Resolve to Lose Weight through Simple Changes

11 11 2014

Wild Turkeys in California on Rural Walk

So your New Year’s resolution is to improve your fitness levels.  What will your fitness goals look like and how will you achieve them?

The most common and desired fitness goals by clients are:  weight loss, reduced body fat, muscle strength, increased cardiovascular and muscular endurance and flexibility.

One must also recognize the will power necessary to change habits and behaviors and is an essential mind set attribute if long-term fitness goals are to stick.  So what will be your fit-healthy strategy to succeed in your New Year’s resolution?  First you must know how to develop and apply a fitness plan that’s relative and right for you.

What fitness goal will you be working on?  The most typical New Year’s Resolution after the Holidays is weight loss.  Since I’m targeting weight loss as a fitness goal you will have to have a little will power and motivation to do this on your own?

First of all, “you know yourself better than anyone.”  Am I right?  Of course I am.  If you’ve been telling yourself for the last 2-3 years your New Year’s resolution is to lose weight and you’ve still had no success, hopefully this insight will help increase your will power and motivation to achieve a desired weight loss result.

I know many of you are conflicted with life events that seem to sabotage your fitness plan each year.  Like you, I can easily relate to these things.  For example, job stress, kid and adult care, relationships, feeling tired, addicted to bad habits that take away motivation-energy-will power (bad food & drink habits, smoking, drugs, etc.), lack of sleep, stressful and/or toxic environment, etc.  I could go on and on, but I’ll stop here.

You get the picture.

If any of these life events and issues are preventing you from achieving a fitness goal(s), you must find a workable solution to change a bad situation/ or stressful environment if you expect an opposite result.  If you cannot make the positive lifestyle changes needed that motivate you to achieve personal goals, you’ll forever struggle to enjoy life to the fullest while fitness levels, mindset and health continue to suffer.

And if you fail repeatedly and continue to feel bad about yourself and situation, you’ll eventually give up on other life ambitions and goals.  Repeated fitness failure and feeling miserable for too long is a recipe for “depression,” which is also a common cause of physical illness and disease.

Also, if you begin a restrictive and dangerous weight loss program out of desperation as a short cut to lose weight you may cause further harm to your mind and body.  When the body’s metabolism discovers it’s been duked unnaturally, it will eventually retaliate by packing on weight with a vengeance after the fact.  And if you become dependent on  yo-yo dieting abusive tactics, you’ll break your metabolism permanently, gain more weight and in time will cause more pain, depression and other unnecessary illness and disease.

When weight loss failure happens too often, this reinforces a defeated mindset, “I can’t lose weight,” therefore I’ll continue the bad habits and further compromise health and quality of life experiences.  The mind then accepts an unhealthy viewpoint which intern harms the encompassing being throughout time.   I’m here today to tell you, you don’t have to accept unhealthy weight loss short-cut practices to lose weight naturally.

Through years of personal client experience, I explain the healthy and unhealthy lifestyle habits and resulting effects and how to eventually change a poor dietary and/or bad activity habits.  But it ultimately is the individual, armed with useful and relatable information; and if medical help is needed seek it out; and where they must chose, decide and truly want to make change.  The key elements in achieving a desired fitness goal, if you’ve not been successful at it for years is to admit you need help in understanding the following concepts and applying the necessary lifestyle changes.

1)    If you have “repeated” failures at losing weight or your health is at risk, you must change the habits, or behaviors that are causing your weight problems.   If you are grossly obese and/or your health is at risk seek medical attention immediately!  See your primary care physician and seek a referral to a behavioral therapist, nutritional, life coach or fitness trainer-consulting service to help target your weight gain nemesis, or bad behavioral habits.  Then build an action plan and resolve to change to healthier lifestyle habits and/or healthier environmental conditions.

2)   It is my belief you must exercise to have effective long-lasting weight loss and sustaining results.  However, for those that have not participated in a fitness exercise activity and now find themselves overweight, a walking program will be your best course to aerobically burn body fat and lose weight with minimum risk of weight bearing joints.

Exercise activity can be performed in many different ways, e.g., resistive weight training, walking, hiking, biking, jogging, etc.   Basically anything that moves the body consistently for a period of time provides an aerobic fitness benefit.  Walking at a brisk pace (3-5 days/wk for 15-60mins) is the best metabolic fat burning, low-stress exercise activity which results in weight loss and cardiovascular benefits.  However, if you are just starting a walk program, “do not start out walking at a fast pace,” you may work your way to higher intensity, or brisk walking pace over an extended period of time if you’ve been sedentary for awhile.

When you incorporate exercise into a weight loss program you reap other benefits, such as:  Increased metabolism, muscle development, fat loss, body toning, mood enhancement, strength, flexibility.  And decreased cholesterol levels, blood pressure, mood swings, depression, stress and other illness and disease risk.

3)   There are certain habits that will sabotage any weight loss goal:  Uncontrollable and bad eating habits and smoking, drinking and legal/illegal drug addictions need to be addressed.  Behavior therapy or in combination with cessation treatment and group therapy may be ideal in order for you to be successful in your weight loss and healthy lifestyle objectives.

4)   As we age our bodies require anti-oxidant and whole food quality nutrients to boost metabolism, increase energy, mood; maintain weight and overall health.  So balanced diet in the form of healthy macro and micronutrients become more important especially if one expects to optimize weight loss results.  If you can’t get fresh whole foods in your diet, I highly recommend you supplement your food source with a high-quality vitamin-mineral product.  Food is energy and certain foods have more or less high nutrient concentrates that don’t always find their way into the daily diets for whatever reason.

5)   It is also true, in the short-term a weight loss program which incorporates exercise may add weight.  You say what?  That’s right, depending on body type and exercise activity it can increase muscle mass (muscle cells are more dense and heavier than fat cells).  When you exercise the muscle fiber can increase in mass and weight.  So as you lose body fat “at first,” muscle mass increase will keep your weight consistent and may even show a slight increase on the scale.  The trick here is to understand this is normal and eventually, the more muscle developed means greater fat burn.  This equates to greater fat weight loss in time.  Eventually, the weight on the scale begins to drop after the bodies muscles become better conditioned.

6)   There are simple weight loss measurements to measure success.  If this is not done you may lose focus on your goal.  The simplest and quickest form of weight loss measurement is a scale and the way clothes fit around the waste.  If my weight increases and waist band feels loose, I equate this to muscle mass weight increase.  If my weight decreases and waist band feels tight, I equate this to body fat increase and muscle mass loss.  If my weight decreases and waist band feels loose while aerobics walking activity continues; I equate this to lean muscle mass toning and body fat loss.  “For me,” this represents an easy way to measure my weight loss success.

Is this the best way to measure fitness and body fat weight loss success?  No it’s not, but it serves as an inexpensive base line reference that provides some positive feedback results for your efforts.

So what is the perfect weight loss program for you?  The answer lies within developing a relative daily exercise and balanced nutrition program relative to your lifestyle needs and wants, and a plan in place that can sustain healthier habits long term.

When exercise is included into the day then will power also increases to stay the healthy lifestyle course.  Why?  because the mind and body craves the addictive body chemicals released by exercise!”   Read article (Get Skinny by Activating Addictive Body Chemicals, November 2014, Woodard).

In understanding these concepts and principles you’ll experience more daily productivity, feel happier, healthier, have more energy, feel and look better and enjoy more quality living experiences.  You will also boost your MirrorAthlete image “the way you see yourself in the mirror” which will definitely boost your ego and motivate you to accomplish other life goals you thought impossible.

Author:  Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, USA Medical Services Officer, CPT, RET.  2014 Copyright, All rights reserved.  MirrorAthlete Corp., Publishing @: www.mirrorathlete.com, Sign up for your free eNewsletter.





How to Exercise Safely and Increase Fitness Levels

20 02 2014

 

IMG_20140126_134514Article last modified:  19 Feb 2014 by Marc Woodard

There are so many exercise programs one could engage in to increase fitness levels.  How does one know which is right for them?

This question is important why?  Increased fitness levels contribute to healthy heart, lungs, metabolism, lean body, body strength, reduced body fat, weight loss, sustainment of body weight and better physical endurance and energy levels.  Not to mention, excellent  pain alleviation benefits for weight bearing arthritic joints.

So what you really want to know is what exercise activity will give you the best bang for the buck?

I highly recommended if you are getting back into an exercise fitness program or activity, you condition your way back through a 3-5 day/workout program.  This may take you 2-6 weeks or longer to get back into good physical condition before you ramp up your efforts.  Especially if you’ve just recovered from some type of physical adversity.

Five day exercise program – Consider making two of your exercise days on Saturday and Sunday to include family fun activities as substitutes for exercise activity.  Work in the other 3 exercise activity days with exercise you enjoy and can stick too.

This type of programming will provide more flexibility at first to develop healthy fitness activity around your busy schedule while reducing stress.  After the fitness habit is maintained for 2 week period, begin to incorporate more activity choice into the plan to keep it interesting.   I’ve always found it important to take two days off in the week for needed rest [Typically Mon & Fri for me].  I don’t recommend a 6-7day workout routine unless you are training is too meet some particular fitness goal as are conditioned to do so.

Recommendations, Tips, How to safely increase fitness levels and activity,

You must develop a plan that lists your daily fitness objectives to meet your fitness goal.  Is your goal to lose weight, increase fitness level, build muscle, better health, sustain weight, increase muscular endurance, higher level of competitive sport, improve task specific activity (ski, golf, walk, biking, running, etc.).  So now you know before you spend money on an exclusive fitness membership, be sure to have a plan to achieve the fitness goal you have in mind.

Second, you must be realistic about your daily schedule. If you’re a working adult with children, there are considerations that must be thought out.  Like working around busy work and family schedules.  However, it is not impossible to squeeze in exercise activity even with a busy schedule.  It’s a matter of priorities.

For example, if you want something bad enough like a new car, getting the furnace fixed, or watching a game, or taking the spouse out to a movie you manage to find the time and resources don’t you?  Yet you have a tough time making time for any type of exercise activity.  Your fitness levels and health must be as valuable to you as any other tangible thing like a home or car you insure.

Only through daily continuous daily movement activity can one “insure” an additional layer of protection from life stresses on the mind-body.  Sustained exercise activity daily is also a proven centurion attribute, or better known to others as a fountain of youth fitness principle.

If you have time before work or after the children are in bed a daily exercise program can become a habit you will become addicted too once the commitment is made.  You simple must want increased fitness health as bad as you want to create a better lifestyle for your family.

For me, working out provides great stress relief and fitness benefits.  And for many years I’d get up at 5:30am go to the gym, or jog where the adrenalin and metabolism was at full throttle just before hitting my full time job at 7:00am.  This habit served me and my professional careers well and ensured I was always at the top of my game, I didn’t need energy drinks to start my day.  Now in my mid-50’s, my age appropriate exercise activities is walking 7 days a week and 2-3 days strength conditioning in the gym.  I’m just as competitive at these exercise activities as I was when I played football during by high school years.  I attribute much of my career success, energy levels and clarity of thought to age appropriate continuous exercise habits.

Like anything else it takes dedication to be successful at anything you do.  It’s more a matter of finding an activity that you really enjoy, get excited about and can become addicted to it.  I tended to become addictive to new exercise conditioning if I could get through the first 5 days.  If I didn’t make the 5 days, I’d reduce intensity until ready for more intense training.  I didn’t quit the training; I took it down a notch until I could physically and mentally accept the fitness conditioning plan.  To push when your not ready for it is defeating and causes too many beginners to give up when they’ve not planned accordingly.

Third, your never too old to begin a daily fitness conditioning program.   All too often I hear people give up on their fitness and activity aspirations because they “self proclaim” their too old to exercise.  And then begin to look for unsafe – fountain of youth short cut gimmicks to lose weight, increase sexual performance, anabolic steroids for max muscle increases, etc.  This line of reasoning is absolute nonsense; when did 40 become the 80 plus crowd?  Exercise activity is a metabolic optimizer that increases hormone production and immune system to keep us healthy and stimulate all things that keep our bodies, mind and spirit engaged in a satisfied lifestyle.  “Without the need of dangerous manmade chemicals that temporarily mask the real reasons were not happy with our bodies energy levels, how we feel and physical performance.

Forth, if you are infrequent about your exercise, or activity routine, it is very important you learn to pace yourself each time you exercise until your body is ready for a 3-5 day exercise activity routine. Ease into your workouts, forget about competing with what others are doing.  Set your mind to see yourself as the healthiest 40, 50, 60, 70, 80 year old possible in your neck of the woods.  If you think exercise-activity appropriate per decade, you’ll stick with a healthy exercise program for your age while physically appearing and feeling 20-30 years younger.  Why don’t I talk much about 80+ years old and fitness training programs?  Actually, 80 years and above should walk-swim, push light weights, participate in flexibility exercise, eat balanced nutritious foods, socialize and travel as much as possible for quality lifestyle experiences.  At this age, I thoroughly believe, each day is a blessing and one should enjoy life to the fullest while reducing life stresses.  And these life stresses and health are adequately sustained through social activity and low-stress walking, swimming and dance exercise.

Fifth, if you over consume too many calories per day, especially after 7:30 pm, or binge over the weekends it will be harder to lose weight.  Body metabolism slows down tremendously during evening hours and excess calories will be stored as fat for every hour you take in calories after 8pm.

Weekends will be your worst enemy with regard to calorie consumption if you don’t have an activities plan to offset food intake with caloric expenditure.  This is why in the next paragraph I recommend plan fun movement activities on the weekends.   This will help increase metabolism and will help burn off extra calories that may be put back on over the weekend.  Then over the weekdays if your mindful to balance calorie intake and expenditure relative to days of the week, you can actually continue to lose weight.

Sixth, find a workout routine you can stick with and enjoy. Various examples:  Try biking, stationary treadmill, stationary rowing, dance, ball room dancing with spouse, tennis, walking, golf, jogging aerobics sessions, swimming, etc., 3 days a week (mix it up with gym activity).  Make sure you get in 2 days a week exercise activity and 3 days aerobics (walking, biking, treadmill, elliptical walker, swim, hike etc.) minimally.   On the weekends substitute an aerobics week day activity with a planned family outdoor activity, backpack, dance, walk and shop for your meals, camping, beach walking, fishing, etc.

I recommend 5 days a week exercise activities to sustain fitness levels and good health.  I use combinations of all these activities listed above to sustain my age appropriate fitness levels and overall health.

Changing up fitness activities will help with motivation and will power to stick with exercise activities daily.  Mixing up activities also becomes very addicting when you  break the initial 2 week conditioning barrier.  It takes about this long for brain chemical stimulation and muscle toning to optimally provide the motivation and will power to sustain this lifestyle change.  Brain chemical release (adrenalin, epinephrine, dopamine, serotonin) through exercise activities is as addicting as nicotine is to a smoker; and is chocolate  to a chocoholic.

Now that I’ve provided you “How to Exercise and Increase Fitness Levels,” get out there and get it done!  Try various combinations of exercise activity.  At a minimum, if you can walk you can improve your fitness levels and experience greater lifestyle experiences.

The cost to to walk is nothing, other than your time, effort and commitment to sustain it.  Through daily walking fitness levels will increase.  This will also positively impact mood as well as how your body feels.  Sustained walking activity is good for you heart, lungs, metabolism and overall fitness goals.

Take one step at a time, one block at a time, and one mile at a time.  Do what you can daily if your exercise activity is walking.  Put no time lines, intensity of pace, or distance limitations on yourself.  The mind-body will tell you each day what it’s capable of doing.  If you have the ability to walk you’re much further ahead in becoming more fit and healthy.  The key is to move more daily, work to reach 10-15min/day exercise activity at a minimum before increasing distances and intensity of pace.  Be consistent at daily walking activity to sustain greatest fitness and health benefits.

Other tips:  Consider “not taking” your car to the store for daily staples once you can walk half a mile total distances.   Make a goal to walk and shop for your evening meals, or drive to and walk the mall.  Get a small backpack “once able to walk small distances;” carry healthy produce, products to the car, home etc.

Never carry more in weight than you can do so comfortably.  For example, I personally never carry more than 5lbs in bags, one for each arm, greater than 1 mile.  That’s .5 mile one way.   In other words when starting a shop & walk activity program, you don’t haul extra weight until you lose weight, or alleviate weight bearing joint pain [if this is a problem for you].  To do so when the mind-body is not ready may risk secondary weight bearing injuries to body compromising overall increased fitness success.

The information presented within this article and on our website, is in no way intended as a substitute for medical consulting or treatment.  Always consult a physician before starting any course of fitness programming, particularly if you are pregnant or currently under medical care.

Also Read:  Relative Fitness Programming Sustains Active Lifestyles

Author: Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, USA Medical Services Officer, CPT, RET. 2010 Copyright.  All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Publishing @: http://www.mirrorathlete.com,  Sign up for your Free eNewsletter.





This Year’s Fitness Weight Loss Goals

22 12 2010
Wild Turkeys in California on Rural Walk

    So your New Year’s resolution is to improve your fitness levels.  What will your fitness goals look like and how will you achieve them?  It is easy to make testament and claim to improve your overall fitness levels.  But to say it and make an effective plan are two different things.  And really, what is a fitness goal anyway?  Let’s start by defining what a fitness goal is, or should be.  A fitness goal is achieved by modifying behavior resulting in an intended fitness outcome and is measurable.       Measureable fitness goals are:  Lose weight, reduce body fat, gain muscle or increase cardiovascular endurance, reduce blood pressure or cholesterol etc.  In order to accomplish any of these goals behavior must be modified to achieve the desired outcome.  One must also recognize will power to change behavior is a driving factor toward meeting long-term fitness goals.  Will power is enforced with a deep desire to make a change in life style habits and behaviors that may require months, or even years to achieve the desired outcome results.  (Also Read, “Will Power to Control Compensation Weight Gain Effect, Woodard, Nov 2009).

     So what will be your fit-healthy criterion to gain a wellness benefit for the New Year?  First you must know what it is you’d like to change about your current fitness health, or lack thereof.  You must make sure your goals are realistic and you have a specific plan to reach them.  Also you most likely are aware there will be days that you will lack enthusiasm as fitness goals will appear “through time” to get further and further away.  This fact alone is enough to knock the best intended New Year’s fitness resolution right off the table.

     What fitness goal will you be working on?  The most typical New Year’s Resolution for many is to lose weight, quit smoking-drinking and/or get into better shape, etc. 

     For me, weight management is the toughest.  This is because I can flex in weight by 5 lbs on any given day.  And I can hold these higher end weights for days.  But I understand my physiologies metabolism based on a bunch of factors.  And I will tell you, my weight is in decline during my weight loss program even though I see these hiccups in weight gain sporadically.  I also understand the body’s ability to hang onto liquids and fats and that these things are temporary when I slip off my weight management program.

     Most don’t know the body can remove these short-term weight gain hiccups rather quickly once you get back on target.  My point is, regardless of your fitness activity program, you must not give up if you have a few bad days.  Stay focused and keep chipping away at your fitness goal(s).  Your net result will be a new look, which will motivate you to stay the course for the long duration.

     It stands to good reason that weight loss is a number one New Year’s focus due to our abundance of fast foods and access to food in general causing a great percentage of our obesity problems and lack of activity.  Since I’m targeting weight loss as a fitness goal for you how will you set a realistic weight loss program that fits into your lifestyle and one in which you will not lose enthusiasm?  Will you set a short-term or long-term goal strategy that will take weeks, months or years to complete?  Do you need support to accomplish the fitness goals, or do you have the will power and motivation to do this on your own?

     First of all, “you know you better than anyone.”  Am I right?  Of course I am.  If you’ve been telling yourself for the last 3 years your New Year’s resolution is to lose weight and you’ve still had no success and/or lack will power to change habits; you may need some help.  I know many of you are conflicted with many daily issues that seem to sabotage your fit-healthy plan each year.  Let me name a few conflictions that interfere for many that I’m sure you can identify with:  Lack of funds to purchase fitness membership, clothing and/or specialized diet, or supplements; job stress, kids, significant other, too tired, not enough time in the day, addicted to bad habits that take away motivation, energy, will power (drinking, smoking, drugs, etc.); lack of sleep, lack of enthusiasm-motivation, extended family influence, cooking is a big part of your family culture, etc.  I could go on and on, but I’ll stop here.  You get the picture.

     Have I hit on one, or numerous conflicts you’ve experienced in attempting to lose weight, or to get more activity, or exercise as a fitness goal?  If any of these conflictions resonate within your decision making process you must find a solution to remove it in order to get the desired fitness result.  If you cannot make positive change to your lifestyle by modifying behavior, or removing the bad habits you will forever struggle to achieve your goal.  And when this happens, you tell yourself you can’t do it and what’s the point.  The point is for many “depression,” and letting your body go will lead to other ill-health problems through time.

     I’ve stated the obvious for many now leading into the meat of the topic.  The not so obvious weight loss secret our industries don’t reveal to the consumer.  Many quick result weight loss diet programs are designed to result in short-term weight loss results.”  Read how this occurs by clicking on the link, [Lose Weight, Through Behavioral Change Not Fad Dieting, Woodard, Oct 2007].

     Recall, you get as much out of something as you put into it.  Literally, if you exert little energy to achieve a fitness goal such as losing weight by swallowing pills, or consuming a specialized diet; a majority of consumers will often experience a short-term weight loss result.  But little effort to achieve short-term results doesn’t appear to last long.  And quick results also tend to provide the consumer with a short lived euphoria of weight loss success.  This is because most fad diets don’t change behaviors, especially if you have addictions.  Instead the weight loss results are based on tricking the body’s metabolism into reducing weight.  But when the body’s metabolism discovers it’s been deceived, it will pack on weight with a vengeance after the cheating practices stop.  After years of abuse, if repeating yo-yo diets, “they stop producing short-term results all together!”

     And when this happens, this newly formed weight gain reinforces a defeating aspect within the conscious mindset.  The mind then accepts an unhealthy fitness lifestyle “once again.”   Why?  It is easier for one to accept their lot in life.  By embracing behavior that is incapable of changing bad habits, insidious ill-health conditions “through time” build within the mind and body.  And I’m here today to tell you, you don’t have to accept an unhealthy lifestyle!

     So what are the answers to achieving healthy long-lasting fitness goals for a new you?  This is a very tough question to put into summarized print.  But I’ll do my best.

     I believe there are 8 principle givens in understanding “how to” apply long-lasting weight loss and increased fitness results that will stick; when applied, “with commitment!”  These scientifically proven givens coupled with personal experience tell me optimum weight loss success is based on a combination of these givens.

 1)     If you have “repeated” failures at losing weight or health is at risk, you must change the behavior, or habit that is causing your weight problems.  Get professional medical advice if you have not done so.  See your primary care physician and ask for a referral to behavioral and/or nutritional counseling and target the stimulus triggers that are the cause of your weight loss failure.  If you are obese and/or your health is at risk seek medical attention!

 2)   It is my belief you must exercise to have effective long-lasting weight loss and sustaining results.  However, for many that have not participated in a fitness exercise program, see your medical care provider to see what type of exercise/activity you should start with.  Exercise comes in many forms: Within a fitness center, walking, hiking, biking, jogging… Basically anything that moves the body consistently for a period of time provides a fitness benefit.  Walking at a brisk pace (3-5 days/wk for 15-60mins) is the best metabolic fat burning, low-stress exercise that results in weight loss fitness benefits.  However, if you are just starting a walking program, “do not start out walking at a brisk pace,” you must work your way to higher intensity walking exercise if you’ve been sedentary.  Read [Improve Fitness after Rehabilitation, Woodard, March 2010].

 3)   There are certain habits that will sabotage any weight loss fitness goal:  Bad eating habits, smoking, drinking and legal/illegal drugs.  Behavior therapy or in combination with a cessation prescription treatment may be required by a prescribing physician in order for you to be successful in your New Year’s Resolution weight loss program.  Read [Defeat Anxiety and Panic Attacks, Woodard, November 2010].

 4)   As we age our bodies require super food quality nutrients to boost metabolism, increase energy, mood; maintain weight and influences will power.  So balanced diet in the form of healthy nutrients become more important especially if one expects to optimize fitness results.  If you can’t get super food quality foods in your diet, I highly recommend you supplement your food source with a super food high-quality vitamin mineral product.  Food is energy and certain foods have more or less heavier nutrient concentrates that don’t always find their way into our daily diets for whatever reason.  Think of vitamin-mineral supplementation as metabolism optimization insurance to assist in body-mind fitness efficiency results.  Read [Lose Weight with Super Foods, Woodard, January 2009].

 5)    When you incorporate exercise into a weight loss program you reap other benefits, such as:  Increased metabolism, muscle mass, body toning, mood enhancement, bad-to-good habit changes, increased will power, strength, flexibility.  Decreased:  Cholesterol levels, blood pressure, mood swings, depression, stress and illness/disease risk.

 6)   It is also true, in the short-term a weight loss program that incorporates exercise may add weight.  You say what?  That’s right, depending on body type, exercise will typically build muscle (muscle cells are more dense and heavier than fat cells) dependent on the exercise.  When you exercise the muscle fiber increases in mass and weight.  Your body for some period will attempt to hang onto the fat, cause you to want to eat more; hence you gain weight (Excess Calorie Storage + Increased Muscle Mass).  So as you lose body fat “at first,” muscle mass increase will keep your weight consistent and may even show as an increase of weight on the scale.  The trick here is to understand this is normal and eventually, the more muscle developed means greater fat burning.  This equates to greater weight loss.  Eventually, the weight on the scale begins to drop after the body becomes better conditioned.  Read [Science Proves Exercise Alone May Promote Weight Gain, Woodard, Oct 2009]

 7)    There are conflictions within daily life that sabotage our New Year’s Resolution weight loss goals.  See conflictions above and find solutions to resolve these road blocks to your fitness goals.

 8)   There are simple weight loss measurements to measure success that must be performed daily and tallied on a daily calendar.  If this is not done, “out-of-sight/mind” will not help to keep you on track.  The simplest and quick form of weight loss measurement for me is a scale and the way my pants feel around my waste.  If my weight increases and waist band feels loose, I equate this to muscle mass weight increase.  If my weight decreases and waist band feels tight, I equate this to body fat increase and muscle mass loss.  If my weight decreases and waist band feels loose and fitness aerobics in the gym increases; I equate this to lean muscle mass toning and body fat loss.  “For me,” this represents a successful long-term weight loss and sustaining weight management program.

   So what is the perfect weight loss program for you?  The answer lies within the 8 principles and customizing these concepts in a way that works for you.  And one you can stick with long enough to receive a fit-healthy result.  That’s right, once you understand these principles; you can customize a weight loss fitness program that will become a long-lasting habit that modifies behavior for life.  “And when behavior and activity is changed to accommodate healthy habits then will power is optimized because it craves the healthy addictive changes!”  This also occurs because of stimulating and releasing addictive brain chemicals that occur during exercise and activity.  Read article (New Year’s Resolution, Activate Addictive Healthy Chemicals, January 2009, Woodard).

   In understanding these principles you will experience more productivity, activity, feel happier, healthier, have more energy, feel more fit and experience better living quality experiences.  You will also boost your Mirror Athlete image on a mega-success scale; that will definitely alter your image ego to accomplish bigger goals in life!

 Author:  Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, USA Medical Services Officer, CPT, RET.  2010 Copyright, All rights reserved.  Mirror Athlete Enterprises Publishing @: www.mirrorathlete.com, Sign up for your free eNewsletter.





This Year’s Goal is Weight Loss

22 12 2010

Wild Turkeys in California on Rural Walk

So your New Year’s resolution is to improve your fitness levels.  What will your fitness goals look like and how will you achieve them?

And really, what is a fitness goal anyway?  A fitness goal is a desired physical outcome that can be programmed by a planned strategy or objectives to to achieve it.

The most common and desired fitness goals are:  weight loss, reduced body fat, muscle strength, increased cardiovascular and muscular endurance and flexibility.

One must also recognize will power to change habits and behaviors is a driving factor toward meeting long-term fitness goals.  Will power is enforced to sustain the course when  positive results are realized.

So what will be your fit-healthy strategy to succeed in your New Years fitness resolution?  First you must know what it is you’d like to change about your current fitness-health-relational situation, or lack thereof and make a plan that is relative and right for you.

What fitness goal will you be working on?  The most typical New Year’s Resolution after the Holidays is weight loss and to become more fit.

Most don’t know the body can remove short-term weight gain hiccups and get more fit rather quickly once you get back into a low-intensity activity exercise program.

It stands to good reason that weight loss is a number one New Year’s resolution after eating so many rich foods during the Holiday season.

Since I’m targeting weight loss as a fitness goal how will you set a realistic weight loss program that fits your unique lifestyle and one in which you will not lose enthusiasm?   Do you need support to achieve the goal and will you have the will power and motivation to do this on your own?

First of all, “you know you better than anyone.”  Am I right?  Of course I am.  If you’ve been telling yourself for the last 2-3 years your New Year’s resolution is to lose weight and you’ve still had no success or lack will power to change old habits you’ll surely be able  to make use of this insight .

I know many of you are conflicted with many daily issues that seem to sabotage your fit-healthy plan each year.  Let me name a few, I’m sure you can identify with them:  job stress, kids, significant other, too tired, not enough time in the day, addicted to bad habits that take away motivation-energy-will power (drinking, smoking, drugs, etc.); lack of sleep, lack of enthusiasm, extended family influence, general environment, etc.  I could go on and on, but I’ll stop here.  You get the picture.

If any of these issues resonate within your inability to succeed at your fitness goal you must find a solution to change it if you expect the desired results.  If you cannot make positive change in your life by modifying your lifestyle, you will forever struggle to enjoy life to the fullest.

And when you fail repeatedly, you tell yourself you can’t do it, what’s the point.  The point is repeated failure and feeling miserable for too long is a recipe for “depression,” and other ill-health problems throughout time.

Also, if you begin a restrictive and dangerous weight loss plan as a short cut to lose weight fast through diet pills and restrictive diets in general; you will have short-term weight loss results.  But when the body’s metabolism discovers it’s been deceived, it will pack on weight with a vengeance after the cheating practices stop.  After years of yo-yo dieting abuse, “these short-cut methods will stop producing results all together and you will, if this course does not change, get sick!””

When this happens, this newly formed weight gain and poor health reinforces the defeated mindset, “I can’t lose weight, therefore I’ll accept my obesity and other health problems.  The mind then accepts an unhealthy lifestyle which than has an impact on the physical body.   I’m here today to tell you, you don’t have to accept unhealthy short-cut practices to fix your weight gain problems temporarily!

There are 7 common practices that can support healthy weight loss.  These practices coupled with years of personal client experience tell me optimum weight loss success can be achieved with slight modifications of daily habit and behaviors.

1)     If you have “repeated” failures at losing weight or your health is at risk, you must change the habits, or behaviors that are causing your weight problems.   See your primary care physician and/or seek referral to a behavioral, nutritional, life coach or fitness consulting service to help target your weight gain nemesis and develop an action plan to resolve the problem that is sustainable.  If you are grossly obese and/or your health is at risk seek medical attention!

2)   It is my belief you must exercise to have effective long-lasting weight loss and sustaining results.  However, for those that have not participated in a fitness exercise and now overweight a walking program will be your best course to burn body fat and lose body weight with minimum risk of weight bearing injury.

Exercise comes in many forms: resistive weight training, walking, hiking, biking, jogging… Basically anything that moves the body consistently for a period of time provides a fitness benefit.  Walking at a brisk pace (3-5 days/wk for 15-60mins) is the best metabolic fat burning, low-stress exercise that results in weight loss and cardiovascular benefits.  However, if you are just starting a walk program, “do not start out walking at a brisk pace,” you must work your way to higher intensity walking exercise over a longer period of time if you’ve been sedentary for some time.

3)   There are certain habits that will sabotage any weight loss fitness goal:  Bad eating habits, smoking, drinking and legal/illegal drugs.  Behavior therapy or in combination with cessation treatment and group therapy may be required in order for you to be successful in your weight loss program.

4)   As we age our bodies require anti-oxidant and whole food quality nutrients to boost metabolism, increase energy, mood; maintain weight and overall health.  So balanced diet in the form of healthy macro and micronutrients become more important especially if one expects to optimize weight loss results.  If you can’t get fresh whole foods in your diet, I highly recommend you supplement your food source with a super food high-quality vitamin-mineral product.  Food is energy and certain foods have more or less nutrient concentrates that don’t always find their way into the daily diets for whatever reason.

5)    When you incorporate exercise into a weight loss program you reap other benefits, such as:  Increased metabolism, muscle development, fat loss, body toning, mood enhancement, strength, flexibility.  Decreased:  Cholesterol levels, blood pressure, mood swings, depression, stress and illness/disease risk.

6)   It is also true, in the short-term a weight loss program that incorporates exercise may add weight.  You say what?  That’s right, depending on body type, exercise will typically increase muscle mass (muscle cells are more dense and heavier than fat cells).  When you exercise the muscle fiber increases in mass and weight.  So as you lose body fat “at first,” muscle mass increase will keep your weight consistent and may even show a slight increase of weight on the scale.  The trick here is to understand this is normal and eventually, the more muscle developed means greater fat burning.  This equates to greater weight loss in the long run.  Eventually, the weight on the scale begins to drop after the body becomes better conditioned.  Read [Science Proves Exercise Alone May Promote Weight Gain, Woodard, Oct 2009]

7)   There are simple weight loss measurements to measure success.  If this is not done, “out-of-sight/mind” will not help to keep you  focused on your goal.  The simplest and quick form of weight loss measurement for me is a scale and the way my pants feel around my waste.  If my weight increases and waist band feels loose, I equate this to muscle mass weight increase.  If my weight decreases and waist band feels tight, I equate this to body fat increase and muscle mass loss.  If my weight decreases and waist band feels loose while aerobics walking activity continues; I equate this to lean muscle mass toning and body fat loss.  “For me,” this represents an easy way to measure my weight loss success.

So what is the perfect weight loss program for you?  The answer lies within customizing daily habits and behaviors that are relative to your needs and wants and a plan that you can sustain.

When daily activities are changed to accommodate healthy habits then will power also  increases to stay the course because it craves these addictive healthy changes!”  This also occurs because of released addictive brain chemicals that occur during exercise activity.  Read article (New Year’s Resolution, Activate Addictive Healthy Chemicals, January 2009, Woodard).

In understanding these concepts and principles you will experience more productivity, feel happier, healthier, have more energy, feel more fit and experience more quality living experiences.  You will also boost your Mirror Athlete image on a mega-success scale that will definitely alter your ego and lead you towards other successes in life!

Author:  Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, USA Medical Services Officer, CPT, RET.  2010 Copyright, All rights reserved.  MirrorAthlete Corp., Publishing @: www.mirrorathlete.com, Sign up for your free eNewsletter.





How to Exercise Safely and Increase Fitness Levels

24 02 2010

Bicep Exercise tones and strengthens grip, wrists, forearms, bicepts

MAE Video Safely Build Fitness Exercise Activity.  There are so many exercise programs one could engage in to increase fitness levels.  How does one know which is right for them?  This is pretty much a two part question because you also want to know, “even though you may not have completely thought it out, which exercise activity will increase your fitness levels significantly?  This is important why?  Increased fitness levels contribute to healthy heart, lungs, metabolism, lean body, body strength, reduced body fat, weight control, weight loss, better physical endurance, excellent circulatory properties, pain alleviation and ill-health prevention, etc.  So what you really want to know, how you can get the best bang for the buck with busy lives?

I highly recommended if you are getting back into an exercise fitness program or activity, you participate by working your way back to a 5 day/wk program.  This may take you 2-6 weeks or longer to get back into gear.  For example, after one of my surgeries, it took me one and half years to work my way back to walking significant miles in a day.  Persistence paid off big health and fitness dividends for me.  Having an Exercise Science undergraduate degree provided a knowledge base in my rehabilitation fitness process.   I understood without applying fitness, alternative health and pain management methods I would experience a disabling life outcome of limited activity, mobility, more pain and increased secondary health risks.  I know many of you reading this won’t have to rehabilitate yourself from injury, depression, disease or surgery.  However, it is important to understand, if you find yourself in a disabled and rehabilitative state you can enjoy fitness conditioning activities that provide quality living experiences while you nurse yourself back to good health.  The point is, depending on your fitness and health condition(s), there is a way to slowly work back into a 3-5 day exercise-activity program.  Those that work too fast to achieve an exercise-activity program will likely drop out of fitness conditioning; while possibly looking for high risk shortcuts to achieve physical results.  This is a bad plan!

One would be wise to follow a physical fitness conditioning program for the first 6-8 weeks while easing back into a fitness routine if you’ve been out of it for a while.  Your goal is to achieve a 3-5day consistent exercise activity program after significant fitness conditioning occurs.  Fitness conditioning prior to the 3-5 day exercise activity program may require rehabilitative services to reach the 3-5 day exercise activity goal.  And if you need to, consult with your medical providers before you exercise to ensure applicable health risk considerations are taken into account before you begin a 3-5 day exercise program.

Five day exercise program – Consider making two of your exercise days on Saturday and Sunday to include family fun activities as substitutes for exercise activity.  Work in the other 3 exercise activity days convenient with your work schedule, etc.  This will provide more flexibility at first to develop healthy fitness activity around your busy schedule, reduce stress, and more time to focus on exercise-activity technique, etc.  After the fitness habit is maintained for 2-6 week period, begin to modify the plan much like you’d schedule anything else “balance!”  I’ve always found it important to take two days off in the week for needed rest (Mon & Fri).  I don’t recommend a 6-7day workout routine unless you are training at an elite level for competitive sport.

 Recommendations, Tips, How to safely increase fitness levels and activity,

 First of all you must develop a plan around busy lives.  And before you develop the plan, you must have an ideal of what are your fitness goals.  Is your goal to lose weight, rehabilitation, build muscle, better health, sustain weight, increase endurance, competitive sport, improve task specific activity (ski, golf, walk, biking, running, etc.).  So now you know before you spend money on an exclusive fitness membership, be sure to have a plan to achieve the fitness goal in mind. 

 Second, you must be realistic about your daily schedule.  If you’re a working adult with children, there are considerations that must be thought through, like working around schedules, appointments, etc.  However, it is not impossible to squeeze in exercise activity even with a busy schedule.  It’s a matter of behavioral habit change.  For example, if you want something bad enough like taking a family vacation, new car, boat, weekend outing, social networking during time off, watch evening football, baseball, basketball game, spending more time with your significant other; you manage to find the time and resources don’t you?  Yet you have a tough time committing to a healthy activity because you simply don’t have the time or see the point.  Your fitness requirements must simply become as valuable to you as personal time, or personal possessions that you protect through health, home or car insurance.  You pay for these things for prevention against catastrophe.  Your fitness health requirements are no different.  You simply must value your health as much as you value your personal time and possessions.  Also keep in mind, just because you pay for health insurance there is no guarantee after years of physical and mental abuse medical services will provide a cure-all solution.  You must also do your preventative health part.  Only through daily preventative activity exercise can one add an additional layer of protection from all that will assault the mind-body as we age.  Activity exercise is the best pain and ill-health alleviation strategy.  Physical activity for life is a key centurion attribute.

 Many employers have fitness centers at the job and/or promote life fitness schedules that allow time for workouts.  Be sure to check with your employer, if you haven’t’ already done so to see if they have corporate fitness center discounts in the local area.  If you have time before work or after the children are in bed a daily exercise program can become a daily habit that you will become addicted too.  You simple must want increased fitness benefits as bad as working more overtime for more discretionary income.  Or value fitness goals as much as indulgences.  For me, working out after work and before dinner had a great stress relief benefit.  And for many years I’d get up at 5:30am go to the gym, or jog where the adrenalin and metabolism was at full throttle as I hit the job at 7:00am.  This habit served me and my professional careers well as I was always at the top of my game, I didn’t need energy drinks to start my day.  Now in my 50’s one of my age appropriate exercise activities is walking which I’m as competitive as when I played football as a youth.  I attribute much of my life and career success to my age appropriate fitness habits.

Like anything else it takes dedication to be successful at anything you do.  It’s more a matter of finding an activity that you really enjoy, get excited about and can become addicted to.  I tended to become addictive to my exercise program if I could get through the first 5 days.  If I didn’t make 5 days at the planned fitness level goal, I would reduce intensity until ready for more intense training.  I didn’t quit the training; I took it down a notch until ready for the stress load on mind-body.  Activity exercise must vary daily dependent on how the mind-body feels.  To push when not ready is defeating and causes many to give up when they don’t have flexibility built into the exercise activity.

Third, you must plan and program around age appropriate exercise if you want to find a workout plan, or activity that you’ll stick with.  All too often I hear people give up their fitness goals and activity dreams because they “self proclaim” their too old at forty to exercise.  And simultaneously they begin to look for fountain of youth quick results gimmicks (weight loss, muscle max goals, chemical stimulus, etc.).  This is absolute nonsense; when did 40 become the new 80 plus crowd?  On the flip side, there is absolutely no reason, 50 can’t be the new 30 plus crowd.  Also, you are not 20 if your biological age is 40.  Age appropriate exercise does not mean training to become a marathon runner at 40 years of age!  My point is, if you want to look and feel better regardless of age, you must find age appropriate activity and exercise programs, or you’ll not experience true quality living experiences.

I’m not saying this isn’t possible, as a matter of fact there are some very conditioned athlete’s well into their 50’s.  But for most of us, you can’t go from lethargic couch potato and train the way you did before you became a potato.  One thing you’ll find out about elite athlete’s (50+) they have not lost step with their competitive physical-mental edge, they’ve sustained a competitive habit without fail throughout the years.  Is there a health risk for this competitive demographic?  Certainly there is, they are pushing the biological-physical plane envelop.   This activity training intensity is not meant for most entering their 40’s.  Unnecessary stress on mind-body relative to age is something that needs to be considered if you want to increase fitness health goals safely.

Forth, if you are infrequent about your exercise, or activity routine, it is very important you learn to pace yourself each time you exercise until your body is ready for a 3-5 day exercise activity routine.  Ease into your workouts, forget about competing with what you see others doing.  Set your mind to see yourself as the healthiest 40, 50, 60, 70, 80 year old possible in your neck of the woods.  If you think exercise-activity appropriate per decade, you’ll stick with a healthy exercise program for your age while physically appearing and feeling 20-30 years younger for your age.  Why don’t I go beyond 80 years of age?  Actually, 80 years and above should walk-swim, light weight, flexibility training, eat right for good health and socialize, travel as much as possible.  At this age, I thoroughly believe, each day is a blessing and one should enjoy life to the fullest while reducing life stresses.

All too often those 40 and above seek the Hollywood conventional wisdom to find their fountain of youth quick result gimmick(s) after they fail to change behavioral fitness activity habits.  They become mesmerized by the tabloids and their favorite star’s physical appearances.  They focus in on young, vibrant and wrinkle/fat free models and starlets.  They are not focused on age appropriate activity.  Instead desperately want to turn back the hands of time and will stop at nothing to achieve this goal.  This is not God’s law. You have a purpose for every decade of life.  It is your job now to be wise and healthy for your children’s sake and grandchildren.

Those that follow Hollywood conventional wisdom must have blinders on.  Because if they follow the nip-tuck; take 30lbs off in 30 days; blast your abs, thighs and buttocks; fountain of youth gimmicks then they also know the following is true.  What does Hollywood do with its actors and actresses once their physical flaws become too apparent?  They throw them out like old dish rags don’t they?  The paparazzi relentlessly pursue them and exploit their aging, overweight, illness flaws, relationships gone bad through the tabloids for a buck.  Many of these star icons you worshiped can’t keep up with the immortal Hollywood youth expectations and self destruct.  You see this, but deny the reality of the situation and search for a younger icon to follow ageless beauty advice, etc.  Why would you ever follow a celebrity’s advice as a fitness health expert in your 50’s?  Especially if they have no specialized training in age appropriate fitness techniques?  Hollywood and your iconic stars don’t cater “how to achieve” quality living experiences for the 50plus crowd.  Instead, they offer quick result diet and fitness solutions to turn back the hands of time to make a quick buck.  All the while, they use perfect model specimen’s, made up to look as if the results are mostly due to their products secret ingredients. 

There is nothing mentioned about life long health habits and healthy behavioral change in order to achieve and maintain these quick result appearance benefits.  And this always leads me to wonder, really how healthy and how well do these diet and fitness products improve fitness levels?  And what health risk are these customers subjected to in the long run for a quick result promise?  I know this to be true because I have a vice.  I love to read smut magazines about the stars.  And they do slam aging stars without mercy.  I read these for pure entertainment, a habit I can’t seem to break since my childhood.   There is one fitness celebrity that sticks out in my mind as one of the greats, Jack Lalanne.  For years, he has been known as a world renowned fitness expert through the 60’s at his peak celebrity status through our TV’s.  He now is known for his Power Juicer products.  To this day his life-long fitness story is amazing.  Research him on the Internet if you get the chance and learn more about someone’s applied exercise fitness principles that have served his followers well through a lifelong fitness career discipline. 

Fifth, the other factor to staying with an exercise age appropriate fitness program is food intake.  If you over consume, especially after 7:30 pm, or on the weekends it will be hard for you to notice weight loss and body toning (reduced body fat).  Body metabolism slows down tremendously after this evening time storing excess calories as fat.  Weekends will be your worst enemy (over consumption typically occurs during this time).  This is why in the next paragraph I recommend if you are just getting started into a workout, fitness activity routine; plan two of your five days on the weekends during the first 2-6 weeks.  Try consuming mostly a Mediterranean diet and/or 50%protein, 20%fat, 30% carbohydrate diet.  What this means in real general terms.  Stay away from the following main dishes/snacks:  Pizza, pasta, breads (whole grain ok) baked goods, ice cream, deserts, casseroles, pancakes, waffles, restaurant chains (fast foods), too much salt, chocolates, muffins, donuts, lard, candy, gum, chips, fried foods, milkshakes, alcohol, beer, diet sodas, popcorn, artificial sweeteners (aspartame), energy drinks, coffee additives (cream, sugar, artificial flavored, etc.).  These are the main addictive foods and food consumption habits that are causing much obesity in this country. 

After exercise and fitness goals are achieved, balanced eating behaviors become much easier.  You will naturally crave healthier food as the chemical food toxins are removed from the body.  This is not to say you can never have pizza, deserts, etc., or have a few drinks.   “That would be ridiculous.”  Balance my friends; we simply must get to a level of fitness for your age that you desire and will stick.  Thereafter, the fitness habit will become addictive which will lead to lifelong healthy habits including balanced consumption of food choices.

Sixth, find a workout routine you can stick with and enjoy.  Various examples:  Try biking, stationary treadmill, stationary rowing, dance, ball room dancing with spouse, tennis, walking, golf, jogging aerobics sessions, swimming, etc., 3 days a week (mix it up with gym activity).  Make sure you get in 2 days a week exercise gym activity and 3 days aerobics (walking, biking, treadmill, elliptical walker, swim, hike etc.).   On the weekends substitute an aerobics week day activity with a planned family outdoor activity, backpack, dance, healthy cooking recipes (walk and shop for your meals), camping, beach walking, fishing, etc.   I recommend 5 days a week exercise activities to sustain fitness levels and good health.  I use combinations of all these activities throughout the week to sustain my age appropriate activities.

I use combinations of daily walking, swimming, gym exercises (stationary equipment use for muscle building and toning, light weights, 12-15 reps per exercise per body part), to include aerobic cross trainers (elliptical), bikes, etc.  I also like to bike, boat, walk, hike, travel, camp, and fish on the weekends as activity substitutes, etc.  Changing up fitness activities will help with motivation, will power to stick with a program and breakup gym exercise routines nicely.  These are activity mix habits that become very addicting if you can break the 4-8wk exercise habit barrier, because it takes this long for brain chemical stimulation, muscle toning and toxins to be adequately removed from the body.  Natural brain chemicals will stimulate activity motivation and will power if given the chance.  Efficient Brain chemical release (adrenalin, epinephrine, dopamine, serotonin) through exercise is as addicting as nicotine is to a smoker; chocolate is to a chocoholic.

Now that I’ve provided you “How to Exercise and Increase Fitness Levels,” get out there and get it done!  Try various combinations of exercise activity, break up the fitness conditioning patterns and don’t go into any activity program at full intensity until conditioned to do so.  “Good things in life come to those that take the time to do it right!”

Author:  Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, USA Medical Services Officer, CPT, RET2010 Copyright.  All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Publishing @: http://www.mirrorathlete.com,  Sign up for your Free eNewsletter.





Will Power to Control Compensation Weight Gain Effect

24 11 2009
Walk and See all Around You.

Walk and See all Around You.

Your body’s health and appearance is dependent on many lifestyle habits and behaviors especially as you age.  With regard to diet and exercise, food intake and calorie burn through physical activity inevitably becomes a compensation-Will Power challenge.  Mind over body then becomes much more of a will power issue not to consume the “wrong types and quantities” of foods after an exercise, or activity event.  This issue will attempt to defeat your will power to stay on body weight target.  Compensation effect simply means if your body burns calories it will also want to replace them by telling the hunger center in the brain to eat more.  Your brain begins to beg you to stop the screaming fat cells from causing you agony and to satisfy them.  Scary little guys these fat cell monsters!

I’ve known for some time that exercise alone would not be the sole factor in body weight maintenance, or weight loss.  When I was working on my Exercise Science undergraduate degree, one thing I did learn is in order to maintain healthy body equilibrium especially as we age, requires a “customized” multidisciplinary healthy life program.  This program consists of exercise-activity, nutrition and healthy living lifestyle to meet body fitness requirements.  This multi-discipline approach is necessary for successful weight loss and body weight regulation at any age.  My take on exercise products sold on TV as I’ve stated in previous articles…  They won’t provide you a significant weight loss result, and especially without proper nutrition and healthy living habits.  If you’re serious about losing weight, don’t waste your money on exercise TV product gimmicks.  Instead, consider buying a gym membership and apply aerobic activity using various types of aerobic equipment to accomplish body weight goals. 

For those of you without much experience in a gym, look to purchase a few 1:1 fitness trainer sessions for weight loss programming and/or need motivation, etc.  Look for local fitness center promotion specials to run end of year and spring.  Also, learn to become a smart nutrition and healthy eating habit consumer by doing your own healthy weight management nutrition research.  For example, use the Internet and research under fit/healthy” weight loss tips and recommendations.  Also consider visiting your local book store/library, or take a community college nutrition/health fitness course, etc.  Consider purchasing fitness training books and videos geared around weight loss activities using aerobic bike, bike, walking, swimming, treadmill, etc., if the gym is not for you.  Or if dollars are tight, simply start a daily walking program.

When I mention TV exercise gimmicks they are exercise equipment that are non aerobic in nature and specifically work on body toning, not fat burning! For example, abs, hip-buttocks-chin specific exercise equipment.  Also I know you all know my favorite aerobic activity is walking and it always will be.  Walking in my opinion is the best cardiovascular, fat burning, low stress-fun, and low impact exercise available to all that can walk!  Healthy centurions have this one lifelong habit activity in common.  This is one of the least stressful aerobic fat burning activities and burns the greatest amount of fat per time spent on activity (swimming included).  It is my experience that walking causes the least amount of hunger pain if it is not done with high intensity (speed walking).  This is because the body will shift to greater fat burning as a fuel source preference during low intensity large muscle activity (legs).  The hunger center in the brain won’t know the difference when the body’s glucose-glycogen fuel source shifts more to a “stored-released” triglyceride fat burning process.

I walk almost every day, own some fitness equipment and have a fitness center membership.  I’ve found fitness activity variety keeps boredom abbey by breaking up my daily routines.  This helps immensely with my daily motivation to stay on healthy body weight target.  To walk, it doesn’t cost anything but time and good foot ware that should include excellent sole inserts.  See our chronic pain center and click on the posture, or foot image to get more information on “Posture Control Insoles.”  Gym memberships are nice because the sky is the limit on aerobic equipment choices.  If interested in fitness memberships look for one that has a swimming pool within the facility.   You can truly customize a fitness training weight loss program that’s right for any age at reasonable rates.

Always keep in mind the compensation effect.  If you exercise, regardless of activity you’ll always feel hungry approximately 1 hour after activity.  This is because most work done in the gym tends to become quick pace through daily conditioning.  Think about it.  You want to finish getting on to the home relaxation phase of your day, so you push your body to get out of the gym.  In essence you begin to exercise at a greater intensity rate which more closely resembles cardiovascular and anaerobic activity that will burn greater quantities of quick fuel sources; cretin phosphate, glucose-glycogen making you hungrier faster.  However, if your routine is mostly aerobic you’ll burn body fat and more of it at lower aerobic intensity rates.

In knowing that daily aerobic conditioning will naturally spur higher work training intensities, you can be prepared for hunger pains if you begin pushing yourself at this level.   In order to gage the best fat burning intensity and reduce severe hunger pains… Don’t train at intensities that make you out of breath, or make it hard to carry on a conversation.  Also if you’re THR (Target Heart Rate) zone peaks into a high intensity cardiovascular training zone for your age; understand you are not maximizing your body’s fat burning potential.  Ask your fitness trainer about THR, or simply research this term on the Internet to best understand and manage fat burning potential through aerobic activity.

I do have a solution to help you out in the hunger department as you will want to be adequately armed before the hunger pains hit regardless of your THR training intensity.  I’ve found, especially after the work out “the calorie burn compensation effect to replace the spent calories does impact us all at various levels of hunger pain.  The goal is to fool the brain with low calorie nutritious fillers that will curve appetite and strengthen will power to avoid pounding down fats and empty calories to satisfy the screaming fat cells. 

Whether the aerobic exercise is walking, biking, swimming, repetitive low resistance circuit training, etc., I know I’ll always be hungry after 90 minutes because my body is conditioned to work out more intensely during activity.  So if you can’t get your hands on fruit or vegetables, you can get water down your gullet.  Although water won’t fully satisfy the fat cell compensation screaming in your mind, a pint of water will stop this hunger feeling rather fast as the bloated stomach technique will temporarily fool the brain.  Besides, water is good for you… Let’s not forget this.  I know it’s boring.  I know you’d prefer an electrolyte drink.  Don’t do this often in the gym as electrolyte drinks have enough calories in them to compensate back to your body what you just burnt.  However, electrolyte drinks are great for high intensity aerobic-training endurance events where sodium and potassium levels in the blood can be reduced significantly and require replacement.  In these types of high intensity cardiovascular activities fat burning is not the fitness goal.

One thing I’m sure many of you may not know.  Many times when your brain tells you it’s hungry, it’s not, and your body is really thirsty.  So give the water gulping session serious consideration frequently while you work out.  This will help.  This water gut blot sensation will provide a feeling of fullness relieving hunger sensations while rehydrating the body.

However, beware; water is easily absorbed through the stomach and intestinal lining.  So this is a temporary fill to fool your mind’s hunger pains and rehydrate the body.  It’s not the cure all solution to defeat the calorie compensation effect that will ultimately result once the body is adequately worked and watered down.  Water in the stomach to fool your brain is like putting water in a strainer that’s lined with cheese cloth.  In other words, you don’t have much time before your brain tells you you’re hungry once the water quickly absorbs into the body.   You have approximately 10-15minutes max before your fat cells say “FEED ME, once the body is adequately hydrated!”  If you give in to the jelly donut, or pepperoni pizza, compensation effect wins over “will power and body weight discipline.”

Will you have the discipline and will power to fight off gorging yourself with the wrong foods, especially on a weekend?  Ah, here’s the question.  I highly recommend you find a nutritious food bar, or shake that’s high in protein and fiber to hold you over between meals.  This is like eating many mini-meals between the main meals.  You’ll find your body won’t be screaming from shear hunger, while reducing total daily calories and body weight.  There are many products to choose from… But you’ll want the fiber and protein because these low calorie high nutrient combinations will fool your brain for longer periods of time.  Good quality food bars, fruits and veggies work great after workouts and curving hunger in between meals.

I’ve also found that by taking a water bottle with me filled with a couple scoops of fiber source drink is a good emergency fix to satisfy a hunger attack when my compensation metabolism tells me I’m starving.  The beauty with this fix, you can carry the fiber powder around in the bottle forever until you add water.  When you have a hunger attack and you can’t wait to make that family dinner, fill the bottle with water, shake and chug that fiber drink.  Yummy!  “Well yummy is debatable, I did that for effect.”

Really, there are good fiber drinks out there in all flavors.  Look for fiber drinks that pack at least 3-5grams per serving.  Once you use your emergency compensation stomach fill solution to satisfy brain hunger, be sure to reload the bottle prior to the next fitness training session.  It is very frustrating to look in your gym bag, or back pack to find an empty fiber, or protein powder bottle.  I can’t tell you how many times I went for the quick food solution that was not there.  Instead I broke down and loaded up with a saturated fat attack, heart stopping gut buster.  My lack of will power won that day.  More the reason to stock an arsenal of various powder drinks in ready premix bottles and power bars at the ready.  I like to use old water bottles instead of tossing them after I drink the water.   I take 3-4 of them, load two with electrolyte and 2 with fiber-protein powders where they stay in dry storage (in the capped bottle)  until I need them.  I usually keep them in my car, or gym bag.  Just add water, shake and drink.

Also visit your libraries and read, or purchase books on how to improve will power while modifying behavioral habits towards food cravings.  To be aware of the mind over body compensation fact will help you recognize you’ll need to find other low calorie diet substitutes and behavioral strategies that will stave off hunger cravings during and after your aerobic training sessions.  Also drink more water in a day, eat more frequently throughout the day in smaller portions, get more fiber in your diet and don’t eat in front of the TV, “only at the dinner table!”  Finding what works for you and sticking to it is a big part of fitness and weight-diet management success. By applying the techniques in which I speak will allow you proper preplanning prior to aerobic fitness training and weight management success.  You’ll also better understand will power compensation effect while reducing body weight in a healthy habit approach.

Author:  Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, USA Medical Services Officer, CPT, RET.  2009 Copyright, All rights reserved.  Mirror Athlete Enterprises Publishing @: www.mirrorathlete.com, Sign up for your free eNewsletter.





Exercising for Weight Loss a Myth?

22 09 2009

Do you recall seeing commercials or reading magazine advertisements where exercise gadgets and specialized exercise programs promise great weight loss results?  Well if you haven’t, let me tell you weight loss exercise products are big business for ex-celebrities in the entertainment and sports industries.  Remember the thigh and abs flex products that promoted inches will melt away around these areas while leading you to believe this would be the result of the entire body!  After all, the models used in the sales pitch appear to be perfectly lean specimens.

 Look around your house and count how many unused exercise gadgets, exercise equipment and books you have lying dormant in your home.  Why do these products lay around the home collecting dust?  And if these products did not work for you why did you not return the product?  Most of these exercise weight loss products guarantee great results by your favorite celebrity.  You were lead to believe if you follow the typical 4-12 week exercise product program you would see great results, well did you?  It is also interesting to note most guarantees have a 30-90 (4-12 weeks) day satisfaction return policy, no questions asked.  If the product didn’t produce the results was it because they actually didn’t work, or that you didn’t give an honest effort, or would it have mattered whether you used the product or not?  Regardless, the product is sitting in your home now dormant.

 Could it be you blame your lack of motivation to use the product that ran out the warranty?  Maybe you used the product as instructed without great, or no results, but in fact gained more weight.  Possibly the relatively small dollar amount of the purchase didn’t seem worth the effort to send it back.  In each example, you disregarded the warranty.

 In any case, most of us have been conditioned to believe exercise is the key to great weight loss success.    Product sales pitches that use the science of exercise as a weight loss product concept have been misleading consumers desperate to lose weight for years.  Yet those that are desperate want to believe the hype because they believe this premise is based on hard scientific fact!  Marketers and your favorite celebs take full advantage of desperate and emotional overweight people that are not educated in exercise science!

 Yes, exercise science is a real undergraduate degree program offered in many universities, also known as exercise physiology.  I have a B.S. degree in this discipline, so this is true if you’d never heard of it before.  These marketers are smart.  They know how to slant the rhetoric leading you to believe they actually care about you.  Remember, many of your celebs are banking on this pitch to make them more money as well!  Weight loss through exercise alone could not be further from the truth!

 What do the marketers know about sales, physiology and psychology that most of us do not think about?  They know how to target an audience and that the younger demographic will have a weight loss result that can be further promoted to increase future sales.  They know this is so because if a younger demographic with fast metabolisms actually works any type of exercise product program a good majority of these people will have some kind of result.  I know, you’re thinking I said, “Exercise for weight loss is a myth.”  You’ll soon have the full story, patience.

 Haven’t you noticed the before and after shots on the infomercials?  Most of these people appear to be between the ages of 18-35 years of age.  And as science has proven in many controlled studies, the human metabolisms before the age of 35 are pretty responsive to increased activity.  However, weight loss results within “any age” demographic seem to have more to do with the psychology of weight loss desire then does the use of any singular, or combination of exercise product(s). Desire to lose weight within any age range is mostly to do about motivating psychological desires:  The dating scene, interview for job, want youthful look back, vanity, health, you name it there are many reasons to motivate a person to lose weight through behavior and lifestyle activity changes. 

 In other words, if you have motivation and desire to lose weight, you may be more prone to reduce weight through a combination of lifestyle changes including the use of exercise equipment and/or products.  For example, nutritional diet changes, smoking, alcohol cessation, shift to healthier environmental-social influences-activities, exercise aerobic-anaerobic activity changes (type, frequency, duration, intensity).  The sum of the total changes typically has a greater calorie burn response leading to weight loss.

 On the flip side, science has proven exercise makes people hungrier.  And because of this compensation effect, what leaves the body must eventually be replaced to maintain body comfort equilibrium.  For most of us over 35, this is our will power weakness defeating our motivation to lose weight, or making weight loss goals more challenging as we age.  This is because the sacrifice of feeling hunger to achieve weight loss results becomes much more difficult on the psyches will power with age.

 For those that maintain great results for a life time after being overweight, or experienced a period(s) of obesity may have sacrificed some part of the overall health for the result.  What do I mean by this statement?  Whenever the body is stressed beyond an equilibrium comfort level to achieve long-term results; it’s not the maintenance of maintaining the weight loss results so much that stresses the body’s metabolism.  It’s the initial stress on mind-body that can create internal metabolic (bodies homeostatic system) harm while achieving quick weight loss results.  Yet there are others that never have had a weight problem and never exercised in their lives.  This may only be attributed to great genetics and/or simply living a moderate active lifestyle while minimizing risky behavior, or combinations of both.

 With continued stress the body may lose weight in an unhealthy manner that can and does lead to illness and disease.  I know all of you have heard of yo-yo dieting and the ill-effects of practicing such weight loss practices.  The goal here is not to discuss poor dieting practices, but instead attempt to help the consumer understand; exercise alone, regardless of exercise equipment, product or technique does not have a significant impact on your weight loss goals because of the “compensation effect” (calories burnt demand to be replaced).  Even if you are an aerobic junky, you must look at your entire lifestyle picture.  The picture of your lean weight loss results is more to do with your age, race, sex, genetics, lifestyle habits and behaviors. 

 This is not to state that exercise products don’t promote any positive health benefits.  In fact, we know that exercise lower risks for many types of diseases, especially within the cardiovascular system, prevention of diabetes and cancer.  Exercise is also excellent for body toning, strength, and muscular endurance, postural alignment which contributes to overall good health and pain alleviation.  Whatever your experience with exercise weight loss products the reason you accumulate these things, most likely you believe they will either work again, or when you’re ready to use them the weight loss results will be achieved. 

 The marketers understand there will be a small percentage of you that will try the program and turn the product back within the guarantee time.  However, this means nothing to them.  The discipline of sending back a product before the warranty expires is very small regardless of customer dissatisfaction.  After all, most of you have been conditioned to believe exercise is necessary to lose weight.  They also know you don’t blame your favorite celebrity because you admire them and they look fantastic.  The pitch people continue to mislead the exercise science weight loss rhetoric slanted in their favor sometimes using professionally paid sponsored credentials.  So your weight problem must be solely due to your inability to exercise exactly as your favorite celebrity or intended use as specified within the instructions.  Wrong!

 To add insult to injury, those selling the exercise products are banking on most of you never understanding the calorie compensation effect on weight control and will power.  This way you’ll continue to purchase the latest hype exercise products from your favorite celebrity in hopes that something may work for you down the road.  One thing is for sure, you will keep them fat and happy rolling in dough.  The cycle continues on.  Amazing!

 Does exercise to reduce body weight on its own work, or is this line of thinking a myth?  You decide after reading my next article. “Science Proves Exercise Alone May Promote Weight Gain.”

Author:  Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, USA Medical Services Officer, CPT, RET.  2009 Copyright, All rights reserved.  Mirror Athlete Enterprises Publishing @: www.mirrorathlete.com, Sign up for your free eNewsletter.