Saturday, August 22, 2015

The Benefits of Cardiovascular Exercise

Cardiovascular exercise known as cardio by most in the fitness profession is associated with numerous health benefits; therefore, it is an invaluable part of any fitness program. Cardio exercise is any activity that increases the work of the heart and lungs. Activities such as brisk walking, running, training on the elliptical machine, biking, and working on the Stairmaster, are some of the more well-known forms of cardio. 

During cardio exercise you repeatedly move large muscles in the upper and lower parts of your body. Your body responds by breathing faster and more deeply providing increased blood flow to these muscles and back to your lungs. Your small blood vessels widen to deliver more oxygen to your muscles and carry away waste products, such as carbon dioxide and lactic acid. Your body also releases endorphins which are natural pain killers that promote an increased sense of well-being.

Regardless of your age, cardio exercise is good for you. As your body adapts to a cardio routine your heart and lungs will become stronger and more efficient in performing their activities. The following are additional benefits of cardiovascular exercise:[1]
·        Helps to lose and maintain a healthy weight. Combined with strength training and a healthy diet cardio helps you to lose weight and to keep it off.

·        Increase your stamina. Cardio may make you tired in the short term, but over the long term, you will enjoy increased stamina and reduced fatigue.

·        Ward off viral illnesses. Cardio activates your immune system, thus making you less susceptible to minor viral illnesses such as colds and flu.

·        Reduce health risks. Cardio, combined with strength training, reduces the risk of many conditions including obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, stroke, osteoporosis, and certain types of cancer.

·        Manage chronic conditions. Cardio, combined with strength training, helps to lower blood pressure and to control blood sugar.

·        Strengthen your heart. A stronger heart doesn’t need to beat as fast and pumps blood more efficiently. Consequently, blood flow is improved to all parts of your body.

·        Keeps your arteries clear. Cardio boosts your high-density lipoprotein (HDL) or “good” cholesterol and lowers your low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or “bad” cholesterol, which results  in less plaque build-up in your arteries.

·        Boost your mood. Cardio can ease the gloominess of depression, reduce the tension associated with anxiety and promote relaxation.

·        Stay active and independent as you get older. Cardio, in conjunction with strength training, keeps your muscles strong, helping you maintain mobility as you get older. Cardio also keeps your mind sharp. At least 30 minutes of cardio three days a week seems to reduce cognitive decline in older adults.


Saturday, August 8, 2015

Are You Getting Enough Protein In Your Diet to Build and Maintain Muscle?

I'm always amazed at how quickly food companies put together ad campaigns that tell you half-truths to get you to buy their products.  For example, research is now revealing how important building and maintaining muscle is to your overall health as you age.  And one of the key ingredients to building and maintaining muscle is getting enough high quality protein in your diet.  Now, we are bombarded with ads from food companies such as, "our product has 14 grams of muscle building protein!"

Most the products that you see advertized as having "muscle building protein" contains 10 to 14 grams of protein and they make you think that by consuming them you are feeding your muscles.  But what the food companies don't tell you is that you have to consume at least 21 grams of protein at a meal in order for your body to start building and repairing muscle tissue.

Protein is a necessary part of every living cell in your body.  Next to water, protein comprises up the greatest portion of your body weight.  Protein is important in the maintenance of enzymes and hormone levels that regulate critical body functions, and it is also important in the healing and repair of your bones, tissues, and cells.  Thus, your body uses the protein you consume for the most critical functions first, and if you don't get enough protein at a meal, muscle building does not happen.

It takes consuming at least 21 grams of protein at a meal for your body to get the signal that it has enough protein to start protein synthesis (the building and repair of muscle).  So you see, consuming an extra 10 to 14 grams of protein as a snack is beneficial to other bodily functions but, it won't help you build muscle.  Here's the whole truth about protein consumption and building muscle.  You need to eat 25 to 30 grams of protein at each meal (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) if you want to stimulate maximal muscle growth and repair.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Protein's Effect on Weight Loss

Scientific research is now revealing that people who consume higher amounts of protein (20 to 30 percent of their daily caloric intake), while cutting back on their carbohydrate intake, tend to lose weight faster and stay leaner than those people on low-fat diets.

The reason higher protein, lower carbohydrates diets are more conducive to weight loss and maintenance is interesting. First, high-protein foods slow the movement of food from the stomach to the intestines, meaning you feel full longer and don’t get hungry as often. Second, protein has a leveling effect on your blood sugar which means you are less likely to get spikes in your blood sugar that lead to cravings for carbohydrates. Third, your body uses more energy to digest protein than it does to digest fat or carbohydrates.

Getting the proper amount of protein at breakfast is especially important if you are trying to lose weight. Breakfast is the first meal of the day and what you eat determines whether you start your day in fat burning or fat storage mode.

Eating a breakfast rich in carbohydrates and low in protein (the typical American breakfast) starts your day in fat storage mode. The cereal, bread, fruit, and juice you have for breakfast are all carbohydrate-based and are converted into sugar by your body, thus causing a spike in your blood sugar. Then your body produces insulin to take that blood sugar and store it in your body mostly as body fat. Soon after your blood sugar drops and you feel famished, and you crave more carbohydrate-based foods which starts a cycle of blood sugar spikes and crashes and its insuring sugar cravings.

On the contrary, having a breakfast that contains the proper amount of high quality protein such as eggs, lean meat, and low fat dairy starts your day in a fat burning mode. Consuming 25 to 30 grams of protein is necessary for maximal protein synthesis. This building and repair of muscle cells is very energy intensive and it burns body fat mainly as fuel for this process. Thus, having 25 to 30 grams of protein at breakfast activates muscle cell regeneration and also alleviates blood sugar spikes which lead to cravings.

Below are some good sources of protein listed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help you get the proper amount in your daily diet.

1 ounce meat, fish, or poultry equals 7 grams of protein
1 large egg equals 6 grams of protein
4 ounces milk equal 4 grams of protein
4 ounces low-fat yogurt equals 6 grams of protein
4 ounces soy milk equals 5 grams of protein
3 ounces tofu, firm equals 13 grams of protein
1 ounce cheese equals 7 grams of protein
1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese equals 14 grams of protein
1/2 cup cooked kidney beans equals 7 grams of protein
1/2 cup lentils equals 9 grams of protein
1 ounce nuts equals 7 grams of protein
2 tablespoons peanut butter equals 8 grams of protein
1/2 cup vegetables equals 2 grams of protein
1 slice bread equals 2 grams of protein
1/2 cup of most grains/pastas equals 2 grams of protein

Friday, July 17, 2015

Renew Your Mind and Renew Your Body

Every notice how some people never seem to age?  I call these people ageless because you can't tell their age by looking at them. Then you have to ask the following questions, why do some people age faster than other?  Is it genetics or is it something else?

Age is defined as the length of time a person has lived or a thing has existed.  Then what does age have to do with mental and physical degeneration other than what you believe it does?  I think that what you believe about the aging process has more impact on the way you age than genetics.  You simply become what you believe.

In my profession as a personal trainer for over 20 years, I have noticed that people who have a positive mental attitude about aging are the ones who become ageless.  You never hear them complain about growing old and consequently they stay healthy and strong throughout their lives.  On the other hand, the people who complain about the aches and pains of aging seem to attract the very conditions they speak of into their lives as they get older. This leads me to believe that the mental and physical decline  associated with the aging process is mostly about how you think about getting older.

Every cell in your body is replaced and renewed every 11 months.  That means you have a completely new body every year.  I believe whether your body is renewed with strong and healthy cells or with weak and unhealthy cells is all in the way you think about aging.

My grandmother was 92 years of age when she passed from this earth.  I never remember her being ill a day in her life other than a common cold every now and then.  She remained mentally sharp and physically fit throughout her entire life and I never heard her complain about getting old.  That's a testament to the effect that a positive mental attitude has on aging.

I believe where your mind goes your body will follow.  If you have any doubts checkout this video of me leg pressing over 1200 lbs at the tender age of 55.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Balancing Your Physical Energy As You Age

Ashrita_at_Stonehenge. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Starting your daily activity in your spiritual energy, then mastering your mental energy allows a harmonious flow of energy into your physical activities. Your physical body is the end result of the creative flow of energy from spirit into matter.

Your body is designed by the Divine for movement. It is a magnificently designed living organism and, if properly taken care of, will provide you health, strength, and mobility for all of your years here on earth.

Think of it like this, your body is the only vehicle you have through which you can do your daily activities. There are two very important components to maintaining a healthy body: daily exercise and proper nutrition.

People seem to think that once they reach the age of forty, their bodies start to deteriorate, slipping down the slope into “old” age. They blame their lack of energy, their pudgy appearance, and their aches and pains on “getting old.” Most of these symptoms are however the result of years of negative thinking, lack of exercise, and poor dietary choices. The key to keeping your body fit and firm as you age is making healthy lifestyle choices on a daily basis.

It’s a proven fact that people who make healthy lifestyle choices live longer and have a better quality of life than those who adopt unhealthy habits. So, deciding to incorporate healthy habits into your life is the first step to getting and staying fit and firm with age. The next step is choosing those activities that are the most beneficial in your quest to stay fit and firm.

Those, including myself, who stay fit and firm as the years pass find that a positive state of mind, and a proper mix of strength training, cardiovascular exercise, and balanced nutrition is fundamental to getting and staying healthy as you mature. Al Beckles and the late Jack LaLanne can teach us so much about living a healthy lifestyle.

Al Beckles is a legend in the bodybuilding world. At the age of 55, Al placed second in the Mr. Olympia competition, the premier bodybuilding event which thousands of competitors from across the world dream of winning each year. Al Beckles competed into his sixties because his physique was still phenomenal and better than competitors more than half his age

Jack LaLanne was a living icon to the benefits of healthy thinking, eating, and exercise. Over the years he performed amazing feats of strength and conditioning on his birthday. Jack worked out well into his 90s, devoting one and a half hours each day to strength training. This is a true testament to the value of strength training as you mature.

The above is an excerpt from my latest book, Balanced Life Living Life From Within.  Check it out on Amazon.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Mental Mastery Part 3, You are a Creative Being

This is a continuation of my posts on mental mastery.  I can't tell you that mastering your thoughts will be easy, but I can tell you the results are well worth the effort.

You are always creating the circumstances and conditions of your life via your thoughts and beliefs. What you believe to be true will always manifest in your life as a condition or circumstance. Behind every condition and circumstance in your life is an underlying thought and belief. If you want to know the sum total of your thoughts and beliefs, just look at the conditions and circumstances presently in your life. This is a very sobering exercise, but you must accept it if you want to create the life that you desire.

As previously mentioned, thoughts are things and when you give a thought your attention you give it energy by allowing it to be planted in your mind. The more attention you give the thought the more you nurture and energize it until it becomes a belief and blossoms into a condition in your life. You are always thinking, and thus, always creating something and herein lies the problems and the solutions in your life.

Most people allow their minds to aimlessly wander and so they allow random thoughts to be planted in their mental garden. Some of these thoughts are constructive and they bloom into constructive conditions, while others are destructive and they blossom into undesirable conditions. Consequently, most people believe the conditions and circumstances of their lives just randomly happen. They get some things that they want and other things they don’t want.

Look at it like this, you are the architect of your life and the thoughts you allow to take root in your mind are the blueprint by which your life is built. If you don’t like the house you built you can remodel it or completely tear it down and build one you like but, you can only do this by changing your thoughts.

The above is from my latest book, Balanced Life Living Life From Within.  It is available for purchase on Amazon, click this link to check it out Balanced Life

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Mental Mastery Part 2, You Are the Thinker

This is the first truth you must realize in your quest to control your mind. Most people feel powerless as to the thoughts they entertain. However, you are the thinker before the thought and you have the power to scan every thought and choose whether or not you will allow it into your mind. In other words, you are the gatekeeper to you mind and thus you choose which thoughts you let in and which thoughts you keep out.

This is not an easy task, but it is necessary if you want to change your life. Not only are you the gatekeeper for the thoughts you allow in your mind, you have to examine your mind for the false ideas that have already taken root and are producing fruit in your life now. Some of these false ideas you got from your parents, grandparents, and other loved ones who taught you the things about life they learned. While well-meaning, some of the things they taught you may now be causing some of your biggest limitations in life. These ideas are hard to let go of because you have trusted and believed them to be true for so long.

If you are having any recurring problems or conditions you can’t seem to overcome it may be that you have a deep-rooted belief that you are unconsciously aware of in your mental garden. This belief was probably planted in your childhood by some well-meaning people in your life, or it could be a result of some deep hurt you have experienced. However, you must get rid of this false idea if you are to change the condition. For example, when I was a child my older brother was very outgoing and I was completely the opposite. Consequently, my brother got all the attention at my expense and I was deeply hurt. As a result, I learned to guard my heart and not to let people get very close to me. This belief carried over into my relationships as an adult and I could never let anyone get really close to me no matter how hard I tried. It wasn’t until I realized that subconsciously I was still carrying the same belief from my childhood that I could change my relationships. I had to uproot that old belief before I could let people get close to me again.

You also allow false ideas to subconsciously enter your mind through conversation with friends, things you read, and what you hear in the news. You have to be vigilant of what you consciously allow to be planted in your mental garden, for a thought will always produce fruit in the form of conditions after its kind.

The above information is from my new book called Balanced Life Living Life From Within. It's available for purchase on Amazon.  Click here to review and purchase a copy.