Dr. Phil Shares: How Often Should I Work Out to Maintain?

How Often Should I Work Out to Maintain My Weight?

You put in the hours, pumping iron, logging miles, sweating buckets, overhauling your diet, and (most important) staying consistent.

And the results speak for themselves — every time you look in the mirror, a leaner, more athletic person stares back at you. You’ve even bought yourself a new wardrobe. So now what?

Some people will keep going, perhaps taking up triathlons, joining a hoops league, or training for the CrossFit Games.

But others will want to take their foot off the gas and appreciate what they’ve accomplished.

The key is not to leave it off for too long — two weeks of inactivity are all it takes to notice significant declines in strength and cardiovascular fitness, according to a study in the Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine.

Indeed, the body is incredibly efficient at adapting to whatever demands (or lack thereof) are placed on it.

So now that you’ve crossed the finish line, how can you keep from backpedaling and losing what you’ve built? Just follow these simple steps.

1. Cut Back Gradually

Smart training plans (like those available on Beachbody On Demand) can allow you to work out 5 or 6 days a week with no ill effects (read: overtraining).

But once you reach your strength and endurance goals, you can reduce your workout frequency without losing your hard-earned gains, according to a study at the University of Alabama.

The researchers found that adults aged 20 to 35 who worked out just one day a week not only saw no loss of muscle but actually continued to gain it (albeit at a greatly reduced rate).

Our recommendation: Start by reducing your workout frequency by a third, then a half, and so on until you find the minimal effective dose that’s right for you.

2. Keep It Intense

Even a single set of a strength-training exercise can produce hypertrophy (i.e., muscle growth), according to a study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.

So if your goal is to hold on to what you have, one or two sets per move per workout should do the trick.

The key is to keep them challenging; you should always feel like you stopped two reps short of failure.

Take a similar approach with cardio: In a study in the journal Physiological Reports, a team of British researchers found that a single, intense, 20-minute interval workout every five days allowed participants to maintain levels of cardiovascular fitness built through much higher frequency training programs.

3. Dial In Your Diet

Here’s the one category where you might have to be more diligent than you were before you reached your goal.

As you cut back on your workouts, you’re going to start burning fewer calories. To avoid the fate of the ex-athlete who balloons 50 pounds when he hangs up his cleats, tighten up your diet as you reduce your training time.

“On the days you don’t work out, cut 300 to 500 calories from your diet,” says Dr. Jade Teta, founder of The Metabolic Effect, a fitness and nutrition coaching service focused on maximizing results with minimal effort. “Ideally, those calories should come from starchy carbs and sources of empty calories [i.e., junk food] rather than from protein or veggies,” says Teta.

4. Stay Flexible

These general guidelines are just that: general guidelines. Though lower frequency, more intense workouts seem to work for most people looking to maintain their fitness gains, there’s no “one-size-fits-all” solution.

“It’s going to be different for everyone,” says Teta.

So be a detective: Monitor your strength, weight, definition, and overall sense of well-being as you tweak your exercise and eating habits, and be ready to adjust everything up or down accordingly.

BY: Andrew Heffernan CSCS, GCFP

Shared by Dr. Phil McAllister @ Forward Health Guelph

Dr. Phil Shares: How Long Should Workouts Last?

How long should a workout last? It seems like a question that should have a straightforward answer, but the truth is, there isn’t one. You could spend as little as four minutes on a workout: “There is no minimum,” says Marie Urban, regional group training coordinator for Life Time. “You can get a great workout no matter how much time you have.” Or, you could grind away for hours.

How long you spend working up a sweat is entirely dependent on your goals, personal preferences and the time you have available.

How long you spend working up a sweat is entirely dependent on your goals, personal preferences and the time you have available. Even if you take your goals into consideration, it can be tricky to determine a set workout length, as there are benefits to exercising for any length of time.

SHORT DURATION, HIGH INTENSITY

For example, if you’re trying to build aerobic and anaerobic fitness, you can accomplish that in only four short-but-intense minutes of work. How? Through a popular form of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) known as Tabata training.

Tabata training involves performing a cardio-focused exercise (e.g., sprints or burpees) as many times as you can for 20 seconds before stopping for a 10-second rest, and repeating for a total of eight rounds.

In 1996, researchers found performing a Tabata workout five days per week was more effective for building aerobic and anaerobic fitness than steady-state cardio.

Even traditional strength training offers benefits in the briefest of sessions. A recent study published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise reveals young men who lifted weights for only 13 minutes per session three days per week made similar strength gains in eight weeks as men who spent 68 minutes in the gym three days per week. The only catch: Subjects performed all sets to failure, or the point at which they couldn’t do another rep with good form. So, there was no slacking here.

It’s worth noting this study included only 34 subjects, and the men had previous experience with strength training; whether the results would apply to new lifters, women or older adults remains to be seen.

GO LONGER FOR MORE RESULTS

In addition, the shorter training sessions weren’t as effective for increasing muscle size (also known as hypertrophy) as the longer sessions. As researchers note, higher training volumes are key for achieving muscle hypertrophy, and higher training volumes require a greater time commitment.

Still, the group that did 13-minute sessions gained some muscle, suggesting you may be able to get away with a quick workout from time to time. However, you would have to continue adding sets, reps and/or exercises if you wanted to continue seeing progress. According to the findings of a 2017 meta-analysis, adding one set each week was associated with an increase in the percentage of muscle gain by 0.37%. As you continue adding sets, reps and/or exercises, your training sessions inevitably take longer to complete.

If you’re training for a specific event (e.g., marathon, bodybuilding competition), your training sessions will likely vary in length as you near your event date, and may include sessions that err on the longer side (60 minutes or more). In these instances, it’s a good idea to work with a fitness professional and/or follow a quality training program, as opposed to trying to come up with your own workouts.

DAILY ACTIVITY MATTERS

By the way, your daily activity level is perhaps more important to your overall health than working out for a set period of time. Research even shows being sedentary can limit the positive effects of exercise. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, there’s a strong relationship between sedentary behavior and risk of death from any cause, as well as death from heart disease.

Urban recommends squeezing activity into your day wherever you can: Park far away from the store, take the stairs instead of the elevator, do pushups while you microwave food and crank out some situps during commercial breaks. “Having an active lifestyle is more important than working out for an hour every day,” she says.

by Lauren Bedosky

Shared by Dr. Phil; McAllister @ Forward Health Guelph

Dr. Phil Shares: 10 Ways to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

10 Ways to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

Do you find that the scale moves up a few pounds during this time of the year? During summertime, we’re focused on our bodies, given we know we’ll be wearing the revealing clothing that goes with the season. But when fall and winter come around, that mindset falls away like autumn leaves. Maybe it’s our primitive instinct to bulk up when the weather gets colder; it probably also has a lot to do with our busy holiday shopping and social schedules interfering with our regular workouts, and with all the tasty holiday treats lying in wait to tempt us everywhere we turn, regardless. But don’t let the layers of clothing become layers of fat. These tips can help you avoid holiday weight gain this season.

Avoid Holiday Weight Gain With These 10 Simple Tips

Staying healthy and fit during the holidays isn’t impossible. You just need the right tools! With convenient workouts you can do at home on Beachbody On Demand, and a craving-crushing drink like Shakeology, it will be easier than ever to end the year on a healthy high note.

1. Travel smart

Many people find themselves traveling during the holiday season, but that’s not an excuse to eat unhealthily and avoid exercise. Plan your meals in advance, and pack snacks when you are either on the road or in the air. Good travel snacks can include nuts or dried fruit. To help you be a happier traveler, get a good night sleep before you leave to increase your mood and alertness. Eating a heavy meal before traveling can make you sleepy, so eat a small, low-fat meal before you head out the door.

2. Get enough sleep

Try to keep a regular sleep schedule and get a full night’s rest as often as you can. If you fail to get a good night sleep, it can make you grumpy the next day and make it harder to focus on your healthy goals. No one wants to travel with a grouchy person, so do everyone a favor and get some shut eye. Sleeping well can also help you reduce your calorie consumption, because it inhibits the release of the appetite-stimulating hormone ghrelin while promoting the release of leptin, another hormone that limits hunger. And keeping that hunger in check is a good idea when you find yourself surrounded by holiday goodies. Check out these natural sleep remedies to help you get some shut-eye.

3. Drink enough water

You’ve probably heard it before, but we’ll say it again: drink water! During the busy holiday season it can be easy to forget to fill up enough cups with H2O, but it can do wonders with keeping you healthy. It helps regulate your body temperature, helps with the digestion of food, and it can help you limit your caloric intake. How? Try drinking a glass of water before each meal, and you’ll likely feel more satisfied on less food because your stomach already has some liquid in there. And if you alternate alcoholic drinks with a glass of water, you’ll slow down your consumption of high-calorie beverages. If you don’t think a glass of plain old H2O is appetizing enough, here are 10 tasty ways to add flavor to your water.

4. Approach cocktails with caution

We’re not telling you to avoid alcohol completely – wine is allowed in Portion Fix after all! But do pace yourself by having at least one glass of water in between each drink (see tip #3). Remember that one gram of alcohol contains seven calories, and yet it yields virtually no energy or health benefits. Calories from alcohol can add up quickly, so be mindful of how much you are drinking. Also, drinking may reduce inhibitions at the dessert buffet, which can lead to a few too many sugar cookies. If you do indulge in eggnog, which is super-high in calories in its traditional form, try this lighter version that clocks in under 150 calories.

5. Get an accountability partner

The holidays are filled with temptation, and it’s your job to stop it in its tracks. But…that can be really tough to do on your own. If you need some assistance in fighting the temptation of cookies and cocktails and candies (oh my!), don’t be afraid to ask for help. An accountability partner can help you stick to your goals when your willpower gets a little shaky. Tell a family member that you’re trying to eat healthier, so they can give you a gentle reminder when you’re eyeing that second slice of cake. Or, get a group of friends and do morning workouts together. You’ll probably find that power in numbers is a key part in avoiding holiday weight gain. And if you can’t confide in someone in person, then try reaching out to a Team Beachbody Coach, who can help you stay on track even from afar.

6. Use screen time wisely

Who says the TV can only be used to watch classic holiday movies and rivalry sports games? Take over the screen for a few minutes and turn on one of your favorite Beachbody On Demand workouts. Don’t worry, you won’t have to be using precious TV time for hours at a time, there are plenty of workout that are less than 30 minutes! You can even get the whole family involved with the kid-friendly Double Time program, or the fun dance routines in Country Heat. And you don’t have to hog the TV. You can also cue up Beachbody On Demand on your computer, tablet, or phone. And when you you do decide to cozy up for a made-for-TV holiday film, encourage your family to get up in between commercials for some jumping jacks or push-ups. Make it a competition to see who can do the most during the break and watch the sibling rivalry do some good for once.

7. Make recipes healthier

Most recipes can be made healthier without compromising the recipe. Just check out how Autumn and Bobby Calabrese do it on FIXATE, Beachbody’s healthy cooking show. With a few substitutions, you can limit unnecessary salt, sugar, and fat in some of your favorite holiday recipes…and we doubt that your guests will notice. Here are some of our personal favorite holiday recipes made healthier, like Gingerbread Protein Pancakes and Herb-Crusted Beef Tenderloin.

8. Avoid serving food family-style

When food is placed right on the dining table, it’s much easier to grab a second helping. So make it harder: Keep the extra food away from the dining room. If you leave it in the kitchen, out of sight, it forces everyone to think about getting up to grab another helping. Here’s a tip: If you still feel hungry after your first plate, wait for 15 minutes and drink a full glass of water, then decide whether you want more food.

9. Eat smaller amounts more often

Instead of starving yourself all day so you can overindulge in that one, giant meal, have smaller meals throughout the day. At family holiday gatherings in particular, it’s asking too much to resist the lavish aromas of the kitchen, so being mindful of your portion sizes is important. You can still enjoy all your family-favorite recipes – just enjoy them in moderation. You’ll likely feel much better at the end of the meal that way.

10. Stay active

Whether you cue up a workout on Beachbody On Demand or gather up the troops for a walk around the block, regular exercise can help with so many of the challenges you face during the holiday season. It can help you cope with the stress of traveling by releasing endorphins that help boost your mood and energy. At the airport, if you have time, walk beside those moving sidewalks instead of standing and letting them carry you to your terminal. If you’re traveling by car, take frequent breaks, get out of the car, walk around, and get some fresh air. If you’re staying home for the holidays, get the family involved! Depending on the climate, go ice skating, hiking, sledding, skiing, biking, or walk the dog. And go for a walk together after your big meal—it’ll help you all digest better.

Wrapping Up

We’re not asking you to deprive yourself of any holiday cheer. Just be aware of your body and the temptations and pitfalls it faces this season. Because the holidays have a way of testing your self-control, it’s a good idea to have a plan in place well in advance for dealing with them. That way, you’ll have a better chance of avoiding holiday weight gain and remaining on your regular regimen of exercise and dieting. You can even make it your New Year’s resolution to keep a healthy lifestyle and continue working toward your goals.

Shared By Dr. Phil McAllister @ Forward Health Guelph

How to Stay Cool During Summer Workouts

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Shared by Dr. Phil McAllister

Working out in the summer heat can be a miserable, sweat-soaked endeavor. As much as you don’t want to slack off, let’s be real—when it’s a bazillion degrees with 8,000% humidity, just lying on your couch in your air-conditioned living room starts to look reeeeeally tempting. But with the proper preparation, you can keep your workout going strong throughout the dog days of summer. Here’s how to weatherproof your workout.

1. Get the Timing Right
Blazing sun isn’t going to do you any favors, so if you are going to exercise outside (or if you don’t have air-conditioning), schedule your workout for early morning or late evening. “It’s ideal to work out before or after the heat index rises,” says Elizabeth Kovar, an ACE Master Trainer and mind-body movement specialist. “If your schedule doesn’t allow you to work out during those hours, play it safe by working out indoors.”

2. Stay Hydrated
Okay, so I royally screwed this one up a few weeks ago. On the first day of a nasty heat wave, I went for an early-morning run while it was still “only” 86 degrees out. Minor tactical error: I only drank half a glass of water when I woke up. I spent the rest of the day on the couch nursing a splitting headache, achy muscles, and wicked nausea. Oops. “Guidelines recommend consuming 17–20 ounces of water two hours before exercise, 7–10 ounces of fluid every ten minutes during exercise, and 16–24 ounces for every pound of body weight lost after exercise,” says Jessica Matthews, MS, an exercise physiologist for the American Council on Exercise. If you’re working out for an hour or more, you may also want to replace electrolytes with Results and Recovery Formula or coconut water.

3. Eat to Beat the Heat
Excuse all the rhyming, but it really is important to eat properly before a summer workout, since the wrong foods can boost your body temperature. “Avoid spicy foods, which stimulate heat production,” Kovar says. “Also, high-protein foods and anything greasy will be harder to digest, thus enhancing internal heat production.” Stick with easy-to-digest foods like fruit, eggs, or yogurt instead.

4. Dress the Part
This one’s really easy. “Lightweight, loose-fitting, minimal clothing can provide a greater skin surface area for heat dissipation,” Matthews says. Black may be slimming, but wear light colors to reflect the heat from the sun, and choose moisture-wicking fabrics to stay cool and dry.

5. Scale Back
On crazy-hot days, you may need to change your “go hard or go home” philosophy to “go easy or go inside.” If you’re acclimated to hot weather, then you may be able to tolerate a tough workout in extreme heat. But if you live in an area where three-digit temps make headlines, scale back when a heat wave hits. “Anything lower intensity or steady state is probably more achievable mentally or physically,” Kovar says. If you’re planning on doing high-intensity interval training, she adds, “Try to find a shaded area or take the training indoors.”

6. Heed the Warning Signs
Heat exhaustion isn’t a push-through-the-pain situation. Unchecked, it can lead to coma or death—so if you start to feel crampy, dizzy, or nauseous, stop immediately and start doing damage control. “Drink plenty of water and remove any unnecessary clothing,” Matthews says. “You can also mist your skin with water to bring your body temperature down.” If your skin is hot but not sweaty, or your pulse feels fast and weak, those are signs of heatstroke. “Call 911 and get cool any way that you can until help arrives,” Matthews says. Anytime the heat index is over 90 degrees, you’re at risk for heat exhaustion; over 105 degrees, it’s almost a given.2 So play it safe—if you know you can’t handle the heat, head indoors.

How do you stay cool during summer workout?

Thanks to Beachbody.com for content