Monday, December 15, 2014

Holiday-Proof Fat Loss Hacks

It’s holiday fat gain season! After all, they don’t call it the “festive fifteen” for nothing! It’s a time when nearly everyone packs on a few pounds. But what if, instead of loosening your belt another notch this year, you use these 5 Holiday-Proof Fat Loss Hacks to avoid putting on a single pound?

Believe it or not, these hacks just might result in a few pounds lost before New Year’s…

Holiday-Proof Fat Loss Hack #1: Eat a sensible meal before the party.
It goes without saying that you should never arrive at parties in a ravenous hunger. I realize that this goes against the popular trend of starving yourself before a party, but that’s exactly why most people gain weight.

With your hunger in check, you’ll have the clarity to pick and choose the treats that you really want, rather than stuffing yourself with everything in sight.

Holiday-Proof Fat Loss Hack #2: Bring a healthy dish to share.
Even if the party that you’re going to isn’t a potluck—hostess gifts are thoughtful, and always appreciated. Plus, you’ll have brought a healthy option everyone can enjoy.

A roasted veggie salad, a hummus platter, or an arrangement of fresh fruit are all delicious, healthy dishes that are filled with fiber and would be a welcome addition to any holiday menu.

Holiday-Proof Fat Loss Hack #3: Never drink calories.
This one’s tough this time of year, but do you realize how quickly calories add up when you’re slurping them out of a cup? Alcoholic beverages and sweet holiday drinks are simply packed with calories. These calories don’t take up much room in your stomach so you’re left wide open for even more calories.

Your best strategy is to avoid these beverages altogether, but if you can’t, temper their effects by drinking sparkling (or plain) water. Aim to drink 1 glass of water immediately after every cocktail you consume at the party.

Holiday-Proof Fat Loss Hack #4: Fill your plate, but only once.
I’m certainly not going to tell you that you shouldn't eat anything at the party. By all means, It’s a party! By all means, go and fill up your plate - but only once.

That’s right, you heard me. No going back for seconds. Since you've already eaten a sensible meal before arriving, this rule is going to be easier to keep than you think.

Holiday-Proof Fat Loss Hack #5: Taste dessert, just a taste. 
The holidays are all about sweet treats, so go ahead and partake. But just a taste. Look at desserts as something to savor, not something to fill up on. And since you ate a sensible meal before you came, then you filled up your dinner plate once you’re probably going to be pretty full at this point anyway.

That’s it—all you need to know to not gain a single pound at holiday parties.

So… what about the rest of the year?

Wouldn't you love to make 2015 the year that you transform your body?

Wouldn't it feel great to throw out all of your fat clothes? To look forward to bathing suit season? To be given a clean bill of health from your doctor? And to be showered with compliments by family, friends and that special someone?

It’s all more possible than you think.

But you’ll need to take action now.

My Locomo-Programs are designed to quickly and efficiently get you into the best shape of your life.

Go on-line now to schedule your first body transforming “Let’s Talk Strategy” session before the New Year’s rush by clicking here.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Massage: More Than Just a Back Rub


Before you have your first massage, you may have already had a much idealized picture of what your session will be like. However, a massage delivered by a licensed professional should certainly differ from the occasional back rub you might have received from a friend or a loved one.


What a massage therapist targets during treatment includes:

  • Releasing the tension in the muscles
  • Promote the healing of soft tissue
  • Facilitate the flow of blood
  • Reducing emotional stress
  • Reducing pain and inflammation

Some studies also support the use of massage as a supplemental treatment for depression and anxiety, and has also shown promise in successfully alleviating symptoms associated with multi-dimensional illnesses such as fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

More than one way to exercise muscles
However, even without secondary health issues, a massage can affect muscles much more vigorously than most people realize. As a massage therapist, I work diligently on knotted areas of muscle that result from the everyday buildup of anxiety and stress and either my clients’ lack of physical exercise or a tendency to over train certain areas. The act of massaging these muscles and stretching them out will improve blood to the area and stimulates optimum healing over the long term. However, this can sometimes place added stress for the muscles which can sometimes result in soreness, particularly if massage sessions are too intensive, too closely scheduled or scheduled too far apart.

Is it Good?
You see, a ‘good’ massage is very much like workout. If the muscles aren't used to it, they often respond with some soreness. Granted, the soreness should only last for a day or of two. However, if the soreness lasts any longer, or is accompanied with bruising, then the massage was more than likely too intense.

Getting the intensity level just right requires that you let your therapist know when the treatment is getting painful or uncomfortable for you. This allows the massage therapist to adjust the intensity level either during the session and make note of it for the next session. As the body adjusts to the manipulation, the intensity can gradually be increased for greater results.

What Can Be Done?
The human body is one highly complex machine, and while we are just beginning to understand the interplay between body and mind, this connection could explain why soreness can sometimes be experienced shortly after a massage.

While there are many ways one can minimize the unwanted side effects of a good massage, I've listed a few suggestions to consider:

  • Understand the need to properly care for your physical and mental health through exercise, diet and recuperation.
  • Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated
  • Be sure to communicate honestly with your therapist, particularly about your general health and mental well-being
  • Experiment with different massage techniques till you find what works best for you
  • Experiment with the length or intensity of your massage sessions 

In most cases, experiencing some muscle soreness after a massage is completely normal. However, if this lasts more than a couple of days, or incapacitates you in any way, then it needs to be addressed.

As I've mentioned, there can be many simple explanations for this phenomenon. All of them are easily remedied, but they must begin with an open, honest conversation with yourself, what you want to accomplish through this mode of therapy, and conclude with discussing your concerns with a licensed massage therapist.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Do 10-min Workouts Work?

Have you heard? The latest trends in fitness are leaning toward the ‘shorter is better’ philosophy! It’s true, but what everyone really wants to know is this; do dramatically shortened workouts really get the job done???

No one can deny that modern life is beyond busy. We simply don’t have the time to spend hours running, biking or doing any number of other slow, cardio-based exercise sessions. Besides that; long drawn-out workout sessions just don’t give us the best return on our time investment.

But is there true science behind the claims that 10 minute workouts deliver results?

Well, the fact is new research supports the very true benefits of short, intense bursts of exercise.

This is great news for all of us with hectic schedules, especially during these crazy holiday months. Short, intense workouts are manageable and I find them to actually be enjoyable.

So here are my top 3 reasons that 10-minute workouts are worth your time…

#1. It Burns Fat
Do I have you attention now? We all want to discover ways to burn more fat and now multiple studies have proven the fat melting effectiveness of both Tabata and HIIT (high intensity interval training) styled exercise programs. These techniques take short bursts of activity and create a heart-pounding workout in 10 minutes or less. The key to making these workouts as effective as possible is to crank up your intensity to the max.

#2. It Makes You Happy
I’ve said it before; exercise releases endorphins. Endorphins are those stress relieving hormones which makes us feel oh-so-good in the aftermath of a great workout. But don’t fret if you only have 10 minutes to exercise, studies have shown that an intense 10-minute burst of exercise is enough to get those feel-good juices flowing.

#3. It Protects Your Heart
According to researchers in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, people who get just 7 minutes of intense exercise each day are 45 percent less likely to die from heart disease. It’s also worth noting that people who maintained their exercise routine for six years or longer saw the greatest benefit.

So I hope that I’ve managed to shed a little truth on the value that an intense, 10-minute workout can have for you. In this busy holiday season it’s so crucial to our health and physiques that we make time to exercise – even if it’s just 10 minutes.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Your Holiday Survival Guide

It's here - whether you're ready or not. Just look at the seasonal shelves in your favorite store. Retailers like to call it ‘holiday season' but let's be more accurate – it’s “weight gain” season and it starts now and runs straight through New Year's Day...

These next six weeks will bring ample opportunity for all of us to expand our waistlines.

So why discuss it now just days away from Thanksgiving? Because now is the opportunity to plan for the weeks ahead. Once the craziness begins, you'll be too busy to put a plan into action.

So I want to help you take this moment of clarity, this calm before the storm, to outline a two-part plan that will save your waist from unwanted holiday inches.

Part One: Your Exercise Plan. 

Exercise always seems to be the very last thing people think of doing when they get overwhelmed, and the holiday season is notorious for empty gyms. This year do something different - MAKE yourself to exercise. Making a promise to “try” making it to the gym more simply won't cut it, either. You need to go public. Get others involved to hold you accountable so that you won't drop the ball.

Sign up to work with a personal trainer or health coach - This is the perfect solution for consistent, challenging and effective workouts. You'll get the one-on-one attention and assistance needed to power you through the holidays in better shape than ever - talk about motivating!

Join a class – Many folks aren't be as effective exercising on their own during the busy holiday season, so joining a class for accountability is a perfect solution. Find something you will enjoy and gets your heart rate up.

Get a serious exercise buddy – I’m not talking giant, Conan the Barbarian type, but someone who is disciplined about their routine. Some friends can be an awesome help but if they lack the discipline they’ll end up pulling you down. So, if you've decided to find an exercise buddy, it’s important to answer the following questions:

  • Do they share your fitness goals?
  • Are they fairly encouraging?
  • Do they give up easily? 
  • Are they at your fitness level?

Part Two: Your Diet Plan.

It’s no secret, the holidays offer ample opportunities to indulge, so it is imperative that you hammer down some guidelines before hitting that buffet line. I'm not to go all Grinch and say you should go completely cold turkey from any seasonal treats, I do want you to use the ‘M’ word - moderation.

Don't use the holidays as an excuse to pork out – even Santa doesn’t want that bloated feeling!

As for the pot-luck get-together? Go small… Giant platters and deserts can make stunning presentations, but so can mini individualized foods. Plus, if you limit what you bring you’ll also be limiting (or preferably avoid) your take-home share of leftovers. Less leftovers means less weight stored on the belly. In fact, do everyone a favor this year by not gifting fattening treats.

When faced with a buffet line, I always recommend loading your plate first with greens, vegetables and lean meats before breads and heavier foods. Also keep alcoholic beverages to a 2-drink maximum.

Speaking of alcoholic beverages, beware of holiday drinks! Most of these festive concoctions are stuffed with extra calories. Yup, hot holiday drinks from coffee shops, cocktails at parties and creamy eggnog are all very enjoyable and all filled with empty calories – but, then again, you already knew that didn't cha? ;-)

Everywhere you go during the holiday season brings you face-to-face with a plates and trays of temptation, but you don't have to gain weight this holiday season. The key is your mindset.

If you approach the holidays with the mindset of, 'I deserve to indulge and I shouldn't have to exercise' then you'll enter 2015 a few pounds heavier, a little less healthy, and with lower energy than ever before.

I believe that you can do better. You deserve better! I believe that you can enter 2015 in better shape than you are today, healthier than you've been in a long time, and with more energy than you thought possible.

I'm here to help - If you would like to have more support I encourage you to schedule a complimentary "Let's Talk" Strategy consultation with me.

Starting out doesn't have to be intimidating. Achieving success begins with a thought out plan that's tailored to your individual needs - and that’s where I can help. Schedule yours now.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Avoid These Pain Causing Exercises

Some of my best clients for massage are weekend warriors who give their all in the gym or on the playing field... Hey - no pain, no gain – right?

Well, in most cases, the saying is true. But that's not always the case with exercise. In fact, some exercise-induced pain simply can't be treated with massage, but CAN put you on the injured list for a very long time. So before you go to the gym all “Beast Mode” with a no-holds-bar attitude, remember which exercises to avoid. These are six common ones that can leave you hurting for an uncommonly long time.

#1: Behind-the-Head Military Press
It looks good when done properly, but rarely is. By doing this exercise with incorrect posture and technique, you run the risk of painful pinching and inflammation of the shoulder tendons. In rare cases, you may even suffer a tear in the rotator cuff. The same danger is present in other behind-the-head exercises, so be cautious any time you hold weights in a position that places them behind your head.

2: Deep Bend Leg Presses
If done properly, there is nothing wrong with leg presses. The problem comes when you over-zealously or ignorantly bend your legs too much. In order to get a good workout without causing damage to your back and knees, avoid bending your legs at the knee more than 90 degrees. If you have a hard time keeping your knees from slamming against your chest, reduce the weight you’re pushing until you have better control.

3: On Your Back
There are a number of exercises that require you to lie on your back with your feet in the air. Whether pretending to ride a bicycle in the air with your back on the ground, or some other inverted exercise, be cautious before getting started. These exercises cause unnecessary strain on the neck's nerves, ligaments and spine, and can result in long-term, irreversible damage.

4: Upright Rowing
Much like the behind-the-head military press, upright rowing (pulling weights up toward your chin) can cause shoulder impingement and other damage to nerves in the shoulder, too.

5: Sloppy Stair Steppers
After spending 30 minutes on the stair stepper or stationary bike, you may have the urge to lean on the machine's handles. Don't! Doing so may make you feel slightly relieved, but the benefits are only temporary. If you're not careful, you could hurt your elbows, shoulders, and even spine. On top of that, your lack of posture prevents your body from the workout it deserves.

6: Overkill on Anything
Want to get great abs? Do more push-ups. Want to sculpt your triceps? Do some squats. By putting all of your attention on a certain muscle, you run the risk of ignoring your other muscles and suffering future injury to them. There's nothing wrong with targeting a muscle or muscle group for improvement. Just remember the rest of your body needs the same attention, too.

Oh, and one more thing... What’s my take on using a Weight Belt?
There is something you should know about that weight belt: it may be keeping you from getting a full body workout. Yes, it keeps you from messing up your body, but if used in excess, it may also prevent your core muscles from having to work as hard as needed to keep them strong. You don't have to toss your treasured belt in the trash, though. Just don't use it unless you have a medical reason or you're doing some exceptionally heavy lifting.

Avoiding these exercises, using a common sense approach when your body experiences pain, and getting a great sports massage on a regular basis will not only minimize your risk for injury and pain, but will have you feeling great nd playing your "A" game, too!

Listen to your body,

John Aaron Villarreal