29 January 2009

Can a fat person be as fit as a thin person?

sometimes, a fat peron can be just as fit as a thin person
We've all come across someone in the past whom we made fast judgements about when we saw them. Perhaps someone overweight at school or at your local gym who just happens to be much better at swimming or spinning than everyone else. It doesn't tally with our belief that fit equals thin. But can a fat person be as fit as a thin person all depends on what we mean by fitness.

There are sports and events where extra bulk is a positive advantage and so anyone who is overweight will be ‘fitter’ for that activity than their slimmer counterparts Sumo, Worlds Strongest Man....). These sports are relatively rare however and even those who partake in them would admit that while experts in their own fields they probably don’t shape up that well when measured by more generally accepted indicators of what it is to be ‘fit’.

Fitness for most people means fitness for life and long-term health. How we look, how our bodies perform and how we feel as we go about our regular routines. To get optimum results in these areas, many people will embark on one type of exercise routine or other. Often as we go about these routines, putting ourselves at a better advantage for the rigours of life, we may choose to add in some new challenges along the way in the form of fitness events, charity runs, bike rides, swimathons and so on.

If we were looking at general fitness and fitness for endurance events such as these, would a fat person perform as effectively as a thin person?

Sure, they would. There’s no good reason why they shouldn’t, provided they have trained specifically for the event and are properly prepared. Judging someone’s fitness by his or her size is ridiculous and even implies that all thin people are fit which is clearly not the case.

I can remember taking part in a sponsored bike ride at school where the father of one of my friend’s was leading a group of 15-year olds on a 45-mile ride. He looked completely out of shape but his appearance hid a fit pair of legs and an experienced set of lungs and he left us all trailing on the bike route and then cycled home again as we all collapsed into the train. I’ve also run many a Sunday morning race where I’ve seen, and been overtaken by, runners who look like they’re carrying too much excess baggage but are clearly very fit.

The bottom line is that it’s not how much weight you’re carrying; it’s how you’ve conditioned your body for specific events that matters.

If you want to read more articles like this, visit the Women's Fitness site.

Photograph by hellochris (flickr)

27 January 2009

How to Choose the best home workout DVD

Don't buy another fitness DVD you'll never watch
Look at your library of DVDs? How many fitness DVD's have you got that you only watched once and never did again? Chances are that you have at least 2. Choosing the wrong DVD (i.e. one that won't motivate you to use it every week) is easy to do. This guide is designed to save you all the hassle and expense of doing that again. Some things to think about before you buy your next DVD....

• Be honest about your fitness level. Are you a beginner, intermediate level or advanced? Pick the right DVD for your level. If it’s too advanced, you’ll probably only use it once and if it’s too easy, it’s a wasted purchase.

• Don’t buy a DVD just because you like the celebrity featured. Check they are being guided by a professional, experienced and qualified trainer. You need to make sure that the DVD is safe and not just gimmicky. There are many DVDs on the market by Fitness professionals who know the most effective and safest ways to exercise and these are the best ones to look for.

• Does the DVD programme offer a good warm up, varied workout and cool down? The best DVDs will offer various levels of intensity so that you can stretch yourself and improve your fitness over time.

• DVDs can be quite expensive so try renting one out initially from an online rental service or library before you commit to buying it. This way you can try it out a couple of times to see if you rate it.

• Read a few reviews of the DVD you like before buying it – not just on the DVD cover, but in magazines and on the internet. The reviews on the cover will always be glowing. Make sure you get the low down from real people like you who have tried and tested the product.

26 January 2009

Too busy at work to make it to the gym much?

Make the most of each day in the office to stay healthy
If your workout time is limited through the week, the first thing you can do is make sure that the little time you do have in the gym is used wisely. Here are some helpful tips to get you started.

1. Your cardio vascular workouts should be punchy, spending no more than 10 minutes on each machine and working really hard on each one.

2. Using the treadmill or the rowing machine can help you to work harder than the step machine or the bike as they force you to use your whole body rather than just the bottom half.

3. Strength training should be focused on exercise that use many muscles at once, such as upper back pull-down, seated rows bench or chest press, shoulder press, squats and lunges. Working different muscle groups by alternating exercises also helps improve your fitness and burn more calories, as you have less time to recover during your workout.

4. Try and fit as much activity into your daily and office work routine as possible. Practice good posture at all times to look after your spine, relieve shoulder pain and ensure that your body is in its proper position so that you can target all all the bits you want to focus on in the gym. Make every journey a fitness burst by singing your arms, squeezing your bum when walking and increasing the speed with which you walk everywhere. Every stride is a calorie burning opportunity.

5. Finally, watch your food quality and portion sizes. Eat for energy and performance, rather than because you are bored or are simply eating out of habit. Cut out all unhealthy snacks during the day and replace with fresh fruit and nuts and glasses of water.

Why not bring health and fitness to your office? Staying healthy during the working day not only benefits your waist line but the company bottom line as it helps to improve productivity. Find out more about wellness schemes at www.the-tonic.com.
Mention this blog for a free consultation and find out how they can help your company out.

To get more fitness tips like this, visit the Women's Fitness site.

Photograph by richardmasoner (flickr)

21 January 2009

Best Exercise Classes for Fat Loss

Following yesterday's post about the Best Activities for Fat Burning, here's a guide to the Top 3 Exercise Classes for Fat Loss. These classes are all great for getting your heart pumping and your body working hard to banish the extra pounds you may have gained over the holiday period and get you fit fast.

1. Spinning

This is such an effective class because there is not one moment of inactivity. You’re pedalling the whole time so there’s consistent, steady fat burning followed by bursts of high activity to really get the heart, lungs and metabolism going. This repeated interval style training will work you much harder than if you were to simply sit on a stationery bicycle and pedal away at a steady rhythm for the same period of time.
Calories burned per class: 350 – 700

2. Circuit Training

Like spinning there is very little rest during a circuit training class. Once you’re warm you’re either working on a station or moving quickly between stations so the level of intensity remains high throughout the class, as does the effectiveness of the calorie burning. Each class has a variety of exercise combining cardio stations such as jumping jacks or rowing or cycling with strength stations like press ups, dips or squats which means that you burn plenty of calories during the class and also build muscle which helps to keep your metabolic rate high and calories burning following the class as well as during it.
Calories burned per class: 300 - 500

3. Boxing Fitness

There aren’t many overweight boxers around and you’ll know why if you attend one of these classes. The combination of cardio exercise and strength moves along with the sheer adrenalin rush of getting the gloves on and punching the bag or the pads always results in a great fat burning workout. There’s something about boxing training that appeals to everyone. It may be because you’re legitimately allowed to be aggressive or that you can finally channel the stresses and strains of the day. Or it might just be that because you have to concentrate you forget all your other concerns but I’ve yet to see anyone leave one of these classes who didn’t look like they’d pushed themselves and had great fun doing it.
Calories burned per class: 400 – 600

If you'd like to see more fitness tips like this, why not visit the Women's Fitness site.

Find Instant Feelgood on Facebook

Follow Instant Feelgood on Twitter

20 January 2009

Best Non-Gym Activities For Fat Burning

Did you gain weight over the Christmas and New Years holiday? 
Or are you just looking to make an early start on getting your body 'summer ready' and sticking to your 2009 weight loss resolutions? 

Look no further as this guide will list the Top 3 activities that will help you to lose the fat FAST without having to go to the gym.

1. Running, sprinting or hill running

Running outdoors is one of the best ways to burn calories. It’s tough and it challenges your whole body. This is why so many people avoid it but if you stick with it, it can even become enjoyable, particularly when you experience fast results. If you’re new to running outside, begin with running short distances, maybe even just a few steps and then recover with some walking. Gradually increase the distance you run and decrease the time for recovery. Before long you’ll be running for a few minutes without stopping and you’ll feel great for this.

From this point you can progressively increase your overall running time and then, if you really want to blast the body fat, add in some fast running or some running up hills. Two or three bursts of sprinting or hill running, once or twice a week will bring you really quick results with shifting the holiday pounds.
Calories burned per 30 minutes: 150 - 400

2. Skipping / Jumping Rope

If you haven’t skipped in a while you’ll be surprised at how tiring it can be. It seemed easy when you were young but things are a bit different now. Once you’ve remembered the technique you just need to skip in short bursts, starting with 20 skips and working up to 100 at a time with a short rest between each round of skipping and you’ll really feel the effects. Once you’ve mastered the art, try seeing how many skips you can do in one minute. A few attempts at this challenge will really burn some calories.
Calories burned per 30 minutes: 250 - 350

3. Circuit Training
This doesn't always have to be in a class environment at your gym. You can design your own mini-circuit at home, put some lively music on and then move swiftly from exercise to exercise and you’ll have a quality fat burning workout without having to leave the house. An additional tip here is to leave some fitness kit in plain sight when you finish – maybe a mat in the corner of your bedroom or some light weights near a mirror. When you see the kit, you’ll be reminded of exercise and will squeeze in a few reps as you go about your routine which will all add up to quite a lot of extra exercise over the course of the week.
Calories burned per 30 minutes: 150 - 250

Don't miss the Top 3 Exercise Classes for fat loss in tomorrows post.

For more fitness tips like this, check out the Women's Fitness site.

15 January 2009

Feel too tired in the evening to work out? Try this

Get your trainers ready
There is only one secret to making evening work exercise work that I have ever come across and it's very simple...

The secret is to make sure you don't stop moving at any time between leaving the office and the first activity in your workout.

No matter how tired you are, if you focus on getting started you'll be fine.

Quick tips to bear in mind:

1. Select in advance which evenings you're going to exercise. If you leave it to 'see how you feel', you wont be fully prepared mentally to do it and likely to skip it.

2. Decide which days are exercise days. This will ensure that you keep your appointments with yourself, get your exercise done and then can go out socializing on the other nights without the guilt of feeling that you should be in the gym.

3. If you don't trust yourself to stick to your chosen exercise days, get a friend involved and you'll motivate eachother to follow through on your good intentions. Surprisingly, we're less inclined to let other people down than let ourselves down.

For more tips like this, check out the Women's Fitness site.

14 January 2009

Best Abs exercise if you have lower back pain

A surprisingly common problem for many people and one I get asked about often - what tummy exercise can I do when I have such a sore back. Well the good news is that you can still work on toning your tummy without causing any further pain to your back. Here's how.

This is actually very straightforward because the same exercise which tones your tummy will also help you to alleviate your lower back problem.

1. Avoid traditional crunches with your legs flat on the ground and a big movement with the top half of your body.

2. Include some strength training and stretching for your back to ensure that your approach to training your mid-section is balanced. Try using a stability ball for back support and strengthening your core.

3. Begin with gentle stretches for your back and then try a few back raise with a very small range of movement.

4. Try exercises such as The Plank for your stomach, where you are resting your body on your forearms and creating a flat line from your shoulders to your knees which are in contact with the ground. Start this exercise with your hips slightly higher than the line of your body and then lower them if your back will allow. Remember to keep your stomach tight throughout this movement. Try for 2 x 30 seconds initially and increase from there.
The PlankThe Plank

To read more articles like this, visit the Women's Fitness site.

13 January 2009

Which gym machines help you burn calories faster?

Is it true that machines that work the upper and lower body burn more calories than those that only work the lower body?

Do you know which machines in the gym are worth spending time on and which are a waste of your time if you're after fast results? Read on to find out how you can make the most of your time in the gym.

Popular opinion suggests that if you pick machines that work your whole body, such as the rower, treadmill or the cross trainer, you're bound to burn more calories than you would by selecting ones which only work your lower limbs such as the stepper and the stationary bike. It does seem to make sense - however, the simple answer is that if you want to burn the maximum amount of calories and get the fastest fitness results you're capable of, try choosing the machines that makes you work the hardest regardless of whether it works the upper or lower body. 

So the machine for you is most likely the one you avoid because it's just too hard - try it out next time you go to the gym.

Try out a new challenge. When you first try something new in the gym, you need to concentrate, keep your balance and get used to the motion and this can initially be more challenging than just sticking to the same old machines you always head for.

One example of this is the Nautilus Treadclimber, which requires an unfamiliar movement and at first, can leave even the most avid gym-goer puffed out. Once you are familiar with it, the workout will feel easier and now is the right time to increase the levels and give you an even more intense workout.

Remember, however, you don't need to use any machines to burn lots of calories. You just need to do an activity for a minimum of 20 minutes that will get your heart pumping. Try cardio sessions of running, skipping, hill walking, dancing or swimming. Keep your routine varied and remember to push yourself.

To read more articles like this, visit the Women's Fitness site.

Photograph by maHidoodi (flickr)