Is It Really Possible To Get A Flat Stomach?

A six-pack, great abs, a flat tummy are all the same and something almost everyone envies. After all, it’s easy to bulge out your belly, but no matter how hard you try, if you’re not in shape, no matter how hard you suck in your tummy, you’ll never get a flat stomach. It’s not magic and there’s no quick fix. Achieving a flat stomach takes work and dedication.

There’s no such thing as spot reducing.

If you could really exercise away only certain troubled areas, everyone would have the body they want with minimum effort. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. If you have excess pounds in the form of fat, then you have to lose it. No matter what you do, you can’t dictate exactly where those pounds are going to be lost. In fact, your body dictates that. Most of the excess weight will be lost evenly on your body, but there are some pesky pounds that are reluctant to leave called visceral fat. Where is it located? You guessed it! Right around the middle.

Visceral fat is the most dangerous type of fat.

Visceral fat lands in the belly area and hangs on for dear life despite your efforts to rid yourself of it. It crowds the organs and makes you more susceptible to serious conditions like heart disease and diabetes. There’s good news on the horizon, however. You can get rid of it, it’s a wee bit tougher than normal fat. When you’re working on weight loss, cut out sugar and sugary drinks like cola that add to the problem. Even diet cola can be an offender. Eat more protein, cut the carbs (like bread and pasta–stick with veggies and fruit) and get plenty of fiber (that’s where veggies and fruit fit in).

Bring out the big guns and start an exercise program.

You need to replace fat with lean muscle tissue. While you’re working on a healthy eating plan, you can start a program of exercise. Do all types of exercises, including strength-training, endurance training, flexibility exercises and exercises that improve balance. As you build muscle tissue throughout your body, you’ll be burning more calories, since muscle tissue requires more calories for maintenance than fat tissue does.

  • Remember, even if you build the most powerful abs in the world, if they’re covered with a layer of fat, nobody will know.
  • While cardio is an effective way to burn fat, weight training works extremely well and the muscles you build help you lose even more weight. Don’t worry that you’ll bulk up if you’re a woman. Mother Nature prevents that by providing hormones that won’t let you do it. You’ll just look toned.
  • When you’re not working out in the gym, try going for a bike ride. Riding a bike can help get your muscles get in shape and the abs stabilize you while riding, so they’ll get a workout too.
  • Don’t expect overnight miracles. It may take months before you see a change, depending on how much weight you have to lose. It will be worth it when you do.

What To Do When You’re Too Tired To Workout

It’s easy to find yourself too tired to workout. After a tough day at work, just thinking about spending 45 minutes to an hour at the gym can be overwhelming. In fact, thinking about the effort to go there and just changing your clothes without being able collapse on the couch immediately following the change can make you wince. There are ways to combat this or even find alternative routes if you plan ahead. No matter how much pep you have in your step right now, you know that one day you’ll be too pooped to pop, so have a plan of action ready.

Combat fatigue with water or a healthy snack.

Your first thought may be a cup of coffee when you’re absolutely out of steam, but reconsider. Actually, water is often the quicker picker upper that I turn to when I’m tired. Dehydration can take its toll and you won’t even know it. Try drinking an ice cold bottle of water and see if you have a bit more energy. Follow it up with a healthy snack to boost your energy level. If that doesn’t work, try the next approach.

Tell yourself you only have to workout for a short time.

You don’t have to get a full workout, go for ten to fifteen minutes, but go. If after that first ten minutes, you start to feel more alive and awake, extend the time. Give yourself permission to leave if you just aren’t feeling it after the initial time. You really may be physically exhausted and need the rest. Go home, get some sleep and workout the next day instead.

Have a shorter five minute version of the workout that you can do anywhere.

I can’t take credit for this one. Reading an article about a workout called the nitric oxide dump by Zach Bush, MD, got me thinking about it. His four minute workout is simple. It’s doing three sets of four exercises for 10 to 20 repetitions each. The exercises are deep knee bends, tin soldier (alternating 90 degree raises of each arm), snow angel (It’s arm only version of the jumping jack) and the military press (a pull up without the bar–arm movement only). These four exercises are done a minimum of three times a day, at least two hours apart. While I like his version, find your own. Create a mini workout you can do throughout the day to keep stress at bay and keep you going. If you’re too tired to go to the gym, at least you have some exercise in that day.

  • Know yourself. If you’re consistently exhausted after work, exercise before work. Skipping one day because you REALLY don’t have the energy is one thing, but never let it be more than once in a while. If it is, rethink your exercise time.
  • Practice deep breathing. When you’re exhausted, deep breathing can often help you regenerate and boost your energy level.
  • Move more during the day. If you’re at a desk job, get up at least once an hour and walk around. Not only is that healthier, it also aids in keeping your energy level higher.
  • Check your sleep schedule. The problem may really be with the amount of sleep you’re getting. Make sure you have adequate ZZZs to get you through the day.

Tips To Lose The Baby Fat

If you’ve recently had a baby and are like most women, you’re probably looking for tips to lose the baby fat that are quick and simple. Quick is not an option unfortunately, especially when your body is already struggling to get hormone balances reset and you’re probably exhausted. However, simple can be one of the features that might make you feel better. It’s all about consistency. One aid that has helped many women be more active is a postpartum wrap. The decision to use one should be between you and your doctor. While shedding your extra baby weight is important, your first priority should always be to helping your body recover from the trauma of pregnancy and delivery, enjoying and caring for your little one and adjusting to the new role of mom.

Just move.

You don’t have to do anything strenuous right away. In fact, you shouldn’t. However, taking the baby out for a walk in a bassinet stroller where he or she can lay flat and strolling around the park or even just around the block, for about 20 minutes can be a healthy way to begin your workout routine. Bad weather shouldn’t stop you if you have a mall near you. Go early in the morning before the shopping crowd arrives. Worse case scenario, walk the baby around the house, either held in your arms or in a stroller. Save the tough workout for later, about six weeks later, based on your doctor’s recommendation. There are no magic numbers, just guidelines. Everyone is different. However, short walks are also great stress reducers, so you’ll actually feel better and be less frazzled.

Turn your walk into a HIIT workout.

Okay, I know I said nothing strenuous, but this is an idea I loved from Kristen Horler, the founder of Baby Boot Camp. It’s perfect for everyone, since it allows you to go at your own pace, lets you take the baby with you and gets the right amount of exercise. It is a version of taking the baby out in a bassinet stroller or stroller that allows the baby to lay flat, but with an HIIT twist. Warm up with five minutes of moderate speed walking. Walk 30 seconds at a challenging pace and then slow it down for 60 seconds. Adjust your pace and time as you get fitter.

Eat smart.

Consuming junk food isn’t going to make you thinner or healthier. Don’t have it in the house. You’ll probably be ravenous for sugar, especially when you’re up all night with the baby. Have healthy snacks ready. If mom or friends come to help or want to know what you would like, ask them for some healthy snacks you can munch on every time you feed the baby. It will help you get through the day without feeling ravenous. If you have a super helper, key them in on your plan for healthier whole food meals, just in case they want to cook for you.

  • If weather permits, besides taking a walk outside, go out and sit in the sun with the baby. Take a few minutes just to relax. You need it and deserve that time.
  • When the baby’s asleep, take a nap, too. Don’t worry about housework. It will all get done when you’re feeling less frazzled.
  • Prepare vegetables ahead of time. Buy baby carrots, prepare celery, broccoli and cauliflower and have them on hand. Make a dip from Greek yogurt or have hummus as a dip for a quick snack.
  • Always remember, this is the most important time for you and baby. Make that first six weeks about both of you and your relationship with baby, but take ten minutes for yourself every day. It can be when baby sleeps or when your partner takes the lead on baby care.

Can You Relieve Arthritis Pain With Diet And Exercise?

Today, there’s far more known about what causes arthritis and what helps it. More and more scientists discover that you can relieve arthritis pain with diet and exercise. The right type of exercise is important. It’s one of the reasons trainers ask about special needs, such as physical limitations. Inflammation is the cause of some types of arthritis. It can come from an infection, injury or every day overuse. Non-inflammatory arthritis comes from an autoimmune problem. Both types produce stiffness and pain.

You need exercise to help you maintain flexibility, strength and endurance.

You may groan thinking of working out while you’re in pain, but it can do a lot to reduce that pain and is crucial. Exercise also helps to keep weight gain in check and even helps you shed a few pounds that can add an extra burden on joints. You’ll help maintain bone density, strengthen the muscles around the joints and improve the quality of life. It also helps you sleep better and improve your balance.

Eating healthy with some emphasis on certain foods can improve your arthritis.

Healthy eating for arthritis sufferers can begin with a generous serving of the cruciferous family. These veggies include Brussels sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, kale or cauliflower. One study showed that the sulforaphane found in crucifers can help slow cartilage damage from osteoarthritis. Omega-3 fatty acids are also important. Salmon, walnuts, soy beans, chia seeds, flaxseeds and tuna all have Omega-3. The juice of tart cherries also may bring relief from joint pain. It’s the anthocyanin that does the job. Anthocyanin gives the cherry the red color.

Vitamins, spices and herbs can also help.

Turmeric is a well-known anti-inflammatory and easy to use. Keep a bottle on hand and sprinkle a bit in your food as you would with salt. It adds a warm, mellow taste to food and is loaded with benefits. The curcumin in the turmeric that does the job. It’s been used as a treatment for arthritis in India for centuries. Garlic is another supplement that cures a lot of ailments. It contains diallyl disulfide that shows promise in reducing damage to the cartilage. Taking a vitamin C supplement can also reduce the risk of osteoarthritis.

  • Supplementing with fish oil and krill oil tablets is one way to boost the amount of Omega3 in your system.
  • Losing weight is extremely important when you suffer from any type of arthritis. Not only will eating healthier help you shed pounds, it also can reduce inflammation that exacerbates the arthritis and may even cause it.
  • Always check with your health care provider first before starting with a training program. Getting the help of a specialist, such as a personal trainer can help ensure it’s right for you.
  • Get out in the sun and soak up the rays so your body can create vitamin D or take a supplement. Vitamin D lowers the risk of cartilage loss in the knee.

The Magic Of Exercise Is In Recovery

If you’re going to get the maximum out of your exercise program, you need to make sure it includes a recovery period. Rest is important for a number of reasons. If you’re focusing on performance, you need to get rest for maximum high performance levels. Your body needs rest to repair itself and also your mind needs it too. If you’re spending all your time at the gym in Alexandria; work and home suffer since you neglect them. Even your fitness goals can suffer too, as you tend to burn out and workout less frequently.

The magic does occur during recovery.

When you exercise, you’re working your muscles hard and creating micro tears in them. During the recovery, the body is mending those tears. That tissue repair is building the muscles, while also replenishing energy stores. That’s the time you’re actually building muscle tissue, not during the workout, where you’re really tearing it down. Of course, for the repair to occur, you need the breakdown to happen first.

There are two types of recovery, short term and long term.

Short-term recovery starts within hours. In fact, it can start immediately in the form of active recovery during the cool-down phase. It’s during the process of recovery that you see the most changes in your muscles. They’re replenishing fuel and fluids, while boosting the protein synthesis that increases protein in the muscles, boosts muscle size and prevents muscle breakdown. Long term recovery tends to be more for avid athletes that participate in a seasonal sport or even a year around sport. It may mean taking a few weeks off of training periodically, or even a season focusing on other types of training.

What happens when you don’t get the needed recovery time?

One problem overzealous beginners often face is overexercising. Sometimes, even seasoned athletes have the same problem. Too much of a good thing doesn’t give your body time to repair and it comes with consequences. Those consequences include, apathy, malaise, depression, increased potential for injury and impaired performance. It can even cause weight gain.

  • During recovery time, it’s important to consume the right types of food to boost muscle development and burn stores of fat.
  • To ensure you have the best recovery, you need adequate sleep. It’s particularly important for anyone on a grueling training schedule. It can also help you shed pounds quicker.
  • You need to change your routine frequently to avoid efficiency that occurs when the body adapts to a group of exercises. You don’t get the effect of muscle building when you’re doing the same exercise repeatedly.
  • Be aware that you can overdo, which could make recovery time even longer. It can cause muscle damage and injury that takes weeks to heal. However, doing too little also won’t give you the results you hope to achieve. Finding the perfect blend is one of the reasons people use a personal trainer.

Get Pain Relief From Arthritis Naturally

Your body is an amazing machine, but like any machine it can break. That causes illness or injury. Body aches are frequent when you’re working out, especially at first, but deep pain from arthritis isn’t. It can cause anyone to recoil at the thought of working out, which actually only makes pain worse. You don’t have to reach for a prescription or over-the-counter pain reliever. You can get pain relief from arthritis naturally.

Start with moderate exercise.

I think most health care professionals agree that exercise is a great pain reliever. Not only does it kick the body’s natural pain killing hormones into gear, it also reduces the stiffness and strengthens muscle tissue in the process. It helps you lose weight, which can relieve the pressure on knee and hip joints, improves your balance and bone strength. You’ll even sleep better at night and that helps you face the next day with more vigor. If you’re just getting back into exercise, use low impact workouts or consult a personal trainer who will create a program specific to your needs.

Eating the right ratio of healthy fatty acids can also ease the pain.

Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids help. They include fatty fish like salmon, walnuts, flaxseed and meat from grassfed beef. Omega-3 fatty acids help reduce inflammation, too. You need to have this fat and Omega-6 fatty acids in your diet, but the ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 should be 4 to 1. The average American diet is 25 to 1. An imbalance with too much Omega 6 causes arthritis, inflammation, heart disease and many other problems. Many studies show that changing your diet so that the ratio is 2 to 1, two units of Omega 6 to one unit of Omega 3, can actually reduce arthritis pain and even help reverse it.

Make other changes to your diet.

Anthocyanins are phytonutrients that make blueberries blue and give the brilliant red color to tart cherries. These flavonoids not only create a rainbow of color, they also help reduce inflammation and provide many other benefits. Since arthritis pain is caused by inflammation, adding colorful veggies and fruit to the diet can help. Eat foods rich in sulforaphane like broccoli and other crucifers. Asparagus is also high in nutrients and has been found beneficial for arthritis.

  • Steer clear of junk food and foods high in sugar. It depletes nutrients from the system, just like alcohol does, and can exacerbate the pain.
  • Natural pain relievers include turmeric, ginger, astaxanthin and boswellia. Try sprinkling turmeric on veggies for a taste treat, in soups or other foods at the table. Ginger tea is also soothing.
  • If you’re taking over-the-counter pain relievers daily, talk to your physician about switching to white willow bark. It has salicin which was the original aspirin and changes to salicylic acid which acts like aspirin without severe stomach irritation.
  • Enjoy Mother Nature. Get out in the sun, take your shoes off and walk in the grass. It’s soothing and relaxing and could be just what you need to help speed pain relief.

Is Fruit Juice Bad For You?

Just when you think you have the right drink to rehydrate, you read the next study that leaves you rethinking that decision. If you’ve switched from carbonated drinks to fruit drinks or fruit juice, you may need to do a little further investigation. Is fruit juice bad for you and should it be part of your diet? People on the go often opt for a glass of fresh juice to quickly get the nutrients they need in the morning. Others choose a fruit drink for their children or as a post workout option, while patting themselves on the back for making a wise decision.

Even if there is fresh fruit on the packaging, it doesn’t mean that’s what you’ll get.

Those little juice boxes certainly look healthy. They show vivid pictures of fresh fruit on the front, so you simply presume that’s what they contain. That’s why reading the label is so important. Many fruit drinks are really just flavored sugar water, but you can’t tell that by the artwork. They often go by names like “fruit beverage” or “fruit drink” in a weak attempt at full disclosure, but the label tells a different tale. Look for words like, “100 percent fruit juice” to get the real thing. Even then, it’s not necessarily a healthy choice.

Fruit juice is concentrated calories and a barrel of fructose to boost your sugar levels.

While there’s no denying it, fruit juice does have almost all the nutrients you’d get from eating the whole fruit, especially if you squeeze it fresh, but it also is loaded with sugar. Whether it’s natural fructose or added sugar or sweetener, it all plays havoc with your body. If you drink just one glass of orange juice in the morning, you’ll be getting eight teaspoons of sugar—four of which comes from the fructose in the juice. Compare that with the ten teaspoons you get from drinking a can of soda and the trade off isn’t nearly as perfect…but still better.

Eating the whole fruit is better than drinking the juice.

When you eat a whole fruit, as opposed to a glass of juice, you get all the fiber from the fruit and less concentrated sugar. For instance, an 8-oz glass of orange juice has 112 calories compared to 45 calories of a whole orange. The glass of juice also contains 2.5 times the sugar and only one third of the fiber contained in a whole orange. No matter which fruit you investigate, the statistics are about the same, far more sugar, far more calories and less fiber. Even home squeezed juice lacks the fiber necessary for good health.

  • Fruit juice consumption is linked to increasing the risk of type 2 diabetes. It’s also closely associated with childhood obesity, while eating its whole fruit counterpart isn’t.
  • Whole fruit contains fiber that has polyphenols. Polyphenols are antioxidants that aid in preventing and fighting cancer and protecting your body. Adding back the fiber, as some juice companies do, doesn’t have the same effect as eating the whole fruit.
  • The consumption of fructose, whether it comes from fruit juice or other source, is closely associated with the development of gout, heart disease, non-alcoholic liver disease, high blood pressure, kidney disease, obesity and diabetes.
  • Today, the average American diet contains approximately 135 grams of fructose. Compare that with the average consumption of approximately 15 grams found in the average diet 100 years ago and you can see why there’s a meteoric rise in obesity.

See Yourself As Better To Become The New You

If you start your fitness regimen, whether it’s just to get fitter or shed extra pounds, with the attitude that this will just become another failure in your long list of attempts, you will fail. You have to see yourself as better to become the new you. Mentally visualizing the new you will help you have the good health and body you want to see in the mirror. If your self-image is a positive one, you’ll get results. That’s why negative self-talk has no place in your fitness program, or in your life for that matter. You must believe in yourself first to get the best results.

Sometimes, it takes help for that self-belief.

If you’re like many people that I’ve coached, it’s hard to change the mental picture of being overweight or out of shape. You see it in the mirror every day. You may have to get help to change how you visualize yourself and that help can come from a personal trainer. Many of the people I train don’t believe in themselves, but they do believe that I can help them, which is a start. I believe so strongly, not only in my ability to help, but also in their ability to succeed, that it often takes them beyond their first hurdle and keeps them going until they see success at the gym.

The power of belief isn’t mumbo-jumbo, it works.

It’s not magic or new age smoke and mirrors, but logic. When you believe something is going to happen because of your actions, you go until you get those results. If you were cold, but you thought the furnace was broken, you probably wouldn’t try to turn up the heat. You might simply sit there cold and probably complaining. There are some people that would mess with the thermostat in an attempt to do something about their plight and a few that might even try to fix the furnace. Those that would get the best results would try it again and if they had the know-how, try to fix it, but when that didn’t work, call a specialist, like a heating and cooling repairman for the furnace, to get results.

Getting results in any endeavor requires you to try.

What type of person are you? Do you sit and complain about your weight or fitness without attempting to change anything? Do you try something easy, like the person who turned up thermostat or give it your best like the person who tried to fix it on their own? If those things don’t work, do you turn to experts for help? In the case of fitness, that’s a personal trainer. The person who knows they can make a change will do all these steps until they achieve success. If you don’t believe getting fit is possible, you’ll do nothing. You must be able to see yourself successful before you can be successful or you won’t even try.

  • Listen to your self-talk. Do you constantly think of yourself as fat or out of shape or do you have a mental image of how you will look as you get fitter?
  • Do you feel like working out is punishment for years of being inactive or do you look forward to the time at the gym, enjoying each minute of your transformation?
  • Is being overweight or out of shape part of your identity? When you see yourself in a different light, you’ll realize that who you are has nothing to do with how you look. Looking and feeling good is a bonus.
  • Give yourself a pat on the back when you achieve any step toward good health and fitness. The more you congratulate yourself for success, no matter how small, the more you’ll be successful.

Get Out Those Tank Tops And Show Those Arms

One of my clients loves the winter months. It’s not because she adores the colder weather or hates the sunshine. It’s that she gets to hide her batwings under long sleeves. Summer is a time to get out those tank tops and show those arms, but a lot of people shy away from doing that because they don’t have toned muscles. Arm flab, bat wings, whatever you want to call it is embarrassing for most women, but there’s a way to change it and have arms you’ll be proud to show the world.

You don’t have to win the genetic lottery to have toned arms.

If you’ve tried to tone your arms before and did all the exercises you thought would give you that dazzling look, but failed, you probably forgot to add weight to the equation. I see it all the time, women who are afraid that if they use weights to tone their arms, they’ll start to look like the Incredible Hulk, sans the green. It just doesn’t work that way. Women, unless they spend their life working out or take supplements to enhance muscle building, just don’t bulk up like men do, even if they’re super strong.

New moms start to see a change in both upper body strength and toning.

Many of the mothers I see note that after their child was born, especially if their weight was normal, started to notice their arms were more toned and looked great until their child was about three. That’s when they carried their child far less than previously. Little did they realize they were toning their arms every time they lifted the baby and as the baby put on more weight, the toning process became more intense. Many of these mothers also carried diaper bags, groceries and other things while carrying the baby. Take note if you don’t have a child yet, toning your arms now can get you into shape for motherhood.

You need to put effort and add weights to upper body exercises for toned arms.

If you want arm definition, use exercises like pushups, rows, presses and pulldowns combined with curls triceps and pressdowns. Both types of movements are important. One shapes your arms and the others build muscles to give you the strength to go heavier and press weights that will make a difference. You need to workout more than just your arms to get the results you want. Our workout will have you looking great and be proud to show off your arms.

  • No matter how toned you are, if you have excess body fat, those great muscles won’t show. Add a healthy diet to your workout to get results faster.
  • Your mix of exercises should include all muscles in the arm, not just biceps. You also need to work on triceps, rotary cuff (the muscles surrounding the shoulder joint- supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor, and subscapularis) and shoulder muscles, too.
  • A total body workout or strength training can help you get those arms you wanted faster. You’ll have a program that helps you because it fits your goals.
  • Try our one week free boot camp for more ideas on toning your arms and say good-bye to batwings forever.