Fitness & Wellness

How Your Hormones Affect Weight Loss And Fat Storage

How Your Hormones Affect Weight Loss And Fat Storage

What are hormones? Immediately, you probably think of the sex hormones estrogen and testosterone, but there are far more types. Hormones are the body’s messengers. They bring the messages that start the chemical processes. That puts them in charge of everything from growth rate and mood to how your immune system functions. Your hormones affect weight loss and fat storage, too. Not only does that include sexual differences on the storage of fat, but also the storage of fat in the abdomen, belly fat.

Every cell in the body is affected by hormones.

Hormones do more than just bring messages to the cells. They can affect your overall health. Whether it’s weight gain or feeling sick, it could be caused by hormones. The production of insulin, which is a hormone that controls the amount of sugar in the blood, is also controlled by hormones and its secretion. Sex hormones, determine where fat is distributed. In the case of sex hormones, stimulates fat

placement on the hips and bottom, while inhibiting belly fat.

It’s not one specific hormone, but the balance of hormones.

There is a give and take of hormones. If you have higher levels of insulin, you’ll have lower levels of glucagon. These two hormones do opposite jobs. When the amount of insulin rises, glucagon go down. Higher insulin levels not only regulate sugar, they increase fat storage in the abdominal area. If you have a higher level of glucagon, your body tends to burn the fat.

Even if your weight is from hormonal imbalances, you still have some control.

You do have some control over the secretion of each. The more sugar and white refined flour you eat, the higher the insulin levels. The more protein you eat, the higher the glucagon levels. However, those aren’t the only hormones that affect belly fat. Cortisol, a hormone create when you’re under stress, also contributes to belly fat by increasing insulin. Instead of grabbing a Danish, opt for unsweetened yogurt and fruit. Simply eat more protein and avoid the pastries and white bread. Burn off that cortisol with exercise to lower your insulin levels and include more healthy fat in your diet with nuts, avocados and fatty fish. Healthy fat supports hormonal health.

  • Another way to help control your hormones is to get adequate sleep. Lack of sleep causes the body to overproduce ghrelin—the hunger hormone and under produce leptin—the one that makes you feel full.
  • Drink at least eight glasses of water a day. It helps lubricate the digestive system, joints and skin. It boosts your metabolism. Dehydration can occur because of hormonal imbalance, and dehydration can affect weight gain by boosting cortisol levels.
  • Increase your metabolism by drinking green tea. It contains L-theanine, an amino acid that makes you feel calmer and reduces the level of cortisol in your body.
  • Increase your oxytocin, the happy hormone and reduce your cortisol levels by taking time to appreciate everything around you. Give your family a hug. It’s good for the waistline.

For more information, contact us today at Reggie C Fitness

Should You Count Calories Or Macronutrients?

Should You Count Calories Or Macronutrients?

At RC Fitness in Houston, TX, we focus on helping you achieve the best version of yourself. Part of that process is losing weight for some clients. That brings the question of the best way to lose weight. Should you count calories or macronutrients? There is no simple answer, since it’s a personal preference that should be based on your goals, lifestyle and needs. Do you feel the need to be completely accurate or is a more relaxed option better? What’s your relationship with food? Do you want something that’s easy to use the rest of your life or more concise for right now?

It’s more about awareness than an actual number.

People often think that they don’t eat that much and must have a slow metabolism. Sometimes, just identifying exactly how much they really do eat is all that is necessary. That can occur with both techniques. Sometimes, learning which foods are really high calorie and being made more aware of lower calorie options is all it takes. Recording your food intake not only makes you realize how often and how much you eat, it makes you more aware of portion control.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re counting carbs or calories, the results are the same.

With both methods of tracking your food consumption, you’re more aware of your eating habits. In a way, it makes you more mindful when you eat and that’s a good thing. You’re forced to track every morsel and judge the portion size you consume. You’re also more aware of what you drink and how that counts up, whether it’s in calories or carbs. In the case of many people, that alone can get people to switch from soft drinks to water or infused water.

Both tracking techniques will teach you how to eat healthier.

While macronutrient counting tends to be my favorite when it comes to learning how to eat healthier, both calorie and macronutrient tracking teach you a great many lessons. The both identify serving size and help you with portion control. Both help you make adjustments to lower your caloric intake or balance your micronutrient intake. You’ll learn what every bite represents and have the information to decide whether it’s actually worth the extra calories or carbs when you eat it.

  • It won’t take long, whether you’re using macronutrient tracking or calorie counting, to identify ultra-high calorie foods. It helps you decide whether that extra piece of cake is really worth it.
  • Both types of tracking programs are used to help you retrain your brain and your taste buds. Sugar is often omitted from both types and it is responsible for changing the way your body tastes sweet things.
  • With both types of tracking, you’ll develop an internal guide by sticking with a program until it’s internalized. Later, if you find yourself gaining weight, you can look at your eating habits and make adjustments.
  • Finding the best program for your needs is what’s important. It’s all about finding a program you’ll stick with and follow through to get results.

For more information, contact us today at Reggie C Fitness

Working Out With Small Weights

Working Out With Small Weights

I have clients all over the world, many are from Houston, TX, and other towns near me. Most of my clients want that toned, lean look that’s so sexy. Most people are historically predisposed to hunting for a mate that looks healthy. It’s part of the evolutionary past that might have occurred because a healthier-looking person was more likely to provide healthy off springs. While trends for what is considered attractive change, one thing is certain, working out with small weights can help you get the healthy, curvy look that’s so popular now. Not only does it make you more attractive, it also makes you stay healthier.

Using lighter weights is great for HIIT—high intensity interval training—workouts that burn calories.

Some people believe that heavier weights will help you build muscle faster, but there are benefits to using lighter weights. You can modify your moves to work your muscles on all planes and do more repetitions. In fact, lightweight workouts are great for HIIT workouts, where you work at top intensity for a short time to get your heart rate at peak performance and then lower the intensity for an equal or longer period for recovery, volleying between the two throughout the workout. It burns tons of calories and continues even after the workout ends. Cutting back on the rest time between sets and reps can also build muscle faster as it burns fat.

You can do combination moves with lighter weights.

If you’ve ever tried to do a squat while you had weights in your hands, you know that lighter weights are important. It’s pretty tough to do shoulder press as you squat down if the weights are too heavy. Trying to do that, with weights are too heavy, can cause your form to suffer and having the proper form is the most important part of any exercise, followed by actually doing it. Using lighter weights lets you work your upper body as you do lower body exercises, getting a full body workout at one time.

People who want a toned look benefit from lighter weights.

Studies show that people who use lighter weights can build just as much muscle as those who use heavier weights. You can get just as much benefit, but have to sue them differently. They’re just another versatile tool that can help you get fit. Lighter weights are probably more versatile for the average person, since you can add them to more exercises.

  • What constitutes a lighter weight? It all depends on you. If a five pound weight is easy for you to lift, it’s a light weight. If a twenty pound one is well within your range to lift easily, it’s a lighter weight.
  • You’ll be able to learn a movement easier and have good form if you’re not struggling to lift a weight. That’s why lighter weights are good for the beginner. Once your form is perfected, you can add more weight.
  • Part of learning form is learning proper breathing. That’s more easily done when you use lighter weights. Taking deep breaths, through the belly and not the chest, helps you exercise longer when you use lighter weights.
  • You need to lift until you are fatigued and feel like you could do just one more move, but nothing beyond that. Don’t workout until you are completely fatigued. Don’t wait until your form suffers.

For more information, contact us today at Reggie C Fitness!

How To Diet Without Losing Muscle

How To Diet Without Losing Muscle

If you want to look your best, you need both a healthy diet and regular exercise. As you’re working out, you’re building muscle tissue, but you’re also burning calories. That means you’re actually burning fat tissue. You want more muscle tissue and less fat tissue, since muscle tissue burns more calories than fat tissue does, so it makes it easier to lose weight. If you’re building muscle tissue and burning fat, you may even find your weight loss is slower. That’s because muscle tissue weighs more per cubic inch than fat tissue does. So how do you diet without losing muscle? One thing is certain, it takes exercise.

The real goal is to lose fat, not necessarily lose weight.

Not only can pounds come from increasing muscle tissue, they also can add up if you have water weight gain. It’s one of the reasons people gain weight before their menstrual cycle or lose it rapidly with a cleanse. You won’t lose real pounds with a fad diet, it’s just temporary. Switching to a healthy diet that can be sustained for life is the only answer.

You need the right type of exercise.

Since exercise burns calories, adding it to your fat burning goal is important. However, it’s important to have the right type of exercise. If you’re doing constant cardio, you’ll definitely be burning calories, but those calories come from burning all types of tissue, both fat and muscle tissue. Add one or two days a week of strength building to your workout schedule. Make sure you have at least a day between them. You’ll burn calories from fat, not burn muscle tissue.

Eating the right types of food is important.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that eating a diet of candy bars and fried foods is not only going to put on weight, but definitely isn’t good for you. Finding the right types of food to help you shed those pounds of fat, without burning off the muscle tissue is important. Eating sources of lean protein, eliminating processed food or food laden with sugar and cutting out food high in bad fat is important.

  • Intermittent fasting can help. One method of intermittent fasting is to limit eating to eight hours a day, fasting the other sixteen. It can boost your human growth hormone, help insulin sensitivity, modify the production of the hunger hormone and also help reduce inflammation.
  • Quality protein in your diet is extremely important. Not only does protein help you feel full longer, it also is necessary to build and maintain muscle tissue.
  • Exercising to lose weight and build muscles is another key factor. You need to do strength and muscle building workouts, rather than cardio that burns both fat and muscle tissue as energy.
  • Don’t over-train. You need at least a day between strength building workouts. These types of workouts cause micro tears the muscles and require time to heal. Over-training can actually cause loss of strength.

For more information, contact us today at Reggie C Fitness!

Best Exercises For Tone Arms

Best Exercises For Tone Arms

Working out can help tone your body and give you the fit look you want. While spot exercising won’t remove fat from certain locations, it burns calories that burns fat from the entire body and tone the muscles in the areas you work. You can’t do spot exercises for weight loss in a certain area of the body, but you can tone the muscles and take away the flabby appearance. In fact, you can actually do exercises to tone arms or any other part of the body. Toning the arms helps you look great in sleeveless tops and beachwear.

If you suffer from the bat wing look, start working those upper arms.

No matter what sex you are, toned arms are sexy. It takes strength-building exercises to get that toned appearance. If you want to lose fat, eat healthy and focus on compound exercises and full body workouts, but for bat wings turn to tricep extensions. You can use a water bottle, soup can or dumbbell to do them. Just hold it with both hands, arms stretched straight above your head. Bend your arms at the elbow, lowering the weight behind your back and then back up to the original position with arms overhead.

Bodyweight exercises don’t require any equipment.

Push-ups may seem old school, but there’s nothing that tones arms faster. You can do a standard push-up or ones on bent knee that are easier. Start with prone position with toes touching, body straight and hands directly under the shoulders. Raise and lower your body, keeping it straight. If you want to do the easier version, do it the same way, but with your legs bent and knees touching the mat. Adjusting the width of your hands makes a difference in the muscles it works. For bat wings, putting hands closer together than shoulder-width works.

If you want an exercise to do at the office, try a chair dip.

You can do a chair dip almost anywhere that you have a stable chair that doesn’t roll. Sit on the edge of the chair with legs extended and feet flat on the floor. Put your hands on both sides of the chair, lifting your body up and forward and then lower it toward the floor until your elbows are at right angle. Then raise your body back up to seated position and repeat.

  • It doesn’t matter whether you have to lose weight or not, eating healthy plays a big role in getting the look you want. You need collagen, which is a protein that helps increase muscle mass and improve skin elasticity.
  • You don’t have to move frantically to get a great workout when you do a plank. A plank works the whole body, yet it’s super simple. You lay on the floor with hands in line with the shoulders and toes touching, then lift yourself up and hold.
  • If you want an exercise that uses inexpensive equipment, try ones with resistance bands. The basic arm exercise is to hold your arms in front of you with one end of the band in each hand and then pull.
  • You’ll find a wealth of back and arm exercises in my online exercise collection. Take our co-fit 21 day challenge and you’ll see a huge difference, not only in your arms, but your entire body.

For more information, contact us today at Reggie C Fitness

Benefits Of Strength Training In Older Women

Benefits Of Strength Training In Older Women

My clients in Houston, TX, are really all over the world, know I love strength training for women and men. While many people don’t do strength training after a certain age, particularly women, the benefits of strength training in older women is extremely important. Older women tend to avoid it because they often believed it was not only unladylike, but dangerous and built bulky muscles. Those things are not true and luckily, people are finding out that strength-training can make a big difference in health and physical appearance.

You won’t build bulky muscles, but will build more muscle mass.

Women often see female bodybuilders and think that doing an hour of strength-training each week will make them look like that. It’s simply not true. You will build muscle mass, but it will mean toned, svelte muscles. It’s extremely difficult for women to get the muscular look of bodybuilders and takes hours and hours every week, plus a dedication to diet and other lifestyle changes. Older people, male and female need to work on building muscle mass, since it wastes away as you age. It’s estimated that a sedentary person loses about forty percent of their muscle mass between the age of 30 to 80. That can destroy the option of independent living as you age.

You need more muscle mass to avoid bone loss.

When you’re building muscle tissue by lifting weights, you’re also helping your bones. Working your muscles hard tugs on the bones. It causes the body to begin the bone building process and send more calcium to the bones Just doing strength training two to three times a week helps maintain calcium levels in the bones and avoid osteoporosis.

The stronger you are, the more you’re protected from severe conditions.

Building strength does more than help you live on your own longer. It helps you the prospect of diabetes and even help normalize blood sugar if you already have it. Strength-training can help people with osteoporosis, arthritis, back pain and depression. It can relieve symptoms and in some cases reverse them. If you have a precursor to diabetes, insulin resistance, it can reverse it by increasing the protein responsible for regulation of blood sugar levels.

  • Falls account for many people losing their independence as they age. Strength-training helps improve your balance and prevent life altering accidents.
  • Do you want to sleep better? It’s important for heart health and weight control. Try strength-training. It helps you sleep and achieve the deep sleep that is important for health.
  • Are you turning into a grouchy old person? Depression and anger is one of the problems faced by older people. Exercising can increase the hormones that make you feel good and lift you out of depression.
  • Boost your metabolism with strength training. A number of health issues occur or get worse when your metabolism slows and causes weight gain. You’ll also look years younger with pep in your step and a body younger women will envy.

For more information, contact us today at Reggie C Fitness

Consistency Is Key

Consistency Is Key

No matter what the goal or how great the workout, if you want to get fit, consistency is key for success. How many times have you tried on clothing and not been happy with the appearance, only to vow to get back into shape. That enthusiasm wanes after a few weeks and instead of working out every other day, you start to skip days, then weeks. You might have a week where you’re back on track, but it’s like starting from scratch, since you took a break. Try doing something every day at the same time to help you get fit. It’s all about developing a habit.

Have you ever crammed for exams, but found it just didn’t work?

With some exams, particularly when you’re familiar with the information, cramming the night before works. It’s not that way with fitness. Getting fit by cramming hours at the gym in one week is like cramming for a math exam. It takes consistent effort, not one magical night. If you do marathon workouts once a month, you’ll be doing more to harm your body than help it. You simply can’t make up for lost hours in the gym in one day. It can actually cause injury.

Make your workout a priority and schedule it daily.

You brush your teeth in the morning and take a shower or a bath, it is part of your day. The same should be true of your workout. It should be ingrained enough in your life that you’d feel uncomfortable if you miss it. Working out the same time every day makes it part of your pattern. It doesn’t matter whether you workout after work, in the morning or at lunch, just be consistent.

When you workout consistently, you maintain the gains and make improvements.

You need to work all three areas of fitness, endurance, strength and flexibility. Think of every workout as a building block to create the body you want. When you miss a day, imagine one of those blocks being carried away and you’ll understand why a daily workout is necessary. Missing a workout or two can put you back further and prevent you from achieving your next goal or fitness level.

  • You don’t have to worry about travel or a busy schedule interrupting your fitness regimen. My online fitness routines lets you workout anywhere, anytime you need it. You can even break your workout into three sessions throughout the day.
  • You’ll actually miss your workout the longer you exercise regularly. It gives you a boost of energy and a feeling of satisfaction when you’re done.
  • Don’t forget about eating healthier. It’s an extremely important part of your day and fitness goal. While you occasionally can indulge in your favorite junk food, don’t make it too often and keep portion control in mind.
  • When you skip days at the gym or do a marathon workout to catch up, you increase the potential of injury. If you’re doing strength training, always give your body a day or two of rest between strength-training sessions. You can work on flexibility and endurance other days.

For more information, contact us today at Reggie C Fitness

What You Need To Know About A Juice Cleanse

What You Need To Know About A Juice Cleanse

If you’ve heard about how healthy a juice cleanse is, you may be listening to the proponents that believe it helps detox the body of harmful chemicals. Others may use juice cleansing as a way to start a program of healthier eating and preparing for cutting calories. A juice cleanse can be ongoing, choosing to drink only fruit juice, vegetable juice and water for three days a week, instead a one time option. The type of juice is normally made from organic fruits and vegetables and made at home. It isn’t from processed juices found on the grocery shelves.

There’s no magical reset to the juice cleanse that’s often touted.

It’s the function of the body’s organs, like the liver, kidneys and colon, to remove waste and toxins. It functions on its own quite well. According to the NIH—National Institute of Health—there isn’t much evidence to back up the claim that a juice cleanse works to detox, even though it would be nice to think it could work. However, juices are rich in vitamins and minerals, so it could provide extra nutrients. Juices also contain healthy enzymes that can improve digestion. What they don’t contain is fiber.

Juicing is not the same as creating smoothies.

When you juice, you remove the pulp and that removes an important nutrient, fiber. Fiber is also necessary for a healthy body. It also aids in digestion and keeps the food moving through the system. It’s a prebiotic, which means it feeds the healthy bacteria in the digestive system. Fiber also fills you up and slows the absorption of sugar, which helps stabilize blood sugar levels. It can cause digestive issues if you eat too much without getting your body adjusted to the change. Juicing doesn’t allow that. Leaving in the fiber is a true cleanse, since it acts like a scrubber to aid the body in removing toxins from the colon.

There are pros and cons, but the biggest test is what you do after a cleanse.

If you do a juice cleanse expecting to lose weight, you’ll be disappointed later. Any weight loss you noticed, normally disappears the minute you start eating normally. However, one study found that people who used it as a way to start a healthier diet actually kept the weight off. It can also affect your gut bacteria. In some cases, the effect was beneficial, improving the population of healthy ones. One explanation was that it eliminated unhealthy junk food, which negatively affected healthy bacteria.

  • Rather than opting for a juice cleanse, consider making a blender option that blends the whole fruit and vegetable. You’ll get any benefits juice cleanses offer, plus feel fuller, control blood sugar better and still give up the junk food and highly processed food that affect your health.
  • If you cleanse, keep it short and only a few days. Studies show that prolonged juicing has the potential to damage kidneys.
  • You may not feel good on a juice cleanse. The super low calories and high fruit sugars that cause spiking and dropping of blood sugar can cause that.
  • If you want to find a way to lose weight and stay healthy, plus provide many health benefits, besides normal healthy eating, try intermittent fasting. It’s been proven to provide health benefits and just requires you limit your eating to eight hours a day.

For more information, contact us today at Reggie C Fitness

The Healthiest Processed Foods

The Healthiest Processed Foods

Everyone in Houston, TX, has ample opportunities to eat unhealthy foods, which are often labeled processed food. That’s because it’s the easiest way to describe them. But not all processed foods are bad for you. When you read processed food, you often think of the junk food aisle and chips, pork rinds, burgers and fries come to mind. Not all processed foods are bad. In fact, some of the healthiest processed foods should be included in your diet. Processing can include everything from cleaning and freezing food, to highly processed that contain ingredients that look like they came out of a chemistry lab.

When you cook tomatoes, you process them.

While some vegetables lose vitamins when you cook them, such as vitamin C, tomatoes actually become healthier. The longer you cook tomatoes, the more lycopene they contain. Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant. However, the vitamin C in them is diminished. In order to find the unhealthy food, read the label. If you see the words refined grain or bleached flour, put it back o the shelf. The act of milling the grain removes the nutrient laden area, the bran and the germ. The bran has the fiber and the germ has all the nutrients, including minerals, vitamins, fat and protein. Opt for whole grain options.

Frozen vegetables are processed, but may be better for you than fresh.

Fresh vegetables have a limited shelf life. They’re often picked before they’re ripe and allowed to ripen as they come to market. They sit on the shelf for a while, too, before you buy them and then wait a day or two before they’re eaten. There are fewer nutrients when picked before ripening, and the nutrients diminish each day after picking. Frozen vegetables are left on the vine until peak ripeness, picked and immediately frozen. They’re fresher and filled with more nutrients than many of the fresh fruits and vegetables on the shelf.

Not all canned foods are bad.

Check out tuna, salmon and even some canned fruits and vegetables. They’re all healthy and good for your body, plus have the added benefit of being affordable. You have to make sure they don’t have added sugar or salt. If you buy a canned good, like beans, and see sodium, you can rinse them several times to reduce that content. Fruit with added sugar is definitely not healthy. It’s linked to high blood pressure, heart attack, diabetes, dental carries and other diseases.

  • When you buy peanut butter or nut butter, check the label. Make sure it contains one ingredient, nuts. You may have to stir it, but it’s worth the effort in taste and healthy benefits.
  • Definitely pass up the snack area and pastries. They contain empty calories and often have trans fats, the unhealthy fat, chemicals and tons of sugar. There’s no up side. Even granola or protein bars are often filled with sugar and chemicals. Eat fruit, nuts and vegetables for snacks.
  • Yogurt with live culture is healthy, but watch out for added sugar. Low fat yogurt is particularly bad, since sugar is added to make it to improve the flavor that removing the fat created.
  • Instead of eliminating all processed foods, opt for those that are minimally processed with the fewest ingredients on the list of ingredients. You don’t have to break the budget to eat healthy and using frozen and some canned foods is a big help.

For more information, contact us today at Reggie C Fitness

How To Create A Health-Focused Workout Plan

How To Create A Health-Focused Workout Plan

If you’re exercising and improving your fitness, it’s good for your health and can reduce the risk of many diseases, including diabetes and heart disease. However, to create a health-focused workout plan, rather than a plan simply to get those curves and muscles you want, you need to focus on things like injury prevention, movement and longevity. It’s called functional fitness and requires that you work on endurance, strength, balance and flexibility. It will help you as you age and even slow the aging process, too.

Start with focusing more on how you move your muscles, rather than just building muscles.

While bodybuilders have the best possible physique, it doesn’t mean they’re healthiest. If they don’t have flexibility training, they can succumb to injury. Their diet and the fact their heart has to work harder to supply blood to a larger muscle mass, so they’re more prone to heart disease and even high cholesterol and blood pressure. When you focus more on the daily movements you make, rather than on building specific muscle groups, you’ll protect yourself from injury. It’s called functional fitness.

There are six patterns you do everyday.

Most of your daily effort consists of six basic movements. Squatting down, bending at the hip—a hip hinge, lunging forward, pushing, pulling and rotating. Focusing on those movements a few times a week provide the exercise you need to get the figure you want, but also helps provide more functional fitness, so you won’t get injured doing something as simple as picking up a child. Squats, lunges, kettlebell swing, bench press, pull-ups and wood choppers provide those movements.

Building muscle is great, but don’t forget your most important muscle, the heart.

You need to build strength and flexibility, but don’t forget your ticker. Aerobic workouts can help increase your lung capacity and boost your endurance level. Just like working out for functional fitness, you need the respiratory benefits of endurance workouts. It helps improve the heart and breathing, while strengthening muscles and bones. It helps you to reduce body fat, which is healthy if you’re overweight.

  • Exercising with a kettlebell is an excellent way to improve functional fitness. The kettlebell is off-center making your core muscles work harder and you’ll move in a multitude of directions when you use it. It tends to mimic the body movements you do daily, but with added weight.
  • Building core muscles, including abs, not only help you look great, but also improves your posture. These exercises can help relieve back pain and when they’re strong, reduce the chance of it reappearing.
  • Strength training and learning proper lifting technique is important. Learn to lift properly and lift something heavy several times a week. Not only does it prevent injury, it can build your bones and prevent osteoporosis.
  • Core stability is important. The stronger your core muscles, the less prone you are to lower-body injuries. Side planks, dead bugs, planks and roll-outs are exercises that can help.

For more information, contact us today at Reggie C Fitness