Archive for exercise

Sitting on your chair at your desk can kill you, so get up and walk around to lose weight

We assume that exercising for 45 minutes a few times a week is good for us, and it is, but exercise does not entirely compensate for the health risks associated with sitting on our butts for nine hours a day. New evidence suggests that the more hours a day you sit, the greater your likelihood of dying an earlier death regardless of how much you exercise or how lean you are.

It’s not just your heart that’s at risk from too much sitting; your hips, spine, and shoulders could also suffer.

Regularly exercising is not the same as being active. There’s a difference between  “official” exercise activity, like running, biking, or lifting weights, and “non-exercise” activity, like walking to your car, mowing the lawn, or simply standing. You may run every day, but if you are sitting a good deal of the rest of the time, you may not be leading an overall active life.

What’s the solution? Stand up. Apparently a sales clerk in a store, who stands all day long, will burn 1,500 calories in a day, while an office worker sitting at a desk burns 1,000 calories per day. That’s why people gain 16 pounds, on average, within 8 months of starting sedentary office work.

Apparently we have an enzyme called lipoprotein lipase (LPL). LPL’s main responsibility is to break down fat in the bloodstream to use as energy. If LPL doesn’t work in our leg muscles, fat is stored instead of burned as fuel. The simple act of standing can amplify the activity of the primary fat burning enzyme in your body by 10 times, meaning you burn ten times more fat standing than sitting.

Even better, standing helps reduce muscle soreness and stiffness, and boosts the immune system.

So we need to use our legs. How? Standing and walking.

In a perfect world, we would stand all day long. Unfortunately that’s not easy for us, since we have desk jobs. So, the solution is to stand up as much as possible. Here are some suggestions:

When you are talking on the phone, stand up. This is probably impossible if you work in an open office; it will be disruptive if you are standing up in the middle of the room. However, if you aren’t around other people, and you have a head set, stand up.

Move around the office. Use the printer farther away from your desk, and walk to it. Stand up at least once an hour. Go for a walk at lunch. Keep moving.

Exercise is important, but standing up is an important part of weight loss.


P90X for Weight Loss

You have probably seen the infomercials for the P90X exercise program.  It’s an intense exercise program designed to increase your overall level of fitness.  Is it good as a weight loss program?

Yes and no.

P90X is designed for overall fitness, but it is not specifically a weight loss program.  If your primary goal is weight loss, P90X is probably not for you.

However, if your goal is to lose weight and improve your fitness, P90X can help.  One version of the program is the “Lean” version, and it is more geared toward weight loss.

Weight loss in P90X is accomplished by numerous cardio workouts, including Cardio X, Kenpo X (which is a boxing and kicking workout designed to burn calories), and Plyometrics (which emphasizes jumping and moving around, also designed to burn calories).

In addition to the Cardio workouts, there is also resistance training, including Chest & Back, legs & back, and shoulders & arms.  Again, building muscle mass helps burn calories, which leads to weight loss.

Is P90X right for you?  It depends.  There is no doubt that it is an intensive, six day per week, one to one and a half hour per day workout, so if you can’t commit the time and effort, don’t bother.  But, if you are willing to kick it up a notch and work hard, P90X may be a great weight loss solution.


Weight Loss: The First Step to Lose Weight

You can read all the diet books that exist, and you can try every fad diet and exercise program.  You can join a gym, or a weight loss club, or you can hire a personal trainer.  Those steps are fine, but that’s not the first step.

The first step to weight loss is critical: you must decide that you want to lose weight.

To repeat: you must decide to lose weight.  No-one else can make that decision for you.

Your spouse may want you to lose weight.  Your doctor may want you to start a weight loss program.  Perhaps your friends and family are telling you to lose weight.  That’s great, but except for the calories you may burn by arguing with them, they can’t help you lose weight.

Only you can change what you eat.  Only you can decide not to eat four pieces of cake when you are hungry at midnight.  Only you can decide to get up early in the morning to go to the gym, or to go for a run.  Only you can have the inner motivation to make changes to your life.

So ask yourself this simple question: “Why do I want to lose weight?”  Then write down your answer.  You may want to lose weight due to simple vanity (I want to look better).  It may be a health issue (I don’t want to get diabetes, or have a heart attack).  It may be personal (I want to be able to go for a swim and a bike ride with my children).  Whatever the reason, the reason must come from within.  You must make that decision.

Once you know why you want to lose weight, you can decide to do it.  For yourself.  Not for anyone else.

That’s why the first step to losing weight is to decide you want to lose weight.  It’s up to you to make that decision today.

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Thanksgiving and Weight Loss

Today is the Thanksgiving Day holiday in Canada.  The American Thanksgiving holiday happens in November.  What do we do to celebrate?  We eat.  We eat turkey, and mashed potatoes, and stuffing, and gravy and pie.  And we eat a lot.  What can you do to lose weight during a holiday?

The short answer is: not much.  A holiday is not the time to be trying to lose weight.  Take the day off from your diet and enjoy the food.  Losing weight should not be your goal.  Your goal should be to not gain weight.  Here are two tips:

First, skip a meal.  If you know you will be having a huge dinner, sleep in, have a late breakfast, and just have a small healthy snack instead of lunch.  You may eat more calories at supper, but if you have virtually no calories at lunch, the total number of calories you consumed for the day may still be reasonable.

Second, get some exercise.  Go for a walk.  The advantage of exercise is it helps burn calories, and while you are walking you probably won’t be eating, so it’s a win-win.  Take the entire family for a walk.  It will be fun for everyone, it will help with your weight, and it will build your appetite for the evening meal, which for today, enjoy it.  You can get back to your healthy eating tomorrow.


Swimming and Weight Loss

Want a great way to lose weight?  Try swimming.  Yes, the activity that you loved as a child, back in the good old days when you did not even think about exercise, is still a great exercise today.

If you live in the Northern United States or in Canada you can’t swim outside all year long.  In cold climates a trip to an indoor pool in the middle of winter may not be particularly appealing.  But once the summer weather arrives there is nothing more refreshing that a swim in an outdoor pool.  The hotter the day, the better.

If you want to lose weight while swimming, swim with a purpose.  Don’t just splash around in the water; if you want to burn a pound of fat a week, or burn 3,500 calories a week, you need to swim.

Start by doing an easy length or two of front crawl.  Then do some breast stroke, then back stroke.  Then do another set, but faster.  Then do the front crawl just using your arms, as fast as you can.  Variety is key, so change it up.

I find that a half an hour in the pool goes by in no time, and a full hour is easy once you get used to it.  Have fun, because if you enjoy it, weight loss is fun.


The Secret to Weight Loss

It’s been a while since I posted on this blog, but today I had to share the most obvious tip there is when it comes to weight loss, and the only method known to man to guarantee that you lose weight: eat less.

Yes, I know that is an obvious statement, but think about it.  You can go on a fancy diet, like the Atkins Diet or the South Beach Diet, and you can exercise like crazy, and you will lose weight.  That’s great, but the simpler method is to eat less.

I like to eat pizza.  Every weekend we have pizza.  I like to eat 5 slices of pizza.  How can I lose weight?  Only eat 4 slices of pizza.  Simple.  I’m eating less.

For breakfast I like to have a bowl of cereal and two pieces of toast.  If I have a slightly smaller bowl of cereal and only one piece of toast, I will still feel full, but I’m eating less, so all else being equal I will lose weight.

But wait, you say: If I’m eating less, won’t I be hungry? At the start, yes, you might be hungry.  Your body is used to eating 5 slices of pizza, so if it only gets 4, it may think it’s hungry.  Here’s the amazing part: you will adjust.  Your body will adjust.  It will get used to 4 slices instead of 5, and after a week or two you won’t feel hungry at all.

The best way to quit smoking is to gradually reduce your cigarrette consumption.   If you smoke 20 a day now, drop down to 19 each day for the next week, then 18, and so on.  It works the same with food.  Very gradually reduce your portion sizes, and before long you will be eating less, and you won’t even know it.  Try it, you’ll see.  Eating less really works.


Can Moderate Exercise Lead to Weight Loss?

We all have heard the “conventional wisdom” about the importance of exercise: if you engage in moderate exercise, like walking, for 30 minutes a day three or four times per week you can lose weight.  But is that true?

In a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine on July 28, 2008 (here’s the link: Effect of Exercise on 24-Month Weight Loss Maintenance in Overweight Women) it was discovered that the more you exercise, the more weight you can lose.

In the study, 201 overweight and obese women aged 21 to 45 years old were told to reduce their caloric intake to 1,200 to 1,500 calories per day, and they were split into four groups based on physical activity (from light activity up to vigorous intensity).

They discovered that individuals sustaining a weight loss of 10% or more of initial body weight at 24 months reported performing more physical activity (1835 kcal/wk or 275 min/wk) compared with those sustaining a weight loss of less than 10% of initial body weight.

The study concluded that the addition of about four and a half hours per week of vigorous physical activity, combined with a reduced calorie diet, is very important in allowing overweight women to sustain weight loss. The message is clear: if you want to lose weight, more exercise is better. Don’t just go for a leisurely walk three times a week, go for a brisk walk for 45 minutes to an hour six times a week, or add in other forms of physical activity to enhance weight loss.


Weight Loss with Alli – The Wonder Drug

People everywhere are constantly searching for the product that will help them to achieve their weight loss goals.  The recently released weight loss pill, alli, with the convenience of being available without a prescription and with the safety and comfort of FDA approval, seems like the answer to everyone’s weight loss dreams.  With the promise of increased weight-loss and the possibility of curing obesity-related diseases, the alli weight loss pill seems too good to be true.

Olistat, the active ingredient in alli has been available by prescription for years by the brand name Xenical.  Alli is a reduced-strength version of this same drug which when taken with meals prevents the body from breaking down and absorbing 25% of the fat in food.  With less fat available for energy, the body must tap into its fat reserves and use up the excesses resulting in weight loss.

Using alli along with a low-calorie, reduced-fat diet and increased exercise could help in losing up to 50% more weight than with traditional dieting alone.  Maximum weight loss is usually achieved within the first six months of using the product.  Unlike some other diet pills, alli acts only in the digestive tract and has no effect on the brain eliminating the addictive qualities that cause other diet pills to be susceptible to abuse.

This all sounds great, however there are some dangers to using alli to lose weight.  Some of the common side effects include increased flatulence and more frequent, difficult-to-control bowel movements.  The alli program suggests that meals include no more than 15 grams of fat to prevent these side effects from worsening; however some people may find it challenging to know exactly how much fat their meal contains.  A multi-vitamin may need to be taken as alli can interfere with the absorption of vitamins A, D, E and K.  Because alli is a relatively new drug, the long-term effects are unknown as of yet.  In clinical trials, when alli stopped being taken, many people gained back the weight they had lost and so the pill may need to be taken indefinitely.

Alli should only be used as a dieting aid for people who need to lose weight for reasons of health and not for already thin people to keep their weight off.   All aspects of the alli weight loss program need to be followed including the recommended dosage, the diet and the exercise.


Turbulence Training – Lose Pounds and Inches and Feel Great

It;s been a while since I’ve posted any thoughts on my weight loss program. I am making progress, down a few pounds, and thanks to the Turbulence Training program, I am losing weight.

Obviously exercise is good, because it helps burn calories and it makes you feel better. But simple exercise alone is not enough. You must exercise “smart”. As discussed in my article on the 3,500 calorie weight loss challenge, a pound of fat is the equivalent of about 3,500 calories, meaning you need to burn 3,500 calories to lose a pound of fat. You would need to walk for seven and a half hours to burn 3,500 calories. That’s not easy, and it’s not smart.

So what’s the smart way to lose weight through exercise?

Weight training, also known as Turbulence Training.

Weight training can be done in a relatively short period of time (30 minutes two or three times per week), and it’s effective because it helps you build muscle. We all know that muscle weighs more than fat, because it’s more dense, but muscle also needs more energy to grow and survive. Energy is another word for calories, and it’s a simple equation: the more muscle mass you have, the more calories you burn, even when you are not exercising! And, it works equally well for men and women.

TurbulenceTrainingTurbulence Training   There are lots of weight training books out there; I’ve been using the strategy developed by Craig Ballantyne in his revolutionary Turbulence Training System, where you can lose fat while gaining muscle with just three short (but intense) workouts each week.

Mr. Ballantyne is a world-renowned Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), and author articles in magazines such as Men’s Health, Men’s Fitness, Oxygen, Maximum Fitness, and Muscle and Fitness Hers, so he knows what he’s talking about.



The Turbulence Training System is designed to burn fat in the least amount of time. And guess what: it works. I can tell you from personal experience that weight training is fun, quick, and effective.

After being on the Turbulence Training program for two months, I have lost some pounds, but more importantly I have lost “inches”, and I feel better. If you want an effective weight loss program, read more about Turbulence Training.


Weight Loss Plan on Track

Well, I have now finished the first week of My Weight Loss Plan. How did I do?

Quite well, actually, thanks for asking.

I started the week at 198 pounds, and today I weighed in at 194.5 pounds, for a loss of 3.5 pounds on the week. I of course realize that some of that loss is water weight, but I’m happy; I wanted to lose weight, and that’s what I did.

How did I do it?

First, I gave up carbs for breakfast. Every morning I ate eggs (you can read my egg post for more details). For lunch and dinner I ate a lot of vegetables and chicken and salads. There are lots of things you can do with those foods, so it wasn’t boring at all.

Precor 9.33 treadmill

Second, I did a moderate amount of exercise. During the week I went for one 30 minute walk, I did one cardio session (30 minutes of walking and jogging on my Precor 9.33 treadmill). I also did two twenty minute weight training sessions.

Why only 20 minutes each? Because I knew, since I’m just getting back into it, my muscles would be tired and would need time to recover, so I didn’t want to over do it.

Also, one problem with exercise is that it makes you hungry, so I wanted to exercise enough to get the benefit of exercise, but not so much I just had to eat more to satisfy my hunger. (I’m using the Turbulence Training concepts discussed here earlier).

Week one was a success, let’s see how we do in Week #2.


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