So, you’ve finally decided to take the plunge and commit to some healthy living and weight loss. You’ve scoped out your local fitness supply diet and weight losswarehouse and decided on a couple of kettlebells, a chin-up bar, and a stability ball to start your home gym. It’s an exciting time as you’ve been thinking about this for a while now and things are finally coming together. You’ve been reading some great articles on workout routines, and weight loss at —————–.com and you’ve mapped out a workable schedule for yourself, so you’re feeling pretty confident about the direction you’re headed and your overall workout plan. You’re pumped to try the kettlebell to help you lose some of that unwanted belly fat and you’ve decided your spare bedroom is going to play host to the action. Even with all this done though, you’re smart enough to realize that you’ve yet to tackle the most critical element of this endeavour; food.

Now that all the preliminary work is done comes the real challenge of deciding which foods will be your best bet for losing weight and building muscle. It’s the challenge of walking around your local grocery store trying to figure out which foods are going to help you achieve your goals and which foods will actually really hurt your progress. It’s also, and maybe more importantly, the challenge of redefining your lifestyle.

When it comes food change is tough, but it’s an opportunity to try new things and the physical changes you will see and feel simply due to a change in diet will astonish you.

We’re about to take a look at 10 superfoods that will help you along your way, your allies in the war against stubborn body fat. Foods that are not only good for you, but foods that will actually speed up the process and help you lose weight fast. They are your trump card, learn to enjoy them and incorporate them into your daily life. You won’t be sorry.

Water

If there’s one “food” that we all have easy access to its water. Once you learn that your body is made up primarily of water it shouldn’t surprise you how important it is for health promotion, including fat loss and metabolism. There are a number of reasons why water is on this list;

  1. Water controls appetite and by drinking a lot you don’t eliminate hunger, but you do moderate it.
  2. Water keeps muscles hydrated. When muscles are hydrated they work at peak efficiency during your training, there stimulating muscle growth. More muscle means more metabolically active tissue that will burn more fat.
  3. The more water you drink the more you have to urinate. By clearing your kidneys often you help clear the body of waste products, by allowing your organs to work efficiently fat can be burned more easily. If nothing else, all those trips to the bathroom will burn some calories as well.
  4. Drinking a lot of water aids in thermogenesis, the body’s way of upping heat production in the body and therefore burning more calories, even at rest.

Therefore, do yourself a favour and drink a couple of litres per day. Your waistline will thank you.

Green Tea

Not only does green tea have a reputation as a cancer fighter, but it’s also known as a super fat-burner as well. Green tea contains catechins, the key to their fat-burning properties. Without going into the science they basically stifle an enzyme that inhibits fat burning, while at the same time elevating fat-burning hormone levels. A match made in heaven when it comes to losing weight fast.

Fatty Fish

You’ve no doubt heard about Omega 3 fatty acids. They’re the fats found in cold water fish such as salmon, sardines and mackerel. The weight loss mechanism in Omega 3 fatty acids isn’t exactly clear. It’s been postulated that they decrease insulin levels leading to lower calorie consumption and less fat storage, increase thermogenesis, meaning more calories are burned even while resting and they allow fat burning to continue even after a high-carbohydrate meal. Bottom line is eat your fish, and if you come from the Midwest, pop a few Omega 3 capsules everyday. Fish generally doesn’t taste great after a 2000 mile journey.

Avocados

If you haven’t learned to love avocados already, please start. Avocados are full of monounsaturated fats that can aid in appetite suppression and even play a role in lowering cholesterol. If you’re not a big fan of eating avocados in their “raw” form try mixing them up with some lemon juice, onions and tomatoes to make guacamole, eaten with some raw veggies it’s one of the best snack foods out there.

Olive Oil

You’ve no doubt heard already about olive oil’s ability to act as “heart protector” by lowering bad cholesterol, as well as having antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. For those looking to lose weight olive oil is another tool in the toolbox as it’s been found to create heat through various chemical reactions in the body, therefore, increasing fat metabolism. The bottom line is start substituting olive oil for any other oil you’re using and your waistline will thank you.

Oatmeal

Unlike commercial breakfast cereals that are usually filled with sugar, coloring and chemicals, oatmeal has none of these additives. It’s waist slimming benefits come from the fact that it’s high in both protein and fibre which act in tandem to keep blood sugar levels stable, therefore, avoiding fat storage. With high levels of protein and fibre, oatmeal also acts as a great appetite suppressant as it’s digested much more slowly that a commercial breakfast cereal would be leaving you feeling fuller longer.

Blueberries

Besides the fact that blueberries are delicious they are an absolute superfood when it comes to weight loss and health. Studies have shown that blueberries can have a positive affect on insulin resistance, hypertension (high blood pressure), and lower low density lipoproteins (“bad” cholesterol), not to mention being an antioxidant powerhouse. There is also new research suggestion that blueberries actually fight the formation of fat cells in the abdominal region, meaning they may be the perfect food in the war against losing belly fat.

Almonds

Not only do almonds prove to be a great tasting snack, they also have a whole host of benefits that can increase fat loss. The laundry list of benefits includes; lowering low density lipoproteins (“bad” cholesterol), fighting diabetes, reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer and even obesity. But when it comes to weight loss, almonds are a champion. This seems to be the case simply because of the nutrient density of these nuts. They provide a longer feeling of satiety after being consumed; the skins are full of fiber which slows digestion, and basically the fact that a body that is well fed will not crave any more food. It’s time to put to bed the idea that eating fats (such as the fat in nuts) will make you fat.

Eggs

First off, please forget anything you’ve ever heard about eggs raising cholesterol levels and being harmful to your health, there is no real scientific evidence to back this claim up. Eggs role in weight loss stems from a couple of areas. Number one is that eating eggs for breakfast will help you feel full longer (proteins and fats are digested more slowly than carbohydrates like cereals), which means you feel full longer and will snack less. Number two is amino acids (the “building blocks” of protein) and specifically leucine. Leucine has been known to help preserve lean tissue in calorie restricted environments and also help stabilize blood sugar levels. Finally, since eggs are filled with protein they promote muscle growth, and since muscle is metabolically active it promotes fat loss even while you’re at rest. It doesn’t get much better than that.

Low Fat Milk

The magic behind low fat milk is its high protein content (nine grams per cup). This is important because protein helps suppress hormones that promote hunger. Additionally, the proteins in low fat milk help in the repair of damaged muscle tissue after intense workouts, leading to muscle growth and the creation of more metabolically active tissue in the body. Low fat milk is also full of vitamins and minerals. These all promote fat loss by helping boost metabolism, raising your base metabolic rate and therefore becoming a more efficient, fat burning machine.

It’s a no brainer. These 10 foods should play an important part in your diet if losing weight is your goal. Not only will you benefit from their various fat fighting properties, but you will also benefit from their overall health boosting properties as well. Incorporate them all as a part of your diet, find some great recipes at http://www.muscleandstrength.com/recipes and watch the pounds just melt away.

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It’s easy to get bogged down with all the equipment options available for training nowadays as the variety is endless. Whether you’re looking for equipment online or in a

Kettlebells

gym retailer, the selection can literally be overwhelming. From machines, to racks, to free weights, to bars, to dumbbells, to bands, where does the layperson start?! It’s no wonder so many people just give up.

Luckily, there is a counter to all the equipment backed by multi-million dollar advertising campaigns selling the benefits of this or that technology; kettlebells. When it comes to the sophisticated exercise technologies and advanced exercise gear, kettlebells don’t stand a chance. They are the polar opposite of complex routines and space-age equipment. A ball of iron with a forged handle screams simplicity, but when it comes to your training it’s the single best investment you could ever make.

Why Kettlebells?

Cost

Usually coming in at just over one dollar per pound kettlebells are very reasonably priced. Especially when you consider that unless dropped from a thirty storey building they’ll never break, and unless kept in salt water they’ll never rust, so you can count on having them for life. When you factor cost per year over 20 or 30 years they become ridiculously inexpensive. You can buy kettlebells in pairs or as singles in order to do both two-handed and single-handed movements. In the end, just having one each of a variety of weights would be fine. This cuts the cost by half and doesn’t affect your ability to perform any exercises. The bottom line for me is that I firmly believe that they are the best value for money out there when it comes to exercise equipment.

 Space

I’m assuming that if you’re looking to purchase a set of kettlebells that they’ll be for a home gym, which is actually ideal, as their size lends themselves perfectly to storage in small areas. A corner of no more than 16 square feet could accommodate a large variety of weights and sizes with no impact on the rest of the living area. If you add a small mat then you have everything you’ll ever need for a fully functional home gym. The beauty of their size is that they can be stored where they’ll never be seen; closets, spare rooms, garages, under your bed. It’s just a matter of pulling one or two out when you want to have a quick workout.

Exercises

This is where kettlebells really shine. The variety of exercises possible with kettlebells extends only as far as your imagination will take you. They are infinitely versatile. Also, the mainstream media provides dozens of books and websites that cover kettlebell exercises and workout routine design, so there’s no shortage of information. If you’re one of the types that suffer from “analysis paralysis” when presented with such an overwhelming amount of information not to worry, kettlebells can be as simple as you need and want them to be. You can definitely achieve all of your goals with only a handful of exercises. The snatch, clean and jerk and swing would be at the top of my list, and depending on your goals, may be the only exercises you ever need. Don’t let a lack of variety fool you either, when it comes to progress concentrate on other factors such as sets, reps, rest periods, time under tension, etc. as these will have a much greater impact on your progress than the actual exercise. It’s worth mentioning too that the Bulgarian weightlifting team has dominated international competition for years, and are famous for performing the same six or eight exercises their entire careers. When it comes to reaching your goals variety isn’t necessarily the spice of life.

Efficiency

When I talk about efficiency I just mean “bang for the buck”. Traditional kettlebell exercises are metabolically tough and really work the entire body, rather than just isolating one particular muscle such as the bicep. A short, intense 20 minute workout could not only positively affect your strength and muscle gain, but increase your cardiovascular endurance as well, not to mention helping your coordination, as many of the exercises require a coordinated effort by many muscles simultaneously. By their very nature, traditional kettlebell exercises target what many would call the most important muscles in the body; the “core” and posterior chain. Your “core” muscles are located in your lower back, abdominal region and just above your hips on your sides. They are key in promoting good posture as well as providing a foundation for other exercises, as most kettlebell exercises do require the “core” muscles to be active. The posterior chain of muscles just refers to all the muscles that extend from your neck, down your back, to your buttocks, hamstrings and calves. When you think about everyday movements these muscles play an integral role. The problem is we only really notice them once we hurt a muscle in our back and suddenly can’t move. By developing your posterior chain you’ll be stronger overall and be much less prone to back injuries.

Weight loss

Weight loss is the holy grail for so many. Strength doesn’t matter, cardiovascular endurance doesn’t matter and flexibility doesn’t matter, as long as there is weight loss. Fortunately, kettlebells allow you to achieve all these things at once. Metabolically, muscle is very active. This means that even when “resting” a muscle uses a lot of energy to function and under the right conditions the energy it uses is fat. So if you want to lose weight fast, gain muscle mass. Kettlebells are champions of quick, effective fat loss which no amount of pure cardiovascular training can match. Losing weight fast is actually quite easy with kettlebells as your main weapon.

Yes, it’s true. Kettlebells are just that good. They can do it all. Whether you want strength, endurance, weight loss, or flexibility, kettlebells are the tool for you. There are numerous resources out there for kettlebells, and a great one is dragondoor.com.

There’s more information on this one site regarding kettlebells than you’ll ever need. All it takes is one kettlebell to start your transformation. Get one now, start training today and feel like a million bucks tomorrow. Kettlebells are the key.

There’s a scam afoot my friends, and if you’re currently a card carrying gym member I have some bad news for you, you’ve already been had. But really, are you to blame? The North American commercial gym industry spends millions yearly to entice earnest, well-meaning people such as yourself through their doors. How could anyone
Home gym personal trainerrightly refuse? Just a quick glance through any gym brochure will yield numerous offers which are just too enticing to ignore; free personal training sessions, supplement discounts in the official gym store, free smoothies at the official gym smoothie bar, free tanning sessions, spa discounts, free gym towels and bags, discounted rates for referring a friend, body transformation challenges for prize money, the list goes on and on! It’s little wonder that collectively commercial gyms make hundreds of millions of dollars yearly, and all on the backs of regular people just trying to improve their overall health.

If you’ve been “swindled” by one of these franchised, commercial enterprises, please don’t be hard on yourself, just know there are alternatives. Alternatives that provide more bang for the buck than any gym ever could. Alternatives that allow you to be strong, healthy and fit, without becoming a hostage to commercial enterprise. Alternatives that require little or no time, money or space, and allow you to live your life free from perpetual bondage. Alternatives that can actually be found in the comfort of your own home. Yes, it’s true; everything that you could ever ask for from a commercial gym is available in your own home. Let’s skip the gym tonight and look at why you should consider dumping the membership and start flying solo as your own personal trainer. I promise you’ll be happy you did.

Money

I have yet to meet anyone who wouldn’t like to save a few dollars, especially considering the economy over the last few years. I’m going to strongly suggest that money handed over to commercial gyms is a waste of your hard-earned money. At first glance costs may not seem that high, but let’s break it down and see how much you could be saving.

Depending on the type of facility you attend prices will vary, but a good average is probably about $1000.00/year. That’s not to mention gas if you have to drive there, maybe another $200.00 per year. What about the fancy workout gear and sneakers you bought? Let’s add another $200.00 for the year, and this isn’t even taking into account any supplements you might decide to indulge in. So, our grand total for the year is $1400.00. Now, $1400.00 isn’t necessarily a bank-breaking amount, but here’s the thing, what if you maintain your membership for 5 years? You’re looking at a minimum of $7000.00! As far as investments go a retirement savings plan would probably yield better returns.

It just doesn’t make sense to give away that much of your money for the “privilege” of using exercise equipment and showers. For me, the choice is easy; spend a smaller amount upfront, maybe $1500.00, and create a small home gym. Take a look at some of the economically smart home gym alternatives below:

Cardiovascular Training

There’s a ton of variety when it comes to choosing a cardio machine, and it really just comes down to preference and price. Treadmills, Recumbent Stationary Bikes, Elliptical Machines, Stairclimbers, Stepmills, Versa Climbers, Treadclimbers, Stationary Bikes and Rowing Machines, the list goes on. I might suggest just going for a brisk walk or run instead, you’ll save the money and the fresh air does wonders. Losing weight doesn’t have to be complicated.

Strength Training – For home gym purposes, I strongly believe there is no better choice than the kettlebell. It is the MacGyver of the strength training world. It’s versatile, relatively inexpensive and takes up less than a square foot of space when stored. As a matter of fact, you could easily build a complete home gym centered on the kettlebell for under $300.00. Not to mention that cardio done with a kettlebell can easily rival any benefits offered from a cardio machine.

Flexibility Training

If stretching plays a regular part in your routine then just having a basic yoga mat will be fine. If you’re looking at stretching under tension you could pick up some elastic tubing to create the tension for you. Also, a stability ball of some size can be a benefit if you incorporate those types of movements into your workout routines.

Exercise Videos – Both the benefit and problem with exercise videos is variety. There are literally hundreds on the market, from videos made by laypersons all the way up the fitness food chain to celebrity trainers. It’s a tough call as TV marketing would have you think each one is the next best thing.

My advice here is simple; look for videos that require hard work, offer a variety of exercises and programs, with a specified time commitment required. A video that meets these requirements will force you out of your comfort zone and push you to excel, keep you from getting bored or stagnant, and give you a “finish line” to aim for so you can keep motivated. But the beauty is that for a very small investment of under $100.00 you can literally transform yourself in a relatively short period, without ever leaving the comfort of your TV room.

Time

The beauty of having a home gym is that you’re in control of your schedule. It never closes and is always there when you need it. It provides the ultimate in flexibility and convenience. This is especially true if your life is busy and you have a lot of commitments. For working parents who find it difficult to take the time to get out to a commercial facility, a home gym makes perfect sense.

Sometimes, it’s really just a matter of grabbing a quick 20 minute workout while the kids are napping, or getting home from work and doing a few kettlebell exercises in between supper and the kids’ soccer practice. The point is that it’s there when you need it. Whether it’s after work, at four in the morning or at midnight, with a home gym the excuses for not being able to find the time really do melt away.

Productivity

Unfortunately, there are a large number of gym-goers out there that believe that a home gym won’t provide them with the results they’re looking for. What everyone needs to realize is that there are only a small number of factors that actually lead to progress; hard work, progressive resistance on an intelligent workout routine, a proper diet plan and a regular time commitment. It’s very basic stuff, but let’s dig a little deeper:

Hard Work

If you want to succeed you’ll need to break a sweat and put it some effort, accept and embrace this fact. But the beauty is that hard work isn’t location dependent  If you’re motivated then giving 100% in your training will happen regardless of where it’s taking place.

Progressive Resistance

No matter your goals; strength, endurance, flexibility, they all require that you push yourself a little bit more each time you train. Resistance can be manipulated several ways including weight lifted, speed of lift, time under tension, rest periods, etc. Again, all these factors are simply dependent on a smart workout routine, perfectly doable in your own home gym.

Proper Diet Plan

This one’s a no-brainer and is also goal dependent. Suffice it to say you do the majority of your eating at home, not at the gym, so this has no bearing on where you train, but a solid diet plan is a must.

Regular Time Commitment

You’ve got to exercise regularly, “use it or lose it” as the expression goes. Three to four times per week works for most, but there’s room for variation here again dependent on your goals. The benefits of a home gym are obvious when you figure that you might have to leave the house three, four or five times a week to hit the gym. When also you consider the time it takes to change, pack your stuff, drive there, grab your towel, show your membership, dump your stuff in a locker, workout, shower, drive home, unpack, the idea of throwing on a pair of sweats and grabbing a workout in your own home gym becomes pretty appealing, especially if you’re doing it periodically throughout the week.

The beauty with these factors is that they can be implemented anywhere with the most basic equipment. They’re not specific to commercial gyms or fitness facilities. A home gym can provide all of these factors without all the added fluff that comes along with costly memberships. Not to mention you know have the keys that any personal trainer working in a commercial facility would have.

When it comes to efficiency, effective use of time and money saving, home gyms really are the ticket. They’re inexpensive to set up, don’t have to take up much space and can provide all the benefits of a commercial gym without all the distractions. I hope you’ll consider working out at home and becoming your own personal trainer.