Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Aerobic vs. Anaerobic Exercise

Fitness enthusiasts talk a lot about aerobic and anaerobic exercise, and everyone else wants to know what’s the difference and which one is better. It's kind of like asking if using a home rowing machine is better than a home elliptical machine. Essentially, these two are types of exercises meant to train the cardiovascular system and burn calories. What separates them is the intensity and the corresponding physiological effects. Your body responds differently to varying exercise intensity.

What is aerobic exercise?

On face value, aerobic exercise is a moderate-pace exercise, and as its name implies, it relies solely on the aerobic metabolic pathway for energy. That means it just requires the metabolic process that relies on the presence of enough oxygen. The aerobic energy-generating mechanism sustains most of our daily activities and sustains moderate levels of physical activity (e.g. walking, jogging, or cycling). At moderate pace, the lungs and heart are able to pump enough oxygen for the muscles.

However, the ability of the aerobic metabolic mechanism to generate energy reaches a ceiling. As you increase the intensity of an exercise, say you shift from jogging to running, your body responds by increasing your breathing and heart rate to compensate for more massive demands for oxygen and fuel (glucose). At a certain point, even such compensation falls short of the demand. This is evident when you exert more effort, for instance, when you break into a sprint. Your muscles will have to rely on another type of mechanism for energy.

What is anaerobic exercise?

When working at extreme intensity, your body’s fuel and oxygen demands exceed what aerobic energy generating mechanisms can supply. To compensate for additional energy requirements, your body, your muscles in particular, resort to anaerobic metabolism. Any type of exercise intense enough to prompt the body to switch to anaerobic metabolism is considered anaerobic exercise. In fact, aerobic exercise done intense enough can become anaerobic exercise.

You don’t realize anaerobic mechanisms happening, but you recognize the effect--muscle fatigue. Muscles cannot sustain anaerobic (high intensity) exercise too long because lactic acid builds up fast as a result of rapid breakdown of glucose. Lactic acid retards muscle function and should be cleared by the body before muscle function resumes to previous level. The accumulation of lactic acid adds to the soreness you feel after an intense exercise. Note that the intense exercise itself tears muscle fibers, causing the feeling of soreness as well.

So which is better?

One isn’t necessarily better than the other. Aerobic and anaerobic exercise both have their own uses. Some people are better off doing aerobic exercises, while others should try anaerobic exercises.

Beginners and those recovering from injury should be on aerobic exercise, because it is less demanding and puts less stress on muscles, tendons, and joints. Aerobic exercise has its place in fitness, especially in cardiovascular training. However, your body adapts to this type of training and soon it becomes less effective for weight loss, supposing you’re doing it to burn fat.

This is why advanced fitness enthusiasts add anaerobic exercise to their programs. High intensity interval training, circuit training, and weight training are examples of exercises that require anaerobic energy generation. They are more effective at burning fat, building muscle, building more robust cardiovascular system, and improving your overall fitness. However, they are quite physically demanding and must be performed properly to avoid injuries.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Running vs. Walking for Weight Loss

If you are looking to lose weight, you have a lot of options, but two of the most common things people do is walk or run. Walking and running have their place in fitness. Both burn calories and lower body fat. Both are convenient activities that require no equipment. You just need a good pair of running shoes. You can do them anywhere, and you get the benefit of nice scenery and sunshine. However, for weight loss purposes, running is obviously better than walking.

While you will lose roughly the same amount of calories with the same distance covered, you lose more calories running than walking at the same amount of time. For instance, you lose more or less a hundred calories per mile walking or running. But you cover a mile faster running than walking. So within a specified amount of time you burn more calories when you run.

Walking burns roughly 300 calories per hour. But running on the average burns about 800 calories an hour. That is quite an advantage, and the faster you run, the more calories you burn.

One of the great things about walking is it burns fat, as all low intensity workouts do. The body tends to metabolize fat on low intensity activities. So this may seem as though walking is the best way to go for fat loss. However, you actually burn more than twice the amount of calories you burn running than walking. Eventually, that leads to greater fat loss.

Another factor that makes running more effective for weight loss is its ability to affect your appetite. An exercise as intense as running produces high levels of peptide YY, a hormone that suppresses appetite. Walking does not prompt the body the produce this hormone. As a result, a session of running suppresses hunger, which means you don’t tend to overeat. On the contrary, walking makes you feel hungry afterwards. One reason could be due to your body telling you you have replace burnt fuel. Without a hunger-suppressing hormone to counteract this, you tend to eat, and usually you eat more than you what you had previously burnt.

For this reason, runners tend to lose more weight than walkers, regardless of whether both types of people cover the same mileage. Runners tend to have smaller waist, lower body fat, and more toned muscles.

The catch is running poses greater risk of injury. This isn’t hard to understand. Running puts more impact on the joints, especially for unfit beginners. This is why you shouldn’t put on your sneakers and start covering 10 miles in one hour if today is your first day. Running may not be good for you, too, if you recently had an injury or you’re obese.

The point of this article is, while you may choose running over walking for fat loss, you also have to take into account certain factors. Are you fit for running? Have you been running for a while? If so, by all means, choose running over walking, because the benefits certainly outweigh risks in this case.

However, choose walking if you’re a newbie, recovering from an injury, or significantly overweight. It burns calories and conditions or reconditions your body, especially your feet and legs, for fitness.  

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Tips for Eliminating or Reducing Bloating

So you have been working out and dieting religiously, but you still have a gut that’s sticking out, and you don’t seem to know what exactly is the problem. Well, I hear you loud and clear because I am right there with you. That is why I started researching this issue. Bloating may be the problem. It is a common cause of abdominal distention. That belly pouch may be due to gas inside your digestive tract. How can you get rid of that?

Drink more water.

Constipation is a common cause of bloating. When waste products from digestion spend more time in your colon, they tend to build up gas. There are many ways to treat constipation, and one is by drinking more water. Watch how many glasses of water you get to drink in a day. A lot of people drink only 4-5 glasses of water in a day, and they don’t even realize it.

Eat more fiber.

Fiber encourages better colon health. It’s what you need to help your colon eliminate waste, which may otherwise accumulate in the gut and cause bloating. Men are recommended to eat 38 grams of fiber a day. Women should eat 25 grams of fiber a day. Where to get fiber? Whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and nuts contain enough fiber. However, you may want to skip on beans and cruciferous vegetables (broccoli and cauliflower) because they build up gas upon digestion.


Exercise has many benefits, including better digestion, more active GI tract smooth muscles, and better elimination of waste. People with sedentary lifestyle are more prone to bloating than active people. You don’t need gym membership. Walking or jogging for 30 minutes a day for 5 days a week is all you need.

Find out if you have food allergies or intolerance.

Bloating may be a symptom that your digestive system doesn’t like certain types of food. Many people who suffer from bloating are lactose intolerant, and they don’t know it. When you’re lactose intolerant, your digestive system lacks the enzyme necessary for breaking down lactose in milk and dairy products. That means they will have to remove dairy products from their menu. Many people also have digestive tracts that don’t respond well to ingestion of whole grains. The result is bloating. Your physician will help you rule out food allergies and find out which foods may be triggering bloating in your case.

Nix soda.

Carbonated drinks are cool, but they introduce gas into your gut. It isn’t hard to understand how that leads to bloating.

Eat slowly.

What happens when you eat too fast? You swallow a lot of air. You don’t realize that, but not chewing your food properly means you get to swallow trapped gas in between improperly chewed food fragments. Also, proper chewing allows saliva to partially digest starches and your teeth to properly grind food. Mechanical digestion is an important phase of digestion, and it happens in the mouth. Improperly chewed food means your stomach would have to exert more effort in digesting the food you ate.

Reduce salt intake.

Sodium is a common bloating culprit. Your daily sodium intake should not exceed 2300 mg. The problem is no one really bothers to check how much sodium they eat in a day. One solution is by reading food labels. You get too much sodium from canned food and junk food.  

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Making The Slow Progress

Sometimes, it can be difficult to keep on moving towards your goals and taking action that you hope gets you where you want to be in terms of those goals. That happens a lot with weight loss or when you are just trying to get fit. In fact, I think those times in the past when I have been on a diet and hit a plateau or when things have been moving a long too slowly, well that is what has discouraged me and resulted in me giving up.

But here is the thing- I totally get that now. And yeah, it is very exciting and motivating when you first start out trying to lose that weight and get some pounds off cause you immediately lose a lot of it the first week or two. That is great. Then things start slowing down and you are not losing as much each week. And even though you know that it is healthiest to lose only half to one pound a week, you still feel like a failure and wish that you were doing better. Am I right about it?

Well, I think for me, that is a little worse this time around since I started this and was feeling like I needed to update it very regularly. That is why I have stopped doing that already. It is not very motivating to write that you progress has slowed down to a crawl. Right?

So, from now on I will be updating this less than I started with. And, I know that the slow and steady pace is where i need to be in terms of getting those pounds off in a way that is healthy and will actually stick this time around.

That is because i am in this for the long haul! Yeah! So, here's to all of us on the slow progress plan. Cause slow progress is better than no progress!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Staying The Course When You Feel Down

I can't help it. When I start feeling down, nothing makes me feel better (and then worse) quite like sugar. My preference, of course, is chocolate. The creamier and richer, the better - and milk over dark for moments like this. Bonus points if it includes caramel, toffee or peanut butter. Yup, nothing helps me wallow quite like chocolate. Although, Haribo gummy bears are a nice stand-in if I can't find chocolate. I can sit down and eat a whole bag of those in no time flat when I am feeling down.

This is not a good thing! I do not know why my body wants nothing but sugar when I am feeling in the dumps with life. But, it does. And when I give in to those urges I do feel better for a moment. Then I feel about about all of those calories. Then I get a craving for more sugar and the cycle starts all over again. It's like hamster wheel of feeling down and medicating with the yummy goodness of sugar.

So, what's a girl to do when trying to stay on a healthy meal plan and this sort of sugar demon strikes? I admit, I did give into it and have some chocolate. Then I realized what I was doing and I stopped it. So, what else can give the body a euphoric high that will prevent me from mindlessly eating chocolate? Well, I can only think of two things - exercise and orgasms. And the good news is that you can do both by yourself and you don't really need any equipment for either! lol

For my sinking feeling, I decided to try some exercise since I am working on getting fit anyways and I had not done any working out that day or the day before. I really had no interest in working out since I just wanted to drown my sorrows in some milk chocolate and peanut butter. But alas, I forced myself to give it a shot. Guess what? About a half hour of working out led to a bit of a boost in my mood and I was no longer craving that chocolate!

So, the next time that a case of sadness threatens to derail your healthy eating plan by tempting you with chocolates and other sugary goodness - try about a half hour of exercise (or the orgasm!). That should get you back on track and keep the chocolate safe for another day.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Weight Loss Commandments For Success

I came across this really cool image today with the 10 Commandments of Weight Loss. Check it out:

If you are looking for some motivational weight loss quotes, then I find this image to be a good option for you. And, I think that this is a great list because these things are right on point. If more people looked as weight loss like this, then I think that there would be more success stories. At least I hope that is the case since this is my new philosophy on weight loss.

I think I am going to print this out and post it on my bedroom wall as a reminder to myself. Maybe you want to do the same?

Monday, January 5, 2015

My New Workout Jams

Now, normally I am not really much of a Taylor Swift fan. But yesterday when I decided that I need to get some fast paced and up beat music to listen to for my time at the gym, I kind of found Taylor Swift. I know, lots of people out there are fans and that is cool and all for them. But honestly, I have never really like any of her music all that much. That seems to have changed though with her new album, at least the few songs that I have heard from it that is.

When I came across the "Shake It Off" song, I was hooked pretty much immediately. I am not real sure why I have not heard it before, but there ya go. I have listened to it now and added it to my sweating it out playlist for today. If this song is a new one for you to, then give it a listen in the video below. See if it doesn't hook you right in as well...

Yeah, the video is not really what you would be expecting, but still a fun song to listen to when you are down at the gym.

And, guess what? There is another Taylor Swift song that I have added to my playlist as well. It is called "Blank Space." Check it out in the video below.

So, those are the two new Taylor Swift songs that I have learned that I enjoy listening to while I get fit. Got any other tunes that I should check out?