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Sleep

How sleep helps with muscle growth

07 sleep and muscle growth
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131

I´ve seen many guys working so hard in the gym with a lot of volume and frequency but not giving the same attention and importance to sleep. Our body recovers while we sleep so if you want to gain muscle you need to have the right amount and quality of sleep every night.

If your goal is to gain lean muscle mass then you need to prioritize sleep and make sure that it´s good quality.

Even if you have are following the best training and nutrition program sleep is still a most, your body and muscles need to recover after you hit the gym and sleep is a crucial part of recovery. Growth hormone is key to build muscle and it´s released while you sleep, the cycles or phases of sleep impacts the release of this hormone, if you have bad sleep or you wake up growth hormone won´t be at its max which minimizes the results.

I´ve seen many people that want to gain lean muscle mass taking a lot of supplements from protein shakes, weight gainers, multivitamin, fish oils and drugs like steroids (you know by now that I don´t recommend any of this) but they don´t consider stress and sleep. You need to give your muscles the right stimulus for them to grow and then you need to give them the right amount of recovery, the best recovery time is sleep.

If you lack sleep your body won´t use the food you consume throughout the day to get daily functions done and assist in muscle recover and growth. It also affects negatively your performance in the gym, you need to give your all on each workout if you want to grow but a lack of energy and not being recover compromise your workouts and overall results.

Lack of good quality sleep can cause muscle loss and weight gain from fat, an easy way to keep things under control is with sleep. You need to eat more to grow but if your body can´t handle the extra food properly you´ll gain fat instead of muscle.

When you get good quality sleep you feel more energized so your workouts are intense and you are able to stay focused so it´s easier to maintain your eyes on the goal.

If your goal is lean muscle mass with the least amount of fat sleep can help you keep fat low while increasing muscle, it is crucial that you have control and your body works in an efficient way. All hormones, neurons, chemicals, neurotransmitters they all get triggered what you need to do is use them to send the right messages and to work to your favor.

Having good quality sleep can be affected by different things including stress and this can cause that you wake up during night. Your sleep has 3 phases and during those phases your body has several functions and things to do, if you wake up you interrupt those functions. If the internal clock of your body and its functions gets out of rhythm your body won´t recover, repair and reenergize for the next day.

What you eat before you go to bed impacts not only the quality of your sleep, also your recovery. Protein is crucial for muscle repair and muscle growth, when you go to sleep your body turns to a catabolic state so if you have a protein before you go to bed you can increase protein synthesis and maintain your body in an anabolic phase for a longer period of time. The benefits of this is that you are giving your body nutrients to recover and build muscle before you sleep so it can get the job done in a more efficient way.

Fat loss and muscle growth is simple but you need discipline, consistency and work on the 5 elements of fitness. The right training combined with proper nutrition, enough quality sleep, low stress and the right mindset is what´s going to give you the best results.

There are some simple things you can do every day to improve the quality of your sleep and also to change and develop good habits that help you achieve your goals in a simple way and live a better life.

It would mean so much to me if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, together we can help millions live a better life.

Pam

Training

Why compound exercises must be the base of your programs

06
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Last week I was talking with a friend who loves to train about the workouts and routines that we can see more frequently on gyms, we agreed that compound exercises are not getting the same attention as some years ago while isolation exercises are the way to go for most people which makes the routines long and more complex.

If your goal is to gain dense muscle mass and get stronger the answer is compound exercises. They will help you gain size and strength while keeping your workouts simple. If your goal is fat loss stick with compound movements, you can use bodyweight which can also be considered compound.

Compound exercises are multi-joint movements that work several muscles at the same which gives you the opportunity to lift more weight. The more weight you can lift, the stronger you get and you gain more muscle (considering that your nutrition program is right). This type of exercises have a lot of benefits including lowering the risk of injuries (considering that you don´t let your ego get in the way), you can do more in less time and you keep things simple.

Performing compound movements with free weights (barbells or dumbbells) is the best option even when you can´t lift the same amount of weight compared to gym machines or other equipment.

My approach to training is old school, sticking with a few basic exercises with high weight and low reps and adjusting some variables according to the goal you´re working on. Since compound exercises are multi-joint movements you can lift more weight so they are the perfect option to lift more weight in a low rep range.

Compound movements also require balance and coordination so as you keep increasing the weight your performance will increase.

With compound movements you can lift heavy weight for 5 to 8 reps for hypertrophy to build dense muscle, you can go heavier in weight and lower in reps around 1 to 3 reps for strength and power. You can also lift lighter weight for 12 to 15 reps or even more.

When you are using compound movements it is simple and effective but it doesn´t means it´s easy. And since we´re working on low reps and high weight things get harder meaning maximum muscle recruitment and high nervous-system activation this is the right stimulus for muscle growth and strength. Here you need to consider recovery which is as important as your workouts the central nervous system needs more time to recover so you can´t train the same muscle group 2 days continually.

You don´t need to do a lot of different exercises for each muscle group, keep what works and eliminate what doesn´t work. If you focus on key movements you can build a great physique that is also useful, there´s no reason to look great if you can´t perform great. Our goal is to improve body composition and build a physique you are proud of and also that is useful for daily activities at your home or your job.

Compound movements along with bodyweight exercises are the best option for any fitness goal to keep your strength and make sure that you doesn´t lose muscle. You can use both for heavy weight and low reps, which is what I prefer or you can use them for low weight and high reps to work more your endurance. Going high in reps can also help you gain muscle and burn fat it´s not the same type of hypertrophy (muscle growth) but it´s a way to add variety to your workouts.

With any workout it doesn´t matter if it´s cardio or resistance the goal is to improve, every time you workout you need to make some improvement, some days it may be increasing weight, others it may be doing more reps with the same weight or if you are losing fat the goal must be to keep the same weight for the same reps. When you are in a calorie deficit it may be harder to train as hard as when you are on maintenance or building muscle.

It would mean so much to me if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, together we can help millions live a better life.

Pam

Nutrition

How carbohydrate cycling can help you achieve your fitness goals

07 Carbohydrate cycling
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71

I know a lot of people who hate bodybuilders but no one can deny that when we talk about nutrition they really know what they´re talking about. They know different tools and strategies you can use to get in amazing shape, one of those tools is carbohydrate cycling. When I tried this tool I was amazed at how well it works, it´s great for fat loss without depleting carbs for long time and it´s great for muscle gains while staying lean.

All the tools or strategies I use and I share with you here are meant to make your life easier and give you amazing results and more importantly that you develop new good habits that lead you to a more healthy and happy life. Carbohydrate cycling is a tool you can use for either fat loss or muscle gains.

You can manipulate carbohydrates as much as you need, we´ve been told that we need carbohydrates because glucose is the preferred form of energy for our bodies, so if you reduce the amount of energy you give to your body you force it to use stored fat as energy.

This strategy can be use if you are following a balanced diet with moderate carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats. Of course in diets low in carbohydrates or ketogenic it won´t apply. The goal with this strategy is to lower carbohydrates at certain periods of time to lower insulin so that your body use stored fat for energy and increase carbohydrates on the right times to restore glycogen.

Carbohydrates cycling means that you increase or decrease the amount of carbohydrates you consume depending on your goal. You need to be on a caloric surplus to gain muscle and on a caloric deficit to burn fat, with carbohydrate cycling you can gain muscle without gaining to much fat and you can lose fat without losing muscle.

What you do in this strategy is to set macronutrient ratios (I will explain in other post how to set macros) and keep proteins and fats the same and you manipulate carbohydrates accordingly. To do this you´ll have three carbohydrate days being: high carbohydrate, moderate carbohydrate and low carbohydrate.

Your workout program needs to be aligned with your nutrition program, your high carbohydrate days needs to be placed on your resistance training days and your low carbohydrate days on rest days. And you also need to consider your calories.

It doesn´t matter if your goal is fat loss or muscle gains (I´ll be writing a post for each goal) the principles of this strategy are the same, you can also use this strategy for body recomposition which is losing body fat and gaining muscle and have great results.

Body recomp is one of the hardest things to do and most people will say it´s impossible and it´s actually not impossible but it takes time. For guys who are starting their fitness journey and are new to training specially weight training and following a healthier lifestyle it´ll easier to see their body changing. Gaining muscle mass and losing fat at the same time is easier when you are new to lifting weights.

If you are not new you can still do it effectively but you need to be patient, it will take more time to see results but you won´t regret it. Carbohydrate cycling is a great tool for this by manipulating carbohydrates and calories to have some low calorie/low carbohydrate days and some high calorie/high carbohydrate days.

The whole goal of this strategy and all the others I share is to make any fitness goals simple and more enjoyable so that you get amazing results and sustain them in an effortless way and this strategy is not the exception, following a low calorie diet is almost impossible for most of us, we get to a point where the calories are really low and we feel hungry all the time and we end up overeating and giving up.

Having low carbohydrate days with high carbohydrate days is the best option to make it easier for you to stick to a program without feeling hungry all the time and you are also giving your body more calories and carbohydrates when it needs them so that you train hard in the gym and it can recover afterwards.

It would mean so much to me if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, together we can help millions live a better life.

Pam

Uncategorized

Why the scale is making your fat loss journey harder

06 Dont get obsessed with the scale
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76

Most people who want to lose weight get to a point where they get obsessed with calories and the scale, that obsession get to a point where they need to count every single food they´re eating even the tiny small pieces in the plate and they weight themselves every day. This is making it harder for them to get to their goals in a mental and emotional way.

The scale is not the best tool to measure your progress because it is not accurate, we´ve talked before that our goal is to improve body composition meaning lose fat and gain or maintain muscle mass. The scale don´t consider this.

Most nutritionist and dietitians focused on height and weight to tell you what´s correct and the weight goal you are aiming for but this is based on incomplete information this is what happens when people only focus on BMI or body mass index.

If we take two people one of them is an athlete and the other doesn´t do any physical activity or we can take a bodybuilder and an overweight guys their BMI can be the same but as you can see they look different, the athlete and bodybuilder look lean, toned and with more muscle while the overweight and the person that doesn´t do any physical activity has more fat.

Your total weight needs to consider fat percentage and muscle, when we talk about fat we need to know that there´s one type of fat that is increases risk of many health problems, this is the fat that we can´t see that is around our organs, nowadays there are machines that can scan our entire body and give a more accurate weight with all the information, body fat percentage, muscle mass and the amount of fat around our belly.

As I´ve said in other posts, excess weight being from fat or muscle can cause several health problems because the body needs to work a lot more, your heart, lungs and other systems in your body need to double their work and effort.

The whole idea of improving body composition is to take as much information as possible into account to make sure that your weight goal is healthy for you. Information like gender, age, height, lean body mass percentage and body fat percentage at least are required so the scale won´t help with this.

Some of the tests you that give you all this information are expensive so one of the best tools you can use is the mirror and how your clothes fit. You can use the scale here just to have an idea, even if the scale remains the same you can look in the mirror and see your body changing.

Many people, specially girls who want to lose weight as fast as possible  only focus on the scale, if they don´t see the results they want to see and the scale moving the way they want they get discourage and in some cases they change the program and start different programs without giving enough time to see results, in other cases they give up thinking that they can´t lose weight.

It takes time to get in shape and there´ll be times that the scale doesn´t show what you want to see but you need to consider that you may have lose some fat and gain muscle so you may look leaner even when you are weighting the same.

If you get stock in the negative numbers of the scale you´re blocking your progress mentally and emotional making everything harder than it really is. It is important that you choose one program and stick to it for a certain period of time at least you need 1 month to know if that program is right or if you need to make some changes to it.

If the program is based on resistance training 3 to 4 days per week and 2 or 3 days of cardio chances are you´ll get amazing results.

It would mean so much to me if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, together we can help millions live a better life.

Pam

Mindset

How habits create your life

03
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101

Habits are small actions you do every day sometimes without thinking about them. Your habits create your life. Good habits lead to a life of success, bad habits lead to failure.

What you do every single day determine how you live, if you want to be successful create good habits that lead you to a life of success. Your day is built of habits, from the moment you wake up to the moment you go to sleep most of your daily actions are habits, you are so used to doing them that they are now part of your subconscious and you can do them even with your eyes closed, this is a routine.

Most people have poor habits that lead them to average results, following the same routine every day that keeps you comfortable in a way that you don´t have to work that much but that keeps you struggling with money and that keeps you stuck in the same place is the result of poor habits.

Bad habits will keep from achieving your goals and dreams. Habits like complaining, criticizing and blaming someone else when something didn´t go out the way we wanted is one of the worst things you can do that keep you where you are. Waking up late, not exercising, eating unhealthy food, procrastinating are all examples of bad habits that not only are leading you to health problems and diseases, also to a life of struggle. Your life will not improve until you decide to change, until you take responsibility and commit to a better life.

With good habits you are able to grow personal and professional while living healthy and enjoy life as much as possible. When you want to achieve any goal you want to sustain the results, the best way is to make it effortless, good habits are the only way to get to your goals and sustain them, good daily habits make your goals seem effortless and give you the freedom to enjoy life.

Achieving any goal is simple if you have good habits, what´s difficult is building those good habits which take time, it´s not something you can do from one day to another, you need at least one month but it can take up to 3 months for a habit to become part of our life. It´s tough to build new habits because it requires our focus and attention and with so many things that need to get done we get right back to our old habits.

To develop new habits you need to start small, for eating healthy you can start by eliminating junk food from your house and the next time you go for the grocery buy healthy, natural foods, instead of candies and cookies buy some fruit, seeds and nuts, start by doing 10 or 20 minutes of exercise, start with 10 pushups and 10 squats and make it daily. Schedule 30 minutes of your day to exercise, it will be hard the first days but do it, do not complain or make excuses. If you want to get up earlier set the alarm and live it far from your bed, once you´re up start doing what you plan.

When you start building good habits you´ll get some kind of results, you feel better and things start to be better, this motivates you to continue with this new habits until they stick.

Developing new habits and will power go hand in hand, the first weeks you will need will power to get up and do what you need to do until it becomes a routine, exercising or waking up earlier are some of the hardest habits to develop, get up and do it anyway, focus on the rewards, focus on your goal and it´ll be easier to do it.

It would mean so much to me if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, together we can help millions live a better life. Pam

Stress

How stress and hormones are related

05 stress and hormones
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124

The effects of stress can be very damaging in our entire body and it has a direct impact in your hormones making it harder for you to achieve any fitness goal and causing health problems.

When it comes to health, fitness, looking for programs or strategies you can follow to live a better life I haven´t seen someone giving the right attention to stress. For weight loss nutrition and exercise are always the key, for health problems it´s very common to look at the symptoms and go from there, we need to go deeper and find the cause in most cases our lifestyle is the cause of many diseases and stress plays a big part.

What happens when you are in an stressful situation or any moment that can be consider dangerous your body activates the “fight-or-flight” response which means that your hypothalamus located in your brain starts a series of functions to help you survive that situation, it sends signals that triggers cortisol and andrenaline. Adrenaline increases your heart rate and energy, cortisol increases sugar in the bloodstream.

When you are stressed out your body stops certain functions in your body to deal with that stress, your body needs a lot of energy in those moments, that energy comes in the form of glucose or carbohydrates which are the fastest form of energy so by stopping certain unnecessary functions your body makes sure that is has all the energy it needs but you are more prone to get sick and when this is sustain for a long period of time diseases start to appear.  Along with the functions your body stops it also blocks some neurotransmitters like serotonin which makes you feel good.

With chronic stress the “fight-or-flight” response keeps going and never stops while the functions on your body that are stopped remain that way, this is when health and mental problems begin. With chronic stress which is what most of suffer some functions and systems of our body remain turned off which makes us prone to diseases.

If cortisol levels remain high for long periods of time which is what happens with chronic stress, mental health problems like depression, anxiety and even suicide increases because it affects certain areas of your brain that control mood. When you are stressed out you may get angry more often and you tend to be more aggressive.

Since cortisol increases blood sugar if it remains high for long periods of time it may cause insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Being insulin resistant means that your body is not able to use carbohydrates efficiently so your body will store them as fat in your belly.

For people with diabetes it is harder to maintain blood glucose levels under control, even watching a terror movie or getting in a roller coaster can make glucose to get out of control. When you are experiencing emotions like fear, anxiety, tension, anger your body is reacting to an stressful situation. This is the result of your body releasing adrenaline and cortisol your body use glucose for energy but in people with diabetes their bodies can´t convert that glucose into energy so it stays in the bloodstream causing blood glucose to raise for a prolonged period of time.

So it´s not only about losing weight it´s about health, our lifestyle is killing us people in the industry focus on symptoms and treat symptoms but if we focus on the cause everything changes. Chronic stress is one of those causes and combined with bad habits create an unhealthy lifestyle. Everything we share in this website are tools to help you develop good habits and live a better life based on a healthy lifestyle.

Talking about hormones can get very complex and it´s impossible to get deeper in just one post so I´ll be sharing with you more information in separated posts trying to keep it as simple as possible, our goal with this website is that you understand how things work and give you tools or strategies you can start using today.

It would mean so much to me if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, together we can help millions live a better life.

Pam

Sleep

How sleep can help you with fat loss

06 sleep and fat loss
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117

If you´ve been trying to lose weight, you´ve been following the right program but you find it hard to stick to the diet, you don´t feel like working out and you don´t see results, the problem may in your sleep.

Sleep has more to do with fat loss than what you can think about. Lack of sleep increases ghrelin and lowers leptin this are two important hormones that make it harder for you to stick to a low calorie diet. Ghrelin increases appetite so if you didn´t sleep right ghrelin increases so you are hungry most of the time and leptin tells you when it´s enough food and you can stop eating so if you don´t get good sleep it gets lower and it won´t send you signals to know when it´s enough food.

With this two hormones sending the wrong messages it is so easy to over eat and most of that food will be sweets and junk which is the one we tend to crave more leading to weight gain. It´s not that you are doing something wrong is just that lack of sleep makes it harder for you to have control on what you eat and how much you eat and it lowers your energy and focus this is why you don´t feel like working out and you skip workouts.

Enough good quality sleep every night make fat loss a lot more easier, you don´t have to follow strict low calorie diets that can be counterproductive in the long run, there´s no reason to want to be perfect in one or two of the fitness elements if you don´t consider the other 3. You can follow a good diet based on real foods, a right training program focused on progressive overload get your mindset right, have enough good quality sleep and lower stress. All this together is what´s going to give you the results you want.

The problem with sleep is that it affects the other 4 elements, good quality sleep makes it easier for you to stick with your diet, you have more energy to workout and you are focused on your goals, it is harder to make bad decisions but just one night of bad sleep will affect your program at least for that day and if you chronic sleep problems the consequences are bigger.

Bad sleep also changes you fat cells, your metabolism slows you become insulin resistant and with this you end up storing fat in your body instead of using it for fuel. Your body simply don´t work how it´s supposed to work, if we think about it as a whole just the fact of bad sleep triggers the wrong hormones and send the wrong message so your metabolism slows down, you are insulin resistant plus you eat more unhealthy foods and in general you eat more, your workouts lack intensity and you may skip some of them, you are in a bad mood with low energy and not able to focus which creates more stress on your body and your mind is not where it´s supposed to be.

When you´re trying to lose weight you need to focus on losing fat while maintaining as much muscle mass as possible, with adequate amounts of sleep you make sure that most of the weight you lose is fat, it´s possible that if you´re following a low calorie diet and you´re working out you´ll lose weight but the weight loss can be fat, water and muscle. If you are not getting enough good sleep and you are losing weight the chances of you losing some fat, muscle and water increase compared to when you get enough sleep.

Even when fat loss comes down to eating less and doing resistance training focusing on progressive overload if you want to make your fat loss journey easier you need enough good quality sleep every night, this will keep all systems and hormones of your body working efficiently and you´ll find it easier to stay in a calorie deficit and with healthy foods.

The 5 elements of fitness are important and most be consider to achieve any fitness goal but this is meant to be something bigger, if you work on all of them you will live a better life more effortlessly and you´ll be able to get in shape and stay in shape without making everything harder than it really is.

It would mean so much to me if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, together we can help millions live a better life.

Pam

Training

Why bodyweight exercises are a great tool

08
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I still remember one of the reasons why I wanted to lose weight and get in shape, one day I found out some videos on YouTube about calisthenics and all the guys looked amazing, lean and in really good shape, I finished watching the video and I stood up and tried to do some pushups, for my surprise I couldn´t do any… not even one. I felt so weak and angry and realized how could that happened if some years ago I could do 50 pushups?

I practiced Karate for about 11 years since I was 5 until I was 16 and I was able to do 50 pushups, squats, dips and bodyweight rows. Remembering this got me really angry, I wanted to be able to do that same amount of reps on each exercise and increase weight with weighted vest to go low rep.

You don´t need a gym or a lot of equipment to get lean and in really good shape, you may only need comfortable clothes and a pair of sneakers. Your body can is a great tool for an amazing workout.

Whether your goal is to get in shape, lose weight, improve body composition, gain muscle or maintain a lean physique you can achieve any of them with bodyweight exercises. What I like about them is that you keep everything simple and you can train almost anywhere.

Bodyweight exercises have so many benefits and they can reduce injuries when working out, with any bodyweight exercise you are moving your body through space and it requires more strength and balance but since they are compound movements or multi-joint exercises you are working several muscles at the same time and the range of motion is more natural which reduce stress on the joint and avoid injuries.

My approach to training is to keep reps low and weight high and get stronger to build dense muscle, even when most guys that use bodyweight exercises go very high in reps some of them around 50 or even 100 reps you can keep weight high and reps low by increasing difficulty of each exercise.

The way to build muscle and get stronger is progressive overload, you need to increase the weight or reps every time you workout the same muscle, you can do this with weights at the gym or with bodyweight, your body doesn´t care if you are paying a gym membership and using machines or if you are training at your home, so the way to do this is by increasing the resistance by making the exercises harder, once you get to the hardest version of each exercise you can use a weighted vest.

At the beginning you may not be able to do normal pushups so you start with a simple version like your knees on the ground for 5 reps until you can do 10 reps of pushups with your knees on the ground you start with the next level which is your feet on the ground. You keep advancing on levels until you can do one-arm pushups and one-arm pushups with feet elevated.

You need to apply this progressive overload for each exercise, from knee pushups to one-arm feet raised pushups, from squats to pistol squats, from bodyweight row to one-arm pull ups, from lying down leg raises to hanging leg raises.

When you start training with your own body and as you start leaning down you´ll see that it´s easier to perform the movements. The more weight you lose the less weight you have to move through space so it gets easier, as the exercises or the variation of the exercise that you are doing gets easier you need to do more difficult variations.

The physique you get with this type of exercises is great and it keeps you motivated to stay lean, many guys and girls fall in love with body weight training also known as calisthenics because as you advance on the variations of each exercise it gets more fun.

It would mean so much to me if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, together we can help millions live a better life.

Pam

Nutrition

What you need to know about intermittent fasting

06 Intermittent fasting
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110

When I decided to start my fitness journey a few years ago in almost all books and websites having 5 meals a day or 3 meals and 2 snacks was the way to go so I followed this advice and to be honest it was so hard to get 3 healthy meals and 2 snacks 7 days a week. It was a lot of work and I needed to be really strict with everything I ate until a couple years ago when I found about intermittent fasting and how many religions used it. Once I started following a fasting schedule everything changed, it was a lot easier to get in shape and sustain it but what´s better is all the amazing benefits for overall health.

If you are looking for a tool that can make your life easier, that helps you get lean and stay lean and that is healthy, then intermittent fasting is what you need.

I can´t think about any other  fitness strategy that gives you the freedom you need while getting or staying lean and that makes your life easier. It doesn´t matter how your days looks like, I´m sure this strategy will work incredible for you, eating less meals reduces your stress, get you focused on what matters, gives you more freedom and you can enjoy your life a lot more.

While some people say that fasting is the worst think you can do I´ve been using it for some years now and it is amazing. Intermittent fasting has some great benefits for your health.

Intermittent fasting is an eating schedule, what this means is that you have your meals on a small period of time and you don´t eat for a long period of time, the small period of time when you eat is known as the eating window and the long period when you don´t eat is the fasting window, what´s great is that this gives your digestive system a rest which is amazing if you feel bloated or have any other digestive issues this may help.

When you want to lose fat it´s necessary to keep insulin low and intermittent fasting is great for this, every time you eat insulin raise so when you are fasting you have only 2 or 3 meals a day this is why it is so effective when you stop having breakfast or having lunch or dinner and you are in a fasted window your body increases growth hormone and keep insulin and cortisol down. Insulin and cortisol are two important hormones for weight loss and intermittent fasting is a great way to keep insulin low giving chance to growth hormone to increase.

Having 2 meals a day is the best option, most people prefer to fast in the morning skipping breakfast and have lunch and dinner, this is a great option. What works best for me is having breakfast and lunch and skip dinner. Keeping your eating window around 8 hours and fasting for 16 hours is what works best for me.

You don´t have to worry about losing muscle, there are some studies that say that it´s possible to gain muscle while losing fat at the same time following intermittent fasting, if we analyze this from the calories point of view you need a calorie deficit to lose fat and a calorie surplus to gain muscle so it may not be possible, your body needs to be in a catabolic state to lose weight and in an anabolic state to gain weight and your body can´t be in both states at the same time so it´s practically impossible but if you know how to use this strategy combined with some others in the correct way you can achieve awesome results in both fat lose and muscle gains specially if you are starting in fitness.

The way catabolic and anabolic states work in your body is easy, when you are fasting your body is in a catabolic state and when you eat your body goes to the anabolic state, this gives your body enough time to burn fat in the catabolic and you have the freedom to overeat and get to the anabolic phase maintaining muscle.

There are some goals you can achieve with ease using intermittent fasting, I recommend you focus primarily on one goal at a time and leave the rest as an added bonus.

When fasting you´ll be able to lose fat, maintain muscle mass while cutting and stay lean while bulking. This is the best strategy to adapt and fit into your lifestyle if you love to eat big meals, if you want to have the freedom to enjoy foods you love and want to stay lean all year.

When you are trying to make fitness a lifestyle it becomes so hard to fit 5 or 6 meals a day, plus one hour or more at gym at least 5 days a week into your busy schedule. This is one of the reasons intermittent fasting works great, you don´t have to stress out getting those 5 or 6 strict meals into your day, you only focus on 3 meals and no snacks in between, when you´re starting the biggest issues you´ll have is with hunger and that´s normal just give time to your body to adapt, don´t follow any eating window, do what works best for you, the first days when hunger appears have a piece of fruit, I don´t recommend any other snacks and fruit is ok on an empty stomach, you can have water or coffee if you are fasting in the morning and tea at night, those are the best options if you need some snacks, if you can go all the way to your meal without any snack that´s amazing.

Intermittent fasting is a great nutrition tool.

Intermittent fasting should be easy and a way to have more freedom in the choices you make enjoying life even more so don´t stress, don´t overdo it and don´t over think. Don´t focus on any eating window and create yours, one that fit your schedule and daily activities.

Don´t forget to provide nutrients to your body, fasting gives you the freedom  to have big meals, enjoy your favorite foods, go out to lunch or dinner with friends and family and enjoy the moment but if you cook try to make healthy  meals with healthy fats, proteins and carbohydrates, you are only eating 2 or 3 meals you must be sure that your body has the nutrients it requires.

Be careful with how you organize your meals and your workouts, if you are training in the morning around 8 or 9 and your first meal is at 2 pm it´ll be harder to stay fasted, if your workouts are high intensity interval training for an hour or so it will increase your appetite, boost your hunger making almost impossible to fast, you need to fit your workouts in a way that they make fasting easier and that both of them, your workouts and your meals fit perfectly in your daily activities.

Intermittent fasting can also give you other health benefits as being more awake, more energized, more productive and focused throughout the day which brings amazing benefits to your life.

It would mean so much to me if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, together we can help millions live a better life.

Pam

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How getting obsessed with calories affects negatively your progress

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The obsessivenes of weight loss is creating a lot of confusion and mixed emotions in people who really want to make a change in their lives.  A friend of mine started to follow a program where she needs to be counting points of everything she eats. Every food has been assigned a number and according to those numbers you get your total but the way this numbers are assigned are not the best option.

Counting calories or points is not a sustainable way to get in your best shape sooner or later you get too obsessed with it that it can lead to mental problems or you give up and this is not the way to go in  nutrition.

It´s far more important to focus on macronutrients than to focus on calories, even when the points system take into account macros it´s still not the best way to do it or the right approach specially for people who are obese or overweight and need to play close attention on how each macro impacts their hormones. This is what matters most, the impact each macronutrient has on your hormones and your body to get in your best shape and sustain it.

Counting calories help you get them in track so that you don´t eat more than you need but the amount of calories you need can be achieve with different macro ratios and each of this macro ratios will have a different effect on your hormones and body, in some it can be a lot harder for you to lose fat while other can make it easier for you.

Counting points also help you keep track of the foods you eat and how much so that you don´t eat more but the numbers assigned to each group may not be designed with the best macro ratio to help you achieve your goal in the most effective way.

To be really clear it´s impossible to be 100% accurate when counting calories or points even if you use apps to help you track. You can use them as a guide but don´t try to be perfect. It´s not about perfection, it´s about progress, making one good decision and then another and then another over and over until those good decisions become habits.

In some people the facts of tracking calories and points get them stressed out which instead of helping them lose weight and eat healthy just increase their stress levels making it harder to lose weight thanks to the stress hormones.

This systems of counting calories and point are all based on the food pyramid we all know and it´s not right, it´s not the best option to lose fat and to live healthy so at certain points you hit a plateau or in other words, you stop losing weight and you don´t even know why, if you are following the exercise routine and you are counting each calorie you´re supposed to be losing weight consistently right?

Not necessarily if you are sending the wrong messages to your hormones through food they will only respond to those messages so you won´t get the results you want.

In some cases you can create a negative relationship with food that can lead to starving or overeating or some eating disorders. All this affects negatively your mindset creating physical and mental problems, especially in people who are obese or overweight since they are already dealing with a roller coaster of emotions.

The goal is to make everything as simple as possible with steps that are simple to follow so that you feel confident and see results every week.

It would mean so much to me if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, together we can help millions live a better life.

Pam