As the years go by, life seems to be a little sweeter, doesn’t it? There’s the true joy you feel as you watch your children take tentative steps on their own paths and then develop the confidence to fly. And with each new day, you begin to appreciate the chirping birds and the sound of the rain on the roof. As wonderful as this time of life is, we all seem to be realizing that the more birthday candles you blow out, the more difficult it is to lose weight.
Here’s what happens…In your youth, estrogen surges and your body naturally stores protective fat around your hips and buns to prepare for pregnancy. Then as you reach your 40s and 50s, that fat moves up your body, settling around your midsection. The dreaded middle age spread.
It’s time to forget the idea that those pesky pounds are stuck right where they are. The good news is that even though shedding unwanted weight may seem difficult as you age, lifting weights can help you lose inches in record time. It may sound like an oxymoron, but when you strength train you not only tone your tush and tighten your tummy, you also shed pounds. Strength training helps you create a lean, mean metabolism-boosting machine, so you burn more fat, more easily, in less time.
So if you have any misconceptions about strength training that are preventing you from reaping all these benefits, let’s nip that in the bud right now. Time to bust a few myths of strength training….
MYTH 1. You must have weights
Dumbbells are the classic weights that are used in weight loss strength training and you’ll see me use them in my workouts, but you have plenty of other options, too. Kettlebells and tubing can both be part of a fabulous weight-loss workout. But the really great news is that your body weight is all you need for some of the most effective strength training moves there are, like pushups, planks, or wall sits. By supporting your own body weight, you create natural resistance, which forces your muscles to engage deeper and the result is a firm, toned body that burns fuel more efficiently.
MYTH 2. Concentrate on one move at a time
For more effective results, it’s better to work multiple muscle groups simultaneously, sometimes called functional movements. Working with kettlebells, for example, allows you to incorporate full-body moves that not only save time and burn calories more efficiently, but they also tone the shoulders, arms, abs, buns, and legs….at the same time! Functional movements also help you keep your heart rate up during a strength training workout to burn fat while you tone.
MYTH 3. It’s all about lifting
Actually, that’s only half the battle. Strength training involves BOTH lifting (the concentric movement that happens when muscles shorten and contract) AND lowering (the eccentric movement that happens when muscles lengthen). When done properly, it’s the lowering motion that provides resistance training. So on your next set of bicep curls, don’t cheat yourself by putting all the effort in the curl up and then dropping the weights back down; slowly lower back to the starting position, so that you feel the tension throughout the entire movement.
MYTH 4. You’re going to get big and bulky
No worries here. Women just don’t have enough testosterone to develop a bodybuilder’s physique. Most of the bulked up folks you see at the gym are spending hours lifting heavy weights and following a specific regimen of supplements. For the rest of us, strength training with moderate weights has a very different effect – strong, lean muscles that give us the sculpted, toned look we all want.
MYTH 5. Muscles grow while you’re working out
Have you heard of “tear and repair”? Believe it or not, muscle change takes place after exercising. During a workout you’re trying to push your muscles to the point that actual microscopic tears occur (don’t worry – your body appreciates the process, I promise!). When your body repairs the tears, the muscle is stronger than before. That’s why it’s important to limit strength training to every other day and to provide your body with nutritious fuel, so it has everything it needs for healthy recovery.
MYTH 6. Strength training is only for the young
Who said there’s an age limit to improving muscle tone? We lose muscle mass as we age, so staying strong becomes even MORE important with every single year. In addition, strong muscles also support and protect aging bones and help you maintain good balance.
Sure, a sculpted upper body looks great in short sleeves or a bathing suit, but don’t forget those muscles do more than look good. They also help with everyday activities, like carrying groceries, twisting lids off jars, and picking up little ones. And the benefits don’t stop there; strength training also can burn fat, lower blood pressure, reduce stress, and prevent osteoporosis and bone fractures.
You deserve a strong and lean body that makes you feel empowered, confident, and energized…So start lifting weights to lose weight today!
The meditation retreat I’m at Bali has truly been a once in a lifetime experience. Every morning, the itinerary calls for a little personal quiet time—time to breathe, to daydream, to listen to nature, and feel your batteries recharging.
Meditation is far from the stereotype of sitting motionless in lotus position. In reality, meditation is all about living your life to the fullest, moment by mindful moment. Although there are countless techniques and outlets for finding tranquility and boosting energy, meditation is particularly appealing because you can access it throughout the day during stressful situations, no matter where you are.
Meditation need not be part of a religious or philosophical practice. It can simply be a discipline of refocusing the mind. Actually, we do a lot of meditation in our daily life without realizing it. Trouble is, we tend to meditate on the negative, more commonly known as worrying. Like a bad DJ playing the same song over and over, our inner soundtrack of negative ideas can circulate endlessly in our heads, with thoughts like, “I’m not a good enough person” or “I’m not doing anything amazing with my life.”
In the simplest sense, meditation can help banish negative thoughts by clearing your mind entirely.One popular meditation technique is to focus on a positive idea or happy moment. As soon as a negative thought bubbles to the happy, calm surface you created, think of it as a duck that is paddling away from you and return your focus to happier thoughts. It’s not always easy to erase negative thought patterns, but meditation can at least help you become more conscious of them, and that’s the first step.
As if happier thoughts aren’t enough of a benefit, research is showing that meditation can help restructure the brain in ways that lead to more enhanced concentration, boosted immunity, and increased compassion. Even the most basic attempts at meditation have been shown to have immediate positive results.
If you haven’t begun a meditation practice, or are looking to take your practice to the next level, then stay tuned. Today, I’ll guide you through three meditation styles to enhance your life and recharge your batteries.
1. Nature Meditation
One of my favorite ways to change my mental state is to meditate deeply on a part of nature. Take five minutes to look closely at a flower. Study the details of its texture and the structure. When you do this, you develop a sense of reverence. The flower becomes a little miracle. You begin to see how complete and fully alive the natural world is at all levels. Meditating on nature can be calming, fascinating, and inspiring all at once.
2. Gratitude Meditation
I like to do this first thing in the morning, to get my day moving on a positive track. Simply spend a few minutes meditating on all the things in your life that you’re thankful for.
3. Breathing Meditation
Slow, deep breathing is one of the best stress busters there is. Focus your attention on the breath entering your body, your breath flowing out, and the spaces in between. Several minutes of this can lower your pulse, reduce your blood pressure, and relax much of the muscular tension in your body.
This breathing meditation is very popular and it’s one of the easiest and most effective forms for newbies to attempt. Try it during stressful situations throughout your day and you’ll quickly see how it helps you stay present in the moment, but separated from the situation that created stress in the first place.
Remember, as you work through these three meditations negative messages may surface. It’s o.k. (and very common) if they do. They’ll help you develop your meditation muscles as you notice them and turn your focus back to nature, what you’re grateful for, or your breath. Like anything new, practice helps you improve form and get better results.
I get a lot of compliments on my posture, and it makes me realize what a strong impression posture makes. When you stand and sit with good posture, you’re less likely to injure yourself in daily activity. Your internal organs have room to breathe. You radiate confidence and command respect. Your clothes fit better, and you get through the day with less fatigue.
Best of all, improving your posture makes you instantly look slimmer.
You only have to look around you to see the effect that aging can have on our bodies. I’m always shocked by the appearance of people who, after years of bone loss and poor posture, seem to stand in a permanent cringe. That’s why I urge you to start putting effort into your posture now.
It takes only a few minutes a week. The 2 quick moves below are specifically designed help you build strength for better posture. Don’t let gravity have the last word!
1. Midback Strengthener
Targets: Upper back postural strength and flexibility of the front of the shoulder.
Setup: Stand with your back to a wall, touching heels, buttocks, upper back, and head. Bend your elbows 90 degrees and lift them to your sides at shoulder height. Press your elbows and hands against the wall. If you have tight shoulders, you may not be able to touch the wall with your hands, elbows, or both—focus on your effort.
Move: Widen your clavicles, funnel your ribs down toward your waist, and press your navel toward your spine. Keeping your elbows and hands against the wall, if possible, slide your arms overhead. Continuing to maintain pressure and effort, slide back down to shoulder level. Repeat six to eight times.
Focus: Maintain a neutral spine (your low back is not pressing against the wall, but your abdominals are engaged, pulling your navel toward your spine).
Comments: The effort in the postural muscles in your upper back will help stretch the front of your shoulders, enabling you to have the flexibility and strength to maintain or improve your posture.
Targets: Low back (erector spinae, quadratus lumborum), buttocks (gluteals), and hamstrings.
Setup: Lie prone, with your neck in a neutral position. Pull your navel toward your spine
Move: With your arms stretched overhead, lift your arms/shoulders and feet/legs. Hold for a count of five, then release down. Do eight to twelve repetitions.
Focus: Focus on lengthening rather than lifting high. Try to keep your navel lifted off the floor.
Comments: If the exercise is too difficult, you could also break it into two exercise by lifting your arms and shoulders only—keeping your feet and legs on the floor—then doing the second set by keeping your arms and shoulders on the floor, lifting just your legs.
Tabloids love to expose celebrities’ less-than-perfect derrieres or thighs because they, like a lot of people, have cellulite. Of course, no one wants to have cellulite, but chances are most of us do, at least to some degree.
Just because so many of us have cellulite doesn’t mean everyone knows what it is, much less why it occurs. But even more importantly, do you know what to do about it? It can be confusing because there are a lot of myths and misnomers out there.
Well, it’s time to know the truth about cellulite.
What Is Cellulite?
First of all, it’s not a medical condition. Cellulite is nothing more than fat lying directly beneath the skin. What happens is there’s only so much room for these fat cells and they get pushed up toward the skin. This action puts pressure on the surrounding fascia.
Fascia is a web of connective tissue surrounding muscles, blood vessels, and nerves. Think of it like the netting of a tennis racket with the strings representing the fascia. Over time, though, those strings or tissues lose their collagen and elasticity or too much fat develops and the fat gets pushed through the netting. That’s what gives a dimpled appearance, or what we call cellulite.
Cellulite doesn’t just appear. There are different grades or degrees:
• Grade 1: Detection at this stage is nearly impossible with the naked eye because it’s happening on a microscopic level.
• Grade 2: Some symptoms appear, such as a loss of elasticity in the skin and a cooler temperature to the touch.
• Grade 3: This is the look we most commonly associate with cellulite because there’s visible dimpling, but it has the other characteristics, too.
What Causes Cellulite?
There’s no one answer to this question, but here’s a list of contributors:
• Hormones: The naturally occurring chemicals estrogen, insulin, noradrenaline, thyroid hormones, and prolactin have been linked to cellulite creation.
• Genetics: Did your mother, aunts, grandmothers have cellulite? Then chances are you are predisposed to it, too.
• Lifestyle: The more sedentary you are the greater the likelihood of developing cellulite. Also, smokers run a higher risk for cellulite.
• Diet: Because cellulite involves fat cells, it only makes sense that what you eat would contribute to its buildup. Too much fat, carbohydrates, and salt, which leads to water retention, are the biggest culprits.
How Do I Banish Cellulite?
There’s an entire multimillion-dollar industry of creams, pills, and procedures claiming to remove cellulite; however, none of these has passed the scientific community’s standards. In fact, some are designed to treat unrelated conditions, like asthma, and others may cause serious side effects, like allergic reactions. Some methods, like massage, have temporary benefits, and others simply hide the cellulite, like compression garments. The keys words here are “temporary” and “hide.”
The good news is that there are three key ways to effectively minimize cellulite for the long-term:
1. Increase circulation
2. Maintain a healthy weight
3. Eat high-fiber and diuretic foods
• Increase circulation
Let’s face it, we just sit too much. In fact, sitting is the new smoking!
It’s not enough to work out for 30 to 60 minutes at a time, we need to keep blood flowing to the lower body throughout the day. If your job demands you sit at a desk, get up to walk around every 20 minutes to increase you circulation. Or, swap out your chair for a stability ball. Just sitting on the inflated ball requires you to engage your core, but with every slight movement, you have to shift to regain your balance. This constant balance challenge gets your body moving much more than sitting in a traditional office chair that does the balancing for you.
Body-weight training keeps cellulite from settling in, too. Because it tends to form in the buttocks and thighs, I like the Pop Squat: Lower into squat position as if you’re sitting down in a chair, abs engaged and making sure your knees don’t pop out past your toes. Push yourself to standing, but don’t stop there: Without locking your knees, add a little jump into the air. When you land, lower yourself right back down into the squat. Grab weights for added difficulty. Repeat for 30 seconds.
Also, certain foods help boost blood flow. Circulation Journal reported that dark chocolate (yes, chocolate), which is full of natural flavonoids, improved blood circulation compared with white chocolate. Sunflower and pumpkin seeds are known to increase circulation, too.
If you have time and money, get a massage to restore the fluid state of your connected tissue. In between massages, use a foam roller to help support the tissue on a daily basis.
• Maintain a healthy weight
The more weight you carry the more fat cells pushing through the fascia. Losing weight can result in a noticeable reduction of cellulite.
• Eat high-fiber and diuretic foods
When the body holds onto extra fluids, it adds more pressure to the fascia. If I’m feeling bloated before a photo shoot, I eat something I know will help my body get rid of extra water—my favorite is egg whites and asparagus. Well, if you’re feeling like your cellulite is more noticeable or you’re getting ready to wear something that shows a little skin and you want to minimize dimpling, then fill your plate with foods high in fiber or natural diuretics.
Fiber-rich foods take longer to digest and will keep you feeling full longer so you’re less likely to reach for a sugary or fatty, salty snack. Diuretics help the body release excess water, usually through urination. Some foods serve double duty, both high in fiber and a diuretic, such as steel-cut oats and artichokes. Even flavor enhancers, like parsley, ginger and garlic, assist the body in getting rid of water. Finally, green tea, one of my all-time favorite beverages, can give relief from bloating.
On the other hand, not enough fluids or dehydration also contribute to cellulite. Most studies show that about 2/3 of us are dehydrated and need to drink more water…so stay hydrated throughout the day! I aim to drink a gallon of water a day (yes…a gallon!). Although this may be a hefty goal for you, aim to drink at least eight glasses of water a day. To achieve this goal, set an alarm on your phone every hour on the hour from 8 am to 5 pm. When the alarm goes off, it’s time to get up, get your blood circulating, and drink a glass of water.
Remember, while you may not erase cellulite completely, being active and eating healthfully is the best way to control it.
My good friend and top nutritionist Joel has let the cat out of the bag on what is undoubtedly the BEST pre-bed meal.
As I’ve discussed several times before in my newsletter articles, it is not necessary to avoid eating in the evening hours to lose flab. In fact, the right night-time meal can often positively affect your results and recovery from exercise by feeding your muscles with quality nutrition as you sleep.
The trick, as always, is choosing the RIGHT foods before bed, and knowing which foods those are. Here are Joel’s general “rules” to creating the ultimate pre-bed meal:
1. Avoid carbs and insulin.
Because consuming carbohydrates will result in a significant insulin release (which will in turn put the breaks on fat-burning), carbs are ill-advised for a pre-bed meal. Carbs are also much more easily stored as fat in the evening hours when metabolism is naturally slowing in preparation for sleep. Besides, you have very little opportunity to burn off that energy when consuming carbs at night — sleep isn’t a very calorically expensive activity!
In addition to carbs, certain animal proteins have been shown to yield a significant insulin response as well, such as red meat and certain fish. While these protein foods are OK for a pre-bed meal, there are better choices, like those mentioned below.
2. Choose slow digesting proteins.
Slow digesting proteins, like white meat proteins such as turkey and chicken, are great night-time meal choices as they digest slowly and fail to produce a significant insulin response.
Another great choice is the milk protein casein, found in cottage cheese. Casein coats the stomach, digests slowly, and provides quality nutrition to your muscles over several hours…very ideal as a pre-bedtime protein source!
3. Add fat.
Quality, healthy fats such as nuts, oils, and nut butters are great additions to a pre-bedtime meal as they will help to further slow gastric emptying and digestion while increasing fullness and satiety so you don’t wind up snacking all night long.
Just follow these 3 simple rules for night-time snacking (slow digesting protein, low carb, add fat) and you’ll be in great shape…give it a try with an evening snack tonight!
Proteins play a key role in your ability to lose weight, plus it helps keep you satisfied, build muscle mass, and boost metabolism. And, they’re the most important nutritional element for molding your body into the shape you desire. Proteins are broken down by the body into amino acids, the “building blocks of life.” They repair and rebuild muscle tissues, grow hair and nails, create enzymes and hormones, and maintain the health of internal organs and blood.
That being said, here are your best bets when it comes to high protein foods that will assist in weight loss:
Eggs are the perfect protein! One large egg adds 6 grams of healthy protein to your diet. And remember, they’re a great on-the-go food. You can hard boil a few eggs at the beginning of the week, and easily grab them in the morning. Eggs are not only high in protein, but they also include small proteins of many essential vitamins and minerals.
You can get 16-20g of protein in different selections of lean meat, like ground turkey, beef and chicken. Try to choose the cuts of beef that are lower in fat, and limit your serving size to 4-6 oz per meal depending on your weight and activity levels.
Tuna, salmon, halibut, tilapia and anchovies all contain between 26-29 g of protein per 4 oz serving. Salmon and other types of cold-water fish are not only packed with protein, but contain heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
One glass of milk gives you 8 grams of protein. If you’re lactose intolerant, try unsweetened soy milk which has apx 8 grams of protein per serving. A good way to incorporate milk into your diet is by adding it as a base to your protein shakes.
When it comes to yogurt, you can get the most protein if you opt for greek style yogurt. This thick and creamy bowl will provide 16 g of protein in a single serving size. Top with walnuts or berries to add in even more nutrients.
1 oz of cheese will give you the same amount of protein as 1 oz of chicken. But keep in mind that the calories in cheese can add up quickly…since it includes 100 calories per ounce.
Beans and legumes
1/2 C cooked kidney beans will give you the same amount of protein as 1 oz of lean chicken or cheese. And the good news is the beans can be added to soups and stews.
Low-fat cottage cheese
One of the winners when it comes to protein content is cottage cheese! Only ½ C will give you 14 g of protein.
½ C will give you 9 g of protein. There are several types to choose from, and they are sold in many colors. This healthy legume has helped aid in the reduction of cholesterol as well as lowering risk of heart attack and stroke.
1 oz of nuts contains 7 g protein. Sprinkle almonds or walnuts on your salads, or take a handful in a baggie for an afternoon snack.
If you opt for protein veggies such as spinach, chickpeas or broccoli, you’ll enjoy 6 g of protein per 1/2 cup serving. If you want more protein, eating larger portions will do the trick. Since plant proteins are incomplete proteins, meaning they don’t contain all of the essential amino acids, combine them with a whole grain to make sure you’re getting a complete protein.
As you can see, there’s a lot of ways to meet your protein requirements throughout the day. Try eating a variety of foods to receive not only protein, but a variety of vitamins and minerals that are packed into these nutrient dense foods.
I’m heading to Tampa, Florida this weekend for a summit and workshop. Thank you for all of your support, and thank you for taking the time to read this blog. And, thank you for commenting! By the way…what’s your favorite protein? And, what kind of recipes are you looking for (breakfast, lunch, dinner)?
Holding a dumbbell in each hand, step your left foot directly behind you, taking a wide stance, and bend your legs, lowering your torso down into a lunge. Be sure and maintain that core stability to prevent injury.
While in lunge position, keep your shoulders over your hips, back knee slightly bent, front knee in alignment with your front toes, shoulders back and down.
Feel your weight in your right (front) heel as you push yourself to standing.
As you return to standing, do a tricep kickback: Reach your arms back behind you and extend, feeling a squeeze in the tricep.
Practice the lunge and tricep kickback movements separately and without weights at first.
When you come to standing, use your core muscles to lift the back leg off the floor and extend it behind you, squeezing the glutes as you perform the tricep kickback
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Holiday Hours 2021
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