Love Notes by Jari Love

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Portion Control: Save Calories with One Change

by Jari Love

In a world overrun by crazy restrictive diets, miserable juice plans, and weight loss pills, it’s easy to forget about one simple concept: portion control. But new research shows that making this one change—or paying more attention to how much you eat rather than what you eat (or don’t eat)—is the gold standard if you want to lose weight. In fact, scientists at Cambridge University in the UK have found that cutting back on serving size alone can help Americans eat an average of 527 fewer calories per day, resulting in a weight loss of one pound per week, all from by reducing portion size. 

How does this happen? Researchers crunched the numbers on more than 60 studies on food intake to find that the bigger portion sizes that are now so commonplace in our society have caused us all to eat more, regardless of our gender, hunger levels, how thin or fat we are, or amount of self-reported willpower. In particular, they found that supersized portions can add more than 500 calories to each of our plates every day, which has only helped to make us fatter… and fatter. 

“The message is that, however it happens, reducing the amounts of food that end up in front of us in the first place is key [to weight loss],” says Gareth Hollands, PhD, senior research associate at Cambridge University School of Clinical Medicine and coauthor of the paper. 

But there’s one big problem: The first and only step of portion control—eat less—is notoriously difficult to do. So how do you accomplish the feat? Here are the top meal-reshaping, fat-blasting tips from Lisa Young, PhD, author of The Portion Teller. 

  1. Forget about portions when you eat out, because restaurants are notorious for serving oversize meals. Resolve before you even walk into a restaurant to split an entrée, supplementing with a salad or veggie side dish. Avoid all-you-can-eat deals like the plague, and wait to have your cocktail until after your meal, since alcohol is proven to trigger overeating. 
  1. Downsize your plates and glasses to smaller tableware, which will go a long way in reducing how much food ends up on your plate. 
  1. Most of us, even the healthiest, weight-conscientious of eaters, are serving ourselves WAY too much food, without even realizing it. 
  1. Fill half your plate with low-calorie, fiber-rich fruits and veggies that aren’t dripping in butter or cream sauce (herbs and spices are your friends!), using one-quarter of your plate for a lean protein and the final quarter for sweet potatoes or a whole grain like brown rice. 
  1. Plate your meal in the kitchen and keep serving dishes there so that you’re forced to get up for seconds rather than reach across the table. 

via prevention.com

Jari Love – original creator of Get RIPPED! DVD series and group exercise classes. The hot-selling and critically acclaimed Get RIPPED! series enables individuals of any fitness level to burn up to three times more calories than the traditional weight-training program, and has received rave reviews from fitness critics throughout North America since the first title debuted in late 2005.

1-MINUTE ACTIVITIES THAT WILL MAKE YOU HEALTHIER

by Jari Love

Young Businessman Doing Pushups At His Workplace

It seems that Americans these days are glued to their desks, their cards, and their couches, rarely getting up to stretch, walk around, or clear their minds from the clutter of life. We are enchanted by all the things happening in our outside lives that often times taking time for yourself is lost.

Even the greatest of workouts isn’t beneficial in the long run if you spend over half of your day sitting. It’s a scary thought to think our bodies are festering diseases due to our inactivity. Unfortunately, this is becoming the norm in America. According to the Huffington Post, sitting is the new smoking.

“Sitting is more dangerous than smoking, kills more people than HIV and is more treacherous than parachuting. We are sitting ourselves to death,” says Dr. James Levine to Huffington Post, inventor of the treadmill desk and a director at the Arizona State University Mayo Clinic for obesity solutions.

Sitting is slowly killing us, but if you catch the problem early enough, there is no way you can’t turn your fate around. The little things add up; it’s up to us to remember to do think of our health.

Even the CDC has launched campaigns “Five Minutes (Or Less) For Health” that include lists of activities to help us stay safe and healthy throughout our days.

Doing these 1-minute activities for a minute, or more, can help you stay healthy. Here are some ways to stay active from the moment you wake up till you fall asleep.

1. Do squats or lunges while you make breakfast.

2. Bagel in the toaster? Squat until it’s ready. Eggs frying? Squat until you need to flip them. Even squat as you make your coffee or pour your orange juice. This will also help to wake you up and increase that blood flow early in the morning.

3. Park farther away at work.

4. Stand up at work, or take a break every 15 minutes to walk around.

5. Purchase a pedometer and set a daily goal. (Try to reach over 10,000 steps!)

6. Warm-up by walking on the treadmill at the gym.

7. Squeeze a hand grip while you’re on a phone call.

8. Lift your legs up and down under your desk for a minute.

9. Sit up straight all day long.

10. Rotate your wrists for a minute every so often. (Give your hands a keyboard break!)

11. Twist at your desk chair.

12. Sit up straight and stretch to each side for 30 seconds. Do this a few times throughout the day.

13. Do 20 jumping jacks.

14. Make sure no one is in the bathroom at work and quickly do 20 jumping jacks. You’ll feel more energized and squeeze some activity in.

15. Drink a glass of water 8 times throughout the day.

16. Deep breathing.

17. Fidget while you work: Often times fidgeting are lifelong habits that try to be avoided, but studies show that fidgeting can increase our calorie burn 20 to 40%.

18. Pace while you’re on the phone.

19. Clean your home (even if you only have a minute to spare). Vacuuming, sweeping, mowing the lawn, weed whacking, doing laundry, and dishes all increases total calorie burn throughout the day and helps to clear your mind.

20. Exercise while you watch sports late at night. Abs, mountain climbers, burpees, you name it. Your heart is telling you to sink into your couch, but your body is telling you to get in shape.

21. Squat or pace while brushing your teeth.

22. Eat dinner standing up.

23. Do 10 to 20 pushups before bed.

24. Stretch before bed for one minute.

Jari Love – original creator of Get RIPPED! DVD series and group exercise classes. The hot-selling and critically acclaimed Get RIPPED! series enables individuals of any fitness level to burn up to three times more calories than the traditional weight-training program, and has received rave reviews from fitness critics throughout North America since the first title debuted in late 2005.

By Collage Video | | fitness, Healthy, Jari Love, Motivation, Weekly Blog, Wellness | 0 comments | Read more

Weight-Lifting Moves to Substitute for Deadlifts

by Jari Love

If your goal is to add lean muscle and mass, everyone will tell you that you need to focus on two main exercises: the squat and the deadlift. Whether you really aim to get into shape, or start building some serious muscle, you’ll want to zero-in on your legs — because developing the muscle groups in your legs will not only help you burn more calories, they will also help you tone and train every other muscle group in the body.

The problem with trying to do squats and deadlifts — deadlifts particularly — is that you need access to the right equipment. To put some serious weight on the floor, and then proceed to pick it up, you need barbells, and a ton of plates. For some people, access to those things can be hard to come by.

Still, for others, physical limitations — past injuries, doctor’s orders, etc. — prevent them from incorporating the traditional deadlift into their routine. That can present an issue for people who are serious about building muscle and getting in shape, because it’s really hard to understate the deadlift’s importance in the world of weight training.

But fear not, because we have some alternatives for you. True, the exercises featured on the following pages aren’t perfect, and they won’t get you as far as traditional deadlifts will. But they’ll do in a pinch, and will work as viable substitutes when and if you need them. They’ll help you continue to build your lower-body — but it’s still better to do true deadlifts if possible.

With that, here are five suitable deadlift alternatives that you can incorporate into your routine.

  1. Dumbbell deadlift: Likely the simplest and most effective replacement for barbell deadlifts is the dumbbell deadlift. All you’re really going to be doing is swapping the bar for dumbbells. The video above, from The Fit Lab will give you a basic demonstration. It’s a simple, easy exercise, and will work the same muscle groups as a traditional deadlift. The only issue is that the dumbbell deadlift has its obvious limitations — dumbbell sizes, chief among them. Just be sure to keep your form and posture in mind, and dumbbell deadlifts will work when you’re without access to a barbell.
  1. One-armed dumbbell deadlift: A variant of the dumbbell deadlift is the single-arm or one-arm dumbbell deadlift. This, too, is relatively simple, and you can see a quick demonstration in the video above from Jeff Fields. Fields even throws some additional resistance into the mix in the form of a band, which is a great way to add a little bit of weight when you run into the eventual issue of maxing out on dumbbell sizes. Once you have the standard dumbbell deadlift mastered, try going at it with one arm — just make sure to keep your form intact.
  1. Bent-over rows: Bent-over rows, when done correctly, can be used in lieu of a traditional deadlift. You can do them with a barbell, if you have access to one (and if you do, just do regular deadlifts), or with dumbbells, which make them a more viable alternative for most lifters. Ben-over rows, like the other lifts on this list, are also a fairly simple exercise to nail down. Yet, again, it’s all about making sure you have the correct form. The video above demonstrates it very well, so thanks to Testosterone Nation for that.
  1. Kettlebell swing: Kettlebell workouts are soaring in popularity, and with good reason. They’re versatile, fun, and can be used to work out the same muscle groups as most traditional lifts, albeit in a much different sort of fashion. Case in point, the good old kettlebell swing can be used to give your quads and glutes a workout, much in the same way a deadlift session would. Yes, it’s different, but if you’re in a pinch, swinging a kettlebell around will help facilitate the muscle growth you’re looking for. Just make sure you’re going at it with a weighty kettlebell.
  1. Pistol squat: Finally, if you’re without barbells or dumbbells, or any other piece of equipment, you can use your own body weight to fulfill your deadlift quota. One of the best exercises for that is the pistol squat — a variant of the traditional bodyweight squat. And it’s a bit more challenging than it looks — so try it out a few times, and really work on your stance and form to get it right. Even after one or two reps, you’ll really start to feel it.

via cheatsheet.com

Jari Love – original creator of Get RIPPED! DVD series and group exercise classes. The hot-selling and critically acclaimed Get RIPPED! series enables individuals of any fitness level to burn up to three times more calories than the traditional weight-training program, and has received rave reviews from fitness critics throughout North America since the first title debuted in late 2005.

By Collage Video | | exercise, fitness, goals, Jari Love, tips, Weekly Blog, Wellness | 0 comments | Read more

Strength-Training Myths

by Jari Love

Ask any trainer the biggest mistake a woman can make when it comes to staying fit, and they’ll almost always tell you the same thing: Avoiding the weight room. Thankfully, ladies of a certain age are realizing it’s time to start lifting some serious iron. “It’s taken a long time, but women are finally beginning to embrace the powerful benefits of committed and intelligent strength training,” says Holly Perkins, author of Lift to Get Lean and creator of Women’s Strength Nation, a virtual community dedicated to raising awareness about strength training for women. “Now it’s not about being skinny — women are coming to the gym to get strong and protect their health.”

 

On average, starting in our late 20s, women lose five pounds of muscle every ten years; after menopause, that loss doubles—creating a 3 percent drop in metabolism—per decade. The end result is almost always the same: Weight gain and weakness. But the right weight workout can undo the damage, and quickly.

 

So why has it taken so long for women to discover these benefits? It all boils down to these common misconceptions. Don’t let them hold you back from discovering the anti-aging power regular weight training provides.

 

  1. It’s a guy thing

The idea that only dudes frequent the weight room is long outdated. Over 87,000 women participated in the 2015 CrossFit Games Open and more than a quarter of them were over 40. “When I started studying strength training in the 80s, most of the volunteers were men,” says Wayne Westcott, director of fitness research at Quincy College and the author of Strength Training Past 50. Now, a whopping 70 percent are women. And their average age? 55. “Women get that what’s really at stake here is their health,” says Westcott.

 

  1. It’ll turn you into a hulk

“It’s so important to get the record straight about this fear of ‘bulk,'” says Perkins. “Ninety percent of women are physiologically unable to build muscle to the degree where they would be considered ‘bulky.’ It is simply a function of estrogen and lack of testosterone; You will never build muscle like a man’s, unless you are trying to achieve that result.” Instead, you’ll create firm, feminine curves—especially if you keep the rests between sets super short. “The less you stop between exercises, the more calories you burn, creating that lean, sculpted look,” says Perkins.

 

  1. It burns fewer calories than cardio

“Women spent decades buying into the myth that if they wanted to be smaller, they needed to do endless amounts of cardio,” says Nia Shanks, a strength training specialist based in Tampa, Florida, and host of the podcast “Lift Like a Girl.” But the message is finally getting through that to really boost your resting metabolism (lab-speak for how many calories you burn all day, not just when your body’s in motion) requires picking up the weights to increase your lean mass. “The muscles of a strength trainer burn 50 percent more calories than the muscles of a runner or walker,” says Westcott. That translates to you burning an extra 100 calories per day just by staying alive; over the course of a month, you could lose as much as 1.5 pounds of fat — without dieting.

 

  1. It’s hard to regain muscle once it’s gone

While it’s true that preventing muscle loss before it starts is the best way to stay healthy and strong—and keep your metabolism rocking like it did in your 20s—it’s never too late to undo the damage. When Westcott’s team recruited 1,619 men and women aged 21 to 80 to follow a progressive strength-training program, phenomenal things happened to their bodies. “In just ten weeks, they replaced an average of three of the five pounds of muscle they had lost in the previous ten years,” explains Westcott, who published his findings in the journal The Physician and Sports Medicine in 2009.

 

  1. Light weights are all you need

When you’re just starting out, those 5-pounders can do wonders for your strength and body. But the ultimate goal is not only to increase your lean mass, but to make that muscle stronger, denser, and devoid of harmful fat—which is why regularly increasing the weight you’re lifting is so imperative. “Every time you challenge your body with a heavier weight you’re creating more microtears in the muscle,” says Perkins. “As your body repairs those tiny tears with amino-acids, your lean mass becomes stronger, tighter, and more compact.” So how much should you be lifting? “You’ll be able to tell you’ve got the weight right if your form starts to get “a wee bit sloppy” on the last two reps, says Perkins. “Once 12 reps are a breeze, it’s time to move up.” Increase in increments of 2.5 to 5 pounds for free weights, and about 5 percent (of the total weight) for machines.

 

  1. You’ll never have time to fit it in

It’s already ridiculously hard to fit in your weekly walks and runs, right? Well, the great news is that it doesn’t take a lot of resistance work to make a major difference. Two full-body strength training workouts a week have been shown to be just as good as three when it comes to increasing strength and muscle mass, says Westcott.

 

  1. You need a gym

While Perkins is on a mission to get more women into the weight room, if it’s not your thing, that’s OK. “Home-based weights workouts are a great place to start, and can help you accomplish a lot,” she says. But if you’re interested in learning to regularly increase the weight you’re lifting, remember that you have just as much right to be in the weight room as the sweaty dude next to you. “Strength training is absolutely critical to your overall health and well being,” says Perkins. “Don’t let intimidation keep you from the powerful benefits that can change your life.”

 

  1. It’s all about muscle

If promise of a stronger, fitter bod isn’t enough to get you to pick up the weights, consider that it’ll also help protect your brain. When sedentary older adults began a program that combined progressive strength training and aerobic exercise, their cognitive function improved significantly more than folks doing aerobic activity alone, according to research by psychologists at the University of Illinois. Other studies have shown that just 10 weeks of progressive strength training can reduce anxiety, fatigue and depression and boost a sense of tranquility and revitalization in older adults.

 

  1. Bodyweight exercises are just as good

So, what about yoga, Pilates, and good ol’ fashioned bodyweight moves? Westcott and other experts agree that these kinds of workouts are a good an introduction to strength training, because you do use your own body weight as resistance. “But you’ll never be able to lift more than your body weight doing these types of programs,” notes Perkins. “I want women to think bigger.”

 

  1. You’ll see results instantly

While strength training is the most effective way to shrink-wrap your body with lean, shapely muscle, like with most good things, it still doesn’t happen overnight. “If you stay consistent with a strength training program, you will see the real and accurate results after 6-8 weeks, and not before,” says Perkins. So make the commitment, and then stick with it. You’ll be glad you did.

 

via prevention.com

Jari Love – original creator of Get RIPPED! DVD series and group exercise classes. The hot-selling and critically acclaimed Get RIPPED! series enables individuals of any fitness level to burn up to three times more calories than the traditional weight-training program, and has received rave reviews from fitness critics throughout North America since the first title debuted in late 2005.

Stay in Shape While Traveling

by Jari Love

Spring is in full swing, which means so are your long-awaited vacation days. Time to travel to new locations (or visit old favorites), eat incredible food, and completely forget about working out. Wait… maybe not that last one. While neglecting a healthy lifestyle may not be on everyone’s itinerary, we’ve all been there. Keeping up your usual routine over the holidays, especially when coupling it with a vacation, is more of a challenge than the first day you move up in weights at the gym. But it doesn’t have to be! Follow these seven easy tricks for staying fit while traveling.

  1. Don’t eat out for every meal

According to a recent study conducted at the University of Illinois, when Americans eat out, they consume about 200 calories more than when they stay in for meals. Multiply that by every single meal for your entire vacation, and you’ve got a major diet-buster on the table. Of course, you want to absorb the tastes and smells of your vacation destination, but taking in the culture doesn’t need to mean taking in the calories. Instead, consider cooking a few meals at home! Head to a local grocery store (which is a cultural experience in itself) and pick out some fresh local ingredients. This can be a bit trickier if you’re staying in a hotel, so opt for an airbnb or timeshare with a kitchen for your next vacation! Your waistline will thank you.

  1. Incorporate an active activity into your itinerary

It’s difficult to stick to a consistent routine while traveling, so work some exercise into your itinerary. If you’re on a seaside vacation, go paddle boarding, surfing, or even swimming. If you’re camping, incorporate some longer hikes into your schedule. You can even try a new cultural experience for exercise: sign up for a salsa class in Spain, try yoga in India, take jiu-jitsu in Brazil, the list goes on and on. The beauty of trying any of these vacation activities is you actually tend to eat less after a workout if you considered it to be fun, according to a study from Cornell University. So not only is it a great way to pass the time, but it will also keep you fit in more ways than one!

  1. Walk with a purpose

Without a doubt, the best ways to really discover a new travel destination is on foot. By walking around a city or town, you have the opportunity to get lost, wander, and stumble across unique sights that haven’t been neatly laid out in your travel book. So why not pack a pair of comfy shoes and stay in shape while you explore!

  1. Sight-see via bicycle

Another great (and active) way to sight-see is via bicycle. Plenty of tourist destinations organize bike tours in the city, which allows you to cover way more ground in a shorter amount of time than walking. But, unlike taking a bus tour, you’re actually getting a nice workout while sightseeing. Another option is to plan a trip that centers on biking in beautiful places. Whether it’s in an international spot or any of these destinations in our own backyard, a biking trip is a great way to make sure you’re staying healthy while enjoying your travel time.

  1. Take advantage of your hotel gym

If you do decide to stay in a hotel during your travels, look into booking an accommodation with a gym. With a workout opportunity in the building, it’s pretty difficult to come up with an excuse to avoid exercise. Consider the gym as part of the cost of your hotel room. If you don’t take advantage of the hotel’s amenities, then you’re simultaneously losing money and gaining pounds. Sound like a lose-lose? Then hit that hotel gym!

  1. Discuss workout plans with a partner

One way to combat workout-neglect on vacation is via teamwork. According to Men’s Fitness, working out with a partner keeps you motivated, makes your workouts more fun, and causes you to try harder. The same rules apply on vacation! Plus, a workout partner will keep you accountable on the days you’d rather reach for a beer than a barbell. So before you even head for vacation, talk with your significant other, buddy, brother, or whoever you’re traveling with, and agree to keep each other on track!

  1. Do a little bit every day

The most difficult part about maintaining your healthy routine on a trip is that you’re simply out of your usual life routine. Since you’re removed from your comfort zone, it’s reasonable to assume you won’t workout as often or diligently as you normally would at home. So instead, focus on accomplishing a little bit every day. Whether you go surfing, biking, or for a long stroll, consider these activities as travel triumphs. According to a recent study conducted at Iowa State University, creating habits is most effectively done by using cues to trigger an activity. Use this technique on vacation! For example, every time your alarm goes off in the morning, do three sets of push-ups, squats, or any workout you can do from your hotel room. This may not meet your usual gym goals, but at least you’ll be keeping active. By the time you return home to your usual routine, you (and your body) won’t feel guilty for taking a vacation.

via cheatsheet.com

Jari Love – original creator of Get RIPPED! DVD series and group exercise classes. The hot-selling and critically acclaimed Get RIPPED! series enables individuals of any fitness level to burn up to three times more calories than the traditional weight-training program, and has received rave reviews from fitness critics throughout North America since the first title debuted in late 2005.

By Collage Video | | exercise, fitness, goals, Healthy, Jari Love, Motivation, practice, Wellness | 0 comments | Read more

Tips That Every Personal Trainer Knows

by Jari Love

They clock in wearing sports bras instead of pencil skirts. Peek in their supply closets and you’ll see kettlebells and battle ropes instead of paper clips and spare pens. And in their world, toner has nothing to do with printers and everything to do with defined upper arms and shapely glutes. Personal trainers have dedicated their professional lives to building better bodies. We called up some of the best in the biz and picked their brains for the slim-down, firm-up tricks of their trade. 

  1. You can’t just do cardio … 

Walking, running, cycling, and other heart-pumping activities have a whole host of benefits—burning calories, boosting your mood, protecting your cardiovascular system. But when it comes to weight loss, you also need to head to the other part of the gym, where the barbells and dumbbells reside, says Michelle Blakely, a trainer at Blakely Fit in Chicago. 

Like cardio, strength training burns calories while you’re doing it, but lifting also comes with benefits that last far longer, Blakely says. The more muscle mass you have, the higher your resting metabolism, which means you’ll burn more fat even when you’re just sitting on the couch. What’s more, strong muscles promote good form during your run, hike, or spin class, protecting you from injury and helping you reap bigger benefits from your sweat sessions, says Allison Hagendorf, a certified health coach with the American Council on Exercise.

 

  1. And heavier weights net you even bigger results. 

Functional body-weight moves like push-ups, squats, and lunges make everyday activities like lifting groceries or climbing stairs easier, Hagendorf says. Reaching for heavier dumbbells—those you can lift for only 8 to 15 reps—can stimulate the type of lean-mass production that truly transforms your body. “For someone who has never done weights, they may find they have a better body in their 40s than they did in their 30s when they start strength training regularly,” says Liz Neporent, a trainer and fitness expert in New York. 

Don’t fret about bulking up—unless you’re spending hours at the gym and pounding down massive quantities of protein, it just won’t happen. In fact, resistance training essentially “shrink-wraps” your body, tightening and firming you in all the right places, says Hagendorf. Your clothes will fit more loosely and you’ll look slimmer, even before the number on the scale budges. 

  1. The best workout won’t deliver without upgrades to your kitchen routine. 

They may not use corporate-speak like “synergy” and “touching base offline,” but trainers have their own sayings. Among the most popular: “You can’t out-train a bad diet,” says Samantha Clayton, a former Olympic sprinter and personal trainer in Malibu, CA. 

Your workout can complement your initial weight loss efforts and help maintain a new, slimmer physique. University of Alabama researchers recently studied women who lost 25 pounds. Those who did strength training and cardio three times per week offset the slowdown in metabolism that typically occurs after you shed pounds, staving off regain, according to the study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 

However, you’ll have to change your eating habits to see significant changes to your body in the first place. “Even if you’re doing everything right in the gym, if you aren’t eating to optimize your training, you’re never going to get the results you want,” Hagendorf says. Start with small changes—one less packet of sugar in your coffee, a side salad with your lunch. Keep that up for 2 weeks, and then pick two more minor adjustments. Eventually, you’ll build a nutritious and sustainable diet, says Liz LeFrois, a personal trainer in New York and a fitness expert on the streaming fitness site Acacia TV.

 

  1. But addition can be better than subtraction. 

Though you do have to watch what you eat, obsessive or near-starvation diets don’t work in the long run. Cutting too many calories breaks down the muscles you’re working so hard to build up, Clayton says. You may shed a few pounds at first by skipping meals or eliminating entire food groups, but the second you return to a regular eating plan, your beaten-down body and slowed metabolism actually trigger excess weight gain.

 

Focus on what to add to your diet instead of what to take away. Piling more high-quality, nutrient-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, seeds, and nuts onto your plate provides your body with the fuel to tackle your workouts while also improving your overall health, Blakely says. You’ll feel fuller on fewer calories, and over time—about 6 months, to be precise—you’ll actually rewire your brain to crave healthy foods instead of junk, according to a recent study in the journal Nutrition & Diabetes.

 

  1. In the recipe for success, fun is an essential ingredient. 

Trainers have a rep for working you so hard you puke. Not only are such extreme efforts unnecessary for weight loss, they may be counterproductive both physiologically and psychologically. If you actively dread your workouts, it’s all too easy to make excuses to skip them, says Mike Robinson, of MZR Fitness in San Luis Obispo, CA, recognized as 2015 personal trainer of the year by the IDEA Health and Fitness Association. 

Meanwhile, many pastimes that bring you joy—like gardening, hiking, or dancing—count as physical activity, too. Incorporating them into your plan means you’ll actually look forward to exercise, getting you into a regular routine and melting fat with much less effort. “Many people think exercise has to be very difficult and complicated to yield results,” Clayton says. “They are pleasantly surprised to find out that it’s balance and consistency that improves your body.” 

  1. The other 23 hours of the day count, too. 

Regardless of whether you’re sweating with a trainer or on your own, a successful weight loss program requires an all-day approach to movement, Blakely says. You might not think things like fidgeting during a meeting or tapping your toe along with the car radio could truly make a difference. A landmark study in the journal Science found otherwise, calculating that small tweaks in daily activity patterns could help heavy people torch an extra 350 calories per day.

 

The scientific term for this phenomenon is non–exercise activity thermogenesis—in other words, all the calories you burn just going about your day. So while you’re probably sick of hearing about parking farther away from the grocery store and taking the stairs instead of the escalator, trainers know their most successful clients take this type of advice to heart.

 

  1. Getting fit isn’t actually that much harder than staying heavy. 

Yes, you will have to put some work into achieving your weight loss goals. But consider all the energy you currently expend wishing you had a different body and fretting about how you don’t have the time or energy to make a change. Trainers know the true secret to changing your body is shifting your attention away from what you don’t have and toward what you can achieve. “You just have to choose which one you want to put your energy into,” says Robinson. “Firmly commit and put your mind to losing the weight and your body will follow.”

 

  1. Weight loss isn’t your true goal. 

Often, people starting a new exercise program begin because they’re unhappy with what they see in the mirror. But a good trainer will ask you to drill down deeper. “Just keeping asking yourself the question ‘Why?’ ” Blakely advises. Often, the fourth or fifth answer reveals your true motivation. 

Take Blakely’s experience: “As I get to know the client, I’ll find they’re not going on vacations with friends because they know they can’t do the hike or the excursion as comfortably as they want. Or they’re not as spontaneous as they want to be because they know that their building is under construction and it’s overwhelming that now they have to walk a certain length to get somewhere,” she says. 

Clarifying these higher-level goals—even writing them down and sticking them to your mirror or fridge—can give you the motivation to stick to your plan in the face of temptation, Hagendorf says. Plus, you can often detect progress even before you start to see big aesthetic or weight changes. “The feel is the fuel,” Blakely likes to say; if you notice you’re not as fatigued, winded, or frightened of new challenges, you’ll know you’re on the right track regardless of what the scale says.

 

via prevention.com

Jari Love – original creator of Get RIPPED! DVD series and group exercise classes. The hot-selling and critically acclaimed Get RIPPED! series enables individuals of any fitness level to burn up to three times more calories than the traditional weight-training program, and has received rave reviews from fitness critics throughout North America since the first title debuted in late 2005.

Coffee Lovers Rejoice!

by Jari Love

Ask the Diet Doctor: The Workout Benefits of Coffee

Q: Is it best to drink coffee before or after a morning workout?

A: I recommend drinking your java before a.m. exercise so you can take advantage of the shot of caffeine to optimize your workout.

Caffeine has powerful nootropic effects, meaning it manipulates neurotransmitters to alter how the brain functions. While we all think of caffeine as a stimulant, it doesn’t directly stimulate as much as it prevents or blocks the action of neurotransmitters that promote sedation and relaxation.

Your pre-workout caffeine-packed cup of coffee isn’t just going to give you the mental edge, though—it will also help you burn more fat. The exact mechanism in which caffeine works to enhance fat-burning has yet to be conclusively nailed down (as it probably works via several different mechanisms), but it primarily seems to work by increasing the breakdown and release of fat.

Now let’s get to the nitty-gritty.

What kind of coffee should I drink?

An easy way to adjust how much caffeine you consume is to change the type of coffee that you are drinking. Dark roasted coffee has less caffeine, and light roasted coffee has more. After a short night of sleep, you might want to opt for the New England or Half City roast (light roast), but most days you’ll do fine with the French roast (dark roast).

How much caffeine is enough? How much is too much?

While research shows that caffeine is extremely safe to use—you’d need to drink 130 cans of Red Bull to get a fatal dose of caffeine—caffeine tolerance is very individualized. Just because I’ve seen studies safely use upwards of 600 milligrams (mg) of caffeine to test its effects on pain perception doesn’t mean that you could pop two NoDoz with your venti Pike’s Place before you work out. Too much caffeine prior to exercise may actually decrease performance, as it can make you feel nauseous and lightheaded. I’ve personally tested multiple different dosages of caffeine before workouts and found that 300mg is the most my body can tolerate before I start to feel nauseous.

So how much coffee should I drink?

When it comes to stimulants like caffeine, less is always better, and know your body. Those new to caffeine should start with around 100mg (a shot of Starbucks espresso has 75mg).

If you’re drinking coffee for the fat-burning effects of caffeine, studies show this seems to start around 200mg. Sticking with Starbucks coffee as our delivery mechanism for caffeine, this would equal a grande Americano (225mg caffeine) or slightly less than a tall regular brewed coffee (260mg caffeine).

One downside to caffeine is that your body adapts to it overtime. Any serious coffee drinker or energy drink fiend will tell you that it progressively takes more and more caffeine for them to reap the benefits of alertness compared to what they used to need to get the same effect.

And a final piece to consider with caffeine levels in coffee is that it can be very variable. In a test of six different samples of Starbucks Breakfast Blend, the caffeine levels ranged from 259 to 564mg. This is a huge range.

But doesn’t caffeine dehydrate you?

No; this is a very common myth about caffeine. While caffeine is a diuretic (e.g. it causes increases in urination), studies looking at caffeine use in high-temperature exercise situations show that it does not lead to dehydration or subsequent decreases in performance.

By Dr. Mike Roussell

Jari Love – original creator of Get RIPPED! DVD series and group exercise classes. The hot-selling and critically acclaimed Get RIPPED! series enables individuals of any fitness level to burn up to three times more calories than the traditional weight-training program, and has received rave reviews from fitness critics throughout North America since the first title debuted in late 2005.

Reasons You Should Not Work Out Alone

by Jari Love

No matter how much you’ve made working out a part of your daily routine there are going to be days where it’s 5 a.m. and hitting the ground running is the last thing you want to do. Rest assured, even among the physically fit, you’re not alone. Having a partner to hold you accountable will make it considerably easier to overcome those groggy hurdles. But that’s not all. There’s a reason there’s burgeoning crop of apps designed with the sole purpose of helping you seek out a compatible workout partner. To find out more about the benefits of training with someone else The Cheat Sheet spoke with Ruben Belliard, co-founder of Warrior Fitness Boot Camp. 

  1. It’s more fun 

Exercising with a workout buddy is a social experience — allowing you to kill two proverbial birds with one stone. Instead of dreading going to the gym, working out will become a way of spending quality time with your significant other, a family member, a good friend, or a new career connection. Heard of #Sweatworking? It’s a thing. Studies also show that dates in which individuals join in a common activity versus exchange resumes over wine are more often successful. The extra endorphins and pheromones don’t hurt, either. 

As a whole, your workout buddy will most likely introduce you to new routines or encourage you to try a class you had never tried before, which will not only bring variety to your fitness regimen, but create a new inimitable bond between you. 

  1. It keeps you accountable

No matter how exhausted you are from the ups and downs of everyday life, you’ll show up, because someone is relying on you. Knowing that canceling will not only impact your own wellness, but that of your scheduled partner’s, will ensure you make an added effort to follow through. There will be days that you really do not want to work out. That’s inevitable. Yet, having a partner to motivate you and get you into the gym will keep you going. Make sure to choose someone who has similar fitness goals so that your commitment levels are equal. It’s been proven that having friends who are healthy makes you healthier as well. So keep your friends close, and your active friends closer! 

Prefer group classes? Sign yourself up in advance, commit to a payment plan and force yourself into a situation in which you have little to no room to back out. 

  1. You’ll have support to try new things 

Having a buddy will help provide encouragement to try different things. Attempting a new exercise is tough, but having a sidekick alongside will help nudge you to try the more adventurous, potentially intimidating, but often remarkably effective workouts — like cardio dance classes, jumping exercises, or my specialty, obstacle courses. Like they say: There’s power in numbers, and the added confidence of having a co-conspirator of sorts by your side can provide that much needed kick to try something new. 

  1. You’ll get that extra push 

Your workout buddy will inevitably keep you competitive. Friendly competition, of course — nonetheless, it will add fuel to the fire of your workout regimen. Healthy competition between two buddies can motivate you to achieve a goal you’ve never reached for before, and intensity is the fire that drives progress. It’s been found that choosing a workout partner who is fitter than you are has positive effects on your ability to improve. Whether you’re trying to edge them out, beat their previous time, lap them around the course, or get in just one more rep, competition with a worthy opponent is unquestionably a compelling motivator and a sensation that can’t be replicated while remaining solo. Just make certain that you are not pushing too far outside of your limits and staying safe. Competition can be healthy, until it’s not! 

  1. You’ll be safer 

Having someone watching your movements and correcting mistakes isn’t only necessary for progress, but it’s also important for making sure that you are progressing safely. While pushing yourself to accomplish the next rep, it’s often difficult to keep an eye on your form, but a spotter will ensure that this crucial component does not fall to the wayside. You’ll also be able to safely attempt to push yourself into that extra (and important) rep — and to the point of exhaustion — without worrying that your muscles will give out and that you’ll risk injury. Your buddy will be there for you if something goes wrong and you need assistance. At the risk of being cliché, as in most things, when working out, it’s better to be safe than sorry. 

via cheatsheet.com

 

Jari Love – original creator of Get RIPPED! DVD series and group exercise classes. The hot-selling and critically acclaimed Get RIPPED! series enables individuals of any fitness level to burn up to three times more calories than the traditional weight-training program, and has received rave reviews from fitness critics throughout North America since the first title debuted in late 2005.

When to Eat When Trying to Lose Weight

by Jari Love

Group fitness class members ask me all the time when the best time to eat is to lose weight. Can I eat after 8? Oprah says I shouldn’t, but what does research say. Should I eat a big breakfast and little dinner? Should I eat 5-6 meals a day, or 1? So many questions out there on when the best time to eat to lose weight. This article does a pretty good job at answering those questions. 

We have all heard the age-old advice to eat less and exercise more to lose weight. But a number of recent studies suggest that the key to dieting success is not just in how many calories you eat, or don’t, but in when you eat them. 

“There has been so much energy on what we eat and on carbohydrates and it’s only very recently that there have been studies to say that we have been ignoring timing and timing might be as important,” said Ruth Patterson, professor of family medicine and public health at the University of California, San Diego. 

However, the study was done in mice, and it is unclear whether people could benefit from limiting their hours of eating. “The really strong evidence is in rodent studies mostly where [timing calories] is a huge powerful predictor of overall metabolic health and chronic disease prevention,” Patterson said. 

Studies are starting to trickle in suggesting that fasting, as well as other strategies such as eating the bulk of your daily calories early in the day, could pay off in terms of weight loss. 

“If you are interested in modest weight loss over time or better metabolic health, then this could be the way to go, [but] if you really want to lose a lot of weight fast then you’re still going to have to cut way back on what you eat overall,” Patterson said. 

Cut out Midnight Snacks 

Patterson and her colleagues are carrying out some of the first work to see whether the benefit of fasting that was reported in rodent studies holds true in people. So far, they have found in a large cohort study that women who reported going more hours at night without eating have better control of blood sugar levels. 

Although it is only a guess at this point, Patterson believes that it would improve weight loss if we did away with eating between about 8 at night to about 8 in the morning. She and her colleagues are doing a pilot study to test this schedule in a small group of older women. It is too soon to say how it affects weight loss and overall daily calorie intake, but Patterson said that the women report that the schedule is simpler to follow than the usual dieting strategy of counting calories. 

“We think that nighttime fasting is a feasible lifestyle [while] something like diet is not,” Patterson said. Other fasting methods, such as severely cutting calories two days a week to only a few hundred, known as 5-2 fasting, may be less feasible, she said. 

Early to Dine 

A couple of recent studies suggest that eating the bulk of calories in the first part of the day could lead to greater weight loss. One study of a weight loss intervention in Spain found that adults who ate their largest meal of the day before 3 p.m. lost more weight over a 20-week period than those who ate their largest meal after 3 p.m. 

The benefit of frontloading calories seems to stem from the fact that we are programed to burn more energy at the beginning of the day. A region of our brain acts like our body’s internal clock and sets our circadian rhythms; it controls the activity level of the tissues in our body and also seems to make us metabolize meals in the first part of the day better than meals later in the day, said Frank Scheer, director of the medical chronobiology program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and one of the authors of the study in Spain. 

“We need more research, but to me, you can try [frontloading calories] if you don’t have any medical issues,” said Joan Salge Blake, clinical associate professor of nutrition at Boston University. People who have diabetes or hypoglycemia and need a more steady supply of glucose might not be good candidates for this strategy.+ 

Nibbling or Pigging Out? 

A study of just seven men way back in 1989 propped up the long-held belief that many smaller meals throughout the day trump three big ones. It found that men who ate 17 snacks a day had lower levels of cholesterol than those who ate the same diet concentrated into three meals. 

The jury is still out on the effect of noshing instead of gorging on weight loss, and one recent study found that two large meals a day were better for weight loss than six smaller ones, at least in diabetics. There have not been many studies on the topic because there is so much focus instead on the types of calories you eat, Blake said. A new study is underway that will compare the effects of three and six meals a day on appetite as well as markers of heart disease risk. 

“I think there could be a benefit to weight loss if you break up the meals, as long as the calories are controlled, [because] you are less likely to be starving and eat everything in front of you,” Blake said. 

Breakfast, Not Most Important Meal of Day 

Despite what your mom told you, breakfast might not be the most important meal of the day. A study of college students found that skipping a meal, whether breakfast or lunch, did not lead the students to eat more later in the day compared with the students who did not go hungry. As a result, the meal skippers ate fewer calories overall. 

“I’m a strong believer, our data and others’ suggest it, that humans do not accurately compensate for calories, which means that if you skip a meal or eat less, you’re not going to eat more on subsequent occasions. That’s a good sign,” said David Levitsky, a professor of nutritional sciences and psychology at Cornell University and co-author of the study. 

If you are thinking of skipping breakfast, make sure that you still get enough nutrients from the other meals, Levitsky said. Most Americans get the bulk of their fiber from cereal, which could be problematic for those banishing breakfast, he added. 

However, Patterson warned, it might not be worth skipping breakfast, even if it does help keep your total calorie intake down. 

“In kids, we know breakfast really affects academic performance, and you would think perhaps the same thing would apply to adults,” she said. 

Jari Love – original creator of Get RIPPED! DVD series and group exercise classes. The hot-selling and critically acclaimed Get RIPPED! series enables individuals of any fitness level to burn up to three times more calories than the traditional weight-training program, and has received rave reviews from fitness critics throughout North America since the first title debuted in late 2005.

Mistakes Stopping You From Building Muscle

by Jari Love

Sometimes it seems like you’re doing everything you can to eat right and stick to your training program, but that tape measure around your biceps just doesn’t want to budge. You’ve reached the dreaded plateau. Nearly every athlete goes through this type of training blockade at some point, and it can be seriously frustrating. You obviously don’t want to throw in the towel, but overdoing it could leave you susceptible to injury. If lifting doesn’t seem to be getting you anywhere, you might be making some huge errors that you haven’t considered. Avoid these five mistakes, and you’ll be back on track before you know it. 

  1. Not eating enough of the right foods

Sticking to carrot sticks might seem like a good way to lose the pudge and pack on muscle, but restricting your diet too much is one of the worst things you can do. Men’s Fitness said muscle growth isn’t possible without a calorie surplus. The article went on to explain that insufficient food intake forces your body into starvation mode, which causes you to shed muscle and store fat. And if you just hit the gym, you need to feed those ailing muscles as soon as you can. According to Men’s Health, eating shortly after exercise helps repair muscles. Skipping that post-workout meal could cause your muscles to break down, so pack a snack or recovery drink. 

Don’t kid yourself into thinking you can eat whatever you want, though. Even the most intense exercise regimen won’t make up for a crappy diet. About Health said eating too many refined carbohydrates and high-fat foods will keep you from achieving your ideal physique. And don’t forget about protein — BuiltLean said every individual is a bit different, but men interested in losing weight should try to eat their desired body weight in grams of protein. If you’re looking to lose weight to get to 190 pounds, that means you’ll want to aim for 190 grams of protein. If you’re trying to gain weight, you’ll want to increase the amount a bit. 

  1. Always sticking to the same routine

Many guys in the gym always head for the same weights, do the same number of sets, in the same order every single time they work out. It might be easier on your mind, but it’s also easier on your muscles. If you want to see improvements, you’ll need to step away from the arm curls occasionally. Muscle & Strength explained the body adapts to stress, so it no longer sees the need to grow once it’s used to a certain level of exertion. Thankfully, it’s pretty easy to work past this plateau once you recognize the problem. Muscle & Fitness recommended changing your order, switching exercises, increasing weight, or doing more repetitions. You don’t need to develop a new routine for every session, but expect to alter your workout every 4 weeks or so. 

Changing your routine will also keep you from getting bored. According to Men’s Fitness, you’ll struggle to make gains if your workouts aren’t interesting anymore. That might mean trying something you’ve never done before, which could seem a little bit intimidating. Instead of shying away from something because you’re afraid you won’t be any good, Outside Online says to embrace the challenge. Incorporating new moves will help prevent muscle imbalances that can lead to injuries. 

  1. Screwing up sets

Even if you’re trying your hardest for every lift, you aren’t going to see results if you’re taking a 10-minute break between each set. Besides, you don’t want to be the obnoxious guy who hogs the same bench for an hour while swiping through photos on Tinder. Muscle & Fitness reported one study found people who rested less than 1 minute between sets actually burned up to 50% more calories than those who rested for 3 minutes. 

The number of sets, as well as repetitions, you complete also has a huge impact on your ability to grow muscle. Bodybuilding.com said you should be aiming for 12 to 20 sets of eight to 15 repetitions for areas where you’re trying to see growth, but you can get by with less for muscle groups where you aren’t looking to build as much. And while your ego might tempt you to pile on the weight, it’s not the best idea. SimplyShredded.com said you’ll see more gains if you stick with something managable, maintain good form, and go for more repetitions. 

  1. Not getting enough rest

Inadequate sleep can lead to all sorts of health problems, like heart disease and diabetes. It could also be the culprit behind your fitness plateau. Men’s Health said getting enough sleep is crucial, because it’s the best way to help your ailing muscles recover from lifting sessions. The article also said that constant exhaustion can make you feel like you’re working out harder than you actually are. If you find yourself tossing and turning at night, make sure you’re doing everything you can to wind down. The Huffington Post suggested reducing the amount of caffeine you consume in the afternoon and shutting off all electronics at least an hour before you turn in. 

Sleep isn’t the only type of rest you should consider, because you can still be overdoing it while getting plenty of shut-eye. If you’re hitting the gym for hours every single day, that’s just too much. MuscleMag said no one should be lifting more than 2 to 3 days in a row without taking a day off. For folks who have hit a serious wall, taking a little break will do a world of good. 

  1. Overdoing cardio

Any good fitness routine involves a combination of cardio and strength training. Figuring out the proper balance is the hard part. Men looking to build muscle can completely derail their efforts if they’re spending too much time on the treadmill. Men’s Fitness revealed going overboard on cardio sessions depletes your cumulative calories, which are necessary for muscle growth. It’s especially problematic if you’re exercising on an empty stomach. The article went on to say this will force your body to burn muscle as fuel. 

So how much is too much? It really depends on the individual. Born Fitness suggested keeping it to three or four sessions, lasting between 30 and 40 minutes. If you prefer high-intensity intervals, stick with two to three sessions. Even with these guidelines, though, you may have to adjust depending on how your body reacts.

Jari Love – original creator of Get RIPPED! DVD series and group exercise classes. The hot-selling and critically acclaimed Get RIPPED! series enables individuals of any fitness level to burn up to three times more calories than the traditional weight-training program, and has received rave reviews from fitness critics throughout North America since the first title debuted in late 2005.

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