Fitness & Wellness

Why Cardio Is The Best Exercise For Weight Loss?

Why Cardio Is The Best Exercise For Weight Loss?

If your goal is weight loss, doing cardio can help you reach your goal. Cardio is the best type of exercise to burn a lot of calories. It torches calories. Unfortunately, those calories can come from both fat and muscle tissue. It’s one drawback of cardio. The less muscle tissue you have, the harder it is to lose weight. Muscle tissue requires more calories to maintain than fat tissue does, so it boosts your metabolism to burn extra calories 24/7.

Some types of cardio burn more calories than others do.

Most people understand that running at peak speed will burn more calories per hour than the same amount of time spent on a leisurely walk. There are also differences between a steady-state workout and a HIIT—high intensity interval training—workout. Steady-state is just as it sounds. You exercise at a consistent pace. HIIT varies the intensity between peak intensity and recovery. HIIT burns more calories and gets faster results.

HIIT workouts continue burning calories after the workout ends.

If you’ve run several miles alternating between high intensity and recovery, you’ll burn calories even after you quit. HIIT workouts cause excess post-exercise oxygen consumption—EPOC. It’s the reason HIIT burns more calories than a steady-state cardio session. HIIT also increases growth hormone levels in the body. It burns body fat and helps you lose weight.

Do cardio, but don’t forget other types of exercise.

You need all types of fitness training, cardio, strength, flexibility, and balance. Both strength and cardio increase HGH—human growth hormone—and burn a large amount of calories. Flexibility training helps prevent injury that can put your exercise program on pause. It extends your range of motion. Flexibility training also burns calories, just not as many as strength or cardio. So do balance exercises.

  • If you want to burn a lot of calories, try jumping rope. It’s a compound exercise that uses several muscle groups and joints, so it requires energy to move all those areas.
  • You can increase weight loss by increasing your activity when you’re not in the gym. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Climbing stairs is a cardio activity. Walk to close destinations rather than taking the car.
  • How can you tell the intensity of a cardio workout? One method is the sing method. If you can carry on a conversation, but can’t sing, it’s moderate. If you’re gasping for air and can only get out a few words, it’s intense.
  • Vary your workout to burn more calories. If you consistently do the same workout, your body becomes efficient at the moves and burns fewer calories.

For more information, contact us today at Team Worx Fitness

Is My Weight Loss Goal Realistic?

Is My Weight Loss Goal Realistic?

Success starts with setting a goal. It should be exciting but also realistic. At TeamWorX in Alexandria, VA, we can help you with fitness and weight loss goals. Setting expectations too high can be unhealthy if you achieve it and defeating if you don’t. To lose one pound, you need a deficit of 3500 calories. You can increase your calorie output by exercising and reducing your intake with a healthy diet to achieve that.

The number of calories you burn depends on age, weight, activity level, and gender.

Men burn more calories than women do. Adults 30 and under and teens burn more calories daily than older individuals. Active people burn more calories than sedentary ones. An average, extremely active woman burns 2400 calories a day. An average extremely active man burns 3,000 calories. If an average woman changed from a sedentary lifestyle to an extremely active one and ate nothing, her maximum calorie deficit per week would be 16,800. The most she could lose would be 4.8 pounds weekly. Eating nothing isn’t sustainable or healthy. A healthy option would be reducing calorie intake by 500 calories daily and boosting output by 500 calories daily. It would lead to a two-pound loss per week.

How much weight do you want to lose?

Deciding the amount of weight to lose also needs to be realistic. The amount you should weigh will vary by gender, build, amount of muscle, and age. If you’re a 30-year-old 5’6″ female who is muscular with broad shoulders and a large who lacks muscle. Once you find your ideal weight, subtract it from your present weight and divide it by the number of pounds you intend to lose weekly. That’s how long it will take you.

To have lasting results you have to change your habits.

Most people want to change their weight faster than a slow but steady technique provides. You can crash diet, but the lost weight returns when you revert to old eating habits. It took a long time to develop the habits that added the extra weight. It will take a while to break those habits and lose the weight. Once you do change habits, you’ll never have to lose weight again.

  • People who are obese may have better weight loss results initially. The more you weigh, the more calories you’ll burn. You’re carrying extra weight every minute of the day, if you carried a five to ten-pound dumbbell everywhere you went, you’d also burn more calories.
  • Track your progress. Winners keep score. Track your weight loss, measurements, and progress in the gym. If you can do more sets, lift heavier weights, or do an exercise you couldn’t do before, you’re also making progress.
  • Be realistic and understand you can’t change some things. Having a healthy and attainable body image to strive for is vital. If you’re large framed, you’ll never have a petite look, just like someone with size 9 shoes will never wear a size 3 no matter how much weight they lost.
  • Our trainers will help you set a healthy goal and break it down into mini goals you can achieve each week. We also provide nutritional advice and meal plans to help you lose weight easier.

For more information, contact us today at Team Worx Fitness

Best Stretches To Do Before A Workout

Best Stretches To Do Before A Workout

Working out regularly is vital to fitness. You’ll benefit from any exercise, but a planned exercise program is best for your overall health. Every session should start with stretches. When you stretch before a workout, you’re warming the muscles used during that session to loosen them and increase circulation. Stretching before working out prepares the heart for the increased effort of exercise.

Get ready for a full-body workout with a session on a stationary bike followed by arm circles.

Riding a stationary bike increases circulation throughout the body and increases your heart rate. Don’t pedal at top speed, just start slowly and build. If you’re out of shape, reduce the tension to make pedaling easier. The stationary bike can warm the lower-body muscles, but you also need to loosen the upper-body muscles. Stand next to the bike and extend your arms straight out to the side. Start making small circles with your hands and increase their size until they’re large circles. Reverse direction and reduce the size to small circles.

If you’re going for a run, start with a walk.

Whether you start by walking the path you’ll take for the run or just walk in circles, it’s a good warm-up that prepares your body for more exertion from the run. You can add walking lunges to stretch the leg muscles. Increase circulation even more by shaking your hands like you’re shaking off water as you do lunges and walk. You can even twist at the waist as you lunge forward to add a “twist” to the warm-up.

No matter what part of the body you’re exercising, stretch the muscles you’ll use.

Stretching helps prevent injury and improves your overall performance. If you’re working core muscles, twisting your upper body side-to-side with your arms extended straight out and parallel to the ground is a good warm-up. Keep your feet spread to shoulder width for stability. Now bend to one side and tap your fingers on the side of your leg. Stand straight and bend to the other side, doing the same.

  • Mix walking with knees high marching. Lift your knees as high as possible, attempting to press your thighs to your chest. Work into it, bringing them closer with each step. Switch to butt kicks as you pace.
  • Lift one leg behind you and grab your heel, pulling it toward your body as you feel the stretch. It’s an excellent stretch for runners.
  • A movement as simple as jumping jacks can be an excellent warm-up stretch. If you have issues with your leg joints, avoid the impact of the jump and just do the upper body movement as you step to the side and back.
  • Do lunges. Forward lunges, backward lunges, and walking lunges are all excellent warm-up stretches. Try a lateral lunge by stepping to the side as wide as you can. Bend one knee, lunging to that side as you straighten the other leg doing it.

For more information, contact us today at Team Worx Fitness

The Role Of Hormones In Weight Loss

The Role Of Hormones In Weight Loss

When I hear stories of people in Alexandria, VA, who are ready to give up because they can’t lose weight. I’m also happy we can help them. Hormones can sabotage weight loss efforts. Luckily, you can do things to change your hormonal balance. Hormones are messengers. They tell your brain when your stomach is full, so you stop eating. They also tell your cells to open to uptake glucose. Sex hormones affect where you store fat, but other hormones can also affect it. Some hormones, like cortisol, can contribute to belly fat.

Hormonal imbalances don’t make it impossible to lose weight, but they do make it more difficult.

There are a number of hormonal problems that can cause weight gain. One of the plagues of menopause is weight gain caused by a hormone imbalance. Stress hormones also add to weight gain. Some hormones provide a secondary cause of weight gain. There’s a balance between ghrelin, the hunger hormone, and leptin that makes you feel full. If you have too much ghrelin, you’re always hungry so it’s harder to regulate your diet. Too much insulin can cause insulin resistance which also affects weight loss.

Change your diet to help balance hormones.

A healthy diet can help improve hormonal balance. If you’re eating too many foods with added sugar, you’re putting your body under stress and increasing insulin production. Both things can make weight loss more difficult. Eating food high in fiber, a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, and cutting out food with added sugar can improve thyroid functioning. A Mediterranean-style diet can help prevent weight gain during menopause and cutting back on sugar helps prevent both menopausal weight gain and weight gain from stress.

You can improve your hormonal balance by working out regularly.

Exercise burns off the hormones of stress. It also helps improve insulin sensitivity. Exercise burns the stored energy in your muscles and makes the cells more sensitive to the insulin, so they uptake the glucose from your blood. Exercise builds muscles to boost your metabolism. Exercise helps build muscle tissue to improve weight loss during menopause. As you age, you lose muscle tissue, and the more you have, the higher your metabolism and the easier it is to lose weight.

  • While you may never be able to eat whatever you want without gaining weight like a friend can, you can control your weight gain with regular exercise and a healthy diet.
  • Getting more sleep can help control your appetite. When you lack sleep, your body makes more ghrelin, the hunger hormone, and less leptin, the hormone that makes you feel full.
  • Always check with your healthcare professional first. Sudden weight gain may be a sign of a serious condition. If you have a condition like hypothyroidism, it requires medication to lose weight, even though diet and exercise help.
  • Dehydration can increase your risk of a hormonal imbalance and increase your cortisol levels. Drinking more water helps. Green tea can also hydrate you and the L-theanine can help relax you and reduce stress hormones.

For more information, contact us today at Team Worx Fitness

Gluten Fact Vs Fiction: Do You Really Need To Avoid It?

Gluten Fact Vs Fiction: Do You Really Need To Avoid It?

One fact about gluten that many people don’t realize is that it’s a natural protein found in many types of grain. It gives bread and other products made from grain that spongy, elastic texture. It’s in bread, pizza dough, and foods made from rye, wheat, barley, and triticale. It’s also extracted from these grains and added to other products that don’t naturally contain wheat or other grains. A lot of fiction surrounds gluten and gluten-free products. One misconception is that it’s harmful to everyone. That’s not true.

Fact or fiction? Gluten is dangerous.

Every person is unique. It’s why we create individual plans for each person. The same is true of our digestion. Some people are lactose intolerant because they don’t have the enzyme to digest lactose, milk sugar. Some are allergic to nuts. In the case of gluten intolerance and celiac disease, digesting gluten is a problem. Gluten triggers an autoimmune response in celiac disease since the body identifies it as an invader. People with gluten intolerance often have issues with gas and bloating, just like individuals with lactose intolerance. Does that make gluten dangerous to everyone? No more than milk or products with lactose is for most of the population.

Fact or fiction? Celiac disease and gluten intolerance are the same thing.

That’s fiction. They’re two different conditions. If you have celiac disease, you’re also gluten intolerant. However, if you’re gluten intolerant, you don’t necessarily have celiac disease. A third category that causes distress when eating some products with gluten is a wheat allergy. Gluten intolerance and celiac disease cause similar symptoms initially, but celiac disease triggers an auto-immune response that goes beyond bloating and can damage your body. A wheat allergy, like any allergy, can be life-threatening.

Fact or fiction? Going gluten-free is healthy.

That’s fiction, but it could be fact if you do it correctly. Use gluten-free products that include more whole foods and fewer processed foods. If you switch and your new diet includes junk food, like potato chips, or food high in sugar, you won’t be healthier. Going gluten-free also eliminates the benefits of whole grains, besides increasing highly processed junk food with additives, loads of sugar, and few redeeming qualities. Including whole grains in your diet can reduce the risk of colorectal cancer, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. Besides fiber, they contain magnesium and folic acid.

  • Fun fact: As scientists learn more about gluten intolerance, they’re finding it might not come from gluten but amylase/trypsin-inhibitors—ATIs. They are also proteins in wheat, barley, rye, and triticale.
  • Fun fact: Some people lose weight when going gluten-free. It occurs because they often eliminate high-calorie foods and focus on whole foods. Others gain weight. They substitute high-sugar junk food for gluten-containing products that are healthier.
  • People with diabetes are ten times more likely to have celiac disease. Gluten-free products often contain ingredients like tapioca starch that raise blood sugar higher than gluten-containing products. Use naturally gluten-free whole foods.
  • Fun Fact: Gluten intolerance is more prevalent than it used to be. Farmers switched to hybrid wheat containing more gluten in the 1960s.

For more information, contact us today at Team Worx Fitness

Foods That Help Boost Memory

Foods That Help Boost Memory

The more research into the effects of the food people consume and its toll on their mental clarity, the more evidence there is that food can boost memory and cognitive functioning. It’s obvious that diet plays a role in overall health. Obesity, heart disease, and diabetes all have a direct link to diet. Studies are now finding that there’s also a link to emotional well-being, memory, and cognitive thinking. In the US today, over 1/3 of the people over 75 will have Alzheimer’s and more will have some sort of cognitive decline affecting memory.

Diet, exercise, and sleep are aids to better memory.

You can’t discuss improving memory and cognition without including sleep and exercise. Both play a vital role in keeping your brain strong. While diet is just one factor, it’s an important factor. Don’t avoid fat if you want your brain to function to be its best. Healthy fat, like that found in salmon and avocados, improves brain functioning, while unhealthy fat, such as trans fats, diminishes it. Just make sure that fat is a healthy fat and that you include a wide range of fruits and vegetables for the protective effects of the phytonutrient they contain. Several studies show that a heart-healthy diet is also a brain-boosting one.

Cutting out processed foods and foods with added sugar improves brain health.

A diet high in sugar reduced memory functioning by making changes in the hippocampus that helps process memories and retrieve them. One animal study showed a high-sugar diet caused fewer newborn neurons and higher amounts of inflammation-linked chemicals. It’s not from sugar in whole foods, but food with added sugar. Fruit is high in sugar and improves brain health. The antioxidants in berries prevent damage from oxidation that can cause memory loss and dementia. The resveratrol in grapes is heart-healthy, but also good for the brain.

Your brain needs carbs for energy.

A healthy diet includes complex carbs that can fuel the brain. They provide a slow, but consistent source of food. These include whole grains, sweet potatoes, and black beans. Many are high in B vitamins that boost brain power. Like avocados, fatty fish contains omega-3 fatty acids that improve memory. Shellfish contain vitamin B12 which prevents memory loss.

  • Herbs and seeds are also vital for memory health. Rosemary and mint increase blood flow to the brain, while sesame seeds provide zinc, B6, and magnesium for memory function.
  • Turmeric is an anti-inflammatory that may help reduce the potential and slow the progress of the disease. Saffron is another herb that may help Alzheimer’s.
  • Adding tree nuts to your salad or eating them as snacks can boost brain power. Nuts contain healthy omega-3 fatty acids that can protect the brain by controlling blood pressure and reducing the risk of stroke.
  • Watermelon is high in antioxidants. It’s also high in water content and can help prevent dehydration. Seniors dehydrate faster than younger people and mild dehydration can resemble signs of dementia.

For more information, contact us today at Team Worx Fitness

How To Get Your Kids To Exercise

How To Get Your Kids To Exercise

Every parent wants a healthy child, but unfortunately, modern childhood doesn’t promote it. Instead of running outside playing, kids spend hours in front of a computer screen, watching videos or playing games. Kids need to move to develop muscles and build strong bodies. Teaching kids to be active at an early age can be the groundwork for a healthier life. There are ways to get kids to exercise that are fun and every parent can do.

Kids learn what they live.

Are you a good role model for your kids or are you also a couch potato that’s addicted to streaming videos or social media? Do you drive the kids to school when it’s just a few blocks to walk them? You set the pace and determine many of the options for activity. Do things that increase activity levels for both you and your children. Put away your phone or close your computer and make it time for active play. Start an exercise program and invite the kids to join you. Make it fun, so they’ll want to do it.

Start early and build on it.

You don’t have to wait until kids are ready for school to encourage them to be more active. If you’re working out, get your toddler involved. Toddlers can do some simple moves like walking lunges and deep knee bends. You need to focus on your form, but don’t worry about theirs. Just make it fun and give your child attention. Keep your child’s attention by changing exercises frequently and doing circuits. When the child is older, make exercise time part of every day.

Have fun while you’re staying active.

Forced exercise is a big turn-off. Make an active lifestyle fun. Ride bikes together, go for walks, or play a game of basketball. Get the neighborhood families involved with a hula-hoop competition or just have one for your family. An old favorite, jumping rope, can find renewed life when kids realize how much fun it can be. Take the kids to the playground and supervise their play, joining them occasionally by pushing the merry-go-round or swinging.

  • When purchasing gifts, make the gift lead to an active lifestyle. Get a bike instead of a PlayStation. Give a treat for the whole family, with bikes or a trampoline, or an active vacation.
  • Make your active lifestyle educational. Spending a whole day walking in a museum or through a botanical garden provides both. Take the kids rock hunting or looking for shells on the beach.
  • Eating healthy, getting plenty of sleep, and hydrating regularly are also healthy habits to develop. Make sure the hydration is water or infused water, not a sugary drink. Even fruit juice can spike sugar levels.
  • Change your habits and it will rub off on the kids. Park further from the store and walk or take the stairs instead of the elevator. Spend less time on the computer or watching TV.

For more information, contact us today at Team Worx Fitness

Is Yoga Good For New Moms?

Is Yoga Good For New Moms?

I hear new moms in Alexandria, VA, bemoan the fact they can’t get their shape back overnight. Having been a new mom, I understand the frustration. However, pushing your body too hard or expecting immediate results can set you back. Your body needs healing time. It also took nine months for the change, so you won’t see it change back overnight. How do you protect your body, waiting at least six weeks or longer for health reasons, and still start the process of getting back into shape? You can start with walking or pelvic floor exercises, and then move to gentle exercises like yoga.

Yoga can help reduce the potential for postpartum depression.

Yoga can be strenuous or gentle, but either way, you’re getting exercise, and exercise can help prevent depression. It helps quiet the mind, allowing it to clear and provide deep relaxation. When the session ends, people find they’re calmer and have more clarity. Yoga provides the mother with time for herself to nurture her body back to fitness. If it’s group yoga, it provides the new mother with social interaction and time to share with other mothers. The deep breathing and meditative state of yoga brings calm at a time when many new moms feel out of control.

Yoga gets the body back to normal more quickly.

Yoga builds muscles. It doesn’t build the type of muscles on a bodybuilder, but strong, lean muscle tissue that builds the strength to get through all the tasks of a new Mother’s Day. It improves energy levels so moms get more done in less time. That’s a real blessing with all that new mothers have to do. It also helps posture to improve.

Not all poses are beneficial initially.

Right after childbirth, the body is subject to diastasis recti—abdominal muscle separation. It leaves women with a Buddha belly or mummy tummy that makes them look like they’re still pregnant. To avoid that, postpone doing exercises like crunches that put pressure on the abs or stretch them, like twisting exercises. Exercises with the belly facing down can also cause a gravitational tug on the loose muscles and stretch the midsection. Save yoga poses like the plank, cat, or cow exercises for later.

  • A child pose is an excellent yoga pose to reduce chest, neck, or head pain. It also strengthens the pelvic floor. Combine it with Kegel exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor.
  • Is back pain a problem/ Try the bridge pose. It’s the same in yoga as it is in traditional workouts. Lay on your back, knees bent and arms to the sides. Lift your buttocks off the floor until the body forms a straight line.
  • Another yoga pose that can be done as soon as exercising is allowed is the cow face pose. The cow face pose stretches the neck, shoulders, and upper back muscles. It also stretches the hips and reduces tension all over your body.
  • No matter what type of postpartum exercise program you do, take it easy at first and always follow the recommendations of your health care professional.

For more information, contact us today at Team Worx Fitness

Ways To Keep Mentally Fit

Ways To Keep Mentally Fit

It’s just as important to be mentally fit as it is to be physically fit. If you’re not mentally fit, attaining physical fitness is almost impossible. The two are interlinked. When you improve your body, it helps your mind and the reverse is true. Exercise helps burn off the hormones of stress and sends oxygen and nutrient-laden blood throughout the body. It causes the body to release endorphins that make you feel good. Depression and anxiety can reduce your energy and even cause you to be bedridden. That’s not good for physical or mental fitness. When both the mind and the body are healthy, both function better.

Take it to the gym or dance your night away.

It doesn’t matter what physical activity you do, staying physically active helps your brain. If it’s a social physical activity, like a team sport or a visit to the gym, it promotes social interaction, which is both mentally and physically beneficial. Studies show that people with rich social lives live longer, healthier and happier lives.

Take a mental vacation, and get more sleep.

If you’re under stress and feel ready to explode, take a mental vacation for your mental health. Walk away from what you’re doing if possible and divert your attention. If it’s a project that has a deadline, getting away from it for a half hour can refresh your brain and make you more efficient. Getting adequate sleep is another way to help maintain good mental health. When you sleep, the brain reorganizes, repairs and gets rid of the waste accumulated during the day. You’ll have more energy when you have adequate sleep and can accomplish more.

Learn something new.

Getting out of your comfort zone and trying something different can be exciting. It can be as simple as going to a new restaurant or eating food you’ve never tasted. Making changes keeps the brain connections strong while stimulating the creation of new brain cells. Expanding your knowledge and trying new things can help keep you mentally and physically younger.

  • Laugh more. Scientists found that laughter can help trigger the immune system, and some groups even use laughter as an adjunct therapy. It helps reduce stress, increases oxygen intake, and improves your immune system. Laughter is an excellent coping mechanism for those with chronic disease.
  • Fake it until you make it. It doesn’t matter if you break out in a belly laugh or a chuckle. It will initially feel silly, but the more you practice laughing, the realer it will become.
  • Be more positive. Handle the things you can control and accept those you can’t. Know you can handle anything, regardless of the outcome. Working toward an outcome helps you reach that outcome, worrying about an outcome just stresses you.
  • Look on the bright side and be grateful. When you look for the bad things in life, you find them. The same is true when you look for all the blessings you have. An attitude of gratitude goes a long way in boosting your mental fitness.

For more information, contact us today at Team Worx Fitness