Dr Akilah – Celestial Healing Wellness Center

The Natural Health and Holistic World According to Dr Akilah

Tag Archives: muscles

10 Reasons Why Women Should Lift Weights

10 Reasons Why Lifting Weights Is Good For Women

Everyone has seen the adverts showing men lifting weights and looking great, but who knew weightlifting was equally beneficial to women? Researchers have recently found compelling reasons for women to start lifting weights too, but the number of women following this advice is still very small. Here are the top ten reasons you should hit the weights…

1. It’ll make you strong!

Including weights in your exercise program will help strengthen the muscles. Recent studies have shown that even moderate weight training can increase a women’s overall strength by 50%. Wouldn’t you love to show your boyfriend/husband that you are not just a fragile girl. And imagine all the extra shopping bags you can carry!

2. It’ll tone you up!

A woman who weight trains three a week for two months will lose thirty pounds of fat, and gain four pounds of muscle. This means you’ll appear much slimmer, and weigh less too! And who doesn’t like a super toned body like all the hot celebrities out there.

Only Steroids and HGH will make women bulk up this

Unlike men, women will not appear “bigger” because of more muscle unless they are taking anabolic steroids or human growth hormone drugs. That is of course if you lift appropriate weights and don’t overdo it like female body builders who have their own reasons for doing so. When done right, your body will get toned and you will look slimmer much like a sports woman from the Olympics!

4. It makes your bones STRONGER!

Weight training increases the vitality of the bones, and prevents osteoporosis, a horrible and sometimes crippling illness. Bone density improves around 20% in six months of weight training, but improves fastest when teamed with a high calcium diet.

5. You’ll be healthier!

Not only will your bones be strong, your muscles and connective tissues will improve too, meaning you are much less likely to pull or strain muscles, or to suffer from arthritis which even though quite a common foot problem can be avoided. A 12 year study conducted recently showed that strengthening the muscles in the lower back reduced back pain by 80%!

6. You protect your heart!

Weight training is proven to lower bad cholesterol, and blood pressure. These are both key signs of unhealthiness, which can really affect your heart, so keeping them as low as possible is important. If you weight train and do a form of cardiovascular exercise, the benefits are maximised.

Oldest Female Bodybuilder in The World

Ernestine Shepherd World”s Oldest Bodybuilder at 75 years old!

7. It’s never too late!

Even women in their 80’s and 90’s can benefit from learning to weight train, as long as it is done in a safe environment. The benefits can be enjoyed at any age and your resultant healthy heart will thank you!

8. You’re less likely to suffer from diabetes!

Weight training appears to improve the body’s ability to process sugar, which reduces the chances of diabetes. Of course there are cures for diabetes. But prevention is better than cure right? Training can improve glucose usage by 23% in the first two months! As diabetes is a growing problem, this is a huge benefit.

9. You will improve your outlook!

Ten weeks of weight training has been proven to increase confidence and fight depression, due to feeling capable and the feel good hormones being released. What a perfect way to keep your mind and body healthy!

10. You’ll increase your performance!

Training will make everyday activities much easier, so whether you can cycle that bit further or run that bit faster, you’ll see the difference in your everyday life, too. It can even help with hobbies such as golf! And let me not even begin to state the great effects it will have on your sex life!

Staying fit can be hard work, and with so many suggestions, you feel like it’s much easier to just stick to the treadmill. The benefits of weight training are unbeatable though, so get down to a gym and see what your personal trainer recommends. I did, and now I love it! Plus, you never know who you’ll meet… Have you started lifting weights, and felt the benefits? Please share your stories!

.

.

Akilah M. El, N.D. is a Naturopathic Doctor and board-certified Master Herbalist with a private practice in Atlanta Georgia and Berlin Germany. Join Dr Akilah El on Facebook and Twitter

For More Health Tips Like This Check Out Our Health Tips Page

Improving Your Child’s Self Esteem Through Exercise

Improving Your Child's Self Esteem Through ExercisesBy Lynn Bode

Raising a pre-teen or teenage daughter (or son) is not easy and can cause any parent a lot of stress.  There’s so much to worry about – dating, drugs, alcohol, sex, school grades, just to name a few.  But one crucial element often gets overlooked until it manifests itself in extreme ways (like through an eating disorder). I’m talking about self-image. It’s extremely important that parents ensure that their children have a positive self-image, especially in relation to their body.

The key to ensuring strong self-esteem and a positive body image starts with the parent. If you don’t feel positive about your self-image, then how can you expect your children to? While this is important for both genders, it is especially critical for raising a healthy daughter. And beginning the lessons when a girl is young is imperative, so don’t wait until it’s too late – teaching your daughter to feel good about her body needs to start at a very young age.

Eating disorder experts say girls are developing eating disorders as young as 5 and 6 years old. And a recent study indicated that 70% of the sixth-grade girls they surveyed said they began worrying about their weight between ages 9 and 11. Why are so many young girls thinking that they are fat? Many are obsessing about their weight because they have parents who are preoccupied with their own poor body images.

While the statistics are disheartening, the good news is that there’s a lot that can be done to help our children have positive self-images. And, even small changes that parents make can help. Here are few tips to help your children avoid warped and negative body images:

Establish a “no diet talk” rule. When your children are nearby, DON’T talk about dieting or how fat you feel! This is extremely important. Remember, kids are listening all the time (even when you think that they aren’t – especially then). So, even though asking your spouse or friend “do I look fat in this?” may seem innocent, it can have a life-altering effect on your kids when they repeatedly hear it.

Parents aren’t the only adults that influence their children. Set the “no diet talk” rule mentioned above for all adults that are around your children. This means you shouldn’t allow your friends, parents, siblings, neighbors, or anyone else to talk about being fat or being on a diet when they are around your children.

Set a good example. If your children never see you engage in fitness or if they hear you complain about working out, then they are going to have a negative image of exercise. Let them know that you workout to stay healthy, to be strong and to have more energy and stamina (so you can keep up with them)!

Get your kids involved in sports. Experts say that playing sports really helps build confidence and improves self-esteem (especially for girls).

Teach your children to include physical activity as part of their daily routine. But don’t force them to exercise. Make sure that the physical activity is seen as something fun to do rather than teaching them to think of exercise as a necessary evil. Good activities include taking a nightly family walk, turning off the t.v. and instead turning music on that you all can dance to, or taking a weekend family bike ride.

Try to prepare (or if you are short of time purchase) healthy meals. And teach them the importance of good nutrition. Don’t let them have the misconception that there are “good” and “bad” foods. If a kid thinks that candy is a “bad” food, then naturally they will just want it more. Just try to encourage your kids to eat a balanced diet each day and to eat sugary and/or fatty foods in moderation.

Remember that something as small as talking about losing weight in front of your kids can have very detrimental effects on their self-image as they age. Damaging behavior learned from a parent at a young age can take years for a child to overcome. So, the sooner you start incorporating the tips above into your life, the better for you child. But don’t forget that it has to start with you – make sure that you are incorporating healthy fitness and eating rituals into your daily routine and that you have a positive body image (no matter what your size or shape is)!

.

.

To learn more about workouts for children and teens or to have a personalize fitness program created for your child’s fitness goals browse through our fitness page by clicking here

The 4 Things Missing From Most Women’s Workouts

If your workouts consist of doing light weights and steady-state cardio, you might be in for some bad news: These things alone won’t likely get you the results you’re after, say experts. To increase your fitness level, burn fat, and improve muscle tone, you’ve got to step up your game.

Here are four things women tend to skip that can deliver serious results.

1. High-intensity training.

All that time coasting on the elliptical at a comfortable pace probably hasn’t done much for your body, says Panama-based trainer Belinda Benn, creator of the Breakthrough Physique home fitness system. In fact, the biggest mistake women make in their training is not exercising with enough intensity, she says.

High-intensity interval training, or HIIT, is typically a 10- to 20-minute workout that alternates short, intense bursts of activity with moderate-exertion recovery periods. “High-intensity interval training  is the best way to improve your overall fitness, burn fat, and stimulate your hormones for a stronger body,” says Benn.

How to tell if you’re training hard enough? Look to your body for clues, Benn says. Good indicators are sweating, increased heart rate, and lactic acid production (i.e., feeling the “burn”) during exercise. Moderate muscle soreness for up to a few days post-workout is also a good sign. “If you feel nothing,” Benn says, “you probably didn’t work out hard enough.”

Heavy Lifting For Women
2. Heavier lifting.
 

 

For most women, a typical weight-training session equals light dumbbell exercises, says Toronto-based strength and conditioning specialist Craig Ballantyne, creator of the Turbulence Training Program. But doing fewer reps with more weight—say, 8 reps per set with a 15-pound dumbbell, instead of 15 reps with an 8-pound one—will burn more fat, he says. Lifting heavier will also increase your strength and muscle definition.

Start by swapping out your normal weights for slightly heavier ones, and gradually work your way up. Most women often worry that lifting heavy weights will make them look big and bulky like men. Unless you are taking Anabolic Steroids and/or Human Growth Hormone it is virtually impossible to grow muscles like men. I don’t care how heavy you lift.

3. Upper body workouts.

Women tend to store body fat around the waist, hips, and thighs, so that’s where they typically focus their exercise efforts—neglecting their upper bodies, Benn says.

But you can’t spot-reduce fat, and sticking with what’s easy can stunt your progress, says Benn. Because you may feel weak while attempting pull-ups for the first time, Benn suggests doing the hard stuff at the start of your workout, “when you’re freshest and feeling mentally strong.”

“Focusing on underdeveloped muscles will improve the contours of your body,” Benn says.

4. Training with a barbell.

Think barbells are synonymous with back-breaking chest presses? Not so. “You can do a tremendous workout just with a barbell,” Benn says. “If you’re holding a bar rather than using two separate weights, it forces you to get your body  in sync.”

Barbells are great for both upper- and lower-body exercises. Balancing one across your shoulders while doing squats, lunges, or walking lunges helps develop posture and balance, Benn says.

If you’re flirting with a barbell for the first time, go as light as you need to. Even 10 pounds is a good start.

Bonus tip:

If you’re worried you’ll bulk up with any of these exercises, consider your body type. Benn says women generally fall into two categories: those who build muscle easily, and those who don’t. If you build muscle easily, she suggests emphasizing high-intensity exercises. If you develop muscle slowly, you’ll benefit from spending more time on heavy lifting.

.

To learn more about workouts for women or to have a personalize fitness program created for your weight lost goals browse through our fitness page by clicking here

Top 10 Fitness Time-Wasters

Wasting Time In the Gym

By Barbara Russi Sarnataro

Avoid these time thieves and make the most of your trip to the gym.

We’ve all done it. We give ourselves an hour to get in a workout, then end up wasting nearly half of it — running an errand or two, getting dressed at the gym, chatting with acquaintances we bump into along the way. Even with the best intentions, you can sidetrack your progress if you don’t make good use of your time. Think you might be frittering away precious fitness time? Check out what three fitness experts identified as the top 10 fitness time-wasters, and see where you can improve.

1. Spinning Your Wheels.

When it comes to strength training, doing too many repetitions with lighter weights equals wasting time. “When we’re trying to build strength and build muscles, we want to attack as many muscle fibers as possible,” explains sports conditioning coach Fiona Lockhart. That means upping the weight and decreasing the reps: “Fifty biceps curls might build muscular endurance but you’re not going to build the strength you’re looking for,” Lockhart says. Of course, it also takes a lot more time to do 50 reps with light weights than 10 to 15 reps with more weight.

A good rule of thumb: If you’re able to do more than 15 repetitions of an exercise, it’s time to increase the weight, Lockhart says. The same is true of cardiovascular exercise. It’s easy to hop on the treadmill and type in the same speed, incline, and time every single time. But your body gets used to it. “If you’re trying to maximize time at the gym, work at a higher intensity for a shorter time,” says Teri Trese, MS, a fitness trainer at Pritikin Longevity Center & Spa. “If you can get and stay near 85% of your target heart rate, you’ll accomplish more for your total fitness.”

2. Failing to Plan.

If you haven’t been this person, you’ve seen her — wandering from machine to machine with the 100-yard stare of someone whose mind is elsewhere.

It happens all the time, says Lockhart. You get to the weight room and float around until you find an open machine. Then your time is over, and you’ve only gotten through three or four exercises. “Think about what you’re going to do in advance, then stick with it,” says Lockhart. “If it’s cardio, then get on the treadmill or bike and focus. Throw in some two-minute intervals.” For weight training, if you’re not working with a trainer, become your own. “Write a list of six or eight exercises (for different muscle groups) that you are going to accomplish in the given time,” Lockhart says. “When you have tasks, you get a better workout.”

Have an alternate exercise machine in mind in case the one you want is being used, suggests Debi Pillarella, MEd, exercise program manager for the Community Hospital Fitness Pointe in Munster, Ind. “You keep your metabolism stoked by keeping your body moving,” Pillarella says. “You shouldn’t rest for more than 90 seconds or your body will go back to the pre-exercise state and you increase the risk of injury.”

Using Bad Form Lifting Weights3. Using Bad Form.

Don’t just do the exercise; do it right, says Fabio Comana, MA, MS, certification and exam development manager for the American Council on Exercise.
Improper exercise technique not only poses a greater risk of injury to muscles and joints, it also wastes your time.

You may be thinking you’re strengthening one muscle when in fact you are straining another or stressing a joint. For example, doing bicep curls with your knees hyper-extended and your back muscles shortened could do more harm to your knees and back than good to your arms.

Fitness trainers or floor assistants are on hand at most gyms to assist you with proper form. Use them. Ask for someone to walk you through the equipment, showing you proper technique with machines and free weights.

4. Being Too Social.

“Social support is great,” says Trese. “Knowing that a familiar face will be there at the same time” can keep you going with your exercise regimen. “But you don’t want to make it just a social hour.” When walking on treadmills with a companion, Lockhart suggests agreeing to chat during the warm-up and cool-down, but to stay quiet and commit to pushing yourself for the time in between.

“Work at an intensity that burns significant calories and is too high to carry on a full-blown conversation,” Lockhart suggests. When you work out with a friend or friends, set some rules first to be sure everyone stays on track with time, Trese advises. Try doing 8 to 10 exercises in 30 minutes, and resting no longer than a minute between exercises.

5. Getting Stuck in a Rut.

Muscles have memory, says Pillarella. They adapt, they adjust — and our bodies plateau. “If you always use the same piece of equipment, your body will become adept at that type of exercise,” she says. Instead, mix it up. “If you always use the treadmill, get on the bike,” Lockhart suggests. “If you always work at the same pace, practice doing intervals — shorter surges to build your upper-end capacity. It’ll jog the body’s systems — make your body wake up and have to regroup.”

To add intervals, increase incline or speed for short periods during cardio exercise, says Trese. With your strength routine, change the order of the exercises or rotate from machines to free weights. “With more versatility, your muscles won’t be prepared and your body will not automatically know how to respond,” Trese says. This will keep things fresh for your mind, too, she says, “making workout routines less boring.” Lockhart advises varying your exercise program every six to eight weeks if you’re working out consistently. This is enough time for the body to benefit from the routine without getting complacent.

6. Watching TV or Reading.

“People tend to get on cardio equipment and think they’re paying the piper,Wasting Time in Fitness but they’re so into their book they’re wasting precious caloric time,” says Pillarella. The bottom line is that when you’re focused on other things, your workout suffers, she says. You can walk at a 4 mph pace for 45 minutes and burn 300 to 400 calories, says Pillarella. But you could get the same calorie burn in 20 to 25 minutes doing intervals (running or walking as fast as you can for a minute or two) every 90 seconds.

“It’s the total number of calories burned that counts,” she says. If you need a diversion to make it through your session on the elliptical machine, try music, suggests Comana. Invigorate your workout with a fresh mix on your iPod instead of spending your time staring at the crawl on Fox News. “Music can inspire you to pick up the tempo,” Comana says.

7. Resting Too Long.

The machine you want to use is occupied, so you grab a towel, get a drink of water, run to the bathroom — and the next thing you know, 10 minutes have passed. To avoid such time-wasting, rest only 30 to 90 seconds between strength exercises, says Comana.

To maximize time, alternate a set of exercises for your biceps with a set for triceps, he says. That allows you to shorten the rest interval in between — while one muscle group is working, the opposing group is getting active recovery.

You can also save time during your warm-up by mimicking exercises you’ll be doing in the workout. For example, Comana says, if you plan to work your legs by doing lunges and squats with weights, warm up with high knee steps, butt kicks, lunges with a twist, and sumo squats. “Perform movements that are the same as you’ll do in the exercise so that you can better prepare the body for the exercise,” advises Comana. “You’re warming up the joints while tying into the neuromuscular system to create movement preparation.”

8. Isolating Muscle Groups.

How can you fit in separate exercises for your biceps, triceps, deltoids and lats when you only have 30 minutes to work out? For body-builders, concentrating on two or three muscle groups per session might be fine, but this doesn’t work for the average person. There’s not enough time to get to all the muscle groups in three 30-minute sessions a week.

Instead, says Pillarella, choose exercises like squats and push-ups that target several muscle groups at once. You’ll get a better workout in less time and you’ll also be training more functionally (mimicking the way you use your body in daily life).

9. Changing Clothes at the Gym.

Dressing at the gym can be a big time-waster. Change before leaving work or the house and you’re less likely to change your mind about working out once you hop into the car, Trese suggests.

You’re also less likely to get into a conversation in the locker room that could shave 10 minutes off your workout. “Some people even go to the extreme where they wear their workout clothes to bed so they can just get up and go,” says Trese. If you don’t like the idea of sleeping in shorts and T-shirt, try laying out your workout clothes the night before to save time in the morning.

10. Waiting until Afternoon to Work Out.

With determination, it’s possible for late risers to fit in regular afternoon fitness sessions. But there’s no question that people who work out in the mornings are more likely to stick to their routines, Trese says. There’s less time to make excuses, and fewer things to get in the way of a workout.

If you promise yourself a 4:30 p.m. walk, it’s much more likely something will come up, Trese says. Before you know it, it’s 5:30, and you’ve missed your window.

Waiting until late in the day, “is setting you up for a downward spiral,” she says.

.

.

Personal Fitness Training With Dr Akilah

The Flat Belly Diet

 

The Flat Belly Diet promises a flat belly and weight loss of up to 15 pounds in 32 days. “A flat belly is about food & attitude … not a single crunch required,” it boasts on its cover.

Written in the first person by Liz Vaccariello, editor in chief of Prevention, along with Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD, nutrition director at Prevention, it is targeted to the millions of Americans who want to notch off a few inches or more off their waistline. After all, who doesn’t want a trimmer belly?

The basic Flat Belly Diet plan is a 1,600-calorie Mediterranean-style diet with an emphasis on wholesome, unrefined foods including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, beans, seeds, lean protein, and very little red meat (once a month).

According to the authors, the secret ingredient in the Flat Belly Diet that whittles away belly fat is the addition of a monounsaturated fat, or MUFA, at every meal. MUFAs are found in olives, avocados, nuts, seeds, dark chocolate, soybean, flax, and olive and sunflower oils. “Research shows that MUFAs have health benefits and target belly fat. They also help control satiety, so by adding in one MUFA at meals and snacks it is easier to stick with the plan and lose belly fat,” explains co-author Sass.

Before starting on the 28-day plan, dieters go on a 1,200- to1400-calorie, four-day anti-bloat jump-start period designed to reduce bloating and get dieters in the mind-set of a healthier eating plan. During the jump-start, dieters drink 2 liters of daily “sassy water, “a blend of spices, herbs, citrus, and cucumber. “We tested the diet plan on 11 volunteers and they told us the flavored water reduced bloating, constipation, helped them feel better and get rid of that sluggish feeling,” explains Sass.

There’s a lot of girlfriend-sounding advice from journalist Vaccariello, who is not a medical professional, along with more credible “notes from our nutritionist” that feature registered dietitian Sass. Success stories of the 11-member test panel are sprinkled throughout the book.

Exercise is optional but encouraged. An entire chapter is devoted to the flat belly workout with diagrams of exercises, walking plans, and a 28-day workout plan.

The Flat Belly Diet: What You Can Eat

Whether you are a vegetarian or a meat eater, have food allergies, or are lactose intolerant, this plan can be adapted to meet your individual needs. The plan calls for four, 400-calorie meals spaced every four hours, and each meal includes a MUFA.

Dieters don’t count calories. Instead, they choose from a list of 28 interchangeable mix-and-match breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snack packs. Food lists with portion sizes and calories allow flexibility in creating snack packs and can be used whenever you need it most. Eighty recipes are included with nutrient analysis of calories, protein, carbohydrates, total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium and fiber.

Sample Anti-Bloat Menu

Breakfast: 1 cup Rice Krispies, 1 cup soy milk,
Lunch: 3 oz chunk light tuna in water, 1 bowl of salad
Dinner: 3 oz chicken breast, 1 cup mushrooms sautéed in 1 teaspoon olive oil, 1/2 cup brown rice
Snack: Florida smoothie (1 mango, 2. oranges, and 1 tablespoon flaxseed) 1 liters water

Sample Flat Belly Menu

Breakfast: Apple almond oatmeal
Lunch: Pesto turkey and cheese sandwich on whole-grain English muffin with lettuce & tomato and 1 cup grape tomatoes
Dinner: 3 oz grilled salmon with 2 tablespoons almonds, 1 ½ cup green beans
Snack: 1/4 cup hummus with 2 tablespoons pine nuts and 1 cup red pepper strips

Calories of meals and snacks during the diet phase are controlled at 400, but the other nutrients can vary. “You can get up to 40% of your calories from fat if you choose the higher fat menu items,” says Sass, which exceeds the National Institutes of Health recommendation of 20%-35% of calories.

On the web site, individuals can alter the calorie levels from a low of 1,200 to a high of 2,000 by modifying the snack. Dieters can also send email questions to the authors.

The Flat Belly Diet: How It Works

The premise of the Flat Belly Diet is that if you trim calories to 1,600 per day, add a MUFA at every meal, eat every four hours, and get regular exercise (although this is optional) you will lose weight and belly fat.

Chances are you will lose belly fat on the Flat Belly Diet, but not because of the MUFAs. When you lose weight, you are more likely to lose it in your midsection regardless of the type of weight loss plan, experts say. The plan promotes a lifestyle of overall healthy eating, weight control, stress reduction, and exercise that could be sustained beyond the 32 days. Log onto flatbelly.com for added support, motivation, additional menu plans and the option to print shopping lists or track nutritional intake. For people who skip meals or don’t eat breakfast, the structure of the diet can help change bad habits into good ones.

Rosenbloom says, “To keep your belly in check, remember the acronym SED: Strength training to preserve muscle mass, Exercise aerobically to burn fat, and your Diet should be healthy, calorie-controlled, and include heart-healthy fats.”

Flat Belly Diet: Food for Thought

You can lose weight on The Flat Belly Diet plan, but don’t be fooled into thinking MUFAs have magic belly-flattening nutrients capable of melting away belly fat.

It is a calorie-controlled, Mediterranean-style diet plan that can help you lose weight in a safe and effective manner. The Mediterranean diet has been proven to be a nutritious and healthy plant-based plan that is good for your heart and overall health.

What will melt body fat, including belly fat, is losing weight on a well-balanced plan like this one or any other healthy, calorie-controlled eating plan.

By Kathleen M. Zelman, MPH

Click here to learn more about how to obtain a flat belly or go to this link http://www.celestialhealing.net/weightmanagpage.htm