fitness

How to GAIN weight the healthy way

December 8, 2009 Diet, fitness, Health, Other 2 Comments

weightgain

For every few emails that I read requesting weight loss advice and motivation, I also open emails that inquire about how to put on a few pounds.

A month ago, I received an email from a petite girl who expressed her frustration with her weight. She felt that regardless of the food and junk she ate, her weight remained low. Most people would love to have her problem but sometimes being underweight can be unhealthy and lead to other health complications.

calculatorIf you’re an individual that can’t seem to keep on the weight, I have outlined how to pack on more pounds the healthy way!

Before you read more, I want you to calculate your body’s estimated calorie needs.  Eating more calories than the number assigned is the first step to achieving your weight gain goal.

Click on my Hello Kitty Calculator to start calculating!

NUTRITION: Fried foods and cheesecake is not a healthy way to add more meat to your bones. Your diet should remain healthy and clean similar to a person on a weight loss program, except you will be eating more of it.

You may add extra calories to your main meals or all your mini meals. If you feel too stuffed, then add more mini meals throughout the day to fit your calories in. wholegrains

Carbs! This taboo word is your body’s main source of energy and it needs it to properly function. Add more whole grains, fruits and vegetables to your menu. All these mentioned are nutrient rich and beneficial to your body.

If I was on a mission to gain weight, my carb choices would be a fat baked potato, whole grain rice, oatmeal, wheat linguine, lima beans, bananas, lots of broccoli rabe and hummus. I would have zero trouble!

chickenstirfry Bring on the meat! Protein doesn’t necessarily have to come from animal sources but it is very important for all bodies. Protein is essential for building and repairing your muscles, boosting your immune system and creating necessary chemical reactions in your body to keep you functioning at your optimum. Choose lean proteins like white meat chicken, turkey, fish, dairy, beans, nuts and seeds. A piece of lean red meat is fine in moderation. Whey protein is another great choice to add to your day. It is easily digested, tastes delicious blended with fruit and yogurt and helps build and maintain your muscles.

Slim-Sculptedited click here to check out smallworld beauty’s slim & sculpt whey protein

My menu would consist of protein shakes, tuna salad, cottage cheese, rice and beans, and nut & fruit trail mix.

Eat fat to get fat! That’s healthy fats of course! Fat is essential for healthy hair, skin and brain function. Avoid saturated fats because they have been linked to cardiovascular issues and cancer.

My healthy fat list would include omega-3 rich seafood, flaxseeds and walnuts. I would drizzle more olive oil on my veggies, and use canola oil enriched mayo.

Get your Vitamins in! Adding a multi vitamin to your day can help add more nutrients that you’ve been lacking and help increase your appetite. Since I get most of my nutrients from my foods, I like to scoop a greens supplement into my shakes. Detox-Greensedited

Detox greens is a cinnamon apple-flavored powder that contains fruits, veggies, probiotics, enzymes and more. It provides me with phytonutrients while detoxifying my body. click here to check it out!

femaleGET DIESEL! If you’re trying to put on the weight you should concentrate on gaining more muscle through resistance training. Consult with a trainer or knowledgeable friend regarding muscle building exercises. You’ll be surprised how your body will start looking after a few sessions of bicep curls!

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I can’t believe the difference in my body in just two weeks of doing these moves!

November 23, 2009 About me, fitness, Health, Other 1 Comment

Fitness girl It has been two weeks since committing to working out with my personal trainer Lisa. We meet three nights a week for an intense upper and lower body routine.

All I have to say is WOW!

I can’t believe the difference she has made in my body. In just these two weeks, I have noticed more definition in my shoulders, back, arms and chest. My thighs are leaner and calves are turning into lean sexy muscles.

I love you Lisa!

“Why does someone like you, who already knows how to workout seek a trainer?”

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that in the last few weeks.

Yes, I can do fine working out alone, but with my schedule getting even more hectic, I wanted to make sure that I don’t slack off. Did you know that even Jillian Michaels has a personal trainer! She even feels the need to have someone boss her around.

Teaming up with Lisa has sparked even more drive to achieve a more powerful body! I’m so excited about this new fitness regimen that I wanted to share some of my new program with you.

The following is just a sample of what I do, so please don’t hurt yourself trying to copy it. Consult a personal trainer before to make sure that your body is ready. Be patient and take it easy and you’ll find yourself at the finish line faster than you know it. Rushing will only lead to frustration and even injury.

So here’s my weekly schedule:

Monday, Wednesday & Friday, Lisa has asked that I get 45 minutes of HIT (high intensity training) cardio preferably on the elliptical because she noticed an injury in my left knee. The elliptical is less harsh on my knees than the stair stepper and treadmill.

When do I fit this in? 5:30 am is when you will find me jamming out to my favorite tunes while busting a sweat on the elliptical.

I also meet up with Lisa on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, but after work. By 5:45 pm, I’m in Lisa’s home gym with my workout gear and gloves ready to feel the burn.

Sexy Medicine Ball WorkoutWe have dedicated Mondays and Fridays to lower body, and Wednesday to upper. Every meeting starts off with a 15 minute ab blasting routine that brings out the potty mouth in me.

Lisa makes sure that every workout is challenging and switches it up when she notices my body is getting used to it. Changing up your workout every so often will cause your muscles to work harder and boost results.

Check out a few of the power sculpting routines that Lisa puts me through. Most of these can be done at home or at your gym.

lungeBooty work!

Lisa has definitely whipped my butt into shape these last two weeks with intense burning lunges, squats, dead lifts, leg curls and more. The key to maximizing your results is to have proper form and momentum. Without proper form, you may skimp on targeting the necessary muscles. As far as momentum, going too fast or slow can also minimize your results.

Cable-Lat-Pull-Down

Lat Pull downs! Lisa has shown me the proper way of pulling that bar down and targeting back muscles I never felt were there.  One secret to sexy muscles is the squeezing of the back muscles at the end of each pull down.

Arnold press! This is a cool motion that combines the use of your shoulder, chest and biceps. Stand in front of a mirror and watch your biceps and shoulders start forming. In a few weeks, you’ll look like Michelle Obama!

arnoldpress3

If you want to know more about my routine, send me a message!

Tune in later this week to see what I’ve been eating during this training period with Lisa!

Keep in mind, I’m not training for any competition nor trying to be a super model. I’m training merely for the reason of being healthy and looking my best. Love, Ghada

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Yay! I hired a personal trainer!

November 2, 2009 About me, fitness, Health, Other Leave a comment

Even though I’ve lost over 10 dress sizes and consider myself pretty disciplined in my eating habits and workouts, I felt that it was time to consider a personal trainer to take me to that next level.

In the last few months, I’ve watched many body builders at my gym transform their physiques in very little time through diet, exercise and a personal trainer.

I am not aspiring to be a fitness model or a body builder, but I do want my body to perform at its optimum. I strive for a healthy, glowing, strong body. I feel that with a trainer, I can reach that goal easier and faster.

I want a trainer to be my Billy Blanks, or even my Jillian Michaels! No room for Mr. Nice guy here, I need he/she to be tough and rough. Every minute counts, and I want to maximize my workouts in the short time we have together.

I don’t like to sit on ideas for too long, in fact I’m very impatient so I made a few calls and set up my first session with body building expert, Lisa! Lisa is certified in personal training and achieved a degree in Kinesiology. She is also in the process of taking another test to earn her “masters” in personal training.

So I met with Lisa at her home gym which was conveniently 5 minutes from my house. She asked that I get a 45 minute cardio workout before and be ready for an intense leg workout.

We chatted for a few minutes and expressed my intentions and goals to give her a better understanding of what I wanted out of our sessions.

Let the workouts begin!

All I can say was… Lisa is awesome and that almost every muscle in my leg was worked. It has been a few days later, and I’m still feeling it!

I can’t wait to workout with Lisa again and I’ll keep you guys posted on my progress.

There’s nothing wrong with working out on your own as long as you are disciplined and can push yourself. When things get monotonous, we sometimes need that new inspiration and extra push :)

The PROS of hiring a personal trainer:

  • motivation: Lisa is now my coach and workout buddy. Her credentials inspire me to do more and reach goals faster than if I worked out on my own.
  • Commitment: Time is money and I surely don’t want to waste her time either. Committing to Lisa leaves no room for laziness and slacking. I will give 100% at each session, and she will do the same.
  • Customized plan: Lisa has taken out the guess work for me, and customized and dedicated certain days to different body parts. After our conversation, she put together a workout schedule that will help me get to my goals.
  • Monitor: Lisa educated me on proper form and pointed out a few mistakes in my standing positions. By monitoring my form and body, she can help boost my efforts and prevent injury.

Statistics show that working out with a personal trainer or workout buddy can boost results more than when working out alone.

I know that the economy is tough right now, but maybe you can sacrifice eating out for a few months and put that money toward your health.

If you can’t afford one at all, then consider buying a few home workout videos.

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Yoga. I’m actually starting to enjoy this!

October 26, 2009 fitness, Health, Other, The Love Your Life Program 1 Comment

basic

I have to admit that when the yoga movement started, I was interested in giving it a try mostly for stretching and meditating. I went out and purchased a cute yoga outfit, a pedicure (since I had to be barefoot :) ) and signed up for a class at a local gym.

The class started at 5:45 PM, right after my busy day at work. I walked in, grabbed a yoga mat and sat Indian-style in the dim room awaiting the yoga master to come in.

Here she comes! A cute little Indian woman walks in, turns on the serene music and begins to instruct the class on breathing, posture and poses.

Compared to my intense stair stepper and up tempo beats blasting in my ear, this class felt a little weird. My mind was drifting far from meditation. “What am I going to cook tonight? I need to do my laundry, I’m running out of clean clothes! I can’t wait to watch Dexter on HBO this weekend”…. Oh boy! I was so antsy this yoga thing may not be for me.

I went years after my first class, until a few months ago. I decided to give it another go. I promised to put all my thoughts and worries on hold, and dedicate this time to me and my body.

back in 5 After the first 10 minutes, I thought “wow, I’m really enjoying this. I feel relaxed. The music is peaceful and the dim lights keep me calm. I’m definitely doing this again”.

Yoga has been gaining popularity among not only the health conscious, but also among the health care experts. The ancient practice of yoga connects the mind, body and spirit while providing health benefits.

  • Yoga can increase circulation and oxygenation that can aid in lowering blood pressure.
  • Yoga can boost cardio endurance and decrease the respiratory rate meaning the lungs are working efficiently
  • Yoga can help bowel functions
  • Yoga can boost immunity through certain poses
  • Yoga can boost metabolism leading to weight loss
  • Yoga can reduce stress, in turn reducing cortisol levels
  • Yoga can build strength and lean muscle through certain poses

If you’re a yoga girl or guy already, then hi five to you! If you haven’t tried it yet, do some research and find a class in the area and try it out.

Below, I have pasted a helpful chart with yoga poses for beginners. Poses are usually held for 20-40 seconds, but feel free to hold for longer if you feel the desire to.

OM (aaaaaauuuuuuummmmmm: a yoga chant that represents the sound of the union of mind, body and spirit). Chant this at the start and finish :)

yogapose

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I’m WILD about MEAT

October 13, 2009 Diet, fitness, Health, Other 2 Comments

guns-glory When it comes to adding protein to one’s diet, most people reach for they typical grilled chicken breast, boiled eggs or even canned sardines. I do too, but I also love me some WILD GAME MEAT!

Not only is Wild Game meat safe and protein packed, but it can also be leaner and tastier than your fatty piece of steak. (Steak is always yummy still ;) ) Some game meats provide less saturated fats than your average beef cut and can be a great substitute for individuals concerned with high cholesterol.

Check out some of the nutrition! (click on the chart to read more about the benefits of wild game meat :) )

image

If you’re curious about how to hook up a good Elk steak, then click here!

Stop being so boring with your protein and Get WILD & crazy!

What’s your favorite Wild Meat? (I love alligator, bison and ostrich!)

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To all my ladies on contraceptives/birth control! You might want to read this new information

October 7, 2009 Beauty, Diet, fitness, Health, Other Leave a comment


Did you know that 7 out of 10 women in the US from the ages of 18-45 are on the pill?

Reasons for being on the pill can be to prevent pregnancy or even treat mild acne and hormone issues. Regardless of the reason, research shows that being on this pill may hinder a woman’s ability to build and maintain muscle mass.

The department of Health and Kinesiology at the University of Texas A&M conducted a study on the effects of birth control on muscle mass.

The study involved 2 groups of women ages 18 to 31. The first group was on contraceptives and the other was not. Both groups were assigned to 10 weeks of controlled resistance training and fed 30 % more protein than the recommended daily allowance (RDA).

You’ll be shocked to what the results revealed!

The group of women that were contraceptive-free, gained 60% more muscle mass than the group of women on them. Ouch! The professors at the University were just as shocked to the difference in muscle mass between the two groups. Their explanation was that the contraceptives blocked anabolic hormones that play a key role in muscle development.

So if you’re a professional female athlete looking to achieve the highest level of muscle gain and performance, you might want to reconsider popping contraceptives.

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a way to a man’s heart (and health) is through my White Tea Smoothie

October 4, 2009 Diet, fitness, Health, Healthy food concoctions, Other 1 Comment

If you’re looking to lose a few inches, add more nutrition to your diet or even boost the radiance of your skin, then I totally suggest you try my White Tea smoothie! Earlier this week, I wrote about the superior benefits of white tea and how it can boost your weight loss efforts and overall health so I wanted to show you another way of incorporating it into your diet besides sipping it hot from a cup.

Ingredients:

  • White tea bag to brew
  • 1/2 cup Pom juice
  • 1/2 medium frozen banana
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1 cup raw or frozen spinach
  • 1 tbsp flaxseed
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt (optional)

Preparation:

  • Brew one cup of white tea and let it cool
  • Combine all ingredients with lots of ice
  • Blend

Serve this anti-oxidant rich drink to your guests as an after dinner dessert, or have it as a nutritious post workout meal. Add some vanilla protein and you’ve created a health monster!

Enjoy!

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Watch out Green Tea! There’s a new kid on the block that’s getting more popularity!

September 30, 2009 Diet, fitness, Health, Other, The Love Your Life Program 3 Comments

When it comes to potent and fat blasting beverages, the hype has been on Green Tea. Companies have jumped on the green tea bandwagon infusing it in many of their products including supplements and liquids. Even Coca Cola has launched a Green Tea flavored coke!

I’m sure you’ve heard these statements already from your fitness friends: “Drink anti-oxidant rich green tea and lose weight!” “It has EGCG!” “It’s the best!”

Green tea is definitely potent and full of nutrients, but is it really the best? New research may show different….

The new kid on the block is White Tea!

Check out these interesting facts I found :)

So what is White tea? White tea is made from immature tea leaves that are picked shortly before the buds have fully opened. The tea takes its name from the silver fuzz that still covers the buds, which turns white when the tea is dried.

Benefits of White Tea:

  • Least processed. Black, red and green teas are usually processed and air dried. White tea is merely steamed.
  • Contains EGCG. White tea has been shown to have the highest levels of anti-oxidants than any other tea. A cup of white tea is generally considered to contain more antioxidants than a serving of broccoli, spinach, strawberries, and other healthy vegetables and fruits. Wow! A 2004 study at Pace University concluded that white tea can help boost your immune system to fight viruses and dangerous infection-causing bacteria
  • Prevents fat storage. Ooooo … A recent study published in the journal of Nutrition and Metabolism revealed exciting results regarding white tea and weight loss. White tea showed to “inhibit adipogenesis and stimulate lipolysis-activity”, meaning that it stops the development of fat cells leading to a decrease in fat storage. http://www.nutritionandmetabolism.com/content/6/1/20
  • Low in Caffeine. This is great for individuals with caffeine sensitivity who experience jitters. White tea still contains some caffeine to give you a good energy boost for your day. Plus, caffeine has been show to up your metabolism and fat burn.
  • Yummy. White tea is so simple and delicate in flavor. Sometimes stronger teas like Black or Green can leave a bitter after taste. White tea is subtle tasting and mixes well with other teas and smoothies (check out this Sunday’s recipe for my ultimate healthy White Tea smoothie mmmm)
  • Suppresses appetite. Similar to green tea, drinking white tea throughout the day will stave away hunger and cause you to eat less J
  • Promotes healthy teeth. White tea contains little amounts of fluoride that have been shown to promote strong teeth and kill bacteria in the mouth that may cause plaque, tooth decay and yucky breath. White tea is less acidic and coloring agents as other teas, so there’s less worries in staining your bright whites!
  • Promotes healthy skin and aging. Research from Kingston University in South West London shows white tea contains extracts that protect the structural proteins of the skin, namely collagen and elastin.

There are many varieties of White Teas to choose from like the Silver Needle (highest grade), White Peony, Tribute Eyebrow and Longlife Eyebrow. I always have a jar of White Peony on my desk so I can have it after lunch.

I believe all the teas provide their own unique benefits, so instead of choosing one over the other try alternating and mixing your tea bags throughout the week. Personally, I like to seep a green and white tea bag together!

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DMG: a Superior supplent that boosts metabolism and immunity! Add this to your regimine and improve your weightloss and health efforts

September 28, 2009 Diet, fitness, Health, Other, smallworld beauty supplements 1 Comment

New advances and discoveries are continuously surfacing in the health and fitness world, and I’m always waiting in line to read about it or even test it out.

About a year ago, I came across an article that discussed a unique supplement that was backed by research and shown to have amazing health boosting benefits: DMG or N, N Dimethylglycine

DMG is a methylated amino acid that is naturally occuring in all cells in the body. This superior amino acid affects nearly all metabolic pathways within each cell.

According to nutrition expert Dr. Ray Sahelian (author of the best selling book Mind boosters and The Stevia Cookbook) “Methylation is a biochemical process that is essential to life, health and regeneration of body cells. Vitamins, hormones, neurotransmitters, enzymes, DNA and RNA, and antibodies depend on the transfer of methyl groups to complete their synthesis”.

New research has shown that DMG can act as a powerful antioxidant that aids in preventing free radical damage and oxidative stress.

The most intriguing benefit that stood out about DMG was that it was shown to be beneficial to blood glucose leves, lipid metabolism and liver function. DMG can improve metabolism and make it more efficient, boost immunity and detoxify the body.

After doing some research, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on some this stuff! And I did. I started supplementing DMG into my regimine over 6 months ago and I’m so happy that I did. Idefinitely felt an improvement in my energy and workouts (building and recovery) and felt that this amazing supplement should be shared with everyone I knew.

Working with a group of credible chemists, I decided to bottle this unique supplement DMG and combine it with pure whey isolate to give optimum boost to one’s health and workout.

Protein is a major building block in the body and essential for proper functioning of every cell in the body. Your muscles, bones, skin, hair and even blood need protein.

How will slim & sculpt help boost weight loss efforts?

Incorporating protein to your diet will:

  • Boost WEIGHT LOSS efforts*
  • BUILD & REPAIR lean muscle*
  • Stabilize blood glucose levels*
  • SUPPRESS appetite*
  • DETOX & BOOST Immune support*

What makes this formula unique?

  • slim & sculpt is packed with 18g of Pure Whey protein Isolate
  • This unique formula contains 0 carbs and 0 artificial flavors
  • Contains DMG, a superior ingredient that will boost immune support, detoxification, improved muscular response and anti-oxidant activity.



Here’s a great list I found that showcases DMG’s benefits:

  • It provides useful building units for biosynthesis of vitamins, hormones, neurotransmitters, antibodies, nucleic acids and other metabolically active molecules.
  • It improves oxygen utilization to reduce hypoxic states in the body and it removes lactic acid from muscle tissue.
  • It improves the immune response by increasing resistance to disease and infection.
  • It has antiviral, antibacterial and anti-tumor properties and modulates inflammation responses.
  • It aids in cardiovascular functions by reducing elevated cholesterol, blood pressure and triglyceride levels and improving circulation.
  • It possesses anti-cancer activity and can prevent metastases.
  • It enhances energy levels, endurance and muscle metabolism.
  • It improves mental and physical performance.
  • It improves neurological function and mental clarity.
  • It improves verbal communications and social interactions in autistic individuals.
  • It increases the threshold for seizures and can reduce seizures.
  • It improves glucose metabolism and retard cataract formation.
  • It aids in detoxification and enhances liver function.

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Don’t forget to overlook this important factor in weight loss: Portion control

September 21, 2009 Diet, fitness, Health, Other Leave a comment

sitting on a diet Many factors contribute to successful weight loss and maintenance. One of the most ignored, is portion control.

How do I know this? Because I used to be that girl that ate vast amounts of “healthy” items and wondered why that weight wasn’t coming off. I ate lots of meat, brown rice, potatoes, carrots, watermelon…. Yes, all these items are nutritious but eating them in excess can lead to calorie overload and fat storage.

Before eating your next meal, educate yourself on how to control your portions so you can truly speed up your weight loss efforts!

Check out a few of my portion-control habits:

At home, my kitchen is fully equipped with measuring cups and small food storage containers. I use the measuring cups to scoop out my ½ cup of oatmeal, 1 cup of yogurt, ½ cup of canned beans and so on. Measuring ensures me that my calories are in check and it prevents me from reversing the hard work I put in that morning at the gym. I love cooking at home, so the food containers are great for storing leftovers and meals for the week! Each container is filled with just the right amount of calories I need for my meal and my brain tells me to stop when the last bit is gone J It’s hard to stop yourself when you have huge quantities laying around.

When dining out, it looks crazy pulling out my measuring cups so I have mastered the art of using my eyes. I am officially a human calorie calculator! Lol… or that’s what my friends have crowned me. An entrée at most restaurants can feed two people, so I prefer to order an appetizer and salad or take half home.

Protein. When ordering meat, I prefer to order it broiled, poached or grilled. Ideally, I like to keep the weight of my meat from 3-5 oz which looks like the size of my palm. A lot of health web sites suggest you imagine a deck of cards.

Starches/ Carbs: If I choose to order a baked potato or rice, then I gage the amount by clenching my fist. If you’re better with objects, then imagine the size of a baseball.

Veggies: If I’m eating steamed veggies, then I’ll treat myself to two or three fist fulls. If it’s sautéed with unknown amounts of oil, then one fist full satisfies me. I also like to ask my waiter to go easy on the oil or just order it steamed with sauce on the side.

Salad dressing: I always order this on the side and dip my veggies in. If you prefer to drizzle your dressing, then imagine a shot glass amount. Most of the dressings at restaurants are loaded with calories, fats, sodium and sugar so be careful.

Nuts, cheese & olives. Mmmmmm… these are some of my favorite snacks but they can get quite addictive! Imagine a golf ball and stay within that amount (1 oz)

Dinner roll: Depending on the restaurant, their hot freshly baked rolls may be irresistible and hard to turn down. My rule is to take one bite or two bites and pass it back. If you want the whole roll, eat a yo-yo sized one. If it’s not a yo-yo size, then I suggest you start cutting away and molding it into that.

Olive oil, butter: A serving of fat is usually 1 tablespoon. A great way to gage this is by looking at the top of your thumb.

Ice cream & frozen yogurt. Dessert is so hard to resist when eating out, so imagine a tennis ball (usually one scoop) and stay with in those dimensions.

Understanding and mastering how to portion control and calorie count will help you speed up your weight loss efforts.

Check out this cute diagram :)

PortionControlEN_Full

If you have other helpful hints, please share so we can all benefit.

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