How to Fuel Your Workout

13 Jun

How to Fuel Your Workout

Reviewed by Taylor Wolfram, MS, RDN, LDN

how to fuel your workout

oneinchpunch/iStock/Thinkstock

Which is better fuel for spinning class — protein or carbohydrates? Should you consume a sports drink on a long run? Is it safe to eat before a workout? Listen to locker room talk at the gym and you’ll hear lots of conflicting tips about what you should eat and drink before and after you work out. These answers to five common questions about fueling your workout sort fact from fiction.

Will Protein Make My Muscles Grow?

Protein is an important part of a balanced diet, but eating more protein will not magically make you stronger. The only way to grow muscles is to put them to work, and eat enough calories to build mass. Most people can get enough protein from food alone and do not need a supplement.

Carbohydrates are the major fuel for muscles and an athlete’s diet should consist of mostly carbohydrate. The body converts carbohydrate to glycogen, which is stored in your muscles to power your workout.

Do Sports Drinks, Gels and Energy Bites Live Up to the Hype?

There’s nothing special about the many sports drinks, gels and energy bites on the market. But it is important to replace lost fluids as well as provide carbohydrates to maintain blood glucose levels while working out for longer than one hour.

For some athletes, eating solid food in the middle of a workout can cause digestive upset. In these cases, easily consumed sports gels, chews or drinks may help. Food and fluid intake around workouts should be determined on an individual basis with consideration for an athlete’s gastrointestinal tract tolerance, as well as duration and intensity of the workout.

Is It Best to Work Out on an Empty Stomach?

Your body needs fuel to function, especially if you’re asking it to run, jump, swim or lift weights. Don’t skip breakfast before a morning workout. Eating before exercise, as opposed to exercising in the fasted state, has been shown to improve exercise performance.

Eating in the morning helps replenish liver glycogen and steadies blood sugar levels. If it’s hard to stomach solid food first thing in the morning, try a fruit smoothie, or a liquid meal supplement, and don’t forget to hydrate before you exercise.

Regular Exercise Means I Can Eat What I Want and Not Gain Weight, Right?

Wrong. Working out isn’t license to abandon portion sizes and healthy eating guidelines. It’s easy to overestimate the amount of calories you burn while working out.

You should adjust your calorie intake if you’re engaging in serious training, such as for a triathlon, where you might be working out more than once a day. Recovery nutrition is necessary if you are an athlete participating in strenuous activity, especially if you are participating in multiple events in the same day. For the casual exerciser working out for an hour or less, a healthy balanced diet will work just fine.

Is Chocolate Milk Really an Athlete’s Best Friend?

Because of its favorable carbohydrate and protein content, chocolate milk is indeed an effective recovery aid, but it’s not your only choice. Replacing fluid lost during a workout should be first priority. Plain water and water-rich foods such as fruit are good choices. Be sure to eat a balanced meal within a couple hours of working out to help muscles recover. For strenuous workouts, carbohydrate should be consumed within 30 minutes of finishing the workout. This can be done with a sports drink or a carbohydrate-rich snack such as a fruit smoothie.

 

Source: How to Fuel Your Workout

The Ultimate Fitness Plan for Women | Muscle For Life

08 May

If you want a fitness plan for women that builds lean, “toned,” sexy bodies, then you want to read this article.

If you’re like most women, you want a very specific type of body.

You want to be lean but not too skinny (and most definitely not “skinny fat“).

You want a toned upper body but don’t want to look like a “bulky” weightlifter.

You want a flat, defined stomach.

You want tight, shapely legs, and last but most definitely not least…

You want that perfect, gravity-defying butt.

Well, you–yes, lil’ ol’ you–can have all these things.

Seriously.

You don’t need top-shelf genetics or a lifetime of training to look like a million bucks.

You have to know what you’re doing, though.

Forget what the fitness magazines have told you–you don’t become a “goddess” through starving yourself and doing an unconscionable amount of cardio.

Instead, you need to take a completely different approach. And believe it or not, a much healthier, more enjoyable, and sustainable one.

In this article, you’re going to learn exactly what that approach is and how to build the body of your dreams.

If that gets your attention, then keep reading, because we’re going to start with what you most definitely shouldn’t be doing…

The Worst Fitness Plan For Women

worst female fitness plan

If you follow the bulk of mainstream fitness advice for women, you’re almost guaranteed to wind up skinny fat.

Here’s what I’m talking about:

Sounds familiar?

And what do you think you get when you subject yourself to this tortuous prescription?

Misery.

Tired all the time…hungry all the time…dreading your workouts…daydreaming sensually about bingeing on carbs…counting the days until you can finally live again…

It sucks.

That’s not all that sucks, though. Even worse is what happens to your physique.

You’ll lose weight, of course, but you’ll also lose a considerable amount of muscle.

And the more muscle you lose, the worse your body begins to look even at a low body fat percentage.

What most women don’t know is just how different low body fat levels look with and without good muscle development.

For example, check out the following pictures:

female fitness training

woman fitness plan

Whose body would you rather have?

Most women would choose the second…and would be surprised to learn that both of these women have about the same body fat percentage.

What makes the second more attractive, though, is muscle mass. She has significantly more.

You see, muscle is what gives you curves, shape, and tone when you’re lean. Without adequate muscle, the best you can hope for by lowering your body fat is something best described as “scrawny.”

Here’s another striking example:

female fitness transformation

Can you guess her weight in each of these pictures?

Would you guess…the same?

Well, that’s the transformative power of improving body composition instead of just obsessively “losing weight.”

When you reframe your goals in terms of losing fat and gaining muscle, you open the door to real progress. That’s how you build a killer physique.

So…the question isn’t if you should gain muscle, it’s just how much.

For example, I’ve worked with thousands of women and the look most want (athletic, lean, and defined) requires they gain 10 to 20 pounds of muscle and reduce their body fat percentage to the 15 to 20% range.

Your numbers will ultimately depend on how you want to look.

If you want to be healthy, lean, and athletic, you probably don’t need to gain more than 10 pounds of muscle and go any lower than 20% body fat.

If you want to look like a bikini competitor, though (like the girl above), you’re going to need quite a bit more muscle and quite a bit less fat.

The “sweet spot” for most women seems to be around 10 to 15 pounds of muscle gained and 17 to 18% body fat.

This is where you look both feminine and fit and it’s also a look that can be maintained year-round.

So, now that we’ve dispelled some myths and located true north, the next question is…how do you actually get there?

It’s pretty simple, actually.

  • Lift a lot of heavy weights.
  • Don’t do too much cardio.
  • Use a moderately aggressive calorie deficit to lose fat.
  • Balance your “macros” properly.

That’s it.

Let’s take a closer look at each point.

Use this workout and flexible dieting program to lose up to 10 pounds of fat and build muscle in just 30 days…without starving yourself or living in the gym.

Doesn’t Heavy Weightlifting Make Women “Bulky”?

workout plan for women to tone

If that question is bouncing around in your head after reading my list above, I understand.

I’ve spoken with many, many women that were afraid that any type of serious weightlifting would turn them into an NFL linebacker.

Well, it doesn’t work like that. Even remotely.

In fact, if there’s one lie that prevents women from getting the bodies they desire more than any other, it’s the claim that heavy weightlifting makes them “bulky.”

The idea seems plausible at first blush.

Boys train with heavy weights because they want big, Hulk-like muscles, right? So why would women, who want long, lean, “toned” muscles do the same thing?

Crossfit hasn’t helped the matter, either, which many women think is representative of what heavy weightlifting does to the body.

Well, a quick Google search of “Crossfit girls” serves up stuff like this:

bulky crossfit female

And that’s enough to make most women swear on their children to never, ever do a heavy squat, deadlift, or overhead press in their lives.

“Whatever I do…I don’t want to look like that,” they say.

Well, if that was your first thought, I have good news for you:

It’s much, much harder to look like that than you probably know.

You don’t hit the gym every day and wake up one morning, look in the mirror, and scream in horror. It takes the right genetics and many years of training and eating like a barbarian…and in many cases, steroids as well.

That said, there are still many women seriously into weightlifting that don’t look like that but are still bulky enough to give you pause.

Well, here’s the reality:

Heavy weightlifting doesn’t make you bulky–being too fat does.

Harsh, I know, but let me explain.

First, a question: would you consider the following woman “bulky”?

strength training for women

Probably not, right?

Well, you might be surprised at how much different her body would look if she gained 15 pounds of fat because she has a lot more muscle than the average woman.

Her legs would lose their sleek lines. Her core would bulge and grow. Her arms would fill out like sausages.

The reason for this is simple:

When you gain fat, the majority accumulates inside and on top of your muscles, so the more you have of both, the larger and more formless your body tends to look.

Thus, a rule of thumb for women that want to be lean, toned, and defined:

The more muscle you have, the leaner you have to be to avoid looking bulky.

For example, a woman with little muscle might feel rawboned at 18% body fat and comfortable at 25%, whereas a woman with a significant amount of muscle will probably love how she looks at 18% but feel downright YUGE at 25%.

This is why I mentioned earlier that most women I’ve worked with are happiest when they’ve gained 10 to 15 pounds of muscle and dropped their body fat percentage to about 18%.

The muscle gives the shape and the (relatively) low level of body fat lets it shine.

What “They” Don’t Want You to Know About Cardio

workout plan to lose weight

Honestly…

How many marathon runners do you see with enviable bodies?

Probably not many.

Sure, you have the outliers, but on the whole, people that do a lot of endurance training look rather unimpressive.

This is a direct result of how they exercise and it shows you exactly what you don’t want to do in your workouts.

So, if you think you have to sacrifice your life to a treadmill or Stairmaster to look great, you don’t.

Unfortunately, most women don’t know this. They think that cardio is the key to losing weight and getting fit.

Ironically, research shows that this guarantees little in the way of weight loss (even when you do quite a bit).

In fact, studies have found that you can just wind up fatter as a result, mainly by negating cardio’s already meager weight loss benefits by unconsciously eating too much and/or reducing other forms of physical activity.

Hence the throngs of overweight people in your gym slaving away on the cardio machines, wondering why they’re still not losing weight.

Doing large amounts of cardio has another downside: it can result in a fair amount of muscle loss.

As you know, this only makes it harder to get the body you really want.

So, should you just forget cardio altogether then?

Some “experts” would say yes, you should use only weightlifting and proper calorie restriction to lose fat.

While they’re right in telling people they don’t have to do cardio to get and stay lean, I disagree that it should be shunned.

When done properly, I believe cardio is worthwhile.

It can burn quite a bit of energy and thus appreciably speed up fat loss (and especially when combined with weightlifting and with certain supplements as well, which I’ll talk more about soon).

What constitutes “proper cardio,” though?

Well, if you want to maximize fat loss and minimize muscle loss, high-intensity interval training is the way to go.

(And if you’re not ready to jump into the deep end yet, start with walking.)

Thou Shalt Not Starve

women's health diet plan

Imagine…

You have the lean, sexy body you want and you maintain it by eating foods you like every day, including treats normally considered off limits.

You never feel starved or deprived and thus rarely feel the urge to binge or even overeat.

You do this for the rest of your life and live happily ever after.

Okay…I’m no raconteur but this isn’t a pipe dream.

Millions of women are living it right now and you can too.

Repeat after me:

You don’t need an eating disorder or tapeworm to be lean and happy. You can eat more than you probably think.

Not only that, you can eat many more types of foods than you probably think. In fact, no foods are off limits.

That said, if you want to lose fat, you do have to eat less energy than you burn (and not so little than you lose muscle and/or impair your health).

The key to all of this is knowing how to regulate your caloric and macronutrient intake based on your total daily energy expenditure and lifestyle and food preferences, which I explain in detail here.

The Ultimate Fitness Plan for Women

best female exercise plan

If you’ve made it this far and are eager to learn more, I highly recommend that you read my book Thinner Leaner Stronger.

It will break down everything you need to know in terms of diet, training, and supplementation to build your best body ever.

That said, I want to leave you with an action plan that will prove that the strategies I’ve laid out in this article work for you.

So here we go.

  1. Do the weightlifting workouts below every week for 8 weeks.
  2. If you would like to do cardio to lose fat faster, use this article to determine how much you should do (and what kind).
  3. Now that you know how much exercise you’ll be doing, use this article to work out your dietary numbers.
  4. Once you have your numbers, use this article to work out a meal plan that will work for you.
  5. Show up every day and put in the work.
  6. Use this article to track your progress.
  7. Watch your body transform.

Yup, it’s really that simple. 🙂

Here’s the weightlifting workout:

DAY 1
CHEST & CALVES

Incline Barbell Bench Press

3 light warm-up sets

3 sets of 4 to 6 reps (8 to 10 reps if you’re new to weightlifting)

Incline Dumbbell Bench Press

3 sets of 8 to 10 reps

Flat Barbell Bench Press

3 sets of 8 to 10 reps

Optional:

(Train your calves if you want more defined calves. Don’t if you don’t.)

Standing Calf Raise

3 sets of 4 to 6 reps

Seated Calf Raise

3 sets of 4 to 6 reps

If you can’t do dips, find out whether your gym has an assisted dip machine.

If it doesn’t and you still want to do 3 more sets in your workout, you can do 3 sets of flat dumbbell presses.

DAY 2
LOWER BODY & ABS

Barbell Deadlift

3 light warm-up sets

3 sets of 4 to 6 reps (8 to 10 reps if you’re new to weightlifting)

Barbell Squat

3 sets of 8 to 10 reps

Barbell Row

3 sets of 8 to 10 reps

One-Arm Dumbbell Row

3 sets of 8 to 10 reps

3 to 6 Abs Supersets

(Do the following 3 sets back-to-back to complete one superset.)

Cable Crunches

1 set of 10 to 12 reps

Captain’s Chair Leg Raise

1 set to failure

Air Bicycles

1 set to failure

If you have lower-back issues, remember that you can swap the deadlift for a more lower-back-friendly variation like the sumo or hex deadlift, or you can replace it with an exercise like the T-bar row.

If you can’t do pull-ups or chin-ups, you can use a machine that assists you. If your gym doesn’t have one, you can do dumbbell rows instead.

DAY 3
SHOULDERS & CALVES

Standing Barbell Military Press

3 light warm-up sets

3 sets of 4 to 6 reps (8 to 10 reps if you’re new to weightlifting)

Side Lateral Raise

3 sets of 8 to 10 reps

Bent-Over Rear Delt Raise

3 sets of 8 to 10 reps

Optional:

Standing Calf Raise

3 sets of 12 to 15 reps

Seated Calf Raise

3 sets of 12 to 15 reps

DAY 4
ARMS & ABS

Barbell Curl

3 light warm-up sets

3 sets of 8 to 10 reps

Close-Grip Bench Press

3 light warm-up sets

3 sets of 8 to 10 reps

Alternating Dumbbell Curl

3 sets of 8 to 10 reps

Seated Triceps Press

3 sets of 8 to 10 reps

3 to 6 Abs Supersets

Cable Crunches

1 set of 10 to 12 reps

Captain’s Chair Leg Raise

1 set to failure

Air Bicycles

1 set to failure

DAY 5
LOWER BODY

Barbell Squat

3 light warm-up sets

3 sets of 4 to 6 reps (8 to 10 reps if you’re new to weightlifting)

Leg Press

3 sets of 8 to 10 reps

Romanian Deadlift

3 sets of 8 to 10 reps

Hip Thrust

3 sets of 8 to 10 reps

That’s it–just 9 to 12 heavy sets for each workout with some optional additional sets if you feel you still have energy in the tank.

  • Rest 2 to 3 minutes in between each heavy set and 1 minute in between the bodyweight sets.

This will give your muscles enough time to fully recoup their strength so you can give maximum effort each set.

  • dOnce you hit the top of your rep range for one set, you move up in weight.

For instance, if you get 10 reps on your first set of squats, you add 5 pounds to each side of the bar for your next set and work with that weight until you can squat it for 10 reps, and so forth.

I guarantee that if you do this workout and eat right for the next 8 weeks, you’ll be very happy with how your body responds.

What About Supplements?

best female fitness supplements

I saved this for last because, quite frankly, it’s far less important than proper diet and training.

You see, supplements don’t build great physiques–dedication to proper training and nutrition does.

Unfortunately, the workout supplement industry is plagued by pseudoscience, ridiculous hype, misleading advertising and endorsements, products full of junk ingredients, underdosing key ingredients, and many other shenanigans.

Most supplement companies produce cheap, junk products and try to dazzle you with ridiculous marketing claims, high-profile (and very expensive) endorsements, pseudo-scientific babble, fancy-sounding proprietary blends, and flashy packaging.

So, while workout supplements don’t play a vital role in building muscle and losing fat, and many are a complete waste of money…the right ones can help.

The truth of the matter is there are safe, natural substances that have been scientifically proven to deliver benefits such as increased strength, muscle endurance and growth, fat loss, and more.

As a part of my work, it’s been my job to know what these substances are, and find products with them that I can use myself and recommend to others.

Finding high-quality, effective, and fairly priced products has always been a struggle, though.

That’s why I took matters into my own hands and decided to create my own supplements. And not just another line of “me too” supplements–the exact formulations I myself have always wanted and wished others would create.

I won’t go into a whole spiel here though. If you want to learn more about my supplement line, check this out.

For the purpose of this article, let’s just quickly review the supplements that are going to help you get the most out of your efforts to build muscle and lose fat.

Creatine

Creatine is a substance found naturally in the body and in foods like red meat. It’s perhaps the most researched molecule in the world of sport supplements–the subject of hundreds of studies–and the consensus is very clear:

Supplementation with creatine helps…

You may have heard that creatine is bad for your kidneys, but these claims have been categorically and repeatedly disproven.

In healthy subjects, creatine has been shown to have no harmful side effects, in both short- or long-term usage. People with kidney disease are not advised to supplement with creatine, however.

If you have healthy kidneys, I highly recommend that you supplement with creatine. It’s safe, cheap, and effective.

In terms of specific products, I use my own, of course, which is called RECHARGE.

creatine-supplement

 

RECHARGE is 100% naturally sweetened and flavored and each serving contains:

  • 5 grams of creatine monohydrate
  • 2100 milligrams of L-carnitine L-tartrate
  • 10.8 milligrams of corosolic acid

This gives you the proven strength, size, and recovery benefits of creatine monohydrate plus the muscle repair and insulin sensitivity benefits of L-carnitine L-tartrate and corosolic acid.

Protein Powder

You don’t need protein supplements to gain muscle, but, considering how much protein you need to eat every day to maximize muscle growth, getting all your protein from whole food can be impractical.

That’s the main reason I created (and use) a whey protein supplement. (There’s also evidence that whey protein is particularly good for your post-workout nutrition.)

whey-protein-supplement

WHEY+ is 100% naturally sweetened and flavored whey isolate that is made from milk sourced from small dairy farms in Ireland, which are known for their exceptionally high-quality dairy.

I can confidently say that this is the creamiest, tastiest, healthiest all-natural whey protein powder you can find.

PHOENIX Fat Burner

With the weight loss market valued at a staggering $60.5 billion and more than one-third of U.S. adults obese, it’s no surprise that there’s a glut of “fat burners” for sale these days.

And for the same reasons it’s also no surprise that fat burners are some of the most expensive supplements on the shelves and feature some of the loudest marketing claims, often making big promises of “scientifically proven” rapid fat loss.

The reality is most “fat burners” are junk but there are a handful of natural, safe substances that have been scientifically proven to accelerate fat loss. And that’s why I created PHOENIX.

PHOENIX’s caffeine-free formulation is helps you burn fat faster in three different ways:

  • It dramatically increases metabolic speed.
  • It amplifies the power of fat-burning chemicals produced by your body.
  • It increases the feeling of fullness from food.

It accomplishes this through clinically effective dosages of several ingredients, including…

Through these mechanisms, naringin also works synergistically with synephrine and hesperidin to further accelerate the basal metabolic rate.

Research has show that supplementation with forskolin accelerates fat loss and increases testosterone levels.

The bottom line is if you want to lose fat faster without pumping yourself full of stimulants or other potentially harmful chemicals…then you want to try PHOENIX.

phoenix-bottle

Pre-Workout Drink

There’s no question that a pre-workout supplement can get you fired up to get to work in the gym. There are downsides and potential risks, however.

Many pre-workout drinks are stuffed full of ineffective ingredients and/or minuscule dosages of otherwise good ingredients, making them little more than a few cheap stimulants with some “pixie dust” sprinkled in to make for a pretty label and convincing ad copy.

Many others don’t even have stimulants going for them and are just complete duds.

Others still are downright dangerous, like USPLabs’ popular pre-workout “Jack3d,”which contained a powerful (and now banned) stimulant known as DMAA.

Even worse was the popular pre-workout supplement “Craze,” which contained a chemical similar to methamphetamine.

The reality is it’s very hard to find a pre-workout supplement that’s light on stimulants but heavy on natural, safe, performance-enhancing ingredients like beta-alanine, betaine, and citrulline.

And that’s why I made my own pre-workout supplement. It’s called PULSE and it contains 6 of the most effective performance-enhancing ingredients available:

And what you won’t find in PULSE is equally special:

  • No artificial sweeteners or flavors..
  • No artificial food dyes.
  • No unnecessary fillers, carbohydrate powders, or junk ingredients.

The bottom line is if you want to know what a pre-workout is supposed to feel like…if you want to experience the type of energy rush and performance boost that only clinically effective dosages of scientifically validated ingredients can deliver…then you want to try PULSE.

pre-workout-supplement

 

What do you think is the best fitness plan for women? Have anything else you’d like to share? Let me know in the comments below!

If you want a “paint-by-numbers,” step-by-step blueprint for building a muscular, lean, strong body…faster than you ever thought possible…then you want to check out my bestselling books.

Here’s a little sneak peek of what you’ll learn inside…

  • The 7 biggest muscle building myths & mistakes that keep guys small, weak, and frustrated. (These BS lies are pushed by all the big magazines and even by many trainers.)
  • How to build meal plans that allow you to build muscle, lose fat, and get healthy with ease…eating foods you love (yes, including those deemed “unclean” by certain “gurus”)…and never feeling starved, deprived, or like you’re “on a diet.”
  • The 5 biggest fat loss myths & mistakes that keep women overweight, disappointed, and confused. (These BS lies are pushed by all the big magazines and even by many trainers.)
  • An all-in-one training system that delivers MAXIMUM results for your efforts…spending no more than 3 to 6 hours in the gym every week…doing workouts that energize you, not wipe you out.
  • A no-BS guide to supplements that will save you hundreds if not THOUSANDS of dollars each year that you would’ve wasted on products that are nothing more than bunk science and marketing hype.
  • And a whole lot more!

The bottom line is you CAN achieve that “Hollywood body” without having your life revolve around it. No long hours in the gym, no starving yourself, and no grueling cardio that turns your stomach.

My book will show you how. Get it today and let’s build a body you can be proud of.

Bigger Leaner Stronger

Bigger Leaner Stronger

Thinner Leaner Stronger

Thinner Leaner Stronger

 

Source: The Ultimate Fitness Plan for Women | Muscle For Life

Strength Training: A Great Tool for Diabetes Management | Everyday Health

04 May

 

PantherMedia 906049

When you exercise with weights or other forms of resistance, it can be especially helpful for controlling blood sugar levels. “A lot of the resistance training actually improves insulin sensitivity,” says Dawn Sherr, RD, a certified diabetes educator with the American Association of Diabetes Educators. “Your blood sugar may not be as elevated if you develop more muscles.”

Lift Weights to Control Type 2 Diabetes

When you do strength training exercises that target muscles, your body uses glucose from your bloodstream to power them, which can help clear out excess sugar from your system. “It actually signals the glucose to enter the muscle cells,” says Joey Gochnour, MEd, RD, LD, a nutritionist and certified personal trainer with the Division of Recreational Sports at the University of Texas in Austin. Toned muscles also store glucose more effectively, and that helps regulate blood sugar even when you’re at rest.

Strength training also helps build stronger bones, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). And it promotes weight loss — an important goal for many with type 2 diabetes — because the more muscles you have, the more calories you burn.

Keep in mind that strengthening exercises are just one part of a well-rounded fitness program. In addition to strength training twice a week, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends that adults also get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, such as jogging or cycling, each week.

“I always recommend that people do both,” Gochnour says. In fact, while both aerobics and strength training are helpful when you have diabetes, a long-term program of both produces the greatest health benefits, according to a 2013 study in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.

Three Strength Training Exercises to Get You Started

Motivated to add strength training to your fitness routine, but not sure how? Here’s how to get started.

If you’ve never done strength training, start slow and resist overdoing it. Steady progression is key. For instance, with exercises involving handheld weights, choose a weight that you will be able to lift for one set of 8 to 10 reps, suggests the CDC. Work toward completing one set of 15 reps each and then move on to higher weights and/or two to three sets.

Always rest muscles at least one day between sessions. If you feel sore, ease up until you feel better. “You can still make progress if you only train once a week,” Gochnour says.

You can strength-train with free weights, resistance bands, and exercises that use your own body weight as resistance. At the gym, try weight machines, which are often better for learning proper form. Gochnour suggests working with a personal trainer to find the best exercises for you.

If you want to do strength training exercises at home that require little or no extra equipment, these simple moves can get you started:

Chair dips. Stand with your back to a sturdy chair or low table. Sit on the edge of the chair, with your arms behind you. Place your palms on the edge, fingers pointed toward you. Lift your buttocks off the chair and walk your feet forward, making sure your knees don’t bend past your toes. Slowly bend your elbows, lowering your body down, and then straighten. This works several upper-body muscles, including the triceps (rear upper arm), deltoids (part of the shoulder), and pectoral (chest) muscles.

Wall squats. Stand with your back against a wall, feet about a foot in front of you. Bend your knees as you lower your back along the wall until you are in a position similar to one you’d be in if sitting in a chair. Hold for several seconds, then return to standing. This works the quadriceps and hamstrings (front and back of the thighs).

Curls. Hold a lightweight dumbbell in each hand, arms at your sides with palms facing up. Holding elbows steady, curl up your forearms to bring the weights almost to your shoulders, then return to starting position. If you don’t have dumbbells, try this with two soup cans or water bottles. Curls work the biceps (muscles on the front of upper arms).

For each of these exercises, aim for one or two sets of 8 to 12 repetitions.

Managing Blood Sugar While Strength Training

Check with your doctor before starting a strength training program. As with any exercise, strength training can lower your blood sugar level, so you should check your blood sugar before and after exercising to see what kind of effect the activity has on your body. If your blood sugar dips too low, you may want to have a snack before or during your routine. It may also be a good idea to talk to your doctor about changing your medications to allow for your increased physical activity.

Above all, be smart about your new exercise routine to keep it safe and enjoyable. “The best thing to do is start slow,” Sherr says. “You can gradually increase the intensity and reach your goals.”

 

Source: Strength Training: A Great Tool for Diabetes Management | Everyday Health

Super Quick Tropical Chicken Salad Recipe – Natalie Jill

22 Apr

Quick Tropical Chicken Salad

Chicken breast is one of my favorite proteins to use so I love creating new recipes to help keep things interesting! Try this quick tropical chicken salad with the unique addition of tropical flavors. It will take you less than 10 mins to make!

Quick Tropical Chicken Salad

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Ingredients:
4 oz shredded chicken breast
1/2 zucchini cut up into bite sized pieces
2 tsp coconut oil
3/4 cups pineapple cut into small cubes
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp dry basil
himalayan salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

In a medium sized mixing bowl add your chicken, zucchini, and pineapple. Top with coconut oil, lemon juice and seasonings. Then toss!

ENJOY!  

Be Happy…Be Healthy…Be FIT!

-Natalie Jill

Source: Super Quick Tropical Chicken Salad Recipe – Natalie Jill

10 Smart Ways Dietitians Rebound When They Overindulge | MyFitnessPal

22 Apr

 

If you’ve ever worked with a dietitian, you’re likely familiar with the idea that while weight loss requires changes to your overall diet, there’s also room in every eating plan for the occasional treat. Though there are plenty of balanced ways to incorporate indulgences into your eating style, it’s pretty much inevitable that at some point, you’re going to overeat — no matter how healthy your eating habits are.

Even the people who are trained to give diet advice do it occasionally: “Every dietitian overindulges, and since they should have a healthy relationship with food as fuel, the name of the game is modification and not restriction, which will definitely backfire,” explains Amy Goldsmith, registered dietitian and owner of Kindred Nutrition. Instead of getting too hung up on the indulgent meal or snack itself, it’s often more helpful to think about actions you’ll take before, during and after to enjoy yourself — and then get right back on track.

Here’s how to enjoy that indulgence — and bounce back — like a nutrition pro.

Knowing you’re going to have an special, off-plan meal ahead of time can help you feel better about it and figure out how your food for the rest of the day will be structured. “I always try to plan what my day is going to look like,” Goldsmith says. “I am still very flexible, but if I know where I am going out to eat, I generally have an idea of two or three items I’ll get from the menu. For example, if I know I’m going to go out for Thai food for lunch, I am most likely going to order drunken noodles, which gives me a healthy serving of carbs, chicken, some vegetables and fat.”

By thinking about what you’ll eat ahead of time, you can consider what you really want to order, rather than going overboard in the moment.

“I’ll eat a small snack, like veggies and hummus or a large apple prior to going out so that my appetite isn’t ravenous, and I don’t clean my plate, which I could easily do when hungry,” Goldsmith says. Serving sizes at restaurants (or even at a friend’s house for dinner) are usually pretty large, so by having something nutritious within an hour or two beforehand, you’re likely cutting down on the actual volume of food you’ll eat without ruining your appetite.

There’s no point in having something indulgent if you feel bad about it the whole time, right? “When I overindulge, I thoroughly let myself enjoy the food I am eating,” Goldsmith says. One way to simultaneously enhance enjoyment and prevent yourself from going overboard with your portions is to practice mindful eating while you’re eating something you wouldn’t normally have.

“Focus on properly chewing food (15 times or more) and putting the fork down between bites,” suggests Katrina Trisko, a registered dietitian. “Eating with your non-dominant hand is also a great way to increase awareness at meals. By taking steps to be more mindful during meals, you’re less likely to overindulge, more likely to savor every bite and will eat until you’re satisfied — not stuffed.”

“If I happen to eat a heavy meal that leaves me feeling a bit ‘overstuffed,’ I like to treat myself to a 15–20 minute walk outside to get some fresh air,” Trisko says. “Getting in some light physical activity after a heavy meal prevents me from falling into that post-meal food coma.” Research also suggests that taking a post-dinner walk can aid in digestion and speed up the rate your meal moves through your stomach, helping your body deal with your meal quickly and efficiently.

While she’s all for having one really special, extravagant meal, the first thing registered dietitian and sports nutritionist Shoshana Pritzker does afterward is ditch anything that’s left over. “One meal is one meal; leave it at that,” she says. Once you’ve had one indulgent meal, the tendency can be to continue the trend, so it’s best to prevent that from being possible. “I get rid of the leftovers — toss them out or give them away,” Pritzker says. And if you’re eating out?  “Don’t take leftovers home from the restaurant; that way they’re not around to tempt you.”

You probably already know this is a good idea, but it’s worth mentioning because it really works. “Aim for one glass of water every hour or at least 8–10 glasses in total for the day,” Pritzker recommends. “This will help flush out any extra salt and fluids your body is hanging onto from the junky meal.”

It’s important to wait until you’re actually hungry to eat your next meal, Goldsmith says. “When I truly feel I’m hungry, I prepare my next meal and snack focusing on first eating the macronutrients that were absent from my last meal,” she explains. “For example, if I have some chicken wings and beer, I’ll focus on eating some fruits, vegetables and grains at my next meal, or possibly a large salad that incorporates one or two servings of quinoa and is mixed with fresh berries. This cleanses the palate and provides fiber to help move food through the body, as well as many vitamins and minerals that support important bodily functions.”

”Chop up some asparagus into your next omelette or get it as a side with your dinner entree,” recommends Tracy Lockwood Beckerman, a registered dietitian-nutritionist in New York City and founder of Tracy Lockwood Beckerman Nutrition. “Asparagus is filled with asparagine, which is an amino acid that acts as a diuretic. Asparagine also pushes out excess ammonia in the body, which may help improve metabolism.”

Hydrating by drinking water is essential, but one of Beckerman’s go-to strategies for regaining lost hydration — something that’s crucial after a night of drinking, for example — and fighting bloat is to eat foods that contain a lot of water. “By adding foods rich in water, such as iceberg lettuce, grapefruit or cauliflower, you are more likely to correct dehydration or sodium imbalance and move things along in your system faster,” she says.

Whether your indulgence was planned or spontaneous, don’t let yourself get hung up on it. “My number 1 rule after overindulging is to forgive yourself and move on,” Pritzker says. “Cut yourself some slack; treating yourself here and there is totally normal (and healthy) and if you beat yourself up over it, you’re just feeding the urge to indulge again. Move on after a treat and get right back to your usual healthy diet and routine as soon as possible.”

Source: 10 Smart Ways Dietitians Rebound When They Overindulge | MyFitnessPal