Prevention.com and Biggest Loser – two birds, one stone?

Actually, no! Here are an unusually good bunch of quick tips from the generally target rich site Prevention.com; they in turn recieved the tips from the Biggest Loser US trainers. (As noted by myself previously, the trainers from Biggest Loser US are fair superior in their methods to the idiot UK Biggest Loser trainers). Let’s go through the suggestions:

1. Crank Up the Incline

Run for the hills.
Jillian Michaels says, the next time you’re doing your treadmill workout try boosting the incline. You’ll change the muscles you’re training; you’ll up your calorie burn by increasing the intensity; and you’ll add some variety to your cardio so you don’t get bored.

If cardio is still your preferred exercise of choice (inspite of what I’ve written on the subject previously) then this is sound advise. Changing your workout regularly (whether its a resistance or cardio based workout) is a must – otherwise your body just gets used to what you’re doing. To really make a difference you need to keep your body guessing.

Plus: increased intensity is the way to go. If you’re not feeling the burn you’re doing it wrong.

2. Hold That Position

Just because your heart isn’t pounding doesn’t mean you’re not working out.

Core workouts focus on improving strength and stability of the torso. Holding a yoga or Pilates pose offers as much of a challenge as a sweat-drenched workout, says Bob Harper. Start by holding a pose for 5 to 10 breaths, then gradually work up to holding it for one minute. These workouts offer benefits such as improved posture and strengthening the lower back as well as your abdominals.

This is slightly more dubious, because it depends on what exercises your doing. Generally speaking, the most effective poses will make get your heart pounding and brow sweating if you’re doing it properly and to the right intensity.

Many people would take the above advice as an excuse to take things nice and easy; don’t be one of those idiots.

3. Ditch the Soda

Quench your thirst with better bubbles.

When it comes to choosing a beverage, don’t drink soda, says Jillian. Whether it’s sugared soda or diet soda, it’s terrible for your body. It’ll put weight on you, dehydrate you, and deplete the minerals from your system. Make a smarter choice. Sparkling water, unsweetened iced teas, green tea and white tea have been shown to burn more fat and up to 78 more calories per day.

Spot on. Interesting that they say “It’ll put weight on you” without saying why. And they say this for both sugared and diet fizzy – even  though diet has practically zero calories.

So why does it put weight on? Primarily because of the insulin spike it gives you. As mentioned in a previous post, diet soft drinks seem to trigger the same insulin spike as full sugared drinks – calories are pretty much irrelevant in the matter.

I keep my fizzy to my cheat day. And I completely ignore the diet versions.

4. Throw Your Weight Around

Discard the equipment for allover results.

Jillian Michaels says that a great way to improve your balance and coordination is to work with your own body weight. Oftentimes when you go to the gym and you work on machines, it artificially isolates a muscle, which isn’t natural. But when you do things like squats, lunges, pushups, crunches, pull-ups–the variety of exercises is almost endless–you’re forcing your upper and lower body to synergize and work together. This gives you more balance, more stability, more coordination and better overall performance.

The above exercises are excellent particularly when there are no gyms available. And even at the gym, weight squats, lunges, pullups, deadlifts should be core elements of your resistance workout.

On the weekend I’ll often end up doing air squats and pushups. These will be high reps, given the fact the resistance (i.e. weight) I’m pushing is less than what it would be at a gym. Although its not what I’d do everyday, the variety is very beneficial.

Incidentally whenever I go on holiday I’m always on the look out for something I can perform pullups on. And to increase the intensity I’ll always try to convince someone to sit on my shoulders while I do squats, or on my back while I do pushups – fun for all heh.

5. Get Menu-Savvy

Pay attention to these healthy food terms.

Almost 25% of Americans’ meals come from eating out. So it’s important to make your next restaurant visit a healthy one. Jillian suggests you look for steamed, boiled, baked, grilled, poached, or roasted foods on the menu. Don’t be shy about making special requests if you don’t see a figure-friendly option. When in doubt, go the salad route. Salads are a healthy choice, especially with dressing and cheese on the side.

Stating the obvious just a little. Also I have nothing against fried food so long as its a healthy fat used in the frying (butter being the best option believe it or not).

And remember: it doesn’t matter how you cook a potato, or how you slice a piece of bread – it will still spike your insulin levels so leave it the f*k alone.

6. Avoid Over-Processed Foods

Read nutrition labels to identify diet disasters.

Bob suggests avoiding foods containing high fructose corn syrup, a sweetener and preservative that helps extend the shelf life of food. (Foods to watch out for: soda, cereals, bread, breakfast bars, ice cream.) It’s found in processed foods that are often high in calories and low in nutritional value. Simply read the nutritional factson your favorite foods to see if they contain high fructose corn syrup. If they do, throw them out.

Good advice – if also a little obvious. High fructose corn syrup is – you guessed it – a huge insulin spiker.

7. Eat These for Stress Relief

Swap junk food for healthy comfort foods.

Bob Harper says it’s easy to make poor food choices when we’re stressed–but here’s the skinny on some real stress-reducing comfort food. Walnuts help replace stress-depleted B vitamins and it’s a great source of omega 3s. Also try eating asparagus, a natural mood lightener. Dip them in fat-free yogurt for a touch more calcium. And when chocolate and only chocolate will do, go for the dark option. Dark chocolate contains antioxidants with the strength to fight not only cancer but also heart disease.

All good again. Except: go for full fat greek yoghurt instead of the low fat stuff. And make sure the chocolate is at least 90% cocoa solids. Walnuts and asparagus are also both excellent sources of nutrients and are low/slow carb. Walnuts are quite a staple of mine.

8. Torch Calories with Weights

Strength train for maximum calorie burn.

When you’re working out, it’s important to incorporate weight training into your routine says Bob. You’ll burn 8 to 10 calories a minute lifting weights. Also, lifting weights gives you a metabolic spike for an hour after your workout because your body is trying hard to help your muscles recover.

Bingo. Go give yourselves a pat on the back Prevention.com – at long last.

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