Steps to keeping the weight loss permanent

It is possible to lose weight and then maintain that weight loss if you follow a few simple guidelines. A recent study, conducted by Graham Thomas, PhD from Brown University, of 3000 participants registered with the National Weight Control Registry revealed their secrets to successfully keeping the weight from coming back. Dr. Graham evaluated questionnaires from participants who had been with the registry for at least the preceding ten years. Three quarters were women and almost all of entire group had a college education.

The objective of the questionnaire was to find out how this group was able to keep off the pounds they had originally lost. Many of these overweight respondents averaged 224 pounds before their weight loss. Out of an average of 69 pounds lost, most were able to keep off 51 of those pounds. This weight gain is not unusual because most people regain a certain amount of weight after losing it in the first place. So how did they do it?

Here are the strategies used by those who kept off most of the pounds to keep it from coming back listed in order of importance.

  • Keep a daily diary of everything you are eating or drinking.
  • Eat breakfast on a regular basis-don’t make excuses for missing it. Get up in the morning and eat. If you don’t feel like eating right after you get up then make yourself have something little that you like and train your stomach to eat in the morning. If you don’t have time to make one up then do it the night before.
  • Walking, when used as a weight control method, is an excellent low impact means of exercising. To get the most out of it, get about an hour per day.
  • Weigh yourself at least twice a week. Doing so keeps you on track and reminds you to back off the eating or drinking if the weight starts to climb again.
  • Use one of the free internet sites to keep track of the calories and grams of fat you take in each day.
  • Limit eating out and decrease your dependence on the fast food places to once a week, if even that often.
  • Stick to high quality food each meal and each day. Avoid splurging on the holidays and other special occasions.
  • Decrease television time to no more than ten hours a week. Less is even better.

In looking over the questionnaires, those who kept the weight off did so by limiting their calories to 1800 per day. They paid particular attention to the amount of fat calories and limited these to less than thirty percent of the entire calorie amount for the day.

It is never too late to strength train

It is never too late to strength train

There are numerous studies showing that people who do resistance training have significantly improved their muscle strength and performance. These changes show up in as little as two months. This held true even with the frail and over age 80 population. Not only does resistance training improve strength it can also help prevent and treat sarcopenia.

According to an analysis conducted in 2010 by the Aging and Research Reviews, strenuous, intense workouts are the most effective. You can bet they did not use soup cans in these intense workouts. However, if you are seriously out of condition you probably will have to start out gradually. Find a qualified strength trainer, one with good credentials from a nationally recognized association, and get started.

In order to help prevent or treat sarcopenia, strength train regularly and make sure that you are getting enough protein and your system on a daily basis.

A basic strength program stressing the major muscle groups, consisting of three sets of eight repetitions, performed 2 to 3 times a week will show increases in strength and functionality within a short period. These targeted muscle groups should involve the shoulders, arms, upper back, chest, abdominals, lower back, the quads and hamstrings of the legs and the calves.

Begin with a warm-up with some sort of an aerobic exercise to the point where you are breathing heavier, your pulse is going faster and you have a slight sweat. Now it is time to start lifting.

Begin with the weight that you can handle 10 to 12 times. In over the course of a week or so add weight until the last two repetitions of the set are difficult. Rest 2 minutes and repeat the exercise set again. If you’re able to complete three sets of eight repetitions with a specific weight then that weight is to light and more needs to be added to the bar.

On the days that you are not strength training, do some sort of aerobic exercise for 20 to 30 minutes. Keep track of what you’re doing. You are going to notice improvements in your strength level and in your ability to move a lot easier in your daily life.

Are you starting to run?

Many times a new runner will make the common error of training too much and trying to go too fast at the same time. This inevitably leads to an injury or, at the very least, a lack of enthusiasm which eventually leads to no running at all.

It is a natural tendency to want to go faster or go farther every time you run just to show yourself and everyone else that your fitness is improving. However if you are into a running program long-term then you must build your base.

Slowly increasing your training load for the first three to six months allows your body to adapt. This improvement in the cardiovascular systems goes along with the adaptations your body makes in tolerating the mechanical loading on the joints. These loads can be as high as three times your bodyweight with each step.

Starting out in a reasonable manner helps to build up the discipline that is so necessary to keeping on track with your training.

Here are a few steps to consider if you intend to stay with it long-term.

Look at your motivation and decide whether not you have the discipline to continue running each day. It is not going to be easy the first three months. It will take that long before running is a habit. Those who do find it easy to stay with it normally have previously demonstrated personal perseverance and have a healthy mental attitude to succeed in whatever they try.

To start with, set your goals. These goals should be achievable in the short term. Keep a logbook so you can track your progress. Writing down how well you are doing encourages continuation down the successful road the fitness.

Once you believe you are ready to go it is time to decide if you need to check with your doctor to review your past health history. If you both decide that it’s okay to start running then you need to pick out a good pair of running shoes. You don’t have to spend a fortune for your first pair. However you need to get some that are going to withstand the stresses you are about to put onto them each time you run. The best thing to do here is simply go to a reputable shoe store that deals with athletes and seek their advice.

After you pick out your shoes, it is time to decide whether not you have lightweight porous clothing to run in. Again, you don’t need to spend a fortune on running clothes either. The purpose of the clothing is to keep you covered and to allow evaporation to take place while you exercise.

Now that you have your shoes and running clothes it is time review a few laws of training.

Make no doubt about it, consistency counts. Therefore, train frequently, preferably all year round. As was mentioned in the very first paragraph, begin slowly and be gentle in your training.

No matter what type of training you are doing, it is always best to get as much as possible out of the minimum amount of training.

Train for the distance first and then later for speed at that distance. You will be more successful if you don’t set your training time in concrete. Give yourself leeway to lead your life. When training it is recommended that an easier day, or more follow a hard day, if your hard day was especially strenuous. Don’t race during your training and don’t run at a race pace for distances that exceed 16 km.

Decide what distances you want to run and specialize in those distances. You will avoid overtraining if you train with a knowledgeable coach and are consciously aware of the signs of overtraining. Train your mind by practicing mental rehearsal techniques.

Finally, it may seem obvious, but you need to rest before your big race. How do you expect to do well if you are tired because you stayed up too late?

Common sports injuries found in women

Common sports injuries found in women

On many levels, men and women are equal except when it comes to injuries where a female is 2 to 6 times more likely to become injured than a man is. Of course, this depends on the sport.

Women are particularly susceptible to developing knee injuries such as patellofemoral pain syndrome (1) , more commonly known as runner’s knee. This injury comes about due to the degeneration of the cartilage under the kneecap. The ability of the cartilage in the knee joint to provide any type of shock absorption is compromised by this degradation of the tissues.

Another injury that shows up all too often is a rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). This ligament is one of the prime stabilizers of the knee joint and when it is damaged, the knee becomes unstable. These two injuries can put severe limitations on an athlete’s participation in their favorite sport.

Furthermore, any injury to the weight-bearing joints of the lower torso, such as to the ankle and hip increases the risk of osteoarthritis in later years. There are several reasons that explain this difference in the injury rates between men and women.

It is more than obvious that anatomical differences exist between the two genders, but the causes are not solely anatomical in nature. Females generally have smaller and weaker muscles surrounding their knees. Additionally, the ligaments surrounding a females joints tend to be more lax thus allowing a certain amount of looseness to take place within the joint.

There are specific training programs designed especially for women targeting the ACL joint that help prevent these injuries from happening so frequently. It may be a wise choice on the parent’s part to enroll their daughters into one of these programs. Check out your local physical therapist and see if they have the knowledge and skills to work with your child in this type of training.

Patellofemoral pain syndrome is pain in the front of the knee. It frequently occurs in teenagers, manual laborers, and athletes. It sometimes is caused by wearing down, roughening, or softening of the cartilage under the kneecap.


[1] Patellofemoral pain syndrome is pain in the front of the knee. It frequently occurs in teenagers, manual laborers, and athletes. It sometimes is caused by wearing down, roughening, or softening of the cartilage under the kneecap.

Reasons to exercise

Reasons to exercise

The benefits of regular exercise are well known in today’s society. It has been consistently demonstrated that it leads to a healthier more productive life. Being active lowers your risk of developing heart disease, adult on set diabetes, sometimes referred to as type 2 diabetes, and osteoporosis. It’s not only these benefits that result from exercise, others fall into place as well.

Those who are regular participants in moderate to vigorous activities have the ability to deal with the stresses of daily life and are less likely than non-exercisers to suffer from anxiety and depression. An added outcome of regular exercise is the ability to control your weight.

Less body weight means less stress and trauma on your lower torso joints, i.e. the hips, knees and ankles.

Optimizing the mind body connection-part two

Optimizing the mind body connection

Eating and drinking a healthy diet provides your brain with the necessary nutrients known to be beneficial to your brain health. Foods rich in antioxidants, i.e. the brightly colored fruits and vegetables, foods with omega-3 fatty acids and monounsaturated fats like fish and olive oil, are excellent for your brain. The vitamins folate (1) (folic acid is the synthetic version) and vitamin B-12 are sources of brain food, especially if you aren’t already getting enough in your daily diet. Exercise and diet may not be the only issues that are causing a lack of high quality sleep.

Stress management in your daily life is another crucial piece to getting more sleep. Unless you are able to harness the negative stress in your life, you will continue to be sleep deprived. This is not to say that all stress is bad because it’s not. Some stress adds spice to your life.

Too much chronic stress causes a reduction in the part of your brain that creates and stores memories. It can also be a source of mental health problems such as depression or anxiety. Another source of a recurring sleep problem can be physical illness. How you manage, your medical problems may well determine how well your brain functions.

Short-term memory is affected by depression, as well as your ability to focus on daily tasks, decision-making or other day-to-day problems. The side effects of drugs, prescribed or otherwise, can interfere with cognition and memory. Heart disease and stroke may predispose a person to dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Included in these medical conditions are likely preventable diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol levels and obesity.

The conclusions a person can make from this is to stay active, eat and drink the right things and manage your stress and medical conditions if you want to keep your brain in peak condition.



Folate is a water-soluble B vitamin that occurs naturally in food. Folic acid is the synthetic form of folate that is found in supplements and added to fortified foods

Leafy green vegetables (like spinach and turnip greens), fruits (like citrus fruits and juices), and dried beans and peas are all natural sources of folate.

(2)  Vitamin B12 is a nutrient that helps keep the body’s nerve and blood cells healthy. It also helps prevent a type of anemia that makes people tired and weak.

Optimizing the mind body connection

Optimizing the mind body connection

In the gym, you will frequently hear a strength coach talk about the mind body connection. This is especially true when discussing bar speed. Think speed, is a common phrase in my gym because more speed on the bar translates to greater power output and superior sports success.

As much as I hate to admit it, there is a life outside of the gym and if your brain is working at its best then your life will be better. Do now the question arises, just how do you make this mind body connection work, and how can you develop it outside of the gym?

One way is to give the brain the best possible environment in which to operate. You do this by staying physically active throughout your life. There have been a number of studies demonstrating a clear link between physical activity and higher levels of brain functioning. The neurons tend to regenerate and grow leading to the ability to concentrate better all with a daily regimen of physical activity.

As one would suspect, the counterpart to physical activity is sleep. The loss, over time, of even small bits of nightly sleep can begin to affect daytime functions and efficiency levels. Truly, a good night’s sleep is worth its weight in gold. Some people may find it difficult to sleep well, therefore a few of the following ideas may help.

One of the proven ways to get a good nights sleep begins with an active day, followed by a period of unwinding before going to bed. Naturally, another source of sleep disruption is caffeine, thus avoiding caffeine could be a solution to this problem. Even drinking less of this substance during the day could help get you better sleep later on in the evening.

On a different note, if you are having nightly sleep disturbances or are accumulating a serious sleep deficit then talk to your doctor. There may be other conditions causing this to happen such as chronic pain, or maybe sleep apnea (1) .

(1) A temporary cessation of breathing during sleep, experienced by some people.

One minute movement to a smaller waist line

One minute movement to a smaller waist line

A small study of 169 adults conducted in Australia by researchers at the University of Queensland, Hurston, Queensland, Australia found that just one minute of standing and walking around made a difference in the circumference of the waist over a period.

They found that people who got up regularly to switch the TV channels by hand rather than using the remote had a stomach circumference that was on the average 2 1/2 inches smaller than those who used a remote. This is almost un-American to get up and switch the channel by hand. Perhaps that is why it was conducted in Australia because it is unlikely they would find 169 adults in the United States who would actually get up and manually change channels.

This same study revealed that these small amounts of activity also led to a lower body mass index, lower glucose and triglyceride levels in those who were physically active while watching different stations on their TV. This led the researchers to make further recommendations as to how to control the ever-expanding waistline of native Australians.

They recommended standing up when answering the telephone and walking around while talking. This is much easier to accomplish if you have a portable phone since most phone cords limit your mobility to within five or six feet. Not only can you walk around with your phone at home, you can do the same at your job if you use a speakerphone, which to many people is annoying and crosses the threshold of proper office etiquette.

They also suggested, while at work, taking the long way back to your desk. However, you probably ought to be holding onto some papers so looks like you are busy while wandering around the office, otherwise people may just think that you are lost or don’t have anything to do, which is a possibility.

If you want to look really odd in your office, do a few stretches before you open up and read a new e-mail. All of these suggestions may be fine if you own the business or work with your wife but it’s uncertain whether not most modern business offices would allow such shenanigans to go on.
The thought certainly is nice that small amounts of activity can help shrink your stomach but t

Sarcopenia: muscle wasting

Sarcopenia: muscle wasting

Have you found that lifting two full grocery sacks has become more difficult to do than in the past? What about doing things that were once relatively easy to do? Have some of them started to tax your strength and stamina? Are they now just plain hard to do?

This could be age related, a result of your muscle mass and strength beginning to diminish. In some extreme instances, this can lead to a loss of the function al ability to lead a normal life. Later on in life, your body composition begins to shift from lean muscle mass to less lean muscle mass. Generally the naturally occurring outcome is increased body fat. Your scales may still read the same as they did in high school but the tonus of your muscles is no longer ideal. You have replaced the muscle weight with fat.

Myth: Muscle does not turn to fat. The muscle atrophies and the weight you now see registering on the scale has been replaced by fat tissue.

Exercise is a necessary part of living a healthy life

Muscle mass decreases as we age, in fact it has been estimated that muscle mass decreases approximately one percent each year after we turn thirty years old.

The mayo clinic states that the percentage of females who are unable to lift over ten pounds between the ages of 55-64 is forty percent of the population and for those in the 63-74 age bracket these numbers rise only slightly to forty five percent. However, it gets much worse for the 75-84 year olds, where a full sixty five percent of them were unable to lift ten pounds.

Ten pounds is not much by any standard. This is getting close to not being able to lift a gallon of milk out of the refrigerator.

Muscle mass is critical to maintaining ones strength and balance. Without the strength to regain ones balance, the fall is inevitable. Losing weigh is harder for those with small percentages of lean muscle mass. Muscle burns calories because it is always in motion whereas fat tissue is motionless. The reason this is important is that the lower your lean muscle mass the slower your bodies metabolism will be. This is what contributes to more unhealthy fat and unwanted weight gain.

The relationship between disease, excessive weight gain and the loss of muscle mass and strength

The body is more susceptible to heart disease, diabetes, joint problems and loss of bone density with lesser amounts of lean muscle.

The scientific name for this muscle loss is Sarcopenia[1], a wasting away of muscle tissue.

If this is happening to you then it is time to see your doctor, to cut back on your unhealthy foods and drinks, and exercise your large muscle groups at least three times a week.


Sarcopenia is the natural and progressive loss of muscle fiber due to aging. The term “sarcopenia” derives from the Latin roots, “sarco” for muscle, and “penia” for wasting, making it the “muscle wasting disease.”

Submaximal loads and strength development

Submaximal loads and strength development

Coaches are constantly searching for answers to how they can make their trainees stronger. Some use a mixture reps and sets, some use percentage based loads and others stick to heavy, high intensity sessions. One thing is certain; using light loads for high repetitions will not get your athlete stronger. They may be able lift the lightweight twenty, thirty or more times, but when the weights start pilling on the bar, they are unable to move the load.

When a person lifts a lightweight, some positives do occur. They are exercising; however, they are not maximizing their time in the session.

The physiological response to the lightweight exercise results in several different actions with in the body.

Only a portion of the available motor units (MU) [1]are recruited to lift the load.
The fastest twitch and strongest MU’s are not called upon to lift the weight at all.
The neural stimulation frequency is not at its optimal state.
The MU activity is not synchronous within the muscle.
Thus, the lightweight loads produce a limited training effect on the lifter. However, this situation changes immediately when a heavier, higher intensity of the 1RM is used in the training schedule

The most dramatic change occurs in the number of motor units that are recruited to lift the load. In the case of the heavy loads these MU are maximized to their fullest extend.
The fastest and strongest MU are then recruited.
The MU’s discharge frequency is at its optimal state.
It is believed that the motoneuron activity is synchronous meaning the structure is working together to produce a superior muscleman effort output.
V. M. Zatsiorsky states in his book, Science and Practice of Strength Training, that lifting at a level of low intensity will not improve the intramuscular coordination that is so vital to successfully lifting at the heavier percentages of your one repetition maximum.

Bearing the latter in mind, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to spend a great deal of time lifting lightweights does it? Unless you are training for speed, but that is a whole different issue.

[1] Motor unit (MU): a motonneuron and the muscle fibers that it fires up