Healthy Byte: Can’t Out Gym Poor Eating Choices

Aside from those who has youth on their side or are the lucky few to be genetically programmed to repel fat, the above statement holds true for most. And it is perhaps the most difficult hard truth to accept and implement. The assumption of exercise negates everything & anything one consume is folly. Below is an excerpt from an expert explaining why it is folly:

But what many people don’t realize is that it’s much easier to cut excess calories from your diet than it is to burn them off with extra activity, says Natalie Digate Muth, MD, RDN, senior adviser for health-care solutions for the American Council on Exercise. Take a 20-ounce bottle of Coca-Cola, for example. It may only take a few minutes to guzzle those 240 calories, but you’d have to walk or run nearly 2½ miles to burn them off.

So unless you’re a professional athlete, you’re probably not exercising enough to cancel out an all-you-can-eat diet.


Still not a believer? Here’s more expert explanation:

Narula said that because of misconceptions about weight loss, people often overeat and assume that they can burn off the excess calories at the gym. But “it’s easier to take out the calories than to try and burn them off,” she said. For example, for an individual with a daily caloric intake of 3,500 to drop a pound of fat, it would take one and a half times as long to lose weight through exercise burning 200 calories per day than through cutting 500 calories a day from their diet.

“That’s either an hour or an hour and a half at the gym on the treadmill, on the rowing machine; or it’s cutting out a couple sodas, a bagel with cream cheese, a cupcake,” Narula said.


The bottom line is, unless you are Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson who’s job is to stay fit and gets paid to invest hours a day at the gym, for most of us everyday folks there simply isn’t enough hours in the day to out exercise poor eating choices.


2016 1-29

As Albert Einstein definitely said, “For every cheeseburger ingested, an equal and opposite cheeseburger must occur somewhere.” What Einstein knew intuitively was that diet matters; what goes in must go out, or else it will turn into love handles. That’s just science.

So we decided to look at the number of calories in 13 commonly consumed foods and drinks, and evaluate how many steps (and miles) it would take to walk off those calories. We used an average of 2,000 steps for a mile, and about 89 calories burned per mile walked. No, these are not perfect measurements; yes, these estimates will depend on your height, weight, gender, atmospheric conditions, etc.

Next time you’re thinking of grabbing an on-the-go meal, better make sure your boots were made for walking.

Credit: Nina Gonzales/Thrillist

Credit: Nina Gonzales/Thrillist

Credit: Nina Gonzales/Thrillist

Credit: Nina Gonzales/Thrillist

Credit: Nina Gonzales/Thrillist

Credit: Nina Gonzales/Thrillist

Credit: Nina Gonzales/Thrillist


Originally Posted HERE

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Healthy Byte: Day 1120

I apologize for my absence in posting these but life as it is has been dominating my every waking moment. And when it’s not I rejuvenate at the gym so that I refrain from committing a felony (I kid) … (sorta) … (no, seriously just kidding) … (kinda).

Anywho I thought I’d take this opportunity to share my top NSVs 1120 days in:

NSV #1 – After 3 plus years of reducing my sugar intake I can proudly & finally say that I 100% free from drinking added sugar regularly.

Remember this? IMAG2622

Over the weekend I was finally able to bid farewell my psychological spoonful of sugar in my tea (the smallest one “DASH”) . I now drink tea with just a dash of organic skim milk and am proud to say that I do not drink any additional sugar. YAY!

NSV #2 – Remember this? Hanging leg raises – hardcore abs burner. 

What I managed …   

The first time I tried a hanging leg raise I just hung there … like grandma underwear on the clothes line.  Not only did I not have the physical strength to do anything without risking falling but I was also too afraid to move for fear of failling. SO I literally started the hanging leg lifts by hanging there … like an idiot. I was SO embarrassed that I actually took it out of my routine until I felt stronger. A few months later when I tried it again I was pleasantly surprised with my watered down version: It’s a far cry from the full version but it is a mark improvement from just imitating laundry, no? 

NSV #3 – I am finally loosening my death grip on that little number on the scale because my focus has changed. I will still weigh in every 4-6 weeks but my focus now is more on increase muscle. Parting ways emotionally with the scale has been & remains one of my biggest hurdles in maintenance because for over 3 years now weight has been my one & only marker for progress / continued success. And although it has served me well, in maintenance I have found it to be more of a nuisance and not all that helpful in some cases.

SO for now I will be focusing more on the tape measure and this little guy   (body fat pincher). I am chosing to focus on building muscles (not bulking) because unfortunately muscle deterioration is a part of aging. However it is not an inevitable phenomena which cannot be undone. On the contrary science has shown that at the very minimum the erosion can be halted if not somewhat reversed. As I have mentioned many times before, I think many are still stuck on the thought that “strength training” = “weight lifting / bodybuilding” and it does not. There are a multitude of ways to strength train, from isometric holds, to body weight (resistance), to yes, outright weight lifting. The choice is largely dependent on the individual goals, time, and lifestyle. So I think of my choices as this: I can either continue to decrease my caloric intake to compensate for less muscles to burn calories with OR I can maintain or increase the muscles I have in order to maximize the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. I choose the ladder.  I will still do my BBWOB resistance cardio but I will continue incorporate additional body weight strength training in order to continue to transition away from ‘weight’ as holy grail of continued success.


Some articles on the benefits / importance of strength training: HERE , HERE , or HERE


Some sample strength training routines to get you started:

Isometric Holds

Body Weight


Weight Lifting

Healthy Byte: Man Boobs

All Photo Courtesy of Getty Images

Man boobs can creep up on anyone. Although usually a direct result of carrying excess body fat, they can also happen when your testosterone levels dip too low and your estrogen levels get too high, a medical condition called gynecomastia. That’s why even lean guys can get big breasts. In most cases, though, these two causes aren’t mutually exclusive. “Excess adipose fat produces aromatase, an enzyme that converts testosterone to the female hormone estradiol, which can cause man boobs to form,” says Pete McCall, a personal trainer and spokesman for the American Council on Exercise.

Regardless of why you have man boobs, the best way to get rid of them is through exercise and other lifestyle changes — not with Low-T drugs. “One reason we see so many ads for testosterone-replacement gels and creams is it’s much easier to use one of these products than to do the work,” says McCall. But given all of the negative health effects linked to Low T drugs — namely increased risk of blood clots, heart attack, and stroke — try these eight natural solutions instead.

Get moving.

If you’re not currently getting intense cardiovascular exercise at least three days a week, that’s the very first thing you must change. Once you’ve committed to regular running, cycling, or any other type of cardio, McCall says you should start losing flab all over, which will also help shrink your doughy chest.

Ramp up your workouts.

If you’re already hitting the gym yet you’re still sporting boobs, crank up the intensity of your workouts. “So many guys get too busy and only go to the gym just a few days a week, doing the same routine every time without really pushing themselves,” McCall says. “You need to go hard — to the point of fatigue, to where you’re out of breath. That will signal to your body that it needs to produce more testosterone to help repair muscles.” Generating more testosterone, in turn, will get your hormonal balance back where it should be to help zap those man boobs. McCall recommends interval training such as alternating sprinting and jogging on the treadmill or taking a challenging cycling class.

Hit the pool.

Any kind of intense cardio can help, but swimming can be particularly good for guys with man boobs because it’s more of a total-body workout than, say, using the StairMaster. “Any time you can get all of your muscle mass involved with an exercise, the total amount of energy you burn goes way up,” McCall explains. He says the breast stroke and freestyle can be especially effective.

Lift more, lift longer.

McCall says strength training also generates testosterone to help with your boob situation. If you already lift, chances are you’re not hoisting heavy enough weights or going until you can’t possibly do one more rep. “Break out of your normal routine by increasing the amount of weight you lift each time and not stopping until you’re fatigued,” McCall says. “This will cause more damage to your muscles and tell your body it needs more testosterone to help with repair.”

Get off the bench.

Rather than bench presses or other lifting exercises for which you lay or sit down, McCall recommends standing workouts with heavier weights, such as barbell squats, deadlifts, and bent-over barbell rows. When you stand, you recruit more muscles throughout your body to help hold you up, which will produce more testosterone. McCall says this is the main reason why CrossFit devotees are so ripped.

Do pushups.

McCall also suggests push-ups for whittling away man boobs because they too involve many muscles and require you to support your own body weight. He says using a TRX or other suspension device to do these will engage even more chest muscles than doing push-ups on the floor. Change up your grip pattern — a wider grip will target more of your chest fibers while a narrower grip will hit the triceps and shoulders.

Try a standing cable fly.

This exercise targets the pectoral muscles specifically. Stretch out your arms to either side, grab the stirrups or handles on a cable, bend forward slightly, and squeeze your hands together toward the middle of your chest. You can also try an alternate-arm cable fly. “Hold your right arm straight out in front of you and slowly draw your left arm out to the side and back to the middle, then switch arms,” says McCall. “Be sure to go slow with each movement because that’ll keep the muscle under tension for longer and signal more repair to that site.”

Get more sleep.

“We produce testosterone when we sleep, so if you’re consistently stressed out and getting only five hours, like many men do, your body won’t make enough testosterone,” McCall says. Make sure you’re taking time to de-stress in the evenings, minding your booze intake, and laying off the caffeine after noon so you can get ample good-quality slumber.

Originally Posted HERE

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Healthy Byte: Increase Strength without Moving a Muscle

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Some fitness trends make it seem like in order to get in shape, you have to bounce around like crazy, throw tires into the air, or leave a pool of sweat on the ground after every workout. But believe it or not, you can build serious strength—without even moving a muscle.

It’s called isometrics. In these exercises, your muscles tense up, but don’t actually move. Say what? Imagine pressing your hands together in a prayer position as hard as you can for 10 seconds. You’ll feel tension in your chest and arms, yet your arms didn’t move at all. There—you just did an isometric exercise. Holding a plank is another example you’re likely familiar with. And if you’ve ever taken a barre class, you know how hard it can be to simply hold still while your muscles are contracted.

In positions like these, the muscle fibers are activated but since there are equal forces against each other, there is no movement. (Compare this to picking up a 20-pound dumbbell to do biceps curls—the force of the weight pushing down is less than the force you are using to lift the weight up.)

With isometrics, you can take a break from jumping on boxes, lifting heavy weights, or doing endless crunches (your lower back will thank you). And the best part? Isometric exercises have been found to helptake off inches around your waist, increase overall strength, and even decrease high blood pressure.

Besides that, you don’t need any equipment, and they’re actually fun! So if you’re looking to take a break from yet another set of heavy lifting, chill out and stay home. Be sure to follow these four tips to get the most out of the isometrics workout below.

1. Squeeze it—real good.

Since you’re not relying on movement to fatigue your muscles, you’ve got to squeeze them hard. The technical term for this is “maximal voluntary contraction,” which means you should tighten up your muscles as much as you can.

Yet when doing isometrics, you don’t need to give 100 percent of your maximum effort each time. Research shows that benefits can occur at about 60 to 80 percent of your max effort. Isn’t that a relief for anyone sick of hearing “go beastmode!” before every set?

2. Take a deep breath.

When doing isometric exercises, the natural tendency is to forget to breathe. Tightening up your muscles can also lead to tightening up your breathing, but don’t do it. You’ll get red in the face and scare your roommate.

Breathing should be done from the lower belly, which should get bigger when you breathe in. Try it: Place your left thumb in your belly button and rest your left palm over your lower belly. Now place your right hand over your left hand. Close your eyes and breathe deeply. Feel your hands rising and falling. Inhale for 5 counts and exhale for 5 counts. That’s the type of breathing you should be doing during your isometric exercises.

3. Assume the position.

Form is very important in isometric exercises. You hear trainers talk about proper form all the time, since poor form can lead to injury. Say you’re bench pressing 100 pounds with poor form—the extra weight could cause damage to your shoulders or low back.

In isometrics, you don’t have a ton of weight pushing against you so it’s difficult to get injured, but positioning is still important. Research has shown that varying the angles when doing isometrics increases muscle strength. If you only do the same posture over and over again, you’ll not only look like a human statue, you will also be limiting the benefits you receive. So switch it up. For example: When you place your arm in a 90-degree angle and tense up, you’re strengthening the biceps muscle at one length. Try also positioning your arm at a 120-degree or 45-degree angle.

4. Mix it up.

It’s the million-dollar question: Should you throw out your running shoes and let the dog start chewing on your resistance bands in favor of only isometric exercises? No way. Isometrics are another tool you can add to your toolbox to help you live a healthier, more energetic, and fitter life.

To achieve optimal health, various exercises should be used to achieve various goals. For example, aerobics are better than isometrics for improving cardiovascular health. And if you’re looking for bigger muscles, you won’t want to do isometrics exclusively. Lifting progressively heavier weights is one of the best approaches to building massive size and hypertrophy.

Ready to get started? Below are seven of my favorite isometric exercises that’ll work the entire body.

1. Bent-Over Press Against Wall

  • Common mistake: forgetting to breathe
  • Muscles worked: shoulders

2. Prayer Pose

  • Common mistake: Raising your shoulders while you push can cause unnecessary strain on your shoulders.
  • Muscles worked: chest

3. High Plank

  • Common mistake: keeping your butt too high or too low during the movement
  • Muscles worked: core, back

4. Self Arm Wrestling

  • Common mistake: tensing your shoulders
  • Muscles worked: biceps and triceps

5. Triceps Extension Against Wall

  • Common mistake: tensing shoulders and not breathing deeply enough
  • Muscles worked: triceps

6. Forearm Plank

  • Common mistake: letting your butt fall down or hiking your butt too high in the air; your shoulders, hips, knees and ankles should be in line
  • Muscles worked: abs

7. Low Squat

  • Common mistake: not sitting back far enough (try not to allow your knees to go over your toes)
  • Muscles worked: glutes, quads, adductors

The Total-Body Isometric Workout

Perform 3 reps of each exercise below, contracting for 10 seconds in each rep. If your goal is fat loss, use less force (60 to 70 percent of your max contraction) and take short rest periods between (20 to 30 seconds). If you’re doing it for strength and muscle growth, you should use more force (80 to 90 percent of your max contraction) and take longer rest periods between sets (45 to 60 seconds).

  • Bent-Over Press Against Wall
  • Prayer Pose
  • High Plank
  • Self Arm Wrestling (each side)
  • Triceps Extension Against Wall
  • Low Plank
  • Low Squat

This is a great routine you can add as a finisher or even as a short full-body workout you do in the morning before you head to work.

Originally Posted HERE

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