Healthy Tips Archives

7 Ways to Overcome your Fear of Working Out

7 Ways to Overcome your Fear of Working Out

fear of working out

It’s easy to fear the unknown, that is human instinct. When trying to learn something new or starting new feats that you have never done before, fear is sure to set in. However, if you just focus on that fear, then you might end up stagnating in your comfort zone and achieving less. The fear of working out can attack you in the same way. You may feel like exercising or going to the gym is not something you can be good at and so you end up feeling conscious of yourself or anxious. Just looking at those weights can be intimidating and you might fear getting hurt or simply doing it wrong. It’s like being forced to dance and looking awkward in front of so many people. The fear of failure can really stop you in your tracks.

Most often that not however, all that is just in your head. Because you will never know how it will really turn out if you haven’t even tried, right? Besides, working out and the fear of it is worth overcoming with all the physical, emotional, and mental health benefits that it can give you. Who knows, you might actually enjoy it! But first, here are some tips to help you cross over and overcome the fear of working out.

1. Focus on yourself

The gym is the most bustling place you can get into and it can be very intimidating especially when it’s your first time to enter it’s jungle-like environment. You will see highly confident individuals lifting weights or running on the treadmill like they have been doing it all their life. If you are not into loud music, rotating disco lights, and hardcore athleticism, the multi-sensory atmosphere at the gym can overstimulate you instead of pump you up. You might end up asking yourself, “What did I get into?” At this point, it would be easy to just bail out. However, the goal is for you to overcome your fear and the best way to do it is to tune out all the distractions and just focus on yourself. Turn on your kind of music or listen to an audio book or podcast on your headphones so you can put everything else in the background. You can also focus your attention on the TV while on the elliptical or treadmill. Lastly, if you feel a bit intimated by how good others around you seem to be doing, divert your attention away from them. Focus on your own development, follow your own pace, and enjoy every moment of your workout.

2. Jazz up your work out

It’s true, working out can be difficult and exhausting. And so, if your fear is having to deal with all that then just end up quitting in the middle, then you’ve got to find a solid motivation. Marit Weikel, owner and licensed professional counselor at Weikel Health and Wellness, recommends doing something that you actually enjoy in terms of exercise. As an adult, you are best motivated to consistently do something when you like and want what you are doing. In this way, your workout routine won’t be a boring or straining one that will make you give up easily. Work with your instructor on exercises that you prefer or combine spinning, boxing, and swimming to your usual routine depending on what will make it more fun for you. You will notice that every effort you make will go beyond just burning calories and more about feeling good about yourself. Realizing that simply moving your body is already beneficial as a health mindset, and in this case, you can give dancing a shot with Beachbody’s CIZE or Country Heat. If you enjoy the outdoors or nature, you can do your workouts there for a refreshing change. Practically anything and everything to jazz it up and make you happy is great to help see you through your long-term workout program.

3. Establish a sound mind-body connection

For some people, the idea of exercise in general can cause severe anxiety. If this is true in your case, then a more serious approach is likewise called for. Typically, severe anxiety, like all other extreme types, will need the intervention of a mental health professional who can help you deal with it effectively. Meanwhile, you can do exercise routines that help sync the body with the mind so that when the psychological issues have been resolved, the body will be able to execute its desired goals. Mind-body classes such as Pilates, tai chi, and yoga do not only give you relaxation but help you get comfortable with your body as well. Janelle Railey, an Ashtanga teacher, espouses that yoga allows you to understand yourself better from the inside-out. It develops a sense of self-awareness where you become mindful about what is beneficial for your body at a given moment. For those who are afraid of exercise, this can prove to be empowering.

Beachbody has a yoga series that has been specially designed for beginners. It is a 3-week yoga retreat with 3 experts who will guide you through the basic fundamentals of yoga right at your own home. In this way, it will be easy for you to just relax, breath, stretch, and explore different yoga moves without feeling conscious about other people around you.

4. Do it one-step at a time

When you think about exercise and everything that you need to do that is outside of your usual routine, it can make you feel afraid of getting injured in the process. But if you just think about all the bad that can happen to you, then you will never be able to develop to your fullest potential. As such, it is better to go and brave the waters, but to do it gradually and wisely. And so, to avoid injury, work with the basics and the less intensive ones to start. If you haven’t been doing any sort of exercise lately, slowly introduce your body to the gym with the simplest of exercises such as walking, instead of getting into running right away. Railey, also a psychotherapist with a practice base in Asheville, N.C., suggests that walking is great for starters because it makes you feel in control. You can walk at your own pace – walk slower or faster as you see fit. And when you are in control, the less you will feel afraid that something might go wrong that will end up in an injury.

As for classes you can attend, start with the less intense ones. As you enroll in a gym class, work with your instructor as to the level of difficulty that you can take. In fact, your instructor already knows where to put you as a beginner but it is also good to communicate your apprehensions so that you can be guided accordingly. Do not try too hard to keep up with the rest of the class because your fitness needs and development are different from theirs. If you do what they do, then that will only increase the likelihood of you getting injured. So go for a class where you belong for now such as Beginners or Level 1, including the 3-week Yoga Retreat by Beachbody. As for classes labeled Extreme or Bootcamp, you can save them for later.

Another way to conquer your fear of injury is to make sure that you are doing proper form as you execute your routines. Good form will never result to injury because proper execution is the safest for your body. For instance, Beachbody has a mixed martial arts CORE DE FORCE video program that will teach you good form to ensure that you are doing it right with zero to minimal injuries. Make sure to warm up with some jumping jacks or a light jog to prepare your muscles for more rigorous movements ahead.

5. Start with a home workout

One of the reasons why people work out in the first place is that they desire to look good and feel good, aside from wanting to stay healthy. So what if, you are at that point where you are not that confident with your self yet and you are afraid that you might look awkward in the eyes of other people in the gym? Besides, not everybody is born with that natural coordination in executing those various workout moves. It’s definitely not a crime to build that confidence first, right at the comforts of your own home. In this way, you will know what to do and how to do it properly when its already time to go to a public gym. So spend those first-timer awkward moments at home where no one can criticize you or throw you that what-in-the-world-are-you-doing look. Beachbody On Demand has put together a streaming service that can jump start your home workouts. You will be able to access hundreds of enticing workouts that match your particular fitness level. The best thing about it is that, you do not only do it in private, but at your own pace, duration, and time as well. You can workout when it is most convenient for you, without feeling rushed or pressured in any way. Enjoy it with a trainer of your choice and at an intensity level that’s right for you.

6. Consider creating a support group

In any endeavor, the fear of failure seem to be always looming at a distance. Once you go to the gym, people will have expectations and what they will say if you fail with your fitness goals? Would you opt not to go because you are not really sure if you’re going to make it? The fear of failure can have this devastating effect on you, but if you can ensure your success then there is no reason for you to feel this kind of fear in the first place. You have to be strong in your conviction, believe in yourself that you can do it, and do everything that you can to succeed. What would really help in this case is some outside motivation that a support group can give you.

Your support group can consist of your family, friends, and other loved ones whom you know are always full of positive and encouraging things to say to you. Let them know about your goals so that they can boost your morale when needed. Some gym buddies can provide you with such accountability boosters directly so you can get one or two for yourself as well. You can motivate and push each other to persist in your gym objectives.

7. Cultivate trust

If you just think about it, and sometimes, even overthink, you will never be able to cross over and finally work out at the gym or join that class you have desired in a long time. Most of the time, just letting of go all your fears and everything else that is stopping you is the only way to go. Just going ahead with it and actually doing it will make you realize that it’s not that bad after all. In fact, it can even be great! You just got to trust yourself and the people around you that it will all fall into place no matter how bold and new this feat may be to you at this time.

Trust in your coaches, trainers, or instructors. They are there to provide you with the support that you need, just when you need it the most. If they tell you to push harder, then do so because they know what you are capable of and like you, they want to see the greatest progress that you can achieve. Should you experience failure from time to time, trust that failures are there as learning stepping stones that will eventually lead you to your goals.

7 Tips for Serious Muscle Building

7 Tips for Serious Muscle Building

Beachbody Muscle Building

What is the best way to build muscles? If you have been wanting to see progress but have been mostly disappointed, then there’s must be something that you need to do right this time. Whatever your fitness goals may be – get bigger, stronger, or more powerful, muscle building has to be done efficiently. Typically, this takes more than just spending time lifting weights. There are must-do resistance training strategies to include in your overall muscle-building program.

1. Introduce variance into your program

Because you desire visible muscle growth right away, you may initially think that lifting heavy weights is the only way to go. Explosive exercises such as sprints and heavy weight-lifting can indeed give you the most, in terms of growth potential, as it targets Type II muscle fibers. Studies suggest, however, that your Type I muscle fibers do have growth potential as well. Better known as the slow twitch, Type I fibers are those often utilized during endurance activities and are not to be ignored. Thus, it would be great to work them out once a week or every 2 weeks via high repetitions and low weight. For instance, you can do 15 reps (or more) with 3-4 sets per exercise. You can also choose among the Beachbody programs that adopts this kind of variation such as the 22-Minute Hard Corps, Master’s Hammer and Chisel, P90X, 21-Day fix, or the Body Beast.

2. Achieve that balance in your lift

You have to mind the way you lift weights and be able to lift responsibly. Yes, your muscles do need to be challenged to activate growth, but there is a smart way of triggering the same. Sometimes, you may tend to shift to heavier weights too quickly that you also increase the chances of injury. However, doing it too slowly can result to a growth plateau or you, shortchanging your growth potential. The key then is to strike that balance by paying close attention to the efforts that you exert. Once you are able to lift in perfect form and you feel that the last few reps seem similar to the first ones you did, then you know that it is time to shift to a heavier weight.

3. Gorge on more protein

Protein is essential to muscle growth, repair, and recovery. Amino acids, or the protein building blocks, are what’s needed to build muscle tissue. You have to eat more protein to make all these happen as you lift weights. For a protein-rich meal, the optimal amount is 20 grams of protein as an American Journal of Clinical Nutrition study has shown that the body only uses up 20 grams of protein to build muscles in one sitting.

For the whole day, about 80 grams – equivalent to 4 meals with 20-grams of protein contained in each meal – is just right for an average individual. To compute the amount of optimal protein that’s suited for you and your fitness goals, it is recommended by the American College of Sports Medicine that the ideal consumption range should be between 0.5-0.9 grams per pound of your body weight per day. For instance, if you weigh 150 pounds, you should consume about 75-135 grams of protein in one day.

In this case, you can split the 80-gram allowance for protein each day by having 3 meals with 20-gram protein content and a post-workout drink which contains the last 20 grams of protein you need, like the Beachbody Performance Recover that provides you with that exact amount per serving conveniently. Meanwhile, if you are the ambitious type and want to build more muscles than that, much like those who are into Beachbody’s Body Beast program, then aim higher and go for the highest grams in the 75-135 range, then add 1-2 additional 20-gram protein snacks to your day. Just make sure you don’t go overboard and go beyond the 135-gram cap. The more you exercise though, the more protein your body will need to consume for muscle building and maintenance.

4. Cover multi-joint exercises

Florida State University Interim Director, Dr. Michael Ormsbee, from the Institute of Sports Science & Medicine, recommends that while all kinds of moves can help build muscles, spending some time doing multi-joint exercises provides for a strong base. When you load your workouts with multi-joint or compound exercises like bench press, squat, pull-up, and lunge, you are tapping the most efficient way in resistance training to build lean mass. Science purports that compound moves trigger the highest increase in testosterone levels which plays a major role as the hormone responsible for muscle building.

5.Sleep some more

When you sleep for less than 7 hours each night, you build up a sleep debt that eventually halts muscle growth or protein synthesis. A study conducted by Brazilian researchers show that sleeping for less than 7 hours on a regular basis increases protein degradation equivalent to muscle degradation. As such, it is best to get 7 hours every night or even sleep some more so that you can activate that muscle growth that you desire. Besides, adequate sleep also gives you other equally-important benefits as the human growth hormone levels are at its peak when you are sound asleep.

6. Minimize cardio exercises

Calories are needed to build muscle and when you burn most of your calories doing cardio exercises, such as biking or running, then your body might have nothing much left for muscle building. To build muscles more quickly, minimize your cardio or use it only for short warm-ups of up to 2 to 5 minutes, and then spend your calories more on the weight training.

7. Give it time to recover

Recovery is crucial in muscle-building because it is actually when muscles grow and not during your workouts. Recovery includes eating healthy with more protein and taking time to rest instead of over training. Over training your muscles at very high intensities too frequently may hurt, cause injury, and put your efforts to waste. On the other hand, rest and recovery days that you spend in between at 1-2 days per week, allows your muscles to recover fully and grow. To maximize your rest days and downtime, you can do light cross training such as cycling, hiking, or yoga. Patience, focus, consistency, and recovery are what you need to achieve your desired results.

Understanding the 21 Day Fix Containers

Understanding the 21 Day Fix Containers

21  Day Fix Containers

21 Day Fix Containers

Portion control is a critical aspect of any successful nutritional or diet program. However, figuring it out can be tricky without the right tools to guide you along the way. The 21 Day Fix containers provide you with a color-coded solution to help make portion control a breeze and allow you to focus on your fitness goals. This means, no more calorie counting for you because if it fits on the containers and it is on your list of approved foods, then you can go ahead and simply enjoy it.

The Whys

So why is it worth giving a shot? The 21 Day Fix Container is a system that works in a very practical manner. It understands how counting calories is extremely important to you but can be likewise a daunting task. And so with this container system, you do not have to tediously count calories because you would only need to count containers. Its evidently easier keeping track of 3 enticingly green containers compared to counting calories.

Moreover, it ensures that you get all the nutrients you need for the day by eating a little portion from each of the container. You might find, as you begin the program, that you will tend to feel full even when you haven’t finished all of the containers yet. Well, this is because nutritious food has got a lot more in it than junk food food so it has also has more volume. So the key is to be able to eat a little portion from each container from your favorite to your least-liked.

The best part about the 21 Day Fix Containers is that it doesn’t take away the fun out of eating by making you feel aware of what you eat and empower you to practice moderation. By the end of the 21 day program, knowing how many and enjoying your vegetables, fruits, healthy fats, and lean proteins will be second nature to you as you go through your wellness regimen each day. To make it even more exciting, Autumn Calabrese, 21 Day Fix creator, has put together a FIXATE cookbook for enticing meal plans you can try.

The What 

The 21 Day Fix Containers are all about color and nutrition. Six colors correspond to 6 types of food. Green means vegetable container which can include raw or cooked, and chopped or sliced veggies. This goes for vegetables like kale, lettuce, pepper, squash, onions, and mushrooms. For a voluminous and scrumptious salad, squeeze in as much lettuce as you can in there!

Purple is the container for your fruits. Berries, grapes, or cherries are great as they fit as is, but you can cut larger ones like watermelon, apples, or peaches. Red is the designated container for your protein-rich foods such as shellfish, tofu, eggs, yogurt, and chicken breast. Let the food list guide you for other protein sources. Yellow is the color for caloric carbs and starches. Foods like whole-grain pasta, sweet potato, beans, and rice fit in here. In case there are foods in the list that don’t fit like tortillas and waffles, the guide will specify the portions that you can consume.

Blue is the container for healthy fats that includes hummus, cheese, nuts, and mashed avocados, to name a few. For dressings and seeds, they are to be placed in the orange container. The dressings are those recommended in your 21 Day Fix program together with calorie-dense foods such as coconut, olives, and seeds.

To make measuring easier, a teaspoon measurement is included as well and to be used for butters and oils, like in the case of peanut butter and olive oil.

The How

Here’s the most exciting part – learning how to use those colorful containers! First step is to go to Page 4 of your 21 Day Fix guide and check the calorie count that you will need each day. After that, go to page 19 and see the 21 chart to determine the number of containers for each color you should be consuming for the day based on your calorie range. Looking at the macro-nutrient percentages, it is evident that the plan is about 30% fat, 30% protein, and 40% carbohydrates.

To make it more fun, you can mix and match the foods in one container as long as they belong to the same category. So if you prefer not to have all spinach in one green container, then you can mix it up and fill one half with some carrots in there. You may enjoy your favorite food straight from the containers especially when you need to be outside or simply empty the contents into a bowl whenever you’re at home or however you want to enjoy them.

12 Benefits of Walking for Exercise

12 Benefits of Walking for Exercise

benefits of walkingFrom simple to complex, there are many forms of exercise that you can choose from. You can run, jog, lift weights, do aerobics, yoga, or even high intensity training. However, should you want to make it more doable and easier for you, then there is one exercise that you can succeed in pursuing and that is walking. Yes, walking is the simplest exercise that you can definitely do and naturally at that. Besides, walking is free. You do not have to pay for anything to join or register and this is the best part.

With the right program, walking is likewise known to help you shed the extra pounds or to maintain your ideal weight. What most people do not realize however is that, walking can bring a host of other benefits that you too can avail of. Here are 12 of the most significant ones:

  1. Brain booster

Whether young or old, walking boosts brain functions. Meanwhile, it is most helpful as people age. Walking as an exercise becomes more important with age because it tends to lessen the risks of brain disorders including dementia. Aging brings about deterioration in the whole body and the brain is likewise affected.

Walking however has the ability to reverse the signs of old age. Based on a study issued through the Annals of Neurology, it was discovered that those participants aged 55-88 years old who made an effort to meet the exercise guidelines established by the American Heart Association were less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease.

If you are looking at improving your cognitive abilities though, then there is this one essential trick: Walk backwards. Yes, that’s right, walking in reverse was found in a Dutch study to have significant effects on the brain as it helped participants think more speedily while they were on their feet. Also, try to incorporate some brain-enhancing movements to your walking exercise as this intensifies the benefits that you will be getting. For instance, you can move in a determined pattern then couple it with coordinated movements of the arms.

  1. Bone strengthening

Walking is friendly to the bones. With every step, your bones strengthen and this reduces the risk of you developing osteoporosis. Specifically, walking exercises contribute to the strengthening of the hip bones. This was confirmed in a Nurses’ Health research in which the women participants who walked for at least 4 hours in a week’s time were found to have reduced their risks of suffering from hip fractures.

You can also do the more rigorous forms of exercising such as jumping, weight lifting or running but the benefits for your bones will actually be the same. And so if you would like to start light and easy, go for walking. It will not demand as much from you but it will strengthen your bones just the same. Besides, walking can be such a leisurely activity that it would be like hitting two birds with one stone. This is likewise highly recommended for those who have joint issues as this is a low-impact exercise that is safe for them.

  1. Mood enhancer

Like most physical activities, walking can also enhance your mood. It is perfect for those rough days when you have a lot of negative feelings bottled up inside. Walking it off can really help to let off steam. Stressful situations can really bring you down and walking can help lift your spirits up again. There have been a number of studies that have established the high correlation among improved mood, lowered stress levels, and walking as an exercise.

What would be best in this case is to take a nature walk. The great outdoors with its lush greenery can be very relaxing especially when it is spent with someone who is able to lend a helping hand or a listening ear. Walking alone can also be a meditative venture. Just make sure that you do so in safe areas or parks.

  1. Keep your circulation going

Walking is very heart-friendly. Most physical activities, including walking, actually does the heart a lot of good. In particular, it makes your body’s circulation run smoothly, enhancing it with every effort made. Because of this, it helps keep your blood pressure levels at bay and reduces any risks of a heart attack. And as you know, this simple exercise does not demand a lot from you. Brisk walking for as short as 30 minutes daily, already qualifies you to these circulation benefits. So the next time you feel too lazy to walk, remember how you can help your heart if you just walk the extra mile.

  1. No more Humpty-Dumpty

Aging cannot be avoided, but there is definitely something that you can do to steer clear of falling or tripping disasters as you age. Making strong powerful strides as you do your walking helps keep your balance and strengthens your muscles especially when it is done consistently. When muscles start to weaken in the shins or when you experience a loss of balance, this causes a shuffling gait and sooner or later, you will find yourself falling or tripping. Walking regularly helps resolve this problem by providing strength for the lower body and improving balance.

So the next time you take a walk, make exaggerated actions – giving emphasis to the heel-to-toe movement as the foot moves towards the shins, better identified as the dorsiflexion. Walk it bravely so you won’t end up like humpty dumpty.

  1. Sharpen your memory

The more you walk, the more you remember. When you are able to perform your walking exercises on a regular basis, you do not have to worry about things that you might forget or trying to recall something important. Walking targets the hippocampus part of the brain that is in charge of learning and verbal memory. As observed in a study made by the researchers from the University of California in San Francisco, those women aged 65 years and above who made walking as part of their health routine experienced lower age-related decline in memory in comparison to those who didn’t.

  1. Pain relief from arthritis or fibromyalgia

If you find yourself crippled by pain, then there is more reason for you to move, get up, and walk. Making frequent walks can help ease the pain as well as minimize the symptoms associated with fibromyalgia, arthritis, and other similar conditions. With this exercise’ low-impact and moderate nature, it can certainly help in lessening the pain. For most individuals, it can even improve their body’s functions. Like any other exercise program though, it is best to pay your doctor a clinical visit before you proceed so as to make sure that it is safe and approved for you.

  1. Stabilize blood sugar levels

Fluctuations in the blood glucose levels can spell disaster for the body’s internal system. To avoid the serious consequences including developing Diabetes, take a walk during the day or at night – whichever is most convenient for you. However, should you want to maximize the health benefits of walking, doing it after eating can be more effective. Through a study found in the Diabetes Care journal, it was shown that walking after meals for a quick 15-minutes is as effective as walking for 45 minutes when your goal is to lower your blood glucose levels for a 24-hour period.

  1. Bolster immunity

Walking makes your body stronger inside and out. You do not only become physically strong, but more importantly, it builds your resistance against diseases. With a solid immune system, you can guard yourself against life-threatening cancer, Type 2 Diabetes, and other debilitating conditions. Make walking a daily habit or do it at least 3 to 4 times a week. You will slim down and look good on the outside as well as become impregnable from the inside.

  1. Sleep soundly

There is nothing like a good night’s sleep. It gives you the positive motivation as you wake up each morning. Otherwise, you will feel groggy and unable to deal with your daily tasks competently the next day. So what do you do to get that peaceful, uninterrupted slumber that your body deserves every single night? Morning walks are best recommended for those who find sleep hard to hit. Surely, you will be able to catch some Z’s faster than when you did not make an effort to exercise at all. Get outdoors, walk in the morning, and bask in the sunlight. Exposure to the early morning sun allows you to remain in sync with the natural circadian rhythm of your body, paving the way for you to sleep heaven.

  1. A ball of energy

So where do you muster the energy to face the world everyday? Be your best and more energized self daily by keeping to your walking exercise routine. Brisk walking is one of the most potent natural sources of energy that you can count on to help you finish the job efficiently and speedily. With each step, you are increasing the supply of oxygen to every single cell of your bod and making yourself feel fully alert, alive, and enthusiastic. Walk during your break or lunch time and have the energy to accomplish more for the next half of your day.

  1. Pump up the bum

What do you leave behind as you turn your back? Yes, it is your buttocks and you don’t want to leave without making a good impression. Walking is the best exercise to keep your behind fully engaged with the human world. If you have been sitting around all day and have to keep doing it the rest of the week, then you are causing your glutes atrophy and inactivation. Walk as much as you can and you will transform that rear in no time. In specific, you can power up your bum while walking by placing your hands on both glute. It will tense up for a bit as your hands do the pushback. Keep going and you will walk your way through those sexy bottoms.

And if you’re ready to do a little more than walking then check out our Beachbody On Demand FREE for 30 days where you can do workouts like P90X, P90X3, Insanity, T25, Hammer and Chisel, TurboFire, Turbo Jam, P90, Yoga Retreat and many many more. (This is an awesome value)

Is Coffee Good before you Workout?

Is Coffee Good before you Workout?

coffee before workoutShould you be enjoying a cup of Joe before you hit the gym? Is it actually recommended to drink coffee before heading out for an intensive weight training? These questions must be answered if your health is of utmost importance to you. It is estimated that more than half of the American adult population dependably consume coffee every single day.

They do so for a variety of good reasons and most adults drink coffee for the jolt it gives early in the morning or later during the day. And then some would consume it to provide a boost of energy before working out. This will be logical if you are already tired and just need something to perk you up, right? But one dare asks, “Is this a good practice to do routinely?”

Coffee has been one of the most studied beverages, but when it comes to elucidating on its benefits with regards to exercise, it mostly zeroes in on the caffeine content that is found in it.

Caffeine: What is it?

Caffeine acts as a stimulant. It primarily targets the brain, signaling it to be awake and alert. It also decreases your brain’s awareness of the effort you give out. This means that you feel more invigorated and you don’t feel as much discomfort or pain. This will translate not only to an increase in the time spent in exercising, but it can also give an upsurge of energy that will sustain a tougher regimen. You become a Captain America or a Natasha Romanoff a.k.a. Black Widow for an hour or two there. Now, isn’t this something that you would desire while working out?

Fatigue and Coffee

Studies show that caffeine delays exercise fatigue, and this mostly benefits aerobic endurance. It has also been shown to increase the number of sets and the weight one can carry when it comes to strength training. While it has been said that caffeine can help you sustain a tougher work out session, this will also mean that it may mask the symptoms of fatigue and can lead to over-training and concomitant injuries and this is the part that you should be very concerned about. So while it does its purpose while you are working out, it has after effects that you must be ready to face. Keep this mind as you sip on your coffee.

Fat Burning Abilities

While it has been widely stipulated that caffeine can burn fats during exercise because it can support the release of fat stores, studies have not backed up this claim. On the contrary, studies show that caffeine cannot help with fat-burning, especially on the long term. So, if this has been your motivation for drinking coffee before working out, this is not a good reason to do so.

Caffeine Does Not Give Energy

People mistakenly think that caffeine gives energy, but it is not. It is a stimulant for its’ efficient release from food ingested. It actually does not provide the energy, per se. This means that if you have not taken any food for more than three hours, or if you feel your energy draining, it may be a sign that your glucose is actually low. It would be wise to eat a balanced meal or a healthy snack before you drink a cup of coffee and head out to the gym. This will provide the energy that the caffeine can effectively release.

Do’s and don’t s in caffeine consumption

While any amount of caffeine affects everyone differently, it is recommended that non-players and the general population take in 0.9 mg per pound or 2 mg per body weight (in kg) of caffeine an hour before working out. However, this is not a hard and fast rule, and it would be wise to start with a smaller dose first and see how it works for you.

It would be beneficial to have a chart to guide you into the amount of caffeine in each drink. It’s also important to note that these guidelines were made for the adult population, so its use is not for minors. Also, ingestion of caffeine for the young has yet unknown effects, so if you are part of this age group, it would be best to shy away from products containing caffeine, such as sports drinks.

Drinking more is not always better

If you are a professional athlete, then you have to take note of your caffeine intake as too much amount of this controlled substance can cause disqualification. Even if you are not an athlete, it is still imperative to check your caffeine intake as it can cause a rise not only in heart rate and blood pressure even at rest, but also can cause gastric irritation. Caffeine can also bring about insomnia since it takes 8 to 14 hours for the body to fully metabolize and excrete it. Due to this, it is not recommended to ingest a cup of coffee in the late afternoon and evening because it can bring about this condition. If ever you feel like you need coffee in the afternoon, consider first if you are just thirsty or hungry, because being so can make you feel lethargic as well.

To drink or not to drink

The question remains—would it be wise to drink coffee to help in working out? While it is true that it indeed help in enhancing performance, and it is generally safe for consumption for the adult population, this does not spell out that caffeine is imperative for one to have a great exercise session. Instead, it is best to ensure that you first drink lots of water, eat a balanced diet and have ample amount of rest before exercising. If there are days when you feel very sluggish even though you have taken all the above measures, then ingested of small amounts of caffeine can help, just as long as it is not during the later afternoon or evening when it can also cause sleeplessness.

If coffee is just not your thing and you are looking for a top of the line pre-workout drink be sure to check out our Beachbody Performance Energize.  Or get the Performance Energize in the 10 Pack.

Should I Weigh myself and how often?

Should I Weigh myself and how often?

weight-scaleWhen your goal is to lose weight, most of the time, you can’t help but think about shedding the pounds as fast as you can. So you go ahead and spend more time at the gym, sweating it out with a bunch of cardio exercises. Of course, you also do your best to keep to your diet plan and avoid all sorts of high-carb temptations. And then you think and say to yourself, “I must have lost some weight now!” – only to discover that you are about to disappoint yourself.

The Rocky Road Ahead

On your own, you will realize that losing the pounds that you have gained over time is not going to be that easy. In the meantime, you would tend to check out the scale to see if you have made any progress. And what does the scale say to your face? You still weigh the same or worst case scenario would be that you have become heavier. Now, that is completely frustrating and you might feel like wanting to give up. What was it that you have done wrong? Didn’t you exercise enough? Should you be trying a different diet plan? Or should you just give up altogether and go back to your old ways and comfortable way of living?

Before you go nuts however and sulk in depression, know this truth: These feelings that you are actually having are pretty normal and mostly expected when you are trying to get rid of the unwanted and the undesirable. The weight loss business can be real tricky and the weighing scale can tell you things that you might not like. Because of this, it is important to understand how losing weight really works so that you don’t easily get distracted when it does not reflect the numbers that you have been wanting to see.

Weight Management Realities

The cycle of losing, gaining, and maintaining your ideal weight involves an intricate process that needs to be fully understood. So yes, you have to see beyond what the scale tells you and dig deep into what is happening to your body as you work on achieving your ideal weight. A number of factors are at play that influence how much you lose or gain along the way. Again, weight fluctuations are normal and realizing this alone can already help you think more positively about your weight loss goals, become less frustrated, and be able to persist until you are able to achieve physical transformation.

So what are these factors? The human body is such an efficient system that whatever you do with it, it will do everything in its capacity to maintain that healthy balance. Well, if it is to function accordingly, it has to ensure that not one element is askew – everything has to be just enough. While you are in the process of slimming up, you would tend to cut off on your usual consumption of solid food and liquids and this in turn signals the body of what it lacks and what needs to be compensated or replenished. Likewise, when you indulge in more exercise now than you ever did in the past, this will also have an effect on how your body will respond.

Accordingly, factors such as hydration, recent food consumption, bowel movement, and the energy expended for exercise come into play. Even the climate can have an effect on your weight. As a result, you will notice that each time you step on the scale, it would give you a different reading despite all the efforts that you have made. Needless to say, the weight fluctuations that you will experience will not always be because you have actually gained weight or you didn’t treadmill enough but is only the body’s way of ensuring that it is able to fulfill its physiological functions.

The question now is, how often then should you take that trip to the scale to check on your weight? Whether you want to shed off those pounds or gain a little bit of weight, it is very imperative to dissect the mystery of the scale first.

More questions to answer

Why weigh yourself in the first place? When you are trying to slim down, the happiest day of your life would be when you see a huge drop in the weighing scale. However, is it actually healthy to constantly check the scale? Is it helpful or more harmful to the individual in this sense? Should you be doing it everyday or in a weekly or monthly basis? There is no black and white answer to this question. What will be considered helpful or harmful depends on what will work out for you and what will be positively motivating for you. Yours is the power to decide as to the frequency by which you should be stepping on the most intriguing scale.

Keeping it going daily

Is it mortal sin to be visiting the weighing scale section each and every day of your life? If the purpose is to make it as a constant reminder of your weight management goals, then the answer is no. A lot of people need a tangible reminder of their health objectives and seeing what the scale will tell them on a day-to-day interval may work. It gives them a sense of responsibility for their own weight loss and renews their enthusiasm to continue doing what they are already doing. Their daily progress is important because it keeps them in the right direction.

Some people would even go as far as keeping a daily log or journal of their weigh ins so they are able to analyze the results and re-evaluate their efforts towards their ultimate health goals.

On the other hand, if you are the type of person who would be easily and extremely affected by the numbers you see, then forget about doing it everyday. You might weigh in one day and notice the 0.6 pounds of weight gain then get depressed about it for the rest of the day. Or, should you see the 1.10 pounds of weight loss and already feel like you can slacken off your efforts with that very minimal and even irrelevant success. Don’t forget that certain weight fluctuations like these can be attributable to the factors pointed out above so there is no reason for you to exaggerate. The scale is just giving you numbers and this should not dictate how you should spend your day and the rest of your life. So no, no daily scale checking for you in this case.

Making it weekly

So what about checking out the scale at least once a week? Weekly weigh-in could be the thing for you. You do not have to worry yourself daily with your goals. Instead, you can focus and put all your concerted efforts on what needs to be achieved today so that by the end of the week, you can take a look at the numbers. In this manner, the pressure is off but you are still able to track your progress and remain consistent with your efforts with something to look forward to after 6 days.

The best practice when it comes to making weekly tracks of your weight loss or gain is to choose a certain day to do it and have it done in the mornings. While doing so, assess how your efforts affect the numbers on the scale. However, keep in mind that just like daily weigh-ins, you do not have to pay attention to the minute changes or fluctuations. In addition, your assessment should cover a good number of weeks before you are able to pinpoint a pattern that is giving you more success for your goals and then make sure to implement the same. With this weekly habit, you can still feel that sense of accountability but with more space and time for the actual health-promoting actions.

The Advantage of Periodic Tracking

You can also choose to check in on your progress on an occasional manner. Say, if you happen to have the spare time at the bathroom where you have your scale or at the clinic when you have your medical exam. This works well for those who do not consider numbers that important but find noticeable changes in the fitness of their clothes or how they feel more energized when they exercise more significant. They are in for the big changes and feel very motivated when it is other people who would first comment on or notice their transformation. Health buffs who do periodic weigh-ins believe more in maintaining a healthy lifestyle for the long-term in comparison to short-term, and often fleeting weight management goals.

Forget the scale

Whoever said that the scale is the only way to go? Well, there are also those who simple do not care about the weighing scale. What is most important for these groups of individuals is their general well-being and that’s all there is to it. As long as they are eating a balanced meal, feeling comfortable with their clothes, and exercising regularly, then they are good.

So there you have it with four options to choose from. Keep in mind that whichever you pick, it should lead you to the sustainable achievement of your weight objectives. And whatever you do, never weigh in twice or thrice daily. Simply put, that is just too much and anything excessive is bad for you. Use the weighing scale as a tool to help you and not make you obsessive over numbers. This is the secret to a successful weight loss via the weigh-in.

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