a Fitness, Health and Wellness Blog


Can’t Sleep

Can’t fall asleep? Toss and turn all night? Are you so anxious about not sleeping that you CAN’T sleep? Millions of us battle sleep deprivation.    sleeping-sign-l

Most of us occasionally lose sleep, but for others, it’s a serious problem. So serious, that you can create physical and emotional problems and you’re more prone to injury. If you use medication or take a drink to nod off, you’re also risking addiction.

But you should also know that insomnia is NOT really a serious health problem. It’s not a chronic illness – just irritating, because everyone else is sound asleep.

So here are the facts:

Most adults need approx 7 – 8 hrs of sleep each night. But it’s different for each one of us. So how do you know how many hours you need? If you’re not tired the next day, that’s what you need.

The key is to ask yourself why you can’t get to sleep. You may be in physical pain. You may have anxiety about a problem or situation and it’s spinning around in your brain…. Discover the cause and you can then put it behind you.

But, if you have serious medical condition you should always consult a physician.

As we age, our sleep patterns also change. It is not uncommon for elderly people to sleep less at night and take cat-naps during the day. Not everyone needs those 7 – 8 uninterrupted hours. Some need more, some less.

Note that, if you eat late night dinners, chances are you won’t be able to fall asleep on a full stomach. if you’re eating a heavy meal, give yourself at least 2 hrs before going to bed, but it’s best to eat lighter meals, earlier in the evening. If you’re hungry later on, eat a banana and drink chamomile tea. Other bedtime snacks suggestions, low sugar cereal or granola with low fat yogurt. Warm milk and ½ a sandwich – but make sure to keep it light.

And if you can’t sleep, don’t get up and raid the fridge late at night. Rich food, fatty food, spicy food, too much alcohol, caffeine and drinking lots of fluid, will all work against you
Computer games, IM, Facebook etc. can be stimulating activities and will keep your thoughts spinning, – even after your head hits the pillow. It’s more relaxing to read a book or flip through magazines – take a walk, ride a bike – but remember that too much stimulation will prevent you from sleeping.

Take a drink. You’ve heard that before. A nightcap may make you sleepy, but you won’t have a peaceful night. Also, drinking before bed can become habit forming and that’s how many people start on the road to addiction. Beware that alcohol and sleep medication, definitely don’t mix.

Sleep can be affected 10-12 hrs after drinking coffee or other caffeinated drinks. So cut down on caffeinated coffee, teas and sodas and of course cigarettes are stimulants. If you smoke before bedtime it won’t be helpful to get you to sleep.

Remedies to help you fall asleep

1) Make a to-do list for the next day then tell yourself you’ll do it tomorrow.
2) Write a worry list and tell yourself that there’s nothing you can do now, so go to sleep.
3) Listen to relaxing music before bed
4) If you can’t go to sleep in 15 minutes, get out of bed and do something – not the computer, housework or anything that will stimulate you – reading makes you drowsy.
5) Make sure you’re comfortable in bed.
6) Make sure the room is dark
7) The room should not be too hot nor too cool.
8) Wake up and go to sleep at the same time every night. This sets your natural body clock.
9) Use relaxation techniques: meditation tape, yoga – this will get both your body and mind to relax.
10) If you’re in bed, engage your brain in a non-stimulating exercise ex. counting, visualization, deep breathing

Unless sleep deprivation results from a medical problem, medication should always be used as a last resort. If you are using prescription drugs to get to sleep, have it monitored.

No drug is without side effects. Even over-the-counter medication can cause side-effects ex. rebound insomnia (then you’re worse than you were in the first place) and you can become dependent as well.

The up side is that occasional insomnia is normal. If you keep that in mind, you won’t worry about those bad nights and sleep deprivation won’t develop into an an obsession.


Push the Plate Away…For a Little While

Periodic Fasting
Scheduled fasting provides an opportunity for body to cleanse the entire digestive system by itself in the natural process. The term fasting refers to restricted consumption of meals enforced by an individual to fulfill a specific requirement. 

For several years, fasting is acknowledged as the most successful natural technique to cure abdominal disorders. The root causes of stomach diseases are due to intake of foods which do not digest properly by the digestive organs and get stored within stomach contributing growth of harmful bacteria, impurities and poisonous matter.

Refusal of a meal during a day help metabolism to lighten from overburdened consumption. Fasting, thereby endows body with an opportunity to recover its metabolism by expelling out impurities and clogged waste.

Fasting also assists in rejuvenation of damaged blood tissues and enhances blood circulation. As per the medical experts, consuming controlled diets are one of the best ways to provide rest to the digestive organs, kidney and liver.

An individual should perform fasting at least once a week for an effectual detoxification of body. Fasting triggers the life saver mode of immune system which further results in consumption of stored fat cells by the body to maintain energy levels. Controlled fasting is also widely used by the people suffering from obesity as a weight loss technique.

Fasting requires firm determination and self control to keep oneself away from delectable dishes. This procedure triggered by fasting helps to boost one’s confidence level by providing the personality intellectual strength and firm determination. The prescribed duration for safe fasting varies from 12-24 hrs depending on one’s own determination.

However, fasting for more than one week should be implemented under supervision of medical practitioners as over fasting might pose a threat to health condition. Post fasting, it is advisable to maintain an adequate diet with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables together with a healthy lifestyle to enhance energy, liveliness and to gain most out of it.

Persons with diabetes, hypertension or anemia should not practice fasting without proper consultation with doctor. Juice fasting is recognized by US health department as a more effective method as compared to the conventional water fasting owing to the fact that fresh fruit juices are rich in sugars, minerals, enzymes and vitamins that help to normalize the body functions.

Food Combining Explained

chart‘Food combining’ refers to the combination of foods which are compatible with each other in terms of digestive chemistry. Food combining is a basic component of optimal nutrition because it allows the body to digest and utilize the nutrients in our foods to their full extent.

The discomforts of indigestion are so common in today’s society that indigestion is almost considered normal. The fact that over 2 billion dollars are spent each year on antacids is proof of this. Rather than using drugs to suppress symptoms, wouldn’t it be wiser to remove the causes of indigestion?

Food combining is based on the theory that different food groups require different digestion times. Digestion is helped the most by using foods which have roughly the same digestion time. 

Correct food combinations are important for proper digestion, utilization, and assimulation of the nutrients in our diet. The principles of food combining are dictated by digestive chemistry. Different foods require different digestive enzymes to aid in the digestive process – some acid, some alkaline. As any student of chemistry will assure you, acids and bases (alkalis) neutralize each other. When acids and alkalines come in contact, they neutralize each other and this retards digestion.

Protein foods require a highly acidic environment for digestion while carbohydrates (starches, fruit and sugars) and fats require a more alkaline medium. Anytime 2 or more foods are eaten at the same time, and those foods require opposite conditions for digestion, the digestive process is compromised.

When starches and proteins are combined their stimulation to the digestive juices generates a conflicting response and produces a medium which does not digest either food very well. This situation often leads to indigestion, bloating, gas, abdominal discomfort, and poor absorption of nutrients. Any quick digesting foods – such as fruit – must wait until the slowest digesting foods leave the stomach before they can leave – a process which can take up to 6 or 8 hours. While waiting, the fruit and some of the starches undergo some decomposition and fermentation, producing gas, acid and even alcohol along with indigestion.

Following principles of Food Combining:
The most important rule, is this: Don’t mix starch foods with protein foods at the same meal.

Here are the other principles which proponents of food combining adhere to:

1. Eat starches and acids at separate meals. Acids neutralize the alkaline medium required for starch digestion and the result is indigestion and fermentation.

2. Eat carbohydrate foods and protein foods at separate meals. Protein foods require an acid medium for digestion.

3. Eat only one kind of protein food at a meal.

4. Eat proteins and acid foods at separate meals. The acids of acid foods inhibit the secretion of the digestive acids required for protein digestion. Undigested proteins putrefy in bacterial decomposition and produces some potent poisons.

5. Eat proteins and fats at separate meals. Some foods, especially nuts, are over 50% fat and require hours for digestion.

6. Eat proteins and sugars (fruits) at separate meals.

7. Eat starchy foods and sugars (fruits) at separate meals. Fruits undergo no digestion in the stomach and are held up if eaten with foods which require digestion in the stomach.

8. Eat melons alone. Melons combine with almost no other food.

9. Forget the desserts. Eaten on top of meals they lie heavy on the stomach, requiring no digestion there, and ferment. Bacteria turn them into alcohols, acetic acids and vinegars.
Food combining: chew all food close to liquid consistency. We can assimilate only those foods which are the most liquified.

Try it for yourself
Food combining is a controversial practice. Many people swear by it, while others find it ineffective and frustrating. There is no detriment to the food combining diet – if it works for you, use it.Food combining is an area where everyone seems to have an opinion. One way to find out what is right for yourself is to experiment. Try it and see how you feel. Listen to your body. What works for one person may not work for another person.

Being a Vegetarian

For much of the world, vegetarianism is largely a matter of economics: Meat costs a lot more than, say, beans or rice, so meat becomes a special-occasion dish (if it’s eaten at all). Even where meat is more plentiful, it’s still used in moderation, often providing a side note to a meal rather than taking center stage.


In countries like the United States where meat is not as expensive, though, people choose to be vegetarians for reasons other than cost. Parental preferences, religious or other beliefs, and health issues are among the most common reasons for choosing to be a vegetarian. Many people choose a vegetarian diet out of concern over animal rights or the environment. And lots of people have more than one reason for choosing vegetarianism.

Vegetarian and Semi-Vegetarian Diets
Different people follow different forms of vegetarianism. A true vegetarian eats no meat at all, including chicken and fish. A lacto-ovo vegetarian eats dairy products and eggs, but excludes meat, fish, and poultry. It follows, then, that a lacto vegetarian eats dairy products but not eggs, whereas an ovo vegetarian eats eggs but not dairy products.

A stricter form of vegetarianism is veganism. Not only are eggs and dairy products excluded from a vegan diet, so are animal products like honey and gelatin.

Some macrobiotic diets fall into the vegan category. Macrobiotic diets restrict not only animal products but also refined and processed foods, foods with preservatives, and foods that contain caffeine or other stimulants.

Following a macrobiotic or vegan diet could lead to nutritional deficiencies in some people. If you’re interested in following a vegan or macrobiotic diet it’s a good idea to talk to a registered dietitian. He or she can help you design meal plans that include adequate vitamins and minerals.

Some people consider themselves semi-vegetarians and eat fish and maybe a small amount of poultry as part of a diet that’s primarily made up of vegetables, fruits, grains, legumes, seeds, and nuts. A pesci-vegetarian eats fish, but not poultry.

Are These Diets OK for Me?
In the past, choosing not to eat meat or animal-based foods was considered unusual in the United States. Times and attitudes have changed dramatically, however. Vegetarians are still a minority in the United States, but a large and growing one. The American Dietetic Association (ADA) has officially endorsed vegetarianism, stating “appropriately planned vegetarian diets are healthful, are nutritionally adequate, and provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases.”

So what does this mean for you? If you’re already a vegetarian, or are thinking of becoming one, it means that you’re in good company. There are more choices in the supermarket than ever before, and an increasing number of restaurants and schools are providing vegetarian options — way beyond a basic peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

If you’re choosing a vegetarian diet, the most important thing you can do is to educate yourself. That’s why the ADA says that a vegetarian diet needs to be “appropriately planned.” Simply dropping certain foods from your diet isn’t the way to go if you’re interested in maintaining good health, a high energy level, and strong muscles and bones.

Vegetarians have to be careful to include the following key nutrients that may be lacking in a vegetarian diet:
vitamin D
vitamin B12

If meat, fish, dairy products, and/or eggs are not going to be part of your diet, you’ll need to know how to get enough of these nutrients, or you may need to take a daily multiple vitamin and mineral supplement. Here are some suggestions:

Iron Sea vegetables like nori, wakame, and dulse are very high in iron. Less exotic but still good options are iron-fortified breakfast cereals, legumes (chickpeas, lentils, and baked beans), soybeans and tofu, dried fruit (raisins and figs), pumpkin seeds, broccoli, and blackstrap molasses. Eating these foods along with a food high in vitamin C (citrus fruits and juices, tomatoes, and broccoli) will help you to absorb the iron better. Women need to be particularly concerned about getting adequate iron because some iron is lost during menstruation. Some women who are vegetarians may not get adequate iron from vegetable sources and they may require a daily supplement. Check with your doctor about your own iron needs.

Calcium Milk and yogurt are tops if you’re eating dairy products — although vegetarians will want to look for yogurt that does not contain the meat by-product gelatin. Tofu, fortified soy milk, calcium-fortified orange juice, green leafy vegetables, and dried figs are also excellent ways for vegetarians (and vegans) to get calcium. Because women have a greater risk for getting osteoporosis (weak bones) later in life, it’s particularly important for them to make sure they get enough calcium. Again, taking a supplement may be necessary to ensure this.

Vitamin D People need vitamin D to get calcium into our bones. Cow’s milk and sunshine are tops on the list for this vitamin. Vegans can try fortified soy milk and fortified breakfast cereals, but they may need a supplement that includes vitamin D, especially during the winter months. Everyone should have some exposure to the sun to help the body produce vitamin D.

Protein Some people believe that vegetarians must combine incomplete plant proteins in one meal — like red beans and rice — to make the type of complete proteins found in meat. We now know that it’s not that complicated. Current recommendations are that vegetarians eat a wide variety of foods during the course of a day. Eggs and dairy products are good sources of protein, but also try nuts, peanut butter, tofu, beans, seeds, soy milk, grains, cereals, and vegetables to get all the protein your body needs.

Vitamin B12 B12 is an essential vitamin found only in animal products, including eggs and dairy. Fortified soy milk and fortified breakfast cereals also have this important vitamin. It’s hard to get enough vitamin B12 in your diet if you are vegan, so a supplement may be needed.

If you’re not eating dairy foods, make sure fortified cereals, dried beans, nuts, and soy products like tofu and tempeh are part of your diet so you can meet your daily requirement for this important mineral.

In addition to vitamins and minerals, vegetarians need to keep an eye on their total intake of calories and fat. Vegetarian diets tend to be high in fiber and low in fat and calories. That may be good for people who need to lose weight or lower their cholesterol but it can be a problem for anyone still growing and people who are already at a healthy weight.

Diets that are high in fiber tend to be more filling, and as a result strict vegetarians may feel full before they’ve eaten enough calories to keep their bodies healthy and strong. It’s a good idea to let your doctor know that you’re a vegetarian so that he or she can keep on eye on you and make sure you’re still getting adequate amounts of calories and fat.

Getting Some Guidance
If you’re thinking about becoming a vegetarian, consider making an appointment to talk with a registered dietitian who can go over lists of foods that would give you the nutrients you need. A dietitian can discuss ways to prevent conditions such as iron-deficiency anemia that you might be at an increased risk for if you stop eating meat.

Also, remember to take a daily standard multivitamin, just in case you miss getting enough vitamins or minerals that day.

Tips for Eating Out
Eating at restaurants can be difficult for vegetarians sometimes, but if you do eat fish, you can usually find something suitable on the menu. If not, opt for salad and an appetizer or two. Even fast-food places sometimes have vegetarian choices, such as bean tacos and burritos, veggie burgers, and soy cheese pizza.

Vegetarians can opt for pasta, along with plenty of vegetables, grains, and fruits. You may also find that the veggie burgers, hot dogs, and chicken substitutes available in your local grocery store taste very much like the real thing. Try the ground meat substitute as a stand-in for beef in foods like tacos and spaghetti sauce. Regardless of whether you choose a vegetarian way of life, it’s always a healthy idea to eat a wide variety of foods and try out new foods when you can.

The Zone Diet Explained

zone-food-pryamidRemember that in athletics, “the zone”, meaning the peak performance level of the human body, is believed to last only a few minutes. Dr. Barry Sears claims that eating a 40-30-30 ratio of carbs, proteins and fats at one meal helps the body reach and stay in The Zone for approximately five hours. A Zone snack is said to keep you in the Zone for two to two-and-a-half hours. With three Zone meals and two Zone snacks every day, according to Dr. Sears’ theory, someone could spend a lifetime in The Zone. That is why Zone Diet  is considered not only a weight-loss diet, but also a way of life.

What Is the 40-30-30 Ratio?
The USDA food pyramid mentioned before recommends eating approximately 55% carbs, 15% protein and 30% fat at every meal. Dr. Sears believes that this eating scheme, which is based on carbohydrates (especially processed grains), is completely wrong. It has led, he thinks, to the high rates of obesity and other conditions which are typical of modern America. Dr. Barry Sears’s Zone Diet Plan, he believes, is appropriate to our DNA structure. This is the 40-30-30 plan, the key principle of the Zone Diet  which leads to maintenance of the correct level of insulin. 

The Zone Diet Basics

  1. Eat the correct ratio of 40% carbohydrate, 30% protein and 30% fat at every meal;
  2. Eat five times a day, whether you feel hungry or not: have three Zone meals and two Zone snacks;
  3. Don’t let more than five hours pass without eating;
  4. Eat preferably when you are not so hungry, and your brain activity and concentration level are good. When you are hungry, your insulin level is too low. You are not in the Zone any longer.
  5. Drink eight glasses of water every day (1 glass equals 8 ounces);
  6. Eat only low fat protein, keep fruits and vegetables as your favorite source of carbohydrates, and add a dash of mono saturated fat (e.g. olive oil) to every meal;
  7. A Zone diet meal should not lead to a calorie intake higher than 500kcal. A Zone Diet snack should provide 100kcal.
  8. Use pasta, bread and other grain-foods only as a “condiment” for your meals.
  9. Exercise moderately to keep your body in a good shape.
  10. Don’t worry if you leave the diet once, Dr. Sears says. With the next 40-30-30 meal you’ll get right back into the Zone.

More on the Zone Diet

What is The Zone diet? Besides being the title of a mega-seller diet book, Enter The Zone, The Zone is a place where we find ourselves “feeling alert, refreshed, and full of energy,” according to author Barry Sears, PhD. Sears, a former researcher in bio technology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the book’s co-author Bill Lawren maintain that life in The Zone is what wellness is all about.

Like other popular diet books, Enter The Zone offers more than just weight-loss claims. By retooling your metabolism with a diet that is 30% protein, 30% fat, and 40% carbohydrates, The Zone diet contends that you can expect to turn back encroaching heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Another much-touted advantage is better athletic performance. Sears doesn’t come right out and claim he has found the cure for heart disease or diabetes, or how to win athletic competitions, but instead he provides glowing anecdotes from people who have taken The Zone diet to heart.

What The Zone diet does boldly claim is that much of the current thinking about good nutrition — a diet high in carbohydrates, low in protein, and fats — is “dead wrong.” What’s more, Sears contends, that type of diet has contributed to our risk of contracting serious, even life-threatening ailments such as heart disease, diabetes, and possibly cancer. His new book, The Anti-Inflammation Zone, takes a closer look at disease and how his diet combats the inflammation he says is an underlying factor behind the development of serious illness as well as weight gain.

As a former scientist, Sears devotes considerable time to discussion of the science on which he based his theory. Put simply, The Zone diet is a “metabolic state in which the body works at peak efficiency,” and that state is created by eating a set ratio of carbohydrates, protein, and fat.

What You Can Eat on The Zone Diet
The Zone diet does not recommend that you eat fewer calories than you’re currently consuming, just different ones. Although the book has a more complicated and exacting measurement of what to eat, it can be simplified as:

A small amount of protein at every meal (approximately the size of your palm or one small chicken breast) and at every snack (one in the late afternoon, one in the late evening)
“Favorable” carbohydrates twice the size of the protein portion — these include most vegetables and lentils, beans, whole grains, and most fruits
A smaller amount of carbohydrates if you have chosen “unfavorable” ones — these include brown rice, pasta, papaya, mango, banana, dry breakfast cereal, bread, bagel, tortilla, carrots, and all fruit juices.

Dairy products are not verboten, but The Zone diet devotes little time to them, except to explain how quickly they release glucose. Sears prefers egg whites and egg substitutes to whole eggs, and low-fat or no-fat cheeses and milk.

The Zone diet keeps saturated fats to a minimum but includes olive, canola, macadamia nuts, and avocados. Certain unfavorable carbohydrates are restricted because they release glucose quickly: grains, breads, pasta, rice, and other similar starches, a deviation from conventional definitions of a good diet. Overall, the diet is higher in protein and fat than traditional diets, which would have us eat nearly three-quarters of all calories as carbohydrates.

Sears is fairly rigid about the amount of protein/fat/carbohydrate each of us needs, and takes the reader through a short course in determining our protein need, based on size, age, and activity, which then determines the amount of fats and carbohydrates we should be eating.

Happily for those of us who would be depressed at the thought of forgoing desserts for the rest of our lives, his list of allowable foods includes, among others, high-fat ice cream. Why high-fat? Because the fat retards the rate of absorption of carbohydrate into the body, according to Sears. Alas, the recommended portion is a mere half-cup.

How The Zone Diet Works
The Zone diet’s eating plan is a combination of a small amount of low-fat protein at every meal, fats, and carbohydrates in the form of fiber-rich vegetables and fruits. The plan establishes a ratio for which Sears contends the body is genetically programmed (that 40-30-30 figure). And yes, we’ll be thinner to boot.

Sears claims that The Zone diet is based on his 15 years of research in bio nutrition. Although the book is full of success stories, including those of elite athletes, research that validates his specific claims isn’t there. That doesn’t mean that Sears’ theories are wrong; it’s just that no scientific evidence has proven that his program works.

Sears bases his theory on using diet to control the body’s production of the hormone insulin. Among insulin’s many roles, it helps regulate storage of excess energy as fat. The goal is to keep a balance between fat-storing insulin and the hormone glucagon, insulin’s opposite, whose job it is to release the stored glucose from the liver when it is needed. Maintaining the correct balance between the two is accomplished by watching the size and specific content of your meals. In other words, you must be mindful of what you put on your plate. Sears suggests that we think of food not as “a source of calories but as a control system for hormones.”

What the Experts Say About The Zone Diet
The Zone diet draws mixed reviews from nutrition experts. Researchers at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, which rated several fad diets, recently put it on their acceptable list, unlike Dr. Atkins’ New Diet Revolution, Sugar Busters!, The Carbohydrate Addict’s Diet, and Protein Power. “If you ignore the scientific rhetoric, the diet isn’t bad,” says Bonnie Liebman, MS, nutrition director for the center’s publication, Nutrition Action Healthletter. As a caveat, she points out the diet restricts carbohydrates more than necessary. “You are getting carbohydrates from fruit and vegetables on the diet, but a lot of the science is bunk,” she says. What she likes is that the diet is relatively easy to follow: “You have a piece of protein the size of your palm, and you fill the rest of your plate up with fruits and Susan Roberts, PhD, head of the Weight Regulation Program at Tufts University and a professor of medicine and psychiatry there, also gives The Zone a qualified thumbs up. “Like most fad diet books, The Zone diet takes one of the several known controllers of energy, blood glucose, and blows it up into a whole book,” she says. “It downplays the other factors that also determine how hungry we get and how much we eat, such as fiber and the caloric density of the food.”

Roberts also finds fault with some of The Zone diet’s food recommendations, such as that high-fat ice cream. Sears says it’s OK, because it won’t raise your blood sugar precipitously, but it’s not OK for other reasons, Roberts notes, such as the fact that the cream in the ice cream is saturated fat, which isn’t good for your overall cholesterol. (To be fair to the diet, Sears only allows a half-cup and certainly doesn’t suggest you make it a habit.) Yet Roberts likes the amount of vegetables and legumes recommended, and so, she says, “My personal rating for The Zone would be three stars out of five.”

Other nutritional experts, including some of Sears’ former colleagues, are critical of his conclusions from the scientific evidence, contending that he has distorted or exaggerated the meaning of much of the basic research. They point out that no direct studies to verify his conclusions have been performed.

The 40-30-30 ratio of The Zone diet applies to all meals all the time, and a broad range of foods are allowed, so there are no confusing schedules or conditions that need to be memorized.

Sit Up Resistant Stomach Pudge

It seems like everyone has at least one area of the body that tends to accumulate fat. And no matter how hard you work at it, that stubborn fat just doesn’t want to go away. For many people, this area is the stomach.


A lot of times, people will do ab exercises, like crunches or sit-ups, with the hopes of losing stubborn stomach pudge. But although these exercises will strengthen the stomach muscles, in and of themselves they will not help to get rid of stomach pudge. The fat that lies around the stomach can only be lost through fat burning cardiovascular exercises. This type of exercise is anything that uses the major muscle groups and elevates the heart rate for a sustained period of time. Cardio will burn fat all over the body, including the stubborn stomach pudge. Experts recommend that in order to lose weight, you do some form of cardio exercise for at least 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week.  

Some of the best exercises to help you lose the stubborn stomach pudge include the following:

Running: It can be hard on the knees if done for long distances or over a long period of time, but running is one of the best forms of cardiovascular exercise that burns a large amount of calories in a short amount of time, which equals fat loss, including stubborn stomach pudge. Running requires no special equipment other than shoes and a stretch of road. You can also run on a treadmill in inclement weather or if you prefer to track your mileage, speed, and calories burned. If you choose to run or jog as your primary form of cardiovascular exercise, make sure you get proper running shoes; many of the injuries that come from running are a result of poor-fitting running shoes.

Bicycling: biking is a good cardio exercise, particularly for people whose joints aren’t up for running or other high impact exercises. This exercise works to burn fat throughout the body while toning the legs as well. Exercise bikes are particularly helpful for toning the lower body, including the muscles around the stomach. The intensity and level of resistance can be adjusted accordingly on an exercise bike, providing a more challenging workout that will burn more fat.

Swimming: Another good exercise for losing stubborn stomach pudge is swimming. If you have access to a pool and know how to swim, this is an excellent workout for losing fat all over the body. This full-body workout will also tone your muscles, including your abdominal muscles, the area where stomach fat tends to accumulate. Swimming is good for those with joint problems, as there is no impact.

Strength training: Strength training exercises, such as abdominal exercises, squats, lifting hand weights, and other strength training exercises can help to strengthen the muscles, including the abs. Doing these exercises alone won’t eliminate the stubborn stomach pudge, but it will help you slim down as it tones the muscles. Muscles also burn more calories than fat, so an increased muscle mass will help you slim down as well.

If your goal is to lose stubborn stomach pudge, you can do so through a healthy diet and a variety of cardio exercises. Cardio workouts will help to elevate your heart rate and burn fat, so you’ll have a slim, toned stomach in no time.

Sports Drinks or Water

sportdrinkStaying well-hydrated is crucial when working out. But does a sports drink offer more benefits than water? The answer depends on the length, type and intensity of exercise and personal preferences. Exercise raises the body temperature, which causes sweating and loss of water and salts. For most people who work out at moderate intensity for less than 60 minutes, water is a perfect choice. It’s refreshing, calorie-free, moves quickly from the stomach to the bloodstream and costs less than sports drinks. When it comes to just replacing fluids, water is wonderful. But sports drinks have more going for them than just marketing hype. The carbohydrates and electrolytes they contain can help endurance athletes who work out for 60 minutes at high intensity or 90 minutes or more at moderate intensity.

Sports drinks offer their greatest benefits during a workout by helping to delay muscle fatigue, but their primary purpose is to keep the body hydrated. During exercise, the body loses more water than many people realize, and most frequently those fluids are not adequately replaced.

Sweating is the way in which the body maintains its core temperature at 37 degrees centigrade. This results in the loss of body fluid and electrolytes (minerals such as chloride, calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium) and if unchecked will lead to dehydration and eventually circulatory collapse and heat stroke.

The effect of fluid loss on the body is as follows: (% body weight lost as sweat and Physiological Effect)
2% – Impaired performance
4%  – Capacity for muscular work declines
5%  – Heat exhaustion
7%  – Hallucinations
10%  – Circulatory collapse and heat stroke

Electrolytes serve three general functions in the body:
Many are essential minerals
Control osmosis of water between body compartments
Maintain the acid-base balance required for normal cellular activities

The sweat that evaporates from the skin contains a variety of electrolytes. The electrolyte composition of sweat is variable but comprises of the following components:

A litre of sweat typically contains 0.02g Calcium, 0.05g Magnesium, 1.15g Sodium, 0.23g Potassium and 1.48g Chloride. This composition will vary from person to person.

Carbohydrate is stored as glucose in the liver and muscles and is the most efficient source of energy as it requires less oxygen to be burnt than either protein or fat. The normal body stores of carbohydrate in a typical athlete are:

70kg male athlete – Liver glycogen 90g and muscle glycogen 400g
60kg female athlete – Liver glycogen 70g and muscle glycogen 300g.

During hard exercise, carbohydrate can be depleted at a rate of 3-4 grams per minute. If this is sustained for 2 hours or more, a very large fraction of the total body carbohydrate stores will be exhausted and if not checked will result in reduced performance. Recovery of the muscle and liver glycogen stores after exercise will normally require 24-48 hours for complete recovery. During exercise, there is in an increased uptake of blood glucose by the muscles and to prevent blood glucose levels falling the liver produces glucose from the liver stores and lactate.

Consuming carbohydrate before, during and after exercise will help prevent blood glucose levels falling too low and help maintain the body’s glycogen stores. Many athletes cannot consume food before or during exercise and therefore a formulated drink that will provide carbohydrate is required.

Fluid absorption:  Two main factors affect the speed at which fluid from a drink gets into the body:
– The speed at which it is emptied from the stomach
-The rate at which it is absorbed through the walls of the small intestine

The higher the carbohydrate levels in a drink the slower the rate of stomach emptying. Isotonic drinks with a carbohydrate level of between 6 and 8% are emptied from the stomach at a rate similar to water. Electrolytes, especially sodium and potassium, in a drink will reduce urine output, enable the fluid to empty quickly from the stomach, promote absorption from the intestine and encourage fluid retention.

Drinking plain water causes bloating, suppresses thirst and thus further drinking. A poor choice where high fluid intake is required. Water contains no carbohydrate or electrolytes.

Calculating personal fluid needs
During an endurance event, you should drink just enough to be sure you lose no more than 2% of pre-race weight. This can be achieved in the following way:

1. Record your naked body weight immediately before and after a number of training sessions, along with details of distance/duration, clothing and weather conditions
2. Add the amount of fluid taken during the session to the amount of weight lost – 1 kilogram (kg) is roughly equivalent to 1 litre of fluid (1lb approx. 0.5 litre)
3. After a few weeks you should begin to see some patterns emerging and can calculate your sweat rate per hour

Once you know what your sweat losses are likely to be in any given set of environmental conditions, you can plan your drinking strategy for any particular event

Sports Drinks
There are three types of sports drink all of which contain various levels of fluid, electrolytes and carbohydrate.
Isotonic Fluids – contains electrolytes and 6 to 8% carbohydrate
Hypotonic Fluids – contain electrolytes and a low level of carbohydrate
Hypertonic High level of carbohydrate

The osmolality of a fluid is a measure of the number of particles in a solution. In a drink, these particles will comprise of carbohydrate, electrolytes, sweeteners and preservatives. In blood plasma the particles will comprise of sodium, proteins and glucose. Blood has an osmolality of 280 to 330mOsm/kg. Drinks with an osmolality of 270 to 330mOsm/kg are said to be in balance with the body’s fluid and are called Isotonic. Hypotonic fluids have fewer particles than blood and Hypertonic have more particles than blood.

Consuming fluids with a low osmolality, e.g. water, results in a fall in the blood plasma osmolality and reduces the drive to drink well before sufficient fluid has been consumed to replace losses.

Which is most suitable?
Isotonic – quickly replaces fluids lost by sweating and supplies a boost of carbohydrate. This drink is the choice for most athletes – middle and long distance running or team sports. Glucose is the body’s preferred source of energy therefore it may be appropriate to consume Isotonic drinks where the carbohydrate source is glucose in a concentration of 6% to 8% – e.g. High Five, SiS Go, Boots Isotonic, Lucozade Sport.

Hypotonic – quickly replaces fluids lost by sweating. Suitable for athletes who need fluid without the boost of carbohydrate e.g. jockeys and gymnasts.

Hypertonic – used to supplement daily carbohydrate intake normally after exercise to top up muscle glycogen stores. In ultra distance events, high levels of energy are required and Hypertonic drinks can be taken during exercise to meet the energy requirements. If used during exercise Hypertonic drinks need to be used in conjunction with Isotonic drinks to replace fluids.

Make your own?
Isotonic – 200ml of orange squash (concentrated orange), 1 litre of water and a pinch of salt (1g). Mix all the ingredients together and keep chilled

Hypotonic – 100ml of orange squash (concentrated orange), 1 litre of water and a pinch of salt (1g). Mix all the ingredients together and keep chilled.

Hypertonic – 400ml of orange squash (concentrated orange), 1 litre of water and a pinch of salt (1g). Mix all the ingredients together and keep chilled.

Note: In a trial conducted by scientists in the city of Aberdeen it was determined that a 2% carbohydrate-electrolyte drink provided a more effective combat to exercise fatigue in a hot climate when compared to a 15% carbohydrate-electrolyte mixture.

Dental Health: Sports drinks commonly contain citric acid. All acids have an erosive potential but the method of drinking will influence whether or not those acids affect the teeth. Sports drinks should be consumed as quickly as possible, preferably with a straw and not be held or swished around the mouth. Retaining drinks in the mouth will only increase the risk of erosion. Refrigerated drinks will have a reduced erosive potential, as the acid dissolution constant is temperature dependant.
Seven Rules of Hydration

  1. The rate of passage of water from your stomach into your small intestine depends on how much fluid is actually in your stomach. If there is lots of water there, fluid flow from stomach to intestine is like a springtime flood; if there is little water, the movement resembles a lightly dripping tap. Therefore, to increase stomach-intestinal flow (and overall absorption of water) you need to deposit a fair amount of liquid in your stomach just before you begin your exercise. In fact, 10-12 ounces of fluid is a good start. This will feel uncomfortable at first, so practice funneling this amount of beverage into your “tank” several times before an actual competition.
  2. To sustain a rapid movement of fluid into your small intestine during your exertions, take three to four sips of beverage every 10 minutes if possible, or five to six swallows every 15 minutes.
  3. If you are going to be exercising for less than 60 minutes, do not worry about including carbohydrate in your drink; plain water is fine. For exercise that is more prolonged you will want the carbohydrate.
  4. Years of research have suggested that the correct concentration of carbohydrate in your drink is about 5 to 7%. Most commercial sports drinks fall within this range, and you can make your own 6% drink by mixing five tablespoons of table sugar with each litre of water that you use. A bit of sodium boosts absorption; one-third teaspoon of salt per litre of water is about right. Although 5 to 7% carbohydrate solutions seem to work best for most individuals, there is evidence that some endurance athletes can fare better with higher concentrations. In research carried out at Liverpool John Moores University, for example, cyclists who ingested a 15% maltodextrin solution improved their endurance by 30 per cent compared to individuals who used a 5% glucose drink. The 15% drink also drained from the stomach as quickly as the 5% one, though many other studies have linked such concentrated drinks with a slowdown in water movement.
  5. A 6% “simple sugar” drink will empty from your stomach at about the same rate as a fancy 6% “glucose polymer” beverage, so do not fall for the idea that the latter can boost water absorption or enhance your performance more than the former, and don’t pay more for the glucose-polymer concoction.
  6. Contrary to what you have heard, cold drinks are not absorbed into your body more quickly than warm ones. However, cold drinks are often more palatable than warm ones during exercise, so if coldness helps you to drink large quantities of fluid while you exert yourself, then keep your drinks cool.
  7. Swilling drinks during exercise does NOT increase your risk of digestive-system problems. In actuality, most gut disorders that arise during exercise are caused by dehydration, not from taking in fluid. Dehydration induces nausea and discomfort by reducing blood flow to the digestive system, so keep drinking!

Water Intoxication: Intracellular fluid and interstitial fluid have the same osmotic pressures under normal circumstances. The principal cation inside the cell is K+ (Potassium), whereas the principal cation outside is Na+ (Sodium). When a fluid imbalance between these two compartments occurs, it is usually caused by a change in the Na+ or K+ concentration. Sodium balance in the body normally is controlled by aldosterone and ADH (antidiuretic hormone). ADH regulates extracellular fluid electrolyte concentration by adjusting the amount of water reabsorbed into the blood by the distal convoluted tubules and collecting tubules of the kidneys. Aldosterone regulates extracellular fluid volume by adjusting the amount of sodium reabsorbed by the blood from the kidneys that directly affects the amount of water reabsorbed from the filtrate.

Certain conditions, however, may result in an eventual decrease in the sodium concentration in interstitial fluid. For instance, during sweating the skin excretes sodium as well as water. Coupled with replacement of fluid volume with plain water, these conditions can quickly produce a sodium deficit. The decrease in sodium concentration in the interstitial fluid lowers the interstitial fluid osmotic pressure and establishes an effective water concentration gradient between the interstitial fluid and the intracellular fluid. Water moves from the interstitial fluid into the cells, producing two results that can be quite serious:

The first result, an increase in intracellular water concentration, called over hydration, is particularly disruptive to nerve cell function. In fact, severe over hydration, or water intoxication, produces neurological symptoms ranging from disoriented behaviour to convulsions, coma, and even death.
The second result of the fluid shift is a loss of interstitial fluid volume that leads to a decrease in the interstitial fluid hydrostatic pressure. As the interstitial hydrostatic pressure drops, water moves out of the plasma, resulting in a loss of blood volume that may lead to circulatory shock.

Alcohol is a high octane fuel but it cannot be metabolised to provide energy except in the liver and then only at a very slow constant rate. Energy provided by alcohol tends to be converted to fat and excessive consumption may cause liver damage. As a diuretic it will cause dehydration and evidence suggests that vitamin B and C may be depleted. Excessive alcohol will diminish aerobic capacity and impair motor function.