A soon-to-be famous person once said, no wait, always says, "Don't worry, if you pass out, you'll breathe normally." Spoken to my bootcampers when they complain of being "out-of-breath", which ironcally, means they have plenty of breath if they can complain verbally.
It's a simple reminder that your brain is trying frantically to rationalize a sentence that will make me tell you to stop doing whatever it is that I am having you do. The funny part is that you can stop whenever you want. I'm just there to push you. And push you I will because I know something your brain may not know. You can do it.
Your muscles know it. Your lungs know it. Your heart knows it. All of your parts know it. Why doesn't your brain? Because you haven't taught it well. You've spent too many months/years/decades allowing your brain to watch you take the easy road. Your brain watches you sit comfortably in your car as you drive 2 blocks to the store. It sees how much effort is involved as you surf the internet. If walking is the hardest physical activity you perform, you are on easy street.
Now you want to participate in a 60 minute boot camp. After the first minute of the warm-up jog, your brain is wondering what the heck you are doing. After the 2nd burpee, it's ready to throw in the towel. So many muscles moving...organs working...speed...balance...agility...too much...must stop.
The trick, however, to any rigorous exercise, such as a boot camp, a marathon or a 1 mile sprint is to break it up into small, manageable goals. Once you achieve a mini-goal, evaluate how your body parts feel. Most likely pretty good. If so, move on to the next mini-goal. Your brain is happy that you are only worrying about something attainable and your body is happy you're moving once again.
So, stop listening to your brain and start listening to the rest of your body. If you're taking care of your body, it will take care of you.
From a recent article published by ACE Fitness, it seems that those zero calorie beverages do more harm than good. Read it and weep, Diet Coke.
It’s every dieter’s worse nightmare: The food or drink they thought would help their efforts may instead be contributing to their weight challenges. For diet soda drinkers, new research suggests that this nightmare is, in fact, a reality.
Two new studies found that drinking diet soda is associated with increased waist size and poorer overall health. Both studies were conducted by teams of researchers at the University of Texas Health Center at San Antonio and presented earlier this summer at the American Diabetes Association’s Scientific Sessions meeting in San Diego, Calif.
The first study analyzed nearly 10 years worth of data collected from 474 subjects participating in the San Antonio Longitudinal Study of Aging. Individuals who reported drinking at least two diet sodas per day experienced waist-size increases that were six times greater than those who didn’t drink diet sodas. The fact that they gained weight around the middle is significant because abdominal fat has been associated with increased risk for heart disease, diabetes and other chronic conditions.
But the bad news doesn’t stop there: The second study concluded that aspartame—the artificial sweetener most commonly used in diet sodas—raised blood-sugar levels in mice that were prone to diabetes. After three months of eating chow laced with aspartame, the mice had much higher blood-sugar levels than the mice that ate the plain chow.
“These results suggest that heavy aspartame exposure might potentially directly contribute to increased blood-glucose levels,” said lead researcher Dr. Gabriel Fernandes, a professor of rheumatology and clinical immunology at the university, “and thus contribute to the associations observed between diet soda consumption and the risk of diabetes in humans.”
Dr. Helen P. Hazuda, lead researcher of the first study and a professor at the university’s school of medicine, believes that these studies suggest that artificial sweeteners, which have been promoted as healthy alternatives to caloric sweeteners, may not be entirely harmless. "They may be free of calories," said Hazuda, "but not of consequences.”
Calorie-counters and portion-control-freaks make up about 5% of the population, according to most studies. That leaves the rest of us alone with only our minds to help us figure out just how much we eat each day. After all, we're smart people. We've been well-educated on portions, grams, calories, healthy choices, etc. And, certainly, we know when to stop eating. Besides, if all else fails, our brain will tell us we are full. Of all the illusions in the world, this one may be the greatest of all.
Names, price, expectations, size, good-faith, emotion, accessibility and even exercise all contribute greatly to binges and over-eating. Counting calories is not for everyone. Nor is the ability to portion out your meals every day. For the vast majority of us, it takes more than just "watching" what we eat. We'll need to be savvy enough to fool our brains as well.
The external influences that factor into our daily eating habits are far too many to cover in this simple blog. Some work by creating a halo of protection with marketing techniques and naming conventions. For instance, Subway is marketed as a healthy place to eat and they have a spokesperson who personally lost a lot of weight eating there. However, by pricing “value meals” that include chips, breads and a sugary drink, there is little health value involved, but we still perceive it as being “better” for us.
By marketing things as “low-fat” we naturally assume it is better for us. The ugly truth is that most of these products are higher in carbs to preserve their taste. IMHO, it would be better to have a little fat from a natural source (eggs, avocados, etc) rather than a lot of sugar. Products are blatantly marketed with “Omega-3” and “Fiber” so we perceive them as “good for us”. They are allowed to do this even if the product contains only a trace of their claim. A good rule of thumb: If it wasn’t healthy without it, it’s not healthy with it.
Portion size is also an illusion which you can identify. Try using a smaller plate for your meals. Smaller bowls for your cereal. Your brain will help you rationalize it as a lot of food. Sure, most of us think that we know when we are full, but do we, really? Studies have used refillable bowls which were hidden to the test subjects. Those eating from the refillable soup bowl ate 73% more than those who had the regular bowls. This shows that our brain relies on external cues just as much, if not more, than internal ones. Your eyes are bigger than your stomach has some truth to it.
We all know exercise is good for us for many reason. We also all rationalize that since we worked out today, we can have that birthday cake in the kitchen. We also rationalize the emotion of the moment. If today was a really hard day, well, then, go ahead and get the fries with that.
Some of this can be counteracted by using smaller plates/bowls, putting healthy food at the front of the fridge or on a table where it is more convenient, eat what you know is healthy, not what they claim is healthy and, by all means, exercise.
Why is it so hard to stay in shape? Why is it so hard to stay on a diet program? Why is it so hard to find time for the gym? We outsmart ourselves most of the time and when we are not doing that, our subconscious does it for us.
A popular myth is that there is a specific range of heart rates in which you must exercise to burn fat. Even most cardio machines display a "fat-burning zone" on their control panels, encouraging people to exercise within a specific range. Is there a specific range? What happens if you go above it or below it? Do you lose the ability to burn fat?
If you've ever been on a cardio machine with a "fat-burning zone" you will, no doubt, work very hard to keep your heart rate that low. Manufacturers tend to keep the ranges low for two reasons. One, it's easier to sell if you market "work easy and long" than it is to sell "work hard and long". Two, it's less risk to them, legally, for people to work out at a lower intensity.
That being said, the entire premise is slightly skewed. Work out at low intensities for a long period of time to burn fat. Really? If so, then wouldn't sleep be the best fat-burning exercise on the planet?
Seriously, though, fat is the primary fuel during low-intensity work. However, the total amount used, or total caloric expenditure, is relatively small compared to work performed at higher intensities.
What matters most for weight loss is the difference between calories in and calories out. So, the bottom line is, as always, consume less, exercise hard.
Here at Gymmark.net, we eat protein bars. Lots of them. It seems we are forever trying the latest brand/flavor, looking for that “perfect” bar. Below, I’ve put together a short table of a few of our favorites. Typically, we look for low sugar (<10g) , high protein (>15g) and around 300 calories. Another deciding factor for many of us, is if the bar keeps us feeling full until our next meal. If not, we don’t get them any more.
Calories play an important part of any diet and some of these bars have more calories than you may want to injest at any one time. Great, then just eat half an save the other half for later in the day. Also, to reduce calorie and carb counts, many bars use sugar alcohol along with sugar. By using sugar alcohol, the manufacturer can still obtain levels of sweetness desired by the consumer, while adding only half the calories of regular sugar. A “win-win” it seems, until you learn that some folks just can’t synthesize the sugar alcohol. Unfortunately, the only way I know to tell if you are sensitive to the sugar alcohol, is to try it. You will k now rather quickly. Nausea or a gas-like feeling will be the tell-tale sign.
Give these a try as they are great for meal replacement, after work out re-fueling snack or just about anytime you’re feeling a bit peckish.
Made By Name Flavor Taste Protein Sug Sug Alc Tot Carbs Tot Cal
Premier Nutrtion Titan Cookies & Cream Chewy/Crunchy (Smores-like) 30g 5g 9g 34g 330
Carb Conscious Supreme Protein Cookies & Cream Chewy/Crunchy but not crumbly 30g 7g 15g 30g 370
MetRx ProteinPlus Choc Choc-Chunk Thick 32g 1g 28g 32g 310
Detour Lean Muscle Fudge Almond Almond-brownie-like 32g 3g 25g 33g 390
3:1 Protein Cookie Ice Cream Sandwich Very cookie-like, with chewy center 30g 2g 20g 30g 300
If you would like to see more bars reviewed, and in more depth, please drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will be glad to put together a more comprehensive chart on our website.