Meat Covered: Why vegetarian diets still can build muscle

healthy eating

From gluten free to vegan and everything in between, specialty diets aren’t anything new.

In fact, they’re more the norm.

The one element of a specialty diet that can cause some headaches is for the person who spends a significant amount of time in the gym, lifting weights and trying to build muscle with very little in the way of protein at their disposal, specifically for vegetarian diets.

When you can’t eat meat, you lose significant protein from chicken, steak and other protein sources that are a no no on your diet.

Or, do you?
The real question isn’t so much about losing protein but realizing where else you can find it to have diet that isn’t counter productive to building muscle in the midst of every bicep curl and chest press you do, without feeling as though all that hard work in the gym is for naught.

Protein can be found in one of the more unique places and doesn’t necessarily need to be rooted in meat.

Think about foods like nuts, legumes and tofu as just a few options for your protein needs. Edamame beans in particular are riddled with protein, nearly 30 grams per cup of protein. Some who like to stay away from soy can look into protein powders, which are abundant so you want to go with a higher grade and not a Wal Mart or store brand such as GNC specifically. You’ll want to research for a protein that is a middle of the road brand.

The trick to building muscle is protein to repair the damage that you’ve done to your muscles and to build them back up and then some, but also injecting foods high in amino acids. You’ll look to the meatless option of eggs and seeds of any variety (sunflower or pumpkin), both of which are rich in both protein and the amino acids that are equally effective in pumping up your muscles.

Dietary needs are nothing new to the masses, and as someone who can’t eat bread, dairy or gluten, and has trouble digesting red meat, you’ll be thankful that you don’t have to rely on chicken, steak and milk or dairy products to get all the protein you’ll need.

If you listen to the experts that tell you, from a digestive standpoint, that red meat for example isn’t made for your body, you’ll be glad you switched from meat to vegetarian and not miss a beat in the gym.

Desk Slob: Why your desk job needs exercise

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From desk job to desk slob, you wouldn’t be the first person to sit down on day one of your job and only a few months to years later turn into a barely recognizable figure thanks to weight gain and a posture that looks painful and prehistoric at best.

Do you actually pay attention to how your sitting at work? Do you sit back in your chair? Do you take time throughout the day or at lunch to take a walk in between emails? Is that report due at the end of the day pushing your shoulders forward and ultimately leading to a slouch you can’t repair?

If the answer to any of those questions are answered affirmatively, your desk job is doing you in, but the good news is that can be turned around rather easily and fairy fast.

It starts with how you’re exercising at home, and if you’ve taken the approach of doing certain moves and adapting your fitness routine to strengthen muscles that are previously being held hostage by your work posture.

How exactly do you fix that work slouch and slumping physique?

Believe it or not, your exercise routine, the one that can help reverse your slouching posture, starts with taking a few minutes at the beginning and end of each day and simply touching your toes. This strengthens your back muscles and gives you the kind of flexibility that makes sitting up straight a breeze, versus the alternative of hunching over while you type. If your lower back is weak, you’re feel it when you sit up straight. A rudimentary toe touch can take away that pain and ease you back into sitting up straight.

Certain yoga poses and moves also help, preferably when you lie on your stomach and arch your back downward and lift your head and chin up. This, again, stretches out your lower back.

For the weight lifters in the group, you want to do one exercise in particular. The seated row is a middle back lift move that will put muscles where you didn’t have them before and help you arch your back while you’re sitting. Be careful on this one, however, as you want to sit up straight while you’re doing them and only engage your back to move the weight. Using your entire body is only going to turn your back exercise into a full body pull that is more pendulum than postural beneficial.

You can’t avoid your job, and certain sitting at a desk, so taking the steps to fix your posture start with getting up and moving around from time to time but also taking that mindset into the gym and getting back to work while getting work in for your back.

Myth Busters: Why exercise speculation is causing your workout to sputter

How many times have you heard an exercise myth and believed it to be true? Worse yet, how many times has someone who is a supposed expert in the exercise field said those very same things, and you assume that this person has to be right?

Chances are, both have happened quite a bit and worse yet could be holding you back from making significant progress in the exercise goal you’ve set for yourself.

The fact remains is that all personal trainers and trainers think different, and not all of them have done the research to have their “expert” tag in tow.

The problem with myths and exercise is that, quite simply, they’re not true but so believed that they’ll keep you from expanding your regimen and ultimately get from point A to point B a little faster than you would have hoped.

For instance, remember the line of thinking that if you lift weights, you won’t lose weight, you’ll gain it? Worse yet, most women swear off exercise as some cruel joke that will suddenly make them look big and bulky. That isn’t the case, nor has it ever been.

Weight training serves as a mean to increase your heart rate like any physical activity but also tone your body, no different than all that so called cardiovascular work you do on the treadmill that we all equate to losing weight more than lifting weights.

On the flip side, some of us exercisers believe that working out is some sort of dream scenario, one that has us hitting the gym consistently and losing weight that we’ve had for 10 years in 10 days. The truth is exercise isn’t going to help you lose weight quickly; losing weight fast isn’t a reality, but rather a long distance run. If you want to sprint out of the gate, that’s fine, but be prepared to set your expectations at a reasonable level.

Finally, if you plan to take the mantra that you have to be sore and throw up or something else that is about as barbaric as it gets as relates to weight training or exercise, that myth is about as realistic as a comeback by Arnold Schwarzenegger himself.
Exercise should be done in moderation, but not to the point where your body is rejecting it or you can’t move out of bed the next day. Will you be sore working out if you haven’t done it in a while? Of course. Should you feel like your entire body is frozen. No, not at all.

Everyone understands how important exercise is, but doing it should be a practice in patience but also knowledge based. Without knowing what to truly believe, you’re just spinning those spinning bike wheels.

Face Masquerade: Do fitness masks actually help workouts?

You certainly see plenty of things at the gym on a daily basis, items, people or actions that catch your eye.

From the new exerciser working out in his jeans, to the mom who can’t manage her way through a circuit without throwing up her arms in disgust or the always present gym attire that is either too large or too small for one’s body, the gym is always bustling with plenty to talk about or discuss.

Even the workouts themselves or the latest and greatest equipment is up for debate.

But one particular piece of attire is not only a discussion point, but most of the every day gym crowd doesn’t in know what it is

Take in deep breath ironically and listen to this: a facemask that is designed to cover your mouth and increase your lung capacity and thus make your workout better. They are technically referred to as elevation training masks, and the goal behind using them is to simply add longevity and intensity to the exercise and training.

The real question, however, is do they actually work?

Some experts believe this product is positively smoke and mirrors and does little if anything as advertised. You’d be hard pressed to assume that a product of this ilk would be totally worthless but some are overly skeptical that it’s more about selling an idea of having fresh air to breathe and promising a better result, when in actuality you’re getting something that makes little to no difference in how you workout.

The end result is the mask is just that, a mask. It makes breathing harder because it quite frankly is covering most of your mouth and nose. The idea that the mask helps with breathing is true but only in the purest and simplest sense. If you take the mask off, airflows freely and breathing isn’t hard. It’s easy, really.

That isn’t so much about a mask that helps you breath earlier, but the notion that this elevation-training mask could be replaced with any sort of mask and still accomplish the same thing. It remains to be seen if the elevation make does what it says.

By the looks of it, this headgear comes across as a reach rather than what the future of the fitness industry holds in the palm of its hand. Spending money on unfiltered air or a better workout won’t be on the top of the lists of exercisers when these masks are included in this conversation.

Rest easy, however, these masks are more about those who will try anything to get ahead in the fitness game then the actual results being achieved.

Main Stays: Why fitness is often over complicated

Far too many voices when all you need is a little direction.

That is the best way to describe the fitness industry as a whole. From personal trainers to experts, television doctors and your best friend who thinks they’re a gift from God in the gym, everyone has an opinion on how to get healthy, lose weight and feel better about themselves.

Talk about totally being confused, overwhelmed and totally lost as far as who to believe and what to do, and a lot of that insanity leads to the masses making a play to exercise and try to lose weight, but getting lost along the way with too many voices in their ear and no real direction as far as what exactly they’ll need to do within the confines of the gym.

What is even more disheartening is that exercise and losing weight doesn’t have to be difficult. What you need to focus on are the staples, the exercise we all can do and should always be part of your daily routine. The white noise that surrounds you while you’re trying to figure this all out tends take hold of you more so than keeping it simple.

And in some cases, these exercises can be done without even leaving your living room or house.
How about those squats? These are simple bends at the knees, rear end out and head forward is enough to work everything from the waist down. It works the glutes, your hamstrings and quads, making everything tone and tight.

From toning and tightening to sticking with the “P’s” and that are pull ups, planks and pushups. These three exercises are certain muscle builder and weight loss winners. Planks work on your core, stomach muscles and tighten those would be flabby abs. Pushups work the chest, triceps and biceps and will not only tone your chest but also all parts of your arms.

The pull-ups are another multi dimensional exercise, working biceps, shoulders and back.

The trick to taming your exercise demons is to not only block out everyone else’s opinion but also to find exercise that incorporate body weight and work multiple muscles at once. All of the aforementioned ones accomplish that and even better can be modified for even those who aren’t as adept as holding their own body weight or might not have the strength to do it all on their own.

That won’t matter much with these moves, which won’t make you more confused when you’re about to head toward achieving goals that previously were muddied by multiple sources telling you what to do.

Mixed Messages: How do you lose weight when you don’t know what methods are credible?

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If it isn’t one DVD hitting the shelves from a prominent exercise person, it’s a new machine that promises toned abs, thighs or buns in record setting amounts of time.

From personal trainers to diets and exercise routines being done by the celebrities and stars you see in television, working out is riddled with mixed messages and more questions than answers for the general public that is desperately trying to get healthy but just doesn’t know how.

Case in point, look at television, specifically shows like “The Biggest Loser” or “Extreme Makeover,” the one that focuses on health and wellness. These shows show dramatic weight loss of epic proportions but yet fail to capture the true essence of what exercise is for the average person.

We don’t have round the clock training or live on a campus of sorts that spoon feeds us (literally) what we are supposed to do from one chin up to another. We certainly don’t have personal trainers or lifestyle coaches at our beckon call or disposal, nor can most people devote hours to exercise and diet.

The same goes for A-listers and movie stars telling us that their exercise routine for a movie role or to get rid of post baby weight is as easy as yelling “action.” It’s not. Hugh Jackman doesn’t sculpt the Wolverine body for the ages by working out before he has to be in the office at 9 a.m. or after work before the kids need fed dinner. His seven-hour per day workouts don’t mesh with life in general.

So what is someone to do to get healthy without so many issues as far as what to believe?
The simple fact remains that exercise starts with keeping it simple, and so does eating for that matter. Cutting calories means keeping a food journal, writing down what you eat and eliminating the foods and drinks that are high in fat and sugar content. Those are the key ingredients that are keeping you overweight, along with artificial sweeteners that are totally counterproductive.

Think of dieting as a budget for food. Take out what is not needed and go lean with what you’re eating.

As far as exercise, you can’t start with a two-hour workout and unrealistic goals. Start walking after work or joining a gym that is close to your house (something you pass on the way home). You might want to find someone to workout with to stay accountable. But if you believe you’re going to join a gym in January and lose 50 pounds by spring, you are mistaken. Far too many people quit exercising because they believe magically they’ll drop pounds in weeks.

A sensible diet and smart, prudent exercise is going to keep you healthy and your weight in check. Everything else is gimmicks and unrealistic goals being fed to you.

Is Coffee Really Good For You?

So what’s the deal with coffee, more specifically the reputation this beverage has that seems to change at a moment’s notice? One day, coffee is king. The next, you should never, ever drink it.

For the consumer who loves coffee, the news doesn’t matter much to them. Some would be drinkers of coffee could be more than just a little interested to know exactly why they aren’t drinking it and what potentially they’re missing.

Coffee has too much caffeine, which isn’t good for you. But some studies have shown that coffee is good for the liver and digestion, and boosts cognitive thinking.

Truthfully, coffee is quite the polarizing beverage and actually holds falls more into the beneficial than bad category.

Coffee is known to boost brain power and help with blood flow. Like anything else, however, coffee needs to be used in moderation and not looked at just for the reasoning of giving you a much needed pick me up.

In addition to brain and blood benefits, coffee is filled with antioxidants. We’ve been told for years now the benefits of food in the way of antioxidants, and everything from blueberries to raspberries and cold or hot tea is filled with this powerful cancer fighting ingredient.

And, much to the delight of drinkers around the world, so is coffee.

You’re aforementioned liver also will make it a point to work wonderfully and thank you directly by staying overly healthy. Coffee fights off fatty liver disease, which can help fight anything from cirrhosis to cancer.

Of course, it’s hard not to revel in the real reason you all love coffee: caffeine. If you’re not interested in ingesting all that caffeine, decaf coffee still holds the same benefits as its caffeinated counterpart. Some studies have shown that just the smell of coffee can put you in a better mood, so imagine how great you’ll feel if you actually take that first sip.

You’ll most likely hear in the next week something bad about coffee; that’s the cyclical nature of this drink. But in the end, coffee’s positives outweigh the negatives, and that fact isn’t lost on the millions of coffee drinkers around the world.

They might tell you they love coffee from Starbucks because of the taste or the whipped cream or the trendy cup and holder it comes in when you stop on a daily basis. Little did you know, however, that the coffee you’re proudly toting around is helping stave off serious illness, disease and fatigue.

Who knew so much could come from something as simple as coffee?

Hungry Eyes: Certain Foods Make You Starving

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Most of the time when you eat, you expect to feel full and satisfied.

That isn’t always the case when you’re talking about certain food or drinks, some of which tend to only make you feel hungrier, rather than do what is intended.

Take the salty snacks you love to gobble down while you’re watching sports or waiting for the main course at a party or get together. Not only are chips, pretzels and peanuts going to make you thirsty for more to drink but they’re also not quite hunger busters, either.

Also on the list of foods that aren’t going to do you any favors if you’re trying to eat less is white bread and pasta that isn’t whole wheat. Your blood sugar goes into nearly extinction mode, and despite all the talk of pasta and carbohydrates leaving you feeling full, that isn’t going to be the case with white bread and pasta.

And if you’re going to pair that white bread sandwich or pasta with a beverage, you might want to pick something in the vein of water rather than alcohol. The latter won’t make you feel full, sick perhaps, but definitely not to the point where you want to stop eating. In fact, alcohol makes you feel that much hungrier one beer or mixed drink after another.

One menu item that customers of all shapes and sizes gravitate toward is sushi, namely the rolls. From the California Roll to the Spicy Tuna flavor, sushi rolls are equal parts expensive but so delicious when paired with a side of soy sauce and ginger. But even dozens upon dozens of rolls only is going to lead you back to the take out menu after only a few hours. Sushi tends to digest rather quickly and only an hour or two after eating up to 12-15 rolls, you’ll be starving again for certain.

The soy sauce also isn’t helping matters, either as the sodium content is going to act in the same vein as the aforementioned salty snacks. If you want to try something else from the Chinese food menu, think again because MSG might be worse than the sushi rolls when it comes to making you feel hungry.

If you’re expecting that nice, full feeling after a meal, you want to steer clear of salt, sushi and any carbohydrate that looks and tastes processed or refined. In other words, stick to fruits, vegetables, greens and high protein diets, food that often is associated as “bird food” or the kind that doesn’t stick to your ribs.

That couldn’t be further from the truth and thinking that way is only going to leave a bad taste in your mouth.

Three Exercises that Don’t Break the Bank

Looking for ways to exercise without spending money? A gym or fitness center is the best place for a person to receive a full-body workout. Fitness centers can also provide a person with aerobic classes, Yoga classes, personal training and the like. However, most fitness centers have monthly fees that are between $30 and $50 a month. A struggling single parent or an unemployed individual may not have the funds to pay for such a membership. The following are three exercises that one can do to start losing weight and shaping up:

Bicycle Riding

Most gyms have stationary bicycles at their locations. A frugal fitness buff can burn more calories riding a real bike than he or she can on a stationary bicycle. A person who already has a bicycle does not have to spend a dime. He or she can burn approximately 500 calories during a one-hour session of bicycling between 12 and 14 miles per hour. The person can increase the number of calories burned by choosing uphill locations to cycle. Additionally, bicycling tones the leg muscles, and it gives a person an opportunity to explore new sites.

Home Racquetball

Racquetball is a sport that a person can play with a ball and a racquet. Any stable horizontal platform such as a garage door can serve as the target for the ball. The objective of a solo game of fitness-oriented racquetball is to get as much exercise as possible swinging at the ball and running after it to hit it back against the platform repeatedly. Racquetball can tone a person’s leg and arm muscles as well as provide that person with cardiovascular exercise. Cardiovascular exercise always increases the heart rate and burns calories. The average amount of calories that a person can burn within an hour’s time is approximately 400 calories.

Shooting Hoops

A person with a basketball can find an area to shoot hoops at most public schools and parks. Many of these public basketball courts are open all hours of the night. Shooting hoops consists of throwing the basketball at the hoop without any other game play. Hoop shooting can be a fun activity for a person who is by himself or herself trying to burn calories. A 30-minute session of hoop shooting can burn approximately 200 calories.

Many creative calorie-burning activities exist. The key is for a person to take an inventory of the items around the house that could be useful in an exercise activity.

How to Lose 10 Pounds in 30 days With Math

You may want to lose weight fast for a once-in-a-lifetime event such as your first wedding, vacation to Hawaii, or an appearance on “America’s Got Talent.” You may believe that losing 10 pounds in 30 days is impossible, but it is very feasible. First, you must forget everything you have learned about fad diets, starvation, hormone supplements and the like. You are only going to need three tools to help you lose 10 pounds in 30 days: a standard calculator, calorie calculator and some motivation.

Step 1: Learn the Mathematical Equation

The first thing you need to do is take out your standard calculator and multiply 3,500 by 10. The number that you get is the total number of calories that you will need to eliminate to lose 10 pounds in 30 days (35,000). One pound of fat is equal to 3,500 calories. That equation will be the foundation of any weight-loss plan you develop.

Next, you will divide 35,000 by 28, 30 or 31 days. That result will give you the number of calories that you need to eliminate on a daily basis. You can use 30 days just to grasp an understanding of the process. The daily caloric deficiency for a 30-day month is 1,167.

Step 2: Calculate Your Recommended Daily Caloric Intake

Calorie calculators will tell you the number of calories that you should consume to maintain your body weight. They will also tell you how many calories that you should consume to lose weight, but you will only want to use the calculator for your maintenance figure. You can find a calculator by conducting a Google search for “daily caloric intake calculator.” When you find a detailed calculator, you will enter the necessary information.

Most calorie calculators will ask for information such as age, gender, weight, height and exercise level. When you are finished entering data, you can click on “calculate” for your figure. This figure gives you a guide that you can use for analyzing and altering your current diet.

Step 3: Create Your Deficiency

Every day, you must “lose” 1,167 calories. You can achieve that by either removing/altering dietary items or implementing a vigorous exercise plan. Calorie counting is a complex science, so you might favor straight exercise. You may need to use both methods to lose an aggressive amount of weight, however. You can lose many calories by performing cardiovascular exercises. For example, 30 minutes of vigorous bicycling can help you to drop 500 calories. One full hour could almost complete your daily deficiency.

You know the basics of losing weight. You can adjust your activity level and your diet as needed.

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