DIET & NUTRITION:Body Fat Percentage Calculator
Celebrity Diet Plans
Practical 'Weight-loss' Tips
The Santa Claus Diet
EXERCISE & TRAINING:ABCs of Building Muscle
Basic Weightlifting Tips
How to develop a beer belly!
How to develop a six-pack!
Training Plans for Running Events
PERSONAL STORIES & ENCOURAGEMENT:Confessions of an Ectomorph!*
Reverse the Signs of Aging*
Should Men Shave Their Chest?
* Articles marked with an asterisk are still in process.
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Hype diets and un-healthy gimmicks are a multi-billion dollar industry! Most (purveyors of miss-information about weight-control and fitness) promise quick fixes and easy solutions. Weight-Loss principals are easy enough, but there's no need to buy over-priced diet meals or an ab machine.
This article provides basic diet and nutrition principles honestly and openly - No hype, no lies, no drugs, and no secret agenda!
When people say they want to lose weight, they are usually talking about lowering their body-fat percentage.
A 225lb man (or a 180lb woman) might be in terrific shape, or they might need to "drop a few pounds"; it depends on how much fat they are carrying around. Arnold Schwarzenegger weighed 242lbs when he won his first Mr. Olympia title, and very few people thought he needed to lose weight.
So we'll assume the term "losing weight" refers to building muscle and reducing fat, or reducing fat without losing muscle.
The easiest and most important tips are listed first. The first 4 items are critically important for maintaining a healthy lifestyle; they also happen to be the easiest to incorporate into your daily routine! As you go down the list, the tips become less critical, and more challenging. The last few tips are things an elite athlete would do to reach thier maximum fitness potential.
Everyone should incorporate the 'Easy Tips' into your lifestyle. The more advanced tips are helpful, but you should assess your own fitness goals when deciding whether to follow them. At some point, you have to decide what's important to you, and give yourself a break about everything else.
Who cares if you have "love handles" or "a spare tire", as long as you're healthy, right?
Eating breakfast increases your energy level and helps you lose weight! IE: It raises your metabolism and ultimately helps you burn calories throughout the day.
Skipping breakfast causes your metabolism to slow down, especially if you're a person who gains weight easily! Your body essentially begins to protect itself against starvation by slowing down your metabolism. Then when you do eat, your body (still in starvation mode) will store as much energy as your body-type will allow in order to prepare for the next time you go without eating. This energy is stored as fat! This is a great defense mechanism if starvation is a possibility, but most of us don't have to worry about starvation; so this biological self-defense tool can be annoying, and it can get out of control!
If you eat about 3,000 calories a day, 500 to 1,000 of those calories should be eaten in the morning before you go to work!
Never eat dessert or junk-food after dinner!
It's generally a bad idea to eat high-carb foods at night for two reasons:
The body uses carbohydrates as energy. Un-used energy is stored around the belly and hips, especially the energy that we sleep on! People who (skip breakfast and lunch, then do most of their eating at night) will eventually take on a very predictable and inevitable shape.
Another reason to avoid carbs at night is they can make it harder to get a good night's sleep. A great deal of repair and recovery is done while we are asleep. If our sleep is interrupted, we compromise our body's ability to recover from stress and exercise.
Eat a high-protein snack immediately after exercise!
Your body is starving for nutrition after a workout! If you're goal is to build muscle, this is the most important meal of the day. Your muscles can absorb more protein at this time than any other! More succinctly: If you don't eat within 45 minutes after lifting weights, you're practically wasting your time in the gym! And if you don't eat after a cardio workout, your body will metabolize muscle to get the energy it needs to recover. Replace the word "metabolize" with "cannibalize", and you get the idea!
As a side note: Increasing your muscle mass increases your metabolism, which burns fat at a higher rate! so everyone should include weight training in their overall health regiment.
Don't stuff yourself, ever!
Controlling your portions will shrink your stomach, making it easier to control your weight. There's no good reason to try and win an eating contest every time you get behind the dinner table. While you're reading this you might be thinking of at least a dozen reasons to over-eat, like:
"Eating is fun!", "I'm depressed", "I just paid for an all-you-can-eat buffet and I'm going to get my money's worth!", "food tastes good!" or "shut up and let me live my life!".
These are all valid reasons to eat till there's no tomorrow. But binge-eating has an affect on your body, even if you only do it occasionally.
A few years ago I found myself eating pizza with a runway model after a volleyball game. She told me she couldn't eat more than one slice of pizza without feeling stuffed. I assumed she was fishing for a compliment, so I took the bait and said "You can do it. You just need some practice! If you practice stuffing yourself over and over, you'll stretch your stomach enough that you could eat a whole pizza! It takes commitment, but I know you can do it!".
Okay; so I didn't take the bait!
Here's my point: If you make a commitment to never eat till you're full, your stomach will shrink, and eating reasonable portions will get easier. If you have a huge stomach, you won't feel full as quickly and you'll eat larger portions. You're stomach can shrink naturally: It takes commitment, but I know you can do it!
Cheat once a week, or once every other week.
This isn't a critically important item, but it's fun!
Cheat meals are biologically helpful, especially if you're trying to lose a great deal of weight after years of bad eating habits. The body tends to normalize to your diet, so if you're eating regiment is too strict, your body will react to it and your progress will slow down. An occasional cheat-meal will shake up your eating routine and help with your progress. I won't pretend this makes sense, but it's true; and it works with dieting as well as exercise. Think of it this way: Many things become routine or boring after a while. When you become bored with critical tasks, you are less effective and less efficient. You have to shake things up every now and then to keep them interesting! Our bodies also have a way of settling into a routine.
Personally; I reserve my cheat meals for social occasions. I don't like explaining why I said "no" to cheese-cake at a Christmas party, so I don't!
Eventually; your lifestyle will catch up with you!
If you are over-weight and you've recently adopted a healthy life-style, these words should be encouraging, so let me write them again:
Eventually; your lifestyle will catch up with you!
If you want to take things to the next level, or if you're not getting the results you hoped for, here are a few more disciplines you can add to your lifestyle.
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