New Year, New You Workout

After indulging in all those yummy foods that make Christmas and the holiday season so memorable, it’s easy to understand why we keep banging on about eating healthy.

New Year, New You WorkoutYou can feel it, can’t you? The difference between eating healthy and not eating healthy by your energy levels – zapped! So, now is the time to get back on track and take the bull by the horns.

If you’re a regular gym-goer, you dread the beginning of the New Year and how crowded your gym gets by all those new hopefuls. This year, why not try being more supportive and encourage those new faces in their fitness endeavors? Who knows – maybe you’ll even meet a new workout partner.

Despite the crowds, you still need to work out and having a plan is the best strategy to have.

This full body workout uses higher reps with moderate weight, which will help burn fat while promoting the growth of lean muscle mass. Each rep count will be set somewhere between 10 to 15 repetitions, depending on the exercise. A key point to remember is that just because the weight is lower than your max, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t struggle at the end of each set. It is imperative that you choose a load weight that pushes you. If you’re not struggling to get those last few reps, then increase the weight. However, make sure you’re sticking to form and not compromising your workout by lifting too heavy. If you’re consistently not making it to the appropriate rep count, you need to decrease the weight.

New Year, New You Workout

Monday – Chest & Triceps

Stability Ball Push-ups – 3 Sets/ 12-15 Reps
Perform by placing your hands about a foot apart on a stability ball and then execute a standard push-up. Make sure to concentrate on your motion and balance during each repetition.

Reverse Cable Crosses – 3 Sets/ 12-15 Reps
Start by positioning the handles so they are at the highest point in which you can reach. Then grasp each cable opposite to the side your hand is on. Simultaneously pull each cable until your arms are fully extended and pointing towards the floor. The cables should cross during the execution of the exercise. Slowly bring the cables back down towards the starting position and repeat.

One-Arm Dumbbell Presses – 3 Sets/ 12-15 Reps
Start by lying flat on your back, while grasping one dumbbell. Take your other hand and place it on your hip for stability. Position the dumbbell so it is perpendicular with your chest and push upwards. Once you have reached a full extension, bring your arm down and repeat. Switch hands on every other set.

Standing Triceps Presses – 3 Sets/ 12-15 Reps
Grasp a barbell with an overhand grip with your hands 8 to 10 inches apart. Stand upright and hold the bar over your head. Lower the weight down while keeping your elbows stationary. Take the weight down as low as possible and then press the weight back up to the starting position and repeat.

Tuesday – Quads and Hamstrings

Dumbbell Squat Press – 4 Sets/ 10-12 Reps
Start by standing upright with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand. Slowly bend your knees until you are in a full squatting position. Then jump as high as possible, upon landing continue to the next rep.

Overhead Squat – 4 Sets/ 10-12 Reps
Position one end of the barbell against the wall and stack desired weight on the other end. Grasp the weighted end of the bar with one hand and place your other hand behind your back. Then squat until your hamstrings are parallel with the floor. Rotate your hands with each set.

Jump-Squats – 4 Sets/ 10-15 Reps
Start by standing in a standard squatting position. (Note: You can also position a barbell across your shoulders and upper back, holding it on each end to add more resistance during the exercise.) Then jump from the squatting position, landing with your feet spread at about your shoulder-width apart.

Wednesday – Rest

Thursday – Back and Biceps

Upright Raises – 3 Sets/ 10-12 Reps
Start in a standing position while grasping a barbell with an overhand grip. Your hands should be 8 to 10 inches apart. Let the barbell hang in front of you, with your arms fully extended. This is the starting position. Lift the bar straight up until it reaches your chin, and then slowly bring the bar back down. Make sure not to swing your back or cheat during the reps. Your motion should be stabile and controlled.

Two Hand Cable Curls – 3 Sets/ 10-12 Reps
Stand upright with your body facing the cable and pulley. Grasp the curl bar while keeping your feet shoulder-width apart. While keeping your elbows close to your body, curl the weight as high as you can and then slowly bring the bar back to the starting position.

Bent-Arm Pullovers with Barbell – 3 Sets 10-12 Reps
Start by lying on your back along a flat bench. Place a barbell on the floor behind your head. Reach back and grab the bar. Raise the bar while keeping your arms bent. Bring the bar over your head and to your chest. Then lower the bar back down towards the starting position. You should feel a nice stretch in your lats. Make sure to keep the bar from touching the floor.

Standing Alternating Dumbbell Curls – 3 Sets/ 12-15 Reps
While standing upright with a dumbbell in each hand, hanging at the side of your body, curl one dumbbell up towards your chest. Alternate as the first dumbbell reaches the starting position and repeat.

Friday – Rest

Saturday – Shoulders and Abs

Seated Twists – 3 Sets/ 75-100 Reps
Perform by sitting on the edge of a bench. Place a light-bar or broom handle across the back of your shoulders. Hold each end of the bar. While keeping your head still, rotate your torso as far as you can in either direction. When reaching the end of your extension, hold for 5-10 seconds. Make sure you don’t swing your body during the exercise.

Variation Dumbbell Raises – 3 Sets/ 12-15 Reps
Start with your arms at your sides with a dumbbell in each hand. Then raise your arms to your sides until your elbows are shoulder height. Lower your arms to the starting position. Lift one   arm in front of your body, until your arm is parallel to the floor. Make sure you don’t swing your body during the lifting motion. Bring your arm back down and then rotate arms. This will complete one rep.

Medicine Ball Leg Lifts – 3 Sets/ 15-20 Reps
Start by lying flat on your back with your knees up and your feet flat on the floor. Position a medicine ball between your knees and squeeze to stabilize. Bring your legs up towards your chest. Slowly bring your legs back down towards the starting position, but do not let your feet touch the ground.

Military Presses – 3 Sets/ 12-15 Reps
Sit at the edge of a bench and then grasp a dumbbell in each hand. Hoist each dumbbell to shoulder height and then press simultaneously until the dumbbells touch each other above your head. Bring the weight down until your arms form a 90-degree angle and then repeat.

Sunday – Rest

Fat Burning Tips to Keep you Slim and Trim

Learn how to lose weight efficiently and correctly so it stays off.

Fat burning and weight loss tipsExercise economy is a helpful tool when choosing the right workout for you. Why waste hours and hours in the gym if it’s not working and why work harder than you have to? For those of you whose main objective is losing fat, here are a few tips to set you straight.

Before we start, let’s examine what happens when you engage in cardiovascular exercise.

Aerobic versus Anaerobic

You’ve probably heard the terms aerobic and anaerobic before, but what do they really mean? Aerobic simply means with oxygen, while anaerobic means without oxygen.

Any exercise that increases blood flow and oxygen to the muscles is called aerobic. All muscles need oxygen to perform properly and if you want to burn fat, you need oxygen to do a thorough job. When there isn’t enough oxygen for the muscles to perform, the body converts to an anaerobic state that uses no oxygen.

Have you ever experienced cramp during exercise? This is because you’ve pushed your body to the limit and entered an anaerobic state, which if sustained, will cause lactic acid to build up resulting in pinching or cramping. This is a good indicator that you’re working too hard.

Cardiovascular, cardio or aerobic exercise are activities that require oxygen to meet the demands of the heart and lungs. Anaerobic exercise requires more expenditure over a shorter period of time. When the muscles are put into this anaerobic state they pull on carbohydrates for energy or readily available sugars in your blood, thus reducing the amount of fat burned.

Now, here’s where it gets confusing. When the body goes into an oxygen deficient state while exercising, it will switch to anaerobic training, even if you’re working within your target heart rate zone. It all depends on how fit your body is, how it meets the demands of the exercise and what your oxygen uptake or V02 max and lactate threshold are.

Two important things to remember here:

  1. When you turn up the intensity, you’re putting more demand on your body and it will require more oxygen to perform that exercise.
  2. If you’re a beginner and your goal is weight loss, work out at a more moderate pace to burn more fat and reduce risk of injury.

Exercise to Burn Fat

So, how do we make sure we’re training in an optimum fat-burning state? Cardio is the best way to burn fat and working within your fat-burning zone will ensure you don’t push your body into an anaerobic state. This means working at a more moderate pace, like a step aerobics class, where about 60% of the total calories burned are fat cells.

When you work out at a higher, heart training level, the percentage of fat burned drops by 25%. At the most intense level, that is, if you’re an athlete training for an event, you’ll only burn 5% of fat. It’s the body’s way of protecting itself. The more the demand on the body, the more stress on the body. So the message to the brain is to burn less fat because it may need it for later.

However, there’s a twist. Working out at a fat-burning level burns more fat, but it uses fewer calories. Working out at a higher intensity burns more calories but less fat. Confused? Don’t be.

Calories Burned During Exercise

Perhaps this scenario will help. If a 175-lb man walked at a speed of 3 mph for 30 minutes – a moderate pace – he would burn a total of 158 calories. Calculate 60% of those calories as fat and this means he burned 95 fat calories. When the same man jogs at 5 mph for 30 minutes – a more intense level – he would burn a total of 336 calories. Calculate 35% of that being fat and this means he would burn about 118 fat calories.

At either level, you’re still burning fat, but in the first instance, you’ll burn more fat with less effort.

Strength Training

Although strength training is considered an anaerobic exercise and not a fat-burning exercise, many people leave it out of their workout program. This is a big mistake for so many reasons. The goal of strength training is to increase strength by toning and conditioning your muscles, thus increasing lean muscle mass. The leaner your muscles, the higher your basal metabolic rate. This means that a muscular person burns more calories than a less muscular person. Lean muscle requires more fuel to sustain, thus increasing your basal metabolic rate. So, it pays to add strength training to your workout routine.

For the best results, your workout routine should include 30-45 minutes of cardio at least four times a week and strength training about 3 times a week. Check out a few different cardio routines and resistance training programs until you find the one that works best for you. No matter what, you’ll burn fat in the process.


Lose 500 Calories with Circuit Training

Circuit training is the new cardio and one of the most efficient ways to get into shape.

Calibe_ThompsonCombining high intensity exercises with little to no rest in between sets, circuit training gives you resistance training with an aerobic twist.

Within a very short period of time, you can work out your entire body and burn calories at the same time. You can design your circuits around timed sets or number of repetitions. It’s also a good idea to put together one to three different programs, ranging from a 15-minute circuit (for those times when you’re really pinched for time) to 30-minute and 45-minute circuits. That way you’re always covered and you won’t be able use that tired old excuse of not having enough time to work out.

Circuit training is favoured by athletes during the offseason when they focus on building up strength and endurance. It is an efficient way to build strength, while conserving energy for the on-season when it matters the most.

Most people favour circuit training for its fat-burning benefits. Research has found that when you include circuit training into your regular exercise routine, you can decrease body fat by as much as 3%. With an average 6 Kcal per minute for women and 9 Kcal for men, one 30-minute circuit training workout can burn up to 500 calories.

Here’s a sample circuit – perform each round twice:

Training Circuit: Round 1

  • Warm-up for 10-15 minutes on a treadmill, Elliptical or stationary bike
  • Pull-ups till failure
  • Burpees – 15 reps
  • Squats with shoulder press – 30 reps with dumbbell
  • Crunches on a Bosu ball – 25-30 or failure
  • Run on treadmill for 2 mins at 8 mph or jump rope for 2 mins
  • Rest one minute

Training Circuit:  Round 2

  • Body weight dips –15 reps
  • Lunges – 15 each side
  • Bicep curls – 15 reps
  • Plank  – 30 seconds per side twice
  • Medicine ball twists – 20 per side
  • Run on treadmill for 2 mins at 8 mph or jump rope for 2 mins
  • Switching to a cool down speed for 10-15 minutes to finish

It is important to fuel your body with the right nutrients before and immediately after working out to ensure you’re developing as much lean muscle as you can and to help muscle recovery.


The Thermic Effect of Food

Knowing the thermic effect of foods will help you keep your weight under control. Thermic effect of food

When we eat food, we burn calories. Yes, that’s right – eating burns calories. But before you get too excited and rush over to Dairy Queen, let’s explain this theory and reveal those foods with the highest thermic qualities.

The thermic effect of food was first reported in 1902 by German scientist M. Rubner and later re-examined by Graham Lusk Ph.D in 1930. The digestion process is a complex one. Chewing and swallowing, digesting and synthesizing nutrients all take energy, and energy comes from calories. When we eat, our metabolic rate increases, creating heat in the body. This is called the thermic effect (or specific dynamic action) and each food has its own thermic effect on the body.

To calculate the thermic effect of your daily food intake and how much energy you spend eating food, take your daily number of calories and multiple by 10%. For example, if you consume 2000 calories a day, you’ll burn about 200 calories digesting that food. Proteins require more energy to digest than carbohydrates or fats. In fact, proteins have a thermic effect of 30%, whereas fats rank in at only 3%.

So, there is good reason why serious trainers stick to protein-rich diets. That doesn’t mean you should all embark upon the Atkins Diet. Au contraire. Our bodies need proteins in addition to fats and carbohydrates on a daily basis to function properly and maintain a healthy balance.

Here are some diet guidelines

Proteins – with a thermic effect of 30%, proteins will stimulate your metabolism and are essential for muscle gain and fat loss. Include one portion with each meal.

Carbohydrates – with a thermic effect of 6%, carbohydrates do not rate high on the scale but are still an essential component to any diet plan. Stick to complex and whole grain carbohydrates and make sure they make up 25–30% of your daily caloric intake.

High-fiber vegetables – with a thermic effect of 20%, many fruits and vegetables actually demand more calories to digest, known as negative calorie foods. You should be eating high-fiber vegetables with at least half of your meals.

Fats – with a thermic effect of 3%, fats should be kept to a minimum. Stick to healthy, unsaturated fats like olive oil and Omega-3, 6 and 9.

Spice—hot, spicy foods have a high thermic effect. Just by adding a sprinkle of black pepper to your meals will have some effect. Other spices to include in your diet are hot peppers, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, celery seed, fennel seed, garlic, ginger, mustards, parsley and hot sauces.

Eating smaller meals more frequently at the same times every day will give you a higher thermic effect than if you just ate randomly whenever you’re hungry. Break your meals into five or six portions throughout the day. This will help to keep you feeling fuller for longer, while increasing the overall thermic effect on your body. In other words, you’ll burn more calories and reach your weight loss goals faster.

In effect, losing weight is not just about counting calories, it’s about choosing the right foods that will give you the most nutrients and the highest thermic effect.


How to Burn the Most Fat

Every fitness program starts with a goal and the three common goals are weight loss, strength training and endurance.

How to burn the most fatIf you goal is to lose weight and burn fat, then you have probably asked yourself the same question that most people want to know:

What is the best exercise for burning fat?

That question was at the forefront of the minds of scientists out of the University of California who engaged in a study to find out exactly what is the best exercise for burning fat.

Published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, this study focused on three groups of trainees:

  • Cardio only group.
  • Resistance training only.
  • Cardio plus resistance training (the cardio component came in the form of active recovery, which was performed at the end of each set for 30-60 seconds).

It was calculated that each group performed the same amount of work in terms of expenditure; however, the Cardio Plus Resistance Group performed better and experienced better fat-burning scores.

Why did this group perform better?

The combination of resistance training plus cardio had the effect of building muscle and burning fat at the same time. The fat that this group burned was ten times greater than those focusing on one type of training alone.

Fat Burning Workout

  • 10 Push-Ups or Knee Push-Ups
  • 15-20 Jumping Jacks or 1 minute of jumping rope
  • 10 Squats or Lunges
  • 15-20 Jumping Jacks or 1 minute of jumping rope
  • 10 crunches followed immediately by 15-20 jumping jacks
  • 10 sets of deadlifts to shoulder press
  • 15-20 jumping jacks or 1 minute of jumping rope.

You can easily incorporate this type of training into your regular weight lifting routine simply by adding active recovery and jumping rope, cycling, walking on the treadmill, jogging or sprinting for one minute in between each set. After two weeks, you should experience a shrinkage in your waistline and an overall reduction of body fat.