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

The Benefits Of Using A Weightlifting Belt

The Benefits Of Using A Weightlifting Belt

Weightlifting belts were popular in Livermore, CA, before 2000 but have since dropped out of vogue. Some people believe it can inhibit the building of lower back or core strength. It’s not a substitute for using core muscles but a way to increase the stability of your spine if you’re lifting heavy loads. It can help prevent the effect of compression on the spine. Studies show that a belt may allow you to increase muscle activity by as much as 25%. It also increases ab and lower-back muscle use.

When you lift, your abs and lower back muscles push on the spine from the outside.

That pressure can cause injury if it isn’t offset by an equal pressure pushing from the inside. That pressure is intra-abdominal pressure. A belt increased that pressure by 40% to push the spine from the inside to offset the outside pressure and stabilize the spine. It can reduce the compression of the discs between the vertebra significantly. The belt doesn’t supply the support, the muscles do. It’s the way the muscles react to the belt that does the job.

Your performance will improve when you use a belt.

Research shows that using a belt can improve muscle growth, power, and strength when doing lower body exercises. One study following lifters with at least five years of doing maximum weight one-repetition lifts compared results from two separate lifts, one with and one without a belt. It showed that a belt allowed the lifters to increase the weight they lift by an average of 10 pounds. Several other research projects showed belts helped increase the activity of the hamstrings and quadriceps. Increased activity of the muscles leads to improved muscle growth. Other studies showed improved lifting speed with a belt.

A belt may improve body mechanics.

The belt makes the lifter more aware of the back position. Feeling the belt against the skin increases the sensation of muscle activation and helps the lifter focus on better lifting posture. You don’t have to wear the belt tightly to get that result but do need it tight for stabilization. It can also improve confidence and a feeling of security, even though there’s no direct effect on muscle activation.

  • The belt forms a wall around the lower torso, so it can help prevent hyperextension of the back. It also helps maintain good posture by preventing the lifter from leaning backward, sideways, or twisting.
  • A trainer is vital when learning to squeeze ab muscles correctly, but a weightlifting belt can also help. Use the belt in conjunction with work on technical skills, stabilization drills, and core work.
  • If you’re wearing the belt tightly, don’t wear your belt for long periods. It may elevate blood pressure when worn longer. Always loosen the belt between sets.
  • Only wear belts where back hyperextension may occur or when performing maximal lifts, like deadlifts or squats. For exercises like pull-downs or leg extensions, belts aren’t necessary and do no good. Continuously wearing them may decrease abdominal muscle strength.

For more information, contact us today at LIV Fitness

Best Foods To Eat When On The Road

Best Foods To Eat When On The Road

Whether you’re on the road for business or a fun family trip, eating healthy food can still be your goal. You don’t have to “junk-food junkie” your way across America. It takes some planning, but with the help of an internet search or a couple of coolers in the trunk, it’s possible to eat healthier. Start by planning your trip before you leave the house. Check the internet for restaurants on your route and visit their website to view what they offer.

Even fast food restaurants have some healthy options.

Grilled chicken, salads, and fruit are offered at some drive-through restaurants. Dine-in restaurants normally have a wider variety of healthier foods Avoid fried options and choose grilled or baked foods. Find restaurants with plenty of vegetable side dishes that aren’t drenched in cream sauce. Some of the fast food restaurants even offer vegetarian or gluten-free options. It’s far easier to find healthy food on the road today than it was just 20 years ago, but you have to choose wisely, Grasshopper. (A reference for anyone old enough to remember the 1970s Kung Fu TV series)

Make your trip a family picnic along the way.

You can create meals to take with you and snacks. It’s an excellent option if saving money, or simply having food you know is healthy readily available. Bring a cooler even if you don’t bring food. You can fill it with bottled water to stay hydrated. Fresh fruit and nut butter makes a good snack. Don’t forget utensils to scoop the nut butter and cut the fruit. Unsweetened yogurt with berries is another good snack option. Rotisserie chicken, salads, and whole grain roll-ups are all healthier options.

Take along a small blender, like the Bullet, and the ingredients you need for a smoothie.

If smoothies are your thing, when you stop for the night, make them, just make sure you have all the necessary ingredients. You don’t have to bring all your food from home. Preplan a shopping trip using the Internet. You can have fresh, clean meals that you know are healthy. If you’re buying food along the way, use the older fruits and vegetables for smoothies and avoid waste.

  • Don’t forget to stop frequently to stretch your legs. It’s a healthy option that can reduce fatigue at the end of the day. Enjoy your meal or snack at a roadside stop and get some exercise at the same time.
  • If you opt for a meal that makes subs to your specifications, choose multigrain bread and pack on the vegetables. Avoid pepperoni and processed meat, American cheese, and many of the dressings. Stick with chicken, vinegar or vinaigrette, and Swiss cheese.
  • Don’t take juice for the kids, thinking it’s healthier. Opt for water, unsweetened tea, or infused water. The lack of fiber in fruit juice makes it a sugar bomb that will ramp up the kids for hours.
  • If you’re traveling in a farming area, check for farmers’ markets along the way. They have fresh produce you can prepare in your room at night. Some even have restaurants that offer farm-fresh options for every meal.

For more information, contact us today at LIV Fitness

Is Cardio Making Me Fat?

Is Cardio Making Me Fat?

Starting any exercise program is a good thing, even if it’s just walking. However, if you want to lose weight and be your healthiest, you need all types of exercise, cardio, strength, balance, and flexibility. Some people focus strictly on cardio for weight loss, saying it burns tons of calories. They’re correct. It does burn calories, but if that’s all you’re doing, you might be sabotaging your efforts to lose fat and future weight loss.

Cardio burns all types of tissue for energy.

When you do cardio, the body burns both lean muscle tissue and fat to get the extra energy required. The source of the calories is important. If you’re using lean muscle tissue to fuel your run, it reduces the muscle tissue you have. However, lean muscle tissue burns more calories than fat tissue does, so the more you have, the higher your metabolism and the more calories you’ll burn 24/7. It’s better to vary your workout and do more than just cardio if you want to lose weight.

If you do the same cardio every day, like running, your body becomes efficient.

Running is probably the most popular cardio workout, but if you only run, your body becomes efficient at the movements. The body is hardwired to burn as few calories as possible, so it finds ways to make the movements more precise and effective to reduce the calories you spend. It might save just a few calories every mile, but that slows your effort to lose fat. Unless you continually increase your distance, you’ll notice your body plateauing and weight loss slowing the more often you run.

Try mixing it up with other types of exercise, especially strength training.

Strength training builds lean muscle tissue as it burns calories from fat tissue. Unlike steady-state cardio, strength training causes calories to burn for hours following an intense workout. It effectively raises your metabolic rate for hours after the workout and sometimes for days. Excessive cardio can also lead to stress injuries that can sideline you for weeks. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. It simply means you must do all types of workouts to burn fat efficiently.

  • No matter what type of exercise you do, if you’re trying to lose fat, you need to change your diet, too. Eating healthy is just as important for weight loss, if not more important. You can’t out-exercise a bad diet.
  • Before you start any exercise, always check with your healthcare professional, especially if you have any pre-existing conditions. If you work with a trainer, always inform them of any limitations.
  • Some studies show that people who run frequently eat more calories per day than those who don’t. One study showed that the increase was approximately 100 more calories than they burned, making weight loss more difficult.
  • If you run, modify your intensity throughout the run. Studies show that a moderate steady-state pace burns fewer calories than a modified alternating pace going from high intensity to a slower recovery pace.

For more information, contact us today at LIV Fitness

Health Benefits Of Weightlifting

Health Benefits Of Weightlifting

At LIV Fitness in Livermore, CA, we include all types of fitness training in our clients’ programs. Strength training is an important part of fitness and has many health benefits. You can combine it with other types of fitness training to get more from the workout in a shorter time. Some people question whether weightlifting is appropriate for women, seniors, or those with physical limitations or even if it’s healthy. The good news is that almost every adult can lift weights. The amount of weight lifted may be far less and modifications may be necessary, but the benefits are worth it.

Keep obesity at bay by lifting weights.

Obesity is now the leading cause of preventable deaths. If you want to lose weight, you have to burn more calories than you consume. A healthy diet will help limit calories consumed and weightlifting is an efficient way to burn calories. Unlike running, which burns calories from both fat and muscle tissue, weightlifting increases muscle tissue as it burns fat. Muscle tissue requires more calories for maintenance than fat tissue does. The more you have, the higher your metabolism, making it easier to shed extra pounds.

Strength training is more important for seniors than the younger population.

After 30, most people start losing muscle mass due to lower hormone levels. That natural occurrence can be prevented or reversed by doing strength- training. Lifting weights builds stronger muscles, which is particularly important the older you get. For seniors, strong muscles can make the difference between living independently and requiring assistance. Stronger muscles can help prevent falls and the injuries they cause. It can also help relieve the pain of arthritis, back pain, and joint issues.

Including weightlifting in your workout helps maintain bone strength.

Seniors to do strength-building exercises, especially if they’re women. Senior women tend to suffer from bone thinning—osteoporosis—more than men, and strength-building can help prevent osteoporosis. It can even reverse it. Your bones uptake calcium to increase their strength and offset the tug of muscles. If no muscles tug on the bones, they lose calcium, and you have bone thinning. Studies show that strength-building workouts can be as effective as some medications for osteoporosis.

  • Although it might seem counterproductive to do weight training for joints and arthritis pain, the increased strength helps lift pressure off the joints, ease pain, and reduce swelling and stiffness.
  • Lifting weights can improve the strength of core muscles. Core strength can help improve posture, which affects many areas of health, such as breathing and digestion. Good posture can prevent acid reflux.
  • Weight training can help reset hormones that affect all areas of the body. It can burn off cortisol and help prevent insulin resistance, which is a precursor for diabetes. Weight training can help prevent PMS and menstrual cramps and relieve symptoms of menopause.
  • Working out with weights lowers blood pressure, boosts the immune system, and helps maintain blood sugar levels. It helps reduce visceral fat—belly fat—that negatively affects internal organs.

For more information, contact us today at LIV Fitness

Can I Lose Weight Quickly Before Vacation?

Can I Lose Weight Quickly Before Vacation?

If you’re leaving on vacation next week, even if you lose weight quickly, it will only be a few pounds and will return quickly, most probably while you’re on your vacation. If you have more time, like a month or two, there are several things you can do to not only look better, but also feel better and more energetic. Even if your deadline is two weeks, you can make some positive changes, but if you’re expecting to drop 20 pounds or fit into clothing that is two sizes smaller, you’ll be disappointed.

Losing weight starts in the kitchen.

You don’t have to starve yourself to shed pounds. Starving yourself right before a vacation can drain you of energy and you’ll miss all the fun. Instead, focus on eating healthier. Eliminate food with added sugar and load your plate with whole food, like fruit and vegetables. That’s right! You can eat a lot when you choose vegetables like fresh greens, carrots, peppers and other colorful veggies. Cut out processed food, too. Highly processed foods normally don’t improve your nutrition but do provide empty calories.

Workout at least a half hour a day.

If you have a month, you’ll notice a big difference in how you look and feel. Don’t try to overdo it because you have a timeline that’s approaching. Overexercising can lead to injuries that will not only set you back months, but can also ruin your vacation. Spending 30 minutes a day working out not only tones the muscles, but also burns extra calories. It can help you lose weight, but best of all, you’ll build energy and enjoy your vacation more.

You want the best workout to burn calories and shed pounds faster.

Strength-building exercises not only burn tons of calories, but they also build muscle tissue at the same time. You’ll look more toned after just a few weeks. While cardio also torches calories, it gets those extra calories to burn from both fat and muscle tissue. Muscle tissue burns more calories than fat tissue does for maintenance, so the more you have, the higher your metabolism. Make your workout a HIIT—high intensity interval training—workout that modifies the intensity throughout. Not only does it burn calories while you’re doing it, it continues to burn calories after you quit. Any type of workout can be a HIIT workout.

  • Increase your activity level. Even if you workout every day, you can boost your calorie burning by becoming more active when you’re not working out. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, park further from the store or walk to lunch.
  • Plan your meals and prepare them ahead. You’ll have the right portion size and be less likely to cheat. Don’t forget to include a mid-morning and mid-afternoon snack. It helps control your appetite and keeps you energized.
  • What you drink makes a difference, too. Some fancy coffees have as many calories as a meal. Sugary soft drinks, like colas, contain 100 calories per can. Replace them with water. Avoid diet drinks. Studies show a link between diet sodas and a larger waist circumference.
  • Get adequate sleep. Lack of sleep slows you down and makes you hungrier. It disrupts the balance between the hunger hormone ghrelin and the satiety hormone leptin, suppressing leptin and increasing ghrelin.

For more information, contact us today at LIV Fitness

How To Exercise With Bad Feet

How To Exercise With Bad Feet

Throughout the years, our personal trainers at LIV Fitness in Dublin, CA, have worked with people with issues that impeded their mobility. They created a personalized workout with modifications to address those issues. Problems often faced are issues with feet and ankles. You don’t have to give up working out, so don’t use it as an excuse not to exercise if that’s your problem. There is a way to exercise with bad feet and have a thorough workout.

Running and other high-impact exercises often create bad feet.

There are a lot of reasons that your feet might hurt. It can be anything from a temporary cause, like a cut or something more permanent. One thing you don’t want to do is exacerbate the injury. Many runners experience the problem after years of the high-impact pounding their feet take when they run. Avoid that pounding by switching to low-impact workouts or modifying existing workouts. Swimming is low impact, for instance. Modifying position your position works, too. Switch standing butt kicks for donkey kicks on hands and knees.

There are lower body exercises that don’t involve standing.

Whether you’re sitting in a chair or lying on the floor, you won’t be putting pressure on your feet. Doing leg raises laying on your side is one of those exercises that work the legs without putting any pressure on the feet. Seated heel presses, leg extensions and knee lifts are a few that can be done while seated. You can even modify a plank or push-up by resting your weight on your knees, not your feet.

Get fit and build strength whether sitting or lying on the floor.

Seated leg lifts are tough and don’t put any pressure on the feet. Most upper-body workouts can be done seated, too. Air boxing, seated jumping jacks without the jump, bicep curls and many more exercises can be modified to protect your feet and build strength. Lay on the floor and put your feet on a chair or bench. Do a modified bridge by lifting your bottom off the ground and forming a straight 45-degree angle from your shoulders to your feet. It’s more of a workout than the traditional chair, so people without injuries might want to try it.

  • Don’t forget to warm up and stretch. Staying flexible is important. It’s also important to maintain motion in the ankles, since you aren’t working them as hard with a foot injury. Doing ankle curls and outstretching the legs and making circles are good exercises.
  • Always check with your healthcare professional before starting any program of exercise. Don’t push yourself if you feel pain, particularly if the pain comes from the injured area.
  • Do leg lifts seated for lower body workouts. Add an upper body workout by grasping the side of the chair with your legs extended and lifting your bottom off the chair.
  • Don’t forget about resistance bands. Even if you’re stuck in a chair, you can use resistance bands. They’re easy to use and can be part of your fitness program that you can do anywhere.

For more information, contact us today at LIV Fitness