EATING FOR ABS

To make progress in the quest for a six-pack, follow these simple guidelines:

  • Eat 4-6 small meals each day, rather then three large ones.
  • Up your protein to 1/3 of your daily calories.
  • Reduce your intake of complex (starchy) carbohydrates like pasta, rice, potatoes & bread; increase your intake of fruits and vegetables instead.
  • Fat-free products are often loaded with simple sugars. Read labels carefully.
  • Cut back on saturated fat

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If you’re going to reduce your caloric intake, make small alterations. Your body’s starvation-protection system, your thyroid gland, regulates the body’s metabolism. Drastically reducing your caloric intake for an extended period (over four weeks) will trigger that starvation mechanism, and your thyroid will slow your metabolism down. Once you have lost that initial chunk of weight as a result of crash dieting and
resume eating in a healthy manner, your body will pack the fat right back on because your thyroid will have shut down. Again, reduce your calories sensibly.

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Photo by Isabella Mendes on Pexels.com

In addition to eating right, a regular exercise program is essential for shedding body fat and bringing out your abs. Incorporate strength training two to three times per week in your workout schedule. Strength training is a potent weight loss tool, because it
builds muscle. Unlike fat, muscle is active tissue that uses up calories. A pound of muscle burns 50 more calories per day than a pound of fat. A Tufts University study compared women who followed identical diet plans; those who strength trained lost 44
percent more fat than those who just dieted. Strength training powers weight loss in three ways:

  1. It revs up your metabolism – you’ll burn up to 15% more
    calories with added muscle.
  2. Stronger muscles make aerobic exercise easier, and that helps
    burn calories too.
  3. You’ll be trimmer and firmer, because a pound of fat is bulkier
    than a pound of muscle.

Strategies For Success

Strategies For Fitness and Wellness Success

  1. Try new foods and keep variety in your diet.  Be sure to include at least 4-6 servings of vegetables each day.

  2. Eliminate simple carbohydrates like fruit juices, processed snack food (pretzels, chips, cookies, bagels and bread) and sugar-sweetened beverages such as soda.  If you eliminate sugar from your diet completely, your cravings for simple sugars will drastically diminish.

  3. As your body changes, it is adapting to your lifestyle habits (nutrition and exercise). Changing up your program on a regular basis can help insure your body keeps changing

  4. It’s not a good idea to skip meals or reduce calories by an extreme amount, since the decreased metabolism causes the body to burn fewer calories and less fat.  When you eat every three hours, you will increase your energy levels, increase your metabolism and burn more calories.

  5. Keep a journal or diary. You will be 90% more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down,

  6. One of the most critical factors to achieve optimal health and fitness is to plan ahead for your meals and to have your meals prepared, ready to eat and convenient.  Pick a day to shop and prepare your meals for the upcoming week.

  7. Cardiovascular exercise allows your body to burn calories while you are performing the activity.  If you walk on the treadmill for 30 minutes, you would burn approximately 150-200 calories. If you did this 5 times per week, you would burn about 750-1000 calories per week.  That’s 3000-4000 calories a month!

  8. In order for you to achieve long-term weight loss and weight control, it is necessary to increase the lean muscle in your body.  Muscle burns substantially more calories, resulting in a higher metabolism and a toned physique. It’s important to change your resistance training program every 4-6 weeks to avoid an exercise plateau.

  9. When you exert yourself, dehydration does more than just make you thirsty.  It affects your performance and makes you tire more easily. Make sure to drink water before, during and after your workout.

  10. It is almost impossible to get all of the vitamins and minerals that you need through your daily dietary intake.  Proper supplementation allows you to get the nutrients that your diet may be lacking with little or no additional calories.

Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

5 Science-Backed Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

It turns out that skipping breakfast may have a host of benefits from frying fat to reversing diabetes.

Between keto, paleo, and Whole30, it can be hard to keep up with the latest happenings in the trendy-diet sphere. Unfortunately, many of the strict eating plans involve meticulous tracking of every bite you take. If monitoring macros, calories, and ingredients isn’t up your alley, we may have the solution for you: intermittent fasting, or IF.

Rather than tracking what’s on your plate, IF requires you to focus on when you choose to sit down to meals. There are different variations of IF ranging from fasting for two days of the week and then eating your normal caloric load to fasting for about 12 to 16 hours per day (usually including sleep time). Many people choose to adopt the 12- to 16-hour overnight fast, in which you would finish eating at about 8 p.m. and hold off breakfast until about 12 p.m.—an easier and more sustainable approach than skipping meals during the day. Although you’re fasting, IF allows you to drink virtually-calorie-free drinks such as water, tea, and black coffee (so make sure to skip the usual add-ins like milk and sugar!).

Think you can breeze through breakfast and actually stick to this trendy eating habit? “Research seems to be finding [IF] benefits to weight, blood sugar, inflammation, and potentially to brain health,” Isabel Smith, MS, RD, CDN, and founder of Isabel Smith Nutrition and Lifestyle tells us via email.

As with any diet, consult your doctor before starting IF. If you’re looking to give this trend a chance to conquer your health and weight-loss goals, check out our expert-backed tips below

A. You’ll Burn Fat
An animal study published in the journal Cell Research found that following intermittent fasting for up to 16 weeks helps prevent obesity, and preliminary benefits were apparent after just six weeks! The researchers found that IF kickstarts the metabolism and helps burn more fat by generating body heat. “Intermittent fasting without a reduction in calorie intake can be a preventative and therapeutic approach against obesity and metabolic disorders,” says study author Kyoung-Han Kim, according to Science Daily.

B. You’ll Live Longer
Nothing says “healthy lifestyle choice” like longevity! A Harvard study shows that IF’s food-free period manipulates the energy-producing mitochondria of your cells and increases your lifespan. As you age, your body is in a natural decline that affects your cells. But the study showed that the lower levels of energy produced during fasting times caused the mitochondria to shift and maintain their functions longer than normal to promote healthy aging and a longer lifespan.

C. It Keeps Your Brain Healthy
One of the most agreed upon benefits of the IF diet is the fact that it promotes healthy brain function and wards of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. According to research by Mark Mattson, a professor of neuroscience in the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and chief of the Laboratory of Neurosciences at the National Institute on Aging, the act of forgoing food is a challenge to your brain that causes it to take preventative measures against diseases.

So how exactly does it work? The fasting period gives your body more time to deplete your body’s glycogen stores and causes you to burn fat instead of sugar (hello, weight loss!). This fat-burning process produces ketones, which boost your energy and banish brain fog. Mattson suggests packing the day’s meals into a short eight-hour period so that your body has time to efficiently deplete glycogen stores and enter ketosis.

D. It Reduces Inflammation
We experience sporadic inflammation on a daily basis, from stubbing a toe to coming in contact with allergy-triggering dust mites. But suffering from chronic, long-term inflammation can lead to weight gain and unwanted belly fat. That’s where intermittent fasting comes in. A study from Obesity shows that fasting produces an anti-inflammatory effect on the neuroimmune system that a high-fat diet would otherwise prevent.

E. It Can Reverse Diabetes
Over 29 million people in America have diabetes, and one in four doesn’t even know it. Diabetes can be managed via diet, exercise, and medication; and according to University of Southern California researchers, intermittent fasting may also be able to stop the disease in its tracks. The study notes that a fasting-like diet triggers the production of new pancreatic cells to replace dysfunctional ones, can control blood sugar, and can reverse insulin resistance and depletion.

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Better Than Burpees

13 Exercises That Are Better Than Burpees For Fat Loss

These moves are the ULTIMATE fat torchers for most people

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Burpees involve quickly moving from a standing position to a pushup position and back again.

They work every muscle in your body. You’ll burn a lot of calories and your heart rate will go sky high. It’s certainly an amazing exercise to burn fat.

But I personally believe there are 13 moves that are better for fat loss training, especially for men with some serious miles on their bodies.

What do I mean by better?

Well, the burpee is a really complex movement that combines a hip-hinge, plank, pushup, squat, and jump.

If you’re not great at any one of those moves—whether it be due to a lack of strength, mobility, or motor control—then trust me when I say that your burpee will be even worse. There is a lot going on, more than is necessary to achieve the fat loss results you’re looking for.

I have three main criteria when selecting exercises for metabolic conditioning workouts. The moves must:

•    Work most of your body, especially your shoulders and hips
•    Be as low-impact and low-skill as possible
•    Be safe to perform for higher reps and with shorter rest periods

I like moves that are easier to perform, but still melt your face off. Here are 13 simpler and safer ways to burn fat than burpees—watch the video above to see how to do them.

1. Goblet Squat

This is arguably the best way to squat, period.

Front-loading the weight allows you to keep your trunk more upright. This takes stress off your spine and works your thighs more.

Goblet squats are also safer to perform and more accessible than barbell squats, especially for higher-rep fat-loss training.

All you need is a dumbbell (easier) or a kettlebell (harder). Just stand and sit tall and repeat. These are great for high reps and really tax your shoulders and core.

One of my favorite ways to redline with this move is to do 10 reps per minute for 10 minutes straight while holding a weight that is at least half of your total body weight.

2. Barbell Muscle Snatch or Dumbbell Muscle Snatch

Olympic lifts train total-body power and really hammer the highly metabolic muscles on the backside of your body. But they are very technical and hard to learn.

Except for the muscle snatch.

This exercise, a modified version of the barbell snatch, is performed from a hang position with the bar at your knee or shin instead of on the floor. That decreases the range of motion and bypasses potential mobility problems.

Plus, by combining a high pull to overhead press, there is no catch, which is where most of the form issues manifest themselves.

Finally, all you need to do is fully extend your ankles, knees, and hips and come to a full stand at the top of the move.

Other Olympic variations require you to jump your feet out and squat down to catch the weight. This creates serious stability and mobility demands that you want to avoid when you’re in a state of high fatigue.

I like to do these with either a barbell or a pair of dumbbells. You may want to practice the move without load on the bar first to find your rhythm, then slowly load it up. Sets of 10 to 20 reps or work periods of two to three minutes are deadly to body fat.

3. Dumbbell Skier Swing or Alternating Kettlebell Swing

The swing has been shown to improve fitness and help you lose fat as much as running does, without all the joint stress that comes with pounding the pavement.

Plus, it actually builds muscle, stimulates metabolism, and works the posterior chain. Most guys really need more meat on their back, hamstrings, and glutes—and the swing can deliver on that.

If you’re using dumbbells, I recommend the skier swing.

It requires your feet to be closer together so that the weights don’t hit your thighs. This, in turn, forces you to move more at the hips and less at the knees, which is what you want from a swing because it’s an explosive hip-hinge.

If you’re using kettlebells, I love the alternating hand swing.

Moving from hand to hand allows you to swing more continuously and for longer, which is great for fat loss.

Plus, loading one side of your body at a time works your core more and unloads your spine. Many people who have back issues prefer this style of swinging because it allows for a slight degree of rotation that unloads your spine.

My favorite swing workouts include:

•    30 seconds of work, 30 seconds of rest intervals for 10 to 20 minutes
•    Heavy EMOM (every minute on the minute): Do 10 reps per minute with a heavy weight for 10 to 30 minutes
•    Light EMOM: Do 20 reps per minute with a lighter weight for 10 to 30 minutes
•    Continuous five to 10 minute swings, resting only as needed

You can also plug this into a total-body circuit as a hip-dominant or cardio move.

4. Dumbbell Farmer’s Walk

Walking is one of the best ways to maintain a healthy body weight for the long haul and it’s something you hope to be able to do until the day you die.

It provides a continuous, low-impact calorie burn and it doesn’t require a lot of coaching. Now add some weight to that walk, and that bump in intensity will build muscle and burn fat everywhere.

I like to alternate between two- and one-arm variations of the farmer’s walk.

However, I prefer the one-arm option because you can work continuously by switching from hand to hand when you fatigue. Plus, it’s better for strengthening your spinal and hip stabilizers.

I also like to mix in level changes, going from overhead to chest level to hip level, which is in order of difficulty from a stability standpoint.

Sets of one to two minutes at a time are great for fat loss. I’ll even go for 10 minutes straight to finish off a workout, resting only when needed.

5. Box Squat Jump

Plyometric exercises are great for stimulating your larger fast-twitch muscles fibers and torching fat, but the impact can take its toll over time, especially if you’re overweight.

Enter box squat jumps.

Sitting down between reps cleans up your landing mechanics and is much easier on your knees. You can also adjust the height of the box based on your mobility and fitness level.

6. Stepup Jump

Much like the box squat jump, this exercise provides a lower-impact way to train your lower-body power and crush calories at a lightning speed.

Stepups are more hip-dominant than lunges, so they’re easier on your knees.

Plus, the glutes are the biggest muscles in the human body—at least they should be! But excessive sitting leads to “saggy butt syndrome,” so the more we can kick those glutes into gear, the better.

7. Battle Rope Wave

When I’m feeling stressed out and my energy levels are low, it can be really hard to get up for a workout. You feel me?

But there’s one exercise mode I can always get up for, no matter what’s going on in my life. It doesn’t require a warmup and you can just blast some good music, set a timer, and rip it out real fast.

Oh yeah—it’s super easy on your lower-body joints and you can recover from it instantly. Battle Rope Waves, baby!

Try going all-out for 10 to 20 seconds and then resting for 40 to 50 seconds. Alternate between different variations and just work as hard as you can while keeping your abs crunched and back flat.

You’ll get an amazing heart and muscle pump. What more can you ask for?

8. Bear Crawl

You learned to crawl before you learned to walk or run, or at least you should have.

Bear crawls have more benefits than just about any other move out there.

They improve your rib and pelvic positioning and your breathing mechanics. They boost your shoulder stability and strengthen your hands, wrists, and core. And they tax both your thighs and upper body, making for a spirited fat-burning festival.

I like to mix between walking lunges (see below) and bear crawls for the best of both worlds. In fact, bear crawls actually improve your lunging mechanics.

Bear crawl for one minute, then lunge for two minutes. That’s one round. Perform up to 10 total rounds for a 30-minute fat burner you can do anywhere.

9. Walking Lunge

I consider walking lunges to be the strength and stability version of running.

You can do it continuously because you’re moving from side to side for a maximum fat-loss stimulus. And the increased range of motion better stimulates your hips and thighs, which ramps up your metabolism in a serious way.

If your goal is to burn fat, end each workout with 10 minutes of walking lunges.

It will improve your hip mobility, bulletproof your knees, melt fat, and improve your cardio conditioning. It will also make you a better runner, squatter, and jumper. And the mental training is off the charts.

10. Box Thruster

You probably know about thrusters (a term popularized by CrossFit), a combination exercise involving a squat to overhead press.

This move is often used for MetCon workouts, and rightfully so, because it works your whole body and really spikes your heart rate.

But many people lack the mobility and technique to do these correctly, and when you add high reps and short rest periods on top of that, they can get downright ugly and dangerous.

You can fix this by sitting on a box or bench. This helps clean up your squat pattern without sacrificing the calorie burn. (You can also do this with goblet squats.)

Go for 20 seconds of work, then 10 seconds of rest for up to 10 rounds as a metabolic finisher. Or do 10 reps EMOM for 10 to 20 minutes for a full-body workout.

11. TRX Row Machine

Many people swear by the rowing machine for fat loss. How can you argue with them?

It uses both your upper and lower body for one powerful body-changing movement and is very low impact.

But not everyone has access to the machine, and many people do not have the hip or ankle mobility to row right.

That’s why I love the TRX row “machine.”

Holding the straps allows you to squat better and deeper for longer.

Plus, the rowing component is a lot easier to perform than it is on the traditional cardio machine, especially for taller and bigger people.

You can add a jump at the top to make your fat cells cry for mercy. Try going nonstop for 1 to 2 minutes at a time, then resting for the same amount of time that you worked. If five to 10 rounds of that doesn’t change you, nothing will.

12. Blast-Off Pushup

This is the ultimate total-body pushup.

It’s kind of like adding a leg press to your pushup, and it will put your metabolism on high alert.

It also challenges your upper-body and core muscles more because you have to decelerate your body after your legs and hips propel you forward. Plus, it mobilizes your hips.

Plug this into a whole-body circuit as a core or upper-body push move.

Or pair it with any of the previously mentioned lower-body moves: Do blast-off pushups for 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off, then do a lower-body exercise for 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off. Then repeat. It will kick your sweet little ass.

13. Skater Jump

Skater jumps move your body from side to side rather than front to back.

This strengthens the muscles on the sides of your hips, improves your athleticism, and is less stressful on your knees than the forward-back movements.

You can also quickly scale the movement down by touching the floor with your back foot to provide more support and stability.

If you’re looking for a great body-weight cardio burner, do this triset with no rest between moves:

•    Box squat jumps for 40 seconds
•    Stepup jumps for 40 seconds
•    Skater jumps for 40 seconds

Now rest for one minute. That’s one round. Do up to five total rounds for a 15-minute equipment-free sweat fest.

 

Get More Out of Strength-Training Workouts

If you haven’t already heard, a cardio-only fitness routine isn’t the best for losing weight and sculpting muscles. Strength training is a must, and here are five tips to get the most out of those weight-building sessions.
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Twice Isn’t Enough

If you’re hitting the weights once or twice a week, it’s definitely better than nothing, but if you really want to see results, certified personal trainer Heather Neff says, “Do your strength training three to four days per week and make sure you’re not doing it back to back especially if you’re doing a full-body routine — always give yourself a day in between training for the muscles to recover and grow.” If you do cardio on the same days, do your strength training first, or you can alternate and do cardio on the days in between your strength-training workouts.

There’s More to Life Than Bodyweight Moves

While doing moves like squats, lunges, and plank variations using your own bodyweight is effective, adding weights to those basic moves will make your muscles work harder, which means getting stronger in less time. Add dumbbells, use resistance bands, or hold a kettlebell and you’ll instantly feel your muscles firing up with just a few reps.

Don’t Just Target Trouble Zones

Maybe you’re itching to get a six-pack or a lifted booty, but working one area will cause muscle imbalances, which can lead to injury. Also, the more muscle mass you create overall, the more calories you’ll burn, which decreases your total body-fat percentage to reveal your sculpted muscles. Work your legs, butt, abs, back, and arms equally, and try these multitasking moves that work more than one part of the body at once.

Don’t Fear Heavy Weights

Lifting heavier not only helps you lose weight faster, but it’ll also be the most effective at reshaping your body. Don’t just go from deadlifting 20 pounds to 60 pounds! Gradually increase the weight to prevent injury. And don’t worry about bulking up. If you go for heavier dumbbells or even if you start lifting a barbell with plates, you won’t instantly turn into a female version of the Incredible Hulk.

Variety Is a Must!

Don’t just be married to the dumbbells or the machines. Use a variety of equipment to challenge your muscles in different ways, including resistance bands, medicine balls, barbells, a TRX, and a few sets of dumbbells from light to heavy. Definitely don’t skip out on the kettlebells — a study by the American Council on Exercise found that the average person burns 400 calories in 20 minutes when doing kettlebell exercises. Mix up the exercises you do from day to day, the order you do them, and the speed.

Is This The Ultimate Cardio Exercise?

And you thought regular burpees crushed calories

TYLER CHIN

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The standard burpee is one of the best exercises for incinerating calories no matter where you are and sending your heart rate soaring.

Better still, having a couple of body-weight moves in your arsenal is an excellent way to keep your fitness on the rails when you don’t have access to a gym or even fitness equipment. Of course, realistically, even the most effective body-weight exercises can get boring after a while, and that can put you at risk of falling off the wagon entirely. The key to consistently being able to motivate yourself to work out when you’re away from a gym, or, for that matter, any equipment at all, is to mix things up.

So here’s a move we guarantee you’ve never done, or seen, for that matter. Best of all, it’s a turbocharged variation of the standard burpee, which means you’ll get all the benefits of the original, and much more.

Check out the video above to watch Nike master trainer and Project by Equinox trainer Kirsty Godso demonstrate what she calls the typewriter burpee—essentially, a lateral travelling mountain climber combined with a 180 burpee. That’s right, your least favorite (but most effective) cardio move can now be combined with your other least-favorite (but also incredibly effective) cardio move.  Calories, you can run, but you cannot hide.

“It’s amazing for working on speed and body-weight strength, and really perking your heart rate up,” says Godso.

Substitute the typewriter burpee in any workout that calls for a traditional burpee to take your calorie burn to the next level, or take Godso’s suggestion of using it as a workout finisher to empty your tank.