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 : November 2006

November 26, 2006 11:28 - Adopt the Best Habits of Thin People

Do you think some people are just naturally slim? Or maybe they’re doing something different than the rest of us that keeps them that way? Well, there may be truth to both of these statements.

There are some lucky people who are “naturally” trim. Those few lucky people who seem to eat whatever they want without gaining weight may have uncommonly quick metabolisms. Some are genetically predisposed to be able to pig out than the average person without storing the excess fat.

As for the rest of us, we are more like our ancient ancestors, who feasted when they had food because they didn't know when they would next be eating and couldn't preserve the meat. It was a good thing back then to be able to store a little fat on the body for the lean times.

Our lifestyles now are alot different than the lifestyle of our ancestors. We aren't as active just to stay alive, as a matter of fact we do alot of sitting and we, in North America at least, have an abundance of food at hand that requires little effort to capture.

Plenty of food plus little activity plus a predisposition to store fat is a sure recipe for obesity.

The bottom line is thin doesn’t come “naturally” to most. And researchers have for years attempted to define what habits normal people adopt to stay trim. A word about “habit”... According to, a “habit” denotes "patterns of behavior established by continual repetition. Habit applies to a behavior or practice so ingrained that it is often done without conscious thought."

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Synonyms for habit include practice, custom and usage. thin habits need to be permanent to be positive. thin people’s habits are not temporary. slim people’s habits are forever. That’s what keeps them trim!

Eat breakfast: The National Weight Control Registry, which is tracking over 5,000 individuals who have lost significant amounts of weight and kept it off for long periods of time, reports that eating breakfast -- especially a cereal breakfast -- is associated with better weight control. Best choices are unsweetened cereals without added fat calories, dyes and artificial flavorings. Avoid cereals labeled “crunchy” or that are coated in sugar.

Monitor Yourself: Take action when necessary. Everyone eats too much occasionally, but slim people don’t throw up their hands and give up. They get back to their good habits and increase activity. The NWCR reports that successful maintainers weigh themselves at least weekly and take action if they’ve gained.

No Soda! One client says he has lost more than 35 pounds in the past two years and kept it off. He used to drink at least two to three cans of regular soda daily, adding a whopping 300 calories to a daily diet
full of refined carbs and fast food. Now he drinks water or flavored carbonated water sometimes. But don't think you are doing yourself a favour by drinking "diet" soda either as the artificial sweeteners can be just as harmful to your body and excess sugar and fat.

Stop Watching the Clock: Your stomach tells you when to eat, and if you listen, it will tell you when you’re full. slim people eat when they’re hungry and stop when they’re full. Even if it is lunch time, if you’re not hungry, have a small snack and eat the rest later -- when you're hungry. No need to finish everything on the plate if you’re satisfied.

Stress Strategies: thin people find different ways to ease stress and anxiety instead of overeating. Are you one of those people who eat when you’re anxious or stressed out? Join the club. Pre-empt stress and take time for yourself daily. Before getting out of bed every day, stretch all your limbs individually, hold the stretch, breathe deeply and relax. Do this when you get into bed at night too and wake rested.

Eat Less Fat: Just choosing lower-calorie versions of regular foods is an important and effective strategy to stay trim. Whole-milk dairy products contain a lot of saturated fat and calories, so choose low or nonfat cheeses, yogurt, milk, sour cream and ice cream. Instead of fried, choose grilled, baked or broiled foods. Have a baked potato instead of French fries (fries can be the worst). Put salsa on that potato and hold the butter and stay away from margarine.

If you decide to stay away from your favourite fattening foods, it’s a sure way to desire them more. Thin people enjoy a sweet treat occasionally and watch their portion size. If you’ve got a sweet tooth (and who doesn’t!), plan for a sweet snack daily. My “sweet strategy” is a cup of cocoa when I have a craving for chocolate. I like the calcium-fortified, fat-free instant. At 50 calories per cup, it
satisfies without adding unnecessary fat.

Till next time...

Best to all,

Have you considered and online weight loss program?

(Inspirations Personal Training Home Page)

November 27, 2006 07:15 - Sleep and Lose Weight...Sounds Like a Dream!

Losing weight while you sleep sounds like something you'd read in a piece of spam-mail...audacious and unbelievable.

But as wild as it sounds, substantial medical evidence suggests some fascinating links between sleep and weight. Researchers say that how much you sleep and quite possibility the quality of your sleep may quietly manipulate hormonal activity tied to your appetite.

"One of the more interesting ideas that has been smoldering and is now gaining momentum is the appreciation of the fact that sleep and sleep disruption do remarkable things to the body -- including possibly influencing our weight," says David Rapoport, MD, associate professor and director of the Sleep Medicine Program at the New York University School of Medicine in New York City.

As it turns out, it's not just about reducing your calorie intake and being physically active. Research now adds getting enough rest to the formula.

To lose weight once and for all, get active, get enough sleep, and follow a healthy nutrition plan that suits your lifestyle. Not only will this combination help you lose weight, but it will also energize you and improve your overall health.

It was only recently discovered that the appetite is affected by sleep. What brought it into focus was research on the hormones leptin and ghrelin. Doctors say that both can influence our appetite. And studies show that production of both may be influenced by how much or how little we sleep.

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In fact, have you ever experienced a sleepless night followed by a day when no matter what you ate you never felt full or satisfied? If so, then you have experienced the workings of leptin and ghrelin.

Leptin and ghrelin work in a kind of "checks and balances" system to control feelings of hunger and fullness, explains Michael Breus, PhD, a faculty member of the Atlanta School of Sleep Medicine and director of The Sleep Disorders Centers of Southeastern Lung Care in Atlanta. Ghrelin, which is produced in the gastrointestinal tract, stimulates appetite, while leptin, produced in fat cells, sends a signal to the brain when you are full.

So what's the connection to sleep? "When you don't get enough sleep, it drives leptin levels down, which means you don't feel as satisfied after you eat. Lack of sleep also causes ghrelin levels to rise, which means your appetite is stimulated, so you want more food," Breus tells WebMD.

The two combined, he says, can set the stage for overeating, which in turn may lead to weight gain.

How the hormones leptin and ghrelin set the stage for overeating was recently explored in two studies conducted at the University of Chicago in Illinois and at Stanford University in California.

In the Chicago study, doctors measured levels of leptin and ghrelin in 12 healthy men. They also noted their hunger and appetite levels. Soon after, the men were subjected to two days of sleep deprivation followed by two days of extended sleep. During this time doctors continued to monitor hormone levels, appetite, and activity.

The end result: When sleep was restricted, leptin levels went down and ghrelin levels went up. Not surprisingly, the men's appetite also increased proportionally. Their desire for high carbohydrate, calorie-dense foods increased by a whopping 45%.

It was in the Stanford study, however, that the more provocative meaning of the leptin-ghrelin effect came to light. In this research -- a joint project between Stanford and the University of Wisconsin -- about 1,000 volunteers reported the number of hours they slept each night. Doctors then measured their levels of ghrelin and leptin, as well as charted their weight.

The result: Those who slept less than eight hours a night not only had lower levels of leptin and higher levels of ghrelin, but they also had a higher level of body fat. What's more, that level of body fat seemed to correlate with their sleep patterns. Specifically, those who slept the fewest hours per night weighed the most.

More on this in my next post...


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(Inspirations Personal Training Home Page)

November 29, 2006 06:29 - Want to Reduce That Oversize Belly?

Want to trim down your belly, or at least a good portion of it by Christmas? Here's a new twist on fat-burning aerobic exercise. We all know that aerobic exercise burns fat, but we also know that aerobics isn't too exciting and doesn't add much in the way of body-shaping muscle. But when you try the interval approach, and work in 30 to 45 second intervals, the result you get can be quite different.

The bonus is, you don't need any equipment at all for this workout -- but if you happen to have any piece of aerobic equipment around, such as a treadmill, exercise bike or stepper, you can incorporate that

Try this.

For 30 seconds, walk in place fast the floor or treadmill, or jump on the exercise bike and give it hell.

Then do the following two exercises without stopping, 15 repetitions each.

Basic Crunch

Lay down flat on your back on a mat or a carpet. Bend your knees and place your feet flat on the floor. Cross your hands over your chest.

To get the most out of this exercise you should focus on the motion of bringing your chest to your pelvis as if to fold your torso in two and to "crunch" your abdominal muscles in between.

Exhale as you move your head toward your knees.

Remember this is not a sit-up and your lower back will remain on the mat.

Make sure you contract (crunch) your abdominal muscles as hard as possible and hold the crunch for a count of 3.

Return to the start and without hesitation, begin the next repetition of this abdominal exercise.
Elbow to Knee Crunch

Lie on your back and bring your knees up toward your chest. Place your hands behind your head with your elbows extended out and lift your head and shoulders off of the mat.

Do not pull on your neck, you should be lifting with your abdominals.

Now extend one leg out as you twist your body so that your elbow comes toward the opposite bent knee. At first you may not be able to actually touch the elbow to the knee, that’s okay just reach toward it. You will naturally progress towards the knee as you gradually increase your abdominal strength. Keep your shoulders off the floor. Focus your eyes toward the low elbow and do not allow the elbows to fold in toward each other.

Now inhale as you twist in the opposite direction pulling the extended leg in towards you while simultaneously extending the other leg. Keep the extended leg 6 to 10 inches off the floor. Be sure to stretch the leg out long and with control. Keep the abdominals contracted and your low back pressed into the mat.

Exhale completely to complete the repetition.

Without resting get back on your piece of exercise equipment, skip rope, or walk or run in place for 30 seconds. Ideally, you would now do intervals for your other troublesome body parts such as hips, butt and thighs and other body parts.

The idea here is to build a little muscle in the trouble area while at the same time burning fat using the combination with aerobic exercise.

Till next time...


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

November 30, 2006 07:38 - 10 Simple Steps To Help You Burn Extra Calories

Finding time to work out is tough, right? It’s important that you make the time, and I’m here to help you do it.Your world is a busy place, filled with work pressure, family and stress, we sometimes have be creative to fit in exercise.

Here are my 10 fat-burning tips for busy people :

1. The best time of day to stoke your metabolism is in the morning, so when you first wake up, commit to 15 minutes of continuous exercise. Choose only three movements and perform each in succession without stopping for 10 minutes. For example, you can perform modified push-ups on Monday, followed by crunches for your abs followed by stationary lunges. On Tuesday, you can perform free-standing squats with hands on hips, double crunches for abs and close-grip modified push-ups (hands 3-inches apart) for your triceps. All in 15 minutes! Just take a quick breather when you need it. The next day, try aerobic exercise on a bike or treadmill or running in place. Just don't do the same thing everday and alternate between aerobic exercise and strength training.

You will find that you wake up more quickly and have more energy for the day.

2. Perform timed interval walking in your neighborhood or at lunch. If it takes 10 minutes to walk to a certain destination near your office or in your neighborhood, try to make it in eight minutes. You can also do this first thing in the morning before work as well as on your lunch break.

3. If you have stairs in your home or in your work place, commit to taking the stairs instead of the elevator a specific number of times. Tell yourself that you’ll take the stairs six or eight times (no matter what).

4. While seated, perform some isometric exercise to help strengthen and tighten your muscles. For example, while in a seated position, simply contract the abdominals for 30 seconds while breathing naturally. You can also tighten and contract your legs for 60 seconds. Perform about three sets per area. You’ll feel your muscles get tighter in just three weeks if you perform this a few times per week.

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5. For about $15 you can purchase a pedometer. It’s a small device you can carry that records the number of miles you walk each day. Each week simply try to add just a bit more to the distance. For example, let’s say you walk one mile total during the day in the normal course of activities. Simply try to make it two miles total the following week. Just make a game of it. You'll burn more calories.

6. Tired at night and just want to sit in front of the TV? Try this technique: take periodic five-minute exercise breaks and perform some muscle stimulating and calorie burning exercise. For example, take five minutes and perform only ab crunches. Then, when it's time for another five-minute exercise break, perform modified push-ups for five minutes. Then for a final five-minute break, perform stationary lunges. Try to do as many as possible in five minutes and try to beat your number of reps during each subsequent break. It won’t seem daunting because it’s only five minutes at a time, split over a 30 or 60 minute timeframe. Instead of rest breaks, you’ll take exercise breaks. Mind numbing commercials can be ignored while you exercise.

7. How about performing one exercise movement per day for seven to 10 minutes? For example, Monday: free-standing squats for seven minutes. Tuesday: chair dips for seven minutes. Wednesday: crunches and hip lifts off the floor for seven minutes. Thursday: modified push-up for seven minutes. Friday: stationary lunges for seven minutes. It’s quick, simple and teaches consistency.

8. Want things even simpler? Take the longest route every time you have to walk somewhere -- even if it’s to a co-worker's office.

9. Double-up the stairs. Everytime you take the stairs, simply take a double step or every other stair. You''ll get there faster and burn more calories. It will be just like lunges and the Stairmaster combined. Great for the legs and butt.

10. Perform any of the above with your spouse or a friend. I’m sure you can find someone who is in the same situation. The support will give you more motivation and you just may find that you can create even more workout time for yourself.

These 10 ideas may not turn you into an athlete, but the results will be noticeable and seeing the results can be a great motivator to continue.

It's time to read my review of my favourite fitness and weightloss program by Global Health and Fitness

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