Nick is an ACE-Certified Personal Trainer with a passion for getting people in the best shape of their lives and the founder of Weapons 4 Weight Loss.
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So I’m hoping you’re a normal productive member of society, you either have a job or go to school, or both. You may also have kids or have the responsibility to take care of other loved ones in your life.
If for some reason you don’t fall into this category, good luck in life.
Anyways, the point I want to make is that everyone is busy. We all have shit to do and take care of on an everyday basis.
Why does this matter?
Because it’s VERY easy to get stuck in a rut when it comes to working out and losing weight. It can seem mundane and monotonous, even if you change your workouts up and change the healthy foods you eat!
So if you’ve ever felt like this, I want you to ask yourself this ONE question:
“Do I know my why?”
“Know Your Why” is a motto that Washington Redskins Quarterback Robert Griffin III lives by. I borrowed this from him.
KNOW YOUR WHY basically means Know Why You’re Doing Something!
And also to never forget that reason.
You didn’t just wake up one day and randomly say “oh I think I’ll start exercising and eating right today.”
You did it for a reason! Do you remember why you started? Have you forgotten already?
And don’t give me the whole “oh I just want to be healthier.”
That’s bullshit! EVERYONE would like to be healthier.
WHY do you want to be healthier? Why is that important to you?
Drill it down to the very specific. Dig deep and really think why you’re doing this.
Everyone has a different reason, but I’ll share some of the most specific and powerful ones I’ve came across as a personal trainer.
“I want my husband to look at me like he used to.”
“I want to be around to see my kids grow up, I can’t keep up with them.”
“I’m getting married in ____ months and I want to look good in my dress!”
“I want to wear whatever I want and not buy ‘cover up’ clothes!”
“I want to have a girlfriend/boyfriend/husband/wife, I’m sick of having no confidence.”
I could go on and on…but you get the point. It goes BEYOND just the number (lbs lost, inches lost, sizes lost).
Think of how you’d feel if you looked exactly the same in 3 months from now…
Sucks doesn’t it?
Now think of how different you’ll look in 3 months if you DON’T QUIT!
Now stay focused and KNOW YOUR WHY!
Take it one day at a time, be better than you were yesterday and you’ll be just fine
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How would you like to have a perfect start to every morning?
Here’s some tips to get out of the house happy, whole, and on time.
You had to coax your teenager out of bed. Your son couldn’t find his shoes. Your husband needed his shirt ironed. You ran out of milk right when your daughter is ready to eat breakfast.
Sound like a morning you’ve experienced? Getting everyone ready and out of the house on time can be a stressful event. Those rare mornings when everyone is cheerful and everything goes smoothly are like something out of a dream.
Why can’t more mornings be stress-free? Whether it’s too little time, a lack of sleep, or just bad luck, rough mornings are expected.
But here are some tips to make good mornings the norm rather than the exception.
The Night Before
A good morning starts about 12 hours before the morning. For things to go as smooth and hassle-free as possible, it takes a little planning and preparation. Part of your kids’ bedtime routine should include laying out clothes, socks, and shoes that are to be worn the next day. Homework should be finished and backpacks packed and set by the door.
It’s not just the kids who need to prep the night before. Adults should also. Lay out clothes for the next day. No more trying on three outfits before choosing the one you like. Make sure clothes are cleaned and ironed, and finally, take a shower before bed so you don’t have to in the morning.
No one wants to wake up to a messy kitchen. A sink full of dirty dishes is a depressing sight first thing in the morning. Make the morning more pleasant by washing dishes the night before. While you’re at it, check on breakfast and lunch food supplies to make sure you have what you need.
Want an even easier morning? Make lunches the night before. Kids can take part in this routine. Anything that doesn’t require refrigeration can be packed in their lunch boxes.
It’s amazing what a good night’s rest can do for everyone’s attitude in the morning. A regular bed and wake time each day helps ensure quality sleep, feeling refreshed in the morning, and having an easier time getting out of bed.
School-age kids need 10–11 hours of sleep a night, teenagers need 8.5 to 10 hours, and adults need between 7 and nine hours. Adjust bedtimes to ensure everyone is getting the sleep they need for a good morning.
Create a Routine
Kids function best when they know what’s expected of them and when it’s expected. This is why routine is so important. Every morning should progress in a similar manner.
It will possibly look a little different for each family, but for kids it may go something like this: turn off alarm, get dressed, put on shoes, do hair, eat breakfast, brush teeth, get jackets on, gather backpacks and lunch boxes, and go out the door. Kids begging to watch television? No screen time until they’re completely ready to go!
If you’re rushing around like a chicken with its head cut off more mornings than not, it’s time to reevaluate your routine. Start preparing at night or wake up a few minutes earlier than usual.
Remember—your kids pick up on your stress. Seeing you frazzled can stress them out and cause them to act out. When you’re struggling to get out the door, this is the last thing you need. When things get hectic, remain calm for your sake as well as your kids.
A Team Effort
Getting out of the house in a timely manner is a team effort. All it takes is one lost shoe to throw everyone off. If one person is ready, he or she should help others get prepared for the day. Though they can’t do everything, kids need to pull their own weight and learn responsibility and discipline. Mom and dad shouldn’t be relied on for everything. School-age kids should know how to dress themselves and pour their own cereal.
Team players encourage each other in their race to the finish. Stay positive and reward good efforts. Pretty soon, the good mornings will outnumber the bad!
Improve your memory with these tried and true techniques.
Oh, if you only had the memory of a child! Kids can memorize and remember facts so easily. They remember conversations you had months ago, nail down their times tables in a matter of days, and spout off the bones of the body as if it’s no big deal.
Well, you may not consider yourself to be elderly, but that doesn’t mean your brain is working at the speed of kid. Seeing an old friend and not being able to remember her name or being unable to recall a phone number you’ve dialed so many times are unnerving experiences.
Yes, aging plays a role in memory loss. Each passing decade, the part of the brain responsible for memory (the hippocampus) shrinks five percent. In addition, as you age, your body produces less and less of a key neurotransmitter involved in learning and memory.
However, these facts shouldn’t depress you. Your brain still has the power to learn and retain new information. By incorporating the following techniques into your daily life, you can enhance your memory capabilities.
Exercise Your Mind
Muscles that don’t get used will shrink and turn to flab. The same goes for your brain. A strong mind is one that’s used a lot. Sitting on the couch watching TV all day isn’t going to do much for your brain. In order to keep your memory sharp, do activities that stimulate your mind. Do a daily crossword or sudoku puzzle, read the newspaper, practice a musical instrument, volunteer in the community (communicating with others and facing new situations helps your brain), and play online brain-training games.
Exercise Your Body
Regular physical activity is vital for a strong, healthy brain. Obesity increases your risk for Alzheimer’s disease and stroke, both which are responsible for damaging your brain. Clogged arteries strain your heart and prevent adequate amounts of blood to flow to the brain. Exercise combats this by increasing blood flow to all parts of the body and delivering the oxygen and nutrients the body needs for optimal functioning.
Don’t believe it? Research has shown that people who exercise have bigger brains! Get 30 minutes of exercise on most days of the week and your brain will stay as large as possible. Go for a walk, ride a bike, or go swimming—whatever you prefer. Just get moving!
Long-term stress, anger, anxiety, and depression are harmful to the areas in your brain that handle memory. One symptom of depression is trouble concentrating. Without concentration, you’ll have trouble learning new things and will forget things.
Depression and other stressors increase the body’s production of cortisol. High levels of this hormone diminish the size of the hippocampus. If you’re depressed, talk with your doctor about treatment options and learn healthy ways to manage the other stress in your life.
Have a Drink…or Two
The connection between alcohol and memory is complicated. Too much alcohol can have an immediate negative effect on brain function, and abusing alcohol damages your brain cells. On the other hand, if you are able to drink in moderation, go for it. A drink or two a day for men and women who are not pregnant is actually beneficial to memory and cognition. Studies have shown that one to two glasses of wine a day may reduce your risk for developing Alzheimer’s by 45 percent.
Go to Bed Earlier
Getting enough hours of quality sleep each night is a great way to improve your memory skills. It’s during sleep that your brain registers short-term memories into long-term ones. Additionally, as you sleep, cerebrospinal fluid is busy flushing toxins out of the brain to keep the brain healthy. It’s no wonder that you’re more able to stay focused, energized, and on the ball when you’re getting plenty of shuteye.
Seek Help When Needed
Slight memory lapses every now and then are disconcerting, but probably nothing to worry about. But if memory loss is interfering with your daily life and causing you anxiety, see your doctor.
(Get in Shape and Help Dearborn’s Homeless Animals!)
Dearborn, MI – January 9, 2013 Nick Lopez, CEO/Founder of Dearborn based Weapons 4 Weight Loss, a Dearborn fitness boot camp/personal training program, is going to donate $1000 to Friends For The Dearborn Animal Shelter in order to help local homeless animals. Lopez will accomplish this by donating $50 for every new client that joins his fun, high-energy boot camp program from January 15 to Febuary 15.
Claim your FREE week of boot camp ===> CLICK HERE
“I’m finally in a position to donate back to the community. The shelter does so many great things, with their help, I’m now able to help more people lose weight AND help all these animals find a loving home.” Lopez said.
The Weapons 4 Weight Loss program is perfect for any fitness level and incorporates fun, fat-burning exercises in an addictive sweat-inducing workout. A full nutrition guide and personalized meal plans are also included to ensure maximum fat loss.
The mission of the Friends For the Dearborn Animal Shelter is to provide loving care and sanctuary to animals, encourage adoptions and reunions, and promote respect, responsibility, and compassion for all animals.
The indoor fitness camp meets Mondays through Friday at 6:30am and Tuesdays through Fridays at 8pm at Sokol Cultural Gymnastic Center in Deaborn Heights. New times and locations will be added in the coming weeks.
Sessions include muscle strengthening and toning, cardiovascular conditioning, core stabilization, balance and flexibility training. Lopez guarantees twice the calorie burn in half the time of traditional health club workouts.
To get started with the Weapons 4 Weight Loss Bootcamp Program please contact Nick Lopez at (313) 686-1989
Claim your FREE week of boot camp ===> CLICK HERE
Following a head injury, there are many things of which to be concerned. Top on the list is often a concussion. An injury to your brain that affects the way your brain works, a concussion can be scary business and should be treated seriously. So if a concussion is suspected, seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Whether a person is severely shaken or has a blow to the head while playing contact sports, suffers from a bad car accident, or takes a hard fall, how can you know if he or she has suffered a concussion? Here’s what to look for following a head injury and what you can do to reduce the risk for long-term injury.
It’s often difficult to tell if someone has suffered a concussion because symptoms may not appear immediately but may take several days or weeks to present themselves. In fact, a concussion can result with an injury that seems relatively minor. There may be no outward sign of trauma or cuts, bruises, or a bump where the head was impacted, but a concussion may be lurking.
Since a concussion is a brain injury, it will temporarily alter a person’s feelings of consciousness, thoughts, and normal brain function. Dizziness, unusual tiredness, ringing in the ears, and confusion are common. Most concussions do not result in loss of consciousness.
What to Watch For
Perhaps your son plays football and sustains a blow to the head. Maybe your toddler fell off the top bunk. If you’re worried a concussion is possible, look for the following symptoms:
- nausea or vomiting
- difficulty walking, loss of balance, or decreased coordination
- weakness or numbness
- slurred speech
- trouble sleeping or being overly tired
- loss of short-term memory
- sensitivity to light
- unable to taste or smell
- unusual irritability or crankiness
- fuzzy vision or unevenly sized pupils
If you notice any of these symptoms following a head injury, seek medical attention. There’s no such thing as a “minor” brain injury, so all concussions should be evaluated by a professional. If you’re unsure if there’s a concussion, play it safe by calling a physician anyway.
Diagnosis and Treatment
To determine if someone has a concussion, the doctor will perform a neurological exam and brain imaging tests (usually a CT scan). It may take time, but most people experience a full recovery following a concussion. Unfortunately, severe cases may lead to long-term memory and problem-solving impairments. The more concussions a person experiences in life, the greater the risk of long term damage. (So football, rugby, and other contact sport players beware!)
With a concussion, the most important treatment is rest. Taking it easy and avoiding activities that require focused attention (playing video games, watching TV, or using the computer) will help your brain heal. Tylenol can be taken to relieve headaches.
The most dangerous type of concussion is one that happens soon after a previous concussion before the first one has had time to heal. In such a case, a concussion may cause permanent brain damage or even death. This is why rest is so important following a concussion. Recognize when you’ve suffered a concussion and avoid activities that put you at risk for subsequent blows to the head until you are sure a concussion is fully healed.
While you can’t avoid all concussions, there are steps you can take to lessen the likelihood of head injuries. A good first step is to always wear a helmet while participating in any kind of contact or dangerous sport or when riding a bike.
Additionally, never dive in a pool that’s less than 9 feet deep, wear a seat belt whenever you’re in a moving vehicle, and never drive intoxicated. Inside your house, take steps to ensure your home is as accident proof as possible. Keep the floor clear of toys, secure area rugs, install safety gates and handrails on stairways, and pad sharp corners.
Ever suffer from back pain? A long day at work, heavy lifting, a new workout, an uncomfortable mattress, or even chores around the house can cause an aching back. You may feel like taking it easy, but staying active with back exercises will help relieve back pain and bring healing faster than rest.
If you’re prone to back aches and pains, these stretches are for you. Just 10 to 15 minutes a day of these simple exercises will stretch and strengthen your back muscles as well as surrounding support muscles. And lucky for you, most of these exercises are done on the floor with little to no equipment needed. Repeat each exercise three times at least once a day.
Do note that if you’ve suffered a back injury or have osteoporosis, consult with your physician prior to doing these stretches.
Lower Back Rotation
Get on the floor and lie on your back. Bend your knees and place your feet flat on the ground. While keeping your shoulders against the floor, roll your knees over to the left side. Hold this position for 10 seconds, and then bring your knees back up. Now roll your knees over to the right side and hold.
Knee to Chest
In the same position on the floor as the lower back rotation (on your back with knees bent), take both hands and reach down and grab your left knee. Pull it up toward your chest and hold it there for 20–30 seconds. Return to the starting position. Now pull the right knee up toward your chest and hold. Lastly, pull both knees at the same time and hold.
As a variation, work another back muscle by crossing your right knee over your left knee and raising your left knee toward your chest. Switch legs and repeat.
Another back exercise is the bridge. Again, start by lying on your back, knees bent, feet flat on the ground. Keep your head and shoulders on the ground and contract your abs and glute muscles. Raise your hips up toward the ceiling and hold this position for about 30 seconds and lower. Repeat.
Arch Like a Cat
On the floor, get on your hands and knees. Let your back and belly lower toward the floor. Slowly raise your abs toward the ceiling, making an arch with your back. You’ll look like a scared cat. Lower your abs down, and repeat several times.
Seated Lower Back Rotation
To do this exercise, get off the floor. Sit up straight in a chair with your right leg crossed over your left leg. With your left elbow against the outside of your right thigh, twist your torso and stretch toward the right side. Hold for 10 seconds, and then repeat on the other side.
This is a good back exercise to do several times during the day if you’re sitting at a desk for long periods of time.
Lower back pain is often caused by a tight hamstring muscle. Lie on your back with your legs straight. Bring your left knee up to your chest, then straighten your left leg and lift your foot towards the ceiling. Lower your leg back down, and repeat with your right leg.
Another exercise you can do while sitting in a chair is a hamstring stretch. Sit on the edge of the chair, straighten one leg and lift your foot as high as you can.
Stretch and strengthen your back muscles as well as your core and abdominals with the bird dog exercise. Get on your hands and knees with your wrists under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Point your fingers forward, and keep you back straight. Lift your left arm straight in front of you at the same time you lift and straighten your right leg behind you. Lower, and then raise your right arm and your left leg. Continue alternating sides.
Let’s face it, no one is perfect. One big mistake while trying to lose weight could set you back weeks, or even months….you might even prevent yourself from achieving your goal altogether!
They say experience is the best form of education, so today I want to share with you my 3 BIGGEST mistakes I’ve made while trying to lose all my weight. You may have already made these yourself, so learn from your mistakes!
#3: Lack of Effort With Nutrition
The heaviest I ever weighed was about 245lbs. I started losing weight by just moving around more and being active. I worked as a bagger at Kroger and was ALWAYS on my feet working 30-35 hours a week.
That first year, I dropped about 20 lbs FROM JUST THAT ALONE. I didn’t workout at all and I still ate whatever I wanted (which was complete shit).
Sounds great right?
Well the more weight a person has to lose, the faster it will come off in the beginning. So then why was this a bad thing?
Because I assumed that I could eat whatever I wanted and STILL keep losing weight.
What ended up happening is I entered the dreaded plateau. My weight loss came to a screeching halt and I got frustrated and was about to say screw it and quit.
Yes I know it can be a pain in the ass, but you NEED to pay attention to what you eat and make a good faith effort because if you don’t, you WILL PLATEAU. I can promise you that.
If your workouts and nutrition are locked in from the very start, your weight loss will damn near double in pace. Make every day count.
#2: Comparing Myself to Others
When losing weight, it’s VERY easy (and almost instinctive) to compare yourself and your journey to others.
I would look at other people in the gym and just wish why I couldn’t look like that, lift as much as they can or have as much cardio endurance as they do.
I always had a grudge against people that were fit and in shape because I felt like they have been like that their entire life. Most of the time that’s simply not true.
All fitness models (male and females) work extremely hard and are VERY dedicated to keep their bodies in top shape. NOTHING worth having ever comes easy, that goes for anything in life.
I would frequently lose motivation because I felt like I couldn’t measure up to other people’s standards, I couldn’t lose weight as fast as I heard other people doing it.
You NEED to understand that every single person’s story and journey are different.
You are going to lose weight at a different pace than everyone else. But the important thing is that YOU ARE LOSING WEIGHT. Understand that if you quit, you will NEVER get what you want. It’s that simple.
Learning how to stay motivated is absolutely critical in this entire process. It’s one of those intangible skills you MUST have.
And last but certainly not least….my #1 mistake I’ve made….
#1: LACK OF PATIENCE!
Those that know me on a personal level know that I have absolutely no patience with anything in general.
However now with weight loss and fitness, I do. That’s my job and passion so given my journey I’m able to empathize with a lot of my clients because I’ve been there and know exactly what it feels like.
But with 99% of the other things in life (especially little kids!) I have ZERO patience.
I think we live in a world of instant gratification. Technology has allowed us to communicate with people across the world in a matter of seconds. Usually, if we want something (physical or otherwise) we can get it, buy it or do it.
Unfortunately weight loss does not work like that. Humans are fat storing machines and it’s obviously much easier to gain weight than lose it.
I was no exception back when I was fat. I wanted everything right now. I wanted the results from all the infomercial gimmicks and gadgets I saw. All the stupid diet pills and weight loss supplements that ended being proven to be complete bullshit and waste of money.
I don’t really blame people for being this way, “instant results” are all around us thanks to the media and advertising from the supplement industry.
If you’re like most people, you haven’t been happy with your body in months or even years….perhaps even NEVER!
So then you must accept that you’re not going to drop 3 pants sizes in a month, lose 50 lbs in 3 weeks and get completely ripped in 5 weeks.
I know it sucks, but this shit takes time!
But I can promise you, that as long as you don’t quit, you WILL get the body you want.
Remember why you started this crap in the first place. You want to look a certain way and feel a certain way right?
Remember the last time your body made you feel uncomfortable? The last time you had to buy that “other shirt” because the one you really wanted showed off your belly fat and muffin top?
It sucks doesn’t it? SO WHY WOULD YOU EVER QUIT?!
Doesn’t make sense…so don’t do it!
That’s it. Post over, now go workout!
PS: If you found this helpful, do me a huge favor and click that “LIKE” button below
What you should know about plastic.
Everywhere you look, you see something made of plastic. But it wasn’t long ago that plastic began to get a bad rap. Drinking out of plastic containers, eating food packaged in plastic, microwaving food in plastic dishes, or heating plastic baby bottles all became another cause for concern. Maybe you were one of those who threw away all your plastic Tupperware, plates, cups, and utensils altogether for fear you were poisoning yourself and your family.
However, a new type of plastic is available that advertises itself as a safe alternative and is deemed BPA (bisphenol A) free. But is this really a safe type of plastic? What about the many other types of plastic that package or touch our food? If you’re one of the millions concerned about the safety of plastic, here’s what you should know.
The Plastic Leak
Teeny tiny amounts of plastic get into your body from the food you eat. When plastic touches your food through preparation, packaging, or contact with dishes or utensils, it leaks out trace amounts. When plastic is heated or comes in contact with salty, fatty, or acidic foods, it releases even more chemicals.
Unfortunately, the health dangers of this leached plastic haven’t been adequately studied. Scientists can’t tell for certain how safe plastic is because it hasn’t been proven completely unsafe. They have determined, however, that two types of plastics known as BPA and phthalates are possibly dangerous. Most food or drink products made with these chemicals should be taken off the market.
Found in water bottles, baby bottles, and the lining of canned goods, BPA seeps into drinks, formula, and canned foods, and then into your body, and finally into your blood. Along with other plastic chemicals, BPA is harmful to your hormone levels—especially estrogen. Under investigation, this chemical may increase your risk for reproductive problems, heart disease, diabetes, and liver problems.
Limit your exposure to BPA by eating less canned goods and eating more fresh or frozen foods. Also, don’t feed your baby formula packaged cans or from a bottle containing BPA, and don’t drink out of plastic bottles made from polycarbonate. (They’ll be marked with a PC or a 7.) Instead, look for bottles labeled as BPA-free.
Phthalates Aren’t Preferred
Countless consumer products are made of phthalates and many foods are packaged in this type of chemical. (It is often used to cling-wrap deli meats, cheeses, and other foods.) Banned in Europe and nine other nations, phthalates are so common in the U.S. that particles are found in the air we breathe and trickle into the food we eat.
Similar to BPA, phthalates mess with your hormones, but phthalates affect testosterone. High levels of the chemical block testosterone from doing its job, lower sperm count, and cause genital abnormalities. Although officials say levels are too low to cause concern, you can make up your own mind.
The prevalence of phthalates makes it difficult to avoid, but you can limit your exposure by not buying products made of polyvinyl chloride that should be labeled PVC (think of the pipes in your house) or with a 3.
The same harmful chemicals used in certain plastics are also used in nonstick cookware. When these pots and pans are under high heat, they can release toxic chemicals into your food. They can also kill a pet bird.
Keep the following tips in mind to avoid these poisonous chemicals:
- Avoid preheating an empty nonstick pan on high heat. Cook your food at as low a temperature as possible.
- Keep your exhaust fan on over the stove while cooking.
- Use cast iron pots and pans if possible.
- Avoid eating fast food or microwave popcorn.
- Don’t put plastic wrap or plastic containers in the microwave.
- Buy a dishwasher with a stainless steel interior.
- Avoid plastics labeled with the numbers 3 or 7.
- Store food in glass containers.>
- Throw away any scratched plastic containers.
- Wash plastic dishes and utensils by hand.
Many plastics are declared by experts to be safe for your family, but until recently, so were BPA and phthalates.
The pros and cons of caffeine.
Let’s face it: You’re addicted to caffeine! Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Millions around the globe are in the same boat. Without that cup (or cups) of coffee to get you going in the morning, that energy drink to get you through a night of studying, or that soda to give the boost you need in the afternoon, you’re practically worthless.
Caffeine seems to be a harmless drug, as far as drugs go. And you can probably think of a long list of benefits that come with that cup of coffee. But are there any downsides to consuming too much caffeine?
What Is Caffeine?
Caffeine is a bitter-tasting substance naturally found in coffee, tea, chocolate, and kola nuts, which is added to soda, energy drinks, some weight loss supplements, and certain medications. It is a stimulant drug that affects your metabolism and stimulates your central nervous system, increasing your alertness and energy level.
Most people who consume some form of caffeine on a regular basis could forgo it and be fine. Others, however, seem to be addicted. They are dependent on caffeine to function well, and if they don’t have those cups of coffee, they have withdrawal symptoms (headache, anxiety, fatigue, or depression for a few days). Addiction to caffeine is not nearly as serious as addiction to other drugs. It won’t put you in danger, damage relationships, or break your bank like other addictive drugs, but it may have its downsides.
If you drink coffee in the morning, you know the benefits that come with caffeine. Perhaps you notice that your memory is improved; you feel awake, alert and energized; you’re more social; or you’re able to focus and get more accomplished.
Besides these well-known benefits of caffeine, there are other possible health benefits to moderate consumption. Your morning Joe may be doing more than waking you up. Research has shown that caffeine consumption may help reduce your risk of developing Parkinson’s disease, type 2 diabetes, dementia, colorectal cancer, liver disease, or liver cancer. Caffeine can also help to relieve headaches and asthma symptoms.
A few cups of coffee a day won’t hurt you. However, there are dangers to consuming too much caffeine, and caffeine abuse is a growing problem—especially among teens and young adults. Compacting the problem is that more and more products are being marketed for high levels of caffeine. Sodas are now super-sized, energy drinks are chock full of the drug, and caffeine-infused diet pills are gaining in popularity.
While not as dangerous as other drugs, caffeine abuse can lead to insomnia, restlessness, irritability, nausea, vomiting, headaches, tremors, heart palpitations, and chest pains. Additionally, caffeine raises your blood pressure temporarily. Normally this isn’t reason for concern, but repeated high doses of caffeine may lead to heart problems. If you’ve already got high blood pressure, are young or elderly, the affect on your blood pressure may be dangerous.
How Much Is Too Much?
In general, you’re in the safe zone if you drink less than three or four cups of coffee a day or consume less than 400 mg of caffeine a day. However, some people are more sensitive to the effects of caffeine than others. One cup of coffee could energize you until lunch, while it takes four cups for someone else. Know your body and learn to recognize negative symptoms of too much caffeine. If you start noticing that you feel jittery or anxious after that third cup, it’s time to cut back. Pregnant or nursing mothers should also limit their caffeine consumption.
So go ahead and enjoy that cup of coffee each morning. Just beware of the dangers of abusing caffeine in its many delicious forms.
Working out but not losing weight? You may be doing too much cardio.
You’re determined to lose weight. You want your body and your health back. So you’re running on the treadmill three days a week and taking a spin class two days a week, but you’ve stopped seeing the results you want. Rather than seeing the scale go down, it’s staying put or even going up. What is the hold up? Are you doing something wrong?
Unfortunately, many people have this frustrating experience. They know they’ve got to burn calories and they hear high intensity exercise will get the job done so they hit the gym. Learn the possible set backs of too much cardio and the most effective way to shed those extra pounds.
An Urban Legend
If you’ve been busting your buns trying to lose weight and the scale’s barely budging, you may want to listen up. A common exercise myth is the more cardio you do, the more weight you’ll lose; that the longer and harder you run, cycle, or swim, the faster you’ll lose. Many people believe this urban legend, and when their weight loss expectations aren’t met, they often give up.
Yes, you need cardio. As you think, it’s an important part of any exercise routine and will help burn calories, improve your health, and get you in shape. But it may not work like you expect.
When you push your body to perform high-intensity cardio exercise for long periods of time (45 minutes or more), there are negative effects. You will burn calories, but your body may turn to the energy stores in your muscles to make it through such a long workout. This means instead of burning that bulging fat, you’ll wind up burning muscle. Since you need your muscle to keep your metabolism working at its best, getting rid of any amount of muscle is not a good idea.
Stressful on Your Body
Long, strenuous workouts are stressful to your body. This stress may lead to increased production of the stress hormone cortisol. Granted, your body needs some level of cortisol for proper metabolism, blood pressure regulation, and a healthy immune system. Small bursts of the hormone give you energy, improve your memory, and decrease your sensitivity to pain. However, prolonged exposure to cortisol leads to negative health effects, including high blood pressure, decreased muscle mass, lowered immune response, and increased fat around your waist. Excess cardio places stress on your body and will lead to fatigue. What do many people turn to when they’re stressed or tired? Food. Especially carbohydrates.
Increase in Appetite
Keep in mind, when you add exercise to your lifestyle you’ll be hungrier than usual. Your body needs to replenish the energy it used while working out. On the mornings you exercise, expect to be hungrier than normal when lunch rolls around. This can be dangerous. It’s easy to overestimate how many calories you burn as well as underestimate how many calories you’re eating. Watch what you eat to make sure you’re still creating a calorie deficit.
Regardless of how much water you typically drink, you’ll want to increase the amount of water you drink on the days you exercise. When your body becomes dehydrated, it may start to retain water to hoard it for later. The weight you thought you should have lost may actually be water weight. Get rid of water weight by drinking more water before, during, and after exercise.
Create a Balance
Cardio exercise is a good thing, but you can have too much of it. An effective weight loss routine should include a balance of cardio, strength training, and flexibility exercises. Aim to do 20 or 30 minutes three days a week of interval training to get your cardio. Then do 20–30 minutes of strength trainings two days a week with flexibility exercises added in.
Wondering how to create a nutrition and exercise plan that is just what you need to meet your weight loss or muscle gain goals? Ask your personal trainer. After all, that’s what he or she is there for!