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For August 29, 2016

  • Holiday Calories
    Holiday Calories

    Q: Sometimes caloric intake goes up during the holidays. What are the best ways to combat the inevitable?

    A: You figure it takes an extra 500 calories a day for a week to gain one pound. Try and have some days where you compensate for the days you overeat. During the holiday season you don't have to overeat every day. What people should keep in mind is that they're going to maintain their normal eating pattern during the holiday season but allow themselves a couple of treats a week. You don't have to have this mentality that it's the holiday season so you're going to overeat every day. You have to go into the holidays saying you're going to be in control, sticking with your normal eating pattern. You can even calorie bank.

    What I do a couple of times a week is eat a light dinner so I know if I'm going to a party on Friday and Saturday nights, I've saved up some extra calories so I can have a couple of drinks or eat extra treats. Be careful a few days a week and do some extra exercise to help compensate. The main thing is the whole mindset, that you don't give yourself permission to overeat all the time just because it's the holiday season.

    We all have bad days, and if you have a couple of bad days in a row, you just have to start fresh. You can't beat yourself up over these indulgences. So many times people have a couple of bad days and they feel totally out of control, and they just keep bingeing. You need to say, "Okay, I had a couple of bad days, I'll get back on track tomorrow." Overeating a couple of chocolates is not the end of the world, but if you do it everyday then it will be. What's important is forgiving yourself, not beating yourself up, and just starting fresh.

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  • New Skinny on Weight Control
    New Skinny on Weight Control

    How much should you exercise to maintain your weight loss?

    Originally featured in:

    Shape

    After you lose weight, how much exercise do you need to keep it off?

    80 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity (walking between 2.2 and 3.7 mph, playing softball, golf or table tennis) a day or 35 minutes of vigorous activity (jogging, active dancing, tennis) a day.

    That's according to researchers at the University of Chicago and the University of Wisconsin at Madison who followed 33 women, ages 20-50, for one year after they had lost at least 26 pounds.

    This amount of exercise -- the 80 minutes of moderate or 35 minutes of vigorous activity a day -- which the study found necessary for maintaining weight control is much higher than the half hour a day of moderate intensity activity generally recommended to promote health. The researchers suggest that, if you want to try it, the most practical approach is to alternate vigorous exercise one day, moderate the next.

    But don't take these numbers as gospel. "It's a good study," Says John Foreyt, Ph.D., a leading obesity researcher at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. "But it's one study. Many people are able to maintain their body weight with less exercise [than this]." While physical activity is a must to keep off weight, he says, those who maintain a weight loss often figure out for themselves how much they can eat and how long and hard they must exercise. It varies from person to person.

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  • 12 Ways to Restart Stalled Weight Loss
    12 Ways to Restart Stalled Weight Loss

    What to do When the Scale is Stuck

    (From Prevention, Nov 1997; 49(11), By Marisa Fox)

    Reaching a plateau in weight loss when dieting is common but it can be overcome. The problem is caused when the diet is no longer burning enough calories for the new lower weight. Tips include: monitoring portion size, eating more whole foods, drinking more water, and burning more calories.

    So you're still doing the same things that peeled off the first 5, 10, or 50 pounds. You've kept up the daily walk, and you're a role model for low-fat eating. So why does it seem that your scale is stuck?

    You're on a plateau. Join the club. It happens to people losing weight all the time. "Plateaus can happen when you're doing the same thing as you always were, diet and exercisewise," says Terri Brownlee, R.D., dietitian at the Duke University Diet & Fitness Center in Durham, NC.

    What's changed is you.

    The smaller you are, the fewer calories you require. So the diet and exercise program that helped you get from 190 pounds down to 160 may not be burning enough calories to get you to your goal of 145. This doesn't mean you have to swear off satisfying meals or walk to the other side of the state and back to get rid of more pounds. You just need to stop for a minute and grab a pencil.

    Keep a Positive Attitude

    "Instead of getting down on yourself, try to understand what's not working and rethink your strategy," is the advice for dieters given by Cathy Nonas, R.D., administrative director of the Theodore B. VanItallie Center for Nutrition and Weight Management at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital in New York City.

    That's what Cathy Upchurch did when she hit a two-month plateau after losing 70 pounds. "I kept on giving myself pep talks and refused to give up," says this 45-year-old Colorado work-at-home woman. "I kept telling myself that I was an athletic person underneath it all and that there were all these fun things I wanted to do." Cathy eventually lost another 70 pounds and has kept it all off for eight years. Like Cathy, thousands of people have come up against plateaus and been victorious. You can too! As important as a positive attitude is, you need specific and careful evaluation as well. "Once you see what the problems are, you can get back on track," says Pamela Walker, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist at the Cooper Aerobics Center in Dallas. "It shifts the focus from 'something is wrong with me' to problem solving."

    The first thing you want to take a look at is what you've been eating and doing:

    • Have your portions expanded as your waistline has shrunk? "Many people who experience success start getting overconfident and complacent," Dr. Walker says. "Portions start creeping up, and sweets are slowly added again."
    • Has your exercise routine taken a backseat to less strenuous activity? Exercise is always one of the first things to go. Walks get shorter or get skipped.

    Careful examination of eating and exercise logs can pinpoint areas where your guard may be down. Skipping your evening workout in favor of drinks with friends or indulging your sweet tooth more frequently? No time to pack a healthy lunch, so you're resorting to the vending machines?

    "It makes you accountable to yourself, and frequently you're shocked to see that you did start eating more and exercising less," Dr. Walker says.

    Get Calories Under Control

    No matter how you got on the plateau, the answer to blasting off it is to shake things up. You need to start burning more calories than you're taking in. But don't despair. That's not as hard as it sounds. Here's how to get going:

    1. Measure your portions. Arm yourself with measuring devices like scales or cups, so you don't have to rely on your eyes (or your stomach), says Nonas. Once you're familiar with what your portion sizes should be, you need only measure from time to time to make sure you're still on track. Keep portions reasonable. (But don't put limits on plain veggies -- raw or cooked. And try for three to five servings of fruit a day.)

    2. Shortcut portion control. Stock up on prepackaged low-fat meals. Food labels make it easy to know exactly what you're getting -- and you save yourself the job of measuring portions.

    3. Try a meal substitute. Liquid meals can be helpful, especially when you're on the run. This shouldn't become a long-term strategy, but it can help break a plateau.

    4. Fill up on whole foods. Bananas, carrots, and air-popped popcorn pack more fiber and fewer calories than reduced-fat cakes or cookies. Result: You feel full on less food.

    5. Postpone dinner. Eating half an hour or even an hour later than usual may be just what you need to take the edge off late-night munchies.

    6. Drink up. "Put a liter of water on your desk, and make sure you drink it by the end of the day," says Nonas. Filling up on water during the day can help make portion control easier at meals.

    7. Limit mealtimes. So you stuck to your portion, but then you ate your kids' leftovers, and before you knew it, you were noshing ad infinitum. "It's important to do things that signal the end of the meal, like brushing your teeth," says Nonas. "Or set a timer when you sit down to dinner, and when it goes off, you're out of the kitchen or dining room."

    Burn More Calories

    1. Add a minute. "Gradually extend the length of your workouts," says J.P. Slovak, fitness director at the Cooper Fitness Center in Dallas. A few extra minutes here and there can go along way toward producing real results.

    2. Lift some weights. To combat the decrease in metabolism that often comes with weight loss, increase your muscle mass. Muscles burn more calories than fat, even when you're sleeping. And they take up less space, so you look slimmer.

    3. Try something new. You're not the only one who gets bored on the stationary bike -- your muscles do too. If you always work the same muscles in the same way, they become very efficient and then won't burn as many calories as when you first started doing the activity, explains Tedd Mitchell, M.D., medical director at the Cooper Wellness Program in Dallas. If you want to shake up your metabolism, work your muscles in new ways by cross-training. If you're walking, try swimming. If you're running, try boxing. No one activity should ever get to be too easy.

    4. Add some intervals. Invigorate your routine with short blasts of very intense exercise. "Try not to mosey along at the same pace," says Dr. Mitchell. "Sprint for an interval if you're running. Pedal really fast on the bike if you're cycling." Intervals not only make working out more exciting and challenging, they help burn extra calories.

    5. Go the long way. "You don't need to have gym clothes on to get exercise," says Kyle McInnis, Ph.D., a professor in the department of human performance and fitness at the University of Massachusetts in Boston. Use the second-floor bathroom or the copier down the hall. "Accumulating physical activity throughout the day, such as walking more and taking the stairs, adds up," he says.

    A Veteran's Advice

    "The important thing is to realize how far you've come and to remind yourself of your goals," says weight-loss success Cathy Upchurch.

    And that's exactly what Cathy did. She celebrated her victories, didn't dwell on what the scale said, and reevaluated her exercise regime. When she added biking to her daily 1-hour walk and water walking in the pool, the weight started to come off. Today Cathy climbs mountains, mountain bikes, and even snowboards. She's every inch the athlete she always wanted to be.

    Is it really a plateau -- or your ideal weight?

    If you're still 70 pounds more than what most weight tables recommend for your height, chances are you're just on a plateau. If you're merely 10 pounds more, then it might be time to accept your weight. In between? That's a gray area.

    Ideal weight varies among individuals. But the term has become a statistical figure generated by insurance people who are telling you what to weight to live the longest based on averages. "That's something very different," says David Levitsky, Ph.D., professor of nutrition and psychology at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY.

    So if you're in that gray area, here are some things to consider when deciding if you should lose more weight:

    • Are you weight training? Muscle weighs more than fat but looks a heck of a lot better.
    • Where's the weight? If those stubborn pounds are around your middle, they could be increasing your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and even some types of cancer. Waist measurements greater than 39 inches for men and premenopausal women younger than 40, greater than 35 inches for men and women 40 or older, and greater than 33 inches for postmenopausal women pose greater health risks.
    • Do you have any signs of high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or high blood glucose? These may be the first clues that your weight is affecting your health.
    • Is it realistic to eat any less or exercise any more?

    "You can't diet forever," Dr. Levitsky says. "It's better to choose a lifestyle that encourages healthy weight -- in which exercise and healthy eating are a regular part of the program -- than to obsess over a few pounds.

    Balancing Act

    The slimmer you get, the less effective your current weight-loss plan will be. Here's why:

    If you were 190 pounds and sedentary when you started, you burned 2,280 calories a day to maintain that weight. (Men burn slightly more.) If you ate 2,280 calories and burned 344 calories in a 1-hour walk, you burned 344 calories more than your body needed to maintain that weight -- so you lost weight.

    Say you reach 160 pounds. Now, you need only 1,920 calories to stay at your current weight. But you're still eating 2,280 calories and going for a 1-hour walk. Since you're lighter, your walk burns 292 calories. Now you're eating more -- 68 calories -- than you're burning. Keep it up, and the scale will start moving in the wrong direction. Here's how it adds up:

    If you weigh 190 and:

    • You eat: +2,280 calories
    • You burn*: -2,280 calories
    • You exercise: - 344 calories

    Result: -344 calories a day and weight loss

    If you weigh 160 and:

    • You eat: +2,280 calories
    • You burn*: -1,920 calories
    • You exercise: - 292 calories

    Result: +68 calories a day

    This means a plateau, even though your eating and exercising habits haven't changed. Over time, you'll regain some weight unless you shift the balance.

    *to maintain your current weight if you're sedentary

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  • Hormone Induces Weight Loss
    Hormone Induces Weight Loss

    Injections of Leptin Shown to Curb Appetite in Young Girl

    (MSNBC Health, September 15 1999) � For the first time, injections of the hormone leptin have been shown to curb appetite and induce weight loss in a human, a new study says. Scientists caused a stir four years ago when they announced that leptin could evoke weight loss in mice, but until now, a direct role in human obesity had not been confirmed.

    THE FINDINGS by doctors at Addenbrooke�s Hospital in Cambridge, England, provide important clues as researchers try to decipher the genetic and environmental factors in obesity. The work could lead to medical treatments for some forms of the condition. Leptin is a protein produced by fat cells. It is supposed to signal the brain to stop eating, but the signal does not get through properly in some overweight people.

    The study published in Thursday�s edition of The New England Journal of Medicine involved a severely overweight 9-year-old girl who suffered from a rare genetic defect in which her body produced virtually no leptin. While the girl�s condition is uncommon, the researchers, led by Dr. I Sadaf Farooqi, believe the findings have implications for the general population.

    Obesity is a major source of illness and death, and is the most common nutritional ailment in the United States, according to the Minnesota Obesity Center. The new work involved a girl from a Pakistani family who was born with a leptin deficiency. She was so overweight, she got liposuction at age six to remove fat from her legs and allow her to move around. She was constantly hungry and became disruptive when denied food.

    In 1997, when the girl was 9 and weighed 208 pounds, doctors began administering daily injections of leptin. With the shots, her weight gain stopped abruptly. Her mother and doctor found that the girl began eating far less food than before, and stopped craving between-meal snacks. She began losing 2 to 4 pounds per month. After a year of treatment, she had lost 36 pounds, virtually none of it muscle and all of it fat.

    In addition, her level of physical activity increased 19 percent during the first 12 months of therapy. �Treatment of this 9-year-old patient with congenital leptin deficiency with recombinant leptin led to a sustained reduction in weight, predominantly as a result of a loss of fat,� said Farooqi.

    WON'T BE EASY

    In an editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine, Dr. Michael Rosenbaum and Dr. Rudolph Leibel of the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons said further research on leptin �may help to move us closer to an effective pharmacologic treatment of obesity.� But many factors besides leptin affect weight, and people should not conclude that leptin injections would make losing weight easy, they added.

    If anything, leptin might help some people stick to a diet by curbing their hunger and aid in keeping the weight off, Rosenbaum said. �The only thing that we know is that it decreases appetite in this child and in a mouse,� Rosenbaum said. �It�s not the be-all and the end-all to promote effortless weight loss.�

    Leptin is being tested in ordinary fat people as an appetite suppressant. Preliminary findings from one study indicate that it isn�t a miracle cure, but shows some promise when combined with diet and exercise. Dr. Richard A. Dickey, President of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, called the study �a great start,� adding that although doctors generally believe many factors are involved in human obesity, leptin is clearly important.

    �It�s very possible that this child is a clue to appetite control and weight gain across a large portion of the population,� he said. �I think that everybody�s excited about the role of leptin.�

    The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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  • Hate Exercise? Positive Thinking Can Help
    Hate Exercise? Positive Thinking Can Help

    How to Make Exercise Feel Easier

    (Prevention, August 1999) � Exercise feels good, right? Not for everyone -- especially if you're overweight or just starting out. You're hot and sweaty, your heart is racing, and you're breathing like a freight train.

    And if you perceive this experience as negative, chances are you're not going to stick with it, says Joanne Kraenzle Schneider, PhD, a postdoctoral research fellow at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and a registered nurse. But she suspects that if you shift your thoughts to more positive ones, you'll be more likely to continue exercising.

    Makes sense, and a small pilot study she did supports this. More research is needed. In the meantime, when you're out for a walk or in an aerobics class and find yourself saying or thinking negative things, counter them with positives. Below are some common reactions to exercise and ways to look at them positively.

    What You Think During Exercise How To Respond
    "I'm bored." Visualize a positive experience such as a favorite vacation, a get-together with friends or a childhood memory. Or focus on the details of your surroundings.
    "I hate to sweat." "Sweating's a good thing. It's cooling my body because I'm working hard, which will make me healthier."
    "I'm sore."* "I'm challenging my body to use different muscles I'm not used to using. I'm making progress and building muscles."
    "This is tiring." "I need to push through it. I'll feel energized later."
    "I don't like when my heart pounds so hard." "My heart is getting stronger. It's pumping blood and oxygen to all my muscles so they can work harder."
    "I don't like feeling hot." "I'm working my muscles and burning calories."
    "I don't like feeling short of breath." "This indicates I'm doing what I should be doing. My muscles need oxygen to move so I need to take in more oxygen."
    *Note: This refers to muscle soreness or achiness, not sharp pain or pain in your joints. If you're experiencing the latter type of pain, stop exercising, and see a doctor if it continues.
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  • Shaking the Salt Habit
    Shaking the Salt Habit

    Cooking Without Salt

    (By Chef Tom Ney, Prevention Magazine, August 1999) � First of all, remove the salt shaker from your dining table and your stove. Put them behind your spice shelf cabinet door (out of sight, out of mind). Now, get yourself down to your favorite supermarket and roam the aisles for about one hour. Explore all the low-salt and salt-free ingredients on the shelves.

    Scan the spice section for herb and spice mixtures that are salt-free. McCormick and Mrs. Dash are a couple that come to mind. Toss a small jar of mustard seed into your basket. Later, you will place the mustard seed in a good peppermill that stays on your stove, in place of the salt shaker. Whenever you get the urge to shake some salt into a pot or pan of cooking food, grind the mustard seed instead. I like to blend white mustard seed with brown mustard seed for the best flavor enhancement. (I recommend peppermills by Peugeot.)

    Back to the spice rack: Beware of general spice mixtures. Many, like lemon-pepper, chili powder and shrimp boil, contain large amounts of salt. Stock up on Italian herb seasoning and paprika instead. Celery and parsley flakes make great flavor enhancers for liquid dishes like soups and stews.

    Flavored vinegars or frozen lemon juice (Minute Maid squeeze bottles are a favorite) add a splash of zing to many dishes beyond salads. One of my favorite condiments for flavor is Dijon mustard. (Yes, I know it contains salt, but the little mustard you need to spark up saucy dishes is way better than shaking straight salt into the food).

    Don't pass up the canned vegetable aisle. There, you will find a huge variety of flavored tomato products in cans. Diced tomatoes and stewed tomatoes can each play a starring role in boosting both flavor and color, in the pot and on the plate. Around the corner you will find an endless array of salsas and picante sauces. Most will contribute low-fat flavor without a high-sodium sneak attack. A little salsa goes a long way, when it comes to flavor.

    I do a lot of broth cooking. If you don't have time to make your own, canned broth can be found in the soup aisle -- you will find plenty of canned broths with reduced salt or low salt. Flavor the broths with fresh garlic, fresh gingerroot or lemongrass, and cook with them like you would butter, oil or tomato sauce. While you are in the soup section, check out Healthy Request and Healthy Choice brand cooking soups.

    All the help you need to cook conveniently salt-free is right in your local supermarket. Start your hunt through the aisles today, and you'll be surprised how many low-salt treasures you'll find.

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