Saturday, June 29, 2013

Why Qivana

I’m a personal trainer, published author, and fitness blogger with over 20 years of experience in the health and fitness industry. Over that time, I’ve been approached by many nutritional companies to represent their products and recommend them to my clients and followers. I’m always open to new opportunities, and I have tried many of the products, for I feel obligated to my clients and followers to recommend only products that are beneficial in improving their health and wellness, and are of the highest of quality. A little over a year ago I tried some natural nutritional products from a company called Qivana and I found them to be head and shoulders above any other products in the natural nutritional arena that I have experienced.

Over the years I've seen fads in both exercise and nutrition come and go. I've found that most of the so called latest and greatest natural nutritional products are either some single cure all elixir, or a confusing mall of products. However, the product systems Qivana has put together to address weight management, cardiovascular health, digestive health, and immune system health are revolutionary in today’s market. I'm going to highlight each of Qivana's natural health systems in a series of posts.

In this post I'll talk about Qivana's Metaboliq Weight Management System and what makes it so different from anything else in today's market.  First, the Metaboliq System was created by one of the most well respected experts in metabolic research, Dr. Donald K. Layman.  The first time I heard Dr. Layman speak, he told his audience the same thing I have been telling my clients for years about weight loss.  He said "losing weight is more than just calorie restriction, it's about losing body fat and maintaining lean muscle mass." The Metaboliq System is designed to do just that.

The Metabloiq Weight Management System is based on a macrobalance of protein, carbohydrates, and fat designed to vitalize muscle, and stabilize blood sugar thus, causing your body to burn body fat.  I know from my years as a competitive natural bodybuilder, if you balance the protein, carbohydrates, and fats correctly in your diet you can force your body to burn body fat. Dr. Layman has perfected this formula in his system based on years of research working with world class athletes.

The Metaboliq System is built around a macrobalance of getting the right amount of protein in your diet, and then balancing that protein with the right kind and amount of carbohydrates. The system calls for a one to one ratio of carbohydrates to protein in your meals.  When you eat this way two important things happen. First, you get enough protein to build and maintain healthy muscle mass, and second, you stabilize your blood sugar level, thus controlling the insulin level in your bloodstream.

Building and maintaining your muscle mass is important to weight loss because muscle is that active component of your body that burns the majority of the calories that you consume.  Your muscles are burning calories even when you are resting and asleep.

Stabilizing your blood sugar level is important to weight loss because spikes in the insulin level in your blood causes increased body fat storage, hunger pains, and cravings for more sugary foods.  Thus, leading to a vicious cycle of eating carbohydrates.  You've probably experienced this if you've only eaten cereal for breakfast and about two hours later you feel like you are starving.

The Metaboliq Weight Management System is an easy to follow combination of precisely macrobalanced shakes and bars.  What I like about the system as a personal trainer is it teaches you how to transition from the shakes and bars into eating correctly balanced regular meals.  The system teaches long-term healthy habits and this is the best solution to long-term weight management that I have ever seen.

 Please click on the following link to find out more about the Metaboliq System and Qivana's other natural health systems : Qivana

Saturday, June 22, 2013

How to Stay Healthy, and Fit With Age - Part 1

My name is Darvis Simms, and I am an ACE certified personal trainer and author of Forever Fit and Firm. Over the last 20 years , I’ve helped many people get healthy and stay fit.  I want to help you realize your fitness potential by showing you what I do myself and with my clients. I’m writing these posts based on the things that I have learned and applied in my exercise program over the last 30 years in my quest to stay healthy, fit, and firm as I age. My methods are not based on scientific theory but rather on results that I have attained for both myself and my clients.

As I mature and my client base matures, I’m beginning to specialize in fitness over age 40. I’m in my fifties so I understand the challenges you face as you fight the aging process. I am stronger, fitter, and I feel better than I did in my twenties. I’m writing this series of posts to show you how to look and feel as good, or even better, in your forties and fifties than you did in your twenties.

People seem to think that once you reach the age of forty, your body starts to deteriorate, and you slip down the slope into old age. They blame their lack of energy, their soft pudgy appearance, and their aches and pains on “getting old”. However, most of these symptoms are the result of years of negative thinking, lack of exercise, and poor dietary choices. The key to keeping your body healthy, fit, and firm at any 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 healthy, fit, and firm with age. The next step is choosing those activities that are the most beneficial to your health and fitness.

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. People, such as Al Beckles and the late Jack LaLanne are examples of the benefits of living a healthy lifestyle.

 Jack LaLanne, who recently passed away, was a living icon to the benefits of positive thinking, healthy eating, and regular exercise. Over the years he performed amazing feats of strength and conditioning on his birthdays as he got older. Jack was in great shape, and worked outs two hours each day, devoting one and a half hours to strength training well into his nineties. This is a true testament to the value of strength training as you age.

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

While I don’t place myself in the same class with Jack LaLanne and Al Beckles I can tell you the value that healthy lifestyle habits have in my life. As mentioned , I am in my fifties and I keep my body fat around 10 percent.  My fitness program consists of four strength training sessions each week followed by 20 minutes of cardio. I can chest press 100 pound dumbbells for 10 repetitions and leg press more than 1000 pounds, neither of which I could do in my twenties. I'm saying this to brag, but to show you that it's possible to look and feel better in your forties and fifties than in any time in your life.

Watch this video of one of my favorite exercises. The leg press is one of my favorite exercises for keeping my legs strong and fit.  Your legs are your foundation, so you have to keep them strong!

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Saturday, June 15, 2013

The Right Carbohydrates in Your Diet is Important to Your Health

Maintaining a steady blood sugar level is a very important component of healthy eating.  Your body breaks down all digestible carbohydrates into blood sugar, and some are converted into blood sugar faster than others. Thus, some carbohydrates cause a spike in your blood sugar level which causes you to feel hungry faster and to crave more sugary foods. While other carbohydrates are converted into blood sugar more slowly, leveling out you blood sugar, resulting in less hunger, and less food cravings.

For this reason, the Glycemic Index (GI) was developed to classify how quickly your body converts carbohydrates into blood sugar as compared to pure glucose. Glucose has a GI of 100, and all other carbohydrate based foods are ranked against it. Foods with a score of 70 or more are defined as having a high GI while those with a score of 55 or less are considered as low.

Eating lots of food with a high GI causes spikes in your blood sugar level which can lead to many health issues such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. While eating low GI foods causes your blood sugar level to stay even thus, keeping your energy level balanced, and causing you to fill fuller longer between meals. The following are some additional benefits of eating low GI carbohydrates.

· Helps you to lose and manage weight your weight.
· Increases your body's sensitivity to insulin.
· Decreases your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
· Reduces your risk of heart disease.
· Improves your blood cholesterol levels
· Reduces hunger and keep you fuller for longer.
· Helps you prolong physical activity.
· Helps you to re-fuel your carbohydrate stores after exercise.

The GI is very interesting because some foods that you intuitively think would have a high rating do not. For instance, fructose which is fruit sugar has a minimal effect on blood sugar while white bread and French-fried potatoes are nearly converted to blood sugar as fast as pure glucose. In other words, you can’t classify foods as having a high or low GI according to the sweetness of taste. Many factors affect a foods GI such as:

· Processing: Grains that have been milled and refined have a higher GI

· Type of starch: Starches come in many different configurations. Some are easier to break into sugar     molecules than others. For example, starch in potatoes is digested and absorbed into the bloodstream relatively quickly.

· Fiber content: The sugars in fiber are linked in a way that is hard for your body to break down. Thus, the more fiber a food has, the less digestible carbohydrate, and consequently the less sugar it can deliver into your blood stream.

· Fat and acid content: The more fat or acid a food contains, the slower its carbohydrates are converted to sugar and absorbed into your bloodstream.

· Physical form: Finely ground grain is more rapidly digested, and so has a higher GI than more coarsely ground grain.

So, you see incorporating carbohydrates that have a low GI in your diet is very important to your overall health.  You can get the GI rating of hundreds of carbohydrate based foods from the Glycemic Index Foundation, sponsored by the University of Sydney in Australia. They maintain a searchable database of over 1600 entries at

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Saturday, June 8, 2013

Muscle is the Key to a Firm Body

On a recent flight returning home.  I sat beside a woman who was in her mid-50s.  We struck up a conversation and she asked me my profession, and told her I was a personal trainer.  I knew her next question would be something about exercise or diet, and she didn't disappoint me.  She asked me the question I hear most often from middle-aged women; "how do I keep my body firm as I age?" My standard reply to this is, "what are you doing now to keep your body firm?" 

The typical answer I get to the above question is; "I do lots of cardio."  While cardiovascular exercise is an important part of any exercise program, strength training should be your the foundation of your fitness routine as you age.  Strength training is the most effective activity you can do to build and maintain healthy muscle mass.  Muscle is that component of your body that burns the most calories and helps you to keep that lean and tone look no matter your age.

Muscle is the engine that keeps your metabolism running high.  Unfortunately, as a part of the aging process you naturally start to lose muscle mass around the age of 40.  That's the age when people come to me and say something like this; "I'm starting to get his spare tire around my waist, or I've got these saddle bags on my hips that I can't get rid of.  I'm not eating anymore than I normally do, what's happening to my body?"

Well, what's happening to your body is you are starting to lose muscle mass and your ability to burn all those calories you are consuming.  In other words, the engine in your car is shrinking.  Starting in your 40s you can naturally lose a pound to a pound and a half of muscle each year.  Now follow this; each pound of muscle burns approximately 6 calories daily even at rest.  So, each year you decrease your calorie burning capability by (6 x 1.5 lb x 365 days in a year), 3,285 calories. There's approximately 3500 calories in one pound of fat so, you get fatter by one pound each year.

The above scenario is pretty depressing huh?  However, the good news is you can avoid this path by building and maintaining  your muscle mass, and the most effective way to do this is through regular strength training. And equally as exciting is it's never too late to start building muscle and increasing your metabolism.  Studies have shown that people in their 90s can still build muscle.

Basically strength training is doing exercises that adds resistance to your body weight such as weight lifting.  A good strength training program should be performed 2 to 3 times each week in which all the major muscle groups are exercised. I suggest you get with a certified fitness professional and let them design a strength training program for you.

In the meanwhile, checkout one of my favorite strength training exercises below.

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