Benefits of Total Body Workouts

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You’ve heard of different workout schedules and programs. You’ve heard people isolating certain muscle groups, working them out on certain days and working out other muscle groups on other days. If that works for you, then by all means go on. If you can’t go to the gym every day or if you’re a complete beginner, total body workouts are what’s favorable for you.

Less Time for Workout

Many gym rats spend 2 hours in the gym working out different muscle groups when they can actually do compound exercises that hit all major muscle groups in 30-45 minutes. Many people just don’t have time for 12 exercises for different muscles. That takes forever. Working folks don’t have the luxury of time. In that case, doing full body workout two or three times a week is much more manageable.

More Free Time

Life isn’t about work and workouts. Do you leave your office at 5:30 and spend an hour or two in the gym and then get home tired? No more time for your kids? If you spend all your evenings after work in the gym, how much time do you have left for your family or for recreation? Getting fit doesn’t have to wreak havoc to your personal life. A well-balanced time is what you need, and total body workouts can give you that.

Faster CNS Recovery

All right, gym buffs talk about CNS recovery. You see, when you put stress on your muscles, say for instance, while lifting weights, the neural network between your brain and muscles are firing signals for a limited time. It does so at its expense though. After an intense workout, it’s not just the muscles that get tired. Your central nervous system gets tired too and needs to recover. This is how daily isolation exercises jeopardize CNS recovery. By working out every day, you exhaust your CNS even though you’re working out different muscles. To fix this, schedule rest days in between workouts whether you’re doing isolation or total body workouts. That would mean longer waiting times for certain muscle groups if you split upper body and lower body workouts. Hence, some people just prefer full body workouts.

Simpler Routines

One of the frequent complaints of gym goers and fitness enthusiasts, especially beginners, is the intimidating number of exercises they have to remember. So you have to remember you have to do 3 or 4 sets of cable crossovers and decline press for your chest, dumbbell raise and cable raise for your shoulders, and dumbbell rows and lat pull downs for your back. Then you have to do bicep curls and cable extensions. That’s just for your upper body!

Why do all that stuff when you can do compound exercises that hit the major muscle groups. Unless you have specific goals, compound exercises (bench press, dips, rows, pull-ups, deadlifts, and squats) are all you need to get stronger.

Less Risk of Overtraining

Total body workouts wear you out sooner than isolation exercises chiefly because you’re working out more muscle groups. Split workouts and isolation exercises trick you into doing more exercises for similar muscle groups with the risk of overtraining and straining them. That’s one thing you have to watch out for when you’re doing these muscle specific exercises.

Reasons Why Most Diets Fail

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Most diets fail because they are not sustainable. They have false promises. They are severe. They are built around false science. All that low-carb, all-veggies, or juice dieting crap are bound to failure and frustration. Then people on these diets think it’s all about them. That they can’t do it. That’s not true! If you can’t stick to a diet regimen, maybe it’s not your fault. Maybe that form of dieting is wrong.

Mistake 1: Severe Calorie Restriction

Crash diets make people consume less than 1200 calories a day. If someone tells you to eat just a piece of pear and have some banana smoothie, then you’re on a path to self-destruction. The human body just wouldn’t be able to sustain and survive through that kind of severe calorie and nutritional restriction. You’ll go weak, hypoglycemic, and you will end up in the ER.

Mistake 2: All About Willpower

No, weight loss isn’t willpower alone. It involves a well-structured dietary plan. The problem with the willpower plan is that it puts all the blame on the person. If the diet doesn’t work, it’s his or her fault. But who, for instance, can withstand a boring diet of nuts and salads and fruit shakes?

Your body has its own way of compensating for your willpower. You eat too little? Your body will attempt to conserve energy and curb your metabolism. You grow weak. You store fat. You burn muscle. After a few months of sticking to that kind of diet out of willpower, you will look like a lifeless straw.

For some people, the hunger pangs override the so-called willpower. They get back to binging and they regain the fat they lost.

Mistake 3: Calorie Obsession

Calorie counters online may have lured you into consuming 1300-1500 calories a day to lose weight. But there’s some problem with this. One, we now know that not all calories are created equal. 400 calories from fish is different from 400 calories from bagel. Some calories come from good sources. Some come from bad sources. Calorie counting is good, because it keeps you on track. After all, you can’t wind up ingesting 3000 calories if you’re losing weight. But watch what you eat.

Mistake 4: Carbs and Fat Too Low

Low-carb or low-fat diets don’t work. If you want to lose fat, you can’t just cut back on carbs or fat and expect your body to shed off the pounds. Apparently, your body is much more complex than you think. Cutting the carbs would deplete your body of its major energy source. The result: your body tends to burn muscle for energy.

Speaking of fat, diets too low in fat are also bad for your health. Your body needs fat for a lot of things, like making hormones. You may think your body will tend to burn fat by not eating fat, but the exact opposite happens. Your body tends to hold on to the fat when it thinks it’s being deprived of it.

What do you do? Get a good dose of carb and fat. Go for complex carbs (e.g. whole grains) and good fat (e.g. fat from fish, nuts, eggs, and plant sources).

It’s simple. Control calorie intake and choose your food wisely.

The Reason Why Low Carb Diets Work

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You’ve heard of so many types of diet. Some work. Others don’t. There’s one type of diet that people has been talking about for a while. It’s the low-carb diet. As the name goes, it’s the type of diet where you limit the amount of carbohydrates you eat. Carbohydrates include grains and starchy veggies. Low-carb diet, instead, advocates for consuming more of protein and fat.

There are different types of low-carb diets, but their purpose is mainly for weight loss. However, some types are geared to help people manage diabetes or fix their metabolism. Now it’s important to understand that you have to consult your doctor before you follow any kind of diet, especially if you have certain conditions, like diabetes or heart disease.

One of the most popular low-carb diets is the Atkins diet, which significantly cuts back your carb intake and forces your body to burn energy from fat. It’s a low-carb, high-fat, and high-protein diet that allows your body to keep muscle, burn fat, and keep insulin levels at bay.

According to proponents of Atkins diet, when your diet is high in carbohydrates, your blood sugar rises. The body reacts by pumping insulin into the system. Insulin helps bring glucose to the cells to make it usable. When that happens, glucose becomes the primary source of energy and fat burn slows down or stops. In the long run, this makes you burn less fat and makes you fat.

Low-carb diet has marked benefits. The obvious is, of course, weight loss, unless you eat too much protein and fat that your daily calorie consumption exceeds your requirement. But hardly anyone can consume that much protein and fat. Unlike carbs, protein and fat keep you fuller longer and don’t have the short-term, transient satiation feature that’s familiar in high-carb diets.

Numerous studies have been conducted to look into the real effects of low-carb diet and to compare it to other types of diets. Many studies have shown that diets low in carbohydrates have great benefits during the first year. The weight loss could be due to a combination of factors. People with restricted carb intake tend to eat less in general whether by natural mechanisms of the diet or by suggestion. You really can’t binge on meat and fat because these things tend to make you full for a much longer time.

Also, your body breaks down protein and fat much slower than it breaks down carbohydrates. With high-protein and high-fat diet, your body doesn’t go through periods of sugar spikes and slumps. You see with regular high-carb diet, your body immediately pumps insulin to regulate glucose, but there comes a point when insulin overdoes its work and leaves little free glucose in the body. That causes you to feel hungry again, and sometimes that happens an hour or two just after having a full meal. This faulty mechanism doesn’t happen with low-carb, high-protein, and high-fat diet.

Take note that you have to choose your protein and fat sources. Good sources include lean meat, fish, eggs, nuts, chicken, and green leafy vegetables. Animal fat is bad!

Why I’m Ditching Weight Watchers

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Trying to lose weight is nothing new for me. In fact, I have made several noble attempts at it in the past. Some of those have been colossal failures, some have been moderately successful and others were successful for a period until I gained the weight back. Weight Watchers is where I saw some decent success, so it might stand to reason that I would stick with them and give it a go on their program yet again.

But I am not going to do that. Not now and not in the future.

Why not, you ask?

Because Weight Watchers is a diet, not a change in lifestyle. And diets are designed to fail you since they are seen as something that this more temporary and not a permanent change in the way that you feed yourself and your family. As long as you are technically on a diet, then you feel like you can “cheat” on it and you never really develop quality habits that help you to actually keep that weight off for the long term.

So, instead of worrying about how many points a meal or a snack might be, I will instead be worrying about how healthy that food is and what it will (or won’t) do for my body. And yes, I will still indulge on things like chocolate, but I am going to try to make a change to healthier dark chocolate instead of the sugar-filled milk chocolate based candy bars and such that I have a long love affair with. That relationship is getting ready to end. Sure, I might have some milk chocolately goodness from time to time, but it will no longer be the mainstay or my go-to sweet treat.

I mean, why have a Snicker’s bar when I could eat a strawberry dipped in dark chocolate? It is the healthier option and it actually tastes better! I call that a win-win! I have also been experimenting with new-to-me veggies like turnips and such and making veggie chips in the oven. These will be my new salty snacks. And they just happen to be super tasty. Hooray for that!