Fitness & Wellness

Best Workout For Your Body Type

Best Workout For Your Body Type

There are three different body types with different needs. That’s why getting a workout for your body type can be important. One of the many things we take under consideration before creating a workout for clients in Alexandria, VA is their body type. Ectomorph, mesomorph and endomorph are the three body types. Each stores its fat differently and builds muscle tissue faster or slower. Ectomorph people are those who are naturally thin, with very low body fat and thin extremeties. Mesomorph people put on muscle fast and have broad shoulders, strong legs and arms with a narrow waist. Endomorphs may have muscle tissue, but it’s often hidden under a layer of fat. They are rounder or pear shaped.

If you’re an ectomorph, you’ll want to build muscle tissue, but it could take a while.

Endurance training is beneficial for everyone, but if you’re trying to build muscle tissue, it’s your undoing. You need to conserve calories, while also building muscle tissue. Use heavier weights to train and rest in between sets. Take it slow. Do five but no more than ten repetitions and between six to eight sets with two minutes between them. Brisk walks and bike riding are great cardio workouts. They don’t burn as many calories, but still make you feel great and enhance your endurance.

If you’re a mesomorph, lucky you.

You build muscle tissue more rapidly than others and tend to have more muscle tissue than fat tissue. If you’ve been out of shape for a while, it won’t take long to get back into shape. Almost any type of exercise will help. Vary your weight training by your fitness level and use basic exercises with as many reps as twelve. HIIT training and circuit training work well for you. Traditional cardio is also in order.

Poor pear-shaped endomorphs have the hardest time of all getting in shape, but it’s worth it.

Use moderate weights and total body workouts to get the best results. Lower or moderate weights with eight to ten repetitions in three to five sets works best for your upper body and up to twenty repetitions for your lower body. Weight loss is often the goal for endomorphs, so strength training is the best way to do it. It builds muscle tissue, while burning fat. Cardio, which is important, shouldn’t be overdone. Cardio burns both fat and muscle tissue, making it even harder to lose weight, since muscle tissue requires more calories. Do mild cardio like biking, swimming and walking three times a week for twenty minutes.

  • You may never be able to change your body type, but you can make it the best it can be. For ectomorphs, building rippling muscles will be hard, but with extra work, can be done.
  • Endomorphs may have a hard time losing weight, but they still build muscles more easily than ectomorphs. To make sure they show, without a layer of fat covering them, a healthy diet is important.
  • If you’re a mesomorph, you’re a natural athlete. You have a high metabolism and build muscle tissue quickly. Train like there’s no tomorrow with high weights and low reps, doing power moves like vertical jumps.
  • While both the mesomorph and ectomorphs are often envied by the slower metabolism endomorphs, it was the endomorphs that were the survivors in caveman times. They build muscle quickly, but it doesn’t show under the layer of fat. That fat helped them to survive.

Light Weights Vs. Heavy Weights For Toning

Light Weights Vs. Heavy Weights For Toning

Some personal trainers feel there’s no difference between light weights vs. heavy weights for toning. Others say there’s a huge difference. What is the general consensus? Most personal trainers tend to agree that if you do as much work by doing more repetitions on lighter weights and fewer reps on much heavier weights, you’ll build muscle tissue and boost your strength. However, it’s not just the amount of muscle tissue you build, but the type of muscle tissue you build.

The amount of weight you use determines the type of muscle you’ll build.

Heavier weights enhances the amount of muscle-growth hormones released and the amount of fat-burning hormones. While light weights help burn off fat and toning muscle, heavier weights help build them. It’s even better when you use explosive movements. While it’s nearly impossible for women to build those bulging muscles men have, since hormones prevent it, you’ll get toned and more defined muscles when you lift heavier weights with fewer repetitions.

It’s the twitch that counts.

Muscles have two fiber types, one is slow-twitch and the other fast-twitch. The amount of exertion in your workout makes the difference in which type of fiber you activate. You need more explosive power for heavy lifting and that is done with fast-twitch fibers. The slow-twitch fibers are activated for muscle endurance, like lifting more repetitions at lower weights. You need both types of muscle tissue, but the amount of each, depends on whether you’ll build bulk or just tone.

If you want to burn more fat to expose those beautiful toned muscles, do fast-twitch workouts.

The heavier your weights, the more body fat you’ll burn, not only during the workout, but for hours afterward. They require more calories to lift because they have a heavier load. These types of workouts access fat stores in the body by boosting the fat-burning hormones. Those hormones continue for as long as eight hours after done. Slow-twitch continue to burn calories, but for only about an hour.

  • If you’re a woman, don’t worry. You won’t change into the hulk, so either type will get you toned fast, but fast-twitch and heavier weights will help burn more calories, too.
  • Lifting heavier weights can help you when you’re doing quicker movements, like jumping or sprinting where more explosive power is necessary. Slow-twitch, from light weights, help with cycling and long distance running.
  • You’ll build more muscle tissue in a shorter period of time with heavier weights, which means you’ll boost your metabolism. The more muscle tissue you have, the more calories you need for maintenance.
  • When time is short, heavier weights might be your go-to workout. It takes less time, since you don’t do as many repetitions.

Working Out Alleviates Anxiety

Working Out Alleviates Anxiety

Do you have that feeling of impending doom for no reason? Do you fret and stress about things that probably won’t happen? You probably suffer from excessive anxiety and maybe even mild depression. I have clients in Alexandria, VA, who tell me that while they initially started to workout to help them lose weight or become fitter, they found that working out alleviates anxiety, too. It’s a win-win situation and comes from the other benefits of exercise.

Knowing the causes of anxiety can help you understand how exercise helps it.

The body has a primitive response to danger. It’s called the fight or flight response. In order for the body to be prepared to do either, the brain sends out hormones that make changes. It sends more blood to the extremities, slows the flow of blood to organs that aren’t necessary for running or fighting, increases the heart rate, raises the blood pressure and even dilates the pupils. You’re left with a sick feeling in the pit of your stomach and sometimes trembling and muscle tension. That describes both the changes in the body during the fight or flight response and the change that occur during an anxiety attack.

To make things even worse, the dangers don’t have to be real.

People who suffer from anxiety often have a trigger that stimulates the attack. It can be anything from a smell to a familiar situation. The danger doesn’t have to be real, it can come from some threat real or imagined. In fact, the trigger didn’t have to happen to the person with the attack, it can be a vicariously experienced situation. The brain doesn’t care, it still sends out the hormones. The only way to reverse the hormones of stress and replace them with ones that make you feel good is to run, fight or simulate running and fighting with vigorous exercise.

If you’re a pacer, you know that moving around makes you feel better.

For me, there’s nothing worse than having to sit still when I’m in pain or worrying. I’m a pacer that feels better when I move. I think it’s because pacing mimics exercise, even though it’s not as physically demanding. It helps keep the blood circulating and aids in burning off stress hormones. While it’s not as good as a tough workout, it’s far more appropriate in most stressful situations. When you’re stressed, there are some things you can do that may help relieve the anxiety. A brisk walk, running up and down stairs or doing any brisk activity that will make you breathe harder and maybe even sweat a bit.

  • Some therapists combine exercise with therapy for those clinically depressed or anxious. It’s an accepted complementary form of therapy. You can do it on your own by starting a program of exercise and track your episodes of anxiety before and after you started.
  • Focused breathing and meditation are also helpful for anxiety. They’re a viable alternative for times that exercise is totally out of the question.
  • If you have serious anxiety or depression issues, always seek out professional help first and use exercise and healthy eating as a complement to it.
  • Working out helps decrease anxiety in another way. It puts your focus more on the exercise rather than the problem that caused the anxiety.

Exercise Improves Body Image

Exercise Improves Body Image

Finding someone that loves everything about their body is tough. Even if they feel that way, people are often reluctant to say it, for fear the other person will help them out with pointers about their shortcomings. While hating your body is counterproductive, that doesn’t mean you can’t change how you look and in the process, change how you feel about yourself. Exercise improves body image and helps boost your self-confidence.

You are not your body, but that doesn’t mean loving your body isn’t important.

If you have a special piece of clothing you love, you take care of it by removing stains quickly, keeping it clean and storing it in a safe place. If it’s a piece of clothing you hate, but still wear, that care is far less likely. The same is true for caring for your body. When you love it, you’ll take better care of it. It doesn’t matter whether you’re the perfect weight or grossly over or underweight, it’s the only body you’ll ever have so you need to treat it right so it serves you for years to come. That means giving it the proper nutrition and plenty of healthy exercise.

Your body is a beautiful machine.

When you think about all the things the body does, it’s simply amazing. It replicates cells, heals itself, gets you from place to place and does hundreds of chemical reactions. It can’t do those things without the proper fuel and fluids. Healthy eating provides those things. It’s like making sure you have the right fuel in your vehicle. Think about this. What happens when you put sugar in a gas tank? The car won’t run properly if at all. While the body can tolerate sugar better, it still takes its toll. Getting the right fuel is the start on taking care of your body. Regular exercise and other lifestyle changes add to that.

You’ll burn off stress when you exercise and make your body healthier and more attractive.

Looking healthy is the new beautiful. Not only will you start looking better when you workout regularly, you’ll burn off the hormones of stress. Both of those help you improve your body image. Stress can make you unsatisfied with many areas of your life, including the body. Exercise and healthy eating can make dramatic changes to the body that will make you feel better and more confident about yourself.

  • Never compare yourself to others. It’s one of the reasons people often have negative body images. You’ll never look like many of the people who grace the covers of magazines, because you can’t airbrush a body in real life. You are who you are and that’s beautiful.
  • Studies show that people who start a workout program improve their body image, even before they see changes. It’s the attitude of taking charge that may be what makes the difference.
  • Consider what feeling self-conscious about your body image says. It means you feel like you’re the center of attention, the most important person in the room. You may not have considered that. One way to change that self-consciousness is to focus on making others comfortable and at ease.
  • Every time you workout, remind yourself while you’re exercising how great you look and how much the workout helps. You can even create a bit of a mantra to do it.

A Low Carb Diet For Beginners

A Low Carb Diet For Beginners

I always recommend a healthy diet that is filled with natural whole foods. It’s just easier to cut out processed foods and sugar laden food and drink without the need to count carbs or calories. However, I do provide information on a low carb diet for beginners, for those that want to investigate whether they get better results. You’ll find that it isn’t that much different from eating a whole food diet without processed and sugary foods.

There are a lot of health benefits from a low carb diet.

If you have problems with bad cholesterol, a low carb diet can help. It not only lowers the LDL levels, it boosts the HDL levels, the good cholesterol. It improves triglycerides and also aids in stabilizing blood sugar. Diets that are lower in carbs are higher than traditional diets in proteins and healthy fat. That can mean improved protein and fat intake. Both make you feel fuller longer and increased protein can even boost your metabolism.

Let’s talk more about boosting your protein and healthy fat.

The percentages will vary based on your body, but traditionally a low carb diet contains 30 percent protein, 40 percent carbohydrates and 30 percent fats. Most Americans eat a diet where the calories come from 50 percent carbohydrates, 15 percent protein, and 35 percent fat. The fat in the American diet isn’t normally healthy fat, either. Low carb diets force your body to get calories for food from body fat. It also helps reduce the risk for insulin resistance—the precursor of type 2 diabetes—by lowering insulin levels.

There’s a lot of hub bub about special KETO foods, but eating healthier is the key.

Strict low carb diets put you in a state of ketosis. When you’re in ketosis, your body burns fat as its source of food. You don’t have to get that severe. In fact, there are drawbacks to this type of diet, since a low carb ketogenic diet can cause heart palpitations, lethargy, headache, constipation and irritability. Just cutting out some of the foods you normally eat, like anything with sugar added, even artificial sweeteners, processed food, vegetable oils and soft drinks not only is an effective way to lose weight, it’s far easier on your body and can be maintained for a lifetime.

  • One of the big difference between healthy eating consuming a low carb diet is the elimination of pasta and bread on a low carb diet.
  • When you increase protein in your diet, get animal protein from free range animals and grass fed beef. The meat and animal products contain far more omega fatty acids and two times more CLA—conjugated linoleic acid. Those help lower body fat and boost heart health.
  • Even if vegetables and fruit are filled with carbs, they’re a healthy type of carb called complex carbohydrates. These take longer to get into your bloodstream, so your blood sugar level doesn’t spike.
  • When you eat a low carbohydrate diet, make sure your plate is a rainbow of colors from a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. It makes certain that you get all the nutrients that you need.

Does Exercise Help You Lose Fat?

Does Exercise Help You Lose Fat?

If you’re a client in Alexandria, you’re already aware of the benefits of exercise, which includes helping you to lose fat. Unfortunately, exercise alone won’t make the biggest difference. You need to eat healthy, too. In order to shed one pound, you need to eat 3500 calories less than you burn. Exercise increases the amount of calories you burn and provides other benefits, but for the best results, changing your eating habits is necessary.

Besides burning calories, exercise also helps balance your hormones.

An imbalance of hormones can make you gain weight. If you have an imbalance of estrogen to progesterone, you’ll gain weight easier and it will pack on around your hips. Too much cortisol—the stress hormone—puts fat on your abdomen. Weight gain over your entire body indicates low thyroid. Luckily, exercise can help regulate all those problems and get your hormones back into balance. It also can trigger the creation of hormones that make you feel good, and when you feel good, you look good.

Build muscle and boost your metabolism.

The right type of workout can burn fat and build muscle tissue. The more muscle tissue you have, the more calories you burn even when you sleep. That’s because muscle tissue requires more calories than fat tissue does. Aerobic exercises, such as running, won’t do it. That’s because when you run, you’ll burn calories from all sources, lean muscle tissue and fat. Strength-building exercises builds muscle tissue while burning huge amounts of calories, even after the exercise ends!

You’ll look thinner, even if you don’t lose one single pound, when you workout.

As noted before, exercise builds muscle tissue, burns calories and makes it easier to keep weight from returning. It also makes you look thinner even if you don’t lose a single pound. That’s because muscle tissue weighs more per cubic inch than fat tissue does. One pound of muscle tissue would fit into a much smaller container than one pound of fat tissue. The same holds true for your body. If you weigh 130 pounds and you have a high percentage of muscle tissue, you’ll wear a smaller clothing size than someone who has a higher percentage of fat tissue.

  • You can lose weight easier when you combine exercise with a healthy diet. Just cutting out processed food and sugary products—including soft drinks—will give you a great start on the road to weight loss.
  • HIIT—high intensity interval training—that varies the intensity of an exercise from pushing yourself as hard as possible to moderate recovery and back—can get the best results, particularly when combined with strength training.
  • Two hormones that affect how much you eat are ghrelin and leptin. They’re the hunger and satiety hormones. Exercise and reducing sugar helps regulate them and gets you back on the road to weight loss.
  • When you workout, you’ll boost your energy after just a few weeks. That extra energy means you’ll be more active and that burns more calories, too.

Improve Balance And Coordination

Improve Balance And Coordination

Almost all types of complete workouts improve balance and coordination. There are some created specifically to do that, though. In Alexandria, VA, I create workouts for clients that improve all levels of fitness, strength, balance, flexibility and endurance. There’s no need to add additional balance exercises unless there are extenuating circumstances. Here are some of the exercises I use to improve balance and coordination.

Test your balance.

While you might feel quite planted just standing with feet shoulder width apart or side by side, take it one step further. Rather than walking toe to heel, the most common technique to test of inebriation and lack of balance, just stand still! That’s right. Start with feet together, standing straight, then move one of your feet in front of the other with the heel touching the front of the other foot’s toe. Hold that position for a count of 30. If you’re still finding it easy, now close your eyes. Almost everyone who doesn’t workout and even some who do wobbles when they do this one, so don’t worry if you do.

Improve your sense of self when you workout.

Your sense of physical self is your proprioception. It’s what lets you move freely and do things without having to check if your arms and legs are in the right place. Muscles, joints and tendons send the signals to your brain from everywhere in your body. Building that awareness can help you improve coordination and even balance. Try closing your eyes and focusing on muscle movement when you exercise. Focus on the movements your body makes. Being more aware of how your body moves helps build coordination and sense of self.

Balance exercises can be simple or more complex.

Standing on one foot with the other knee raised to a 90 degree angle and holding for 30 seconds and then putting it down and doing the same lifting the opposite knee. Now try it with your eyes closed. For more challenge and exercise for your body, try a one-legged squat. Start with fee hip-width apart, point one foot out in front and lower yourself into squat position, balancing on only one foot. Hold and rise. It’s tough!

  • Tighten your abs and your glutes with this one. Bend over and pick up a five to ten pound weight. Wait, there’s more. Do it on one leg, lifting the other behind you to maintain balance and then return to starting position.
  • Exercising on a balance ball is definitely good for your balance and your core muscles. That’s why they’re called balance balls.
  • Include strength training in your workout. It helps improve body awareness and your balance. Core muscle workouts are also good for balance. Kettlebell workouts help all types of fitness, including coordination and balance.
  • There’s been more and more use of exercise to help people with MS improve their balance. Often, it starts with simple flexibility exercises like stretching. It shows how all types of fitness work together to make you healthier, more coordinated and balanced.

Should You Be Calorie Calculating

Should You Be Calorie Calculating

Whether you’re counting carbs or calorie calculating, maybe it’s time to quit. While keeping a food journal can be quite important and learning which foods aren’t healthy or excessively fattening is good, maybe focusing on calorie counting isn’t. There’s a better way to do it. That’s by focusing more on eating healthy rather than how many calories food contains.

Quality over quantity is always best, but sometimes you can have both.

Eating healthy focuses on consuming whole foods that are packed with nutrients. Fresh vegetables, lean meat and whole grains are far better than processed foods and loads of sugar. One hundred calories from a baked good is not nearly as good as 100 calories from fresh vegetables or fruit. Besides the vitamins and minerals the vegetables contain, it also contains fiber, which your body requires. If you set the two side by side, the serving size for a 100 calories of vegetables would be far bigger and more filling. You get both quality and quantity.

Counting calories can lead to overdoing it.

Some people start counting calories with good intentions, but then their competitive, overachiever sets in and they cut those calories lower and lower. Before you know it, they’re eating a super low calories diet. That’s counterproductive to shedding pounds. Your body requires a certain number of calories or it will go into starvation mode that slows the metabolism to protect the most important organs and processes.

It’s far easier to simply avoid processed foods and learn healthy eating techniques.

While learning healthy eating may take longer and you’ll constantly be learning, it’s far easier than looking up every food to see the number of calories or trying to figure out just how many calories a main course or side dish has based on the ingredients it contains. You can eat anywhere and it starts to become just a natural act when you focus on healthy eating rather than on calories or carbs.

  • Adding regular exercise to a plan of healthy eating can boost weight loss, while making you feel and look great. You’ll burn off stress and tone your muscles, while burning calories at the same time.
  • If you count calories, you also need to know how much nutrition you get from the food so you stay healthy. Trying to balance calorie counting with fiber, protein, fat, carb and nutrient content becomes almost impossible.
  • Calorie counting can provide false information. Processed foods have calories that our body may be more readily absorbed, while healthy food doesn’t. One study showed that only 80 percent of the calories in almonds were absorbed.
  • It’s important to learn to eat only when you’re hungry, chew and slow down food consumption and if you eat something unhealthy, it’s not the end of the world. Get back on the healthy eating wagon.

Why You Should Start Exercising Today

Why You Should Start Exercising Today

Do you sit at a desk all day? That’s actually a health hazard. One study shows that unless you move at least five minutes every 50 minutes, it poses a health issue. Why not start exercising by making it part of your work day. Get up every 50 minutes, stretch, walk around the office or up and down the stairs. Any movement increases your exercise and helps you get healthier. There are even short workouts you can do at your desk.

There’s no equipment necessary for walking.

What have you got to lose? It doesn’t cost anything to walk more and it’s excellent exercise. While you don’t get a full body workout that sculpts you, it’s a start. Can’t fit it in your schedule? Maybe you can. Walk to lunch at noon. Rather than take the car for short trips of a few blocks, walk. Get up early and walk or take a walk when you get home from work. Do both all of the above if you can. Breaking up your walking to ten minute sessions still counts.

Try a four minute workout.

I’m fascinated by Dr. Bush’s four minute nitric oxide dump and the seven minute workout. That’s because they don’t take very long, but they boost the amount of exercise busy people can fit into their schedule. It doesn’t have to be four minutes, seven minutes, a half hour or longer. In fact, doing three 10-minute workouts throughout the day is best if you’re breaking it up to smaller, easier to manage sections.

Get a personal trainer or start a formal program on your own.

While it’s much easier using a personal trainer, since he or she creates the workout, just getting started is what’s important. Schedule a time three times a week to workout and start making it a habit. Start now, as soon as you finish reading this! You can do some simple body weight exercises at home to get started.

  • Don’t procrastinate. There’s always a reason why you can’t exercise. Start focusing on the reasons why you can.
  • Winners keep score. Write down the exercises and how many you do. If you choose walking, write down the distance and number of minutes you walked.
  • Any type of exercise can be turned into an HIIT workout where you give it your all for a short period then have a short period of moderate exercise and back to giving it your all. Try it with the exercises you chose. It gets you into shape faster.
  • If you’re not into regular workouts, try something different. Take up an active sport or take dance classes. Exercising doesn’t have to mean a trip to the gym. It’s anything that boosts your circulation and gets you moving.

How To Get Rid Of Back Fat

How To Get Rid Of Back Fat

If you don’t want to go out in Alexandria without a heavy, loose sweatshirt that hides those bulges and dent from your bra or hate clingy fabric because it shows your folds on your back, it’s time to get rid of back fat. It’s not as easy as finding the best workout, unfortunately. It’s a much larger problem. While a targeted workout will build the muscle tissue underneath the fat, nobody will ever be able to see that tone. The fat keeps it hidden. Targeted exercises don’t work, since the body doesn’t pick and choose the location of the fat it’s going to burn. It comes off of the body from everywhere. You need to use both a healthy diet and exercise to fight back fat and get that sleek look you want.

There are exceptions to every rule.

If you’re not overweight, but don’t have any muscle tone, working out might be exactly what you need. In this case, it’s not back fat you’re seeing. Unfortunately, that’s not the case with most people. Either way, exercising the back muscles should be part of your program. There are three types of back muscles, upper, mid and lower back muscles. You need to tone all three areas to get that firm look that’s so appealing. Exercises for the lower back muscles focus on erector spinae. Mid back exercises work the lattissimus dorsi, lower trapezius and rhomboids. For the upper back, work on the trapezoids and deltoids.

There’s no specific back fat diet, just healthy eating.

As mentioned previously, when you have fat on any part of your body, you have to lose it all over your body. Exercise only tightens the muscles and doesn’t address the fat that covers them. Choosing a healthy diet is the route to getting rid of the back fat. Back fat is nothing more than fat that’s accumulated at a specific area. Muffin tops come from mid and lower back accumulation while underarm bulges and the rolls around your bra come from upper and middle back fat. It may seem like back fat is the last fat you lose, it actually comes off everywhere as you shed pounds.

You need a workout that not only strengthens the back muscles but also burns fat.

Any exercise that includes pulling or pushing uses back muscles. Push ups help the deltoid muscles to get strong. A dumbbell shrug or shoulder press builds the muscle tissue. While cardio is good for burning calories, for back fat, lifting weights and strength building exercises not only build the back muscles, they burn loads of calories. You want to do both in your workout to get a sculptured appearance. Core workouts and HIIT workouts are also great for burning calories and in some cases, building back muscles.

  • Compound exercises, ones that focus on using more muscles and joints, burn more calories and build muscles fast. Isolation workouts, those that focus on a specific muscle group, give more contour.
  • Eat healthier when you’re trying to shed weight and get rid of back fat. Don’t forget that what you drink also counts. Soft drinks contain as many calories as 150 per can. While diet soda may not add pounds, it adds inches to your waistline. Water is a great alternative.
  • Any exercise that has you raising your arms or putting them behind your body helps build the back muscles.
  • Always focus on good posture. It stretches you out and up, minimizing the appearance of back fat.