Monday, December 13, 2010

Mythbuster Monday: Seventh Edition

The Myth: If I eat a salad every day for lunch, the weight will fall off!

For most of us, salad is the quintessential diet food. It’s the first thing we all think of when we decide to put ourselves on a “diet.” And restaurants are all too happy to help, offering many varieties of salad loaded with tasty goods, like croutons, bacon, hardboiled eggs, olives, cheese, corn, tostada shells, dressing... REALLY?! Order a hamburger already, darling, because putting these things on top of your greens makes that lunch almost as fattening!

Let’s sit down and get our facts straight, shall we? Complex carbohydrates are our friends, as much as the greens in a salad. They stabilize your blood sugar, and give you energy to last through the day. Ever wondered why most people crash and burn by 4 p.m.? Because the last time they saw a hint of a carb was 9 hours before, at breakfast!

Consider this too: go without carbs and you’ll suffer from low blood sugar, no concentration, memory loss, dizziness, weakness, fatigue, slow metabolism, excessive fat consumption, weight gain, malnutrition, and increase risk of diabetes.

Next time you're dining, skip the salad section of the menu and make sure you’re getting enough complex carbs. The benefits will astound you: reduced risk of some chronic diseases, vitamins and minerals essential for the maintenance of your body, reduced diverticulosis and constipation, lower cholesterol, proper bowel function, and a feeling of fullness, which guess what: leads to weight control!

Be a carb smarty pants, and know where they come from. It is NOT just about the bread basket! Brown rice, quinoa, beans, vegetables and fruit all contain the best of the best carbs. Slow down, and keep your diet balanced, and everything, including your mood, will feel better and more stable. Still thinking of eating a salad for lunch? Didn’t think so!

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Truth About Cardio

Maybe it was all those hours of Jane Fonda tapes, but somewhere along the line, ladies got it stuck in their heads that hours and hours of cardio is what will make us lose fat and, ultimately, weight.

Not only is this extremely false, but convincing people of the benefits of strength training remains every trainer’s challenge. Most of us seem to believe that weight training is going to put weight on, not take it off. Women especially are so petrified of looking like a she-male that we easily buy into the myth that if we pick up anything heavier than a 5 lb dumbbell we'll grow chest hair. Gross! All those hours on the elliptical, and no wonder your mind is doing circles.

The grand irony here is that building muscle will actually take weight off better than hours of cardio. Skeptical? Of course you are! Listen. It’s a simple formula, really: muscle burns calories. The more muscle you develop, the more calories (and fat) you will burn, even while you're sitting on the couch watching Glee.

Interval training – small, intense bouts of cardio mixed with weight training – is the best and most efficient way to get in shape! That also means challenging yourself with those weights. Don’t be afraid to pick up the heavier weight! You will build muscle, but that doesn’t mean size. It means strength and definition, and, wait for it… a rockin’ metabolism too!

See? The truth doesn’t always have to hurt!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Mythbuster Monday: Sixth Edition

The Myth: Doing tons of crunches will give me six pack abs!

Oh, the ever elusive six pack. We all want one, and most of us dream of it every bathing suit season. Unfortunately it isn’t as easy as stopping at your local liquor store.

Watching infomercials alone is the best example of our obsession with perfect abs, and the crunch seems to be the one way we all think we’ll get there. Time to reboot your six pack navigation system, sweethearts!

To get a six pack, several things are necessary:

1. Intense exercise. Yes, it takes dedication in this area and that means movement. Exercising a few times a week or doing only cardio won’t cut it, or YOU.
2. The right diet. As they say, abs are made in the kitchen, not the gym. No matter how many crunches you do, a layer of fat will hide any muscle you do manage to build.

But to truly expose those beauties to the world, you’ll need to get your body fat down to between 7 and 9%. That's a brutal task for any woman, that involves serious AM and PM cardio sessions, at least one hour of weight training per day, and a diet so clean you can hardly taste it! (e.g. no gluten, no dairy, and no bad fats) If you're like most women and you're content with a flat tummy, you can expect it at about 15-20% body fat.

Whether your goal is major cuts or just a sleek, flat stomach, a combination of aerobic and resistance exercise should definitely be on the menu. Do those things consistently, and a slimmer midline is yours to behold!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Unhealthy Snacks Are Wack

Let’s face it – we love our snacks. But we also love making excuses for our poor snacking habits. We’re either too busy, too lazy, or too broke to make good choices. Cut the crap and let your inner food snob come out. Its time for a snack intervention!

Snack companies feed our minds with excuses and our bellies with processed junk. They'll say and do anything to make us believe that their crap is healthy. Meal replacement bars or bags of chips are being waved under our noses like French fries, lulling us into a false sense of comfort. Consider this blog the thunder that wakes you up!

With just a little time and some ziploc bags, you can whip up healthy, tasty snacks in under 1 minute and kick your old snacking ways to the curb. With options like this, you’ll never reach for a bag of Fritos again:

Apple & unsalted peanut or almond butter
A handful of nuts
A sweet, juicy pear & string cheese
Cottage cheese & vegetables
Low sodium deli slices + hummus
Fat free yogurt
Ezekiel toast + almond butter & strawberries
Unsulfured dried fruit
Banana & Cheerios
Pitted olives
Tuna + sesame crackers
Wasabi peas
Cherry tomatoes + triscuits

There. Now you have no more excuses.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Mythbuster Monday: Fifth Edition

The Myth: As long as I exercise, I can eat whatever I want.

You figure if you’re not losing weight, it totally has to do with exercise, and that you should simply get your sweat on more often.

Darlings, they don’t call it a diet and exercise plan for nothing! One without the other makes as much sense as filling your car’s gas tank with mud. Here’s the skinny on eating fat: even if you exercised 7 days a week, ice cream and potato chips will glue those extra pounds to your body no matter how much you sweat. And what good is building muscle tone if you have a layer of fat covering it?

But… (come on, you know there’s always a but) reducing your Cheeto's intake down to one bag is not going to solve the problem, so STOP. Put down the artificial cheese flavored corn puff, wash the food coloring off your fingers, and listen: it’s all about what you eat and how much.

A nutritious, healthy diet is packed with vegetables, fruit, carbs, fiber, lean protein, good fats, and water. Fill your dietary empire with these foods, and your exercise won’t go to waste. Soon your body will become accustomed to getting what it really needs and you won’t even miss all the deep fried, mineral-deficient, high fructose corn syrup disaster snacks of your past.

And trimming the fat is an important part of any well-run kingdom, right? So stop lying to yourself. Get to eating healthy, keep moving, and you’ll feel so invincible, that world-domination won’t seem so far off.

Make a list of everything you ate and drank for the last 3 days. Be honest. It will make you accountable for what you put into your body.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Mythbuster Monday: Fourth Edition

Myth: When trying to lose weight, diet drinks and diet foods are a convenient, healthy way to cut calories.

Our answer to that involves a simple math problem:
Faux sugar + faux fat = faux weight loss!

Here’s the skinny on those “diet” foods: they contain fake sugars and fake fats to make them taste good. Simulated fat and sugar can only be created using chemicals, and chemicals have no place in a healthy eating and weight loss plan.

Sure, they are packaged beautifully; they're advertised with happy, ethereal people floating on a cloud of sugar free decadence. They come in cute, convenient little packets containing 100 calories each. The boxes are labeled with ZERO, or FAT FREE, or SUGAR FREE to lure you into buying them. DROP THE BOX and keep moving!

Your new BFF while dieting should be the word "clean". That means no ingredients you can't pronounce or that you need a PhD to understand. Natural, healthy foods do not need packaging or market research to prove they are good for you. Grains, fruits, veggies, lean protein, and of course H20 are still what's best for you while you create the new you!

Convenience, while tempting, should not stop you from choosing wisely. Power bars and diet sodas are not the answer simply because they are fast. Foods like bananas, apples, and raw unsalted nuts are just as fast, healthier, and easier on the wallet. Convenience = laziness, and laziness doesn't serve you here. In fact, it takes you backwards. Go to the market, plan ahead, and cook your own healthy meals. Knowing and controlling what goes into your body will pay off. You'll be sleeping better, you'll have glowing skin, more energy, better sex, and the golden egg: a bangin' body.

Lastly, if you’ve fallen victim to “diet food” scams, don’t beat yourself up. They are carefully designed to get you to buy them, so don’t let advertisers fuck with your brain and your body. Now that you know better, stop wishing, start reading, and do it right!

And may all your weight loss, be REAL.

Which 3 faux foods can you let go of right now?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Ditch Dairy!

We all heard the words “DRINK YOUR MILK!” growing up. We were told it helped us grow, strengthened our bones and was "good" for us. Fast forward to life as an adult. You’re eating right and exercising, but the scale is moving slower than sap in winter. What could be the problem? Believe it or not, your beloved dairy products may be to blame, at least in part.

Yes, dairy can supply you with many nutrients such as calcium, potassium, protein, and vitamins D, A and B12. But studies show that dairy products can actually be far worse for you than the vitamins they provide. Scoop this: skim milk is over 50% sugar, and dairy products in general are crammed full of bad saturated fats and cholesterol. Butter is 100% fat, cheddar cheese is 74% fat, and even the “2%” milk you think is as close to fat-free as can be, is actually 35% fat! It’s little wonder how this can translate to fat on your frame. With those kinds of numbers, it may be time for you to ditch the dairy.

We know, imagining your world without it is pretty painful. The good news is it doesn’t have to be, so dry your milk-loving eyes. Almond milk or coconut milk are fabulous substitutes that are not only better for you, but are FAR more flavorful than regular milk. Add almond milk to your oatmeal and you’ll wonder what you ever did without it! Sweet, delicious, and SO much healthier! From smoothies to baking, your culinary cup will runneth over.

Ditching dairy is a move worth making. Soon you’ll hardly miss it, and seeing those numbers finally move on the scale will be the proof in the pudding. (Dairy free pudding, of course.)

Monday, November 1, 2010

Mythbuster Monday: Third Edition

The Myth: the number on the scale is a good measure of my progress.

We all want to look good and fit into our old favorite jeans. We want lean arms, flat stomachs, tight asses, and smaller waistlines. If you think the number on the scale makes a difference to your size 2's, knock it off! The anxiety alone of worrying and stressing about a pound or two or more will make you gain weight.

The number on the scale is just that: a number. Plus, the number itself can fluctuate anywhere from three to five pounds a day. Weighing more or less at the end of the day is no indication that you're fatter than you were when you woke up. It just means you're retaining fluids, had a heavy lunch, missed a workout, or skipped a date with the John. We know you've heard it before, too, but muscle is more dense than fat - 18% more, to be exact - so the same pound of muscle takes up less space in your body than a pound of fat does. When you step on the scale, there's no way to differentiate fat from muscle, fat from water, muscle from tissue, or organs from blood.

And really, why do you want to tell your body to weigh 120 when it wants to weigh 125? If you're happy with the way you look, happy with the way you feel, keep up whatever you're doing! Or just chop off a limb, because that would be the quickest way to lose 10 pounds. If you're not happy with the way you look, maybe you should take a hike and consider self-acceptance. Step on a treadmill instead of a scale for a change! If you know you can step on a scale and not have a panic attack, go ahead. But if you can't, trash the scale.

Think back to when you were at your "ideal weight". What were you doing then?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Tuesday - Bonus Edition - CIRCUIT

Newsflash: carrying grocery bags full of Cheeto's and two liters to your car is not strength training! Here's a circuit that will lift your ass and blast your fat. Just grab two 5 lb. dumbbells, a chair, yoga mat, towel, and plenty of H20.

Start by stretching your soon-to-be buff muscles. Raise your arms above your head and across your chest to stretch them out. Get into lunge position and do a deep Runner’s Stretch. Bend over and touch your toes to stretch your Hamstrings. Then, run in place or jump rope for 2 minutes. Now you're limber!

Core – Basic Crunch, Bicycle Twist, Lying Leg Raises
Circuit 1 – Static Lunge, Mountain Climbers
Circuit 2 – Jumping Squat, Bench Dips, Chest Press
Circuit 3 – Dumbbell Chest Fly, Lateral Shoulder Raises, Jumping Jacks
Circuit 4 – Push-ups, Shoulder Press, Tricep Kick Back

Repeat the circuit twice at 15-25 reps each, resting for a MAXIMUM of 30 seconds between each exercise. Do this twice a week and you'll be ready to throw out all your fat jeans in no time!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Mythbuster Monday - Second Edition

The Myth: Weight training is for men. Cardio is for women.

Depression. Insomnia. Cellulite. Muscle Loss. Back Pain. Arthritis. High Blood Pressure. High Cholesterol. Osteoporosis. Heart Disease.

If all 10 of these common female problems sound about as fun as an enema, you should weight train. The benefits of strength training, at any age, are way more than just a tight ass. Increased strength, reduced body fat, improved athletic performance, and decreased health risks like the ones listed above. Looking good is just a bonus. You'll also have more energy and sleep better, too.

The belief that weight training will make a woman look like Lou Ferrigno is straight bullshit. Men have 10 to 30 times more testosterone than women. It just isn't possible. It also isn't possible for you to get the body you really want with cardio alone. For each pound of muscle that you gain, you'll burn up to 50 calories more every day. Keep it up for 10 weeks or more and you can fire your therapist. Here's more: strengthening lower back muscles can eliminate lower back pain, and adding muscle helps support your bones, which means less breaks, better bone density, and stronger joints. That sounds sweeter than a Godiva bar!

As if you need more convincing, there's no time like the present to start training. Whether you're in your 20's, 30's, or your 80's, strength can be maintained and increased at any age. Check back tomorrow for a free ass-kicking circuit to get you started!

Which muscles on your body would you most like to buff up?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Mythbuster Monday - First Edition

The Myth: Carbohydrates make me fat.

So you decided to finally lose the weight once and for all. Great! You're going to get in amazing shape and you're really serious this time. Fabulous! You're going to start by cutting out carbs. WHAT?!

Guess what: only a huge moron would cut out an entire essential food group to try and lose weight. For your information, carbs are NOT a luxury. Your body actually requires carbs just to function! Carbs provide energy, protect the muscles, help absorb calcium, feed the friendly bacteria in your intestines that aid in digestion, and can even help lower cholesterol and regulate blood pressure.

Low carb diets are associated with headaches, body aches, sore joints, muscle aches, constipation, dizziness, and loss of energy and concentration. Remove carbs completely and it gets even uglier: bad breath, dehydration, bone loss, depression, mood swings, anxiety, liver inflammation, heart disease, kidney failure, and stroke. And once you start a low or no carb lifestyle, you can never stop or you'll put the weight back on quicker than a Britney Spears marriage.

But before you run down to your nearest 7-11 to stock up on Hostess cupcakes and potato chips, keep in mind that lumping all carbs in to one happy basket is dangerous. Not all carbs are created equal. Here are the good, the bad, and the ugly:

The Good: Quinoa, Sweet Potato, Brown Rice, Grains, Whole Wheat Pasta, Fruit, Vegetables, Beans, Nuts, and Legumes.

The Bad: White Sugar, White Bread, Alcohol.

The Ugly: Soda, Donuts, Cookies, Fast Food, Processed, Battered, and/or Fried Food, and anything labeled "Diet".

Get your fill of "The Good" carbs during in the morning and throughout the day when you need the most energy, skip them at night, leave out the rest, and don't believe everything your catty girlfriends tell you.

What are your favorite carbs from each category, Good, Bad and Ugly?