Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Golden Secret

The following is an article that I read in the March 2010 issue of Muscle & Body Magazine. Written by Kim Lyons, an internationally known Fitness Trainer who worked on "The Biggest Loser".

The Golden Secret
It's really no secret. Just balance the three key elements of fitness.

"I'm often asked what the "golden secret" for fitness success is. Considering that Americans are ranked as the world's 3rd fattest country, many people must really believe there is a secret that's being kept from them. So let's say there is a golden secret and that it's essential to reaching your goals. Here it is.

Balance! Specifically, the balance of 3 key elements: cardio training, resistance training and proper nutrition. While that may sound simple, putting the pieces together can be overwhelming for many people.
For instance, at the risk of stereotyping, I'd be willing to bet that you fall into one of the following categories:

The Cardio Queen: Usually female, this person is in the gym for hours at a time mastering the treadmill, stationary bike or elliptical machine. She never misses an aerobics class, or else she's hitting the pavement for her daily jog, rain or shine.

The Weight Room Rat: Usually this is a dude you see hitting the weights, but year after year his physique never changes. He tends to follow each workout with a cheeseburger and fries.

The Constant Dieter: Usually this type is female, and while the intent to exercise is there, she is inconsistent with her cardio and weight training but typically orders the salad off of the menu.

All of these gym types have one thing in common: A lack of balance that's sabotaging their entire program.

So how do we put the pieces together to cover all 3 elements without spending all day, everyday, in the gym and health-food stores? I could-and have- written a book on why each of these elements is so important, but in a nutshell, this is what you need to understand:

1. Cardio. This s a powerful tool for training your heart, lungs and circulatory system to work efficiently. It also helps to reduce stress, anxiety and depression. Everyone knows it burns fat and calories, but since all activity does that, let's focus on the fat burning.
  • Do this: Add cardio to your program by doing 20-30 minutes at the end of your resistance training, spending 20-30 minutes before work, during your lunch break, or after work power walking, jogging, dancing, climbing stair, jumping rope or doing jumping jacks.
2. Resistance Training. Lifting can burn as many or more calories than cardio and it will add horsepower to your engine by speeding up your metabolism. It's win-win! It will also increase your bone density, strength, power and endurance. It increases the strength of your tendons and ligaments, which will decrease your risk of injuries, and even improve your balance, posture and coordination.
  • Do this: Hit the weights in the gym, pick up a few pairs of hand weights or a resistance band at your local sports store, or hit the deck for some old-fashion boot-camp-style exercise using your own body weight for resistance. Try push-ups, dips, or pull-ups to name a few. If you're  on a time crunch, try doing 2-3 minutes of cardio between sets of resistance training and kill two birds with one stone.
3. Proper Nutrition. Here's my favorite analogy about nutrition: If you had a Lamborghini, would you put diet soda in the tank? If you did, it wouldn't perform. Same with your body.
  • Do this: Eat foods in their natural forms. Include a variety of foods in different colors. Keep track of what you eat and cut out the bad stuff (and you know what the bad stuff is). Get proper amounts of proteins, carbs and healthy fats, so your body can run strong.
Identify what element in your routine is missing. Balance yourself, and together we can get America out of the top 5 fattest countries!"

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