Motivation Monday: 8 Common Side Effects of Weight Loss Nobody Talks About

Fat & Figuring It Out Podcast, Uncategorized

When we begin a weight-loss journey, we often have a vision of what our body and life will be like when we reach our goal weight. But the reality is typically different.

“Weight loss is something that, for people who need it, can make a huge positive impact in their lives, physically and psychologically. But weight is such a complicated and publicly visible matter that sometimes weight loss is a mixed blessing,” says Patrick O’Neil, PhD, director of the Medical University of South Carolina Health Weight Management Center.

Here is how to handle eight typical consequences of losing weight that nobody tells you about:

EXCESS SKIN

Dropping a lot of weight can lead to loose skin. “If you’re losing a significant amount of body fat, that body fat has been under your skin protruding and helping to keep the skin taut,” O’Neil explains. Depending on your genes, age and how much weight you lost, your skin will recover somewhat, he adds. Resistance training to build muscle can help some, so try that first. You may also choose to talk to a plastic surgeon about surgery to remove the skin.

LIVING IN YOUR OLD BODY

When you grow up being teased for being heavier, “you incorporate that as part of your self image,” says Sofia Rydin-Gray, PhD, behavioral health director at Duke Diet and Fitness Center. “When you lose weight, unless you develop a realistic image of yourself, you may continue to think of yourself as a bigger person.” Movement is a great way to help tune into your body, she adds. Or consider keeping one piece of larger clothing and putting it on to see how much bigger it is now. Looking at photos of you at your starting weight may also help you see the changes in your body.

COMMENTS FROM FRIENDS AND FAMILY

“Often weight plays more of a role in some relationships than we might appreciate at first,” O’Neil says. Your friends and family may not always be supportive of your weight loss. If someone questions why you’re no longer eating certain foods or always going to the gym, explain why losing weight is important to you. If a friend says you’re getting too skinny, say, “Thanks for your concern, but I’ve spoken to my doctor, and I’m at a healthy weight for me.”

ATTENTION FROM STRANGERS

Often when women lose weight, they find they get more attention from men. If this is discomforting, you feel vulnerable or you fear relationships and intimacy, speak to a therapist. “Clients sometimes say the fat has been a protection,” O’Neil says. “Oftentimes there are other issues bound up in that. In some cases, there may be a history of sexual abuse.” It’s important to work through those things with a professional.

REALIZING LIFE ISN’T THAT DIFFERENT

When researchers studied 1,979 overweight and obese adults over four years, they discovered weight loss was associated with a reduction in health risks but not with psychological benefits. “When you’re in the active weight-loss phase, it’s the honeymoon period where you are seeing results and gaining confidence,” Rydin-Gray explains. “When you are in maintenance, you’re not getting that regular feedback.” And you may not land that job or have your girlfriend propose like you thought you would. Think back to why you wanted to lose weight — what were your deeper motivations? It can help to explore what you feel is missing in your life and the barriers to achieving those things with a therapist.


WORRY THAT IT’S “NOT REAL”

When you have lost weight in the past and later regained it, you may think you “can’t” lose weight. If you think your current weight loss isn’t real, listen to your self-talk and come up with counterpoints, O’Neil suggests. Pretend the weight loss is real — how would you behave differently? Why not do that now? Remember, too, that you have tools and skills you have used to lose the weight. Keep using those and it will be real, Rydin-Gray adds.

MARRIAGE CONFLICT

Shedding pounds after the wedding can cause your partner to feel threatened and insecure, leading to tension in your marriage, according to a study in the journal Health Communication. Talk to your partner if you sense this may be happening. Ask what their concerns are and talk together about how to address those concerns. If you think it’s best, see a couple’s therapist together.

YOU STILL NEED TO WORK

“Losing weight is one challenge; keeping it off is a whole new challenge,” O’Neil says. By now many of the skills you adopted in order to lose weight are habits, so keep them up. And be prepared to face setbacks. Identify the most critical pieces of your weight-control program that you can do if your weight starts to trend upward.

Source:  BY BRITTANY RISHER

 

5 Common Strength Training Mistakes to Stop Doing

Fitness on a Budget, Motivation, Inspiration and Encouragement, Uncategorized
5 Common Strength Training Mistakes to Stop Doing

There’s a saying that if you’re new to lifting weights, any program will make you stronger. While it’s true that “newbie gains” can be attained doing just about anything, experienced lifters will often tell you that in hindsight, they wish they’d known what they know now when they first started lifting.

There are a handful of common mistakes fitness novices make all too often when starting a training routine. Rather than accepting that anything will work, it’s best to learn the basic principles of strength training so you can ride out the progress of your “newbie gains” as long as possible.

Here are five mistakes to avoid and how to fix them:

Beginners are often introduced to strength training through body-part splits, which are exercise routines that dedicate an entire day to a specific muscle group. For example:

Monday: Chest
Tuesday: Back
Wednesday: Legs
Thursday: Shoulders
Friday: Arms
Saturday and Sunday: Rest

While this may be effective for experienced bodybuilders, for beginners it’s like drinking water through a fire hose and here’s why.

Beginners need to learn how perform basic exercises like squats, pushups and deadlifts. These exercises take lots of practice, and you don’t get good at anything by only practicing it once a week. Second, beginners rarely have the ability to recover from workouts that smash a single body part with so many sets and reps that your muscles feel like they’ve been put through a meat grinder.

Beginners are better off with either three full-body workouts per week or four workouts that are split between upper- and lower-body. For example:

3-DAY FULL-BODY WORKOUT

Monday: Full body
Tuesday: Rest or low-intensity cardio
Wednesday: Full body
Thursday: Rest or low-intensity cardio
Friday: Full body
Saturday: Rest or low-intensity cardio
Sunday: Rest

4-DAY UPPER/LOWER SPLIT

Monday: Upper body
Tuesday: Lower body
Wednesday: Rest or low-intensity cardio
Thursday: Upper body
Friday: Lower body
Saturday: Rest or low-intensity cardio
Sunday: Rest

Beginners are often encouraged to use machines because they’re easier to learn than free weights. While this may be true, free weights build more strength and coordination in the long run.

It’s best to learn proper technique with free weight exercises while you’re still in a novice stage. That way, as you get stronger, your technique will be on point, and you’ll be less prone to injury. A strong lifter with lousy technique is like a racecar with no brakes, so get your brakes tuned up early on to set yourself up for a lifetime of safe workouts.

You can still use free weights and machines (because they’re both awesome), but if you’re new to working out, trade these common machine exercises for their free weight equivalents:


READ MORE > SHOULD YOU LIFE WEIGHTS TO FAILURE?


Many beginners avoid using a full range of motion during some exercises because they either haven’t been taught proper form or they heard some old wives’ tale that an exercise is dangerous. Examples of such myths include:

  • Deep squats are bad for your knees.
  • Touching the bar to your chest on the bench press is bad for your shoulders.
  • Locking out your joints keeps the stress on your muscles.

These myths are born from dogma and misinformation. They’re often spread by people who haven’t learned proper technique or have hurt themselves by using poor form.

In reality, research shows that proper lifting technique performed with full range of motion results in more muscle and strength gains than using partial range of motion. So the next time you’re tempted to cut a rep short, remember that full range gets better results and is perfectly safe if you use proper form.

A “no pain, no gain” approach to lifting weights might sound cool in theory, but doing too many sets to failure may be holding you back. Overzealous lifters often like to take every set of every exercise to the point where they can’t complete the final rep, but turns out you can make the same gains with far less pain.

A 2016 review in the Journal of Sports Medicine tells us that non-failure training results in slightly more gains in strength and muscle than failure training. After looking at eight studies, it appears that you don’t have to go to failure, although you have to do a few more sets to make up the difference. This is important because stopping each set shy of failure means you’re less likely to use improper form, reducing the likelihood of injury.

The takeaway? Stop most of your sets at least 1–2 reps shy of failure. The heavier and more complicated the exercise (i.e., heavy barbell deadlifts), the further you should stay from failure, while lighter single-joint exercises (i.e., dumbbell biceps curls) can be trained to failure with less risk.

As the saying goes, “Fail to prepare, prepare to fail.” Heading into the gym without a plan is like going on a road trip without a map (or a GPS, for the youngsters who don’t remember maps). Sure, you may get somewhere interesting, but you’re more likely to get to your destination with a specific route to follow.

Rather than flying by the seat of your pants, find a tried-and-true workout program that suits your goals. There are plenty of them right here on MyFitnessPal, including:

While a premade program may not be tailored exactly to you, it keeps you accountable and on track toward a more specific goal than just “getting a workout in.”

Smarter, Not Harder

Just like any new endeavor, you don’t need to know everything about lifting weight to be successful. But a little knowledge goes a long way in helping you get stronger, so avoid these five common mistakes to ride out your “newbie gains” as long as possible.

Source: by Tony Bonvechio

Motivation Monday: Hate the Gym? Try These 9 Calorie-Burning Alternatives

fitness, Motivation, Inspiration and Encouragement, Uncategorized

Hate the Gym? Try These 9 Calorie-Burning Alternatives

Hate the Gym? Try These 9 Calorie-Burning Alternatives

If you don’t like the gym, can’t stand running and never took to cycling, well … that’s still no excuse to sit on the couch all day. There are plenty of ways to exercise beyond traditional methods. In fact, we can count at least nine.

Take a gander below for unique workouts — plus their estimated calorie burns — that are guaranteed to get your heart racing and might even put a smile on your face.


READ MORE > 6 WAYS TO BURN 300 CALORIES IN 30 MINUTES OR LESS


Sure, it could elicit some odd looks if you’re hula-hooping while not concurrently 8 years old and on a playground. But who cares? It’s a fun way to burn calories — and easily something you can do in the privacy of your own home. It’s a great core workout and will have you breaking a sweat in no time. Want more of a challenge? Try a weighted hoop.

Spinning underwater isn’t just some nautical fantasy — it’s a real thing that was developed mostly for rehab reasons due to its low-impact nature. But find a gym near you that offers it, and you’ll be pedaling through water. The pace is much slower, obviously, but due to the added resistance, you’ll be working hard from start to finish.

The gravity-defying art of trapeze is for more than just circus performers. Local training centers and ropes courses offer classes, where you can fly high to test your strength, flexibility and mental fortitude — all while getting a great workout.

Bike polo is exactly what it sounds like, assuming you think it sounds like playing polo — a sport typically reliant on horses — atop a bicycle. Look online for leagues, clubs or friendly pickup games nearby, and you’ll soon be knocking balls into a net using a wooden mallet while balancing on two wheels.

This highly-Instagramable activity is serious exercise, requiring participants to move between a series of poses while suspended from the ceiling by a fabric hammock. It’s a total body workout that promotes core strength and flexibility and is a fun take on traditional yoga classes.

More than just a fun backyard activity for kids, trampolining is an official Olympic sport. But you don’t have to be a kid nor an Olympian to partake. Check your city for local trampoline gyms, and go bounce around for awhile. The more comfortable you get, the more you’ll be able to incorporate flips, tricks and other cardio-friendly moves into your repertoire.

Once relegated to the outdoors, the proliferation of this sport — thanks in part to “American Ninja Warrior” — has spawned dedicated gyms all over. Break a sweat while jumping, rolling, swinging and climbing on natural or man-made obstacles like you’re the star of your own action movie.

The fast-moving game of Ultimate Frisbee is a fun way to get some cardio. Join a league, or just gather a few friends in the park. The short sprints and near constant movement mimics soccer and will have you gasping for breath.

If you like some friendly competition and don’t mind getting dirty, try a mud run. They’ll take you over, under and through obstacles across a variety of distances. And with events like Tough Mudder, Spartan Race, Savage Race and others scheduled in cities across the country, there’s no shortage of options for the aspiring mud runner.

by Kevin Gray

What Exercise Machines Burn Calories Most Efficiently?

fitness, Fitness on a Budget, Music & Motivation to Boost your Workout, Uncategorized, Workout Wednesday
What Exercise Machines Burn Calories Most Efficiently?

Exercise machines help you burn calories, build muscle and improve your endurance. Certain machines deliver a more intense cardiovascular workout than others, meaning you burn calories at a faster rate. The way you use cardiovascular exercise equipment also affects how efficiently you burn fat. Use the machines’ settings and additional tools to maximize your workout’s aerobic and strengthening benefits.

Burn Calories on a Treadmill

Of all the equipment in your gym or club, the cardiovascular exercise machines deliver the workout that burns the most calories. Running on a treadmill burns more calories than any other machine-centered workout. Before you begin, check the settings and select an intense pace to burn more calories. If you weigh between 125 and 185 pounds and jog at 5 mph for one hour, you burn between 480 and 710 or more calories, depending upon your fitness level and weight. Pick up your pace to 7.5 mph and you burn between 750 and 1,110 calories, which means you can lose up to 2.5 pounds per week running six of the days. Rather than running faster, you can also intensify the workout and burn extra calories by setting the treadmill at an incline, so you’re running “uphill.”

Use an Elliptical Trainer

An elliptical trainer can offer you an excellent aerobic workout. However, because you power the pace of an elliptical trainer, it is easy to slip into coasting when you get tired. To maximize its calorie-burning benefits, work out at high speed and use a machine that has movable handles so you work your arms as well. An added benefit of exercising on an elliptical trainer is that your feet never leave the pedals, making it a low-impact aerobic workout. An hour on the elliptical can burn 540 to 800 calories or more. You can also adjust the resistance and incline on an elliptical trainer to burn extra calories.

Other Cardiovascular Exercise Machines

Other machines that make you raise your heart rate also burn calories efficiently. For example, climbing a stair treadmill burns between 360 and 532 calories in one hour. The workout is lower-impact, so it will not stress your joints, muscles and tendons as much as running high speed on a treadmill. Stair-climbing also provides a strengthening workout for your gluteal, thigh and calf muscles. However, avoid leaning on or holding onto the machine; it reduces the number of calories burned. Using a stationary rowing machines provides a total body-strengthening and aerobic workout, burning between 310 and 754 calories in one hour. Doing indoor cycling at a vigorous rate burns 630 and 932 calories per hour.

Interval Training on Exercise Machines

Most exercise machines feature settings that allow you to make the workout more intense, thus burning more calories. If your machine has an interval setting, using it will dramatically boost your calories burned. This setting varies your pace, usually starting with a warm-up, moving to a vigorous pace then adding in some sprints. The sprints boost your heart rate higher and keep it there, even when you slow down to a recovery pace. You can program your own intervals on an exercise machine by increasing the pace or changing the incline every few minutes and sustaining the sprint or climb for at least 30 seconds. Consult your doctor before beginning interval training or any other new exercise regimen.

Source: NINA MAKOFSKY

20 Ways to Spring Clean Your Fitness Routine

fitness, Fitness on a Budget, Uncategorized
From workouts to gear (time for new kicks?), how to recharge your body

It’s that time of year again—the snow’s melting, the sun’s shining, and those thick sweaters in the closet are about to go into storage. It’s the perfect time to reignite your motivation by breaking away from your boring gym routine and embracing the great outdoors. Kick off spring with a healthy start by getting the right gear, revamping your routine, and doing some “spring cleaning” in your pantry. Here are 20 simple tips to get you started.

Spring Training Fitness Tip: Book a Physical
Believe it or not, only about 20 percent of Americans get an annual check-up. Be one of them! While you might look and feel just fine (or really hate needles), it’s important to keep tabs on things like blood pressure, cholesterol, and vitamin deficiencies before designing your workout program.

Spring Training Fitness Tip: Set a Schedule… but Be Realistic
If you haven’t been working out much this winter, don’t write down that you’ll do outdoor cardio exercises for 30 minutes a day, six days a week. You’ll only find yourself getting frustrated and will be more likely to give up on your workout program. Post your exercise plan in places you’ll look frequently, like the calendar app on your smartphone or at your desk at work.

Spring Training Fitness Tip: Team Up
You’re more likely to stick with your plan if you’ve got a partner in crime. Choose someone who has similar goals who’s schedule fits with your own. Your best bet: Get together at the same time four days a week, whether it’s before work or just before dinner.

Spring Training Fitness Tip: Buy New Running Shoes
If you’ve been hitting the gym (and the treadmill) all winter, chances are, you’re due for a new pair. Most running shoes last somewhere between 300 and 400 miles—but if you use them to walk around or do other parts of your gym routine, that wear and tear counts, too. Go to a running specialty store to get fitted, and have them look at your gait/pronation to find the best shoe for you.

Spring Training Fitness Tip: Clean Out Your Pantry
Still have that tin of popcorn from the holidays or a box of chocolates from Valentine’s Day? Get rid of them. And while you’re at it, throw away other foods low in nutritional value, like chips, pretzels, sugary cereals, white bread and, yes, even those 100 calorie snack packs (a cookies still a cookie, even if you squash it flat and drop five in a bag).

Spring Training Fitness Tip: Protect Your Skin
Now that it’s warming up, you’ll be heading outside again. This means more sunshine (and vitamin D, which is a good thing), but it also means that your skin is exposed to harmful UV rays. Rub waterproof lotion with at least SPF 15 or more over all exposed areas of your body. Don’t forget easy-to-miss areas like behind your ears, the back of your neck and the crease near your underarms.

Spring Training Fitness Tip: Pump Up Your Playlist
Still listening to the same tracks from December? Do some iPod “spring cleaning” by downloading a fresh workout playlist to get you going.

Spring Training Fitness Tip: Jump Rope
Heading outside and doing this favorite childhood “workout” can burn about 208 calories in just 20 minutes. Add other outdoor cardio exercises like walking lunges, short sprints, and jumping jacks, and you’ve got yourself a circuit program you can do right in your backyard.

RELATED: 20-Minute, Fat-Blasting Jump Rope Workout

Spring Training Fitness Tip: Update Your Workout Wardrobe
Still sweating it out in cotton T-shirts? Throw away worn-out workout duds and replace them with shorts, tanks and tees in breathable, wick fabrics. While you’re at it, update your sports bras, too (a typical bra has a lifespan of about six months, although hand-washing can make them last longer).

Spring Training Fitness Tip: Stretch Out
The best way to prevent injury is to stretch before and after your workouts. Here’s how it’s done: Warm up with 10 minutes of light outdoor cardio exercises, then do dynamic stretching—as in, stretching while moving. This includes lunges, touching your toes and walking your hands forward, swinging your legs while standing and twisting from side to side. After your workout, complete “static” stretches—a.k.a. your typical “touch and hold” routine. Yoga, Pilates, and dance classes are also great ways to stay flexible.

Spring Training Fitness Tip: Stay Hydrated
Avoid muscle cramping and fatigue by drinking about two liters of water a day, and 17 ounces about two hours before exercising. Another general rule of thumb: The more you sweat, the more fluids you need to replace, so drink up after a vigorous workout. Use stainless steel bottles to avoid some of the chemicals associated with certain plastic varieties (such as Bisphenol A, or BPA).

Spring Training Fitness Tip: Plan a Trip
Outdoor exercises are great, but if the weather’s still cool where you live, take a “health” vacation to a resort with hiking, biking and other activities (plus warm weather), or sign up for a yoga retreat.

Spring Training Fitness Tip: Get Sporty
Break up your routine with outdoor exercises like tennis or golf, or team up with friends for an afternoon of ultimate Frisbee. Even kickball will get your heart going—and you don’t have to be athletically gifted to play!

Spring Training Fitness Tip: Hit the Farmers Market
Soak up some of that spring sunshine while you shop for fresh fruits and veggies. Other items worth picking up include fish, dried fruits, and nuts.

Spring Training Fitness Tip: Change Your Thinking
Instead of designing goals based purely on weight loss, concentrate on how you feel. If counting calories has you down, think in terms of portions instead. Constantly checking the clock during your workout? Chances are you need to find a sport or activity you actually enjoy.

Spring Training Fitness Tip: Step Off the Scale
Muscle weighs more than fat, so although you may look more toned, there’s a chance you might not be shedding pounds at the rate you’d expect. To get an accurate measure of your progress, use measuring tape once every two weeks to see where you’re trimming inches from your waist, hips, and other target areas.

Spring Training Fitness Tip: Jump On the Twitter Train
Get vocal about your fitness routine and goals and make friends with other women looking to get motivated this spring with a Twitter feed. Give updates on your progress, post links to your favorite fitness articles and products, and cheer on others (they’ll do the same for you).

Spring Training Fitness Tip: Tie On Weights
Tone up arms and legs by doing your regular routine—whether it’s walking to the store, cleaning your house or walking the dog—while using wrist and/or ankle weights. The resistance will help strengthen muscles (and get your body that much more ready for bikini season).

Spring Training Fitness Tip: Sign Up for a Race
Adding positive goals to your fitness routine will make you feel better and also give a purpose to your training other than losing weight or fitting into those skinny jeans. Look into local road races—the 5K distance is perfect for beginners—and sign up with your training partner. It’s also a great way to get involved in your local fitness community!

Spring Training Fitness Tip: Reward Yourself
Don’t forget to take care of your hard-worked body! A sports massage is the perfect way to pamper yourself, while alleviating toxins and speeding up muscle recovery. We love Just Calm Down Spa in New York City; even if you can’t get there, you can still get your hands on the muscle-soothing cream their therapists swear by: Topricin. Rub this fast-absorbing topical pain reliever on after a tough workout and your muscles will thank you.

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