Shed Stomach Fat Fast: The Best Exercises To Help You Achieve Toned Abs

slimmer, fitter, strongerAs we slowly begin to crawl out of Winter many of you will be anticipating the summer. Nothing screams summer more than blissful long days spent at the beach under the warmth of the sun.

Whilst all of us will have lost our colour a little and perhaps gained some weight over the winter months nobody wants to take the plunge and expose all at the beach in this shape.

It’s time to change your attitude, get exercising and cut away the fat to reveal your toned exterior.

Here are some of the best exercises to help you achieve toned abs and get you the perfect beach body:

The Abdominal Hold

  1. Find yourself a sturdy and well-weighted chair and sit straight, perched towards the edge of the seat.
  2. Following this, take your hands either side of your legs and grip the edge of the seat with your fingers pointing in the direction of your knees.
  3. The next step is to raise your toes two to four inches off the floor tightening your abs in the process. Then, extending and straightening your arms, lift your bum off of the chair.
  4. Aim to hold this position for around 5 – 10 seconds before lowering yourself back onto your seat and repeating.
  5. Keep this up for a minute each time you perform the exercise and you’re sure to be well on your way to solid abs.

The Pelvic Tilt

Next is an exercise that works wonders on your lower abdominals.

  1. To perform the pelvic tilt you must start out lying on the floor. You may use an exercise mat to provide some extra cushioning on hard flooring.
  2. Next, raise your knees bringing your feet closer towards your bum, tightening your core muscles in the process.
  3. Keeping your feet flat on the ground raise your pelvis in the direction of the ceiling. Hold this for around five seconds before lowering yourself back to the ground again.
  4. Give yourself a short break before repeating the exercise a further 7-11 times (8-12 reps in total).

The Plank

Tone those absThe plank is perhaps one of the most well known abdominal exercises and is sure to bring you that toned core that you have always longed for.

  1. Firstly, lay down flat on the floor facing the ground. Then, much alike a press-up, raise yourself up straightening your arms. Now only your palms and toes should be touching the floor.
  2. Keeping your back straight, hold the position for as long as you possibly can.

The Vertical Leg Crunch

  1. Lying on your back extend your legs towards the ceiling (knees slightly bent). Keeping your legs in a fixed position, aim to lift your torso towards your knees making sure your shoulder blades leave the floor.
  2. You may place your hands behind your head for support and to help you keep your chin up. However, ensure you do not pull on your neck.
  3. Once you have completed the contraction lower your upper body back to the floor and respect another 11-15 times (12-16 rep in total).

Crunch those absIf you feel you may need a little help achieving that toned physique fit for the beach this Summer then don’t hesitate. Employ the help of a personal trainer as we emerge from the winter and make our way into spring 2014.

If you are looking for a personal trainer they don’t come much better or more qualified for the role than London’s Gerald Smith. With a degree in Exercise, Nutrition and Health and plenty of experience under his belt Gerald is sure to help you get in shape. Visit http://www.slimmerfitterstronger.com/ to see what he can do for you.

 

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Healthy Desserts Made Using Rapeseed Oil

cupcake - healthy eatingWe all know the advantages of using rapeseed oil as our cooking oil of choice, rather than the traditional alternatives such as vegetable oil or sunflower oil, but not as many of us know the benefits of using this delicious oil as a replacement ingredient in some of our favourite desserts, changing them from naughty treats into a truly healthy option.

When trying to become fit and healthy it helps to have a basic understanding of the essential vitamins and minerals we need to push us in the right direction, but past that it’s really a case of making smart choices so we can then move forward and choose to cook using healthier ingredients, such as rapeseed oil in place of a less healthy alternative, so to slowly but surely increase our overall health.

For some delicious, healthy dessert recipes using rapeseed oil to put you on this path right away, look no further than the wonderful four examples below:

Scrumptious Carrot Cake

There’s something about carrot cake that makes us go weak at the knees, with carrot cake being voted at the United Kingdom's favourite cake, according to a Radio Times survey from 2011. Though carrot cake in its traditional form has been incredibly popular since the second world war, you can easily make a much healthier version using non-traditional cooking oils to suit your pallet.

To make carrot cake using rapeseed oil, use 75ml of rapeseed oil in replacement of butter during the cooking process, then cook the cake as you normally would using traditional ingredients. Making this one, simple change will reduce the saturated fat of your carrot cake by a staggering sixty percent.

Warm Oat and Blueberry Muffins

Once again replacing butter with rapeseed oil for a significantly healthier dessert, don’t be afraid to cook up a large batch of warm oat and blueberry muffins at a time, as once cool they are ideal for freezing to be enjoyed at a later date.

When you sit down with all your ingredients, swapping butter with rapeseed oil will reduce the overall saturated fat per oat and blueberry muffin by approximately seventy-seven percent. When looking for a healthy cooking oil available at Fussels Fine Foods take note of this difference, as only rapeseed oil can make that much of a difference between an unhealthy and, eventually, healthy dessert.

Unbelievable Chocolate and Cranberry Brownies

Though swapping out your cooking oil in this delicious traditional recipe doesn’t make as big a difference on the health factor as the previous two, when you also swap out your regular flour with self-raising wholemeal flour you’ll note a fairly substantial positive difference.

Obviously, chocolate brownies are never going to tip the health balance entirely, but these particular brownies certainly try their best.

Fruit-Packed Buttermilk Pancakes

Though pancakes are two fairly different desserts in the United Kingdom compared to the United States, this recipe can work well for both so long as you swap in your own traditional methods of piecing them together.

With pancakes being one of America’s favourite breakfast foods it’s no surprise that rapeseed oil has found a way to make them healthier, using one tablespoon of oil in the actual ingredients, as well as extra in the pan for frying the pancakes, for potentially the healthiest fried breakfast you will have ever tasted.

In conclusion, we all know the advantages of using rapeseed oil as our cooking oil of choice, rather than the traditional alternatives such as vegetable oil or sunflower oil, with some great desserts made using rapeseed oil including a scrumptious carrot cake, warm oat and blueberry muffins, unbelievable chocolate and cranberry brownies, and fruit-packed buttermilk pancakes.

About the Author:

Fussels Fine Foods is a company that believes in high quality simple food in the positive values of sustainable farming. To know about the kind of cooking oil available at Fussels Fine Foods, visit their website.

Personal Fitness Trainer – Do you need one?

Personal Fitness TrainerNowadays, there are numerous exercises or diets that we can do to become and stay fit and healthy. However, this vast choice makes it hard for non-professionals to choose the most efficient path to their goals. This is the reason why so many products have been made to teach you how to train on your own. But are these products better than the guidance of a personal fitness trainer? In this article, we will look at what a personal trainer is, and we will help you make the decision that is best for you.

What is a Personal Fitness Trainer?

Personal trainers, taking all that they do into account, are fitness professionals who will help you achieve your fitness and health goals. They have extensive knowledge of nutrition, of physical exercise and motivation. However, most notably, they construct personalised programs for their customers based on several assessments. As a result, they offer some of the most efficient training programs out there.

Advantages of having a Personal Fitness Trainer

The foremost advantage of having a personal trainer is the personalisation that they incorporate in their fitness plans. They achieve this by running numerous and different tests on your body. It is their duty to assess your current condition and synchronise the workout and diet plan accordingly. Personal trainers usually analyse your movements, nutrition and measure your body’s fat to muscle ratio. Based on the information they get, they construct fitness plans that target your weak spots and complement your strengths. Also, these assessments show if you have any irregularities such as movement dysfunctions.

The trainers will give you guidance on how to do the exercises in the plan safely and effectively. Even though you might think that some exercises are very simple, you will be surprised to know that many of them are easily done in the wrong way, in which they are not as beneficial to you as they could be. The trainers will watch for correct posture and movement, and they will make sure you do not endanger yourself with complex exercises. They will also help you in deciding the most beneficial amount of reps, sets and the overall tempo.

It is common knowledge that nutrition is just as important as proper exercises, whatever your fitness goals are. Therefore, it is very advantageous to have a professional who can give you nutritional advice on the correct food to eat before and after the workout. It is not your trainer’s goal to make you starve, but simply to point to the healthiest diet you could follow, which also matches your lifestyle. Creating a well balanced diet plan is essential in order to succeed as a fit and healthy person.

Hiring a personal trainer can be highly advantageous if you need some extra motivation. They will make sure that you keep your main objective in mind. To begin and continue fitness programme is not easy, the initial excitement usually wears off in a few weeks. It can be crucial to have a personal trainer to keep you motivated and also push you to achieve your fitness goals.

Disadvantages of having a Personal Fitness Trainer

fitness trainingWhile there are countless advantages of hiring a personal trainer, you must also consider some of the disadvantages. One of them is the generally high cost of employing one. Their cost can vary depending on your needs, on the trainer’s popularity, as well as on the location you choose for training. Having the sufficient equipment is also important, as the better equipment you can access, the better training your personal trainer will be able to provide. This can also be costly, of course. You could always become a gym member, or choose to buy the necessary items for your home. All of this depends on your preference and on how much you are willing to invest in your body. Nevertheless, personal trainers and the workout gear can both be quite expensive.

When hiring a personal trainer, always make sure that they are licensed professionals. As the job is increasingly popular and offers a good paycheck, more and more fitness enthusiasts declare themselves as professional fitness trainers without having the proper qualification. This, however, can cause you harm during the training process. An unqualified trainer might give you incorrect exercise or nutritional advice, which could hamper your progress or even cause you physical harm.

Can other training strategies offer the same quality of training?

Who hasn’t decided to start a new, healthy life and train on their own 4/5 times a week either at home, or in the gym? As most people have experienced, after the enthusiastic beginning, there is always something else to do rather than exercise, training is getting lower on your list of priorities, until you are back where you started. Nonetheless, some people possess an incredible amount of self-discipline, in which case working out at home will not be a problem and is certainly more cost effective than employing a personal trainer.

It is crucial to do exercises that are safe and effective, in order to achieve your goals. To fix this problem, workout DVDs of personal fitness trainers can be a cheap and fun solution. You will be able to choose from various workout routines and find the one that you find most beneficial. A well recommended one is this one – Personal Training With Jackie: 30 Day Fast Start.  It gets great reviews and a rating of 4.4 out of 5 from 90 reviewers (at the time of writing). However, through such virtual instructions you will not receive the personalised care a personal fitness trainer can offer. Neither will there be someone with you to push you forwards when you need motivation.

There are plenty of options to choose from when it comes to training. There is no one good choice; it all depends on your preferences. It is crucial that you consider all of them carefully and analyse your current situation in order to be able to choose the method that suits you best. 

Personal Fitness Trainer – Related articles

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Being Fit and Healthy News Round up – Monday 2nd June – Sunday 9th June

fit and healthy news

Exercise News Stories

1) A review of the best headphones to use while exercising  – http://www.lifehacker.com.au/2013/06/five-best-exercise-headphones/

2) Yoga is better than exercise a study from the University of Illinois found – http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/10103581/Yoga-better-for-your-brain-than-exercise-study-finds.html

3) Use your smart phone to keep track of your fitness. A study of some new apps that do just that – http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2013/05/27/tech-now-fitness-apps/2352559/

Diet and Health News Stories

1) Study finds that Diet Soda is as bad for your teeth as Meth and Cocaine –  http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/diet-soda-bad-meth-teeth-study-article-1.1354593

2) A new analysis of fossilized teeth finds that our ancestors diet changed 3.5 million years ago. Fascinating, read more here – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-22752937

 

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Being Fit and Healthy News Round up – Monday 20th May – Sunday 26th May

fit and healthy news

Exercise News Stories

1) New study finds exercise a benefit for major depression  – http://www.doctorslounge.com/index.php/news/pb/38069

2) HIIT training produces a bigger payoff in less time – http://seattletimes.com/html/health/2020993299_healthkellyturnerxml.html. Check out the article published on this site about that exact thing – http://beingfitandhealthyrocks.com/hiit-workout/

3) Report published finds that playing video games help childrens health and fitness – http://www.sundayworld.com/entertainment/games-technology/study-exercise-video-games-can-improve-kids-health

4) Exercise tips for seniors – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/susan-krauss-whitbourne/fitness-8-exercise-tips-for-the-over-50_b_3287945.html

Diet and Health News Stories

1) An army wife stuns her husband on his return from Afghanistan with 96 pound weight loss – Read more here – http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/lifestyle/2013/05/army-wife-surprises-husband-with-96-pound-weight-loss-on-his-return-from-afghanistan/

2) Trial begins for French Drug Maker of a weight loss pill suspected in causing hundreds of deaths – http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/trial-opens-for-french-maker-of-drug-used-for-weight-loss-suspected-in-hundreds-of-deaths/2013/05/21/ea5494a8-c21e-11e2-9642-a56177f1cdf7_story.html

3) Would you rather lose $1000 or gain 20 pounds? – http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/05/23/lose-money-or-gain-weight/2348033/

4) The dangers of new mums and their quest to get back their shape after giving birth – http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/victoria/concern-on-dangers-in-fitness-push-by-new-mothers/story-fni0fit3-1226650577313

5) Which diet came out on top?, as revealed by top nutrition experts – find out here – http://www.buffalonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20130518/REFRESH/130519142/1057

6) Cancer and diet, Why is nutrition often overlooked – http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/0/22567354

7) McDonalds pairs up with pasta maker to develop a Mediterranean style menu – http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/05/23/mcdonalds-pairs-with-barilla-pasta-to-develop-mediterranean-diet-menu-items/

8) Iodine deficinecy in children may lower their IQ – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-22607161

9) Looking at bright computer screens in poor light may harm our health – http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/05/25/peering-at-bright-computer-screens-after-dark-could-harm-health-doctor-claims/

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Post Workout Recovery Plan

Post workout recoveryStrenuous exercise is one of the best methods to keep our bodies in top physical form. We increase our circulation and heart rate, our bodies rid themselves of toxins faster, our lung capacity dramatically rises and our muscles remain lithe and strong. While these are but a handful of undeniable benefits, many of us may forget to acknowledge that proper rest and recovery are both equally crucial in helping to increase our performance and prevent injury. We need a post workout recovery plan, so we can optimise the benefits from our exercise.

In effect, we can examine the term "recovery" in three distinct phases. The preliminary stage is that of a cool-down while still in the gym or immediately after strenuous exertion. The second stage revolves around proper post-workout nutrition, and the final phase is the amount of physical "down time" and rest we allow ourselves before the next session. So, let us examine each stage in a greater amount of detail.

Post Workout Recovery – Cooling Down

Have you ever noticed someone in the gym leave immediately after running five or ten miles on an inclined treadmill? Perhaps you may have witnessed a weightlifter finish a heavy chest workout and simply walk out into a chilly December night without having even caught his breath. This is actually quite counterproductive to the workout itself. Cooling down is an absolute necessity, and for a few good reasons.

First, you must remember that during any physical exertion, your heart rate may be as high as 180 beats a minute. Stopping this activity altogether will cause a massive dip in your nominal heart rate. This can lead to dizziness and even the occasional blackout. A proper cool-down can help moderate your breathing and heart rate.

Also, cooling down will help increase circulation throughout the body. This can deliver vital nutrients to any affected muscles while decreasing the amount of lactic acid build up. This will help muscles loosen up and can actually reduce the amount of soreness you will experience the following day. This is the reason why it is a good idea to perform stretching exercises or a light jog as opposed to simply leaving the gym straight away, particularly after a hard workout on a cold day.

Post-Workout Nutrition

One of the fallacies of working out is that the most important meal is taken before the exercise actually begins. While of course it is pivotal for your body to receive an adequate amount of energy to perform physical activity, proper nutrition after a workout is absolutely vital for muscle repair and recovery.

One of the most important nutrients to absorb after a workout is protein. Whey protein is easily digested into the body and contains all of the essential amino acids necessary to help the muscles recover properly. In particular, amino acids such as L-Glutamine are extremely necessary for proper muscle repair. These substances can be thought of as the "mortar" which helps give your muscles their strength. Without protein as a "building block", your body will benefit little from the exercise and you may actually be prone to injury in the next session.

While much stress has always been placed on protein shakes, it is important to realise that protein is difficult to break down in the digestive tract. The energy needed to metabolise protein needs to come from carbohydrates. Some easy-to-find sources of simple carbohydrates include whole grains, wheat bread and rice cakes. These will provide the energy needed to digest the protein. Click this link to discover more about good carbs vs bad carbs.

Finally, there are specific vitamins that should be increased during the post-workout phase. Substances that aid in cellular repair such as vitamins B, C and E are extremely important while minerals such as calcium and zinc are equally valued due to their tendency to increase the metabolic functions within your cells. Read more about the essential vitamins and minerals here.

The good news is that most of this nutrition can be found in the form of ready-to-drink shakes or protein powders. Some proprietary mixes will even contain the optimum amount of carbohydrates within, thus providing you with a quick and tasty form of nutrient-rich recovery. All of these nutrients should be taken within fifteen minutes to one hour after completing a workout and having properly cooled down. A good meal example is chicken pasta salad or a Green Thai Chicken stir-fry. Both of these will provide protein, vitamins and carbohydrates to help your body repair and be ready for your next workout.

Post Workout Recovery – Physical Rest

When I first began training nearly twenty years ago, I was under the distinct impression that professional athletes were superhuman. I believed that they needed no downtime and instead operated as efficient machines. The truth of the matter is, is that proper physical rest is all but essential in preventing illness and injury.

Never forget that the soreness we feel is actually a result of countless microscopic tears within our muscles. While many of us may feel like "sucking it up" and simply "soldiering on", we will actually do more harm than good. Our bodies need a great deal of time to recover in between sessions; the time directly correlating with the intensity of our training.

Sleep plays a crucial role in this process. The normal individual is said to need between five and seven hours of sleep a night. An athlete needs between six and eight hours of rest due to the fact that their bodies will need more time to repair. Although it is not a well-known fact, many of our natural repair mechanisms are only activated during sleep. Our digestive tracts more easily absorb nutrients while our brains release chemicals known as neurotransmitters that "instruct" our muscles, tendons and bones to begin the lengthy healing process. Without adequate sleep, our bodies will not receive the amount of repair that they need. Over time this can lead to prolonged soreness, decreased progress and in extreme cases, burnout or physical injury.

Hopefully it should now be clear that a post-workout recovery needs to be considered an integral part of anyone's training regimen. Here I have shown you some of the best ways to recover after exercise and given you enough information to allow you to design a post workout recovery plan for yourself. By allowing ourselves adequate time to cool down, by ingesting the proper nutrients and by receiving the appropriate amount of sleep, we can be assured that we will enjoy steady physical progress and all of the other numerous benefits that healthy exercise provides. 

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Paleo Diet Vs. Mediterranean Diet Vs. Atkins Diet

We all want to pursue a life of being fit and healthy. We all know that if we make poor food choices we will notice the impact on our hips, tummies and our sense of well-being. The problem with trying to change our lifestyle is that we are bombarded with useful and helpful advice from all corners of the globe: eat carbs and no fat, eat high fat and high protein with no carbs, eat all three but only two at the same time. The advice is endless and often contradictory, making it very hard to decide on which regimen to try. This article will examine the differences between the Paleo diet Vs. Mediterranean diet Vs. Atkins diet; so that you can decide which one is best for you.

Some diets are very restrictive and ban entire food groups, which makes it very hard to incorporate into a busy life. Still others use drink powders and cereal bars as replacements for meals, which may not be convenient for someone trying to cater for a growing family.

Three of the more popular diets at present are more accessible to all and advocate making long-term lifestyle changes. They all allow for personal tastes and preferences and all embrace the notion that food should taste good as well as being healthy for us. Let us look at them one at a time.

The Paleo Diet

Paleolithic diet - Healthy chicken dinnerThe Paleolithic Diet, also known as the Caveman Diet or the Hunter-Gatherer Diet, aims to send us back to our nomadic roots. Before we all lived in towns and cities and developed trading processes we foraged for our food; picking fruit, nuts and berries in season and relying on occasional success at hunting for a boost of fat and meat protein. The authors of the Paleo Diet believe that it is our modern food production methods that are responsible for much of the disease that plagues our society today. These include such things as heart disease, elevated cholesterol and blood pressure, obesity and related ailments, diet-induced diabetes and many cancers. Indeed, some of the foods we eat are over refined and high in unnatural substances such as trans fats, chemicals and excessive amounts of sugar.

The Paleo Diet relies on lean protein, plenty of fruit and vegetables and nuts and seeds, as well as a reasonable amount of healthy unsaturated fat. Foods and drinks to be avoided include alcohol, dairy products, grains, legumes, starchy foods and anything processed. A useful piece of basic advice for those trying the Paleo Diet is: If it looks like it did before it was food, it is good; if not, it is bad! Think of a meat pie versus a steak, on Paleo the choice would be the steak.

One of the major causes of overeating in modern society is the fact that our bodies are hard-wired to crave fats and sugars and the more of these we eat the more the body wants. This is because these substances are very rare in a wild and natural environment, and our bodies were designed to take advantage of finding them by consuming as much as possible. This is why often when we crave a fatty or sugary snack it is quite hard to not have another, and another, and another… Of course, now we have very easy access to foods high in these desirable substances but our bodies do not know this. By eating natural foods we can help to combat this craving whilst maintaining a fit and healthy lifestyle.

The Paleo Diet has been found to help control type II diabetes and reduce high cholesterol and blood pressure.

For a good introductory guide check this book out here – The Paleo Coach: Expert Advice for Extraordinary Health, Sustainable Fat Loss, and an incredible body.

The Atkins Diet

The Atkins Diet has been the center of a storm of controversy for many years – ever since its first publication over thirty years ago! A surprisingly high calorie regimen with plenty of fat and lots of protein but very little carbohydrate, the diet was believed to encourage heart disease, boost cholesterol levels and cause the body to go into a state of ketosis which was thought to be harmful. Ketosis is when the body is using fat for energy instead of Glucose. One type of ketone called acetone is bad for the body and usually excreted. It is this enzyme that is checked for when people are using dipsticks in urine to see if they are in a state of Ketosis. This is state is only dangerous when it becomes ketoacidosis which is making the blood more acidic. However what level of Ketosis is safe and what the long term effects of it is are still hotly debated. People with type 1 Diabetes are the group most at risk from this. If you are diabetic and thinking of starting on the Atkins diet or when similar then it is best to consult your health professional.

The author, Dr Atkins, argued the opposite, saying that while cholesterol levels rose initially, they soon dropped down again once the weight loss phase kicked. He added that by cutting carbs and consuming fat the body was being trained to use up fat stores, rather than the easier to burn glucose obtained from the carbs. A state of ketosis, he added, was an indication that the body was successfully burning through those fat stores, and that the side effects of the process (bad breath and constipation in some dieters) were very acceptable compared to the benefits of the regimen.

The first incarnation of the diet was heavily anti-carbohydrate, with very little being allowed, especially during the first two weeks; known as the 'kick start' phase. They were gradually allowed back in as the diet progressed, but many health professionals expressed concerns over the lack of fresh fruit and vegetables allowed in the diet. The regimen has now been re-worked, to allow a slightly more generous amount of carbohydrates to be eaten, which should go some way to alleviating medical concerns.

Debaters on both sides of the Atkins debate have seized on Dr Atkins' heart attack in 2002 and sudden death at 73 in 2003. Detractors claim that his diet 'must' have caused the heart attack and is therefore unhealthy. Those in favor of the diet mention Atkins' assertion, which was backed up by his physician that the heart attack was actually caused by an infection. His death, which occurred when he slipped and suffered a head injury, had absolutely nothing to do with his weight or his diet, despite a host of malicious rumors to the contrary that spread like wildfire shortly after his passing.

While medical authorities are still loath to encourage their patients to follow the Atkins Diet, they have to admit that it does work as regards losing weight. They cannot provide any proof that it raises blood pressure or cholesterol levels. As one doctor said 'It seems to work, but we just don't know the long term effects of such a diet as yet.' There seems to be an air of waiting for the negative side to present itself – surely eating all that fat and protein must have a downside?

This book is a god one for showing you how to incorporate Atkins into your daily life. Fo reviews and pricing have a look here – New Atkins for a New You: The Ultimate Diet for Shedding Weight and Feeling Great.

The Mediterranean Diet

Mediterranean diet - FishThis diet is widely accepted as being a very healthy and easy to follow regimen. Loosely based on the natural eating pattern of Italy, Greece and Southern France in the 1960s, the diet embraces whole grains, low fat dairy products, plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables with generous amounts of seafood, moderate poultry allowance and small amounts of red meat. Wine may be drunk with meals, and the intake of plenty of water is encouraged. It was discovered that despite there being limited medical service in the poorer areas of the above countries, that life expectancy was high, and that elderly people remained fit and active for longer than those in other areas. This was found to be due to the strongly family-oriented society and the wonderful healthy and tasty meals they ate.

The Mediterranean Diet can best be described with a pyramid. The base, which is the widest part, meaning that most of the food eaten should come from this grouping, is made of locally produced and seasonal fruit, vegetables, herbs, spices and evens nuts, seeds and beans. Whole grains appear here too, and this must not be substituted with refined products. Water to drink appears on this base layer too. The next layer of the pyramid comprises fresh seafood, especially fish, caught recently and cooked very simply using only natural ingredients. The middle layer consists of poultry, and low fat dairy products. Eggs and cheese appear here, and are excellent to add flavor and texture to dishes. Wine sneaks in somewhere around this point, as a glass of wine with every meal is considered quite acceptable and even healthy for most. If you suffer from a liver complaint or similar, or even simply prefer not to drink at all, that is absolutely fine. Topping the pyramid, and therefore forming the smallest group, is the naughty but nice foods. Red meat and sweets and treats can be found here. While they are permitted your intake should be carefully monitored and regulated.

Another aspect to the Mediterranean Diet is just as important as watching the foods you eat. The regimen advocates an active lifestyle and puts a strong emphasis on sharing meals with the whole family, with everyone participating in the conversation. Apart from being a great way to have a meal, this daily gathering can help the whole family to de-stress.

Meals made along the principles of the Mediterranean Diet tend to be tasty, simple, made with just a touch of olive oil, and very colorful, enabling everyone to 'eat a rainbow every day!' For a great cookbook this one gets some great customer reviews check it out here – The Mediterranean Diet Cookbook: A Mediterranean Cookbook with 150 Healthy Mediterranean Diet Recipes

Paleo Diet Vs. Mediterranean Diet Vs. Atkins Diet  – Which one is best?

To kick-start the weight-loss process and lose those first few pounds quickly, the Atkins Diet seems to be the best. For a long term, sustained healthy lifestyle, especially while raising a family to eat well and enjoy their food, the Mediterranean Diet comes out on top. For those who are more active and sporty, able to concentrate on sourcing food very precisely, the Paleo Diet will keep you trim and well nourished.

All of these regimens can translate to a permanent lifestyle change, or you may want to start with the Atkins Diet to drop the weight, and then switch to the Mediterranean Diet to maintain your progress or dip into the Paleo Diet if you feel that you can get by with less carbohydrates in your diet.

All lifestyle changes should include keeping active, performing some activity at least five times per week that raises your heart-rate for half an hour or so. Essentially you need to create a negative calorie total in your body to lose weight, and exercising boosts your metabolism as does eating those foods that encourage your body to work properly. Taking control of your lifestyle is just the first step in making sure your life goes the way you want it to!

I hope this article has given you some useful insights into deciding which diet to follow. Leave a comment below to let us know who wins the Paleo diet Vs. Mediterranean diet Vs. Atkins diet for you.

Paleo Diet Vs. Mediterranean Diet Vs. Atkins Diet – Related articles

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Being Fit and Healthy News Round up – Monday 13th May – Sunday 19th May

fit and healthy news

Exercise News Stories

1) The personal trainers problem with weight loss.  – http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/dr-khandee-ahnaimugan/weight-loss-personal-trainers-biggest-problem_b_3271798.html?utm_hp_ref=uk

2) New Fitness apps, take a sneaky peak of what is coming up  – http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/news/10049558/Fitness-apps-the-best-of-whats-coming-up.html. There is also a video of Apple talking about what the have planned – 

 

3) A new fitness class for muns and babies takes root in New Zealand, Chaeck it out here – http://www.nzherald.co.nz/health/news/article.cfm?c_id=204&objectid=10882605

4) Apple are in on the act of Fitness apps, so up next is Google. Have a look here what they have coming up here – http://venturebeat.com/2013/05/15/android-lcoation-apis/

5) 

6) Here are some cool tips on how to boost your fitness regimen – http://www.heraldsun.com.au/lifestyle/health-fitness/tips-to-boost-your-fitness-regime/story-fni0dgzn-1226643975199

​7) How execise affects you body and how to pick the right workout – http://www.lifehacker.com.au/2013/05/how-exercise-affects-your-body-and-how-to-pick-the-right-workout/

 

Diet and Health News Stories

1) A new smartphone app helps people lose weight by showing them pictures of what they have eaten. This apparently stops people snacking – Fact or fallacy – Read more here – http://www.nzherald.co.nz/health/news/article.cfm?c_id=204&objectid=10883333

2) A new study on how fitness in middle age could reduce heart failure. Want to learn more then find out here – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/16/middle-age-fitness-heart-failure_n_3285425.html

3) Another study this time how keeping fit can help protect you from Cancer, even 20 years later – http://www.nbcnews.com/id/51910901/ns/health-cancer/#.UZdP6JW-oWY

4) Report on how having a good diet can help those with Caeliac Disease, read more here – http://www.health24.com/Medical/Digestive-health/News/Good-diet-helps-people-manage-caeliac-disease-20130513

5) How Walnuts and Walnut oil can help benefit your health, beyond just lowering Cholesterol – http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/260288.php

6) Angelina Jolie revealed this week that she had a double masectomy, learn why here – http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/jolie-medicine-law-article-1.1344186

7) New advance in human cloning, read more about it here – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-22540374

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HIIT Workout

HIIT WorkoutWhat is An HIIT Workout?

Don't laugh, but High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) was born from a method of training known as Fartlekking. This is a Swedish term that in English translates to 'speed play'. An HIIT workout  can be considered a more structured form of training based on the simpler principles of Fartlekking.

It was originally practised as a way for runners to train to 'push it to the limits' at the very last minute in a race. It has since been discovered that in a less aggressive form it can actually be a good way to burn calories, maintain a healthy heart rate and increase metabolism. It could also be practised anywhere at any time and it costs nothing.

HIIT Workout involves taking on the challenge to go flat out for a given time, then resting for a few minutes, then going flat out again. The repetition of going 'flat out, rest, flat out, rest' in sets makes this form of training as effective as it is. Practise makes perfect and the more you practise HIIT the stronger you become.

Being able to perform at your peak at any given time helps you to get through life at a pace that allows you to keep up with the demands placed on your body by your chosen lifestyle.  Think of those times when you've had to run after a bus, your dog or toddler, or to a meeting before it's too late. These are the times when our bodies take serious strain. Although you may make it to that meeting in time, you're feeling worn out before you even enter the office.

For these reasons and for more obvious ones like the fact that HIIT can increase your metabolism, maintain a healthy heart rate and burn calories fast. It has become a popular way to stay fit and healthy.

Of course you shouldn't just spring straight into this form of training. You'll need to have a certain level of fitness first, unless you want to experience a few painful side effects.

An average resting heartbeats between 60 and 100 times a minute, with between 70 and 80 beats per minute considered healthy. When an individual with a standard heart rate suddenly gives it their all their heart rate may go up to as fast as 140 beats per minute. If they're not used to this, you can well imagine how their heart would react to being so rudely awakened. It is best to monitor your heart rate while performing this exercise. Click here for a heart rate monitor watch comparison chart.

Sample High Intensity Interval Training Workout​

Lets take a look at a week-long program that will prepare you for HIIT. This you can do around the area you live or at the gym on a treadmill if it's raining outside. Always start out with a good warm-up session for ten to fifteen minutes before you start any sort of exercise. Make sure you are warm and feeling flexible before you begin your workout.

DAY ONE:

On day one, after stretching, start out with a two-minute walk. Then move into a simple five-minute jog at a pace you are comfortable with. Using your watch, after the fifth minute go on ahead at a faster pace for a full minute (a 'burst minute'), a pace you are still comfortable with. Don't push yourself too hard the first time.

After a 'burst' minute, slow down to a walk for two minutes again. After two minutes pick up the pace to a jog again for five minutes and then after the fifth minute, move on to the 'burst' minute, then back to the walk again.

Do this on the first day in a set of three, ending your set with a two-minute walk. Always stretch to warm down when you're done.

DAY TWO:
Begin by going through your warm-up routine. Start off with your slow two minute walk then move into the five minute jog, then after the fifth minute pick up the pace for the burst minute to almost twice the speed you were running at on day one. Practice this today in a set of three again, ending on the walk and stretch.

DAY THREE:
Today you will do the same as you have done on day one and two, but this time you will pick up the pace of the burst minute to almost maximum speed. Feel your breathing. If you start to feel light-headed you are probably pushing it too far too soon. Complete your set of three and then end on a walk and stretch.

DAY FOUR:
Today you will follow what you did on day three but your set will increase to four, still ending on a walk and stretch.

DAY FIVE:
Today will be the same as day four but you will increase the effort you put into your 'burst' minute. End on a walk and stretch.

DAY SIX:
Today you will complete a set of four, but you will push yourself further than you ever have before during your burst minute. This time you may very well feel a little light-headed. Once again don't over do it to a point where you feel like fainting or vomiting.

DAY SEVEN:
When training it's important to take a day of R n' R, rest and recovery. Use this day to go for a short walk instead, purely to keep your muscles supple.

This program will get you started. The week following this one will involve you increasing the time of your burst. You could increase it to say 80 seconds, instead of 60.

As you move on over time you can increase your burst by 20 seconds each time until you reach 3 minutes. Some athletes go as far as to exert themselves for as long as 10 minutes, but this won't be necessary if you're working with HIIT purely as a way to keep fit and healthy.

Finally, it's always good to keep some form of log or diary when you're in training. Use your log to jot down any experiences you have during a session. This will help you to monitor your training and it should show you when you're ready to give it your all.

I hope this has giving you a good insight into High Intensity Training. As always if you have not trained for a while it is a good idea to check with your medical professional before starting this type of training. You could also talk with a personal trainer at your Gym to workout a personalised program. The key with an HIIT workout is to go into it slowly, building up the intensity as you go over the weeks and months. This will keep you injury free and motivated, so you continue to get the most from this great fat burning training.

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Photo Credit: jeremyhughes via Compfight cc

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Half Marathon Training Plan

Half Marathon Training PlanSo you have done some running before and you are thinking of taking it further and competing in a half marathon. You need a half marathon training plan and in it you need to allow yourself at least ten weeks serious training to prepare for the big race.

Half Marathon Training Plan – Nutrition

The 10 weeks before the race is looming so it is time to begin thinking seriously about nutrition. Try to ensure you are near your ideal body weight and if you haven't been doing any training prior to this point it is a good idea to pay your doctor a visit to just have a check of your fitness to run. This is because whilst it's comforting to have those nice Ambulance men on stand by, you don't want to be the one passed out in the back of one of their vehicles! Plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables is a great way to make sure your body has all the vitamins and minerals it's going to need. This combined with a diet full of whole grains, breads, pastas and potatoes (yay go carbs mad!) you will be making sure that you have a good store of glycogen, which can be converted into the glucose needed for energy. Your diet in the run up to the race needs to be around 70% carbohydrates (this is known as "carb loading") and is necessary because when you hit that wall it's your glycogen stores that will help you over it. Your body will also need a good fat store to rely on later in the race – a mans ideal body fat ratio on race day should be around 15% with a woman's around 25-30%. As long as you have a good, balanced diet there is really no need to up protein intake, as this isn't relied on for energy just for growth and repair of tissue after the race. Click here to read more about Carbohydrates.

Half Marathon Training Plan – Hydration

Along with diet, keeping your body hydrated during half marathon training is vital. You don't want to end up near the end of the race with agonising cramps or suffering the effects of heat stroke and not being able to finish. Get in the good habit of drinking around 16ozs of, preferably, plain water an hour before each run (any later and you may find yourself taking an unwanted "pit stop" at the side of the road a la Paula Radcliffe). During running you also need to keep your hydration levels topped up by taking in a further 6-8ozs of water every 30 minutes or so. And don't be tempted to drink coffee or coke instead of water thinking the caffeine will give you a little boost it will have a negative effect on your hydration. Go here to watch a video all about the importance of drinking water to your health.

Half Marathon Training Plan – Clothing

With your diet and hydration sorted start thinking about what you are going to wear on the day. Your clothing needs to allow your skin to breathe and not rub or irritate you so wear them while your out training to check that they are going to serve their purpose. Also stick to snug (but not tight) clothing, as you don't need a t-shirt that's going to billow up around you if it's a windy day and slow you down. Footwear is obviously also going to be important – trainers or running shoes need to be comfortable and light weight but also need to provide lots of support so again try them out when you're training and don't save them so they're all new and shiny for the big day. Snazzy, spotless trainers may look the part but you may also find yourself limping away from the race with blisters that deserve a gold medal!

To find the right trainers you need to understand your foot type, as this can nake a huge difference in your performance. Go here to read Running Shoes – The Ultimate Guide.

Training For A Half Marathon

You may have already done some long distance running and even competed in a half marathon previously and want to get your time down to, maybe, under two hours. Whatever your experiences don't rush into full intensity training seven days a week – even professional marathon runners have rest days! Allow yourself 2 to 3 of these rest days a week. Then on another 2 or 3 days do an easy to moderate training session of around 20-30 minutes. This way you'll only have one or two days a week to dread (I mean to do a high intensity training session). On this day you'll be training long and hard, beginning with an hour long, high intensity run building this up to two hours by the end of the ten weeks. Don't forget as the weeks go by to add in some hill running using a cross-trainer if you live somewhere flat. It is important to remember that whatever else you do NO RUNNING on the two days before the race.

"Don't do anything more than 10-15 minutes of light jogging before the race" advises Scott Douglas of Runners World. You don't want to deplete those glycogen levels you've worked hard to amass over the last ten weeks. A small jog and some stretching exercises are enough prior to the race. Then go and find yourself a quiet space to calm yourself down and ensure yourself this is going to be a "walk in the park" because any long distance runner will tell you, determination and a will to succeed is one of the surest ways to "go the distance".

This should have given you some great tips and the motivation to start your training for a half marathon. Once you have done a half-marathon a few times you can build up to the full 26-mile marathon. Just think what an accomplishment that would be.

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