Sunday, September 28, 2008

The #1 Secret to a Healthy and Fit Body

10. Join a gym
9. Go on the most popular diet
8. Get a personal trainer
9. Find your family and social support
8. Run on the treadmill 5 to 7 times a week
7. Lift weights 3 to 5 time a week
6. Stop smoking
5. Eat breakfast every morning
4. Drink plenty of water
3. Eat a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables
2. Buy the best training program and workout routines
1. ??????????????

What's the #1 secret to a healthy and fit body??

All the above are important and great strategies. But if you miss one vital ingredient, you wouldn't achieve your goals to a healthy and fit body and more important, a high-performance, active and healthy lifestyle. That's, Discipline.

Lack of which, you're doing the quick-fix, short-term shot-gun approach that wouldn't last long. Many people have no motivation to exercise or never exercise to begin with. Lack of time is another issue, which I don't think it is. Doing the wrong exercise (or worse, in the wrong way) is a bummer that could get you injured and set you backward. Others are waiting for something, sometime or someone to start. Excuse? Excuse! Excuse.

Why are people thinking that they can do a few good things sporadically in a few weeks and expect miracles? Just like anything else that you want to learn, do well, excel and see results, you'll practice over and over until you're really good at; any school subjects, sports, musical instruments, etc. You may even need some talents in these areas.

To get a healthy and fit body, all you need is a healthy and positive mindset, have a plan of attack, implement a step-by-step strategy and follow through. Ask for professional help when needed. There is no ONE secret. The secret is that there is NO secret.

It all comes down your commitment to your health and fitness. You have to hold yourself accountable for your own in the long run. Ultimately, it's your body anyway. You're in charge. If you to have to ask around, consult others or wait for the stars to line up, it's not gonna happen.

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

How to Avoid Energy Slump and Boost Your Metabolism

Your energy management and weigh loss success are counting on insulin regulation. Cravings are all about blood sugar control. And it's about keep your metabolism up and high to burn fat all day.

How do you avoid energy slump, control your cravings and boost your metabolism?

Eat smart. Eat often. Eat and snack the right foods at strategically right times. You'll keep your energy levels all day long.

Here are three simple strategies:

1. Eat regularly - about every 2 1/2 to 3 hours. This ensuresyour constant insulin level and energy level so that you won't get to the energy slump and trigger your cravings.

2. Have some lean protein and healthy fat in every meal. Protein has 10 to 15% thermic effect of foods. It helps slow the digestion of carbohydrates which minimizes spikes in blood sugar.

3. Eat whole grain for your carb. Choose complex whole grain carb sources in your bread, pasta or rice. The fiber helps your blood sugar regulation.

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Thursday, September 11, 2008

One More Rep and Squeeeeez!

If you've been training with me and hear me outloud "One more rep and squeeeeze, squeeze harder," that's that extra rep (or forced rep) makes all the difference. That's the extra rep doing the magic that could transform your body. I'm here to spot you. Don't quit on me!

The best results always occur one step past where most people just give up. The secret (or no secret, really) to successful weight training and body transformation is discipline.

What's discipline?

Discipline is that you still go ahead to do it according to your training plan even though you don't "feel" like doing it. Nothing would ever happen if you think or wait until everything is right. --- wait 'til you got time; wait 'til you get off from work early; wait 'til ... etc. etc. etc.

Be a doer, not a thinker or talker.

When I do my workout, there is no so called easy day. I treat every workout seriously, long or short. I keep the intensity up high. Or you might as well rest, recover so that you can come back to train at your best level of intensity and focus.

Granted, there are times I "feel" like not working out. But I know once I focus on my long term goal in mind, I start to feel the pump and surging inside me; or pschy myself up.

There are times that I feel soooo sore that I would just stop at 10 reps when I should do 12 reps. I would focus on one rep at a time and squeeze the muscles I'm working on hard and harder. There are times that I went to 15 reps. That's focus. That's discipline.

If you're doing what everyone else is doing, that's average or mediocre at most. Magic doesn't happen when you're just average. Magic happens when you go for that extra rep or two for youself. Most (average) people stop short of that extra rep where it could do the wonder.

In fact, when you're weight training, whatever you do in the first 2 or 3 sets for whatever number of reps is really preparing you for those last 2 to 3 reps. You get most of your results from these last few reps that fatigue or almost fail your muscles.

Far too many beginners (or returning beginners) quit on themselves when they're just about ready the tast the magic. The first bottleneck is typically month 3. This is the time when they finally get into some kind of training routine and start to see some results. It's a true test in their discipline.

You don't have to be 50% or 100% better then everyone else when you're working out. Just do 5% better. Persist past your desire to stop exercising.

Do a little bit more today. Do one more rep. Work out 15 minutes longer. Drink one more glass of plain, fresh water. Eat one more large bowl of salad (without a lot of dressing). And encourage one more person to exercise with you.

Success belongs to those who take the extra mile (or do the extra rep).

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Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Is Cardio Safe to Your Heart?

I have rephrased a question asked by one of my newsletter subscribers. The rumor has it that cardio is dangerous and may even cause death from heart attack.

I think the concern arises from a few incidents in recent years that even some elite marathon runners died during a run or race. The incidents were overblown and led to unfair conclusion to running and cardio-related activities and sports.

Cardio or cardiovascular exercise is supposed to strengthen and train your cardiovascular conditioning, not the other way around. Running is definitely the most popular cardio exercise.

In addition to strengthening your heart and your body, running has many other health benefits including your brain and creativity.

Here are a few known endurance sports-related deaths or incidents:

- The Godfather of running, Jim Fixx, author of the Complete Book on Running, died in 1984 during a run at age 52.
- President Jimmy Carter collapsed during a 10K race in Catoctin Mountain Park in 1979.
- In 2007 Chicago Marathon race, Chad Schieber collapsed and died at age 35. In the same race, 302 people were taken to the hospital on that day due to excessive heat (over 90 degrees) and humidity (94% humidity).
- A U.S. running national champion, Ryan Shay, died less than 10K into the U.S. Olympic Trials race at age 28.
- Alberto Salazar, age 50, a winner of the NYC Marathon, has recently suffered a series of heart problems.
- John Hobgood, 52, of Princeton Junction, NJ died in the New Jersey State Triathlon.

The question arises as to how much running is too much. Do all runners need to see a cardiologist and a stress test before entering a race? The cost and time are probably not feasible. Even stress test can't pick up some pre-existing or hereditary heart conditions.

Dr. Norb Sander advises runners to use common sense. Dr. Sander is the only doctor to even have won the NYC Marathon race. Testing your body response in different running conditions. It's the athlete's responsibility to realize the inherent risks of the sport. Running is healthy. We're naturally and genetically built to walk and run.

Just like any sports, there bound to be some uneventful incidents or deaths from running. Perhaps some people were pushing too hard beyond their limits. Every person's body is different. There is a distance for everyone - 100 meter, 5K, 10K, marathon or ultra-marathon.

Dr. Sander rebutted the direct link of deaths to running by citing a statistics from the London Marathon. There had only nine deaths out of nearly 1 million runners over the last 27 years. This is not bad at all.

With the popularity of endurance sports, distance runnings, marathons and triathlons in recent years, the odd rare death may become more common partly from ill prepared athletes and under trained weekend warriors. Tragedies are a part of life and part of sport. Don't let these unfortunate events scare you from exercising and running.

Listen to your body. Use common sense. Properly and progressively train and condition your heart and other muscles. Too-much-too-soon caveat applies here as the #1 no-no. The health benefits from running have more upsides than death scare.

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