050413 Make your workouts more productive

Make your workouts more productive

Commit to working out with a good friend

Many people who want to work out find that exercising is more productive when they do it with a friend. This leads to competition during the period. Unless you are highly self-motivated, it’s easier to make an excuse and not exercise your hardest if you are doing it by yourself. However, with a friend, it is more likely that you will follow through because you don’t want to be a pansy.

You only cheat yourself by not working hard or even worse, missing a session.

Find a gym that fits your personality

Some gyms are exhibition halls of tank tops and spandex for the younger crowd. If you are not already in good shape, these may be intimidating. Men and women do not want to go into these gyms because feel like they are a course on the body buffet. The point being is you want to be comfortable with those around you while you’re exercising. This means you want to be with people similar in age, overall appearance and exercise ability.

Hire a trainer or instructor.

If you have never exercised before, or if you used to exercise three or more years in the past, then first up would be a hirer a trainer because things have changed. When doing so, ask them what certifications and qualifications they have. The top certifications are from the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) and the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). These trainers can show you how to use the equipment the correct way. This minimizes your exposure to injury.

They will guide you along in developing excellent technique for each of the exercises. Once you become somewhat familiar with doing them, you are going to be enjoying yourself more in the gym. You don’t have to be with these trainers forever, but do learn the basics and then strike out in your own. Periodically it might be wise to hook back up with the trainer just to check out how you doing with your exercise technique and your program.

Pick activities you like to do

Your interest in the exercise is going to determine whether you stick with it. If you feel like walking, then walk. If you like to socialize then get involved with a socializing activity such as bowling or some sort of recreational league sport. If you want to get stronger, then lift and cut the jawboning. All this does is cuts into the exercise time with unproductive results and at worse take up air someone else could be using. That being said, if all you want to do is socialize then go to a gym with lots of machines. They take no brains or instructions to use and are ideal for idle chitchat.

If you like constant movement, try some dancing or endurance running. Strength training can be both a social and individually focused activity, depending on your ultimate goal. If social, go to a social club and leave the hardcore lifters to a hardcore gym.

End each session with something challenging

If you find that doing Bulgarian split squats is something that, even though you know are highly beneficial, but really don’t like to do, then get those out of the way right off the bat when you’re fresh and eager. This serves you in two ways: one, the exercise is over and secondly you know that the rest of the workout is going to be more fun now that they are done. You can now leave the gym with good memories of doing your last exercises.

Keep records

Keeping an exercise logbook is essential to tracking your progress and for successfully reaching your goals. You can get as detailed as you want by listing things that you eat, drink, the quality of your sleep, the number of hours you slept, how you felt doing exercise, the weight used, the repetitions performed, the sequence of the session, how much you weigh going in and leaving, the restorative methods used… This record keeping is up to you. If you use it, it will serve you well.

By following these tips, you will set yourself up for success in achieving your exercise goals each day, each week, and each month.

030413 Aging and insulin resistance

Aging and insulin resistance (1)

The fact that insulin resistance increases with age is not clear, however it does, and as we get older we must be consciously aware of this fact of life.

Some research scientists believe that it is a problem with the insulin signaling inside of the cell. Glucose transference into each cell depends upon transporters to bring the glucose into the cell. Physical activity including aerobics and strength training increases the activity of these transporters.

A moderate to vigorous intensity workout carries with it beneficial effects for least a day and perhaps even longer. This translates into increased insulin action during these after training periods. Not only does activity increase insulin sensitivity they can also decrease insulin resistance. Brenda Davy, associate professor of nutrition at Virginia Tech, states, “Muscle contraction causes muscle cells to take-up glucose even without insulin. That is one reason why aerobic or resistance exercise is particularly beneficial for individual diabetes. Even if you are insulin resistant, you can still reduce blood glucose levels.”

This is good news if you are on the borderline of being diabetic.

Here is a potential plan to help reduce your chances of becoming diabetic.

As can be seen, both aerobic and resistance training have great benefits. Some people swear that aerobic exercise is more likely to reduce the weight or as other individuals believe just as firmly that resistance training is the key to losing weight. Well both are right, but combining the two potentiates the benefits of both.

This was clearly demonstrated in one study by research scientists who divided 262 diabetics into two groups who participated for nine months: one group did aerobic and resistance training and the second group did nothing. The results found that only those who participated in both forms of exercise actually lowered their long-term glucose levels. The description of the individuals involved did not indicate if they had any type of arthritic conditions that precluded them from some of the activities.

If you decide to do strength training, pick out 8 to 10 major muscle group exercises and aim for 8 to 12 repetitions for 3 to 4 sets 2 to 3 times a week. If your program is designed correctly, you will notice improvements within 2 to 3 weeks.

As for your aerobic training, try to get a minimum of a half hour of brisk activity five times a week. Don’t expect to expend a lot of calories in such a short amount of time because it is not going to happen. The important thing to remember is being active on a daily basis every day of your life.

The downside to aerobic conditioning, especially if you are considering jogging or running and are older, is arthritis. Having arthritis in your joints may cause undue pain if you participate in the aforementioned activities.

(1) Insulin resistance, in which the body cannot use insulin effectively

(2) Nutrition Action Health Newsletter

020413 Help cut your risk of diabetes

Help cut your risk of diabetes

A study by Harvard and subsequently published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported that drinking sweetened beverages, either caffeinated or decaffeinated, increased the risks of developing type 2 diabetes in both men and women. To those who drink these beverages, coffee or tea may be better choices.

Coffee and tea both reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. In each case, the study reported, it did not matter if these were caffeinated or decaffeinated.

One of the authors of the study, Dr. JoAnn Manson said, “Coffee and tea contain several healthful compounds that lower insulin resistance and help our bodies use glucose more efficiently for fuel.” Dr. JoAnn Manson is the chief of preventive medicine at the Harvard affiliated Brigham and Women’s hospital.

010413 Strength-training combats muscle loss during the aging process

As a person ages the tendency is to lose muscle mass and gain fat tissue, especially the deep visceral fat that has been linked to diabetes. This is an inevitable process but it can be slowed down with proper strength training.

Not only will strength training increase your strength and your lean muscle mass you will notice a decrease in your waistline. The whole body training program is a natural fit for most people. Don’t fall for a spot reduction program that an unscrupulous trainer may try to sell to you. Unless you are undergoing liposuction it is impossible to spot reduce.

Brenda Davy, associate professor of nutrition at Virginia Tech, states, “We use a whole body training program, not a spot reduction approach.” She then continues with a controversial statement by saying, “is not that we target the abdominal area with exercises, it’s just that fat in the abs is the first to go.”

She explains this latter statement this way,” the abdominal adipose tissue depot is particularly sensitive, so it’s easier to lose fat from there then from other fat storage depots in the body.” Even though the statement is controversial in the training world and in real life Davy clarifies by saying” you may have reductions in the abdominal fat even when you don’t necessarily observe large changes in total body fat.” This means your belly fat may still be there on the outside, however, on the inside the visceral fat has actually decreased through your training.

During the training session, your body is rapidly trying to adapt to the stresses that are being put upon it. It’s natural to assume, and you would be correct, that you’re using energy to perform whatever activity you have decided to engage in. However, it is not only during exercise that you burn fat, it also during the recovery period afterward.

In fact, according to Prof. Colberg, an Old Dominion University professor of human new movement sciences in Norfolk Virginia, “recovery from exercise is fueled primarily by fat, so the real benefit for fat loss is burning as many calories as you can during any type of physical activity.”