Knock out the empty calories

Have you heard the term ’empty calories’ and wondered what this means?

Empty calories refers to foods that contain low or no nutritional value but have high amounts of calories. Calories that can result in inches adding to your waistline and that do nothing to benefit your body.

Empty calorie foods provide plenty of energy but do very little to support health and in some cases will even rob your body of essential nutrients that may already be in short supply in your diet. One common problem with these foods is that they can taste great but will have minimal effect for satisfying hunger – and a lot of the time will stimulate it even further so you end up eating even more of them.

If your aim is to maintain a healthy, toned body with healthy body fat levels then a high priority should be to avoid empty calorie foods. Instead focus on foods that are nutritionally dense containing high natural levels of health boosting proteins, good fats, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients.

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6 foods for more vitality

When you’re stocking your pantry and fridge these are some of the healthiest choices you can make providing excellent sources of antioxidants, fibre, protein, carbohydrates and essential fats that won’t upset the balance when counting calories. In fact you may even find yourself shedding some unwanted kg’s! At this time of year when every one around you is coming down with colds and flu’s it’s of high importance to give attention to healthy eating so you can help build your immune system defences and keep yourself feeling on top of the world!

1) Salmon
Salmon is a great source of protein and one of the best remaining sources of the essential Omega 3 fats. Not only do these important fats (critical for your health) assist you in burning off unwanted body fat but they may offer some of the biggest protection against heart disease, arthritis and joint pain, mental decline and depression. Brain support has been the hot topic related to Omega 3 dietary intake, with positive results seen all round especially in the areas of concentration, depression, anxiety and excellent improvements seen in children suffering ADD. It is believed Wild Salmon is the best choice to make as opposed to Farmed Salmon which may contain much higher levels of chemical contaminants and toxins.

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Tips for a flat stomach & six pack abs

Would you like a slimmer waistline? More sculpted mid section? Or ripped abs? Whatever you’re thinking there’s 3 steps that will set the stomach toning wheels in motion. Stay committed and they’ll take you the distance.

At times I get a kick out of living strict and ripping up my abdominals. It took some time to figure out how to do it though. Now that I have the formula worked out it’s a no brainer. It’s not complicated. And it’s not about using a crazy ab machine from an infomercial.

While we’re on the topic. The worst approach you can take to shape your mid section is to focus on an exercise that trains that area alone. Working your stomach with an ‘Ab Machine’ or exercise technique will do little towards reaching your goal.

You see, compared to other muscles in your body, the abdominals are a very small muscle group. When you train abs you burn few calories. A tighter six pack is dependent on burning maximum calories, or cutting some out, rather than repping out endless ab exercises.

Don’t get me wrong you can’t ignore ab exercises altogether. I just want you to know that the emphasis you place on ab training should only be part of your plan, not ALL of your plan.

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How to beat nighttime food cravings

So you sometimes have out of control food urges in the evenings? Welcome to my world. One question I often get asked is how to stop nightly cravings. Losing control at night is one way to stop fat loss dead. To shed those layers you’re going to have to get to grips with nighttime eating.

If you arrive home starving because you missed 1 or 2 of your sheduled meals during the day then you’re in trouble. Remember the way to a lean body is eating 6 smallish meals each day, and each one must have a good sized protein portion. Eating like this is one of the best steps you can take to stop cravings getting the better of you so it’s worth getting into the habit.

Certain foods can trigger cravings, generally carbohydrates do this. You should really be tapering carbs off from mid afternoon anyway, but if you do eat carbs at night then stick to Low GI carbs only. If you eat carbs like white rice, bread, baked potatoes, pasta etc then be warned they may stimulate your appetite and lead you to eat too much.

When your goal is fast fat loss then at evening meals it’s best to cut out carbs altogether and stick to protein servings with plenty of low carb veges. Eat as many low carb veges as you want to. Include some healthy fats as well.

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How dieting makes you fatter

An easily made mistake when dieting is thinking that all weight lost is fat. In truth diets usually cause a loss in fat, water AND muscle. After dieting and back onto normal eating some people are mystified as to why they pack on flab fast.

Why does this happen? Calories are burned by muscle. When you lose muscle your calorie needs become reduced. Metabolism is slowed. This means the amount of calories you used to have to eat to keep weight constant is now less. If you eat above this new, lower calorie threshold you gain fat.

Here’s an example of what I’m talking about:

Jim crash diets for a month and drops 8.5kg. He’s stoked. Of this weight loss 5kg is fat, 2.5kg is muscle, and 1kg is water. When at rest every kg of your muscle burns around 100 calories per day (it burns even more when you exercise). Because Jim lost 2.5kg of muscle his metabolism has dropped and his calorie requirements are now 250 calories less per day than when he started. He used to eat 2800 calories per day, now anything over 2550 calories per day will cause him to gain fat.

Happy with being 8.5kg’s lighter and ignoring the muscle loss Jim goes back to eating the amount he used to before his diet. With his slower metabolism and eating 250 calories per day more than he needs means he’ll gain fat at the rate of 1kg per month. Checking in with Jim 12 months later he’s gained a whopping 12kg of fat!

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Damage control with HMB

You’ve probably heard me raving about the sport supplement HMB, and I know some of you are using it, but here is a bit more info on one of my favourite core supplements – I use my Reactiv Maximum HMB year round and benefit from continual progress – when I stop using it I find muscle degradation occurs almost immediately and very noticeably…

What is HMB?
HMB stands for Beta-Hydroxy-Beta-Methyl-Buterate and is a metabolite of the branch-chain amino acid Leucine. HMB occurs naturally in plants as well as meat. It is however, very difficult to obtain sufficient HMB through normal food intake (The recommended daily dosage for performance enhancement is 3 grams). Our bodies produce small amounts of HMB, usually between .3grams and 1 gram per day.

Can I get the same effect by supplementing my diet with Leucine instead of HMB?
No, scientists believe that only 5% of consumed Leucine can be converted into HMB in the body. Therefore you would have to supplement 60 grams of Leucine per day, which would cause digestive system problems.

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How’s your eating?

When it comes to getting into shape exercise and nutrition skip merrily hand in hand down the path of success. Travelling with your attention on one or the other will only get you so far before you’re left stranded and frustrated.

People ask me all the time what my view on which of the two is most important – nutrition versus exercise. Some people are surprised when I say nutrition is a bigger part of the picture. Exercising for a better body can be acheived in as little as three to four hours a week – the nutrition and eating can be a heap more time consuming (not to mention confusing) and deserves a much greater degree of thought and consideration.

So right now let’s take a look at your nutrition and what you can do to benefit. Some eating techniques will provide you big returns, so here’s a couple of my favorites – start working them in as soon as you can and you will be well on your way!

Let’s start with the biggest obstacle most people face – and this is one of the most critical areas to sort out. People who achieve ultra lean and muscle toned bodies will tell you that the most effective step they take is eating regular smaller meals – five or six per day – rather than two or three bigger meals each day. Eating food every three or so hours can stabilise blood sugar to

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Argh, carbohydrate confusion!

You’re not alone if you’re in a spin about what carbohydrate foods actually are, and wonder whether or not you should be eating more or less of them… Give me a minute and I’ll clear your head once and for all.

Calories we eat come from either carbohydrates, proteins, or fats. All foods from plants contain carbohydrates – a rule of thumb to remember is that all foods apart from fats and meat contain carbs. Dairy (milk, yoghurt, cheese) also contains carbs in the form of Lactose (milk sugar).

Carbohydrates are divided into two groups – either ‘Simple Carbs’ or ‘Complex Carbs’. Knowing the difference is important because the way they each influence your body fat levels and the way you feel is dramatically different.

Simple carbs are digested fast to give your body a sudden energy hit, sources include sucrose (table sugar), fructose (fruit sugar), and lactose (milk sugar). You know the “sugar high” you get from sneaking in those Pineapple Lumps from your top desk drawer? That’s your blood sugar sky rocketing as simple carbs are rapidly absorbed into your bloodstream. Soon after you have an energy crash. When we eat simple carbs we have a burst of energy, and then can start nodding off

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Weight loss and fat burning rules

It’s been said plenty of times that the true secret behind permanent weight loss and to a leaner body is based on lifestyle. There’s plenty of ideas around about what the best choices for this lifestyle are so how ‘bout a list of the most straight forward approaches we can all take to keep ourselves on track…

Always eat breakfast.

Eating breakfast is an excellent way to kick start your body for the day. Don’t fall into the trap thinking that avoiding this meal may help you lose weight – over time it will actually set in motion the exact opposite and you could end up with a real bulge battle on your hands. There is a reason breakfast is considered the most important meal of the day – ignore this rule at your peril!

Plan a routine.
Get into a meal routine and stick to it. When it comes to food intake the body thrives on routine – commit to your meal times and you will maintain a much healthier metabolism with more stable energy levels. Eating 5 to 6 smaller meals a day is the best way to structure eating for weight loss. Eating increases your metabolism whereas skipping meals flicks the switch for the survival response of your body to conserve calories by slowing doooown.

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Whey Protein Answers

Why do I need protein, and why use Whey?

There are 2 nutrients the body can’t store – one is water, the other is protein. When we are dehydrated we feel thirsty, unfortunately we have no sense to warn us when we are running low on protein. Your body needs protein for health and survival. Foods are classified as either carbohydrates, fats, or proteins. Carbs and fats are considered the culprits that cause us to gain unwanted weight – for this reason we need to limit how much of these we eat. By supplementing Whey you can receive life supporting protein without excess carbs and fats that lead to body fat gain.

How much protein should I eat?

World health authorities suggest around 1 gram of protein per kilogram of body weight for healthy adults as the minimum daily required intake. If exercising regularly or dieting then you’ll likely need more than this. Bodybuilders and athletes try to eat 2 to 3 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight, sometimes even more.

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Eat to keep your body tuned

To keep your body in check or improving for the better a little bit of thought will go a long way. If you’ve been looking for the best ways to keep your eating plan and goals on track here are some foundations that will do you proud.

Plan ahead.
The key to a lean body really is all about preparation, always think at least a few hours ahead of each meal so you aren’t faced with making a decision when the hunger pangs are in full force. When that happens most people will crumble and go for whatever they can quickly get their hands on. Do what you can to prevent this and think ahead. Planning your meals the night or day before this happens is the best way.

Cook extra.
Which leads me to my next point. Cook more food. No, not for eating at your next meal, but when you have organised yourself for some time in the kitchen why not make use of some time efficiency and cook a bit extra for additional meals. Maybe some more chicken, rice, pasta and vegetables? The extra amounts can be frozen or refrigerated so it’s there when you need it. I know some people like to do an entire weeks worth of cooking all in one session. It saves them a lot of time during the week and also keeps their eating honest.

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The good oil on Fats

When talking weight loss and nutritional health the topic of dietary fats tends to dominate conversation and take center stage. It doesn’t seem surprising when we consider that for the last decade or two we’ve been told by the food manufacturing and nutrition industries that for weight control and better health we should reduce fat intake and instead replace these calories with more carbohydrate food choices. While we’ve taken this message onboard body fat levels and obesity related illnesses of the general population have soared. Instead of seeing improvements the situation is now worse than ever before.

The news that we are now being made aware of is that adequate fat intake is in fact critical to our health, and instead of dropping it lower than low we should focus on including the right amounts. The most important point for us is to learn how to distinguish between two separate groups of fats. Those considered ‘Good Fats’ and essential for health, and those considered ‘Bad Fats’ which we can be better off without. Bad Fats (saturated and trans fats) can increase the risk for disease while Good Fats (unsaturated fats) may LOWER this risk and may also help us LOSE weight.

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