Judit Archive

For a Happy and Fit New Year

C:\Users\Proprietario\Pictures\Fitnessiworld\For_a_Happy_and_Fit_New_Year_.pngThe New Year is a tough time for people who are trying to maintain their fitness.  The holidays have been around, and everyone tried to feed us as much as we could eat.  In many cases, the foods, themselves, are high in fat, salt, simple carbs…  Because of the pressures to get things done, all the shopping and running around, we didn’t always have time to get to the gym or do our workout.  It wouldn’t be so bad if this just went on for a week, but the latest way of “doing the holidays” seems to start in mid-October, and lasts right through the first of January! — And so, because I know that you’ve been rushed, I’m going to keep this short.

Let’s Eat!

First, let’s look at the food situation.  This is a really great time to change the way you’ve been doing things.  Our minds are on our Resolutions, but hey, let’s be reasonable about it!
No Diets!
Diets don’t work.  I don’t care how many friends you have who swear by Atkins, or anybody else.  In the final analysis, diets don’t work.  They are artificial ways of eating which are, by design, non-sustainable.  Yes, you may lose some fat while you’re doing them, but when you go off the diet, that fat comes back, often even more than before.  So, NO DIETS!!

Watch your fat and salt!

Simple.  Don’t slather your mashed potatoes with Aunt Jane’s Cream Gravy.  Don’t eat french-fries, or, for that matter, anything which comes out of a deep fryer.  Bake, broil, steam.  That’s the mantra.  If you must fry, use a light dusting of an olive-oil-based cooking spray, instead of a half-cup of bacon grease.
If you’re a vegetarian, life in the low-fat lane is a bit easier for you.  But if you’re not, then try to stay with the good stuff.  Eat the white meat instead of dark (and I don’t mean pork, characterized as “The Other White Meat”, but still high-fat, high cholesterol).  Try introducing some new dishes into your new year fare.  Baked or broiled fish is wonderful.  There are many varieties, and you’re almost certain to find something you like.  Experiment with different spicings – I like simple stuff like basil and oregano, but some fish, like red snapper, can be made really terrific with the application of some garlic, too.

Baked potatos are fine, as long as you keep away from too much butter and/or sour cream.  Again, try one of the low-fat or non-fat salad dressings, along with some chopped chives, minced garlic (to taste), and other spices.
And while we’re baking things, how about yams!  Fantastic sources of fiber, antioxidant vitamins, and mighty tasty, these goodies are really good for you!  Don’t be too fanatical about fat here – a single pat of butter, whipped into a large baked yam with about a teaspoonful of brown sugar, makes a low-fat, high-taste treat.  Add a bit of cinnamon or clove for another taste sensation!
Be inventive!
here are many, many foods out there that you haven’t tried, and maybe it’s about time you did!

Let’s Exercise!

Motivating yourself to get into the gym might be a bit in the New Year.  There’s post-Holiday shopping to do, running the kids around, all that stuff — when can you find time!?
Start with shopping.  You’ve heard it before, but it is no less true for repetition — park at the far end of the mall lot, and walk in.  If you don’t have joint problems, use stairs instead of the escalator or elevator.  Get a pen and notepad and walk the entire mall without buying anything.  Instead, write down what you really liked and wanted to buy.  Then trim the list to practical proportions, and walk back to the shops where you found things, and get them.
Visiting relatives?  Use the opportunity to go for a long walk.  Check out the scenery.  Go to a museum and wander around for a few hours.  Take the kids to an ice-skating rink.  You skate, too!  Go boogie all night with the folks at a local dance factory.  In short, have fun while you keep moving!

Winter vacation plans?  Why not make it a ski vacation, where you actually spend more time on the slopes than in the lodge?  Chasing summer?  Swim, run, snorkel, walk a quiet beach — Keep Moving!
Have Fun!
Whatever you do, don’t let the fact that you missed a few workout sessions, make you feel bad.  Everybody needs a vacation from work and working out.  Just don’t go off the deep end when it comes to indulging yourself, and you’ll be right back on track in short order.  It’s new year, y’all, time for you to hit the weight racks and aerobics room.
And a New Year’s Wish from Bill and the Gang at World Fitness
We wish you all a happy, safe, fun, exciting, pleasurable, and fulfilling Year.  Don’t forget the folks who have less than we do, and give generously to the charity of your choice.  If you need us, we’re here for you – as near as the Experts Page – and we genuinely want for you to be fit, healthy, and happy!

Hype or Good Health? Get the Lowdown on Multivitamins

categories of vitaminsOne vitamin retailer claims “purity, freshness and quality” by shipping a fresh supply of vitamins every 90 days. Another says its product “dissolves in minutes instead of the hour or more that some lazy vitamins take.” Yet another offers “all-day protection” with timed-released vitamin and mineral formulas.
Will the real high-quality vitamin please stand up?

The sale of vitamins and supplements is now a multi-million dollar industry, which means more manufacturers and retailers are competing for your attention. Health claims are rolling out of marketing departments faster than an Olympic sprint. But are some vitamins better than others? Is there a big difference between a cheap multivitamin and an expensive one?
FitnessLink asked Michael Janson, M.D., author of The Vitamin Revolution in Health Care (Arcadia Press), for a few tips.

Janson says there are three categories of vitamins. The first are cheap (usually less than $10), low potency vitamins. These vitamins include brands like Centrum and One-A-Day and can be found in any major grocery store. The tablets are covered with a heavy coating and don’t disintegrate easily, which means the body doesn’t absorb them well. The ingredients are typically the lowest quality of all three types.

Next are health food store or mail order vitamins, such as GNC or Barth’s brands, that are sometimes hypoallergenic. These vitamins, made from better quality ingredients, are a good choice. The tablets aren’t heavily coated so the body absorbs them easily. They often come with a reasonable price tag ($10 – $20).

The third category consists of the pricey brands (more than $20 for a month’s supply) that are usually found in salons or spas. The ingredients are high quality with nothing artificial. They have fancier packaging, more marketing bang for the buck and a name or reputation that backs them.
“In general, both the medium and higher price levels are usually good quality vitamins,” says Janson.
One of the vitamin industries little known secrets is that the majority of better quality vitamins are actually identical products. “Most of the good companies get their raw ingredients from a few major sources,” says Janson. These companies create vitamins and package them under hundreds of different labels. Quality store and mail order brands are often identical to national brands, at half the price.

Hype or good health?

Let’s examine some claims about vitamin supplements more closely. Is shipping that fresh supply of vitamins every 90 days something special? Not necessarily.
“Vitamins are required by law to have an expiration date or code,” says Janson. So it really doesn’t matter how often the vitamins are shipped, as long as you take them all before the expiration date.
What about the time release claim? click to continue

Fitness Propaganda,Cheats, and “Infomercial” Whores about Fitness

lies about fitnessThe premise of this article is simple:  There are no healthy short-cuts to acquiring a fit, trim body.  The TV and radio commercials lie to you.  The “infomercials”, featuring famous Personal Trainers To The Stars, lie to you.  They do it for one purpose, and one purpose only – to get a hand into your wallet, and they do a marvellous job, at that.  You can find their shoddy products in practically every garage sale in the country.  The diets and dieting aids hyped, are at best, barely effective, and at worst, can be downright dangerous.

Abdominal “rollers” are a prime example of useless junk.  They support your neck and cervical spine, while you perform the work.  You can get the exact same effect by reaching behind your head with both hands, and touching opposite shoulders.  And it won’t cost you 50 bucks!  Oh.  Some of them have weights to add-on.  So, hold a weight in one hand, and do the crunch while supporting neck and cervical spine with the other.  Still less than 50 bucks!

The various “riders” are okay if you’re totally out of shape, and want to get to the point where you can move for more than a few minutes at a time without becoming winded.  But their effect, if used properly, will plateau out in about 8 weeks after you start.  For the price of one of the better ones, you can get a whole year at a decent gym, many of which have these “riders”, but which also have other equipment for you to continue your progress on!

The leg-swinging “walkers” are actually laughable.  What can I say?  I got on one, swung my legs so fast that the thing threatened to tip over with the force, and still didn’t get into my aerobic range.  And I’m nearly50 years old!  I guess, if you’re just coming out of a long stay in the hospital, and can get one prescribed for you by your Physical Therapist, you might see some benefit.  But I wouldn’t bet on it for anyone else.  A “rider” is a better buy, in my opinion.  But get it at a garage sale.

Finally, there is stuff like that weighted steel “blade” thingie, that you hold in your hands and shake (I’m still shaking with laughter about that one!), and the plastic gadget you put between your knees and squeeze, supposedly to thin your thighs (uh… like I keep tellin’ ya … spot reducing does NOT work!).  I bought one of those for 50 cents at a garage sale, and asked my husband to try it out.  he’s pretty tiny, and in decent shape from running a small commercial veggie garden.  He broke the thing in about 3 squeezes – just snapped it right in two!  Need I say more?
There are a few products I’ve seen, which actually will work, if used correctly and regularly.  One of them (the best of the lot, in my opinion) is the Bowflex, another is the Total Gym 3000, promoted by Chuck Norris and Christie Brinkley.  (World Fitness does not endorse any products.  This is the author’s opinion, only.)  Neither of the mentioned items, tries to delude you into thinking that there is no real work involved in becoming fit, or that you can do so in only a few minutes a day.  The infomercials for them show people actually sweating, and obviously working hard.  Personally, I think they’re rather overpriced, especially considering the fact that, for similar money, one can negotiate a lifetime membership in a good gym, many of which will offer more than those machines can provide, such as swimming pool, racquetball, etc.  However, if you prefer to work out solo, and are prepared to put some serious dedication and energy into the process, they will help you to become fit.

The diets promoted, can work, to one extent or another.  But don’t be fooled; they all work the same way!  How’s that?  Well, losing weight is absolutely and entirely a circumstance of caloric input being lower than caloric expenditure.  Short of liposuction, or the surgical removal of body parts, there is no other way to lose bodyfat!
Some of these diets tout “ergogenic aids”, and “herbal metabolism improvers”.  Well, maybe so.  A lot of ’em use caffeine, which is a stimulant, in one form or another.  Some of the less-desirable, use ma huang (ephedra), or plain old ephedrine.  Same stuff used in meth labs, to make crystal meth.  Now there’s a stimulant, indeed!  But do you want to put it in your body?  Caffeine can also have a mild diuretic effect, which will cause you to lose weight via loss of water.  Very, very temporary, that.  But let’s get to the bottom line.  Read the diet that comes with all these “aids”.  Add up the total calories you’ll get to eat on that diet, and compare it with what you’ve been eating.  Hmmmmm…  Lots less, eh?  Wonder how that diet works!!

Back on the subject of the cost of getting fit; a good set of hex dumbbells will cost you less than $150 USD, and a decent bicycle, at around $300 USD, is still a lot cheaper than just about any of the better “infomercial” machines.  You can also get used gym equipment at garage sales and auctions, for pennies on the dollar.  Running and walking shoes are also comparatively inexpensive, and both of those activities are among the best sorts of aerobic exercise you can do for yourself!  Shop around, pick an exercise you enjoy, and do it!  That’s the only way to really become fit and trim.

Summing it all up, don’t be fooled by a bunch of taut bodies parading around on TV, selling a piece of useless gear along with a nonsense bill of goods about how you can get fit in “only 4 minutes a day!!!”.  Remember that, if a claim sounds too good to be true, it probably isn’t true.

What is Cross Training and why you should do it?

Cross Training Mary recently started a program to get in shape.  It’s a lot of effort for her just managing to stick with a brisk walk on her treadmill 3-5 days a week.  Only this week she finally reached her first goal, of being able to do it for 20 minutes continuously without feeling wiped out.  She doesn’t enjoy the treadmill and doesn’t like sweating or the physical feeling of exertion.  She’s thinking that accomplishment may not be enough motivation to continue; there are too many other things she’d rather being doing.
John found his way past that point long ago and has been a regular exerciser for over a year.  But his chosen activity, weightlifting, is starting to feel stale and boring–it’s always so predictable, so mindless, and his progress has tapered off.  He’s been increasingly feeling twinges in his shoulder when he performs pushups, which he does a lot.  And although he thought he was in pretty good shape, a pick-up game of soccer with the kids wiped him out and left him hurting in muscles he didn’t know he had.

There’s a great solution for both of these exercisers:  CROSS-TRAINING!  Cross-training is performing a variety of activities, challenging your muscles and your heart in different ways as part of your regular activity

The advantages of cross-training are many; here are a few:

  • Develops all-around fitness
  • Promotes balanced muscle development
  • Prevents “burnout”
  • Prevents overuse injuries

We’ve all heard the saying “Variety is the spice of life.”  This turns out to be true for our bodies as well as our minds.  By tossing in another activity, you keep your body “guessing” and your mind engaged.
Mary and John above are both feeling a little “burned out” for lack of variety and interest.  John is developing an overuse injury in his shoulder, possibly due to an imbalance in muscle development.  John has also learned the hard way that his fitness demands aren’t being fully met by his weightlifting-only workouts–he’s lacking in aerobic capacity and there are many muscles that his weight machines haven’t trained.  There’s nothing inherently wrong with either Mary’s or John’s current programs, it’s just that adding complementary activities would give them both a physical and mental boost.

Here are just a few examples of how you might incorporate cross-training into your schedule:

If your primary activity is:
  • Running
  • Swimming
  • Step aerobics
  • Soccer
  • Weight lifting
  • Bicycling
  • Swimming
  • Bicycling
  • Cardio-kickboxing
  • Rowing
  • Hiking
  • Weightlifting

In each example, you will either use different muscles, or use the same muscles in a different kind of movement, or both.
Using the same muscles in the same way at the same pace all the time will make them very good at doing that one thing at that one pace–this is known as the principle of “specificity of training“.   Your body becomes more efficient at performing that activity, meaning it becomes easier both in terms of the work required and the amount of attention you have to focus on your movements.  (Think of how effortless world-class ice skaters make their activity look!)  But that ease may not translate well to other activities which involve different muscles, or a different kind of movement.  Cross-training can ensure you’re at least somewhat prepared for anything that comes up!

So, mix up your schedule across the week with two or more complementary activities you think you might enjoy.  If one of them loses your interest or turns out to be unsuitable, try a different activity!  Exercise doesn’t have to be work–it’s just a matter of finding the right activities for _you_.  Cross-training is the way to go!

Balance Training Exercises

balance exercises Balance is also crucial in sports like snowboarding, downhill skiing, surfing, tennis, basketball and baseball where maintaining a center of gravity determines how well you can move. “Balance means being able to stop on a dime to hit a shot on the tennis court,” Ellison says. “It requires your body unconsciously knowing exactly where your center of gravity is so that you can position yourself in the correct place and make that shot off of a planted foot.”

There are two types of balance:

static and dynamic. Static refers to held balance. For example, if you were to time how long you could stand on one leg, you’d be working static balance. Dynamic balance, on the other hand, involves movement while your body balances itself. Take the classic exercise where models practice walking. They place a book on top of their head and walk across the room. Keeping the book on top of their head requires dynamic balance because they’re balancing while moving. You use both types of balance throughout the day.
To add balance training to your exercise program, consider practicing yoga which teaches your body where its center is. Or perform simple, athletic-based drills that challenge your dynamic balance.
The following exercises will challenge both types of balance. Try to complete them twice a week. Focus not only on your balance but also on your posture. Think tall and feel your body gaining confidence as it redefines its sense of balance.

To challenge dynamic balance, Suzanne Nottingham, author of several books on sports conditioning for winter activities and in-line skating, suggests the following exercises:

  • Stair steps: Position yourself in front of a low stair. You can also use a step training bench. Hold a cup of water in both hands. Step up and down the step as fast as you can without spilling the water.
  • Sidewalk challenge: Stand on the sidewalk and face one direction. Using your arms for balance, step one foot in front of the other (heel directly in front of your toes) and walk quickly down the sidewalk. Turn around and walk back.
  • One-legged hop: Balance on one leg. Hop forward on that leg four times. Then hop backward four times. Switch legs and repeat.
    To work static balance, try this standing pose from “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Yoga” by Joan Budilovsky and Eve Adamson.
  • Tree Pose: Stand tall with your arms down by your side and your weight evenly distributed. Slowly lift your left foot off the ground and place the sole of the foot along the inner thigh of your right leg. Place your hands together in front of your chest and raise your arms overhead, palms together. Keep your breathing steady. Find your focus and concentrate on balancing. Hold. Return to starting position and switch sides.

In-depth look at vitamins

In-depth look at vitaminsWhat about the time release claim? Time released supplements aren’t that beneficial because the body doesn’t need an hourly supply of nutrients. Nutrient deficiencies don’t develop by the hour–or even overnight.
Some manufacturers maintain that their products don’t contain sugar, preservatives or artificial colors or flavors. Isn’t this good news?
“Yes,” says Dana Reed, MS, the Director of Nutrition for Vitamins.com, an online vitamin company. “Supplements shouldn’t contain fillers, artificial flavoring, colors or sweeteners.” You pay for vitamins, not junk.

Efficient absorption – the mark of quality

So what’s wrong with those cheap vitamins we can pick up at the grocery?

As mentioned earlier, the heavy coating prevents the tablet from breaking up quickly once we swallow it. Secondly, our body can’t break down and use the nutrients in these vitamins before our system flushes them out. Money spent on these vitamins is literally being flushed down the toilet.
The U.S. Pharmacopoeia sets standards for vitamin disintegration that may be helpful. It says that vitamin and mineral compounds should disintegrate in the intestine within about 30 minutes. One good test is to soak your vitamin in a glass of water and see if it dissolves or starts to break up within a short period of time. If the tablet doesn’t, it may be time to look for a new supplement. But remember that you can’t test capsules in this way.

The best way to increase your body’s absorption of a good quality multivitamin supplement is by taking it with meals. Reed recommends taking a supplement after both breakfast and dinner. “Multiple dosing allows for a more complete formula with higher RDA levels of nutrients, enhanced absorption, and allows the body to maintain more consistent blood levels of the nutrients,” says Reed.
The most effective nutritional supplement program considers many factors, such as diet, lifestyle and activity level, personal health, family history and health objectives. No one multi is the best formula or product for everyone. Select your multi carefully based on your individual nutritional needs.
“When I consult with my clients I ask them a series of questions that enables me to guide them in designing an individual program,” says Reed.
Supplements are most effective when taken as part of a comprehensive program of diet and exercise. “A multi should serve as the foundation,” advises Reed. “With the right program, most people will find their immune response enhanced, energy levels up, and over the long term, the process of aging delayed.” All are great reasons for checking out a quality multivitamin supplement that’s right for you.

Vitamin Do’s and Don’ts

  • Never buy a multi that doesn’t clearly list the amount of each ingredient. A “laundry list” of ingredients without the IU or mg amounts is a red flag to leave it on the shelf.
  • Don’t pay extra for “chelated” minerals. Chelated means the vitamins are · combined with proteins. Some claim that the process promotes better absorption of the vitamins, and it may, but a quality multi taken with meals will give you good absorption.
  • Every vitamin product you buy should have an expiration date because the potency decreases with time. Potency refers to the strength and the freshness of the product. All labels should also have a batch number in the event of a recall.
  • Tablets or capsules? Pressed tablets can contain more nutrients than the equivalent amount of capsules or softgels. Plus, you can do the water test to see how quickly they breakdown.
  • Products packaged in containers that reduce the effects of light, heat and moisture will help retain the vitamin’s potency longer. Look for vitamins in tinted or dark color bottles.
  • Store your vitamins in a cool, dry, dark space. The fridge or the bathroom medicine cabinet can contain moisture and humidity that breaks down vitamins before their expiration date.

Want More from your Exercise Program? Add Balance Training

balance training exercisesLife is all about balancing, and I’m not talking about your checkbook. Every day, you work to maintain a balance between work, play and rest. On most days, you do well. On other days, though, everything collides. So you pick up the pieces and you get back into the balancing act.

There’s another kind of balance, though, that most of us forget to practice until it’s too late. I’m talking about the kind of balancing that you do when you stand on one leg. Or when you’re on the tennis court and you have to change your stance in mid-flight. Or when you’re walking to your car and you happen to step on a piece of ice.
Balance is crucial in all of these cases, which is why it is so important to add balance training to your exercise program. In fact, with regular work, you can improve your balance, which will enhance your function in daily activities and your performance in different sports.

“Training for balance improves daily functioning, sport performance and strength training,” writes John Blievernicht, M.A., president of Sports Health C.A.R.E. Inc. in Chicago. (ACE Certified News, October/November 1997). “A person who runs, or even just walks, while out of balance, compromises their speed, endurance and control.”
Everything you do requires balance, says Deborah Ellison, PT, a physical therapist and founder of the Advanced Personal Training Institute in San Diego, Calif. “Balance is simply keeping your center of gravity within your base of support,” she says. “If you know where your center is – and that’s your body unconsciously knowing where – then you’re more grounded physically and mentally.”

Without balance, you become apprehensive about moving and you limit your movements. Watch elderly people, for example, who have lost their sense of balance. You’ll see them hesitate as they walk up stairs or bend over to pick something off the floor. In the end, they carry themselves lower to the ground for good reason. “To readjust your center of gravity,” Ellison says, “you start holding yourself closer to the ground.”
In fact, having good balance affects your mental state as well as your performance in physical activities. “When you’re balanced, you’re confident and that carries into your emotional interactions,” she says. “You exhibit a calmness and focus that you might not have if you were off balance.”
Balance is also crucial in sports like snowboarding, downhill skiing, surfing, tennis, basketball and baseball click to continue