Posts Tagged ‘exercise tips & tricks’
Many people know that the best way to lose weight and get fit is to have a healthy balance of a good diet and consistent exercise. It’s not good for you to skip meals or exercise on an empty stomach, however, so let’s talk about how a healthy diet and exercise work best for successful weight loss.
To start, a so-called ‘healthy diet’ does not mean that you’re suddenly limiting yourself to fruits and vegetables, only. There are lots of foods out there that – not only does your body need them to be healthy itself – you should eat to consume the nutrients necessary to energize yourself before or after you exercise. The key to a healthy diet is to focus on the ‘good’ carbs: whole grains, fiber, vegetables, and so on. Here in the Seattle area, we are lucky to have amazing seafood and produce. Fish – particularly salmon – is very good for you, and can help with weight loss.
Focus your diet on fewer calories and healthier choices for the ones you consume. Need some examples? Start your meal with a salad – the vegetables will provide you with great nutrients you need, and the dish will help you eat less for your main course. Another example is to choose brown rice instead of white rice. When snacking, go for carrot sticks and hummus before you reach for a bag of chips. The healthier your diet becomes, the better you will feel from the inside, out.
Exercise is critical for your health and for weight loss. As you are active, your body uses up energy and calories. As you try to reach your weight loss goals, you should use a balance of cardiovascular exercise in tandem with some weight training. You should try to spend at least 150 minutes each week doing exercises that are moderate (jogging, light cycling, etc.), or 75 minutes each week doing something more intense. Spread your workouts throughout the week, and maintain consistency to achieve successful weight loss.
The combination of eating healthier and exercising regularly will make for much better habits. As you consume calories that are better for you, your body will begin using those nutrients to perform better – both as you work out and as you go about your day-to-day activities.
It’s not just something trainers have to say – good form when you lift weights and exercise is critical for safety and for ensuring that you’re getting the most from your workout.
Here are some reasons why form is so important for safe and effective workouts:
- Safety: Safety is number-one when it comes to well, just about everything. The same goes for exercise. When you’re lifting weights especially, it can be really easy to injure yourself – sometimes very seriously – if you do not use the correct form and posture. Form helps you avoid pulling muscles, straining them, and even tearing ligaments in extreme cases.
- Alignment: Did you know that your body has natural safety measures built in? It tries to keep you from injuring yourself unconsciously. However, bad form or posture can weaken those safety measures. When you have the right form as you exercise, you are keeping your body in its correct alignment. That way you can work on the muscle groups you’re targeting without harming them or other muscles.
- Resting: One major causes of injury is overtraining – when you work on one muscle group excessively and don’t give it time to rest. You should be alternating the groups that you exercise, avoiding overuse. The problem with bad form in this case is that it can cause you to work muscles that are supposed to be resting. Good form will focus your efforts on the right muscle groups, allowing heavily-worked areas to rest.
- Efficiency: You’re wasting a lot of time (and if you have a personal trainer, money) if you are exercising with bad form. Good form allows you to target the areas of your body that you are trying to work on – efficiently giving you the best workout for the time you spend. With incorrect form, you risk working on other muscle groups, and wasting the time
- Effectiveness: More than time, your workout will be much more effective with the right form. Poor form keeps you from getting the results you want. If you make a conscious effort with every rep, every lift, every set to make sure you’re doing it with the right posture and form, the faster your body will become stronger. The more consistent you are with good form, the faster it will become second nature.
Proper form is key to a good, safe workout, and I hope these reasons have helped to drive that home. If you need help determining the right form as you lift weights or do your workout regimen, contact us to set up a meeting with a personal trainer. Their job is to make sure you’re exercising safely and effectively, so that you can reach your fitness goals.
Summer may be a distant dream, but the beautiful days we’ve had lately are giving an inkling of spring. As the weather warms and requires more hydration during your workout, it’s important that you stay on top of your intake of liquids before, during, and after you exercise in order to avoid dehydration.
- Start Early: When you wake up in the morning, your body is already somewhat dehydrated. So, if you’re exercising in the morning, be sure to drink plenty of water before you hit your training regimen. However, don’t chug right beforehand, as it could cause bloating or cramping as you exercise – it’s better to just drink water continuously throughout the day.
- Keep Drinking: During low- or moderate-level intensity workouts, you should continue to drink water as you exercise. A good rule of thumb is to drink about one cup every 15 minutes. If you’re exercising for 60 minutes or more and/or you’re at high-level intensity, you might want to consider a sports drink to keep you hydrated and energized through to the end. Look for sports drinks with electrolytes, sodium and potassium, which will help your body to rehydrate as well as benefiting your muscle functions. Adding a slice of lemon or lime to your drinking water can help to induce alkaline as you exercise, keeping your body from becoming to acidic.
- Recovery Hydration: Again, keep drinking water after you’ve showered and moved on to your next task or activity after exercise. Adding protein powder to your water, or a healthy smoothie after your workout can be a fantastic method for aiding muscle-protein synthesis. Combining protein, carbohydrates, and liquids for your post-workout consummation ritual can help on all fronts – rehydrating, repairing muscles, and rejuvenating the powerhouse that is your body.
The best rule toward staying hydrated all day is to drink water constantly through the day – avoid energy drinks and soft drinks, since they contain caffeine, sugar, and other dehydration-inducing ingredients. You can tell you’re well hydrated if you’re visiting the restroom about six times per day, and your urine is pale. Keep drinking water, and stay on top of yourself to make sure you’re always replenishing your body with hydrating substances.
Now that we’ve made it through the first month of 2013 you might be at the stage where you’re re-evaluating your New Year’s resolutions and goals. Maybe you’ve decided to start something fresh now that the novelty of exercising as a resolution has worn off. It’s time to assess what you’ve been doing and look to either a fresh start or the next step with your workout planning in order to keep you going strong with your goals.
Ask yourself these three questions:
- What have I been doing?
- What were the results?
- What can I do to improve or change those results?
Here are three steps to take to address the questions above, and help you evaluate what you’ve been doing with exercise and fitness, and how to push toward achieving your goals. I encourage you to write these recordings down, so that you can see in the future how you’ve grown.
- Assess Yourself: Take a record of what you have been doing for exercise or fitness, and be honest. How much time do you spend on a daily or weekly basis for cardiovascular exercise? What are your current strength training exercises, weight amounts, and repetitions? What is your flexibility like? What kinds of foods and beverages are you consuming, and how much each day? These are all questions that can help you see where you are currently and bring you to the next step and question; what were the results?
- Evaluate the Effects: Note any changes you have seen from your current workout regimen. Start by recording any objectives you made prior to starting that regimen, if you can. Did you have any weight loss goals, strength or endurance targets? Record how the exercise and training you have been doing has helped you toward success with achieving these goals.
- Plan a Fresh Start: Now that you know where you are currently, and what has or has not worked, you’re ready to start fresh! Make new goals, and change your workout either in small changes (adding more reps here or using that machine there) or by renovating your workout regimen completely.
Your body and your health could really use a fresh start, and change on a regular basis – not just for the New Year. In fact, if you do the same thing all the time, your exercises will begin to lose effectiveness. Your body and health do not grow toward success if they are stagnant, and neither can you. You must grow and change with fresh things to continue to meet your goals and see success.
And if you’re in doubt about how to plan your fresh start, our personal trainers can provide expert advice or individual instruction to help you move toward success in your fitness goals!
January is the time when many make their New Year’s resolutions to get into better shape, or to exercise more, and so on. Sadly, many of these well-intended goals go amiss by February. So now that we’re more than halfway through the month of January, we’d like to offer some tips to keep you on track to accomplishing your fitness goals, long past February or even the end of winter.
Here are five ways to make your New Year’s resolution a reality:
- Stay on Target: If you made a New Year’s resolution after midnight on January 1st, you probably tried to get going as early as possible with your fitness plan. You might have joined a gym, or put together a workout regimen to do daily or a few times per week. Whatever you did, stick with it. You might need to adjust it slightly for realistic scheduling, but don’t cut it off entirely.
- Keep it Consistent: If you joined a gym, but you haven’t started using your membership yet, or if you put together a regimen, but you haven’t become regimen-ted in doing it, start! The key to making your resolution a reality is to take that step to making it a habit. Once you make exercise and fitness a regular part of your weekly or daily schedule, it will be much harder to just skip out on it, and you’ll be well on your way to realizing your goals.
- Gradual Diet Change: It’s virtually impossible to become more fit without a good diet in tandem with healthy, regular exercise. But it’s very difficult for many people to cut out junk food on command. Start slowly and work your way into a better diet by looking for more fresh fruits and vegetables, cutting down on sweets and high-calorie carbohydrates, etc. If it’s easier for you to accomplish, limit yourself to one indulgence per day, and then after a week or so, try to cut that out as well.
- Adjust as Needed: Unless you have been a professional nutritionist or trainer before, you probably won’t know the ideal workout or diet for what your body needs for better fitness. Consult professionals, do your research, and change your plan as needed to get the most out of your exercise. However, don’t let the consultations or research prevent you from starting now to work on your fitness goals.
- Find Support & Accountability: Some people can’t just rely on their own drive to get to the gym or yoga mat each time they plan to exercise, and even those who do could use some help. Find a friend to commit with you to an exercise regimen or gym visit, or seek out a professional trainer to help you achieve your goals with the most expert advice and skill. That accountability will go a long way to making your fitness resolutions a reality long into 2013.
Good luck with the achievement of your New Year’s resolutions!