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Do we need to avoid unhealthy foods when we want to gain muscle?

12_galleta
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When we want to gain muscle we know that we need to eat more so some of us think about it as a way to fit more unhealthy foods into their diet but is this a good option?

If we think only about calories then we can make those extra calories come from unhealthy foods but from a macronutrient ratio this can change, we know that our body needs nutrients to function properly and to sustain our fitness goals, our body need nutrients to recover and grow, we give our muscle the stimulus to grow in the gym and then we give it the nutrients it needs which are proteins and fats and carbohydrates if we follow a balanced diet.

We all know that we need to avoid unhealthy foods for health reasons so  the best option would be to stick to whole, fresh foods and just eat more of them now, do we need to avoid unhealthy foods for muscle growth? it all depends of you and your body, some of us are able to eat a good amount of processed, junk and fast food while building muscle but most of us will find it difficult and the reason why is this, unhealthy foods are calorically dense and lack nutrition, this means that one single unhealthy food is high in calorie and very low in nutrition, from a calories standpoint we´ll need to eat small portions of those foods but we´ll have cravings, we won´t have enough energy for our workouts, we´ll feel tired and our body won´t have nutrients to function, recover and grow.

So even when we can eat more we still need to focus on whole fresh foods, but we can add more “cheat meals” (I don´t like the term cheat meals, I´ll tell you in other post) when our goal is fat loss we can have one cheat meal every week or maybe one every two weeks, when our goal is muscle growth we can have one cheat a week or some of us can have two, it all depends of our body and how we feel.

Some people consider cheat meals a good way to replenish glycogen, increase calorie intake one day and keep cravings low, even when this works I still recommend to stick to whole, fresh foods there are so many different snacks and foods we can have which are healthy.

There are some special occasions that I would eat unhealthy meals which are birthdays and Holidays, in my case we have 3 birthdays we celebrate per year and from those 3 birthdays just in 2 of them we have cupcakes.

The reason why I don´t recommend following restrictive diets is so that we have the freedom to enjoy so many different meals from any country, the only rule is that those meals are cooked and prepared with whole, fresh ingredients, if we follow this guide we can have dessert once or twice a week without calling it cheat meal. And the reason why I recommend to avoid unhealthy processed foods like sweets, junk and fast foods is because they are high in sugars, unhealthy fats and chemicals that our body doesn´t need.

If we follow those rules it´s easier for us to develop the habit of eating healthy which makes it easier for us to achieve any fitness goal because we know that we just eat a little less to lose fat and a little more to gain 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

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This fat loss tips will make everything easier

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As always I´m trying to keep things simple and give you the best tools to achieve your fitness goals in the fastest, most effective way possible while helping you live a healthier life. To make things easier for you I´m sharing today some principles for fat loss that if you follow them you´ll lose fat, you´ll get results.

For this principles I will consider that you are insulin sensitive so you don´t need to be worrying about following strict diets low in carbohydrates and you´ll be burning fat efficiently.

For the nutrition aspect for fat loss the principles you need to follow are very simple: Avoid unhealthy foods, reduce calories and try intermittent fasting. This are the three principles I follow when I want to lose fat, I don´t over complicate things and don´t get stressed.

AVOID UNHEALTHY FOODS

Many people are so obsessed with finding the best diet to lose weight as fast as possible, from keto to vegetarian or paleo but most of us still consume a lot of unhealthy foods. The first step and the one that is going to give you the best results is to avoid unhealthy foods as much as possible, this include sweets, junk, processed and fast food. Develop the habit of eating fresh food like vegetables, fruit, meats, fish.

REDUCE CALORIES

You need to eat less to force your body to use stored fat for energy. The goal is to create a deficit that is sustainable, one that is enough for your body to use body fat and that you don´t feel hungry. If you feel hungry it´ll be harder to stay on a caloric deficit, also if you go to low in calories for a long period of time your metabolism slows down and your body gets in starvation making it impossible to burn fat.

INTERMITTENT FASTING

With intermittent fasting you reduce insulin by eating just two times a day, this creates the perfect scenario for your body to burn fat, it also gives you the opportunity to have bigger meals and you don´t need to be thinking about food all day long. Reducing the amount of meals you have per day reduces your stress and makes your life easier, reducing stress also has a positive impact on weight loss and it´s easier to stay on a caloric deficit.

Don´t forget to eat a good amount of protein to maintain your muscle mass even when you are reducing calories, make that calories reduction come from carbohydrates. Focus on making healthy food choices to make your fat loss faster and easier, even when reducing calories helps you burn fat, if you eat healthy, nutritious food your body works more efficiently so it´s easier to lose fat than when you eat junk and processed foods.

If you can keep your diet simple by selecting some healthy meals you love and eating them over and over again it´ll be easier. You don´t need to eat the same exact meal two times a day or every day, you can make a list of your favorite healthy meals and create a meal plan for one week and just keep repeating that meal plan making some adjustments.

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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Why the scale is making your fat loss journey harder

06 Dont get obsessed with the scale
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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

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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

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Eat less – move more, the worst advice I can give you

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Watching and reading interviews of fitness trainers and experts of the industry and their advice is always the same “it´s so easy to lose weight, you just need to eat less and move more”. I´m looking at thousands and thousands of reviews of commercial weight loss programs that use this advice, I´m also reading and watching videos of people who participate on TV shows and their answer is almost always the same, it´s hard to stick to the program, and it´s impossible to keep the weight off.

We´ve all listened the famous advice of eat less and move more, even people dealing with their weight know it the problem is that this advice is not completely right. From my point of view if you are obese or overweight and you ask me for one advice and I give you the one we already know it would be disrespectful from me. If you´ve tried this advice before and fail I will only make you feel worst.

If you´re overweight or obese and you´ve tried this advice and fail it´s not your fault, there are several things going on that are making you fail. Even when the famous advice has something right there are more stuff that comes into play that you need to consider. If you follow only that advice you´ll fail because your body don´t work the same as in a lean person. Your metabolism is slow and you are insulin resistant and this is just one part.

The way food affects your brain and body have a huge impact on how able you are to stay on track or give up. The problem with weight loss is not only physical, it´s mental, emotional and psychological. All unhealthy food creates a vicious cycle that is so similar to how smoking and alcohol affects your brain, it triggers certain parts of your brain and it becomes an addiction this is why it´s so difficult to stop eating them and to make healthy choices even when you know you are making the wrong choices.

All this unhealthy foods make you feel tired, lazy, low energy, without motivation and it´s a big reason why you don´t feel like working out. It becomes a vicious cycle, being obese or overweight following an unhealthy nutrition program without exercising leads to more of this negative habits, and this not only cause problems physically. I know you´ve felt lost, sad, depressed wanting to make a change but not knowing where to start.

With all this things going on it´s impossible that you can eat less and move more, physically, mentally and emotionally you won´t be able to handle it plus you need to think about improving insulin and metabolism.

Instead of thinking about eating less and moving more just take it one step at a time and start by changing your eating habits by making healthier choices, don´t think about eating less think about how you can substitute an unhealthy meal or snack. Consider that the moment you start making healthier choices you´ll be avoiding processed foods and your mind will fight you back, do not listen to all the excuses this is why you are substituting unhealthy for healthy so that you don´t feel deprive.

Once you get use to eating meals cooked with real, fresh ingredients you can make more adjustments to your diet like reducing carbohydrates, when you are insulin resistant your body can´t use carb efficiently this is one of the reasons why the “eat less – move more” advice won´t work for most people, we need to improve insulin in order for you to lose fat.

You also need to focus on resistance training which means lifting weights, this will help you maintain and gain muscle mass which improves your metabolism and add some cardio to help you lose fat faster. If you take the advice of move more and you start doing cardio exercise and no resistance you´ll lose muscle which makes the problem worse this is why most people are not able to sustain their results.

Getting in shape can get a little complex and it´s not only about eating less and moving more, so many things come into play and you need to understand them, information like how your hormones work and how they respond to food, training, sleep, stress and mindset which are the 5 principles of fitness is important. Once you understand this stuff it will be simple for you to achieve your goals.

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 to get started

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I woke up today inspired and committed to start my fitness journey but with so much information, a lot of it contradicting, so many lies and myths I ended overwhelmed and not knowing what to do.

I didn´t know how to start…

Every time I was about to start a traditional weight loss program I didn´t need to think about creating the plan I already had it so I only followed it but this time is different, I need to design a fitness program based on everything I´ve learned, I have no program just a tone of information, so the best thing to do is keep it simple and old school, this means stick with the basics.

When you are out of shape it´s been a long time without any physical activity that can be consider exercise so it´s so hard to get up and do it, at least the first weeks. So knowing that getting in shape and stay in shape is more about habits than anything else so the first thing to do is developing good habits.

For this you need to schedule 1 hour of your day for exercise, the best time to workout is in the morning I wake up and take some time to breath and visualize my goals then I workout after exercise I can continue with my day otherwise I find it really hard to concentrate and stay on track for the entire day.

The goal here is to develop the habit of working out every single day, there will be some days when you don´t feel like getting up and exercising, this are some of the challenges you need to go through just stop thinking about all the negative excuses you don´t want to exercise and get up. Don´t think about, just do it.

In most cases people don´t want to get up and exercise because they hate the workouts or routines which makes it harder for them to find motivation. I´ll give you a lot of different tools and workouts you can follow and all of them are completely different to what you´ve seen and hopefully they are a lot more fun. I will share with you different programs so you only need to follow them, all of them are complete and use the 5 principles of fitness. If you still don´t like them you need to find out something you like to do for resistance training and cardio training.

The first weeks are always so hard because you are making different choices so your mind wants to take you back to your old habits and choices and the way to take you back it through all kind of negative believes and excuses, here you need strong willpower to get out of bed and workout or to stay late after your job to exercise if you are working out late night.

To make this starting phase a lot easier you can take it one step at a time, if you´ve been lazy for a long period of time and your diet is based on unhealthy processed foods the first step is changing your eating habits, take 1 or 2 weeks to focus on foods, eat meals cooked with real fresh ingredients (I share nutrition tips and tools you can use on the nutrition section of this website) and avoid unhealthy foods. Then in the 3 week stay with step 1 and add exercise it can be only 20 minutes per day (I share with you a beginners program in the programs sections of this website) and keep increasing time or intensity. The for the third step you can which can be at week 5 you can add a breathing technique to reduce stress and get better quality sleep every night.

What would you think and say if I tell you that getting in great shape and sustain it is actually simple and effortless?, you don´t need to follow strict low calorie diets, you won´t be eliminating your favorite meals (although you´ll need to avoid sweets, junk, processed and fast food) and that you don´t need to get obsessed with the scale or counting calories.

Let me tell you that it´s possible and that´s what all this website is all about, share with you all the information you need, the truth about how things work and the tools you need to use to get in the best shape possible and sustain it and , it´s simple, but not easy. You need to put the effort.

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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Why weight loss and fat loss are not the same

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After a couple years of being uncomfortable with the way I looked physically and having low self-esteem I decided to start working out and following a diet to lose weight, I even follow some traditional weight loss programs you can find on Internet and in all of them I get to a point where I give up. It was so hard to stick to the diet and every day it was harder to exercise, I wasn´t getting results so I lost all motivation. The moment I stopped following any weight loss program it was harder for me to maintain the results, I needed to eat less and I had to exercise a lot more, this is when I realize that something was wrong. At this moment I decided to take a couple of months to research, learn and understand everything I need about fitness and health. I started reading every book, magazine, article that I could, then and once I had understood the information I  use it to gain personal experience, to find out the truth about getting in shape, sustain those results and do it in a simple and effortless way.

If you are in this place there are some points you need to understand to get in your best shape once and for all and the first point is that weight loss and fat loss are not the same. Weight loss means losing body fat, water and muscle mass; fat loss means losing body fat, water and maintaining muscle mass. If you focus on weight loss and you follow any of the weight loss programs out there which are based on strict low calorie and cardio yes you will lose a lot of weight but it include fat, water and muscle.

You´ll find it hard to follow the program for a long period of time and when you stop you´ll see that it´s almost impossible to sustain your results, you need to eat a lot less and you have to exercise a lot more just to maintain or otherwise you start gaining weight fast.

The reason of it is simple, your metabolism is slower and you are insulin resistant. Slow metabolism means that you lost muscle mass so your body uses less energy for all activities. Being insulin resistant means that your body can´t use carbohydrates the  right way (there´s a lot more to know about metabolism and insulin but we´re going to talk about that in next posts).

When you focus on fat loss you´ll lose body and water but you´ll maintain as much muscle mass as possible or even gain muscle. Here you increase metabolism and improve insulin, your body uses more energy and it´s able to use carbs more effectively which make it a lot easier for you to get consistent results and sustain them.

There are so many weight loss programs that focus on the wrong goal, the reason is simple we live in a fast paced world, we can have almost everything instantly so when we´re following a weight loss program we want results fast and the industry takes advantage of this without considering the negative effects on health on the long run.

Weight loss is fast, unhealthy and unsustainable; fat loss is slow, healthy and sustainable. Even when fat loss takes some time it won´t take you that long, around 8 to 10 months is enough to get amazing results. Think about it this way, take Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years Eve or your birthday as the day to achieve your desire weight and start following a fat loss program, don´t get obsessed with it. Time will pass anyway so it´s worth it that you use that time so when Thanksgiving, Christmas or your birthday arrives you look and feel a lot better. If you are going to put time and effort on your workouts and making better choices on your meals make them count by focusing on the fat loss which is what´s going to give you the best 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