Blog - XL Fitness

Cardio

I will post a LOT about the benefits of cardio. I believe it is the REAL “chicken soup” for our bodies and it is the first type of exercise that I did when I started exercising for the first time. When you are obese, like I was, it’s a great place to start and easy to do without any equipment.

How much is too much or too little and where is that sweet spot you need to get that “chicken soup” effect?

Let’s start on the low end. If you aren’t getting at least 3 day per week for 30 minutes each day, you are a smoker. Sorry, but that is the brutal honesty that I promise I will always give you.

What do I mean by that? Guidelines for defining a sedentary person is anyone who is not exercising at least 3 days per week for 30 minutes each day. In 1995, the US surgeon general discovered, and pointed out, that the health risks of living a sedentary lifestyle were almost exactly the same as the risks of smoking. And I am serious when I say that the risk factors are almost identical!

What are the risk factors I am talking about?
Increased risk of:
Heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, atherosclerosis, stroke, heart attack, high overall cholesterol, reduced HDL and increased LDL cholesterol.

That is a pretty scary list! What is even scarier than that…are you a sedentary smoker? The good news is that you can reduce all of these risks by starting a cardio program right now.

How much is too much? There isn’t a whole lot of consensus on too much but you get the most benefits when you get between 30-60 minutes in a day. More than an hour isn’t necessary and, unless you are an athlete getting ready for competition, I get concerned if I learn that someone is getting cardio exercise in excess of that.

So where is that sweet spot? Right around 5-7 days of 30-60 minutes per day.

What I tell ALL of my clients about cardio is that if you are exercising less than 3 days per week (for 30 minutes), you are a smoker.

If you are getting 3 days per week of cardio exercise then your health pretty much stays the same. You are getting enough to prevent further risk but not enough to improve your health.

If you are getting 5 days per week, your health is improving, and there is nothing wrong with 7 days of cardio.

So get moving, and walking counts (try to make it a brisk walk).
If you are looking for something more exciting than walking, try going for a hike, biking, or swimming. If the weather isn’t great for outdoor activities, or you just don’t like exercising outside, join your neighborhood gym and use the plethora of cardio equipment.

It’s only 30 minutes a day, you still have 23 1/2 hours for everything else.

Surviving the holidays

It is that time of year again! Time for being thankful, time to be with our families, time for presents and yes…time for an abundance of feasts and treats. The holidays are here and although this is a time of happiness and joy for so many of us, it can also be a time that tests our willpower on a level like no other time of year. I lost that battle year after year causing me to have serious issues with my self esteem and confidence. Looking back, this was one of the main reasons I became obese. I would typically gain about 10 pounds every year around the holidays. Seriously, how many years in a row can you gain 10 pounds before you are 80-100 pounds overweight??? About 8-10 seems right. So what can we do about it?

I know the holidays can be a tough time for anyone trying to manage or lose weight. I have had my share of struggles with it and I even came to just expect that I would gain that 10 pounds every year. I even used to joke about it and say that I needed my insulation for the winter. Of course that was just my attempt to make light of something that had a very negative impact on my self worth. That is why I try to challenge myself and my clients to “Maintain and NOT Gain” every holiday season. But just saying it and wanting it isn’t enough, we must have a plan if we are going to be successful.

To help you create your plan for surviving the holidays, download this Holiday Survival Guide
With a solid plan in place, you will greatly improve your chances maintaining and not gaining this year.

To your health,
Jake

Diabetes…and what to do about it.

Type 2 Diabetes, what used to be referred to as Adult Onset Diabetes is now affecting a growing number of kids and teens. 100 million Americans have it and 1.5 million more will develop it in the next year. So what’s the big deal, everyone gets it eventually right? Not really, and you can prevent or delay it too.

Aside from having to worry about controlling your blood sugar, other side effects of type 2 diabetes are: [1]
Heart disease
Stroke
Blindness
Peripheral Nephropathy (numbness often felt in hands and feet)
Damage to arteries and blood vessels
Kidney disease caused by damage to blood vessels
Thyroid issues
Higher risk of infection
Sexual dysfunction
Nerve damage
Dry skin
Tooth and gum disease
Some cancers 

Type 2 diabetes is what I like to call “the real silent killer”. I know, that is how we refer to strokes in the US, but diabetes is right up there…you know because it can cause strokes, and heart attacks, and maybe you’ll go blind and lose a leg. But there is hope in preventing it. In fact, 9 out of 10 cases can be prevented by making a few lifestyle changes. [2]

Studies have shown that weight loss can have a huge impact on type 2 diabetes. Losing between 7-10% of your body weight can cut your chances of developing type 2 diabetes in half. For a 300 pound person, that is between 21-30 pounds. Being overweight increases your chances by 7 times and being obese makes you 20-40 times more likely of developing diabetes. [2] Even if you already have type 2 diabetes, participating in a healthy diet and exercise routine can help manage healthy blood glucose levels.

Exercise is another great way to help prevent type 2 diabetes. Exercise helps facilitate moving glucose out of your blood and into your cells. That means less insulin is needed and less stress is placed on your endocrine system to make insulin. So get up and get moving! 30 minutes of cardio a day is all it takes to improve your health and reduce your risk of diabetes. Did I mention that a brisk walk counts as good cardio?

Don’t wait until you are diagnosed with pre-diabetes, get started on a healthier you right now. Consult your doctor about starting an exercise routine, and find a weight loss program that works for you. 21 pounds could make all the difference!

Not sure where to start? Try our Weight Loss Jump Start program. It’s low cost, effective and our average client loses 18 pounds in the first 4 weeks!

[1] https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/diabetes-long-term-effects
[2] https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/disease-prevention/diabetes-prevention/preventing-diabetes-full-story/