Wednesday, September 17, 2008

10 Fitness & Nutrition Mistakes Made by Women Pt 6-10

6. I'll Have the salad, please.

Salads can be a great source of nutrients while being low in saturated fat and simple carbohydrates. The key word is "can." Too many times I see individuals pass up perfectly healthy sandwiches and entrees, opting instead for a salad drenched in dressing, bacon bits, and croutons. These items, loaded with fat and calories while scant on nutrients, will not only sabotage a diet but will often fail to make you full.

In order to construct a truly healthy salad, focus on nutrient-dense, low-calorie items such as spinach, broccoli, tomatoes, etc and mix in some lean proteins, beans, nuts, and low fat cheeses for flavor and texture.

The best feature of salads is the variety that can be created, so keep things interesting and flavorful. If you prefer the mixture of dressing, bacon bits, and croutons with some greens mixed in, you might as well have some pizza or burgers to at least fill you up. As you can see, not all salads are created equal.

7. Ill Try to skip breakfast:

Study after study confirms that individuals who eat a balanced breakfast complete with carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats lose more weight than those who skip this meal. Why?

After a night of fasting and inactivity (aka sleep), an individual's metabolism is slowed to a crawl. Think of breakfast as the spark that ignites up your body's metabolic fire, setting you up to burn calories for the entire day. More importantly, though, a nutrient-dense, satisfying breakfast prevents overeating later in the day.

While it is true that skipping breakfast equates to zero calories for that meal, it sets you up to consume many more calories throughout the day, when food choices probably aren't the healthiest.

So if your goal is to shed body fat or lose unwanted weight, eat within 45 minutes of waking up. Breakfast can be as simple as a low-fat yogurt with a piece of fruit, so the "I don't have time for breakfast" excuse won't work.

8. I Do Pushups To Get Rid Of My "Batwings."

Some swear by pushups to rid themselves of that unwanted flab around the triceps, others are devotees of crunches to expunge belly fat, while still others try lunging their way to less cellulite on the backside.

Whatever the exercise and whatever the body part, this approach is called "spot reduction," whereby an isolation exercise is performed to tone a specific area. It simply doesn't exist.

You cannot reduce body fat in one spot. While isolation exercises will undoubtedly strengthen the target muscles, the fat surrounding these muscles (and the fat everywhere else on the body) can only be reduced by consistently being in a hypocaloric state (burning more calories than consumed).

This is why anyone with a six pack will tell you that crunches are not the key. So it does not matter if the goal is tighter arms, a small waistline, or a toned backside; decreasing consumption and increasing cardiovascular activity are the paths to success.

9. I Don't Lift Weights. Lifting Will Make Me Bulky.

An overwhelming number of women avoid the weight rooms of local gyms and health clubs because they firmly believe that resistance training, whether it is free weights or machine-assisted weights, will result in an undesirably bulky physique.

This misconception stems from the fact that nearly all men achieve noticeable gains in muscle mass after beginning a weight training regimen. Because it stems from personal observation and is partially true, it is quite difficult to combat.
Yes, regular weight training will result in increased muscle mass.

However, there is a certain type of training necessary to achieve these gains in size, training that involves heavy resistance and volume. By keeping the weight at about 40 to 50% of maximum effort and increasing repetitions for a cardiovascular effect, you will notice tone, not bulk.

10. It's Reduced-Fat. I Can Eat As Much As I Want.

There are two pieces of information I would like to convey here. "Reduced fat" is a relative term and just because an item is labeled such does not mean that it is low in calories.

For example, if one serving of a certain food contains 60% of the daily recommended fat intake, reducing that amount to 30% is considered "reduced fat," and will probably even be marketed as "half the fat of the original!"

However, 30% is still a lot of fat for one serving, so considered absolute values like how many grams of fat, carbohydrates, protein, etc. are consumed instead of relative values like "50% less fat." Additionally, reaching fitness goals is largely about calorie intake. More body fat and unwanted weight will be gained by eating 500 calories of a low-fat item than by eating 100 calories of a high-fat item, so keep this in mind.

If there is a loss of control or guilt when eating diet or low-fat items, it is probably better in the long-run to consume the higher-fat, higher-calorie counterparts in moderation.

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