Tuesday, February 22, 2011

4 Reasons to Keep Exercise Short & Sweet

There is nothing like completing a three-hour marathon workout to make you feel like you’ve just conquered the world, but it takes regular exercise to get your body in good shape. So, realistically, who has THAT kind of time?
The good news is that you can still make incredible progress in less time than you think. Need a little more convincing? Read on to get a few reasons why a short routine may be the best way to get and stay strong.

It's Easier to Maintain

The thought of a prolonged workout may be intriguing at first, but getting to the gym the third and fourth time for an equally long workout won't be easy. Nothing is as easy the second or third time - especially if it involves draining yourself of all energy with hours of nonstop exercise. Do yourself a favor by going for the short, the sweet, the manageable.

It Fits in Your Schedule

Along with a short routine being easier to maintain, it also fits into your schedule with greater ease. This means that while you may think you've not got time in your busy day to squeeze in a trip to the gym, you actually do. On those days when it seems impossible to hit the gym, it's much easier to make it happen if your routine only requires 20 or 30 minutes, compared to some of the more time-intensive workouts.

It Gives You Variety

Short routines may seem stifling on your creativity. But if done right, they can provide a great amount of variety in your routine. Shoot for four exercises during each session and choose different ones every day. Go for two arm and two leg exercises one day, one arm, two legs, and an abdominal exercise the next. Keep things switched up by tossing in an all-aerobic day or a full body workout in the pool.

It Helps You Focus

One of the big problems of staying in the gym for too long is the ease with which you can lose your focus. You may have shown up with grand plans, but two hours into it, you realize you've been standing around shooting the bull more than you've been working out. By sticking to a short routine, you know exactly where you're going from your first step into the weight room to the final lap in the pool, ensuring your body gets a workout throughout your time at the gym.

If you want help in designing a program for yourself, be sure to visit my Team at Muscle Mechanics. They have special 30-minute “Quick-Fit” Programs that will leave you amazed at all you can do in such little time! : )

Until then - Live Life Well,

John Aaron Villarreal

The content and information on this site is not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease.
Please consult your physician prior to starting any exercise or diet program.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Sugar Verses the Artificial Sweetener

We have all grown up being told that getting too much sugar isn't good for you. As an adult, capable of making your own decisions concerning sugary treats, you may have tried to skirt this issue by opting to go for the artificial stuff, expecting it to be healthier for you. But are the manmade sweeteners really better than the natural sugar choice?
Well let’s review the options. First, compared to artificial sweeteners, real sugar has more calories. So, when consuming products containing real sugar, it may be difficult not to exceeding your daily calorie count thereby making it easier to gain weight.
However this doesn’t give you free license to consume unlimited amounts of foods made with artificial sweeteners, either. One reason people who primarily consume artificial sweeteners wind up gaining more weight than their real-sugar-eating counterparts is because they rely solely on the fact that an artificial sweetener has fewer calories. As a result, they mistakenly believe that they can eat more - cookies, cakes, and other foods that are unfortunately still filled with useless calories.
Secondly, when sugar alternatives first hit the market, there was a big scare that artificial sweeteners were linked to cancer. Although a number of careful studies have been performed to disprove this idea, they have not been able to definitely prove or disprove a link between cancer risk and the use of artificial sweeteners.
On a side note: While the jury is still out, early testing has found that use of aspartame may actually give your health the upper hand. In a study at Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, researchers found aspartame to be useful in providing pain relief to individuals suffering from sickle cell anemia, osteoarthritis, and multiple sclerosis. Only time will tell if these initial findings will hold up and artificial sweeteners will one day be used as a medical therapy.
In the mean time, as with all things, moderation Is key
For most people, big weight fluctuations or health problems won’t result from choosing to eat natural sugar over the artificial counterpart. The real trouble will stem from general over eating. Stay safe with your sweets by avoiding too much of any good thing.
Until next time - Live Life Well,
John Aaron Villarreal
PS: If you've ever seen sugar right off the cane, you know that sugar is naturally yellow or brown in color. So how do they make that pure, white color for the sugar you may use every day? It’s done through a bleaching process. In other words, the “white” sugar you use in your tea is “technically” an artificial sweetener. Want nothing but nature? Better make sure your sugar is brown or yellow.
The content and information on this site is not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease. Please consult your physician prior to starting any exercise or diet program.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Cold-Weather Workouts

Alright, I’ll admit it. It’s cold outside. School is closed. The gym is closed, too. The sky is overcast and I am really tempted to stay inside by the fire with a warm cup of tea and a good book in my lap. However, my little girl reminds me that heading out the door for some cold-weather workouts will reap great rewards (mainly my sanity from having to handle a two year old that has a mild case of cabin fever).
So, I feel confident that all will be well for a brisk outdoor walk as long as we take care to stay warm and safe.
Dress Right.
You might not be tethered to a toddler, so running (rather than walking) may be an option for you. However, running and playing in the cold requires you to be very thoughtful about your wardrobe. Obviously, you can't take off in a t-shirt and shorts.
Instead, you'll want to wear layers of clothing. As you begin to sweat, remove a layer to keep your sweat from causing you to get cold later. Then put your outermost layers back on when you begin to grow cold. For best warmth, the layer against your body should be polypropylene or another synthetic material, followed by fleece and then something waterproof and breathable on top.
Work the Wind.
So it is literally freezing outside, and the wind can make it feel even colder. Blowing, freezing wind is one of the hardest parts to overcome if you're trying to force yourself to work out in the cold. Keep the wind beneath your wings by facing the blowing breeze during the beginning of your run or bicycle ride. This way, you'll be running with the wind on your way back home, making the return trip much more pleasant and making you more likely to want to do it again the next day.
Think Hot.
Becoming dehydrated may seem to be a concern only valid during the hot summer months, but you need plenty of liquids in your system year round to keep your system well watered. To avoid dehydration, drink plenty of water before, during, and after your workout - even if you don't feel thirsty yet. Because once you feel thirsty, your body is already dehydrated.
Get Back InFor the most part, you can exercise in the cold and reap only benefits from your routine. Sometimes, however, exercising in the cold isn't a good idea. If you exercise outside when you shouldn't, the results can be bone-chillingly bad. When should you get back inside? The following are signs that you need to get inside and stay there:
* The temperature is below 0 degrees Fahrenheit (or –17.8 degrees Celsius). At these temperatures, you're at risk for lowering your body temperature, which can have horrid results.
* You experience frostbite or hypothermia. The initial signs of frostbite include numbness, loss of feeling, paleness, or stinging in the fingers, face, and toes. Hypothermia is recognized by unstoppable shivering, fatigue, loss of coordination, and slurred speech. If these symptoms are present, seek emergency medical attention immediately.
As for me and Lexi (my daughter), we’ll be bundled up and waddling through the neighborhood to a nearby park for some much needed activity. Maybe we’ll see you out?
Until next time – Live Life Well,
John Aaron Villarreal

The content and information on this site is not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease. Please consult your physician prior to starting any exercise or diet program.