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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.

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.

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.

Fitness

Protein for Optimal Fitness: General Information and Requirements

Protein for Optimal Fitness: General Information and Requirements

Protein is a macronutrient, where macro means that the body calls for a big quantity of nutrients. It is also a source of various health advantages. However, this doesn’t mean that we have to fill out the fridge with lean meat only or opt for large amounts of protein powder. The intake of protein is different for every single person, and it must be based on age and workout intensity.

Is More Protein Better?

Excess consumption of protein is unnecessary to keep a healthy body. Unfortunately, protein advertising made athletes, bodybuilders and other people to consume more than required for daily use. But it is vital to understand the way protein functions and follow its correct intake for optimal fitness results.

Protein consists of a series of amino acids that provide a wide variety of health benefits. Each protein molecule does certain job inside the body, thus, protein is responsible for the function, structure and regulation of our tissues, cells and organs.

Have you ever thought about protein as a vital component in every single cell of your body? Our nails and hair consist of this macronutrient, moreover, it is a building block for our skin, blood, muscle and bones and needed to repair and build tissues, regulate hormones, enzymes and other chemicals.

Protein isn’t stored by the organism and doesn’t provide the body with energy for life and workout unlike fats and carbs. However, the statement that the more protein you eat, the better the solution for good fitness is totally wrong.
The requirements of protein are not properly understood because of bold statements about its ability to create and promote lean muscle. Instead the emphasis should be put on the quantity and quality of protein consumed individually on a daily basis.

The Committee of the International Society of Sports Nutrition notes that it is important for physically active people and athletes to take protein from 1.4 to 2.0 g/kg/day and states that they can benefit from this amount and may even add additional protein supplements, if necessary.

In other cases, protein requirements differ for every person, because such characteristic as lifestyle should be taken into account. Though most still believe that eating kilos of chicken, swallowing tons of protein shakes and enjoying meters of protein bars will make muscle on their body appear almost instantly, this notion is incorrect. It is resistance training that is responsible for lean muscle, while protein just repairs the damage.

Final Words

Every person has different lifestyle and habits, when it comes to workout. To find out the recommended dose of protein one should take into account such factors as physical activity and age. The Institute of Medicine claims that the recommended daily dose of protein for an athlete should equal to 1.2-2.0 g per kg of body weight, children require 1.5 g, while the dose for the elderly will range from .8 to 1.5 g.