Eight Weeks to a Better Beach Body
The Fitness Institute's Corry Matthews provides advice on how to achieve a better beach body faster.
As the temperature starts heating up, thoughts of hitting the beach and showing more skin are constantly on our minds. Gold's Gym Fitness Institute Member Corry Matthews provides excellent advice on how to achieve a better beach body in just eight weeks!
Set realistic fitness goals. It is important to assess how committed you are prior to setting your fitness goals. Matthews recommends three days of weight training and five days of cardio per week, along with a fresh new "spring" nutrition plan to help you tone your body and lose up to 5 pounds of stored "winter" weight.
Perform any type of cardio five times per week for at least 30 minutes. "The stair-mill and running are two excellent cardio choices," says Matthews. She also recommends taking a high-intensity group exercise class with upbeat music for a challenging cardio workout.
Target your abdominal region. The best exercises to flatten and tighten your abs include regular crunches, reverse crunches, hip lifts, plank and stick turns. It is important to also focus on the main muscle groups in your entire lower body, midsection and triceps.
Motivate yourself to exercise outside. As the weather starts to warm up and more and more people take to the outdoors, the fresh air can help you feel re-energized and ready to take on new routines. Matthews provides the following sample routine for a great outdoor workout:
Read more about Corry Matthews in the Fitness Institute.
Video: What kind of workout is best for your personality?
The Fitness Institute's Robert Reames talks about matching your fitness routine to your personality type for optimal results.
Read more about Robert Reames in the Fitness Institute.
Five Healthy Ways to Lose Weight Fast
The Fitness Institute's Cynthia Conde offers healthy, simple suggestions.
You know the drill when it comes to losing weight - take in fewer calories, burn more calories. But you also know that most diets and quick weight-loss plans have about as much substance as a politician's campaign pledges. You're better off finding several simple things you can do on a daily basis - along with following the cardinal rules of eating more vegetables and less fat and getting more physical activity. Together, they should send the scale numbers in the right direction: down.
Read more about Cynthia Conde in the Fitness Institute.
Outdoor Exercises to Boost your Energy this Spring
Gold's Gym Fitness Director Dan Sullivan discusses the benefits of exercising outdoors.
It's time to start gearing up for the spring and get your body in top-notch shape while enjoying the warm weather. Gold's Gym Fitness Director, Dan Sullivan, discusses the benefits of exercising outdoors and fun activities to help you shed the winter weight.
Exercising outdoors has many benefits. Outdoor activities during the spring are generally perceived as being more enjoyable because we have been stuck indoors all winter long. Therefore, the first chance we have to get outside and experience the warmth and extra daylight we jump at it the opportunity. Even people who hate exercising in a gym can be found outside walking during the summer.
The easiest activity to do outdoors is to go for a walk. "Just about everyone can go for a walk regardless of age and fitness level," says Sullivan. To maximize weight loss, Sullivan suggests adding hand weights or carrying a backpack with weight. Other activities include running, bike riding, rollerblading, basketball, hiking and yard work. Depending on a person's initial fitness level, some activities may be more appropriate than others.
Sports are always a fun way to combine exercise and fun because most people have a certain degree of competitiveness within them. "Team sports are an excellent way to challenge yourself to try harder and work out harder," says Sullivan. Sullivan also recommends running because it becomes a mental as well as a physical challenge and the sense of accomplishment can be very reinforcing.
Exercise must be combined with proper nutrition. Most people need to eat a little bit less and move a little bit more. Staying adequately hydrated can help people lose a few pounds. Sullivan says that most people don't drink enough water during the day therefore, retaining any and all excess fluid that enters the body. "By drinking enough fluid everyday, a person can actually lose a few extra pounds that were actually water weight."
Study shows why Exercise Boosts Brainpower
Research shows that exercise increases brainpower by building new brain cells
Exercise boosts brainpower by building new brain cells in a brain region linked with memory and memory loss, U.S. researchers reported Monday.
Tests on mice showed they grew new brain cells in a brain region called the dentate gyrus, a part of the hippocampus that is known to be affected in the age-related memory decline that begins around age 30 for most humans.
The researchers used magnetic resonance imaging scans to help document the process in mice -- and then used MRIs to look at the brains of people before and after exercise.
They found the same patterns, which suggests that people also grow new brain cells when they exercise.
"No previous research has systematically examined the different regions of the hippocampus and identified which region is most affected by exercise," Dr. Scott Small, a neurologist at Columbia University Medical Center in New York who led the study, said in a statement.
Writing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers said they first tested mice.
Brain expert Fred Gage, of the Salk Institute in La Jolla, California, had shown that exercise can cause the development of new brain cells in the mouse equivalent of the dentate gyrus.
The teams worked together to find a way to measure this using MRI, by tracking cerebral blood volume.
"Once these findings were established in mice, we were interested in determining how exercise affects the hippocampal cerebral blood volume maps of humans," they wrote.
They of course could not dissect the brains of people to see if new neurons grew, but they could use MRI to have a peek.
They recruited 11 healthy adults and made them undergo a three-month aerobic exercise regimen.
They did MRIs of their brains before and after. They also measured the fitness of each volunteer by measuring oxygen volume before and after the training program.
Exercise generated blood flow to the dentate gyrus of the people, and the more fit a person got, the more blood flow the MRI detected, the researchers found.
"The remarkable similarities between the exercise-induced cerebral blood volume changes in the hippocampal formation of mice and humans suggest that the effect is mediated by similar mechanisms," they wrote.
"Our next step is to identify the exercise regimen that is most beneficial to improve cognition and reduce normal memory loss, so that physicians may be able to prescribe specific types of exercise to improve memory," Small said.
Originally published by Reuters, Washington division
Eat the Carbohydrate you Need
Get the real story on carbohydrate for weight control and muscle building.
It's well known that most athletes, strength trainers included, don't eat enough carbohydrate, the primary fuel for the body. Most athletes eat diets in which only half of the total daily calories come from carbohydrate, but 6 to 7 grams of carbohydrate per kilogram of body weight should be consumed daily. That's more than half of an athlete's total calories, and this percentage should be as high as 60 percent for a heavyweight bodybuilder. Lots of bodybuilders practice low-carbohydrate dieting because they believe it promotes faster weight loss. The problem with these diets is that they deplete glycogen, the body's storage form of carbohydrate. Once glycogen stores are emptied, the body starts burning protein from tissues, including muscle tissue, to meet its energy demands. You lose hard-earned muscle as a result.
Many fitness-minded people shy away from foods high in carbohydrate, particularly breads and pasta. They think these foods will make them fat-a myth that is partially responsible for the unbalanced proportion of carbohydrate, fat, and protein in strength-training diets, which are typically too high in protein.
The real story on carbohydrate for weight control and muscle building is that you should select whole-food carbohydrate-natural, complex carbohydrate as close to its natural state as possible-instead of refined, processed carbohydrate. What's the difference? A blueberry is a whole-food carbohydrate; a blueberry toaster muffin is a processed carbohydrate.
One important reason why whole foods are better has to do with their high-fiber content. Fiber is the remnant of plant foods that remains undigested by the body. It's what keeps your bowel movements regular. Fiber is also a proven fat fighter. Research shows that people who eat healthy high-fiber diets have smaller waistlines, for example, and are able to better control their weight. The bottom line is that the right types of carbohydrate can help you manage your weight successfully. The only types of carbohydrate you should shy away from are sugars and highly processed foods. When used in a targeted way, sugars can be an athlete's best friend by providing the right fuel at the right time. But without a plan, they can be fattening.
Originally published by Human Kinetics
Tips from the trainer: The benefits of Weight Training for Women
The Fitness Institute's Cardio and Strength Training expert weighs in on the subject
Many women are too intimated to even go near the weight room while at the gym. They stare in awe at the large weights as they continue their cardio workouts on the treadmill, elliptical machine, bike, etc. What many women don't know is in addition to gaining muscle, there are several health benefits related to weight training! Cardio and Strength Training expert and Gold's Gym Fitness Institute member, Grace DeSimone, shares her expert advice on the benefits of weight training for women.
Feel better. Feeling stronger makes you more confident, energetic and capable. It improves your mood and has been found to aid in fighting depression. A Harvard study found that 10 weeks of strength training reduced clinical depression symptoms more successfully than counseling.
Improve your balance. Stronger muscles and joints reduce the risk of falling.
Make your bones stronger. Combat osteoporosis by retarding bone loss and increasing bone density. Research has found that weight training can increase spinal bone mineral density by 13 % in six months.
Burn fat. Increasing your muscle strength helps burn more calories and fat.
Strengthen your joints and prevent injury. Retard the natural weakening of joints as you age. Strong muscles yield strong bones, joints and connective tissues. They're less prone to injury.
Improve your posture. Years of bad habits wreak havoc on us. Strengthening our upper backs after years of slouching will improve posture dramatically.
Reduce diabetes risk. Adult-onset diabetes is a growing problem. Research indicates that weight training can increase glucose utilization in the body by 23% in four months.
Age independently. Staying strong means we are more able to perform daily activities without assistance.
Look better. Chalk one up for the ol' ego! Muscles will improve your overall appearance. You'll do a double take next time you pass a mirror!
Tips from the Trainer: Advantages of Spin
Gold's Gym Group Exercise Director Carrie Kepple provides expert advice on the advantages of Spinning
Are you looking for a new way to spice up your workout routine? If so, try jumping on a bike and participate in a Spin class! Gold’s Gym Group Exercise Director, Carrie Kepple, provides expert advice on the advantages of Spinning.
Increase cardiovascular health and endurance – Spinners develop a healthy heart and lungs through a series of mixed terrain that challenges them in bursts of speed followed by active, recovery, steady hill climbs and time trials of speed work.
Tone and shape legs – Through proper pedal stroke and positioning on the bike, cyclists are able to sculpt their quadriceps, hamstrings, gluts, calves and abdominals.
Burn large amounts of calories quickly – The average participant burns 700 calories in a 45-minute Spin class! The same participant could jog on the treadmill for 60 minutes and only burn approximately 600 calories.
Strengthen abdominals and hip flexors – If riding correctly, participants will keep their core locked on the entire ride and drive the movement of the pedal stroke from their hips. Participants will see toning results from this secondary work in the core muscles: pyramidalis, rectus abdominus, transverses abdominus, hip flexors, and the internal and external obliques.
Enhance training for the outdoors – Outdoor cyclists that participate in Spin classes are able to build their strength and endurance quickly by controlling their own resistance level throughout the ride. As a result, Spinning indoors leads to stronger outdoor rides and increased personal best time trials.
Have fun while breaking a sweat – Spinning is a great exercise for people of all fitness levels. “The instructor’s job is to make the class fun, while simulating an outdoor ride,” says Kepple. “Music is the key to a great class or ride!”
Love to spin? Read about the national ADA and Gold's Gym Spin-A-Thon event happening across the country on March 31st and find out how YOU can be a part of it!
Top 5 Diet Tips to Change Your Eating Habits
Gold's Gym Nutrition Director Brian Rosenthal offers professional advice on changing bad eating habits and recommends healthy lifestyle changes to help you shed pounds
Does the thought of shopping for a spring break bikini make you want to steer clear of the mall? The holiday sweets might have planted themselves on your love handles, butt, abs and thighs, but don't get discouraged this year! Gold's Gym Nutrition Director, Brian Rosenthal, offers professional advice on changing bad eating habits and recommends healthy lifestyle changes to help you shed pounds.
1. Turn off the TV and eat at the table. Take a moment before eating to acknowledge having the food you have in front of you and slowly appreciate each bite. This will reduce the tendency to overeat.
2. Get the snacks off your desk or coffee table. "Studies have shown over and over, we will eat it just because it is there," says Rosenthal.
3. Forget the diet fads and meet with a dietician or a Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist. Every body is different and what your body needs will be different from your friends, family and colleagues.
4. Eat every three to four hours whether you are hungry or not! By eating small amounts all day, you burn more calories digesting, keep your blood sugar levels normal, reduce cravings and reduce the chance of breaking down muscle.
5. Always have protein when you have carbohydrates. Because protein takes longer to digest, you are less hungry as often.
Rosenthal tells his clients that a healthy lifestyle is an ongoing, moving forward process. "Your body is the way it is based upon a complicated string of events in your past that have resulted in how you are now," said Rosenthal. "Think about your health for a moment. The thought is now in the past. What you do moving forward determines what your health is and will be in the future. That being said, it is important to discover what your body needs in terms of fats, proteins and carbohydrates-and then implement a plan!"
Try the No-Sweat Solution to Better Health
Even moderate physical activity brings big rewards, experts say
For millions of overweight, couch-bound Americans, the word "exercise" conjures up visions of hectic aerobics classes, marathon running or hours-long workouts at the gym.
It's all a bit daunting.
But new research is beginning to change that view. Study after study is showing that small amounts of physical activity -- even walking the dog -- can boost health in unexpected ways.
"For some people, it's as simple as parking their car on the far side of the parking lot and walking, or taking the stairs instead of the elevator. But the more you do, the better," said Dr. Gerald Fletcher, a cardiologist at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla., and a spokesman for the American Heart Association.
More and more, fitness experts and physicians are discovering that exercise, like medicine, works on a dose-response basis -- even a little is good, moderate amounts are better, and vigorous exercise provides even more rewards.
Some evidence from the recent literature:
Fletcher said it's important to get into a good exercise routine, preferably engaging in physical activity at the same time of day, each day. "Also, if you try and exercise two or three times a week, but then take a few days off, that's not as good as doing something most days," he said.
If walking a mile or two seems tough to visualize, he recommends driving it first in your car -- watching the odometer to see just how far a distance it is from your home. "Then, walk to that point each day," he said. Often, a little bit of exercise feels so good it gradually turns into a little bit more, he said.
"You can get more vigorous as you go," Fletcher added. "We consider (walking) a 20-minute mile 'moderate' exercise. Walking or running that mile in 15 minutes gets into the area of 'vigorous exercise.'"
Besides helping to shed pounds and bring a healthy elasticity to your step (and arteries), exercise can help clear the mind, too.
"What the studies are showing is that exercise, at least when performed in a group setting, seems to be at least as effective as standard antidepressants in reducing symptoms in patients with major depression," researcher James Blumenthal, a professor of medical psychology at Duke University in Durham, N.C., told HealthDay.
Right now, just sitting on the sofa for long stretches is probably giving millions of Americans the blues, Fletcher pointed out. "Only about 25 percent of us exercise properly, and about 20 percent do absolutely nothing. The rest are in the middle -- sometimes they do it, sometimes they don't."
Before beginning any exercise routine, it's important to check with your doctor, particularly if you have a history of health problems. Then, once you get clearance, get moving.
The key, Fletcher said, is to start your physical-activity routine with small steps -- literally.
"Walk a little, bike," he said. "Remember, anything you do is better than nothing at all."
By E.J. Mundell
Originally published on HealthDay