Thursday, July 31, 2008

Estimating Your Liquid Calorie Intake

Brian Wansink, PhD, author of Mindless Eating has come up with a "10-20" rule for guesstimating the number of calories in a drink when a nutritional label is unavailable.

For most “thin” liquids such as juice, milk, soda, etc., figure 10 calories per ounce; for thicker drinks like shakes and smoothies, figure 20 calories per ounce.

For example, according to the 10-20 rule, a 20-ounce Pepsi from a convenience store soda fountain would contain approximately 200 calories.

This is a great tool for when you have no way of knowing the actual figures but remember, it's just an estimate. A quick online search turned up a calorie count of 250 for a 20-ounce Coke and 400 calories for a 32-ounce Pepsi, both higher than the 10-20 rule estimates.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Double Your Weight Loss

The majority of people balk at the idea but you can double your weight loss just by faithfully keeping a food journal.

Personal trainers and nutritionists have been recommending it for years but few people seem to do it. In fact, I think more people fudge their food diaries than keep accurate records. I remember one woman telling me about many of her fellow Healthy Inspirations members who would sit outside in their cars filling in their "daily" journal entries before their weekly meeting.

Yes it's a nuisance to log every thing you eat but, you know what, it works. And the latest research from Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research in Portland, Oregon proves it once again.

Researchers studied almost 1,700 overweight or obese men and women whose average weight was 212 pounds. Participants were encouraged to reduce their daily nutritional intake by about 500 calories, engage in moderate physical activity for 30 minutes or more each day and to follow the DASH eating plan.

Study participants also attended 20 weekly meetings and were asked to record their exercise minutes and daily food consumption.

At the end of 20 weeks, researchers found that the regular use of a food journal predicted weight loss success.

According to study co-author Dr. Victor J. Stevens, "The more food records they kept, the more they lost. Those who kept no food records lost about 9 pounds, and those who kept six or more per week lost about 18 pounds. That's a whopping difference."

What is it about keeping a food diary that makes such a difference? Personally, I think it makes people more conscious of how much they actually consume. Plus, if you know you have to record everything you eat, you're more likely to think twice before going for seconds or mindlessly grabbing a handful of m&m's from your co-workers desk every time you walk by.

People constantly say or post on forums that they don't eat much or that they know what to eat, etc. If the vast majority of those people spent one week writing down everything they actually put in their mouths, I think they'd be in for a huge awakening.

The best method is recording your intake after each meal or snack because you're less likely to forget something. Use whatever method works for you- an actual notebook or an online log. There are lots of free food journals available online. FitDay and My Calorie Counter are just two. You can also find printable food logs if you prefer writing things down.

Having a professional look at your diary is important, too. There is a lot of confusion out there. I'm always shocked when people "don't count" their liquid calories or eat salads every day but slather on the dressing.

If you're having a hard time dropping pounds, give food journaling a try; it does get easier. As study participant, Frank Bitzer, said "The more I got into it, the easier it became to keep track of what I ate every day." Frank is 64 and lost 26 pounds during the study.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Low Carb? Low Fat? Low Calorie? Heeeeeeeeeellllllllllllllllllppppppppppppp!

I got this today from Total Health Breakthoughs. It's definitely worth a read and I recommend that you consider signing up for their newsletter.

Myth #1: Dieting Will Help You Lose Weight and Make You Healthy
By Tim Reynolds, MD

Every day we are bombarded with medical garbage. It comes from all sources — maybe even your doctor. There are also medical myths that have been passed on from one generation to the next — unfortunately, no one has looked carefully at where the information started and whether it is in fact valid or not.

In the following weeks, I would like to explore five of those myths and raise some questions. Hopefully, you will begin to think about them (and others) more critically…

I hate budgets and I hate diets. I think I hate them for the same reason — they make me want all the things I can’t have even more. Have you ever noticed that the word DIET is a four letter word and that the first three letters are DIE?! That’s how I feel about dieting. So many times we go to the doctor and he/she says “Well you are overweight and you need to start on a diet”. Unfortunately, many health professionals do not know exactly what this means — it is also the wrong approach to take to lose weight.

Instead of going on a diet, why not change the way you look at food and the way you approach your health? Why not change your reality and realize that food is nutrition that is good for the body as long as it’s the right kind and eaten in moderation? Food is not the enemy — choosing the wrong foods and overeating is the enemy.

A major problem started with flawed research that was then capitalized upon by food manufacturers. In the 1970s and 80s, it was erroneously determined that our high fat diet was making us all fat.1 Food manufacturers quickly caught on and soon every product had a label that said “low fat”. Unfortunately, we replaced the fat with sugar. As we all ate our low fat diets, the entire country got fatter.

A variation on the theme is being seen now with carbs. Everyone wants to be on a low carb diet. So now everything at the grocery store is advertised as “low carb”. Once again, most people have no idea what this means. There is more than one type of carbohydrate and not all carbs are bad.

Natural plant fiber is made from carbohydrates. Fruits are carbohydrates but should not be considered the same as carbohydrates from a doughnut. If we only look at the carb count, once again we will be led down the wrong path due to creative advertising.

So what are we to do? How can we figure all this out? I have two simple recommendations that will help. First get back to nature. I do not mean move to the mountains (although that does sound nice) — but start eating natural foods. Think of it this way — if you can’t catch it or pick it, don’t eat it. If you follow this rule, you can have all the fish, fresh meats, vegetables, and fruits you want.

In fact, if your diet consisted of just these foods, you would never be fat. As I write this, I am at a scuba diving resort in Borneo, Malaysia. This island does not have an overweight person on it. Why? Because they only eat what they can catch or pick. They have a natural high protein, low carb diet.

Second, if you are going to eat processed foods, always check the label. You will find protein content in grams, fat in grams, and carbohydrates in grams. Under carbohydrates it will list sugar in grams. If the grams of sugar are higher than 10 (8 if you want to be strict), put it back and choose something else.

You will be amazed at what does and does not have sugar once you start looking. Remember, it is not simply the fat or carbohydrates — as it turns out, the problem is the amount of sugar it contains.

Finally, I have an 85/15 rule. If you eat like I just showed you 85% of the time, you can eat what you like the other 15%. Food is energy — it is good for you. Choose the right foods and they will keep you healthy. Choose the wrong foods and they will make you ill. You are in fact what you eat.


Fat Free Fallacy

About the Author:

Tim Reynolds, M.D., is a practicing physician and a health and lifestyle expert.

This article appears courtesy of Early to Rise’s Total Health Breakthroughs which offers alternative health solutions for mind, body and soul. For a complimentary subscription, visit

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

No-Crunch Ab Program Special Ends at Midnight

Just a reminder that Craig Ballantyne's Turbulence Training Abs special expires tonight at midnight.

Craig has created the ultimate ANTI-CRUNCH home workout program to help you burn stubborn belly fat loss and sculpt your abs in less than 45 minutes, three times per week.

This program has 30 ab exercises that he says work better than crunches - and he has the six pack abs to prove it!

See for yourself here.

Order before midnight and you'll get all kinds of bonuses including additional workouts programs, an advanced Ab Nutrition Meal Plans for Men & Women, motivational information to keep you on track and much more.

You can see all the specifics at Turbulence Training for Abs. Don't wait you have less than 13 hours to grab this great program with all the bonuses.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Watermelon: 3 Juicy Benefits

Our family reunion was on Sunday and, among other things, my family has been supplying the watermelon for years. My sister was always partial to cantaloupe but I preferred watermelon. Only as an adult did I start to appreciate honeydews and cantaloupe.

Anyway, I got this today via e-mail from RealAge.

Watermelon: 3 Juicy Benefits

A cool wedge of watermelon on a hot summer day? Refreshing, for sure.

But watermelon is more than just a seasonal treat. Here are three great health reasons to dig into this juicy fruit:

It's loaded with lycopene. Watermelon juice actually gave tomato juice a run for the money in a recent study of lycopene levels. That’s good news for your body, because early research suggests that lycopene may be a cancer crusher.

It can make your skin pretty. Watermelon is loaded with a key compound credited with helping skin's healing and regenerative processes. Say no more -- bring on the melon!

It's practically calorie-free. With fewer than 50 calories in every cup, watermelon is one smart way to satisfy a sweet tooth. And with a whopping 141 grams of water per cubed cup, watermelon will keep you hydrated, too.

Go here to see if it's better to have your watermelon chilled or at room temperature.

Monday, July 21, 2008

The No-Crunch Ab Program

You know that I think that people waste far too much time doing cruches in an attempt to whittle their midsection. First of all, proper nutrition is the number one key to six-pack abs but that's a post for another day. Today, I'm focusing on the exercise component.

I rarely have clients do traditional crunches anymore, instead I use Planks, Mountain Climbers, Spiderman Climbs, etc. Heck, I think the Pushup is superior to the standard Ab Crunch for working the abs.

If you're looking for a great exercise program focusing on abs, you need to check out Men's Health expert, Craig Ballantyne's new CRUNCH-FREE Home Abdominal Workout program. No need for gym equipment, every exercise can be done in your home.

If you have any interest in dropping belly fat, I suggest you take a look right away. Craig's has a special offer with lots of extras for the release of this new workout. And, if you're one of the first 100 men and women who take action, he'll include ADDITIONAL bonuses worth $59.

If you think you can't get great abs without doing crunches, just take a look at Craig's picture (with his cute Chocolate Lab) on his website.

So, save time and money by grabbing your copy today. But hurry, this Special Offer expires and VANISHES - Poof, just like your belly fat will - at midnight on July 23rd.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Toning, Light Weights, & High Reps by Craig Ballantyne

Toning, Light Weights, & High Reps
By: Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS
Turbulence Training for FatLoss

I guess you could say it is my mission to show people the value of intense strength training for fat loss.

Every month more research comes out to support intense training over slow cardio, and light weights. And each week, in real-life, more and more men and women (yes, women too!) see the benefits of pushing themselves with strength training.

The evidence from research and real-life continues to pile up that you need to put down those light weights and cut out those high reps.

Take really light weights, add in isolation exercises, and repeat for a large number of reps. Do this for 3, 6, or 12 months, and you're guaranteed to have the same physique you have today. This approach just does not work.

You need to step out of your comfort zone with strength training.

Research has shown using a weight that enables only 8 reps per set results in a greater post-exercise metabolism than using a weight that allows 12 reps per set. And this was in women! So lifting challenging weights is not just for men, but also for the ladies.

Another research study showed that a 30-minute, hard total-body strength training session can boost metabolism about 36 hours. You just don't get that from slow cardio or light, "toning" isolation exercises, I'm sorry to say.

But what if you are worried about "bulking up"? Just do one or two sets of 8 reps per exercise, rather than three or four.

Bodybuilders know that high-volume training builds muscle. But if you don't want massive amounts of muscle, just don't do a lot of volume. That's just one of the reasons I don't use bodybuilder workout programs for fat loss.

Another way to avoid "bulking up" while still boosting your metabolism is to use more bodyweight exercises.

As for exercise choice, say goodbye to biceps curls, hamstring curls, and triceps kickbacks. Seriously, I couldn't think of a more useless exercise for a fat loss program than triceps kickbacks.

Stick to full body movements. Use squats, lunges, split squats, pushups, chinups, rows, etc.

Remember, you don't have a lot of time to workout. So you can't be doing bodybuilding splits from the 80's that call for three exercises for the long head of the triceps, and two exercises for each of the anterior, medial, and posterior deltoid.

That's just not possible in the real-world. A pushup trains almost all those muscles, and more. It works your abs, chest, triceps, and shoulders. That's the type of exercise that is going to help you get more fat loss results in less workout time.

I train in the concept of a short time frame. That is, anyone that wants to use my programs has less than 3 hours per week to devote to structured exercise. So there just isn't much room for isolation training in that time frame.

But training should be fun too, and adding some curls as a reward for completing a hard workout is fine, but only if you want to. You don't need those types of exercises to get results.

But remember, isolation exercises are not actually going to burn fat, but they can build muscle and help you sculpt your body. Here's the list of methods that lead to fat loss, in order of importance:

i) Nutrition
ii) Burning calories with interval training
iii) Burning calories due to an increased metabolism from interval training and strength training (with multi-muscle movements)

As long as you understand that nutrition is the most important factor in fat loss, and that strength training is essential for sculpting your body, than you will have realistic expectations of success - based on how well you commit to each process.

Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS
Author, Turbulence Training

About the Author

Craig Ballantyne is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist and writes for Men's Health, Men's Fitness, Maximum Fitness, Muscle and Fitness Hers, and Oxygen magazines. His trademarked Turbulence Training fat loss workouts have been featured multiple times in Men’s Fitness and Maximum Fitness magazines and all over the Internet, and have helped thousands of men and women around the world lose fat, gain muscle, and get lean in less than 45 minutes three times per week. For more information on the Turbulence Training workouts that will help you burn fat without long, slow cardio sessions or fancy equipment, visit Turbulence Training for Fat Loss


Friday, July 18, 2008

Afraid of Bulking Up? Want Long, Lean Muscles?

I came across this myth again the other day. You see it a lot on some of the fitness forums. It's related to the "low weight, high reps to tone" B.S. that too many women still believe.

So, I was channel surfing recently and saw part of an infomercial for some fitness product. The hawker was touting the idea that its use would give you the long, lean muscles that women want (as opposed, of course, to the Hulk-style bulk you'd get from picking up anything heavier than a 5 lb. dumbbell).

Where's an eye rolling smilie when you need one?

It makes no sense. Many women lug around purses that weigh 10 lbs.; moms carry 20-25 lb. kids without a second thought. Yet these same women panic at the thought of using 10 pound dumbbells. How many moms do you know who busted out of their blouses from all the muscle they built from lifting their children?

Anyway, Here's a great blog post I just ran across.

The Myth of "Longer and Leaner"
by Geralyn Coopersmith, MA, CSCS

Fit and Female blog

Have you ever heard someone tell you they know of a workout that makes you "longer and leaner"? Did you believe them? If so, I have some prime real estate in Florida that you might be interested in. Yeah, sure there's a few gators scrambling around amidst the reeds...and a bit of a stench, but its really not that bad once you get used to it.

Seriously though, the truth is exercise can make bodies "leaner", but it can't make them"longer". "Lean" means that you have proportionately more muscle tissue and less fat tissue. That is certainly a realistic goal to have with any consistent workout routine. But "length" is another matter all together. Muscle length is a function of your limb length. Folks with longer bones (such as the femur in the leg and the humerus in the arm) have longer muscles strung across them to make them move properly.

No matter what you may read on the cover of a magazine -- no exercise program will make you "longer"...although there was that medieval torture "the rack"...hmmm...maybe they were on to something... could be the next Thigh Master...but I digress. The truth is if you are an adult then your limb length is set. So unless your limbs happen to be made of salt water taffy -- they won't get LONGER from exercise.

I am particularly sensitive to this subject because I think a lot of exercise professionals deliberately distort the science to get people to sign on to a particular program. Let me say here that I am a big fan of both yoga and Pilates. Moreover, I think they each have their own significant contributions to make as part of a well-rounded fitness program. But I think that many times women gravitate towards these types of workouts (in lieu of weight training) because they are afraid of developing "big, bulky muscles" from weight training. Nothing could be further from the truth.

When many women think of "lifting weights" they call to mind mental images of enormous female body builders who make Lou Ferrigno look like Gwyneth Paltrow. But these women are not the norm -- not even in gyms. Look around you. It is very unusual for a woman's body to look that way. Women bodybuilders are doing this as a full-time job, doing far more volume and intensity then "normal" women would working out 3 times per week for an hour. These women are trying to look that way for a certain look needed for competition in their "sport" -- and they train for hours and hours every day. And sadly, many of them use anabolic steroids on top of that to achieve the results they're after. Because it's still hard for a woman to develop "big, bulky muscles" -- even when want to!!

Women simply lack the testosterone levels that men have that allow them to experience significant "hypertrophy" or an increase in muscle size. Study after study has shown that women experience significant increases in strength (similar in relative terms to that of men) without significant increases in muscle size. And weight training has benefits beyond creating "lean" sexy muscles.

* It promotes bone strength and can reduce the chance of developing osteoporosis
* It strengthens joints and connective tissues It helps prepare the body for the physical challenges of everyday life
* It increases metabolism helping the body burn more calories per day
* It can improve posture and correct imbalances
* It increases self-esteem and self-confidence

If you think you might be ready to start a weight training program, I strongly suggest that you get some guidance from a Certified Personal Trainer. There is a lot to know in getting started and developing a safe and effective plan. Just a few sessions in the beginning will set you up so that you use your time wisely, efficiently and get the results you want.

Geralyn Coopersmith, MA, CSCS is an exercise physiologist, certified personal trainer and the creator of The Best Me Ever, a comprehensive weight loss and wellness system just for women.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Improve Your Results With PB

No, not peanut butter- Personal Bests.

Always strive to improve upon your performance over your previous weight training session. This is an idea I picked up from Jason Ferruggia and Craig Ballantyne (although they refer to it as a PR- personal record). I think it's a great method because so many people let their self-talk limit themselves to doing the same thing for so many consecutive workouts, decreasing the effectiveness of their workouts.

Challenging yourself will get you faster results and this is a simple (I didn't say easy) way to do it.

Say your program calls for 3 sets of 8 reps of One Arm D.B. Rows. Last time you used 20 pounds and completed 8 reps on all 3 sets. This workout, increase the weight to 22.5 pounds.

(Platemates are a must have when you start using heavier weights. Having to increase in 5 pound increments is usually too big a jump, especially for women. Each PlateMate weighs 1.25 lbs. so you'll need two for each dumbbell, four total.)

So, you increased your weight to 22.5 pounds and this workout you got 8 reps on the first set but only 7 on the second set and 6 on the third. That's fine. Your goal for your next workout would be to increase the reps completed on your second and/or third set(s). When you hit 3 sets of 8, you'd again raise the weight for the next workout.

Try this with each exercise.

Keep in mind that you always want to maintain good form. Throwing the weight around in an effort to get one or two more reps is not only counterproductive but increases your risk of injury.

Shoot for a personal best each workout and you will definitely boost your results.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

From Losing To Lifting

Losing weight only made me feel better about the way I look, and that’s a very shaky foundation. Becoming more fit changed my perception of who I am. ~ Marla Laubisch

I just stumbled upon an awesome article on a website I'd never visted before. It's kind of long but absolutely worth the read. Please do yourself a favor and take a few minutes to check it out.

From Losing To Lifting
by Marla Laubisch

Transforming myself from a couch potato to an athlete has been the most important, life-changing activity I’ve ever engaged in. Apart from my marriage, there’s been nothing else in my life with such profound consequences.

First I should say that a lot of people wouldn’t consider me an athlete at all. At 47 years old, 5’2” and 200+ pounds, I hardly look like one. But the thing is—I act like one. Our actions are what define us, more than our thoughts and beliefs, and definitely more than other people’s beliefs about us. The things you really believe in, the things that really matter to you—you do. Accordingly, that makes me an athlete.

Read the rest at Straight to the Bar.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Are Your Habits Helping or Hurting You?

Far too many people are stuck in a rut. Their thoughts and habits program them into believing that they can't lose weight, they'll always be in debt, they don't have time for exercise, they're stuck working at a job they hate, etc.

Bob Proctor sent this article from Dr. Jay Dishman out to his e-mail list today and I thought it was worth passing along.

Recently I visited Alcatraz Prison. Once it housed the most hardened of criminals. Today it is open to tourists under the direction of the United States Parks Department. Many men have tried to escape Alcatraz; no one is known to have succeeded. As I listened to the tour guide explain the impossibility of escape, I thought of other prisons equally confining but where the doors are never locked, no guards walk the halls, and escape is encouraged and possible. That prison is Habit."

Our habit is thinking about ourselves and our environment as a jail or a paradise. We need but to look around us to see people who are rich emotionally and materially because they think and feel rich. We also see people who are laden with emotional and material debt because they think lack. Some are inspired with vision, others are encumbered with doubt. Some are moved by ambition, others feel safer in monotony. Some reach for the mountain tops, others huddle in the pits. Some seek opportunity, others wait for it to knock. The sad fact is that more people are confined by their thoughts than are fed by them.

Negative thinking shuts us in a prison, but there is a way out. The apostle Paul said, "Be transformed by the renewal of your mind." Paul knew a lot about prisons, both physical and mental. You renew your life by renewing your mind. You renew your mind when you change your habit of thinking.

~ Dr. Jay Dishman


Saturday, July 12, 2008

I Don't Want to Bulk Up

On Thursday, I wrote about online fitness forums and the attitudes of some of the posters. One of the threads that started my little rant began as something else but morphed into a "heavy weights bulk me up" debate.

The poster insisted that using heavy weight to strength train bulked her up. I am not one to say that it's absolutely impossible for a very few women to get bigger than they'd like using heavy weight. However, this would be a tiny minority of women who have higher levels of testosterone than the average female.

I think that for the vast majority of those who think that heavier lifting makes them bulky, it's a matter of diet. No one will lose weight without a calorie deficit. If you continue to eat the same amount or more while lifting weights, you will build muscle but retain fat.

It's not that the muscle makes you look bulky. Because of your poor nutrition you haven't gotten rid of the layer of fat that's covering your muscle.

Although the poster who got this all started credited her current "toning" (as opposed to her previous "bulking") with using a 4 lb. weight, she also casually mentioned that she was now paying attention to her nutrition by increasing her protein intake and cutting back on junk food.

She's lost inches and is seeing muscle definition. However, although she is determined to attribute her current physique to using light weights, I'm just as sure that it's her current nutrition that's made the difference.

The following article is written about athletes but the information is relevant to any woman.

Top 10 Reasons Heavy Weights Don’t Bulk Up the Female Athlete


Friday, July 11, 2008

The Nine Habits of Highly Healthy People by Jonny Bowden

The Nine Habits of Highly Healthy People
by Jonny Bowden

For years, business and motivational gurus have known that there are basic habits that seem to predict professional success and excellence. Books like The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, by motivational speaker and business guru Stephen Covey, which has sold over 15 million copies alone, shows that people are hungry for the secrets of success.

We don’t yet have the perfect formula for long life, happiness, and physical health, but a little careful distillation of the massive amount of research on health and longevity reveals that cultivating nine basic habits will significantly increase the odds of your living long, well, and happily — in a robust, healthy, weight-appropriate body.

Eat your vegetables. No kidding — and I’m talking at least 9 servings a day. Unless you’re following the most stringent first stage of the Atkins Diet, you should be able to consume 60-120 grams of carbs a day (depending on your weight and exercise level), and you’d have to eat a stockyard full of spinach to get to that amount. Every major study of long-lived, healthy people shows that they eat a ton of plant foods. Nothing delivers antioxidants, fiber, flavonoids, indoles, and the entire pharmacopeia of disease fighting phytochemicals like stuff that grows in rich soil.

Eat fish and/or take fish oil. The omega-3’s found in cold-water fish like salmon deserve the title of “wellness molecule of the century.” They lower the risk of heart disease, they lower blood pressure, they improve mood, and they’re good for the brain. And if you’re pregnant, they may make your kid smarter!

Connect. And I’m not talking about the internet. In virtually every study of people who are healthy and happy into their 9th and 10th decades, social connections are one of the “prime movers” in their life. Whether church, family, volunteer work, or community, finding something you care about that’s bigger than you, that you can connect with and that involves other people (or animals) — will extend your life, increase your energy, and make you happier — always.

Get some sun. At least 10-15 minutes three times a week. Interestingly, a recent study showed that the four healthiest places on earth where the people were longest-lived, were in sunny climates.1 Sun improves your mood and boosts levels of cancer-fighting, performance-enhancing, bone-strengthening vitamin D — a vitamin most people don’t get nearly enough of.

Sleep well. If you’re low in energy, gaining weight, grumpy, and looking haggard, guess what? Chances are you’re not sleeping long enough or well enough. By sleeping “well,” I mean uninterrupted sleep, in the dark — without the television on, in a relaxing environment. Nothing nourishes, replenishes, and restarts the system like 7-9 hours sleep. Hint: start by going to bed an hour early. And if you’ve got a computer in the bedroom, banish it!

Exercise every day. Forget this 20 minutes three times a week stuff. Long-lived people are doing things like farm chores at 4:30 in the morning! Our Paleolithic ancestors traveled an average of 20 miles per day. Our bodies were designed to move on a regular basis. New studies show that merely 30 minutes a day of walking not only reduces the risk of most serious diseases, but can even grow new brain cells!2

Practice gratitude. By making a list of things you’re grateful for, you focus the brain on positive energy. Gratitude is incompatible with anger and stress. Practice using your under-utilized “right brain” and spread some love. Focusing on what you’re grateful for — even for five minutes a day — has the added benefit of being one of the best stress-reduction techniques on the planet.

Drink red wine or eat grapes. The resveratrol in dark grapes is being studied for its effect on extending life, which it seems to do for almost every species studied. (So does eating about one third less food, by the way.) If you’ve got a problem with alcohol, you can get resveratrol from grapes, peanuts, or supplements. (And if you’re a woman, and you choose the alcohol option, make sure you’re getting folic acid every day.)

Get the sugar out. The number one enemy of vitality, health, and longevity is not fat, it’s sugar. Sugar’s effect on hormones, mood, immunity, weight, and possibly even cancer cells is enormous — and it’s all negative. To the extent that you can remove it from your diet, you will be adding years to your life and life to your years.

This list may not be perfect and it may not be complete, but it’s a start. As my dear grandmother used to say, “Couldn’t hurt.” Not one of these “habits” will hurt you, all will benefit you, and some may make the difference between life and death.

And it’s never too late to start cultivating them.

Enjoy the journey!


Buettner, D, The Blue Zones, National Geographic Books, 2008; ISBN 1426202741.

Dr. Bowden is a nationally known expert on weight loss, nutrition and health. He's a board certified nutrition specialist with a Master's degree in psychology and the author of five books including The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth. His latest book is The Most Effective Cures on Earth.

This article appears courtesy of Early to Rise’s Total Health Breakthroughs which offers alternative health solutions for mind, body and soul.


Thursday, July 10, 2008

Can You Handle the Truth?

There are a few exercise-related forums where I post and I sometimes wonder why. One message board in particular has a few fitness pros scattered about and you would think that people would appreciate a knowledgeable response to their questions.

Some do, of course, but others seem only interested in comments that validate their own beliefs or wishful thinking. So, instead of believing the personal trainer who is telling them to concentrate on compound exercises and cardio intervals, they listen to the poster who tells them that Tricep Kickbacks and biking around the neighborhood made all the difference for them.

How many times can a person read that you can't spot reduce and still start a thread asking for exercises to get rid of saddlebags, bat wings, "stomach", butt, etc.?

Yesterday, I saw a poster tell a fitness pro to "Chill out!" because she didn't appreciate his continued insistence that "light weight to tone" is a waste of time. Why get snarky with someone who is only trying to help you get the best results for your effort?

Regardless of how many times some of us stress the importance of strength training for weight loss, there are still people who spend hours doing mindless cardio and then start a thread asking why they're not seeing results or why their fat loss has stalled. Today, I saw a thread asking for routines that only included cardio and ab work.

Hey, if you want to spend your time using 2 pound pink dumbbells and doing hour-long elliptical sessions, be my guest. At least you're not sitting on the couch watching TV. But when you're unhappy with your results, try being open to the people who aren't just telling you what you want to hear.


Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Which Exercises Do You Hate?

It's the really hard exercises that make a difference. It's worth the effort to do 'em, 'cause they'll actually produce results. ~Josh Hillis

I find that the exercises that people hate the most; the ones that are toughest for them are almost always the most productive.

Let's face it, when was the last time you heard anyone talking about how they dread doing Bicep Curls?

So, which exercises do you think are going to help you get more lean and fit? Which ones do you think burn more calories and engage more muscles?

Let's see. Lunges, Spiderman Climbs, Squats, Pushups OR Bicep Curls, Tricep Kickbacks, Crunches?

Next time you find yourself dreading certain exercises, change your mindset. Instead of thinking about how hard they are or how much you dislike them, remind yourself of how much closer doing them brings you to your goal of a lean, fit, healthy body.

Monday, July 7, 2008

You're Never Too Old

If you've been using the "I'm too old" mantra when it comes to exercise, you need to find a new excuse. Body & Soul has members in their 70s and 80s. Our oldest member is 92 and she's a regular fixture every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning.

Now, 41 year old mother, Dara Torres, who already has 9 Olympic medals has become the oldest American swimmer ever on an Olympic team. Despite the fact that she sat out in '96 and '04, Torres will also be the first American swimmer to compete in five Olympics.

Last night she set an American-record time of 24.25 seconds in her favorite event, the 50-meter freestyle. It was the third time she had set the record in two days.

You can read about the amazing physical lengths Torres' goes through to maintain her competitive level here. Unfortunately, due to steroid use among people like Barry Bonds, Jose Canseco, Hulk Hogan, and Marion Jones (and no doubt some jealousy), there have been whispers about drug use.

To her credit, Torres met with Travis Tygart, head of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, and asked to be tested more often. She volunteered for a pilot U.S.A.D.A. program that will use more sophisticated blood and urine testing to look for doping.

Torres told Tygart, "Look, I want to be an open book. "DNA test me. Blood test me. Urine test me. Whatever you want to do. Just test me because I want people to know that I am doing this right."

Go, Dara!

The Best Muscle-Building Machines

It looks like the message is getting out. When a mainstream website like starts touting free weights over machines, it sure seems like the tide is turning.

While I do sometimes incorporate machines like the Leg Press and Pulldown in a routine, the majority of my programs consist of exercises using free weights, cables and bodyweight. You definitely won't find the Leg Extension, Pec Flye, Lateral Raise, Bicep Curl, etc. machines in my routines.

Those types of exercises don't give you the most result bang for your effort buck (and in some cases can actually be bad for you).

Why waste time on fluff?

From RealAge:

The Best Muscle-Building Machines

Which kind of strength-training equipment makes the most of your time: fixed machines or free-form gear?

Go for the free-form gear, like dumbbells or cable-and-pulley machines that allow freedom of motion. They can give you double the strength gains that fixed equipment offers.

Strength in Numbers

Fixed machines -- like a leg-press machine, where you load up a plate with weights and have a fixed plane of motion to push through -- don’t tap as many balance and control muscles as free-form equipment does. So you don’t get as buff, a recent study showed. People in the study who used free-form equipment boosted their strength by a whopping 115 percent -- versus just 57 percent for the fixed-machine users. Free-form gear boosts balance better, too.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

How to Burn Belly Fat for Summer

I just opened an e-mail from Craig Ballantyne, creator of Turbulence Training.

For the FIRST TIME EVER he's cutting the price on his new Turbulence Training for Abs Program in a special limited time promotion.

If you're a Body & Soul member or a regular reader of this blog, you know I'm not a fan of crunches. I think they're overrated and that people waste way too much time doing them in a misguided effort to reduce their midesctions.

As you can see by Craig's photo on his new site, he knows how to get abs without doing crunches or long, slow boring cardio. And he'll show you all NEW workouts to help you do the same.

Check out Craig's abs and get his new program HERE.

You'll get a 12-week Advanced Ab program, based on the Turbulence Training principles, but with a couple of unique and effective twists to work your abdominals harder than ever.

Here's the Deal...

1) This is a special "Pre-Launch" Limited Time Offer. Once the deadline hits, this offer will be history and the price will increase to $39.95 when it is finally made available again.

For the next 48 hours only, this product is available for only $27.

2) You will get immediate access to the 12-Week Turbulence Training for Abs Program today for only $27...But the bonuses are NOT done. In 3 weeks time, you'll also receive access to ALL of the soon-to-be-released Bonus Reports.

So, you'll get this 12-week belly fat burning, ab sculpting, workout program (plus 4 weeks each of Beginner and Intermediate ab workouts) and the bonuses, all for just $27.

Check out the Turbulence Training for Abs site for more info on the program and upcoming bonuses: but this "Pre-Launch" offer is only available until July 4th, at noon, EST.

So declare INDEPENDENCE DAY from your belly fat, and get started with the Turbulence Training for Abs program today. This is the only time you'll EVER see this program offered at such a low price. When Craig makes this product available to the world, it will sell for $39.95 - and it won't be made available again for weeks - can your abs wait that long?

Remember, the price goes up after 12:00 noon EST on July 4th. So save money, save time, and save your abdominals from being buried in body fat for another summer by getting the Turbulence Training for Abs Special Offer today!

Visit this site to get this limited time offer: Turbulence Training for Abs.

Cardio Intervals for Fat Loss and Health

I haven't beat the drum for cardio interval training lately so here's an excerpt from an article in the June issue of Men's Health.

One quibble. Unless someone is training for a race, I prefer to keep the intense part of the interval to a maximum of 60 seconds. At 2 minutes you've moved into aerobic intervals and you obviously can't maintain the intensity of shorter bouts.

What would impress me is you doing high-intensity intervals as your cardiovascular training. That means alternating between intense bursts of activity and fixed periods of less-intense activity or even complete rest. In fact, you can achieve more progress in a mere 15 minutes of interval training (done three times a week) than that guy grinding away on the treadmill for an hour. An intelligent man draws maximum benefit from a minimum time investment, and smarts are sexy. So are abs, a benefit of this training style. Researchers at Australia's University of New South Wales found that intervals burn three times as much fat as running twice as long at a moderately hard, steady pace.

But interval training's benefits don't end with heart health, fat incineration, or the preservation of that most precious of commodities, your time. Most sports worth playing involve stopping and starting, not running at one pace, so you'll rule on the court or field. What's more, your muscles will learn to contract more forcefully. Ultimately you'll live longer, too, because intervals elevate the good cholesterol that makes your arteries whooshing streams and not plaque-strewn rapids.

How can stopping and starting during cardio do all that? Pretend you're back (or still) in college, and I'm your hot new teaching assistant. Class is now in session, so pop the lid off your latte and listen up.

Lesson 1: When your muscles contract repeatedly during intense training, they quickly use all available energy. So your body searches for fat. While that's going on, your body is quickly losing its ability to flush metabolic by-products from muscle. Ever heard of the burn? That's a buildup of ammonia and other bad stuff. Along with burning, this waste interferes with your body's ability to contract muscles forcefully. If you don't learn to manage the burn properly, your workout is doomed.

Lesson 2: When repeated bouts of high-intensity intervals are separated by short rest periods, each bout begins with a lack of available energy, and muscles that are already fatigued. "Interval training stresses energy systems in the body that aren't accustomed to being used," says Jeramie Hinojosa, M.S., director of the East Texas Medical Center Olympic Center, in Tyler, Texas. "Blood supply to cells increases, the cells use oxygen more efficiently, and the enzymes that help create energy also increase. This improves fitness." What's more, recovery from interval training forces the body to continue burning fat for energy. This all leads to an increase in postworkout calorie burning.

Lesson 3: There are lots of ways to do intervals. Over time you can adjust your ratio between rest and work, change the intensity of your work segment, or alter the length of the entire session. The new interval program that my university colleagues and I have developed produces truly amazing results, and it's perfect for people who don't like endurance training. As part of an experiment to test the ability of a dietary supplement to flush metabolic waste products from muscle tissue, we put a group of active college students (36 men and 33 women) through 6 weeks of high-intensity interval training on the stationary bike. Instead of the usual 30-seconds-on, 30-seconds-off approach, we had the students pedal intensively for 2 minutes, rest completely for 1 minute, and then repeat that sequence four more times. That's only 10 minutes of training! Even with the warmup and rest periods, they were looking at a 20-minute time investment.

After 3 weeks and a total of nine workout sessions, all 69 participants saw huge improvements. The maximum amount of oxygen they could consume--a measure of cardiovascular fitness -- increased 11 percent. What's more, they were able to pedal 12 percent longer and complete 44 percent more work. After 6 weeks, the improvements were even more dramatic -- 18 percent in fitness, 17 percent in time to exhaustion, and nearly 100 percent in work completed.

Break Your Speed Limits


Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Bicep Curls Gone Wrong

Since I posted a serious video yesterday, I thought I'd lighten things up a bit today. Considering what a stupid idea this was and how bad his form was, I think he had it coming. ;-)

No John McCain lookalikes were injured in the making of this video.

Cinder Blocks Make Bad Dumbbells - Watch more free videos