Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Cardio and Weight Loss

Do you ever notice how some women can do 6, 9 or even more hours per week of cardio and still have fat to burn, whereas others can spend a few hours a week and it burn the fat, no problem(don't you just hate THEM! - smile!)?  I often have women telling me that they actually gained weight doing cardio!

Scientists think they have an answer to this.  It appears that some of us are "Compensators" and some are "Non-Compensators".  Turns out that cardio makes Compensators hungry.  As a result, Compensators end up consuming more calories, all but wiping out their cardio efforts!  Non-Compensators, however, do not seem to experience an increase in appetite.

If your cardio program is not working for you, check your post-exercise appetite level and calorie intake to see if you are a Compensator.  If you are, you might be better off with a program of high-intensity resistance exercise and interval training!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Another Reason to Exercise!

Exercise Minimizes Weight Regain By Lowering 'Defended' Body Weight
Exercise helps prevent weight regain after dieting by reducing appetite and by burning fat before burning carbohydrates, according to a new study with rats. Burning fat first and storing carbohydrates for use later in the day slows weight regain and may minimize overeating by signaling a feeling of fullness to the brain.

The University of Colorado Denver study also found that exercise prevents the increase in the number of fat cells that occurs during weight regain, challenging the conventional wisdom that the number of fat cells is set and cannot be altered by dietary or lifestyle changes.

These coordinated physiological changes in the brain and the body lower the 'defended' weight, that is, the weight that our physiology drives us to achieve, and suggest that the effects of exercise on these physiological processes may make it easier to stay on a diet.

Weight gain is, on the surface, remarkably simple, occurring when the calories consumed exceeds the calories expended. On closer examination, the process is remarkably complex. Laboratory, animals eat according to physiological signals that may suppress appetite or arouse the desire to eat. These signals are relatively weak in humans, as their intake is largely influenced by psychological, cognitive and lifestyle factors. After dieting, however, the physiological signals emerge to play a more substantial role in controlling intake. Being persistently hungry after losing weight with restricted diets is a big part of the weight regain problem. Most people are unable to ignore this physiological cue and are pushed by their biology to overeat and regain the weight they worked so hard to lose.

During feeding, the sedentary group preferentially burned carbohydrates while sending fat from the diet to fat tissue. This preferential fuel use stores more calories because it requires less energy to store fat than to store carbohydrates. In addition, burning away the body's carbohydrates may contribute to the persistent feeling of hunger and large appetite of the sedentary animals.
Exercise blunted this fuel preference, favoring the burning of fat for energy needs and saving ingested carbohydrates so that they could be used later in the day. Taken together, the exercise led to a much lower appetite and fewer calories ending up in fat tissue.

The researchers also found that exercise prevented the increase in the number of fat cells observed with weight regain in sedentary rats. In sedentary rats, a population of very small, presumably new, fat cells appears early in the relapse process. Small, new fat cells would not only accelerate the process of regain, but also increase fat storage capacity in the abdomen. It would also explain why sedentary rats overshoot their previous weight when they relapse.

Because this effect of exercise is a novel finding, further research will be needed to demonstrate that exercise is, indeed, preventing the formation of new fat cells early in relapse and not simply altering the size of pre-existing fat cells.

So...what does all this tell us???  What we have always claimed...exercise is an extremely important factor in not only losing weight, but KEEPING IT OFF!!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Belly Fat and Real Estate

Body fat deposits are like real estate - it's all about location, location, location. When it comes to body fat, the last place you want it to live, is on your belly!
Each of us has fat:

1. In our bloodstream (called "triglycerides")
2. Just below the skin surface (called "subcutaneous fat")
3. In a layer of tissue located inside the belly that hangs out underneath the muscles of your stomach (called "omentum fat")

Since omentum fat is so close to your vital organs, it's property you want to unload! It intrudes (and greedily so) on all the other structures around it. It squishes the diaphragm and lungs (which makes breathing difficult), it squashes the kidneys and their blood supply AND because it stores fat that is quickly accessible to that most vital organ, the liver, it can cause those lousy cholesterol (LDL) and triglycerides to rise. And, greedy, greedy that it is...it also sucks insulin out of circulation, which makes your blood sugar climb (hello...diabetes!)
The good news?? As soon as you reduce waist-expanding omentum fat, your body starts seeing the effects (as does your reflection in the mirror and the notch on your belt). Once your body senses it's losing fat, your body's blood-related numbers -- the ones that the Doctor seems to want to know about -- cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar -- start traveling in a healthy direction.

Friday, September 18, 2009

How Long Should I Workout For?

This is a question I am frequently asked.  Thanks to the cardio-marathon mindset of the 80s (which we all lived through), most women are convinced they need to exercise for over an hour, seven days a week, to "get fit." Believe it or not, that couldn't be farther from the truth.

First and foremost, your nutrition is more important than your exercise habits when it comes to fat loss and longevity. If you run for an hour each day but still have a Danish for breakfast every morning and chips every night, you could be shortening your life span and increasing your waist size. To set the foundation for fat loss and fitness, stick with whole, natural foods, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, fish, and protein.

For your exercise sessions, focus on quality and intensity, not quantity. By exercising three days per week for only 45 minutes per session (or less!), you can strengthen your entire body. Try multi-muscle resistance exercises for strength, and burn fat with short-burst interval training. Follow that up with stretches for tight muscle groups only, and you'll be finished your training session before you know it.

Spend the remaining four days of the week staying active and keeping your butt off the couch. Keep your body and mind busy with activities you love, such as walking with your dog, doing yoga, playing sports, jogging or running errands by bike or on foot.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Get Fit Quick!

Okay, so you are going on holidays or you only have 10 spare minutes in which to do anything...never fear!  Help has arrived.  There is  a Beginner Workout and a more Advanced Workout, that can be done any where and any time, no equipment necessary...other than the body you walk around in every day, of course! 

Each of the workouts are to be performed circuit-style (one exercise after another until all 5 are completed).  Try to get through it as many times as you can in the time you have.

Bodyweight Workout A (Beginner)
1.  Hip Extension x 15 reps
2.  Incline Push Up x 10 reps
3.  Alternate Forward Lunge x 10 reps ea leg
4.  Bicycle Crunch x 10 reps ea leg
5.  Jumping Jacks x 30 reps

Bodyweight Workout  A (Advanced)
1.  Siff Squat (on Toes) with Calf Raise x 15 reps
2.  Push Ups x 15 reps
3.  Forward and Reverse Lunge x 10 reps ea leg
4.  Plank Hold - 45-60 sec
5.  Cross-Body Mountain Climber x 10 reps ea side
6.  Squat Thrust x 10 reps

I was hoping to post the pictures to go with this, but for now, send an email and I can send you the pics!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

How to Get Fat (Part 3)

Needless to say, there are other factors which may influence both Energy Intake and Energy Expenditure.  Many are things we cannot help and many are things we may need help with!

Other Factors Influencing Energy Intake (EI) or Energy Expenditure (EE)

1.  Genetics (everyone in my family seems to gain weight easily, despite the exercise)

2.  Thyroid problems (can be an issue with menopause)

3.  Medication (certain medications can slow metabolism or make us feel hungry)

4.  Disease (diabetes, Crohn's Disease, etc)

5.  Slow Metabolism (often blamed but not as common as some would believe, but it does slow down as we age...darn!!!)

6.  History of crash dieting (lose 20lb, gain 25lb, lose 30 lb, gain 50 lb...)

7.  Early experiences (I never enjoyed gym at school /everyone laughed at me because I was fat...)

8.  Age and gender (women have lower metabolic rate than men, which slows down as we age)

9.  Fear of Failure (if I don`t try I can`t fail...)

10.  Fear of success (I can hide behind my fat...)

11.  Influence of pregnancy and menopause (both affect fat storage and fat distribution)

12.  Smoking cessation (If I can`t put a cigarette in my mouth I will eat some candy instead)

13.  Some prescribed drugs (anti-depressants, for example)

14.  Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) (I feel too depressed...tired...lethargic...sleepy...)

All these factors listed in the 3 Part series have a role in body weight balance, but it is up to us to account for and balance these factors to either maintain weight or lose weight.

Monday, September 7, 2009

How to Get Fat (Part 2)

Last time we looked at some of reasons that Energy Intake may be responsible for your weight gain.  Today we will look at the role of Energy Expenditure and how it can help you get fat and gain weight!

Energy Expenditure

1.  Sedentary job (I sit and I sit and I sit...)

2.  Inactive transport to/from work (the bus, the car, the elevator, the escalator...)

3.  Lack of 'planned' activity (I "should" go to the gym, for a walk, do some exercise...)

4.  Lack of 'incidental' activity (take the elevator, not the stairs...)

5.  Lack of awareness (burn calories by walking to a coworkers desk??  really???)

6.  Wrong type of activity (I will stroll down to Burger King for lunch!)

7.  Fatigue or laziness (I am too tired to exercise...)

8.  Fear of crime (I can't walk/run in the morning/late at night...)

9.  Environment/weather (it's raining/snowing/too hot/too cold)

10.  Injury/incapacity (I hurt my big toe so I can't do anything)

11.  The 'Foot-brain' gap (my foot doesn't reach my own butt...)

12.  Childhood experiences (they used to laugh at me in gym class...)

13.  Self consciousness (I am too big...I will go to the gym when I lose 20lb)

14.  Discomfort (sweating makes me feel yechh! and it ruins my hair!)

15.  Changes with Age (nothing like a hot flash in the middle of a workout...)

16.  Family Commitments (I have to take my daughter to... and my son to...and make dinner...)

17.  Influence of Holidays (isn't that why they call them holidays???)

Of course, some reasons are quite valid, but add up too many of them and they will seriously affect how well you can gain weight...and quickly!

Tomorrow...Part 3!