Archive for Weight loss

Fat Burning Yoga Workout is More Effective Than Cardio

Cardio is often not especially effective for fat loss. Many people believe in the myth that says if you’re sweating, you’re definitely burning fat. In fact, the opposite is true – if you’re cold, your body is forced to use energy to warm your body up. Sweating just means your body is making too much heat, compared to the outside temperature. This often has turns on protective processes in the body that shut down energy production to prevent overheating – hence why you feel sleepy and tired after baking on the beach or after a hot sauna.

What is especially effective for weight loss is continuous tension in the large muscles – the legs and the back. You’ll often find diabetics using those sort of exercises to lower their blood sugar, and intense cardio often has the opposite effect on them – it raises their blood sugar an hour after the workout, due to stress hormones being released in the adrenals and the liver. You’ll also notice sprinters have a better physique than marathon runners, which again proves the point of this article.

  1. 1. Side Plank

2. Downward Facing Dog

3. Plank Flow

As you can see, those exercises put a lot of static tension on the muscles. Aim for 10 minutes of total tension, which is harder than it looks at first. There is no specific timing for each exercise – just hold the pose until you no longer can and you feel the burn. Rest for a minute, move on to the next exercise. Repeat. The squat hold is also very effective, but demanding – just holding it for 30 seconds can have a massive effect on how much carbohydrates you store on your thighs.

As you can see, the whole session is three exercises. You don’t need more. We’re not aiming for stretching here, only muscle tension. The three exercises put tension on the legs, the abdominal muscles and the upper body (shoulders).

Simple Pre-Workout Drink Greatly Increases Calories Burned from Fat

This is just a simple pre-workout drink that I’ve been experimenting with that definitely increases my fat burning after cardio workouts. When I exercises on an empty stomach in the mornings I can really tell how much fat I have burned, just by looking at my belly an hour afterwards, or using my trusty skin calipers. I find electronic body fat percentage meters to not really be accurate and if I drink a lot of water during my workouts the results vary by a lot, because electrolyte balance affects how they work.

By observation, I have found that this drink increases my fat burning about 3 times. This is based on skin caliper tests after long workouts on an empty stomach, the “warm” feeling after a workout lasting longer, and just plain old weighing myself on a scale. This drink was not my discovery, I found it in a very interesting weight-loss program, designed to achieve maximum weight loss by using simple tweaks and rituals like that, and as every reader of this blog knows, those kinds of things just make my ears perk up.

I have a few more interesting ideas like this one to test, so stay tuned 🙂

The drink

The drink is really simple, it’s strong green tea mixed with two tablespoons of vinegar. In fact, I wish it were more complex and weird so that people would go “Wow, what a unique recipe, this must really work”, but sorry, that’s really it. Simple, but in my experience, effective. Yes, it’s not the best tasting drink on the planet, but it works and anyone can try it, provided they already have those two ingredients lying around their house.

Why vinegar and not lemon juice? Although lemon juice is a classic additive to green tea, which unlike the vinegar makes it taste better and not worse, there are certain properties that make vinegar the additive of choice here. Some people claim it’s the acetic acid, others that it’s the malic acid, which has been shown to shift energy metabolism from carbohydrates to stored body fats in studies and therefore reduce total food intake(1). In the end, we don’t really know why it works, it just does.

How does it work?

We know very well why green tea and vinegar both work separately for weight loss. They both make your body burn more fat and less carbohydrates. Normally, to start burning body fat, you would need to deplete your carbohydrate stores somewhat first, by burning about 600 calories. This is not a trivial amount, and not a lot of people who want to lose weight have the endurance to exercise that long. However, this simple drink enables you to immediately start ‘tapping’ into the fat stores. Supposedly, it’s the combination of green tea’s fat burning effect, combined with vinegar’s ability to slightly reduce the metabolism of glucose and enable you to start burning stored fat, before the carbohydrate stores in your blood and liver are depleted.

  • Vinegar reduces carbohydrate metabolism and speeds up fat metabolism (2)
  • Vinegar stops fat from being accumulated in the liver, enabling it to be burned off more readily(3)
  • Green tea has been shown to prevent fat accumulation and speed up fat metabolism(5)
  • Green tea increases fat metabolism by 3-8% when taken alone(4)

Green tea is often used as a fat-loss aid and so is vinegar, but I didn’t find any studies testing the effects of those when taken immediately before a workout.

Just try it

It’s a simple trick that anyone can try, so try it and make sure to report back your results 🙂 I’ll soon be making more tests and posting fat-burning results with and without the drink.

 

Posted by Angelina on February, 20th, 2017

The Importance of Muscle Tone in Women

Keeping a good muscle tone and retaining your muscle mass is a major issue with weight loss in women. Particularly with starvation or calorie-restrictive diets what most women find is that they lose muscle mass in addition to fat and water. You may think that muscle mass is more important for men than it is for women and you’d be wrong – muscle tone is much more important for women. This is partly because women have much less muscle to start with – once you start losing even a small percentage of it, you get the ‘flabby’ or ‘skinny-fat’ look we certainly don’t want!

How to fix this?

One way is to keep your protein intake high. Many women who try to restrict calories in order to lose weight (which we do not advocate) naturally lower their protein intake and focus on eating fruit, vegetables and whole grains. Unfortunately, the protein content of those foods is very low, which is a major reason why most vegetarians are slim and skinny. Put calorie restriction on top of that and you’ll find that you start to lose muscle mass instead of fat.

Meat and eggs are your friend here – if you are a vegetarian you can also try increasing your lentils/other beans intake in order to eat more protein. However, I would strongly advice that you include at least 50 grams of protein in your diet in order to keep good muscle tone.

Muscle tone is responsible for looking good and having a sexy body in women. Once you start losing muscle mass AND fat the results may not be as pretty as you expect. Fortunately, this can be easily reversed by increasing your protein intake and reducing carbs.

Stay fit,

Angie

Adding Fiber to High Glycemic Index Carbs to Achieve a 'Slow Release'

Fiber does one major thing in the body – it slows down digestion and the absorption of carbohydrates, which basically reduces insulin spikes. And we all know that you can’t lose much weight if your insulin is getting spiked thorough the day. Lack of fiber is a major component of a bad diet – the standard American diet is a good example. Although whole grain breads to have some fiber, it really isn’t enough. Vegetables, fruit and beans are the best sources of fiber.

Combining fiber-rich foods with carbohydrates to achieve a ‘slow release’

The easiest way to gain weight is to eat high GI carbohydrates like white rice and bread in the absence of fiber and fat. This immediately spikes your insulin and forces your body to store the excess sugar in your blood. Adding fat and fiber to high glycemic index carbs on the other hand will slow down their release in the bloodstream and keep your blood sugar stable. This is extremely simple and easy to do and most people do it to a degree. The more fiber and healthy fats you include with your carbohydrates, the slower the release and the less the stress on your pancreas.

Stay fit,

Angie

Burning Calories vs. Losing Weight

What? Is there a difference between the two? Absolutely – burning calories is simply well… burning calories. It does not automatically equal weight loss. If the calories that you are burning come from tissue fat – you will be losing weight. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Let’s look at caloric expenditure vs weight loss and do a quick calculation:

1000g of fat = 2,2 pounds = Roughly 9000 calories

This means that in order to lose 2 pounds of body fat, you would have to burn 9000 calories. For women, this is the typical caloric requirement for about 5 days. So, not eating anything for 5 days would burn you 2,2 pounds of fat. You can see why calorie-restriction diets fail. Not to mention that your metabolism would greatly slow down after 20+ hours of starvation, leading to even slower fat burn. After starving, your body will do its best to store any excess calorie you eat in order to prevent you from dying of starvation in the future. This is much more applicable to women, as we all know intermittent fasting does work well for men.

So, there you go – trying to ‘burn calories’ is not an effective weight loss strategy. On the other hand, manipulating your metabolism and hormonal environment, by simply tweaking your diet a bit can get you much faster fat loss. By limiting calories, you are trying to ‘force’ your body to resort to burning body fat. However, there is an easier way! How to enable your body to burn body fat is different for men and women and in this article we will focus on men.

Men benefit greatly from intermittent fasting – having an 8 hour (or less) eating window and not eating the rest of the day. This is because they lack the ‘rebound’ effect women suffer from when fasting – in other words, men can fast, burn some fat and then NOT put it back on when they start eating again.

Burning Calories Through Exercise – Not As Easy As You May Think

We all know the benefits of cardio exercise – a low to moderate pace exercise for a long period of time, usually more than 20 minutes. These benefits include improved mental function, feeling better overall, increased levels of energy, low resting heart rate and weight loss. Wait, weight loss? Can running, or any activity for that matter, really help you lose weight? Sadly, the answer is NO.

Why cardio exercise is not a good way to burn calories

Cardio exercise is an extremely inefficient way of burning calories. Most of your caloric expenditure is in the form of heat – heating up the body. That’s why sitting on the couch, watching TV will burn you about 100 calories per hour, compared to about 130 if you spent that time running or walking.

Why cardio exercise might help you lose weight

However, as we also know, burning calories does not equal losing weight and there are plenty of examples to support that. Cardio exercise helps you lose weight by improving your overall health, including circulatory system, insulin sensitivity and serotonin levels. The reason why being lean is considered attractive is because it is healthy. This often means that becoming more healthy will result in weight loss, if you are currently overweight.

Diet vs. Exercise

When it comes to weight loss, your diet is infinitely more important than exercising. If you regularly consume a lot of bread, pasta, sweets or other insulin-spiking foods, you will have a hard time burning off fat through exercise. Making your diet a high-fat one, will quickly lower those blood sugar spikes and will put your body into fat-burning mode – even if you don’t exercise at all. That said, exercise is recommended and even only the increased mental performance is worth it.