Thursday, September 29, 2011

Age-Defying Muscles

"It's bad business getting older, and I would advise you not to do it!" Those words from Woody Allen on his experience with aging.  If only it was a matter of choice, and too many of us avoid the proven alternative.  Because the truth is that there is an established method and strategy that will let you grow old with some grit and grace, and its name is strength training through muscle confusion.

At around the age of 40, our bodies slowly and progressively begin to lose strength.  We lose about a quarter of a pound of muscle every year, or roughly 1 to 2 percent loss in strength!  What's happening is the aging process breaks down muscle, known as sarcopenia.   Your muscles up until the age of 40 are naturally able to synthesize enough proteins to grow and maintain muscle.  However, the bodies ability to keep up with the demands of life begins to wane.

Thankfully, the remedy to slow down this phenomenon is readily available.  Weights are the fountain of youth and the age-defying muscle builders!  Combined with a nutritional diet of lean proteins, we can put a halt to the decline and actually reverse the trend.  More muscle means you'll be more mobile, lower your risks and incidence of heart disease, obesity, certain cancers, and diabetes as well as increased quality of living.  Just ask someone who hasn't kept up with exercise and good eating about the quality of their life and you will usually find that they will encourage you to start doing those things as early as possible in life so that you can truly have some golden years. 

Fitness experts recommend that all healthy adults do strength training exercises at least two to three days a week.  It is also recommended to concentrate your muscle exercises on all six of the major muscle groups:  chest, shoulders, arms, abdomen, legs, and back.  The easiest and least expensive way to get into a weight training program is to use hand weights and or exercise bands combined with body resistance training, and that simply means using your own body weight.  If you want the most bang for your buck, you don't need to invest in expensive machines and pulley systems.  Your body is the fitness machine.  I strongly recommend the at home fitness program created by Tony Horton for Beach Body called P90X.

What I like about P90X is it gives me a structured, easy to follow, total body workout and nutritional guidance that is bringing me what I view as amazing results!  It's for all levels of fitness, so whether you're just a beginner or need to take your workouts to the next level, you're going to get exactly what you need!  Don't just take my word for it, there are thousands of success stories on Youtube and a few that I've shared here on my Rx For Fitness and Health blog.

To wrap it up, let me suggest some training tips for guaranteed success: 

1.  Always warm up prior to your workout!  Do some light jogging on the spot, some squats, arm circles and or push ups, jumping jacks and light stretching that will raise your heart rate slowly and get the muscles warm and ready for the workout.

2.  When performing any strength training exercise, watch your form in the moves by lifting with precision and controlled.

3.  Do NOT hold your breath.  Just breathe.  Focus on exhaling during the hard part of the lift.

4.  Start with a lighter weight and more repetitions for toning and to get the form first, then heavy up for fewer reps and for building more muscle.

5.  Do not over exert yourself or over extend your joints beyond comfort. Push yourself a little out of your comfort zone, but If it HURTS, STOP.

6.  Train the larger muscles first, such as your pecs, lats, glutes, quads and hamstrings, and then work your way to the smaller muscles of your hips, arms and shoulders.

7.  Leave your abdominal and core muscles training for the end.  You need these muscles fresh to help stabilize your body during weight lifting.

8.  Proper Rest and recovery is critical, so wait 48 hours between training the same set of muscles again.

9.  Lift with purpose, don't just lift, but focus on it and squeeze!.  Set goals and write them down and work hard to attain them!

The different workouts of P90X are based on a training concept called periodization, or "muscle confusion." This method of cross-training is achieved through switching the order of exercises and incorporating new moves and varied movements. From my own experience now using the method for the past 8 months has prevented my body from adapting to exercises over time and resulting in continual improvement without plateaus.  It has provided the perfect balance for strength training and my muscles have developed and continue to build in mass.  I feel stronger, have more energy, sleep fantastic and enjoy a quality of life at the age of 48 that I now feel like I had in my twenties!  If Tony Horton can do it at the age of 52, you too can have age-defying muscles if you decide, commit and succeed!  It's never too late to get started, so what are you waiting for?  "Why not you?  Why not you to do something for work that you love?  Why not you to have a healthy body?  Why not you to have a healthy love?  Why not you to be, have or do anything you have ever dreamed of?  We are so quick to think others are deserving over ourselves.  The truth is that we are ALL deserving, SO WHY NOT YOU?!!"  - Jillian Michaels

Monday, September 26, 2011

Take Back Your Life!

Before you are tempted to buy that new high-definition plasma television, before you sign up for a 500-channel satellite dish, before you allow a TV set in your child's bedroom, consider this:

Your television viewing may be slowly killing you.

On average, American adults now watch more than four hours of television per day. That's four hours wasted every day, four hours squandered on gaping into the vapid, make-believe world of the little screen. That's four hours not spent talking with loved ones, helping kids with homework, volunteering in one's community or doing any of the wonderful things that bring meaning to life. That's one-sixth of your time on earth. Can it be any surprise then that more than half of American adults are now overweight, and nearly one-third are clinically obese? Television viewing is the number-one cause of physical inactivity, and physical inactivity is now the number-two preventable cause of death, behind smoking.

The time that we are parked in front of our television screens is time lost for playing outside, for taking a walk or for engaging in a new sport. It's time spent in an unnatural state of physical deprivation, a sedentary state that over time puts us at greater risk of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and arthritis. But the hours we spend sitting still in front of our televisions are only part of the problem. The advertisements we watch on TV overwhelmingly push an unhealthy diet rich in fat, sugar and salt. Sugary breakfast cereals, fast-food meals, candy, soda, beer and other processed foods account for nearly all the food advertisements served up on television. How can a public health message like eating five or more fruits and vegetables a day compete with the billion-dollar marketing of junk food on the tube? It can't, and research shows that the more television people watch, the less healthy are their diets.

The detrimental impact of television on children is even more distressing. The percentage of overweight children in the United States alone has more than doubled in the last generation, and obesity among young people is highly correlated with the hours of television they have watched. On average, kids today spend more time watching television than they spend attending school. When they stare for hours at television screens, children aren't running, jumping or playing in ways that are essential for the formation of healthy bones and muscles. They aren't exercising their imaginations, creating their own games, and interacting with their peers. They aren't developing the most crucial skill needed in today's information-based economy: reading.

Instead, our children are numbed by television into a state that experts call "attentional inertia," a TV-induced stupor marked by lowered brain activity, passivity and dulled emotional responses. In this deprived sleep state they are exposed to more than 14,000 sexual references on television in a year's time, and they witness more than 200,000 acts of violence by age 18, including 16,000 murders. They are subjected to more than 20,000 television ads each year, including advertising that is inherently deceptive for young children who unknowingly accept marketing claims as truth.

The time has come to recognize the harmful effects of our television habit and take action. Beginning today, each of us needs to get up from the couch, turn off the TV, and get involved in more creative, active and social pursuits. An obvious time to start a TV-free lifestyle is at the dinner hour. Today about 40 percent of families say they regularly watch television while eating dinner. Turn off the television when you eat tonight, enjoy some good food and get to know the people you live with again.

Despite what the TV networks and cable stations want us to believe, we aren't missing anything of value if we choose to live with little or no television. Stronger and healthier bodies, more powerful minds and more cohesive families: we have all this to gain, and more, when we take back our lives from our TV sets.

Take the TV Free Challenge for one week!

Monday, September 19, 2011

4 Superfoods You Should Add to Your Diet

I recommend this article! I eat a variety of super foods, including the ones mentioned in the article with the exception of yumberries. But check out my blog post back in June in the archive on the fantastic fitness foods!

4 Superfoods You Should Add to Your Diet

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Exercise Is For Life

When I exercise I feel great and I know I'm better for it.  My stress levels are less, I've been sleeping better and I would say that my energy level is stronger.  Exercise has also been of great benefit in clearing out the external negativity that constantly seems to want to feed my mind.  With all these pros, ask yourself, why do I lose interest in working out so fast?  Why do we fall back into old habits so easily?  What is it about those people who have been able to stick to it and be a success?

Let's face it, exercise, especially if you haven't done it for a long time because of a sedentary and lazy lifestyle, is very daunting.  It's darn right hard work and very challenging.  Some of the benefits I've experienced are not instantly gained right at the start of a new program.  In fact, at first, my workouts left me very sore and very tired!  I experienced shortness of breath, my joints hurt, my muscles ached for days, I felt drained and at times wondered why even bother, we all die anyway right?  There were times when I could barely finish even half of the workouts in the beginning.  It was a real struggle!  I'd put the P90X DVD disk into the player and pace the floor delaying the inevitable decision to push the play button.  I didn't see results immediately, because the truth is nobody does.  It takes time to get over the hump of pain. The rewards for those who persevere far exceed the pain that must precede the victory!  It took me time to see the results and benefits of eating healthy and working out.  It took a little time before I really began to accept and actually enjoy the workouts.  But just know that eventually, you will too, so don't give up, stick to it, and as Tony Horton says, just "do your best and forget the rest!" 

Remember my friends that EFFORT is a solo performance that only you can perform.  No else can do this for you. Someone may inspire you and you may feel motivated to make a decision, but it is entirely up to you to succeed at your goals.  Believe in yourself and trust WHY you are doing this.  It's not a 90 day program, a 180 day program or a 360 day destination.  It may very well start out that way, but then your vision changes and you begin to see a much bigger picture, a picture for a healthier lifestyle that doesn't end when the the weight loss or the muscle gain is reached.  In the beginning, setting some smart goals is very important.  What do you want to accomplish and why?  How are you going to get there?  When do you want to achieve your goal by?  P90X, or for that matter any exercise program that you will stick to, is a valuable tool to accomplishing your dreams.

Many professionals recommend a personal fitness trainer to assist you on your fitness journey.  May I recommend Tony Horton as he's been there for me the entire time, both through the extreme home fitness program P90X and through the website Team Beachbody.  There's no way I could afford a personal trainer all the time, but Tony Horton at the age of 52, seen to the right, helps you with the basics as a beginner, pushing you toward a striver level and then to an extreme warrior athlete!  Look where I was when I started out in February of this year and how far I've come since then!  Wouldn't you agree that it's an incredible transformation?  Wouldn't you like to experience it for yourself and why everyone who has gone through this is so excited about what life now has to offer!  You don't need a gym membership.  You don't need to feel embarrassed showing up to a fitness center when your home and a few simple and basic tools is all you'll need.  Just show up at home and start to make this a daily habit.

Remember, you want to exercise and you want to feel good.  You want to have an enjoyable experience and one that is positive.  I want to tell you how positive and encouraging Tony Horton is, but you will know for yourself after he inspires you to do better than you have ever done before.  Get involved with others through online support groups.  Again, you do not need a gym or club membership, you just need to decide, commit and succeed!  Yes, it is a struggle, but it's a predictable outcome based on the success of so many individuals before you.  The path to health and fitness has many side roads, many pitfalls, many valleys and peaks that will ultimately lead to your success.  Effort is a solo performance that only you can perform.  Exercise is for life and it's bright future is in your hands!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Nutrient Efficiency

Walk the aisle of the Big Food supermarket and you'll see words on labels like enriched or fortified.  That's because virtually everything from cereals, bread, canned foods and pretty much everything, with the exception of the fruit and vegetable section, can be considered processed junk food!  If it comes in a box, a bag, a can or a wrapper that's a pretty good indicator the food has been altered from its natural whole state with hardly any nutrients remaining.  So the food manufacturer slaps on a larger healthy label to appeal to your desire to eat better. Big Food knows that "health" sells.

Sure the processed foods contain proteins, carbs and fats.  All the food we eat contain these energy giving dense macro nutrients.  However, that's only half the story.  The other half are the micro and phyto nutrients missing from the processed foods touted to contain all the "8 essential vitamins and minerals" your body needs.  When we fuel up on these processed foods that are "fortified" or "enriched" we may find ourselves eating even more of the same food to fill in the bodies need for more nutrients to sustain itself and function properly.  Your body needs energy, but it also needs nutrition from the calories you consume.  Low nutrient foods that are high in calories will give you some energy, but your body will feel like it's starving from malnutrition, and so you simply eat more and more because you still feel hungry.  What your body really is crying out for is nutrient dense calories instead of filling up on empty calories.  It's a vicious cycle of feeling the need to eat because you're lacking nutrients, yet the more you eat the processed foods the worse your body will feel which leads to overeating and an unhealthy weight. 

Natural whole foods contain hundreds of varying things that our bodies can use for defense and promote good health.  So rather than try to add nutrients back into food that's been stripped through processing, it's much easier to simply eat a living organism that is full of nutrition and satisfies your body's requirements.  One of the keys to shedding extra weight and maintaining good health is to get as many nutrients as possible from each calorie you eat.  Begin by eliminating the dirty dozen and start to add nutritional food into your diet.  Throw away and stop buying the stuff in bags and boxes and make veggies and fruits the cornerstone of your diet. 

We humans are omnivores, meaning we eat both plants and animals that are loaded with everything needed to sustain life.  Vegetables are among the most nutrient dense foods you can fuel up on.  You simply cannot over eat on vegetables that are full of fibre.  Fruits in their natural whole state too are chock full of nutrients.  If you want to melt away unwanted pounds and improve your health by supplying your body with energy and nutrition, eat fantastic fitness foods!  That strategy is not what the food industry is trying to shove down your throat!  Don't buy into their deceptive labels and be bamboozled by slick marketing!  Get REAL with your food and live life to its fullest.

Friday, September 9, 2011

The (Unsurprising) Truth About Toning Shoes

For all the hype, do toning shoes work?  Have there been any peer reviewed studies?  Do the claims of manufacturers stand up to scrutiny?

"Helps tone legs and bum more than regular trainers. Reebok EasyTone with balanced ball inspired technology. Better legs and better bum with every step."

I've said it before and I'll say it again, there's no magic pill, no magic cure or any secret remedy to strengthening your body and becoming fit.   I agree with the author that "you can never achieve “lean” or “toned”  legs/bum/abs/neck/arms/etc by simply exercising that body part more.  I repeat – body shaping doesn’t work.  The only way to achieve a lean/toned look in any area of your body is to simply have a low amount of body fat."

The (Unsurprising) Truth About Toning Shoes

You want to know how I am getting lean, toned and gaining muscle all over my body?  By simply eating healthier and working out 5-6 times a week!  Just see for yourself in this video of me bringing it!

It's never too late to start changing bad habits, habits that can shave years off your life and impact the quality of your life. So, if you want the straight dope on fueling your body with nutritious food and what to avoid, I'm here to help and it won't cost you a penny for the free advice based on my own experience and what has worked for me. I hope you'll follow my blog and provide me with some feedback on my posts. I'll be catering good choices that include both dietary and lifestyle changes. So if you could use a boost to your engine, buckle up for the ride of your life and let's get started!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Acts like a salad. Tastes like a dessert!

So here's the thing, I'm a huge skeptic when it comes to certain health claims.  I get even more suspicious about the product by the way in which a company markets their product. There are just so many businesses that want you to spend your dollars on what they claim is THE BEST thing since sliced bread that will turn your health around. I've avoided these marketing schemes like the plague and instead have chosen to focus on the very best whole foods that money can buy, as well as a mutli-vitamin/mineral supplement. I've also been investing in my health by buying and using a quality whey isolate protein powder as a way to up my lean protein intake. As seen by my results so far, it's proven to be a very successful combination in regaining control of my health and fitness over the past 6 months. I'm living proof that if you want results and are willing to put in the exercise work and eat healthy, you can have amazing results.

There is a catch though. I've had plenty of time available to me to achieve my goals, but some people are not so fortunate and don't have the luxury of hand preparing every single meal to maximize their nutrition. I on the other hand have. However, I just don't think I'm getting my money's worth on spending about 120 dollars a month on my current supplements and protein powders. They've been a huge asset to my health, but what if there was a something that offered even better nutrition, tasted great and I didn't have to eat huge bowls of fruits and vegetables to equal the nutrition, for about the same as what I'm spending now? What if I could replace just one of my daily meals and still have a way to fully nourish my body with super nutrients for optimal health? What if I could save myself some time and a little money while at the same time losing weight, reducing my cravings, increasing my energy levels and stamina and have a healthy digestive system? I'd be all for that!

Many people struggle with finding the right solution that works for them to lose unwanted pounds. We all know we need to eat foods that supply our bodies with essential nutrients, natural whole foods that maintain the vitamins, minerals and fiber, but that are stripped from highly processed foods. I have gone out of my way to boost my health by consuming superfoods such as maca root, goji berries, bee pollen, amaranth, quinoa, green tea, chia seeds, spinach, pineapple and blueberries to name just a few. I've been adding these superfoods to my home made green smoothies which I consume daily when I can't have a sit down meal or the time to prepare and cook a meal. My smoothies have made a huge difference in my diet and improved my health. Our bodies need ingredients it can easily absorb and utilize. It needs the combination of digestive enzymes, prebiotics, antioxidants, phytonutrients, essential amino acids and many other ingredients that frankly I am still lacking despite my very best efforts to eat clean. Even eating all the servings of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains every day does not supply me with complete nutrition for maximum performance. I want the best octane fuel for the race of life

Imagine combining 70 natural ingredients into one drink! There's no way possible for me to do that in my vita-mix blender, no matter how hard I were to try, and I throw a LOT of ingredients into my home made green smoothies as you can see. I recently tried to get my brother to give my smoothie a try and he couldn't even get one swallow down! He said it tasted like grass! Even my coworkers mock me and make fun of my smoothies! LOL!! However, I know it's healthier than processed and fast foods, and I've probably grown accustomed to it gradually as I've added more and more to my smoothies. But wouldn't it be great if you could get over 70 natural ingredients into one smoothie that acts like a salad but tastes like a dessert! I want a health food that has proven results! I want it backed by good solid scientific research! It must leave me feeling full and satisifed and contain only the best of superfoods that are avaialable on the market at a fair price. So I've decided to put it to the test.

Like I said, I'm a huge skeptic and don't lightly make decisions when it involves my money and my health. But an investment with proven results is certainly something that deserves my attention. I'm also very careful about what I might recommend to my friends and family. I've put off for six months giving this product a fair shake, no pun intended. LOL! But I'm at a point where I want to take my fitness goals to a whole new level and my body is going to need the perfect combination in order to transform into a lean mean machine. I need this food to help build muscles, improve my skin and hair, support a clear mind and mental clarity, improve my mood and reduce my cravings. I need this food to reduce the free radicals that cause oxidative damage.  I want to lower my chances for degenerative conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, dementia and arthritis. I need this food to boost my immune system, help fight disease and sickness, to slow down my aging process and detoxifiy my body. I need this food to help protect my body from stress and create balance in my hormone and immune system. I need this food to supply better intestinal health and aid my digestive process. I need this food to be easily broken down and increase absorption of nutrients. Is there any such shake, meal or vitamin that can make this claim and back it up with proof? YES there is! I'm willing to put it to the test when a claim as substantial as that is made. Just check out these supplement facts on this nutritional label by clicking the image on the left for full size.

This shake is going to replace my whey isolate protein powder and the mutli-vitamin/mineral supplements I've been taking as part of my healthy diet with no extra out of pocket expense. I still plan to continue making my green smoothies, but this additional smoothie shake is likely going to be the healthiest meal of the day. I have not been paid to endorse this product and I receive no compensation by way of any affiliation. I am simply passing along to you my interest in a healthy product that may be of benefit to you in your own health journey. If this doesn't transform my health in 30 days, I'll be getting a full refund, even if the bag is totally empty! I can't go wrong putting it to the test. So, I've decided to try it for just one month, I'm committed to that and now let's see how far I'll succeed with Shakeology from BeachBody, a dietary supplement. It will replace one meal each day at a cost of about 4 dollars per meal. Pretty inexpensive if you ask me when you consider the cost of junk processed foods that contain so little nutrition. You don't have to look far when you leave your home to see the fast rising trend of people being overweight and obese from poor diet and nutrition. Make no mistake my friends, you are what you eat and drink!

Most people want to have better health. Most people would like to do something positive for themselves and that will also help others and make a difference. If you keep on eating what you've been eating, you'll keep on feeling and looking the same with no change. I want to be a success story that you can follow, and get inspired and motivated to make a positive change in your own life. Take that first step to freedom of body and mind. Your chance is here and I hope you will take it! It all starts with a decision. Decide, commit, succeed!