Posts Tagged ‘working-out’
When I was a kid, mid-life meant something awful to all the adults around me. Boomers looked at it as a time of crisis- a time in review of what was left undone in one’s life. At that point (age 40), they were freaking out because they thought that this was the downhill slope of life. They seemed to assume the state of mind that whatever they had not built was going to be what they screamed in terror over while being shoved down that inevitable slope into the fast approaching end of life.
I feel like the people around me even looked really old when they were in the midlife stage. There were more smokers in my life at that time (as opposed to nowadays, I don’t really have too many people in my daily life that smoke), and they all had yellow fingernails and yellow teeth (only rich people had cosmetically whitened teeth back then, from what I recall). My grandpa and uncle both had yellow skin from daily alcohol intake which had caused jaundice. It was really a lifestyle, and it was normal, to smoke, drink, and just let life and age happen. In the previous generation, no one really questioned it, and they screamed and went through crisis as they “let it go” and watched time, youth, strength and beauty degenerate rapidly. Not Generation X. We are the generation that examines, questions, argues and strives to prove more.
Nowadays, even the smokers are hitting the gym. The drinkers get their weekend warrior workouts on before hitting the bars on Friday night, and a Saturday morning at the gym usually kicks off at about 11am, when all the hangover victims have rolled out of bed, only to “make up” for the previous night’s drinking rampage by lifting some weights or walking a few miles on the treadmill or stairmaster. People in Generation X seem to be trying to thwart the pains of bloat and fatigue that accompany the pleasures they gain in smoking and drinking. We have patches, pills, hypnosis, and electronic cigarettes that have helped millions to quit a now loathed habit. There are new modifications to alcohol that insights lower-fat, i.e., more fit and sexy images for drinkers who want to watch the pounds.
What does it mean for us when we observe the recent decade’s increase in stop-smoking alternatives along with light beers and “skinny” drink mixes? Do you think that smoking is something we don’t want to glamorize anymore? Does everyone want to slow down or cut back on drinking? Not so much. It simply seems to mean that these days, no one wants to just “let it go”. Gen X-er’s are getting more into juicing, wheatgrass, working out, and doing whatever it takes to fight age. At the same time, plastic surgeries are plentiful. The accessibility of many cosmetic procedures now accommodates any income level. All of this is due to our yearning for longevity and beauty, the ultimate showing of glamour.
We are fighting age, and in spite of our own devices, we are striving to undo the bad in our physical state that our old habits have resulted in. It has to do with lifestyle change. We are now seeing a paradigm shift. The shift is that we realize that what will truly give us what we want, glamour and power, can be accessed by anyone, anytime, through more tools than ever. People are not interested so much in giving up their bad habits as they are interested in being glamourous, and we now do that through fitness lifestyle habits (i.e., going to the gym, hiking, drinking or eating lighter, taking supplements, and so on). The X Generation believes in longevity, and in that we believe in long, powerful years of glamour and beauty, which is expressed, through fitness, while glamour itself exploits fitness.
Who cares about the cycle though? The fact is that we are now living more fit than ever! Thanks to Generation X’s dedication to discover of information through the age of technology, daytime talk shows about anti-aging techniques, and even baby-boomer-birthed fast-food corporations being diverted into a Gen X inspired competition for informative healthy approaches to consumers, the Fit-Life, is here to stay!
We see that Big Business is boasting of profits from this cycle of vanity through fitness. If Big Business sees profits from it, you can guarantee they will continue to market and push it like a corner crack dealer pushes the latest fix. Not to mention that what we do with our lifestyle breeds to the benefit of our children and grandchildren, as they are being raised with fitness as their habit, rather than obligation. So it shall be their lifestyle choice by default and Big Business will continue to profit from it, and will thus, continue to amplify it’s benefits, while they push for more profitability to come from that direction. In that, I thank Big Business for pushing something that I love and live by, and something that I can rest assured will be gauranteed to my children and grandchildren through the engineering of their lifestyle through, both my influence, and Big Business marketing.
On that note, as I am turning 40 myself on May 30th, I want to say thank you to my fellow constituents of Generation X. You have made an extreme change in the face of mankind’s mindset when it comes to age 40. My Mid-Life is a Fit-Life, and therefore, even as a divorced mother of two teens and a tween, I feel younger, more beautiful and more powerful than ever. This is all due to having lived fit since the age of 23, when I started this track into the Fit-Life. Generation X, you are raising children with an awareness of self-empowerment vs. power over others, and regardless of which choice our children try to access, they will be trying to access it through the fitness lifestyle. All I can say to that is, Amen.
Remember to Be Well, Be You and BE PHENOMENAL! You are Worth the Work!
-Nita Lee Marquez
Many people are aware that squats can give you great glutes, wonderful toned legs, and an overall more beautiful physique. What most people don’t know is that squatting with inappropriate form can compromise your knees and back, making you prone to injuries. In my famous “Hundreds Workout,” squats are one of the main components. However, I would also like to share with people that they are not only important, but that it’s important to use proper form and technique. In addition, did you know that proper form can also help you get more toned abs? Read on…
There are five rules for the movement before, during and in completion of a proper squat.
- The proper squat is done while pressing through the heels (“toes up” is a good rule of thumb for beginners to associate the feeling of pressing all their weight through the heels).
- “Core Tight” before you start, after you start, all through the movement, and when you complete the set movement and are replacing the weight on the bar. Tightening the core is the foundation for this movement’s safety, because it reinforces all the mechanics in the body, as the core itself is the foundation (or it should be, anyhow, but most people don’t use their core, which is why they have back problems).
- “Chest up/Shoulders back” as you move! The proper squat starts with the core tight, torso tall, chest up, and shoulders back for proper form PRIOR TO BEGINNING THE MOVEMENT, and continuously through the movement.
- Make sure that your knees are not bent and leaned forward so much that your knees are NOT extended beyond parallel to your toes. A 90-degree angle, a right angle in other words, should be your target for your leg movement, dropping your butt back as you drop into the squat, with a goal of keeping your chest as high as possible.
- Inhale through your nose as you drop down into the squat and exhale through your mouth as you “explode up” out of the lowest point (the seated position) of the squat, returning to the standing up tall position.
The best way to begin learning proper form on most standing leg exercises is on the smith machine, which is a weight training machine that imitates a squat rack and a barbell, with the support that is needed to keep us from falling or putting undue stress on the joints. Remember to keep the core tight, chest up, shoulders back, as this combination supports the back. The smith machine is a very effective way to learn proper form of squats for beginners. Once you have learned the proper squat technique, it’s best to start off with very light weight (or even no weight at all), as you move forward by performing your own proper squat on the squat bar, free-weight style. It’s always great to have an experienced trainer or workout partner with you when you perform these exercises, so that they can be available to check your form, and support through spotting if necessary.
I have always struggled with keeping my legs and glutes firm, so I hope this article will help anyone out there with the same issues. Great tips are also available at siouxcountry.com for these and other great exercises. Be on the lookout- Workout videos will be returning to nitasworld.com! Meantime, you will see that I’ve linked this article to two other sites that share exercise videos for men & women. Be aware that there is always support available through chat threads online. You are never alone on the journey of fitness.
Be well, Be You, BE PHENOMENAL! You are Worth the Work!
-Nita Lee Marquez
A lot of people have asked me over the years how to get “legs of steel.” The fact is NOTHING will shred your legs up like doing these three things:
- eating lean (85% of the results you get in the gym come from your food intake- i.e., “diet”)
- combined with weight training for maximum output (going to failure, whether its with a moderate weight- not super light, or a heavy weight for sets of even 8, as long as you are going until you cannot do even one more full rep)
- sprinting (HIIT-high intensity interval training- see my other blog for detailed explanations of HIIT by clicking here)
First, you can learn more about lean eating, sprinting and weight training by researching on the internet, or checking out the dieting tips category in the nitasworld.com blog (click here). Of course, we talk a lot about clean eating and sprinting both in my book FIT FOR COMBAT with Nita Marquez, so ordering a copy for yourself to have on hand is not a bad idea for reference’s sake. It may be helpful for those of you who like hardcopy materials to scribble notes onto.
For the purposes of this article, we are talking about the hundreds workout, as I vowed to share my secret to keeping conditioned legs and glutes via spelling out the hundreds workout. My famous Hundreds workout is what works best for me in maximizing the effects of my leg workouts during all my year-round weight training regimens. It’s called the Hundreds Workout (you’ll understand why shortly- read on) and I do it once every week, in addition to my regular leg weight workouts. So, that amounts to two workouts for my legs alone on weights each week. If you’re a beginner, perhaps you should do the Hundreds Workout every other week, in addition to your regular weight training routine for legs. *Remember, the Hundreds Workout is a CONDITIONING WORKOUT- It is not intended to grow, develop, or reduce leg size. It is meant to condition the detail, for a more sculpted look of your legs that you can’t get through cardio or basic weight training for maximum output.
*Nita Marquez Hundreds Workout:
25 Leg Extensions x 4
25 Leg Curls x 4
25 Hip Abductors x 4
25 Hip Adductors x 4
25 Squats x 4
25 Calf Raises x 4
Do a moderate weight that you don’t have to reduce throughout the workout, so that you can complete the whole set without a “drop-set” style of training. Yet you want it to be heavy enough so that you can still feel it burning excessively by the 15th rep, making it difficult to finish the last ten reps of each set.
That’s it. By the time you’re done with my Hundreds Workout, you should feel exhausted, and ready to hit the jacuzzi, which won’t be a bad idea. The hot water and jets can be helpful to loosen up the muscles after this massive thrashing & conditioning workout you’ve just done. Always remember to have a fast-assimilating protein after your workout! If you’re unsure of what to buy, check out the store here to see some protein shakes I recommend. Of course you can always research online, too, checking out blogs & threads at siouxcountry.com.
Best of luck leaning out those legs, friends & fit moms! Be Well, Be You, BE PHENOMENAL! You are Worth the Work!
-Nita Lee Marquez
It’s easy to stay active and fit when the weather’s warm. If you’re like many people, you probably spent much of the last few months swimming, biking, running, hiking, playing in the yard with your children, or savoring a nightly walk. But while warm weather may stick around for a bit longer, autumn has begun, and winter’s colder temperatures and shorter days are on the horizon. This is the time to think about how to maintain your exercise motivation beyond into the colder months.
The Harvard University School of Public Health states that exercise helps keep us physically healthy and even helps you cope with stress and bad moods. This is extra important in the fall and winter, when many people suffer from colds, flus and even seasonal depression. However, cold weather, early nightfall, and changes in your schedule can be barriers to keeping up your exercise routine. But these things don’t have to get in your way. Here are some tips for sticking to a fitness regimen as the seasons change:
* Move your workout indoors. An investment in some home gym equipment, such as treadmills and ellipticals, can make the difference between sticking to your exercise routine and skipping it altogether. Home equipment makes exercise convenient and weather-proof.
* Hit the ice. If you like to exercise outside, ice skating is a great way to enjoy the outdoors and get exercise even when it’s cold and snowy outside.
* Try snowshoes. Once a solid snowfall has arrived, snowshoeing is an ideal way to enjoy the outdoors and get a great workout to boot. It’s simple, fairly inexpensive and gives your heart, lungs, glutes and legs an incredible workout. If you don’t own them, you can rent snowshoes at many park districts and outdoor-sports shops.
* Enjoy the ski slopes or trails. Skiing–especially cross-country skiing–is a full-body workout. Many towns maintain local trails or hills for skiers to enjoy the snow and get fit at the same time. You can often rent skis if you don’t own them.
* Consider winter running or walking. You don’t have to give up your beloved outdoor walking or running once winter comes. Plenty of runners and walkers do so all year long. Just be sure to dress for the weather, avoid icy areas and make yourself visible with reflective clothing and clip-on lights if you run or walk after dark.
Do you need some extra motivation? These strategies can help you get and stay motivated when your mood is flagging:
* Change your time. In the winter, it may be too dark for your liking to run or walk outside in the evening. Try switching to early morning or lunch hour workouts instead.
* Find a workout buddy. A friend can provide social interaction, motivation and encouragement. In addition, if you’re nervous about exercising outside in waning light, a workout buddy provides added security.
Resolve to stay fit and active, even as autumn brings cooler temperatures and winter arrives on its heels. You’ll be healthier and happier.
Jim Rollince is a member of the creating writing department of Gym Source
He enjoys writing about Fitness, Nutrition, and many other related topics. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Believe it or not, cellulite is not a result of just being fat or flabby. Cellulite is a major stress to most women, because we are the only ones who really get cellulite. The dimply, loose, cottage cheese appearance of those areas of cellulite are not even caused just by age.
The reality is that cellulite is a result of the bands of connective tissue in a woman’s body running in a different direction than our skin. By nature that skin can stretch, disconnect and collect fat more readily than a man’s body. Some people think it’s a matter of the nature of things, and that maybe God himself made us to collect fat more easily for the purposes of carrying life within us. Whereas, a man’s connective tissue runs more along with the skin, allowing for better binding from the skin to the connective tissue, which in nature would directly affect their bodies support to muscularity, rather than fat storage. Some would say that it’s because by nature men were intended to be hunter gatherers. Who knows?? The bottom line is they don’t get cellulite.
In the fact that men are generally more muscular, and traditionally are hunter gatherers, I wonder if there may be some truth to the lifetime(s) of conditioning that you see in people whose bodies don’t typically carry cellulite. What I’ve noticed over the years for myself, as opposed to the women in my family, is that because I cross train (weight training combined with running, hiking, plyometrics, and dance/gymnastics) and eat a high protein diet, I have conditioned my body for a more muscular toned look. Whereas the women in my family are all very beautiful and soft-skinned, and they all retained their youth quite well through the aging process, they still struggle tremendously with cellulite. Since I’m genetically pre-disposed to cellulite (yes, the cellulite is going to happen, but how bad it can get is often contingent to our genetics), I still fight it, but the fact is because I weight train, I am constantly working the muscles for conditioning, so I appear to have very little cellulite in comparison to my genetic precedents.
Cellulite is a result of the direction of connective tissue in a woman’s body. You cannot change the direction of your connective tissue, as it will always run opposite the skin. Nothing will ever change that we can get cellulite. Also, you cannot alter the genetic ancestry you possess within your family’s lines. If the women have tons of cellulite, you are inheriting that genetic code. However, there are things you can do to condition the genetic code you have toward cellulite, and I know because I have done it myself.
If you weight train, you increase connective tissue activity so that it does not worsen, but can get better with age through constant conditioning. In this case, it’s a lifestyle to workout daily, not an option. That’s the reality. In addition to weight training, you have to do other things to exercise so that you are stimulating collagen production (which also aids in skin health and the ability to visibly reduce cellulite). If you get your body used to doing the exact same things with the muscles all the time, then the lack of versatility causes complacency within our muscles and connective tissue. Thus you must always be changing activities, mixing and matching, along with your weight training (which should be your core focus if you want to reduce cellulite).
Cardio and interval training help your body in the fat burning and high-calorie burning department, and they enhance weight training on whatever level you do any of this. Thus, what I have learned for myself is that running, sprinting, dancing, plyometrics (jumping and explosive and agility training), hiking, step mill, stairmaster, elliptical, and hanging out walking at events with my kiddos, have all been really effective. Effectively, all of the aforementioned activities coinciding with weight training have helped me to condition my genetic code in such a way that I don’t struggle as much with cellulite as the women in my family, and I’ve struggled even less with the war on cellulite as I have gotten older (I’m now 39).
On top of the collagen and the connective tissue activity stimulation, some other ways that women can avoid cellulite with cross training is through the ongoing stimulation of better circulation. The better the bloodflow, the better your skin and muscles. Also, working the explosive fast-twitch fibers of the muscles creates a more conditioned appearance and can also support your efforts to reduce cellulite’s gross appearance. In addition, with good diet, you can decrease the amount of subcutaneous water retention. When you retain water from poor diet (too many processed foods or too much sodium or dehydration) or you’re too inactive, your body will retain water and fill those open cellulite pockets between the connective tissue and the muscle.
The exercise cross-training is key, but also diet has a very hearty role in the reduction of cellulite. Higher protein diets rich in leafy greens and raw foods tend to stimulate all the same things mentioned above: circulation, collagen, less water retention, better digestion (so as not to retain excessive toxins), overall glow of the skin and muscular nourishment. It’s as important to eat healthy as it is to exercise when it comes to reducing cellulite. As well, it’s as important to drink lots of water as it is to eat healthy and cross-train. Too little water causes dehydration, and dehydration causes water retention, which causes more dimples in cellulite.
Weight training combined with cardio, interval training (you can find articles on interval training right here at nitasworld.com!), plyometrics, running, sprinting, elliptical, step mill, stair masters, dancing, and whatever other effective high-fat-burning exercises are the foundation for cellulite reduction. Couple this activity regimen with high protein and leafy greens and lots of water (a gallon a day is rule of thumb) and you will reduce cellulite!
Remember you can’t get rid of cellulite, but you can condition your body to have less of it with this lifestyle. That’s why you rarely see cellulite on competitive physique athletes. Those who live the lifestyle look sculpted and toned year round.
I believe that my lifestyle has altered this for me and I continue to smoothen the areas of my skin that seem to be camping areas for cellulite. Though I will continue to be at war with cellulite because of my body’s inherent predisposition to cellulite by virtue of the natural direction of my connective tissue, I see that my active lifestyle continues to change and improve the appearance of my body, and I love living fit because of it! Additionally, I feel better, happier with my appearance, and more confident and energized.
Now one last thing I tell everyone, BE HAPPY. Joy can help reduce the amount of cortisol (the body’s toxic product of stress) we manufacture. Cortisol manages to make us hold toxins, stifle digestion, retain excess water, and overall, it leads us into an easier cellular breakdown (which causes aging AND cellulite- yuk!). So the final key to cellulite reduction, and quite possibly more important than cellulite reduction- SMILE! Be Well, Be You, BE PHENOMENAL! You are Worth the Work!
-Nita Lee Marquez
Hey there Family-First Fitness Folks! Fit Moms and Dads are joining America’s Hottest Fit Moms on Facebook and here at NitasWorld.com to celebrate some of the most inspiring Fit Moms around. This week we are especially excited to introduce a mom who lost weight and inspired a life-change for her son. Meet Fit Mom Donna I. Nehrich! I was blessed to learn about her inspiring journey through her posts in our group on facebook
My highest body weight was 320, I don’t know what my body fat percentage was then because I didn’t care enough to measure it. My current weight is 145 and 13.9 percent body fat, I’m 5’6. Because I had such a tremendous weight loss and also because of my age I do have some skin issues.
I’ve been at my goal weight for over 2 years so I did, 6 months ago, have a tummy tuck-to remove the panniculus and also a breast lift and augmentation. I have great definition in my arms but I have flappers which I am currently scheduled to have removed on February 2nd. I have worked out hard for 2 years and the skin wasn’t bouncing back. Surgery was the only answer because the skin movement can be quite painful. Of course it wasn’t as bad as say someone who lost that amount and didn’t exercise but because I am an exercise fanatic the skin is more troublesome.
My ah-ha moment was when I started having heart palpitations and was sent for an echocardiogram which came back normal. Went back to my primary physician who, as I was leaving her office, poked at my arm and said I think your having palpitations because your retaining fluid let me put you on a diuretic.
All I heard was blood pressure pill and said, “Oh no, I’m retaining fluid because I’m a fat ass!” I walked out her door and said that was it for me I wanted to shed the weigh. I didn’t stop there I decided I wanted to get into the best shape of my life. All thru my life I have been overweight, there are so many down stories to tell. I think the biggest down was having such low self esteem that my choice in men sucked. I always chose men that were abusive and cheaters and always thought that I couldn’t do better.
I think the proudest moment I can remember was when I dropped below the 200 pound mark. it was life changing. I also remember the smaller I got the easier and more fun the exercise became. Another moment was when my son came to my house and I was in bed, and he felt around in the bed and said where are you, where is the rest of you. Made me feel really good!
I wake up every morning KNOWING I’m a fit mom because I will NEVER go back to the old me! My two sons, 23 and 21 love the new me.
My weight loss caused my younger son to lose 100 pounds himself and my older son is extremely fit now because of my urging! I am so proud it is a family affair. We all have our different loves as far as exercise is concerned and we don’t exercise together but we all exercise!
My favorite exercise is group exercise.
- I love the Les Mills programs.
- Body Attack-sports inspired cardio
- Body Pump, high repetition class using weights
- Body Vive, an all over work out including cardio, stretching, toning with bands
- Body Combat, a martial arts cardio class
- CXWorks, a core training class
- but my all time favorite is Body Step, step aerobics at its finest!
- I also enjoy an occasional 5-8 mile run.
I have gone from 300 plus pounds to actually being a Body Step instructor. My diet is mostly calorie counting and filling those calories with good food. I keep sugar at a minimum, eat high protein and good carbs. I don’t really follow any specific ratio. I just eat good! With all the cardio, I need fuel.
I work out pretty much everyday but I do try to take one day off a week. I log about 12-15 hours of exercise a week. Seems like a lot but I will never go back to where I came from and I enjoy it! Its a family at the gym!
My favorite Fit Mom snack is peanut butter. I get it just ground peanuts, eat it on whole wheat bread with no sugar added preserves.
Most of my inspiration came from within. The determination, the sweat, just the general wanting to be fit was me. I owe a lot though to the instructors at the Brooks Y where I work out. Their hard work and love of exercise and being fit definitely kept me motivated! Also, wanting to live longer and better was a big factor.
I’ll be honest, at first, I thought losing the weight would make my marriage better but I lost 145 pounds in 13 months and 250 overnight! (divorce)
I always tell people I don’t want to be their hero, the determination comes from within and everybody’s health and weight loss is a personal journey for themselves. What works for me may not for another. I am there for support and to motivate but I don’t want to be considered as super human. I ground myself all the time by saying it was a great thing losing all the weight but I shouldn’t have been there in the first place!
If you are a mom, you are on a mission in life, daily to raise effective, proactive, grounded, and happy children. That doesn’t come from spending time away from home. The best way a mother can guarantee her children’s best upbringing is to be around them as much as possible. That’s why I started doing a lot of workouts that would help me spend more time with the kids.
If you have no free weights at home, then the best thing to do for your butt and upper legs is walking lunges. You can do these with weights if you’d like, but they are really effective at shaping up your butt without weightlifting. You can even have the children do them with you! Remember to push through the heels and keep your chest up and shoulders back, along with keeping your core tight! If your children workout with you, a tight core and proper form is essential for safety, so be sure to instruct them on effective exercise form and core-centered focus as well. Go for at least 8 per leg, per set, but eventually, you should be able to do up to 25 per leg, per set (if you’re not using weights). Uphill makes it even more effective and challenging, if you and the kids are up for extra challenge in your fitness feats!
Another great workout to do is calf-raises to tone and shape the lower half of your leg. At the base of your stairs or even on a curb, place the ball of your feet on the edge and stretch your heel down for the beginning of the movement. Then, raise your heels above toe level till you are on your tippie-toes! This will burn after just a few, but it’s great calorie burning while shaping up your lovely legs into those fitness model calves you see in the magazines! Remember, burning calories means your body is going into the fat-burning zone! Stay with it, fit moms!
For your upper body, I swear there is nothing more effective for killing that ugly arm fat that slops over the back of the arms like push-ups, fit moms! Be sure that on all exercises, you are inhaling when you release the muscle and exhaling when you contract the muscle. In the case of the pushups, fit moms, you can remind the children to breathe during the exercise. People tend to hold their breath during a new exercise when they are concentrated on the new movement. Fit moms often need the instruction ourselves, but we learn more when we teach. Moms, and all parents of course, feel free to use the time with the kiddos to educate them in safe and optimal health and fitness while you strengthen your knowledge base. It certainly helps us to ensure our children’s safest measures during exercise while helping the whole family create good habits. With push-ups, start with maybe 5-25 per set, depending on your strength.
Lastly, don’t forget the core. There are a lot of exercises to do for your core. In this case, I’d suggest planks. Pull your belly button into toward your spine, as if you are “snapping” it (like when you snap a snap). Keep your back and legs totally straight. Breathe, remember fit moms, breathe, please! Hold it as long as you can but set a goal for 30 seconds or more on each set.
So there you have it, fit moms and everyone else, you can spend time with the family, have fun, be active and be at home, while still working your whole body out! Keep it up!! Be Phenomenal, You are Worth the Work!
I just don’t have the will power is a commonly heard phrase in fitness. Whether it’s a client, a fitness newbie, or someone who just explains why they refuse to even try getting fit.
Long ago, when we finished writing our book, FIT FOR COMBAT, my fitness co-author JD and I started cataloging what makes fitness, figure and bodybuilding competitors different from everyone else. Will power was at the top of the list. Will Power leads to self-discipline. When you want something badly enough, you will for it. In fitness, it’s no different. When you have the will for something, you CREATE the discipline to get what you want. If you want to be leaner, if you want to get into better shape, if you want to compete, or if you just want to be more active and feel more fit, will power is the doorway that leads you into manifestation of that goal.
It makes sense that self-discipline and will power would play a role in being able to stick to the diet and training program required to get into competition shape. We initially thought it would be the real difference between those who succeed in mastering their bodies and everyone else. As we studied what self-discipline really is, we realized that we had fallen into a common trap that social scientists call fundamental attribution error.
Every person has a reservoir of will power to draw on, like a will power battery, but the amount in that reservoir is not fixed at a set level. Research, by Professor Roy Baumeister at Florida State University, shows that our will power battery can be depleted by repeated acts of self control and decision making. Newer research by professors at the University of Chicago shows that our reservoir of will power is affected by whether we think there is a set amount of it or that it is unlimited.
The classic experiment by Baumeister, which has been replicated in hundreds of variations, asked student test subjects to eat radishes while being tempted with a plate of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. Baumeister then asked the students to solve an impossible puzzle. The students did not know the puzzle was impossible to solve.
The real purpose of the experiment was to see how long the students who had to overcome the temptation of the cookies would work at solving the puzzle when compared to students who sat down, ate some cookies and then worked on the puzzle and a control group who just worked on the puzzle with no cookies or radishes involved. The results show that the students who had to overcome the cookie temptation gave up on the puzzle quickly. Their battery of will power and resolve was depleted by fighting the temptation to eat the cookies. The students who had to overcome the cookie temptation, used up their reservoir of will power, their reservoir of resolve, and gave up on the puzzle in less than half the time of the other two groups and made far fewer attempts to solve the puzzle. Baumister calls this effect ego depletion. The experiment shows that when we use will power for one thing, overcoming the temptation of a cookie, it drains a little of that energy from the battery making it harder to exercise the will in totally unrelated things like trying to solve a puzzle.
Baumeister showed the energy depletion of decision making in an experiment where students, prior to working on the impossible puzzle, were either forced to make a decision about a task or were assigned a task. The students who had to make the decision gave up on the puzzle faster and made fewer attempts to solve than the students who just carried out an assignment.
So, in fitness, we note that a general 9-5 lifestyle tends to lead to the attitude that “I just don’t have time” or “By the time I get home at night, I don’t want to eat a chicken breast and salad. I just want a quick snack, a TV and a bed.”
In our fitness data research, JD and I found that most people have a lot of power. However, most people’s will power is just all used up with the demands of their jobs, running a household and raising two young girls. Every act of will power, every decision, drains the battery a little bit more, but the battery is not fixed, it is rechargeable and we can have more will power if we want it, just by thinking we have it.
The point being that, Yes, You Do have the Will Power! You are just in need of a budget of your will power! It’s about management of your energy resources, and not about your lack of energy. For fitness, you do have the energy, yet, you have been lacking knowledge. Gaining more fitness knowledge, working out to gain awareness of your body, and learning to listen to your body’s language in terms of what to feed it to stimulate energy is the only real way to go. You can stop blaming your will power for your fitness disasters or your state of health and wellness. The key I have found as a mother, is that fit moms have just learned how to start managing the will power better.
When JD and I first thought will power was the difference between the physique competitors and everyone else, we were making a fundamental attribution error, an error that is endemic among humans. Fundamental attribution error is when we use a psychological or personality based explanation for a behavior instead of the situational explanation. We were too focused on the personality trait of will power and thought that the competitors must have larger reservoirs of mental energy—a bigger battery. When we went back and studied Baumeister in depth, we found a better, situational, explanation for the seemingly large reservoirs of will power of the competitors.
Fitness, figure and bodybuilding competitors are cooler toters, especially when preparing for a contest. Their meals are planned and timed and they carry them around with them. They know what they are going to eat and when they are going to eat it. It is all scheduled and becomes a routine. When something becomes a routine it no longer involves a decision. When it is no longer a decision, it does not require any mental energy.
The physique competitors did not have a larger battery of will power than everyone else, they just used less will power by making many decisions about eating a routine. It was easier for them to stick to the diet because the decisions that take mental energy were removed. The situation, the eating plan to get into contest shape, makes them just appear to have more will power.
When we started looking at the lives of successful physique competitors they nearly all had a structured daily or weekly routine. The diet and training demands precision, the only way to be that precise is with a pre-determined structure. Once the structure and routine is set, there were fewer decisions to be made leaving more in battery to handle temptations as the cropped up.
Most fit moms have figured out the secret. Women tend to be better planners, but that’s not limited to women only, just happens to be a general statistic. What I see in fitness and in the general population of fitness enthusiasts is that fitness minded individuals plan what they’ll eat and make it a routine. With those decisions removed, people are then expending less will power and found that they had more energy. Most of these fitness people and fit moms have ready-made forms of protein around their house, in their car and at their office. JD and I found that common possessions among the successful fitness enthusiasts included powdered whey protein, shaker bottles, water gallons, tuna packs, and pre-cooked skinless/boneless chicken, among the most common possessions. Even if routine is disrupted, there is always an automatic back-up that did not require a decision, like an apple and a can of tuna or a ready to drink protein shake. And of course, every one of them owns some kind of fat-loss grill for their chicken and fish
Removing will-power draining decisions is one way women figure competitors maintain their diet, another is the actual nutritional content of the diet.
A lot of people never even try to get into their best shape because they think they don’t have the will power to do it. They make the fundamental attribution error and think the competitors have more will power than they do. As the research shows, if you don’t think you have very much will power, then you will not have much will power.
The only true act of will power was taking the time up front to set the schedule and routine. After repeating the routine it becomes automatic. Women figure competitors don’t have a larger reservoir of will power than everyone else, they just expend less of it by having a structured routine and fuel their brain with ketones from fat.
Hollywood’s Anti-Aging Secret: The Natural Way to Fat Loss, Youth, and Fitness Longevity for Everyone
Two years ago Dr. Patricia Wexler let one of Hollywood’s fat loss and anti-aging secrets out of the bag–Growth Hormone. “Actresses use it to slim abdominal fat and increase muscle tone and libido,” Wexler said.
Actresses with insider connections to discreet doctors may inject their way to a youthful, fit and sexy body, but you can boost your own growth hormone naturally without any side effects by exercising smarter, Fit Moms and friends!
Human Growth Hormone is naturally secreted by the pituitary gland to regenerate cells, strengthen bones and make the immune system stronger. Its biggest effect, the ones the movie stars are after, is fat burning, which leads to a lean, fit, sculpted and beautiful physique, of course. Growth Hormone turns your body into a fat burning machine. Most women produce less than 10 nano grams of GH per milliliter of blood. A nano gram is one-billionth of gram, which means a little GH goes a long way.
The natural way for all you Fit Moms and Friends to boost your natural GH levels, and get the same effects as the starlets, is to ditch the pink dumbells and treadmill for sprints and real weights. Yes, weight training can lead to fat loss, Fit Moms, without leading you to a “bulky” physique (which is a common misconception that Fit Moms and most of our female friends have yodeled for years!). Weight training is the key to fat loss, anti-aging, and even well-maintained weight loss! Fit Moms and Friends, read more to learn the key to unlocking that potential in your body through weight training and sprints!
The results of an experiment on the effects of sprinting on women published in Oxford University’s journal Acta Physiologica found “Women elicited a greater response of serum GH to sprint exercise” than men. They always say men are the stronger gender physically, but it seems that in this trend, nature is possibly trying to bring ladies into a balance in this sense. Even the body’s nature is to bring balance between the sexes! The swedish scientists who conducted the experiment concluded, “this may contribute to explaining the earlier observed muscle hypertrophy in women in response to sprint training.” If you want toned, shapely legs, Fit Moms and Friends, well, even the doctors and scientists are suggesting that you run sprints. If you don’t run, then look at our other fat burning articles on interval training, which will yield similar results.
Yes, this is Empowerment for Everyone- Mother nature has in some ways leveled the playing field. We Fit Moms can get stronger with this work as we continue to do it, without gaining the muscle that a man will. Women cannot get big, bulky muscles from natural GH, but they get larger percentage increase from GH boosting exercises than men and a few extra nanograms will deliver a flat stomache and tight butt fast.
The quickest way to boost GH is to run sprints (as I stated earlier, check the fat burning category of articles at http://nitasworld.com/blogs for further articles on interval training, which will deliver similar results). The research shows that they key to effective sprints are the intensity, the speed you run, not how many you do or how far you sprint. When I use the word “effective” I am relating the “effective” results of sprinting or interval training to how well this exercise style will burn fat, helping the body look and feel sculpted and lean and beautiful, which is what every woman is striving for when we do any workout. Am I right, Fit Moms? I mean, seriously, which one of us wouldn’t kill (or sprint) to have Selma Hayek’s killer calves, and that Fit Mama’s fit and sexy thighs?
Do you think that it’s inconvenient to do sprints? Well, it takes less time than cardio to burn the calories you can burn in just a few minutes of sprinting, so time is not an issue, Fit Moms. And all you skeptic friends and fit moms are sure to realize that location is easier with sprints than going to the corner store. You already take your kids to half the places you can sprint, fit moms, and all the pet owners take their “kids” (pets) to the other places. None of this is rocket science. Not one of these places is an inconvenience Fit Moms and Friends, because you already go there!
Fat burning Sprints can be done anywhere: An empty parking lot, a low-traffic residential street, the play ground on the weekends at our kid’s school, the park while the kids play, or the sports field or running track at your teenager’s high school at night or on weekends. If you haven’t sprinted recently, don’t jump in head first running as hard as you can the first day, start by doing strides at a pace faster than a jog for four repetitions of 50 to 100 yards. Gradually increase the speed you sprint until you can do four of them all at all out racing speed. When you can do four at full speed, add an extra sprint every week. To make sure your intensity stays high, use a stop watch to time your sprint workout and push yourself to get them done in less time.
By running sprints three times a week and adding some negatives to your weight training, you can boost your natural Growth Hormone levels, burn more body-fat than you do with cardio, and save more time while you preserve your joints and bones, since sprinting is better for your bones and joints than jogging.
Here is a clip of my business partner and co-author JD Johannes running sprints:
As good as sprints are, the scientific research shows the super GH booster is lifting heavy weights.
An experiment conducted at the University of Virginia found, “For each incremental increase in exercise intensity, the fractional stimulation of GH secretion is greater in women than in men.”
That means the heavier weights you lift, the more GH your body produces. The biggest boost in natural GH came when women used weights that were heavier than they could actually lift. When you use a weight that is heavier than you can lift up with good form, but that you can control on the way down, your GH levels skyrocket. These types of lifts are called negatives and
an experiement published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that heavy negatives boost natural GH more than anything else. Pull ups, curls, squats, lunges and other types of weight training are really effective for this type of effect, and all these exercises will help you get a sculpted, toned, beautiful physique.
And Dr. Patricia Wexler does not approve:
“Human Growth Hormone is unsafe. I know dermatologists and actresses who use it to slim abdominal fat and increase muscle tone and libido. But it can accelerate also a hidden cancer to grow. It can cause funny bone spurs to grow and enlargement of the heart … just to name a few of the many reasons why I consider it unsafe.”
Women get more out of sprints than men. More GH, etc. “Women elicited a greater response of serum GH and insulin to sprint exercise. This may contribute to explaining the earlier observed muscle hypertrophy in women in response to sprint training.”
Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research
“The findings suggest that the acute metabolic and GH responses in the 90/70% condition were more favourable compared with the 70/70% condition, and a significant correlation between the optimal ECC load and 1RM per BM-ratio was observed.”
Heavy eccentric load produces best hormonal response…heavy negatives
University of Virginia, Journal of Applied Physiology
“For each incremental increase in exercise intensity, the fractional stimulation of GH secretion is greater in women than in men.”
Bodybuilders don’t run, and nor do obese people. But I’m not a bodybuilder, or an obese person. I’m a fitness chick, a fit mom, and a fitness personality. My goals are obviously different from a bodybuilder’s goals, and definitely, I have a different lifestyle choice than a person whose main goals involve constant fulfillment of my taste-bud compulsions.
At this stage in my life, my goal is always to become truly fit and achieve prime longevity. As one point in my career as a fitness competitor, I was running a lot and lifting weights with an extremely high carb, high protein diet, and only then I was starting to resemble a bodybuilder. People who didn’t know better thought I was one.
But you know what kind of fit physique athletes have a lot of muscle, and are really lean, with Olympic level stamina and power? Women’s Fitness competitors.
They run. They run a lot. They do weekly sprints, middle-distance, plyometrics anything that will get their heart to the bursting point.
And if these women can carry body-toned muscle around, while running and with the power and stamina to do our fitness routines—well they are worth at least probing into the minds of. Where I learned about my own fitness interval training from was from my ex-husband, who was basically my trainer before I met my trainer of 13 years, Tim Sparkes, at Die Hard Gym in Arizona. My ex-husband was a former track and football star in high school and college.
What I learned from my ex-husband is that I was doing my running all wrong. First of all, I jogged, and I did so very lazily. I loathed the cardio work, so I dragged myself through it. It didn’t matter that I was a fit mom, a fit chick, or a fitness athlete in training. I was thinking about my cardio conditioning the wrong way, as most of us do for the first few years of our fitness quests.
Just about every fitness center has some serious runners as members. These “fitness” people log 20 to 40 miles a week and are in great cardio vascular condition—but most of them look remarkably average. They do not have much muscle and many of them are skinny fat. Sure they have strong hearts, but some of them store more body fat and subcutaneous water than the person who is walking into a gym for the first time. These runners are not in poor health, but their shape is generally not of the optimal fitness aesthetic grade considering the fitness workload they are undergoing. I believe in running, I do. I also like working out smarter, and distance running for fitness is definitely the harder path, if you’re trying to look better and even feel better.
The best explanation for this phenomena may be controversial, but the facts are right in front of us. Cardiovascular exercise DOES NOT WORK to lose body fat long term, period!!
Why is this? Let’s take a hypothetical individual: Female, 30 years old, 145 pounds, sedentary. She decides she wants to be fit and “get toned” (keep in mind, everyone has a different idea of this word, so it’s subjective). So she takes up running on the treadmill for an hour a day 5 days/week. Nothing else in her life changes, her diet and lifestyle remain the same. In the first week she loses 5 pounds. If she maintained her consistency 5 days a week, would she lose 250 pounds this year? Of course not, and why is this?
Firstly cardiovascular activity is very efficient at chewing up muscle tissue, the steps are as follows:
1. Conversion from fast twitch muscle fiber to slow twitch muscle fiber, by
acquiring mitochondria and relinquishing contractile protein. Smaller fiber, less
2. Excessive Cortisol released in response to the damage to the fiber as a result of the exercise. Cortisol acts as a natural analgesic, but severely hampers protein synthesis and muscle repair. It also damages the immune system, and ultimately will contribute to all of our deaths – so I’m not sure why anyone would do anything that would accelerate this process.
3. It has been shown that high volume cardiovascular exercise can completely deplete satellite cells in muscle fiber, which means no new fiber can grow or existing fiber be repaired, and as we age, we have a natural propensity to lose muscle as well as bone density. Muscle helps our metabolism and enhances bone density.
4. Growth Hormone levels decline with high volume cardiovascular exercise, which also hampers the repair process. Low growth hormone also accelerates aging.
5. To sum it up, you can’t train all day, and you can’t stop eating, but you can always build a bit more muscle, so quit the cardio and concentrate on the weight lifting.
Secondly, after all these details about how cardio fitness training eats up muscle, you must know that the first week of ANY fitness program, and likely the first month even, you will lose weight with rapid results. That’s water weight dropping off because you are actually getting off of your butt. That’s not the “weight” you are losing, it’s the water. You are not really getting more fit, but your body is filtering out a bit so that it can set a better foundation for you to start getting fit.
Your weight-loss will look more like 8-12 pounds monthly if you’re doing it right and if you expect it to stay off. If you’re an athlete or you’re training for an athletic event, your body requires more training than average, and more extreme dieting than average, but that’s not average for a person who is just trying to lose weight and just starting to get fit.
That was a very strong argument for not doing cardio. But I need to be able to keep up with kids, work, training clients, caring for my household, and still having stamina in the gym. Cardio conditioning is a must for me. Plus, I need strength and power.
The solution was to train like a professional female fitness athlete—specifically, one that always wins the fitness routine portion of the contest. And what does the fitness athlete woman do? Sprints.
For women who run, but they want a great physique:
With high-intensity interval training you “sprint” on any cardio exercise for short bursts that go for less than two minutes, and then you slow to moderate, and sometimes even low-intensity pace for a short burst. You want to go high intensity to kick your heart rate way up, and then you drop the intensity to less your body rest, while not giving your heart rate enough time to drop out beneath a fat-burning zone. If you do this for short bursts of time, you don’t give your heart rate a chance to drop severely, and therein, you are able to keep your body burning fat, burning calories, and staying hard at work, even though you won’t feel like you’re working hard while your body recovers during your lower-paced durations.
Like cardio, this too can strengthen your heart, and keep you from feeling sluggish. On the other hand, in comparison to cardio, interval training burns fat for longer periods of time. You will burn fat for up to 13 hours post-workout with intervals, whereas with cardio at a constant moderate rate will only burn fat efficiently for up to 2 hours post workout. So, why would you spend more time and burn less fat, much less want to gamble the possibility of kicking out cortisol? This is why many fitness professionals who know what they are doing will not recommend long dull high, low or medium-intensity periods of cardio.
The best way to gain cardio conditioning and maintain muscle is to do what all fat-burning physique athletes does—sprints.
As sprinting becomes the core of your cardio conditioning program and distance running becomes the ‘functional’ training, so you do it for form, awareness, and monitoring. It’s a means for measurement when needed, but it’s not necessary for the actual progress.
When I started doing sprints in the morning for my cardio, my strength gains in the gym accelerated a little bit and I started to get leaner without really trying, and my husband noticed an extreme difference in how my body was responsive to my diet and weight training. My lines and cuts in my muscles showed up and they never had before I started sprinting. My workouts were more exhilarating and I could produce more within them because my fitness level and stamina was increased through sprinting.
Now I was able to get more in my fitness routines, I could run with my daughter in her stroller for better bursts so I wasn’t gasping for air. I was stronger than I would ever need to be on the fitness stage or in the gym. I had burst speed and explosiveness and I had the stamina and endurance to keep up with any of the guys at the gym.
So, I am not advising the novice to average fitness person to sprint, but I am encouraging those of you who run– just try this for 6 weeks and see how rapidly and extremely your fitness levels, your energy, your stamina, and your physique changes. See how lean you get and watch a sculpted physique appear that you never knew you had.
As for the fitness enthusiast who is new to the world of fitness and fit physique training, try intervals, we have more blogs on the Fat Burning Workouts categories to your left here in the blog at nitasworld.com. Check it out. Be well, Be You, BE PHENOMENAL! You are worth the work!
-Nita Lee Marquez
America’s Hottest Fit Mom ™
Fitness Empowerment Author
Miss National Fitness
Proud Mother of Three