Saturday, September 30, 2006

New Effective Way to Lose Weight

A study from Brown University School of Medicine revealed that dieters who received interactive guidance on the Web lost an average of nine pounds in three months and kept it off for another three months. This is three times as much weight loss as those who didn't go online to lose. This could be great news for the 45 percent of American women and the 25 percent of American men who are currently on a diet.

Online diets are perfect for people who don't have enough time in the day to join other weight-loss programs like Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig. And although most online diet sites require a monthly or yearly fee (generally between $50 and $100 for an entire year), they are still reasonably priced when you consider the cost of joining a non-Web-based weight-loss program or going to a nutritionist. In addition, because 95 percent of dieters will regain the lost weight within one to five years of going on a diet, individuals who try out cyber dieting have more than likely already attempted numerous diets like Weight Watchers or diets one can find in books, like "The Zone" or "Dr. Atkin's Diet Revolution." If they weren't successful on other diets the Internet might be just the thing that keeps them on track.

According to the Brown University study, the people who received online help filled out personal profiles or surveys, created online diaries to record their food consumption and physical activity. They were also given access to online bulletin boards so that they could share their thoughts and experiences with other participants.

An interesting note to point out: The dieters who received personal feedback and therapist or diet-expert support, showed greater amounts of weight loss than the participants who didn't have feedback. Some experts think that the virtual support groups are the key. Although online diets can be pretty simple and easy to follow, there is always a need to stay committed and motivated. With bulletin boards and round-the-clock help, the help is there when the dieter needs it.

Online diet programs also give users a great deal of privacy, so for people who are insecure about the amount of weight they need to lose or go into a panic when they know they have to step onto a scale at a face-to-face dieters' meeting, they might find dieting on the Web to be the ticket for keeping the diet personal and private. The Internet is also incredibly convenient - it's open 24/7! So a world of nutritional information, facts and advice, always is available.

Another huge advantage to online dieting is that there are diets ranging from high-protein, vegetarian, and because there are so many online diets to chose from, it's almost a given that any one specific person will find a diet that fits his or her own needs.

Although most of the data collected on online dieting is new, it seems like virtual dieting itself is here to stay. And with the positive results continuing to poor in, online dieting might be the answer all of us perfect-body seekers are looking for!

Fitness Over 40 and Beating Flab

Battling the bulge? It seems to get harder as we get older. The truth is most people just become less active as they age and eat more calories. The result: bigger bellies and flabbier bodies. Can you fight it? Can you keep the fat from piling on no matter how many birthdays pass by?


Women especially lose sight of what it really takes to lose body fat and tone muscles. They constantly try new diets. They routinely take pills, and they relentlessly cut calories-always looking for that one diet, eating plan or fitness fad to lose unwanted flab on the abdomen and arms.

Unfortunately, most women in their quest for a leaner, trimmer body actually make themselves a better fat-storer and highly inefficient calorie burner.

The solution? Weight training.

Just imagine your life without low-calorie dieting, taking pills and being consumed with a flatter stomach or trimmer thighs. Wouldn't it be great? It can be. You just have to pick up some weights or use machines either at home or in the gym, two to three times a week.

You see, as we age we lose muscle, and because we become less active and eat more calories, the fat builds up. So to lose the fat and put muscle back on your body, you have to challenge the muscle with a load. Weight training is the way.

Now this doesn't mean you have to spend hours in the gym or hours with your equipment at home. But it does mean you have to spend at least 30 to 40 minutes working out with weights, two to three times a week. Check out videos. Tune into ESPN fitness shows. Read magazines. Consult a fitness trainer or hire one. There are basic routines for working the major muscles groups that will strengthen and tone your body. By building muscle you increase the calorie burning.

A pound of fat burns two calories. A pound of muscle burns 35 to 50 calories. Now imagine eating more because you're a better fat burner.

So what do you do?

Perform two or three sets of 10-15 repetitions for each body part; workout on alternating days. Never work the same muscle group two days in a row. Your muscles need recovery time. So perform your weight workout Monday, Wednesday and Friday or Tuesday and Thursday or however it fits your lifestyle. The key is to be consistent, and this isn't something you do for a few weeks. It takes months to change your body.

Throw away the scale. It is not the best indication of how much fat or muscle you have on your body. More muscle on your body may mean for you a higher number on the scale. Take your measurements and have your body fat tested. But rest assured, as a woman you won't bulk up unless you're spending hours in the gym everyday and you are genetically predisposed to more muscle mass.

So, if you want to lose body fat, tone up, get stronger and look better in your clothes, you need to weight train. Stay consistent. Keep it up. You will win the battle of the bulge, once and for all.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Cardio: The Lighter Side of Running

The leaves are falling off the trees, and if that is not the most obvious sign of the passing of summer, I am not certain how else to identify autumn. All is not lost, of course, and this is in fact one of the best times to run, I think.

Still, all those summer mornings which I spent heaving semi-clear suburban air as I pounded the pavement on warm, soothing mornings are but a memory for another year. Now, as I travel those same sidewalks each morning, I see very different sights, such as Halloween and Thanksgiving decorations, wilting flowers, bags of clippings, and most importantly, piles of leaves raked together by children. I can remember spending many an hour raking when I was little, trying to make the largest and widest pile that I could make, and all this work was for the sole purpose of jumping into it and feeling the good feeling of being a child buried three feet under crinkly autumn leaves. I was at peace with myself within these moments, and I enjoyed them immensely.

Almost fifteen years later, I am very proud to see that today's kids have taken up where I left off; they pile massive quantities of leaves. I thought I would be a mischievous runner and refamiliarize myself with the favorite activity of past Octobers. Most of the week, the majority of my run is spent in quiet residential blocks where many large trees still retain their majesty and, of course, their many leaves. There is one street nearby that has a particularly high density of large oaks, walnuts and maples, and it happens to be one of my most beautiful running routes.

Each fall, the trees become bare, but the streets become a sea of leaves, and the sidewalks a small mountain range of collected piles. This year, I thought I would rejoin my present with my past and go for another jump through the leaves. I set everything up perfectly in my mind, even going so far as to plan where I would park and which streets I would follow so that the leaves would be the grand finale of a great run.

When I got to the street, all the piles were there in formations familiar to my childhood, even though I grew up in a town miles away. All of them were inviting targets. I ran backwards several dozen meters in fact, just so that I could get up enough speed to get some really good jumps into my nice little destructive barrage, and once I reached a point where I felt comfortable starting from, I was off. When I came barreling into the first pile, there was a sensation unlike anything else I had felt in ages. I felt seven again, and in those seconds, weeks of memories returned to me.

The leaves flew up and fell back on me, I was sitting on the ground in the midst of the multi-colored haze, and I was smiling a rather large smile. I could have sat there for hours, yet there were several more leaf piles to torment. I was sure that people would blame it on the wind, for the leaf piles weren't my own. I didn't even know most of the people on the street, but I was experiencing way too much nostalgia to think as clear as I normally do.

The second pile was about twice as large and several hundred feet away. I got up, brushed myself off and stretched some, just to ensure that I could put 100% of Lorne into his next act of running mischief. I started slow, but gained speed at a steady pace so that I would be going full steam when I got to the pile. Seconds later, I was there and I jumped. It seemed that time stood still, as I was in the air heading for the leaves.

It was at this moment that I heard words which still ring out as clear as they did when I hit the ground: "What are you doing, sir?"

I was red-faced. This was perhaps the most embarrassing and awkward moment for me in recent memory, and being an experienced performer, I have had many embarrassing and awkward moments. The woman standing before me, looked at me as more of a pathetic figure than someone worth any amount of ire or anything even remotely resembling anger. I sat there, in her leaf pile, trying to compose a very succinct but cute way of explaining my presence in her yard. I stood up, calmly cleaned myself, and then proceeded to tell her how this was something I always loved to do when I was little and the temptation was simply too much and I had to do this once more for old times' sake and I would be glad to rake it back.

It was then that I heard words, which were said through laughing, so I knew that I probably did sound like a very pathetic person, even for a twenty-something freelance writer.

I heard : "Just run."

I ran off, refraining from risking the wrath of other people who might have more stringent objections to the presence of a runner in their leaves. I actually drove home and, before I started my several hours of writing for the day, tried to ascertain if there were enough leaves to make a pile that I could use for my own purposes.

So far, our trees have kept their leaves, but I will certainly be found outside soon, burying myself in the red and yellow mountains, which form beneath our large maple trees. The next day, I ran down another street that was full of leaves, but nobody had taken the time to rake them up. No matter. I reached down, scooped up a handful of fine walnut leaves, and threw them in the air as I ran, pretending there was a stream of debris behind me, just to make me appear I was going a little faster.

People drove by, watching this pathetic runner once more defy all social constraints and defy the normal perception of civilized running, but all I saw was a seven year-old Lorne having immense fun at the age of twenty-two.

I often refer to the runs that I take in the fall as "running into the rainbow," for on those breezy and cool days, leaves blow off trees and into your face and you really do feel as if you're running into a rainbow. That 's how it really feels to me, and I suppose it will have to substitute it for physically jumping into leaf piles lest I be found raking up leaves as part of a community service agreement made by the lawyers of people who REALLY didn't enjoy my presence in their leaves.

Therefore, I will make another all-important step in growing up; not trespassing for childlike fun during my runs. I'll have to have better reasons from now on, I suppose.