Gym Etiquette for Beginners

Let’s face it—the gym can be an intimidating place for the neophyte lifter. But it needn’t be. The gym is the great equalizer: whether you are a corporate CEO or entry level service worker, all of us are made equal in the gym. We can’t buy our physiques; we have to earn them.

Yet that first day can often be the start of a pattern and a lifetime of good. My first introduction to the gym came by way of nautilus (remember them?) machines. A maze of machines with predetermined pathways of motion and a pin to change resistance was my first foray into a world in which we have the power to change our bodies. I didn’t know where to begin, but I did know that the gym was an absolute good place. A place of improvement. A place to work on oneself. And I felt as a then-beginner than I had as much right to be there as anyone else. Continue reading

Complete Physique: Your Ultimate Body Transformation

Complete Physique is the all-in-one 12-week guide to obtaining and maintaining the body you always wanted, from transformation specialist and author, Hollis Lance Liebman.

Complete Physique redefines the body sculpting process, providing the answers you need to get the best body possible while maintaining gains. Progressive workouts create safe, effective and innovative ways to energize your workout and improve your gains. Continue reading

Resolving Resolutions for the New Year

It starts with putting off the promise and the work. If it were easy having the perfect body, everyone would have it. But the truth is, while we can buy most things in life, a body to be proud of, forged in the gym and at the dinner table, cannot be bought. It must be earned. A tailor can make a suit to your exact specifications, for a price. And you can forge your body to look exactly as you want, for a price paid through consistent and imperfect action.

That’s right, I said “imperfect;” consistency yields better results than perfect performance. And so, the first step toward Resolving Resolutions is to look at things differently. Instead of training perfect, eating perfect, breathing perfect, living perfect, let’s take it meal by meal, rep by rep and day by day. Let’s do our personal best every day, laying down a solid brick. Just a brick a day. Continue reading

Top 5 Lower Body Mobility Exercises

These mobility exercises are best done as a warm up to your lower body workouts. They will prime the body for better performance by jump starting the correct muscles. These exercise will also keep you injury free and allow you to train longer and harder. Continue reading

Healthy Baseline: Get a Baseline and Get Moving

Healthy Baseline: Get a Baseline and Get Moving by William Smith, MS, NSCA, CSCS, MEPD

Often clients will ask how much physical activity is recommended to maintain and improve health? My response is essentially the same. There are two key questions that need to be answered first: Continue reading

Natural Ways to Tighten Loose Skin

Natural Ways to Tighten Loose Skin by Jo Brielyn

You’ve been working hard to lose weight and the results are showing, but you may notice that you have sagging skin covering those areas you’re trying so hard to improve. Extra skin hanging around can be frustrating and embarrassing. When your body loses weight and fat, some loose skin will appear but don’t give up or lose hope. The good news is that your skin is a living organ that will slowly transform to a shape that fits your new figure.

Your skin is an amazingly elastic living organ that has the ability to stretch as you move and grow. Skin is made up of cells, fibers, blood vessels, and elastic connective tissues that can stretch or contract depending on how they are affected. When there is weight and fat loss, the elastic elements of your skin lose the layers of fat that keep them stretched. They also don’t have much time for their elasticity to adapt to your new shape, especially if you lose weight quickly.

Factors like your age and how much weight you’ve lost affect how quickly loose skin tightens back up, but there are some actions you can take to help your skin speed up that process and tighten more effectively.

 

What Can You Do to Tighten Loose Skin Naturally?

 

Avoid drastic diets, yo-yo diets, and over-exercising to lose weight. Losing weight quickly causes your body to shed both fat and muscle. That means the underlying muscles that hold your skin against your body and the fat that keeps the skin stretched out are both lost. The result will be a lot more loose skin hanging with nothing to grab onto for support. Also, if you always seem to be gaining and losing weight – especially if it’s more than 25 pounds each time – you are yo-yo dieting. Methods of weight loss like that put a lot of stress on your body, including your skin. Instead, make key lifestyle changes to your eating and exercising routines and stick with them. Aim for losing 1 to 2 pounds per week.

Include muscle-building exercises in your workouts. Adding weights and strength training to your regimen will help build lean muscles while maintaining a healthy body fat percentage. It is possible to lose weight solely with diet and cardio, but you will also lose muscle with that fat. Strength training builds lean muscles that fill in the looseness of the skin and create a visibly tighter, more toned look. This applies to you whether you’re just beginning your weight loss journey or have already lost the weight. Don’t neglect the weights and resistance.

Hydrate your body! Water is a vital factor in maintaining skin elasticity, so this is one more reason why you should always replenish your body with plenty of water through drinks and foods. The Institute of Medicine recommends that men consume roughly 3 quarts (about 13 cups) of total beverages a day and women consume 2.2 quarts (about 9 cups) of total beverages a day. You can also read more about the connection between water and weight here.

Feed your body properly. In order for skin to remain elastic and healthy, proper amounts of two naturally occuring proteins found in animals – collagen and elastin – are needed. Be sure to include protein-rich foods like legumes, tofu, beans, seeds, nuts, fish, cottage cheese, and milk in your diet. They contain the components that form collagen and elastin and also have oils that will work to keep your skin healthy.

Note: To achieve optimal protein absorption, try to consume 100-200 calories of your protein sources immediately following your workout.

Pamper your skin. Whether you’re a man or a woman, it’s important to take time to care for your skin. Your skin is always at work protecting your body and takes quite a beating from several elements. Avoid using harsh detergents – like the sulfates found in many shampoos, soaps, and dishwashing liquids. Sulfates can irritate and dry out your skin, which will strip away moisture and make it less elastic. Also, limit your exposure to sun and chlorinated water. They will affect the elasticity of your skin. Exfoliate your skin regularly (sea salt scrubs work well) to get rid of dead skin cells and increase circulation. Also, apply a lotion or cream to your skin daily that contains ingredients like aloe vera, soy protein and vitamins C, E and A to hydrate your skin and increase collagen and elastin formation.

 

Keep in mind that your skin did not stretch overnight. It isn’t realistic to expect that it will rebound that quickly either. In fact, the natural skin-tightening process after weight loss generally takes from six months to two years, depending on factors such as your age, how much weight was lost, and your genetics. Be patient. Continue your healthy fitness regimine, incorporate the skin-tightening and skincare basics mentioned above, and you will see results.

 

 

JO BRIELYN is an author and contributing writer for Get Fit Now and has currently completed 16 nonfiction books about health and wellness. Jo is the founder, writer, and editor of Creative Kids Ideas, a resource website that supplies parents, teachers, and family members with the tips and fun ideas to help build stronger, happier, and more creative kids. She is also the writer behind Good-For-Your-Health.com. Jo is a veteran of the United States Air Force and a former youth leader. She resides in Central Florida with her husband and their two daughters. Jo is the co-author of Combat Fat for Kids.

Water and Your Weight: What's the Connection?

Does Water Affect Weight? by Stew Smith

Most people do not drink enough water in a day PERIOD. The Mayo Clinic states, “Water is your body’s principal chemical component, making up, on average, 60 percent of your body weight. Every system in your body depends on water. For example, water flushes toxins out of vital organs, carries nutrients to your cells and provides a moist environment for ear, nose and throat tissues. Lack of water can lead to dehydration, a condition that occurs when you don’t have enough water in your body to carry out normal functions. Even mild dehydration can drain your energy and make you tired.”

The Institute of Medicine advises that men consume roughly 3 quarts (about 13 cups) of total beverages a day and women consume 2.2 quarts (about 9 cups) of total beverages a day. Total beverages includes water and other drinks as well.

As with most things in health / nutrition and exercise, there is always some study that disproves another study.

Many doctors agree that eight ounces of water – eight times a day (2 quarts) has no scientific backing. This is true!  Water intake does not and probably should not have a universal standard as water intake depends on the individual / environment / activity level, etc…

The explanation of this question has a few levels of details, so it is broken up in the following sections:

 

Daily Weight Gain

By drinking more water per day, you will have a series of weight gains throughout the day as a quart (32 oz) of water weighs two pounds.  So, while you read this article and sip from a 32 oz glass, you will gain two lbs in the next 90 minutes.  Now, you will also likely be interrupted by Mother Nature and lose 1-2 lbs from the previous 32 oz glass of water you drank. So, yes, drinking water does affect weight significantly enough to be seen on a scale immediately. Usually, in a 24 hour period, you will cycle through this process of gaining water weight and losing water weight and have either a net loss or stable weight for the day.

 

What About Weight Loss?

Remember this saying – “Want to Lose weight? – Just Add Water!”  Adding more water to your diet will help you lose weight a few ways. (1) You will not be as hungry when drinking water through the day because your stomach will constantly have something flowing through it. (2) When your body realizes it is getting enough water, it will allow you to release retained waters from your cells through digestion.

Have you ever felt bloated, hands and feet puffy, belly extended? This is your body holding onto water. It could also be a symptom of a variety of medical issues so alerting your doctor is never a bad idea when bloated for long periods of time with no relief. But it is easily removed by adding water if you are just bloated due to dehydration or high sodium diet.

 

Replacement of Water Lost

Humans sweat, digest and breathe. All three are processes that help our bodies to expel water. These fluids should be replaced and, depending on your activity level and environment, your replacement may be significantly different from someone with another lifestyle. Regardless, everyone needs water. The amazing thing about the human body is that it is capable of pulling water out of every piece of food we eat. So, by eating, you can actually survive and have enough water in your body to excrete toxins, sweat (some), and breathe. You can also lose significant weight through sweating (like wrestlers cutting weight). This is not healthy since you are also losing vital electrolytes that are not replaced and will negatively affect performance and could cause death. However, what performance fitness experts agree on is that additional water will help us perform better by staving off dehydration, overheating, and even heat stroke.  A common formula is to take 1/2 to 2/3 of your body weight in pounds and replace that many ounces of water in a 24 hour period. For instance, an individual who weighs 200lbs should typically get 100 oz. of water a day – especially after exercise.

 

How Much is Too Much Water?

A few years ago there was a water drinking contest on the radio that actually caused someone to die from water intoxication. The person had downed nearly two gallons within a short period of time (less than 2 hours). This forced her body to shut down, causing kidney failure as well as electrolyte imbalances that affected all organ function. Many endurance athletes have died from the same issues, however they sweat profusely and re-hydrated with ONLY water and had the same electrolyte imbalances that caused death.  When drinking water after sweating profusely, you should consider foods or supplements with electrolytes (sodium, potassium, etc) so that does not happen. You can also read more about hydration and how to recover from your workouts.

 

Does Water Affect Weight Loss? Take the 10 Day Challenge

Over the course of ten days, you can see significant weight loss by adding water to your daily intake. So, take this 10 Day Challenge and see for yourself.For the next ten days, chart your extra water consumption to show you that a few quarts of water a day will make you feel better, make skin look better, make you less hungry, and best of all help you release water that is retained in your body’s cells.

— Weigh yourself in the morning, after using the bathroom and in the evening after dinner.

— Try adding 2-3 quarts a day for men and 1-2 quarts a day for women and see what happens!

 

Note: If you are already consuming the above amounts there is no need to try this 10 Day Challenge or add more water to your diet.

 

STEWART SMITH, USN, is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, a former Navy SEAL, and author of several fitness books including The Complete Guide to Navy SEAL Fitness, The Special Ops Workout, Maximum Fitness, and The S.W.A.T. Workout. Stew has trained thousands of students for Navy SEAL, Special Forces, SWAT, FBI, ERT, and many other military, law enforcement, and fire fighter professions. He is currently the Special Ops Team Coach at the US Naval Academy that prepares future candidates for SEAL, EOD, and MARSOC training and runs a non-profit called Heroes of Tomorrow where he trains people seeking tactical professions for free.

Magic Weight Loss Pills and Diets: Do They Work?

If diet pills and “special” weight loss supplements worked, there would be fewer overweight people in America. Weight loss pills and diets for that matter are both ineffective and potentially harmful; long-term health-oriented programs should replace them. The weight loss pills contain ingredients that are not regulated by any scientific research or government department like the Food and Drug Administration. Notice on any supplement the statement next to the asterisk:  “*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.”

The problem with skipping meals and doing low calorie diets, is you lose too much muscle also in the weight loss process. Muscle determines the overall metabolic rate of the body, so if muscle is lost, the metabolic rate will be reduced and you will burn fewer calories than before your diet. When you return to a normal pattern of eating again, the lower metabolic rate will result in rapid weight gain. Have you ever heard of the YO-YO diet? You need to exercise the muscles to best burn calories. Weights, calisthenics, rubber bands, anything to produce resistance on major muscle groups will help keep your metabolism high.

The other problem with having a low level of lean muscle tissue is the feeling of fatigue. Fatigue is a bi-product of people looking for an easy way to lose weight that delivers quick results. No such HEALTHY approach exists, yet the “nutrition / fitness” supplement industry continues to misguide people into believing that fast weight loss can be achieved with minimum effort. It can, but it is unhealthy and will not deliver those results long term unless a lifestyle change occurs.

A lifestyle change includes regular exercise, a sensible approach to healthy eating and the right mental attitude. You don’t have to be a chef to follow a sensible diet, but if you are addicted to sodas and fast food, you will have to break those habits if the program is going to work properly.

The sample meal plans here are examples of good nutrition. Of course, you are totally free to invent your meal plans, and the food table that’s included is a valuable guide. The single most useful piece of wisdom is this: COMMON SENSE.  People know what foods are healthy and unhealthy. Follow the inner voice!

The average male requires 2,000 calories per day and females 1500 calories per day. This should be your target even if you are significantly overweight. The program will help you naturally lose weight, provided you don’t overeat. Remember, if you lower your caloric intake below the minimum recommended levels, your body will eventually adapt to it, and you will cease to lose weight.

 

Preparation of Food

Do not fry foods if possible. Broil, grill, steam or bake. Microwaving foods is often a good alternative. These methods allow fat to drain while cooking. Frying adds significant amounts of fat (now you understand why fast foods are so bad for you).

Trim fat from meat, and remove skin from poultry. Avoid real mayonnaise and heavy dressing.  Try mustard and light dressing like vinegarettes, Italian etc..

Eat vegetables raw or steamed (I understand that many folks cannot digest raw vegetables). Steaming allows you to control the crispness or “crunchiness” of the vegetables. Over cooking vegetables destroys vitamins.

 

Proteins

Lean meats:

·         Chicken breast

·         Fish

·         Turkey breast

·         Lean beef (sirloin, round, flank).

·         Eggs (boiled is preferred method)

Some Non-starchy vegetables:

·         Asparagus

·         Green beans

·         Carrots

·         Cauliflower

·         Celery

·         Cucumbers

·         Lettuce (all varieties), but note: iceberg is not a good source of vitamins/minerals

·         Onions

·         Peppers (green, red, jalapeno, etc.)

·         Spinach

·         String beans

·         Squash (summer varieties only)

Some Fresh fruits (not dried or canned) and easy for on the road snacks:

·         Apples

·         Melons (cantaloupe, honeydew)

·         Cherries

·         Grapes

·         Nectarines

·         Oranges

·         Peaches

·         Plums

·         Raspberries

·         Strawberries

Starchy carbohydrates:

·         Brown rice

·         Potatoes (with skins)

·         Yams and sweet potatoes

·         Oatmeal (rolled oats)

·         Cream of Rice

·         Beans (lima and kidney)

 

Water and Beverages

Drink plenty of water daily. As a guide, you should be drinking at least 0.66 x body weight, in ounces per day. So, if you’re a 180 lb male, that’s nearly 7.5 lb of water, or 3.4 liters. Lack of water lowers energy level. Severe dehydration is dangerous, so when exercising, or in hot conditions, drink more water than what is recommended above. Often people confuse hunger with dehydration. Next time you think you are hungry in between meals, drink a few glasses of water. It helps!

 

STEWART SMITH, USN, is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, a former Navy SEAL, and author of several fitness books including The Complete Guide to Navy SEAL Fitness, The Special Ops Workout, Maximum Fitness, and The S.W.A.T. Workout.

Nutrition Strategies for Optimal Fitness Results by Stew Smith

When to eat and what to eat are constant questions that affect your fitness and health goals as well as your weight loss desires. The answer will vary depending on your goal, but understanding the After, Before, During (ABD’s) of workout nutrition will better help all groups (performance athletes, weight losers, general health clients) reach their personal goals.

This understanding of what foods and drinks work best for fat loss and health gains requires a constant search for the individual. Here are some suggestions that will help you figure out what to eat and when to eat it.

 

For the Health and Fitness / Body Fat Reduction Goal:

If you are trying to drop some unwanted pounds and get healthy, proper nutrition and a well arranged workout plan are vital to you achieving that goal. You have to experiment with the types of exercise that will create a good caloric burn, as well as find sources of lower calorie foods that work best for your energy level. Keep track of how you feel during workouts whether they are higher intensity resistance training or lower intensity cardio since it will typically measure if you are eating enough quality foods. If you have significant weight (40+ lbs) to lose, try some non impact cardio options like biking, elliptical gliders, swimming, aqua-jogging, rowing etc.

 

The Fat Burning Workout:

If your goal is to burn fat, your workout should get you into a fat burning zone by the time you are finished exercising for the day.  The arrangement of your workout should be calisthenics or weights first followed by steady, aerobic cardio of your choice. Basically, go hard the first half of your workout and burn your blood sugar (anaerobic activity burns glycogen) as your prime energy source first. This can take about 15-20 minutes of intense workout depending on the amount of food you have eaten before the workout of the day. Once you are feeling burned out from that section of anaerobic activity, it is now time to go aerobic and get into fat burning mode.

 

When is the best fat burning time? —- The ideal time is immediately after waking and before having any food.
 

AFTER WORKOUT: Here is where you can stay in fat burning mode a little longer. If you delay eating carbs immediately after your workout for another 30-60 minutes you will be fine and actually still be using fat as your primary energy source. Throughout the next several hours of the day your metabolism will be higher thus burning more calories than having NOT exercised that morning. After a while, you will need to eat good carbohydrates (fruits and vegetables) and a protein serving to recover from the workout. Limit the carbohydrates in a day and try to eliminate sugar. Find what carbs and proteins work best for you and your energy requirements for the day (work, home, kids, etc). For a quick fix and in replacement of food in a pinch, you may choose to have some whey protein powder in milk. You still need to prepare for the next workout session by eating something even though you are trying to lose weight.

BEFORE WORKOUT: If you are working out to lose weight and get healthier, depending on your workout intensity, you may not need to have a pre-workout meal. (If your goal is to get into fat burning mode, the fewer carbs you eat prior to workout will decrease the amount of time and effort required to get into that fat burning and low glycogen mode). If you like to work out immediately after you wake up, you are at your lowest in blood sugar for the day. Now is the time to take a short burst of intense exercise then follow it with what is called conversational paced cardio. If you can talk and be a little winded you are in prime fat burning zone.

DURING WORKOUT: Unless you are working out for extended periods of time to get used to 8-10 hours of some sort of specialized training, food intake during normal hour long (or shorter) workouts is not needed. Just drink water to stay hydrated and if you are sweating profusely in the humid, summer heat you should follow with a serving or two of electrolytes to replace what you lose while sweating.

 

Here are some great ideas for protein, carbs, and fats:

Carbohydrate Options: Multi grain breads and pastas, brown rice, cereals, good carbs like vegetables (romaine lettuce, broccoli, asparagus, carrots), and fruits, (tomatoes, strawberries, apples, berries, oranges, grapes, and bananas ) make great carbohydrates for energy. Stay away from white breads, pastas, rice and any flour baked products. Sugar is your killer – eliminate or at the minimum reduce sugary drinks and replace them with water and unsweetened drinks.

Protein Options: Meats, fish, chicken, eggs, nuts, almonds, beans, milk, milk shakes with additional whey protein powder (optional), peanut butter.Try eating boiled eggs and salads in between meals during snack time, or have a few servings with a main course of meat or fish for a good balance of plant and animal protein.

Fat Options: Fish, nuts, olive oils, omega 3 fortified products (milk, margarine, peanut butter).

 

The ABD’s of HYDRATION

Anyone who works out needs to hydrate during workouts to stay cool and avoid over-heating and/or dehydration especially during excessively sweaty workouts, but you also need to add electrolytes (sodium potassium, magnesium, calcium as well.) Foods rich in many of these elements are essential to your recovery from significant water and electrolyte loss. Read How to Recover Fast from Hazy, Hot and Humid Workouts for tips on staying hydrated.

 

STUART FISCHER, M.D., a graduate of Yale University, completed his residency at Maimonides Hospital in Brooklyn, and served as an Attending Physician at Cabrini Medical Center in New York City. He also worked with the late Dr. Robert Atkins as the Associate Medical Director of the Atkins Center. His expertise in alternative medicine, nutrition, and weight loss, is complemented by his strong traditional, hospital-based education. He is the author of The Little Book of Big Medical Emergencies and The Park Avenue Diet.