Thursday, 26 February 2015

Time to Tone

What would you do if you had an extra hour in a day? Eat, sleep, watch television, get some more work done? How about fit in an exercise routine?
There are plenty of things in the universe that will make sure you do not move a bone. For instance, the barking dogs kept you up all night, you had a bad dream, the hubby is still rolling over in bed, your metabolism has kicked in this morning, your alarm did not go off (classic!), it’s Wednesday, period. The list is endless and ridiculous. However if you were to time yourself you would realize that exercise does not take too long and if you actually stuck to the routine, the results come fast.

Therefore make time to tone. We are not asking for more than 30 minutes per day. Still too much? How about 15 minutes? That is possible, let’s be honest. What can you do in 15 minutes, you ask? Pick your exercise – 5 minutes to great abs, 8 minutes to sculpted arms, 3 minutes to toned legs etc. Then assign days to these exercises right from Monday to Friday. Next pick songs you would exercise to – peppy, dance numbers.

Get a yoga mat, weights (if you have any) and set that devious alarm on the phone every night before you go to sleep. The trick to motivate yourself is to keep everything ready for the next morning. If you wake up groggy and then have to arrange for these little things to prep your “exercise routine”, you will get demotivated on Day 3.

The important thing to remember is to make a routine and follow it. Keep it easy and simple and gradually progress to a strenuous regime. Remember, timing is everything!

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Turn Back Time

Who doesn't want to look younger? Do you think about what you put in your stomach? How each food effects your body? Ofcourse not, because "nobody has the time". Well lets stop that nasty habit and see what exactly you SHOULD eat that might not be a case of Benjamin Button but it will slow down the process of ageing.

Antioxidants, fibre and EFA (essential fatty acids) have great health benefits that we sometimes overlook. Combine these superfoods into a healthy balanced diet and it will strengthen your immune system like no other!

You don't need to have ALL of it, but something is better than nothing right? Say hey to happy eating :)


Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Fifty Shades of Workout

Let's be realistic. Going to work, packing a healthy lunch, carrying healthy snacks, driving etc. is a lot to deal with everyday for the working lot. That is still NO excuse for you to sit on your bottom and type on the computer all day stuffing your face with chips and coke. WRONG. Pack a healthy salad (takes max 5 mins if you prepare the night before), drink more water and less soda (yuck) and replace your chips with fruits. BUT that is only a part of staying healthy, what about the working out part you ask?

Well, thanks to Men's Health Magazine, we have a quick workout routine for you to do half an hour before you get ready for work. YES, this will require you to wake up a little earlier but atleast you won't be a sad person with a ponch!

Easy to do. Works on our thighs, legs, arms, biceps, abs and calves. Not too much to ask for, is it? So stop cribbing about lack of time and start doing it. 

Monday, 23 February 2015

Beach Body Workout

Summer isn't far away and let's face it, we cannot flaunt our winter body on the beach now can we? For those who work out regularly, you got nothing to worry about but some couch potatoes who like snuggling in their blankies during winter break; now need to look lean and mean. Follow this routine to achieve that beach bod. 

Perform each exercise for 30 seconds unless reps are noted.

1. Quick Jumping Jacks


2. Windmills

Stand with a wide foot position and arms extended at shoulder height. Reach your right arm across your body touching your left toe. Return to starting position and alternate.


3. Butt kicks


Sunday, 22 February 2015

DO or DIE(T)

It's d-word everywhere. The, well...well-endowed, dread it; the lean, when mean, scorn it. But let's face it, there is just no escaping it. Yes, you got it right. We are dedicating this blog post to the ubiquitous DIET!

In nutrition parlance, diet is, simply put: “the sum of food consumed by a person or other organism”. Why then, has its definition gotten distorted over the years, to connote one of deprivation? After all, diet is all about healthy food and healthy eating, isn't it?
When it comes to the road to good health, dietary choices definitely matter. However, it is not such an uphill task as it is made out to be. A balanced diet is bound to give you that slim body you imagine yourself in. But irrespective of how you look, in the end, you are what you watch what you eat!

Staying lean (skinny- if that's what you say) does not require you to starve yourself. Your body needs nutrition not starvation. Crash diets are the worst way yet most used (sadly) to lose weight. We hope to help you eat delicious and healthy food paired with doable exercises to keep you fit!

A little bit of this and a little bit of that:

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Here at SquadFit, we will talk about nutrition, diet, fitness, exercise and quick fitness plans. But whether you read, follow, ignore, look away or simply slam it down, we'll still be at it. And to you, we suggest that you be at it too – DIET, that is!!

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Yoga for Better Health

It's more than just good exercise - yoga may help improve both your physical and emotional health. 

Many are exploring the rhythmic breathing, stretches, and sometimes demanding postures of yoga as a form of alternative medicine. The 2007 National Health Interview Survey found that yoga was one of the most popular types of alternative medicine among adults, and that its use had grown by roughly 3 million people since the previous survey in 2002.

What Is Yoga?

According to the American Yoga Association, yoga unites physical activity, meditation, and controlled breathing. The word "yoga" comes from an ancient phrase meaning "to join," which refers to the mind and body coming together. The first written instructions regarding yoga poses date back to more than 2,000 years ago, but yoga is thought to have been practiced centuries before then.

The type of yoga practiced most often used is Hatha yoga, which emphasizes particular poses while paying careful attention to breathing techniques. There are more than 100 other different schools of yoga, which originated in Indian philosophy. These various schools incorporate some or all of the eight foundations, or limbs, of yoga practice.

According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, yoga's benefits as a form of alternative medicine may include:

·         Relieving stress
·         Relaxing and strengthening muscles
·         Enhancing mood
·         Lowering blood pressure

In addition, researchers are examining the use of yoga to help treat a number of specific conditions.

Physical and Emotional Benefits of Yoga

Yoga views the body as the most important tool humans have, one that should be treated with the utmost care and respect. The following are just a few of the possible ways that yoga may improve your overall health:

·Stress and anxiety: In a study of more than 100 Australians with mild to moderate levels of stress, participants engaged in either weekly relaxation or Hatha yoga sessions for 10 weeks. The researchers found that the yoga sessions provided similar improvements in stress, anxiety, and health status to the dedicated relaxation sessions.

·Cancer: A recent study of 24 people with cancer examined the effects of Iyengar yoga — a form of yoga focused on correct body alignment and the use of props. The participants took 90-minute yoga classes for 10 weeks. The study demonstrated marked improvements in participants' mood, overall quality of life, and sense of spiritual well-being.

·Pain: Research has found that the regular practice of yoga may be associated with reduced pain. In one study, people with chronic lower back pain who participated in weekly yoga classes for four months experienced substantial reductions in pain and disability compared with subjects who were assigned to a non-yoga group.

The Risks of Yoga

If you're considering yoga, keep in mind that certain yoga poses may not be appropriate for people with particular medical conditions including:

·         Spinal problems
·         Blood pressure disorders
·         History or risk of blood clots
·         Eye problems like glaucoma and retinal disorders
·         Pregnancy

If you have any underlying health problems, discuss the possible risks of yoga with your doctor beforehand. Also, make sure you know the demands a particular class will place on your body before you enroll. If you do take a class, inform your yoga instructor of any health concerns that may affect your ability to perform certain poses.

5 Benefits of Interval Training

Looking to eliminate boredom, burn more calories, and add some intensity to your workout? Interval training may be the way to go. Here's why.

You need to shake up your fitness program and lose weight, but you don’t really have any more time to devote to it. The perfect answer could be high-intensity interval training or HIIT for short. Interval training is not just for elite athletes anymore — everyone is doing it.

High-intensity interval training requires interspersing bursts of intense activity into your regular fitness program. “It’s a form of fitness training that alternates high-intensity work efforts with low- to moderate-intensity ‘recovery’ efforts,” explains Leigh Crews, a personal trainer in Rome, Ga., and a spokeswoman for the American Council on Exercise.

Don’t confuse interval training with circuit training. Circuit training is moving from station to station to complete a set of exercises. Circuit training can be all aerobic exercise, all strength training, or alternating between cardio efforts and strength training. “Many people mistakenly call this interval training when, in fact, it is a circuit,” Crews says.

When you’re circuit training, you don’t rest between the exercises that you do in sequence. When you’re interval training, you want to take short rests between intense repetitions of a single exercise.

How Interval Training Helps

Adding interval training to your fitness program has both mental and physical benefits

You lose weight faster. The more vigorous your exercise, the more calories you will burn, so even short bursts will help you lose weight.

It eliminates boredom. By varying the intensity of your exercises, it changes things up. Not only will your fitness program go by faster, but you won’t experience the drudgery that can come from doing the same routine every day.

No extras needed. You already have the equipment you need for your interval training because you’re already doing the basic workout. Interval training requires no special skills — the only thing needed is more effort on your part.

You increase your fitness levels. You will improve your ability to exercise and increase your stamina over time.

You reduce the time spent on exercise. You spend less time exercising, but you burn the same or more calories as with your normal routine.

Monday, 9 February 2015

15 of the best foods that'll help you shift fat naturally

Eating clean to lose fat doesn’t have to mean skipping meals and throwing out your favourite foods. Below you’ll find 15 of the finest – and most flavoursome – foods you should whack in your shopping basket, proven to encourage your body to burn calories. Of course, simply swapping sweet potatoes for greasy fries or oily fish for the battered variety is only half the battle. It doesn’t mean you can skip training!
Once you’re armed with the knowledge on how best to burn fat, you’ve got to match your dedication in the kitchen with perseverance in the fitness regime.
1. Cinnamon
 can help to blunt 
insulin response in the body, stopping you from storing fat, says an American study.
2. Apples
 contain antioxidant polyphenols, which help to prevent your body from storing fat, according to a German study.

3. Sweet potatoes 
are a low-GI food 
that helps you avoid fat-promoting spikes in blood sugar, according to 
research from the US.
4. Grapefruit has been found to lower insulin levels in your body. This decrease prevents your body from storing sugar as fat and helps dampen your appetite.
5. Green tea compounds in green tea called catechins help speed up your metabolism. They do this by reducing your levels of the enzyme catechol-O-methyltranferase, which degrades the fat-burning hormone norepinephrine.

6. Yoghurt contains bacteria that may actually help reduce the amount of fat your body absorbs and stores.
7. Chilli peppers a study published in the Journal Of Proteome Research showed that capsaicin, a compound found in chilli, helps protein structures in your body to break down fat.
8. Oats are full of fibre and low in calories so a bowl of porridge in the morning is perfect for getting your metabolism into gear and preventing unnecessary snacking by keeping you feeling full for a long time.

9. Coconut oil should take pride of place in your cupboard because it’s high in medium-chain triacylglycerols, a chemical compound that encourages the body to burn fat for energy. Combining coconut oil with coffee is a current favourite in the MF office. Not only does it taste great, the mixture of caffeine and saturated fat gives your body a long lasting energy boost.

10. Oily fish eating fish influences a hormone in your body called leptin, which directly affects your metabolism’s choice to store calories as fat or burn them off.

11. Strawberries are rich in polyphenols, helping improve blood sugar control and reduce fat storage and are also high in vitamin C, which helps clear the stress hormone cortisol after exercise to speed up recovery.
12. Eggs are full of healthy proteins that the body expends a lot of energy trying to process. They’re also packed full of healthy cholesterol and actively reduce the level of bad cholesterol in your blood.
13. Avocados encourage fat burning thanks to their rich supply of monounsaturated fats. They also contain mannoheptulose, an unpronounceable compound that inhibits the breakdown of glucose, aiding fat loss in the process.
14. Lean meats protein has a thermogenic effect, causing your body to burn more calories to digest it. The effect is greatest with meats that are low in fat such as chicken or turkey.
15. Blueberries are super-efficient fat fighters. A study in the US discovered that they can disrupt the development of fat cells by up to 73%.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

6 things you can do at night to de-bloat and promote weight loss

Of course nights are great for going on dates, binge-watching TV, doing work, chatting on the phone - you name it. But you know what else they're great for? Setting yourself up for bigger and better weight-loss results. Just follow these tips to get yourself that much closer to your goal weight


"If you want to wake up feeling less bloated, definitely skip the Chinese dinner," says Keri Gands, R.D., author of The Small Change Diet. What happens is the salt stays in your system overnight, so you wake up puffier than you normally would. The best option is to cook a healthy meal of steamed veggies and a lean protein - neither of which should be loaded with salt.


You know that sweating can help you drop pounds, but you may think that exercising too close to bedtime can keep you up at night. Luckily, that's not true; a 2013 survey from the National Sleep Foundation found that active people are 56 to 57 percent more likely to say they usually get a good night's sleep - no matter what time of day they exercise.


The average restaurant meal contains more than twice the number of calories you should be consuming in one sitting, according to a 2013 study - and that's not even taking into account the lower calorie count you'll want your lunch to clock in at if you're trying to drop pounds. But in the a.m rush, who has time to make lunch? Save yourself from a midday diet-wrecker by prepping your meal the night before.


H20 flushes out your system, which helps you get rid of any water you're retaining. But since you don't want to be up all night running to the bathroom (and getting quality shuteye is crucial to weight loss), Gans suggests putting a halt to your water chugging one hour before bedtime.


The hormone melatonin can help your body produce more calorie-burning brown fat, according to an animal study published last year in Journal of Pineal Research. Since your body already produces melatonin when you're in complete darkness, make sure your room is light-free to boost weight loss.


The idea of burning more calories while you sleep may sound too good to be true, but a National Institute of Health Clinical Center study found that people who slept in a 66-degree room burned seven percent more calories than people who snoozed at 75 degrees. Seven percent isn't a ton - but it can't hurt!

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Will Bootcamp Workouts Get Me in Shape Fast?

You might have noticed the sudden interest and hype around fitness boot camp workouts. Perhaps they're popping up all around your region proper now or your friends have been talking about them.

It's not surprise that this is happening. Boot camp workouts have been proven to be effective for over 100 years.

Boot camp workouts are more popular than ever. Why? Here's why --- Boot Camp Workouts WORK!!!!!

I've seen hundreds of people get in shape fast and actually have fun doing it while participating in boot camp workouts.

A fitness boot camp provides variety, enjoyable, and Results! Results create even moremotivation and determination to continue on with a program. Results feed the fire of your desire. Early and fast outcomes will maintain you inspired and coming back for much more. When you get results fast you are energized for more!

Boot camp workouts have become well-liked amongst both males and women simply because you receive to suffer proper along some other individuals while sweating off those calories and feeling your muscles burn. The pain and intensity feels so much much better when you suffer with other people because everybody in class can relate to every other.

There is a strange bond that develops whenever you endure with others. The previous saying "misery loves company" comes to mind, and it sure does feel better whenever you know you aren't the only one who has legs that feel like jello that has been lit on fire. Boot camp workouts are tough and boot camp workouts can get even tougher!

This bond you develop with others is precisely how young males and women are able to get through 13 weeks with the real Boot camp Exercise at Paris Island when training to be a U.S. Marine. I keep in mind watching grown males cry, and even pee their pants because they were too afraid to ask if they could go to the bathroom.

Luckily, you will not run into this problem at your nearby health boot camp. You are able to actually walk away at any second to go towards the restroom and you will not have to worry about going to jail for being AWOL. Whenever you see other people just like yourself overcoming obstacles and pushing via the pain it really does make things so much simpler mentally. If they can do it, you are able to do it!

Boot camp workouts can even be done at house by your self or with a couple of friends. No equipment essential! Bodyweight workouts are truly the king of the hill when it comes to toning up quick and stripping off body extra fat.

If you would like a really efficient and quick fat reduction workout then look no further than your own backyard or anywhere within the house with sufficient room to spread out and do pushups. You will be able to complete a selection of workout styles to improve your heart rate and tone up your muscles at the same time.

There's no require to complete a separate "cardio" exercise and muscle toning exercisesimply because you'll get them both in at once. That's right - you can really train 3 days per week for about 35 to 45 minutes and get exceptional outcomes. Have you ever heard of interval training workouts? They are super effective for fat reduction.

What do you get when you combine interval training workouts,boot camp workouts, fat loss workouts, and bodyweight exercises?

You receive this - an Interval Training Fitness Boot camp Exercise with Bodyweight Exercises for Fat Reduction!!!!!! That is impressive!

Abs Exercise - With out the Boring Crunches

I'll tell you what else is great about performing full physique workouts with bodyweight workouts. You will by no means again do crunches for an abs workout. The exercises done in a boot camp exercise will have you utilizing your core and abs in methods you by no means imagined. Have you ever tried performing planks? You literally lie on the floor like a board propping your self up with your elbows and you'll feel your abs burning like by no means before.

No crunching needed! Plus, doing simple planks actually works each muscle and stabilizer inside your physique so you burn much more calories just lying on the floor like a board. It hurts though so do not get too excited!

Whether you're a fitness bootcamp exercise instructor of somebody looking for 1 you are able to find everything from beginner to advanced boot camp workouts. You will find even specialized boot camps made for athletes.

If you are an athlete and can't find an athletic bootcamp in your area you might want to think about starting 1. Athletes wish to stay in shape throughout the off season, but they just require a little nudge. Get the nearby football players into a athletic boot camp and have them show up to their next season in better form than ever.

Benefits of Group Exercise

Written by Shawn Dolan, Ph.D., R.D., CSSD

As kids, we loved to get together to play with our friends. As teenagers, our world revolved around our friends; oftentimes, our friends dictated our choice of activities. As adults, we still enjoy being active with friends, but don’t always feel like we have the time or opportunities to do so. Group exercise provides us with an opportunity to feel young again and be physically active with others.

Group exercise is typically described as exercise performed by a group of individuals led by an instructor. A variety of group exercise formats exist, including (but not limited to) aerobics and dance choreographed to music, BOSU, core conditioning, Pilates, yoga, muscle conditioning, step, indoor cycling, kickboxing, sculpting, fall prevention and boot camp. Your choice of classes depends on the club or studio you attend, the expertise of the instructors, and the amount of time you have.

Group exercise offers a variety of benefits you might miss out on if you choose to work out on your own. Some of the benefits include exposure to a social and fun environment, a safe and effectively designed workout, a consistent exercise schedule, an accountability factor for participating in exercise, and a workout that requires no prior exercise knowledge or experience. Let’s take a look at how these benefits might apply to you.

A common reason given for quitting an exercise program is boredom. A variety of class formats will keep you motivated and interested, as well as give you different instructor styles, music selection, and interaction with other participants. For many, an hour-long workout goes by very quickly when there is music playing and you are trying new exercises. People stay interested because of the social atmosphere provided by group exercise. This offers camaraderie and accountability among participants, as well as between participants and instructor.

Most people know exercise is good for them and want to begin exercising. However, they do not know the first step to take. They are bombarded with urgent messages from the media to exercise, but receive little guidance on how to initiate that process. This can be a very overwhelming task, especially when our lives are hectic. Group exercise offers a workout for all levels, ranging from beginner to advanced. Participants do not need to know how to develop a safe and effective workout or which machines to use or for how long; it is already done for them. They simply have to show up with a positive attitude, participate, and most importantly, have fun.

An exercise class structured with a purpose can be beneficial for people with limited knowledge about safe and effective exercise programming. An appropriately designed class includes warm-up, cool-down and flexibility in addition to the conditioning section. When people exercise on their own, they often skip portions of a workout they know less about or are not their favorite to perform. Furthermore, the fitness professional is not only designing the components of the workout, but also the intensity, so the class is designed appropriately to improve cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness. The fitness professional can also serve as a resource for class participants and encourage them to engage in other healthy behaviors outside of class.

Many people quit an exercise program because of time constraints. Participating in group exercise may help overcome this obstacle. Some facilities offer 30- and 45-minute classes for individuals with limited time. In addition, the consistency in scheduling offered by group exercise programs allows participants to choose a time and schedule it in their planner as they do other daily activities.

Lastly, group exercise appeals to many people because of its diversity. Traditionally, group exercise was available inside a fitness facility in the format of dance choreographed to music. While this still exists, many non-traditional group exercise formats are emerging, some even outside. There are boot camps at your local park, yoga on the beach, ski conditioning at the soccer field, trekking on the bike trails, stroller-walking classes in your neighborhood, and Latin dance at the local recreation facility. Regardless of your passion or interest, what is most important is to move. Group exercise offers an outlet for people to do this while having fun!

Friday, 6 February 2015

What Is Better, Lifting Your Body Weight or Lifting Weights?

Strength training is the act of performing movements against resistance. This resistance can be provided by your body weight or by weights. Each have their own benefits and are appropriate for different levels of lifters. Master strength training exercises using your own body weight before moving onto the higher intensity of weights.

Function of Resistance: 

To increase strength or build muscle, some type of resistance is necessary while you’re completing the strength training exercises. The resistance causes your muscles to become overloaded, which then stimulates them to adapt and become stronger or grow in size. Your own body weight can be used as this resistance, as when you’re completing pushups or squats, or you can use free weights, such as when completing biceps curls or shoulder presses.
Body Weight

Your body weight will come into play in many of the strength training exercises. Even if you add a barbell to your back while you’re completing squats, you will also be required to lift your own body weight in addition to the barbell. The benefit of using your own body weight to complete strength training exercises is that many of the exercises will require the development of your coordination and balance, unlike exercises that are done using weight machines, which allow you to sit or be supported when you’re lifting.


Weights, provided by dumbbells or barbells, also require you to maintain your balance and have a level of coordination when you’re lifting. They’re used by more experienced lifters and provide a significantly higher level of intensity to your lifts. Many of the exercises you would complete with your own body weight can be done also while using weights.

Considerations for Beginners:

It’s important that you’re able to handle your own body weight before advancing into using free weights. If you’re unable to complete squats with the correct technique using your own weight, you’re going to place yourself in a vulnerable position for injury if you add a barbell on your back. Dr. Scott Riewald of the National Strength and Conditioning Association recommends that beginners and young athletes master exercises using their own body weight before picking up any weight.

Considerations for Advanced Lifters:
If you’re an advanced lifter, your own body weight will not provide enough of a resistance for many of the strength-training exercises you complete. Using only your body weight for squats may not provide your muscles with enough of a stimulus to cause them to be overloaded. To continue to see improvements, you will need to use weights during your workouts. An outside resistance beyond your own body weight is necessary to build muscle mass, and once you develop strength beyond body weight exercises, incorporate weights into your exercises.

Fitness Experts Praise Bodyweight Workouts Over Machines

By Dorene Internicola

NEW YORK, Oct 14 (Reuters) - Man versus machines? In the realm of fitness at least man seems to be winning.

Despite a gym floor bulging with weight-lifting equipment, fitness experts said the only thing people need to push, pull and lift is the weight of their own body.
"If more people knew you could get a good physique using your body as a bar bell, they could take matters into their own hands," said Bret Contreras, author of "Bodyweight Strength Training Anatomy," a guide to bodyweight-only workouts aimed at everyone from the exercise-challenged to the personal trainer.

Known as "the Glute Guy," Arizona-based Contreras has been resistance training for 21 years. But in high school, he couldn't do a push-up. "At 15 I was so skinny people used to make jokes," the 37-year old said. "I just got so tired of being made fun of I decided to take charge."

Often thought of as a stepping stone to weight training, bodyweight training can be a complete, whole body workout in itself, Contreras said. Once the person masters the simpler version of a push-up, squat, or chin-up, a more advanced version can be tackled, often with a little help from the living room furniture.

"Find things in the environment: a table to get underneath, hold on to the sides of and then pull the body upward; a rafter for a pull-up," he said. "To work your glutes (buttocks muscles), all you need is a couch."
Contreras recommends the beginner start with 15 minutes a day and increase over time. "It doesn't have to be intimidating," he said. "You could do a 20-minute workout three times a week and have an incredible physique, so long as you push hard and keep challenging yourself."


Bodyweight exercises return people to the way they move naturally, according to Lisa Wheeler, national creative manager of group fitness at Equinox, the upscale chain of fitness centers.

"We squat, lunge, crawl, reach," she said, adding that a bodyweight class at Equinox is called "Animal Flow" because its crab crawls, lunges and swings were inspired by the primal movement patterns of man and beast.

"Bodyweight training is great for mobility, stability and creating movement patterns," she said. "You want to build a strong foundation, be stable around the shoulders, hips and spine." Because the load doesn't change, progression is achieved by changing the center of gravity of the exerciser or the complexity of the movement. Another challenge, she said, is getting enough pull to match the push of most bodyweight exercises.

"Bodyweight training can make everything else better," she said. "Dancers, moms, we all live push-pull now."
Jessica Matthews, an exercise physiologist with the American Council on Exercise, said bodyweight training blends with the trend toward functional training, or training that mimics the way we move in everyday life, as opposed to the older bodybuilder model of targeting one muscle group at a time.
"Our body is one kinetic chain, everything moves together, so most everyday exercises will move multiple muscle groups," she said.

Matthews said not only can bodyweight training be done anytime, anywhere, it also works easily into popular interval training, circuit and boot camp workouts.
"Using bodyweight exercises allow more of a cardiovascular component because you can move rapidly from one exercise to the next," Matthews said.
So are machines a thing of the past?

"I think there's a place for everything," she said, "For some people a fixed path might be the way to go. It boils down to having proper joint stability and quality range of movement, then adding load. Form is imperative." (Reporting by Dorene Internicola; Editing by Patricia Reaney and Vicki Allen)

Your Body is All You Need: The World’s Oldest Training Method (and a 1% Workout)

Arnold said it best: 1%. Just 1% of your day—15 minutes—can make a tremendous difference in your life, and in the lives of others. For some, that’s a little hard to believe, especially from a champion bodybuilder known for his marathon workouts. But it’s true.

The 1% Workout
This bodyweight workout can be done 3-4 times per week, and is intended to help you burn fat and build strength. If any of the exercises feel too hard, make modifications and build up to them.
Bodyweight squats – 8-10 reps
Push-ups (or knee-push ups) – 5-8 reps
Plank – hold for 15 seconds
Jumping Jacks – 15 reps
Bodyweight Reverse Lunges – 6 reps per leg
Lying Hip Raise (double or single leg) – 10 reps

How to Do it:

Cycle through the exercises sequentially, resting and repeating as prescribed based on your fitness level.
Beginners: Perform exercises 1-6 in order, resting 30 seconds between each. This is one circuit. Perform a total of 4 circuits, resting 90 seconds between each. This workout should take you approximately 15 minutes.

Intermediate: Add 10 seconds to the plank. Perform exercises 1-6 in order, resting 20 seconds between each. This is one circuit. Perform a total of 5 circuits, resting 75-90 seconds between each. This workout should take you approximately 18 minutes.

Advanced: Add 20 seconds to the plank. Perform exercises 1-6 in order, resting 20 seconds between each. This is one circuit. Perform a total of 6 circuits, resting 75 seconds between each. This workout should take you approximately 22 minutes.

Elite: Add 3-5 reps per exercise and 30 seconds to the plank. Perform exercises 1-6 in order, resting 10 seconds between each. This is one circuit. Perform a total of 6 circuits, resting 45 seconds between each. This workout should take you approximately 18 minutes.


With the above workout, you are on your way to the next level of fitness, no matter where you’re currently starting. Remember, in just 15 minutes, you can start to make a tremendous change in your life. All it takes is a spark, and 1% of your day.

A Brief Discussion of Bodyweight Training

Before the inception of weights, machines, genetic engineering, time travel, light sabers, or the Internet, people who wanted to get big and strong had to train using only their bodyweight. Although it originated out of “necessity,” this training method continues to be used because of its efficacy.

The methodology of bodyweight training has a long and storied history, particularly in military settings. From the Spartans to the Romans to the Navy SEALS, bodyweight only training has been a consistent component of the methods of nearly every military organization from antiquity to the present.

Admittedly, this is due in part to the inexpensive nature and the inherent convenience of not needing any equipment and being able to perform these exercises anywhere. However, expense and convenience notwithstanding, bodyweight workouts are undeniably effective for everyone from new recruits to drill sergeants.

Outside of being used in the training of the world’s greatest warriors, bodyweight exercises continue to be used in the athletic training world, and are a key component of many of the best fat loss and muscle gain workouts available, anywhere—like this one.

Within the context of a complete program that uses weights as well, bodyweight training has some specific benefits. Now, notwithstanding the fact that bodyweight exercises have been empirically proven to be effective, speaking generally, bodyweight exercises are fundamentally different from most weight bearing exercises—even when the same muscles or movement patterns are involved.

As an example, I don’t think anyone would debate that there is a tremendous difference between a bodyweight pull-up and a machine pull-down.

This fact remains true despite the fact that the same muscles—the latissimus dorsi, teres major, rhomboids, et al.—are involved; this will also remain true if one were to use the same load. That is, use weight on the pull-down comparable to your bodyweight, which acts as the load on the pull-up.

Of course, this raises the question: why are they different?

In the gym, your run of the mill meathead will tell you it’s a matter of pull-ups being “hardcore” and pull-downs being kind of a wussy exercise. The may be true, and while you know I love a good broscience argument more than anyone, that answer isn’t really relevant to your goals.

Instead, let’s focus on something substantial.

Bodyweight exercises like pull-ups, push-ups, squats, lunges, and the like belong to a group of movements known as “closed kinetic chain exercises.” Closed kinetic chain exercises include those in which the distal end of the exercise is fixed, such as a squat or lunge, where the foot remains in place. In other words, are exercises performed where the hand or foot is fixed, and does not move relative to the body.

Compare these with exercises like the pull-down, bench press, leg press, or leg curls, which are known as “open kinetic chain exercises.” In contrast to CKCEs, open chain kinetic exercises don’t have a fixed distal point. Put another way, OKCE are performed without the movement hand or foot being fixed, and instead allow movement relative to body position.
Speaking generally, if you are moving your body towards or away from an object (instead of moving an object towards of away from your body), the chain is closed; if you’re moving something either towards or away from your body (instead of moving your body towards or a way from an object).

This might seem a little academic, and while I apologize for boring you with the science, the differentiation is of vital importance when considered within the context of a complete training paradigm.

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Interval Training Burns More Fat, Increases Fitness, Study Finds

Date: June 29, 2007

Source: University Of Guelph

Summary: Fitness buffs and athletes have long used interval training -- short bursts of intensive effort interspersed with more moderate stretches -- to improve performance. This new study shows that the practice also improves cardiovascular fitness and helps the body burn more fat, even during low-intensity or moderate workouts.

Interval training burns fat and improves fitness more quickly than constant but moderately intensive physical activity, according to research by a University of Guelph researcher.

The study by Jason Talanian, a PhD student in the Department of Human Health and Nutritional Sciences, was published recently in the Journal of Applied Physiology. It found that after interval training, the amount of fat burned in an hour of continuous moderate cycling increased by 36 per cent and cardiovascular fitness increased by 13 per cent.

Fitness buffs and athletes have long used interval training — short bursts of intensive effort interspersed with more moderate stretches — to improve performance. But Talanian’s study shows that the practice also improves cardiovascular fitness and helps the body burn more fat, even during low-intensity or moderate workouts.

Talanian studied women riding stationary bikes in hard-easy intervals in the training lab of his supervisor, Guelph Prof. Lawrence Spriet. The eight subjects included moderately fit women in their 20s as well as borderline sedentary subjects and an active soccer player. They trained every other day for two weeks. They alternated 10 sets of four-minute bursts of riding at 90-per-cent effort with two-minute rest intervals.

It did not matter how fit the subjects were before. After interval training, they experienced not only an increase in fat used and in aerobic capacity, but also an increase of enzyme activity in the muscle

Talanian notes that faster fat burning and greater overall fitness may not necessarily mean immediate weight loss. The technique may improve someone’s potential to burn more fat, “but for weight loss, you need to consider a balance of exercise and a healthy diet,” he said.

The message from his studies is to mix interval training into an exercise routine once or twice a week, particularly in running, swimming or cycling.

For his follow-up study, Talanian plans to look at about a dozen women over a six-week training period. “We will look at muscle transporters that carry fatty acids into the cell that might help explain those earlier results,” he said.

Story Source: The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Guelph. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

A healthy gut is the hidden key to weight loss

The role of gut health in obesity and diabetes. I’d like to go into more detail on that subject here, especially since it’s not a very well known relationship.

Our gut is home to approximately100,000,000,000,000 (100 trillion) microorganisms. That’s such a big number our human brains can’t really comprehend it. One trillion dollar bills laid end-to-end would stretch from the earth to the sun – and back – with a lot of miles to spare. Do that 100 times and you start to get at least a vague idea of how much 100 trillion is.

The human gut contains 10 times more bacteria than all the human cells in the entire body, with over 400 known diverse bacterial species. In fact, you could say that we’re more bacterial than we are human. Think about that one for a minute.

We’ve only recently begun to understand the extent of the gut flora’s role in human health and disease. Among other things, the gut flora promotes normal gastrointestinal function, provides protection from infection, regulates metabolism and comprises more than 75% of our immune system. Dysregulated gut flora has been linked to diseases ranging from autism and depression to autoimmune conditions like Hashimoto’s, inflammatory bowel disease and type 1 diabetes.

Recent research has shown that the gut flora, and the health of the gut in general, also play a significant role in both obesity and diabetes. I’ve seen this anecdotally in my practice as well. Nearly every patient I treat with a blood sugar issue also has a leaky gut, a gut infection, or some other chronic inflammatory gut condition.

We now know that the composition of the organisms living in your gut determines – to some extent, at least – how your body stores the food you eat, how easy (or hard) it is for you to lose weight, and how well your metabolism functions. Let’s take a closer look at the mechanisms involved. Intestinal bacteria drive obesity and metabolic disease

A study published this year in Science magazine found that mice without a protein known as toll-like receptor 5 (TLR5) in their gut gain excessive weight and develop full-blown diabetes and fatty liver disease when fed a high-fat diet. If we think of the gut flora as a community, TLR5 is like a neighborhood police force that can keep the houligans in check. Without TLR5, bad bacteria can get out of control.

The study authors found that these bad bacteria caused a low-grade inflammation in the mice, which caused them to eat more and develop insulin resistance. They also found that treating these mice with strong antibiotics (enough to kill most of the bacteria in the gut) reduced their metabolic abnormalities.

But the most interesting part of this study is what happened when the researchers transferred the gut flora from the TLR5-deficient overweight mice into the guts of skinny mice: the skinny mice immediately started eating more and eventually developed the same metabolic abnormalities the overweight mice had. In other words, obesity and diabetes were “transferred” from one group of mice to the other simply by changing their gut flora (as shown in the image below).

Other studies have shown that the composition of the gut flora differs in people who are obese and diabetic, and people who are normal weight with no metabolic irregularities.

One possible mechanism for how changes in the gut flora cause diabesity is that different species of bacteria seem to have different effects on appetite and metabolism. In the study on TLR5 deficient mice I mentioned above, the mice with too much bad bacteria in their guts experienced an increase in appetite and ate about 10 percent more food than their regular relatives. But it wasn’t just that these mice were hungrier and eating more; their metabolisms were damaged. When their food was restricted, they lost weight – but still had insulin resistance.

Other studies have shown that changes in the gut flora can increase the rate at which we absorb fatty acids and carbohydrates, and increase the storage of calories as fat. This means that someone with bad gut flora could eat the same amount of food as someone with a healthy gut, but extract more calories from it and gain more weight.

Bad bugs in the gut can even directly contribute to the metabolic syndrome byincreasing the production of insulin (leading to insulin resistance), and by causing inflammation of the hypothalamus (leading to leptin resistance). How modern life screws up our gut and makes us fat and diabetic

What all of this research suggests is that healthy gut bacteria is crucial to maintaining normal weight and metabolism. Unfortunately, several features of the modern lifestyle directly contribute to unhealthy gut flora:

· Antibiotics and other medications like birth control and NSAIDs

· Diets high in refined carbohydrates, sugar and processed foods

· Diets low in fermentable fibers

· Dietary toxins like wheat and industrial seed oils that cause leaky gut

· Chronic stress

· Chronic infections

We also know that infants that aren’t breast-fed and are born to mothers with bad gut flora are more likely to develop unhealthy gut bacteria, and that these early differences in gut flora may predict overweight and obesity in the future.

It’s interesting to note that the diabesity epidemic has neatly coincided with the increasing prevalence of factors that disrupt the gut flora. I’m not suggesting that poor gut health is the single cause of obesity and diabetes, but I am suggesting thatit likely plays a much larger role than most people think. How to maintain and restore healthy gut flora

The most obvious first step in maintaining a healthy gut is to avoid all of the things I listed above. But of course that’s not always possible, especially in the case of chronic stress and infections, and whether we were breast-fed or our mothers had healthy guts.

If you’ve been exposed to some of these factors, there are still steps you can take to restore your gut flora:

· Remove all food toxins from your diet

· Eat plenty of fermentable fibers (starches like sweet potato, yam, yucca, etc.)

· Take a high-quality probiotic, or consider more radical methods of restoring healthy gut flora

· Treat any intestinal pathogens (such as parasites) that may be present

· Take steps to manage your stress

How to lose weight the healthy way

The healthiest way to lose weight is neither crash diets nor bursts of exercise. The body likes slow changes in terms of food and exercise.
For example, someone who hasn't exercised for years shouldn't rush into running miles a day or pounding the treadmill. Not only will the struggle to do so leave you feeling disheartened and demotivated, you're also far more likely to injure yourself and set your fitness levels back further.

The same goes for people who suddenly start starving themselves. Diets that severely restrict calories or the types of food 'allowed' can lead you to be deficient in the nutrients and vitamins that your body needs.

So, if you need to lose weight, what should you do?

Energy needs and weight loss

Your body uses food for energy. It stores any excess energy as fat. This means if you eat more food than your body needs for daily activities and cell maintenance, you'll gain weight.

To lose weight, you need to get your body to use up these stores of fat. The most effective way to do this is to:

· reduce the amount of calories you eat

· increase your levels of activity.

This is why experts talk about weight loss in terms of diet and exercise.

Introduce changes gradually

Small changes can make a big difference. One extra biscuit a week can lead you to gain 5lb a year – cut that biscuit out of your diet and you'll lose the same amount.

You're also more likely to stick to, say, swapping full-fat milk for semi-skimmed or making time for breakfast each morning than a diet that sets rules for all foods.

You should think of weight loss in terms of permanently changing your eating habits. While weight-loss goals are usually set in term of weeks, the end game is to sustain these changes over months and years, ie lifestyle change for life.

Increase your activity levels

Someone who increases the amount they exercise, but maintains the same diet and calorie intake, will almost certainly lose weight.

No matter if you hate gyms – even light exercise, such as a short 20 minute walk, will be beneficial if done most days of the week.

Every single time you exercise more than usual, you burn calories and fat.

There are lots of ways to increase the amount of activity you do. Team sports, racket sports, aerobics classes, running, walking, swimming and cycling will all improve your fitness levels.

Find something you enjoy that's easy for you to do in terms of location and cost. You're then more likely to build it into your routine and continue to exercise, despite inevitably missing the odd session through holidays, family commitments, etc.

· Get out and about at the weekend. Leave your car on the drive and walk to the shops. Try to incorporate longer walks into outings to the park, coast or countryside and take a picnic, so you're in control of what you are going to eat that day.

· Every extra step you take helps. Always use the stairs instead of the lift, or get off the bus a stop before the usual one and walk the rest of the way.

· Use commercial breaks between TV-programmes to stand up and do exercise, or consider using an exercise bicycle in the living room while watching your favourite programme.

Reduce your calorie intake What is overweight?

Doctors use BMI to assess weight.

A BMI of 18.5 to 25 is healthy.

If you have a BMI of more than 25, you're overweight.

Over 30 is obese.

Over 40 is morbidly obese.

To calculate your BMI, you'll need to know your weight in kilos and your height in metres, then follow the example below.

1. Multiply your height by itself, eg 1.7x1.7= 2.89.

2. Divide your weight (eg 80kg) by this figure.

3. 80 ÷ 2.89= 27.7.

27.7 is the BMI.

If you're overweight, you can't continue with your current eating habits if you really want to lose weight.

It's not possible to reduce body fat while eating lots of food, cakes and sweets. This doesn't mean you can never have any treats, but you need to learn how to limit these foods to small quantities – say, for special occasions.

In terms of weight-loss, you can get your body to use up existing stores of fat by eating less and making healthier choices.

This doesn't mean crash diet (anything less than 1500 calories), which usually ends up with you either getting weaker or giving up in desperation. Quick-fix diets can lead to a yo-yoing effect of drastic weight loss followed by weight gain, resulting in a vicious cycle.

There are no shortcuts to losing weight in a healthy and reasonable way.

Eating 300 to 500 calories less per day should lead to a loss of between one and two pounds per week. This is a realistic target. It may seem slow, but it would add up to a weight loss of more than three stone in a year.

Fat contains the most amount of calories out of all the food types (protein, carbohydrates), so a good way to achieve this is to cut down on fatty foods and eat more wholegrain bread, fruit and vegetables.

Below are ways to reduce calorie intake without having to alter your diet significantly.

· Replace fizzy drinks and fruit cordials with water.

· Swap whole milk for semi-skimmed, or semi-skimmed for skimmed.

· Eat less lunch than usual. For example, make your own sandwich and limit the use of margarine or butter and full-fat mayonnaise (store-bought sandwiches often contain both).

· Stop taking sugar in tea and coffee.

· Have smaller portions of the food you enjoy.

· Avoid having a second helping at dinner.

· Cut out unhealthy treats – such as confectionary, sugary biscuits and crisps between meals.

· Cut down on alcohol intake.

All these things will influence your health in a positive way.

Finally, don't be tempted to skip breakfast – or any meal to lose weight. While skipping a meal will reduce your calorie intake for that hour, it will leave you much hungrier later on.

Not only are you likely to overeat to compensate, but you'll often make bad choices to fill the gap: a cereal bar is not as healthy as a bowl of cereal or as filling, leading you to 'need' something extra for lunch.

Irregular eating habits also disrupt your body's metabolism, which makes it harder to lose weight in the first place.

Write down your plan Food diary

If you're not sure what's wrong with your diet, try keeping a daily diary of everything you eat and drink.

You can use a notebook or an online diary.

At the end of the week, review your entries for problem areas.

Look out for processed foods, alcohol, fast food, roasts, creamy sauces and fried foods.

If your diet seems largely healthy, look at portion sizes.

If you're not sure what's meant by 'healthy diet', read our series on nutrition.

Once you've decided on what changes you're going to make, write them down. For example:

Week 1

· Exercise: one 20 minute walk every lunch hour.

· Alcohol: none in the week, two small glasses of wine on Friday, Saturday, Sunday.

· Food: no chocolate or biscuits in the week, choose healthy snacks such as fruit, trim all fat from meat, eat no fried or fast food.

· For each week list your targets concerning alcohol, exercise and your food plan.

· Each day should then be listed in a simple chart and items you have had should be written down. It is also important to make a note of your mood and any comments you would like to get off your chest for each day.

Be patient and persevere

It might take a week or two before you notice any changes, but they will steadily appear. After the first month you'll be able to see the results and measure them in terms of looser fitting clothes.

Keeping your motivation up is one of the most difficult aspects of dieting. There will be days when healthy eating goes out the window, and there will be weeks where you may not lose any weight – or put a little back on.

This is normal for everyone – dieters or not – so don't let it undo your plans for a slimmer you. You're not doing anything 'wrong', but you may need to look at your plan. Do you need to increase your activity levels? Make a few more changes to your diet? Put more effort into sticking to your current plan?

The other side of this is to make sure you celebrate your goals. While there's joy enough in stepping on the scales and seeing them dip lower, be sure to mark long-term progress with a reward – such as new clothes or time off from domestic chores.

Celebrating is also a way to involve your nearest and dearest – it's up to you whether you want their encouragement in the form of gentle reminders not to eat certain foods. But support from other people can get you through the bumpy patches.

Health benefits of weight loss

Studies show that overweight women who lose between 10lb and 20lb halve their risk of developing diabetes. For men, the risk of heart problems reduces considerably.

Generally, we gain weight as we age. A few pounds over the years are not a problem, but people who gain more than 20lb compared to their weight as an 18-year-old will rapidly increase their risk of health problems due to that extra weight. In particular, women increase their risk of heart attack and double their risk of dying from cancer.

It may seem like these are problems to worry about in the future, but time flies by and tomorrow becomes today. By keeping your weight in the healthy range, you're less likely to be troubled by illnesses in your later years.

Other people also read:

· Body weight: what determines your body weight and what is a healthy weight.

· Obesity: around one in four men and one in three women in the UK are overweight. Are you one of them?

· Type 2 diabetes: if you are overweight you will significantly increase your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.