Tag Archives: body

Never Eat Airplane Food Again – Top Tips For Eating Healthy When Travelling

Why do millions of people think they have to eat airport and airplane food because it’s the only thing available?

This is why i feel compelled to share and help you as you have a choice. YOU are in control of everything you put in your mouth and your body is not a rubbish bins for the industrial and processed foods. Airplane food is often heavily processed with tons of controversial additives and preservatives. When you’re flying, it’s stressful. Your body utilizes more nutrients, so it’s important to nourish yourself well and plan.

Bring food with you to the airport & on airplanes.

I’m happy to say that I haven’t had to eat airport and airplane food in a years – apart from fruit! It’s easy to do, but it does take a bit of prep time and you have to make sure that what you bring won’t get confiscated by the TSA at the security checkpoint.

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TSA lets you bring food through security.

In the UK, USA and in most countries, the transit authorities allows you to bring food through the security screening and onboard. Here are some items that work well and don’t get confiscated:

  • Homemade sandwiches wrapped in parchment paper stored in a quart-sized plastic bag. Keep in mind that all food that you carry on will need to go through the x-ray machine at the checkpoint. So, never use any foil. They will want to search your bag and delay your travels.
  • Dips and sauces, such as hummus, salsa and almond butter, as long as it is in a small Tupperware/container,  and put into a small ziploc plastic bag.
  • Fresh fruits and veggies, such as apples, bananas, carrot sticks, celery sticks and avocados. Just wash them at home or in your hotel room before you put them in your bag. If you cut or peel them ahead of time, of course they need to be in a plastic ziploc bag or Tupperware container.
  • Crunchy snacks such as crackers, ryvita, kale chips, etc.
  • Dried fruit and raw nuts make a great snack on the plane. You can make my own mix – 1/2 cup each of raw almonds, coconut flakes, dried cherries or raisins, and raw walnuts. The airport usually has trail mix in boots or Pret a Manger, but it comes along with all the inflammatory oils, other additives and are usually not raw or organic (although Pret is good).
  • Pre-made salads in containers (Tupperware- BPA-free plastic). Salad dressing can be already mixed into a salad or at the bottom of the bowl for mixing in later. Ask for a plastic fork on the plane.
  • Empty flasks – any size. These are great for filling up after you get through security. And you can bring a protein shaker bottle with the protein powder in, then once you are through security go to coffee shop and get some milk and water and mix it up – or on the plane.
  • Tea bags for making hot tea in the airport before you board or on the plane.

TravelTips1

Most people don’t think about this, but you can pack a cooler as one of your carry-on bags. There are some great travel coolers available, and even some that are on wheels that easily go through security for long flights or if you are traveling with family. Just make sure that it meets the size requirements for the airline that you are flying on.

For longer flights, pack some frozen food in your cooler. If you pack some frozen berries or yogurt in small containers, it will help to keep your cooler cool and slowly defrost during your flight.

And remember , exercise alongside your healthy diet when you are travelling. And no you DON’T need a gym or equipment – Click HERE for 9 workout moves you can do in a hotel room!! 

Please leave comments below and feel free to email me – chloehthomas@gmail.com, i would love to hear your top tips or any questions about your travels!

 

Thanks to Vali for some of these tips, check out her great website here.

9 Workout Moves You Can Do In a Hotel Room

The easiest way to get fit (and stay that way!) is to use the one piece of equipment that will be with you no matter where you travel: you. With just the resistance of your own body weight, it’s possible to improve your strength, balance, agility, stamina, and more. The hotel doesn’t have a gym? No worries! Forgot to pack your sneakers? No problem! Accidentally booked a beach vacation during monsoon season? NBD! These 9 moves are excuse-proof, because wherever you go, there you are—literally!

CLICK HERE: 9 Workout Moves You Can Do In a Hotel Room

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Cheat days. Are you doing more damage than good?

Are “cheat days” a good idea? Do these special days of indulgence help you reach your health goals? Or do they set you up on a seesaw of destructive eating habits?

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The Argument FOR Cheat Days: 

Rewarding Yourself-

Some say that giving yourself days of indulgence is giving yourself a needed break from your diet. These cheat days are a relief valve that help you stick to healthier foods.

The logic behind these days has more than a few flaws, and it’s due to the psychology and physiology behind them…..

The Argument AGAINST Cheat Days

⛔️The Name Is to Blame….The problem with “cheat” is that it carries a huge emotional weight of guilt, shame, and failure. 

“Cheat” is not a positive word. When you talk about “cheating” on a diet the same way you’d “cheat on” a partner, you’re adding a massive load of moral judgment that has no business being attached to a burger or a piece of cake, because your “relationship” with your diet is fundamentally different from your relationship with a spouse or partner.

Think about “cheating” in the context of a relationship. If you cheat on your husband or wife, it’s wrong because it’s hurting the other person, betraying their trust and breaking a promise.

Treating a person this way would make you a sociopath, but when it comes to food, this is a perfectly normal and healthy attitude. And that’s why using a word with moral connotations like “cheat” doesn’t make sense.

What’s more, when we deem certain foods “bad” or “cheating,” the negative name doesn’t help us pump the breaks.

⛔️When a food is off-limits, it can develop a specific, emotional charge. You begin obsessing over it, fantasizing about, and looking forward to that ‘indulge day’ all week. Then, when you finally have access to it, you overeat.

Separating foods into ‘good’ and ‘bad’ categories encourages you to associate eating with guilt and shame. This means that instead of enjoying everything we eat, we feel bad about ourselves when we eat something we consider “bad.”

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⛔️Furthermore Science shows when we think something is healthy, we’re not concerned with portion control and thus overdo it—whether it’s a “normal” day or a “cheat” day. Yes, there can be too much of a good thing.

The problem now becomes: what word to use instead? Call it a treat, a detour, a “free day/free meal” or a non-healthy meal. Or just call it “part of the way I choose to eat” and leave it at that.

Once you stop making food into a moral issue, it becomes much easier to sit down and think rationally about whether (and if so, when) it makes sense for you personally to eat something that isn’t healthy.

⛔️Attack of the Calories

Those who assume they can compensate for giving into temptations—say, by holding themselves back on all days except their cheat days—are actually less likely to reach their dietary goals. This is because they’re more likely to consume a greater number of calories, not just on their cheat day but on the days following it.

Restricting ourselves throughout the week and then slamming our bodies with sugar and fat once our cheat day rolls around, can have “a massive impact on blood sugar and insulin levels. You’ll wake up the next day craving more sugars and simple carbs, and you’ll find yourself feeling pretty ragged. And if you repeatedly increase your caloric intake above baseline, you may inadvertently end up gaining more weight over time.

Cravings serve as a sign that your nutritional approach isn’t sound. Most cravings come from overly restricting your food intake, using food as a drug, or over exercising.

⛔️Binging Leads to Extra Cheat Days

Once that day of indulgence comes, it’s not about enjoying the foods you haven’t had all week. Instead, you’re approaching it out of a need to consume all you can before the day goes away. “It feeds into a feast-and-famine cycle,”.

Binging on a cheat day also makes it challenging to confine cheat-day foods only to that designated 24-hour window. It’s very hard for people to compartmentalize their diets. ‘I’m only going to have those cookies on Saturday’ can easily spill over into ‘I’ll only have a few cookies Sunday too.’

 

✳️The Solution: Stop Restricting, Start Enjoying—in Moderation✳️

So if cheat days don’t work, are we all better off eating whatever we want, whenever we want?

Well, not quite, following a healthy diet means including a number of foods—all of which are consumed in moderation. If weight loss is the goal, this usually means three square meals a day with planned snacks, incorporating treats but in smaller portion sizes.

Research suggests eating a balance of foods—with none of them off-limits or labeled “bad”—is the best way to reduce the kinds of cravings that can lead to a binge.

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So what does a game plan for a healthy eating with no cheat days look like? 

➡️Remember these 3 things:

1.✅Listen to your appetite.

If you want to eat spaghetti and meatballs for dinner, have it! Don’t find the low-carb version with the fat-free sauce. If you actually eat what you want, you’ll likely end up eating a more reasonable amount of it.

Eating in tune with your hunger is a principle of intuitive eating, and it’s shown to have a positive effect on both your weight and your wellbeing.

2. ✅Enjoy treats from time to time.

Research shows (and experts agree) that sprinkling reasonably sized desserts or treats into your daily diet encourages you to find pleasure in meal time again—and that pleasure will help ensure you don’t feel the need to go overboard.

So instead of confining your treats to one single day, drop them into places throughout the week.

3. ✅Savor every bite.

Once you place any item of food into your mouth, take a moment to: taste, smell, and experience it as a whole. When you take the time to be mindful about what you’re eating, you tap into your satiety cues.

Forget about designating a cheat day to reward yourself. Denying yourself most of the week and then indulging like crazy on your one day “off,” just promotes guilt, anxiety, and shame around eating—which means you won’t likely get to the health outcome you’re looking for. Instead, make every day a great day by listening to your appetite, periodically adding in some of your favorite foods in small portions, and savoring each and every bite of everything you eat. This sustainable approach will help you think of all of your eating as enjoyable, and that’s what gets you down the road to where you want to be.

✅”Calories in vs. calories out” is the golden rule for effective weight loss. To lose weight, a person must eat fewer calories than he or she burns. 

You are not a quitter! You are not a cheater! 

If you feel the need or desire to “cheat” on your diet, it may be worth examining your relationship with food and whether you’re actually taking steps to leave dieting behind in favor of adopting a healthy eating plan that you can live with for life.

Please feel free to email me – click here. Or leave a comment below on whether cheat days work for you – I would love to hear your story.

Stop Dieting Today! Why Giving Up on Diets Is NOT Giving Up On Yourself

Years of dieting and listening to someone else’s voice – ie the media– means we naturally believe someone else always knows better. If we listen we will get the body they tell us we want. The picture of that (airbrushed) model in the magazine/diet book/poster – if we follow this diet we will look like that.

We loose touch with our own voice, what WE want to eat, WHEN we are actually hungry and actually full and satisfied. You eat unpalatable food because it will give you a body that the media tells you is ‘correct/right’ – slender and trim.

When you give up dieting you are taking back YOUR VOICE. 

Scary thought isnt it?!

When breaking free from a diet it can be overwhelming with the amount of food you are now ‘allowed’ to eat. You now have to TRUST the wisdom of your body.

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Here are some helpful tips when learning to listen to you again…

– Make sure you eat when you are hungry! ….sounds obvious right?….but honeslty think about when you eat – is it becuase ts a meal time so you are expected to eat

– You are upset so you have a treat – something to eat.

– You are celebreating – so have something to eat

– You are happy – so have something to eat

– You are in love and so you share – which leads to eating

– You are frusted adn need confort – so you eat

The list goes on….

I know, its hard at first, you have been following the Rules for years, the Adive in the media of ‘legal foods‘ but give it a go! It is NICE !!

Another thing I would add is – make sure you STOP when you are full. For example – you are eating your delicious chocolate bar/cake/ice cream/ pizza etc and you feel full (satisfied and not uncomfortably full) – but ‘it tastes sooo good’! you want to keep eating the cake becuase its delicious- but listen to your stomach and body – you ARE full. What i would adivse here is put away your food (in the fridge or tupperware, not in the bin)  and tell yourself ‘i can eat this whenver i like – BUT when i am hungry again’. This means you won’t over-eat and then feel guilty and can heave a healthy relationship with food again.

Feel free to email me – chloehthomas@gmail.com –  for more advice and guidance and please comment below your feedback on this post.

Is a Calorie REALLY Just a Calorie?

A calorie, by its simplest definition, is a unit of energy. It’s equivalent to 4.184 absolute Joules.

We’ve all heard that “a calorie is a calorie,” and while there’s truth in this statement, it can lead us astray in our quest to build a great body.

You see, when we’re just talking about mere weight loss or gain, it doesn’t matter where these calories come from. So in this way, a calorie is a calorie. When it comes to PURE weight loss (not factoring in muscle vs. fat, body composition, overall health, physical performance, or energy levels), eating fewer calories than you burn every day will be the main part of the equation. Eat less than you burn: lose weight.

HOWEVER, we’re FAR more concerned with how you look, how you feel, if you are healthy, if you are getting stronger, if your doctor gives you a clean bill of health, and if you live a long life full of activity, exercise, sleeping well etc. You want to do everything in your power to avoid things like heart disease, cancer and type-2 diabetes – diseases that end your life too early.

When we’re talking about improving body composition (losing just body fat and not muscle, or maximizing muscle growth while minimizing fat storage), you must not only follow the principles of energy balance, but you must do so with a proper balance of macronutrients.


A macronutrient is any of the nutritional components of the diet that are required in relatively large amounts: protein, carbohydrate, and fat. How you balance your intake of these macronutrients has profound effects on how your body responds to the foods you eat. For example, protein is the most important macronutrient to get right when you want to optimize your body composition. The research is clear.

A high-protein diet…

-Is vital for preserving lean mass when dieting for fat loss.

-Is vital for maximizing muscle growth when dieting for muscle gain.

-Is effective for reducing body fat levels, including abdominal fat in particular.

-Increases satiety, helping you avoid hunger pangs and cravings.

-A high-protein diet is even more important if you’re exercising regularly, as this further increases your body’s demand for amino acids.

Despite what you’ve been told, carbohydrates aren’t the enemy. They don’t make you fat or unhealthy. In fact, there are big benefits to keeping carbohydrate intake as high as possible, even when dieting for fat loss, including…

-Better workout performance.

-Improved retention of lean mass.

-Better thyroid function.

-More satiety.

-Better mood.

Trust me–low-carb dieting is NOT GOOD and is completely unnecessary for the vast majority of people looking to lose weight, and is downright detrimental to those trying to put on size.

What does the perfect ratio look like?

In my opinion, the amount of calories consumed and the ratio of what the macronutrients should differ from person to person depending upon their body, goals, and routine. A proper meal plan not only provides the proper amount of calories but breaks them down into the optimal amounts of macronutrients as well.

  

I’d love to hear your thoughts:

Have you had success with counting calories or calculating macros, or did it make you go crazy?
Which methods have you messed around with, and what are your goals? Are you trying to lose a few pounds, lose a lot of weight, get to a minimal body fat percentage, compete in an elite sport, etc.

Do you use any apps on your phone to record claories alone or do you include macronutrients? -Has this article made you reconsider? 

I’d love to hear from you – chloehthomas@gmail.com, or message me on facebook- click here

 

 

 

 

 

HOW TO HANDLE CRAVINGS

1. Plan for a snack attack

Many of us use low blood sugar as an excuse for a mid-afternoon chocolate snack. There are plenty of alternative foods that will boost your blood sugar and energy levels. A peanut butter sandwich or a banana is much better, as it increases blood sugar gradually, rather than the quick fix hit of chocolate. Learn to anticipate your weak moments and have healthy alternatives, such as nuts or fruit.

You could even try getting your chocolate fix with a juice plus pancake or ice cream or whip some into greek yoghurt (total 0%). 

What is GI and GL?

Glycaemic index (GI) and glycaemic load (GL) provide information about how foods affect blood sugar and insulin.

The lower a food’s GI or GL, the less it affects blood sugar and insulin levels.
GI measures the effect of your food on blood glucose levels. It’s a rank list index for foods based on how quickly your blood sugar levels will increase after ingestion.

The GL is different as it is based on the active carbohydrate content of a normal serving of food, or around 100 grammes. So in other words, the GL tells you how much carbohydrate is in a standard serving size of food.

2. Take up exercise

It may not be as immediately satisfying as munching on a bar of chocolate, but exercise creates serotonin, a neurotransmitter which promotes feelings of happiness.

It also releases endorphins in the same way that a bar of chocolate will, only exercise is far better for you in the long run.

After a good workout, you won’t have as much need for sugar, and the same goes for sex!

3. Blood glucose levels

A low glycaemic load (GL) diet will help keep your blood sugar level balanced. The glycaemic index (GI) ranks carbohydrates according to their effect on blood glucose levels. Juice Plus shakes are Low GI. 

Low GL carbohydrates produce only small fluctuations in blood glucose levels.

Eating quality lean proteins and the right fats with low GL carbohydrates, such as wholemeal bread, will make you feel full and you won’t be as likely to crave a sugar rush.

Is Booze Making You Fat? The Truth About Alcohol & Calories


We don’t burn extra calories to metabolize alcohol – not like we do from digesting carbs, fat and protein. This phenomenon, called the “thermic effect of food”, refers to the energy we use to digest food into small, absorbable components. Because alcohol is so easy to absorb, it enters our bloodstream without burning any extra calories.

Your liver does the dirty work because alcohol is seen as a toxin, the liver prioritizes metabolizing alcohol first which means you won’t be burning calories from other sources while that happens. The liver is only able to clear alcohol at a rate of around one ounce liquor per hour, which is why consuming more than this will leave you feeling tipsy.

Alcohol makes your blood sugar drop, making you want to reach for carbs. The liver helps keep our blood sugar steady, but a liver busy at work metabolizing alcohol can’t do this effectively, causing your blood sugar drops and stays low until the alcohol is metabolised. This explains why you crave carbs and wake up the next day with a headache.

Alcohol calories that aren’t burned will be stored as fat. This is true for all extra calories eaten no matter the source, but what makes alcohol calories worse is that they are stored in your liver first. It takes time for the liver to ship out the alcohol-induced fat for proper storage in your fat cells. If the liver doesn’t do this fast enough (or if you drink too much, too often) the fat stays stuck in your liver and around your abdomen giving you what we refer to jovially as a “beer belly.”

This of course doesn’t mean you need to completely dodge all social sips. Here are some tips to help prevent you from gaining too much of your night out:

1. Pour yourself half as much. This will help you limit yourself to one or two drinks per party.

2. Avoid higher calorie mixed drinks like eggnog, margaritas, mudslides, or other sugary mixed drinks–or have one and consider it dessert.

3. Alternate between having alcohol and water to stay well hydrated.

4. Sip slowly and take the time of enjoy your alcoholic beverage.

5. Keep your alcohol budget at or below 200 calories. 

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Hopefully this will make you think twice when you go out this weekend!

Another way to look at the effect alcohol has on weight loss is to compare the equivalent time you would need to spend doing fitness training to burn these calories off! We’ll assume someone has an average fitness level and is of average weight.

Training time required to burn off calories from alcohol:

Alcoholic drink

Walking

Swimming

Running

Cycling

Beer (355ml)

30 mins

17 mins

12 mins

13 mins

Light beer (355ml)

20 mins

11 mins

8 mins

9 mins

Low carb beer (355ml)

23 mins

13 mins

9 mins

10 mins

White wine sweet (200ml glass)

40 mins

23 mins

16 mins

18 mins

White wine dry (200ml glass)

29 mins

16 mins

12 mins

13 mins

Red wine (200ml glass)

28 mins

16 mins

11 mins

12 mins

Spirits (on ice / neat)

13 mins

7 mins

5 mins

6 mins

Water

0 mins

0 mins

0 mins

0 mins


Baked Cinnamon Honey or Sea Salt & Vinegar Crisps

IMG_2611Ingredients:

1 Tbsp Vinegar

1 Tsp Sea Salt

1 Tsp Ground cinnamon  

1 Tsp Honey

2 Small Sweet Potatoes 

 

Directions

1.Mix the honey and cinnamon together on half the batch for a sweet flavour

2. For the salt & vinegar,  shake up the sea salt and vinegar with the sweet potatoes in a ziploc/airtight bag.

Try a Greek Yogurt dip (total 0%) to go with these.

 

 

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Taken from a great blog – Undressed skeleton, click HERE to see more  

 

 

8 Lies No One Tells You About Weighing Yourself 

Let’s hear the TRUTH – and bin the scales!

Most women weigh themselves daily–and their whole day is dictated by “the number.”  

I’ll give you a number: ONE [the amount of times you should weigh yourself annually/at the doctors office], or how about TWENTY [the body fat % that separates the ultra-fit from the healthy], or even SIX [the dress size that the average healthy, fit 5’5″ woman wears]. Now these are numbers I am ok with!

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If you’re just starting a weight loss program, the number on the scale can be deceptive, making you feel that you’re not making progress even when you are.

Unfortunately, the hard work of diet and exercise isn’t always reflected on the scale for people loosing weight, especially during the first few weeks.

When you work hard at your workouts and diet, you may expect more than your body can deliver, which leads to disappointment.

Here are my 8 reasons why your weight (in lbs, kg, tons, whatever) really means very little in the grand scheme of health, fitness & fat loss:

1) Muscle.

You have heard this before, and yet, you still don’t like it or want to get on board with it: muscle is more DENSE than fat and takes up LESS SPACE. The more muscle you have on your frame, the HEAVIER your weight will be, but the tighter and SMALLER your PHYSIQUE will be compared to someone who might weigh less but also has less muscle or a higher body fat %. 

2) Water weight.

You can literally GAIN up to 5-7 lbs within the same DAY. It’s simple. When you wake up in the morning, you are relatively dehydrated and in a fasted state, and then you hydrate throughout the day and eat food. Understanding this can help prevent melt-downs for people who weigh themselves multiple times a day.

Also, having a super-salty meal one evening can lead to excessive water retention the next morning. You can literally feel that you are holding water based on fluctuations in rings (tighter or looser) or joint swelling or looking at your midsection if you are fairly lean. This does not mean you are destined to keep that weight on…you rehydrate with 3-4L plain water, get back on your clean nutrition plan, eat lots of fibrous veggies and you can shed that retention within a single day.

 

3) Your weight is not an accurate reflection of how you look in clothes or on stage.

Once again, coming back to that muscle versus fat argument, your body fat % dictates what dress size you wear, though two people can wear the exact same size and look completely different. 

Likewise, two women can weigh the exact same (one at 20% BF and one at 40% BF) and look drastically different. Thus, using your DRESS SIZE and how your clothes fit are both much more applicable indicators of your health, fitness & fat loss than your weight in pounds–far and away.

4) Your weight is NOT always an accurate measure of health.

Ever heard of “SKINNY FAT?” (please see my previous post about this). This is someone who tends to have a higher metabolism, stays thin, but might be flabbier with a high body fat percentage. They often have sarcopenic obesity, meaning they are in the “normal weight” range for their height, but their body fat % classifies them as “obese” while also putting them at a higher risk for chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease and even cancer, not to mention the #1 most likely: osteoporosis. It is much healthier to be a little heavier in weight but with a lower body fat % than the opposite.

Unfortunately many insurance companies use weight and/or Body Mass Index (BMI, which is a height-to-weight measurement and essentially holds the same comparably inaccurate value to that of weight alone) to set their rates, which is bad for the people who weigh more because of their muscle mass! Yes, Jessica ennis is clinically obese I cording to the scales! What do you think?

So instead, use your body fat % or waist circumference as a more accurate measure of health.

5) Your ego.

Let’s face it, you get an ego boost when you weigh yourself and get a lower number. Not that there’s really anything wrong with that, EXCEPT how do you respond when the number goes UP? Often for people who are chronic-weighers, “the number” dictates how well their day will go: “Is it up? Is it down? This is going to be a bad/good day!” Having an attachment to your weight number is a double-edged sword. When it’s down, you’re up and when it’s up, you’re down. Having to rely on a quantifiable digit to decide your happiness is not a healthy place to be….

6) Playing with your self-worth.

Many people put way too much stock in their weight, their body fat % and dress size. Yes, the latter two can be a great indicator of health, but none of them should dictate your self-worth. “Your self-worth is inherent. No one can take it from you” and that includes a number on a scale. The problem with using any sort of objective measurement is that many times it can get entangled with our sense of self. You are worthy, special and a success right now, in this moment. 

7) Getting to know your body

You can’t lose weight until you exercise consistently and you can’t do that until you build endurance and strength. Take the first few weeks to experiment, condition your body and figure out what you’re capable of. weighing yourself once a month rather than daily or weekly to give your body time to adapt to what you’re doing. Another option is to shift your focus from the minutiae of weight loss and concentrate on what you actually need to do get there, such as:

-Showing up for your workouts 

– Set goals based on how many workouts you’ll do each week rather than how much weight you’ll lose.

-Learning how to exercise – If you’re a beginner, there’s a learning curve that may take you awhile to overcome. Give yourself space to learn good form, solid technique and effective methods of training before you put too much pressure on yourself to lose weight. 

8) Instead of watching the scale, focus on creating a healthy lifestyle.

Living well almost always leads to weight loss. This is one instance where the scale can lie, especially for new exercisers beginning a strength training program. I often hear this question from readers who mention losing inches while the scale doesn’t move. They wonder, “Why haven’t I seen any results?” If you’re experiencing this, one question to ask yourself is: Why do you believe the scale over your own experience? If you’re buying smaller clothes, you’re losing fat no matter what the scale says. 

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I’m upset about hearing from/of people who believe that the scale is telling them rather than what’s in front of our own eyes, leaving them discouraged and frustrated rather than celebrating their success ! BIN THOSE SCALES !!!!

 

 

9 Reasons Women Should Do Weight Training  

Strength training is an important part of improving your overall fitness, and for women, it can mean much more. In addition to numerous health benefits, adding weights to your routine can become a form of personal development that builds strength in all areas of life. 

1. Muscle increases metabolic rate and boosts your metabolism naturally.

The more muscle you have, the higher your resting metabolic rate. You read that correctly; by doing absolutely nothing, you can actually burn calories thanks to your mighty muscles. One pound of muscle uses about six calories a day to sustain itself, while one pound of fat burns just two calories daily. And after a session of resistance training, you’ll burn even more since your muscles all over your body are activated. 

Want to burn even more calories? In a study from the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, it was found that women who lifted 85 percent of their maximum load for eight reps than when they did more reps at a lower weight burned twice as many calories in the two hours after their workout. 

By adding muscle through strength training (even just a little bit), your resting metabolic rate (i.e., the amount of calories you burn daily by just existing) increases. Weights temporarily lift your metabolic rate, thanks to a handy process called excessive post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), which means your body continues to burn calories at a higher rate even when resting. That’s why, in a study at Penn State University in the US, dieters who lifted weights as well as doing cardio lost 6lb more fat than the group doing aerobic work alone. Athletes are calorie-burning machines even when they are not exercising.

MORE THAN JUST CALORIES:

2. Lifting weights strengthens muscle and bone, which helps reduce the risk of osteoporosis or brittle bone disease

Building muscle mass helps strengthen connective tissues, which increases bone density. By doing this, you’re reducing your risk for injury, and your chance of getting osteoporosis later in life which women are more at risk of than men.

Due to dropping levels of estrogen, postmenopausal women are prone to osteoporosis. Numerous studies show a positive relationship between resistance training and bone density. When bone feels the “pull” from the muscles, bone growth is stimulated. Not only can strength training offset bone loss, it can actually cause an increase in bone density in women who regularly lift weights.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have also found that exercise, which build muscles (here’s how to start your own strength training routine), can actually help to improve balance, improve blood-sugar control, and improve sleep and mental health.

3. If weight loss is your goal, muscle is your mate.

Cardiovascular exercise WILL burn a higher percentage of stored fat but, as Liz says, “A muscular body is a more efficient body. For every additional pound of muscle you gain by lifting weights, your body burns around 50 extra calories every day.” 

4. Shape without the bulk.

If I lift weights, I’ll bulk up like Arnie“- The Truth: Due to their lower levels of testosterone, it is very difficult for women to develop large, bulky muscles. Instead of the bulk, most women tend to build a nice hourglass figure—curves we can be proud of!

On a moderate training plan, building up excessive bulk is impossible. Muscle growth is very dependent on testosterone and women tend to produce 10 times less than men, so you can’t build big bulging muscles naturally. Add to that bodybuilders spend pretty much all day, every day, lifting HEAVY weights and eating large amounts of protein every couple of hours to achieve that look. Unless you put in that kind of time and effort, you’re not going to turn into Popeye.


5. Elevate mood.

Women are twice as likely to develop clinical depression as men, yet two-thirds of these women do not do anything to combat these feelings. The release of norepinephrine, dopamine and serotonin during resistance training chemically helps exercisers acheive a feeling of well-being. Weight training also leads to an increase in energy, better sleep patterns, and a feeling of accomplishment and control.

6. Lifting weights also has a positive effect on insulin resistance – so your body can convert carbs into energy more efficiently. It raises your metabolic rate by as much as 15%, reduces blood pressure and improves your mood. These are factors that reduce your risk of diabetes, heart disease and some cancers.

7. Improve posture.

Combat a kyphotic (hunched over) posture by strengthening the backside of the body. Proper posture leads to injury prevention and better power transfer in athletics. And let’s face it, you just look better when you stand up straight (your mother was right!).

8. Move better for longer.

By strengthening muscles and improving bone density, women who spend time in the weight room are typically active for longer periods of time. Increased hip and leg strength aid in mobility and balance, and upper-body strength helps combat postural issues that can lead to back and shoulder injuries.

9. Become a better athlete.

Gone are the days when coaches worried that lifting weights would build bulky muscles that would weigh down athletes. Strength training can lead to better functional movement, explosive power, durability and, of course, greater overall strength.

The bottom line.

Let’s face it: As often as I spout out all of these benefits, I still hear 9 out of 10 women saying they want a better butt. What is the best way to achieve a better butt? Squats. Lunges. Strength training.