it to a single leg version for when you are ready for something more challenging.

Putting it All Together

So as you can see, you can build muscle without using weights.

There are numerous exercises at your disposal and can be incorporated into your daily routine at any given time – and include versions for exercisers of all levels.

Have you tried any of these before? If so, how did you like them? Please share your comments below.

Zone Diet Review – Controlling Your Macronutrient Intake

The Zone Diet, created by Dr. Barry Sears, promotes weight loss through specific nutrient intake aimed at balancing your hormones. While targeted at those wanting to lose weight, the diet has evolved from a book providing guidelines and meal plans to an entire product line of meal replacements and supplements.

zonediet

Based on the idea of 40 percent of your diet consisting of carbs, 30 percent from protein, and 30 percent from fat this diet aims to provide a healthy balance of the macronutrients necessary for health. This review will take a closer look at the diet, meal plans, and claims and provide you with an honest evaluation of its effectiveness and safety.

How does the Zone diet work?

The basis of the moderately low-carb, Zone Diet is founded on the 40-30-30 principle. To lose weight and burn fat you must consume 40 percent of your diet from carbs, 30 percent protein, and 30 percent fat. On the diet you get 3 meals and 2 snacks each day while staying under 1,200 calories for women and 1,500 calories for men.

The idea behind the diet is if you eat the right foods in the right amount you will achieve successful weight loss. By achieving this balance at each meal Dr. Sears – the creator of the diet – claims your hormones become balanced to support a healthy inflammatory response.

This response is the “underlying cause of weight gain, the acceleration of chronic disease, and decreased physical, emotional, and mental performance.” When you achieve this balance you are “in the zone.”

Maintaining a 40-30-30 balance at each meal it the first key to success on this plan.

Secondly, you must control for portions. A typical day on the Zone diet may include the following meals:

  • Breakfast: 2 egg white omelet with 4 spears asparagus, cooked in 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 cup sliced strawberries, ½ cup old fashioned oatmeal with 1 mini box raisins.
  • Lunch: 4 ounces broiled chicken breast; 2 cups chopped romaine lettuce with 5 cherry tomatoes with 2 tablespoons vinaigrette; 1 ounce baked pita chips; 1 sliced pear
  • Dinner: 6 leaves lettuce wrapped around burger made from ½ cup chopped red pepper, ½ chopped onion, and 3 ounces turkey breast; topped with ½ slice low-fat Swiss cheese, ½ cup spinach; 2/3 cups grapes
  • Snacks: 2 hard-boiled eggs with ¼ cup hummus; 1 ounce tuna, ¼ inch slice of avocado, and ½ cup grapes

You will find an omega-3 supplements, polyphenol supplements, and Zone foods offered on the Zone Diet website. In an effort to make the diet easy to follow, Dr. Sears offers a 1-2-3 Program. This program combines Zone Meal Replacements, Zone OmegaRx supplements, and Zone Polyphenols to create success.

zonefoods

If you follow the 1-2-3 Program your day will look like this:

  • Breakfast: Zone Meal Replacement
  • Lunch: Zone Meal Replacement
  • Snack: Zone Cookie
  • Dinner: Zone Meal from the Zone recipe database

For more information getting started on the Zone Diet, check out this video from Dr. Sears:

What I like about the Zone diet

Slow Weight Loss: While there is limited research on the Zone Diet, what has been done suggests some success when it comes to weight loss. One big positive of the diet is it promotes slow, consistent weight loss of 1 to 2 pounds per week. This suggested weight loss is ideal for true, sustainable weight loss. Anything more than 1 to 2 pounds tends to consist of more water weight lost and increases the chances of regaining weight once one quits the diet.

Tools for Long-Term Success: Portion sizes are a big deal on this diet and works to educate participants on how to measure correct portions using their hand.  This is a helpful tool to have in your toolbox even I you are not following the Zone Diet.  Other tools offered include: food journal, recipe, dining out tips, restaurant reviews, newsletters, video tips, and grocery guide.

Healthy Balance: The Zone Diet emphasizes fruits, veggies, lean meat, and good fats which are essential for a healthy lifestyle.  Although lower than the recommended 45 to 60 percent, carbohydrate intake on the Zone Diet is slightly low but does not present any health concerns. If done properly, this diet is appropriate for healthy individuals and may have added benefits for those suffering from diabetes and heart disease.

What I don’t like about the Zone diet

Strict Portion Sizes and Low Calories: For some individuals 1,200 or 1,500 calories may not be enough and the portion sizes may be hard to maintain over an extended period of time.

Weight loss is more likely to be the result of restricted calories instead of the 40-30-30 plan.

Products: While it is a good idea for everyone to include an omega-3 supplement, the costly extras of this diet may inhibit the affordability of the diet for some.  By simply following the diet requirements one may lose weight, however, you would not believe this from the promotional materials.

Additionally, the Zone Diet has evolved from a book with a diet plan to meal replacements and supplements. Purchasing these products and eating only the meal replacements offered can become costly and hard to maintain in the long run.

It’s not a Magic Bullet: Do not enter this diet thinking it is a magic bullet for your weight loss or disease management. The bottom line for any successful diet is balance, moderation, and activity. This diet can help you achieve most of these elements but may not be a one-stop-shop for everyone.

How does the diet compare?

Compared to other reduced-carbohydrate, high-protein diets like the paleo diet is that this diet is more realistic and attainable that others. By encouraging fruits, vegetables, and healthy carbs this diet does not eliminate an entire food group or increase a macronutrient to exceptionally high levels.

How to Lose Lower Back Fat – Goodbye Love Handles!

I'm guessing she sat down and heard a big RIP!

Every woman dreads it… love handles. Love handles are extra stored fat on your sides (by your abdomen and hips… your midsection) that also cause lower back “rolls”.

It’s unclear why such an endearing word (love) was placed in front of “love handles” when given its name because many women (including myself) find little to nothing sweet about them. I feel no love when I cannot fit into a cute pair of jeans at the store and a contributing factor is my not-so-wonderful love handles.

Love handles tend to be an issue for both men and women. Unfortunately, as much as we would all like to, we cannot spot reduce.

For many of us, it is very difficult to get rid of love handles. It takes time, work and dedication to be able to say “goodbye” to them.

Getting rid of your love handles requires the same combination of eating healthy and working out as does your ultimate weight loss goals. You will need to do both in order to achieve your goal of losing those love handles!
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Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead Movie Review

The 2010 Documentary, “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead” was a wake up call for many.

It really hit home with me as well.

The documentary revolves around Joe Cross – a very unhealthy and overweight Australian film maker who is being pumped full of prescription drugs and steroids due to suffering from chronic urticaria, an auto immune disorder.

He realizes that all of these drugs and steroids were not treating his symptoms and if he didn’t make a serious change in his life…he would be dead.

Joe’s Journey

To begin his new venture, Joe loads up his car with a juicer and a generator, and pledges to survive on nothing but fresh fruit and vegetable juice for an entire 60 days!

This may seem like a bold move and a little bizarre to many of you – but that is what makes this documentary so intriguing.

Shortly after his journey begins, he quickly realizes that he’s well on his way to ending his growing dependence on prescription drugs.

His body starts to heal itself as he reaps the amazing benefits of juicing fresh fruits and veggies.

On top of this…his energy levels begin to go up and up and his waist line goes down rapidly!

Keeping An Open Mind

I have done my fair share of personal training in the past few years and one of my recent obsessions has been the amazing qualities of a juicer.

Most people are turned off at the idea of juicing. Why do we need to juice? I take my vitamins and eat fairly healthy. What can juicing do for me?
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How to Lose Fat Without Losing Muscle

MeasureI’m gonna start this article off being a bit candid about myself…

When I was younger, I suffered from eating disorders.

Notice that I said disorders…as in plural – because I went from one extreme to the other.

I had started off as an anorexic/bulimic and ended up overeating later on. The former resulted in a loss of weight on the scale – and I’m certain you can figure out the result of the latter.

I had also yo-yo dieted and didn’t engage in any form of strength training.

My behavior back then didn’t focus on strength and overall well-being. I had become skinny as a result of my initial eating disorders, but lost a good portion of muscle in the process.

This loss of muscle then slowed my metabolism down and once I began eating ‘normally’ again, I gained a lot of weight very quickly.

I eventually went to the other extreme and ate everything in sight by rebelling against the restriction I felt during my years of yo-yo dieting.

It was a rather unpleasant roller coaster that lasted for years.

These days, however, my perspective is different, and so is my wellness regimen. It involves mindful eating based on nutrient dense foods and regular exercise – particularly strength/resistance training.

In order to lose fat without losing muscle, balance is required.

What I mean by that is we need a balance of conscious mind/emotional intelligence, good sense nutrition and a well-rounded exercise program.

The Role of Our Mind and Emotions

I know I discuss this a lot in my posts…and this is because I feel it’s a commonly overlooked topic when it comes to weight related issues.

When we do things from a place of emotional turmoil, we create results based on that mindset. We may do things like develop eating disorders or follow fad diets that confuse the body and keep us prisoners of our lives, and our bodies.

In order to lose weight, and maintain it for a lifetime, it’s important to make sure we’re going about our activities from a place of knowing ourselves (how we created the weight gain to begin with), and then deliberately choosing to engage in activities that promote optimal health and well-being.

Behaviors That Lead to Muscle Loss

Because our bodies rely on glucose (blood sugar) to give us energy, we have to supply ourselves with it through the use of food. This means that starving ourselves (or even just not eating enough throughout the day) or following high protein and fat/low carb diets can and do work against us when it comes to maintaining muscle during weight loss.

If we don’t supply our bodies with glucose, then our systems will take it from the place in which it’s most readily available – which happens to be our muscle tissue.

So while engaging in these behaviors, even though the scale may seem to be decreasing in numbers, our body composition will reveal a loss of lean mass (muscle)…which will cause a decrease in our metabolism and eventually result in easy weight gain.

How to Keep the Muscle and Lose the Fat

childflexing

This is actually pretty simple. It involves a good combination of healthy eating and a well-rounded fitness routine that includes both cardio and strength training – mixed with some enthusiasm!

So in regard to eating, some pivotal things to keep in mind are:

  1. Keep your blood sugar stable by eating every 2-3 hours.
  2. Eat a good combination of foods that incorporate high quality carbohydrates, lean proteins and healthy fats. My friend Jenny actually went into detail about these foods in her post here.
  3. Try something new every week. If you’ve read about how amazing butternut squash soup is (and it REALLY is), then that’s your clue to try it yourself. Doing this will expand your menu options – and offer you the excitement you need to keep your ‘diet’ healthy for the long term.

As far as exercise goes, some easy but effective guidelines to follow are:

  1. Get some cardio activity in most days of the week for at least 30 minutes or so. The idea is to burn extra calories while keeping the main focus on heart health. Follow a plan you love because this is how you’ll stick with it. To gauge your intensity – you’ll want to make sure you can carry on a (somewhat) labored conversation. You can also monitor your heart rate using the tables discussed here (however, if you take beta blockers for high blood pressure, you’ll want to check with your physician).
  2. Engage in muscle building activities. Examples are strength training using dumbbells/bodyweight/resistance bands, etc. and other forms of fitness such as yoga, martial arts, swimming and pilates. Challenge yourself. It’s supposed to be a bit uncomfortable. However…
  3. Make sure you follow proper progression. This means to exercise like a beginner if you are a beginner and progress to a more challenging routine only after you have worked your way into doing so. This will prevent unnecessary injury or quitting altogether over lack of being able to keep up.

All of these things will lead to fat loss without muscle loss in a safe and structured way.

Fat Loss Made Simple

So as you can see, the formula for weight loss without losing muscle isn’t complicated. It’s about including a variety of behaviors that all lead to a strong, slim and toned body.

Yes you can mix things up by doing heavier weights with less reps, lighter weights with more reps and super slow muscle training – to name a few examples.

But all in all, it’s really about carrying a balanced and healthy outlook overall – which will lead to balanced and healthy behaviors for the long term.

This is how it becomes permanent!

Have you managed to lose your weight without losing muscle in the process? What was your technique? Please share below.