Thursday, March 4, 2010

Ask Jillian Michaels March 4, 2010

Q: What is the best way to get rid of the belly bulge?
Jillian MichaelsA:

Contrary to what you might think, getting rid of the belly bulge is all about diet and cardio, rather than strength-training exercises that target the abdominals. This is because belly bulge results from excess body fat, not lack of muscle. The best way to reduce the bulge is therefore to reduce your body fat, and we all know what that requires — diet and exercise, baby!

It is possible to carry extra water weight in your tummy. To get rid of this: try cutting your sodium intake to 1,500 mg a day and increasing your water intake. This will help you reduce water retention and reduce the spongy appearance of belly fat just a bit!

But really, it comes down to healthy eating and consistent cardio workouts. Stick with it, kid — it’ll come off. Just keep at it and be patient with yourself.

Q: Can I substitute a protein shake for a snack?

Absolutely! Just make sure that you work it into your daily calorie budget. I find that pure whey isolate protein is the best and most easily digested. Avoid protein shakes with lots of additives, sugars, flavorings, or artificial sweeteners. I like to make my shake with Trader Joe’s frozen organic berries, nonfat organic Greek yogurt, and a few packets of xylitol (a nontoxic, low-calorie sweetener).

From LOSING IT! With Jillian Michaels
Thursday, March 04, 2010

Keep Challenging Your Body

It may have been just a few weeks ago that you were an exercise newbie. Those first workouts were rough — you didn't think you'd ever survive! But now look at you — you're working out on a regular basis and improving your diet. Good for you!

Know what? It's time to bring the hammer down again. How do I know? Because your body is getting just a little too accustomed to the workload that originally taxed it to the max. Remember — to see continual results, you have to keep challenging your body.

Once you've been exercising for several weeks, it's safe to increase your intensity, and I recommend working out at about 85 percent of your maximum heart rate. To monitor your intensity, first calculate your maximum heart rate by subtracting your age from 220 if you're a woman, or 226 if you're a man.

Once you've calculated your 85 percent rate, you can keep yourself at the right intensity by taking your own pulse throughout your workout. The quickest way is to count the beats for 6 seconds and then multiply by 10. You should check your pulse every 10 minutes or so.

Sometimes during weight training your heart rate will jump above that 85 percent mark, which is fine. If you're using weights, just make sure that your heart rate doesn't drop below 75 percent of your max for the duration of the workout.

Intense Exercise and Your Growth Hormone

After you work out, do you have the feeling that you can do anything? Well, you're not alone. That "runner's high" (which is actually triggered by any form of exercise, not just running) comes about because exercise floods your body with endorphins. These helpful biochemicals lift your mood and stimulate the release of another important hormone that affects your metabolism: human growth hormone (sometimes called HGH). This hormone is something we all want, and lots of it. It builds muscle, burns fat, helps you resist heart disease, protects your bones, and increases your overall health. To be clear, I'm NOT taking about the HGH that you've probably heard about in the news, in reference to doped-up athletes — that's the injected kind and it's definitely something you do NOT want. I'm talking about the natural kind that your body produces with exercise.

The key to turning your body into a growth hormone factory is to exercise at a high intensity level. During intense exercise — like those cardio intervals I've give you in your Fitness Planner — growth hormone spurs the body to use fat as fuel instead of glucose. So you burn more fat as you exercise, and you're keeping your blood glucose levels stable, which gives you more energy to keep going. On the other hand, lack of exercise makes your muscles insulin-resistant and suppresses growth hormone. So make sure you are getting that high-quality, intense exercise to work up those growth hormone levels — it's the healthiest way to reverse aging and make yourself stronger.

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