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Making Fitness a Reality

YogaWarrior_Rance Costa

credit @Flickr: Rance Costa

Spring is around the corner, and the nicer weather is just coaxing us to get outside and be active! Perhaps you made a commitment (or a New Year’s resolution) that this would be the year to get physically fit. Are you struggling with a plan? Let’s look at how to get physically fit and what a health plan looks like.

Weight Loss
If your fitness goals include weight loss you might assume that you’ll have to subject yourself to marathon treadmill sessions or going outside and pounding the pavement. The idea of this can be so daunting and overwhelming that you give up before you even begin!

Most of the time losing weight has a great deal more to do with diet than it does with exercise. While this doesn’t mean that you don’t have to exercise, it does mean that you have to take more control of your diet.

The following are diet traps that prevent people from losing weight:

  • Hormone imbalance: insulin and glucagon
  • Too many high calorie foods
  • Foods too rich in fast metabolized carbohydrates
  • Inactivity
  • Wrong activity: too much cardio work and not enough weight training
  • Stress eating: hormonal and/or emotional

Making Hormones Work For You
The two hormones that affect our bodies’ metabolism are insulin and glucagon. For our purposes we are going to look at their direct effects and not what regulates them. Basically, the job of insulin is to transport sugars into a cell. However, if all the cell’s stores are full, it then takes that sugar and converts it into fat. On the other hand, if your body’s sugar levels are lower, glucagon can metabolize fat and turn it into energy. This is what can help you lose weight!

Sugars are in almost all foods in the form of carbohydrates, which is why high protein diets have become popular. However, it’s important to remember that our brains need carbohydrates to function. Try to eat healthy carbs and make sure that your diet is in balance.

Create a Plan
So how does this fit into getting healthy? If your blood sugar is stable when you work out, you’ll stimulate glucagon to utilize fat storage allowing you to lose your unwanted weight. You can use this knowledge to your advantage by determining when the best time is to work out and what kind of plan will be most effective:

  • Exercise in the morning when your blood sugar is lower so that glucagon is stimulated
  • Avoid sugar or carb filled snacks that prevent glucagon from doing its job
  • Exercise for 30-45 minutes for optimum effect
  • Exercise can be as simple as a brisk walk for 30 minutes daily
  • Use large muscle groups when lifting weights (especially thighs) as it increases your metabolism and keeps it working long after you have stopped lifting weights

Fitness is just around the corner. Get motivated and check out some great ways to get started!

    • Boot camps utilize circuit training which is a great combination of weight training and cardiovascular work. Inform the trainer if you have any injuries or talk to your chiropractor about movements that you need to avoid as you work on getting strong.
    • Hire a personal trainer for a month to learn how to utilize your gym and get a set of exercises to use while you are there. This can be helpful in making sure that you don’t injure yourself while lifting weights. Make sure your trainer has one of the following certifications:
        • National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA)
        • NATA Athletic Trainers (ATC)
        • American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)
        • National Strength & Conditioning (NSCA) and are the Health / Fitness Specialist (HFS)
        • Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS)

 

  • Get friends together and purchase the PX90 series and host your own circuit training.
  • Sign up for a triathlon. See the following training program for the Triathlon Sprint.
  • Start interval walking using the following formula: 2 times the amount of walking to 1 time the amount of speed walking or light jogging. For example: 2 minutes walking: 1 minute speed walking, then repeat.
  • Lift weights at home or the gym making sure to activate the largest muscle groups: thighs, latissimuss dorsi muscles, abdominal muscles and pectoral muscles.
  • No matter what activity you choose, remember to stay within your physical limitations. If you keep pushing yourself slowly and safely, those limitations will change.
  • Don’t get discouraged. Remember that people lose on average 1-2 pounds per week.

originally posted 3/1/11

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