Friday, September 26, 2008

Most Stop Attending Gym After a Few Months from Sign Up

Unfortunately most people who sign up for gym membership stop attending after a few months having become disheartened when the firmer body they had been hoping for fails to materialize.

However most people don't get the results they want because they don't do the right kind of exercise or put enough effort into the workout.

Experts agree that 30 minutes of cumulative exercise a day, such as walking or gardening, will help you from becoming obese and reduce the risk of heart disease. But if you want to slim and strengthen your body shape, however, you have to be prepared to sweat a bit.

Aerobic exercise, such as rowing, jogging or swimming, pushes up the heart rate, and is the best way to burn calories. The main muscle you're interested in exercising is the heart and your heart rate during your workout relates directly to the number of calories you are burning.

Great looking abdominal and pectoral muscles, abs and pecs, aren't worth much if your heart isn't strong. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends exercising three to five times a week for 20 to 60 minutes, at 60 to 90 per cent of your body’s maximum capacity.

Aerobic exercise improves the efficiency of the cardiovascular system and how the body uses oxygen. Over time, your metabolic rate will be boosted and you'll start to see changes in your body shape.

An American study has proved that exercise alone aids weight loss in middle-age men. A report showed that the metabolic rate of middle-aged men who strength-trained three days a week for 12 weeks rose by 15 per cent, and they shed an average 4 pounds of fat without dieting.

The first step for absolute beginners is to get a clean bill of health. See your doctor and check your not putting yourself at risk by attending a gym.

Finding the time is a drawback for many people, but there’s ways to incorporate exercise into your daily routine. Don't forget that the mandatory 30 minutes a day can be split up so your exercise requirements can be smoothly fitted into your working day.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Aspartame: The Bitter Truth About a Sweetener

Watch out if you are using a sugar substitute! Chances are that it may contain Aspartame, an artificial sweetener that is used worldwide by diabetics as well as by weight watchers. It is a no-caloric sweetener and is 200 times as sweet as sugar. Aspartame is a technical name for the brand names, Equal, Nutrasweet and Spoonful. Believe it or not, aspartame is, by far, the most dangerous substance that is added to foods. It accounts for over 75 per cent of adverse reaction to food additives as per the US Food and Drug Administration.

The documented symptoms caused by aspartame include: headache/migraines, nausea, dizziness, muscle spasms, numbness, weight gain, depression, rashes, fatigue, irritability, vision problems, hearing problems, heart palpitations, breathing problems, anxiety attacks, slurred speech, loss of taste, memory loss and joint pains.

Aspartame is made up of three chemicals: aspartic acid, phenylalanine and methanol. The three chemicals individually contribute in making aspartame a chemical poison.

Aspartic acid

Aspartic acid is an amino acid. It basically has a neurological effect, that is it affects the brain. Intake of aspartic acid raises the concentration of neurotransmitters aspartate and glutamate. An excess of aspartate and glutamate results in killing of brain cells. A large number of cells are killed before any clinical symptoms appear. The symptoms include headaches, nausea, and abdominal pains, sleep problems, vision problems and asthmatic attacks.


Phenylalanine is an amino acid found in the brain. Ingesting aspartame leads to high levels of phenylalanine in the brain. The excess of this amino acid leads to emotional disorders such as depression.


Methanol is a deadly poison. In the normal process methanol is gradually absorbed at a slow pace but when free methanol is ingested the absorption process is speeded up. Methanol poisoning results in gastrointestinal disturbances, weakness, chills, blurring of vision and blindness.

What is Aspartame found in?

Instant breakfasts, breath mints, sugar free chewing gums, coffee beverages, frozen desserts, juice beverages, soft drinks, tea beverages, instant tea and coffee and all low calorie foods. Though aspartame results in the above-mentioned symptoms, its effects are still being investigated. In fact, it is still widely used. Aspartame can be used in small quantities. However, using it to make low calorie dishes or as a substitute for sugar should be strictly avoided.

There is an enormous population of people suffering from symptoms contributed by aspartame, without being aware of it. Often you attribute things other than aspartame for these symptoms. You tend to forget that you have been stuffing your system with this sweetener that is slowly but steadily poisoning you. Hopefully, this article would have increased your awareness level, since aspartame-linked diseases are not reported on the front page like an airplane crash.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Does Swimming Help lose Weight?

If you want to get fit and don't know how try swimming. There's hardly a better sport that can build your body, soothe your mind, regulate breathing and stimulate circulation better than swimming and that too without putting extra stress on the joints. It's an ideal exercise for just about everyone. You can achieve many things from cardiovascular fitness, flexibility to strengthening your muscles.

Effective stress buster
How do most executives de-stress after a long day's work? By taking a swim. Yes, swimming is a great way to unwind and let your tensions float away. It is believed that water has a positive and soothing effect on the human body since water makes up 60 per cent of our bodies. Ever tried floating in the pool? It is surely one of the great pleasures of life. The buoyancy and soothing qualities help your muscles relax and ease away the tensions.

Swim to lose weight
If you are specifically looking to lose weight through swimming it is a highly debatable issue. According to some studies, swimming is not a good activity if you want to burn calories while others hold that swimming can help in losing weight. Many researchers believe that swimming can actually make you fat! This school argues that swimming may actually slow down fat loss in some people because of the natural and innate survival mechanism found in the human body. According to them since fat helps in floating and saves from drowning, it is difficult to lose fat in water.

Further, that layer of fat provides protection against hypothermia in cold water. There are other theories too, which do not support swimming as a good weight loss exercise. According to these theories, swimming does not provide the same calorie-burning effect as land-based aerobics because calorie burning is a complex mechanism that can get affected by many factors like your weight, the intensity and speed of your motion, and the resistance created by moving your body through space and against gravity. These factors change considerably in water and thus hamper the weight loss process.

The other side of the picture is that swimming can actually help in weight reduction. Regular swimmers develop long lean muscles that are incredible fat-burning machines and further toned muscles produce an overall slimming effect. This school also believes that swimming, like all aerobics, contribute to weight loss and has a calorie-burning potential of 350-420 calories per hour.

Thus the debate continues. However what is irrefutable is the fact that swimming is a complete fitness activity that treats the mind, body and soul. So for all you water babies, dive now!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Pedaling For Fitness

Cycling is fun but it's a good way to get fit also. A good cardiovascular workout, riding a bike helps you burn more calories. However the best part no doubt is the total convenience that cycling offers: you can do it anytime, anywhere, on any surface and whatever speed you like.

Your workout

Cycling is a good calorie burning exercise. In fact if you incorporate cycling into your daily routine, you can actually lose all that extra mass in very little time. Besides, cycling is an excellent exercise for your lower body as it strengthens almost all the muscles and shapes your thighs and calves in particular. Regular cycling can help protect from many heart complications. It is a perfect aerobic exercise as it is good for the lungs and enhances the breathing and respiratory systems. What's more the benefits of fitness are all available to the biker whether on a simple street or a hilly road. Even the speed can be adjusted from very slow to moderate to brisk.

Cycling's Three Basics

You cam max your cycling by basically three ways Increase endurance by riding for long distances, increase flexibility and speed by riding fast, and increase power by pulling heavy loads or pulling up and down the hill.

Endurance: If endurance is what you are looking for then ride as far as you can. Easy pedaling on flat roads is the best way to enhance endurance. However the trick lies in increasing the distance slowly every day. Just select some tree or lamp-post and keep going to the next one and the one after that day by day. This way you will keep increasing the distance without overburdening your legs.

Speed: You can increase your speed as well. Cycling offers a good opportunity for interval training (in which you work out at maximum effort for a set period of time, then minimize the effort and then repeat the same procedure for a specific number of times), which is basically an aerobics concept but works well in cycling also. While you can increase your speed by hard pedaling for a few seconds (20-30 seconds at first and then gradually increase), slow down for the next few and then stop pedaling. Repeat this pattern for 4-5 times and you have the perfect exercise. This will not only make you suppler but also keep injuries at bay. If you continue this alternate pattern of pedaling and resting for an hour you will actually get good interval training in the end. What will be even better is if you manage to increase the speed limit for each pedaling phase you do to extract more out of the schedule.

Power: Building power is all about building muscles. To build muscles you can simply pull heavy loads or use lower gears. Even riding on a hilly stretch of road will give you a challenging uphill track to ride on.

Follow these three basic principles of increasing strength, endurance and flexibility and you will be able to extract the most from your cycling routine. And always remember to keep your eyes on the road and be aware of the surroundings just as if you were driving a car.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Wheightloss: Glycemic Index

Have you ever wondered why you have different reactions to different foods? Your blood sugar starts rising after you have consumed carrots but it remains normal after you have eaten pulses. The blood sugar is raised to variable extent by different carbohydrates. Therefore before deciding on what to eat it is very important to know the effect of various foods on the blood sugar levels.

What is Glycemic Index?

You need to be aware of which foods enter the blood stream rapidly and which foods enter at a slower pace. The reason is that the faster the carbohydrates enter the blood stream; the more blood sugar is raised. The Glycemic index is a precise measure of this. It tells you how a given food affects blood sugar. The Glycemic index is the extent of rise in blood sugar in response to a food in comparison with the response to the equivalent amount of glucose.

Diabetics need to stabilize blood sugar. As a result of this, insulin is released at a steady rate in to the blood. This helps further to control the blood sugar rise. In a diabetic condition sugar needs to be absorbed more slowly and in a steady manner in the blood stream. Eating the foods that enter the blood stream at a slower pace compared to foods that enter blood stream rapidly can do this. This is the role of the Glycemic index as it measures how fast a food enters the blood stream.

Carbohydrates and Glycemic Index

The concept of the Glycemic index is only about the foods rich in carbohydrates. Foods rich in fats or protein do not cause a rise in your blood sugar. You still think that being a diabetic you should take precaution to avoid table sugar but the Glycemic index shows that even some of the complex carbohydrates like baked potato should be avoided as they can be worse. Commonly consumed channa dal is another surprise. This dal has an extremely low Glycemic index. Scientists have measured the Glycemic index of about 300 carbohydrate foods. The key to control your blood sugar is to eat those foods with high Glycemic index in controlled amounts.

However, the Glycemic index should not be the only criterion to decide what to eat. It is a measure of quality and not quantity. Factors such as variety, cooking and processing may affect a food's Glycemic index. This is particularly so for foods like banana, rice and potatoes. Research has shown that the Glycemic index of a raw banana is lower than that of ripe banana.

So the next time you eat some starchy food, remember to use the Glycemic Index.

Low GI foods Medium GI foods High GI foods
Pearled barley-25 Sponge cake-46 Doughnuts-76
Low fat yogurt-14 Cheese pizza-60 Waffles-76
Skimmed milk-32 Orange cordial-68 Rice pasta-92
Full fat milk-27 White bread -71 Baked potato-85
Cherries-22 Wheat biscuit-70 Dates-103
Soyabeans-18 Puffed wheat-74 Glucose-96
Lentils-25 Rice-58 Pumpkin-75
Kidneybeans-19 Millet-71
Grapefruit-25 Ice-cream-71
Apple-38 Banana-54
Plum-39 Mango-56
Peanuts-15 Watermelon-72
Peas-22 Sweet potato-54
Channa dal-8 Semolina-62
Split moong dal-38 Honey-58

Top 10 Dieting Myths

All of us have tried losing weight at some point or the other. And the most commonly used method to shed those sticky pounds is dieting. Many believe that simply by starving or eating less, avoiding sugars or oily food is the key to a slimmer self. However, that is not entirely true. In fact, dieting and dieters have given rise to a number of myths. If you too believe in some dieting myths, here is your chance to clear them up.

Myth No 1: Dieting means stop eating all favorite foods
Fact: Dieting means reducing your total food intake. However, this can be accompanied by increased intake of high fibre foods such as plain salads so that you never remain hungry.

Myth No 2: While dieting, never eat in between meals
Fact: You should in fact have smaller main meals and go in for low calorie munches such as cucumbers, carrots, clear soups etc as fillers in between. This way you will be able to control your intake at the main meals and hence eat less.

Myth No 3: Carbohydrates such as bread make you fat
Fact: Carbohydrates are the foundation to any diet. A look at the food pyramid clearly shows that the carbohydrates stand right at the base of the pyramid. The recommended allowance for carbohydrates varies between six to eleven servings per day. So it is the quantity that matters. It is not the carbohydrates but the accompaniments with the carbohydrates that make you fat.

Myth No 4: All salads are diet foods
Fact: It is true that plain green salads without any added ingredients is good for dieters as it is rich in fibre, which is important in controlling weight. However, this is not true for all salads. Salads with high fat salad dressings in fact add to the weight due to the high fat content.

Myth No 5: Any amount of fat free food can be taken freely
Fact: Fat free foods does not imply calorie free. All foods do have some calorie content. So if you continue indulging on fat free foods, the calories will keep getting accumulated. Hence you do not lose weight.

Myth No 6: Eat the maximum at dinnertime
Fact: It should be the opposite. You should be eating the least at dinnertime. This is because your body is not able to completely utilise the meal eaten during dinner. Hence you should try and eat the maximum before the evening and only go in for small meals at night.

Myth No 7: Indulge in grilled foods when eating out
Fact: Restaurants can add any amount of fat and other ingredients to sell their products. So if you eat a plate of grilled vegetables you might be mistaken. It just might be loaded with fat to make it tasty and look appealing. So, check before indulging.

Myth No 8: Fat is the only thing that matters
Fact: No food is calorie free. So along with fat, calories also have to be taken into account. It is a fact that the calories from all foods keep getting accumulated. The only thing to remember is that fat gives more calories compared to other foods and that is why its intake should be reduced.

Myth No 9: Brown sugar is better than white sugar
Fact: There is no difference between the two types of sugars in terms of nutrition. Both add on to the calories and are best avoided or restricted while on a diet.

Myth No 10: Skipping meals help in losing weight
Fact: There is a gap of about 10 hours between dinner and breakfast the next morning. During this phase your body has been on a fast and needs fuel. If you don't eat in the morning, you cover up for it in the next meal and hence eat more.

If you know of any dieting myths which are not mentioned here, why don't you share it with us? Remember you will lose weight only if you diet the healthy way.