Tag Archives: Fitness

Exercise on an Empty Stomach is good or bad

There is a misconception that if exercising without “fuel” you’ll burn more fat and calories. Turns out that this is actually probably not the best decision. According to the fitness experts at sparkpeople.com, if you do this, then “your body does not have enough adequate fuel to workout at it’s optimum level.” Here’s some more information about exercising on an empty stomach from Spark People‘s Exercise Tip of the Day.

Question: I heard that when you exercise on an empty stomach (such as first thing in the morning) you’ll burn more fat. Is this true?

Expert Answer:
In the morning, your body has gone 8+ hours since eating or drinking anything. Your blood sugar levels are lower at this point, and your body doesn’t have adequate fuel to workout optimally. Usually, experts recommend eating something–even if it’s just a small snack–within 2 hours before working out. When your body doesn’t have proper fuel in it, many problems can result, the lesser being that your workout performance suffers, and the greater being something like passing out during exercise.

However, every body is different. Some people can workout on an empty stomach with no problems, while others would end up very sick and feel the negative effects of it. When I workout in the morning, I always eat (and drink) something first thing after I wake up. Usually by the time I start my workout it doesn’t hurt my stomach to exercise with a bit of food on it.

Also, I think there might have been a bit of confusion here about metabolic rates in the morning. Eating breakfast in the morning has a positive effect on your metabolism, but exercising on an empty stomach does not. Some people say that it will burn fat stores, but overall, the number of calories your burn during a workout (regardless of where they come from) is much more important. Plus, fat burns in the carbohydrate flame. This means that exercising without eating (such as after “fasting” during sleep) your body does not burn fat efficiently, or sometimes at all.

Of course you should always check with your physician before starting any kind of exercise/workout routine, and try to eat something, like a banana, before hitting the gym or going for a cold, morning jog.

Disadvantages of exercising on empty stomach  exercise…

If you exercise on an empty stomach you’re more likely to get a shorter and less effective workout, due to:
*Unnecessary fatigue
*Lethargy
*Dizziness
*Dehydration

As a result, you burn less calories because you can’t keep going as long as you should have been able to.

It’s also thought that exercising on an empty stomach leads to eating more following the workout, which is counter productive in the end.

Advantages of eating before you workout:
*Helps energise your workout
*Prevents low blood sugars, which can make you feel dizzy, nauseous, and lethargic
*You can exercise more intensely
*Your workout will be more enjoyable overall
*Can boost your recovery time

So, what should you eat before exercise?

In his report, Eating for Peak Performance, Dr Derek Schramm states,

“Low-glycaemic index foods, such as rice, pasta, and bananas, should be consumed before exercise because they are absorbed into the blood stream at a lower rate, which will help sustain energy.

In studying the relationship between carbohydrate and fat metabolism during exercise, exercise physiologists have found that during the first 15 minutes of exercise, carbohydrates help to prime skeletal muscle for efficient fat burning. Thus, eating small amounts of low-glycaemic foods before exercise can help a dieting exerciser to lose fat.”

The bottom line is, we each have to find a system that works for us. You may be fine doing cardio without a meal in the morning, but strength training may require more fuel to really challenge your muscles. The best answer to this is to do what works for you. Don’t go hungry just because you think you’re burning more fat…after all, if you cut it short or lower the intensity because of low energy, how much fat are you burning anyway?

If you do eat before a workout, make sure you give your body time to digest. The larger the meal, the more time you’ll need. But, if you choose a light snack (100-200 calories) and stick with higher carb fare, you can probably exercise after about 30-60 minutes. Pre-workout snack ideas:
•Banana (or other type of fruit)
•Yogurt
•Oatmeal
•Energy bar or gel
•Fruit smoothie
•Sports drink

It is best to have a banana before working out. Some people like to have a cup of tea or coffee before exercising. The caffeine probably helps them to kick-start the regimen. You could carry water and a banana with you while exercising. If you prefer exercising during the day, make sure to schedule it at least two hours after a meal.

Ultimately, it is entirely up to you whether you do your morning workout on an empty stomach, or not.

But, if you have to cut your exercise routine short because your energy levels are so low, it is suggested a small snack beforehand, so you can get the most out of your exercise time.

Resources:
http://exercise.about.com/od/weightloss/f/emptystomach.htm
http://sports4allfoundation.blogspot.com/2011/12/exercising-on-empty-stomach-good-or-bad.html
http://www.telegraphindia.com/1130218/jsp/knowhow/story_16573126.jsp

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Target these Muscles to Trim the Tummy

When it comes to training your abdominals, it’s important to include the deepest layer of this muscle group — the transversus abdominis, which is responsible for flattening the stomach. Here is a great way to target this area.

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Lie face up on a flat, level surface. If you have a Pilates Circle, place it between your inner ankles and straighten your legs above your hips. (If you don’t have this piece of equipment, you can do the same exercise without it.) Extend your arms to the sides and bend your elbows so that your hands are over your head.

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On an exhalation, press your naval toward your spine to flatten your abdominals. Focus on keeping your abs flat as you slowly lower your legs to a 45-degree angle. Pause for a few seconds, then raise your legs back to vertical. Repeat 12 times.

Source:Los  Angeles Times

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Five for Fitness

Most of us are born healthy and usually remain so with minimal effort till around 20. After that, our body starts to fall apart — like an old, unserviced machine — unless some effort is made to maintain the inherent fitness levels.

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The recommendations vary from walking an hour daily (ideal) to 30 minutes three days a week (just about enough to scrape along). Despite doing this, people develop stress, bad posture, arthritis, diabetes, abnormal lipid profiles, hypertension and heart attacks. That’s because they are unaware of the other components of an ideal fitness regimen, the need to simultaneously develop “core strength”, flexibility, strength training and balance.

People are bombarded by adverts of gyms and expensive exercise equipment. The latter may target specific muscle groups to produce a six-pack abdomen and bulging biceps. Most people do not, however, have the time to go to a gym regularly. As for fancy equipment, it usually starts to gather dust after a short period of activity.

Corporate gurus talk about maintaining core strength, and employees take to meditation, religion and prayer as they try to maintain their inner fortitude. Actually, in fitness terms, strengthening the “core” means exercising the muscles deep within the torso, the abdominal muscles, those of the back and pelvic floor. The core is a group of muscles, so a balanced approach is needed to work them all. All body movement is powered by these muscles. A strong back and fit abdominal muscles are needed, or else it results in poor posture and back problems. These muscles work together to support the spine when we sit, stand, bend over, pick up things and exercise. In sum, they are the body’s epicentre of power and balance.

Dancers and yoga practitioners do exercises that give them strong core muscles. They are thus fitter, have better postures and more energy than their peers in old age.

Core training can be done at home. It requires just 20 minutes thrice a week. The exercises are regularly taught as part of yoga and Pilates. CDs and books are also available. Proper demonstration will enable you to do them correctly.

A simple, effective core workout routine which covers all the basic muscles includes the plank exercise (balancing on the toes and forearms), the side plank (where you balance on one arm and leg), push-ups, squats, cycling in the air and lunges. All movements need to be held for 20 seconds at a time. Repeat five or six times.

Strength training does not involve heavy weight lifting. The muscles of the arms legs and lower back can be effectively trained using 1kg weights. This can be done with an iron or aluminum baby dumbbell (available at sports shops). You could even fabricate one by filling a 1-litre plastic bottle with water. The movements are similar to those in a school PT drill. Doing this regularly will slowly and surely build up muscle power.

People often do not give enough importance to flexion training of the muscles. If you don’t do anything more stressful than slow walking, your calf muscles may contract and eventually become tight. They can then restrict the range of motion at the knee and ankle resulting in eventual injury. All the groups of muscles in the body need to be stretched to their limit but there should not be any pain. Stretching is taught in yoga. The exercises are also demonstrated on the Doordarshan sports channel. If you discontinue the activity, benefits are lost in three or four days.

Balance becomes more and more important with age. Training for balance involves standing on one leg at a time with the arms stretched out. Once you are able to do this with ease, try doing it with your eyes closed.

A common misconception is that exercise tires you out. On the contrary, it improves stamina and the ability to perform day-to-day activities. Several studies have shown that it reduces cortisol levels and therefore improves mental strength and reduces stress.

To be effective, exercise training needs to balance the five elements of good health. The routine should include aerobic activity, muscular fitness, stretching, core exercise and balance training.

Sometimes fitting in an exercise schedule with all these components becomes difficult. Try getting up half an hour earlier in the morning to complete the routine. Regular exercise will improve balance and posture and reduce the risk of injury, lifestyle diseases and arthritis, leading to a long, healthy and happy life.

Source : The Telegraph ( Kolkata, India)

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Reverse Warrior Battles Bad Posture

With regular practice, reverse warrior will help ease back pain and improve your posture and gait. (Charles Bush)
Practice this classic yoga posture called “reverse warrior” to strengthen your legs, stretch the muscles on the sides of your torso and open your hips. Remember to be patient with this pose. With regular practice, it will help ease back pain and improve your posture and gait.
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Begin with your feet parallel to each other in a wide stance. Turn your right foot out and your left foot in slightly. Bend your right knee to a 90-degree angle so that your right knee is directly above your right foot. Stretch both arms out to the sides at shoulder level, palms turned down. Gaze over your right hand. Contract your leg muscles and allow your pelvis to descend as you lift and lengthen your spine. Pause for three breaths.

Maintain the 90-degree angle with your right leg as you inhale and raise your right arm up. On an exhalation, lean your torso to the left as you slide your left hand down along the outside of your left calf. Try to create more space between each of the ribs on the right side of your torso. Hold this position for three to six breaths. Then switch sides and repeat.

Source : Los Angeles Times

Controversial New Breakthrough Can Boost Your Child’s Health

There were once doubts that strength training held any benefits for children.  But a new research review confirms that children and teenagers can increase their muscle strength with regular workouts.
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The findings support recent recommendations from the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) that kids strength-train two to three times a week under professional supervision.

Studies have shown that children’ICK & SEEs risk of injury from strength training is no greater than that from other types of exercise or sports, and the potential benefits of such training, such as increased bone density and decreased body fat, generally outweigh any risks.

Reuters reports:
“Overall … the training was effective at boosting kids’ strength, with gains being greater among older kids versus prepubertal children (typically about age 10 or younger) … The average strength gain varied widely among the studies, but in the majority the kids improved their strength by 20 percent to 40 percent of their starting levels.”

Resources :
Reuters October 28, 2010
Pediatrics November 2010; 126(5):e1199-210

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