- High intensity interval training (HIIT). This simply means working short intervals of high intensity cardio into your strength-training routine. These cardio intervals can range from 20 seconds to 2 minutes. HIIT training enables you to burn more calories during your workout and hours after you’ve left the gym.
- Combination lifting. The concept here is combining two or more lifts into one exercise. For example, doing a squat at the same time as a bicep curl or a side lunge at the same time as a shoulder press. Because you’re working multiple muscle groups together, you burn more calories in a short time.
- Circuit training. This keeps you moving from exercise to exercise with no rest in between. So if you’re doing pushups, immediately go straight into a set of lunges. You’ve changed muscle groups, so you can rest the group you just exhausted, but still keep your heart rate up as you work your legs.
Friday, August 17, 2012
Saturday, August 11, 2012
Q: I have a hard time saying no to my cravings. When I go out to the grocery store, I can’t seem to stop myself from purchasing chips or chocolate bars. How can I stop this bad habit and not be tempted? — Chris Goodine (via email)
A: Chris, having struggled with these issues personally, I have developed a somewhat unorthodox approach to cravings. I give in to them. Before your head explodes let me expand on that with two caveats:
I make the healthier treat choice. You mention that chips are one of your cravings. Think Popchips® instead of fried, greasy chips. Think all-natural frozen sorbet instead of regular ice cream. Same for chocolate bars; think Green & Black’s Organic® dark or white chocolate bars or Newman’s Own Organics® peanut butter cups in dark or milk chocolate instead of your run of the mill candy bar from the local convenience store. I could go on and on with healthier options. What makes one choice better than the other are the ingredients. You want to avoid “foods” with hormones, Trans fats (hydrogenated oils), HFCS (high-fructose corn syrup), artificial colors and flavors, MSG and so on. You see, your body doesn’t know how to process these chemicals and preservatives so they wreak havoc on your biochemistry, throwing your metabolism and overall health grossly out of whack. Sugar or salt on the other hand, while certainly not good for you, can be tolerated and processed by your body safely when consumed in moderation.
Which brings me to my second caveat ...
I follow the 80/20 rule. Make 20 percent of your daily controlled-calories allowance the treat food of your choice. While I am not a believer in “free” or “cheat” days, I do allow myself a treat every day. My reasoning is that I personally feel bloated, gross, and disappointed in myself after I’ve binged on something during a conveniently titled “free” day. Also, one calorie-filled “cheat” day can erase many good days of hard work. Think about it. If you are creating a 500-calorie deficit a day (which would equal a pound of weight loss a week), then on Sunday you consume 3,000 to 4,000 calories, you have instantly wiped out roughly four days of hard work! Plus, it creates and rewards a binge mentality. The key to success is not all and then nothing. It’s a balanced approach that is thought out and rooted in the math of weight loss.
So, you see, I do eat ice cream, chocolate, and chips. I just don’t binge on them and I don’t eat chemicals. EVER. You can’t deny a craving. The more you do the worse the kick back is going to be when you fall off the wagon.
If you find it hard to stop eating once you start, try a few of these techniques. First, buy treats in single-serving portions. Don’t get bags of chips or cookies and keep them in the house if you have trouble with binging. Second, take a few bites of the treat, and then occupy yourself with something else. Tell yourself that if you still want it after 15 minutes you will allow yourself more. You will find that 90 percent of the time your body will have had a chance to register the sugar or salt you were craving and feel satiated. Third, use logic. Think through the treat. Play it out in your head before you do it. Ask yourself how you will feel AFTER the binge has occurred. Probably guilty and disappointed with yourself, right? Knowing and feeling that ahead of time, let those emotions drive you to make better decisions and subsequently turn to a habit or behavior that rewards and fulfills you in life affirming ways like a bubble bath, foot massage, exercise, or a coffee with a good friend.
A life without treats is not only a virtual impossibility, but one I personally wouldn’t find worth living. Ok, I am exaggerating — a little. Food is not just fuel. It’s meant to be enjoyed and savored. Not denied and not abused. Acknowledge this, practice balance, and it all will work out fine.
Friday, April 27, 2012
Namaste A-Okay: 3 Surprising Ways Yoga Benefits You (Including Weight Loss!)
- Brain building. Yogis
and yoginis alike are pretty hot and happy-looking people. The gift of
walking around with a smile on your face while looking sexy in your hard
tails is enough to win the attention of almost anyone. But it turns out
yoga can help your brain as well. Researchers from Boston University,
New York Medical College, and Columbia report that certain imbalances in
the brain occur when a person suffers from depression or stress-related
conditions. These imbalances include low activity of gamma
amino-butyric acid (GABA), an issue linked to epilepsy, chronic pain,
depression, anxiety, and PTSD. The researchers found that yoga increases
the activity of GABA, which in turn significantly improves symptoms.
They suggest that, "This has far-reaching implications for the
integration of yoga-based practices in the treatment of a broad array of
disorders exacerbated by stress." In other words, you can treat
depression while getting in shape at the same time.
In January 2012, a study published in The Journal of Behavioral Health Services and Research reported that yoga seemed protective/preventive for secondary school students when it came to controlling anger and feeling fatigue. Students were randomly assigned to one of two groups. The first did 11 weeks of physical activity and the second did 11 weeks of yoga. They found that the adolescents in the yoga group revealed "statistically significant differences over time relative to controls on measures of anger control and fatigue/inertia." The results, according to researchers, "suggest that implementation of yoga is acceptable and feasible in a secondary school setting and has the potential of playing a protective or preventive role in maintaining mental health."
Smart cars. Smart water. Looks like yoga may join them as the Smart workout.
- Fighting fat. The
average person is likely to practice yoga to increase flexibility,
improve balance, relieve stress, and reduce pain. But did you know yoga
can also help you lose weight? Yoga may not burn as many calories as
cardio, but it does influence your mind to help you lose and maintain a
Researchers from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle conducted a 15,550-person public health study measuring physical activity, including yoga and weight change. Those who practiced yoga for 4 years showed a 3-lb. lower weight gain among normal-weight participants (BMI of less than 25) and an 18.5-lb. lower weight gain among overweight subjects.
In 2011, researchers from The Alfred Hospital, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, integrated yoga into eating disorder programs and weight management for obesity, at which point a small, randomized study of yoga for obese women was conducted. The subjects who practiced yoga for 16 weeks showed an impressive decrease in body weight, body fat percentage, BMI, waist circumference, and visceral fat area in comparison to those who didn't.
Still not convinced? Researchers in Australia gathered data from 20 personal journals to examine the experience of a 12-week yoga treatment program for binge eating among a sample of 25 women who were obese. They noticed a positive shift experienced by the women during the program. "Specifically, women perceived an overall reduction in the quantity of food they consumed, decreased eating speed, and an improvement in food choices throughout the program." The women were able to establish a healthy reconnection with food, demonstrate self-empowerment, and in turn lose weight.
Yoga literally changed these ladies' relationship to food. Maybe it can do the same for you.
- Conquering chronic pain. Therapeutic
yoga is beginning to rise in popularity for many health conditions,
particularly for chronic pain sufferers. It attacks the problem on many
levels by preventing, reducing, or alleviating structural,
physiological, emotional, and spiritual pain, suffering, or limitations.
Furthermore, people who suffer from chronic pain may find they are
better able to relax easier, think clearer, and get healthier.
At the West Virginia University School of Medicine, researchers found that people who suffered from chronic lower back pain had significant reductions in pain intensity, functional disability, and pain medication usage after practicing 3 months of Iyengar yoga therapy.
In another study, researchers from Oregon Health and Science University evaluated the success rate of a program derived from Kripalu yoga for female fibromyalgia patients. They found that the yoga group (as compared to the control group who did not practice yoga) showed incredible improvements regarding their fibromyalgia symptoms. The same researchers conducted a similar study with patients suffering from menopausal symptoms due to recovering from breast cancer. They found that post-treatment, women who received the yoga program showed significant improvements. At a 3-month follow-up, the subjects maintained their level of improvement.
Lastly, researchers at Uludag University in Turkey found that, "A simplified yoga-based rehabilitation program is a complementary, safe and effective clinical treatment modality in patients with end-stage renal disease." They found that a 12-week intervention significantly improved pain, fatigue, sleep disturbance, and grip strength. If yoga can help with situations as serious as these, imagine what it can do for your daily aches and pains.
- Streeter C.C., Gerbarg P.L., Saper R.B., Ciraulo D.A., Brown R.P. Effects of yoga on the autonomic nervous system, gamma-aminobutyric-acid, and allostasis in epilepsy, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder Medical Hypotheses.
- Evaluation of the mental health benefits of yoga in a secondary school: a preliminary randomized controlled trial. J Behav Health Serv Res. 2012 Jan ;39(1):80-90.
- Kristal AR, Littman AJ, Benitez D, White E. Yoga practice is associated with attenuated weight gain in healthy, middle-aged men and women. Altern Ther Health Med. 2005;11(4):28-33.
- Lee JA, Kim JW, Kim DY. Effects of yoga exercise on serum adiponectin and metabolic syndrome factors in obese postmenopausal women. Menopause. 2011; Epub ahead of print.
- McIver S, McGartland M, O’Halloran P. "Overeating is not about the food: women describe their experience of a yoga treatment program for binge eating." Qual Health Res. 2009; 19(9):1234-1245.
- Mody BS. Acute effects of Surya Namaskar on the cardiovascular & metabolic system. J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2011;15(3):343-347.
- Anava A. Wren, Melissa A. Wright, James W. Carson, Francis J. Keefe. "Yoga for persistent pain: New findings and directions for an ancient practice." PAIN - March 2011 (Vol. 152, Issue 3, Pages 477-480, DOI: 10.1016/j.pain.2010.11.017)
- An eight-week yoga intervention is associated with improvements in pain, psychological functioning and mindfulness, and changes in cortisol levels in women with fibromyalgia. Curtis K, Osadchuk A, Katz J. J Pain Res. 2011; 4:189-201. Epub 2011 Jul 26.
- A modified yoga-based exercise program in hemodialysis patients: a randomized controlled study. Complement Ther Med. 2007 Sep ;15(3):164-71. Epub 2006 Aug. 22.
- Yoga of Awareness program for menopausal symptoms in breast cancer survivors: results from a randomized trial. James W. Carson, Kimberly M. Carson, Laura S. Porter, Francis J. Keefe, Victoria L. Seewaldt Support Care Cancer. 2009 October; 17(10): 1301–1309. Published online 2009 February 12. doi: 10.1007/s00520-009-0587-5
- Effect of Iyengar yoga therapy for chronic low back pain. Pain. 2005 May ;115(1-2):107-17.
Monday, January 2, 2012
It happens — you over-indulged over the holidays, missed a few workouts and now you feel like you've fallen off the weight-loss wagon. It's tempting to mentally slap yourself around, right? (Or head for the fridge.) Before you start, I want to remind you of something: Being hard on yourself is so 2009 — that's the Old You.
The New You knows how to deal with setbacks and get back on the wagon. And after all, there are no mistakes, just learning experiences. Weight loss is a process — it takes time. You will encounter small failures — everyone does — but every pound you gain can be lost.
And if you miss a workout, it's not the end of the world! Get to the gym the next day and continue to focus on your short-term goals. Just because you made bad choices today doesn't mean you can't start over tomorrow. New day? New beginning. And don't you forget it!