Does Swimming Burn The Most Calories?

Does Swimming Burn The Most Calories?

If you workout at Liv Fitness in Tracy, CA, you probably are active outside the gym. You may go swimming, biking, running, or hiking and probably wonder which one burns the most calories. It’s not an easy question to answer, since that depends on several factors. How fast is your pace and how intensely are you exercising? How long are you exercising?

Many people consider running the top calorie burner.

Running is an intense activity that pushes the body to the limit. However, you can only run at peak intensity for so long. You can swim far longer. Even though running burns about 60% more calories than casual swimming, you can continue casual swimming far longer than running at peak performance. Does it burn more calories per hour? No, but you can swim far longer without getting exhausted.

Swimming is a good cardio exercise that is easy on the joints.

If your knees hurt every time you run, take note. Running is a high-impact sport that takes its toll on the joints. Swimming, on the other hand, is low impact. It’s especially good for people who are overweight or those with joint issues. Your body is more buoyant in the water so there’s far less pressure on the joints. The water also provides more resistance than exercising on dry land does, so you’ll burn more calories if you do traditional calisthenics in the water. Walking and attempting to run in water can burn even more calories than the dry land counterparts.

You’ll burn calories as you build muscle tissue.

Because of the water resistance, you’re building muscle. After all, that’s what strength training is. It’s resistance training. On dry land, the weight of the dumbbells, barbells, or your body goes against the force of gravity. In the water, it’s against the water resistance. Unlike running, which burns both muscle and fat tissue, you build muscle tissue when swimming. The more muscle tissue you have, the higher your metabolism, since muscle tissue requires more calories to maintain than fat tissue does. The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn, even when you’re sleeping.

  • One study of middle-aged women showed that spending three times a week swimming for 60 minutes burned substantial weight. More weight loss was from fat loss. It was primarily from the hip and waist area.
  • Another exercise that burns fat and builds muscle tissue is resistance training—weight lifting or bodyweight exercises. You can make it a high intensity interval workout to burn extra calories.
  • Swimming is a full-body exercise, which is another reason it burns a lot of calories. It also works all the muscles in the body. If you swim at top speed, it burns as many calories as running.
  • You can use swimming as an alternate exercise on your days away from the gym. It increases circulation. If you’ve had an intense day at the gym, use it as a recovery exercise the next day.

For more information, contact us today at LIV Fitness

Intermittent Fasting For Weight Loss

Intermittent Fasting For Weight Loss

The term intermittent fasting—IF—describes a technique using meal timing. People fast within a specific window and the balance of the time, eat normally. Initially, doctors used IF to help control seizures and for other medical issues. Today, many people use it for weight loss. IF isn’t rigid. You can do it in several ways. The most popular is too fast for an extended period, such as 14 to 16 hours, consuming only tea, coffee, or water, then eat normally the rest of the time. Some forms include alternating days of normal eating with fasting days or ones when you eat limited calories.

You’ll get better results if you eat healthy when you use IF for weight loss.

People who use IF for weight loss focus more on timing the meals, rather than what they consume. While there are no food restrictions with IF, if you’re using it for weight loss, you’ll experience improved results by choosing healthy options rather than junk food. IF allows you to eat more at each meal, so you never feel deprived. During the fasting period, your body burns fat, rather than glucose, as fuel. That also helps lower insulin levels in the blood, can make cells less insulin resistant, and aid in weight loss.

Studies show IF can be a healthy option for some people.

Many of the studies on IF were animal studies. One early rat study showed the group fed every other day lived 83% longer and remained more youthful than those that had food on demand. They also had fewer age-related illnesses. During fasting, the body removes damaged cells that could lead to cancer. The body also removes cellular waste more efficiently during IF. It also caused the genes controlling longevity to improve. One beneficial change was an increase in HGH—human growth hormone. HGH can help weight loss by increasing muscle mass, decreasing body fat, and improving exercise capacity.

Not everyone should do IF.

People with diabetes and those taking blood pressure or heart medication shouldn’t use IF unless it’s under a doctor’s supervision. IF isn’t appropriate for pregnant or breastfeeding women either. It may negatively affect people with eating disorders or those prone to eating disorders. If you have any type of health issue, always check with your healthcare professional before starting any type of diet.

  • The easiest way to do IF is to extend the 8-hour nighttime fast when you sleep to a 16-hour fast. You’ll eat the first meal at 10 a.m. and eat the last one at 6 p.m.
  • Most people eat less if their food intake is limited to a specific time window. While you may eat as much or more at each meal when you follow IF, you’ll eat fewer meals.
  • A review of recent studies shows that IF can reduce fat by 16% or more in 12 weeks or less. It can cause as much as an 8% reduction in weight.
  • Combining IF with a ketogenic diet can improve results. It can cut the time to reach ketosis, which is the key to losing weight with a keto diet.

For more information, contact us today at LIV Fitness

How To Stop Overeating Chocolate And Other Sweet Treats

How To Stop Overeating Chocolate And Other Sweet Treats

Everyone loves something sweet, whether it’s a juicy orange or a sweet treat. The problem with satisfying that craving for sugar with chocolate or other food with added sugar makes it even more difficult to stop overeating sugary delights once you start. That’s because sugar stimulates brain neuroreceptors which opioids also stimulate. It releases the feel-good neurotransmitter dopamine. That reward increases your desire to eat more. It’s similar to using recreational drugs. The more you eat, the more you want.

Is it better to cut back and wean yourself from sugar or give it up completely?

The response for each person will vary, but one thing doesn’t. If you’re going cold turkey and eliminating sweet treats, carefully choose your food. Everything that isn’t whole food seems to have added sugar, whether it’s ketchup, bread, or the more obvious, soft drinks. Giving up sugar can help prevent the desire to eat more, but it’s hard to do. It takes several days to weeks to work through the sugar cravings. If you wean yourself from sugar, it causes cravings to continue just as strong and can make it harder to quit.

Postpone eating sugar when you have a craving.

Everyone has their “sweet spot,” the desire for sugar sparking a marathon of candy bars, pastries, and ice cream If you’re weaning off sugar, try the procrastination approach. Instead of going to the cupboard or stopping at the store, do something else. Go for a walk, clean out the junk drawer, or, even better, exercise! Do whatever it takes to postpone eating the sugary treat. If you’re hungry and it’s time for a snack, have nuts, cottage cheese, or fresh fruit or vegetables ready to fill the hunger hole.

Cut out sweet treats one at a time and work up to all food with added sugar.

If your goal is a healthier lifestyle, cutting out all types of food with added sugar gives you a jump start. Start by limiting treats to once or twice a day. Then expand by cutting back to one treat a day and then none. You’ll slowly reduce the sugar you eat. Eventually, your diet will be free of added sugar and you won’t crave it.

  • People often fail to realize that soft drinks and fruit juice count as a sugary treat. Drinks are super high in sugar and just as addictive. Even zero-calorie drinks with artificial sweeteners can keep the sugar addiction strong.
  • Once you give up the obvious sugary treats, you might find you crave crackers, pasta, and white bread. They’re loaded with sugar, too. All you’re looking for is a big rush of glucose. Limit those foods if you’re weaning off sugar.
  • Find ways to get the sweet flavor without the rush of glucose. Create snacks with fruit. Make a parfait with plain Greek yogurt, berries, a half banana chopped, and nuts. It can help fill your craving for sugar without throwing gasoline on the fire.
  • It takes a while to get your tastebuds to adapt. When you eat sugar, it requires more sugar each time to get the same sweet flavor. It takes as long to get your taste buds back to enjoying natural sweetness.

For more information, contact us today at LIV Fitness

What Genetic Predispositions Increase The Risk Of Becoming Obese?

What Genetic Predispositions Increase The Risk Of Becoming Obese?

If you’re like many people in Livermore, CA, you’ve heard the latest scientific discovery linking a genetic factor to the potential of becoming obese. While genetic makeup dramatically affects your future, it doesn’t seal your fate. A predisposition means you must work harder and be more careful with your diet and other lifestyle options. Scientists recently analyzed human genome sections affecting body weight in four hundred thousand people. The people in the top 10% containing those markers were 25 times more likely to become severely obese than those in the bottom 10%.

It doesn’t mean you have to become obese.

Even if you have all the markers of obesity, your lifestyle plays an important role. While it doesn’t seem fair, people with the genetic markers of obesity have to be more careful and live a healthier lifestyle than those that don’t have the markers. It also doesn’t mean that someone with few genetic markers can avoid obesity if they live only on pastry, snack food, and other foods high in empty calories.

Your lifestyle plays a critical role.

There’s always been a debate about nature vs nurture. Which one plays the most important role in all facets of life? For obesity, it looks like it’s a 50/50 split. You inherit the genes that provide a predisposition to obesity, but after that, it’s your lifestyle that determines your outcome. It explains why two people in the same family can have very different body shapes and weights.

Just because you have a genetic predisposition toward obesity, it doesn’t make it bad.

Genes linked to excess body fat may protect the body from other health issues. Scientists also discovered 62 sections of markers that were associated with both a lower risk of heart disease and a higher risk of excess body fat. There was a difference between healthy fat cells and unhealthy ones. The key was the fat created, how the fat was distributed, and the regulation of inflammation and energy. It explains why about 45% of the people who are obese maintain healthy blood pressure, lipid levels, and glucose levels and remain relatively healthy.

  • Even if you don’t have genetic markers for obesity, you aren’t out of the woods. In the study of genetics, people without the genetic markers of obesity still developed it. That places the burden back on lifestyle.
  • Early childhood plays a role, particularly when it comes to health interventions. It doesn’t mean adults can’t change their future. It’s just easier when you learn healthier options early in life.
  • Even if you do have the genetic markers to improve heart health, people with obesity face a 72% higher risk for diabetes, increase the risk of high blood pressure by 38%, and are 34% more likely to develop heart failure.
  • Our personal trainers at LIV Fitness can help you develop a personalized plan for a healthier life, whether you have a predisposition to obesity or not. It’s all about you, your goals, and present fitness level.

For more information, contact us today at LIV Fitness

What Are The Most Energizing Foods, And Why?

What Are The Most Energizing Foods, And Why?

It’s three in the afternoon and you’re wiped out. Is it time to grab a candy bar or drink a cup of coffee? The answer is a resounding no. While those types of energizing foods give a quick boost, they only provide that boost for a short time, then the dip in energy goes even lower. Real energizing food gives sustained energy that diminishes slowly. Carbohydrates provide quick energy and simple carbs immediately boost blood sugar levels. Complex carbs digest slower, as do proteins and fats.

Fiber slows the rush of carbohydrates.

When you eat a carbohydrate high in fiber, the fiber slows the glucose absorption. Fiber helps provide a longer energy boost. Chickpeas provide energy. They’re high in protein and contain both fiber and carbs. They also have a wealth of nutrients, including iron. Make those energizing chickpeas into hummus and dip sweet red peppers. The vitamin C in sweet red peppers boosts the absorption of iron.

Grab a handful of nuts or eat a hard-boiled egg instead of a donut.

You’ll get the boost of protein that keeps your body energized longer. Add a slice of whole-grain toast or bread to make the boost even quicker. If you want an easier solution, eat a handful of nuts or nut butter on whole wheat toast or bread. Combining nut butter protein with the fiber and carbohydrates of the bread helps keep blood sugar levels. If the nuts are walnuts, that’s even better. Walnuts can improve cognitive functioning.

Make a yogurt combo.

A banana has sugar, but it also has fiber that slows digestion and reduces spikes. So do berries and Greek yogurt. As mentioned previously, nuts, especially walnuts, are also good options. When you combine those all in a parfait, you’ll get a satisfying treat that can boost your energy for hours. Only use the unflavored yogurt, since the others are high in simple sugars that spike glucose levels. For the healthiest option, use yogurt with live cultures.

  • If you want to boost your energy, drink a glass of water. Even mild dehydration can make you feel tired. If drinking water helps your flagging energy, sip on water throughout the day to prevent fatigue before it occurs.
  • Start your day with oatmeal to keep you going strong throughout the day. Oatmeal is loaded with fiber and includes protein. Top it with nut butter, blueberries, or other fruit to improve that boost and add flavor.
  • You’ll be surprised how sweet beets can taste when you steam them with the skin on and slide it off right before you eat them. Beets offer loads of fiber and nutrients. Drinking beet juice can also keep you going strong during high-intensity exercise.
  • A cup of coffee is a well-known energy booster, but tea, especially green tea, can also keep you running strong. There is less caffeine in tea and the L-theanine buffers the caffeine, preventing the jitters and the sudden drop in energy.

For more information, contact us today at LIV Fitness

What Foods Help Lower The Risk Of Heart Disease?

What Foods Help Lower The Risk Of Heart Disease?

The food you consume can make you healthier or increase the risk of disease. It can cause an imbalance in your gut microbiome that can cause mental issues. Some foods are specifically beneficial to certain parts of the body. They can lower the risk of heart disease and stroke. These foods may help lower blood pressure, improve cholesterol levels, or reduce inflammation, which reduces the risk factors for heart problems.

Eat your greens to keep your heart healthy.

A big salad before a meal can help get your digestive juices flowing while boosting nutrition. Greens are high in nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. You’ll protect your arteries with the vitamin K they contain. Greens, particularly spinach, bok choy, and several types of lettuce are high in nitrates. Unlike those in processed meats, these convert to nitric oxide, essential for heart health. Nitric oxide lowers blood pressure, makes arteries more flexible, and improves how the blood vessel lining functions. Increasing your leafy green vegetable intake could reduce your risk of heart disease by up to 16%.

Berries should be part of your meal.

Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries are jam-packed with nutrients that play a central role in heart health. Add berries and nuts to yogurt or freeze them and make a traditional palate cleanser that’s refreshing and light. Berries contain antioxidants that protect the heart from inflammation and oxidative stress. If you have insulin resistance or high bad cholesterol levels, both of which can cause heart disease, one study showed eating berries for four weeks can improve both conditions. Consuming them can lower systolic blood pressure and inflammation markers.

Choose healthy fat for a healthy heart.

People seem to fear fat, but not all fat is bad. Your body needs fat for many processes, including weight loss. Fatty fish, such as salmon, contain omega-3 fatty acids, which help protect the heart and prevent arrhythmias. Walnuts also provide healthy fat in the form of linoleic acid—a type of omega-3 fatty acid—and fiber that reduces inflammation, plus other nutrients. Sprinkle some on your salad or in yogurt with fresh berries to increase heart health. Avocados contain monounsaturated fat. These are linked to improved cholesterol levels to improve heart health.

  • Dark chocolate that contains 70% or more cocoa has flavonoids and other antioxidants. It can help improve blood flow to the heart, which lowers blood pressure. It can also prevent cell damage and aid in reducing clotting.
  • The vitamin D from sunshine is good for the heart, but if you can’t get enough sun exposure, eat food like beef liver, cheese, egg yolks, and products fortified with vitamin D.
  • Liver and other organ meats such as beef heart, are high in CoQ10. CoQ10 reduces the risk of heart failure and helps lower high blood pressure.
  • Food high in magnesium, such as spinach, avocados, and dark chocolate, help prevent irregular heartbeat. Brussels sprouts, asparagus, and broccoli are high in folic acid which reduces the risk of heart disease by 20%.

For more information, contact us today at LIV Fitness

Do Granola Bars Cause Inflammation?

Do Granola Bars Cause Inflammation?

The people of Livermore, CA, have access to some great local produce and stores packed with healthy foods, so you’d think it would be easy to eat the foods that can keep you fit. That’s not necessarily true. The food is available, but finding the right food can be quite confusing. You might eat certain food because you think it’s wholesome, like granola bars. You’d be wrong. They have a downside and it’s inflammation.

Inflammation is necessary for a healthy body, but you can get “too much of a good thing.”

Acute inflammation helps your body heal. It causes a fever that activates your body’s immune system and can destroy invading bacteria and viruses. It helps you stay healthy. However, chronic inflammation is the opposite side of the coin. Chronic inflammation can lead to serious conditions, such as stroke, arthritis, Alzheimer’s, heart disease, and diabetes. The food you eat can increase chronic inflammation or fight it.

Food with added sugar can increase inflammation.

Granola bars fit that description. A healthy level of sugar intake is about 6 teaspoons per day, but the average diet in America has about 17 teaspoons a day. Granola bars fit that description. If you consume too much sugar at one time, it can lead to insulin resistance which causes chronic inflammation. Also, protein and fat combine with sugar in the blood, creating AGEs—Advanced Glycation End Products. They cause inflammation. A third way is that sugar makes the gut more permeable. That makes it easy for bacteria and inflammatory bits to enter the blood causing inflammation. Finally, sugar increases bad cholesterol—LDL—which ultimately leads to inflammation.

Commercial granola bars contain trans fats.

Trans fats can cause inflammation. There was a lot of talk about trans fats and most people believe they were removed or at least labeled on food products. That’s not always true. If a product contains less than half a gram, the government doesn’t require the company to list it on the label, even if it’s very close to half a gram. You have to look at the ingredients to find them. If the list contains partially hydrogenated oil, there are trans fats in it.

  • Granola bars also contain a high amount of omega 6. There’s a fine balance between omega-3 and omega-6. Too many omega-6 fatty acids cause inflammation. Granola bars increase the imbalance.
  • Commercial granola bars contain high amounts of refined carbohydrates. Like sugar, they break down quickly and enter the bloodstream, spiking blood sugar levels. As your body struggles to remove the sugar, it stimulates inflammation.
  • The soft alternatives to granola bars with fruit in the center may be worse than granola bars, especially those with healthier ingredients. They’re high in sugar and increase blood glucose levels rapidly.
  • Not all granola bars are alike. Look for ones where the saturated level is lower than 20%. Find ones that have at least five grams of fiber, protein, and unsaturated fat. Identify the sugar. If it is from date paste or fruit, it’s okay.

For more information, contact us today at LIV Fitness

What Is Food Flexibility?

What Is Food Flexibility?

Do you miss those days when you could eat your favorite food and not feel bad? You can still do that and avoid the programmed mentality the diet culture has created. Food flexibility is based on listening to your body. It takes the bad and good labels away from food and turns it back to just plain food, sustenance for the body that you can enjoy. It also helps prevent the cycles of deprivation and binging or the defeat you feel when you’ve eaten a “forbidden” food.

The first step in developing food flexibility is understanding your internal food rules.

You may not even realize that you’ve created food rules or know where you developed those ideas once you do. Every time you eat, become aware of your self-talk. That will lead you to your internal food rules. Do these have power over you and limit your enjoyment of food? Do you ever go against them? If so, how do you feel when you do? Once you know the rules, give yourself permission to break them.

Learn to eat intuitively.

Once you understand the rules you’ve internalized and given yourself permission to break them, you need to learn to eat intuitively, accepting that foods aren’t good or bad. Intuitive eating means listening to your body. Pay attention to how you feel after you eat a specific food or eat at certain times. You might feel energetic after a certain type of meal or wake up feeling bloated after eating a big snack at night. Look for the foods and eating patterns that make you feel your best.

Food flexibility focuses on feeling good, listening to your body, and avoiding restriction.

Learning to eat healthier is part of food flexibility. It’s all about enjoying the food you eat and making smarter choices. When you permit yourself to eat the food you crave or listen to your body when you do, you won’t feel denied the pleasure of consuming it. You also won’t feel the shame that you would otherwise feel when eating food previously restricted. Taking the negative emotions out of food allows you to increase the pleasure, which can prevent overeating later.

  • Why does food flexibility work? Any type of restriction will increase the desire for the food restricted. Often one bite is enough to satisfy that desire, especially if you’re in tune with your body.
  • If you’re uncomfortable eating without rules, identify what you like about a certain food that was previously restricted. Look for the same quality in other, healthier options. The crunch from pretzels can be replaced with crisp celery.
  • Sometimes, food flexibility has roadblocks. If you’re constantly eating food with added sugar, your body may tell you to eat more. Sugar is addictive. The more you eat, the more you need to get the sweet flavor.
  • Healthy eating is all about being flexible but making smarter decisions when you do eat. However, if you’re really craving something unhealthy, you can eat it, and it’s not the end of the world or your plan of healthy eating.

For more information, contact us today at LIV Fitness

How To Lose Weight On A Low Carb Diet

How To Lose Weight On A Low Carb Diet

Each person has different needs and our programs at LIV Fitness reflect that. We offer nutritional counseling for people who want to lose weight with a wide variety of approaches. A low carb diet is one of those ways. Knowing the healthiest types of carbs to eat is key to healthy weight loss. Whole food should be part of every type of diet. The first step to a healthy low carb diet is eliminating highly processed food that has added sugar.

Besides weight loss, the health benefits of a low carb diet make it popular.

A low carbohydrate diet can help regulate cholesterol levels. It can lower the “bad” LDL cholesterol levels and increase the “good” HDL levels. It also improves triglyceride levels. Stabilizing blood sugar levels is another benefit of a low carb diet. Stabilizing blood sugar also reduces high insulin levels, which can cause abdominal fat and insulin resistance. The increased protein and healthy fat in a low carb diet can help you feel fuller longer, so you won’t eat as much. Protein can also aid in boosting your metabolism.

Low carb diets don’t cut out all carbs but change the percentages of macronutrients.

Carbs are a macronutrient, just as proteins and fats are. A low carb diet simply reduces the amount of calories that come from carbs and increases the number of calories from protein. Traditional low carb diets are structured so 30 % of calories come from protein, 40 % from carbohydrates, and 30 % from fats. The average American diet contains 50 % of calories from carbohydrates, 15 % from protein, and 35% from fat—mostly unhealthy fat. The concept is that reducing carbs forces the body to break down fat to use for energy, rather than depending on glucose.

The key to success and a healthy low carb diet is the type of carb you consume.

You won’t get sick by cutting out pasta, white bread, and candy bars, but it can affect your health if you cut out fruit and vegetables. The real killer is food with added sugar that spikes blood sugar, since fruit and vegetables that are high in sugar are also high in fiber, which slows the absorption of sugar and prevents spiking. Giving up the added sugar is the biggest struggle you’ll face on the low carb diet, since sugar is addictive. By following a healthy diet loaded with nutrients, not only will you lose weight, but you’ll also gain energy.

  • Not everyone should be on a low carb diet. Low carb diets were first used in the 20s to help prevent seizures. It can help some people but isn’t the best for everyone. Always check with your health care professional first before starting any special diet.
  • Just because you can eat platefuls of bacon, it doesn’t mean you should. Some food on a low carb diet can affect your health if consumed in large amounts. Be sensible. When choosing animal products, choose those from pastured animals that are higher in omega-3 and CLA.
  • Vegetables may have carbs, but they’re complex carbs, some of which are fiber that can’t be digested. They take longer to digest, so they don’t spike blood sugar levels.
  • The basic concept of a healthy low carb diet is to change eating habits to ones that include food that’s beneficial to the body.

For more information, contact us today at LIV Fitness