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Those long summer days of 2009 are slowly coming to an end. Although some of us here in South Florida may beg to differ, summer is just about over. We are all enjoying the warm days, pool parties and barbecues, and also the not so enjoyable things like 90% humidity and mosquito repellent. No matter where you live, though, soon we will be going into Daylight Savings time-which is great, given we can sleep an extra hour, but this change in seasons impacts our bodies more than we think. Our fitness plan, eating habits, and overall mood are affected by both physical and psychological factors.

Now you can use this change to your advantage, although many of us pass up the chance without ever realizing it. Ever notice how we all worry about “beach-ready bodies” in the

Start thinking about the changes you will need to make to your fitness plan once we start heading into Fall 2009.

Start thinking about the changes you will need to make to your fitness plan once we start heading into Fall 2009.

summer? Well, because it’s hot, days are linger, and more of us is more likely to be exposed. And everyone, whether they admit it or not, worry about physical appearance to a certain degree. When the weather cools off, we may have extra leeway to cover up the one too many chocolate bars that make their way into our diets.

Despite this change in weather and more lax attitude, many people still find ways to keep fit and focused even through the harshest winter months. Now we still have a ways to go before winter kicks in, but I want to give you some tips now to prepare yourselves and avoid packing on the pounds as the weather slowly cools off. Also realize that some places will begin to see snow as early as next month! So, read on, get ready, and enjoy cool crisp Fall weather to your advantage and as a welcome break from all that mosquito spray!

Tips For Escaping the “Winter Bulge”

1. Continue to eat well and to count calories! This is a biggie since our biological tendency is to eat more during winter months. And while this may have been advantageous for our ancestors who needed extra body fat for insulation, it’s not necessary in our modern world of specialized winter clothing that can keep us warm with no added effort. We are also not as active as our ancestors who hunted to survive and therefore expended more calories in seeking food than we do in opening the refrigerator.

2. Stay active. So many people get caught up in those warm blankets a little long during winter months and without even noticing, drastically decrease their activity level in doing so. And the roblem with decreasing activity level? Well, it inreases the risk of gaining weight through excess calories and a slower metabolism.

3. Change up the routine. While you may be accostomed to a late afternoon run in summer, it may be too dark for that run at the same time during winter months. Why? Well, remember clocks “fall back” an hour, meaning that it will get darker sooner. So how do you avoid any issues with this? Try changing around your schedule to get your exercise in early morning or mid-afternoon instead if at all possible.

4. Keep up your appearance and never lose focus. While baggy winter clothes and layers may give a temporary cover up for those love handles, don’t forget they are still there. And you, as the sole caretaker of your body will have to face the fact that they are still there. You don’t want them there, but if you doin’t do anything about them, they will never go away. So? Keep focused on you fitness goals and keep several reminders of those goals where you will see and remember them each day.

5. Ease into the time change. This is one a lot of people pass up. Rather than just waiting for the day that you need to put your clocks back an hour, ease in to the change by adjusting your bedtime little by little to accustom your body to the new, shorter days. For example, rather than turning your lock back an hour and sleeping in, start going to bed 10 minutes earlier each day the week before. By the time the day rolls around, your body is already used to the time change and the adaption process is that much easier.

This by far is not an exhaustive list, but it’s a start. Just some ideas to keep in mind and to keep you focused on your fitness plan no matter if your in sunny South Florida, or cool and calm Minnesota.

Take Charge!

Fitness King

P.S. Want to: Learn the “Easy” way to get and stay in shape? Discover the secret to quick fat loss? How to exercise less and get better results? Discover the secret to ripped abs without doing endless crunches? Then be sure to get my “Amazing Fat Burning Formula” HERE.

P.P.S. If you like this post, and think it will help others, please help me help others by clicking on one of these “Share and Enjoy” links below.

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When it comes to the Big Three of exercise – cardiovascular, strength and flexibility training – it’s pretty clear which one can get overlooked. After all, while we prize cardiovascular and strength training for their role in helping us lose weight, build muscle and get fit, the benefits of flexibility training are less immediately alluring. However, as the population ages, more of us are learning to appreciate the rewards of stretching. Staying limber can offset age-related stiffness, improve athletic performance, and optimize functional movement in daily life while also helping you take your fitness plan to the next level.

Research shows that flexibility training can develop and maintain range of motion and may help prevent and treat

Stretching is extremely important to any fitness plan-even those of professional athletes. Flexibilty helps reduce risk of injury and improves overall strength and performance.

Stretching is extremely important to any fitness plan-even those of professional athletes. Flexibilty helps reduce risk of injury and improves overall strength and performance.

injury. In fact, the American College of Sports Medicine has added flexibility training to its general exercise recommendations, advising that stretching exercises for the major muscle groups be performed two to three days per week. So how can you include an effective flexibility workout in your fitness plan? Here are some guidelines:

1.  Think in Terms of Serious Flexibility Training, Not Just Brief Stretching. Squeezing in one or two quick stretches before or after a workout is better that nothing, but this approach will yield limited results. What’s more, generic stretches may not be effective for your particular body. The more time and attention you give to your flexibility training, the more benefits you’ll experience. A qualified personal trainer, physical therapist or health professional can design a functional flexibility program specifically for you.

2.  Consider Your Activities. Are you a golfer? Do you ski, run or play tennis? Do your daily home or work routines include bending, lifting or sitting for long periods? Functional flexibility improves the stability and mobility of the whole person in his or her specific environment. An individualized stretching program is best to improve both stability (the ability to maintain ideal body alignment during all activities) and mobility (the ability to use full, normal range of motion).

3.  Special Attention to Tight Areas. Often the shoulder, chest, hamstrings and hips are particularly tight, but you may hold tension in other areas, depending on your history of injuries and the existing imbalances in your muscle groups. Unless you change up your flexibility training to maintain your strengths and improve your weaknesses, you may stretch already overstretched muscles and miss areas that need training.

4.  Listen to Your Body. Stretching is an individual thing. Pay attention to your body’s signals and don’t push too far. Avoid bouncing or jerking movements to gain momentum; this approach can be dangerous. Instead, slowly stretch your muscles to the end point of movement and hold the stretch for about 30 seconds. Older adults, pregnant women and people with injuries will need to take special precautions.

5.  Get Creative. Varying your flexibility training can help you stick with it. You can use towels, resistance balls and other accessories to add diversity and effectiveness to your stretching.

6.  Warm Up First. Don’t forget to warm up your muscles before you begin. Walking briskly for 10 to 15 minutes is a simple way to do this.

7.  Find a Flexibility Class That Works for You. Classes that include stretching are becoming more popular and more diverse. Some combine cardiovascular and strength components with the flexibility training; others focus exclusively on stretching.

8.  Stretch Your Mind and Body. Did you know that your emotional state may affect your flexibility? If your body is relaxed, it will be more responsive to flexibility training. Listening to music and focusing on your breathing can help you relax as you stretch. You may also want to explore yoga or Pilates. In addition to stretching, classes in these disciplines may include relaxation, visualization and other mind-body techniques designed to reduce stress and increase mindfulness.

9.  Stretching doesn’t make you “wimpy”. Forget the idea that stretching is just for elderly, injured or unconditioned people. Many Olympic and professional athletes rely on flexibility training for peak performance.

10.  Do It Consistently. It doesn’t help to stretch for a few weeks and then forget about it. Integrate regular stretching into your permanent fitness plan.

Stretching has many far reaching benefits that you will begin to notice soon after you begin incorporating it as part of your daily fitness routine. So many people overlook this major component of a well-developed exercise program and end up injuring themselves or not reaching their full potential. Take the extra time to warm up or wind down after a great workout and you will feel more limber and energized than ever!

Take Charge!

Fitness King

P.S. Want to: Learn the “Easy” way to get and stay in shape? Discover the secret to quick fat loss? How to exercise less and get better results? Discover the secret to ripped abs without doing endless crunches? Then be sure to get my “Amazing Fat Burning Formula” HERE.

P.P.S. If you like this post, and think it will help others, please help me help others by clicking on one of these “Share and Enjoy” links below.

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If you suffer from asthma, you probably think that you can’t do exercise training properly or safely.  Contrary to what many think of this subject, there are ways that you can get in shape and exercise, even if you suffer  from asthma.

Asthma is a chronic lung disease that is marked by characteristics such as coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath,

Asthma shouldn't keep you from exercise training if you take precautions and keep your inhaler handy.

Asthma shouldn't keep you from exercise training if you take precautions and keep your inhaler handy.

and chest tightness.  Asthma tends to occur with people who are genetically or environmentally predisposed to the condition.

Some of the triggers that may start or make an attack worse include exposure to allergens, viral respiratory infections, airway irritants, exercise training, and exposure to things such as dust mites or cockroaches.

You can prevent asthma attacks by doing the following:

  1. Bathe your pets weekly.
  2. Don’t smoke or permit smoking in your home.
  3. When mold or pollent counts are high, you should stay inside with air conditioning.
  4. Wash your bedding and any stuffed toys  at least once per week in hot water.
  5. Wash your hands every chance you get.
  6. Get a flu shot.
  7. Wear a scarf over your mouth and nose in the winter months.
  8. Be proactive and know your triggers and  how you should avoid them.

Now that you know a little more about asthma, you  may be wondering where exercise fits in.  As most doctors will tell you, you shouldn’t give up on sports or exercise at all.  You just have to be smart about how you play and take special precautions to avoid attacks.

Almost all doctors agree that the best way to  prevent attacks during exercise is to keep your  inhaler and medication close by.  You should never use the inhaler more than 3 times during a game or exercise session.  If you are up the previous  night with coughing and wheezing, it’s always best to go light with your exercise the next day.

For something known as IEA (Exercise Induced Asthma), the symptoms are somewhat different, in the fact that they appear after 6 – 10 minutes of exercise and will often be worse in cold or dry air.

If you have IEA, there are several activities that you can enjoy such as swimming, walking, biking, downhill skiing, and team based sports.  There are many activities for you to choose from, to ensure you get the exercise you need as well.

Keep in mind that the condition of asthma isn’t  “all in your head”, it is a real physiological  medical treatment that will require treatment to prevent and treat.  Even though your doctor will be your best friend in treating asthma, you are the one who can prevent your symptoms.

Always be smart, take your medication, and be proactive.  Don’t let it put you in a life of  misery – as you can enjoy exercise just like everyone else.

Take Charge!

Fitness King

P.S. Want to: Learn the “Easy” way to get and stay in shape? Discover the secret to quick fat loss? How to exercise less and get better results? Discover the secret to ripped abs without doing endless crunches? Then be sure to get my “Amazing Fat Burning Formula” HERE.

P.P.S. If you like this post, and think it will help others, please help me help others by clicking on one of these “Share and Enjoy” links below.

Categories : Fitness Plan
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My Interview with Bill Phillips after Winning the Body For Life Contest