Which Diet is Better for Weight Loss? Low-Carb or Low-Fat?

Which Diet is Better for Weight Loss? Low-Carb or Low-Fat?

Are you about to attempt a change in diet for the first time? There are so many to choose from out there, but perhaps the two most popular options are low-fat and low-carb. They’re both pretty straightforward: just eat less carbohydrates or eat less fats. Some people swear that carbs, which are considered the greatest enemy of dieters, actually helped them lose weight. While others claim that eating more fat has made them lose fat. So, whose advice should you follow? You can go with either, really.

In one recent study, researchers had 600 overweight and obese participants split into two groups to attempt these two diets. Those who took the low-fat route and those who tried the low-carb eating style all lost almost exactly the same amount of weight. Individual results varied, but the average weight loss was nearly identical.

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Low-fat diets were once highly popular, compared to the current trend of high-fat diets or the ketogenic diet trend. The main complaints with a low-fat diet are that it doesn’t taste great and it’s less filling. Fats keep you fuller for longer, especially healthy fats. Plenty of them are some of our favourite sources of flavours too, such as cheese, nuts, fish, pork, eggs and milk. The theory behind the low-fat diet is that since fat contains nine calories per gram and carbohydrates contain four calories per gram, you can eat more by cutting back on fatty foods and eat more carbs instead.

Eating more carbs seems highly appealing. All that bread, rice and pasta? It still has some drawbacks though, especially if you’re eating highly-processed and refined sources of carbs, like white bread, soft drinks, pastries and sweets.

If you choose to try a low-carb diet, you’re likelier to lose weight faster, but it’s mostly water weight and there have been questions raised regarding long-term safety. Cutting back on carbs will result in your body taking from stores in your liver and muscle tissue. In the process, water is also mobilised, which accounts for rapid weight loss. The downside to this is, you can easily gain back the lost weight if you end your low-carb diet.

Carbs give us energy, specifically by boosting our blood sugar levels. An increase in blood sugar triggers the pancreas to produce more insulin, which will then rapidly decrease blood sugar and that leads to hunger. So, when you’re stuffing yourself with carbs, you’ll feel full faster, but it won’t last long.

The effectivity of a diet geared towards weight loss depends on a variety of factors

Furthermore, the most successful participants of the aforementioned low-carb vs. low-fat study credited their weight loss to their new relationship with food. They took greater steps in being more mindful with their choices, such as cooking at home more and opting for whole foods. Ultimately, not all diets work the same for everybody. It’s best to consult with a medical professional or a nutritionist if you are serious about going on some form of diet. It’s also important to keep both your expectations and goals realistic.

Sources:

http://time.com/5162731/low-fat-low-carb-diet-weight-loss/

https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/low-fat-low-carb-or-mediterranean-which-diet-is-right-for-you

Metabolic Conditioning 101

Metabolic Conditioning 101

Metabolic Conditioning or MetCon as it’s popularly called is one of the buzziest trends in the fitness industry. MetCon can also refer to high-intensity training or HIIT. For those new to training, these terms may not seem as familiar as concepts like aerobics or cardio. So, what is MetCon or HIIT exactly?

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HIIT or high-intensity training provides us with a clue to what this workout is all about. Unlike traditional cardio or strength training, HIIT or MetCon involves a high workout rate with short recovery intervals. You will usually be challenged with a circuit-type, total body workout. This results in more calories burned. If your fitness goal is to lose weight HIIT or MetCon training could be for you. MetCon actually works for most fitness goals and people looking to build muscle, strength and endurance should consider MetCon workouts as well.

If you’re new to the gym, there are workouts you may have heard of that actually subscribe to principles similar to that of MetCon. CrossFit is a good example as it’s all about pushing your body to the limits with fast-paced cardio and strength exercises.

Metabolic conditioning in the more literal sense refers to a type of workout that’s meant to challenge two major energy systems. The large muscle groups are engaged and multiple joints and muscles are involved and utilised in movements. Meanwhile, the high-intensity aspect makes your heart increase and blood pump. You will truly feel the burn with MetCon!

MetCon has other benefits beyond burning calories, although it’s a significant benefit. This is because high-intensity training has been found, through several studies, to promote the production of hormones that aid in “lipolysis,” which is the technical term for fat loss. The average calorie burn during a 30-minute MetCon workout is around 500 calories. Another plus you gain from MetCon is an increased cardiovascular capacity. MetCon training may not be as aerobic as jogging or swimming, but it can increase maximal oxygen uptake in exercisers.

If MetCon seems overwhelming that’s because it can be. In fact, it’s recommended that for people starting out MetCon training should be guided and supervised by a trained professional. You may even want to consult your doctor to avoid any complications when undergoing MetCon training. MetCon will take your body to the next level, drastically improving your fitness. However, the volume and intensity may be too much for beginners and could result in injury, burnout, severe muscle soreness and a hasty desire to quit.

If you don’t think you’re ready yet for MetCon or HIIT workouts, you can work your way up and prepare your body for the rigorous demands. Start by getting your body used to circuit training. You can do strength, cardio or a combination of both. Perform exercises as usual, but with 30 or more seconds in between each set. You can eventually decrease the time to 10 to 15 second intervals. You could also mix up different elements of your workouts. For example, lift heavier weights or introduce short bursts of cardio into your regular training.

Leg-Strengthening Exercises You Need to Try Out

Leg-Strengthening Exercises You Need to Try Out

Even if you’re not a runner or an athlete and even if it seems all you do the whole day is sit, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t consider strengthening your legs. Literally, our legs carry us through our daily lives, from walking up stairs to lugging around laundry baskets in the house. Leg-strengthening is also something you shouldn’t feel terrified about. There are some simple leg exercises you can squeeze into your busy schedule or add to your existing fitness routine.

In fact, these exercises require no equipment at all. Body weight exercises for the legs are extremely effective even without weights or other gym equipment. This type of exercise can even improve your posture and balance.  All you need is a chair and some motivation. In no time, you’ll not only feel your quads, hamstrings, glutes, calves and inner thighs feeling stronger, but looking great too.

Reverse Lunges with Knee Lifts

Get into starting position with your feet about shoulder-width apart. Step your left foot backwards, landing on the ball of your foot and bending both knees. You should be creating two 90-degree angles with both legs. Return to standing position by pushing through your right heel. Whilst returning to a standing position, thrust your left knee towards your chest.

Three-Way Lunge

This exercise will work your buttocks, quads, inner thighs and hamstrings. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and hands clasped in front of your chest. Lunge forward with your left leg, keeping your knee bent at 90 degrees. Return to starting position. Perform a lunge with your left leg out to the left side and your toes facing forward. Bend your left knee at 90 degrees. Return to starting position. Lunge backwards with your left leg. Repeat the three-way sequence with your right leg. Do 2 to 3 sets of 10 to 15 reps, alternating sides.

Plié Squat Calf Raises

personal training near meStand with your feet apart, wider than shoulder-width, and toes turned out. Place your hands on your hips or in front of your chest. Do a squat until your thighs are parallel to the floor. While squatting, left both your heels off the ground and hold for two seconds. Lower your heels back down. Return to a standing position and then repeat 10 to 15 times.

High Knee Toe Taps

Face a chair or a box and place your hands on your hips. Raise and tap your left foot on the chair, then do the same with your right. Your motion should be quick as you alternate sides. Be sure to keep your back straight and chest lifted as you perform this exercise. This exercise will help with your balance, core strength and body control.

Pistol Squats

This particular type of squat will target your buttocks and quads. Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Place your arms in front of your chest with your elbows bent. Lift your right foot forward a few centimetres off the ground while keeping it flexed. Perform a squat as you raise your foot to hip level, bending your left knee at 90 degrees. To stay balanced, let your right heel hover close to the ground. Do 2 to 3 sets of 10 to 15 reps for each side. Note that this exercise is very difficult and should only be performed once you have performed lunges and two-legged squats to the point where you are comfortable to do this exercise.

A Real Anti-Ageing Workout

A Real Anti-Ageing Workout

A Real Anti-Ageing Workout

You’ve heard of anti-ageing skin treatments and diets that should make your physical appearance more vibrant and glowing, but did you know that exercising can do wonders for the anti-ageing process, too?

Our issues with ageing don’t just involve wrinkles or greying hair, the body also suffers wear and tear over time. As we become older, we’re prone to injury, diseases and all sorts of health conditions. Regular physical activity will not stop our hair from turning white or stop the crow’s feet around our eyes from creeping in, but exercise can provide us a whole slew of health benefits that will make the ageing process less stressful and scary. We can prevent frailty in particular by focusing on strength training. This means stronger bones and muscles.

Small group training near meWhat’s more, scientific studies have backed up the power of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) when it comes to benefiting our bodies on a cellular level. One study observed that a group who did HIIT exercises for 12 weeks gained lean muscle, improved aerobic capacity, and a 49 per cent increase in the cells ability to take in more oxygen and produce more energy (mitochondrial capacity). Elderly people in this group actually experienced a 64 per cent boost.

The cell’s mitochondrial capacity is incredibly important to our bodies as it ages. The stronger the mitochondrial capacity of a cell, the greater the body’s capacity to breathe in, transport and utilise oxygen–all of which are crucial when it comes to physical exercise and overall health.

Below you’ll find some strength and aerobic exercises that can help keep you strong, healthy and physically able as you need to be at whatever age you are. All of these are classic, simple exercises that require no equipment. Do each exercise for 45 seconds, then rest for 15 seconds after each exercise. Repeat the circuit twice.

Push-ups

Push-ups are considered the ultimate upper-body workout. Lie down facing the floor with palms flat on the floor, level with your breast and tight to your body. Push up and try to keep your body rigid. Don’t lock your elbows and when you feel they’re about to, hold for a second, and then slowly lower yourself back down until your nose is nearly touching the floor.

Planks

Place your hands on top of an elevated stable surface, as chair or a step. Your arms should be straight and your hands should be directly below your shoulders and your feet hip-width apart. Your body should be in a straight line from your head to your ankles. Keep your buttocks and legs engaged.

Jump Squats

Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart. Bend your knees and let your buttocks sit back. Keep your chest upright. Explode into the air as high as you can. Be sure to land softly and go right into the next rep. Do as many jumps as possible in 45 seconds.

Mountain Climbers

This will tighten your core for strength, tight legs, and a healthy heart.  To do this, first get on the floor on your hands and knees. Push yourself up, hands apart, flat on the floor and below your shoulders. Balance your feet on your toes, but your legs don’t need to be completely stretched. Pull your left leg up, almost touching your chest. Put your left leg back and pull your right leg up. Imagine you’re climbing a horizontal slope–one leg up after the other.