Category: Body Image

What are the Risks and Benefits of the Keto Diet?

The keto diet is among the most popular diets today. Unlike the usual American diet that is composed of 50% to 60% carbs, the keto diet requires you to consume 70% fat, 20% protein, and 5% carbs.  After you follow the keto diet for several days, your body will start using fat for energy. This is called ketosis. We already know how popular the keto diet is, but what are the risks and benefits of this fad diet? Let us find out.

Benefits of the Keto Diet

The keto diet focuses on consuming foods that contain ample amounts of protein, very few carbs, and lots of healthful fats. In this article, we will discuss the benefits and risks of the keto diet to help you decide whether it is the right diet for you or not.

For weight loss

Most people follow the keto diet to lose weight. The weight loss is initially due to loss of water since you reduce the number of carbs you take, and your body consumes the carbs stored in your liver, which holds onto water. The keto diet requires you to eat more whole, high-fat foods, which will help you lose more weight. By reducing carbs, you will also reduce simple, refined carbs and sugar. This will help you gain more energy.

To potentially reduce the risk of certain types of cancer

One study shared that the keto diet may be a suitable and safe complementary treatment that can be used together with radiation therapy and chemotherapy in people with certain types of cancer. The keto diet will subject cancer cells to oxidative stress, causing them to die. One study also suggests that the keto diet could reduce the possibility of insulin complications because it lowers blood sugar. However, studies in this field are limited. Researchers need to conduct more studies to completely understand the possible benefits of the keto diet in cancer treatment and prevention.

For possible neuroprotective benefits

Some studies suggest that the keto diet may offer neuroprotective benefits, which can help protect the brain. Therefore, this kind of diet may help manage or prevent Alzheimer’s disease. However, more studies are needed to understand the effects of this diet on the brain.

To improve PCOS symptoms

PCOS or polycystic ovary syndrome is a hormonal disorder, which can lead to excess production of male hormones, polycystic ovaries, and ovulatory dysfunction. A high-carb diet is not suitable for people with PCOS because it can cause weight gain and skin problems. One study assessed 5 women for 24 weeks and discovered that the keto diet improved various symptoms of PCOS, including hormone balance and weight loss.

To potentially improve heart health

High cholesterol levels can increase the risk of heart disease. Since the keto diet reduces the amount of cholesterol that a person consumes, it may help lower one’s risk of heart disease or complications.

For its potential to reduce seizures

The amount of carbs, fat, and protein in a keto diet changes the way your body uses energy. By following a keto diet, your body will achieve a state of ketosis. It is a metabolic process in which the body consumes ketone bodies for fuel. According to the Epilepsy Foundation, ketosis can help reduce seizures in people who have epilepsy. More research is needed to determine how effective this diet is, but it seems to offer the best results in children with focal seizures.

Risks of the Keto Diet

The keto diet may offer a lot of health benefits, but it comes with some risks as well. Staying on this diet long-term can have adverse effects on your health, such as the increased risk of kidney stones, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, and fat build-up in the liver.

The keto diet has various side effects known as the keto flu. These side effects may include fatigue, nausea, constipation, low blood sugar, headaches, and vomiting. These symptoms are normal at the beginning of the keto diet because your body is adjusting to its new source of energy. The keto diet is not suitable for everyone. It should be avoided by people with eating disorders, pancreatitis, or kidney disease. Breastfeeding and pregnant women, and insulin-dependent people should avoid this diet as well.

That is why you should speak with your doctor before you change your diet. The keto diet severely limits carbs, but some carbs offer health benefits. If you prefer a less restrictive diet, you should adapt one that includes a wide range of healthful fats, nutritious protein sources, and nutrient-dense, fibrous carbohydrates like vegetables and fruits.

Best Exercises to Include in Your Gym Routines

Going to the gym regularly brings amazing health and fitness benefits. But if you want great results shown on your scale, you need to perform the right exercises during your gym workout routines. Do not just work out. Make sure to make incredible progress over time. You might need to commit to working out at the gym for at least 4 to 5 days every week. You can just work your way slowly as time goes by. If you do plan to exercise regularly, you may need to invest in some high quality tracksuits and other gym clothes so you have the maximum comfort while you workout.

To make the most of your gym routines and workout sessions, you need to perform only the best exercises during your gym routines. However, not everyone is aware of the exercises that must be done. You won’t have to think about your fitness routines if you have a personal trainer like those at Truth Gym Gallery. Nevertheless, if you’re planning on working out on your own or are looking to make up your own exercise routine, these are some of the best exercises you can try:

Walking

At first, I thought walking exercises at the gym weren’t a big thing until I learned that it is one of the best exercises to include in your gym routine. The reason this exercise is a winner is that you can walk anytime and anywhere. Consider using the treadmill for your walking exercise at the gym.

If you are just starting with walking for fitness, I would suggest that you begin with 5 to 10 minutes at a time. Try adding a few minutes more until you reach 30 minutes per walk. Quicken your pace later on.

Interval Training

It’s best to include interval training in your gym routine because this boosts fitness levels and burns calories that help you lose weight. The idea is to modify your workout’s intensity rather than working out at a steady pace. To do interval training, whether you dance, run, walk or do cardio exercise, pushing up the pace for about one minute or two helps a lot. You can eventually back off for 2-4 minutes. The duration of the interval will depend on how long your workout is and the recovery time needed. The pacing can be fine-tuned with the help of a trainer. Repeat the intervals all through your workout.

Squats

These are also the best exercises for gym routines because they work on various muscle groups and your hamstrings, gluteals, glutes, and quadriceps. To do squats, you must position your feet apart at shoulder-width. Make sure that your back is straight. The next step is bending your knees and lowering your rear, similar to the way you sit down on a chair.

Your weight must be distributed evenly on three points of your feet, such as the inside ball, outside ball, and the heel, which forms a triangle. Your knees will not stay in line with ankles that way; however, other parts of the body will experience less strain. You can consider adding dumbbells as soon as you can do about 12 repetitions well.

Push-ups

These are also the best exercises to include in your gym routines because they strengthen core muscles, triceps, chest, and shoulders. In doing a push-up, position your hands a bit wider apart in shoulder width. Position your toes properly on the floor. If you are struggling with this position, begin with your knees on the floor. Make sure that your body makes a straight line from the shoulders up to the feet or the knees.

Your abs and rear-end muscles should be kept engaged. You also need to be bending your elbows to lower down to almost the extent of touching the floor. You will then need to lift your back by pushing through your elbows. Your torso must be maintained in a straight line all through the move.

Lunges

Just like the squats, these also work on the lower body’s major muscles. Lunges also enhance your balance. To make lunges, take a bigger step forward, ensuring that your back is straight. You will then need to bend your knees for about 90 degrees. Your weight must be maintained on your back toes then you’ll need to lower your back knee towards the floor. Never allow your back knee to touch the floor.

These are just a few of the many best exercises that you can include in your gym routines. Incorporating the right exercises can yield better results and can also deliver enormous benefits to your overall health and fitness. Make sure that you commit to the best exercises to make the most of your every workout session at the gym.

The Best Health and Fitness YouTube Channels For Inspiration

Good health and a fully fit body are two very important things in life. Gym fees tend to be very expensive at times. I have also found it hard to sometimes fit the gym in my daily schedule. I tried solving this issue by hiring a personal trainer but noticed that it was very expensive. I also tried using fitness applications. These applications were helpful but most of them do not offer full services to non-subscribers. I now use YouTube channels which I have found to be very helpful. Here are some of the best health and fitness YouTube channels that I use.

 

Blogilates

Cassey Ho runs this YouTube channel.  Her perfectly shaped body is enough motivation to work out and have good eating habits. This YouTube channel is largely focused on female physical fitness. Cassey makes it easy to work out as she demonstrates through dances. Her workouts are a combination of pilates movements and pop music. All the videos on this channel do not use much equipment. The only equipment needed is a yoga mat which is also optional. I get motivated by the videos Ho posts showing her struggles to full physical fitness. I enjoy participating in single song challenges posted on this channel.

 

The Fitness Marshall

Caleb Marshall created this channel in 2014. He has, since then, shared user-friendly, entertaining, and heart-pumping dance videos. These videos are very good for cardio exercises. Although the videos are short, I found them very effective when doing cardio. The infectious rhythm of the workout videos took over me and made me exercise even better. Marshall makes sure that the videos are fun and engaging for all viewers.

 

HASfit

HASfit Company provides health and body fitness services for free since they believe that every heart deserves to be fit. The company has over 1,000 workout routines on YouTube. They also provide a 3-month fitness plan and a perfect diet to keep the body fit and healthy. All the training routines in this channel have detailed information on the number of calories they help to burn. I was happy to find a beginner’s video on this channel. I followed all the instructions given in this channel for myself and they really paid off.

 

Tone It Up

This is a health and fitness YouTube channel run by trainers Katrina Scott and Karena Dawn. This channel is full of short and dense workout videos. Katrina and Karena also help people by posting diets and recipes which can be used to improve health. The channel has shared links to their website which contains daily training plans and full training videos.

 

Jessicasmithtv

I recommend this channel since it is run by a certified trainer with 15 years of experience. She shares full-length training videos on a weekly basis. She has divided her channel into 13 playlists which are fully maintained. The channel also has training videos specified for people with physical limitations. I would recommend beginners to use HIIT videos. I also enjoyed watching her adorable dog which made appearances in some videos.

 

Fitness Blender

This channel has more than 4 million subscribers. It offers simple home fitness training routines. I found more than 500 full training videos on this channel. I now use this channel to do fitness routines at home. The channel has specified the training sessions that require training equipment. The trainers on this channel offer organized training sessions at low prices to any interested party. This channel’s videos are completely free. I found this channel offering more fun through the challenge section. I picked a video labeled ‘Brutal.’ This video made me realize that I needed more training than I was doing at the time if I wanted to be fully fit.

 

Training can get exhausting and discouraging at times. For this reason, it is important to have sources of inspiration at all times. For me, fitness YouTube channels are like companions. Seeing what other people are doing and what they are struggling with in the above channels keeps me going.

 

Cardiovascular Fitness – Why Is It Imperative to Health

Cardiovascular fitness pertains to the ability to handle aerobically challenging situations of varied duration. Heart disease is one of the world’s leading causes of death. Boosting your cardiovascular fitness can minimize the risks of developing heart disease by increasing your blood vessels, lungs, and heart’s efficiency.

The simpler it is to pump blood through the body, the less burdening it is on the heart. The contraction strength of your heart, the flexibility of your veins, and the productivity of your blood in terms of carrying oxygen will be improved if cardiovascular training is successfully executed.

The Importance of Cardiovascular Fitness

Cardiovascular exercise additionally helps in keeping a healthier body composition. Both anaerobic and aerobic exercise, particularly at higher intensities, adds to healthier caloric burn. The fat stored in your body is held for times of delayed or extreme action. Cardiovascular system training through high-intensity intervals boosts the activities of specific hormones, for example, growth hormone and testosterone, which stroke effective fat burning. While steady-state and low-intensity cardio burns a higher fat percentage, high-intensity exercises result in better calories burned. These also speed up enzymes linked with fat burning.

Having the right cardiovascular fitness somehow means having the confidence to complete activities with cardiovascular demand like swimming, hiking, biking, strength training, and even climbing the stairs. Being capable of moving through the day without feeling breathless can make a big difference in your level of confidence as well as your quality of life. An excellent cardiovascular foundation enables you to train harder during your strength sessions without feeling exhausted.

It’s quite common to do cardiovascular exercises as the only form of workout. Taking, for instance, a marathon runner having very intense cardiovascular fitness, but their muscles are weak because of lack of strength training and due to working similar muscles on one plane of motion.

Keep in mind the four important pillars of fitness, namely mobility, strength, cardiovascular fitness, and body composition. Suppose you are a marathon runner who developed cardio fitness but neglected other pillars of fitness. In that case, you’re protected from disease linked with the cardiovascular system but cannot handle aerobically demanding situations. You are still prone to the effects of having poor body composition, mobility, and strength. Lack of proper fitness training combined with just moving the joints in a single repetitive movement can worsen joint degradation and can result in immobility, poor posture, and overuse injuries.

Tips for Effective Cardiovascular Fitness Training

Now that you have already learned about the importance of cardiovascular fitness training to health, you also need to understand that these exercises are not the only component to being a fit, capable and healthy person.  The following are helpful tips to fitness train more effectively:

Vary Your Cardiovascular Activities

 

Your body can instantly cope with the kind of training that you perform, and this makes it hard to achieve similar results. To still be able to reap the benefits of your cardio training, change the type of training and the equipment. Battle ropes, circuit training, sled pushing, running, swimming and biking can be done on a daily or weekly basis to keep your fitness training challenging but more effective.

 

Stick with the Right Intensities When Training

 

One of the top pieces of equipment you can purchase to dial in your cardiovascular training is a heart rate monitor. Consider exercising within 60 to 80% of your maximum heart rate to reach optimal physiological outcomes. In case you do not have the monitor, you can just try using the RPE method.

 

Get the Right Rest Intervals

 

Try setting your working intervals from 15 to 60 seconds and have the right work-rest ratio such as 1:3 or 1:4. For instance, you do the sprint interval on your bike for about 15 seconds and then rest for a minute. The total duration of your workout must be anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes.

Be sure to progress whether adding seconds into your work intervals, taking seconds away from the rest intervals, or increasing the total number of intervals in a given workout. Your body can also quickly adapt to your fitness workouts, so strive for challenging sessions as time goes by. Remember all these tips to help you train effectively.

My Fitness Journey

Fitness has been a part of my life for decades. I thank my parents for instilling in me the discipline to lead a healthy life. Seeing them take a morning run while we played catch up with my elder brother evokes timeless memories. But as soon as I was done with my academics and soon became a marketing executive at a local tannery, I ditched my fitness routine to focus on my new profession.

 

I soon realized that as I was concentrating on my career, my love handles started developing. And for the decade that followed my first appointment, I was not happy with myself. I knew I had no time to waste, and regaining my fitness could have been a tough call had I waited any longer. And on 14th January 2014, on a Tuesday morning, I set forth for a morning run. This marked the start of a healthy future. It was through lots of hard work that I realized how powerful a tool fitness could be.

 

By moving my body in the cold mornings or at an aerobics class, I learned, bit by bit, how to take care of my body through fitness. Along the way, I also chose to switch careers and become a personal trainer to share the fitness lessons I picked up along the way.

 

Where It All Began

Besides the early morning runs, I can say that my fitness journey began at home. At home, overwhelmed by some personal struggles, I found my passion for fitness and an intrinsic calling to help anyone who shared similar issues – by empowering using fitness.

 

Everything about my fitness was insanely personal when I was getting started. The small space in our garage was my sanctuary. Although I usually started my day with negative fears about my body, I knew that I had to soak in sweat and endure the pain. And slowly, I endured the struggles – and here I am, feeling positive and looking at myself differently.

 

Small and Consistent Changes

At first, after I was done jogging around the neighborhood and doing some simple stretches in the garage, I started incorporating some weight training aspects into my daily routine. I almost called it quits after I discovered that I could not do a single pushup.

 

I pushed hard and stopped many times, and I almost felt like fitness was becoming too much for me. During these low moments, I got the strength to accept myself and my body rather than focusing on my shortfalls. This meant that I had to work on the small things first. Therefore, I only focused on making small changes in my routine and stuck to them until it became a routine. ==

 

I Ditched the Scale

At first, the only way I would measure my progress was to keep weighing myself whenever I felt lighter. At times the numbers were positives. Nevertheless, in most instances, they kept affecting my motivation. I started by setting weight goals based on emotions that had nothing to do with how I felt on the inside, and nothing was forthcoming. I remember at one point when I cried in frustration when my weight stagnated for a month, although I was feeling closer to fitness.

 

Wary of what the scales would show, I began weighing myself less often. And this was a real boost for me for many weeks. And over time, I stopped weighing myself. Instead, I focused on measuring my progress by how I felt inside (physically, mentally, and emotionally).

 

Sharing My Love for Fitness

As I continued with my fitness and empowerment journey, something inside was telling me to be a personal trainer. Although I shelved my ambition for some time, mostly because I felt inadequate, I finally decided to try it.

 

I was well aware that I was not the fittest out there, but I desired to help others as we learned together. So I decided to enroll in personal training classes to understand better how to help individuals with different fitness needs get better. The long and short of it is that I started a gym, with my wife’s assistance, where I offer science-based fitness solutions to persons of all fitness levels.