Monthly Archives: February 2014

How To Get The Most Out Of A Fitness Boot Camp

Fitness boot camps are a popular way of losing weight and increasing fitness and strength, all in a relatively short space of time. Intensive boot camps are normally residential, but you can also do a regular boot camp class at the gym or locally, one or more times per week. Celebrities love fitness boot camps because the results are fast and visible—a fat, out of shape celebrity usually goes in and then reappears a couple of weeks later looking svelte and ready for the red carpet. But as effective as boot camps are, you do have to put some effort in order to maximise the benefits, so if you are new to the boot camp philosophy, here are a few tips.

Choose The Right Boot Camp

There are lots of different boot camps to choose from. Some are run by ex-military personnel and involve lots of screaming and shouting; others adopt a less confrontational approach and are geared towards encouragement rather than abuse. Before you sign up for a class, think about the type of approach that will suit you best and go along to chat to the instructor to see whether you like the ambience of the class.

Stick With It

A lot of boot camps take place in the early morning, so people can do a class before work. You may find it tough getting up so early or start coming up with excuses not to go. The important thing is to stick with it and stay motivated. Paying a chunk of money up front may help in this regard.

Give It Your All

As with most things in life, you only get out what you put into a boot class, so the more you push yourself, the better the end result will be. Try and ensure every session is as tough, if not tougher, than the last one. If you slack off you are only cheating yourself, and if you do that, what is the point?

Ask For Help

Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you don’t understand what it is you are supposed to be doing. It is important to tackle some exercises correctly or you run the risk of acquiring an injury. So speak up. You should also say when you feel that an exercise isn’t challenging enough; coasting along won’t help you in the slightest.

Track Your Progress

Finally, make sure you record your weight loss and measurements on a weekly basis. This will help to keep you motivated and let you see how much progress you’re making.

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Have you downloaded our great FREE report yet? Plenty of other dieters have and they are now using this report to overcome the 5 most common obstacles which could stand in their way of losing weight. Click on the image below to find out how you too can overcome the obstacles holding you back and start your journey to the new slimmer, healthier you today…

About Louise Denny

Louise is a health and fitness writer, with a keen interest in seeking out natural health and beauty remedies to keep herself looking her best! As a journalism graduate with a specific background in online media, Louise writes for numerous online publications covering topics such as management skills, sales techniques, digital marketing strategies, health and fitness and fashion trends to name but a few.

How To Incorporate Chilli Into Your Diet & Boost Your Metabolism

Boosting your metabolism is a great way of maximising weight loss. Exercise is the most obvious way of doing this. Doing some hard intervals on the treadmill is pretty much guaranteed to give your metabolism a jump-start, but another, less obvious way is to eat spicy foods that raise your core body temperature. Chilli is a good example of such a food, so here’s how eating chilli can boost your metabolism and help you lose a few pounds.

Why Is A Higher Metabolism Good For Weight Loss?

Everyone needs a certain amount of calories (energy) to help them get through the day and the more active you are, the more calories you need, which is why exercise is an essential part of any weight loss plan.

The Link Between Spicy Chilli & Metabolic Rate

Chilli peppers contain a colourless compound called Capsaicin. It is this compound that gives chilli peppers their characteristic heat. The hotter the chilli, the more Capsaicin it contains. Scientific studies indicate that eating spicy chills raises the metabolic rate for up to three hours. The figures quoted vary, but it is somewhere between 20% and 50%.

The reason for this happy event is that eating hot chilli peppers raises your heart rate, which in turn speeds up your metabolism. So the next time you accidentally consume a scotch bonnet, think of the calories you are burning. And if you can stomach a red savina habanero chilli pepper, you will be sweating off the excess pounds for hours.

Spicy Food & Weight Loss

Another advantage of eating spicy food containing chilli is that it suppresses your appetite (probably because your mouth is burning). It also helps you to feel fuller at the end of the meal, which is a bonus if you are struggling to control your cravings for carbohydrate-laden comfort foods.

Make Chilli A Regular Part Of Your Diet

Eating chilli is clearly good for your weight loss plan, but nobody wants to eat chill con carne for dinner every night. So you need to find other ways to incorporate chilli into your diet. Adding chilli flakes to regular dishes is a great way of doing this. Chilli can give a flavoursome boost to soups, stews, and stir fries. You can even add chilli flakes to salad dressings. And if you want to enjoy a tasty dessert, add chilli flakes to a rich chocolate mousse for a guilt free pudding.

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Have you downloaded our great FREE report yet? Plenty of other dieters have and they are now using this report to overcome the 5 most common obstacles which could stand in their way of losing weight. Click on the image below to find out how you too can overcome the obstacles holding you back and start your journey to the new slimmer, healthier you today…

About Louise Denny

Louise is a health and fitness writer, with a keen interest in seeking out natural health and beauty remedies to keep herself looking her best! As a journalism graduate with a specific background in online media, Louise writes for numerous online publications covering topics such as management skills, sales techniques, digital marketing strategies, health and fitness and fashion trends to name but a few.

The Sofa To 5k Running Plan

Running is an excellent way to lose weight and increase your fitness levels. The problem is that when you have done virtually no exercise for years, the thought of entering and competing in a 5k running event is pretty daunting. But it can be done—all you need is some motivation and an easy to follow training plan. So if you fancy working towards a 5k run, here is my simple guide to achieving your goal safely.

Health & Safety

For most people, a 5k training plan won’t cause them any problems as long as they don’t try and do too much, too soon. However, if you are significantly overweight or you have pre-existing health problems, it is a good idea to have a health check-up before doing any strenuous exercise.

The Right Shoes

Running is a high impact sport and the right footwear is essential unless you want your training programme to be sabotaged by injury very quickly. To avoid any problems, make sure you buy some proper running shoes that actually fit, and for best results, have your running shoes fitted by an expert in a specialist running shop.

The Progression Rule

The key to a successful 5k training plan for beginners is to take it slowly. There is little point in going out and running until you fall over with exhaustion, wash, rinse and repeat. All that will do is burn you out and destroy your legs. Instead, try a walk-run approach. In the beginning, walk the majority of the time and only run for very short spells. Then, as your fitness improves, reduce the amount of walking and increase the running intervals.

Time vs. Distance

Train by time or distance—either is fine, but don’t chop and change the two or it will become confusing.

Rest Days

Try and train every other day. Rest days are very important, particularly with a high impact sport like running. Your body needs the rest days to recover and repair itself, so even though you may be keen (or not!) to get back out there, either rest completely or do a different, low-impact sport such as swimming in between.

Roads vs. Treadmill

Running on a treadmill is just as effective as running outdoors, although a lot more boring it has to be said. Do whatever suits you best, although remember to add some incline to the treadmill to make up for the lack of wind resistance indoors. It is also a good idea to do some of your running outdoors if you plan on competing in a 5k running event, or your legs will find the extra impact of running on hard ground a bit of a shock to the system.

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Have you downloaded our great FREE report yet? Plenty of other dieters have and they are now using this report to overcome the 5 most common obstacles which could stand in their way of losing weight. Click on the image below to find out how you too can overcome the obstacles holding you back and start your journey to the new slimmer, healthier you today…

About Louise Denny

Louise is a health and fitness writer, with a keen interest in seeking out natural health and beauty remedies to keep herself looking her best! As a journalism graduate with a specific background in online media, Louise writes for numerous online publications covering topics such as management skills, sales techniques, digital marketing strategies, health and fitness and fashion trends to name but a few.

Psychological Hurdles To Overcome To Keep You On Track

There’s no doubt about it—losing weight is hard, especially if you have spent years eating the wrong foods and developing unhealthy eating patterns. It will be difficult to change your relationship with food overnight, but there are certain common psychological barriers that can make the task of losing weight even more difficult.

Do Others Undermine Your Efforts?

If you have spent your entire life being overweight, others will be used to you in that guise. Your partner may have only ever known you as a larger person and coming to terms with the ‘new you’ will be just as difficult for them as it will be for you. It may be that they are afraid you will become much more self-confident if you shed some pounds. Issues like this can cause all kinds of problems. Having your efforts belittled and undermined will make your task a lot harder, so if your partner, family or friends are being negative about your weight loss plan, you need to understand that this is their problem and not yours.

Are You Depressed?

Many people don’t realise they are depressed until someone tells them. Unfortunately, depression is often linked to overeating and weight gain. When a diet isn’t working, it is important to look at the reasons why you are struggling. Do you feel like there is no point? Keep a food diary and try and tie in your eating habits with your emotional state, and if you suspect you may be suffering from depression, ask your doctor for some help and support.

Gyms Are Scary Places

Joining a gym for the first time is a scary experience, particularly if you are significantly overweight. But exercise is important as it will speed up your weight loss and tone up your body. Hiring the services of a personal trainer for a few introductory sessions could be useful in this regard as they will give you a program to work with. You could also try asking a friend to join with you if you need some moral support in the early days.

The Dangers Of Stress

Stress is a dangerous thing and if you don’t tackle the root causes of your stress, your diet won’t be the only thing that suffers. Try and recognise when stress is causing you to comfort eat or eat the wrong things. Look at your eating habits and spot the bad patterns. Do you hit the coffee machine and biscuit tin when you are stressed? If so, work out other methods of dealing with your stress—meditation for example.

(Image by Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

Have you downloaded our great FREE report yet? Plenty of other dieters have and they are now using this report to overcome the 5 most common obstacles which could stand in their way of losing weight. Click on the image below to find out how you too can overcome the obstacles holding you back and start your journey to the new slimmer, healthier you today…

About Louise Denny

Louise is a health and fitness writer, with a keen interest in seeking out natural health and beauty remedies to keep herself looking her best! As a journalism graduate with a specific background in online media, Louise writes for numerous online publications covering topics such as management skills, sales techniques, digital marketing strategies, health and fitness and fashion trends to name but a few.

Weight Watchers – It’s The Biggest Diet Plan In The UK, But Does It Work?

As the title says, Weight Watchers is famous. Millions of women (and men!) sign up for Weight Watchers every year. They go along to the meetings, commiserate and celebrate their weekly loss or gain, count points and, hopefully, reach their target weights. But as popular as Weight Watchers is, does it really work for the majority of people, or does the hype not match up to the average person’s experience?

How Does Weight Watchers Work?

The Weight Watchers diet plan is pretty simple. You can eat anything you like as long as you don’t exceed your daily ‘points’ allowance. Or in other words, anything is ok as long as you enjoy it in moderation. All foods are worth points; the more calorific a food is the more points it will cost you. In the beginning you will probably find the process of working out points for everything very irksome, but there is an app to help you and if you are short on time, you can buy Weight Watchers ready-meals.

The Benefits Of Group Motivation

There are two ways of doing the Weight Watchers system: you can join online for free (for a limited period of time), or you can pay to attend the weekly meetings in your local area. Doing the diet online is great if you work irregular hours or you simply don’t have time to go along to the meetings, but most people find it very motivational to go along to the weekly weigh-ins with their fellow dieters. After all, you are all going through the same weight loss journey, so it’s good to share the highs and lows.

Does It Work?

No diet plan can claim to be 100% successful because there will always be people who can’t stick to the rules, but the vast majority of people who try Weight Watchers find that it does help them to lose weight.

The key to the success of Weight Watchers is that it is very adaptable. If you need to save points for a special event or party, you can, although binging on a regular basis is not recommended. Weight Watchers does try and educate you about eating healthily and doing regular exercise is encouraged—in fact the more exercise you do, the more food points you earn, so you can enjoy extra treats.  On the downside, the cost of membership may be a prohibitive factor.

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Have you downloaded our great FREE report yet? Plenty of other dieters have and they are now using this report to overcome the 5 most common obstacles which could stand in their way of losing weight. Click on the image below to find out how you too can overcome the obstacles holding you back and start your journey to the new slimmer, healthier you today…

About Louise Denny

Louise is a health and fitness writer, with a keen interest in seeking out natural health and beauty remedies to keep herself looking her best! As a journalism graduate with a specific background in online media, Louise writes for numerous online publications covering topics such as management skills, sales techniques, digital marketing strategies, health and fitness and fashion trends to name but a few.

How Anxiety Can Hinder Your Progress

Anxiety can affect all of us from time to time. Job interviews, moving home, and relationship issues can all cause high levels of stress and anxiety, which over time will cause many problems. Unfortunately, high levels of anxiety are not good if you are trying to lose weight. Some people find that the weight drops off them when they are stressed, anxious and upset, but many more find that the opposite happens and they gain weight!

The Effect Of Stress & Cortisol

Stress and anxiety cause cortisol levels in the body to rise. In small amounts, this won’t cause too many problems, but over time it can have a disastrous effect. Raised levels of cortisol leads to fat gain in the abdominal area, also known as a ‘stress tummy’. If you don’t deal with your anxiety and stress, you will find it impossible to shift the fat stores around your middle, no matter how hard you diet or exercise.

When the body is put under stress, it tends to hold on to its fat stores. This is a survival mechanism dating back to when we lived in caves and life was a daily battle against the odds. Chronic anxiety makes your body think it is fighting for survival. A malnourished person is less likely to survive, so say “hello” to your fat stores because they will be around for a while.

Gut Inflammation

High levels of anxiety and stress, plus too much cortisol flowing around the body, will lead to chronic gut inflammation. This in turn will make you feel unwell, tired, and lacking in motivation, which is not a good state of mind to be in when you are trying to stick to a weight loss program.

Depression & Anxiety

Living with anxiety is hard work and the stress it places on your system is likely to lead to depression. Of course depression can also make you feel anxious, so really the two states of mind are closely linked and need addressing if you want your weight loss plan to be successful.

Keep a weight loss journal and write down your feelings as the journey unfolds. You may be able to spot a pattern. For example, being around certain people may make you feel more anxious and pessimistic about achieving your weight loss goals. So try avoiding them.

Comfort Eating

A common side effect of anxiety is comfort eating. We feel anxious and stressed and therefore we crave donuts and chocolate. So in order to defeat your cravings, you need to address the root cause of your anxiety and stress.

(Image by Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

Have you downloaded our great FREE report yet? Plenty of other dieters have and they are now using this report to overcome the 5 most common obstacles which could stand in their way of losing weight. Click on the image below to find out how you too can overcome the obstacles holding you back and start your journey to the new slimmer, healthier you today…

About Louise Denny

Louise is a health and fitness writer, with a keen interest in seeking out natural health and beauty remedies to keep herself looking her best! As a journalism graduate with a specific background in online media, Louise writes for numerous online publications covering topics such as management skills, sales techniques, digital marketing strategies, health and fitness and fashion trends to name but a few.

The Slim Fast Diet – Can Creamy Shakes Really Help You Shed The Pounds?

Losing weight is tough for a lot of people. They may stick to their diet for the first few weeks, but before long motivation falters and the weight starts creeping back on. Often the biggest complaint is that counting calories and preparing faddy meals takes time and effort, which is why the Slim Fast Diet is so appealing. But is the Slim Fast Diet a fad diet or will you reach your target weight and, more importantly, stay there?

How The Slim Fast Diet Works

In the early days, going on the Slim Fast Diet meant replacing meals with protein shakes. This is still the case, but these days you are also allowed to eat Slim Fast meal bars and snack bars, as well as being able to choose from a range of low calorie snacks. The Slim Fast Diet also offer a range of low-calorie ready-meals to make it easier to stick to the diet plan, although you are encouraged to prepare a healthy evening meal.

3-2-1 Plan

Slim Fast protein shakes, snack bars and meal bars are consumed in place of breakfast and lunch. You can eat three snacks (Slim Fast bars or a selection of healthy alternatives), two meal replacement shakes or meal bars, and one low calorie meal containing no more than 500 calories.

Does It Work?

Based on a daily intake of around 1200 calories, you can expect to lose around two pounds per week. Unfortunately, following such a restrictive diet is unlikely to lead to a sustained weight loss in the long term. Yes, you may be able to lose weight quickly if your only goal is to drop ten pounds and squeeze into a bikini on your next holiday, but once you start eating normally again the weight is likely to pile back on.

The other problem with following such a restrictive diet is that it is incredibly dull and boring. It is also an expensive way to lose weight—the cost of buying all the protein shakes, meal bars and snack bars soon adds up.

When To Use Slim Fast Shakes

If you are looking for a quick-fix weight loss method, Slim Fast may work for you. In the short term, replacing meals with low-calorie shakes is almost certainly going to help you shed the pounds, but if your goal is to lose a large amount of weight and keep it off, you would be better off giving your diet a complete overhaul and doing more exercise.

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Have you downloaded our great FREE report yet? Plenty of other dieters have and they are now using this report to overcome the 5 most common obstacles which could stand in their way of losing weight. Click on the image below to find out how you too can overcome the obstacles holding you back and start your journey to the new slimmer, healthier you today…

About Louise Denny

Louise is a health and fitness writer, with a keen interest in seeking out natural health and beauty remedies to keep herself looking her best! As a journalism graduate with a specific background in online media, Louise writes for numerous online publications covering topics such as management skills, sales techniques, digital marketing strategies, health and fitness and fashion trends to name but a few.

The Dukan Diet – Just Another Fad Or A Guaranteed Way Of Shedding The Fat?

Sometimes eating healthily isn’t enough and you need to find a different strategy to help you lose weight. Specialist diets usually claim to do just that. Some involve restricting your calorie intake whereas others only let you eat certain foods. The Dukan Diet is one such diet.

In 2010, the Dukan Diet was high up on the non-fiction bestseller list in the UK and the US; it was also the bestselling book in France. Celebrities endorsed it and millions of people rushed out to buy the book and kick-start their weight loss program. More than seven million copies of the diet book were sold in 2010 alone, but does the Dukan Diet actually work and will it help you shed fat?

How Does The Dukan Diet Work?

The Dukan Diet was designed by Pierre Dukan, a French dietician and nutritionist. It is a high-protein, low-fat eating plan that is reported to lead to rapid weight loss. Basically you can eat whatever you like as long as it’s protein. Sounds restrictive, but with 100 foods on the diet list, you are spoilt for choice.

The Four Phases Of The Dukan Diet

  • Phase 1 – During the ‘Attack’ phase you eat nothing but lean protein and oat bran. You are only allowed to drink water. This phase lasts for up to ten days.
  • Phase 2 – The ‘Cruise’ phase lets you eat non-starchy vegetables as well as lean protein, plus a bit more oat bran. You can stay in this phase for months.
  • Phase 3 – The ‘Consolidation’ phase is a bit more fun and continues for five days per pound of weight loss. Add fruit, whole-grain bread, hard cheese and a few eat-what-you-want meals.
  • Phase 4 – This is the maintenance or ‘Stabilisation’ phase, where you are allowed to eat what you want most of the time as long as you have a protein-only day once a week.

Does It Work?

The theory behind the diet is that restricting your carbohydrate intake will force your body to burn fat. However, eating such a restrictive diet for a longer period of time is not necessarily good for you and whilst you are quite likely to lose weight, you might end up lacking in essential nutrients.

On the plus side, you may notice rapid weight loss and you won’t feel hungry because it doesn’t restrict your calorie intake, but on the negative side, don’t be surprised if you end up suffering from unpleasant side effects such as constipation.

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Have you downloaded our great FREE report yet? Plenty of other dieters have and they are now using this report to overcome the 5 most common obstacles which could stand in their way of losing weight. Click on the image below to find out how you too can overcome the obstacles holding you back and start your journey to the new slimmer, healthier you today…

About Louise Denny

Louise is a health and fitness writer, with a keen interest in seeking out natural health and beauty remedies to keep herself looking her best! As a journalism graduate with a specific background in online media, Louise writes for numerous online publications covering topics such as management skills, sales techniques, digital marketing strategies, health and fitness and fashion trends to name but a few.

Acai Berries – Are They As Beneficial As You’ve Heard?

Unless you have been living under a rock for the last few years, you can’t fail to have heard of the humble Acai berry. Nutritional experts have described the Acai berry as a ‘super fruit’, or in other words a food with an extremely high nutritional value. But are Acai berries really that good for you or is it all a lot of hype?

Acai berries are available in many different forms. You can’t buy them as a whole fruit because they don’t survive the trip from South America, but you can buy them as a pulp, powder, in capsules or in a health juice.

The Myths About Acai Berries

Whilst Acai berries undeniably have a lot of health benefits, it is important that you don’t believe everything you read about this reddish-purple berry found growing in the rainforests of Brazil. Unfortunately, there are lot of myths and untruths out there relating to Acai berries.

  • Appetite suppressant – When you want to believe in something badly enough, often it comes true, but in this instance, taking an Acai berry weight loss supplement won’t curb your hunger pangs, no matter how many you take.
  • Metabolism booster – There is no scientific evidence that eating Acai berry in any form will boost your metabolism. The best way to do that is to try doing some intensive exercise.

The Facts About Acai Berries

One benefit of adding Acai berry products to your diet is that they do contain high levels of antioxidants. Antioxidants are good for us because they help to keep our immune systems in good health. They fight the ‘free radical’ cells that cause damage and are thought to increase your risk of cancer and heart disease. But it isn’t just Acai berries that contain high levels of antioxidants. All colourful fruits contain them—and cost a lot less to buy!

One extra benefit Acai berries have that other fruits don’t is monounsaturated fats. These help us to feel full at the end of a meal, but although Acai berries do contain this useful ingredient, you would need to eat a lot of them to enjoy any real benefit.

Lose Weight The Healthy Way

There is no one single food that will magically help you to lose weight. Acai berries are just as healthy as any other berry fruit, so instead of splashing out on expensive Acai weight loss supplements, buy some blueberries or raspberries instead.

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Have you downloaded our great FREE report yet? Plenty of other dieters have and they are now using this report to overcome the 5 most common obstacles which could stand in their way of losing weight. Click on the image below to find out how you too can overcome the obstacles holding you back and start your journey to the new slimmer, healthier you today…

About Louise Denny

Louise is a health and fitness writer, with a keen interest in seeking out natural health and beauty remedies to keep herself looking her best! As a journalism graduate with a specific background in online media, Louise writes for numerous online publications covering topics such as management skills, sales techniques, digital marketing strategies, health and fitness and fashion trends to name but a few.