Explaining Fitness for Dummies

Fitness is one of those terms you can often hear just about anywhere: in the media, on the street, during a conversation with friends, and just about anywhere else. Even though it gets used and abused a lot, how much do we actually know about it? Can any one of us define what fitness really is?

Paraphrasing the National Federation of Professional Trainers Handbook, fitness is the ability to perform everyday activities with vigor, with some spare energy left to be able to react in case of an emergency. Body fat percentage should be around 18% for men, and 25% for women, and lungs, heart and body should be strong.

Then there is the medical perspective. I have a good friend who works as a Nurse Practitioner and runs a website called the Nurse Salary Guide. Her ideas on health and fitness are so far removed from my own. She talks about heart fitness and lung fitness more than what most trainers mean. But that’s another blog post!

fitness defined

If you were to really get into it, fitness could be broken down into four separate aspects, which are:

Cardio Respiratory Conditioning

Or simply put, your lungs and your trying to keep up with the pace set by your muscles during exercising. When you run out of breath while running, your cardio respiratory system can’t keep up with your muscles.

If you are in good shape, you have good cardio endurance, which will make you feel more energized. But, that’s not the only reason for doing cardio. You will also lose weight, reduce fat content inside your body and burn excess calories.

If you are keen on building your cardio respiratory endurance, here’s what you need to do:

Intensity: cardio workouts should be performed between 60 and 70% of your maximum heart rate if you want to achieve optimal results in a reasonable timeframe.

Activity: always pick an activity which engages large muscle groups, such as quads. The bigger the muscle, the more calories you will burn. Some examples of such workouts would be running, swimming, cycling, and many others.

Frequency: 3 to 5 times in a week.
Duration: no less than 15 minutes, and no more than 60 in a single day.

If follow this program, you will be able to see the results as soon as 6 to 8 weeks.

Muscular Endurance

Muscular endurance is categorized as your muscles’ ability to carry out contractions over long periods of time. For example, if you were to do exercises, such as crunches, for an hour, that low intensity performance would be called muscular endurance.

In order to improve muscular endurance, you need to do the following:

Intensity: use 40 to 60% of your weight capacity, perform sets of 20 to 25 reps.

Activity: perform three circuits of three different exercise such as pushing, pulling, squatting or pressing.

Muscular Strength

There are two different types of muscular strength: dynamic and static. Dynamic strength refers to your ability move a certain weight with your muscles. Dynamic strength comes into play while doing bench presses or curls.

Static strength, on the other hand, only takes into account the weight you are able to hold with your muscles without moving. Such exercises would be planking, or doing a bridge position. Both types are needed in everyday life, since you are bound to get stuck doing something physical sooner or later, so it’s better to be ready for it, instead of getting injured.

To avoid injuries, adhere to this program:

Intensity: 80 to 90% of your weight capacity, sets of 4 to 6 repetitions.

Activity: perform exercises where your muscles are contracting, but your body remains stationary, or dynamic workouts, such as push-ups. Also, try to choose exercises which require you to perform compound moves which require you to engage several muscle groups, not just individual muscles.

Frequency: two times a week tops, you should give your muscles a chance to recover.


Obsessed with cardio endurance and muscular strength, people often forget one of the most important segments of fitness. That segment is flexibility. Basically, flexibility is your ability to achieve a full range of movement with your joints and muscles, while feeling no pain in the process.

You can test yourself by touching your toes, while keeping your legs straight as you bend down. If you can’t do it, that means you are not flexible enough and you need to work on that. Flexibility is important, because it reduces the chance of injury, and because it will allow you to have a full range of motion even in your old age.

Some areas which you should target are your lower back and your hamstrings, since those two are the most prone to injuries.

Improving your flexibility starts with this:

Intensity: pull on your muscles gently, so you don’t feel any pain. If you start to feel discomfort, ease up and a bit, and try again. You can’t rush flexibility.

Activity: nothing more than your basic stretched for all the joints and muscles in your body.

Frequency: before and after your exercise routines.

Duration: you should stretch between 10 and 15 minutes. If you are working on improving your flexibility, you can stretch a bit longer.

The Perfect Fitness Routine

The National Federation of Professional Trainers recommend the following routine:

Warm Up: 5 to 10 minutes of stretching and low intensity activities such as walking or cycling.

Weight Training: 25 minutes, 3 sets of 20 to 25 reps. Consider the following types of exercises: pushing, pulling, leg pressing and squatting. Perform a total of 9 sets, or three circuits.

Core/Ab Workout: 10 minutes. Any exercise that engages these muscles will do.

Aerobic Activity: 20 minutes. Choose aerobic exercises which will raise your rate up to 70% percent of its maximum, such as jogging, running, swimming, and so on.

Cooling Down: 5 to 10 minutes. Stretch out, especially those muscles which were targeted during this routine.

Now, this routine is pretty flexible, and you can choose between the following exercises to come up with the best combo for yourself: chest press, triceps extensions, pull downs, rows, curls, squats, leg extensions, and leg curls, among others.

Now you know … don’t you?

A Beginners Guide to Training for Physical Fitness

Whether you’ve recently decided to start working out or you’re simply recommencing your old regime, you will need to have a system in place to succeed. Luckily we have compiled an advanced guide below to help you become fit and perfect your physique.

The main reason why most people give up on their fitness regime is because it may take longer than they’re willing to wait. Chances are you’ve come across several fitness magazines telling you that it will take at least two months for you to achieve your fitness goal.

However, we’re happy to tell you that, it’s not always true. With the right guide, it’s possible for you to see results in one month. Of course you won’t become a pro but it’s enough time for you to overcome the hurdles that usually prevent people from getting to their goals.

The bad news is the demanding nature of the training but the good news is that you are less likely to suffer from an injury or burnout. Another good thing is that it allows you to adjust to the intensity of getting fit for beginnerseach exercise gradually.

In just one month your muscle strength will improve and you can smoothly transition to the next step. In other words it will have you feeling and looking better than you did before. How can you say no to that?

The program is perfect for beginners as well as those of you who had given up on your previous workout regime and would like to start training again. It does not matter how long ago your last workout was. 4 weeks or 4 years, you can expect the same results. So without further ado, let’s move on.

First Weeks: All In One

You will kick things off with a split training routine. This way you can carefully monitor the development of your physique since all main body parts are trained. You’ll workout three days for the first week, completing one exercise for each major body part when you train.

It doesn’t matter what days of the week you choose, the good thing is that it’s very accommodating to people who can’t work out more than three times per week. Resting is very important to the success of the program. Overexerting yourself will not allow your body parts to recover and may result in an injury.

Here is an idea of what your training schedule might look like:

  • Monday: Training
  • Tuesday: Resting
  • Wednesday: Training
  • Thursday: Resting
  • Friday: Training
  • Saturday: Resting
  • Sunday: Resting

For the first week you will only complete basic exercises that incorporate advanced lifters that you can easily adapt to. A common error when people decide to start working out is that they begin using machines rather than learning simple moves.

In week one the program combines a few weight training exercises to pave the way for a smooth transition into more difficult moves. These free-weight exercises also promote muscular strength and endurance.

The stronger your muscles get the easier it will get for you. Always ensure that you understand the exercises before take them on.

You will perform three sets of each exercise for every session. At the end of the week you would then have completed nine sets for all major body parts – a great way to start off. For muscle development you will do a minimum of 8 reps for each set, a technique used by many professional bodybuilders.

When you get to week two, you will be doing 8 reps for your first set and switch to 10 reps for your third set. You may have heard your last trainer refer to this as “reverse pyramid,” taking in account that it does from higher to lower much like a pyramid does – you will reduce the weight per set as the reps per higher. For instance, you can use weights of 140lbs on your lat pulldowns of 8 reps but use 130lb weights when you get to 10 reps.

fitness training routine

Second Week: Split decision

When you get to the second week your entire body would have already been trained and prepared for the next step. Here you will be adding one more day to your training schedule for a total of four days. You will be training major upper and lower body parts on different days while still leaving enough time to rest.

Below if a brief idea of what your schedule will look like when you get to week two:

  • Monday: Upper-body training
  • Tuesday: Lower-body Training
  • Wednesday: Resting
  • Thursday: Upper-body training
  • Friday: Lower-body training
  • Saturday: Resting
  • Sunday: Resting

You will continue to do a lot of the exercises you did during week one when you get to week two, adding an extra move per body part for each session. It allows you to train all your muscles from varied angles except your abs.

For example, you will do two chest exercises, a dumbbell flyer that targets your shoulder joints and pectoral muscles and a dumbbell bench press that targets several joints in both the shoulder and elbow. Each dumbbell bench press will target your deltoids and triceps unlike the dumbbell flyer.

To ensure that you do not overexert yourself you will also use a “reverse pyramid” scheme but instead of the previous maximum 10 reps you will do 15 reps when you get to the third set for each exercise. 15 reps might seem like a big jump to you but it will enhance your muscles’ strength and endurance making it easier for you to complete week two.

Third Week: Three On Three

Okay! You’re almost there so let’s kick things up a notch. This time you’ll be in the gym six days for the week. You will target major body parts such as shoulders, triceps, and the chest. For the first day of training you will target your chest, shoulder and triceps (pushing body parts), on the second day your abs, biceps and back (pulling body parts), and on the third day your hamstrings, calves and quads. All body parts, pulling, pushing, and lower, will be trained twice a week.

A new exercise is added per body part for each session for further muscle development. You will complete four sets for your quads, hamstrings, back and shoulder and three sets for the smaller parts like the triceps, biceps, calves and abs.

At the end you will have a total of 16 sets for the larger body parts and 12 set for the smaller parts with a maximum of 15 reps.

Final Week: Turning Up The Volume

Congrats you’ve made it to the fourth week! Here you will complete a four day spilt training that targets all major body parts with the exception of your abs and calves which will only be exercised two times. Many pro builders prefer to do four-day splits because they train only a handful of body parts every session but this allows you to train more intensively.

The body parts that are trained tend to develop more efficiently because they are given full attention. Your shoulders, abs and caves are trained several times during the week. The focus is on increasing the intensity of the workout so that there are no new exercises but more sets are added to each exercise.

You can add a maximum of five sets for each body part to ensure that your muscles are enhanced for optimal strength and pick up from the previous weeks.

Once you’ve gotten through the first month you can move on to the next stage.

Paleo Diet and Weight Loss

There are many diets out there that claim to make you lose weight, but many don’t deliver. One that’s going to be looked at today is the Paleo Diet. Can this make you shed those pounds, or is it just another fad diet that’s going to be history in a few years?

What is the Paleo Diet?

This diet is known as the Caveman Diet as well. It’s short for Paleolithic, which is the era of the caveman. The diet makes you eat like a caveman, making you eat foods that only they would eat. Back in the days when people hunted and gathered food, eating only as much as they could to live.

What’s Allowed in the Paleo Diet

  • Berries – An obvious one. Cavemen loved to pick berries off bushes, so it makes for a great sweet treat.
  • Wild animals – Another given. Cavemen hunted and fished for all kinds of meat, so it makes sense that you would eat them as well.
  • Vegetables – Many veggies grow in the wild and therefore were the source of protein for cavemen.
  • Seeds, and nuts – These should be found in the wild. Pick them yourself or not at all.

paleo weight loss foods

What’s Not Allowed?

  • Dairy – Cavemen didn’t know how to milk, so therefore you should only use cows for food.
  • Grains – These come from agriculture, so it’s not ideal – breads are out too!
  • Processed foods – Cavemen didn’t exactly have factories to preserve and can foods, so this is a no-go.

In other words, this diet makes you go back to the all-natural diet the cavemen had many years ago, just like nature intended. But can it help you lose weight?

The Paleo Diet and Weight Loss

While it’s not going to instantly make you lose weight, it can improve your health. It is more biased towards proteins and fat, and you need to eat many vegetables if you want to have your daily intake of carbs, so it’s not something you’d like to try if you have to eat a balanced diet.

However, you can lose weight if you take time to try it out. It can reboot your metabolism, improve your digestion, and detox your body.

Trying the Paleo Diet for Weight Loss

If you are careful with the way you eat, the Paleo Diet CAN help you to lose weight. The diet will reset your metabolism, clean all of the chemicals and toxins from your body, and improve your digestion. It will take time, but it will help to cleanse your body.

There are other diets out there that do it better, so if you’re going to lose weight, you might want to try those first. If you do want to lose weight with the paleo diet, use a few of these tips below.

  • Limit your calories – Your diet’s going to be high in fat, so it’s naturally going to be high in calories. If you want to make sure that you’re going to lose weight instead of gain it, you need to limit your calories and stay under that limit. However, if you don’t want to starve, then you should…
  • Exercise more – This way, you’ll burn more calories a day. You can eat more without starving yourself. Martial arts is a good way to burn those extra calories.
  • Eat plenty of carbs – The problem with this diet is that you’re going to be eating a lot more fats, as established. To have a more balanced diet, eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds.
  • Make sure to keep your fiber intake – Fiber allows you to stay healthy. Eat more roughage so that fruits in paleo dietyou have enough fiber to digest the fats and proteins.
  • Get more sleep – Getting 7-8 hours of sleep is good for any occasion, especially weight loss. If you’re tired, you can overeat, and your metabolism is slowed because you’re lacking energy. Sleeping properly also gives your body more growth hormone, which will burn your fat and build muscle.
  • Don’t worry about the number on the scale – You’re trying to burn more fat than anything, so if your weight stays the same or goes up, don’t worry about it too much. Instead, make sure that your body fat percentage is going down.
  • Stop consuming caffeine – Too much of that coffee can alter your adrenaline levels, stopping your weight loss. So if you drink too much, cut it out and see if it will help with the weight loss.


The Paleo Diet can help out a lot with your weight loss if you count calories and keep your nutrients balanced. You’ll have to exercise more and have to deal with digestive issues, but in the end, it helps you to lose weight if you know what you’re doing.

Try it out if you want to, or look for other ways to diet if this sounds too harsh.

Amla: The Latest Miracle Food?

Amla, also known as the Indian gooseberry, is a fruit that may have many health benefits, enough to fill an entire book. It’s used a lot in Ayurvedic medicine due to its benefits. It’s seen as a way for your organs to rejuvenate, for your immune system to perform at its maximum, and even slow down the aging process.

In addition, it helps the digestive system by enhancing the absorption of vitamins and minerals.  Besides that, it can even improve your liver, reduce inflammation, and even take care of your appearance. It’s said to improve your skin tone, and even prevent gray hairs and baldness. It even helps you with weight loss.

There are even more benefits to this fruit, and it all sounds too good to be true. However, there has been research on Amla, revealing some amazing findings on what it can do for you. One is its antioxidant powers.

Amla’s Benefits

Amla, whether in whole or powdered form, has a variety of antioxidants. These help to provide protection against things such as free radicals. These cause diseases and even aging, and antioxidants alma benefitshelp to prevent that.

Amla has been known as one of the best superfoods you can have, especially when it comes to heat resistance. You can take it as a supplement, and that helps to protect your skin against UV rays and pollution, both of which can contribute to aging. Specifically, Amla extract can protect against free radicals from the UVB radiation in sunlight. This causes your skin to break down, giving it wrinkles and making it saggy.

Another finding is that Amla may help to prevent cancer. It has properties that are anti-inflammatory, antimutagenic, and more. These help to prevent and even treat some kinds of cancer. One, known as pyrogallol, can prevent the spread of cancer cells on lung cancer. Pyrogallol can even affect other kinds of cancer too.

Diabetes Benefits

Type 2 diabetes is no laugh matter. It’s growing, and many people attribute that to our poor diets. With diabetes, you need to control your blood glucose levels, and people usually do it with drugs. However, Amla, according to one study, was much more effective than the leading drug used to control blood sugar levels.

It only took three grams a day of powdered Amla to control levels, much easier than taking  a lot of drugs. Of course, this doesn’t mean you should go off diabetes drugs and just take Amla. Diabetes is too life-threatening to take that risk. Also, if you take Amla with blood sugar meds, it may cause your levels to drop way too far. As such, talk to your doctor beforehand.

There may well be a case to be made though for the benefits daily Amla supplementation to help prevent the damage that leads to the diabetic condition in the first place.

Type 2 diabetes is a disease that is increasing in our society at an alarming rate. Even children are now being diagnosed. Replacing processed, high sugar supermarket junk with natural superfoods would be a great start to avoiding this debilitating disease and this article has some other important tips.

Heart Disease Prevention

Heart disease has always been one of the biggest killers of Americans. This is caused by inflammation and oxidation in your heart. If Amla lives up to the claims of being an antioxidant and an anti-inflammatory, you better believe that it will help out against heart problems. It also prevents blood cells from sticking to your walls. This is the primary cause of heart disease.

alma healthy food

According to recent research, there is some link to the Indian gooseberry giving you protection against cardiovascular problems. In addition, it may slow down lipid peroxidation, which is another factor that causes heart attacks. In addition, it may improve your cholesterol levels. It raises the good kind, and also lowers the bad kind.

There are some drugs that help you to prevent bad cholesterol, but they never raise your good. Also, they may contain side effects that are harmful. Meanwhile, if you take just take three grams of amla powder, you may lower your cholesterol.

Doctors can give you drugs (with side effects) to lower your LDL cholesterol. But it’s not often that a substance will also raise your HDL cholesterol at the same time, without reported side effects. These valuable health benefits were observed with just 3 grams of Amla powder a day.

So is it True?

The research gives some insight of the benefits of this fruit, but it’s hard to tell fact from fiction. The combination of all the substances that are found in Amla are not exactly easy to repeat in a proper study. Besides that, researchers concentrate on finding a cure instead of looking for something that can prevent it in the first place.

Amla may help prevent all these diseases, and we won’t know until all the research reveals it. After all, powdered Amla is not expensive, and is easy to take.

However, not many people in America know about this food. This may because it’s uncommon in these parts. That’s why the word needs to be spread.

If you think that Amla can help you out, feel free to share this article with others. If we got the attention of more researchers, maybe the superfood’s secrets will finally be unlocked, and we’ll have a superfood that is a little more than just hype.

Elliptical Machines – Are They Suitable For Weight Loss?

On a worldwide scale, weight loss is a timeless goal. Every year fitness fads and dieting trends pop up, make their rounds, and then fade from mainstream popularity as others pop up to take their place – and the cycle continues. However, there are some weight loss systems that stand the test of time; remaining effective as fads and trends come and go. Elliptical trainers are a perfect example of a weight loss system that has stood the test of time – let’s find out why.

Burn The Right Calories

Calories are burnt whenever you exercise, this is common knowledge. However, what you may not know is that calories are not all burned at the same rate. Whenever you exercise the either burn calories from fat or carbohydrates to generate energy.

If your body needs to generate this energy fast (e.g. when you’re sprinting) then it is far more likely that it will make use of carbohydrate calories. However, whenever you perform sustained balanced exercise, your body utilizes its oxidative energy system, which will make use of fat calories instead. This is why elliptical machines are amazing, they make the most of this oxidative energy system, which means that they are excellent fat burners.ellipticals and weight loss

Adjust Key Workout Factors

Nowadays, virtually all elliptical trainers are being made with the distinct ability to adjust both the incline and stride levels. What this means is that you can essentially alter these key workout factors on the fly without interrupting your routine. A combination of a steady speed and a gradually increasing incline is possible the best way to efficiently burn fat. This technique plays upon the aforementioned oxidative energy system – which means that you are more likely to burn off the fat and not the carbs.

Lower And Upper Body Workout

This is one of the big benefits of elliptical trainers. Unlike treadmills and other similar devices, elliptical trainers have movable handlebars that are not only present to help you maintain your posture, they are also there to give you a great upper body workout. What this means is that your muscle activation levels are greatly increased and therefore you end up burning far more fat. There are also elliptical trainers that have rotating, egg-shaped handlebars that can give you are more powerful workout because they have the ability to better focus on your abdominal muscles.

Lower Perceived Rate Of Exertion

Studies have shown that, compared to other common cardio machines (treadmills, exercise bicycles, etc.), elliptical trainers have a lower perceived rate of exertion. What this means is that comparatively, you won’t actually fell as if you are exercising as hard and therefore you should be able to exercise for longer.

Auxiliary Technological Enhancements

Putting aside all of the primary technological enhancements (such as the ability to control incline and stride), there are still many other technological enhancements being made to modern elliptical trainers. Interactive exercise apps, for example the myLiveLight, are becoming the norm for elliptical trainers.

This type of app can communicate with smart devices via Bluetooth, giving you the ability to set custom workout user profiles or generate preferences based on your goals, weight, or other factors. Modern elliptical machines also give you the ability to play your workout music via built in apps, Bluetooth, and/or docking mechanisms.

No Pressure On Your Joints

This is a huge benefit for individuals who either have joint related problems or are in physical therapy (recovering from accidents, etc.). When utilized properly, an elliptical trainer won’t place any stress or strain on your knees, spine, or hips. They are also a great workout option for individuals who are overweight because they usually suffer from joint problems as well. High end models have been known to be able to support individuals who are over 400 pounds.

Additional Functionality

Lastly, modern elliptical trainers now have a great deal of resourceful features that are designed to make losing weight easier. Not only can you fully customize your workout, you can also set the total amount of calories that you want to burn. You can also compensate for recovery and endurance; which complements the aforementioned ability to regulate incline levels, speed, and stride length.

Hopefully this answers any and all elliptical trainer related questions that you may have had. Not only is the elliptical trainer a great way to get a cardio workout, it is also easy and fun to use as well; quite possibly the best way to stay fit and healthy.

Right Choices for a Healthier Body: Grains Vs Fats

It’s a fact: obesity is a rapidly growing disease. Knowing the effects that being even moderately overweight can have on your general health is sufficient enough to make you stop and think. But as you consider a healthier lifestyle, inclusive of healthier eating, you will find that there is a plethora of information available.

Often, the sources are conflicting on what foods are best for weight loss; for maintaining a healthy weight; and for optimal functioning of your body. You can however wade through it all and make the best decisions if you are armed with some simple facts.

Not All Nutrients Are Created Equal

We have been conditioned to think of ‘fat’ as a dirty word when it comes to our food intake. In fact, ‘carbohydrates’ is more of a four letter word than either ‘fats’ or ‘oils’ in terms of what should feature predominantly in your diet. Your body does need all the nutrients (protein, carbohydrates, fats and oils, vitamins and minerals, along with water and fiber).

If any one is missing, then the body cannot function at it’s optimal levels and disease or illness will be the result. It is the proportion in which you take the various nutrients that can make the difference between unwanted weight gain and welcomed weight loss and control.healthy choices information

Remember the old food pyramid with a heavy carbohydrates base and a tiny triangle of fats and oils at its peak? When it comes to the proportions, think of taking that pyramid and inverting the contents.

So what you get is a heaping helping of protein, fruit, vegetables and fats and oils, but the carbohydrates are kept to a minimum and carefully selected. Sounds crazy, right? In your head you are probably thinking, “Wont all this make me – obese?”

Carbohydrates and Insulin

Truth be told, it’s all the carbohydrate that we have been consuming over the last few decades that have led to the obesity crisis we are currently facing. Why is this so? – The insulin factor. Some carbohydrates, such as grains and their highly processed derivatives, lead to a sharp increase in the level of insulin in the body.

One of the functions of the hormone insulin is to enlarge the adipose fat cells in the body, allowing more fat to be deposited. This storing of fat causes weight gain – weight is what you want if you are expecting a few years of famine ahead.

On top making it easier for your body to store fat, if your diet is high in carbohydrates, it will also lead to you having more fat to store. This is due to the fact that carbohydrates are digested to form sugars and excess sugars are stored as fat in those burgeoning adipose tissues.

Furthermore, if you continue to consume a lot of carbohydrates, then your body does not get the chance to use up its fat stores as energy. The result is a increase in girth and a feeling that you are being punished for eating in the way you were told.

There are carbohydrates (whole oats, and certain fruits and vegetables for example) with what is called a low glycemic index. This means they digest slowly and are not likely to cause a sudden increase in the insulin levels. Additionally, they are high in fiber which is required to keep your digest tract functionally in a regular way. Keeping modest amounts of these in your diet cannot be faulted.

Protein and Satiety

Your meal should leave you feeling full (not beached whale stuffed) for awhile, giving your body time to digest and absorb the nutrients you have eaten. This feeling of satiety is readily achieved when the meal is protein rich.

Eating lots of healthy protein is great for tissue building and repair, as well as ensuring that you are not heading back into the kitchen for a snack shortly after your meal. Your protein choices should come with the labels ‘free range’ or ‘grass fed’ and should include eggs, seafood and lean meats.fish healthy choices

The body is unable to store protein and excess protein in got rid of by way of urine. So protein consumption cannot make you overweight. This is why diets that focus on fruits, vegetables and protein are best for weight control.

Fats and Weight Loss

Your body needs reasonable levels of certain fats in order to ensure that it is able to carry out all its functions. Remember learning in Biology that there are water-soluble and fat-soluble vitamins? The vital vitamins A, D, E, and K are all fat-soluble and this means that they must be digested, absorbed, and transported along with fats.

Added to this, is the important factor that certain fats help with the level of satiety you feel after a meal. Actually, they are even better at it than the protein discussed earlier. For sources of these ‘good for you’ fats think coconut, avocado, amla, butter (from grass fed cows, please), nuts and seeds.

Previously unfathomable, it has now been realized that some fats can actually help in considerably reducing body fat and thus contribute greatly to weight loss. These include the coconut’s saturated capric acid and the avocado’s monounsaturated oleic fatty acid.

And don’t worry – as long as the extra fat in your diet is of the healthy kind, then it is unlikely to lead to  the nightmares you would normally associate high fat intake with. Atherosclerosis and high bad cholesterol levels are not a consideration around moderate consumption of these healthy fats choices.

If you have been endlessly trying to lose weight by cutting calories and fueling up on grains and low fat foods without getting any results. It may be time to kick things up a notch and get your metabolic rate improving.

Rather than eating less, it time to start eating more of the right kind of fats. While doing so avoid grains that will spike your insulin levels and before you know it you will be fitter, feeling healthier, more energetic and looking better than before.

Healthy Eating Habits for a Stronger Body and Soul

If you have decided to start out on the road toward a healthier  habits  changing the way you eat is one vehicle to take you there. Here are some useful tips to bear in mind as you become more aware of what your body needs to function effectively.

These will help you develop healthier eating habits that will not just benefit your body, but also your mind and your outlook on life.

Apply a Dose of Moderation

As you strive to change your unhealthy eating habits into smarter traits the most important factor to ensure success is ‘moderation’. It would be unwise for you to abruptly cut out all processed foods and soda. Likewise, jumping into a strict daily 30-minute exercise program is also ill-advised. Instead, aim for attainable weekly goals that will gently ease you into the lifestyle you are aiming for. This will make the new routines feel more like a part of you and you will be more inclined to stick to them.

You could think about aiming for less processed foods and soda in the first week. For week two try to take a few minutes to plan a grocery list that supports your new healthy eating practices. Week three might find you making a conscious effort to drink more water healthy_waterand exercise at least twice.

Keep making these small changes weekly and you may find that you develop the confidence to make bigger changes or to make more than one change within a given week.

You should also apply moderation to the quantity of food you consume at a given time. This means that at the end of a meal you should not feel stuffed but just full. Moderation suggests that you are not required to cut out all of your guilty pleasure foods, just have less of them.

After all, quitting your bacon cheese sandwich abruptly may leave you craving it more and this could drive you completely off your healthy eating track.

Moderation tells you not to fall into the trap of thinking that one nutrient is more important than the others. Your body needs a balance of carbohydrates, protein, fat, fiber, water, vitamins, and minerals (plus exercise) in order for it to be healthy and strong.

How, When, Where and Why You Eat

The ultimate goal is to achieve a pattern of healthy eating that fits seamlessly into your daily routines. This means you will need to focus on aspects of your eating habits other than what it is that you eat. The ‘why’ you eat should be for nourishment and care of your body and not just to stop your stomach from grumbling while you rush through a busy day. This will help you to select healthy choices as much as possible rather than bulky, empty calories.

The ‘where’ you eat has to do with both location and company and is closely related to the ‘when’ you eat. There are many social and emotional benefits to dining with company, especially if they are on the same nutritional track as you are. Before you get up to grab a snack, ask yourself if you are really hungry, you may be mistaking a need for water for a need for food. Have a glass of water and see.

It is recommended that your last meal of the day should be 14-16 hours before breakfast. This gives your digestive system a chance to better regulate itself, a key ingredient to controlling your weight. And since you have waited so long, do not skip breakfast. Your metabolic rate will enjoy the healthy boost a good breakfast provides and you can keep that rate up during the day by having several small healthy meals, instead of a huge lunch and dinner.

The ‘how’ you eat takes in the physical act of eating. Ensure that you chew your food properly before swallowing. This not only aids the digestion process but help to slow down your food intake. It may lead you to enjoying the meal more since you spend time savoring each bite and appreciating the blend of textures and flavors in the meal.

Remember, it only takes a few minutes for the brain to get the message from the stomach that you are full! Therefore, you should stop eating just before you get that feeling of fullness.

Minimize Processed Foods and Stop Drinking Soda

The label ‘processed foods’,will be used here to discuss foods that have been put through a number of multifaceted processing steps. A good reason to avoid these foods is that; during processing chemical agents such as additives, artificial coloring and preservatives are added.

When purchasing packaged foods go for those labeled as organic and stating they contain no additives, artificial colors or flavors. Also keep an eye out for those with no added sugar or preservatives. Be sure to check the label when purchasing meat and eggs. It should say Free Range, Cage Free, Wild Caught, or Hormone Free. Steer clear of refined grains and sugar, as these generally provide empty calories.healthy_balance_12

Eliminate soda from your diet if at all possible, or try to cut it down to a bare minimum. They are loaded with sugar or artificial sweeteners, unsafe chemicals and preservatives.

They provide little if any nutritional value and according to most sources, they will weaken your bones. Reach instead for probiotic drinks, herbal teas, natural fruit juices or some kombucha.

Don’t worry, as you go through each week changing out the unhealthy habits for healthier ones you will find you naturally gravitate to healthier choices. Before you know it you’ll be consuming far less processed foods and soda than you thought possible.

Don’t Overdo Caffeine, Sugar or Salt

While it’s quite easy to become hooked on any of the three, actively trying to reduce them in your diet is another matter. You may be able to limit yourself to: two caffeinated drinks a day (perhaps a coffee in the morning and tea in the afternoon); sweets only at desert; and a small salty snack a day. You will still find, however, that they are hidden ingredients in some of the other things you consume.

Many canned and processed food have high sugar and salt content. One smart move is to opt for fresh or frozen foods instead. Also advisable, is to sweeten your food yourself since manufacturers tend to add a lot of sugar to attract your sweet tooth. Go for unsweetened, plain, or unflavored options for your food, and then add naturally sweet fruit for healthy sugar and flavor. Choose low-salt or reduced sodium options when available; take your gravy on the side when dining out; and ask for low-sodium dishes.

Your caffeine, sugar and salt intake will naturally be reduced as you consciously decide on what is best for you to eat and fall into the habit of making healthy choices.

Build Your Meals Around Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. You can optimize your intake of these by going for as many different colors of fruits and vegetables as you can. In order to ensure that you meet your daily required fruits and vegetables intake, it is best to plan your meals with fruits and vegetables making up the bulk of what you eat.

Doing so will help you to reduce the amount of calories you consume per meal. At the same time it will be bumping up your nutrient intake. Who knows, while you are at it, you may find yourself trying out (and liking) some new ones.healthy_fruits_12

Green vegetables are an excellent source of calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, zinc, and vitamins A, C, E, and K. Satisfy your sweet tooth with sweet potatoes and yams, corn, and squash.

Fiber and water are necessary for a balanced diet and fruit is a tasty way of adding these to yours.Fruits are also great source of vitamins and antioxidants (which help fight cancer).

A healthy lifestyle begins with healthy eating habits. Today our diets are lacking in several areas, we rely on the experience of others rather than our own desire to live a healthy life. As a result, we are easily influenced to adapt new habits but are usually quick to drop them after a trial period of a few days.

Your goal should be to set your own objectives based on your personal desire to live healthier. In doing so, you are one step closer to achieve your goals.

5 Sure Ways to Kickstart Your Metabolism

Metabolism is a term that encompasses several different processes, including elimination of waste matters from one’s body, production of energy and bodily growth. Your metabolism is influenced by numerous factors such as genetic heritage which is beyond your control and nutrition as well as the environment which you can influence, up to certain point. This means there are things you can do to give your metabolism a boost.

The Basics

Since there are so many factors that come into play when determining one’s metabolism, there are several different ways in which you can change it. Keep in mind that there are no shortcuts and magical pills but rather some slight changes which will turn your metabolism around and burn calories faster.boost metabolism

Now if do this right you may find yourself becoming hungrier which is sort of the opposite of what you want because more food means more weight but larger appetite means that your metabolism is kicking it up a notch.

You know those people that seem to eat all the time, yet they never gain any weight. That means that their metabolism is speedy, and that they can consume more calories yet never get fat.

However if you manage to kickstart your metabolism it does not mean you are going to obtain a lean figure overnight but you will have a good foundation which combined with proper nutrition and exercise will help you maintain proper weight for which your body is built. Here are some of the things you should adopt as habits:

Never Miss Breakfast

The most common mistake people make is to skip breakfast. There is a reason why breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Your body needs a pretty heavy dose of nutrients and energy to get itself going, as well as to function all throughout the day which is why breakfast is essential.

You may be fond of those extra 30 minutes of sleep but trust us if you sacrifice them in order to make yourself a healthy breakfast it will start paying off soon. Try getting up and making a smoothie. It’s quick and easy to make and you can chop up your favorite fruit and mix it with protein powder, oats, bran, or seeds, for a healthy and balanced meal.

Never Take the Elevator

Any chance you get, use the stairs. In fact implement that same approach just about anywhere you can. You can read the morning paper or surf the internet by standing up at a counter instead of sitting down. Instead of taking the car or a bus to work try riding a bicycle or walk if it’s not too far away.

Don’t worry, these activities will not wear you out and they will keep you feeling energized and fresh during the day as well as boost your metabolism and burn calories.

Find the Right Balance of Carbohydrates, Protein and Fat

While each person is unique sticking to a ratio of 50 percent of protein, 35 percent of carbs and 15 percent fat in your diet should give a decent idea of how your diet should look like. You don’t have to get it exactly right, just remember to have a meal which contains protein, carbs, and fat.

Green Juice Is Your Friend

Substances found in leafy veggies like chard, kale, or spinach are awesome metabolism boosters. They will solve most of your digestion problems, elevate your energy levels and help release toxins from your body. The best thing about greens is that there are so many to choose from.

Try including beet, amla (Indian Gooseberry), dandelion or collard greens in your diet. Spice up your drinks with herbs like rosemary and peppermint. Apart from providing the intense flavor, they are also very healthy.green_juice_help_32

There are several different ways through which you can get a hold of green juice. You can visit your local health food store and buy some cold-pressed, raw green juice. You can also blend your veggies with some water, and drink it that way.

The ratio is totally up to you, just remember to keep it thick enough so that you consume some fiber in the process. The best way, and the most time-consuming and expensive one, would be to make your own freshly-squeezed green juice and mix it with carrots and apple for example.

Introduce Resistance Training into Your Exercise

Following your regular exercise routine and doing stuff like cycling, running, or walking is a good way of keeping yourself in shape but it produces results up to certain point because your body becomes used to it. A good way of breaking up that routine and boosting your metabolism would be to introduce some exercises like lunges, squats or push-ups. Once you becomes used to these, introduce some resistance into the equation. The goal is to keep your body guessing and your metabolism on its toes.

Another great tip would be to perform exercises that engage your entire body, instead of a single muscle group. For example you can combine a squat and a shoulder press into a single exercise, all the while using a weight. This will engage your legs and glutes, as well as your arms and shoulders at the same time.

The Summary

Now, if you scroll back to the beginning, you will also see that we mention genetics as one of the factors that plays a large role in how your metabolism functions. Some people will need to do more to kick into high gear while others will need to do very little.

You can’t change your genetic makeup but you can choose not to give up, stick to your routine, and wait for the results to come which they will. Like we said there are no shortcuts. Following these few simple rules requires very little work on your part and the pay-off is well worth the effort.

Weight Loss: 6 Great Sources of Protein

There is a lot more to weight loss that skipping meals, missing out on your favorite food, and counting calories. Unfortunately, those who go on a diet are often unaware of that, and they often go back to their old eating habits pretty soon.

In order to change your eating habits forever, you need to choose an approach which will not only help you slim down, but keep you full, so you don’t raid your fridge in a moment of weakness.

Your biggest allies in this battle are lean proteins. Lean proteins will keep your appetite in check, kickstart your metabolism, and won’t cram you full of useless, empty calories which only add to your weight. Here is a short list of all the best lean protein food sources.

Egg Whiteseggwhites weight loss

Although it’s no secret that eggs are an excellent source of protein, they can also help you lose weight. But, we would advise you to avoid egg yolks if you are looking to slim down, since they contain some fat. Instead, try egg whites, either as part of a meal, or a separate one.

Making your favorite omelet is possible with only egg whites, as well, and you can put them in your favorite protein shake, too. They contain no carbs or cholesterol and have very few calories, only 40 per half a cup.


Although not exactly a staple of dinner tables, spirulina is one of the best sources of protein you can eat if you are looking to lose weight. Just to illustrate, just one teaspoon of spirulina seaweed contains 4 grams of protein. Just a few spoons with each meal will satisfy your protein needs for the day. Apart from keeping you full, spirulina is also great for jumpstarting your metabolism and ridding your body of toxins. This will only speed up weight loss, since an organism that is free of toxins will function more efficiently.

Turkey Breast

Turkey breast is another healthy source of lean protein, as long as it is roasted. It is far healthier when prepared that way than your run-of-the-mill deli turkey, which is full sugars and additives. Turkey breast contains very little fat and sodium, but is rich in tryptophan, which helps your body to grow lean muscle mass and to cope better with stress, which can both slow down your metabolism, and make you eat more.

White Fish

When we are talking about foods that are rich in protein, and low on calories, we have to mention white fish. One of its advantaged is that is can be prepared in several different ways, while still keeping its nutritional value and great taste. You can bake it, roast it, broil it or grill it. Some of the fish that fit this classification are: cod, haddock, tuna, tilapia, swai, trout and halibut. Also, wild salmon is a great source of protein, but you should eat it in moderation, because it contains plenty of fat.

Whey Protein Isolateprotein wieghtloss eggs

Whey protein isolate is available on the market in powdered form, and is one of the best ways to build lean muscle mass. When buying it, always choose a type which doesn’t contain any milk fat or sugars.

Instead, go for ones that use stevia as replacement for sugar. Did we mention that whey protein isolate has zero carbs and no fat? If you are an athlete, this would be the perfect source of protein for your body.

Non-Fat Greek Yogurt

One of the key factors of weight loss is the sufficient intake of antioxidants. One of the best foods that is both delicious and rich in antioxidants is yogurt.

Yogurt has been proven to be a healthy source of antioxidants, which are an important component of weight loss. Yogurt, as is the case with all dairy products, is rich in calcium and magnesium, but also potassium, which helps your digestion and reduces bloating.

It is also full of protein and B12, which is great if you want to kick our metabolism into high gear. Go with a non-fat kind if you are looking to lose weight.

There you go. 6 healthy foods that should help you stay full, lose weight and build muscle. Most importantly, you won’t fall off the wagon, so to speak, and return to your old eating habits.

A Comprehensive Guide to Bread – The Healthy and the Not So Healthy

Contrary to what you may have heard or have been lead to believe, white bread is actually a very unhealthy and unwholesome part of your daily “balanced” diet. This is not speculation, it is a scientifically proven fact and a hard truth to swallow, especially since bread – specifically white bread – is one of the most popular foods in the US and many other parts of the world.

The Process of Creating White Bread

To create this white bread the manufacturers have to literally remove virtually all of the fiber and other nutrients from the wheat grain. Furthermore, it is then subjected to bleaching techniques that utilize compounds such as organic benzoyl peroxide and toxic chlorine dioxide. If this was not enough, the now overly ‘refined’ product is further treated with composite chemicals, such as: ammonium chloride and azocarbonamide..

After all this is done, the now chemically and nutritionally unrecognizable flour is now deemed to be guide to breadsatisfactory enough to be manufactured into the white bread that we are so familiar with. In actual fact, this wheat grain is not even treated as such by our bodies; it is instead handled in the same manner as run-of-the-mill table sugar.

Carbohydrates that have been refined – such as white bread – are adverse, since consuming large amounts of them stimulates the subsequent production of excessive amounts of insulin. In this scenario, insulin transports any and all of the sugars that had just been swiftly absorbed out of the circulatory system; because if by some means they do remain within your body they pose a serious health risk. They are then changed into glycogen and subsequently into triglycerides to facilitate easy storage in fat cells.

While it is obviously true that some fats that are consumed will also be stored, it is really white bread and similarly other foods that are considered to be “high glycemic” that actually produce the most optimum circumstances for weight gain via fat storage.

Possibly the most underhanded and laughable thing that these producers of white bread will do is try to place a handful of essential compounds – vitamins, minerals, etc. – back into the bread. It is ironic because these “vitamins and minerals” are actually lab created (i.e. synthetic) and as a result, most individuals cannot fully utilize them in their bodies. If this was not enough – and it really seems as if way too much has been done to a simple slice of bread – they then have the gall to imply (or outright claim) that their white bread is in fact “enriched” or “fortified”. While they simply neglect or ‘forget’ to mention the chemical beating that the bread before you has undergone.

White Vs Brown

Most, if not all, of the white bread that is manufactured from wheat flour that has been refined actually give negligible benefits to your health and body. It is so harmful, that it not only needs a greater amount of enzymes to break down, it also needs more nutrients from other foods (since it has virtually none) to fuel these processes as well. All of these factors combined only reinforce white bread’s status as one of the principal foods in your pantry that causes weight gain.

Now after hearing all of this you are most likely seriously thinking about running down to your local supermarket to make the seemingly sensible shift from white bread to brown bread. Sadly this is not a much better recourse since greedy manufacturing tricks and ploys have enforced their hold on a good deal of the ‘brown’ bread that we see today. True to their name, these breads are little more than – surprise, surprise – the same white bread that we previously discussed with the added bonus of a latent dose of caramel or brown coloring. So much for being healthier, right?

So now you might be saying, “Well at least I can feel safe with my multigrain and wholemeal breads.” Multigrain bread is just the same refined wheat flour with a number of softened grains strewn throughout; while wholemeal bread is simply the same white bread that has been endowed with a little wheat germ that has been chemically treated.

The sad truth is that most of the various types of bread that we see on our shelves from these companies are actually just the same refined wheat flour template with minor inconsequential deviations here and there. Whether it be a dash of coloring or some other trivial addition, underneath it all it is still the same overly processed bread.

Now enough of the negatives – hope you haven’t been scared away – if you would still like to get your daily allowance of bread but maintain proper health and lose weight as well, you can empty your cupboards of all of what we have just gone through and look towards the future. What should you include in your future diet you may ask? Here are some more beneficial choices.

But Wait Is Whole Wheat Bad Too?

If you can manage to locate real whole wheat bread that is rich in fiber and not some cheap imitation – see my above rant on “brown” bread – then by all means it should be superior to refined wheat bread. The beneficial bran and wheat germ can still be found in whole wheat bread and with any luck the brand that you choose to buy has not be subjected to detrimental processing and has not been bombarded with various harmful additives.

With all of that said, it is still being questioned whether or not whole wheat bread is really as beneficial as it seems. The real issue it seems is the actual wheat that is used to manufacture the bread.

Rye Bread

In a country that is so dominated and in love with processed wheat bread simultaneously, it is a little more than a walk in the park to locate rye bread at the local supermarket. However, if you do chose to go the extra mile and seek out rye bread you will undoubtedly realize that it is not only less refined but also  healthier and better for weight loss. Even whole wheat bread pales in comparison to the amount of beneficial fiber that rye bread has to offer and it is also much more filling as well.rye bread for health

Studies have shown that over the course of just a three month period, participants were at 40% less risk of emergent diabetic conditions. Not only that, individuals who were already diabetic exhibited far less symptoms and were much healthier (and happier) overall. The main reason for this was highlighted by the study to be the less significant influence that rye bread had on blood sugar levels.

Spelt Bread

While spelt grain does share some similarities with its distant relative wheat, they should not be placed in the same boat. Spelt grain not only has a pleasantly nutty flavor that many people (myself included) find heavenly, it also has a generally healthier and nutritionally superior array of nutrients.

To echo what was said before about rye bread; spelt bread is a better source of fiber – both in quantity and quality – when compared to good old wheat bread. As an added bonus, spelt bread is also a good source of essential vitamins such as thiamine, niacin and folate; as well as beneficial minerals like copper, phosphorus and manganese.

For people who find it hard to kick their wheat bread addiction, spelt bread might just be the answer to their problems since it is one of the alternatives that is most analogous to it in the way it tastes and feels.

Wheat-Free Bread

If while shopping for healthier alternatives you happen upon breads that are classed as being “wheat-free”, you should know that these are most likely simply an amalgam of healthy grains like oats and barley with possibly even some quinoa and amaranth mixed in. Still, it is always safe to be even a little bit skeptical and scrutinize these breads to make sure that there are little to no harmful additives.

All things considered, this type of bread has been proven to be a good choice for individuals who are looking to lose some weight, increase their overall energy and foster the improvement of their health.

Less Bread Could Be the Answer

Even though you have been provided with a few reasonably healthier alternatives to the white bread that you have been eating, it is also worth noting that at times the best thing to realize is that “less is more”. Yes, spelt and rye are very healthy; however, as with all parts of a balanced diet, moderation is key. All breads serve our bodies and health better when we consume them during the earlier half of the day and even then, consumption should not be overly frequent.

I hope you have found this article useful and informative. Make healthier choices now when buying bread and you will see and feel the benefits.