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Fitness & Nutrition: Winning the Fitness Game

2014 is still young, and there is still some of that automatic momentum that is built into a new year. With just a little bit of honesty and self-examination you can get on board with an exercise program that will pay dividends for years to come.

I’m going to go ahead and admit that I like to watch infomercials for fitness programs.  I really think they can be a good representation of trends in the fitness industry. I find it interesting that guys like P90X creator Tony Horton and Insanity creator Shaun T have recently come out with programs requiring significantly less time to complete. Tony Horton has come out with P90X3, a 30 minute workout program, and not to be outdone; Shaun T has released T-25, which can be completed in just 25 minutes. By the way, the concept of shorter workouts is nothing new. Does anybody remember the “8 Minute” workout series from 20 years ago (8 Minute Abs, 8 Minute Arms, 8 Minute Buns)?

I think both Tony and Shaun are great trainers that really know their stuff, but the reason most fitness programs and DVD’s are never even removed from their shrink wrap isn’t because they take too much time. While I would agree that the follow through on a 25 minute exercise routine is better than that of a 90 minute program for the average person, time is not the biggest obstacle to success. The biggest reason people fail to reach their goals with DVD exercise programs is this: It is boring to work out alone in front of your television and there is zero accountability. In addition, it takes tremendous self-discipline to follow through with working out 5 days per week, even if it’s for just 25 minutes. And without a coach, a classmate or a workout partner to motivate and hold folks accountable, follow through on these programs is very poor. In fact, it is estimated that a whopping 82% of people do not complete the P90X program. As an aside, the creators of P90X and Insanity have recognized this and started certifying individuals to teach P90X classes at fitness facilities.

Still, there are people that successfully lose weight and tone up with these programs. If you have seen the commercials for these products, then you have seen the “before and after” photos and heard the testimonials. And while those results are not typical, I do believe these people are being truthful and have gained results from these routines. One thing that struck me about many of the testimonials was that a vast majority of the people spoke about going to the gym for years and working out hours at a time without satisfactory results. This is instructive because these are folks who already had the self-discipline to work out on a regular basis, but lacked the proper planning and guidance to get the results they desired.

I find lack of knowledge and information regarding proper training and nutrition to be a huge problem for people. Many gyms have gone with a low cost model and offer membership for as little as $9.99 per month with little or no guidance or support. This leads to the average person who has no particular knowledge on weight training, cardiovascular exercise, or nutrition to figure things out for themselves. Personal training is often made available, but the high cost precludes most people from signing up with a trainer. So you find many well-intentioned people who consistently go to a gym and gain poor or mediocre results.

To their credit, Tony & Shaun T’s program have a very scientific approach to training and nutrition. When scientific training and nutrition is combined with self-discipline, positive results are sure to follow.  The problem with about 82% of people is the self-discipline component.  It seems like it’s a bit of a lose/lose situation, right? People who struggle with their fitness level generally fall into one of these two categories: they have all the tools and guidance, but lack the necessary self-discipline, or they have the self-discipline, but lack the proper tools and guidance. Those who succeed with a nutrition and exercise program have both.

How You Can Win the Fitness Game

You have to know yourself and you have to be honest with yourself. Are you very disciplined when it comes to your exercise and nutrition habits? Have you purchased fitness products in the past that are currently collecting dust on your shelves? If so, don’t waste your money on another fitness gadget or set of DVDs. And don’t feel bad. The vast majority of people do not succeed with these programs and end up selling them on eBay or at a garage sale.

At the same time, if you have no idea how to structure a safe and effective workout program for yourself, consider enrolling in a fitness class.  A properly structured class environment will be much more effective (and educational) than a simple gym membership. There are important details such as how to stretch, warm-up, work out at a safe, yet effective intensity, administer post-workout nutrition and more. Thumbing through a fitness magazine or doing a Google search just won’t cut it. Plus, you will enjoy a more dynamic workout and (hopefully) have people to hold you accountable.

Remember, there is nothing wrong with doing the research, putting in the time at the gym and formulating a plan based on your own experience over several months or years. Just remember the quote, “Experience is the best teacher, but the tuition is high.” Well-intentioned, but poorly designed programs can lead to acute and chronic injuries, muscular imbalances (which can lead to more injuries), poor results, and frustration.

The year 2014 is still young, and there is still some of that automatic momentum that is built into a new year. With just a little bit of honesty and self-examination you can get on board with an exercise program that will pay dividends for years to come.

By the way, if you need additional motivation to get started, please take a minute and check this out:  Exercise: The Keystone Habit.

 

Kickboxing Union County NJ

Making our community healthier & safer, one person at a time.

The Village Shopping Center, 1260 Springfield Ave., New Providence, NJ 07974

Proud to offer Kickboxing, Martial Arts, Fitness, Nutrition & Personal Protection Strategies to residents of New Providence NJ, Berkeley Heights NJ, Chatham NJ, Stirling NJ, Gillette NJ, Summit NJ, Kickboxing Union County NJ, Morris County NJ and all surrounding areas.

P.S. Visit our website at http://www.BeginKarate.com to learn about our Academy and our programs.

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February 4, 2014 Posted by | Health & Nutrition | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Simple Plan: Control Your Calories!

A Simple Plan…

According to The Calorie Control Council (www.caloriecontrol.org) the average woman, who has a moderate level of physical activity needs an estimated 2,160 calories each day to maintain her weight. The average man (assuming the same level of physical activity) requires about 2,349 calories. Remember, this is for weight maintenance, not weight loss. Research by the Department of Agriculture tells us that the average American consumes around 2,700 calories per day. Consuming an extra 350 and 540 calories each day is one reason why many folks are deemed overweight.

Most health care professionals recommend gradual weight loss (up to one pound per week) for the best long term results. In order to lose one pound, a person must burn 3,500 calories more than are consumed (500 calories per day over the course of a week). This can be accomplished each day by eliminating 500 calories, burning an additional 500 calories or any combination of the two. For example, one could reduce calories by 300 per day and increase daily activity in order to burn 200 additional calories per day which adds up to the 500 necessary calories.

This is definitely not rocket science; however in my experience most folks grossly under-estimate the amount of calories in the foods they consume and at the same time over-estimate the amount of calories burned by physical activity.

Let’s start with the caloric value of some common snacks and drinks*:

Breakfast items:

(1) glazed doughnut: 350 calories

(1) plain 3 oz. bagel with cream cheese: 450 calories

(1) bacon, egg & cheese biscuit sandwich: 430 calories

(1) 12 oz. (tall) blended mocha cappuccino drink: 208 calories

(2) pancakes with butter & syrup: 520 calories

Beverages:

(1) 12 oz. can of cola: 150 calories

(1) 12 oz. serving of whole milk: 220 calories

(1) 12 oz. energy drink: 160 calories

(1) 12 oz. bottle of sweetened tea: 129 calories

Snacks

(3) Pre-packaged chocolate chip cookies: 160 calories

(4) chocolate / vanilla sandwich cookies: 180 calories

(1) average size candy bar: 275 to 450 calories

(12) potato chips: 160 calories

(1) cup of chocolate soft serve ice cream: 300 calories

*Caloric values courtesy of WebMD, Food-o-meter, fitwatch.com, livestrong.com, & calorieking.com

By the way, if you consume mixed drinks you should be aware of the extremely high caloric value of most of cocktails. A study by Forbes revealed the following cocktails as some of the most fattening: Long Island iced tea (780 calories), margarita (740 calories), pina colada (644 calories), gin/vodka & tonic (200 calories).

“Ok, no problem, I’ll just exercise a bit more to burn off those additional calories,” you say. Not so fast, my friend!

Here is a list of the average calories burned for physical activities (assuming a 150 lb. person). For accurate calories burned specific to your body weight use the free calculator at Healthstatus.com:

30 minutes of high impact aerobics: 238 calories burned

30 minutes of walking (3 mph pace): 148 calories burned

30 minutes of yoga: 297 calories

30 minutes of running (6 mph): 342 calories

30 minutes of vigorous weightlifting: 207 calories

30 minutes of cycling (12 to 14 mph): 297 calories

30 minutes of spinning (moderate): 238 calories

You can see it’s going to take about 30 minutes of walking just to burn off the can of soda you drank with lunch! The better option is to have a bottle of water and eliminate the calories from your diet rather than trying to burn them off every day.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, healthy adults should participate in 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activities each week.  So, assuming you spend 150 minutes each week running, you will burn 1,710 calories. Remember, we need to subtract or burn off an additional 3,500 calories to lose one pound. This means the other 1,790 calories must come from eliminating calories from your diet (around 255 calories per day).

If you spend 150 minutes each week walking at a brisk pace, you will burn 740 calories. Simple math tells us that you now need to eliminate another 2,760 calories from your diet that week to lose one pound!

There is a very small percentage of the population that exercises enough to burn an additional 3,500 calories each week. A healthy sustainable diet is always going to trump exercise when it comes to weight loss. You simply cannot gain weight from calories that you don’t eat! Exercise is an integral part of a healthy lifestyle, however you cannot out train bad nutrition.

A Simple Plan

Many people can eliminate over 500 calories by simply adjusting their beverage consumption. For example if you consume:

Breakfast: medium café latte with whole milk (265 calories)

Lunchtime: 20 oz. bottle of non-diet cola (240 calories)

Dinner: 1 bottle of sweetened lemon iced tea (180 calories)

Assuming no other beverages, you are consuming 685 calories each day without eating any solid food!

By substituting a small café latte with fat free milk (125 calories) for breakfast and drinking water with lemon or seltzer water for lunch and dinner you can eliminate 560 calories from your diet each day (more than enough to drop one pound per week). Alternatively, you can run for 30 minutes and follow that up with 30 minutes of vigorous weightlifting every day to burn around the same amount of calories. Which seems easier and more doable to you?

Eliminating just one fast food meal per week can easily eliminate several hundred calories from your weekly total! A recent article by Jeannine Stein of the L.A. times indicates that over 34% of the people that eat at fast food restaurants order combo meals that average 1,000 calories of more!

Eat a little smarter, don’t drink your calories, exercise a little bit of self discipline and you will be well on your way to shedding a few unwanted pounds.

Martial Arts for Life New Providence, NJ

Making our community healthier & safer, one person at a time.

The Village Shopping Center, 1260 Springfield Ave., New Providence, NJ 07974

Proud to offer Martial Arts, Fitness, Nutrition & Personal Protection Strategies to residents of New Providence NJ, Berkeley Heights NJ, Chatham NJ, Stirling NJ, Gillette NJ, Summit NJ, Union County NJ, Morris County NJ and all surrounding areas.

P.S. Visit our website at http://www.BeginKarate.com to learn about our Academy and our programs.

Martial Arts for Life

June 25, 2012 Posted by | Health & Nutrition | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment