We all know how difficult it can be in shifting flab around the stomach area, but thanks to Michael Nash from My Fitness Boutique in London, I’m posting this handy infographic which will take you through the various reasons we hold onto our gut, and the numerous ways to fight the fat.
The idea of losing weight is one that has crossed the minds of so many people, but should weight loss really be our goal? We’ve all heard that muscle weighs more than fat, and yet we all spend our time focusing on the wrong numbers – the number of kilos on the scale; the number of calories in our lunch.
But the number we should really focus on is the percentage of fat in our bodies. If the number on the scale doesn’t lower by much, but you’ve lost 5% of your body fat through exercise, healthy eating, then you’re doing a great job.
So when Shannon from Medilean pointed me in the direction of this infographic, I knew I had to share it with my readers.
It details the differences between weight loss and fat loss and for those of you who are on a health kick, I think it will really help you out.
I hope you got some valuable information from this post. I’d love to hear your stories about losing body fat and losing weight, so feel free to post them in the comments section.
And if you know anyone who is struggling to get the number on the scales down, feel free to share this infographic with them – it might just renew their enthusiasm.
Health experts are constantly singing the praises of exercise and for good reason. The benefits that regular exercise can have not only on your physical health, but also on your mental health are limitless. And to top it all off, the better you feel physically and mentally, the more radiant and happy you’ll look to others.
Countless studies have shown that regular exercise can combat various health problems, while boosting your mood, improving your health and reducing stress, making you a healthier, fitter and happier version of yourself.
So here are a number of reasons you should start exercising more:
Reduce Stress: Taking a walk or heading to the gym for a workout after a tough day at the office is one of the easiest ways to relieve stress. Physical activity will stimulate various brain chemicals and release endorphins that will boost your mood and leave you feeling happier and more relaxed. Various studies have shown that exercise can be as effective as antidepressant pills in treating depression.You don’t need to spend a fortune on a gym membership you feel you’ll never use. A simple 30-minute walk or jog is more than enough to free the endorphins.
Boost Energy: Exercise delivers oxygen and nutrients to the muscles and cardiovascular system, helping your heart and lungs to work more efficiently. This will improve your strength and endurance, giving you a boost in energy and motivation so you feel able to go about your daily chores.
Combat Disease: Those who are at risk of heart disease or high blood pressure are repeatedly told by doctors and nutritionists to exercise regularly. This is because regular physical activity can boost high-density lipoprotein (HDL), known as good cholesterol, and decreases unhealthy triglycerides. This keeps the blood going, decreasing the risk of heart disease. In fact, exercise can improve or help to prevent a vast number of health concerns such as strokes, diabetes, arthritis and certain types of cancer.
Control Weight: For those who want to lose weight, exercise is one of the most important and effective ways to do so, along with a healthy balanced diet. Engaging in physical activity burns calories and the more exercise you do, the more calories you’ll burn. If you don’t have time to exercise, try to get more active during the day. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Walk to work if possible. Take a walk on your lunch break. If you work in an office and need to talk to someone on the other side of the room, get up and go to them instead of sending an email. Even housework can burn calories.
Get Better Sleep: Regular exercise can help you to fall asleep quicker and improve your quality of sleep, but try not to exercise too close to bed time; you’ll feel pumped and too energised to sleep.
Top Exercise Tips
- Track your progress. Time yourself if you’re walking, running or cycling. Push yourself to beat your own time. This will help you to understand how effective your exercise is. It can also motivate you to keep going when you start to see results, or to change your routine if you don’t.
- Compound movements are important. These are movements that use more than one muscle, so you’re getting a better workout all-round.
- Do exercises you like. If you hate going to the gym and lifting weights, don’t do it. If you get a thrill from running or playing soccer or dancing or swimming, do that instead. You’ll have fun and you’ll want to keep going.
- Don’t do too much at once. If you overwork yourself, you’ll take longer to recover and you might feel weary of doing the same thing again.
- Recovery is important too. Let your muscles recover from an intense workout so they can get stronger and be prepared for the next workout.
- Exercise and nutrition are hand in hand, so be sure to have a healthy balanced diet rich in healthy fats and proteins.
What are the different kinds of exercise?
Aerobic: Also known as cardiovascular exercise (or cardio), aerobic exercise involves continuous movements with large muscle groups for 20 minutes or more. Aerobic exercises can include walking, running, rowing, swimming or cycling. Aerobic exercise is great for weight loss and improves endurance and strength.
Anaerobic: To improve strength and muscle power, anaerobic exercises are best. These increase the force of muscle contractions, helping you to become stronger. Anaerobic exercise involves fewer muscle contractions than aerobic exercises, but the contractions are more intense, providing optimal strength. Weightlifting, sprinting and plyometrics are examples of anaerobic exercises.
Flexibility: Yoga and stretching are popular examples of flexibility exercise. These exercises enhance the range of motion of your muscle and joint movements and are beneficial after anaerobic exercise as they relieve muscle tightness and help with recovery. Post-workout stretches can be held for up to half a minute for maximum effect, while yoga poses can be held for up to five minutes.
Stability: Balance, core training and agility are excellent examples of stability exercises as they improve your ability to maintain body alignment while resisting movements. These exercises improve your control over your body and significantly strengthen the muscles, which in turn can help you to perform anaerobic exercises to the best of your ability.
It’s a good idea to try a combination of these kinds of exercise to really give your body a workout and look and feel your best.
I personally am getting ready for bikini season as I anticipate my upcoming summer holiday. I wrote a blog post quite a while ago about getting that beach body, which you can find here.
I’ve always loved coconut oil and regularly use it instead of a night-time moisturiser on my skin. I found it healed any leftover marks from blemishes and made my skin feel softer and more moisturised.
I’ve also used it as a hair mask when my hair felt dry and dead, and it restored life and softness, giving it a beautiful shine.
So when I found this infographic on coconut oil, I wasn’t surprised to see that the benefits stretch far beyond hair and beauty.
Coconut oil is one of the best oils for cooking as it doesn’t go rancid when heated, like many other oils do (including olive oil, believe it or not). Using coconut oil for cooking will provide you with the essential fatty acids and healthy saturated fats your body needs. These fats can actually help you manage your weight, boost your immune system and improve insulin sensitivity.
To top it off, the fat in coconut oil has no negative effect on cholesterol and may actually improve it, until other fats.
If you haven’t tried this oil yet, I highly recommend that you do.
Courtesy of Natural Healthy Concepts: The Amazing Benefits of Coconut Oil [INFOGRAPHIC]
Summer is coming and the pressure is on to get the perfect bikini body so we can throw the clothes off and the bikinis on.
But believe it or not, sit-ups and crunches are not the way to go (yes, I was relieved too!).
Here are 9 simple steps to get that bikini body beach-ready for summer.
1. Keep hydrated: Unless you’ve been drinking plenty of water throughout the day, chances are you’re dehydrated right now. In fact, the majority of us are dehydrated. Believe it or not, those hunger pangs we get throughout the day may actually be thirst. So next time you feel hungry, reach for a glass of water. If you’re dehydrated, you won’t be able to perform to the best of your ability – and I don’t just mean in the gym; I mean at work or during other daily tasks too!
2. Cut the salt: Did you know that if you weigh yourself the day after you eat salty foods, you’ll weigh more than if you hadn’t taken in so much salt? Too much salt in your diet will cause you to retain water, which gives you that bloated feeling and makes you look puffy. Physically, this is a short-term thing, but it can knock your confidence by making you feel like you’ll never have that bikini body, so you’re more likely to give up. So don’t worry, that bloated belly after that salty pizza is only short-term; tomorrow you can lower the sodium intake and feel great!
3. Catch some Zzzzz: What? You can get the perfect bikini body by sleeping? It’s true; sleep is one of the most under-rated ways of reducing stress. If you’re fully rested, your mind is able to focus more, and your body will be able to perform better. Sleeping is essential for muscle recovery; believe it or not, the magic happens when you’re resting, not when you’re in the gym. So make sure you get your eight hours!
4. Don’t lift weights that are lighter than your purse: Progressive resistance training three times a week is the perfect way to tone and increase muscle for that bikini body – and yes, that means lifting weights! But make sure it’s a challenge; our handbags may be heavy, but we’re used to that weight. Training two or three times a week is perfect; too much will burn you out, but this is something you could keep up long-term. Bikini body all year round? Yes please!
5. Eat lean protein with every meal: After that resistance training three times a week, your body will need this essential nutrient to aid repair and recovery. Protein has a high satiety, which means you’ll be fuller for longer, and less tempted to hinder the progress to your bikini body by reaching for the snacks. Good examples of lean protein include steak, mince (try to get mince that’s 95% lean), turkey, chicken, eggs, cottage cheese, legumes or beans.
6. Don’t be afraid of fats: The right fats won’t make you fat. In fact, we need the good fats to help us lose fat! In other words, we need fat to get that bikini body. The body needs essential fatty acids such as Omega 3, 6 and 9 for a healthy metabolism. These can be found in Flaxeed, oily fish, eggs, fish oil supplements or oils such as olive oil. So to lose that fat, make sure you eat the good fats and cut down on the bad fats like butter or fast food.
7. Attach a ‘why’: Why do you want to achieve this goal? If you attach a strong internal reason why you want that killer bikini body, you’re more likely to achieve it. A strong ‘why’ will give you an internal motivation to keep strong and keep going.
8. Buy the bikini: “She wore an itsy bitsy, teeny weeny, yellow polka-dot bikini that she wore for the first time today”. Whoever ‘she’ is must have looked good in that bikini if people felt inclined to sing about her. That will be you. Buy that bikini. Hang it up in whatever room you use to work out. Look at it every day and imagine yourself with that bikini body. Tweet it to the world, or blog about it. Then you’ll have something physical to give you the drive and motivation to succeed.
9. Strive towards success: Do something every day to bring you closer to your goal, no matter how small; action breeds momentum; momentum breeds success; success breeds a killer bikini body!
BONUS: Don’t give up; if your goal is worthy enough, it’ll get tough, it’ll get hard. If you do slip up, recognise the slip-up for what it is – a mere slip up – and keep going. You can do this; you will look good and you will feel great. Listen to Rocky Balboa, he knows what he’s talking about;
“…it ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!
Now if you know what you’re worth then go out and get what you’re worth. But you gotta be willing to take the hits, and not pointing fingers saying you ain’t where you wanna be because of him, or her, or anybody! Cowards do that and that ain’t you! You’re better than that!”
I’m off to lift some weights. See you on the beach, girls!