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Motivation

The system is wrong

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Looking at how nutritionist or dietitians design diets for their clients and the food we are offered at hospitals I realize that the whole system is wrong.

Nutritionist and dietitians base their diets on the famous food pyramid we all know that recommends high complex carbohydrates and very low fat meals, this high complex carbs are the base of the pyramid but they´re not the best option.

For people trying to lose weight it´s obvious that they´re obese or overweight and the chances of them being insulin resistant are high meaning that their bodies do not use carbohydrates efficiently. The focus and goal must be to improve insulin making it easier to lose fat, once insulin is improved and the person is insulin sensitive meaning their bodies use carbohydrates more effectively it´ll be easier for them to lose fat consistently.

The best way to improve insulin is to lower carbohydrates, increase protein and increase healthy fats, the macronutrient ratios will depend on the type of diet the person wants to follow, a diet they can stick with for a lifestyle. The hardest part is always the beginning where people need to be more disciplined and focus on keeping carbohydrates low to improve insulin and start losing some weight.

Diets on hospitals are also based on the food pyramid which is not the best option. There are many studies and research done that proves that junk and processed foods with unhealthy vegetable and seed oils and also simple carbohydrates and sugars are the cause of many diseases nowadays in hospitals most of the food is processed like bread, cookies, box juice, box cereal and the prepared meals are low in fats and when they use oils to cook they use unhealthy oils. Hospital diets are high in carbohydrates, moderate in protein and low in fats. The offer highly processed foods that contain all the unhealthy ingredients.

It doesn´t make sense to me that doctors, nurses, nutritionist, dietitians and people who are supposed to take care of patients and who are supposed to help people live healthier, live better and live longer offer these meals. It doesn´t make sense to me why they keep treating the symptoms instead of looking for the cause, they treat the symptoms and hide the rest of the story. In many cases the cause of many diseases is our lifestyle, lack of physical activity, foods high in sugars, unhealthy fats, unhealthy oils and extra chemicals, high levels of stress and poor sleep. I believe that if we focus on improving our lifestyle and developing healthy habits, we can prevent some of these diseases.

I´m not saying that we all need to follow a low carbohydrate diet or follow a strict ketogenic diet, what I´m saying is that some people won´t do well on a high or moderate carbohydrate diet so reducing carbohydrates for a period of time is helpful then they can add or increase some healthier carbs. We need to think about how our body works and what it needs to perform at peak, maintain optimal health while sustaining our weight loss goal. For most of us we need to increase healthy fats and reduce carbohydrates with moderate protein.

Living a healthy lifestyle is a most if you want to make the best out of your life. Nutrition and exercise are key for living healthy, your health most be your priority; making the commitment to live a better life by developing habits that make your life more enjoyable give you more freedom and make better choices. You can start making better choices by avoiding unhealthy foods like sweets, junk, processed and fast food. When you focus on meals prepared with fresh and healthy ingredients, you can´t go wrong.

It´s not only about us, it´s about the people we love. If you want to take care of your family, your friends and the people you love you need to take care of yourself first. If you are healthy, if you feel great you can then help the people around you and inspire them.

The goal of fitness is to help you get in shape and maintain an amazing physique while enjoying life as much as possible and live a life you are proud of. You can achieve this by developing healthy habits for each of the 5 principles of fitness that lead to a healthy lifestyle. This may look complicated but it´s simple and effective, it will take time and discipline at the beginning but it´s worthy.

It all starts with you and you can start today by eliminating or avoiding as much as possible unhealthy highly processed and fast foods and eat whole, fresh foods, this is simple said than done because those unhealthy foods create addiction so the moment you stop eating them you have cravings, you can stop those cravings by adding healthy fats like nuts and seeds or drinking tea. After a couple of weeks, you will feel a lot better and you may have lost some weight so stop thinking about it and just start eating healthy foods.

Let us know what food you crave more, the one that is harder for you to avoid by leaving a comment down below and on Twitter.

It would mean so much to us if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow us on Twitter and YouTube.

Pam

Diet

Macronutrients – Protein

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How many times have you heard that protein is the most important macronutrient? Or maybe you are afraid of eating too much protein and you reduced it so much.

The next macronutrient we´ll see is protein, which is primarily used to build hair, nails and various organ systems like the heart, brain and are also the building blocks for tissue. Protein is essential for muscle repair and muscle growth.

Protein is essential for the body, but it has more functions apart from building muscle fibers. Some proteins provide structure to your body, to bones, skin, teeth, hair, nails; others provide antibodies to defend against viruses or bacteria. Protein is not used as a source of energy unless you are on a critic situation or your body feels you are on starvation and there´s no other source of energy left.

Protein is made of amino acids that create long chains called amino peptides, the structure of an amino acid is made of hydrogen, carbon, amino group, carboxyl group and a side chain. The side chain varies among each amino acid and is what gives each amino acid it´s name. There are 4 calories in one gram of protein.

Protein comes from different sources including animals and plants. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and can be divided in two groups: essential and nonessential amino acids. There are nine essential amino acids that you need to get from your nutrition and eleven nonessential amino acids that your body can make on its own. The nine essential amino acids also called branched chain amino acids are the ones that have a bigger impact on building muscle.

Even when protein can be found in animal and plant sources the quality of them varies and we need to consider this to make sure that you give your body the amount it needs or find ways to supplement it.

One thing to consider about protein is something called protein turnover which is the protein synthesis and protein breakdown. Protein synthesis is the building of new muscle using the amino acids, and protein breakdown is when our body takes existing muscle and breaks it down for energy.

There are some important factors we need to consider for protein consumption which are the amount of protein you need to consume and the quality of the protein. Getting around 1.0 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight is good place to start if you want to protect muscle mass, there´s not an exact number you may need more or less protein so you need to adjust the numbers considering your current goal and the type of nutrition program we are following.

Protein is considered by many as the most important macronutrient for fat loss and muscle growth therefore some people increase their intake. If you are looking to lose fat considering that you are in a calorie deficit and you are doing some kind of resistance training along with some cardio, increasing the amount of protein (if we´re not taking enough) will make sure that you maintain  muscle. If you want to gain muscle, you´ll need to be in a calorie surplus, you can use carbohydrate cycling and increase carbohydrates while focusing on keeping protein at 1.0 – 1.5 grams.

There are many protein sources from meat, chicken, turkey, eggs, also nuts, beans, dairy products like milk, cheese, yoghurt, also vegetables even when they´re all-natural sources their amino-acid profile vary. Another way some fitness experts, and athletes consume protein is by supplements in the form of protein bars, protein powders and you can find different sources or type of protein including whey, casein, isolated and some others, the difference between them is the time of absorption, how fast or slow our body digest the type of protein, you may know by now that I don´t recommend this type of supplements, if your goal is to improve and maintain optimal health and to lose weight and maintain your best physique possible you don´t need them.

As I said on the last post about fats, we´re going to continue talking about each different macronutrient and food in general, how unhealthy foods impact your body on a negative side and about the positive impact of healthy foods.

Let us know by leaving a comment down below and on Twitter what is your favorite source or protein, do you prefer animal sources? Or are you vegan or vegetarian?

It would mean so much to us if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow us on Twitter and YouTube.

Pam

Sleep

What you need to know about the circadian rhythm

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Your body has an internal clock that is always working but, you need to make sure that it´s in sync with all systems and hormones and it needs to work in harmony with your environment.

You may have heard about the importance of having a sleep schedule or at least trying to go to sleep around the same time every night, this is true and the positive impact it has in your life is amazing, the reason for this is the circadian rhythm.

The circadian rhythm plays an important role on the quality and quantity of your sleep, if the circadian rhythm is out of sync for any reason then it will impact negatively your sleep, this can by just for one night but if this turns into a habit it can have huge negative consequences in the long run.

You are supposed to follow nature´s clock what I mean with this is that you´re supposed to go to sleep when the sun goes down and wake up when the sun goes up. Your body has an internal clock and most of its functions go according to that internal clock, this has to do with the production of melatonin to fall asleep, increasing cortisol at certain hours.

Nature works in a cycle of 24 hours, a cycle of day and night, during day you get light from the sun and at night it´s dark. Your body also works in the same 24 hours period, or at least it tries. This 24-hour cycle has a lot to do with your sleep-wake cycle the same way the sun rises and sets every day. This cycle also contributes to hours of sleep when your body is recovering, growing and eliminating toxics and hours of alertness during the day when you are supposed to have all the energy and focus to live as best as possible.

During this cycle there are so many things going on in your body like producing melatonin, body temperature fluctuates, the hormones also have fluctuations.

You need melatonin to fall asleep which is produced when the sun starts to set and as the lights go down if we keep working on your computer or laptop or checking your phone until late night your body won´t produce melatonin which is one of the reasons why you can´t fall asleep and you don´t get high quality sleep. When it´s dark your eyes send a signal to your brain that it´s time to rest so your body produces melatonin to fall asleep.

Cortisol is an important hormone and it´s higher in the morning and it decreases throughout the day. Just as cortisol there are other hormones like insulin, leptin, ghrelin that plays an important role on your health and they´re all impacted by this internal clock called the circadian rhythm.

When you are out of zync with natures clock it affects negatively your body, and this includes your brain and it affects also your health physical and mental.

This circadian rhythm may be affected by lack of sleep or poor quality sleep, when you go to sleep late at night around midnight like many of us do and you want to fall asleep fast just minutes after turning off the computer or checking emails which is impossible for your body. Not having a sleep schedule and sleep routine also affects negatively this internal clock. Outside factors like light from electric devices, sounds, temperature they all have an impact on how your body and brain get the right signals to either fall asleep or wake up.

Even when it seems like you can get ahead of this internal clock this is not true, your internal clock is affected by your environment being the cycles of day and light the most important ones because this circadian rhythm that is located in a part of the brain called the hypothalamus receives direct information from the eyes.

So, if you want to feel great and maintain optimal health, you need to make sure that everything is functioning as best as possible and making sure that the circadian rhythm is in sync is key.

A simple step you can take to make sure that the circadian rhythm is sync is to mimic your environment, try to turn off the lights and electric devices when the sun goes down, if this is hard because of school or work then using amber glasses is a great option. When you wake up get some light exposure from the sun.

Let us know if you knew about this internal clock and how it impacts our body and health by leaving a comment down below and on Twitter.

It would mean so much to us if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow us on Twitter and YouTube.

Pam

Exercise

The difference between cardio and resistance exercise.

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The thought of wanting to lose some weight and in some cases that you need to lose weight because of health issues is terrifying. You know you´ll need to make some changes, you know that exercise is important but that mental fear paralyze you more than your body hurting. 

Before you even start doing some physical activity there are some points you need to understand and one of them is the types of exercise you can and most do to improve your overall health and lose weight. We will keep it simple so we´ll only talk about cardio and resistance exercises.

I know a lot of people who like to go for long walks or jog around 60 minutes almost every day, since all of them have a 9 to 5 job they go for this long runs or walks on weekends or when they don´t have to work. The reason they do it is not because they like it, it´s more because of health and weight reasons. I can´t deny that physical activity is great but, too much cardio can have a negative impact on your weight and health thanks to the signals it sends to your body.

Many of us think of cardio as the way to lose weight we think we need to do it even when those sessions are long and boring. We think this because that what the industry has told us and made us believe but this is not completely true, cardio is not the best way to lose weight and keep it off, you can actually skip cardio completely and if you do resistance exercise you´ll be fine, you´ll lose weight and keep it off. But cardio has so many benefits for health and it still has its place.

The reason why many people in the industry make you think that cardio is a great tool for fat loss is this, there are research that shows that one hour of cardio compared to one hour of resistance training burns more calories while you are doing it so, thinking about weight loss as calories in and calories out if you want to lose fat  you need to do cardio to burn more calories right?

Not so fast, … with all types of exercise you send signals to your body and your body will respond accordingly to that signal. With cardio you are sending the message to your body to become more efficient at using calories.

If you´ve been spending the last years without doing any exercise, the moment you start exercising it will feel like hell, you´ll be so tired and you´ll burn a lot of calories but with time if you continue doing the same exercise, for the same amount of time at the same intensity it´ll become easier and easier and your body uses less energy and it burns less calories every time you do it, your body adapts. If you increase the intensity and time you can start losing muscle mass because your body needs to become efficient at that activity and muscle needs a lot more energy and in an activity focused on endurance muscle mass is not needed in fact is counterproductive to have so much muscle. You can see this in marathon runners.

After following a weight loss program based on cardio for a long period of time we´ll need to do more exercise and eat less to sustain your results this is why  it´s almost impossible to maintain the results when you stop the program.

With resistance exercise the signal you are giving to your body is to get stronger, when you are doing resistance exercises you are giving a stimuli to the muscles and that stimuli let your body knows that it needs those muscles so it needs to get stronger and grow to be able to make it through the next workout.

We talked about the importance of improving body composition in a past post (click here to read it) and the way to do it is by focusing on resistance exercises to build muscle and add some cardio. This does not means that you will get big, it only means that you focus on improving your health and weight considering lean muscle mass and body fat.

Now you may be asking how do you start with cardio or resistance exercises. It all depends on where you are now, how much you can do, just by taking a 10 minute walk first thing in the morning before breakfast and another 10 minute walk right after dinner, doing 10 squats and 10 pushups is all you need. You can start with easy versions or levels of squats and push ups like using a chair for the squats and a wall for push ups.

Your goal is to focus on doing this two 10 minute walk, the squats and push ups every day. What you want is to develop the habit of increasing physical activity and exercising. Do this for a couple of weeks and let us know your results, how you feel and what you´re struggling with by leaving a comment down below and on Twitter.

It would mean so much to us if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow us on Twitter and YouTube.

Pam

Stress

We need some stress. Here´s why!

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You need stress in your life and in your days, some of it. The right amount and right type of stress leads to growth.

We know that there´s good stress and there´s bad stress and in our last post we talked about the differences between stress and pressure which is key to know how to respond on every situation.

Acute stress is good, and you need it, stress is good when it helps you grow and get stronger. When you go to the gym and follow a resistance training workout, you give a stimulus to the muscle to grow, this stimulus is a form of stress and your body needs that stress to change, this is one example of good stress.

Some people consider pressure as a type of stress and for good reasons but pressure is something we´ve all been through and it can help us achieve our best results, for some of us pressure is a type of stress that is good for us.

When you go through acute stress or include some stress in your life in the right proportion it can be beneficial for your brain, body and health, it helps you improve performance, productivity, focus leading to better results. Taking challenges increases stress but if you take the right challenges that stress helps you reach your goals by keeping you motivated and focused on what you need to do so your productivity increases. If you take small daily challenges, then stress is beneficial because it will help you accomplish your tasks.

The reason why you´re able to concentrate and focus is because stress increases cortisol and also chemicals like epinephrine, you feel your heart rate increasing and also blood pressure, this is how your body responds to keep you aware to the situation so that you can act quickly and be safe so all this help you get completely focused and concentrated.

All the process that your body goes through when you´re dealing with a stressful situation has a positive impact on your body and health when it´s in small quantities, some research shows the low levels of stress or acute stress can improve or fortify the immune system.

Taking challenges that will create some stress is a way to keep life interesting some of us  love challenges because they bring something new to our life and we see that stress as a way to get out of our comfort zone but, some people prefer to stay in that comfort zone, they prefer to stay on that known place and taking any challenge can lead to chronic stress which can have a negative impact.

Good stress which helps you grow comes from doing what you love or working for a goal that you want so bad. This means that you know your purpose and you work on it and even when you need to face challenges and struggles you´re actually loving all the journey and even when you hate part of that journey you are able to visualize the end result which keeps you motivated. When you start working on your purpose, you know it won´t be easy but you also know that it´ll be worth it.

When you have a goal or you´re working on a project that excites you the stress you´ll get from facing challenges has a positive impact because you see those challenges as part of the journey, this type of mindset is what helps you keep moving forward and see every challenge from another perspective, a more positive one.

Finding your purpose and working on it gives you a sense of fulfillment and this fulfillment is what makes life meaningful, the more you work on your purpose the more fulfilled and accomplished you feel. When you feel fulfilled, you see challenges as opportunities to grow and have a bigger impact, you can see yourself pass those challenges and as you see your work having a positive impact you get more motivated to continue.

This is why it´s so important to find your purpose and find ways to pursue it, I know that this is hard for some of us since we need to work to pay bills and support our family but, if you can work on your purpose on your spare time the positive impact you get from that time will show when you´re at school or the office.

If you have a 9 to 5 job or you´re in college what you can do is take some time for yourself to find your purpose read the find your purpose post to learn more and follow the steps. Also find strategies to help you reduce daily stress from work or school like breathing and visualizing and as Ellen DeGeneres says be kind, being kind improves our mood and lowers stress.

What you can do today is if you´re working in a project that keeps you stressed out think about it as a challenge, take that whole project and divided into small activities you need to do and focus on one activity at a time and whenever you see someone having a hard time be kind and help them.

It would mean so much to us if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow us on Twitter and YouTube.

Pam

Motivation

Why it is important to focus on body composition

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You´ve tried to lose weight more than once but you haven´t achieved your results or maybe you get to your desired weight but after a couple months or years you gained all the weight back.

Most people when they talk about weight loss or they set a weight loss goal they want to lose as much weight as possible as fast as possible. There are some girls and guys who want take it easy and know that it will take time so they want to lose weight at a lower pace but they still follow the same rules.

When we set our weight loss goal some of us search on the internet or magazine and find a program that looks amazing so we start following it, most of the programs are based on the most famous advice “eat less – move more” they want you to burn as much calories as possible while eating less so they put you on a low restrictive calorie diet maybe high protein, low fat and low carbs while doing tones of cardio or aerobic exercises. If you go to a dietitian or nutritionist they also put you in a low restrictive calorie diet which is low fat, moderate protein and moderate carbs. Unfortunately these advices are wrong, this is not the best way for sustainable weight loss and this leads to more problems.

The real problem starts from the moment you set your goal, you don´t want to lose weight, you want to improve body composition, this means that you want to lose body fat and gain or maintain muscle mass so that you achieve a healthy weight based on your height and considering lean muscle mass and body fat. A physique that looks toned and strong, you won´t get big, you´ll look great.

Most people think that being skinny is healthy but it´s actually not, we´ve seen it over and over when skinny people all of a sudden find out that they have some health issue. The problem is not only being obese or overweight, the problem is body composition, the amount of fat we have on our body, there are different types of fat (we´re going to talk about this on a future post), on people who are obese or overweight it´s clear that they have fat to lose but there´s a type of fat that it´s actually more harmful and causes more problems and we don´t see this type of fat. The problem with skinny people is that they may have this kind of harmful fat.

When you focus on body composition you need to improve your health and make sure that you maintain or gain muscle mass, maintaining muscle mass and strength is linked to health and longevity, and you make sure that you lose fat. The goal is to get stronger so that you maintain muscle mass and that you lose fat this gives you a good look physique that is also healthy.

As I´ve mentioned before it´s not about weight loss, your weight and your physique is the result of your health and what´s going on in your body, if you have fat to lose and if it´s hard for you to lose fat and maintain a healthy weight then there´s something going wrong with the hormones and systems in your body and that´s what you need to focus on. Considering a healthy diet that gives your body the nutrients it needs while getting rid of all the unhealthy foods that are like toxins to your body and to get stronger to build muscle mass and end with a healthy and good looking body.

If you are skinny you need to get stronger to build muscle mass while burning the fat you do have to make sure that your weight is actually healthy. You also need to focus on giving your body the nutrients it needs.

As you can see weight loss can get very complicated, it´s not as easy as most fitness experts ang gurus say. Their eat less – move more advice is just one small piece of the puzzle and we need to mention that their approach is not complete.

We´ll be talking a lot more about healthy weight loss and we´ll be sharing with you tips and steps to improve your health and achieve your weight loss goal once and for all. In the mean time if you have any doubt, question or comment leave it down below and on Twitter, we´ll be glad to read from you and help you.

It would mean so much to us if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow us on Twitter and YouTube.

Pam

Diet

Macronutrients – Fats

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Some fats are healthy, your body needs them. Once you start consuming the right amount of healthy fats you´ll feel amazing and you´ll also start losing weight.

How many times have you heard that fats are bad for us? that they make us gain weight and increase cholesterol?

If you´re like me you may have heard that fats are bad for you so you avoid cooking with butter and use small amounts of olive oil, you may never had tried coconut oil until the past years when people start claiming that it is one of the best oils to cook on, you avoid all fatty meats and try to steak to lean meats, you choose chicken or turkey over sirloin or rib eye. Sadly, we´ve been doing the wrong thing, this advice is completely wrong. I said sadly because honestly, I prefer more fatty meat, fortunately we´re in time to change those advice and get the truth out there.

The first macronutrient we´re going to talk about is fat and the reason why is because it has been involved in myths regarding health issues.

For the past years’ fats have been considered the cause of many health problems and diseases so experts recommended to lower fats and increased carbohydrates and that´s what we did but when we made those changes to our diet some chronic diseases increased. And what´s worse some “experts” recommended to avoid certain fats, especially the ones that come from animal sources and we started using vegetable oils which are unhealthy. The truth is that fat is a source of energy that your body can use efficiently, it´s more efficient than carbohydrates and your brain needs fat. Your entire body including your brain loves fat and perform a lot better when they thrive on fat. Of course, there are some unhealthy fats that you need to eliminate which we´re going to see in a minute and those unhealthy fats are the cause of health problems.

One of the biggest reasons why people don´t consume healthy fat is because they´re afraid that eating too much fat will make them fat, and that´s what we´ve been told, but this is not true. If you eat unhealthy foods like processed and refined carbohydrates, vegetable oils or seed oils and trans fats and you eat a lot you´ll gain weight and you´ll get fat, if you eat healthy foods it´ll be very hard to gain weight because it´s harder to over eat.

And, because the industries had made us believe that fats are bad and are causing health problems, we´ve been brainwashed to the idea that we need to follow a low-fat high carbohydrate diet which is creating more problems.

Fats come in the form of triglycerides from the food you eat, and they are also stored as triglycerides in our body. They are formed of a molecule of glycerol connected to three fatty acids. There are 9 calories in one gram of fat. Fats are also called lipids and their main function is to form the membranes of each cell of your body, they are divided into saturated, unsaturated and trans fats.

Saturated fats.- Each carbon atom can form a bond with four other molecules, two of this bonds will always be use to connect it to the next carbon in the chain, if the remaining two bonds are connected to hydrogen it is called saturated fat. These saturated fats are solid at room temperature an example is butter. If you follow a balanced nutrition program that include high carbohydrates and you consume a lot of this type of fats your body is not efficient at breaking them down and digesting them.

Unsaturated fats.- If the remaining bonds do not bond with hydrogen molecules it is called unsaturated fat. Unsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature and can be divided into monounsaturated and polyunsaturated.

Monounsaturated fats have a single double bond and include olive oil, avocado oil.

Polyunsaturated fats have more than one double bond and include fish oil.

Trans fat.- This fats are created from unsaturated fats by adding hydrogen to vegetable oils to make them solid at room temperature and they are produced or used by food chains and processed foods. This are the fats you need to avoid due to their negative effects on health.

Vegetable oils or seed oils are also a type of fat that is unhealthy and toxic for your body, you also need to avoid this unhealthy oils and we´re going to talk about them in a future post so that we can go deeper and understand why they are bad and why we need to eliminate them from our diet.

Essential fatty acids are those fatty acids that you need to obtain from nutrition. They are classified as polyunsaturated omega-3, omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids.

The amount of fat you need will vary depending of the nutrition program you are following, for a ketogenic diet  70% to 75% most come from fat, around 5% – 10% carbohydrates and the rest of protein. I want to make something clear here, if you are on a ketogenic diet, you must eat all healthy fats, the only ones you must avoid are trans fats. On a ketogenic diet your body can use saturated fats effectively.

Fats are a great option to keep us satisfied and full, you can have some almonds or nuts as a snack or add avocado to your meals to keep us full longer.

If you like to eat at restaurants like I do you need to watch out at how meals are cooked, many of them use dips and sausages high in trans fats and sugars and some cook with a lot of butter, even when butter is good if your goal is fat loss you want to be in a caloric deficit and fats are high.

We will be talking about fats and all macronutrients in future posts to see how they impact our body and health so that we can create a nutrition program that works for each of us, if you have any doubt or question let us know by leaving a comment down below and on Twitter, we´ll glad to help you.

It would mean so much to us if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow us on Twitter and YouTube.

Pam

Sleep

Here´s what you need to know about phases of sleep

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We all know that sleep is crucial for our health and one night of poor sleep will impact our day, when this lack of sleep is constant the negative effects increase but what happens while we sleep?  There are so many things going on in our brain and body that help us recover from the day and get ready for what´s to come.

Nowadays people in different industries like fitness and health are giving more importance to sleep because there are so many things going on and a lack of sleep or poor quality can be the cause of health problems and there´s still people who don´t give the importance it deserves and claim that some of the most amazing minds that have lived didn´t get what´s consider enough sleep in the 7 to 8 hours which is completely true but the research on how those amazing minds manage to keep going with little sleep is not conclusive. For now, we´ll talk about the phases or stages of sleep because it´s important that you understand at least the basics of it.

Reading books and research, some divide the phases or stages of sleep in 4 others in 5 the way I see it and to keep it simple is considering 4 phases:

1.- Phase one.- When you fall asleep your brain produces alpha and theta waves, this phase last just a couple minutes and it´s when we can be easily woken. If at night, you fall asleep and after a couple of minutes you wake up with any noise you were in this phase. This phase of light sleep gives way to phase two.

2.- Phase two.- During this phase the brain waves decrease in frequency and increase in amplitude, your body temperature starts to decrease and heart rate slows down.

3.- Phase three.- This phase of moderate sleep giving way to deep sleep is where it is harder to be awakened. At this stage you are not aware of noises and activity around you and your muscle start to relax and blood pressure start to lower.

4.- Phase four.- This phase is the deepest level of sleep and  is where delta waves or slow waves takes place. At this stage your muscles are relaxed and blood pressure and breathing rate lowers.

These four phases are called non-rapid eye movement, after this four phases are completed you get to a rapid eye movement which is the fifth phase or REM, while you sleep you go through cycles between non-rapid eye movement and rapid eye movement.

The first 4 phases which are part of the non-rapid eye movement are compromised of slow waves while the fifth phase or REM which is the rapid eye movement your heart rate increases, your breathing gets faster, there are rapid waves of beta, alpha and theta and your eyes can be seen moving beneath our lids. Some people have found through research that in this phase your dreams are more vivid compared to the other phases.

In this last phase is also when you can retain information, skills, improve memory and learning.

One complete sleep cycle going through all phases last around 90 minutes, each night you go through several cycles, you may go through 4 or 5 cycles per night depending on how many hours of sleep you get.

If you have sleep disorders it may be harder for you to fall asleep so you´ll get less sleep and will go through less cycles, if you wake up in the night and interrupt the cycle your body needs to start again from phase 1, the more you get awaken during the night chances are that you may never get through all phase of deep sleep which affects your entire sleep quality and you´ll get all the negative impacts of one night of poor sleep the next day.

There are so many things going on while we sleep and there are so many things related to sleep that we don´t know or don´t understand yet but, experts keep studying it and finding new data. We can all see the negative impact of poor sleep or lack of sleep of just one night by how bad we feel the next day but why is it that some people look great and perform amazing with just 6 hours of sleep per night? Why others need the 8 hours of high-quality sleep?

Let us know by leaving a comment down below and on Twitter if you need the 8 hours every night and also if there´s something in particular you want to know about.

It would mean so much to us if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow us on Twitter and YouTube.

Pam

Exercise

How exercise helps you lose weight

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When you´re starting a new journey that you know will be hard because it involves some type of effort and time then you´re doing everything harder.

When you are struggling with your weight and you´ve been sedentary for years then any type of exercise or physical movement will be hard. The more weight you have to lose the harder it is, your body hurts, you feel tired and the moment you start walking or doing something you get out of breathe. But you do know that exercise or physical movement is important.

Exercise helps you lose weight by burning calories but it needs to be done correctly and it´s a priority to keep that weight off which is the real challenge, this means you need to develop good healthy habits and you need to make sure you´re exercising the right way. For exercise the points you need to consider are frequency and consistency, this means you need to be disciplined. You can´t just exercise once or twice a week and want to get results, you can´t do 3 or 4 hours one day and rest 5 days and expect to get results. You need to exercise every day. The more active you can be throughout the day the better.

Yes, you need to challenge yourself and get uncomfortable, but it´s not about suffering and wanting to do more than the next guy or wanting to get results as fast as possible. Focus on what you can do today and make sure that every day you´re making progress.

I know you have heard the most famous advice for weight loss “eat less – move more”. This is easier said than done and unfortunately this advice in incomplete, but it still plays a role on helping you achieve your goal.

We can´t deny the fact that to lose weight you need to be on a calorie deficit meaning you need to eat less. Exercise is a great tool to make that calorie deficit possible, when you exercise your body needs energy and that energy comes in the form of calories so when you exercise or do some physical activity your body is burning calories and if you´re eating less (we´re going to talk about this in a future post) you´ll lose weight. But there are some caveats to this. If it was this simple, then obesity and overweight wouldn´t be a problem and you won´t be reading this post.

The type of exercise or physical activity you do, how you do it and how much you do it will all have an impact on your results. Our goal is to use exercise as a tool to improve your health and lose weight (at least for now). I need to mention a point really quick, health is always a priority, in many cases being obese or overweight is a symptom caused by health problems so if you focus on improving your health you´ll lose weight.

Most of us are very sedentary so increasing physical activity is key to improving your health, this includes lungs, heart and brain and it helps you burn calories the important point to consider is that if you´re struggling with your weight, you feel tired and your body hurts you won´t want to do any crazy routines and you can´t so what you need to do is start by taking small walks.

As I mentioned before the points you need to consider is frequency and consistency so you need to develop the habit of exercising every day, the best exercise is the one you like and enjoy doing every day, this does not means that you need to go to the gym every day or do the same type of exercise every single day, what it means is that you need to find activities, sports, or exercises you enjoy doing and do them daily, keep changing them and make them fun and challenging. You do not need to go for 45 or 60 minute workouts once a day , you can divide those 45 minutes into 10 or 15 minutes a couple times a day especially if you spend most of the time sitting. Every 2 or 3 hours get up and take a walk. You can also dance or jump rope.

If it´s so hard for you to do any physical activity start by taking 5 minute walks 3 times a day, go for a 5 minute walk when you wake up before breakfast, take another 5 minute walk right after dinner and find a time during your day for the 3rd one. Do this a couple of weeks every day and let us know by leaving a comment down below and on Twitter how you feel.

It would mean so much to us if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow us on Twitter and YouTube.

Pam

Stress

Pressure and stress are different. Here´s what you need to know.

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If you confuse pressure with stress you are losing great opportunities to get something done with outstanding results and you are increasing stress.

There´s a huge problem I see every day, some of us confuse pressure with stress, we get anxious, start panicking and everything goes wrong but there´s a big difference between pressure and stress.

Stress is when we are in a situation where we don´t have enough resources to meet the outcome, we may not have enough time, money, etc  and when we don´t have control of the situation the end results won´t depend completely of us.

There are so many situations that can cause stress in a day to day basis like getting stuck in traffic, being late to a meeting, a long list of emails that we need to answer. If we feel overwhelmed and we know that we don´t have total control of a situation that is stress.

Pressure is when we have control of the situation and the end results depends of us, of our performance, how productive, effective and efficient we are with what we have.

Pressure is that feeling when we only got one shot at any project, that we have a deadline and we have to deliver the best results possible. We are challenged to meet demands.

The reason why it is important to identify both of them is to be able to act the best way possible in each situation, you need to identify if you are in a stressful situation or if you are dealing with pressure. If you are dealing with stress the best you can do is first ask yourself how important is that situation for you, many of us pay too much attention to what others say and think of us, we spend too much time with negative people and this create stress and we don´t need it. Sometimes we make a big deal of meaningful situations and what´s impacting us is the way we react. What you can do here is breathe, take some deep breathes and feel your body calming down. Then ask if there´s something you can do, in many cases there´s nothing you can do so you need to change your focus, do something different and work in other stuff and just move on.

When you are under pressure this means there´s something you need to do whether it´s make a decision or finish a project in a short period of time you need to find the best options and solutions with what you´ve got. Sometimes you don´t have the best resources of time, energy, money, knowledge but your result can impact your job or your life so you need to make the best, you need great performance, effectiveness and efficiency.

We know that stress can have a negative impact on our life and health while pressure can have a positive impact. For some of us pressure helps us stay focus and bring the best of us, taking it as a challenge to learn new skills, to improve, to get stronger is a way to get the best results while for others it can be overwhelming and can have very negative effects feeling as the highest level of stress.

Pressure can lead to anxiety, knowing that an outcome or end results depends of you and not knowing if you are going to be able to deliver on time at the level expected and how is your end result going to be taken creates fear specially if you need to learn new skills.

There are ways and tools you can use to know how to cope with each of them but as always it takes time, the best you can do now is try to avoid negative situations, negative people and negative environments, if you need to work under pressure believe in yourself, believe you can do it, you got everything you need to deliver a great result and even if you don´t know certain skills you can learn them and apply what you learn in your project.

Stress and pressure are different so you need to respond differently to them, stress can have a really negative impact on your body and health while pressure can have a positive impact, stress can lead to bad relationships and bad results when working on a project while pressure can help us meet expectations and get our best results.

One simple question you can ask yourself to know how to respond or what you need to do is:

Do I have control over this? is there something I can do? if the answer is yes think about what you can do to get the best result, or what can you do to improve the situation, if the answer is no then let go off trying to manage or control the outcome. Do not stress with something that is out of your hands.

It would mean so much to us if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow us on Twitter and YouTube.

Pam