Archive for the ‘Weight Loss’ Category

How to Lose Weight Fast and Keep it Off Forever

Friday, March 25th, 2011

How To Lose Weight Fast
Creative Commons License photo credit: Josef Seibel

Want to lose weight fast and keep it off? That is a major priority of women all over the world. In today’s high fat, high sugar, low exercise society we find ourselves getting bigger and bigger with more and more health problems.

But it doesn’t need to be this way.

In this article I am going to show you how to lose weight fast and keep it off for the rest of your life. Its actually not as hard as you think.

Why are we getting so fat?

Before we can talk about how to lose weight fast we need to look at some of the reasons as to why we are so big. Why are so many women having trouble with this issue? Why are so many American women in particular having trouble with this issue. Well the blame can be placed on a few key areas.

  • Portion sizes
    Portion sizes in the United States are out of control. The small size for a Coke at McDonald’s are equivalent to the large size everywhere else in the world. Meals at restaurants and at home are so much bigger than the human species has ever needed over the past ten thousand years.
  • Poisonous lifestyles
    Women today work hard and move quickly. There are kids to take care of, careers to think about and a husband and house to look after. It is busy. There is hardly any time to think about (let alone act on) our health and wellbeing. This is poisonous.
  • Choice of exercise
    When we do get a chance to exercise we often choose the wrong thing to do. A lot of women are wasting their time trying to lose weight fast with exercise methods that are either out of date or inefficient.

The whole point of this website is to give you the right information, ideas and motivation for how to lose weight and get fit and healthy the best way possible. We really don’t think it is that hard if you know the right ways to do things and have a little bit of self discipline. We can do it together.

How to lose weight fast

Pilates classes help keep European military communities fit - FMWRC - US Army - 100924
Creative Commons License photo credit: familymwr

What I want to do now is tell you about a few strategies that, when combined together, can make your fat loss journey a lot simpler, quicker and more sustainable. Read it carefully because a lot of you are doing the wrong thing.

1. You don’t need the gym if your portion sizes are right
This is a shocking statement for some people but it is the most important thing I have ever learned. Over the past year I have lost 10 kilograms (22 pounds) without doing any exercise all from controlling my portion sizes.

The reason is simple. If you eat ten less calories a day you are consuming 3650 less calories per year. That is one pound of fat. So imagine if you ate ten less calories every time you had a meal. Now imagine that was 20 or 30 calories. Over five year period these tiny changes add up to massive amounts of weight. This is the maths of weight loss. It is very important to understand how this works.

2. Exercise is pointless (for weight loss) without good eating
The reverse of the above philosophy is that if you eat poorly you will make no progress in the gym no matter how much you do. Again, you have to look at the maths of the thing. Let’s say a can of soda has 150 calories in it. That is 30 minutes on the treadmill, just to burn off one can of soda.

Imagine if you never drank it!

The gym needs to be a supplement for your diet, not the other way around. Don’t go to the gym and think that you can treat yourself with a donut or some fast food because you are literally going to go backwards, not stay in the same position. This is a major reason many women quit exercising because they aren’t helping themselves with the diet aspect of the equation.

Now, it is extremely important to stress that weight loss is not the only reason you need to exercise. Science has shown us time and time again that daily exercise reduces the risk of diabetes, heart disease, cancer and so many other problems. Exercising daily not only helps you lose weight, it will help you live a longer life with less health hardships.

3. Low intensity exercise doesn’t do enough
Unless you are jogging for an hour every day you probably aren’t going to do enough to make a big difference. You need to step up the intensity.

High intensity exercise is vital for weight loss because it combines aerobic and anaerobic exercises. It burns more calories, it gets your metabolism elevated and it creates an environment in your body where you will burn more calories throughout the day.

Take a look at the women who do a lot of dancing. It is the type of exercise where you do short bursts of high intensity exercise over and over. They have amazing butts, tight legs and abs and almost no fat. Contrast that with the women who do long sessions of low intensity cardio and never seem to make any progress. This also goes to the enjoyment factor; walking or jogging for hours just doesn’t keep you turned on after a few weeks. Dancing and kickboxing and pole dancing will keep you going.

Some of the best exercises for this include:

  • Kickboxing
  • Dancing and pole dancing
  • Capoeira
  • Boxing
  • Boot camps and army style training
  • Netball and other traditional competition sports
  • Squash

The most important thing is to find something that gets your heart rate up high, makes you use your full body and engages your muscles as much as it does your lungs.

4. Happiness leads to weight loss, not the other way round
Recent studies have shown that happiness leads to weight loss, not the other way round. For decades women have thought that if they just lost their fat they would be a little bit happier and feel better about themselves. When they fail they get less and less likely to ever lose weight and more and more depressed.

Scientists suggest that if you work on your stress levels and aim to get happier you will find that it is easier to lose weight. Why? Because stress causes a hormone to be released in to your body that makes it easier to store fat. Reduce the stress and you also reduce the amount of this chemical in your body.

This concept also works on so many more levels. If you are happy you are less likely to binge on sugars and carbs and all those other comfort foods. If you are happy you are more likely to get outside and walk the dog or go to an exciting new fitness class. Happy people are quite often more active.

And the amazing thing is that the more you move the better your feel. Your body will release endorphins which are hormones that make you feel good. You will also see the weight loss happening and feel good about that too.

5. If you don’t change your portion sizes it will all come undone
Here is the really important part. Unless you change your portion sizes forever the weight will come back. It does for almost everyone. In fact, statistics tell us that 90% of people who lose weight will gain it all back within 5 years.

Don’t be in that 90%. Be a part of that 10%. Do it with portion sizes.

As hard as it seems at the time it is a really easy way to lose weight. Putting the plate down and not having seconds at dinner is so much easier than spending an hour at the gym everyday. Having half a six inch instead of a foot long when you go to Subway is way easier than living on the treadmill.

Just make the change, this small little change, and you will lose weight for the rest of your life without having to do all that extra exercise.

6. Stop drinking everything except water and tea
Tea and water are the only two things that you should be drinking. Why? Because everything else either has hundreds of empty, belly-producing calories in it or else makes you feel like you need to eat something extra.

Water will fill you up so that you don’t eat as much at meals times and tea will actually help you to lose weight fast.

This change a lone is enough to drastically change the way you look. Especially if you live in the westernized world and are addicted to sodas, shakes, coffee and beer.

The important lessons on how to lose weight fast?

So what are the important lessons to take away from this article on how to lose weight fast? Here are the main ones:

  • Cut the size of your meals
  • Drink only water and tea
  • Move often
  • When you exercise make it super high intensity

If you can do these simple things you will find that you don’t need an expensive trainer forever, you don’t need every new gadget that comes out and you will lose the weight and keep it off for the rest of your life.

How You Can Get Toned Arms Like Michelle Obama in a 4 Weeks

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

michelle obama toned arms

If you’ve turned on any chat show in the last two years you would know that women love Michelle Obama’s toned arms. And trainers all over the world have tried to capitalize on this fascination by teaching us how to get arms like the First Lady. But as I read through a whole bunch of articles about her toned arms I noticed a distinct lack of clear instruction. Sure, there are some amazing pieces that give general tips on how to get toned arms but no one really wrote about what you should do in terms of diet, exercise, etc.

In this post I am going to do an in depth look at how to get toned arms like the very beautiful Michelle Obama. I will try to include as much information as possible so you can begin your workout today.

Toned arms in 4 weeks?

The title of this post indicates that you will have nice toned arms in four weeks time. And while that might be possible for some of our readers it won’t be possible for everyone. It is, however, a very good goal to keep in mind.

Why won’t it be possible for everyone? The fact of the matter is, if you want to have a toned body you need to lose body fat. And this is a very long term affair. Some of you might already be at a level where you can just do a few little tweaks and wind up with the definition you want, others will need more time. So while I want everyone to keep the four week goal in mind, don’t be too disappointed if you don’t see final results in that time.

One thing is for sure, if you do four weeks of proper diet and exercise according to this post, you will be well on your way to success. I’m betting you will be well ahead of your friends who are still dabbling around.

Spot reducing fat from your arms

The first thing you need to know is that you cannot spot reduce fat from your arms. A lot of women out there think that if you want to get toned arms you need to do some magical exercise that will burn fat just off of the arms. It doesn’t work like that. If you want to get toned arms you need to lose fat off of your whole body. If you want to get toned abs you need to lose fat off of your whole body. There is no easy way out.

And that leads us to the first and most important part of this post – your diet.

Dieting for toned arms like Michelle Obama

Bread And Cake Stall
Creative Commons License photo credit: garryknight

Without any shred of a doubt the most important part of getting toned arms is your diet. It is what you put in your mouth that determines how toned your arms are, even more so than how much you exercise. If your diet is not on track you will not get the arms that you desire.

The maths of arm toning
In our epic article on how to lose weight for good we talked about the mathematics of weight loss. This is a very important concept that I urge you all to read an understand for it will change the way you think about diet and exercise. I will not explain it all again but here is a quote from the article to give you an idea:

If you have a can of Coke with lunch everyday of the week you are taking in 155 calories x seven days a week. That is 1085 calories a week. Now, there are 3500 calories per pound of body fat. So, if you take in 1085 calories from one can of Coke per day in three weeks you have added a pound of fat. That is 17 pounds per year. Just from your daily Coke.

You can see from this little bit of maths that your diet is going to have a much bigger impact on your weight loss than the exercise that you do. Just one Coke will take you 30 minutes to burn off on the treadmill. So what about all the other excess calories that you eat every day? How long must you need to burn all of them off? It is vital that you get your diet in order if you want to tone up.

What to eat for arm toning
So what exactly should you be eating if you want to get toned arms like Michelle Obama? The most important thing is to stay away from man made processed foods that are full of our three main enemies:

  • refined sugar
  • salt
  • saturated fats

These foods are full of empty calories. An empty calorie is basically energy that comes from food that provide no nutritional benefits. For example, if you have a can of Coke you get 150 calories but no minerals, vitamins or nutrients. On the other hand, if you have a salad you get the same amount of calories but a nice amount of protein, fiber, minerals, etc. You need to be avoiding the man made foods that are just full of empty calories. These are a disaster for any woman who wants to lose weight.

A long term approach to short term gains
The main point here is that you don’t want to go on another diet. You aren’t trying to lose weight by eating just lemons. What you want is a lifelong change in your eating habits that will allow you to lose weight, get toned and then stay toned as the years go by. Most women revert back to their old shape and weight. We don’t want that to happen.

Some of the foods you want to be eating on a daily basis include:

  • green leafy vegetables
  • milk and small amounts of cheese
  • unsalted nuts and some seeds
  • free range eggs
  • lots of fresh fruits, the more colorful the better

I’m not a big advocate of meat but a lot of trainers and dietitians will tell you to take in lean proteins from animals. My personal experience has been that I have lost weight faster eating a vegetarian diet. I also feel better. A lot better. Meat tends to weigh me down and make me feel depressed. It is also a thoroughly unethical industry that I don’t really want to be supporting. But that is another story.

Green tea as a bonus food
Green tea is something that I often talk about on this website as something that all women should be drinking. It is amazing for your health and studies have shown that people who drink green tea daily have a smaller chance of getting caner and heart disease. There is also some evidence to suggest that it can help you burn fat at a faster rate. I strongly recommend that everyone who reads this take up drinking a nice pot of green tea every day and see how it makes you feel.

Exercises to get toned arms like Michelle Obama

RUN: Steph and Matt 15
Creative Commons License photo credit: lululemon athletica

Now that we have covered some of the important dietary points we can move on to a bunch of exercises and workouts that will help us get those coveted arms. Remember, when you do any exercise you need to make sure you are doing it with proper technique and according to your level of fitness. I always encourage my friends and readers to meet with a trainer for your first session and learn exactly how to do each exercise so that you don’t end up with an injury that lasts the rest of your life.

Burning fat is the way to toned arms
Let me tell you something that you might know, you might not. You already have toned arms. They are there right now. The problem is that they are being hidden under a layer of fat. So if you want to tone your arms you need to burn the fat that is covering them. That is the point of eating right and that is 80% of the exercise. If you want toned arms you need to exercise so that you are burning fat at a proper rate.

High intensity workouts are the best
One of the things we try to do here at FWF is educate women on the benefits of high intensity workouts. For too long now we have been told the slow jog on the treadmill for an hour is the best way to lose fat and get toned. It isn’t. Not by a long shot. The best way to get into the shape of your life is to workout at an intense pace. Some of the absolute best ways to do this include:

  • Kickboxing classes
    I know a lot of women will groan at this and think that they will never try it but I guarantee you it is one of the best ways you can burn fat and get toned in a really quick time. Three kickboxing classes a week will absolutely change the way you go about your fitness. When kick a bag you use your entire body; your legs, abs, hips and arms. The same goes for punching. You will get your heart rate up to super high levels and you will find that your body changes very quickly.
  • Skipping
    Here she goes about the skipping again I can hear you all say. But it really is one of the best ways to burn fat and tone your arms – you get the worst burn! Bruce Lee once said that 10 minutes of skipping was the same as 30 minutes of running and I tend to agree. Get yourself the best skipping rope and go for it!
  • Circuits
    One of the most intense workouts you will ever do is a circuit. These focus on resistance and cardio exercises and are a great way to get the fat burning and the muscles working. So how do you do them? Simply choose one exercise for each body part and perform them one after the other with no break in between. Once you finish them all, take a short rest and then start again. Try to do the whole circuit as many times as you can.

It is really important not to overdo it though. A high intensity workout should not be done every day as your body needs time to recover and heal. Try and aim for three times a week with a few more gentle workouts in between. If you can do that for four weeks you will see some incredible results.

The importance of weight training and resistance exercises
Women seem to hate weight training because they are worried that it will make them bulky and manly. Well it won’t. I have said it before and I will say it again. Weight training and resistance exercises only help to make you thin and toned and healthy. They will not make you muscly because women, for the most part, do not have enough testosterone to grow big muscles. When you look at women in the gym who weight train they always have thin and hard bodies – never bulky manly ones.

It is time for all women reading this to add some weight training to our regular cardio workout. Mixing weights with cardio has some major advantages including:

  • Elevating your metabolism
    When you weight train you elevate your metabolism. This is a very good thing because it means you will be burning calories even when you aren’t at the gym.
  • Burns more calories
    Mixing weight training with cardio actually burns more calories than if you just did one slow cardio workout. The lifting of the weights is a very hard motion and it takes up a lot of energy.
  • Your body becomes fitter and healthier
    There have been scores of studies that show that weight training makes you extremely healthy and a lot fitter. Basically, without getting too technical, when you weight train you turn your body into a fat burning machine. The more weights the more fat burning.

How often should you weight train?
If you want to get into weight training you should start slowly and work your way up to about three times a week. If you can mix it in with your kickboxing or other high intensity workouts you will be on the way to a very quick set of toned arms!

Conclusion

Getting toned arms like Michelle Obama is a long process. Sure, it can be sped up but please don’t think that it is an easy road. You need to be committed to a near perfect diet and a workout routine that doesn’t quit when it gets boring. Remember, if you have any other tips you can leave a comment below as it might really help someone out there on their journey.

How to Super Charge Your Morning Walk and Burn More Fat

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

Les-Baux-de-Provence
Creative Commons License photo credit: Claudia Castro

The morning walk is one of the most common forms of weight loss exercise. When I sit at my table in the morning and look out the window I see scores of women going for walks with their dogs, husbands or a group of friends. And while we have approached the question of “does walking burn fat” before, in this post I want to give you a few ways to super charge your morning walk so you can burn more fat in less time.

How to burn more fat on your morning walk

While I think walking has its merits (it is relaxing, low impact, etc.) I do think there are a lot better ways to burn fat. High intensity exercise like sprinting, skipping, hill climbs, kick boxing classes and weight training are all far superior in my opinion. But for some women these choices just aren’t options. And sometimes a walk is a nice start to the day – it is definitely a lot better than doing no exercise at all. Here are a few ways to super charge your morning walk.

1. Walk for at least 45 minutes
There have been several studies done on the topic of whether walking actually burns fat. In these studies it was found that you need to walk for at least 25 minutes before you actually start burning fat stores in your body. And while I am not so sure if this science still stands up, the principle remains the same. You need to walk for more than 25 to 30 minutes if you want to burn a good amount of fat.

Why is this so? Well the main theory is that when you walk before breakfast you have no available energy from food and as such you will tap into stored fat reserves. Apparently you need to walk for at least 25 minutes before this process begins to take place. This is not entirely true because glycogen energy remains ready for action for a long time. A more likely reason, in my mind, is that walking is not very likely to lift your heart rate and as such you need longer to get to a point where you are actually doing some damage to the energy stores in your body.

Whatever the reason, make sure you are walking at a good pace for at least 45 minutes in the morning. If you can’t bare to be out for that long at least try to get half an hour.

2. Hit the hills
Walking, as we mentioned, is a very low impact form of exercise that doesn’t do much in the way of pushing your boundaries. For this reason it is a great idea to change the terrain a little bit so that your muscles are doing some work that they might otherwise miss out on. The hills is a great place to start.

Walking hills has been one of the best forms of exercise for a long time. It is an exercise that tones your butt and legs, gets your heart rate up a lot higher and is far more interesting and challenging than just walking on the flats. Now, you don’t have to find some gigantic mountain in order to get a good workout. Most of you don’t live near mountains. But almost all of you will have some form of hill near your house. It might be an actual hill in a park or reserve or it might just be a sloped street that you can walk up and down. Hit it.

At the end of the session you will feel more energetic and vibrant because you would have actually worked out a large part of your body. Hill walks are a really good way to super charge your morning walk and burn more fat.

3. Drink a black coffee before you leave
I can hear all of you breathing a sigh of relief. A fitness website telling us to actually drink coffee! What a great idea. In fact, if you want to burn more fat on your morning walk you should drink a cup of black coffee. Isn’t that great news? The bad news – you aren’t allowed to have any milk or sugar. Just coffee and water. Add anything else and you won’t get the benefit.

dsc_0519_1.jpg
Creative Commons License photo credit: e.asphyx

So why does coffee help you burn more fat? Well many people believe that it allows you to access fat stores instead of carbs. Others believe that the stimulant aspect of coffee assists in its fat burning. To be honest, however, neither of these things makes much scientific sense. In fact, talking to nutritionists and doctors who have looked at studies around this issue and not many of them agree with the above assertions. So why am I recommending it? Because I have seen results in myself and my workout buddies. A bit of caffeine before a morning workout seems to have a positive effect on our weight loss progress. Bodybuilders have been saying the same thing for years.

One last reason; a morning coffee can help to wake you up and get your head in the right place for a workout. I can’t tell you the number of times I got up for a workout and then went straight back to bed because I couldn’t wake myself up. A coffee can help to prevent that. Give it a go and see how it works for you. If you don’t see any results after a couple of weeks chuck it in.

4. Take some weights
Another great technique to super charge your morning walk to to take along some hand weights to give your arms something to do. While your legs do all the walking it is great to do some work for your upper body. This effectively means you will get a full body workout which will, of course, burn more calories.

So what do you do with the weights? Well, if you are a little self conscious you could just hold them by your sides to provide some resistance for your arms. This is good enough and will give you a little mini bicep workout. But if you want to spice up the walk a bit more and perhaps even do some arm toning then why no do some full on bicep curls or slow punches or overhead presses? That way you can workout your shoulder, biceps and triceps – all on your morning walk!

Give it a try and see how you go. If you feel stupid, embrace it!

5. Wear a backpack with some weight in it
You have to be a little bit careful with this one because it can produce some back and shoulder injuries. This tip is only for super hard women who are not afraid of a little bit of pain. Be warned though, if you don’t take it easy and do this one carefully you are probably going to wind up with some sort of injury.

This idea actually comes from the army. One of the main things you do in the army is walk. In fact, you walk a lot. And I’m not just talking about walking around in the park. No sir. These guys carry massive guns that weigh as much as your upper body, ammunition that would squash your dog and, you guessed it, backpacks full of supplies. And they burn a lot of fat. You will never see a fat person in the army on active duty.

Fill up your backpack with some light weights and go for a walk. If you have any pain you should stop but over time you will find that your legs and butt get a good workout and you have to push yourself extremely hard just to finish the walk. It is an army style workout that also helps you become very tough mentally.

Any more ideas?

We loving hearing your ideas and experiences. Talking on the blog is a great way to meet new people and learn new things. If you know of any other ways to super charge your morning walk please leave a comment and let us know.