Home Gym Verses Gym Membership

Should you have a home gym or buy a gym membership? There are pros and cons to each, so let’s break them down.

HOME GYM

The Advantages of a Home Gym

Convenience
The convenience of being able to work out whenever you please is a plus. Because it is your own home you are free to play whatever music you want and enjoy your privacy. As an added bonus, there is no travel involved.

Hygiene
You never have to worry about how clean the equipment is or when the last time the showers were cleaned.
Expense
Home gyms can be pretty inexpensive. Many items needed can be found at yard sales or through online sites, second hand. In the long run, even buying a home gym new will save you money verses a gym membership.

Disadvantages of a Home Gym

Lonely
Some people just do better in a social setting. It motivates them and it kicks their completive streak into high gear. If this is you, then a home gym may not work well.

Distractions
Having a home job is a great idea; if you can handle it. It is so easy to get distracted when your home. The laundry needs doing, a quick check of the email, the kids want to play. Unless your highly disciplined, distractions are easy.

GYM MEMBERSHIP

Advantages of a Gym Membership

Range of weight training equipment
There is more equipment to work with, to cover a larger range of exercises and training a wider selection of specific muscles and muscle groups

Supervision
All gyms require certified fitness trainers to supervise and safety check exercise execution but also to provide advice on how to use weight training equipment properly and avoid injury. Having that expertise available to you if you are a beginning to intermediate weight training enthusiast can be worth the expense of a gym membership

Amenities
Besides having the usual changing rooms and showers, a lot of gyms also offer amenities such as a sauna, and indoor pool with a Jacuzzi pool as well. It can be an added benefit if you like to relax that way after exercising

Disadvantages of a Gym Membership

Crowds
Although gyms have a large amount of equipment, it is useless if the gym is overcrowded and your spending more time waiting for a machine then on the machine itself.

Gym rats
Every gym has them and everybody hates them. People with poor hygiene in the changing rooms, people who hog the weight training equipment and people who are there because they have nothing better to do.

Expense
Renewing a gym membership year after year can get costly.

Everybody is different and while one may love the idea of a home gym, the other may know that the only way exercising would work for them is if they joined a formal gym. Do what suits you and your personality best and you can’t go wrong.

Recharge Tip #3: Breathing Techniques

In my final installment on recharge techniques, I’m going to focus on breathing techniques. Now, don’t underestimate the power of breathing techniques in helping us to reduce stress and relax. There’s more to breathing techniques than just breathing in and out. There is an art to it!

We can deliberately change the way we breathe, in order to achieve certain outcomes. And this is testified by the fact that many disciplines draw upon the power of breathing and its healing benefits. For example, Tai Chi, Yoga and certain forms of meditation testify to the healing benefits of breathing.

According to holistic practitioners, the link between the physical body and spiritual mind is breath.

So, let’s take a look at what’s the big deal with breathing techniques.

What breathing techniques can do for us
By controlling the way we breathe through the application of breathing techniques, we can help a range of conditions including:

Stress
Anxiety
Chronic pain
Chronic fatigue syndrome
Insomnia
High blood pressure
Panic attacks
Skin conditions including eczema

The way we breathe can relax us
When we are stressed, the breathing seems to happen in our upper chest. Our rate of breathing is fast and we take small, shallow breaths. As we breathe under stress, our shoulders tend to move up and down, rather than an abdomen.

And when we are under stress and breathing accordingly, we exacerbate stress symptoms including headaches, fatigue, heart palpitations, tingling throughout the body, chest tightness and the like. And during this sort of breathing, we empty our blood stream of too much carbon dioxide.

If we are relaxed, our breathing is through our nose and is even and gentle. We breathe and our abdomen moves up and down. If we deliberately change our stressful breathing to a relaxed breathing pattern, we inevitably calm ourselves. That shows how powerful breathing is.

The benefits of breathing in a relaxed way

By breathing in a relaxed way we can:

Lower our heart rate
Lower our blood pressure
Reduce the amount of stress hormones our body produces
Balance our blood’s oxygen and carbon dioxide levels
Reduce the buildup of lactic acid in our muscles
Feel calm and a sense of wellbeing
Increase our physical energy
Improve the functioning of our immune system

How to start benefiting with breathing techniques
Set aside 10-20 minutes and make sure you won’t be disturbed. Set an alarm to signal the end of the 10-20 minutes you set aside for this time.

Choose somewhere that is comfortable and quite, and sit in a comfortable chair or on the floor and follow this process:

Make yourself comfortable in your sitting position
Lift your rib cage by sitting up straight to expand your chest
Place one hand on your chest and your other hand on your abdomen
Notice your upper chest and abdomen moving up and down as your breathe
Focus on your breath
Breathe in and out through your nose gently
As you breathe your upper chest and tummy should remain still, while your diaphragm works with your abdomen to breathe – and less so with your chest

For more helpful techniques to help you relax through breathing, chat with your doctor. You can also book yourself in for meditation lessons to learn more about how to relax that way.

Start getting in the habit of relaxing and recharging today. You will feel so much more energized and younger. Do this with a healthy diet and physical exercise and you’re well on your way to feeling great and looking great for longer!

Recharge Tip #1: Sleep

For the next three articles I’m going to concentrate on three really great tips to help you to recharge. Now as you know, your body needs time to rest, rejuvenate and recharge. It’s absolutely essential – even when you are eating a healthy balanced diet and getting a good dose of physical exercise.

That’s because when you rest and recharge, your body gets to work to keep healthy. Cells are replaced, viruses and infections are flushed out and your body almost becomes new again.

The first important recharge tip that I will discuss here in this article is sleep.

Why is sleep so important?
Sleep is of critical importance to our physical health and wellbeing and it’s for the following reasons:

When we sleep, our brain recharges: During this time neurons are repaired.
Parts of the brain reset: A fine tuning of synaptic connections happens and the brain will sort information and discard information not needed. It stops us from overloading ourselves.
Our heart and lungs relax: There is a reduction in blood pressure and our heart rate drops.
It gives the body a chance to repair: The body will replace chemicals and repair other parts of the body that need it – muscles, tissues, aging or dead cells.
It can strengthen the immune system
Growth hormone is released during sleep: For children and young adults still growing, the growth hormone is released during sleep.

On the whole, a good quality sleep for the right amount of time refreshes us. We wake up energetic in the morning and ready for action. We also function on all cylinders after a good night sleep.

If we don’t get enough sleep:

We can experience memory loss, slower reaction time, greater stress and irritability.
By losing only one hour of sleep, our chances of having a car accident increase 7-8%.
If we lose 15 minutes of quality sleep, we can lose 15% of efficiency.
Our wellbeing plummets because of greater stress and depression associated with that.

At least 40 million Americans suffer from sleep disorders, with around 60 per cent of adults in America having sleep problems several nights each week.

That’s compared to 69 per cent of children suffering from sleep problems several nights each week.

How to sleep well
Because sleep is so important to our health and wellbeing, I recommend:

Getting into a sleep routine: Do this every day. The same bed time and get up time every day. Even on weekends.
Have a dark room: Light can interrupt your sleep.
Don’t go to bed too hungry or too full: This will stop you from getting the sleep you need. Wait at least three hours after dinner, before sleep.
Make sure you’re comfortable: Make sure your neck and back are comfortable for sleep.
Make sure you maintain your mattress: Turn it over every few months and aim to replace after 5-7 years of using it regularly. Make sure your mattress is comfortable – no sore necks or backs or it might be time to replace it.
Exercise: If you are too sedentary and don’t exercise enough, chances are it’s interfering with your sleep. Regular exercise – at least 3 days per week – will help you have a better quality sleep. Don’t exercise just before bed though!

So there you have it! Tips to help you sleep better and feel much better for it!

In my next article I’ll share my second recharge tip for you.

USA Health Care Crisis and Preventative Health Care

America is currently in the middle of a health care crisis! It is quite alarming to realize that the amount being spent on USA’s health care is rising at a rate that is quicker than inflation with an excess of 2.3 trillion dollars being spent on health care a year!

Barack Obama’s controversial health care package is unfortunately very likely to make things a whole lot worse. One essential area that was left out of this reform was preventative health care. It appears that the president did not look further into this essential form of health care, which will have number negative outcomes.

Let me explain why

This issue of this has a lot to do with the significant number of the aging baby boomer population. Baby boomers are those who were born between 1946 and 1964. This number makes up around a quarter of the population of the United States of America, which is a significant percentage. The problem starts to unfold when you realize that an estimated 78 million people are set to reach the age of 65 in 2011. This number will continue to rise over the next 18 years with 3 or 4 million people reaching the age of 65 a year.

Outcomes

As soon as this large population number turns this significant age, they will automatically become eligible to receive government health care benefits. Medicare is currently setting taxpayers back more than 230 billion dollars a year and this will only get worse and drive up health care costs to phenomenal figures!

Within this aging population of baby boomers, comes the increased appearance of chronic illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes and respiratory diseases which all happen to be preventable illnesses! Around 20% of patients in the United States suffer from diseases that can, in most cases, be successfully prevented. This 20% of people also happen to contribute around 80% of the health care costs! It is also interesting to note that most of the top 10 health problems that are experienced in the country are able to be prevented.

What is Preventative Health Care?

The current health care system is focused on treating diseases and illnesses after they have progressed to severe levels. Preventative Health Care is the execution and education of measures that assist in deterring or eliminating illness before they occur. Preventative Health Care also includes the treatment of problems as soon as they appear instead of waiting until the later stages. This often allows the condition to be treated quicker and with a reduced amount of discomfort to the patient. This type of health care is the best method of avoiding serious sickness and disease! For this type of health care to be successful healthy habits must be maintained on a daily basis. These include:

A healthy and balanced diet
Regular exercise and physical activity
Avoid alcohol
Do not smoke
Reduce salt and sugar intake
Adequate sleep
Regular medical checkups

Due to these findings it is obvious that excluding Preventative Health Care from the Health Care Package was a serious mistake that will have detrimental consequences. However, by adopting the key preventative principles you will be still be able to benefit! If you stick to these essential health measures, you will encounter a reduced frequency and duration of illnesses. It will also enable you to feel fit and healthy year after year!

Create your OWN Healthy Habits

Smiling couple preparing salad together in kitchen

In my last article, I referred to how obesity can run in families.  Maybe you know of somebody who battles with their weight, and they will discount it and say, “Oh, I just have

fat genes. My parents and siblings are like that – everybody in my family is.”

It’s so easy to just write obesity or weight problems off like that, but really, it’s not doing you or anybody saying it any favors at all.  In fact, it’s like writing yourself off and resigning yourself to a lifetime of obesity and the lifestyle-related problems that come with it.

At the end of the day, nobody wants to be sentenced to a lifetime of obesity.  And the only way you can spare yourself of it is to take full and 100% responsibility for YOU!

It is entirely up to you to make the changes

Nobody is going to wake up one morning and make it their life mission to help you lose weight.  Only you can do it.

You can watch as many healthy lifestyle programs relating to fitness and healthy diet…but at the end of the day, you need to implement what you learn to reap the benefits.

You have to stop talking about it, and start doing it.

The weight will not just fall off on its own.  You have to take action to lose the weight and get back to health.

Now, I know you may have struggled with this before.  You may have tried diets.  You may have tried doing a very strict fitness regime.

And even so – even with the best of intentions – you found yourself giving up because it was too hard.

But today is a NEW day!

Just because you may have failed in the past, doesn’t mean you will fail this time.  The past is the past.  And the future is whatever you want it to be – whatever you create it to be.

And when it comes to losing weight and getting yourself back to health, it’s all about creating new habits.

Now, new habits doesn’t mean pain and suffering.  It doesn’t mean you’re going to have a hard time and miss out on good things.  In fact, new, healthy habits means you are gaining so much.  You are getting on track to getting the healthy body you want and the healthy mind you want.

When you have a healthy body, you have a healthy mind.

And it all boils down to habits.

Here are some things to know about creating healthy habits:

It only takes 30 days to create a new habit: replace an old habit that isn’t healthy, with a healthy habit.  Do it for 30 days and it becomes second nature.  It’s no longer such a struggle to do it, because you naturally DO it!

By adopting healthy habits, you will relieve yourself of stress: it’s amazing how a healthy lifestyle of diet and exercise can relieve you of stress.  You can manage stress a whole lot easier when you are living a healthy lifestyle.

And here are a few habits you can adopt TODAY

It’s really not that hard.  See these are surefire steps to your optimum health and wellbeing:

Start walking: You always feel better after a walk.  Try making time each day – or at least 3 days a week – to walk at least 30 minutes.  Try shaking up the pace of your walking with bursts of fast walking, then normal walking.  Also, you can try jogging for say one minute every 5 minutes.  Shake your body up and your metabolism is turbocharged…so it will burn fat for a lot longer – for hours after you stop exercising.

When hungry, snack on nuts: It doesn’t take long for you to fill up when you snack on nuts.  The hunger will go away pretty fast…and nuts are an essential food you should eat every day for optimum health.  Nuts are good for you!

Don’t make excuses: Remember it is up to YOU to take 100% responsibility for your health.  Don’t skip health checks and don’t skip your exercise or healthy eating.  You can add variety so you keep on the right path.

Plan to eat well: Create a meal plan and buy food you can store in your freezer.  It spares you the temptation of eating unhealthy take away foods.

Remember to relax: People give up because they push themselves too hard.  Afford yourself relaxation from your fitness routine – a couple of days per week of rest is fine.  And if you want to treat yourself to the occasional chocolate, you can.  Just stick to healthy basics every other time.

Thirty days and you’re there!  Start today!

Determining your REAL age

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If somebody was to ask you for your age, you would automatically think of the year you were born.  And you would be forgiven for thinking that.  After all, that’s the way the great majority of people determine their age.

But what if I was to tell you that your real age is actually different to that?

Each one of us has a birthday, but we also have a body age.  And the good thing about body age is that we have quite a bit of control over what age it is.

It boils down to our lifestyle!

In determining your true body age, assessments take into consideration how many hours a day you sleep, whether you ride a motorbike to work, if you wear a seatbelt when you are in a car, if you ever drink drive or travel with somebody who does, how many hours per week you exercise, what sort of diet you have, if you grew up in a nuclear family or broken home, if you have a lot of family support, if you are married or single, etc.

All of these things are taken into consideration when it comes to determing your true body age.

Our true body age takes into account the following main areas:

  • Diet;
  • Physical fitness;
  • Health; and
  • Wellbeing.

How to find out your true body age

There are plenty of tests you can take online that will reveal to you your true body age.  I’ve had the pleasure of investigating quite a few of them, and the one I recommend is found at http://realage.com.  The test will probably take you around 20 minutes or so to do from memory, and it will give you a fairly good, indicative body age.

Just answer the questions and submit your answers for the revelation of your body age.

What if I get a disappointing result?

Don’t worry!  Many people get a result that indicates their true body age to be older than their real birthday age.  That’s because so many people need to improve their lifestyles.  They need to improve their diet, lift their physical fitness, address health issues and do things to improve their overall wellbeing.

And the thing is, doing this isn’t really that hard at all.  You have so much more control over your true body age, than you do over your birthday age.  After all, you cannot change the date and year you were born.

Age really is a lifestyle thing at the end of the day.  And by making improvements to your lifestyle,  you really can increase your longevity and hang round a lot longer!

My Top Tips for Weight Loss Eating

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Often in my work as a personal trainer, I hear about the diet frustrations that many of my weight loss clients contend with.  Up there with the best of them is the frustration surrounding the foods they really love, but feel they cannot enjoy because those food are ‘naughty’ or ‘bad’.

One of the things I am always happy to share with these clients is that there are so many substitutes out there that will keep you from going crazy from “yum deprivation”. 

Dieting doesn’t have to mean living on lettuce and cardboard at all.  This is what too many people believe, and it’s why too many people crash diet.  They cannot keep up with the strictness of the nutritional plan they are following.

Healthy eating is something we need to make a lifestyle thing and here are my healthy and delicious alternatives to those foods we find yummy:

  • Drink diet soft drinks instead of regular sugar ones:  Soft drinks and sodas are to blame for so much weight gain, and it’s not looking like slowing down any time soon.  Just because you’re trying to lose weight though doesn’t mean you have to cut soft drink out of your life altogether.  There are plenty of diet soft drinks out there that are sugar free, and you can enjoy them without feeling any guilt, anytime you wish to reach for a soda.
  • Wholegrain bread instead of white bread:  It’s a lie that you need to cut bread out of your diet altogether if you’re looking to lose weight.  Instead of eating white bread which is full of unnecessary calories, opt for wholegrain bread.  It has fewer calories, less fat and it’s rich with the nutrients that your body really craves.  This wholegrain recommendation also applies to bagels and bread rolls.  You don’t have to cut them out altogether!
  • Low fat cookies and cakes instead of the calorie-rich ones:  Many people get that 3pm lull towards the end of the day when the afternoon is winding down.  During this time you may be used to enjoying a cake or cookie, and the good news is you can still do this.  Just go for the low fat bakery options.  They do exist – you just need to spot them in your cake and cookie aisle at the grocery store.
  • Vegetable burgers instead of hamburgers:  Sometimes you just feel the need to wolf down a hamburger, and thanks to low-fat veggie burger alternatives, you can – guilt-free!  They take a little getting used to, I must admit, but it’s well worth trying them out.  Be sure to add a nice serve of salad to your burger for an enjoyable, healthier hamburger alternative.
  • “Fake butter” instead of real butter:  Sure it tastes a little different, but it’s worth switching from the fatty version to the fake.  The big companies producing butter are now creating fat-free versions, so you don’t have to forgo butter after all if you get the urge to enjoy it!

Take these handy tips into consideration within the context of a healthy, balanced diet, and you’re on your way to making a healthy lifestyle, your lifestyle!

To get advanced strategies go see you local 24 hour fitness trainer.

This site is dedicated to you and your continued success.  Feel free to leave you thoughts and questions so we can get you answers to your burining questions.

My Take on Weight Loss Supplements and Weight Loss

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If you’ve decided to drop the extra pounds you’re carrying and lose weight for life, chances are you’ve probably done your fair share of internet surfing to find the easiest way to do it.  If easy is high on your priority list, no doubt you’ve checked out weight loss supplements.  And perhaps like millions of people each year, you probably loved the idea of the weight “simply melting off in no time, with hardly any effort.”

As the old saying goes, “if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is” and as a personal trainer, I’m afraid to break it to you.  There is no magic pill (pardon the pun) when it comes to weight loss.

Sure, we’ve heard all about supplements like Hoodia and seen the dramatic (in my view, over dramatic!) before and after shots of devotees who apparently swear by the supplement.  But the thing is – like most products in the weight loss industry – supplements aren’t meant to work long term.

Here are the two big ones that many weight loss supplements claim:

  • You don’t have to worry about dieting:  This is rubbish that appeals to people who don’t want to control what they eat.  Fact is, you need to get your metabolism on side to get the weight off and keep it off.  To do that, you need to fuel your body up with the right foods at the right time.  This means cutting back on carbs, cutting out processed foods and consuming lots of fruit and veggies – in addition to healthy carbs, good fats and of course, lean proteins.  If you’re time poor or stressed about changing your dietary habits, you won’t like the sound of this – but it’s the only way!
  • You don’t have to do any exercise:  This is totally wrong!  No diet pill will help you to burn the calories needed to rid your body of excess fat and keep it off – none!  All a pill may do is elevate your heart rate somewhat, but that’s about it.  Frequent exercise will help you to burn the calories you need to lose weight and keep it off – and by regularly exercising, you’ll increase your energy levels, help your resting metabolism so it burns fat even when you’re resting and build muscle which also helps you to burn fat and keep weight off.  Pills don’t do this.

By changing your lifestyle to include a healthy diet and healthy dose of exercise, you’ll not only get the weight off – you’ll keep it off for life.

And trust me.  No pill will do this for you.  The weight loss supplement companies don’t care about you.  They simply want to make money and keep people overweight, so they can keep making money!

After saying all of this though, it’s totally fine for you to supplement your healthy diet with vitamin supplements if you’re finding yourself lacking a bit.  And yes, it’s okay for you to have a meal replacement shake every once in awhile – but only as part of a healthy and balanced diet.  The shakes recommend this anyway.

Remember, 30 days is all it takes to get you well and truly into the habit of healthy – so start today!