Saturday, November 22, 2008

How to Get a Six Pack

One of the most common questions people ask concerning fitness and health in general is how to get a six pack. The six pack is the most coveted of all physical appearance characteristics. It tells the world that you are in shape, healthy, dedicated and strong. Of course, it gives you the added benefit of being in great condition, lowering your health concerns and fitting back into those jeans from years ago.

But when it comes to answering how to get a six pack, you should know that there really are no shortcuts. All of the miracle fad diets, the instant weight loss supplements, the tricky new workout gadgets from infomercials, discard all of them. The only tried and true method for how to get a six pack is the proper combination of hard work, eating healthy and working out.

One of the problems with fad diets is that they cut too many calories and limit your intake and nutrients. Starvation diets may end up in you losing weight. However, the majority of this weight is going to be water weight and it is going to come right back as soon as you stop the program. When you limit your caloric intake to too few calories, it actually slows down your metabolism. Your body goes into fat storage mode, burning calories as slowly as possible because it thinks it is not going to be getting enough.

So when you are thinking about how to get a six pack, you have to avoid these drastic diet changes. The right way to go about it is to cut several hundred calories from your daily intake. The key to solving the how to get a six pack riddle is to keep your body well fed enough so it does not slow its metabolism down.

Not only does this require cutting down your total calorie intake, this also involves eating smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day. This keeps your body fueled with energy so your metabolism never slows down.

The thing is, everybody already has abs. They are muscles that are in everybodys bodies naturally. Of course if you work on these muscles they will grow. But remember you are not working on something you need to create entirely; you just need to bring them to the forefront. Eliminating the excess fat on your stomach is the best and most obvious way when it comes to how to get a six pack.

If you are having trouble staying motivated in the gym, do not confine yourself to just using crunches or sit ups. Try incorporating more total body exercises that also in part work the abdominal muscles. Doing thousands of crunches is not necessary for how to get a six pack. You want to incorporate a variety of exercises, core movements, stability exercises, bodyweight drills and even free weight compound exercises and movements that all incorporate your abs.

Do not try to trick your body by starving it or setting yourself up for failure by following a fad diet or infomercial program. Just dedicate yourself to everyday improvements that slowly turn into big gains. Cutting a few hundred calories, eating smaller meals spaced throughout the day and incorporating a variety of abdominal exercises into your workout routine is the best answer for the question how to get a six pack.

Malcolm Blake has researched and written about diet, health and other issues. To see more of his writing, visit his article about stomach fat.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Journaling for Weight Loss Success!

Have you kept a food journal? Journaling is a very important aspect in successful weight loss and is claimed, by many, to be the pivotal point in their success. The benefits are most pronounced when beginning a nutritional eating plan. However, at various times throughout your weight loss journey, one can refocus their efforts by once again implementing the journaling process.

When I started my weight loss journey, I made a simple food journal where I wrote down everything that went into my mouth. And, I do mean everything! I also made note of my general mood, i.e. happy, sad, lonely, etc. and recorded any major events.

Now, the process of journaling doesn’t have to be all consuming or take a lot of time; it just needs to be a conscious effort to accurately record your food intake and emotions. The initial commitment to record your journal should be for a minimum of 2-3 weeks as it takes that long to see the patterns emerge and gain a true picture of your relationship with food. Personally, I kept a journal for several months when I began as it afforded me the most control over my behavior.

Here are the benefits of journaling.

  1. Journaling promotes conscious eating. This was a big thing for me. I can’t tell you how many times I would walk by a candy jar and indulge in a few pieces or grab some food from the kitchen table at work where it had been placed for all to share. No thought process even entered my mind. I didn’t stop to assess whether I was hungry or think about whether I was “dieting”; it was in my mouth and gone before any conscious thought entered my mind. Writing everything down, and being consistent about it, allowed me to STOP making poor choices and allowed me to truly engage my thought process, my choices, the consequences of those choices and then proceed.

S = Stop T = Think O = ChOose P = Proceed

  1. One of the best benefits of a food journal is the ability to monitor what you are eating, how much you are eating and when you are eating. It provides a clear picture of our interaction with food, which allows us to modify certain behaviors. You may uncover things like eating too little during the day, finding a food that triggers a binge episode or eating too many carbohydrates and not enough protein.
  2. Documenting your moods and/or significant events will allow you to see a correlation between your emotions and food. The knowledge of this allows us to implement a plan of action to better prepare for future events.

In my journal, I realized that when I was sad and lonely, I not only ate in excess but my food choices were not nutritional. First, that information supplied me with the knowledge of my behavior. Second, it allowed me to devise a plan to alter the outcome. For instance, when I was sad and lonely, I would leave my home to go participate in a happy social activity with friends or visit family.

  1. When you are cognizant of the food you are consuming, you are then more aware and watchful of the choices being made. Mindful eating decisions are then more likely to be based on the quality and nutritional value of the item in correlation with the total daily calorie, point or carb allowance.
  2. As you become more conscious of the foods you are eating, better choices can be made. For instance, you may observe that too many carbohydrates are being eaten and not enough protein. You may become keenly aware that vegetables are lacking. In my case, I learned to eat more protein when I was truly hungry and to reserve the carbohydrate-laden snacks for times when I felt relatively full.
  3. By journaling your food, you remain in total control. There are no foods off limits, only that you plan accordingly to stay within your allowed calories OR occasionally decide to exceed your calorie limits and accept the consequences of your choice. You remain accountable to you and there is just no benefit in not being truthful.
  4. When reaching a plateau or occasionally sliding up the scale, a food journal provides the material needed for review by a friend, mentor or physician. A problem area can usually be identified quite quickly with a journal at hand.

Journaling does not require an arsenal of tools, but there are a few that are essential and those that are helpful.

A notebook or journal (even plain paper can be used) along with a or pencil. This does not have to be anything formal, but represents the basic tools for journaling and is most essential.

Measuring cups are essential in portioning your food as we guesstimate on the high side.

Measuring spoons allow smaller quantities of items to be measured accurately and can drastically affect your daily caloric intake. An example would be salad dressing; at 80 calories for 2 TBSP of low-calorie dressing, pouring 2 or 3 times that amount can make the difference of whether you lose weight, remain the same or gain.

Calorie resources are essential to your weight loss success. Calories can be found on the product packaging or by using an Internet resource such as Points, carbohydrates or diabetic exchanges are other acceptable ways to measure your food when journaling.

Plastic baggies are helpful in portion control. Some food items, especially snack items, state the number of portions in the box or package. It is easier to divide the package into equal portions upon opening the package. The calorie count can be written in permanent marker on the baggies for easy reference.

A calculator is helpful to divide package calories into smaller portions than those listed on the box.

A scale is helpful to weigh ounces.

Journaling provides us with the key to unlock the treasure chest of knowledge that explains our behavior and relationship with food. This, in turn, allows us to devise a map to modify our behavior and chart our path to success!

Find More Weight Loss Tips And Related Articles At Ranaesheart!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Lose 10 Pounds Fast - New Secret Methods

Are you wanting to lose 10 pounds fast in time for swimsuit season, a wedding, a special vacation or any other special occasion that may be happening in your life fairly soon? Depending on how long you have, it is definitely possible. You can definitely lose 10 pounds healthy in about 4 weeks! It is important that you do not try and do it quicker than that, because it is unhealthy for your body if you do that, and you will most likely end up gaining that back as well as an extra few pounds.

It is recommended that we try to lose no more than 2 or 3 pounds a week, depending on the person and their body. This goal is easily attainable with exercise and eating right. You will not need to buy any diet pills or buy anything more than you already do to be able to lost 10 pounds fast! The smartest and healthiest way to do this is to step up your work out and exercise routine a couple notches. If you typically work out 30 minutes a day, step it up to 60 or 90 minutes a day. If you work out 3-4 times a week, step it up to 5-6 times a week.

There are two important kinds of exercise you will need to do, cardio and strength training. With Cardio, you are able to exercise your heart, burn calories and get your energy level up. With the strength training, you will be turning your fat into muscle and toning your body, and burning some calories as well. It is best if you do both kinds each time you exercise. It is possible to split up your exercise and work out routine to 30 minutes morning and evening, or whatever works best for your schedule.

If you do decide to split up your work out time, it is recommended that you do cardio in the morning, to get your heart beating and energy going, and strength training at night. With strength training, you will want to make sure that you warm up on the treadmill or a quick walk for as little as 5 minutes to get your heart rate up, and get your muscles warmed up. It is not necessary to go join a gym if you do not have the funds or the desire to do so. You can easily do cardio outside or inside by going on a brisk walk, jogging, running up and down the stairs, or playing any sport where you are continuously moving. Strength training can be lunges, squats, push ups, sit ups, pull ups, bicep and triceps curls with anything you are able to find in your house (a can of soup works well).

Along with stepping up the work out routine a couple notches, in order to lose 10 pounds fast, you will also need to take a look at what you’re eating. It is recommended that you try to eat 6 small meals a day, instead of 3 big meals and 3 snacks. There are a few things that you need to make sure you have in your diet: protein, fiber, calcium and good fats. It is important that you drink plenty of water. The recommended amount is 64 ounces a day-either 8 oz. glasses a day. Along with fruits and vegetable which are good sources of the nutrients you need a day, you will also need meat or cheese for protein and fiber and a little dairy for the calcium.

Remember, you do not need to starve yourself in order to lose 10 pounds fast, in fact, that is definitely not the answer, and it will end up hurting you more in the end. By eating 6 small meals a day, you are able to eat less than you would usually, and yet, feel more satisfied throughout the day. Studies show that you feel less like snacking and grabbing the first thing in the kitchen, which is usually something quick and unhealthy! You will definitely be able to lose 10 pounds fast with simple changes in your work out and exercise routine and your eating habits!

Ben Lvanger runs several health sites dedicated to natural and fast weight loss. You can see more at

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Learn to Love Your Body!

Motivation is an ever-present need when implementing the change to a healthier lifestyle. Today I have elected to share some extremely personal information in an effort to provide you with some very important reasons to continue on this path you’ve chosen.

My employment with the American Red Cross came to an end in the middle of May, along with a thousand others nationwide. A 200 million dollar deficit predicated this massive layoff that affected most of my coworkers and many who dedicated their lives to this noble institution. We felt displaced and found ourselves polishing up our resumes.

When the notice came of our impending departures, and the resulting termination of our health insurance, scheduling routine annual exams suddenly moved to the forefront of our “to do” lists. One such appointment was to my family practitioner. The visit included a routine blood draw and came with the added benefit of seeing the look of amazement on his face as he noticed the large weight loss since my last visit. (By the way, that is a really fun aspect of the physical change, seeing someone who hasn’t seen you in a long time and watching his or her reaction!)

So last week I received the test results of my lab work and I was thrilled! Not only all normal, but better than normal!!!

Weight: 185 lbs Total Cholesterol 189 (Normal range 165-199) HDL 77 (Normal range 35-59; doctors say anything above 50 is good - 77 is Great!) LDL 90 (Normal range is less than or equal to 129; cardiologists are recommending below 100) Triglycerides 111 (55-199)

I remember my old values being out of range, especially the triglycerides, so I called the doctor again. Here are the old results for comparison purposes.

Weight: 290 lbs (Highest was 330 lbs) Total Cholesterol 218 (Normal range 164-200; abnormal) HDL 80.9 (32-96; within normal range) LDL 94.7 (90-190; also within normal range, but new values are better) Triglycerides 214 (30-200; abnormal)

Many times we focus on the physical appearance of weight loss and mentally we compare ourselves with others. Unrealistic images and touched up photos of movie stars and models bombard our senses and we tend to develop a false picture of what it “looks like” to be healthy. For most of us, we are not and never will be a size zero. The truth is, the average size woman in the United States is a size 14, the size at which “plus sized” clothing begins.

The point is, the most important reason we should lose weight is to move to a healthy lifestyle!

As I excitedly shared the results of my blood work with my mom, she informed me she had noticed many changes in my health. Not being quite so in tune, I asked her to share what she had noticed.

These are her observations and they’re shared to encourage you to look beyond the physical aspects.

Sleep apnea has resolved itself and a CPAP machine is no longer required.

Breathing difficulties are no longer and issue and inhalers are a thing of the past.

With less weight on my frame, there is no longer the pressure on my bladder and bladder control issues are no longer existent.

The knee pain is gone and my knees are stable! It is no wonder they had trouble. Can you imagine carrying a 146-lb person on your shoulders day in and day out? I get tired carrying an infant or a toddler for short periods of time and I get to put them down!

My blood pressure is in the normal range with the medication half of the previous doseage. We are now assessing whether it can be eliminated all together.

The heart health benefits are shown in the blood test results above and my risk for cardiac disease has greatly improved.

While I did not have any issues with my blood sugar, it should be noted that had I continued on the same path, statistics show it would only have been a matter of time before Type II diabetes developed. (It can be precipitated by obesity.)

Let’s stop thinking about outside appearances and focus on the inner working of our bodies. Try comparing it to shopping for a car. Would you want to purchase the car owned by a mechanic who had meticulously cared for the motor? Or, would you purchase the one whose owner participated in the pleasure of many long road trips but failed to perform the routine maintenance?

You see, if we do not choose to love our bodies and treat them in a kind and caring manner, we stand to lose our health. If that happens, we stand to lose everything that is near and dear to our hearts. Without your health, you won’t be able to participate in activities, your longevity is threatened and your life may become burdened with the cares of tending to the needs of your health.

By making health the No.1 reason to eat nutritionally and exercise regularly, you preserve your body to participate and enjoy all that life has to offer! You will be alive to enjoy the love of your family and friends and that is truly where our treasure lies! The Choice is Yours!

Find More Weight Loss Tips And Related Articles At Ranaesheart!