I remember exercise classes that had us stretching beforehand, it didn’t feel good then, and, later that idea was scrapped because stretching a cold muscle can pull that muscle. Now, we’re told we shouldn’t stretch after a workout either. What? Apparently, stretching after a hard workout can make it harder to recover. The thought process is that stretching limits blood flow to the muscles you just worked. Per William A. Sands, Ph.D., a certified strength and conditioning specialist and sport technologist “…by limiting blood flow to and from your muscles, you limit the muscles’ ability to rid themselves of inflammatory byproducts and get their pH levels back to where they need to be to recover…you deprive the muscles of oxygen…” (1).
My body tightens up when I hold a stretch for more than a few seconds, which is the opposite of what I want. Instead of static stretches, where you hold the stretch for up to 30 seconds, I opt for dynamic stretches, whereby I move in and out of the stretch. This method seems to improve my flexibility.
If you want another cool down option, what we should do, and what I’ve been doing for years, is a 5-15 minute light cardio session after weight training (1). A lot of people hate cardio, and I’m right there with you, so I set a timer that counts down, which forces me to put in the time.
- Source: Fetters, Aleisha. “The Science Behind Skipping Your Post-Workout Stretch. Blog Post Type. My Fitness Pal Blog. My Fitness Pal. 14, Sept. 2017. Received: 7, Oct. 2017. Retrieved from: http://blog.myfitnesspal.com/science-behind-skipping-post-workout-stretch/?utm_source=mfp&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=MFP_Newsletter_Workouts_20171007_Control_onespotcontrol&os_ehash=55@sfmc:34164020
You’ve probably seen all sorts of ab-targeted exercises that promise to flatten the stomach or get rid of belly-fat. If you’ve done them, you know they don’t work. Ab exercises are great for strengthening the abdominal muscles so don’t avoid them.
The only way to reduce belly fat is to burn more calories. One exercise that burns a lot of calories is squats. The reason is that it’s extremely aerobic, and it builds muscle. Your legs burn more calories than any other body part, and when you’re building muscle, you burn calories during the workout, AND even afterwards. You will burn more calories doing squats than running, because squats elevate your heart rate during the exercise, and boots your metabolism because the calorie burning continues after the workout since your body is repairing and building more muscle. For best results, do various forms of squats, three sets of 15 reps, twice a week.
This video shows how to do front-weighted squats: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q517BMjOln0
This next video shows how to do plie squats. The calf-raise is for an additional challenge: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pQa6cSZ_DSo
This video shows proper form when squatting: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ngWm9qQ7dv4
I’ve overheard many conversations about nutrition, exercise, vitamins, supplements, and diet, where one person acts like they are an expert, when they aren’t, and tells the other person what they should and shouldn’t do. Just because your friend may benefit from a supplement, may not mean you will. If you are deficient in a supplement, then that supplement might help you. But, if you don’t need that vitamin, it can harm you.
I’ve seen gym rats brag about how much weight they lost, and encourage everyone to do exactly what they are doing. They end up with sluggish metabolisms and excessive weight gain (but they won’t tell you the bad stuff, or maybe, they haven’t had any bad experiences, yet!).
When I started my weight loss journey, everyone told me to do cardio. Lots of cardiovascular exercise may work wonders on body fat, but only if you’re already very heavy, and didn’t exercise much before. What works for one person, may backfire on another. I didn’t lose any body fat with excess cardio; all I lost was muscle.
The lesson here is, if someone gives you advice, even if it’s from your doctor, do your research to make sure it’s good advice for you!
Photo: That burger and fried onion rings CAN TOTALLY set you back on losing weight. Don’t listen to friends who say one cheat meal doesn’t matter, it does!
P.S. My nutrition and diet book has scientifically-proven steps on what works to lose body fat safely, while improving health. I’ve even included my own diet plan that you can customize to fit your lifestyle. To learn more, go to http://www.thehighfivediet.com
Cryotherapy is the new big, and expensive, trend in the fitness world. People pay high dollars in hopes of losing body fat, or expediting healing from injures, even though there is no proof that there is any benefit. The process includes wearing a bathing suit and walking into a chamber in, kind of like a large walk-in bathtub, where you are subjected to sub-freezing temperatures for a few minutes. That didn’t sound safe to me, and it’s not. One person died, other people have ended up with frostbite, and/or freezer burns.
The reason these quick-fix trends become so huge is that the media shows unrealistic results of before and after weight-loss photos, over and over again. This makes people feel that if they don’t lose body fat as fast, they need to resort to something more drastic. Weight loss and muscle gains are a really slow process; that’s reality. Also remember that many photos are touched up, the models are starving themselves and are sucking their stomachs in, and are probably taking some sort of powder that’s not regulated and causes metabolic damage.
If you don’t have proper range of motion, and/or your muscles are tight, you’re going to be in pain, which is your body’s way of asking for help. These exercises increase range of motion, release tight biceps, tight glutes and calves and tight arches.
These exercises are not fun if you have frozen shoulder, or plantar fasciitis, or tight fascia, but they do help release tension and reduce pain (after you’re done). Do them every day, until the pain is gone, and range of motion is back to normal. You might have to do these exercises every now and then for maintenance.
Painful joints, knee pain, upset stomach, and many other problems can stem from diet. For nutritional information that’s not widely known in an easy-to-read format that’s fun to read, go to http://www.thehighfivediet.com
When people tell me they don’t eat bananas because it’s a fruit that contains fructose, and is high in carbs, it’s frustrating. Only fructose with the fiber removed, or in it’s synthetic form, is bad. In regards to avoiding bananas because it’s high in carbs, it’s not. A large banana has 30 grams of carbs. A plate of pasta at your favorite restaurant, with their oversized portions, typically has over 75 grams of carbs. I used to think bagels were healthy, but they’re really a low-nutrient junk food made with flour, sugar and salt. Brueggar’s rye bagel has 59 grams of carbs.
Smoothies can be low-carb or high-carb, depending on who is making it. Smoothie King’s large strawberry smoothie has a whopping 112 grams of carbs. That large banana has 30 grams of carbohydrates, fiber, and potassium. Most people don’t consume enough potassium, which is a vital nutrient that “…helps your body excrete sodium,” and lowers blood pressure (1). Eat bananas because of the potassium (they are also filling).
If you don’t consume enough nutrients, don’t swallow vitamins; there’s no scientific proof that vitamins help; eat more fruits and veggies. Other healthy sources of potassium are acorn squash, cooked spinach, salmon, white beans, plain low-fat yogurt, cantaloupe, sweet potato, avocados, and pistachios (1). Don’t eat one, eat them all!
I love roasted acorn squash. Spinach sautéed with olive oil, chopped garlic and white beans is delicious. Slice sweet potatoes, with the skin on, into thin fries, toss with a little coconut oil and bake them at 425 for about 40 minutes…amazing! Toss some yogurt into your banana smoothie, it makes it thicker. I don’t like avocados, but give me guacamole anytime! So pack on the potassium with these foods to reduce sodium and bloating, and to get the nutrients your body needs and craves.
- “Why you need plenty of potassium.” Consumer Reports, On Health. Sept. 2017. Page 6. Print.
Losing weight is frustrating when the pounds just don’t seem to come off fast enough. If you’ve reduced your caloric intake by 400 a day, it will take a little over a week to lose one measly pound, and that’s if you’re being consistent every day! You don’t want to drop your calories too low because your metabolism will plummet, which means your body will be burning even fewer calories.
If you’re already not eating a lot, and need to lose ten pounds, and are reducing your daily calories by 200, it will take you approximately 175 days (about 6 months) to lose 10 pounds. Ugh! The point is not to bum you out, but to reiterate that losing weight is a process that takes time. Cheating, binging, overeating…whatever you want to call it, is just going to set you back, so remember to stay on track. If you can add more exercise to your daily regimen, those excess pounds won’t take as long to shed.
Looking for healthy, dairy-free, yummy recipes and helpful tips that will aid in fat-loss? Go to http://www.thehighfivediet.com
Photo: Me at the beach
Before I had my tonsils removed I told the doctor that I’m allergic to dairy so I couldn’t eat ice cream. He told me they no longer give people ice cream after a tonsillectomy because dairy ice cream causes mucous. Think about it this way, if a food makes our bodies produce mucous after eating it, it’s telling us it’s not something we should be consuming…ever! When you’re sick, your body is fighting bacteria or a virus, and mucus is created to get rid of it.
Still not convinced? Have you noticed how many people have to take a lactase pill to prevent severe stomach pain from drinking milk or eating ice cream? That’s because people weren’t meant to consume lactose, which is the naturally occurring sugar in milk. There’s also people like me, whose bodies react violently, medically termed anaphylaxis, after consuming dairy. For those severely allergic to dairy, the body treats dairy like the poison it is, trying to get rid of it immediately.
“Dairy can contain dioxins” “…which are linked to lymphoma” (160-161), and “iodine-containing antiseptic chemicals, used to disinfect the cow’s teats to prevent mastitis” (409). Dairy products also increase uric acid, which ups the likelihood of gout or kidney stones (171); which is why doctors tell people who get kidney stones to stop drinking milk.
Milk contains a lot of natural estrogen (213), and yet, people have stayed away from tofu because it’s thought to increase human estrogen! Estrogen from outside sources (not made within our own bodies), increases tumors and cancer risk.
The claim that dairy is good source of protein is just not true. It only has 8 grams of protein for one serving. What dairy is, it’s a good source of inflammation from natural sugar found in milk, called lactose, and dairy is “…the number-one source of saturated fat” (260). And it’s the really bad fat…trans fat (261).
Dairy doesn’t help our bones either, it actually makes them more prone to fractures (214). I get my calcium in pill form and from green, leafy vegetables (260). Even if I wasn’t allergic to milk protein, I’d still stay far away from dairy.
Want lots of dairy-free recipes and to learn how to remove dairy from your diet altogether? Then check out my easy-to-read book that has over 40 yummy dairy-free recipes from www.thehighfivediet.com
Source: Greger, M.D., Michael. How Not to Die. Book. New York: Flatiron Books. 2015 pgs. 160-161, 409, 171, 213, 260, 261, 214
Photo: It’s best not to drink your calories, unless it’s a smoothie, but sugar-free, organic almond milk (they might change the name to “beverage” instead of milk), is a good alternative to dairy milk.