Busting 4 Common Myths of Strength Training for Women – PART 1

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In regards to strength training for women there are so many myths floating around it’s not even funny. These myths make it so hard for any woman to know exactly what to do when it comes to exercise, in particular strength training, to get the best results. This is when confusion and disappointment sets in, as their goals are not achieved.

In part 1 of myths of strength training for women we look at the following four topics:

•    Strength training will make you bulk up
•    High repetitions, low weight will work
•    Strength training for women should be different to men
•    You can spot reduce fat

There is a lot of information out their which is not fact at all and leads women in all sorts of directions. Here, we answer all those myths to set you back on track. Strength training is actually pretty straight forward if you know the research backed facts about strength training and get rid of all the false information.

Myth 1: Strength training will make you bulk up
We hear this time and time again; no you will not bulk up and become the muscly hulk that you think weight or strength training will cause you to become. There are specific reasons why females cannot do this and if they are, then they must be taking something to cause them to look that way, it is just not a natural phenomenon amongst females.

So, why is it that females cannot bulk up like our male counterparts? Well, females do not have the testosterone levels that males do. Sometimes, males do not even have the amount of testosterone needed to develop that hulk looking physique we know you are all thinking about.

Testosterone is the male sex hormone responsible for the increase in muscle size and mass in males and as females we only have the smallest amount of this hormone. The female sex hormone is estrogen, which we have heightened levels of and controls the feminine aspects of our bodies, which ensures a lean and toned physique rather than excessively large muscles. Yes we will get strong, but not big!

Lightweights induce muscular endurance where as heavy weights will induce muscular strength, which causes your muscles to get stronger and not necessarily bigger. The stronger your muscles, the higher your metabolism and thus the more calories they will burn. The fat layered on top of your muscles will be burned and reveal your muscles to give you that ‘toned’ look. A pound of muscle tissue takes up less room in your body than a pound of fat tissue does, an of course it is more metabolically active (think calorie furnace) than fat too!

Remember ladies; strength training is great for that lean toned look and you will definitely not become bulky and too muscly. All toned females will participate in some form of strength training to allow their bodies to develop that way. If you too want to get lean and toned, start strength training today!

Myth 2: High repetitions, lightweights will work



Many ladies think that lifting heavy weights will not allow them to loose weight or body fat, rather light weights, low sets with high repetitions is what has been drilled into everyone. Even some personal trainers believe this, which according to research is not right.

By strength training with lightweights for high repetitions you are only training your muscles for endurance and not building your muscles up for strength. Strength is where the calories are burned, as you need more muscle to do so. Heavy weight for low repetitions with build new muscle tissue and increase strength.

Lifting heavy weights for lower repetitions and high sets is much better. As we have mentioned, heavy weights are what will build and develop your muscles to be stronger and more efficient. This means you will have greater muscle mass, higher metabolism, greater capacity for burning calories during and post workout and thus reduce body fat all at the same time. The leaner someone is, the higher their metabolism. Essentially, building and strengthening muscle is important for your metabolism, which will help regulate and manage your weight.

So change your ways and stop fretting about walking past the cardio section and into the weights room. Try to opt for heavy weights not light; unless you are training your muscle t endure something or a long period of time the lightweights are not doing you any good in achieving your weight and fat loss goals. Even if you are a little older, lifting heavy relative to the maximum amount of weight you can lift for one repetition will get you to where you need to be in regards to managing your weight. A little more muscle wont hurt; in fact it will keep you lean, strong and more able to participate in the things you love for longer as you get older! Not a bad reason to lift heavier than usual.
Myth 3: Strength training for women should be different to Men

Again, the answer is no. There is no reason as to why female’s strength training should be any different to males. That ladies, is a definite myth. Yes, we may not have the ability to lift as much in some cases but it does not mean the exercises we use to strengthen and build our muscles should be any different. Think lunges, squats, overhead presses, deadlifts, push-ups, pull-ups and many more. Men can do these and so can women. While males will quite possibly do these types of exercises to get bigger muscles, females can do them too but instead develop lean, dense, tight and toned muscles to get that look most females are looking for.

Again, those sex hormones testosterone and estrogen play a big role in how the male and female body responds to strength exercises. Yes there are women specific programs, but that is only to do with the small programing differences needed for women to get he best results more efficiently, not necessarily in the types of exercises.

It is all about the woman’s goals whilst training in the gym, doing heavy lifts may be appropriate for eth female involved and if it is the best way to achieve that goal then by all means she should lift heavy and utilise the same exercises that a man might. Its not about your sex or gender, it is about your goals.

Women have just as much of a right as men do to be in the weights rooms. Unfortunately it is common for men to dominate this area yet so many women can benefit from the effects of strength training. So, move over guys the ladies are coming through!

Myth 4: You can spot reduce fat

I am sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but unfortunately not ladies, spot reducing is impossible. Fat will deposit where it wants to deposit and all you can do is eat and exercise correctly and hope that the fat from those areas will be burnt, as fat storage around the body is genetically predisposed. Your genetics may be programed to store fat in certain areas first and thus when loosing fat, come off other areas first, say arms, then legs, them stomach, then chest and then your bottom. But everyone is different and this order of where fat is lost or gained first varies. No amount of targeted exercise will alter how your fat disappears.

What you can do to help yourself is eat well and strength train to increase muscular toning and reduce fat by recruiting lots of muscles and burning more calories.

Your diet and eating habits contribute 80 – 90% of your fat loss and thus focusing on what you are eating an when if an important factor. In combination with strength training you will see the best results.

By increasing your muscle mass you will have a leaner more toned looking physique in the particular areas you’re looking to target. With more muscle comes an increased metabolism, which will influence the burning of fat, which can aid in reducing whole body fat percentage, but not target specific areas. The best types of exercises to induce this effect are compound exercise. Compound exercises are those that utilise the whole body as they activate major muscle groups as well as the smaller stabilizing muscles.

Four common myths on strength training for women, BUSTED! Ditch the myths and follow the facts, and you should notice a difference in how your body responds. Make sure you read part two of myths of strength training for women answered to find out more on what other information you have been told that is not fact but fiction and ruining your success.

Fitting Fitness and Exercise Into a Very Busy Schedule

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You have a million appointments and things to do. You feel as if you can’t possibly fit any more into the day than you are already. You work hard to stay organized and to get things done, but yet you know that you need to make fitness a priority. So how do you do it? How do you try to squeeze in exercise time when you can barely tell what end is up? How can you make fitness a priority when you have so many other things to do?

The reality of the situation is that you must make this a habit. This is about lifestyle change and that means that this becomes an inherent part of your life, not just a short term solution to fix a problem such as weight loss. You have to change the way that you view exercise first if you want to get it to become an important part of your life. Once you enjoy it and look at it as a positive thing rather than a chore, you will get a lot further.

You might feel like between work commitments, family and social events you simply have no time for exercising, but you might be surprised at how easy this transition can be. The more prepared you are to take on this task, the easier it will become. Try to focus on the positive outcomes rather than making this about a chore. If you can get to that point and really start to see results in terms of better health, a changing body, and reaching your goals then you will be much more likely to stick with it.

As you work to embrace fitness and make it a pivotal part of your life, here are some effective ways to do so. It may not be as hard as you might think, and in the end you are in charge of creating a fitness routine that works well for you and gets you to where you want to be.

  • Schedule your workouts like any other appointments: If you make this an appointment like any other, then you are going to stick to it. You probably aren’t in the habit of skipping doctor’s appointment or client meetings, and so if you approach this as another appointment you are not going to skip it. This is on the calendar and this is something you are committed to and then the rest will follow until you hit the gym without ever giving it a second thought.

 

  • Consider getting in exercise time early in the morning or late at night: Throughout the course of your day you likely handle a lot at work and a lot at home—and therefore you may need to extend your day a bit. Consider waking up an hour early or stay up an hour later to get the workout in. Never cut yourself short on sleep but perhaps give up something else so that you can get in a workout a few times a week. Most of us tend to think of this as prime time for relaxing, but a workout can give you so much more and it can make the most out of your day.

 

  • Try to squeeze in some activity throughout your day whenever possible: It may be that you take the stairs to move throughout your building rather than ride the elevator. It may be that you park further away from the building so that you are forced to get in some activity. Maybe you take a few small breaks throughout the day to help you to get in a power walk or even lift some weights if they are available to you. It’s quite amazing what a few minutes here and there throughout your day can help you to accomplish.

 

  • Set goals to help you to make this your new habit: If you know that you want to be to a certain weight or point in your life by a certain date, then set yourself up for this. Set goals to help pave the way towards what you are doing all of this for. Set short term and tangible goals to help you to stay focused, and then reward yourself when you reach them to stay motivated. This will help you to find time no matter what else you have going on, and you will love how inspired you feel to stick to the plan.

Accept this as your new norm and don’t let yourself waiver, even if times get tough. You will love how great you feel when exercise is an inherent part of your life. It may take some effort on your part to squeeze in the exercise, but it’s so worth it in the end. Stay focused, embrace this as a positive part of your life rather than a chore, and find the time necessary to make fitness a wonderful part of your health and well being.

If you’d like to talk to Chad about Learning how you can fit a simple, fast and effective exercise program into your lifestyle Click Here

Do You Look Bloated? Avoid These 3 Foods to Beat the Bloat

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Holiday pictures are right around those corner….those office Christmas parties and New Year’s Eve celebration photos just waiting to be snapped.

I know you don’t want to look bloated, so I am going to give you 3 foods to avoid, and 3 foods to eat instead.

And besides holiday temptations, around the holidays people tend to be more stressed out anyways due to family obligations and end of the year deadlines and eat things that cause them to bloat…and being bloated drains your energy.

So here are 3 foods to avoid so you can keep your energy up, and keep a double chin and bloated belly at bay.

Belly Bloaters:

1. Frozen Dinners: Sodium is usually added to most frozen dinners to increase shelf life and boost flavor, but they usually have WAY too much sodium for a single serving and they can cause you to retain water and feel bloated.

2. Beer: Beer is carbonated, so it will bloat your belly….and research has shown that alcohol can cause an overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine, which also causes belly inflation.

3. Diet Soft Drinks: Besides being carbonated like beers, diet soft drinks are full of artificial sweeteners that your body has a lot of difficulty digesting, which causes even more bloating.

Try to avoid frozen dinners, beer, and diet soft drinks for the month of December…and save room for all of the delicious foods that will be waiting for you during the holiday parties and family dinners.

Here are some things to eat instead:

Bloat Beaters:

1. Bananas: Bananas are packed with potassium, which acts as an antidote to the bloating effects of sodium. If you had some really salty food and are feeling gassy and bloated, grab a banana and watch the bloat disappear.

2. Peppermint: Peppermint has been shown in studies to help fight off cramping and gas and is a great stomach soother. The next time you are feeling gassy or have an upset tummy, make yourself a cup of peppermint tea. It’s great for these cold winter months also.

3. Cucumber: Cucumbers are perhaps the best bloat beaters out there because they contain quercetin, which reduces swelling and is a great anti-inflammatory. Make a simple cucumber salad or cut up some cucumber pieces and add it to a glass of water for a quick and refreshing drink.

Hope you found these tips useful….my favorite belly bloat trick is the one I mentioned above…adding cucumber pieces to water.

I like to take a big bottle of water with me everywhere I go, and adding cucumber gives it a delicious flavor and I find myself drinking more water because of it.

What You Should Eat To Improve Thyroid Health

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this article has been taken from MindBodyGreen.com written by Dana James, you can read the original article here

You knew you had a thyroid issue. It just took your labs a couple of years to catch up. If you were lucky, you were prescribed magic pills and you shed your excess weight, your energy bounced back, your bowel movements became regular, and your bouncy shining hair landed you in a Pantene commercial.

If you weren’t so lucky, the pills didn’t work. You felt like a frumpy, fatigued and constipated version of yourself. Caffeine and sugar became your energy crutch.

Then some glowing beauty arrived. She handed you a green juice with kale, spinach, cucumber, ginger and lime. You sucked up this godlike elixir feeling it re-energize every cell in your body. Green juices became a daily practice. You felt invigorated.

You started reading blogs about food and your thyroid. Then you saw it: don’t eat raw cruciferous vegetables if you have a hypothyroidism. WHAT? I mean, what was in your green juice? Raw cruciferous vegetables. How could these babies be bad for your thyroid? They were making you feel so good.

But as you continue reading, you see contradictions. Eat broccoli, kale and spinach to help boost glutathione levels to restore thyroid function. You’re confused. You push the green juice away in disgust! You eat a gluten-filled sandwich because you feel sorry for yourself and the blogs told you not to eat gluten, but you just don’t know anymore!

As a nutritionist and a woman who reversed her own sub-clinical thyroid condition in three months, I’d like you to have a broader picture of food and your thyroid.

Here’s what to eat (and why) to improve your thyroid function:

1. Cruciferous vegetables.

Eat them raw, cooked or juiced. I know you’ve been advised not to eat them raw, but doesn’t it strike you as strange that plant foods with the richest source of cancer-preventing phytonutrients would inhibit thyroid function? It did to me. If this was true, what was the mechanism behind it and where was the research on humans?

Back in the 1950’s, scientists questioned if certain foods had goitrogenic properties, which is the ability to produce a goiter because they suppressed thyroid function. Cruciferous vegetables were implicated because their raw glucosinolates (the precise phytonutrients that are cancer protective) might inhibit the intake of iodine. Might inhibit the intake of iodine? If that’s the reason, you’re missing out on a whole host of benefits from eating cruciferous vegetables on the possibility that they might knock out iodine. The far more sensible approach is to ensure sufficient iodine levels (see point 3).

In terms of human research, studies suggesting a strong link between cruciferous vegetables and thyroid disease are limited. Type “raw cruciferous vegetables” and “thyroid” into the ncbi database and you’ll find one incident from 1945 when a Chinese woman who ate 3.3 pounds of raw bok choy daily for several months and suffered myxedema. The vast majority of the research supports the consumption of cruciferous vegetables to prevent thyroid cancer.

Ask questions any time plant-based food is implicated in a negative health condition. Ask how it works and where the research on humans is, then make your decision.

2. Brazil nuts.

These are the richest dietary source of selenium, which is essential in converting thyroxine to its active form, T3. Sometimes people with Hashimoto’s are advised to avoid selenium. You need selenium for glutathione production to help decrease thyroid antibodies. Snack on three Brazil nuts per day.

3. Sea vegetables.

Sea vegetables are rich in iodine. Iodine attaches to tyrosine (an amino acid) to form thyroxine. If you have insufficient levels of iodine, it becomes a rate-limiting step in the production of thyroid hormones and you’ll inhibit your thyroid function. Snack on nori dusted with sea salt, make nori wraps filled with avocado, wild salmon, sweet potato, sprouts and mache, add hijiki to a kale and pumpkin seed salad, eat wakame in a miso soup or add dulse to a butternut squash soup.

4. Chlorophyll.

Drink a shot of chlorophyll upon waking to help boost energy levels and remove heavy metals that may be inhibiting thyroid function.

5. Maca.

Helps to balance the hypothalamus and pituitary, which release TRH (thyroid-releasing hormone) and TSH respectively. These hormones regulate thyroxine levels. Maca also contains zinc, B vitamins and iron, which are all required for optimal thyroid production.

6. No gluten.

If you have Hashimoto’s, you must avoid gluten, because it can initiate thyroid antibody production. I’ve seen TPO levels drop from the 1000s to less than 30 just from removing gluten.

7. No soy protein isolate.

While the research on fermented soy and thyroid function is mixed, soy protein isolate should be avoided. This means no junky soy foods like soy cheese, soy yogurt, energy bars with soy protein isolate, soy burgers and soy-based “meats.”

Eat clean and smart, take the right supplements, manage your stress levels and avoid environmental toxins, and you’ll have the ability to potentially reverse your thyroid condition.

To understand more about your thyroid, I recommend reading Dr. Amy Myers’ post on Ten Signs You Have A Thyroid Problem.