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Best Workouts To Build Muscle

Best Workouts To Build Muscle

Our clients love to workout at Habitat Health and Fitness in Lakeland, Florida, because we offer workouts to build muscle, burn calories and build all types of fitness, endurance, strength, flexibility and balance. We focus on building muscle tissue, since the more you have, the easier it is to lose weight. We also focus on workouts that are so effective, you don’t have to workout as long and still get the benefits of building muscle tissue. Here are a few of my favorite muscle building exercises.

Go to compound exercises to get the most benefit.

Compound exercises work several muscles, joints and tendons at once. They not only build strength, they build coordination and size. You work multiple muscle groups, so you get the benefit of burning more calories. They mimic everyday movements more and can help prevent injuries by providing more functional fitness. The bench press, dip, barbell squat, bench step-up with weights, pull-ups and military press are a few examples.

You can use just four exercises to get results.

Sometimes, squats, deadlift, shoulder press and bench press are called the big four of strength training. Learn to do them correctly and do them often. You can add barbell workouts to that and don’t have to get fancy with expensive machines. In order to build strength, you need to continue to increase the amount of weight you’re lifting. Barbells are an easy way to do that. These should be core exercises to be added to for variety.

Use bodyweight exercises to help build strength.

Bodyweight exercises are particularly good if you’re working out at home. They require either no equipment or minimal equipment, so you can do them almost anywhere. Squats are good for lower body strength and core muscles. They offer some help for the upper body as well. Push-ups build upper arm strength, shoulders, abdominals, chest, and the muscles in the armpits called serratus anterior. Plank exercises provide total body strength.

  • Battle ropes also help build muscle tissue and can actually be harder to do than traditional weight lifting. The ropes create a variety of angles of tension and make your body work on all planes.
  • Climbing stairs can build strength in the legs, just as walking hills does. You can use stair step exercises in the gym to build your muscle strength. Also making sure you take the stairs rather than the elevator as often as possible is good.
  • Don’t forget that building muscle means taking a day between workouts to rest. Your body needs time to mend the microtears in the muscles to make them stronger.
  • We use a variety of training techniques to ensure every muscle gets attention on all planes so you get strong muscles that keep you free from injury.

For more information, contact us today at Habitat Health & Fitness


Why Are Grains Unhealthy??

Why Are Grains Unhealthy??

Are grains unhealthy? The answer is not as simple as it seems. There are all types of grains and a variety of methods to process them. Not all grains are created equally. Whole grains are not the same as refined grains when it comes to nutrition. Whole grains contain all the nutrients of the bran, germ and endosperm. The bran is the outer layer of the grain that has minerals, antioxidants and fiber. The germ has the most nutrition with protein, fats, phytonutrients and antioxidants. The endosperm, which is the biggest bulk of the grain, is just starchy carbs and a tiny amount of protein. Refined grains only contain the endosperm and none of the nutritious content of the bran and germ.

Grains can be difficult to digest because of the complex protein they contain.

While whole grains are more nutritious than processed grains, they also can contain gluten. You’ve probably heard of gluten and gluten intolerance. Gluten is a combination of two proteins that makes it difficult for the body to digest and causes inflammation, with potential damage to the intestines and trigger an autoimmune response. Gluten is in both whole grains and processed grains. Due to agricultural changes to increase production, gluten has increased in grains in the last few decades.

Grains can affect your body’s digestion.

In order to digest food, the brain sends enzymes, which are the body’s messenger or catalysts that start that process. Without those enzymes, digestion simply won’t occur. Grains are seeds. Mother Nature has a beautiful plan. Built into each seed are enzyme inhibitors that prevent plants from sprouting until all conditions are right. For instance, seeds are transported by birds and pass through their system to be planted when they defecate. Sprouting inside the bird would be the death of the potential plant. While the enzyme inhibitors are good for the seed, they’re bad for your system and can impede digestion.

Grains contain phytic acid.

Phytic acid occurs naturally in seeds and grains are seeds. It affects the absorption of zinc, iron and calcium in the body and is often considered an anti-nutrient, since it can cause deficiencies. Consider the effects of lowered intake of calcium, iron, zinc, magnesium and even reduce the production of digestive enzymes that help break down protein, such as pepsin, amylase and trypsin. While whole grains may have higher levels of nutrients than processed grains, it also has higher levels of phytic acid.

  • Processing methods can lower the amount of phytic acid in seeds and grains and make them easier to digest.. Soaking, fermenting and sprouting can help reduce the amount of phytic acid in grains. Sour dough bread is an example of fermenting.
  • The more gluten the grain contains, the harder it is to digest. Wheat and all the forms of wheat like spelt, farina, wheat berries and graham are at the top of the list, followed by rye, barley, triticale, malt and brewer’s yeast.
  • If you think that you have problems digesting grains, try an elimination diet. Elimination diets are the gold standard for finding allergies, food sensitivities and food intolerances.
  • Avoiding grains can help with weight loss, lower inflammation, improve your microbiome, improve your cholesterol and improve nutritional uptake. However, they’re a good source of fiber and many nutrients.

For more information, contact us today at Habitat Health & Fitness


How To Beat A Weight Loss Plateau

How To Beat A Weight Loss Plateau

If you’ve ever reached a point that seemed no matter what you did, your weight wouldn’t budge, you’ve reached a plateau. That’s one of the most common problems people face when they’re trying to lose weight and often a reason people come to Habitat for Health and Fitness in Lakeland, FL. Not every plateau is the same. In some cases, you may not be losing weight, but are making progress. You may be replacing fat tissue with muscle tissue. Muscle tissue is denser and weighs more per cubic inch than fat tissue does, so you’re actually losing inches and look thinner, which is the ultimate goal of weight loss.

Are you doing the same old routine?

Plateauing can occur if you don’t change your routine. The more you do an exercise, the more adept your body becomes at doing it. It’s muscle efficiency. While efficiency is normally a good thing, when it comes to exercise and burning calories, that’s not true. It can stall your weight loss progress. At best, you won’t be getting as much out of each workout and at worse, you’ll level off weight loss and plateau. Varying your workout routine periodically can help you keep continuous weight loss progress.

Are you including strength training in your workout.

Not only is muscle tissue denser than fat tissue, it also requires more calories for maintenance. That means the more muscle tissue you have, the more calories you’ll be burning 24/7. Strength training not only helps you burn calories, it helps burn fat, while building muscle tissue. Unlike aerobic training that burns both.

Maybe you’re not varying your caloric intake enough.

The more you weigh, the more calories you burn. It takes energy to carry the extra weight and as you start to shed those pounds, every time you move you’ll be burning fewer calories. Consider the number of calories burnt if you’re walking a mile carrying ten pound weights, compared to walking a mile not carrying the weight. Of course, you’ll burn fewer calories without the weights, the same is true for shedding weight. If you are eating the same number of calories and working out just as hard each day, as you get thinner, your weight loss will slow. Adjust your caloric intake as you shed weight.

  • Maybe you’ve cut your calorie intake too low for too long. Consider a cheat day. Those are days when you eat a little more, but don’t over do it or do it too often. Cheat days can help keep your metabolism higher.
  • Is your workout routine well rounded? If you’re constantly doing cardio, you may be burning muscle tissue, which can slow your progress. You need all types of exercise, strength, endurance, flexibility and balance.
  • Are you getting adequate sleep. Lack of sleep can actually stimulate the production of ghrelin—the hunger hormone and diminish leptin—the hormone that makes you feel full.
  • Are you drinking an adequate amount of water? Studies show that drinking water before a meal boosts weight loss. Water acts like a diuretic and flushes your system and helps fill you up, not out.

For more information, contact us today at Habitat Health & Fitness


Home Workouts That Can Be Done While The Kids Nap

Home Workouts That Can Be Done While The Kids Nap

It’s not always easy for parents with small children to come to Habitat for Health and Fitness in Lakeland, Florida, every day or other day. That’s when home workouts, especially those short enough to be done during nap time, can be a huge benefit to fill in the gaps. Some workouts are only a few minutes of intense exercise and others last longer. Depending on how long nap time lasts, choose one that fits in your schedule. You’ll feel revitalized and ready to go when you get your workout in for the day.

Get your heart pumping with some exercises you can combine into circuit training.

If you want a short workout that will burn off stress, get your heart pumping and provide those feel good hormones, try some cardio and make it into circuit training for maximum benefit. Do several exercises in a row as one circuit, one right after another. Try one minute of butt kicks, one minute of jump rope, a minute of mountain climbers, a minute of burpees and then rest for a minute. Do it four times for a great twenty minute workout that will make you sweat and help weight loss.

If you want a complete workout, get weights or resistance bands for your workout.

If you don’t have weights, you can use large soup cans or bottles filled with sand or water. Weight training not only burns calories, it builds muscle tissue. Muscle tissue requires more calories than fat tissue does for maintenance, so the more you have, the higher your metabolism. Start by warming up with a minute of jump rope. Do ten to twelve of each, bicep curls, pushups, tricep kickbacks, squats, dumbbell rows, lunges and end it with a minute plank. Repeat a second or third time.

Get your work done while you’re working out.

Do you need to multitask to get everything done? Try making clean-up a workout. Do squats while picking up toys and vacuum with vigor doing lunges along the way. There are always sticky finger prints on the windows or smears from kids and pets pressing their faces against the pane. Turn sideways and wash that window with the arm furthest away. Do it with vigor. Standing at the sin can be exercise when you combine it with calf raises. Do squats when folding laundry. There are all sorts of ways to make cleaning a vigorous workout.

  • Make your stairs a substitute for a stepmaster. Run up that flight of stairs to check on the kids or take smaller laundry loads up to get in more stair time. If you need more exercise, just run up and down until you’re winded.
  • Get out your earbuds and play some music and dance like there’s no tomorrow. Worried about not hearing noise from the kids? Turn the volume on low or check on the kids after each song.
  • Why wait? Workout with the kids. Lifting the baby builds your endurance naturally as the baby gains weight. Rock them while you’re doing squats. Toddlers love to join in the fun, so get them involved.
  • If you want to supplement your gym time, talk to your trainer at Habitat for Health and Fitness to get a personalized workout you can do at home that’s short and meets your goals.

For more information, contact us today at Habitat Health and Fitness


How Fitness Helps With Mental Health

How Fitness Helps With Mental Health

Lots of clients at Habitat Health and Fitness tell me how good they feel after a workout. They note that not only do they feel like they have more energy, they feel less stressed and happier. There’s a reason for that. Exercise helps burn off the negative stress hormones that affect your body throughout the day and keep you with the feeling of a knot in your stomach. But there are other ways fitness helps with mental health and studies that show the positive effect.

Exercise has become a complementary therapy for depression and anxiety.

Working out isn’t a replacement for help from mental health professionals, but it can supplement that help. Studies show that exercise can help relieve both depression and anxiety. Many health care professionals use it as an adjunct therapy and it helps for more reasons than just burning off stress hormones. In fact, for moderate anxiety or depression, one study shows that just moderate exercise several times a week can get good results, even eliminating the need for medication. The only side effect from this therapy is a great looking body and more energy.

The improved circulation from exercise helps all parts of your body, even your brain.

It doesn’t matter what study you choose, they all agree that exercise boosts circulation. That improved circulation transfers to better mental functioning. You’ll think clearer and increase your cognitive ability. Studies are now geared to see if exercise is a good way to offset age related mental decline. That hypothesis is based on the studies that show cardio workouts boost the creation of new brain cells, called neurogenesis. Neurogenesis improves the functioning of the brain by strengthening the hippocampus, aiding memory.

Let’s not forget the benefit of a good night’s sleep.

Lack of sleep leaves you tired, brain fuzzy and often really grouchy. Some times you’re more emotional and cry easier. When you workout regularly, not only do you sleep sounder, but it improves the quality of sleep. It makes it more likely that you’ll get the right type of sleep to boost your mental functioning. If you have insomnia, try working out regularly and see if that helps.

  • Lack of confidence can make you feel inadequate, make you sound and feel confused. When you workout not only does it improve your posture to make you look more confidence, it actually improves your self-confidence.
  • Have you ever waited in a room with people that were worried? There are always a few pacers. It’s a natural reaction to stress with the walking/exercise bringing comfort when you’re anxious.
  • Working out increases your heart rate and stimulates the production of neurohormones. Those help regulate not only cognitive functioning, but improve your mood, too.
  • Still not convinced? Come in and see for yourself. We offer 3 free fat burning sessions at Habitat Health and Fitness. Try them and see how great you feel emotionally when you’re done.

For more information, contact us today at Habitat Health and Fitness


Is Soda Good For Bulking Up?

Is Soda Good For Bulking Up?

Many of my clients start out just wanting to get fit and end up wanting to develop that beach body everyone envies. It’s all part of feeling good about yourself when you start to see results. I’ve heard some crazy ideas about what to eat when bulking up, which even extend to some fallacies about using snack foods to help put on weight or soda. Everyone has different builds and metabolisms, but one thing is certain, if you’re human, your body is constantly changing with every change you make and year you add. My advice to those who want more bulk, “Remember, what you do today will affect your tomorrow.”

Soda seems a harmless way to add calories to add bulk, but what kind of bulk?

Whether it’s that box of Oreos, the Big Mac and fries or a simple can of soda, it has lots of calories you might think will add weight, but at what price? Sure, you’ll add weight, but most probably it will be fat and you’ll have to lose it later. So what is the point of doing it at all when you can eat clean and gain more muscle than fat. Consider options like peanut butter instead of soda. Make a smoothie. The point is to gain muscle, not just to gain weight and get big. You don’t need a gym to do the latter.

Soft drinks have added sugar and negative side effects.

There’s a lot of health hazards linked to soft drinks. The amount of sugar it contains should be the first red flag to signal you to eliminate it from your diet. The sodium benzoate in can cause reactions that include eczema and asthma and the phosphoric acid can lead to kidney problems and the leaching of calcium from bones. It’s been proven that both the sugar and acids dissolve tooth enamel, while other studies show the effects of the high-fructose corn syrup on the body. It increases the risk of heart disease and spikes insulin levels. Why would you choose soda for bulking when there are other healthier options?

During the bulking phase, you’ll consume more calories, but what you consume makes a difference in the cutting phase.

Competitive bodybuilders and those that want that beach body, aim to increase muscle mass, so they enter the bulking phase, but that extra fat has to be removed during the cutting phase. In both stages, a blend of carbs, fat and protein are necessary. Consuming 30-35% of your calories from protein, 55-60% from carbs and the balance from fat is approximately the proportion. Eating healthy foods is important no matter what phase you’re in if you want to have a better, healthier body. Avoiding added sugar is part of that, just like avoiding deep-fried food and alcohol is. Soda contains added sugar, including sports drinks.

  • If your plan was to drink soft drinks during the bulking phase and then switch to diet soft drinks during the cutting phase, think again. Recent studies show even soft drinks add visceral fat—belly fat.
  • Add whey protein to smoothies and a banana. The whey protein will provide the protein to build and repair muscles, while the banana adds calories.
  • You need healthy sources of protein to build and preserve muscles, such as fish, chicken, lean beef or turkey. Carbs keep your workout going and help decrease the breakdown of muscles. Choose fruit, rice and vegetables. Healthy fat, like in avocados and nuts help create hormones—like testosterone–to build muscle tissue.
  • While bulking up starts in the kitchen, what you do in the gym gets you the final results. Work with your trainer on a program that will help you build muscles.

For more information, contact us today at Habitat Health & Fitness


Should We Eat Like Our Cavemen Ancestors?

Should We Eat Like Our Cavemen Ancestors?

I hear all sorts of buzz about different types of diets at Habitat Health and Fitness in Winter Haven, FL. One of the more popular ones is the Paleolithic Diet. It’s a diet that would have us eat like our cavemen ancestors in the Paleolithic Era. That era was before man learned to farm, and is thought to be a more natural match genetically than today’s diet.

What can you eat on a Paleo diet?

Paleolithic diets were healthy. You don’t have to know very much about history to realized they ate no processed food or even created recipes that involved adding sugar. While man may have had used honey, based on cave wall drawings depicting bees swarming and honey collectors dating back as long as 40,000 years, almost all of the sugar in the paleo diet came from fresh fruit, which is still recommended today.

As a hunter-gatherer, early man had basic food choices.

Early man most likely survived on fish, vegetables including root vegetables, lean meat, nuts and seeds. Foods not allowed include: dairy, legumes and grains, salt, vegetable oil, processed food and refined sugar. Cutting out added sugar is definitely a plus, just as eating more fruit and vegetables, limiting processed food and even limiting salt. There’s only one potential situation where giving up salt entirely could be a problem and that’s if you’ve sweat to a point that you depleted electrolytes.

Besides excess perspiration, there are other things that might not be healthy.

Depending on the Paleolithic diet you follow, since there are different versions, a paleolithic diet might contain a higher amount of fatty and red meat. The results could be increased bad cholesterol—LDL. That increases the potential for bowel cancer, too. If you’re not consuming enough carbs, you’re depleting yourself of energy, causing the feeling of exhaustion. That can affect the quality of your workout. The elimination of grains and dairy creates a concern that it can cause a lack of fiber, B-vitamins, calcium, iron, magnesium and selenium.

  • There’s absolutely nothing wrong with getting back to whole foods. Nutritionists encourage it. It’s one reason many people support the Paleolithic diet, but with the focus on ensuring all nutritional needs are met.
  • Going caveman can also be followed with working out like a caveman. Most people living in the Paleolithic era, only ran when someone or something chased them, moved heavy things and walked a lot.
  • While some studies show that the Paleo diet achieved better weight loss in the short run, compared to other diets like the Mediterranean diet, those diets caught up after 24 months. However, the Paleolithic diet showed a marked advantage for visceral fat loss—fat around the waist—the dangerous type.
  • The Caveman diet also proved superior to other types when it came to improving glucose tolerance, controlling blood pressure and appetite management.

For more information, contact us today at Habitat Health & Fitness


Healthy Snacks For The Car

Healthy Snacks For The Car

Clients in Lakeland, Florida say that road trips often throw off their healthy eating and exercise program. There are several ways to combat that problem. For exercise, stop every hour or two and simply walk or even do simple exercises. Plan the trip ahead to make stops at places that offer healthy food and take healthy snacks for the car. In fact, you might even map out a grocery or farmer’s market along the way. Preparing ahead of time is important. Snacks can help prevent you from overeating and making desperation stops at fast food chains.

Make sure you have a cooler for some of these healthier snacks.

String cheese is always a top choice for people on the road. Fresh vegetables and dip can fill you up and not out. Whether you choose to make your own dip or get little individual containers at the store, it will provide the crunch and munch that helps tackle your hunger and keep your hands and mouth occupied. Some of that road hunger does come from boredom. If you want a healthier dip option, make your own hummus. It contains B vitamins and protein. Dip strips of green or red pepper. Mini red, orange and yellow peppers can be stuffed with cheese, too.

Pop corn ahead of time and make individual bags of popcorn.

Popcorn provides that snack food type appeal, but is still good for you. Just make sure that it’s not the microwave type. Pack it in individual paper lunch snacks and sprinkle it with your favorite topping. You can use premade special popcorn toppings like cheddar cheese and bacon or sour cream and chives, or grab that Parmesan cheese out of the refrigerator and sprinkle it on liberally. If you go for something less exotic, try butter salt topping.

Fresh fruit or celery sticks and nut butter keep you feeling full longer.

While it’s tough to preassemble apples slathered in peanut butter, you can make celery sticks with peanut butter and raisins—ants on a log. Taking along a container of nut butter, whether peanut butter, almond or cashew and a knife to cut the fruit and a spoon to slather on the nut butter. Whole grain bread or healthy whole grain crackers also go well with nut butter.

  • Sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and raw nuts are also healthy and filling on the road. You’ll get protein and fiber, plus healthy fat that keeps you satisfied longer.
  • Those individual tuna servings come prepared to travel. Some even come with flavors like basil and sundried tomatoes.
  • If you have a cooler, hard boiled eggs are perfect for travel. Greek yogurt is also good and can be complemented with fresh berries.
  • Don’t forget to take plenty of water along. Skip the colas and even the fruit juice. Both add calories when you’re least likely to burn them. Water quenches your thirst without a single calorie.

For more information, contact us today at Habitat Health & Fitness


Is It Bad To Workout Every Day?

Is It Bad To Workout Every Day?

Will you get faster results if you workout every day? It all depends on what you consider a workout. If you’re lifting weights every day, STOP! You’ll actually be losing ground rather than gaining it. When you lift weights or do strength building exercises, it makes micro tears in the muscle that need time to heal. When they heal, they get bigger and stronger. If you don’t give that time to heal, which means you won’t get stronger and often go backward, getting weaker in the process.

You can train every day if you alternate.

Some people spend one day on legs and the next on the upper torso. Others devote a day to endurance, one to strength training and one to flexibility training and then restart the cycle. Doing some type of physical activity every day won’t hurt, and will help if you’re trying to lose weight. However, repeating the same workout, same level of intensity or focusing on the same muscle group each day isn’t necessarily healthy and won’t be your best option in the long run.

To vary intensity levels, try HIIT—high intensity interval training—-on one day and extended walking on the next.

You can’t force your body to get fit quicker than it’s able. It all takes time. Have a schedule that combines both the gym and activities outside the gym. For instance, take a walk through the park or ride a bike as an alternative to a tough workout. It gives your body time to heal, plus provides circulation so it speeds the process.

Make sure you get all types of workouts.

While some people focus on building muscles and others focus on aerobic training, they’re both wrong. You need both types of training, plus balance and flexibility training. Without flexibility training, you’re more prone to injury when you’re lifting weights. All types of training are important to be truly fit. You can combine types of training or focus on each on different days.

  • When you’re working out hard, don’t go home and lay on the couch the rest of the night. After your workout, continue with activities you’d normally do.
  • It’s okay to train every day, especially when you do it the same time each day. It helps you get into the habit. Just don’t do the same type of exercise each day or make each day intense.
  • Doing some type of training every day can actually help relieve stress and keep your body moving with ease. The older you are, the more likely you’ll lose gains with too many days between workouts.
  • If you choose to do strength training every day, do short, easy sessions. Don’t push yourself too hard. If you have a particularly intense workout, take it easy the next day.

For more information, contact us today at Habitat Health & Fitness


Is Regular Exercise That Important?

Is Regular Exercise That Important?

People who come to Habitat Fit in Lakeland, Florida, know the importance of regular exercise. It’s a keystone to fitness, right along with a healthy diet. It isn’t healthy to workout hard once every month or so and remain inactive the rest of the time. For good health, any exercise, irregular or not, is better than doing nothing at all. However, to reach your fitness goal, you need consistency.

Weight loss and toned muscles require regular exercise.

If you skip working out frequently, you’ll lose many of the benefits that come with exercise. The loss starts with your metabolism, but eventually affects your strength, endurance and flexibility. Consistency improves all three. You build on the previous gains, so when you workout regularly, the more consistent you are, the better your fitness foundation. The concept for consistent exercise is progressive overload. You work your body to its maximum and that maximum increases the longer you do it.

Regular exercise does more than tone your body and help you lose weight.

A program of regular exercise promotes heart health by normalizing cholesterol levels, reducing blood pressure and boosting your circulation. It can help stabilize blood sugar levels and reduce the potential of metabolic disease. Your mood will improve and so will your cognitive functions. Exercise helps build bones, while it strengthens muscles and reduces the risk of osteoporosis. It helps lower the risk of some types of cancer, improves sleep, increases your lifespan and can even improve your sex life.

If you miss a few workouts, don’t give up.

If you’ve started a workout program, but your life demands have reduced the amount of time you can spend working out, don’t quit. Even if you can’t make it to the gym three times a week or workout for an hour a day, even short, infrequent workouts can help. According to an article in the journal published by the American Heart Association called Circulation. While two hours and thirty minutes of moderate exercise every week had a far lower risk of heart disease, you’ll still benefit from a little exercise every week. So, exercise any chance you get to achieve heart health, but for the best results, a program of regular exercise is important.

  • You can ensure you stick with your program of regular exercise by making it an important appointment on your schedule. Scheduling exercise at a specific time each day can make it a habit.
  • You don’t have to do all your exercise in the gym. Living an active lifestyle is important, too. Enjoying the fun, yet active things in life is what exercise is all about and also what gives you more energy to do those things.
  • While all types of exercise is good, having a well rounded program that offers strength, endurance and flexibility training is necessary for good health and true fitness.
  • We offer three free fat burning workouts at Habitat Health and Fitness. You get an opportunity to experience the exhilaration getting fit can bring.

For more information, contact us today at Habitat Health & Fitness