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Being Successful

“If you want to be successful, you’ve got to take responsibility for where you are now, where you want to go, and do the work to grow yourself and your business to the next level.” – Sean Greely

Good morning fitness family!!! I know I’ve been gone for a while but I’m back. I was really down. This quote helped motivate me to start taking responsibility for where I am and where I want to go. I’m going to start working harder to reach my goals as a Certified Personal Trainer!!!

Philip “FitGuy46”

Philip “FitGuy46”

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Today’s Quote Of The Day

Doing Something

“In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.” Theodore Roosevelt

“What if we’re wrong? What if if we pick the wrong person to love, or the wrong job to devote ourselves to, or the wrong city to live in? We waffle and weave. Maybe we can put off the decision for a while. Maybe things will be clearer tomorrow.

Not making a decision is making a decision-and it may well be the worst decision we could make.” Linda Picone

I’ll do my research, talk to people I trust, and think hard. Then I’ll make a decision and move forward. If it turns out that I’ve taken the wrong path, I can always turn around and go the right way. If I don’t make a decision, I’ll never know the right way to go.

Good morning fitness family!!! This is the quote for today. So make it a great day day!!!

Philip “FitGuy46”

5-Minute Glute Activation Routine to Always Do Before a Butt Workout

By Jaime Osnato Updated January 26, 2020

If you’re not seeing booty gains in the gym, your muscles may not be activating at their full potential during your workouts. Before you begin busting out squats, start with some glute-activation exercises.

These moves help “switch on” on the muscles in your bum and “improve the conversation between your brain, nerves and muscular contractions,” says Holly Perkins, CSCS, author of Lift To Get Lean and creator of The GLUTES Project ACTIVATE.

“In order to get the benefits from any exercise, your muscles must be firing,” says Perkins, explaining, “The only real way to do that is to perform certain movement patterns that thoroughly activate the muscle group.”

Why Glute Activation Is So Important

Waking up your butt and leg muscles pre-workout is especially essential since so many people spend most of the day sitting — at desks, on couches or in the car — which can make our glutes groggy, lazy and weak. After being inactive for hours on end, you can’t expect your muscles to spring into action; your body needs time to prepare for strenuous strength exercises.

“Doing a pre-workout activation series helps make every rep of your strength-training routine effective, even during the first set,” Perkins says. “Alternatively, if you begin your workout ‘cold’ (without activating), your first set becomes your warm-up, and, in essence, a waste.”

Not only will you reap the maximal benefits during strength training, but “activation exercises also improve your mobility and body alignment, reducing the risk of injury,” Perkins says.

Try This 5-Minute Glute-Activation Routine

Ready to get your backside burning? This 5-minute glute-activation routine features three of Perkins’ favorites moves from her ACTIVATE series. Perform this sequence immediately prior to lower-body strength and conditioning workouts or as a stand-alone mini workout when you’re pressed for time.

Set a timer for five minutes (or more if your body needs it) and repeat these three moves in sequence until time’s up.

Move 1: Banded Lateral Walk

  1. Begin with a resistance band around your legs, placing it just above your knees.
  2. Start with your feet separated in order to keep tension on the band and maintain a long, tall spine by bracing your abs.
  3. Bend your knees in a quarter squat and keep your feet parallel to each other.
  4. Leading with your left heel, step to the side, stretching the band. Be sure to step with your whole leg without extending your lower leg below the knee.
  5. Remain in a partial squat as you step, then follow with your right foot, returning to the start position while keeping tension on the band.

Reps: 15 in each direction

Move 2: Hip Thrust

  1. Sit on the floor with your shoulder blades pressed into a bench (even a sturdy couch or chair will do).
  2. Place your feet shoulder-width apart and turn your toes out slightly.
  3. Brace your core, drive into your heels and press your hips up. Rotate your pelvis under (posterior tilt) and squeeze your glutes, ending with your hips locked in a fully opened position. Your knees should be at a 90-degree angle.
  4. Press your knees outward, then pause at the top for a few seconds before lowering back down to the starting position.

Reps: 15 to 20

Tip

For an added challenge, loop a resistance band just above your knees.

Move 3: Single-Leg Reach

  1. Stand with both feet together, a long tall spine and your core braced.
  2. Keep a slight bend in your left knee and focus your eyes on a spot in front of you. (This is called “spotting” and helps maintain balance.)
  3. Lift your right foot off the ground and settle into your balance for a few seconds. Using the strength of your left leg, bend forward from the hip allowing your right leg to extend backward.
  4. Reach your right hand forward and lightly touch a stable object (optional).
  5. Drive into your left heel, activating the left side of your glutes, and return to the standing position.

Reps: 15 on each side

So try this routine to get that perfect butt you’ve been looking for. If you need help or anymore tip contact me. Make it a great day!!!

Philip “FitGuy46”

Want to Lose 15 Pounds? Here’s Your Kickstart Plan

By Jennifer Kelly Geddes Updated February 5, 2020

Fact Checked

Losing 15 pounds is a worthy goal if you’re overweight, but doing it too quickly can backfire. Instead of trying to hit that number in, say, six weeks, health experts agree that a slow (but sure!) 1- or 2-pound weekly goal is your best bet. The reason: Slower, steady weight loss is easier to maintain — and who doesn’t want that?

“Most research has shown that when you lose weight at a slower pace, you are more likely to keep it off long term, and when you drop pounds too quickly, it can result in losing muscle rather than fat,” dietitian Nicole Hinckley, RD, tells LIVESTRONG.com.

And be wary of trendy or fad diets that promise quick weight loss, says the American Academy of Family Physicians. These too-good-to-be-true eating plans aren’t healthy and may actually be dangerous in certain cases.

Read on for more about the drawbacks of losing weight too quickly, along with an easy-to-follow plan full of great eating tips and exercise moves that’ll edge you toward fit and trim — and healthy.

Why Too-Fast Weight Loss Isn’t Smart

Creating a calorie deficit (aka burning more calories than you take in) is the first and most important step in losing 15 pounds, but cutting your calories too low isn’t the way to go about it. Fact: If you eat too little, you might not get the daily nutrition you need.

“This kind of crash dieting can impact your immunity, energy levels and even your hair — and those who restrict calories too much are more likely to overindulge later on,” Hinckley says. Too-fast weight loss could also mean you’ll lose water weight or lean muscle tissue rather than the fat you want to target, according to the Mayo Clinic.

“Rapid weight loss may also put you at a higher risk for other health complications, such as electrolyte imbalances, gallstones and dehydration,” adds dietitian Jonathan Valdez, RDN, owner of Genki Nutrition and a media spokesperson for the New York State Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

What’s worse, you could end up messing with your metabolism in a permanent way. “Studies have also shown that rapid weight loss may cause a long-term slowing of your metabolism, which will prompt weight to regain and could even result in a person becoming more overweight than he or she had been before the diet,” Valdez says. In other words, you could lose 15 pounds but then end up gaining back 20 or 25 before you know it.

Cut Calories the Right Way

Keeping track of the calories you consume is recommended when it comes to weight loss. To create the right calorie deficit to lose 15 pounds, you’ll first need to find out how many calories you need to maintain your current weight (sometimes called your “maintenance calories”), which is different for each person. You can do this by keeping a food diary for a week or so, keeping track of both the total calories you eat and the calories you burn via exercise. You’ll also need to track your weight to determine if you gain, lose or stay the same.

If that all sounds a bit tedious, you could try using an app instead. LIVESTRONG.com’s MyPlate app, for example, does the calculations for you, based on your age, sex, height and weight. Download the app to get a calorie goal based on your weekly weight-loss aim.

Warning

Keep in mind that women shouldn’t fall below 1,200 calories a day and men shouldn’t take in fewer than 1,500 daily calories, according to Harvard Health Publishing. Dropping below these numbers could put you at risk for nutritional deficiencies.

Once you’ve established your baseline, the “magic” number of calories to cut each day is 500. Experts agree this is a safe amount that doesn’t put you at risk for deficiencies, but it’s enough to get the scale moving. Since a pound equals about 3,500 calories, slashing 500 each day — through a combo of eating less and burning more through exercise — should help you lose about a pound each week, which means you can lose 15 pounds in less than four months.

Adjusting to a new diet may leave you feeling hungry, but you can make adjustments. “If you’re very hungry while on a diet, it’s possible to increase your calorie intake slightly, as long as you accompany this with an increase in exercise that results in a similar overall calorie deficit,” Valdez explains. For example, a person weighing 155 pounds who wants to add 300 calories a day due to hunger could counteract this by going for a 25-minute run each night or swimming for about 30 minutes, he says.

Eat Well on Your Weight-Loss Plan

The key word here? Plan! “Make a meal plan for the week, which not only aids with grocery shopping but helps you avoid last-minute decisions when hungry, which is usually the biggest reason people turn to processed foods,” Valdez says.

By implementing a weekly eating plan, you’ll have carrot sticks and hummus or yogurt and nuts on hand when you’re feeling peckish and won’t be tempted to grab a bag of chips from the vending machine.

To stay fuller for longer while cutting back on calories, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends focusing on low-energy-dense (aka low-calorie) foods like fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans and lean protein.

“These low-calorie foods are full of vitamins and minerals to help you meet your daily needs,” Valdez says.

Trimming a few extra calories here and there can be easy. For example, consider what you’re drinking each day. Sodas, high-calorie smoothies and alcohol can all add empty calories to your daily diet, per the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Swap these for low- or no-calorie drinks like water, black coffee or tea.

Combine Strength Training and Cardio

Regular exercise is an important part of any program to lose 15 pounds, but starting slowly is key if you haven’t been to the gym lately. The best exercise approach is one that combines a regimen you like to do and shows results.

“Easing into a workout routine will help you make fitness a part of your life without having it seem like an ‘all or nothing’ approach — and it may help you enjoy the process by not putting too much pressure on jumping into an intense program,” Hannah Davis, CSCS, a certified personal trainer and founder of Body by Hannah, tells LIVESTRONG.com.

According to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise (like walking or biking) or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise (like running) each week, and those who are trying to lose weight may want to aim for more.

Since muscle loss can occur on a reduced-calorie plan, include strength training as part of your workout regimen, too. The guidelines suggest training all your major muscle groups at least twice a week.

Davis recommends a focus on big movements that burn the most calories and build more muscle. “Start by adding a series of walking lunges (10 per leg), pushups (10), squats (10) and dumbbell rows (30) once a week for two weeks, increase it to twice a week for the next two weeks and then three times a week for the next three weeks — and even more if you can,” she says.

The American Council on Exercise also recommends these easy ways to add more fitness (and calorie burn) into your daily routine: parking your car farther from the stores you’re visiting, using the stairs instead of the elevator in your building or at work and taking breaks during the day to stand up and stretch.

So just be careful on which weight loss plan you choose. Make it a great day!!!

Philip “FitGuy46”

Trying to Lose Belly Fat? Don’t Make These Common Mistakes

By Lauren Del Turco November 12, 2019

Belly fat gets an extra bad rap — and for good reason. In particular, the fat that accumulates around the organs of your midsection (technically called visceral fat) is linked with increased risk of both cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, according to Harvard Health Publishing.

But that doesn’t mean you should drop everything and do nothing but crunches all day in an attempt to get rid of it. “No matter how many abs workouts you do, body fat is reduced evenly throughout the body,” says Jim White, RD, ACSM Health Fitness Specialist and owner of Jim White Fitness and Nutrition Studios.

Despite most people’s fervent wishes, ‘spot reducing’ isn’t a thing, which means you’ll need to take the same balanced, holistic approach to losing belly fat you’d take take for general weight loss. Avoid these few common mistakes and you’ll help your body shed fat healthfully — and trim down your midsection in the process.

Mistake 1: Doing Endless Crunches

We said it once and we’ll say it again: “You cannot spot reduce fat on any part of the body,” says Kasey Kotarak, certified personal trainer and coach for Fit Body Boot Camp. “Your body loses fat as a whole.”

Doing abs exercises day in and day out will help strengthen your core, sure, but it won’t ensure that you burn fat from that part of your body, Kotarak says.

Fix it: While you can totally incorporate core exercises into your workout routine, well-balanced workouts that involve your entire body involve more muscles and better support fat loss, White says.

Mistake 2: Getting Too Little Sleep

“Sleep is when our body repairs and rebuilds tissues,” say Brittany Schneider, certified personal trainer and nutrition program coordinator at Life Time Westminster in Colorado.

And according to April 2013 research published in PNAS, insufficient sleep alone increases risk of obesity. Sacrificing sleep (even for the sake of a workout) impairs glucose metabolism, which can lead to higher blood sugar levels — a major contributor to belly fat, Schneider says.

Not to mention, lack of sleep also affects the hunger hormones ghrelin and leptin, driving sugar and carb cravings, she says. In combination with that messed-up glucose metabolism, this creates a vicious cycle that feeds right into fat gain.

Fix it: Schneider recommends prioritizing seven to eight hours of quality sleep per night. (Sticking to a regular bedtime and limiting screen time in the hour for bed can help make that happen.)

Mistake 3: Not Doing HIIT

Heading out for your usual run around the neighborhood may burn calories, but it’ll only get you so far if you want to shed fat, says Kotarak. HIIT (high-intensity interval training), on the other hand, can maximize the fat-loss benefits you get out of a workout in less time.

“HIIT involves intervals of high-intensity exercise that elevate the heart rate — and intervals of rest that bring it back down,” Kotarak says. Because your body works at a higher intensity during those intervals, your body continues burning calories for more than 24 hours after your workout, she says.

Fix it: For best results, White recommends incorporating one to three HIIT workouts into your weekly routine.

Mistake 4: Skipping Resistance Training

Another workout must-have for fat loss: resistance training, which can include everything from push-ups to barbell squats.

“Since muscle tissue burns more calories than fat — even at rest — the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn every day,” says Kotarak. Plus, like HIIT, resistance training stimulates your metabolism for more than 24 hours after your workout as your body repairs, she says.

According to July 2012 research published in Current Sports Medicine Reports, 10 weeks of resistance training can contribute to notable increases in muscle mass and metabolic rate — and decreases in visceral fat.

Fix it: If you typically stick to cardio, White recommends starting with one or two resistance training sessions per week, and increasing from there.

Mistake 5: Eating ALL the Low-Fat Foods

Despite what older generations would have you believe, opting for the low-fat versions of foods like yogurts and salad dressings is not necessarily fat-loss friendly.

“Low-fat foods usually make up for the flavor losses that go along with removing their fat by adding sugar,” White says. As a result, many of these foods are more processed and contain more craving-inducing additives (like sugar and sodium) than their fat-containing counterparts.

Plus, “healthy fats actually support brain health and healthy hormone and cholesterol levels,” Schneider says. They also satiate us, helping to curb hunger and cravings.

Fix it: Schneider recommends incorporating wholesome healthy fats — like avocado, nuts, seeds, coconut oil, grass-fed butter, extra-virgin olive oil, fatty fish and egg yolks — into every meal.

Mistake 6: Ignoring Signs of Too Much Stress

Though stress can actually support fat loss in the right amounts at the right times (ex. in your HIIT workouts), it sabotages even the most consistent fat-loss efforts when uncontrolled.

One major player in stress and its impact on our waistlines: the stress hormone cortisol. Charged with prepping the body for mental and physical exertion (like exercise), cortisol raises our blood sugar so we have energy readily available.

However, if you sleep poorly, feel stressed often or over-exercise (or all three), cortisol can run rampant and have a number of negative impacts on our bodies and health, Schneider says. Chronically high cortisol levels can reduce our ability to build muscle and promote abdominal fat gain.

Fix it: To manage stress and cortisol, Schneider recommends incorporating practices like meditation, yoga and journaling into your daily routine. Making sure you meet your daily needs of vitamin C, B vitamins, zinc and magnesium can also help balance the stress response, she says.

Mistake 7: Slashing WAY Too Many Calories

“Many people believe that cutting calories really low is the answer for shedding fat,” says White. “When the body is starved of energy, though, it enters a ‘starvation state,’ in which it holds onto any energy it’s given in order to sustain itself.” The end result: You make little (if any) fat-loss progress.

If you’re experiencing fatigue, dizziness, headaches, shakiness, irritability, and/or cravings, you’re eating too few calories, Schneider says. Making sure you aren’t falling short on calories or nutrients is important for proper body function. Having enough calories throughout each day will let the body know it doesn’t need to be in a starvation state by holding onto calories.

Fix it: Instead of focusing on slashing calories, plan to eat small meals that contain protein, complex carbs (like oats or sweet potatoes), healthy fats and vegetables every three to four hours, Schneider says. Eat a diet of whole foods and you’ll be much less likely to overeat.

Mistake 8: Underestimating Full-Body Movements

“While isolation exercises, such as biceps curls, are great for targeting a certain muscle groups, they do not burn as many calories as total-body exercises,” says Kotarak.

Total-body exercises (like deadlifts and burpees) activate and use multiple muscle groups (including your core), and therefore burn more calories, Kotarak says.

Fix it: Focus as much of your workouts as possible on exercises that involve multiple muscle groups makes for more efficient workouts and best supports your fat-loss efforts over time.

Mistake 9: Relying on Belly Wraps or Fat-Loss Supplements

You knew this one was coming. “There is not a single drug on the market today that is approved by the FDA to reduce belly fat,” says Schneider. “There is no magic bullet.”

Though ‘fat-burner’ or ‘weight-loss’ supplements may promise to support your efforts, they typically “help you drop (temporary) water weight, not real body fat,” Schneider says. Same goes for belly wraps, which typically just increase how much you sweat and dehydrate you, says White.

Fix it: No product can replace exercising regularly (and including resistance training), eating balanced meals and drinking plenty of water. “If you’re nailing the basics but still not losing stubborn belly fat, reach out to a nutrition professional who can help you dial in your diet,” Schneider says.

Mistake 10: Not Eating Enough Protein

In addition to supporting muscle repair and growth, protein also helps curb hunger and cravings, Schneider says. So eating ample protein daily has a significant impact on your fat-loss progress.

Plus, protein plays an even more crucial role in maintaining metabolism and muscle mass after you lose that fat, according to February 2013 research published in The Journal of Nutrition.

Fix it: Schneider recommends active people aim for anywhere between one and two grams of protein per kilogram of goal body weight. (That’s up to about 135 grams of protein daily for someone with a goal weight of 150 pounds.) Get there by including protein — like poultry, fish, meat, eggs, legumes, and nuts — in every meal and snack.

Health and fitness is a lifestyle you have to adapt to. The hardest part is getting started. So just remember to be patient, stay motivated, and be disciplined because these 3 things will help you stay on course. Also remember I’m here to help if y’all need it. Let me know what y’all think about this article and give me your opinion. Contact me for assistance.

Make it a great day!!!
Philip “FitGuy46”

4 Types of Diets to Avoid if Long-Term Weight Loss Is Your Goal

By Jaime Osnato October 9, 2019


When you’re looking to shed a few pounds, you might be focused on quick results. And though many diets might help you drop a pants size super fast, you should be asking whether the same eating plan can help you keep off the weight in the long run.

The truth is, weight maintenance can be even harder than the weight-loss process. And, unfortunately, regaining pounds can have negative consequences for your health, according to a study in the October 2019 issue of the Journal of the American Heart Association. Researchers found that all the cardiometabolic benefits associated with healthy weight loss — including improvements in HDL cholesterol, blood pressure and waist circumference, among others — reversed when people packed on the pounds again.

So, when you choose an eating plan for weight loss, consider one that will set you up for success over the long haul. Here, dietary experts discuss the types of diets you should steer clear of if you want to achieve long-lasting results, plus those that will help you go the distance.

Unhealthy Diets to Avoid

1. Crash Diets for Quick Weight Loss

“Crash diets that lead to rapid weight loss may sound enticing, but they aren’t healthy or sustainable, and they won’t help you keep weight off in the long-term,” Michele Weinberg, RD, CDN, an associate at NY Nutrition Group, tells LIVESTRONG.com. That’s because they often involve eating as few as 500 calories per day, and, though you’ll drop pounds (mostly water weight), your body will switch to starvation mode to conserve energy, says Leslie Langevin, RD, CD, author of The Anti-Inflammatory Kitchen Cookbook and co-owner of Whole Health Nutrition, a Vermont-based nutrition counseling company.

The result? Your metabolism slows down and your body may release more cortisol — a stress hormone that can cause inflammation — making future weight-loss attempts even more difficult.

And another thing: Crash diets can result in nutrient deficiencies and muscle loss, both of which can further stall your metabolism and may lead to disordered eating behaviors, such as binging on “off-limit” foods, according to Weinberg.

Not sure if the diet you’re considering falls into this category? If it severely restricts calories (less than about 1,200 per day) and/or promises lightning-fast results (anything more than 1 to 2 pounds per week), it likely qualifies as a crash diet.

2. Diets That Eliminate Entire Food Groups

If you nix a whole food group like carbs, you may shed some pounds — again, mostly water weight — in the short term, but you’re not doing yourself any favors in the long-term health department, says Langevin. That’s because you risk losing vital nutrients that your body needs.

“For example, cutting out fats can lead us to become deficient in essential fatty acids and fat-soluble vitamins, while eliminating carbohydrates from sources like whole grains, vegetables, legumes and fruits deprives us of essential fiber, antioxidants, phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals,” says Weinberg.

Plus, eating too much of another food group can be harmful, too. “People who follow the keto diet have a high intake of saturated fats and processed meats, which, in excess, have been linked to certain cancers, poor gastrointestinal health and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease,” says Weinberg.

What’s more, excluding an entire food group just isn’t realistic or sustainable over time. Are you really going to give up bread for life? Odds are your willpower will eventually run out, and when you reintroduce the “forbidden” foods into your diet, you’re likely to regain the weight — often more than you lost in the first place.

The takeaway? Unless you have a food allergy, intolerance or health condition like celiac disease that requires specific dietary restrictions, don’t ax an entire food group from your daily menu.

3. Meal-Replacement Diets

“Diets that feature meal replacements lead to weight loss because they provide pre-portioned meal options that help people reduce their overall calorie intake,” says Weinberg. If you need a fast protein fix or a quick meal-on-the-go, something like a meal replacement shake or bar can be helpful as a snack or supplement, but replacing most meals in this way is overly restricting and unrealistic in the long run, says Langevin.

Over time, you’re bound to get bored of consuming the same stuff for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and you’re likely to revert to your unhealthy eating habits. That’s because when you follow a diet that eschews whole foods in favor of pre-packaged, pre-portioned products, you never learn how to prepare healthy mealson your own, says Weinberg.

In other words, if you want to keep off the weight, you’d need to stick to that restrictive diet forever, which is nearly impossible if you want to dine out with friends, travel or enjoy your favorite foods again.

Plus, when it comes to your health, Weinberg says that weight loss plans that rely on pre-packed meals generally don’t stack up against a diverse diet of wholesome whole foods, which “provide a synergistic effect between vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients and fiber that meal supplements and replacements can’t replicate.”

4. Weight-Loss Plans That Don’t Encourage Exercise

No doubt you’ve heard of a diet that boasts, “you’ll never need to set foot in a gym again!” Sounds tempting, right? Our advice: Run the other way! Any long-term, sustainable weight-loss strategy should incorporate other healthy lifestyle habits like regular exercise.

Because in order to lose weight from dieting alone, you must consume relatively few calories and progressively decrease the number over time as your body adapts, says Weinberg. The kicker? This gets way harder to maintain as you age.

Indeed, after you turn 30, your metabolism declines slightly each year, says Langevin, who adds that increasing muscle mass is an effective way to keep your metabolism revved up. You can combat this by adding strength-training to your regular routine. That way, you’ll build more fat-burning muscle and won’t have to starve yourself to keep the muffin top at bay.

What Diets Work for Long-Term Weight Loss?

“The best diet that works for the long-term is one that fits within your lifestyle,” says Weinberg, who suggests making two to three small changes at a time to develop healthier habits that will lead to gradual, yet sustainable weight loss.

Need some pointers? Start by focusing on increasing physical activity, practicing portion control, reducing your intake of added sugars, refined grains and processed foods and incorporating fresh, whole foods as much as possible, especially fruits and veggies. Langevin recommends aiming to eat nine servings of fruits and greens every day.

In fact, packing half your plate with fresh produce reflects the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) dietary guidelines, which also call for splitting the remaining half of your plate between lean proteins like chicken, fish and tofu and whole grains like brown rice and whole-wheat pasta.

The USDA‘s guidelines also support simple-yet-sustainable eating plans that are easy to follow like the Mediterranean diet, which emphasizes consuming vegetables, legumes, fruits, nuts, lean proteins and extra-virgin olive oil. What’s more, the Mediterranean diet may help lower your risk of developing chronic diseases, too.

But to maintain healthy weight loss, you should also build in some wiggle room to enjoy your favorite treats as well. You can nosh on wholesome, nutritious foods most of the time and still indulge in french fries, ice cream and pizza now and again. Doing so will keep you from feeling deprived and falling off the wagon.

At the end of the day, you don’t need to be perfect to shed pounds or keep them off. If you’re mindful about making healthy decisions when it comes to food and exercise, you’re on the right track to steady, sustainable weight loss.

Follow these tips health tips to help aid you in your weight loss goals. Let me know what y’all think about this article. Don’t hesitate to contact me. Make it a great day!!!

Philip “FitGuy46”

How to Shed Belly Fat and Define Your Abs (Zero Crunches Required)

You’ve been hitting the gym, working your core and lifting weights — but you’re still not getting those flat, defined abs that you’ve always wanted. What gives?

Many people want a tight core, but achieving that can be difficult. If you’re looking to shed the layer of fat over your abs, the process actually involves much more than just targeting your midsection during workouts. Here, we tapped the experts to break it down.

Think Beyond Your Belly

The first thing you need to know is that you can’t target fat loss from just your middle. In other words, if you want to lose fat near your abs, you’ll need to decrease fat across your entire body.

“A very common myth about strength training is referred to as ‘spot reduction,’ meaning if you work out one particular area of your body, the fat will melt off of that particular spot.”

“Unfortunately, that’s not the way it works. Fat reduction is an overall process and is dependent upon how many calories one consumes and burns.”

Your genetics also play a big role in how your body stores and distributes fat, according to a March 2014 review in Diabetologia. Women, for example, tend to store more subcutaneous fat and have more fat in their lower body. Women also have naturally higher levels of body fat than men, so it may be easier for a man to have visible abs than a woman.

Remember: There Are 2 Types of Belly Fat

If you’re looking to lose fat, it’s also important for you to understand the difference between the two major types of fat in the body. Your body actually has two different kinds of fat: visceral fat, sometimes called “hard” fat, and subcutaneous, or “soft” fat.

Bell explains that subcutaneous fat is the type of fat we can see and feel. It lies just under the skin and having some of it is necessary for survival. According to Bell, subcutaneous fat provides an extra layer of protection, which helps to regulate body temperature, create a barrier between skin and bone and serves as a storage sight for unused energy.

Visceral fat, on the other hand, lies deep in the abdomen, surrounding your organs, and poses a greater threat to your health. It releases hormones and inflammatory compounds called cytokines, which can increase the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure, according to Harvard Health Publishing.

Eat Your Way to Better Abs

You’ve heard the phrase that abs are made in the kitchen, right? Well, there’s a good reason for that. Although exercise is important for many reasons, including boosting your metabolism and maintaining a healthy heart, physical activity alone will not burn excess fat, especially over your abdominals.

Instead, the most effective way to lose body fat is to eat a healthy diet and have an overall calorie deficit to burn away extra fat.

“Any weight-loss plan will require a ‘negative energy balance,’ meaning you are burning more calories than you are eating,” Kristi Veltkamp, RDN, a dietitian with Spectrum Health in Michigan, tells LIVESTRONG.com. “The best plan is one that can be followed long-term and allows for balanced nutrition that supports proper body function, like the Mediterranean diet.”

Bell and Veltkamp also recommend nutrition strategies that will help your body optimize its fat-burning abilities and protect from future fat accumulation. For example, you can:

  • Eat more fiber, healthy fats and protein. “By eating a well-balanced diet, your body will not only feel fuller longer, but will be receiving the nutrients it needs to avoid cravings and overeating that lead to the accumulation of fat,” Bell says. Additionally, eating healthier fats can increase HDLs, which combat overall high cholesterol.
  • Bring on the beans. “Beans are a great way to get in protein while cutting back on animal fats,” says Veltkamp. “Beans also have fiber, minerals and phytonutrients.” She recommends aiming for at least a half cup per day.
  • Consume less trans fat, sugar and simple carbs. According to Bell, foods with added sugars and simple carbohydrates (think: sweets, soft drinks, cereal) cause a spike in your blood sugar, which will throw off your hormone balance and place unnecessary stress on the pancreas. Additionally, she says that trans fats (often found in foods with long shelf lives, like potato chips and packaged baked goods) have been linked to higher amounts of visceral fat.
  • Drink less alcohol. “Alcohol has little-to-no nutritional value but still adds calories to our diet,” Bell points out, so she recommends consuming less alcohol if fat loss is your goal. And because alcohol is dehydrating, alcoholic beverages will also slow down your metabolism and lead to an increase in overall fat. Sounds like a good reason to skip that hangover, right? 
  • Increase protein. Veltkamp explains that when you cut down on calories, your body starts to use protein and muscle for energy, so increasing your protein intake will help to prevent muscle loss. “Remember, we want to lose body fat,” she says. “A lot of people lose muscle with severe diets and think they are doing well losing weight but are actually losing a lot of muscle.”

Tip

If you’re cutting calories for weight loss, your daily goal should be to get 1.3 grams of protein for every kilogram of body weight. Keep in mind that a kilogram equals 2.2 pounds — so a 180-pound person, for example, should try to eat about 106 grams of protein each day.

Up Your Fat Burn with Exercise

Reducing both visceral and subcutaneous fat depends on your lifestyle, Bell explains. And, she says, studies have shown that although they can decrease in size, fat cells don’t decrease in numbers. In other words, you can shrink fat cells, but they never fully disappear. But the good news is that visceral fat responds well to both diet and exercise.

Bell recommends incorporating both aerobic training and strength training as a way to fight fat most effectively.

“Numerous studies have shown that a moderate amount of aerobic training is one of the most beneficial ways to reduce fat,” she notes. And although the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend a minimum of 150 minutes of aerobic activity per week, she says that even starting with a short walk could make a difference in reducing the development of unwanted, dangerous fat.

Strength training, although not as effective at eliminating fat as aerobic training, Bell says, will also help your body to become more efficient at metabolizing both carbohydrates and fats. “Therefore, we reduce the risk of ailments such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease,” she adds.

The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends strength training all your major muscle groups at least two days per week.

Strengthen Your Abdominal Muscles

Although you may not be able to spot-reduce fat on your abs, you can work on specific exercises that will help tighten your abs and build a stronger core. That way, when you do reduce fat from your body, you will have more defined abdominal muscles to display.

Bell recommends the following four exercises as effective ways to strengthen your core:

Plank hold: Rise on your elbows and toes and ensure that your shoulders, hips and heels are all in a straight line. Tuck your chin so that your neck is in neutral spine and you are looking directly at the floor. Squeeze your quads, glutes and shoulders, then try to hold this position for at least one minute.

Ab wheel rollouts: Kneel on a mat with your feet uncrossed and toes on the ground. Using the ab wheel rollout, take a deep breath in and brace your core, moving the wheel away from your knees with slightly bent arms. Drop your chest as close to the ground as safely possible, then exhale, crunch and pull the ab wheel back toward your knees. Repeat.

Kneeling cable crunches: This weighted exercise allows you to contract most of your abdominals if done properly. Using a cable machine and a rope to hold onto, kneel on a mat directly below the handle. Choose your weight on the cable machine so that it feels fairly heavy, but achievable. While kneeling and holding the rope behind the head (next to the ears), take a deep breath in and elongate the spine so that the top of the head moves toward the ceiling, then exhale and crunch down toward your knees. Hold for two seconds, then slowly release back to neutral spine. Repeat.

Decline bench sit-ups: Lock your feet into the bench and lay back. Take a deep breath in, extending the arms overhead and lengthening the spine, then exhale and sit-up. Try not to round the spine, but instead stay nice and tall, reaching fingertips toward the ceiling. Lay back slowly and controlled, then repeat. If you can achieve this without weight, try to progress by holding a dumbbell or medicine ball.

While these exercises are great for building core strength, just keep in mind that core moves alone won’t give you visible abs.

“Doing them does not necessarily mean you’ll look like Zach Efron in the movies,” Bell says. “You can have a strong core but not be able to see your abs due to them being buried under extra layers of fat.”

Reduce Your Stress Levels to Lose More Fat

Along with physical activity and good nutrition, one way you can help shed excess fat in your body is to reduce your levels of stress. Yup, that’s right. Although many of us think of being stressed as just a normal part of daily life, too much stress over long periods of time can actually lead to physical changes in the body that will increase your fat stores.

The visceral fat within your abdomen is significantly affected by stress levels. When you’re stressed, your body releases cortisol, which Bell describes as the “stress hormone.” Although cortisol release is a normal process on a short-term basis, if your cortisol levels stay high for an extended period of time, you will have more trouble losing fat and run into health problems.

“Cortisol increases when we are feeling overwhelmed in any way,” Bell explains. “It is our bodies’ natural response to both physical and psychological stress and its main goal is to preserve carbohydrates to use for more vital organs, such as the brain. If cortisol becomes too high, however, it can lead to symptoms such as overeating, depression and weight gain.”

According to a February 2017 study published in Obesity, long-term cortisol exposure has a significant impact on fat accumulation in the body.

“Cortisol actually causes fat to be stored or taken from other areas of the body to be stored in the abdomen area,” notes Veltkamp. “It also leads to more fat cell development and increases blood glucose and insulin suppression.”

On top of all of that, elevated cortisol levels will increase your appetite and make you crave more energy-dense foods (read: high-calorie comfort foods), so you will feel hungrier and eat more too, Veltkamp adds.

All in all, stress = bad for your body, so it’s important to reduce your stress levels for your overall health and especially if you are specifically trying to decrease fat in your body. To reduce stress, Bell recommends incorporating calming practices such as meditation, yoga or even just deep breathing throughout your day.

And don’t overlook the importance of nutrition in helping you manage your stress. Veltkamp tells LIVESTRONG.com that what you eat can have a big impact on your stress levels. She suggests avoiding diets high in refined grains, sugars, red meats and fats and instead sticking to more fruits, vegetables, fish, legumes, nuts and whole grains, as those foods are associated with reduced depression and anxiety, according to October 2019 research in PLOS One.

You can also reduce your stress levels by trying some of the following science-backed methods:

  • Declutter your environment. A September 2017 study in Current Psychology linked clutter to decreased life satisfaction in adults. Marie Kondo your space and breathe a little easier!
  • Get outside. A June 2019 study inScientific Reports found that spending at least 120 minutes a week outside in nature increases wellbeing and happiness.
  • Decrease your time on social media. April 2015 research from Computers in Human Behaviorrevealed that there is a direct correlation between stressful experiences and Facebook usage.
  • Get enough sleep. “Studies have proven that increasing your sleep from six hours or less per night to between seven and eight may help reduce visceral fat by approximately 26 percent,” says Bell. “Anything less than that may cause an increase in abdominal weight gain.” (Cortisol is the culprit here again, since your body tends to release the hormone when you’re sleep-deprived.)

In the end, as Bell reminds us all, the only way to have visible, strong abs is to be very disciplined in your lifestyle, reduce your stress levels and pay close attention to the number of calories you consume and expend. Veltkamp also advises that to lose fat, you need to focus on the long term.

“Too many people look for the easy way out or quick fixes,” Veltkamp notes. “The only thing that will make a long-term difference is making healthy changes that will last.”

She adds that if what you are following cannot be maintained long-term — such as pills, supplements or extreme diets — then your weight loss will not be long-term either.

“Lifestyle changes are not trendy, or always easy, but it’s the only thing that really works,” she says.

Let me know what y’all think about this article. Again I am here if you have any questions about fitness. Check out my website fitguy46personaltraining.com.

Make it a great day!!!

Philip “FitGuy46”

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Why You Really Shouldn’t Be Working the Same Muscles Every Day

By Jessica McCahon Updated January 15, 2020Reviewed by Aubrey Bailey, PT, DPT, CHT

Go big or go home, right? If you’re looking to build muscle fast, you could be forgiven for thinking the harder and more often you train, the quicker you’ll see results. However, the opposite is usually true. Your muscles need rest to grow, build strength and perform at their peak.

Woman wiping her forehead with a towel in the gym

Your muscles need rest just as much as they need to be challenged.Credit: Richard Drury/DigitalVision/GettyImages

Here are three reasons you want to avoid working the same muscles every day, plus how to schedule an optimal workout regimen.

1. You’re Sabotaging Your Muscle-Building Efforts

Ironically, working the same muscles day after day is one of the worst ways to build muscle. When you strength train, tiny tears form in the working muscles.

It’s when you give your muscles time to rest and recover that they repair themselves by pumping extra blood to the affected muscles, causing them to grow bigger and stronger, according to Muscle Growth, Repair and Preservation: A Mechanistic Approach.

If you don’t factor recovery time into your exercise routine, this process won’t take place (or takes place but doesn’t have sufficient time to finish) and your muscles won’t grow.

2. You Risk Burning Out and Quitting Your Workout

Training the same muscles every time you hit the gym can leave you constantly tired and sore. If you hit the gym without energy and enthusiasm, it’s unlikely you’re going to give 100 percent. And if you don’t give your best effort in each session, you won’t see results, starting a vicious cycle.

Resting muscle groups between sessions breaks this cycle. A December 2019 study published in PLOS One found that switching up your routine with different exercises that work various muscle can help boost your motivation, while providing the same muscle-building benefits as progressive overload (doing the same exercises but increasing the weight).

3. Your Chance of Getting Injured Increases

Working the same muscles too hard and with insufficient recovery can lead to overuse injuries, according to a December 2018 review from the Journal of Orthopedic Surgery and Research.

Muscle-building workouts like lifting weights puts stress on your tendons, which connect muscle to bone. If your tendons don’t have time to rest, they become inflamed, resulting in pain. Plus, if your muscles are tired from your previous strength session, your technique can get sloppy, upping your risk for injury.

To ensure that you get the most out of each session — and, just as important, avoid injury — you need to focus on the action of the muscle group you’re working and perform every part of a given exercise with good technique. Keep your reps slow and controlled, working through each muscle’s full range of motion, which is difficult to do if soreness is limiting your movement.

Schedule Some Rest and Recovery

In general, a minimum of two strength-training workouts per week is recommended in the second edition of the U.S. government’s Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans.

But you’ll need to schedule at least one full rest day in between training sessions for any given muscle group, according to the American Council on Exercise. Even then, if your muscles are still sore from the previous workout, avoid training them until they have recovered.

Organize your sessions so you work a combination of upper and lower muscle groups on varying days. For example, on the first day, you might train the muscles of the lower body — abdominal, quadriceps, hamstrings and calf muscles — and the next day, while these muscles are resting and rebuilding, you might train your chest, back, shoulders, triceps and biceps.

And make sure you also allot time for stretching and foam rolling. According to an August 2019 review published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, even six to 10 minutes minutes of active recovery has a positive effect on performance.

So just remember that you need rest and recovery for muscles to grow. As always, you can contact me at fitguy46personaltraining.com. Make it a great day!!!

Philip “FitGuy46”

How Often Should You Take a Break From Lifting Weights?

By Mike Samuels

Lifting weights has many benefits when it comes to building muscle mass, strength and burning calories in a fat loss program. It also puts stress on your body, meaning you need to take breaks. Not only do you need short breaks between individual workouts, longer breaks at more infrequent intervals can also help you avoid injury and maintain your progress.

Rest Between Sessions

A muscle group needs about 48 hours of rest between sessions according to personal trainer Chad Tackett. This means if you train your chest on Monday, you shouldn’t train it again until Wednesday. If you’re training your whole body in every session, this means training one day on and one day off. If you work one or two muscles in each workout, you don’t need rest days between sessions if you’re doing different muscles each day.

Workout Schedule

How you plan your breaks depends on your workout schedule. If you’re on a bodybuilding-style split routine, you can train every day but still get the required rest for each muscle group. A typical split could break your workouts into individual sessions for your back, chest, legs, shoulders and arms, which would allow you to train daily. As you train one body part, the others are getting a rest. On a full-body routine, you’ll need a full day of rest between sessions.

Deloads

A deload involves taking an intentional long break between sessions. Strength coach Jeff Barnett recommends taking a deload once every four weeks. This might sound counterproductive, but a week off means you’ll come back to training rested, well-recovered and stronger. During the deload, lift at around 40 to 60 percent of your single repetition maximum for every session that week. Concentrate on form and do more stretching and light cardiovascular exercise.

Increased Breaks

If you’re lifting weights close to your maximum, you may need more frequent breaks. Coach Jon-Erik Kawamoto says you can become exhausted if you constantly push your body to its limits with high loads, frequency and volume. He says you should plan your deload and recovery weeks in advance. Strength coach Stephen Bergeron of Built Lean says you can recover faster if you include non-impact workouts like yoga or swimming in your scheduled breaks.

Let me know what y’all think about this. Make it a great day!!!

Philip “FitGuy46”

Cardio vs. Weights: Which One Gets You to Your Goal Faster?

By Lauren Del Turco Updated January 13, 2020

Your time in the gym is valuable. It takes so much motivation to even walk through the door some days that you want to make sure your workouts are actually going to get you to your goals. And though both cardio and strength training are essential for your health, most fitness regimens will skew one way or the other.

Active young man exercising in a gym

Is your workout plan tailored to your health and fitness goals?Credit: Letizia Le Fur/ONOKY/GettyImages

If you’re not sure whether you should focus your sweaty efforts on strength training or classic cardio, look no further. Here, two fitness gurus break down whether spending more time on the treadmill or in the weight room will best support your health and fitness goals — from just getting of the couch to supporting strong bones to de-stressing.

When Cardio Is King

Aerobic exercise (aka cardio) includes any movement or activity that increases your heart and breathing rate. (Two popular options: running and cycling.) Cardio directly trains your heart, lungs and the rest of your cardiovascular system — but its benefits don’t end there.

In addition to improving your heart health, cardio also supports your brain health, blood sugar and overall mobility, according to the Cleveland Clinic. It even supports sexual well-being and can help you maintain a healthy weight.

Because of its widespread benefits, regular cardio exercise can ultimately help you live longer, according to a June 2017 study published in Progress in Cardiovascular Disease.

Where Strength Training Shines

Though strength training (technically called resistance training) had the reputation of being solely reserved for bodybuilders until recently, this type of exercise is crucial for everyone — especially as you age.

“As we age, growth hormones in the body decrease, which contributes to muscle loss,” says Amanda Murdock, CPT, director of fitness for Daily Burn. “Strength training helps us maintain and build muscle tissue.”

In addition to keeping your body physically strong, strength training can also support your overall cardiovascular health and help you maintain a healthy weight. According to the Mayo Clinic, strength training can also help you maintain strong bones and improve quality of life and independence in your later years.

How to Decide Between Cardio or Weights

In a perfect world, everyone would incorporate both cardio and strength training into their workout routines. Depending on your unique goals, though, you might want to focus more on one over the other. Follow this guide to figure out where you should be spending the majority of your gym time.

If You: Are Training for a Race

Go for: Cardio

Whether you want to run a 5K or bike 100 miles, if you want to compete in some sort of race, “you need to do the exact thing you’re trying to get good at in training,” says Bret Contreras, PhD, CSCS, author of Glute Lab: The Art and Science of Strength and Physique Training.

“If you want to get good at running, you have to run; if you want to get good at cycling, you have to cycle,” he says. Yep, that means you’ll want to focus your training on cardio — specifically on whatever form of cardio you’ll be doing come race day. This way, you train the right muscles through the right movements to help you perform at your best.

If You: Want to Burn More Body Fat

Go for: Strength Training

While cardio burns calories and can help you lose weight in the short-term, strength training best supports fat-loss long-term, Contreras says. Strength training builds muscle, which then increases your metabolism, helping you become leaner over time.

Though results may take a couple of months, Contreras recommends focusing on strength training for sustainable fat loss. (Though, since cardio can have an appetite-suppressing effect in some people, it cansupport your goals, too.)

If You: Are Looking to Get Stronger and Build Muscle

Go for: Strength Training

There’s a reason they call it strengthtraining. “We can build muscle mass quickest with weighted exercises,” Murdock says.

“Though cardio exercise like cycling and running will build some muscle in your legs, it can only really get you so far,” Murdock says.

Contreras agrees: “If you want to get stronger, there’s only so much stress you can put on your body just using your body weight.” When you strength train, you can progressively overload your body to continue making gains, he says.

The only way to continually put enough tension on the muscles to stimulate muscle growth, is strength training, Contreras says. “As you increase the tension you put on your muscles, they continue to respond by growing bigger and bigger over time,” he says. (This process is called muscle hypertrophy.)

You don’t need to lift big, hulking weights, either. Training with both light and heavy weights can promote muscle growth, according to an October 2015 Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research study (which Contreras co-authored).

If You: Just Want to Be More Active

Go for: Both Cardio and Strength Training

Though more experienced exercisers can strength train at an intensity that provides both its muscle- and cardiovascular-related benefits, that’s not the case with beginners, Contreras says.

If you’re just getting moving, aim for a balance of “three weight-training sessions and two to three cardiovascular sessions per week,” he says. Focus on full-body strength-training sessions to reap the most benefits.

For those without gym access (or who just don’t feel comfortable sweating in that setting), “going outside for a walk or jog is convenient and free,” Murdock says. You can also ease your way into resistance training with body-weight exercises like push-ups, squats and lunges.

If You: Need to Reduce Chronic Disease Risk

Go for: Cardio or Strength Training

“Exercising in general has been shown to reduce chronic disease,” Murdock says. “Whatever makes you move works!”

Both cardio and strength training offer notable benefits when it comes to protecting long-term health. According to the Mayo Clinic, strength training can help ward off arthritis, obesity, heart disease, depression and diabetes. Cardio offers similar benefits — and may even help ward off strokes and certain types of cancer.

If You: Want to Support Strong Bones

Go for: Strength Training

According to August 2013 research published in the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, both power and resistance training effectively support bone mineral density.

“Weight-bearing exercises, which force you to work against gravity, help build bone mass and density,” Murdock says.

Though certain types of cardio — like running and jumping — are considered weight-bearing, they only increase bone density in certain parts of the body, like the hips, Contreras says. Instead, strength training offers the most notable full-body bone benefits.

Just as lifting weights stimulates muscle growth, it also stimulates bones to grow stronger. “When you lift a load, gravity acting on that load itself stimulates the body,” Contreras says. “On top of that, the muscles that contract in order to lift that weight pull on the bones, further stimulating them.”

If You: Need to De-Stress

Go for: Cardio (But Keep It Light)

If you want a workout to help you simmer down, stick to lower-intensity exercise, like a light jog, that doesn’t shoot your heart rate through the roof, Contreras says. Extra points if you do it outside.

“When we’re stressed or don’t sleep enough and go pedal to the metal when we exercise, it can promote this sympathetic [‘fight-or-flight’] state,” Contreras says. Low-intensity cardio, which doesn’t require too much effort or mental concentration, can help the body shift into a more parasympathetic (“rest and relax”) state.

Case in point: a July 2015 study published in PNAS found that nature walks can reduce rumination (aka anxious thinking) and quiet activity in the parts of the brain associated with risk of mental illness.

If You: Only Have 20 Minutes a Day to Work Out

Go for: Strength Training

“People don’t realize that you can get in an awesome workout in 20 minutes,” Contreras says. To make the most of that time, though, opt for full-body strength training. “You’ll be more functional, you’ll have more total-body strength, muscle mass and bone density, and build a better shape.”

To turn the benefits up a notch, Murdock recommends performing your workout HIIT-style, which involves alternating between periods of high-intensity work and rest. (HIIT workouts are more efficient than workouts you perform at a steady, consistent pace.)

In my opinion I think both will help with weight loss. Pick the one that works best for you. It all depends on what your fitness goals are. Let me know your thoughts on this. Contact me @ fitguy46personaltraining.com. Make it a great day!!!

Philip “FitGuy46”