Archive for Nutrition & Health

How to Burn Belly Fat

Hint: Don’t Do Sit Ups! by

Millions of people every single year look for ways to get rid of their belly fat.

Although you get fat all around your body (that’s why it’s called ‘body fat’), the fat you get on your stomach is the most noticeable and, for most people, the first place for fat to develop. It’s also the toughest area of your body to shed fad.

Because your abdominal area (belly) is the nearest area of your body to your stomach, it’s the first place that fat cells develop which means that if you’re putting on weight, you’re bound to start seeing a layer of soft belly fat developing before anything else.

Now, over the years, really useful weight loss facts have been diluted and changed so much that so much BAD advice is given to people looking to lose stomach fat…

We’re going to set the record straight with this article about losing belly fat.

The absolute key point you need to remember about losing belly fat is that you cannot burn fat from specific parts of your body. It’s just not how your body works – you need to lower your body fat instead. This will allow you to reduce the amount of excess fat you carry around in total which will reduce your stomach fat too.

Because ‘abs exercises’ (such as sit ups and crunches) just get you to sit down and flex your abdominal muscles, you are only working to tone those muscles and NOT to burn the fat around them.

To turn your body into a fat burning machine, you need to do two things when exercising. The first is to increase your heart rate so that your muscles receive the most amount of oxygen possible. This will boost your metabolism because your body will believe that you’re getting plenty of food.

The second thing is to actually exercise as much of your body as hard as possible. Going on a long run, doing an intensive cardio routine, going for a ride on your bicycle are all top ways to get your muscles into “overdrive” mode which then encourages your body to burn more fat.

To lose belly fat, you need to make sure that you do these intensive workouts at least 2-3 times a week so that you can enjoy the benefits of a body that’s constantly in ‘fat burning mode’.

However, there’s also another side to the story. Your diet. Our bodies store fat on our belly because it’s the quickest place to put it. Fat is just energy that the body can burn later and the amount that’s stored depends entirely on your ‘metabolism’. Now, without getting into too much detail about metabolism and how you can control it, the key point you need to remember about losing belly fat is that you need to burn more energy than you consume.

Your body stores fat because it wants a safe place to get energy from in the future, if you can’t find anything to eat. To burn your excess fat, you need to be able to deprive your body of enough energy to warrant the burning of fat.


The Most Useless Exercise Ever- Men’s Health Magazine August 2011

If you want to scream any time you see an ad for some ab exercise contraption that’ll “guarantee a flat stomach!”—we feel you. Does anyone still believe crunches help burn belly fat? (If so, they’re an idiot.)

Here’s more evidence: A recent study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that simply performing sit-ups, crunches, and other ab exercises won’t do much (correction: anything) to reduce belly fat.

One group of study subjects performed ab exercises 5 days a week while the control group did nothing. At the end of 6 weeks, there was no significant change in stomach fat in either group. Everyone was told not to change their diet.

In short: Ab exercises didn’t flatten people’s stomachs. In fact, they were just as effective as doing absolutely jack.

More from 5 Ab Exercise Upgrades

So if you want flat abs, what should you do? It’s not as simple as plodding on the treadmill for 20 minutes a day: New research reveals some types of exercise burn more fat than your local steakhouse—while others only burn up your time.

Fat-Loss Myths: It’ll take you 250,000 crunches to burn a pound of fat. “Aerobic activity must be a part of the exercise prescription. Crunches and such are great to increase abdominal and core strength, but just performing these alone will not increase caloric expenditure above that which is needed to facilitate sizeable fat loss,” says study researcher John Smith, PhD., HFS, an assistant professor at Texas A&M University-San Antonio.

Steady-state aerobic exercise alone isn’t particularly great for weight loss, either. One study published in Obesity found that after a year of hourlong cardio sessions for 6 days per week, people only lost 3.5 pounds. (The study asked participants to leave their diets unchanged.)

“Research has shown over and over that steady-state aerobic exercise alone has a minimal effect on fat loss,” says Jeff Halevy, NYC-based celebrity trainer & CEO of Halevy Life. “With all due respect, because I do truly respect their accomplishments, how many recreational marathoners and half-marathoners cross the finish line with a little belly in tow? Looking at the typical finish line, plenty of them.”

Go Fast to Blast Fat You’ve heard a million times that you can’t spot-train fat. And while that’s true in terms of, say, crunching for flat abs, research shows that certain modes of training affect overall fat loss more than others.

One of them: High-intensity training. A study out of the Department of Kinesiology at McMaster University found that men who performed sprint interval training for a total of 2.5 hours (including recovery) over the course of 2 weeks has the same results as the group who performed endurance training for a total of 10.5 hours over the same time period.

More evidence: A study of 15 women found that high-intensity exercise (40 to 45 minutes approximately four times weekly at a mean HR of 163 bpm) reduced body fat by about 5 percent over the course of 15 weeks versus a virtually unchanged percentage in the group that performed exercise at a lower heart rate (132 beats per minute).

More from Burn More Fat on the Treadmill

The Power Combo for Fat Loss: Strength Plus Cardio Combining strength training with aerobic exercise leads to greater fat loss than aerobic exercise alone, research shows. A recent study found that obese adolescents who participated in a 30-minute aerobic plus 30-minute strength-training workout three times per week lost nearly four times more fat than those who just did hourlong aerobic training at a similar intensity. There was about a 3 percent fat loss in the cardio-only group, and 11.5 percent fat loss in the cardio-and-strength group over 1 year.

In another study, this time from Penn State University, dieters all lost about 21 pounds. But the group who performed strength and cardio shed about 6 more pounds of fat than groups who didn’t exercise or who only did aerobics. The reason: The other groups shed muscle, too.

“Proper diet and cardio alone will make you weigh less, but that weight loss isn’t fat alone—you’re losing muscle, too, and not building anything to give your body athletic shape,” Halevy says. “But if you’re after fat loss, aside from accelerating it, strength training will also preserve muscle. This means when the fat is gone, you’ll have a lean, athletic body to show for it.”

Resistance training has a big effect on post-workout caloric burn, which may help explain why it’s so essential to fat loss. A study published in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that high-volume resistance training increased resting energy expenditure (REE) by about 8 percent for up to 72 hours post workout.

The bottom line: Ab exercises make your abs look great—once that layer of fat on top of them is gone. But working your abs isn’t the best way to a flat belly, and crunches aren’t even the best way to work your abs!

Body Fat Percentages



Body fat percentage in athletes:
Athletes typically have significantly lower body fat. For example, body fat percentages of about 20 percent for fit women, and 10 percent for fit men are not uncommon.

Body fat percentage increases with improper weight gain:
For average people that do not work out, weight-gain equals fat-gain. Our body fat increases while our lean tissue or muscle remains fairly constant. So for most people, body fat percentage increases with every pound of weight gained.

Body fat percentage and weight loss:
In general, whenever you reduce weight by following a sensible weight loss diet, you lose mostly body fat. Even though you also lose some lean tissue (muscle), you lose a lot more fat. So your body fat percentage will reduce. However, if you fast, or try a fad diet, or use weight loss pills, most of your weight loss may be water-only. So your body fat percentage will stay virtually unchanged.

Body fat percentage and repeated dieting:
Repeated dieting involving weight loss then weight gain then weight loss etc.
(yo-yo weigh loss) tends to increase our body fat percentage. Because when we lose weight we also lose some muscle, but when we regain weight this muscle is not replaced. Result? We have increased our fat and decreased our muscle thus raising our body fat percentage. Another reason why it is important to exercise when dieting, in order to reduce muscle loss.

Normal body fat percentage:
A certain amount of fat is essential for energy reserves, bodily functions and body protection. However, at present there is no definite guidelines on healthy body fat percentage.

Body fat distribution:
Where your excess body fat is distributed is as important than the amount of
body fat you have. Recent studies have shown that extra fat around the waist
means a higher risk for developing ill-health (as in a heart attack) than fat carried on the thighs and buttocks.

KEY IS TO ALWAYS KEEP EXERCISING. Even if for only 10-15 minutes per day.
For those of you that are IronGloves members, feel free to take photos of our weekly whiteboard. Get yourself to do it 3 x per week!



CrossFit: Can it be Dangerous?

Rhabdomyolysis, a relatively rare condition, occurs when muscle tissue breaks down to such an extent that toxins released into the blood stream can damage the kidneys.

Rhabdomyolysis disease linked to Crossfit and PX90 exercising.

PLEASE READ, click on the above links to read.


Insulin Levels ~vs~ Weight Management


What you eat & when you eat it, does make a difference

When we eat, our body converts digestible carbohydrates into blood sugar (glucose), our main source of energy. Our blood sugar level can affect how hungry and how energetic we feel, both important factors when we are watching how we eat and exercise. It also determines whether we burn fat or store it.

Our pancreas creates a hormone called insulin that transports blood sugar into our body’s cells where it is used for energy. When we eat refined grains that have had most of their fiber stripped away, sugar, or other carbohydrate-rich foods that are quickly processed into blood sugar, the pancreas goes into overtime to produce the insulin necessary for all this blood sugar to be used for energy. This insulin surge tells our body that plenty of energy is readily available and that it should stop burning fat and start storing it.

However, the greater concern with the insulin surge is not that it tells our body to start storing fat. Whatever we eat and don’t burn up eventually gets turned into fat anyway.

The greater concern is that the insulin surge causes too much blood sugar to be transported out of our blood and this results in our blood sugar and insulin levels dropping below normal. This leaves us feeling tired and hungry and wanting to eat more. The unfortunate result of this scenario is that it makes us want to eat something else with a high sugar content. When we do, we start the cycle all over again.

What to Watch For

    • Simple Carbohydrates: Because of their small molecular size, simple carbohydrates can be metabolized quickly and are therefore most likely to cause an insulin surge.

Simple carbohydrates include the various forms of sugar, such as sucrose (table sugar), fructose (fruit sugar), lactose (dairy sugar), and glucose (blood sugar). Watch for the “-ose” ending ingredients.

    • Hidden Sugar in Processed Foods: Watch for “hidden” sugar in processed foods like bread, ketchup, salad dressing, canned fruit, applesauce, peanut butter, and soups.
    • Sugar in Beverages: Be aware of the amount of sugar in beverages, especially coffee and soda pop. It can add up quickly, and most such drinks aren’t filling.
    • Fat-Free Products: Sugar is often used to replace the flavor that is lost when the fat is removed. And as if that’s not bad enough, without any fat to slow it down the sugar is absorbed into your blood faster.
    • Cereal Box Claims of Less Sugar: Many newer cereals do contain less sugar, but the calories, carbohydrates, fat, fiber and other nutrients are almost identical to the full-sugar cereals. The manufacturers have simply replaced sugar with other refined, simple carbohydrates.
    • No Sugar Added: It doesn’t mean that the product doesn’t naturally contain a lot of sugar. 100% fruit products often contain concentrated fruit juice, still another form of fructose or sugar.

Table sugar (sucrose) is often said to provide “empty calories” because it has no nutritional value other than providing fuel for energy. Honey and other more natural sugars, on the other hand, are often considered to be healthier because of the trace vitamins and minerals they provide. Still, for weight loss purposes, all of these sweeteners can simply be treated as sugar.

What You Can Do

It is also important to understand what happens when you skip a meal or go on a crash diet. When you skip a meal your metabolism slows to conserve your energy. And when you lose weight too quickly for a few days, your body thinks it is threatened with starvation and goes into survival mode. It fights to conserve your fat stores, and any weight loss comes mostly from water and muscle.

Regulating your blood sugar level is the most effective way to maintain your fat-burning capacity. Never skip a meal, especially breakfast, and eat healthy snacks between meals. Eating frequently prevents hunger pangs and the binges that follow, provides consistent energy, and may be the single most effective way to maintain metabolism efficiency.

When you will be away from home or work, plan your snacks and take them along so that you will be able to eat regularly and won’t be tempted by junk food. This may be good advice for people who stay at home, too.

But remember that it was probably snacking between meals that caused you to become overweight in the first place. It will be very important that any snacks are healthy; that they are pre-portioned so you won’t be tempted to overeat; and that meal sizes are reduced to compensate for the additional calories the snacks provide.

High fiber snacks and meals also help to regulate your blood sugar level. The fiber slows down glucose absorption and your rate of digestion, keeping your blood sugar level more consistent and warding off feelings of hunger. This makes eating apples and oranges a better choice than drinking (pulp free) apple and orange juice.

FOR CALORIES PER DAY select what best fits your lifestyle and your workout regimen. Here is an example of how to choose, for an example, the ‘Moderately Active’ individual exercises 4 to 5 times per week for a minimum of 30 minutes and up to 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Sedentary: 1200 to 1800 calories per day
Moderately Active: 2000 to 3000 calories per day
Active: 3800 to 4700 calories per day


A Note about Diabetes

Some people either produce too little insulin or their body doesn’t respond to it properly. This creates too high a level of blood sugar in their blood which leads to diabetes.