Answers to Your Questions on Fitness, Exercise and Weight loss

My latest observations, experiences and advice as a personal trainer about fitness, exercise, fitness equipment, weight loss and more.

 Inspirations Personal Training Home Page : Personal Trainer Blog Home : December 2006

December 1, 2006 06:58 - The Four Characteristics of a Successful Weight Loss Plan

Do a search for "Weight Loss Plans" on the internet and you will find literally thousands of them. Picking and choosing a good one is like finding a needle in a haystack.
Every one of them will tell you their's is the best for this reason or that reason.

Well, how do you choose?

Look for a plan with the following 4 characteristics.

The four characteristics are:

1. The plan must avoid cravings
2. The plan must avoid hunger
3. The plan must call for increasing your activity level
4. It must be a plan you can live with for a long time

What are cravings? A craving is when your body pushes you to want a particular food ingredient. This can occur even when you are not hungry. When you finally give in and get the food, you almost always binge, that is, eat more than you would have if you did not have cravings for it.

What causes cravings? Your body needs 6 essential food ingredients to function properly. They are carbohydrates, fats, proteins, minerals, vitamins and water. If you deprive your body of any of this, it will create the sensation that will drive you to get it. The most easily identified example is when you deprive your body of water. You develop thirst. Thirst is the body craving for water.

Weight loss plans that tell you to cut out particular foods will always lead to cravings. It is this battle in your body to give it what it needs that creates conditions of discomfort and lead to most individuals ending the programs. There is an area of the brain that controls what and how much you eat and is responsible for creating cravings as a way for you to provide the body what it needs.

So, how do you avoid cravings? By eating all the required food ingredients. The key is that in all the food groups, there are "good" types and "not so good" types. You need to know the good types and eat only those. For example, with carbohydrates, good types (in general) are the ones with low glycemic index (GI). GI is a measure of how fast a food increases the production of insulin. Insulin causes fat buildup. Whole grains and vegetables have low GIs and therefore good for weight loss.

By understanding the concept of eating all the essential foods and dividing them into "good" and "not so good" foods, you will avoid cravings and overeating.

Part 2 will discuss hunger and how successful plans avoid hunger.

It's time to read my review of a special weight loss program by Global Health and Fitness

till next time,

December 4, 2006 07:28 - The 4 Characteristics of a Successful Weight Loss Plan: Part 2

This is the second part of my series on what a weight loss plan should have in order to result in long-term weight loss. Any plan can cause you to lose weight, but for most people the weight comes back and they have to start all over again, usually with another plan. As a reminder, the four characteristics of successful weight loss
plans are:

1. The plan must avoid cravings
2. The plan must avoid hunger
3. The plan must call for increasing your activity level
4. It must be a plan you can live with for a long time

In the first installment, we discussed cravings, what causes cravings and how to avoid them. In this article I will discuss hunger and how successful plans avoid it. As you recall, cravings are when your body causes you to seek a certain habitual food item that it has been deprived of. This can occur even if you are not hungry. Hunger, on the
other hand, is when your body basically needs all the essential food ingredients at the same time.

If you join any program that causes you to be hungry a lot, you will end up consuming more calories, regardless of the source, and that will defeat your weight loss effort. So, curbing your appetite is key. Successful plans provide you with the ability to not be hungry. There are two things that reduce appetite most effectively:

· A full stomach and
· Foods such as proteins and fats.

The center of your brain that controls your weight, monitors your stomach size for fullness. It also monitors your blood for food substances that are absorbed from the stomach. It uses this information to create that feeling of satisfaction and to control your appetite.

How do you control hunger? You should strive to get that fullness feeling in the stomach. You want to do this with the least amount of calories. The best way to accomplish this is by taking in fluids, such as water or foods that have high fluid contents, such as fresh fruits. Also, to feel full without adding calories, take in fiber. Fiber goes through the body without being absorbed.

There is a catch to stomach size, however. The larger the stomach is expanded, the faster the food is absorbed and stored. So it is wiser to have many smaller meals, for example, six small meals a day, than 3 heavy meals in a day.

The types of food you eat, also affect your ability to suppress appetite and not feel hungry. Carbohydrates, especially simple carbohydrates, are the foods that are least able to suppress appetite. That is why a meal with no fat and lots of carbohydrates will make you feel full for a short time, while the stomach is full. As soon as the food leaves the stomach, you feel hungry again. Fat, on the other hand, suppress hunger as it reaches your brain. Proteins stimulate a
hormone called glucagon, which also suppresses appetite in the brain.

So, by making sure your stomach is not empty and eating the right types of food, such as proteins and fats, you will avoid hunger and hence take in fewer calories.

Next time we will discuss the concept of increasing your activity level and show that it is an essential part of any successful weight loss program.

It's time to read my review of a special weight loss program by Global Health and Fitness

till next time,

December 5, 2006 07:07 - The Four Characteristics of a Successful Weight Loss Plan: Part 3

Hi and welcome to the third part of my series on successful weight loss programs. Today I'm going to talk about the exercise part of the equation.

As a reminder, the four characteristics of successful weight loss plans are:

1. The plan must avoid cravings
2. The plan must avoid hunger
3. The plan must call for increasing your activity level
4. It must be a plan you can live with for a long time

Exercise simply means doing an activity beyond your normal activities of daily living, that will increase your metabolic rate. This is a must for you to succeed in losing fat and keeping it off in the long haul.

We get bombarded with spam about diet pills (among other junk) claiming to perform miracles by simply popping a pill but do these pills work? Well do you know anyone who has lost weight permanently using pills? Me either. If you see an ad for a weight loss program that promises results without increasing activity it will probably involve doing without some essential nutrients or taking a stimulant to increase your metabolism. Don't do it! You will never achieve long term success this way and you can seriously damage your health!

Stimulants have been known to cause irregular heartbeats and even death. I would not classify that as being safe and people on these products soon learn that the side effects are unbearable and they stop using them. Perhaps you heard of Steve Bechler, the Baltimore Orioles pitcher who died from taking ephedra, a stimulant taken by many individuals, that increases their metabolism

To get your metabolism stoked you have to increase your activity level as you reduce your intake of calories because of the body's mechanism for controlling weight. The body always wants to maintain your present weight. So when you reduce your intake of calories, the body slows down its metabolism. So, you have to exercise to bring it back up.

The trick is to find a program that is convenient and one you can stick with. The most popular program for those who have succeeded in maintaining long-term weight loss is walking. This is something you can do and does not involve any cost or expensive equipment. If walking is not your thing, find an activity that you enjoy and find a
variety of them so that it doesn't become boring. A great way to start is to hire a personal trainer who will ensure that your exercise program is suitable and interesting to you. A personal trainer will also show you the proper way to exercise for safetly and maximum effect. You won't have to stay with a trainer forever because you will quickly learn what you have to do.

Working with a trainer and getting professional advice not only shows you the right things to do but you end with somebody who will encourage you and mentor you through the process. The most important thing, however, is to be sure that any program you get involved in is one that you can live with based on your life style and the ability to enjoy and maintain that activity.

Here is my report on hiring your own online personal trainer. This is important if you think you could really use professional help to get started by just can't afford it... Affordable weight loss program

till next time,

December 6, 2006 06:31 - The Four Characteristics of a Successful Weight Loss Plan: Part 4

Hi and welcome to part 4 of this mini-series on choosing and sticking to a successful weight loss plan.

As a reminder, the four characteristics of successful weight loss plans are:

1. The plan must avoid cravings
2. The plan must avoid hunger
3. The plan must call for increasing your activity level
4. It must be a plan you can live with for a long time

Weight is one of those things that your body wants to keep constant. If you cut down on calorie intake too much, your metabolism will slow to preserve body weight. The secret is to reduce calories and at the same time keep the metabolism at full speed to burn off the fat.

Any program that you can't live with for the rest of your life is doomed to failure because as soon as you quit the program you will be back on track to gaining any weight you lost. This is where the term 'yo-yo' dieting comes from. The worst part is that you will likely gain back more weight than you lost in the first place.

There are people who have a genetic disposition to becoming overweight, just as there are those who are 'naturally' thin. But you can still overcome the problem with the right plan that will work for the rest of your life.

So, before you start or continue any program, you must ask yourself this question: "Can I Live With This For The Rest Of My Life?" This answer to this question explains why the most successful long-term weight loss programs are ones that have no gimmicks or special programs. Any thing that is gimmicky or "special" is very likely not going to last.

This is the last of our course and I hope you found it useful. When you put this all together, you will be in a position to start making an educated opinion about any weight loss program you might be considering joining or are already involved in. You can actually use this information to design your own program.

It would be nice to have a team of fitness and weightloss experts to help you design a workable plan that you can live with. If you could really use professional help to get started by just can't afford it read my report on an affordable weight loss program

till next time,

December 11, 2006 07:22 - More Power of the Mind to Achieve your Fitness and Weight Loss Goals

People are usually reluctant to accept the truth that the way you think shapes how you feel and who you are. How you think of yourself, your expectations and what you worry about and dwell upon have a direct and unerring impact on what you gain in life.

People don't want to accept this truth because it requires them to acknowledge responsibility for what they experience in their lives. Some people prefer to believe that their feelings either precede their thoughts, or exist independently of them. Yet the truth is that our feelings, good or bad, are the products of our own thoughts.

If you believe that your feelings come before your thoughts--that your feelings come out of nowhere and land in your head like a flock of stray birds--then you place yourself at the mercy of whatever feelings happen to be "descending on you" at the moment.

Taking Responsibility Gives You Power

Understanding the connection between what you think and what you feel will be central to your success at fitness or anything else in your life is.

To gain the power you need to make positive changes in your life, you can't afford to see yourself as a powerless victim of external factors. This denies you the responsibility for your own experience, and prevents you from enjoying the power that is rightfully yours.

the key to harnessing that power is to understand how it works in connection with your beliefs.

When you believe something strongly, the "how to" of achieving it is attracted to you virtually without effort. What you need to know and do somehow flows magically into your awareness as if out of nowhere.

In other words, the power of your belief becomes a magnet for the precise solutions you need. The stronger the belief, the better solutions you attract. This phenomenon is at the core of our human creative process. Once we are fully focused on what we want to create, and then believe we can create it, our results are virtually assured!

Stated another way, once we're sufficiently clear about what to do, we need not struggle to figure out how. You see, much of the failure of traditional weight loss is the result of trying to force something to happen. Effort, struggle, and relying on will power are all signs that we're fighting with ourselves, that we're at cross purposes with our own deeply held beliefs. But when our beliefs are clear and positive, all we need to do is "let it happen."

...continued in my next post

If you could really use professional help to get started in your fitness and weightloss program, but just can't afford it, read my report on an affordable weight loss program

December 13, 2006 06:30 - More 'Power of the Mind' to help you reach your fitness and weight loss goals

Changing the way you think can seem like an impossible task, keep this in mind: Every single belief you have right now was put into your mind with your own cooperation. In other words, you're already a "seasoned pro" at creating beliefs. However conscious or unconscious the process may have been, you played a central role in the adoption of all of your current beliefs.

And it is you who keeps them alive today and lets them run your life by not challenging their validity. Not a single one of your beliefs can survive without your constant support. You are the only one who can keep your beliefs alive, and you are the only one who can change them.

But, contrary to many people's notions, your beliefs are not just a bunch of thoughts confined to your mind. Your beliefs are interwoven into your body and spirit as well. Have you ever gotten a "sinking feeling" when you heard bad news? Have you ever felt like you were hit in the stomach when a lover did you wrong?

That's how we humans are built. We're multi-level, multi-dimensional beings, and to ignore that fact while we try to make changes is to guarantee failure. And that's also why you should never try to change your beliefs through mental processes alone any more than you could change your weight through physical processes alone. Instead, you need to take the much more powerful approach, by involving your body, mind and spirit in all you set out to do.

So, if it's a new experience of life you are looking for, even on the physical level, you need to begin the process in your mind. Your mind is the control center for your behaviors, and your behaviors are what determine how you look and what you accomplish. If your current experience of yourself is not to your liking, don't run off to the gym or seek out the latest diet. The secret of your success is much closer--between your ears. If you want to change your life, start with your mind!

How To Become A Success Story

There is a proven system that will help you Get motivated for life
To get full details on how you can put this life-changing program to work for you, please click here.

I sincerely hope this has been time well spent for you. Life is simply too short not to understand how our own minds and bodies work, or to be wasted on activities that can never get you where you want to go.

till next time,

December 18, 2006 07:06 - Things to Consider When Buying Home Fitness Equipment

There is a wide variety of home fitness equipment sold in the market today. Don't make the mistake of buying something and then regretting that you bought it after a day or two. Don't go believing everything you see on TV. The creators of those infomercials are pretty good at what they do and could sell igloos to eskimos. Much of what is said about the effectiveness of certain equipment is a fabrication and shouldn't be believed. There are some notable exceptions such as the bowflex.

Ask yourself these questions before you pull out the credit card...

Do you need it? Make sure that you already know the equipment and that it is something that you have already tried in a fitness club. The best way to learn which is the best fitness equipment to buy for your home gym is to consult a personal trainer who will not only instruct you on the equipment but will design a personalized program to ensure you get the most out of it. A personal trainer will also steer you away from some of the trendy junk that doesn't do what the infomercials claim.

Can you afford it? Don't be fooled with the thought that you will be forced to use something because you spent alot of money for it. Expensive equipment are never an assurance that you will use them or that they are effective for you. Basements everywhere are littered with expensive floor ornaments that are rarely used. If a piece of fitness equipment is going to be used regularly, it should be of decent quality or you will quickly become frustrated because of breaddowns.

You can get some good deals on used or rebuilt equipment and sometimes get a much better quality machine for the same money as a cheaper one. Remember all those expensive floor ornaments in peoples basements?

Do you have enough space for it? This is often what buyers forget to consider. Try to consider first where to place a treadmill before buying it. In our case we opted for a folding treadmill so it could be stored easily and take up less space. Before you buy something, make sure you know where you will place it. Plan ahead and make sure that the equipment can be placed in your home without causing any hassle.

Is it safe for you? If you have an existing physical condition that could preclude it, be sure to check with your doctor and personal trainer to make sure that the equipment will be safe and effective for you. Some equipment may be painful to use and might cause harm to your body. For example, a treadmill might be too hard on the joints (knees) for long term use and you could be better of with an ellipitcal machine. So make sure to try it first before you buy it and ask the experts.

In short, don't buy anything on impulse. Having the right equipment in your home can be very convenient and can help you stay on track.

Read more about exercise equipment on my site here...Exercise equipment reviews

Till next time...


If you could really use professional help to get started in your fitness and weightloss program, but just can't afford it, read my report on an affordable fitness and weight loss program

December 19, 2006 06:54 - Rapid Weight Loss Techniques

Learn a few tips about rapid weight loss that could change your life. (Read Article)

December 20, 2006 06:37 - Why Hire a Fitness Trainer?

Do you really need to hire a fitness trainer? How to stay motivated and on track to achieve your fitness and weight loss goals. (Read Article)

December 21, 2006 06:36 - Hypnosis For Weight Loss: Ways to Stop the Weight Gains

Using hypnosis for weight loss is becoming more popular among a population that is feeling age related changes in the bodies metabolism. (Read Article)

December 22, 2006 06:40 - 10 Things You Should Know About Stretching Exercises

Many people don't realize the importance of stretching exercises when working out. Improve your workout, strength and flexibility. (Read Article)

December 23, 2006 07:55 - What Are the Benefits of Resistance Training?

Learn of the many benefits of resistance training. A personal trainers perspective. (Read Article)

December 24, 2006 07:13 - Benefits of Cardio Interval Training

The heart is a muscle, or, more accurately, a group or “package” of muscles, similar in many ways to the muscles of the arms and legs. And just as exercise strengthens and improves the muscles you use for movement, it enhances the health of the heart muscles as well. Cardio interval training is a great way to improve heart health. (Read Article)

December 24, 2006 13:14 - Great Leg Workout For The Beginner

Here is a simple leg workout for beginners that you can perform in your home without equipment or fear of injury. (Read Article)

December 26, 2006 11:14 - Exercise and Type 2 Diabetes

In spite of the rising number of cases of type 2 diabetes, there is no need for you to develop this 'adult onset' disease. Just follow this prescription... (Read Article)

December 27, 2006 06:32 - Too Much Loose Skin?

Want to get rid of those loose skin 'wings' under your arms, or the loose skin on your thighs? (Read Article)

December 28, 2006 06:31 - Benefits of Using a Stability Ball in Your Training

Add a stability ball to your home gym equipment if you want results and to have a little fun with your workouts. (Read Article)

December 29, 2006 06:22 - The Importance of Working Your Core Muscles

Strong core muscles will improve posture and make everything you do much easier. (Read Article)

December 30, 2006 12:07 - What are the Health Benefits of Wine?

It's nice to know that I don't have to feel guilty about liking a glass of red wine with my dinner. Consumed in moderation, wine does have some properties that can benefit your health.

(Read Article)

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