With the millions of fad diets out there, how can you possibly decide the best way to lose weight? With the rise of intermittent fasting, a new question is intriguing dieters: “What if you could simply change WHEN you eat, not WHAT you eat, to lose weight and boost your overall health at the same time?”
This is the idea behind intermittent fasting and science is backing it up. Keep reading to learn more and see if intermittent fasting is right for you.
Before we dive in, we need to talk about what intermittent fasting is and what it isn’t…
First of all, it is not starving yourself. We use the word “starving” pretty loosely in everyday conversation, but you can’t actually starve in 8, 12, 16, or even 24 hrs. So, there will be no “starving” with intermittent fasting.
Think about it this way… a bear eats all spring, summer and fall to build up his fat reserves before he goes into hibernation. During the winter months, his body feeds off of his fat stores. Intermittent fasting, like the popular keto diet, trains your body to tap into your own body’s fat stores for energy.
We each fast every single day. The hours when you sleep are a “fast” where your body is not getting a continuous supply of food energy. That is why the word “breakfast” is when you literally break your fast each morning.
Now imagine extending that nightly fast just a few hours more. Could you postpone breakfast until 10am … or even wait to eat until noon? If the answer is “yes,” then intermittent fasting may work well for you.
There are many types of intermittent fasting including: alternate day fasting, 5:2 fasting, or the window approach. We find that the window approach is a great way to start. To do this, pick a time or “window” each day when you plan to do all your eating.
If you are doing a “16/8” window you would plan to eat all of your food within 8 hours and then fast the other 16 hours. To use our earlier example, you might postpone breakfast until noon and then plan to finish snacks and dinner by 8pm each night. Easy!
This lifestyle is flexible, so if a 16/8 “window” of 10am-6pm works better, you can adjust the time however you like. If you want to take things up a notch, try an 18/6 or 20/4 window approach. Pick a time that fits your lifestyle and individual needs. Some people have better results with a shorter window, while others lose with an easy 8 hour eating window.
Alternate day fasting is another system, which may sound a little more intense, but it’s very doable. You will eat normally for one day and then fast through the second day and return to eating normally on day three. If you are very active and need some calories to make it through day two, some people will have a small 500 calorie meal. You may find that you’d prefer to just fast the whole way through those days and ignore the 500 calorie meal. Many people find once they start eating, it triggers their appetite and they want more.
There are other IF protocols out there, but the two above options are great ways to start that will still have you seeing results.
I’m sure you are thinking – “But I’ll be too hungry if I postpone my meals!” Yes, it may take a few days or weeks to get used to this new eating pattern. During this time, you will be retraining your body to burn fat for energy instead of the glucose from constant eating throughout the day.
During your fast, you can drink water, black coffee and plain tea. Stay away from creamer, sweeteners, diet sodas or anything that will make your body think it is going to be fed. A proper fast will keep your insulin levels way down so your body can switch to a fat burning mode.
During your eating window, it is up to you what foods you’d like to eat. This lifestyle can easily be combined with any sort of eating preferences including a regular American diet, Paleo, Keto, Veganism, etc. Many people find they start to prefer higher quality and healthier foods during their eating window. After all, if you’re just going to eat during a short timespan each day, that food better be delicious and satisfying!
Now that we know what intermittent fasting is, let’s look at all of the great benefits you can reap. When you fast you are allowing your body to re-set and take care of a lot of the processes that it doesn’t do when it is busy breaking down food.
Increased Fat Burning – As we already hinted, fat burning is a great benefit for intermittent fasting. Your body burns the food that you put into your body first and foremost. When you fast, your body then burns your stored fat.
Autophagy – When it comes to fasting, one of the main benefits is the stimulation of autophagy. This is essentially your body’s way of “cleaning house” and getting rid of the cells that are damaged, old or just shouldn’t be there.
While still in the early stages, there is promising evidence that increased autophagy can help reduce the risk of progression of diseases such as cancer. Fasting as an autophagy stimulator is also shown to help reverse type II diabetes along with weight loss.
Increased Energy – While it may seem counter-intuitive, fasting can increase your energy. When you are eating, your body gives you energy from the carbohydrates in the food. This causes rises and falls in your blood sugar and your energy. When you are fasting, your body uses your stored fat for energy. This is a slow, sustained process that provides you with steady, sustained energy.
Mental Clarity – Your brain experiences the same ups and down as your body when you are eating…and after. This means that the sustained energy you receive from stored fat will help you maintain clearer thinking and increased productivity, without the inevitable crash.
Other Health Benefits – The list of benefits associated with intermittent fasting is long, but impressive. Animal studies have shown that intermittent fasting can lead to a longer life, delay the onset of Alzheimer’s, increase heart health and prevent premature aging. Many of these ideas are in the early stages, but the results so far are very promising.
A new study, published in Science News, showed just how effective intermittent fasting can be. Researchers at the University of Adelaide showed that obese women lost more weight and improved their health by fasting intermittently while following a controlled diet.
As Dr. Amy Hutchison, lead author of the study says, “Continuously restricting their diet is the main way women try to tackle their weight. Unfortunately, studies have shown that long-term adherence to a restricted diet is very challenging for people to follow.”
They monitored 88 women over ten weeks, all of whom were overweight or obese and between the ages of 35 and 70. Patients were divided between those that only restricted their diet, those that only fasted, and those that fasted and restricted their food.
The women who fasted followed the alternate day fasting system that we discussed above, and after ten weeks the results were clear. “By adhering to a strict pattern of intermittent fasting and dieting, obese women have achieved significant weight loss and improvements in their health, such as decreased markers for heart disease,” reports Dr. Hutchinson.
Whether you are trying to lose significant weight, drop those last stubborn pounds, or simply boost your overall health and energy, intermittent fasting is a system that provides extensive benefits.
As with all lifestyle changes, listen to your body and be safe. Also, remember to stick with it, nothing is going to provide overnight results, but don’t give up. Intermittent fasting is a great way to live a longer, healthier life and the results will speak for themselves.
The Obesity Code Book by Dr. Jason Fung
Intensive Dietary Management Website led by Dr. Jason Fung
The Fast 5 Book by Dr. Burt Herring
Delay, Don’t Deny Book by Gin Stephens
Role of autophagy in cancer prevention: Hsin-Yi Chen and Eileen White; 2012
https://idmprogram.com Intensive Dietary Management
10 Evidence-Based Health Benefits for Intermittent Fasting: Kris Gunnars BSc; 2016
Intermittent Fasting Could Improve Obese Women’s Health: University of Adelaide; 2019
Most of us treat the cold as an inconvenience that we must conquer rather than embrace….coats, scarves, sweaters, heated blankets, seat warmers and steamy hot showers. Everyday approaches to keep coldness at bay.
But what if the cold is actually useful? What if instead of protecting ourselves from chilly temperatures we should be wrapping ourselves in the cold’s frigid benefits?
Wim Hof, also known as the “Iceman”, has changed his life and his body thanks to the cold. It all began when he was just 17 years old and took in a dip in an icy pool of water. The effects of that experience changed his views on how both his mind and body functioned, and that icy dip became a normal part of his regular routine.
Now 59 years old, Wim Hof holds 21 Guinness World Records and has racked up some astounding achievements. For instance, he ran a half marathon above the Arctic Circle, barefoot and wearing only shorts. He also climbed to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro in a swimsuit and can swim underneath ice for 66 meters.
These are things the rest of us shiver just to think about, but Hof claims that cold exposure is behind his ability to do these things.
According to Wim Hof, “Over time, we as humans have developed a different attitude towards nature and we’ve forgotten about our inner power. This is the ability of our body to adapt to extreme temperature and survive within our natural environment. The inner power is a powerful force that can be reawakened by stimulating these physiological processes through the Wim Hof Method.”Continue reading
New Shorter Exercise Recommendations
We hear it all the time – “Get up and get moving!”
Unfortunately, many of us are not moving near as much as we should in an effort to maintain our fitness.
Whether you are already moving and shaking on your fitness journey…or just setting out on the path to your best you…there are recommendations to help guide you along the way.
The government recently released new physical activity recommendations, so there are some updated guidelines to follow to keep your journey on track. Keep reading to find out how much you need to be getting up and moving, and just how to go about making it happen.Continue reading
What if a simple fitness test could give you a glimpse into your future health outlook?
We are constantly being bombarded with information about what we need to do to stay healthy and how much we need to do it. But even if you do all of the things, the question remains … how do you know if you’re actually in good enough physical shape for the long haul?
Read below for a simple test that can help you unlock this vital knowledge.
According to a study published by The European Society of Cardiology, a simple test can tell you if you are at risk of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer.
The study used 12,615 individuals with known or suspected coronary disease. Each participant performed treadmill exercise echocardiography. They were asked to walk or jog with increasing intensity until exhaustion. The test allowed the researchers to see how well each individual’s heart was functioning.
Results were measured in metabolic equivalents, known as METs, which measure the energy cost of an activity. The goal was for each participant to achieve 10 METs. To put METs in perspective, it requires 1 MET unit to sit still, walking achieves 3 and jogging will use 6 METs.
Individuals that could achieve the goal of 10 METs were said to have “good functional capacity”, while those that could not had “poor functional capacity”.
At the time of the 4.7 year follow-up, there had been 1,253 cardiovascular deaths from the study group and 670 deaths from cancer. The results showed how participants in the “poor functional capacity” group were three times more likely to die from cardiovascular disease and twice as likely to die from cancer!
The longevity gains didn’t stop at 10 METs either. Patients that were able to achieve more than 10 METs on their test saw even greater decreased risks. Each MET above ten came with a 9% decreased risk of death from cardiovascular disease or cancer!
As we all know, physical activity is good for you and is something that we should all do every day. But how does it actually work? What does being able to achieve 10 METs actually mean for your body?
Dr. Jesús Peteiro, author of the study and cardiologist at University Hospital in Coruña, Spain, “physical activity has a positive effect on the blood pressure and lipids. It reduces inflammation and improves the body’s immune response to tumors.”
Regulation of blood pressure and lipids in the cardiovascular system is a key component of heart health. In addition, inflammation has been shown to contribute to both cardiovascular disease and the development of some cancers, which helps explains the results seen by Dr. Petiero’s team.
The good news is that you don’t need a crystal ball, or treadmill exercise cardiography, to find out if you fall into the “good” or “poor”category of the study.
The goal of 10 METs for the study participants equals about the same amount of energy required to climb 4 flights of stairs in under a minute, without having to stop.
This means you can easily test yourself by simply climbing some stairs!
If you can climb 3-4 flights of stairs in 45-55 seconds, without needing to stop, you can consider yourself a member of the “good functional capacity” group. If you can’t, that’s ok! It just means that it’s time to getup and become more active to improve your fitness levels.
This past October, the federal government updated its exercise recommendations for the first time in 10 years. These new guidelines say that 2.5 hours of physical activity per week can reduce your risk of heart disease, protect from diabetes, and even help make your body more resistant to tumors.
Prior guidelines focused more specifically on time spent exercising, while new guidelines offer a more comprehensive picture.
We’ve already talked about reducing the risk of death from cardiovascular health and cancer, but the benefits of meeting your exercise requirement don’t end there. You will also be reducing your risk of diabetes, building strong bones and maintaining a healthy weight.
And don’t forget the mental benefits…
Regular exercise helps improve memory, reduces anxiety and depression and will help you get a better night’s sleep.
Now that you are ready to exercise and live a longer healthier life — the question is how to do it?
An elliptical is a great way to meet your exercise requirements from the comfort of your own home.
Not only will an at-home machine provide you with the cardiovascular exercise to keep you going for years to come, you will be building key muscle groups at the same time. This is also a great options for those that suffer from back and hip pain, or an injury. An elliptical provides you with a fantastic no-impact workout.
There’s no need to schedule travel time and find the gym that’s right for you when everything you need is in your living room. Plus, scorching outdoor temperatures and snowy winter months can’t stop you when you control the temperature.
Check out our Best Buy Elliptical models and find the one that will keep you moving and shaking for many healthy years to come!
Cardiovascular Benefits and Recommendations: Katrina L. Piercy,Richard P. Troiano; 2018
Stair test may predict your risk of dying of heart disease, cancer, study finds: A. Pawlowski; Dec. 6, 2018
Performance on exercise test predicts risk of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer: Good performance equates to climbing three floors of stairs very fast Findings underline importance of fitness for longevity; 2018
The top fitness equipment brands are rolling out some exciting new models and new elliptical updates to take your fitness to the next level. At times, these new options can be a bit overwhelming, so we have put together this guide to all of the best new options on the market. Use this article to find the perfect elliptical to help you hit your fitness goals this season!
In 2015, Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, suffered the loss of her husband, Dave Goldberg, who was killed in a tragic treadmill accident.
Accidents can and do happen, but if you prepare yourself properly you can use exercise equipment to safely get a great workout.
Whether you are new to the elliptical or consider yourself a pro, safety is extremely important. Just because you’ve used an elliptical before doesn’t mean you can get lazy in this department. Home exercise equipment is a heavy-duty piece of machinery and things can go wrong in the blink of an eye.
While the death of a well-known public figure will obviously make the news, there are many injuries due to exercise equipment that don’t make the headlines.
In a study published in 2013, researchers used the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) to identify emergency department-treated injuries that occurred due to mechanical home exercise equipment between 2007 and 2011.
Their research covered a variety of injuries that are often suffered on exercise equipment, including cuts, soft tissue injury, sprains & strains, fractures, head injuries including concussions, and burns.
They found an estimated 70,302 injuries attributed to mechanical home exercise equipment! The majority of the injuries were to children (age 0-9) and adults age 45 and over.
These statistics seem to be growing as more people are using exercise equipment at the gym or at home.
According to the NEISS database, there were 316,206 exercise equipment related injuries treated in emergency rooms between 2013 and 2017! That’s an average of 79,051 each year. This is in addition to the 26,442 injuries that required patients to be admitted for hospitalization.
Even though we are aware of the bad things that can happen, that doesn’t mean you need to be afraid of using your elliptical.
We’ve put together a list of tips to keep you safe every time you hop on for a workout. Keep these tips in mind to get all of the benefits that these awesome machines have to offer.
Give yourself some space
There are two things to think about when we talk about “space” for exercise equipment: yourself and the machine.
You need to make sure that you have plenty of room to get on and off of your equipment safely. If you’re having to step over or around obstacles to get on your machine, you’ll want to do some rearranging.
You also need to make sure that there is plenty of room for the machine itself and all of its moving parts. For instance, the Freestride Trainer FS9i has moving parts that extend far in front of the machine.
Wear the right shoes
Wearing the right shoes can make all the difference. You wouldn’t try to run a marathon in flip-flops right? When using your elliptical make sure that you are wearing closed toe athletic footwear.
You will want shoes that provide support and shock absorption. Also, make sure that the tread isn’t worn down, you want your shoes to grip the pedals and keep you stable.
Plan an appropriate workout
Before you begin any exercise regimen, it is important to evaluate what you are capable of…and be honest with yourself. If you are new to working out or have an existing medical condition take is easy, you don’t need to work yourself into the ground to see results.
As Fred Water, industry expert, shared, “Start slow. Besides the potential for heart issues, you could do serious damage to the lower body joints if you overdo it the first time.” It is also always a good idea to check with your doctor if you are starting a new exercise program.
Choose the right machine for you
Not all ellipticals are the same and you need to make sure that you are choosing the machine that is right for you. This starts with simply getting on the machine, some are easier to get onto than others!
For instance, if you are older or have hip issues, you will probably prefer a front drive machine to a rear drive model. In general, front drive machines have a lower step-up height which makes getting on and off easier.
You may also want to check out the Horizon machines. They are specifically built with a 6-point system to provide an easier step up.
Choose a speed and incline that you can handle
This is another area where you need to honestly evaluate your abilities. If you are struggling to keep up with the speed or really pushing to get up that incline, you are putting yourself at risk.
Simply take it down a notch! You will still be getting the cardio and strength benefits of your elliptical and you’ll be able to do it properly.
This is also important if you are choosing from the preset workout programs. Check out the workout and make sure you know what you are getting into before you start moving.
Keep pets and kids away
If you have small children or pets in your home, you need to make sure that they aren’t at risk while you are working out. There are lots of moving parts on an elliptical that can catch tiny fingers or knock them down.
This is also for your own safety. You can be seriously injured if you suddenly have a pet or child trying to jump or climb onto the machine while you are using it.
You are busy, we get it! But your elliptical needs your attention more than your phone or your TV.
Most elliptical models have a screen designed to keep you involved in your workout, and not on outside distractions. Your workout is your time to focus on your goals and progress, don’t let the outside world put that at risk.
Shut it down!
Safety isn’t just for when you are actually on the machine. When you are done, make sure the machine is complete turned off and closed away from young children. Your elliptical isn’t a jungle gym and children can be easily injured if they are climbing on the machine.
Your elliptical can be a great way to get in shape, give your heart the exercise it needs and become the best version of yourself. Next time you’re ready to hop on remember these tips to keep yourself and your loved ones safe.
Check out our list of Best Buy Ellipticals here so you can find the perfect machine for your body and budget.
Dave Goldberg’s death highlight unseen dangers of treadmills: Faith Karimi and Samuel Burke; 2015
Emergency department-reported injuries associated with mechanical home exercise equipment in the USA: Janessa M Graves,1,2 Krithika R Iyer,1 Margaret M Willis,1,3 Beth E Ebel,1,2,3 Frederick P Rivara,1,2,3 and Monica S Vavilala1,2,4; 2013
You know breathing is important, this is not big news to anyone. But did you know that the simple act of breathing can help boost your metabolism, relieve stress and burn fat?
We’ve talked about how to utilize proper breathing techniques to ensure you’re getting the most out of every breath. Now we are going to look at why you should really make sure that you’re using those techniques to reap major benefits.
In order to get all of the bonuses of breathing when exercising, you need to remember to do it properly. This involves following the 3:2 method. Simply put, breathe in for 3 steps and out for 2 steps. If you are exercising at a higher intensity switch it up to 2:1, breathe in for 2 steps and out for one.
This ensures you are taking in the oxygen you need and expelling the carbon dioxide that you need to get out. You can learn more about how to breathe and what happens each time you do from our last article.
While the idea that you can breathe out fat may sound crazy, it’s actually true! A study published in the British Medical Journal investigated where the fat actually goes when you are losing weight, and found that we are breathing some of it out.
It is important to note that this applies to the stored fats in the body, known as triglycerides. Triglycerides are formed when our body stores the excess carbohydrates and protein from our diet in fat cells.
The team studied the molecular makeup of these triglycerides, which are formed of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. They found that when broken down they become carbon dioxide and water.
According to the team’s calculations, for every 10kg of fat that is broken down, 84% of that becomes carbon dioxide which you exhale when you breathe out.
When you are not exercising you aren’t going to be seeing major results from this, but you will when you are exercising. During exercise you are also increasing your metabolism, which means you are breaking down and breathing out fat at a much higher rate, up to 20%!
When we talk about your metabolism, we are talking about your body’s ability to convert the nutrients in your food into energy, which can be used.
Oxygen plays a key role in your metabolism. Basically, your body can’t make energy without it!
The process by which your body turns food into energy is called the Kreb’s Cycle. Your body uses the oxygen that you breathe to carry nutrients to the places that need it. Once there, the oxygen helps break down the nutrients into carbon dioxide and energy that your body uses.
When you are exercising, you are using a lot more energy. To produce this energy you need to be taking in more oxygen, which is when your proper breathing techniques are key.
By taking in more oxygen your body can produce energy more efficiently, so you can exercise longer to burn more calories and store less fat.
Oxygen not only plays vital roles when you are exercising, but is also an important part of your post-workout routine.
It can be so easy to rush through stretching after a workout…and end up sore the next day. If you take a little more time and incorporate proper breathing into your stretching, your muscles will thank you!
According to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, breathing while you stretch relaxes the body, helps reduce lactic acid buildup, and improves circulation.
With each breath you take, your body is carrying oxygen-rich blood to your muscles. This oxygenated blood helps improve the elasticity of your muscles so that you can elongate your muscles, improve flexibility and avoid muscle soreness after a workout.
To make sure that you are giving your muscles the attention they need, there are a few things to keep in mind.
Don’t rush – Take a little time in each stretch. You don’t need to be camping out in each stretch for an extended period, but you do need to hold it for a minimum of 30 seconds. This gives your body time to circulate oxygenated blood to your muscles so that it can do its job.
Breathing while stretching – When you are stretching, especially when your muscles are tight and it hurts a little, it’s really easy to forget about your breathing. You may even realize that you are holding your breath without thinking about it.
Thankfully, there is an easy technique that will keep your breathing in the forefront of your mind and also get you the most out of your stretch. When you are in position, take a deep breath in without moving your body. When you exhale, let your body settle into the stretch. Repeat this process. Stay where you are while you inhale and then stretch a little deeper on the exhale.
There are so many things every day that cause us to feel stressed, we certainly don’t need to add any more. However, did you know that improper breathing can actually increase your stress level?
Most of us do what is known as “chest breathing”, we simply don’t take the time to consciously breathe deeply. When you aren’t taking full, deep breaths you aren’t filling your lungs to their capacity. This means part of your lungs aren’t getting their share of oxygen which can lead to anxiety.
You can beat this by invoking a relaxation response using a technique developed in the 1970’s by Dr. Herbert Benson, a cardiologist at Harvard Medical School. It’s very simple.
Find a comfortable place to sit or lay down.
Breathe in slowly through your nose, letting your chest and belly rise and expand as your lungs fill completely.
Breathe out slowly through your mouth or nose (whichever is more natural) until your lungs are empty.
Repeat. Try doing this for 10 minutes, practice makes perfect!
Not only will you feel your stress loosen its grip, this will also slow your heartbeat and lower your blood pressure.
Whether you are headed to the gym, jumping on your elliptical, or just taking a quiet moment to yourself, remember your breathing. You’ll see and feel the difference in your mind and your body.
Why Is Breathing Important During Stretching? Dana Tuffelmire;
Whether you are new to exercising or you’re looking to change up your normal routine, LISS cardio may be just the ticket.
Hang on… LISS? Yes, another acronym has stormed the world of fitness. Just like popular HIIT workouts, this new type of cardio can help you get better results.
Breathing is important. You know that. But did you know your breathing can make a huge difference when you’re doing cardio?
Proper breathing can increase your performance during a workout and even help you deal with physical and mental stress.
The average person takes around 23,000 breaths per day. So why not get the most from every single inhalation? That’s why we’ve decided to come up with these breathing tips to help you get the most from your cardio workout.
Now, let’s take a closer look…
We all know that cardiovascular exercise is super important. The American Heart Association tells us to get a minimum of 30 minutes per day to keep feeling young. And doctors tell us that cardio saves lives!
But what if there’s more to the story? What if getting that cardio in each day has more benefits that you ever realized?