Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Mental Mastery, Part 1

After twenty years of working one-on-one with people trying to help them improve their health and fitness level, I have realized that no one ever rises above what they think they can accomplish.  Thus, one of the first things necessary to help people transform is developing a healthy mental outlook.  In the next series of post I will touch on the subject of improving one's mental attitude, not only about health and fitness but also about life.

Out of your mental world of thought is born the conditions and circumstances that populate your life. Entry to the spiritual realm of harmonious living can only be attained through conscious control of your thoughts. Until you realize that thoughts are what you give life to, you will live under the false idea that you are a victim of circumstance with very little control over what happens in your life.

To master your mental plane of existence is to gain control over the circumstances and conditions of your life. In order to master your mind you have to realize three very important things. First, you are the thinker before the thought, and thus, you are the gatekeeper to the thoughts you allow to enter and dwell in your mind. Second, you are a creative being and you are always creating something via the thoughts you allow to take root in your mind. Third, you are never and have never been a victim of any circumstance or condition in your life.

The above information is from my new book called Balanced Life Living Life From Within. It's available for purchase at: Lulu Press, Inc.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Balanced Life

The following is an excerpt from my new book, Balanced Life, Living Life From Within.

Do you ever feel that life is a struggle? It appears that no matter what you do or what you try, you seem to be going against the current. Have you noticed how some people breeze through life effortlessly and most things seem to simply fall into their laps? How wonderful would it be to have a GPS for your life guiding you to your purpose, love, happiness, fulfillment and abundance?

There is a way of living called the top down approach in which things flow easily and harmoniously in your life. Your life can fundamentally change through an understanding of the scientific principle that you are an energy being and there is more to you than just your physical body.

Take a journey with us as we transform your body, mind and spirit through understanding the laws of the universe, different energetic planes in your body, proper nutrition and exercise, and applying healing modalities to propel your transformation. We reveal secrets to effortlessly become the creator of your life to truly manifest what you desire, and much much more.

Available for purchase online at Lulu Press, Inc.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Maximize Fat Burning in Your Exercise Program

With warm weather approaching, most people want to look good in their more revealing summer wardrobes. This time of the year I hear a lot of complaints like this, "I put a pair of my shorts last week and I don't like the way I look in them."  Then I get the question of how to get rid of the extra layer of fat that was put on during the winter? My answer is always diet and exercise.  While diet is the major part of the answer, in this post I want to talk about exercise, specifically, cardio.  In order to most efficiently burn body fat you have to do a combination of strength training and cardio.

A brief explanation of how your body responds to exercise will help you understand how to do your cardio in a manner that is most efficient in helping you burn body fat and firm-up.  Your body has two basic ways of generating energy for your muscles in response to exercise. One involves your body using oxygen to burn calories to provide fuel to exercising muscles. In this method, your body is most efficient in burning stored body fat because fat must have oxygen present to be converted into energy to fuel your muscles. Activities that cause your body to use this method to generate energy are called aerobic. Examples are brisk walking and slow running. When you are doing activities such as these, you are exercising in the aerobic zone.

The other method that your body uses to provides fuel to muscles does not require the use of oxygen. In this method your body primarily uses carbohydrates that are stored in the muscle to generate energy. Anaerobic activities that require a quick burst of energy such as heavy weight lifting and sprinting require your body to use this method. Activities that cause your body to use this energy production system are called anaerobic exercises.

Knowing which energy system you are using when you exercise is important if you want to maximize fat burning. In my fitness program, I do strength training in the anaerobic zone to build and maintain muscle, while performing cardio in the aerobic zone to burn fat.

When planning your cardio exercise program, design it around the following three concepts:

Frequency – I recommend you do at least three sessions of cardio each week but no more than six. This is ample exercise to achieve the health benefit, and burn body fat, while also giving your body maximum recovery time to build and maintain your hard earned muscle mass. I personally do four to five cardio sessions per week as a part of my fitness program.

Intensity – I suggest you do your cardio exercise in the range of 60 to 80 percent of your estimated maximum heart rate. This is called your aerobic zone and is where your body is most efficient at burning fat as fuel. Anything above 80 percent of your estimated maximum heart rate will tap into your anaerobic energy production system, meaning you will stop using stored body fat to feed your muscles.

Use the following method to calculate your estimated maximum heart rate and your aerobic exercise zone. Take the number 220 and subtract your age. This is your estimated maximum heart rate. Now take 60 percent of this number to get the lower end of the range of your aerobic zone and 80 percent of this number to get the upper end.

For example, I am 55 years old, so my estimated maximum heart rate is 220 – 55 = 165 beats per minute (bpm). Therefore, the lower end of the range of my aerobic zone is 165 bpm x 60% = 99 bpm, and the upper end of my aerobic zone is 169 bpm x 80% = 132 bpm. So when I do my cardio exercise, I work out at a heart rate between 99 to 132 bpm.

The easiest way to see if you are staying in your aerobic zone is with a heart rate monitor. If you do not have access to a heart rate monitor, you can use the following method to check your heart rate and stay in your aerobic zone. Take the lower and upper range numbers you calculated above and divide them by four. This is your 15 second heart rate count. Then during your workout periodically stop and check your pulse for 15 seconds to see if your heart rate falls between the two numbers you just calculated.  I’ll use my example again. The lower and upper ends of the range of my aerobic zone are 99 and 132 bpm, respectively. Therefore, my 15 second heart rate count is 99 bpm / 4 = 25 for the lower end of the range and 132 / 4 = 33 for the upper end. Thus, when I’m doing cardio, I stop to check my pulse for 15 seconds making sure the number I get is between 25 and 33, so I’m in my aerobic exercise zone. This is the intensity range that my body is most efficient at burning fat for fuel to provide my muscles the energy to exercise.

Duration – It is my observation that you get the most benefit from your cardio program if you combine it with strength training and do between 30 and 45 minutes three to six days each week. Do the 30 minute sessions after strength training and the 45 minute sessions on the days that you do not weight lift.

Design your cardio exercise program around the three principles above and you’ll notice a real difference in the way you look and feel.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Do You Know Fat is Good for You?

Fat has also taken a bad rap over the years, but it is very essential to your health and well-being. Like in all things, balance and moderation is the key.

For decades, the mantra for healthy eating has been “eat a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet.” Touted as a way to lose weight and prevent heart disease and other chronic conditions, millions of people have followed this advice. Seeing a tremendous marketing opportunity, food companies re-engineered thousands of foods to be low-fat or fat-free. The low-fat approach to eating may have made a difference for the occasional individual, but as a nation, it has neither helped us control our weight nor has it helped us become healthier. In the 1960s, fats and oils supplied Americans with about 45 percent of their calories. About 13 percent of the population was obese and less than one percent had type 2 diabetes. Today, Americans take in less fat, getting about 33 percent of calories from fats and oils; yet 34 percent of the population is obese, and eight percent has diabetes (mostly type 2)

Research has shown that the total amount of fat in your diet is not linked to weight or disease. What actually matters is the type of fat in your diet. Trans fats and saturated fats increase your risk of cardiovascular disease, while monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats do just the opposite. But then you ask, “What about cholesterol in food?” The answer is, for most people the mix of fats in their diets influences cholesterol in their bloodstreams far more than cholesterol in food.

Almost all foods contain some fat. Even foods like carrots and lettuce contain small amounts of fat. That’s a testament to how important fats are for your health and well-being. Fat provides a terrific source of energy for your body as well as a great depot for storing it. It is an important part of cell membranes, helping govern what gets into and out of your cells. Your body uses cholesterol as the starting point to make estrogen, testosterone, vitamin D, and other vital compounds. Fats are also biologically active molecules that can influence how your muscles respond to insulin. Also, different types of fats can fire-up or cool down inflammation in your body.


You can basically break the fats in your diet into three categories; good, bad, and very bad.
 Good Fats

Unsaturated fats are called good fats because they can improve blood cholesterol levels, ease inflammation, stabilize heart rhythms, and play a number of other beneficial roles. Unsaturated fats are predominantly found in foods derived from plants, such as vegetable oils, nuts, and seeds. They are liquid at room temperature. 

Furthermore, there are two types of unsaturated fats: monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. Monounsaturated fats are found in high concentrations in canola, peanut, and olive oil, in avocados, nuts like almonds, hazelnuts, and pecans, and seeds such as pumpkin and sesame. Polyunsaturated fats are found in high concentrations in sunflower, corn, soybean and flaxseed oil. They also are found in foods such as walnuts, flaxseeds and fish.

Research has shown that replacing carbohydrates in your diet with good fats reduces harmful levels of LDL and increases protective HDL in your bloodstream. A randomized trial called the Optimal Macronutrient Intake Trial for Heart Health showed that replacing a carbohydrate-rich diet with one rich in unsaturated fat—predominantly monounsaturated fats—lowers blood pressure, improves lipid levels, and reduces the estimated cardiovascular risk.

Bad Fats

Saturated fats are called bad fats because they increase your total cholesterol level by elevating harmful LDL. Your body can produce all the saturated fat that it needs, so you don’t have to get any from your diet. In the U.S. and other developed countries, saturated fats come mainly from meat, seafood, poultry with skin, and whole-milk dairy products. A few plant sources, such as coconuts and coconut oil, palm oil and palm kernel oil, also are high in saturated fats.

As a general rule, it’s good to keep your intake of saturated fats as low as possible. Saturated fats are found in many foods, including vegetable oils (that are mainly unsaturated fats), so you cannot completely eliminate them from your diet. Because red meat and dairy fat are the main sources of saturated fats for most people, minimizing them in your diet is the primary way to reduce your intake of saturated fat.

Very Bad Fats

Trans fatty acids, more commonly known as trans fats, are made by heating liquid vegetable oils in the presence of hydrogen gas—a process called hydrogenation. Partially hydrogenating vegetable oils makes them more stable and less likely to spoil. It also converts the oil into a solid which makes transportation easier. Partially hydrogenated oils can also withstand repeated heating without breaking down, making them ideal for frying fast foods. This is the reason partially hydrogenated oils have been a mainstay in restaurants and the food industry.

Trans fats are worse for cholesterol levels than saturated fats because they raise bad LDL and lower good HDL. They also increase inflammation, an over-activity of the immune system that is associated with heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and other chronic conditions. Even small amounts of trans fats in your diet can have harmful health effects. For every extra two percent of daily calories from trans fat (the amount in a medium order of fast food French fries) the risk of coronary heart disease increases by 23 percent. It is estimated that eliminating trans fats from the U.S. food supply would prevent between six and 19 percent of heart attacks and heart attack-related deaths (more than 200,000) each year.

Recommendations for Fat in Your Diet

Are you confused at this point about the type of fats and their varied effects on your health? If so, remember to replace the bad fats in your diet with the good fats. Here are some suggestions to help you limit the bad fats in your diet.

·        Eliminate trans fats from partially hydrogenated oils. Check food labels for the presence of trans fats and avoid fried fast foods.
·        Limit your intake of saturated fats by cutting back on red meat and full-fat dairy products. When possible replace red meat with poultry, fish, beans, and nuts. Also, try switching from whole milk and other full-fat dairy foods to lower-fat versions.
·        Use liquid vegetable oils rich in polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats in place of butter in your cooking and at the table.
·        Eat one or more sources of omega-3 fats every day. Good sources are fish, walnuts, canola or soybean oil, ground flax seeds and flaxseed oil.