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.