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Lift Weights, Lose Weight

Lift Weights, Lose Weight

The newest statistics indicate that 75% of men, 67% of women, and one-third of the teens in the U.S. are either overweight or obese, it’s time to revisit one of the easiest entries to exercise with the best return on investment: strength training.

Strength training has many forms. From weight room workouts, to studio strength workouts, to ballet barre and yoga classes, if your muscles are burning within a minute (or less) they will get stronger.

Your ability to burn energy, i.e. calories, depends largely on the amount of muscle you have in relationship to your weight. If you have a higher percentage of muscle per pound of bodyweight your body will be a better furnace. Muscle consumes significantly more calories per day per pound than fat (6.5 calories per pound per hour compared to 1.2 for fat), which in turn facilitates fat loss.

Throughout life, we lose muscle mass largely from lack of physical challenges that force us to be strong. Since carrying our water from the well, growing our food, and chopping wood for the fireplace are not on the to-do list, if you want to have a strong, lean body, fight back by lifting weights. It is hands down the quickest way to reshape the body, restore lost muscle mass, and stoke your metabolic furnace.

BUST THE MYTHS

No, ladies, you are not going to bulk up. You just aren’t. Your hormonal balance lacks the amount of testosterone necessary to look like those beefy people you have seen in the gym. They are following a specific nutritional regime, using supplements, and are spending an inordinate amount of time lifting. That is not us. We need this.

We all need it. Research overwhelmingly proves that strength training benefits all age groups.

Another myth: you lose strength as you age. Wrong. Loss of strength is not a function of aging, it is a function of disuse. Especially for women: use it or lose it.

Men, on the other hand, peak in strength in their late 20s. As men age, there is a small decrease in testosterone levels, thus their potential for strength will decrease. Key word here is ‘potential.’ Since most men never trained to their actual potential, most men can be stronger through consistent strength training as they age too. Additionally, because of their hormonal advantage, men generally have an easier time re-capturing lost muscle mass.

GO FOR OVERLOAD

For strength training to be effective, the intensity of the exercise needs to be difficult enough that your muscles fatigue (or be at “failure,” the point when you lose form) in about 30 seconds to one minute. This caveat of strength training is also what makes it so time efficient.

Cardio benefits heart health, but it does not make you strong. And no, it doesn’t count as strength training if you are sore the next day from a cardio workout. When muscles are not used to something, they will get sore. But since cardio is sustainable (the intensity is low enough that it can be done for extended periods of time), it will not reap the benefits of reshaping the body like lifting weights will.

GOT TIME?

Research has proven repeatedly that with minimal time strength training, the body will show results. With just 3 half-hour strength training workouts per week, in 8 weeks participants showed a body composition change on average of an increase of 3 pounds of muscle mass and a loss of 5 pounds of fat. The investment of time for results is highest with strength training.

BREATHLESS?

Good! Cardio does not have exclusive rights to elevating the heart rate. Strength training, when the exercise is challenging, will elevate your heart rate toward and even to breathlessness. You will get out of it what you put into it; greater challenge and effort equals better results.

WHAT ABOUT WEIGHTS?

Lifting weights will make you strong. But your body has plenty of weight to supply ample resistance when used against gravity. The problem with body weight is this: most of us are not strong enough to use our bodies against gravity, which makes weights a necessity. Take pull ups for example; for most of us, not going to happen. Planks are pretty awesome and most people can do a plank for a few seconds to a minute or more. But many of us cannot take that plank, lower our body weight to the floor and push it back up (the classic push up). We can modify a push up by dropping to our knees, effectively lowering the amount of load/weight that we push up. And we can make it even easier with light dumbbells: lie on your back, hold a couple of dumbbells at your chest, and push them up, i.e the chest press. The advantage of the push up (even the modified knee version) over the chest press is the superior activation of deep core muscles to stabilize your body during the push up, giving those important core muscles a work out too. So no, strength training does not mean having to lift dumbbells….YOU can be the weight. But you might need to work up to it.

HOW OFTEN?

Since strength training overloads the muscles to the point of fatigue in a short amount of time, it only needs to be performed every few days; every other day works great! If you add some cardio into your workout week, fat loss results will be further enhanced by the extra calories burned via the extra activity. One of the best investments you can make in the technology world is a pedometer. Pedometers range from simple mechanical models, which cost just a few dollars, to clip-ons, wristbands and watches. Phone apps will count your steps if you carry your phone all day. A good rule of thumb to work up to: aim for 10,000 steps per day.

NEED HELP?

To get results, strength training, lifting weights, and body weight training need to be performed with good technique and form. Injury can be avoided through proper biomechanics. A good trainer will not only keep you safe during the workout by coaching you on form, they will also be able to uncover details in your execution that will help you avoid repetitive stress injuries that could happen down the road. Good form and posture are the foundation to build on. If you need help, our staff of professionals is here to help.

GET STARTED TODAY!

Your future-self is not going to be any more motivated than your today-self. What you are not willing to do today, you are probably not going to be willing to do tomorrow. Start your program now. Many of our classes and group workouts at Just Fitness 4 U have a strength component. See our schedule on-line or on our App. Or drop and do those push-ups right now!

You deserve a lean, strong body. It is within reach with a consistent, sensible, well-organized program of lifting weights and strength training. Reap the benefits and get started today!

Sitting is the New Smoking

Sitting is the New Smoking

One of the largest pieces of research to date—over 800,000 subjects (the study was carried out by researchers from Loughborough University and University of Leicester in the UK, peer-reviewed in the medical journal Diabetologia), found that compared with those who sat the least, people who sat the longest had a:

0
%
Increase risk in diabetes
0
%
Increase in cardiovascular events
0
%
Increase in death caused by cardiovascular events
0
%
Increase in death from any cause.

Additionally the research suggests that remaining seated for too long is bad for your health, regardless of how much exercise you do.

That is bad news for those of us who have to sit to make a living.

Today, the ability to make a living for many of us is based on what we can get done on the computer and/or on the phone, not to mention commuting time. But being desk-bound 8 or more hours a day does not have to mean increased risk of heart diseases, diabetes and premature death.

New research!

The University of Utah provides and easy and effective solution: every hour, walk for 2 minutes. The study of 3,200 people showed that doing so each hour helped to negate the effects of prolonged sitting up to 33%. Researchers commented that these spurts of light activity helped to offset the negative effects of sitting better than just standing, so get up and walk a little bit each hour.

Keep Track of Time!

Most phones are capable of giving you a little prod every hour if you program it to do so. Use the Timer on the Clock App. Set it to 1 hour. Choose a ringtone (or use the default). In an hour the phone will give you the sound that an hour is up. Walk for 2 minutes to the file cabinet, coffee station, or deliver a colleague a message rather than sending an email.

Track your Activity!

To get a good picture of how much you really move during the day, consider getting either a pedometer app for your phone (if you carry your phone all day), or investing in a wearable Activity Tracker. The market has exploded with models and makes; some track sleep, all track steps. Bottom Line: try and build up to 10,000 steps on most days.

want to be healthy

Want to be healthy? Get your Z’s

If you work long hours or take a Red Eye to save precious work time, you probably look forward to catching up on your sleep over the weekend.

Research increasingly re-confirms that sleep, once lost, is very hard, if not impossible to make up for.

In a recent Penn State study, 30 healthy men and women aged 18 to 34 spent 13 nights in a sleep lab. After 4 nights of a full eight hours, they spent the next 6 nights sleeping only 6 hours. The last 3 nights were 10-hour sleep nights.

The participant’s brain function dropped after the nights of sleep deprivation and did not return to normal until after the third day of 10 hours of sleep, even though they said they felt refreshed after the first night of extra sleep. If you are counting on weekends to catch up on sleep, you are fooling yourself; you are just getting started!

Next time you have the choice to travel early to that meeting or take a Red-Eye, go early and get your sleep. Negative effects of sleep deprivation include decreased problem solving skills, innovative thinking, and alertness. Additionally subjects exhibited inappropriate responses, difficulty controlling their temper, and even showed un-ethical behavior that they normally would not have exhibited. Taking a Red-Eye can easily defeat the trip’s purpose.

Additionally, studies increasingly link chronic sleep deprivation with weight gain as well as an increased risk of heart disease and diabetes. Need more reasons? A recent study in Sweden found that subjects who did not get a full night’s sleep were consistently perceived as less attractive as when they had slept soundly through the night.

To look your best, feel your best, and perform your best, get your sleep.

The Foods You Should Buy Organic vs Organic

The Foods You Should Buy Organic vs. Non Organic

While going organic takes a positive toll on your body, it can take a negative toll on your wallet. Many find themselves in a debate of purchasing organic vs. non organic products.

Is organic really worth it? We did a little digging on this produce controversy and found certain foods were better to buy organic than others. The following 14 foods, according to the Environment Workers Group*, contain high amounts of pesticides. When deciding what to purchase organic, swap the following non organic produce with this list:

14 Foods You Should Buy Organic

  • Apples
  • Strawberries
  • Grapes
  • Celery
  • Peaches
  • Spinach
  • Sweet Bell Peppers
  • Nectarines
  • Cucumbers
  • Potatoes
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Hot Peppers
  • Kale/Collard Greens
  • Summer Squash

The following 15 foods, also referred to as the Clean Fifteen, are considered the least contaminated.

The Clean Fifteen

  • Asparagus
  • Avocados
  • Cabbage
  • Cantaloupe
  • Sweet Corn
  • Eggplant
  • Grapefruit
  • Kiwi
  • Mangos
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions
  • Papayas
  • Pineapples
  • Sweet Peas (frozen)
  • Sweet Potatoes

*The Enviromental Workers Group is a nonprofit organization that advocates for policies that protect global and individual health.

Gratitude: A Path to Happiness

What is the one quality you wish you had in more abundance? Do you strive to be attractive? Successful? Talented? Famous? Influential? Wealthy? Popular? And no matter what, we want HAPPINESS.

Right? But things and qualities that we achieve (for example wealth or fame) don’t make us happy, at least not for long. Soon after we achieve the goal, get the thing, we want more. It’s never enough. It is a seductive viscous circle: we feel happy…fleetingly…then the next thing comes along. And we want it. Don’t believe it? Take a look at entire multi-billion dollar business: marketing. In 2015 advertisers will spend nearly $600 BILLION dollars worldwide*; dollars spent to make us want stuff; which by the way, undermines happiness, even if you have the means to buy those enticing things.

The single most desirable quality that is the basis for both goodness and happiness is gratitude. Gratitude is the quality of being thankful; ones readiness to show appreciation for and return kindness. Cicero, the Roman philosopher declared that gratitude was the mother of all virtues: it was the indispensible quality that allowed other virtues to be.

Do we need science to confirm the benefits of gratitude? Apparently so, since recently the scientific community has been putting gratitude to the test. The University of California at Berkeley recently announced a $3.1 million research study on the power of gratitude, on the heels of many other recent studies. The USC Brain and Creativity Institute which partners with the USC Shoah Foundation have done extensive studies. Lead researcher Glenn R Fox, PhD found that “when the brain feel gratitude, it activates areas responsible for feelings of reward, moral cognition, subjective value judgments, fairness, economic decision-making and self-reference.”

The collective findings? The practice of gratitude is a mindful practice that forces us to be in the present moment. It improves psychological, emotional, and physical well-being. Practicing gratitude strengthens relationships and makes people have a consciousness of what is going on around them, which in turn increases genuine empathy, kindness, caring, and by being mindful, reduces the tendency to take things for granted.

Practicing gratitude is just that: a practice. It is a habit and as such, when practiced with consistency, becomes a virtue. Once the habit of gratitude is established, the other virtues of happiness and goodness become firmly rooted. The purest virtues of love, kindness, goodness, joy spring from the heart, rather than the temporary happiness that a thing, a situation, or a person can provide.

7 ways to practice gratitude at home

  • Practice gratitude habits. For children to learn to be grateful, they need to see the habit of gratitude practiced by the adults around them.
  • Encourage imagination. Go deeper into the moment. Try new paths, places, foods. This kind of safe adventurism brings wonder and newness to the day.
  • Look at your friends, your children, your co-workers with new eyes. Children change every day; appreciate the wonder of growth and change. Friends and co-workers have events in their lives that impact their day. Walking in someone else’s shoes increases gratitude.
  • Find things to be grateful for. Sometimes things just aren’t all that awesome…and finding a way to flip it so that you can find the good, the thing to be grateful for, can be hard. But it can change everything.
  • You are not going to learn anything by talking about what you already know. Pay attention to those around you. Listen to children. What are the feelings that they are expressing to you: are they happy, sad, frightened, lonely, excited?
  • Express how people make you feel in the moment. Tell children how they make you feel now, rather than what you see that they can achieve in the future; this helps them learn gratitude and mindfulness.
  • To get in the habit of practicing gratitude, try a daily journal. Writing down what we are grateful for forces us to stop, to think, and sometimes to think hard if it means changing perspective.

On the selfish side, here are some things that practicing gratitude can do for you.

  • It makes you proactive. People who are grateful tend to be more proactive about their health, including exercise: they are more consistent.
  • Which not only makes you more aware of your health, but when you are happier, you have a better immune system.
  • You will sleep better. Those who practice gratitude fall asleep faster, and sleep longer.
  • Practicing gratitude helps diminish stress and aggression.
  • Practicing gratitude also helps you deal with traumatic events, emotions become steadier.
  • Practicing gratitude improves relationships. It builds friendships and makes you a better partner. Additionally, it improves social relationships in the community.
  • Gratitude boosts self-esteem. It reduces social comparisons and allows people to appreciate the achievements of others as well as themselves.
  • Practicing gratitude on the job will make you a better manager, improves networking, aids in achieving goals and productivity. It improves your personality overall, which is critical in business and the corporate world.
  • The practice of gratitude makes you smarter. In one study on high school kids, the authors found that “gratitude, controlling for materialism, uniquely predicts all outcomes considered: higher grade point average, life satisfaction, social integration, and absorption, as well as lower envy and depression.”
  • Gratitude is the basis for Goodness and Happiness, making you a better person and a happier person.
  • Gratitude can lengthen your life. Those who are optimistic and happy tend to live longer than those who are not.
Your Training Essentials Kit: Stay Strong with these 7 Movements

Your Training Essentials Kit: Stay Strong with these 7 Movements

Love your weight machines and your routine? It doesn’t take long before your body nods off. Results stall. Sure you can still feel a burn when you do your favorite exercises, but where it counts at the cellular level, your body needs muscular and neural confusion to adapt and get stronger; become more responsive.

In the conventional strength-training world, many exercises are performed seated often with using some kind of pad to brace against. These 2 aids (the seat and the pad) rob the core of its potential to activate and stabilize by using internal, muscular core bracing in response to the overloaded movement. Not to mention that most machines set the joint action to follow a specific line, at a specific angle to the joints, in a specific range of motion. Since life is never going to follow those kinds of rules, once a fundamental strength base is achieved, the next logical step is to ditch the aids.

  • 1. Bodyweight squats
    Are simple patterns that are used in life constantly. Every time you stand up and sit down, you are using a squat pattern.
  • 2. The lunge pattern
    is used when stepping over things (think walking through a forest over tree branches or rocks). Lunges are used when going up stairs, when picking up things from the floor (used with a hinge).
  • 3. Hinge
    A version of the hinge, the deadlift, is a great glute/posterior chain exercise, with the strengthening results running up the chain through the back, and down the chain through the hamstrings and even to the calves. A hinge can be combined with a squat (picking up a laundry basket) or a lunge (picking up a box of books in a staggered stance). The hinge, if done correctly, with the back in neutral and core braced is arguably one of the most important patterns to keep strong.
  • 4. Pushing patterns
    Can easily be trained through the classic push up. Another great variation is to use a resistance band while standing. A standing resistance band press forces the core to activate and stabilize while improving balance. Progress it to standing on one leg and you should feel the core fire up even more.
  • 5. Classic pull up
    Although the classic pull up is too difficult for most people initially, the goal of training should be, at some point, to be able to move your mass. In other words, you need to be able to pull yourself up. We need to work up to being able to move our bodies upwards against gravity.
  • 6. Rotate
    Through time, our cores become non-reactive and sluggish. Rotation is one of the most powerful generators of strength and power and it is essential for good function. Rotation can be improved through standing resistance band exercises, chop exercises, planks with rotation, cable chops and rotations, and all kinds of ball exercises. Additionally, most people do not rotate properly when they walk. Which brings us to our final primal pattern, walking.
  • Your Training Essentials Kit: Stay Strong with these 7 Movements
    7. Walking
    Is fundamentally important, and yet largely overlooked. Those looking for a big calorie burn will run: nothing wrong with that, but it is not the same as the walk pattern. Running is not fast walking. When you walk, unlike running, both feet are in contact with the earth at the same time allowing your trunk to rotate. Try this exercise: walk the line. Go slow and put one foot in front of the other and as you do, pull in your abs a little. You should feel the rotation coming from the core and the exaggeration of the rotation. Whether you run or not, you should be walking.

Final Thoughts

Recommended Goal: be strong enough to MOVE YOU. Your mass, your weight. That means be able to:

  1. Do 1 pull up (at least).
  2. Do 1 perfect military push up (at least)
  3. Each leg should independently be able to lower you all the way down and raise you all the way back up.
  4. Walk 3-5 miles without a problem.

If you can move your own mass in this way, you have a very good start to having awesome functional fitness.

If you need a tune-up in your fitness routine, want the tools to achieve the goals discussed above, or need ideas on how to vary squats, lunges, hinges, pulls, pushes, rotations, and proper walking technique, find your club at pivotalfitness.com or justfitness4udallas.com and call the front desk to make an appointment with one of our certified trainers.

The One Trick to Stopping Unhealthy Eating

The One Trick to Stopping Unhealthy Eating

It’s 5:30pm when your car participates in the the bumper-to-bumper dance and your stomach sings of hunger.

“It’s been a long day. Give me a beer, potato chips. Diet starts tomorrow,” you say as you waltz into the door.

While it’s easy to dance to tune of a forgotten healthy eater, there are ways to stick to the plan.  Eliminate that regretful feeling of eating Lays Potato Chips with a side of cold pizza and concluding with a sleeve of Oreos. The only way to stop from eating the bad stuff, is to stop the bad stuff from eating you.

Translation: When you see “bad for you” foods, you are persuaded to eat them. The trick is keep healthy items available at all times and easy to reach. Start with these common offenders:

First Offender:

What’s on the top shelf of your fridge? 

This is the first place where your eyes wonder when you open that glorious icebox. Keep veggies, hummus, salads and fruits at arms reach and eye level. Like the snacks you see above.

Second Offender:

What’s on your kitchen counter?

Bread? Don’t tango with that. Keep a storage of grab-and-go nuts and dried fruit on the counter ready to grab when hunger strikes.

Third Offender:

What’s in your cabinet?

Your cabinet is a safe haven of junk, chocolate and chips. Keep the soups, canned vegetables and beans at eye level and the front of the cabinet.

Fourth Offender:

What’s in your wallet? 

No, it’s not Capital One…When going to the store, make sure to have a grocery list of healthy items. This will prevent you from unhealthy ‘straying’ and buying the 2 for 1 Chips Ahoy. Shimmy on the outskirts of the grocery store where the produce and meats are located and stay clear on the inside isles.