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Fitness

How Often Do You Need to Exercise to Maintain Normal Weight?

How Often Do You Need to Exercise to Maintain Normal Weight?

Doing exercises regularly has lots of benefits, including preventing a range of health problems, such as cancer, dementia, etc. It is also one of the most effective ways to maintain your weight. If you have tried hard to lose some kilograms, you probably want to know how often you need to exercise to maintain the achieved results. You will find the answer below.

General Guidelines

According to most guidelines, you should do moderate-intensity exercises for at least 150 minutes per week, which is the same as, for instance, doing such exercises for 30 minutes five times per week. It is very useful to enjoy a 30-minute walk every day, because it can help decrease the risk of sudden cardiac death and other health problems.

Moderate-intensity exercises are various physical activities, including gardening, dancing, brisk walking and others. You can choose something that you really enjoy and try to spare enough time for this every week. According to the HHS, you can also do vigorous-intensity exercises for 75 minutes every week, which also matches the minimal requirement for maintaining your health. Vigorous-intensity exercises are more intensive physical activities than those of moderate-intensity. They include hiking uphill, swimming, aerobics, bicycling, ditch digging, running, heavy shoveling and others.

Please note that everything written above is related to all people regardless their weight or BMI. If you are interested in achieving certain fitness results, you should read further.

How to Achieve Better Results?

If you have managed to lose some weight, you definitely want to maintain this result. Physical training is one of the ways to do it, but you surely want to know how much you need to exercise to maintain weight loss. Not only should you train every day, but you should do exercises of moderate to vigorous intensity for at least 45 minutes daily.

Several studies have proven that the longer you exercise (more than 45 minutes), the better results you can achieve in terms of weight maintenance and weight loss.

Another important fact that you should keep in mind is that doing exercises is useless for losing some weight if you consume lots of bad and fatty foods. That is why you should adjust your eating habits by preferring natural, healthy foods over junk products. Of course, if you have problems consuming only healthy products, you should still keep exercising, because this is how you can improve your health condition and manage a range of problems, such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancers, dementia, etc., but no positive effects will be achieved in terms of weight loss or maintaining the results.

Most Important Fact to Remember

The most important that you should remember from everything mentioned above is that exercising and dieting are two things that can help you manage your weight, but using only one of them will not work for you. You should do exercises for at least 45 minutes or more every day and include healthy foods into your nutrition instead of useless products.

Fitness

Effectively Built Muscle in Just Ten Weeks

Effectively Built Muscle in Just Ten Weeks

Bodybuilding and muscle building require your close attention to different exercises that improve the shape and size of muscles instead of encouraging your pure strength. Strength building involves exercises that induce the recruitment of muscle nerves and fibers that allow people lift quite heavy weights. In its turn, muscle building requires exercises that increase the size of muscle fibers, which are elongated muscle cells. It’s worth mentioning that the size doesn’t equate with the strength.

Can You Benefit from This Program?

While the basic muscle and strength program can be everything that many people need, this one is designed specifically for those trainers who want to pay close attention to body shape. Classic bodybuilding look and shape are determined by a high muscle definition and low body fat level that emphasize the shape and size of muscles. For example, shoulders, arms, abdominals, legs, back and butt are characterized by a shredded and lean appearance, and its popularity is only increased by many magazine publishers searching for great covers.

It’s not always necessary to reach the level of all competition bodybuilders, both men and women. Your low body fat and well-developed muscles are great for fitness, self-esteem, health and personal image. For women, muscle building doesn’t mean their big and bulky figure, but it still means their low body fat, flat bottom and stomach and good looking shoulders, arms and legs.

Key Principles of Muscle Building

To get the desired sculptured look, there are certain things you need:

1. Exercises that complement a healthy nutrition program by helping you maintain low body fat and enhance muscles. They usually include weight training and aerobic exercises.

2. A well-balanced nutrition program that supports your low body fat maintenance while providing sufficient proteins to build more muscles.

3. An effective muscle building program that targets your muscle size and definition for other body parts.

Outline of the Muscle Program

When it comes to its design, this muscle building program is quite simple to accommodate all possible users. So, it’s perfect for both men and women of different age with the right selection of volume or work and weight. When considering its safety and health, you should stop training once you start experiencing any acute discomfort or pain during exercises. Seek medical help if this continues beyond standard muscle soreness and discomfort that happens with any weight training. You aren’t supposed to lift quite heavy weights in this muscle program.

Keep in mind that it’s a generic program created to provide people with a helpful template to develop their muscle and body shape. Think about using the services of a qualified strength coach or a personal trainer to customize it based on your fitness goals, access to available resources, current fitness level and time you have for training.

This muscle program also includes supersets, which are consecutive exercises that work opposing the same muscle groups. For instance, you can try biceps curls followed by triceps kickbacks. All supersets must be done with no break between them.

Looking for alternatives? You can integrate barbells and dumbbells into some exercises. Dumbbells are more convenient for your home gym workouts or when machines and benches are busy. If you don’t have any access to a specific exercise piece, you should work around it with the alternatives that have similar functions. Take into account the number of exercise sessions, because there are about ten exercises that should be done in 3 sets and 10 repetitions a few times a week.

Unlike the basic strength program of 5 sets and repetitions, this one uses only 3 sets of 10 repetitions and alternating sessions, similar to the split system. A perfect system includes 2 or 3 sessions each week with 1 day of rest between each one. As an example, you can try this exercise option:

• Session 1: buttocks and legs;
• Session 2: shoulders, back, and arms;
• Session 3: chest and abdominals.

It’s also necessary to calculate the right weight for every exercise that will let you do 10 repetitions. It’s a stage at which you cannot do other repetitions without rest. You should be able to continue for 3 sets with a very short break in between your sets. Such exercises as deadlifts and squats are quite taxing with heavy weights, and that’s why you shouldn’t expect a lot too early. Try picking the weights that let you complete all sets in 10 repetitions. Your exercise intervals shouldn’t exceed 30-60 seconds between sets.

Progression and recovery apply if you do 2-3 sets on a weekly basis. After 10 sessions, it’s advisable to take 1 week of recovery by doing only 1 session a week. You can also do your standard weekly routine with just 1 set during every session. Start each training session with about 20 minutes of mild aerobic and cardio work, including step machines, bikes and treadmills.

This program includes the exercise equipment available in many health clubs and gyms. The exercises listed below are in the right order to do them based on the availability of this equipment. Try to keep all supersets sequential and remember that you will get sore after early sessions until the body adjusts to this training. You should have 2 days of rest between all sessions and only 2 sessions per week if it’s a problem.


Session 1: Buttons and Legs

Legs:

1. Barbell and dumbbell squats. Ensure that you complete 3 full sets and lighten weights when needed.
2. Leg press. Do this exercise and place your feet at the top of plates to activate butt muscles and hamstrings. Squats take care of your quads, and you should note your response on this workout. Do your best to work hard, but feel free to lighten it if your lower back feels quite stressed.
3. Sled hack squats. They can be substituted with barbell hack squats.
4. Leg curls. You can do either prone bench curls or standing leg curls.
5. Leg extensions. Choose solid weight, but avoid overstressing knee joints. Avoid this exercise if the joints feel painful or uncomfortable.
6. Calf-raise machines. Sit on a pad, hook thighs under a bar and lift weights.
7. Barbell and dumbbell calf raises. Hold weights properly, raise both heels and lower with a controlled motion. If you have any problems with your balance, go to single dumbbells, hold on something and alternate legs.

Buttocks:

1. Barbell and dumbbell forward lunges. Barbells can be held at your chest or at shoulders behind your head, while dumbbells are held at sides. Keep your toes behind a line of your knees while lunging when doing this good-balance exercise.
2. Cable kickbacks. Lift legs to a rear.
3. Cable hip abductions. You should superset them and lift legs to sides.
4. Bridges. Lie on the floor with arms by sides before you start lift and squeeze buttocks. Hold for a few seconds, lower and do that again. This exercise doesn’t require any equipment, unless you preset to place heels on a bench instead of the floor.

Such leg exercises as deadlifts and squats work your buttock muscles too.

Session 2: Shoulders, Arms and Back

Shoulders and back:

1. Seated cable rows. Squeeze shoulder blades together while pulling back.
2. Lat pulldown. Avoid pulling down behind your neck and try to vary your grip to challenge your different muscle groups.
3. Lateral dumbbell raises. Bend your elbows to take pressure off your shoulder joints.
4. Romanian deadlifts. They are focused on your legs and lower back, and you can do them with barbells and heavy dumbbells.
5. Dumbbell shrugs. Hold dumbbells at sides and shrug your shoulders upward to feel trapezius muscles.
6. Seated dumbbell press. Push straight above your head while sitting on a bench.
7. Alternate front dumbbell raises. You can superset them with other exercises. Hold dumbbells by sides and lift to horizontal.
8. Bent over lateral dumbbell raises. Bend at a waist and raise dumbbells to your shoulder height before returning. It’s an effective and advanced exercise focused on your shoulder and back muscles.

Arms:

1. Dumbbell bicep curls. Rotate your arms while standing or sitting.
2. Dumbbell triceps kickbacks. Extend your arms fully without locking out any joints and use a bench to support your knee.
3. Triceps pushdowns. Keep your elbows close to sides to achieve the best result.
4. Reverse barbell curls and E-Z bars. The latter ones aren’t necessary, but they make it simple on wrists.
5. Dumbbell triceps extensions. Extend arms behind your head before returning.
6. Barbell preacher curls. If preacher benches aren’t available, you can do concentration curls.

Session 3: Abdominals and Chest

Abdominals:

1. Kneeling cable crunches.
2. Crunches. It’s possible to alternate twist, standard and others.
3. Sit-ups and decline bench crunches.
4. Machine crunches.
5. Dumbbell side bends. They work the oblique at your abdomen sides. Hold dumbbells in your arms and bend over without leaning forward.
6. Leg raises. Support arms or hang and raise your legs. This exercise is advanced and must be repeated 10 times.

Chest:

1. Bench press. Lie on a bench and use dumbbells or barbells.
2. Incline dumbbell bench press. This exercise is focused on your chest pectoral muscles and shoulders. Raise a bench from flat to back.
3. Dumbbell pullovers. Lie on a bench and hold dumbbell in palms before raising and lowering behind your head.

Final Words

This muscle program is created to fit a bigger cycle of weight training, so it shouldn’t be done before the preparatory basic muscle and strength or similar programs. That’s because preparatory programs condition your body to strains, stresses and other processes of weight training. Once you complete it, feel free to decide what fits your fitness

Fitness, Healthy Eating

Can Protein Bars Be Beneficial for You?

Can Protein Bars Be Beneficial for You?

Question: One of my gym friends recommended me to get more protein, so I started eating protein bars. While shopping, I see various types of protein bars. They are all different, though look like they may help me. I am not completely sure I need them. So, can you answer my question about the use of protein bars?

Answer: I am sure that the key reason to purchase protein bars is for the sake of convenience.
Irrespective of form, either making special home-made protein bars or buying pre-packaged ones, they simplify the process of increasing body protein. It is not a problem to tuck away a delicious protein bar in a purse, backpack or gym bag. So, it makes meal planning simpler for people who require more protein in their diet.

What Is the Right Time to Eat Protein Bar?

No matter if you eat your protein bar before or after a workout, it will provide with the energy required for the workout or recovery. The bar becomes ultimately helpful if it is rich in carbohydrates from dried fruit and whole grains. Even though it is useful anyway, you’d better take it 1-2 hours before the beginning of the exercise. Another protein bar right after the workout will give you the identical combination of protein and carbs your muscles require for growth and recovery.

What Is the Source of Protein and What Does It Do?

Protein is an inevitable component for everyday use, since it helps maintain body organs, muscles, fluids and other structures within the organism.

The most protein-rich foods include poultry, meats, nuts, legumes, dairy and seeds, though the substance is present in other foods as well, but in smaller amounts. Once you are engaged in a difficult physical activity, you will need an advanced dose of protein, compared to people will less active jobs. Proteins can come from animal or plant sources, though the origin does not matter, as the body gets a sufficient amount of proteins anyway.

Is Extra Protein Necessary?

Maybe you need a higher protein dose. However, as long as you keep to a healthy, balanced diet, you get a sufficient amount of protein and other vitamins and minerals. Even if your diet is not perfect, sufficient protein intake is still possible. Still, an advanced protein dose may be required for athletes and people with extremely physical jobs. Daily protein dose can be easily calculated, based on the current calorie intake. The vast majority of people need 55-100 g of protein a day.

Are Protein Bars Suitable for Weight Management?

Definitely, protein bars can help you with weight management. With their help you can both lose and gain weight if necessary. Taking a single protein bar between meals can decrease your appetite, while a few bars can significantly advance the number of calories you consume. Most bars contain 150-250 calories each, so make sure you read the labels and select bars made with less fat and sugar.

Additionally, protein bars can be helpful if you are trying to gain body mass. Add several protein bars to your daily diet without cutting the calories from the main meal and you will notice the desired effect within a while.

What Protein Type Is Used in Bars?

An overwhelming majority of protein bars is made from whey and soy proteins with extra protein from seeds and nuts. Occasionally, you can find bars made from green pea, rice and other plants rich in substance.

Can Protein Bars Harm?

Hopefully, there are no harmful protein bars, but you need to read the label carefully before buying the bar. You may be surprised at the number of calories it contains, since many of them include sugar. Avoid protein bars made with hydrogenated oils.

Healthy Eating

How to Choose Healthy Foods High in Protein

How to Choose Healthy Foods High in Protein

If you want to include healthy foods high in protein in your nutrition, you should choose products with a low amount of saturated fats and more unsaturated and mono fats. Also, it is important to cook your meal in a certain way to ensure the presence of protein.

General Recommendations

Great examples of healthy protein meals are fish fillet baked with almonds and lemon or roasted chicken breast topped with salsa. Although porterhouse steak has lots of protein and is really delicious, it is not that useful as fish or poultry because of a great amount of saturated fats that are usually found in red meat.

The general recommendation for most people is to limit the consumption of red meat to two times per week. Processed meats do not have lots of protein, because they are prepared with the use of ingredients and fats that may cause cancer. There is also a theory that links hotdogs with the occurrence of brain tumors.

The important thing to note is that chicken and fish are not always healthy foods with a good amount of protein. Fried chicken, for instance, has lots of extra calories and bad fats, which is not good for your health.

If you wish to enjoy healthy and delicious meats, you may consider grilling them. That will work for you if you do not char meat using pieces that do not have lots of fat and cook them with indirect heat.

Other foods high in protein are nuts, legumes and seeds. Some of it can also be found in grains and vegetables, and these plants also have polyunsaturated fats that are beneficial for your health. Generally, it is very useful to learn what types of fat exist, and which of them should be included in your nutrition.

Needed Amount of Protein a Day

If you consume 2,000 calories a day, then 300-400 of them should be obtained from protein. 1 g of protein has 4 calories, which means that you need about 100 g of protein every day. 1 oz. of protein has around 28 g, so you need 4 oz. of protein per day. 1 cup of diced chicken breast meat contains around 45 g of protein, so it has less than 2 oz. Canned tuna of 3 oz. come with 20 g of protein or about 2/3 of 1 oz. of protein.

So, how do you find the right portions? 1 serving of meat is about 3 oz. (the size of a deck of cards), and it has about 20 g of protein. 1 cup of low-fat milk comes with 8 g of protein. 12 almonds contain around 3 g of protein.

Protein Choices for Vegetarians

There are two basic types of proteins: complete and incomplete. The first type contains all of the essential amino acids, and the other one does not have one or more of these acids. Proteins obtained from animals have a set of all essential amino acids, and proteins contained in plants do not have all of them.

If you are vegetarian, you should choose the right combination of protein foods, so that you could get all of the needed elements. There is no such problem for people who regularly consume meat, eggs and dairy, because these products have complete proteins with all the needed nutrients for the human body. As for vegans or vegetarians, they should choose complementary protein foods in order to obtain a full range of amino acids.

For instance, grains do not have enough essential amino acid lysine, but there is plenty of it in legumes, so these foods are considered to be complementary, and you should combine them in your meal. If you eat both legumes and grains during the day, you will obtain the needed amount of lysine.

Below you will find examples of how you can combine complementary plant proteins. There is no need to combine them every time as long as you get enough of different proteins every day:

• Grains and legumes (black beans with rice);
• Nuts, seeds and legumes (lentil soup with almonds);
• Corn and legumes (corn tortilla with pinto beans).

You can also check out the following combinations:

• Whole grain pasta, peas, almonds and Vegan Alfredo Sauce.
• Wheat toast with some peanut butter;
• Corn tortillas with rice and refried beans;
• Bean soup with whole grain crackers.

If you are vegan or vegetarian, you should include all of the following foods in your nutrition, because this is how you will obtain all the essential amino acids:

• Whole grains;
• Legumes;
• Nuts;
• Seeds.

Soy has complete proteins, so you should also eat it regularly.

Fitness, Weight Loss

How to Measure Your Body Fat Percentage and What It Means

How to Measure Your Body Fat Percentage and What It Means

A healthy body composition includes a high percentage of fat-free mass, such as body organs, bones and muscles and a low percentage of fat. It’s necessary to measure body composition to assess your fitness level and health condition.

In most cases, it’s measured at the start of any fitness and fat-loss program, and it should be checked on a regular basis to monitor people’s progress.

Definition of Body Composition

The human body consists of 2 mass types:

• Fat-free mass;

• Body fat.

Fat-free mass includes body organs, water, muscles, bones and tissues. Sometimes, people call it lean tissues, and they are metabolically active and burn calories for energy, unlike body fat.

Body fat is found under the skin, in muscle tissues or around different organs. It plays an important role, because body fat is necessary for people’s overall health, and it serves the following functions:

• Storing fuel for energy;
• Protecting internal body organs;
• Regulating essential body hormones.

Many people have excess storage of non-essential body fat. Its percentage is a basic measure of body composition that tells you how much weight of your body is fat. Basically, there are standard ranges for body fat, and they differ for women and men.

Weighing yourself on random scales can’t truly assess body composition, because they can’t tell you how much of your total weight is comprised of fat, muscle and water. To determine that you have a healthy body composition, get a clear estimate of your body fat percentage.

Importance of Healthy Body Composition

Athletes usually have their lower body fat, because it’s more beneficial for successful performance in sports, especially cycling and running. However, having a very low body fat percentage is a health issue. The female triad, including amenorrhea, eating disorders and reduced body mass, makes a risk of health issues and injuries higher.

If you’re obese or overweight, your body fat is excessive and you have its high percentage. It’s possible to improve body composition by gaining more lean body mass via building bones and muscles and losing body fat.

Basic Tips on Measuring Body Composition

There are different methods used to get an accurate estimate of body fat percentage from doctors or at home and gym.

First, bioelectrical impedance is a method that uses BIA body fat scales and handheld units. A small electric current needs to pass through the human body because water, lean tissues and fat impede it differently while giving readings. There are many scales that you can find for home use, and you don’t need to have any special training to use them. Remember that a hydration level may affect measurements. Besides, many fitness trainers use skinfold measurements as a part of effective fat-loss programs. They use calipers to take measurements at different body parts.

DEXA scanning is performed only in medical settings, and it’s also used by people to check their bone density. Hydrostatic weighing involves being dunked in a special water tank. Finally, there are many body fat calculators that you can find online, and they use different body measures, such as BMI.

Different Factors That Affect Your Body Composition

There are many factors that influence body composition, and they can’t be controlled. For example, people tend to lose their muscle mass with aging if they fail to maintain it with effective weight training, and it also results in slower metabolism. Genes also play a big role in whether people are prone to retaining fat or are lean naturally. Different hormones have their impact, because they affect body composition and water retention. Women usually have more body fat compared to men, because they need to deal with nursing and pregnancy.

Does Your Body Composition Need to Be Changed?

If you have a very high body fat percentage, you should reduce it to improve overall health, well-being and athletic performance. Another positive impact is that you will also reduce a possible risk of having serious diseases. If your body fat percentage is too low, you need to increase it.

Fitness, Weight Loss

What Your Body Mass Index Can Tell You

What Your Body Mass Index Can Tell You

Although BMI calculations are indirect measurements, they are called quite reliable indicators of body fat percentage in many people. The latest research on available BMI calculators proves clear correlation with other direct measurements of body fat levels, such as underwater weighing, though they’re more complicated. BMI offers simple calculations, so everyone can use them to find out more about possible health risks caused by excessive body fat percentage.

Other Available Methods to Measure Body Fat

There are other methods used to assess body fat percentage and lean mass level of people, and they are known as the body composition analysis. For example, some of the most famous measurements include underwater weighing, skinfold thickness and bioelectrical impedance. Underwater weighing is complicated, and many professionals prefer to use skinfold thickness to determine body fat percentage.

Bioelectrical impedance is a popular way to assess body fat levels, and it determines total body weight, the amount of muscle mass, body fat, water and bone mass. Its readings can be impacted by such factors as hydration levels, but this method still offers quite accurate readings. You can use body fat scales at home, because they employ this method.

BMI Calculators and Their Results

It’s possible to easily interpret all BMI results using a simple standard chart. For all adult people, they are interpreted as the following:

• If your BMI is less than 18.5, you’re underweight;
• If it’s between 18.5 and 24.9, your weight is normal;
• You’re overweight if it’s between 25 and 29.9;
• You’re obese of your BMI is more than 30.

It’s worth mentioning that BMI is always interpreted in different ways when it comes to kids, because special growth percentages and charts must be used. For instance, if children are above 95% of the same-age kids, they’re obese.

Specific BMI Limitations to Measure Body Fat

Although, there’s quite a strong correlation between body fat measurements and BMI, there are certain limitations that should be considered, and they’re affected by people’s athletic abilities, age and gender. They include the following characteristics:

• Older people usually have more body fat compared to youngsters;
• Women tend to have higher body fat percentages compared to men;
• Highly-trained athletes have higher BMI because of a higher level of muscle mass, and it increases body weight measurements instead of body fat.

BMI, Body Composition and Body Fat

Those athletes who have a higher level of their muscle mass should be a bit leery of standard BMI calculations. The main reason is that BMI numbers can’t distinguish different elements that make up their total body weight. For athletes, it’s better to use direct measurements of body fat and body composition instead of this simple formula.

Don’t forget that standard BMI calculations are used for screening the overall population for different health problems caused by having high body fat levels. So, it’s not a universal tool that works perfect for all athletes who want to determine their body composition that contains both fat and lean masses.

Different Health Problems Caused by High BMI

Number one reason why people use BMI to screen the overall health of the population is that there’s a clear correlation between being obese or overweight and having health complications, serious diseases and even premature death. When people are obese and overweight, they face the following health problems:

• Diabetes and high blood pressure;
• Cancer and osteoarthritis;
• Stroke and coronary heart diseases;
• Respiratory issues and sleep apnea.

Healthy Eating, Weight Loss

Best Low Calories Foods

Best Low Calories Foods

Eating healthy and low-calorie food is important to be healthy and fit. There are various foods in the store labeled low in calories, low-fat, sugar-free, etc. It is just great to be able to choose such products, because it is very convenient and does not take much time. Still, you should know that lots of them are not really useful for your body. Although they do not have many calories, they do not have useful elements as well that are so important for the organism. You should choose low-calorie foods that contain lots of minerals, vitamins and other useful elements.

There are natural foods that you can easily cook or consume raw to achieve the best weight loss results or just maintain your good shape. The following products are recommended to be included in nutrition: kale, arugula, carrots, broccoli, Swiss chard, cauliflower, spinach, green beans, Brussels sprouts, chicken breast, grapefruit, cod, mushrooms, shrimp, tomatoes, zucchini, celery, radishes, strawberries, scallops, blueberries, clementine and watermelon. All of these foods are very tasty and useful, and you should choose them over those junk products sold in many stores.

Below you will find more information on each of them, including how many calories they contain, how you can consume them, what nutrients they have, and other information.

Kale

Kale contains plenty of minerals and vitamins, particularly, calcium and vitamin C. It is also rich in antioxidants and fiber. You can use kale to cook a side dish or salad. 1 cup of chopped kale contains only 33 calories.

Arugula

Arugula contains lots of various vitamins and minerals, so it is extremely useful for your body. 2 cups of this vegetable have only 10 calories. It can also be used in salads and side dishes. It tastes great along with nuts, fruits and light dressing. To make a great side dish, you can fry arugula along with garlic and some olive oil.

Carrots

Carrots are perfect for losing weight, because they have a bit sweeter taste compared to many other vegetables. It can be used as a side dish, snack or an appetizer. There are lots of vitamins A, B, C, manganese and potassium. 1 cup of carrot slices contains 50 calories.

Broccoli

This vegetable is perfect for those people looking for antioxidants and nutrients. In particular, it has lots of iron, vitamin A and B, magnesium, calcium and potassium. Broccoli is also a good source of fiber. 1 cup of broccoli slices contains 31 calories.

Swiss Chard

Swiss chard is a vegetable with has colorful stems. It has lots of nutrients and few calories (35 calories per 1 cup of cooked chard). The vegetable has lots of potassium, iron, calcium, vitamins A, C and K. You can boil it or fry with a little bit of olive oil and white vinegar.

Cauliflower

Cauliflower does not have a green pigment, but it is pretty similar to kale and broccoli. This vegetable has plenty of minerals, vitamins and antioxidants. 1 cup of cauliflower contains 25 calories. You can use it for side dishes or just consume it raw with a light veggie dip.

Spinach

Spinach is very rich in calcium, iron and several vitamins. 1 cup of raw spinach has only 7 calories, and 1 cup of this cooked vegetable contains only 41 calories. You can use spinach as a side dish, and it is also great for making salads.

Green Beans

Green beans do not attract that much attention, which is a pity, because they have lots of vitamins A, B and C, minerals and fiber. They are also low in calories, because 1 cup of green beans contains 44 calories.

Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts are extremely useful vegetables that have several minerals and many vitamins. They are another great source of fiber. You can use them for cooking a tasty and useful side dish. There are many ways of how you can use them. 1 cup of cooked vegetable contains only 56 calories.

Chicken Breast

If you are looking for a great source of protein, you should eat chicken breast meat with no skin. It is also rich in selenium, niacin and vitamin B12. 1 raw three-ounce portion of this meat has around 100 calories. You can cook it with other useful ingredients. It is also important to eat small portions that should be about of the size of a deck of cards for one person.

Grapefruit

Grapefruit is a wonderful fruit that has plenty of vitamins C and A, potassium and fiber. Of course, this fruit is also low-calorie, because one grapefruit contains about 104 calories. You can eat it as a snack or use as an addition to your breakfast.

Cod

Cod is ocean fish that has a mild and pleasant flavor. A three-ounce portion of baked fish contains about 90 calories. Also, it has lots of B12, selenium, niacin and protein.

Mushrooms

The nutritional value of mushrooms depends on their type. For instance, chanterelles has lots of vitamin D. Most mushrooms contain minerals, B vitamins and fiber. Also, they are very low in calories, because 1 cup of raw mushrooms contains about 15 calories. They can be used in salads as well as ingredients in various meals.

Shrimp

Shrimps have lots of selenium, protein, niacin and vitamin B12. There are only 26 calories in 4 large cooked shrimps. They can be used in salads or consumed as an appetizer with sauce.

Tomatoes

Tomatoes are one of the most common vegetables used for making various meals, such as salads, snacks, side dishes, etc. Not only do they have a great taste, but also lots of vitamins A, B and C, minerals and fiber. Tomatoes are a great choice for dieting. 1 tomato contains about 35 calories, and 5 cherry tomatoes contain about 20 calories.

Zucchini

Zucchini is another good choice for a snack or preparing a side dish. 1 cup of chopped vegetable contains only 20 calories. This is also a good source of various minerals, vitamins and fiber.
Celery
If you are cooking a veggie plate, do not forget to add fresh celery sticks. Also, you can use this vegetable along with peanut butter, which will make a great snack. This vegetable has a plenty of calcium, fiber, vitamin C and potassium. Of course, one of its greatest advantages is the amount of calories. 1 celery stalk contains only 10 calories, and 1 cup of chopped vegetable has only 16 calories.
Radish
Radish is a great addition to salads thanks to its unusual taste resembling peppers. You can serve it with hummus or a light veggie dip. These vegetables have lots of vitamin C and several minerals, such as potassium and zinc. Also, they are extremely low in calories, because 1 radish contains only 1 calorie.

Strawberries
Strawberries are perfect for those people who like a sweet dessert. They have lots of vitamin C, potassium and fiber. Strawberries are great for dieting because 1 cup of strawberry slices contains 53 calories. There are various ways of how you can consume strawberries, for instance, you can eat them without any addition after your dinner or with low-fat yogurt.
Scallops
Scallops are another choice for dieting. They have lots of minerals, proteins and vitamin B12, but very little calories, as 2 large scallops contain only 26 calories. You can fry them and serve with a lemon or cooked greens. They are also great for salads.
Blueberries
Blueberries are an excellent source of antioxidants, vitamins, fiber and minerals, and they are very low in calories. 1 cup of blueberries contains 84 calories. You can consume them as a dessert or add them to smoothies or cereal.
Clementines
Clementines are little oranges that have a great taste. They are also very easy to peel. These fruits are rich in fiber, potassium and vitamin C. 1 little Clementine contains 35 calories. You can add them to your breakfast or just eat them during the day.
Watermelon
Watermelons are very tasty and refreshing. Each watermelon has lots of vitamins A and C and potassium. 1 cup of watermelon contains 46 calories. You can eat it as a snack or dessert.

Healthy Eating

10 Tips to Avoid Eating Junk Foods

10 Tips to Avoid Eating Junk Foods

Sometimes you want to eat junk foods so bad that it is really hard to resist. You may even feel miserable because of that. Craving for foods may occur suddenly, and once this happens, you will not be able to think of anything else until your finally satisfy your need. It is great if you have an irresistible desire to eat apples or green beans, because they do not contain many calories and are generally good for your health. But what if you want to eat something sweet, salty, high in fat or even all of this at the same time? This is the craving that can really make your life worse. If you experience it, you have two ways: eat the food you want or fight your desires. If you allow yourself to relax rarely, or if you eat a small portion of foods, it is not a major problem. But when you notice that your eating habits result in unwanted weight, you should find the way to deal with them. Below you will find 10 helpful tips on how you can avoid eating junk foods.

Tip #1. Make unwanted foods unavailable

It is extremely tempting to eat the food that you can get from your fridge. That is why you should make sure that there is no food that you do not want to consume in your house or at work. It does not mean that you should not have any treats at home, but you can choose to buy something that does not cause such a great desire, but is tasty and good for your body. Do not buy a large cake if you cannot stop by eating just a small piece when you want it.

Tip #2. Avoid being hungry due to skipped meals

Cravings are extremely powerful if you have not eaten when you should have. You should start your day with a healthy breakfast, eat lunch and dinner. Also, you can allow yourself some snacks unless they are useful and low in calories.

Tip #3. Try to learn to distinguish whether it is hunger or craving

Hunger and craving are not the same. The first one is related to physical feelings, and the latter one is all about your emotions. If you are really hungry, you should eat something, because it is a natural need of your body. If you are not hungry, but still have the feeling that you want to eat something, you should use special distraction techniques.

Tip #4. Drink lots of water or beverages low in calories

Glass of water on nature background.

If you have a big desire to eat soothing, and you know that it is not hunger, you should drink a large glass of water. This is a fast and effective way to get rid of this feeling without adding lots of calories. Also, you can add a couple slices of lemon, cucumber or lime into your drink, which will make it not that boring. Another good stuff that you can drink is iced tea with no sugar.

Tip #5. Have a nice long walk

If you want to avoid eating unwanted food, you should have a nice and long walk. Not only will this prevent you from adding more weight, but it will also improve your health. You will get ever more benefits if you do some exercises in fresh air. If you cannot go for a walk for some reason, you can do some exercises at home. An additional benefit you will get from doing some physical training is getting rid of stress, which, by the way, may be the cause of craving.

Tip #6. Take a nap

If you are tired, you will feel a great desire to eat something. That is why taking a nap would be a wise decision. Additionally, you should make sure that you have enough sleep every day.

Tip #7. Try to brush your teeth

Brushing your teeth will work as a distraction. Also, you may not want to put something in your mouth when it is so clean and fresh. Instead of this, you can also use breath mints, for instance, if you are not at home.

Tip #8. Choose either gum or hard candy

You can use gum or hard candy with a pleasant flavor and not many calories. There are many similar products available, and you can choose something that works for you.

Tip #9. Call somebody you know

Another thing that can distract you is talking to someone you know, like your friends, relatives, etc. Also you can exchange messages. This will help you forget about your needs and enjoy conversation.

Tip #10. Choose healthy snacks

You can choose something from a plenty of healthy foods to satisfy your need to eat something salty or sweet, for instance, fruit smoothie, fresh berries, a slice of grain toast with some butter, etc. This will definitely help you fight cravings.

Fitness, Weight Loss

Reasons Explaining Why You Do Not Have Well-Defined Abs

Reasons Explaining Why You Do Not Have Well-Defined Abs

Having flat abs is a dream for many men and women, who try to diet properly and exercise regularly. Many people are able to achieve the needed results, but there are those who cannot have perfect abs no matter how hard they try.

The 80% of your abs condition depends on what you eat and 20% on how you exercise. Some people cannot get rid of excess fat or manage loose skin on their stomach, and they understand that even dieting cannot help them. So, why does this happen?

Losing Lots of Weight

Unwanted abdominal changes, such as loose abdominal skin, may occur due to losing lots of weight. According to studies, losing much weight often results in loose skin (skin redundancy) in the following body areas: buttocks, thighs, stomach, upper arms, breasts and face. One of the options available for people with such a problem is surgery for removing loose skin. What you can do to solve this problem is lead a healthy lifestyle and keeping researching this topic. You can also consult doctors about surgery to find out more.

Menopause

Various body changes may occur due to menopause, including worsening the condition of your abs. The level of estrogen decreases, which results in accumulating more fat in the midsection. This is how your body tries to replace estrogen, because the hormone is carried by fat and your body wants to put it where it believes it belongs.

According to clinical tests and research, postmenopausal women have more intra-abdominal fat than premenopausal women. This means that you should pay more attention to your body, keeping in mind that all these changes are natural processes.

You should add more foods that can help you alleviate symptoms of menopause into your nutrition. It is also recommended to do exercises regularly, which will help you keep your muscles strong. Also, you should keep reading useful articles that can give you more interesting ideas on how you can have great abs even after menopause.

Being Pregnant and Giving Birth

One of the most common reasons for weight gain is pregnancy and child birth. These conditions often leave stretch marks on the skin. Diastasis recti abdominis (DRA) is a condition of thinning and stretching the recti abdominis muscles, which occurs naturally during pregnancy.

Lots of women experience DRA, but they are able to return their muscles to the normal condition some time after giving birth. Unfortunately, some women are left with a weakened pelvic floor and abdominal. Some may have abdominal separation and distension, which results in their inability to do normal daily activities.

Men can also suffer from DRA due to obesity or COPD. It usually occurs in the belly button area (umbilicus) and can be diagnosed with finger-width measurement, when it is possible to place several fingers horizontally in the umbilicus. You can prepare yourself for such situations beforehand by reading useful articles about DRA before you give birth to your child.

Getting Older

Your age really matters because aging is associated with a range of body changes in both men and women. The following are typical situations that you can expect to encounter:

• It is much easier to gain weight;
• Metabolism slows down;
• Skin becomes wrinkled and thinner.

According to several studies, postmenopausal women have much higher body fat percentage than younger women. Also, research shows that aging men and women gain weight and lose muscle mass. This may also be related to the fact that aging people are not that active than people of younger age.

That is why it is strongly recommended to keep exercising regularly and eat healthy foods that contain low calories if you want to look young and energetic regardless of your age. You should note that physical activities are proven to be effective in increasing muscle and decreasing body fat in aging people. You can adjust your eating habits to make sure that your abs will look great, but you should also do exercises on a regular basis. Do not forget reading useful articles on how you can look great despite aging.

All in all, eating healthy and low-in-calorie foods is the most important thing to look good, but in some cases it is just not enough. Additionally, you may need to work out more intensively or even undergo a surgery.

Healthy Eating, Weight Loss

Can Coconut Oil Help Reduce Body Fat?

Can Coconut Oil Help Reduce Body Fat?

Coconut oil is one of the most popular health foods, and a range of research has been conducted proving that this product has lots of benefits. According to some studies, coconut oil can improve the immune function and help manage various health problems, such as diabetes and neurological disorders. One of the most interesting announced properties of this product is its ability to decrease fat, particularly around the abdominal area.


Today coconut oil is considered to be a wonderful product that helps lose fat. Naturally, this statement has caused lots of interest, stimulating people to use it to reduce body fat pretty often. At the same time, opposite opinions about the effectiveness of coconut oil also exist. So, is coconut oil really good for health?

Historical Background

Coconuts grow on coconut trees originating in the tropics. They are considered to be a drupe, because they have the following three layers:

• Outer layer (exocarp);
• Husk of the fruit (mesocarp);
• Fruit (endocarp).

Coconuts have been consumed for medical purposes for several centuries. Today, coconut oil is used widely around the world.

Is Coconut Oil a Healthy Fat?

The oil contains up to 85% of MCFAs (medium-chain fatty acids), lipids that are metabolized easily and do not remain in adipose tissue like LCFAs (long-chain fatty acids). Thanks to a shorter chemical chain, MCFAs are absorbed by the GI tract and transported directly to the liver, where they are turned into energy. That is why MCFAs do not have many opportunities to create fat deposits, which is great for the body. Coconut oil is very different from other fats thanks to MCFAs, and it can be considered to be healthy fat. That is why coconut oil can be used in treatment of various medical conditions, particularly related to excessive weight.

Can It Help Reduce Body Fat?

So, if you use coconut oil daily, can it help you reduce body fat? Because MCFAs are digested in a special way, they can boost the metabolism, which increases our ability to burn fat. Thanks to this property, coconut oil is widely used in sports nutrition. It has been proven that it can improve athletic performance. Coconut oil is one of the most popular ingredients in many drinks in sports bars. Coconut oil is really beneficial for our metabolism, and a range of research has been conducted to check the ability of coconut oil to help in weight management.

What Research Has Been Conducted?

Coconut oil is believed to have lots of benefits, including the ability to reduce body fat. Today, it is widely marketed as healthy fat helpful for the achievement of best fitness results. Many celebrities use it as part of their healthy diet.

To find out if it is really so good, we will go through a range of studies conducted on this topic.

Study #1

According to an article published in the NIH, coconut oil is able to reduce abdominal obesity. There was a double-blind study conducted on 40 women aged 20-40, where the participants were divided into two groups. Women from the first group received two tablespoons of soybean and women from the other group received coconut oil daily during 12 weeks. All women had to stick to a low-calorie diet and had to walk for fifty minutes a day. In women who used coconut oil, the level of HDL cholesterol (good stuff for our body) increased, and the level of LDL cholesterol decreased (bad stuff for our body). The opposite results occurred in the other group. BMI decreased in women from both groups, but waist size reduced only in the group taking coconut oil. Also total cholesterol decreased in this group.

Study #2

The results of several trials were published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition. They compared 13 trials examining MCTs (medium-chain triglycerides) and LCTs (long-chain triglycerides) to check if MCTs were able to increase metabolism and boost fat burning.

According to the results, MCFAs are able to improve body composition compared to LCFAs. Research participants taking coconut oil decreased in waist circumference, weight and body fat. All in all, it was concluded that MCFAs are effective in reduction of body weight.

Study #3

Another study was conducted in Malaysia, where 20 obese participants from 20 to 51 years old used virgin coconut oil to reduce abdominal fat. Each participant received 10 ml of virgin coconut oil three times a day before having a meal. The research lasted for 6 weeks and showed the effectiveness of the product in decreasing abdominal fat. Also, reductions in body fat and BMI were reported. Virgin coconut oil has lots of MCFAs that are considered to be a safe and inexpensive supplement for body fat reduction. You should note that this was a short-term study, and further long-term research is needed to prove the health benefits of virgin coconut oil.

Study #4

Another study checked MCT oil to determine its effectiveness in reduction of body fat and weight over olive oil. There were 49 overweight men and women aged 19-50. The study lasted for 16 weeks. Men were instructed to consume 1,800 calories a day, and women had to stick to 1,500 calories. A part of their diet was a muffin baked with 10 grams of MCT oil or olive oil.

A greater loss in body weight was seen in the group of people consuming muffins with MCT oil. Participants from both groups were able to lose some body fat, but those consuming MCT oil reached much better results. It was concluded that MCT oil could be part of a weight-loss program to reduce body fat more efficiently.

How You Should Use Coconut Oil

Coconut oil contains lots of MCFAs that can be part of a healthy diet to reduce body fat. You can use this healthy fat every day, but remember that all fats are high in calories. One tablespoon of coconut oil contains 14 grams of fat, or 120 calories. Fat intake can be about 20-30% of your total daily calories intake, and you should keep it in mind before you start using coconut oil. If you wish to achieve the best results, you should determine your daily calories and use coconut in the proportion mentioned above.