Saturday, January 1, 2011

Top 5 Things You Need to Reach Your New Year's Resolution

Happy 2011, Readers!

As a new year begins, so does the most common resolution:  "Eat healthier, and lose weight in the new year."  Don't let yourself become another statistic who tried and failed.  Below are the top five things you need to know to make sure you reach the success that you're setting out to achieve!

#5.  The fifth most important thing that you need to know involves flexibility training and its role in fat burning.  While not all flexibility methods are exactly alike, flexibility exercise usually involves "holding a stretch" for a given length of time (20-60 seconds is recommended by the ACSM for most populations, whereas yoga, Pilates, and some other disciplines encourage different durations).  Unlike moderate-to-high intensity cardiovascular or resistive exercise, flexibility conditioning tends to burn a relatively low number of calories per minute, even if you're sweating or "feeling the burn" to a great degree.  For the most part, you can't expect to lose much body fat from a standard flexibility regimen.  Keep that in mind when you're planning your exercise, meal plans, and total caloric consumption/expenditure, to avoid misleading yourself or setting yourself up for disappointment.

#4.  The fourth most important fact to keep in mind is that selecting an appropriate frequency and duration for your exercises is paramount.  We've all seen the "5-Minute Secret" books and strategies, that promise you the world if you just devote five minutes per day to exercise.  What we haven't seen is an example of any of these mythological systems actually working properly for people.  Science shows us that 20-60 minutes of cardiovascular exercise at moderate to high intensities is recommended for most of us, five days per week or more.  And, strength training should be performed at least twice per week for every major muscle group.  To burn more body fat and keep it off, do your best to free up enough time in your schedule to allow this.  "Some" is always better than nothing, but following these recommendations is the key to long-lasting fat-loss success and longer life.

#3.  Now, let's discuss a key ingredient: intensity!  People everywhere are performing cardiovascular and strength work at inappropriate intensities -- some too high and some too little.  The truth is that most muscles will not improve much without at least 60% of their maximum tolerated resistance.  This generally means that two, three, or even five pound dumbbells won't usually do the trick once you've been exercising for more than a few months.  (Consult with your Perfect Personal Trainer for more specifics regarding your own muscles and heart conditioning.)  And, to remain free of cardiovascular disease, we need more than a light walk; we need to challenge our aerobic systems and progress safely over time.

#2.  Is there a limit to the amount of "healthy food" that you should be eating?  Absolutely!  Regardless of a food's (or a drink's) health benefits, the term "a calorie is a calorie is a calorie" still applies.  Eating healthy foods is of tremendous importance, but the amount of those foods is what really makes the difference when you're on the road to fitness success.  Too many calories is too many calories, plain and simple.  Your Perfect Personal Trainer will help you to determine some safe and effective parameters in line with ACSM and AHA guidelines.

#1.  The number one thing you need to know as you embark on your quest for a healthier, leaner body?  Body Composition.  "Weight" is the measuring stick of yesterday, and "body composition" (also referred to as "fat percentage") is the gold standard for knowing the truth about your body and your risk for cardiovascular disease.  Here is the proof:
What if, after 5 weeks on your new exercise regimen, you lose 10 pounds of fat but gain 7 pounds of muscle, 1 pound of bone, and carry an extra 2 pounds of water in your body?  Your body weight would be the exact same as it was, right?  But, yet, you'd have made some excellent changes to your physique that would go unnoticeable when you look at a standard scale.  For this reason, we strongly recommend a body composition assessment by an in-home Perfect Personal Trainer.  This is truly the best way to evaluate your condition and how you progress.  Best of all, it's a good indicator of your risk for health problems such as heart disease or stroke.

Thank you all for your accomplishments and support in 2010!!  We've shed more pounds and improved more lives this year than ever before, as we've continued to expand throughout the country.  We look forward to serving you, your families, and your businesses even more in 2011 and beyond.  As always, we encourage your questions in the comment box below, or by calling 877-698-DO-IT (3648).  Our top exercise scientists and physiologists are always here to help!

We wish you all the safe, happy, and healthy New Year that you deserve!