September 25, 2011

Music to Move to

Music is the one distraction that can make your workout feel easier without actually reducing your intensity. Research is ongoing as to the psychological and physiological reasons for this, but it is clear that music helps most people work out more frequently, and for longer periods of time.
There is no right or wrong music for working out, pick what you like.  For cardiovascular workouts, a tempo of 140-170 beats per minute (BPM) will keep you energized.  Recommended tempos for weight training are slower; from 100-130 BPM.  However, if you prefer a faster tempo then go for it. If you tend to “lift to the beat”, then try to lift on every other beat.  That will help you avoid using momentum, a side effect of fast music.  These two websites list BPM for some popular songs, and can help you find songs for your playlist. 

Below is a list of songs (BPM 140-170) that helped get me through training for my one and only 5K:
Reet Petite: Jackie Wilson
Such Great Heights: The Postal Service
Radio Free Europe: REM
Underdog: Spoon
Rock and Roll Never Forgets: Bob Seeger
It’s All Been Done: Bare Naked Ladies
I Want To Know: Mavericks
Going For The One: Yes
Forget It: Breaking Benjamin
Sherry Darling: Bruce Springsteen
Heat Treatment: Graham Parker
Amsterdam: Guster
Paint It Black: Rolling Stones
Dog Days Are Over: Florence and the Machine
Strangers When We Meet: Smithereens
Raised By Wolves: Voxtrot
Harder To Breathe: Maroon 5
Roll To Me: Del Amitri
All In: Lifehouse
One O’clock Jump: Count Basie
Uprising: Muse
Viva La Vida: Coldplay
Take Five: Dave Brubeck
Veronica: Elvis Costello
Break Me Out: Rescues
In The Mood: Glen Miller
Little Lion Man: Mumford & Sons
The Middle: Jimmy Eat World
Half A Boy Half A Man: Nick Lowe
What Do All the People Know: Monroes
Crawling From the Wreckage: Dave Edmunds
Another Sunny Day: Belle and Sebastian
Bits and Pieces: Dave Clark Five
Traveling Band: Creedence Clearwater Revival
Reptilia: Strokes
Valencia: Decemberists
Runaround Sue: Dion
Run: Snow Patrol
Come Dancing:  The Kinks
Jole Blon: Gary US Bonds

Feel free to send me your suggestions.  In addition, a note to my clients and class members; I am always open to requests.

September 21, 2011

Distract yourself to fitness:

Most of us use some kind of distraction such as music, tv or reading to get us through our exercise sessions.  Group exercise is popular is because a good instructor can divert us from any boredom or pain from exercise.  However, there are some disadvantages to distracting yourself while exercising.
First of all, not all distractions are equal.  Reading, watching tv, or talking on the phone will reduce the intensity of your workout.  If you cannot exercise without one of these distractions, (and I admit that without my DVDs I would not be on the elliptical for long), then of course, tune out.  However, you should be aware that you are probably not working as hard as you think.  If you distract yourself while you exercise you are also less likely to tune into your body.  You may be unaware of a strain that can progress into an injury.  When you focus in on your workout, you will be more aware of your breathing and form. 
If you need to be entertained and are worried about lack of intensity, you can program some cardiovascular machines to work with a heart rate monitor. If you slack off, the program will warn you to up your intensity.  Music is the one distraction that can actually help your workout; research has shown that it will make your exertion feel a little less, and you will probably be able to last a little longer.  More on music next post.

September 15, 2011

The Best Time to Exercise, Part 2

Thanks to a heads up from a client of mine I will retract the statement from the post of Aug. 27 where I recommended not exercising right before bed.
One of the few studies on the topic ( actually found test subjects who exercised late at night slept better and felt more rested the next day.  In addition, a leading researcher on sleep disorders, Dr. Shawn D. Youngstedt at the University of South Carolina, believes that exercise before bed can actually promote sleep.
So you can no longer use “it is too close to bedtime to exercise” for an excuse.  Every individual will vary in response to exercise timing, find out what works best for you and your schedule.

September 8, 2011

Easy Ways to Lose Weight

OK, there are no easy ways to lose weight, but there are some painless ways to make a difference over time.
Number 1: Eat more.  More fruits and vegetables that is. Instead of depriving yourself, fill up on healthy fruits and vegetables, and you will automatically eat less.  (Sorry, raisinets and french fries do not count).
Number 2: Drink more.  Water that is. Researchers found that dieters who drank two glasses of water before meals, three times per day, lost about 5 pounds more than dieters who did not increase their water intake.
Number 3:  Eat off a smaller plate.  You can trick your brain into eating less by serving food on a smaller plate.  Larger plates make food servings look smaller (because of the empty space), so eating off a smaller plate will give you the illusion of eating more, and you will feel full faster.  
This 8 1/2 inch plate has the same amount of food as the next 11 inch plate.

Try these three easy changes.  They will not help you lose 10 pounds in a week, but over a period of months can add up to some pretty effortless and significant weight loss.

You can find other tips on how to trick yourself into eating less at this research backed web site: