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Tuesday, May 30, 2006 

The Stairs or the Elevator?

One easy way to get more exercise is to always use the stairs. Going up and down stairs is great exercise - It'll burn plenty of calories.

If you are in a department store and can't find any stairs, but there is a moving staircase, just climp up and down it as it's moving. But if you are offered a choice between stairs and an escalator, stairs are the choice for those who wish to lose weight or keep it off.

If you are lucky enough to live in a house with stairs, make sure that you go up and down them as often as possible. Try to set up your life so that exercise is built in.
Say you have your computer upstairs, but the coffee maker downstairs, every time you want a cup of coffee you'll get some exercise. Those little bits of exercise add up over the day.

Sunday, May 28, 2006 

Raw Food - Avocado and Cucumber Soup

This is a soup to eat cold - as are most soups.
You need either 1 long English cucumber or 2 field cucumbers
1/2 avocado
lemon juice
A sprig of basil

Put everything in your blender except a few thin slices of cucumber and blend until it's smooth.
garnish with the slices of cucumber.

And there you have a great tasting snack with all the enzymes still alive.

Heating foods kills all the enzymes, and some of them you need. People on a raw food diet don't suffer so much from things like degenerative diseases either.

So do yourself a favour, go on a raw food diet to both lose weight and to feel great and be healthier!

Saturday, May 27, 2006 

Swimming - An Ideal Weight Loss Exercise

When you go swimming, you are using more of the different muscles in your body than you are with any other sport.

Swimming is one of the exercises that is both aerobic and good for muscle tone.

It's good to have good muscle tone for weight loss since even when resting the muscle in your body burns fat for maintenance. So swim in the day and lose weight while you sleep! What could be better!

Friday, May 26, 2006 

Getting More Exercise Without Trying Too Hard!

Probably more exercise is the best way to lose those extra inches that you don't want.

It doesn't have to be a trip to an aerobics class.

We probably all have some 'lost time' in our days.

Do you wait for the kettle to boil? Dont wait! Go up and downstairs until it's whistling for attention.

Just put the coffeee on to brew? Walk around the block while it does it!

Waiting for a bus? walk backwards and forwards at the bus stop until the bus arrives.

There's probably quite a few minutes in your day that you are waiting for something to happen. If you just convert those minutes to easy or brisk exercise the pounds should disappear!

Thursday, May 25, 2006 

Raw Food Diet for Weight Loss

Many People are now trying a raw food diet and finding that it can help dramatically in the war against extra weight as well as helping cure other ills.

The idea of the diet is to only eat foods that have never been heated above about 110 degrees so that all the enzymes in the food are intact. Raw fruits and vegetables, unroasted nuts and seeds, naturally dried fruits.

I'm going to post a few 'Uncook Recipes' here, and please everyone, add yours too! The more variety the better!

When I started this, I thought that it might be boring, that I might feel deprived etc. That just isn't so. The raw food tastes so much better! And I feel so much better even after only 5 days eating raw. I decided to go 100% raw to start with, and then when I was used to that to cut down on fat.

Here's what I had for lunch today:
1/2 small avocado mashed with about a teaspoonful of soya sauce. Hal a tomato chopped up a bit and them mashed in with the avocado. Then I added a grated carrot, some chopped raw ginger, 2 mushrooms, a few chopped snap peas and green beans. Mixed everything together. Delicious!

And for desert I chopped up a few dates that I had set to soak last night, added some sliced almonds and half a teaspoonful of raw cocoa powder. Yum!

Thursday, May 18, 2006 

Exercises for Future Brides-Sweetheart Neckline Dresses

For the future brides who choose the sweetheart neckline wedding dress, it’s important to know that this style of dress shows your chest muscles. Those muscles are: Anterior deltoid and Pectoralis major. To work those muscles the following exercises are the best. Try to complete each set of each exercises without breaks, than take a break of 30-60 seconds and continue. Please keep in mind that the exercises should be done exactly in the following order.

1. Close-Grip Bench Press

To do this exercise you’ll need a body bar and a bench (or aerobics step). In the start position, you should lie on the back on the bench with the feet flat on the floor. Hold the body bar with the arms straight up towards the ceiling. When you inhale, bend the elbows to 90 degrees and lower the body bar towards the chest, while when you exhale extend the arms back to the start position. Do 8-12 reps. The exercise works the chest.

2. Incline Dumbbell Flys

To do this exercise you need a set of dumbbells and an adjustable bench (or a Swiss ball). First, adjust the bench to an incline of about 30-45 degrees. Then site on the edge of the bench and grasp the dumbbells. As you lift the dumbbells to the shoulders level, lie on the bench and then lift your arms straight up above the chest. When you inhale, lower the weights towards the floor and stop when the arms form a T with the body, while when you exhale return to the start position. Do 8-12 reps. The exercise works the chest.

3. Pushup on Stability Ball

To do this exercise you need a stability ball (Swiss ball). Place your midsection on the ball and then roll forward so that your hands reach the floor. Walk on the hands until the ball is under your knees and then move the hands shoulder width apart. When you inhale, lower the body by bending the elbows at 90 degrees, while when you inhale return to the start position. Do 5-12 reps or as much as you can. The exercise works the triceps and chest.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006 

Exercises for Future Brides -Open Back Dresses

The future brides who chose an open back dress should know that they have to make sure their back looks lovely. The muscles located there are: Deltoideus, Latissimus dorsi, Rhomboideus, Trapezius and Teres. The following three exercises are recommended to work them:

1. Reverse Flys

To do this exercise you’ll need dumbbells and a stability ball. In the beginning, place your body balanced on the stability ball (Swiss ball) and make sure the legs are straight and the toes on the floor. When you exhale, raise your arms to the side and bring the dumbbells to the shoulder level. Keep the arms straight but don’t lock the elbows. When you inhale, lower the dumbbells back to the starting position. You won’t need heavy weights to perform the exercise; the smallest dumbbells available are great. Do 8-12 reps and 2-3 sets. If you don’t have a Swiss ball you can do the exercise standing up straight. Bend over until the back is parallel to the floor and repeat the motion described above. The exercise works the upper back.

2. Seated Rows

To do this exercise you’ll need a resistance band or a seated row machine (in this case follow your trainer’s instructions). In the beginning sit on the floor with the knees slightly bent and the feet hip-width apart. Place the band around the soles of the feet so that the right hand holds the left handle and vice-versa. When you exhale, pull the hands towards the chest, so that the elbows and fists are near shoulder level. When you inhale, return to the start position. Do 8-12 reps and 2-3 steps. The exercise works the upper back and the triceps.

3. One-Arm Dumbbell Row

To do this exercise you’ll need a dumbbell. In the beginning, grasp a dumbbell and rest the opposite elbow on the opposite leg, tying to create a flat back. When you inhale, pull the dumbbell up as high as possible while when you exhale lower the dumbbell to the start position. The exercise works the shoulders, biceps and upper back. Do 8-12 reps and 2-3 sets.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006 

Exercises for Future Brides

Most of us, when it’s time to prepare for the wedding, we want to loose weight and look our best. Depending on the type of gown we chose, there are special exercises that will make us look fabulous.

There are four dress styles to choose from: open back, sweetheart neckline, arm-baring (strapless, halter, and spaghetti straps) and form-fitting.

If you chose the open back dress the exercises that will help you look your best are: Reverse Flys, Seated Rows and One-Arm Dumbbell Row. For those who chose the sweetheart neckline dress, the recommended exercises are: Close-Grip Bench Press, Incline Dumbbell Flys and Pushup on Stability Bal. The future brides who want to wear an arm-baring dress should do: "21's" Biceps Curls, Front Raise to Overhead Press and Bench Dips. And finally, the brides who want a form-fitting dress should do the following exercises: 45-Degree Abduction with Resistance Band, Single Leg Hamstring Flexion with Ball and Runner's Lunge onto Step.

The next blogs will discuss every exercise.

Monday, May 15, 2006 

Aerobic Exercises for Your Body

One of the great things about exercising is that you can always combine exercises and you will never get bored. Of course you can run around the house for 20 minutes but that is totally boring, isn’t it? If you like swimming, riding a bike or playing tennis you can incorporate the exercises in your fitness routine. Also, remember that the body likes to be challenged. If in the beginning you’ll see results pretty quickly after running every other day, in a couple of weeks the body will get used to it and you won’t see any results.

The aerobic exercises should raise your hear rate. Expert recommend elevating your hear rate with 60-85% of the maximum heart rate. You can calculate the maximum heart rate by using this formula: 208 – (0.7 x Age). Hence for a 25 years old person the maximum heart rate is: 208 – (0.7 x 25) = 190 beats per minute. Then, 60% of it is 114 and 85% of it is 152, so the aerobic range for a 25 years old person is 114-152 beats per minute. If you don’t have a heart monitor, count your pulse for 15 seconds and multiply by 4.

Friday, May 12, 2006 

Fibers to Boost Your Weight Loss

The fiber is that part of a plant that the body cannot digest and hence passes through the digestive system acting like a broom and sweeping all unnecessary leftovers from the digestible food.

One of the most important nutrients to incorporate in your diet is fiber. For an adult, the recommended daily amount of fiber is 25 to 30 grams. If you don’t get enough fiber in your diet, the risk for many health problems increases. The health problems related to insufficient fiber intake is: high cholesterol, constipation, weight gain, cancer of the colon and irritable bowel syndrome.

Fibers can be found naturally in many foods. To get more fiber in your diet, firstly replace white bread with whole-wheat bread. Only ½ cup of whole-wheat flour has more than 7 grams of fiber. Also whole-wheat cereals are packed with fiber. If you like beans, they are a very good source of fiber and so are other legumes. Only ½ cup of cooked beans contains 6-6 grams of fiber. Fruits and veggies are known to have a lot of fiber and hence are recommended when “dieting”. Red raspberries are very good source of fiber (1 cup of fresh fruit contains 8 grams of fiber). Pears, apples and prunes also are a good choice (1 serving contains 4 grams of fiber). Broccoli, carrots, cabbage, lettuce, tomato and spinach all contain 2 grams of fiber per serving, while baked potato contains 4 grams per serving (with skin).

Thursday, May 11, 2006 

Power Foods

The power foods are dense in nutrients. The fuel the body correctly and efficiently and power the brain. They enhance the immune system and fight infections. They also protect against certain disease such as heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, certain cancers and respiratory infections. So, it’s very wise to include them in your meals and snacks.

You can choose from: peppers (red, orange, yellow), romaine lettuce, mushrooms, carrots, onions, garlic, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, spinach, tomatoes, red grapefruit, apples, red grapes, melons, oranges, prunes, berries, milk (skim or 1%), yogurt (low fat) with active cultures, fresh fish, tuna, salmon, eggs, beef (lean meat), pork (lean meat), brown rice, 100% whole-wheat bread, oatmeal, black olives, extra virgin olive oil, dark chocolate and green tea.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006 

7 Exercises to Work the Entire Body –Part 2

We continue with the rest of the exercises:

4. Crunches with Swiss ball

If you are using a Swiss ball, the crunches will have a little kick added to them. In the start position you should sit on the Swiss ball, with the feet in front of you on the ground and the knees bent at 90 degrees. Lie on the ball until the back covers the ball. Place your hands on the head, but not behind the head (just like when you do “normal crunches”). Then come up until the body is at 45 degrees with the ball. Release and go back, repeat for 10-15 times. The exercise works the abs.

5. Reverse flies with Swiss ball and dumbbells

The exercise works the shoulders and the upper back. Sit on the top of the Swiss ball, holding the dumbbells to your side, with the palms inward. Stay with the feet on the ground, bent at 90 degrees and lean over until the chest is close to the legs. Then raise your hands up until they are perpendicular to the ground and even with the shoulders. Bring then down and repeat for 10-12 times.

6. Lateral deltoid raises with dumbbell

The exercise works the shoulders and arms. Please see blog “Exercises for Day 6” posted on Monday, May 01, 2006 for details about the exercise.

7. Push-ups with Swiss ball

The exercise works the chest. Start in a push-ups position but put the Swiss ball under the knees. Then push up until the arms are straight. Lower and then repeat for 10-15 times.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006 

7 Exercises to Work the Entire Body

During a workout it’s important to work all the major muscles. Trainers around the world have developed routines that would do exactly that: work the entire body. Here are 7 exercises for all the major muscle groups. We’ll explain 3 of them now and the rest in the next blog.

1. Hamstring flexion with Swiss ball

It’s great to work the calves and hamstrings, as well as for improving the stability in the core. Please see blog “Exercises for Day 4” posted on Saturday, April 29, 2006 for details on how to do the exercise.

2. Swiss ball squats

It’s great for the quads and improves your posture. In the start position place the Swiss ball against a wall and lean against it with your back. You should stand up, with your legs shoulder-width apart and slightly bent at the knees. Lower straight down until the knees are bent at 90 degrees. Then stand up again and repeat the exercise for 10-15 times.

3. Lumbar extension

The exercise is great for the lower back, usually the most neglected part of your body. Please see blog “Exercises for Day 2” posted on Thursday, April 27, 2006 for details on how to do the exercise.

Monday, May 08, 2006 

Avoiding the Weight Loss Mistakes (Next 3 Mistakes)

Mistake 4: You won’t loose weight the second you start eating healthier and exercising

If you start cutting down calories today don’t expect to see any results tomorrow. Mainly because the weight can fluctuate from day to day for reasons which have absolutely nothing to do with diet (one of them is weight retention). Hence you should only weigh yourself once a week and in the first month of changing the eating habits even only once a month. Of course, don’t forget to measure yourself because your weight may not change (or even may increase) but your body will change since fat will turn into muscle (if you exercise).

Mistake 5: It’s normal to make mistakes

No one is perfect; hence don’t expect that you’ll be perfect all the time. If you happen to overeat or to skip training, just don’t beat yourself. Start fresh the next day. No matter what happens remember that it’s hard to loose weight and it takes time but since you are watching what you are eating and you are exercising, you will reach your goals.

Mistake 6: Don’t eat less than 1200 calories a day

Many people assume that if you eat a lot less than usual, you’ll automatically loose weight. That’s not necessarily the truth. Each human needs a certain number of calories per day to burn for the normal activities. You can calculate your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate), which will tell you how many calories you are burning “idle”. This is a free site where you can calculate the BMR: http://www.bmi-calculator.net/bmr-calculator/

Doctors recommend us not to eat less than 1200 calories because the body can go into “starvation mode” when it will store every calorie it gets. Hence, eating too few won’t result in weight loss.

Sunday, May 07, 2006 

Avoiding the Weight Loss Mistakes (First 3 Mistakes)

Probably you’ve started eating healthier and exercising some time ago but you still can’t see any results. Before you get frustrated and decide to give up, please read on in order to avoid the most common weight loss mistakes.

Mistake 1: Fast is not good

Many dieters expect to see fast results and in a short period of time. But, loosing weight healthy is not about loosing weight fast. Doctors recommend that a healthy weight loss should be between ½ pound and 2 pounds per week. So, please stay away from those diets who promise you’ll be loosing weight in no time.

Mistake 2: You and I are totally different

While I, for example, lost weight every week since I started eating healthier and exercising, you might have not. Don’t worry. For some people it takes weeks before the body adjusts to the new life style.

Mistake 3: You won’t loose the same amount of weight each week

If for example during the first week you lost 2 pounds, don’t be surprise if during the second one you’ll loose only one pound. I am a good example. During the first 2 weeks I’ve lost 2.2 pounds each week, while during the third week I only lost 1 pound. So instead of jumping on the scale very week (or worse, every day), try to weigh in once a month! Then you’ll see some accurate results.

To be continued…

Saturday, May 06, 2006 

What about the Abs?

It doesn’t matter if you want to loose weight or just be in better shape, I am sure you’ve always dreamed of having a “six-pack”. We all want a much toner stomach with well-defined abdominal muscles. What is there to be done to achieve the goal?

First of all you need to know that there are three major muscle groups that form the abs: lower abdomen, upper abdomen and obliques (love handles). The lower abdomen starts at the waist line and stretches below it, while the upper abdomen is located right below where the ribs end. And we all know where the love handles are located: on the sides of the abdomen.

It’s important to know the difference between the groups because we need to work all the groups, including the back to insure a good posture. However, remember that only cardio exercises burn the fat all over the body and you should mix cardio with certain exercises to achieve the perfect abs.

To tone the upper abs you should do crunches and elbow to knee crunches, while when you want to work on your lower abs you should do reserve crunches. To work the obliques, the bicycle crunches are the best.

Start by doing 1 rep of 10-15 crunches (of any kind) and then steadily increase the number when it becomes easier to do one rep.

Friday, May 05, 2006 

Smart Nutrition Plan

When we think of weigh loss most of us think about diets. And a diet is always boring: you can’t eat …well almost anything. We can just go and graze with the cattle. And of course all we can think about when “dieting” is mountains of lettuce. Well, a diet, in fact a nutrition plan shouldn’t be like that. If you want to loose weight you don’t have to eat mountains of lettuce and starve yourself to death.

There are several keys to a smart nutrition plan. First you need to control your food portions. You can eat a serving of chicken noodle soup but 3 servings are way too much. Then learn to make smart substitutions. Instead of using the mayo for a sandwich why don’t you start using mustard? You save about 80 calories and probably you’ll like your sandwich best this way. Learn to eat power foods. Power food contains high fiber, high protein and low calories and can give you a boost for the entire day. These include whole-wheat cereals and most of the veggies. Then, watch your eating habits. If you eat in front of the TV you are bound to eat at least twice than necessarily. Prepare the food and then savor it in a relaxing mood.

Thursday, May 04, 2006 

Simple Activities that Burn Calories

One of the most important components of loosing weight is regular exercise. As all of us get bored easily and most of us don’t really like exercising even if paid (I was one of them until recently), it is important to incorporate different activities in our routine that will burn calories but won’t bear the horrible name of “exercises”.

If you get a change to walk to the market or do anything else in the town, you should know that 30 minutes of moderate walk burns between 94 and 138 calories if you are a female weighing between 140 -190 lbs, while if you are a male weighing between 170 -210 lbs it will burn between 111 and 145 calories. On the other hand, 30 minutes of brisk walking (recommended for weight loss) burns between 115 and 166 calories (female same weight as above) or 136 and 176 calories (male same weight as above). If you like to swim you should know that 30 minutes of swimming can burn between 250 and 350 calories (female same weight as above) or 300 and 379 calories (male same weight as above).

These are just some of the easy cardio exercises that you can do for pleasure and for “exercising” and still burn calories and loose weight.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006 

Cardio

A cardio workout is considered a workout that raises your heart rate for about 20-30 minutes. The cardio workout works all the major muscle groups and you should be sweating and breathing hard during the most intense part of your work. During cardio workout you must reach a specific level of intensity, which means you have to elevate your heart rate to an aerobic level and sustain it there.

Just as an example, jogging for 30 minutes with a speed which allows you to cover a mile in 12 minutes, burns 192 calories. As opposed to jogging, walking for 30 minutes with a speed which allows you to cover a mile in 15 minutes burns 108 calories.

Just like you I’ve been curious if sex is considered cardio activity and of course I wanted to know how many calories it burns. In different sources I’ve read that 30 minutes of intense sexual activity burns about 100 calories. However, other fitness experts count sex as cardio only if it meets the requirements of any cardio activity (intense workout, breathing heavily, heart rate raised and so on).

On the other hand, Yoga can’t count either as cardio activity. It is great for your mind, flexibility and stretching and it burns about 200 calories in an hour, but it’s not considered cardio activity.

Other cardio activities include biking, swimming and rollerblading.

What is your favorite? I love to walk a lot and when I have time to swim.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006 

Burning Calories While Doing Strength Training

As I’ve mentioned yesterday, you are probably asking yourself why I didn’t write anything about calories burnt while doing the strength exercises (exercises from day 1 to 6). The answer is a simple one: though you do burn calories doing those exercises the number of calories burnt varies a lot from person to person. Also, it depends on how much weight you are using (i.e. the weight of your body, the weight of the dumbbells), as well as how hard you are working and how much rest you take between repetitions. Hence, no one can tell you exactly how much you are burning.

For example, yesterday I did 20 modified push-ups (girly), 30 lying abductions, 30 crunches and 30 body weight squats and the estimated calories burnt were 133 calories. As a comparison, preparing a dinner for about 15 to 45 minutes can burn about 126 calories.

Now, don’t assume that if you prepare dinner you won’t need to do exercises. As you are doing strength exercises and start building muscle, the body will burn more fat while you sit and do nothing because muscles need to energy than fat.

Along with strength training, cardio exercises are a must. But more about them, in the next blog.

Monday, May 01, 2006 

Exercises for Day 6

Day 6: Plank hold, body weight squats, lateral deltoid raise.

Plank hold

In the starting position, you should lie on your stomach with your forearms on the floor pointing straight forward. The feet should be together and touching (not more than 1 inch apart) and the spine in a neutral position. The lift your body on the forearms and toes as you keep the body as straight as possible. Maintain the position as much as you can: 60 seconds in the beginning, then increase the time with 30 seconds each time you do the exercise. The exercise works the abs.

Body weight squats

Stand with your feet wider than shoulder width apart and the toes pointing forward. When you inhale, you should slowly lower your body, bending it slightly at your hips. Keep the weight on your feet and the back as straight as possible. When you exhale, straighten the legs and come to the start position. The exercise works the quads and the gluts.

Lateral deltoid raise

In the starting position you should stand with your feet slightly apart, your back should be straight and the arms hanging on the side of the body. Hold a dumbbell in each hand (palm facing inward).When you exhale, raise the dumbbells at your sides until shoulder level, while the elbows are slightly bent. When you inhale, you should lower slowly the arms to the starting position. The exercise works the shoulders.

By now you probably asked why am I telling you how to do the exercises but never tell you how many calories the exercises burn. I will explain in the next blog everything about strength and cardio exercises and how many calories they burn.

 

Take Good Care of Yourself