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Balance is a simple concept but difficult to develop in real life. There’s always something getting in the way of plans to exercise and eat right. However, part of the difficulty may be in our definition of what balance means. Here are some thoughts on redefining balance, as well as developing and maintaining it.
First, we need to realize that our whole being, our mind, body and soul, needs nourishment. Our flesh and blood need air, food and water, and our spirit needs nourishment, too. Sometimes when we’re focusing on the former, we forget the latter.
Exercise can be a form of enrichment for the soul, as we learn to listen to our body and give it what it needs and avoid what it doesn’t. For instance, you might think you need french fries, and occasionally you might, but your body will tell you whether it feels good or not. Just as exercise needs a recovery period to build muscle, your soul and spirit need rejuvenation periods as well.
If you’re so busy doing everything you’re “supposed” to do that you don’t get enough sleep or relaxation -- “me time” -- then you’ll be just as burned out.
Like night follows day, we need rejuvenation following activity. This world encourages working and excelling while overlooking being, relaxing and recovering. But we can’t have one without the other. Even too much exercise is unhealthy. The point of balance is having both activity (exercise, eating healthy foods) and relaxation (down time, occasional comfort foods). Moderation is key. Somewhere in our rush to be all that we can be, we forgot that it’s not just bigger, better, faster. The rhythm of life demands slow as well as fast.
So what’s the answer? I say it’s in listening. Listen to what others suggest, yes, but also do what our body is telling us. Do we feel good after eating a huge meal, or are we lethargic? Does exercise make us feel better? If not, let’s try another. Maybe yoga or tai chi is more your thing than Zumba. As long as you’re moving your body and strengthening muscles, you’re moving in the right direction. If it makes you feel good, do it. If not, try something else. Your body is a well-built machine that will let you know what it needs, if only you listen to the signals it’s sending.
If you are recovering from addiction, your ability to listen to your body has been compromised and will need readjustment. It will take awhile before you feel like yourself again, but eating right and exercising can help in the healing process. Your body was subjected to chemical stimulation or depression, so your normal rhythms were masked.
You need to relearn how to feel what you’re feeling and respond to it. Make exercise part of your routine. Exercise releases endorphins that elevate your mood. If you can exercise outside, all the better as you flood your body with healing vitamin D. Find a friend and go for a walk; socialize while working out. You will be healing your body and your spirit. Slowly, surely, you can get better and stay sober. Replace bad habits with good ones that will make you stronger, physically and emotionally.
Caring for yourself and finding balance are a daily pursuit based on your lifestyle, family and friends, and your definition of what balance means to you. Every day you decide what you’re going to do to be healthy, and every day you weigh those choices against your schedule, things that come up unexpectedly, and the importance of knowing what can control and what you can’t. You can’t control a work meeting that runs late, but you control whether you eat that doughnut. Maybe a margarita with friends after work is important, because you’re supporting each other and building relationships. But maybe it’s a weekly or monthly activity, not a daily one. Going home and reading a good book or dancing around your living room with the kids is important, too.
You need all these things in your life, but only you can decide when and how much. Balance is elusive but not impossible. It’s determined by you as you choose each day how you spend your time. Do what’s “good for you” and what’s good for you. Only you can determine which is which.
Author: Sheila Olson (www.fitsheila.com)
Article Source: https://nuzest.sg/burn-fat-efficiently/
We’ve learned that fat burning is a system we’ve developed to allow us to use energy over long distances. Our hunter-gatherer ancestors, whose genes we share almost unchanged, would roam their environments on the hunt for food for hours or even days on end. We would not be around today if they cold only hunt successfully if they could refuel on bags of potato chips or cans of coke every few hours. They would genuinely be running on empty, using fuel that they had previously stored. Someone who gets lost in the desert and is unable to hunt successfully will die, usually after a few days without food and water. But it’s not the lack of food that causes death, it’s the lack of water. Most of us can function, given water, for well over two weeks without food. That’s because we burn first of all our fat reserves, and then we that runs out, we start burning protein as muscle tissue. What’s ingenious about it is that we also generate another fuel when we burn fat called ketone bodies. These ketone bodies – or ketones for short – are actually are brain’s favourite fuels. If you keep burning fat, and continue to not eat over many days, the levels of ketones in your system can get so high they kill you. That’s why for many years ketones were thought of as bad compounds because they were known to occur at very high levels in people who were starving to death. To keep ketones as low as possible, you need to shut down your fat burning system. The best way to do that is by taking in lots of carbs.
Now, think about all those overweight people in the gym who you’ve seen working out on treadmills and cycling machines who never seem to lose weight. Chances are they’re working out for under an hour at a time and they’re also downing glucose- or sugar-laden energy drinks or energy gels to keep them going. Their diets might also be low fat and high in refined and processed carbs like white bread, pasta, pizzas and white rice.
What we now know is that we need to back off eating carbs to encourage our bodies to burn fats. This is one reason that there’s been so much interest in law carb diets, as well as ones that increase the amount of healthy fats. These kinds of diets are often referred to as Low Carb High Fat or LCHF diets. But it’s not just a question of what you’re eating, it’s also about how much and when you’re eating.
When we start exercising aerobically our bodies normally rely on the most readily accessible fuel. It’s actually not fats, carbs or protein. It’s a compound called glycogen that’s stored in our liver and muscles. If we’re replenished with glycogen from a good meal with plenty of complex carbs from vegetables, starches or grains the night before, most of us will have a reserve of some 500 – 800g of glycogen. This will be sufficient to act as our main fuel for around 60 to 90 minutes of moderate intensity exercise. So if you’re going to do some aerobic work in the gym and stop after just 30 minutes, you will have barely started to burn your fat reserves, irrespective of whether the machine in the gym tells you you’ve been in your fat burning zone for that half hour. You’ve burned part of your glycogen reserve that will be replete if you down an energy drink or another carb source after your workout.
What the fat burning zone inscribed on your treadmill, stepper, rower or gym bike is telling is however is right if you’re prepared to stay in this low to moderate heart rate zone for some time. This fat burning zone is approximately 60-70% of your maximum heart rate, which is roughly 220 minus your age, although it can be considerably higher than this if you’re very fit. But how many people can manage over an hour of aerobic work in the gym. Three or four times a week. Not many as it happens.
That’s one reason why, when it comes to burning fat, getting outdoors and doing a long walk or cycle ride makes a lot more sense for many people. But it requires time – something not many of us have in abundance. But perhaps you can manage this once or twice a week if you really try, ideally not on consecutive days.
Such is the flexibility of our bodies’ systems that there are also other ways of burning fat. Intermittent fasting is one of the best ways of getting there. It’s a somewhat fancy term referring to a pattern of eating that involves eating both less as well as less often than a normal Western person might typically eat. There’s actually nothing odd about this way of eating – our ancestors almost certainly ate this way. They certainly didn’t eat three meals a day with snacks in between. They would go through cycles of feast and famine – and it’s important to realise we are supremely well-adapted to famine because if we weren’t, we’d not be here today. And bizarrely, it’s now the excessive feasting that’s much more likely to kill us than the famine…
One of the most useful rules with intermittent fasting is to try to cut down on your meal frequency by avoiding eating within five hours of your last meal. Another point involves cutting out snacks between meals, as well as all refined and processed carbohydrates like white bread, white pasta and white rice. Doing a couple of training or exercise sessions on a completely empty stomach (other than water) will also help you shift towards being a better fat burner. As will engaging in very short bursts of high intensity exercise, with rests of the same or double the duration in between. This is called High Intensity Interval Training or HIIT and you’ll find plenty of information about it on the internet, such is its popularity given its proven role in triggering mitochondrial function and fat burning. Depending on what your fitness goal is, you can adjust the pattern of your HIIT sessions to deliver different results.
With a personal trainer with extensive experience in HIIT, there are even HIIT regimes suitable for people with serious diseases such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes and obesity. It may seem a bit tough, but think of it as short and sharp, with good rewards. Get it right and your metabolism will become super flexible, using whatever fuels are most efficient. You’ll generate ketones at low levels (nutritional ketosis) to keep your brain super sharp and you’ll even burn fat while you sleep!
When you’ve finished a bout of training over 20 or 30 minutes, make sure you consume around 20 grams of good quality protein to help your body recover and your muscles to grow stronger following the exercise trigger you’ve delivered to them. It’s a good idea to get this protein in within a 30-minute window of completing your activity. If the activity has involved long periods of endurance, you might also want to add some complex carbs and branched chain amino acids to the mix, as well as a good quality multi-nutrient product with plenty of good quality vitamins and minerals, botanicals, probiotics and other micronutrients that help support your multiple body systems.
If you're over 40, you probably have more “stuff” going on in your life than you did at 21, making it difficult to focus on eating right and training regularly. And the enthusiasm you once had for exercise—especially if you haven’t seen the results you were hoping for—may have waned, too.
You might feel that your body can’t handle the kind of punishment you used to dish out in your early twenties, and that it takes longer to recover than it used to.
But none of this matters. With the right type of training, you can still build muscle and get strong well into your forties, fifties, and beyond
University of Oklahoma researchers compared people of different ages who followed the exact same program for eight weeks. They found that guys between 35 and 50 years old built just as much muscle as those between 18 and 22 years old.
The basic rules for building muscle as you age are mostly the same. Yes, the number of times you’ve travelled around the sun will affect the speed at which you make progress. But your age isn’t something you can change, so there’s no point worrying about it. You just need to train smart.
People of different ages respond to training in much the same way. It’s only the size of your results and the speed at which you attain them that varies.
So if you’re entering your forties, fifties, or even sixties and want to build muscle without injury, you can still make great gains by applying a few simple rules to your training program.
Embrace the Light
If you lift heavy all the time, you'll start to notice little aches and pains in your knees, wrists, elbows, and shoulders. Eventually, those minor niggles will get so bad that they'll interfere with your training. It will take weeks—maybe even months—before they clear up and you can train properly again.
Luckily, the solution is very simple: If going heavy on certain exercises causes you pain, just go light instead. Despite what some people might say, you can and will build muscle using lighter weights and higher reps.
In one study, high reps and light weights (3 sets of 30-40 reps) stimulated just as much muscle growth as heavy weights and lower reps (3 sets of 10-12 reps). Doing 3 sets of 10 repetitions to failure promotes similar gains in muscle size as 7 sets of 3 repetitions with a much heavier weight. Japanese researchers found that taking a light weight and lifting it slowly increased both muscle size and strength to a similar extent as heavy training at a normal lifting speed. So mix it up. Heavy weights, medium weights, and light weights can all can be used successfully to gain muscle.
(Looking for a workout that uses light weights but builds strength, too? Check out this Insanely Tough 10-Pound Dumbbell Workout.)
The standard approach to dealing with an injury is to rest. But with some injuries at least, you may be better off moving. Specifically, a form of resistance exercise known as eccentric training has been shown to work extremely well for the treatment of tendon pain in both the elbow and Achilles tendon. In some cases, it works better than surgery. There’s also some intriguing research to show that regular heavy strength training works just as well as eccentric training for the treatment of tendon pain.
NOTE: If you’re injured, the first thing I’d suggest you do is get it checked out by a therapist rather than trying to sort it out yourself. And if what I’m telling you contradicts what they’re saying, take their advice and not mine.
Stimulate, Don’t Annihilate
It’s all too easy to tell yourself that the reason you’re not gaining muscle is because you’re not training hard enough. While lack of effort is certainly one reason why people fail to build a decent amount of muscle, it's not the only reason. There are plenty of people out there who train extremely hard yet make little or no progress despite all they're effort. Walking out of the gym feeling like you’ve just gone several rounds with Kimbo Slice might leave you thinking that your workout has been an effective one. But if it’s not part of a structured plan that moves you towards a specific goal then much of that effort will be wasted.
If you keep on pushing your body to the limit in every workout, several things will happen. In the evening you will have that “wired but tired” feeling where you want to go to sleep but you can’t. You’ll find yourself staring at the ceiling wondering why you’re still awake at 2 a.m. You’ll wake up the next day with your heart pounding, just as tired as you were the night before. Trivial things that you never even noticed before will start to annoy you. You’ll feel anxious, moody, irritable. Worst of all, your results in the gym will dry up and you will gradually start to get weaker. You need to train hard enough to stimulate progress, but not so hard that it has a negative impact on the quality of your other workouts.
Hard work is a tool used to stimulate a physiological improvement. It’s a means to an end, rather than the end itself.
Blast and Cruise
Your body isn’t a machine. It needs a rest now and again. Do this by including a “cruise” week (also known as a deload) for every 3 to 9 weeks of hard training.
Three weeks of intense training followed by a light week is a fairly widely accepted practice, although it’s not based on any research evidence that I’m aware of.
It’s not strictly necessary for everyone to deload after three weeks. But if I told you to deload “when you feel like it,” you probably wouldn't do it at all. And your body wasn’t designed to go “all out” for 52 weeks of the year without some kind of break.
In general, the closer you are to your genetic potential (i.e. the upper limit of what you’re capable of in terms of size and strength), the more often you’ll need to deload. Those who are farther away from their genetic potential will be able to reload less frequently.
Stretch What’s Tight
Static stretching has been heavily criticized in recent years. That’s because it doesn’t do a lot of the things it’s supposed to. Most of the research out there shows that stretching has little effect on muscle soreness, and doesn’t appear to do much for injury prevention either.
However, if you find that certain muscles feel a little “tight” (the hamstrings, hip flexors, quadriceps, and gluteals are the usual culprits), or there’s an “asymmetry” in flexibility (i.e. one leg feels substantially tighter than the other) then it’s worth experimenting with some static stretching to see if it makes you feel any better.
If you want a simple prescription for flexibility, aim to stretch any “tight” muscles for a total of 60 seconds per day. Stretching for 60 seconds has been shown to improve flexibility more quickly than a 30-second or 15-second stretch in a group of subjects aged between 65 and 97, all with “tight” hamstring muscles. What’s more, participants who stretched for 60 seconds remained more flexible for longer than subjects in the other groups.
Three Is Enough
There is no correct training frequency that works for all people, all of the time. Nor are there rigid guidelines that determine exactly what your training routine should look like at any stage of life.
You may be doing just fine on a program that involves lifting weights 4 to 5 times a week. If that's the case, keep doing it.
However, from the studies I've read and my experience with clients, a program that involves lifting weights no more than three times a week is best for anyone in their forties. It allows for more recovery time, and keeps big, demanding exercises like the squat and the deadlift away from each other in your programming.
Take Your Time
Many in their late teens and early twenties will walk straight into the gym, do a few arm circles, and then jump straight into the heavy stuff. If you’re over 40, this approach will get you injured sooner or later. You have to make the time to warm up properly. The exact warmup that you do will depend on what your workout looks like. It will also vary from person to person, depending on the environment you’re training in, how strong you are, and so on. All of this helps to prepare the joints, the muscles, and the nervous system that controls those muscles for the heavy work to come.
While a good warmup can reduce the risk of injury and improve your performance, it doesn’t need to last forever. Foam rolling, dynamic activation drills, and various “alignment” exercises can be useful at certain times and for certain individuals. Don't just copy what other people are doing—choose things that are actually helping your own body and workout.
Pick Your Battles
Some people have a bone structure that makes them better suited to certain exercises than others. You might not be built for deep squats with a heavy barbell across your shoulders, deadlifts from the floor, chinups from a straight bar, or bench pressing through a full range of motion. If you’ve got short arms and long legs, for example, it'll be a lot harder to deadlift from the floor without rounding your back compared to someone with long arms and short legs. But that doesn’t mean you should give up on the deadlift. Just do rack pulls instead, using a starting position that allows you to maintain normal spinal curvature. If your wrists hurt when you’re doing chinups from a straight bar, use a suspension trainer. This allows your wrists to move freely rather than being locked in the same position throughout the movement.
There are some exercises that will hurt no matter what. If so, don’t be afraid to ditch that exercise and find a similar one that doesn’t. There is no single “must do” exercise that can’t be replaced with something else.
Talk to us now to find out what are the exercises best suited for you and how to train to your optimum level even if you are in your 40s and above! Our personal trainers are here to help you improve your health and strength :)
Credits: Christian Finn (UK-based trainer who analyzes fitness and nutrition research. This story originally appeared on his blog at Muscle Evo.)