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Archive for March, 2014

America, I Love You, But You’re Fat

March 27th, 2014 No comments

The USA is wonderful. I love the great land, the beautiful scenery, the big history and the friendly people. I try to go to the States at least once a year but one thing that bugs me -- the same thing that bugs a lot of people when they visit the US -- is the inordinate number of obese people or the many “average just plain overweight” people you see.

It’s not just my perception, it’s a documented, statistical fact.

One Third of The U.S. Population is Considered Obese
The CDC reports that “more than one-third (age-adjusted 34.9%, crude 35.1%) of U.S. adults were obese in 2011–2012.” In actual numbers that meant “more than 78 million adults were obese.” It's an ongoing issue that has been known for a while: “most recent national data from 2011–2012 on obesity prevalence among U.S. adults show that there was no significant change since 2009–2010." 2

And it’s not going to get better in the near future, because...

Childhood Obesity Rises All the Time
In the last 30 years, childhood obesity has tripled. Over 15% of US kids are obese; not overweight... obese.

Figure 1: Trends in obesity among children and adolescents aged 2–19 years, by sex: United States, 1971–1974 through 2009–2010. Source: CDC
graph-1Note: Obesity is body mass index greater or equal to the 95th percentile of the sex- and age-specific 2000 CDC growth charts.

That means things are going to get worse in the future. Obese kids are going to grow up to be obese people. They’re going to be obese people who have no idea what it’s like to be thin... ingrained in their self image, it's going to be very hard for them to ever be thin.

75% of Obese People Aren't Obese

A study released in 2011 interviewed men and women who didn’t think they were overweight were 71 per cent less likely to want to lose weight, while 65 per cent of women didn't feel the urge to diet.3 Of course not. That’s just part of the problem, of course.

The problem is that obese people don’t think they’re obese. A survey by IFIC Foundation Food and Health in 2010 found that only 23% of obese Americans think they are obese. That’s less than one in five who have a grip on reality. That number pretty much watches up with other surveys.

A survey by The Deloitte Center for Health Solutions found that 88% of adults think they are in good or excellent health, even though nearly half of them were taking as many as three or more daily medications for chronic medical problems.

And again, this problem of perception extends to childhood obesity. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found in a survey that 50% of the parents of obese children don’t consider their children overweight, even. People latch onto the thinnest evidence to deny that there’s a problem that is not going away.

Are you depressed yet? There's more. NBC in 2012 quotes a Duke University study that shows that "the already obese are getting fatter. Severe obesity will double by 2030, when 11 percent of adults will be nearly 100 pounds overweight, or more." 4

This has been a growing problem that health experts have warned about for some time now. When it was predicted years ago, people denied it, they deny it's a problem today and they'll deny it's a problem ten years from now.

americas-obesity-epidemic

I’m looking at you America. Honestly, I love you but you are fat. And you really need to do something about it.

1 http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/overwt.htm
2 http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db131.htm
3 http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1372310/U-S-denial-obesity-overweight-adults-dont-think-problem.html#ixzz2wivHad6e
4 http://www.nbcnews.com/id/47324248/ns/health-diet_and_nutrition/t/no-end-us-obesity-epidemic-forecast-shows/#.Uy37XIWo3rs

Categories: nutrition and health Tags:

6 Ways to Make Jogging Sessions Go Quicker Without Running Faster

March 26th, 2014 No comments

While jogging and running is a great way to get a full body cardio exercise, many regular runners complain that although their body is as active as it could be, their mind is crying out for some stimulation. This is especially true if you tend to run at the same time or in the same place every day. Eventually it gets to a point where the same old running playlist just isn’t going to give you the stimulation you need, to be able to honestly say that you enjoyed your run.

Here we take a look at six ways you could add a little bit of mental stimulation to your run without compromising its effectiveness as a workout.

Take your dog.

dogIf you are a dog owner, you’ll be aware of their love for the great outdoors. Whilst most dogs have to settle for a habitual once a day walk or, if they are lucky, several times a day, imagine being the owner who treats his dog to a thorough work-out. You would be your dog’s hero.

On the whole, dogs are exercise junkies and by taking your dog on your run, you will avoid falling into the evil traps of boredom by forging new bonds with your beloved canine. Moreover, running with your dog will also be physically beneficial as you will constantly have another variable dictating your workout. If you have a particularly athletic dog you can use them as your unorthodox personal trainer of sorts.

The-Walking-Dead-image-Steven-Yeun-1

Glenn gets in come good cardio in AMC's Walking Dead

Zombies Running Game
Ever fantasised about the zombie apocalypse? Watch a lot of  Walking Dead? Well this app may be just the thing for you, get fit whilst fleeing from monsters! The zombies running game consists of two apps available for both iOS and Android, one suited for beginners (the 5K Training) and the main attraction, the Zombies, Run! 2 game, which is fitting for the hardcore adventurers amongst us.

This inventive app mixes regular training with a spellbinding storyline which is guaranteed to captivate your attention. The structured training has been devised by running experts who are keen to create a unique running experience for their customers. As an added bonus you will still be able to run to your own music which will hopefully keep you grounded in reality, just in case you get too caught up in Zombieland.

Nike+ FuelBand
The latest offering from Nike, the FuelBand, comes in the form of sleek and technology packed coloured bracelet. The accelerometer has been improved since the previous version, the band also has increased water resistant and excellent social aspects which allow you to share goals with other users, compare progress and compete for leader board presence.

As well as tracking how much, how often and how intensely you move, these stats are also noted and recorded into your Nike+ account. This method of exercising is exceptionally motivating as it allows you to work with friends or set challenges with yourself, whilst always being able to see your results and progress. The Nike+ FuelBand is worth considering if you’re keen to become a dedicated fitness fanatic and inject some elements of competition into your workout.

spotSpotify Premium
Music is personal and nothing caters to music fiends as  much as Spotify Premium. This streaming service offers a personalised touch that not only lets you do the basics like create playlists and follow what your friends are grooving to, but also allows you unrestricted mobility with your music. The golden days of the iPod may be fading as CDs continue to decrease in popularity and it becomes less and less viable to maintain a comprehensive iTunes library.

Premium users essentially carry a colossal database of music with them, all day, every day, allowing them to change their playlists mid run if an unexpected musical urge strikes. The ability to access a wide range of music will no doubt be beneficial in keeping the boredom at bay. After all, nobody wants to run to the same music over and over, and over again.

Headphones designed to stay in your earheadphs
Often it takes something simple to transform a situation, and a pair of headphones that actually stay in your ear might make a big difference to how much you enjoy your run. Right now millions of citizens meander along streets with somewhat ill-fitted earphones, but most soldier on without fixing the issue. However, if you’re a runner you’ll suffer from this annoyance more acutely and may often complete your workouts bathed in frustration rather than sweat.

The time has come to invest in a pair which does comply and allows you freedom from constantly readjusting your earphones whilst you run. Perhaps the Philips suave style appeals to you, for £8.99 it will certainly appeal to your wallet. Or Sony has launched Spiral Neck-Band headphones, with exceptional deep bass sound and moisture guard protection for the most extreme of workouts; these will cost you approximately $90 US.
If you go running with a friend the competition between the two of you will always be present, keeping things entertaining and perhaps even helping you get a better workout than you otherwise would. It might be useful to swap between the running and the cycling, to keep the fitness training interesting.

 bikeRun alongside a friend with a bike

Being with a friend has many benefits; the increased motivational factor will no doubt have a positive impact on your exercising routine. Moreover, a healthy race will add an element of fun to your workout which you may not experience when going at it solo. Research has shown that working out in groups rather than alone has an encouraging impact on one’s psyche, resulting in improved results and additional enjoyment of your routine.

We spoke to Omar El-Gohary, the head chemist at the UK’s largest online chemist, Chemist Direct, and asked him what he thought about exercising with a partner. Here is what he had to say:

“It’s widely accepted that exercising with a buddy can result in you putting more effort into your routine. It has also been shown that people performing tasks in pairs are much more likely to see said task through to the end. This is because not only would they have to rationalise quitting to themselves, which is often far too easy, but they will also have to rationalise it to another person.”

So there you have it, six top ways to mix up your workout and avoid the dreaded mental under stimulation. Let us know in the comments if you have any other top tips for staying mentally stimulated during exercise.

Categories: Tips and Tricks Tags:

Best Recovery Foods and Supplements Post Workout

March 16th, 2014 No comments

The post-workout meal is one of the most important meals of the day. In the first 30 to 45 minutes after working out, your body craves protein and carbohydrates. This is the best time to drink a protein shake and have a complete meal that is rich in quality protein and carbohydrates. Post-workout foods and supplements can help athletes prevent muscle loss and recover faster after intense training. Good nutrition is essential for muscle growth and repair.

Here are the best recovery foods and supplements post-workout:

L-Glutamine

Even though athletes are advised to take their daily nutrients from real food, proper supplementation can speed up recovery time and promote muscle growth. L-glutamine is one of the best post-workout supplements. This amino acid helps muscles recover from all the stress that’s placed on them. It also strengthens the immune system, prevents catabolism, and helps build muscle. For optimal benefits, take at least five grams of glutamine daily. Bodybuilders need up to 15 grams a day.

BCAAs

Branched chain amino acids support muscle development and recovery. These natural compounds protect your muscles against the catabolic effects of a calorie-deficit diet. Whether you want to build muscle or reduce your body fat levels, BCAA supplementation is essential. These supplements increase the rate of protein synthesis, reduce muscle breakdown, and spike blood amino acid levels.

Creatine Monohydrate

Creatine monohydrate is one of the most popular sports supplements available today. Not only it helps increase muscle mass and strength, but also accelerates recovery time and improves exercise performance. If you take creatine daily, your muscles will look fuller and recover faster after strenuous workouts. Creatine supplementation increases the production of ATP, which helps improve athletic performance. As a result, you'll be able to do more reps and lift heavier weights.

Whey Protein

Whey protein is a staple in any bodybuilder's diet. This type of protein enhances muscle recovery and growth, boosts the immune function, and improves physical performance. If you drink whey protein shakes post workout, add dextrose or other source of carbs. Those who want to build muscle can use a weight gainer containing whey protein and carbs. Unlike other types of protein, whey is easy to digest and contains all of the essential amino acids that your body needs.

Complex Carbs from Foods

Oatmeal, whole grains, and green leafy vegetables should be part of your daily menu. These super foods contain complex carbs and dietary fiber. They help replenish muscle glycogen stores, aid in digestion, and help you build lean muscle. Whole grains are perfect for reloading the muscle energy stores. Green leafy vegetables contain high amounts of water, which helps replace the fluid and electrolytes lost in sweat.

Antioxidants

If you want to lose weight and boost your metabolic rate, eat antioxidant-rich foods after working out. Berries, green tea, vitamin c chewable tablets(derived from natural resources) and broccoli are the best sources of antioxidants. These compounds help your body get rid of toxins and metabolic waste. Green tea reduces muscle damage induced by exercise and increases metabolism. If you drink a cup of green tea post workout, your body will keep burning calories at a faster rate.

Categories: nutrition and health Tags:

The 2014 Revamp and Revival

March 15th, 2014 No comments

Fitwithus.com was started in 2007 – over six years ago! – with the intention of creating an online community of people interested in fitness.

The first focus, however, was on creating original content.  In those days I was an “SEO expert” (not a label I liked much, mind you) and I knew – always believe – that content was king. I worked with a writer and fitness fanatic, Crystal Stewart, who also had a lot of ideas for features. We added things like the workout and exercise uploader that allowed people to upload and create workouts.

Our Initial Failure

The biggest challenge, though – as it is for so many people in web publishing – was coming up with a proper revenue model; the one that we intended to go with – advertising arbitrage - was doomed from the start. The real issue was that I was investing money and I needed to make a lot back and that was not happening. I had no way to do that as fast as I wanted to.

So the site was failing soon after launch. It continued to fail while other things I was working on were more successful, including a much-needed full-time job, other affiliate plays and successful consulting practice on the side. To be fair, I was busy.

All of life's failures amount in one way or another to variations on one theme – stop showing up. I lost interest in fitwithus.com. It grew in traffic for some time as you can see by the traffic report below. But like a poorly-considered New Years’ resolution, the site fell by the wayside.

analytics

...Time passed...

I worked for four years for a company about an hour’s commute from my home. SEO clients came and went… then more went. Pandas and Penguins and other updates came and whacked my sites. (I can see Pandas being alright at the old whack-a-mole but a Penguin? It was malicious.)

Spammers came. The out-of-the-box community software from Dolphin and Boonex had poor controls over user content. I wasn’t paying enough attention. My bad, for sure, but a site that had grown to a PR4 fell all the way down to PR1.

I took a job closer to home. I sold my other site begun around the same time as Fitwithus.com. My life got simpler. I started working out again….

... More time passed...

Then one day, Alex Fortey mentioned to me how he thought Fit With Us was a great idea. Fit With Us is a great idea, I remembered. As it had been many years before. I started thinking… and the revamp was underway.

Here we are, here’s the revamp:

Fit With Us is going to grow into the largest fitness community online. That’s the goal. It’s not the only goal, but...

Now I’m taking the lead role. Before, I left it up to someone else to be the editorial lead on the site. This time, I’m totally involved in the site. That doesn’t mean it’s going to be about me at all, though. It’s about community, a collection of people who want to work together to encourage each other, share triumphs and failures so we learn, grow and get fit together. And hopefully fit together, too!

Categories: staying inspired, working out Tags:

Six (+ One) Reasons Bruce Lee > Chuck Norris

March 4th, 2014 No comments

A lot of the internets seems to love Chuck Norris. Everybody's got their opinion, but Chuck has never done much to boost my interest in karate. For my money, there's one great martial arts star in cinema, Bruce Lee, the original. Even Chuck Norris would have to admit that he is nothing without Bruce Lee.

Here are five reasons why Bruce Lee is great. I personally go in for philosophy. If you don't have a philosophy behind what you do, you're missing a foundation. Anyway, Bruce speaks for himself.

On the desire for an easy life
do-not-pray-for-an-easy-life-bruce-lee

 

On failing to reach lofty goals


on-failure

 

On listening to other people's opinion of you


bruce-lee-8

 

On internal power, both figural and literal


bruce-lee

 

On a true understanding of defeat
Bruce-lee-quote-on-defeat

So what did Chuck Norris ever say? From anything I've ever heard.... not much.

Bruce Lee >>> Chuck Norris
Oh, and the one last reason Bruce Lee is greater than Chuck Norris is pretty obvious to most fans. The only time Bruce Lee ever fought Chuck Norris, Bruce Lee killed Chuck Norris.  Watch it for yourself.

Categories: staying inspired Tags: