Tag Archive | "weight training"

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How to stay slim in your 30s, 40s and 50s

What is the ‘middle age spread’?

The term ‘middle-age spread’ has been etched into ageing lore, yet unflattering connotations ignore the naturalness of physiological change. Expecting to weigh the same at 30 as 18 is folly according to clinical psychologist Louise Adams from Treat Yourself Well.

“Our body weight at age 18 is for many of us the lightest we have ever been,” says Adams. “We may not have stopped growing at that point and may not have reached full maturity. Weight gain as we age is quite normal and body shape and size can change over our lifetime. Sticking to a weight from many years ago is unrealistic for the vast majority of us. It’s similar to remembering how your skin looked as a teenager and expecting the same in middle age.”

The other sticking point in weight expectations is that many of us expect that with enough weights training and self-control we can defy the effects of hormonal changes associated with mid life.

“I think we should be a bit more accepting of carrying a bit of weight as we get older,” says the University of Melbourne‘s Dr Joseph Proietto, a professor of medicine. “There are multiple studies that suggest that a little extra weight can be a healthy thing. In one study we conducted we looked at people who had stents put in their hearts for angina. We found that the underweight people died at a faster rate, and the overweight were better than the normal weight, the mildly obese were better than the overweight in terms of survival.”

How to stay trim – despite your age!

Dr Lavie encourages a paradigm shift from weight to fitness. “It’s much better to strive for fitness and be on the thicker side than to be thin and unfit,” he says. “Loss of fitness is a much stronger predictor of mortality than weight gain.”

He says the ideal is to exercise 40 to 45 minutes a day, five to six days a week, with plenty of strength work.

“Fitness gurus will tell you that strength training becomes more vital the older one gets, and they are right, for it supports muscle mass like no other form of exercise and can help increase not only strength but also bone mass,” says Dr Lavie.

“In most people, muscle strength peaks in our 20s and then gradually decreases. Recent research suggests that women on average will lose muscle mass twice as fast as men the same age, which can make a huge difference in their ability to maintain an ideal weight.”

 

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joanna-turner-breathing

Joanna Turner: I lost 25 kilos with deep breathing

“It took me a while to hear the message about breathing that everyone kept talking about. I was ‘hearing’ the message but not actually doing it. After a stressful day at work (I was formerly a corporate accountant), I would literally say, ‘I haven’t even breathed today!’

I am a firm believer that stress makes you fat. The right breathing – proper belly breaths – is a quick way to calm stress, and reduces all that cortisol that’s pouring in to our body (when you’re in the ‘fight or flight’ stress response mode).

I have a new career as a health and life coach, and now actually teach my clients how to breathe. Breathing the right way has calmed me down and helped me lose weight.

So far I’ve lost 25 kg and find myself spending less time doing excessive long-distance sports, like triathlons and half-marathons, and spend more time doing yoga, Pilates, weights and short HIIT-style (high intensity interval training) workouts for fast results. This change has given me better results, in much less time.”

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Joanna Turner: I lost 25 kilos with deep breathing

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Time Saver Workout: Mini Spartan Madness

WORKOUT BY: Luis Buron, Spartan SGX Coach

 In this workout we’re simulating a Reebok Spartan Race. The mix of running in place and stepups imitate running and climbing uneven terrain and the moves mimic Spartan Race obstacles (as noted in parentheses). The workout finishes with Spartan signature penalty, burpees, and we go for 2 min. because an unpredictable challenge that you weren’t planning for is what we’re all about.
 1 minute: Run in Place
  • 30 seconds: Dead Hang (Rope Climb)
  • 1 minute: Stepup
  • 30 seconds: Box Jump (Wall Climb)
  • 1 minute: Run in place
  • 30 seconds: High Pushup Hold (Z Wall)
  • 1 minute: Stepup
  • 30 second: Body Row (Inverted Wall)
  • 1 minute: Run in place
  • 30 seconds: Hollow Hold (Slip Wall)
  • 1 minute: Stepup
  • 30 seconds: KB Deadlift (Bucket Carry)
  • 1 minute: Run in place
  • 30 seconds: Jumping Pullup (Hercules Hoist)
  • 1 minute: Stepup
  • 30 seconds: Kettlebell Swing (Atlas Carry)
  • 1 minute: Run in place
  • 30 seconds: Active Hang (Multi Rig)
  • 1 minute: Stepup
  • 30 seconds: Lunge (Sandbag Carry)
  • 1 minute: Run in place
  • 30 seconds: Bear Crawl (Barb Wire Crawl)
  • 1 minute: Stepup
  • 30 seconds: Broad Jump (Fire Jump)
  • 2 minutes: Burpee

Source: Time Saver Workout: Mini Spartan Maddness

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strengthandtone

How to fast-track fat loss

Want to know the key to fat loss? Master trainer Daniel Tramontana shares his tips for guaranteed fat loss.

To fast-track coveted progress such as greater fat loss, Tramontana says you need to get back to basics. Cardio is not ‘hardio’

With a combination of higher intensity interval training (HIIT), low-intensity steady state (LISS) training, body weight training sessions and a nutritious diet, Tramontana ensures his clients are given the best formula for their body.

“My cardiovascular programming is based around a 75/25 split of LISS and HIIT. So based on the available amount of time for a client to add in cardio on top of resistance training would determine the amount of each they conducted,” he says.


Here’s what your cardio program could look like:

2 hours per week for cardio training = 30 minutes of HIIT over two to three days 90 minutes of LISS over one to two sessions.

Be wary, if HIIT was all you did, you may encounter the downside of too much stress on your body, which can ironically turn HIIT into a fat retention tactic.

So what about weight training?

“For  fast track fat loss, I structure everything around two to three full body weight training sessions – two sessions based on linear periodisation macro cycle of 16-to-24 week programming, altered every four to six weeks,” he explains.

Translation? A program that begins by incorporating high-volume and low intensity weight training, and progressively moves into phases when the volume decreases and intensity increases.  Tramontana is a strong advocate for women to hit up the weights rack, “I find a lot of women are lifting nowhere near their capacity. Don’t be shy to lift heavy weights and test your ability regularly.”

The importance of rest

All this talk of intensity may have you thinking full pelt should be the only gear you work in, but without adequate recovery, you may be undermining your fat loss chances at the dumbbells. Both injury and overt fatigue can see you performing at less than 100 per cent over multiple sessions.

“Recovery begins with the post-workout meal. I advise at least 25 to 50 per cent of overall carbohydrates be included in this meal – either using complex carbohydrate sources or a combination of simple and complex carbs,” says Tramontana. “I also recommend at least one body therapy session per week.”

Think physiotherapy, massage, sauna, steam, floating, dry needling, sleep in, meditation, yoga, grounding – or something as simple as reading a book.

How to fuel your body with the right food

For Tramontana, eating for fat loss should focus on controlling hunger, which translates to better portion control and craving management.

“I ask that protein be included in every meal upon waking, generally an even or slightly escalating amount each meal depending again on habits and hunger patterns,” he says.

“For fat loss, I personally urge the exclusion of high-energy carbs even post workout – with the exception of competitors in the later stage of preparation.”

Supplementation may also give you an edge in the health and results stakes. Depending on your goals and needs, Tramontana advises the use of creatine, glutamine, vitamin C, branch chain amino acids, fish oils, whey protein, vitamin D, magnesium, zinc and a good-quality greens supplement to aid recovery, general wellbeing and lean muscle growth.

 

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pullups

How To Master The Pull-Up

The pull-up is the toughest bodyweight move there is, requiring your back and other muscles to work hard to lift and lower your entire body. Muscles in your back, shoulder and arms all get a workout with pull-ups, and you’ll definitely feel every one of them when you wake up the morning after a first session on the bar. Few bodyweight exercises have the ability to target as many upper body muscles and leave them quivering as quickly as pull-ups.

In fact, when it comes to bodyweight moves, the pull-up is king. This classic test of strength targets the powerful muscles of the back, specifically the lats, traps and rhomboids.

But with the right training it’s a move you can get really good at really quickly – and, with a doorframe pull-up bar, you can even build pull-up power without leaving home. Here’s our guide to mastering this classic move so you can add muscle size and strength faster.

RECOMMENDED: The Best Pull-Up Bars For Your Home Workouts

Why is the pull-up important?

“It’s the ultimate test of upper-body muscular strength and one of the very few bodyweight moves that works your back and biceps,” says former Royal Marines PTI Sean Lerwill. “A lot of guys get fixated on their bench press best, but I think your total pull-ups effort is a far better indicator of a strong, stable and functionally fit upper body that has real-world performance capability.”

How many should I be able to do?

The Potential Royal Marine Course (PMRC) requires you to do three full pull-ups to stay on the course, while 16 gives a maximum point score. “A guy in good shape should be able to do about six perfect-form pull-ups at a slow and controlled tempo, with an aim of getting to 12 reps,” says Lerwill. “Once you get to that point you should make them harder by holding a dumbbell between your ankles or wearing a belt with weight plates attached.”

What do I do if I can’t do any?

“The best way to build pull-up power is by doing wide-grip lat pull-downs, both heavy-weight sets and high-rep sets,” says Lerwill. “Eccentric pull-ups – where you ‘jump’ to the top position and lower back down very slowly – are also very good training drills.”

How To Do a Perfect Pull-Up

  1. Leap up and grip the bar with your hands shoulder width apart and your palms facing away from you. Hang with your arms fully extended, you can bend your legs at the knee if they’re dragging on the ground.
  2. Keep your shoulders back and your core engaged throughout. Then pull up. Focus on enlisting every upper body muscle to aid your upward endeavours.
  3. Move slowly upward until your chin is above the bar, then equally slowly downward until your arms are extended again.
  4. Aim for 10 pull-ups, but be prepared to fall short.

Do not be daunted if the idea of smashing out 10 pull-ups seems laughable right now, there are plenty of ways to build up to even your first full pull-up. Start by getting used to your own bodyweight by holding a dead hang for as long as possible without even bothering to try and pull yourself up.

You can also prep for pull-ups by strengthening your back muscles. Exercises like bent over dumbbell rows and inverted bodyweight rows will help. Many gyms will also have assisted pull-up machines, where you kneel on a platform that will give a certain amount of help in raising you up depending on what weight you set it at.

Pull-Up Assistance Lifts

Try these supportive machine moves to power up your pull-up prowess.

Lat pull-down

This machine move most closely replicates the muscle actions required to do pull-ups. The wider your hands on the bar, the more you isolate your lats, making each rep harder.

Cable face pull

This works wonders for your pull-up ability by not only improving your hunched-over posture from too much sitting but also making you learn how to retract your shoulder blades properly, which is key to perfect pull-up form. Do three light sets of 15 after your back or shoulders session.

Negative pull-up

Make a positive effort to up your pull-up max with negative reps. Your muscles are stronger when lowering a weight than lifting it so at the end of a set, jump to the top, then lower as slowly as possible. Keep going until you can no longer control your descent.

Pull-Up Form Tips

Use the full range

Using a full range of motion engages more muscle fibres and works them harder. Hang from the bar with both hands so your arms are fully straight. This is the start and finish position. Keep the full-range reps slow and smooth to reduce joint stress.

Get tight at the start

Bracing your body will engage your big and small stabilising muscles, making it easier to manage your weight. Keep your chest up and abs and glutes engaged. Initiate the move by retracting your shoulders, then drive your elbows down to pull yourself up.

Squeeze at the top

Once your chin is higher than your hands, squeezing your working muscles will recruit even more muscle fibres for greater strength and performance gains. Pause for one second at the top to squeeze your muscles, then lower back to the start.

Mix your grip

“Vary between wide, narrow and hammer grip hand positions to recruit more muscle fibres and correct any weaknesses for greater overall strength,” says trainer Andy Watson (@functionalfitnesstraining.

Break them down

“Remove momentum to target all three phases of the lift,” says Watson. “Pull your chest to the bar, pause for three seconds, lower halfway, pause, then lower to the bottom and repeat.”

Hang tough

“If your grip goes, you go. Get used to hanging from the bar with extra weight until failure. Then raising your own bodyweight when doing pull-ups will feel easy.”

Different Pull-Up Grips

Overhand grip

An overhand grip pull-up is the hardest to do, because it places more of the workload on your lats. The wider your grip, the less help your lats get from other muscles, making a rep harder.

Underhand grip

This grip turns a pull-up into a chin-up, and places more emphasis on your biceps, which makes it more of an arms move than a back one. Your hands should be shoulder-width apart.

Neutral grip

A neutral or palms-facing grip is your strongest hand position because it distributes the workload between multiple muscles. Use it initially to start building strength, or even as your final grip for a drop set.

Pull-Up Challenges

When you become a relative pull-up pro, test your mettle with these challenges.

Russian Special Forces Challenge

This test stems from the entrance exam undertaken by new recruits to the Russian Special Forces. It’s not for the faint-hearted. You’ll need to perform 18 complete pull-ups without sacrificing form or technique. If that doesn’t sound tough enough, you’ll have a 10kg weight attached to your body – either in the form of a kettlebell, plate or weighted vest.

Dead Hang Challenge

Select a weight with which you can perform 15 comfortable pull-ups. That may be your bodyweight alone, or you may be able to add 5-10kg via a weighted vest or dipping belt. Your challenge is to hang at the bottom portion of the lift for 1-2min (depending on fitness level). It’s not as easy as it sounds, and to make it tougher, retract your shoulder blades as if you were about to perform an actual pull-up – and hold that position. This is extremely useful for those looking to quickly gain strength on the pull-up.

The 10 Set Press-Up / Pull-Up Combo

Five pull-ups, straight into ten press-ups. No rest in between. Ten sets. Ideally perform this at the end of your session for a strength and endurance test. It’s a favourite of Combined Strength coach Andy MacKenzie (@ironmacfitness), and while appearing relatively simple at first glance, will lead to a lung-busting finish.

Pull-Up Variations

We’ve put together 11 variations plus the classic pull-up – from the first-time negative pull-up to the ultra-difficult towel grip pull-up – to help progress your pull-up game. Once you can do a set of six to eight reps, move up the scale – adding an extra pull-up each week is a good rule of thumb.

1. Negative pull-up

How to do it Stand on a bench and get into the ‘up’ position before lowering yourself as slowly as possible.

Why? If a full set of classic pull-ups is too tough, these will allow you to fatigue your muscles fully and help build the strength to perform the full move.

Difficulty: 1/10

2. Kipping pull-up

How to do it Exactly the same as the classic move, except you swing your legs to generate the momentum to pull to the top of the move.

Why? Practising with this move will build power in all your major back muscles.

Difficulty: 2/10

3. Close-grip chin-up

How to do it Take a narrow grip with your hands so that your palms are in front of your face.

Why? This variation increases the involvement of your biceps, reducing the load on your back muscles and making the move slightly easier.

Difficulty: 3/10

4. Classic pull-up

How to do it Grasp the bar with an overhand grip with your hands just wider than shoulder-width apart. Let your body hang straight down with your arms fully extended. Pull up and squeeze your lats until your chin is over the bar, before lowering slowly to the start position without swinging.

Why? Because it’s an old-school classic that will work your upper-body like few other exercises.

Difficulty: 4/10

5. Tarzan pull-up

How to do it Grip the middle of the bar, with both hands almost touching. Pull yourself up and, as you reach the top, twist your body to go up and to the right before lowering and then repeating to the left side.

Why? This requires greater co-ordination during the ‘up’ move to raise your body to each side, while a strong core is developed to prevent your lower body from swinging.

Difficulty: 5/10

6. Side-to-side pull-up

How to do it Grip the middle of the bar, with both hands almost touching, as with the Tarzan pull-up, but raise yourself higher, so that your head can clear the bar for each shoulder to touch it on alternate reps. Get good at this tricky move by first focusing on pulling yourself up as high as possible, ideally so that your chest touches the bar. As you get stronger move your head to one side of the bar to get even higher, and alternate sides with each rep.

Why? This variation requires a more explosive “pull” to get you, then keep you, moving to clear the bar. It also means you need greater core control and stability to manage your bodyweight when it’s moving quickly.

Difficulty: 5.5/10

7. Pull-up with alternating knee twist

How to do it At the top of the move, draw your knees in to your chest before twisting to the left, then to the right, before lowering slowly to the start.

Why? Your entire core is engaged during the twists, working your abs and obliques, while forcing your muscles to hold you in the ‘up’ position while you twist.

Difficulty: 6/10

8. Pull-up with leg raise

How to do it As you reach the top of the move, raise your legs out in front of you until they are parallel to the floor before lowering.

Why? This move will also work your abs and slow down each rep, forcing your back muscles to work harder.

Difficulty: 7/10

9. Walking pull-up

How to do it With a standard shoulder-width grip, move your legs back and forth in a walking motion as you raise and lower yourself. To “walk” yourself up super-slowly you need to work on your strength. Start with straight pull-ups with knee raises, then fast walking, getting gradually slower.

Why? This is one tough variation, and the slower you raise and lower yourself, the tougher it is. It also requires your core to work harder to keep your leg movement stable.

Difficulty: 7.5/10

10. Weighted pull-up

How to do it Secure a weight plate to a belt or place a dumb-bell between your legs before performing the move.

Why? If you can do regular pull-ups without too much trouble, the additional weight will shock your muscles into growing bigger and stronger.

Difficulty: 8/10

11. Round the world

How to do it Pull yourself to the top. As you approach the bar, lift up and to the left before moving across to the right and completing a semi-circle before lowering.

Why? This tough move requires huge strength to hold your body firm while moving sideways and downwards under control.

Difficulty: 9/10

12. Towel grip pull-up

How to do it Wrap two towels over the bar and grip one with each hand shoulder-width apart. Gripping the towels, pull yourself up to the bar before lowering slowly.

Why? Using towels requires great grip strength and builds forearm muscle power, as well as taxing the whole upper back and biceps.

Difficulty: 10/10

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How To Master The Pull-Up – The Toughest…

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Eat-fasting-diet-plan

Eat-fasting 2.0 = two meals within a 12 hour period

 Eat-fasting 2.0 sanctions eating two meals within a 12-hour period. So does this diet planwork?

The whole fasting and eating at the same time thing has become so ubiquitous, we’re inured to the fact that it’s the stupidest oxymoron since skinny-fat.

But suspending logic and intellect for the sake of being able to buy lunch and stovepipe jeans, we’re digging scientific backing for a pro-grub upgrade to the 5:2 fad.

How does it work

Eat-fasting 2.0 sanctions eating two meals within a 12-hour period, which is – knock us down with a catwalk model’s thigh – almost normal.

According to Salk Institute researchers, the program can help the body to burn fat rather than store it, despite no weird food or kJ rules and occasional cheat meals.

They also put the kibosh on the six-meals-a-day boosting metabolism theory.

Breakfast is crucial to good health. It’s the first meal we eat after a night’s sleep, kick starting the body back into action, or ‘breaking the fast’. The longer you go without foodafter waking up in the morning, the longer you are in the state of shutdown your body adopts during sleep.

“When people skip breakfast they are putting their body into a prolonged fasting state,” says accredited practising dietitian Lisa Renn.

“That is, they haven’t eaten anything since the previous night’s dinner and are asking their bodies to hold off without food for even longer. When this occurs regularly the body is forced to slow its metabolism down in order to conserve energy. The result is usually weight gain.”

The US National Weight Control Registry bears this out, showing that of those people who have lost more than 30 pounds (around 14 kilograms) and kept it off for more than a year, 90 per cent reported eating breakfast most days of the week.

Breakfast is also the meal farthest away from our next sleep, which means the body has lots of time to digest and metabolise what we ate for breakfast throughout the day. So you can eat more and gain less.
It’s why it’s important to eat ‘the breakfast of a king, the lunch of a prince and the dinner of a pauper’. We don’t have time to metabolise a heavy, late dinner before we go to sleep at night. On the other hand, breakfast gives us all the energy we need to lead active lives during the day.

Breakfast improves alertness, concentration, mental performance and memory,” Renn says. “It can also help improve a person’s mood – that’s why people get tired and irritable when they miss breakfast.
“The optimum breakfast will come from a low GI, high fibre carbohydrate source that is low in saturated fat and sodium. Ideally fruit or vegetables will form part of the mix, and it is a good idea to include a low-fat dairy or dairy-equivalent product.”

The spice of life
Some women don’t feel they can stomach a big breakfast – for many it is the most unappealing meal of the day. The repetitive and routine nature of the meal – cereal or toast each day, without much variation – can be an issue, as can the pressure to eat on the run. For many busy women it’s a question of simply ‘forcing something down’ on the way out the door.

Because of a declining respect for the meal itself, brought about by the way we order our lives and the time constraints we impose as a result of juggling work, children and other commitments, breakfast just doesn’t have the variety or pleasure factor of other meals.

But it’s a very good opportunity to see food as an important fuel for the body rather than simply an indulgence, and to eat foods that are good for you. It’s also a chance to consume important nutrients like fibre, calcium, vitamin C and folate all in one go – a bowl of muesli, yoghurt and berries will achieve this in one sitting, and hopefully you’ll agree it isn’t an entirely unpleasant experience.

There are also plenty of ways to increase breakfast variety, even if you’re time-poor. Consider the range of foods available to us today that are now ‘acceptable’ for breakfast, not to mention the brunch menu of any good café.
The modern continental breakfast includes items like smoked salmon, avocado, bagels, ricotta pancakes, cheeses, bruschetta, fruit compotes – and none of these need too much time to prepare.

A traditional breakfast
Eggs are high in protein and nutrients and are the classic cooked breakfast food. They are easy to prepare, and not as high in cholesterol as you may think.

But to play it safe, stick to the National Heart Foundation’s recommendations and limit your egg consumption to six a week. Boiling, poaching and scrambling (without cream) are the best low-fat preparation options for eggs. Omelettes can add variety – try fillings such as potato, pumpkin, cheese and tomato.

It is now also possible to purchase very lean or soy bacon. Grill or barbeque to ensure the fat drips off during cooking, or use a non-stick pan. A healthy vegetarian variation, or an addition for omnivores, is to add baked beans and vegetables like spinach or mushroom to increase the nutrient content of your cooked breakfast.

Ultimately, however, bacon and eggs is simply not a viable option seven days a week. If you eat this sort of breakfast every day, you are not only consuming high levels of sodium and saturated fat, but you risk missing out on dietary fibre and calcium.

Renn suggests overcoming this by mixing up your breakfast options, saving the cooked breakfast for the weekend and having a high fibre cereal with low-fat milk, a low-fat smoothie, a bowl of porridge or pancakes with yoghurt and berries during the week.

“The more variety in your food intake, the more likely you are to get the right balance of nutrients,” she says.

Get more diet tips and start planning your healthy eating program.

 

 

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cardiohiit

4 HIIT workouts to try now

So you want to be one of those super-fit (and perky) people? Set a goal and time frame and train using these HIIT workouts.

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) involves alternating short periods of intense anaerobic exercise with active recovery sessions. These short, intense workouts burn high levels of calories and improve athletic capacity.

How: Try the following routine over two to four weeks and complete two times per week. Make sure you record whether you reached the program goal or not. 

a.Workout 1: Incline sprints (lvl 35) 
30-second maximal output then drop incline and actively recover for 2 min x 5 sets

b. Workout 2: Incline sprints (lvl 35) 
45-second maximal output then drop incline and actively recover for 2 min x 5 sets

c.Workout 3: incline sprints (lvl 35) 
45-second maximal output, drop incline and actively recover for 1.5 min x 5 sets

d. Workout 4: Incline sprints (lvl 35) 
45-second maximal output, drop the incline and actively recover for 1 min x 5 sets

Insider’s tip: Try this instead of long steady-state cardio sessions and watch your fitness levels soar!

Discover more way to fast-track you fat loss here.

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cardiohiit

4 ways to increase fat loss

Progressively burn more fat with these top tips from personal trainer, Pilates instructor, and owner of KE Fitness Kris Etheridge.

Body fat is simply stored energy, so giving your body a reason to use it is vital. This can be done through diet or exercise, but most commonly a combination of the two.

“To lose body fat, you need to place your body into a calorie deficit, forcing it to use its fat for energy. Muscle is also your body’s engine – the bigger the engine, the more fuel it uses and the more calories you burn, making it easier to lose fat,” says Etheridge, who suggests any good fat loss plan contains gradual progressions in both fat-burning cardiovascular activity and resistance training.

“Strength training is the most important element; the amount of cardio you need to do to achieve fat loss depends on how strict you are with your diet and what kind of strength and conditioning program you’re doing,” he says.

“Utilise progressive overload to make your resistance workout more difficult than what you can comfortably perform in your current program. Whether it be using different training principals, such as supersets and circuits, or increasing the weight or reps, keep progressing by asking more from your body.”

Etheridge suggests increasing your weight, sets, reps or intensity each week for six weeks, followed by one week of lighter training (aka. a deload week) to allow the body to recover.

“Lighter weeks or rest weeks are imperative to minimise overtraining and reduce the chance of overuse injuries. This is the optimal way to increase your strength,” says Etheridge.

“For weight loss, it’s not as important to use progressions with your cardio. The cardio is purely for fat burning – but if you want to continue to improve your cardiovascular fitness, aim to increase your workout intensity by approximately five per cent each week for six weeks. Take a week off and then start your new program.”

Here are her top four tips:

1. Change your exercises from basic compound movements to compound movements that require a higher level of skill, coordination or strength. For example, single leg or unilateral work. Examples:think pistol squat, TRX suspended lunge, Bulgarian split squat, single-leg deadlift, squats and step-ups using a bosu ball; single arm work such as one arm dumbbell or chest press on a fitball, single arm rows or renegade rows.

2. Reduce rest periods. Depending on how much rest you’re currently having, aim to drop it by five per cent per week for six weeks, or until you’re only having approximately 40 seconds rest (if performing straight sets) and 20 seconds rest between exercises (if you’re performing a circuit).

3. Split your program up and focus on two to three muscles groups per workout rather than full body. This is a more advanced way of training and a great way to continue progressing. Splitting the body parts up means you can perform more volume (sets) on each muscle group in each workout, and workout more days each week while still allowing adequate recovery time.

4. Add plyometrics to your workouts. Plyometric training is high impact and high intensity, and involves a lot of jumping where your muscles exert maximum force in short intervals – great for power and agility, and can be a quick and fun way to burn fat given its higher calorie output.

In order to track your progress, keep yourself accountable. Regularly weigh yourself or take measurements, and keep a food and training diary to understand how training and nutrition protocols affect you on a weekly basis.

 

Source: 4 ways to increase fat loss

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alpina-fitness-fitnes-za-vsichki

Are you addicted to exercise?

Exercise is great for the mind, body and soul, right? But what happens when it starts to take over your life?

PT Marisa Branscombe ponders the dangerous effects of too much exercise

Exercise is generally accepted as a positive behaviour associated with enhanced physical and psychological wellbeing. But is it possible to do too much exercise? So much that it takes over your life?

This may sound strange, but lately I’ve come across several women who seem to be controlled by eating and exercise. I have to admit, for a few years I was in that headspace too and every now and then I have to keep myself in check. There really is a fine line between exercising enough and becoming obsessed about it. Read on to find out how exercise addiction may be affecting you or someone you know.

Exercise addiction: positive vs. negative

“Addiction occurs when adaptive changes in the brain cause symptoms of tolerance, sensitisation, dependence and withdrawal,” (Leuenberger, 2006).

Positive Addiction, written by William Glaser (1976), first addressed positive and negative addiction to exercise. He refers to positive addiction as “involving a love of the activity that is characterised by controllability, an ability to integrate exercise into everyday activities, and an ability to miss exercisesessions when it is necessary”. People with a positive dependence schedule exercise carefully around other aspects of their life, so their exercise schedule is not detrimental to their wellbeing in these areas. They feel increased feelings of control, competence, physical and psychological wellbeing. Negative addiction to exercise, on the other hand, “involves a compulsive desire or need to exercise that overrides a person’s considerations about their health, relationships and career”. When these people have to miss an exercise session they experience feelings of loss, guilt, physical and psychological discomfort. Large amounts of time are dedicated to training, leading to many ‘negative addicts’ giving up other important aspects of their life.

Health risks of too much exercise

Exercise, like anything, can be carried too far. Overexercising stresses the body to the point of weakening the immune system, making people more prone to illness. Pushing yourself beyond your limits can lead to sore muscles, loss of appetite, headaches and trouble sleeping. More serious effects include joint pain and injuries, anaemia, weakening of the bones and the hormonal cycle shutting down (Cline, 2007).

Yes, exercise is good for you, but when it reaches the point of excess it can indeed make you sick. A study of Harvard Alumni by Stanford University’s Ralph Paffenbarger found death rates were lower for men who were involved in regular physical activity. But then death rates began to go up in those who burnt more than 3000 calories per week. His 10-year study also found that mood disturbances such as tension, depression, anger, confusion and anxiety were found to rise significantly as training loads increased.

Dr Kenneth Cooper, author of Aerobics, believes excessive exercise also produces unstable oxygen molecules called free radicals that cause harm to the body. These have been linked to health problems such as premature ageing, heart disease and cancer.

Why the addiction?

Psychological and physiological factors

There is still a great debate happening on the ‘why’ of exercise addiction. Some believe it’s associated with certain personality traits, including obsessive compulsive disorder, high-pain tolerance, high self-imposed expectations and narcissism.

Others propose it may be a result of low self-esteem, where exercise is used to improve this, or that endorphins released in the body during exercise, lead to a psychological state called ‘runners high’, which creates a relaxed state of being that people thrive to achieve over and over again. Some also say there are physiological causes, where the exerciser relies on exercise to increase their arousal to an optimal level.
Participants in sports that focus on body size and shape, such as dance, figure skating, ballet, gymnastics, distance running, body building, wrestling and boxing may be at higher risk.

Are you at risk?

Does all of this sound a little too familiar? Or perhaps alarm bells are ringing around one of your friends or family members? Well here are some of the typical symptoms of someone who is letting exercise take over their life:

  • Withdrawal

They will experience anxiety, fatigue and other similar symptoms if they don’t exercise. Or will have to exercise to relieve these.

  • Intention effects

The amount of exercise or length of exercise sessions is longer than originally intended.

  • Loss of control

A persistent desire to train or make unsuccessful attempts to reduce the amount of exercise they do.

  • Time

Large amounts of time are spent exercising and conflict with other areas of their life.

  • Continuance

Will continue to exercise even with persistent physical or psychological issues that are made worse from exercising, such as a recurring injury.

Other warnings signs are a fixation on weight loss, whereby they will talk about exercising to burn off a meal or treat. Compulsive exercisers will also try to lose weight in order to improve their exercise performance.  They often exercise alone and avoid interaction and exercise assessments, and will usually have a rigid routine.

However, as Amy Gleason, senior nutritionist from the McLean Hospital in the United States says, “unhealthy uses of exercise are not necessarily obvious. Exercisers won’t complain or bring their potential problems to anyone’s attention. Asking why a person is training or what their goals are is a great way to find out more.”

If you still feel like you can’t break the chains of obsessive exercise, consider talking to an expert, who can help you let go of it gradually.  A great book to check out is Appearance Obsession: Learning to Love the way you look, by Joni E. Johnston. This contains quizzes than can help you assess whether your exercise habit is becoming an unhealthy one. It also offers helpful suggestions, in addition to the ones I have given you.

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Not sure which diet will work for you? Readers Imogen and Erin share their success stories.   Imogen, 46,  has lost 15 kg on the 5:2 diet in about a year   “I’d been exercising and putting on weight, not losing it (the old ‘eating extra to compensate for the exercise’ trick). I’d reached a weight that was higher than my full-term pregnancy weight with my kids, and decided that it was enough. One of my clients mentioned that she had been on the 5:2 diet for two months and had lost eight kg and could still eat cake, and I thought, ‘That’s my kind of diet!’. “I had tried other diets where I restricted my intake to 1200cals/day. I’d lost weight, but found it very hard, and as soon as I stopped [the diet], it crept back on. I like the 5:2 diet because I can eat out and not constantly deprive myself of the foods that I love. I also like how easy it is, only needing to count calories two days a week, not every day.  I don’t love fasting, but I accept that this diet is the one that has worked for me, and easily, without feeling deprived all the time. [If I’m craving something] I can just tell myself that tomorrow I can have that thing I’m craving. I feel much healthier overall since I lost the weight.” Erin, 37,  quit sugar five years ago “Quitting sugar changed my life. Literally. Children were supposed to be extremely difficult to conceive for me. When I was struggling with digestive issues and exhaustion, my boyfriend, a chiropractor, suggested I eliminate sugar from my diet. Six weeks later, by accident, I was staring at a positive pregnancy test. “I ended up with a second pregnancy right after, and the baby weight was so easy to lose. I’m actually thinner now than I was pre-babies!   Quitting sugar was hard for me at first because I was a sugar-holic. However, it’s gotten easier. Now real (processed) sugar makes me sick. I can tell immediately now if I do eat sugar because I get instant brain fog, and the issues that plagued me in the past immediately come back. “I now have two toddlers, more focus, a thriving business, and less weight to carry around all because I gave the boot to sugar.”  NEXT: Try this 5-day sugar-free diet plan>>         {nomultithumb}  

DIY diet success stories

Imogen, 46, 

has lost 15 kg on the 5:2 diet in about a year

“I’d been exercising and putting on weight, not losing it (the old ‘eating extra to compensate for the exercise’ trick). I’d reached a weight that was higher than my full-term pregnancy weight with my kids, and decided that it was enough. One of my clients mentioned that she had been on the 5:2 diet for two months and had lost eight kg and could still eat cake, and I thought, ‘That’s my kind of diet!’.

“I had tried other diets where I restricted my intake to 1200cals/day. I’d lost weight, but found it very hard, and as soon as I stopped [the diet], it crept back on.

I like the 5:2 diet because I can eat out and not constantly deprive myself of the foods that I love. I also like how easy it is, only needing to count calories two days a week, not every day.

I don’t love fasting, but I accept that this diet is the one that has worked for me, and easily, without feeling deprived all the time. [If I’m craving something] I can just tell myself that tomorrow I can have that thing I’m craving. I feel much healthier overall since I lost the weight.”

Erin, 37, 

quit sugar five years ago

Quitting sugar changed my life. Literally. Children were supposed to be extremely difficult to conceive for me. When I was struggling with digestive issues and exhaustion, my boyfriend, a chiropractor, suggested I eliminate sugar from my diet. Six weeks later, by accident, I was staring at a positive pregnancy test.

“I ended up with a second pregnancy right after, and the baby weight was so easy to lose. I’m actually thinner now than I was pre-babies!

Quitting sugar was hard for me at first because I was a sugar-holic. However, it’s gotten easier. Now real (processed) sugar makes me sick. I can tell immediately now if I do eat sugar because I get instant brain fog, and the issues that plagued me in the past immediately come back.

“I now have two toddlers, more focus, a thriving business, and less weight to carry around all because I gave the boot to sugar.”

 

 

DIY diet success stories

Posted in ExercisesComments (0)


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