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Could These Key Factors Be The Reason You Aren’t Losing Belly Fat?

If you are truly determined, changing these key factors will help you shed your belly fat once and for all.

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Many of us can likely attest to how uncomfortable it feels to have extra belly fat hanging over our pants every day. It can leave you feeling heavy, bloated, and sometimes even embarrassed around others.

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It seems that people of all shapes, sizes, and fitness levels share this common issue, begging the question, why?

In his article, Are These the Reasons Why You’re Not Losing Belly Fat?, Dr. Mercola tackles this highly convoluted issue, pointing out that belly fat isn’t just an aesthetic problem, but a health issue as well, and it can lead to other, more serious conditions.

Abdominal fat actually produces inflammatory molecules, and high inflammation levels in your body can trigger a wide range of systemic diseases linked with metabolic syndrome. This is why carrying extra weight around your middle is linked to type 2 diabetes, heart disease, strokes, and other chronic diseases.”

To help get to the bottom of our belly fat problems, let’s cover the often overlooked reasons why many of us can’t seem to shed extra weight in our abdominal area.

Exercise Choice – Opt For HIIT Instead of Lengthy Cardio

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As Dr. Mercola points out, running on a treadmill is probably the most common defense mechanism against stubborn belly fat, but the least effective.

The majority of your training should be anaerobic (strength training/interval training), as opposed to aerobic (traditional lengthy and low-level) in nature.

If cardio is your go-to form of exercise, opt for high-intensity, short-interval training instead. Several studies have confirmed that exercising in shorter bursts with rest periods in between burns more fat than exercising continuously for an entire session.

HIIT workouts improve muscle energy utilization and expenditure due to their positive effects on increasing muscle mass and improving muscle fiber quality.

Muscle tissue burns three to five times more energy than fat tissues, so as you gain muscle, your metabolic rate increases, which allows you to burn more calories, even when you’re sleeping.

And really, why do a cardio workout in 45 minutes when you can do one effectively in 15?

One 2009 study showed that as little as six sessions of HIIT performed over two weeks – a total of fifteen minutes of all-out effort – increased maximal activity of the cell factory (mitochondria) and improved performance during tasks that previously relied on aerobic energy activation. HIIT increased the potential for glucose and fatty acid oxidation

To reap maximum results, you need to work out at maximum intensity, with rest periods in between spurts.

It’s also important to remember to keep upping the intensity as you get fitter.

Strength Training & Core Exercises

Strength training is rewarding because you see the results of your hard work every day as you continue to beat your previous weight or repetition number. It is also one of the most effective ways to increase Human Growth Hormone (HGH), the hormone responsible for fat metabolism and muscle growth.

If you are completely new to weight training or haven’t been able to see results with the weight training you’ve done thus far, I recommend starting with this extremely easy-to-follow routine. It’s called the 5×5 strong lifts routine, and it’s effective at teaching you the proper form for compound exercises that will give you the most bang for your buck in terms of results.

Sit-ups are not effective, so stop doing them. Opt for planks instead, which use far more muscles and do not put a strain on the neck or back if done properly.

Diet Is Your Saving Grace, So Listen Up

This is the bottom line, so it’s crucial to get this right above all else.

“Refined grains like white bread, crackers, and chips, as well as refined sugars in sweetened drinks and desserts increase inflammation in our bodies,” says Registered Dietitian Kate Patton. “Belly fat is associated with inflammation, so eating too many processed foods will hinder your ability to lose belly fat.”

leptil

Most people are not aware that leptin plays an enormously important role in the development of obesity.

Leptin is a hormone produced by your fat cells that is just as important as insulin in determining your risk for type 2 diabetes and other chronic diseases.

It also impacts how much you eat and how much fat you burn, and leptin resistance specifically causes your body to produce and accumulate visceral fat around your midline.

So how do you become leptin resistant? In short, by:

  • Eating a diet that includes too many sugars and grains (grains turn to sugar once you consume them).
  • The sugar metabolizes (turns into) to fat and is stored in your fat cells.
  • This activity in turn causes a surge in leptin.
  • Your body becomes resistant to leptin just as it can become resistant to insulin.

When you’re leptin-resistant, your body no longer hears its own signals to stop eating, burn fat, or pass up sugary foods.

As a result, you feel hungry and crave sweets, and your body continues to store fat even though it already has more than enough. When your body routinely stores this excess as visceral fat, you increase your risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, vascular disease, atherosclerosis (hardening of your arteries), and an increased thickness in the walls of your heart.

Two Dietary Changes You Should Implement Right Away

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Dr. Mercola makes an inarguable case, these two factors should be implemented in the diet of anyone looking to keep their stomach slim.

1) Swap processed foods (including restaurant or fast food) for whole, ideally organic fare, focusing on raw vegetables.

  • Cooking them will destroy many of their valuable micronutrients and biophotons.
  • Juicing can help you boost your vegetable intake if you’re having trouble getting enough of them into your diet.
  • By removing processed foods, you automatically cut out most of the refined sugars and carbs (grains) from your diet, along with a whole host of other health-harming chemicals and additives.
  • If you opt for organic, you’ll also automatically avoid hazardous pesticides and herbicides, as well as genetically engineered ingredients.

 2) Replace the missing carbs with healthful fats.

  • Fat is actually the preferred fuel of human metabolism, and this can be traced back to our evolutionary roots.
  • Avoid highly processed and genetically engineered omega-6 oils like corn, canola, and soy, however, as they will upset your omega 6:3 ratio.
  • All trans fats should be avoided, but contrary to popular advice, saturated fats are a key component of a healthy diet that will promote weight loss.
  • These recommendations appear to be useful for most that are struggling with insulin or leptin resistance (overweight, high blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol ratios, or diabetes).
  • Healthy fats include: coconut oil, organic grass-fed butter, raw nuts, egg yolks, avocados.

Bottom Line

Cutting processed carbs, increasing your healthy fats, and sticking to an effective HIIT or strength training routine will surely lead to the results you desire, but it will take commitment.

Some people may see results immediately, while with others it may take months, so it’s crucial to stay consistent and have patience. Unfortunately, there isn’t a magic pill that will zap your belly fat.

Lastly, try to find a way to get inspired by eating well and working out, whether that’s putting together a motivational playlist, having a picture of your goal in front of you, or something more creative. Being inspired by fitness will lessen the feeling of it being a chore, helping you look forward to getting your sweat on.

Do you have any helpful tips for shedding belly fat? Share with us in the comment section below!

Source: Dr. Mercola

A Quick Important Notice:

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Why I Stopped Lifting Weights At The Gym & Do This Instead

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Health and fitness are important parts of life, and are part of a mindset that I make sure is part of my day every day – even if that means just having an active rest day. I believe the body requires exercise every day. For a while I used to lift weights at a gym, but then that changed for me and I want to share some info about why I chose to leave that behind.

It’s not that there is anything wrong with lifting weights at the gym or at home, as there are multiple ways to “get results” in the fitness world. But I believe it comes down to enjoying something and asking what you want from your exercise. For me, right now, I use a combination of training styles, with calisthenics as the focus. With calisthenics (body-weight training) you can get all the same results as weight-lifting, become very strong, and build a truly firm foundation, while lowering your risk of injury significantly compared to weight-lifting.

Calisthenics (Body-Weight Training)

I, along with many others, strongly believe that calisthenics is the future of fitness. It’s already taken off in some countries and is now showing its spark here in Western culture -and for good reason. Many people I talk to lately seems to be looking for something different, as if they are bored of the same old gym/weight routine just as I was. It also seems people want to have more fun when they work out.

Calisthenics is about functional strength, natural looking bodies, free workouts, creativity, self-mastery, and healthy routines. It is also something many people can do. I believe that in general we are moving in this direction because times change, our minds change, and things seem to be shifting towards a more natural way of being, which means getting out of repetitive cycles.

Why I Left The Gym

I worked out at the gym for years and was lifting heavy. Did it work? Absolutely, I got plenty of muscle and gained strength. Exercising was part of my routine in high school, as I was inspired by a kinesiology course I took where I learned all about the body, muscles, nutrition, and how to work out to get results.

But I noticed that I started to get tight, I wasn’t flexible, and it was easy, even with proper form, to irritate joints when lifting heavier weights. I didn’t feel my whole body was getting strong either, just in certain parts doing specific things. Plus, I didn’t like the gym and lifting weights – the vibe, the repetition, the lack of creativity, the people so focused on hyping themselves up, looking at themselves in the mirror all day – it simply wasn’t for me. My goals were never about impressing people with my body. I wanted to be healthy, have functional strength, enjoy movement, have healthy joints, build strong neurological connections to my body, and exercise in an environment I liked.

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Functional strength is strength that you utilize in everyday tasks. It also goes along with a lot of natural body movements. What I noticed in my experience from weight lifting was that I could get stronger at certain exercises yet I didn’t notice much functional strength increases versus training calisthenics. This was further illustrated to me when I would train my back and shoulders like crazy with weights, yet could only do a small amount of pull-ups. Weight-lifting exercises can often train very localized muscles, whereas with calisthenics it’s naturally more of a full-body workout. Again this comes down to what you are looking for. This was probably one of the most noticeable differences for me, I was gaining strength throughout my whole body in areas that I felt didn’t get touched when I was weight-lifting. Plus, doing calisthenics and avoiding heavy weights healed injuries that I had struggled with for years.

Coming from a point of having my back and core heavily injured, this was a huge transformation for me. The photo below is of me after only 3 months of calisthenics training. My form for this “human flag” is not perfect yet in this picture, but it’s not far off. Three months later (today), I can now hold that same move with straight arms and flatter legs.

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Get inspiring tips and information about how I achieved this exercise and to get out of the gym and into nature! There will be a free 7 Day Challenge soon as well! CLICK HERE

Choosing A Workout That’s Right For You

First off, don’t let anyone tell you what routine you should be doing or what workout methods are best. You have to do what’s right for you, and being aware of your options will empower you. If you don’t enjoy your workouts, then you will have a hard time with motivation and in general you will be forcing yourself to do something you don’t like. Find what works for you, calisthenics is only one option out of many.

For me, getting out of the gym and into outdoor calisthenic workouts made me LOVE my workouts. Compared to when I used to lift weights, I’ve never felt this good. I’m stronger and more flexible than I have ever been. My mind and body connection is through the roof and even though my goals are health related, the appearance of my body is the same as when I used to lift heavy, except now my muscles are longer and my body isn’t puffy and bloated (could be diet too.) I also don’t need to go through bulk up phases and then slim down phases because my nutrition choice is a sustainable lifestyle versus being strictly fast-goal oriented.

Currently I do a mix of calisthenics and yoga. I add in sports and active rest time on days where I don’t work out. Don’t be afraid to use multiple workout methods and switch things up. It seems we often get afraid that as soon as we stop working out we’ll deflate. If that’s happening to you, you’re probably not building sustainable muscle.

Focusing totally on body image is a mindset I truly believe Western culture struggles with greatly; we are obsessed with physical results and short-term results. We’ll do anything to be a “hunk,” even if it’s not healthy for us. When you take the ego away and go for what’s a true healthy choice for you –  for mind, spirit, and body – your choices and goals become very different, and your results do too.

Check Your Mindset & Goals

So is calisthenics for you? You answer that question yourself. What appeals to you? What do you want your lifestyle to look like? What do you like doing when you work out? You have to enjoy it! There’s no wrong answer.

If you want to be a body builder, and have that huge body, maybe compete in competitions, or be a power lifter (a couple reps of a ton of weight), then you will need to lift weights simply because you have to stress your body to incredible levels to get those results. You also have to eat in a specific manner to get those results and to be honest, much of the diet advice you get from these types of athletes is not all that healthy for you long-term. But of course you can make healthier diet choices.

If you are looking for a lot of functional strength, solid bone, and ligament health, good cardiovascular fitness, or a toned, muscular looking body, calisthenics will give you all of that as well.

One myth you hear a lot is that you can’t build muscle mass or get good results with calisthenics, but this isn’t true at all. You will gain a lot of strength and size, and be in great shape just as anyone working out at a gym does. There are easy exercises and tough exercises, and many of weight lifters have trouble performing some of them. Your body is your weight, so it’s not like you are not lifting weight, there’s just no added weight. You’d be surprised how hard many of these exercises are and how well they work any other body part, without an increased risk of hurting yourself.

calisthenics

Raw unedited images of Frank Medrano, Adam Raw & Hit Richards. Built through calisthenics only.

This guy pretty much sums it up well and he’s been through a ton of different techniques.  He explains why, in his opinion, he feels bodyweight/calisthenics is best. He does still lift weight as he believes in multiple types of training, but he covers some great points.

Bottom Line

I’m simply trying to lead us to realize that it’s about kicking the ego out of your health and make it about a lifestyle choices and health. You can play in whatever realm you like, there’s no need to judge either, but keep yourself honest and in check with what you are doing and why. You have options. Choose what’s fun and engaging for you!

Get inspiring tips and information about how I achieved this exercise and to get out of the gym and into nature! There will be a free 7 Day Challenge soon as well! CLICK HERE

A Quick Important Notice:

The demand for Collective Evolution's content is bigger than ever, except ad agencies and social media keep cutting our revenues. This is making it hard for us to continue.

In order to stay truly independent, we need your help. We are not going to put up paywalls on this website, as we want to get our info out far and wide. For as little as $3 a month, you can help keep CE alive!

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9 Unconventional Health Hacks Used By Extreme Sports Athletes

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Extreme sports athletes have wowed the world by pushing the limits of the human body. These athletes have to deal with much higher injury rates and the mental strain of extremely dangerous stunts.

The top athletes in Skateboarding, Motocross, Snowboarding, and other extreme sports are now finally being paid as much as pro golfers, Olympians, and other more mainstream athletes.

With these high salaries, many athletes are seeing a promising future in what could only be a hobby in years past.

Serious training is now put into place for extreme athletes who have the dream of going pro in their sport. Here are 10 training lessons we can all learn from extreme sports athletes.

1. Training your mind to stay cool under pressure

During extreme sports competitions, athletes will have to deal with the danger of their stunts as well as the added pressure from competing.

It is important to train your mind to stay cool under this pressure if you are working toward a career as an extreme athlete. Try looking online for brain exercises that will help you relax under pressure.

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Learning to meditate can also be a great way to learn to stay cool under any amount of pressure, and has helped all sorts of athletes from golfers to NBA players.

2. Prepare yourself for injuries

As an extreme athlete, you are bound to experience more frequent injuries that will keep you out of your sport for a long period.

Recovering from injuries is almost as much of a part of becoming a world class extreme athlete as mastering your sport.

In most major cities, there are physical therapists who have had experience working with extreme athletes.

These professionals will be able to help you learn the best ways to recover from your injuries quickly and effectively.

3. Create an intense and effective training schedule

Professional athletes don’t get to the top of their sport by accident. It takes a schedule and power of mind that many individuals simply don’t possess or know how to develop.

Waking up early is a key for athletes that want to go pro in their extreme sport. Long gone are the days of the lazy idea of skateboarders who just party and skate when they feel like it.

With the money there for the taking, extreme athletes like Nyjah Huston now have schedules and regimens that will keep them at the top of their sport.

Huston is very strict about his diet. He and other extreme athletes are now taking their training much more seriously. This helps them avoid injuries, perform at a higher level during competitions, and land tricks more often than if they were unorganized in their lives.

4. Always train with athletes who will push your limits

If you are always training with skaters, bikers, and skiers who aren’t as good as you at your sport, it is going to be difficult to get better.

You need to challenge yourself by finding athletes that are better than you at your sport. This may be hard to do if you are the best in your local area.

However, it is worth travelling to a different area where there are better extreme athletes than yourself. If you are going to be competing against the best in the world, you need to be training with the best in the world.

5. Get into the right frame of mind

Just like golf, extreme sports are a very mental thing to do. Going into a competition when you aren’t feeling mentally fit can be disastrous.

Confidence is key when trying dangerous stunts. You can’t be afraid when flying down a mountain or launching off huge ramps.

Take some time to clear your mind and get into a mindset that will help you ace all of your runs.

6. Hop in a chilling ice bath

Travis Pastrana is well known for attributing his low recovery times to regularly soaking in an ice bath. This cold therapy helps to soothe sore muscles and improve recovery times.

Head to the grocery store and buy a big bag of ice. Once you get home, throw the bag of ice in your bathtub and fill it up with cold water.

This will give you a chilling yet invigorating soak that will help you recover quickly from sore muscles or injuries.

7. Use a GoPro Camera

GoPro cameras are one of the best advancements in extreme sports training technology that athletes have regular access to.

With the inexpensive price of these cameras, it is easy to pick one up and start analyzing your runs, tricks, and other performance.

Filming yourself can be a great way to identify bad habits and fix them before they set you back years in your progress.

8. Engage in activities that strengthen your mind and will

Hiking mountains, writing a short story, and remodelling a home are all examples of activities that will strengthen your mind and will.

Learning how to push through hardships to accomplish a goal will help you to be an amazing athlete. Also, activities like chess, crossword, and sudoku are amazing ways to keep your mind strong.

9. Learn everything you can about your equipment

When you are constantly slamming your equipment trying big tricks, you need to learn how to repair it yourself.

Also, learning about the different accessories you can use on your equipment will help you have an edge over the competition.

For example, having the best wheels on your longboard will help you grip the road during your downhill races.

There are many resources online that will help you learn everything you need to know about all of your extreme sports equipment.

A Quick Important Notice:

The demand for Collective Evolution's content is bigger than ever, except ad agencies and social media keep cutting our revenues. This is making it hard for us to continue.

In order to stay truly independent, we need your help. We are not going to put up paywalls on this website, as we want to get our info out far and wide. For as little as $3 a month, you can help keep CE alive!

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Yoga and Cannabis: A Controversial New Trend That’s Gaining Popularity

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“Yoga and herb intake have been linked since ancient times. The yoga sutras, written in Sanskrit before the time of Christ, are considered the practice’s foundational text. The sutras list herbs as one of five methods to lift the veil of ignorance, or the barrier between the conscious and the unconscious.” [1]

While many people feel that cannabis and exercise go anything but hand-in-hand, there is an emerging group of individuals coming forward claiming that, for them, the two actually pair quite well. In fact, they go as far as to claim that practicing yoga and receiving the therapeutic benefits they so desperately need would be all but impossible without the relaxation and pain relieving qualities cannabis has to offer.

Accounting for a large majority of said individuals are those with painful physical conditions who desperately
need the therapeutic benefits of yoga but who are unable to receive them without cannabis, due to its immense pain relieving and overall relaxing qualities. Others who are adamant about the fact that cannabis use enhances their yoga experience are those who are so tense, stressed, or anxious that they are unable to practice yoga in a manner that provides all, if virtually any, of the full range of benefits the practice has to offer due to their inability to fully surrender and melt into the process.

Such individuals feel the relaxing properties of cannabis help them clear their heads, relieve physical and mental tension, eliminate racing thoughts, and center them in a way that enables their minds, bodies, and spirits to benefit far more from the practice than they otherwise would. Since cannabis calms overactive brain activity and greatly reduces tension, it is not the least bit surprising that people are finding it to be the centering remedy needed to allow them to surrender to the practice; essentially opening the gateway to the renewal and rejuvenation yoga brings, which so many are starving for in the fast paced, high-stressed society we currently live in.

Arguments Against the Use of Cannabis During Yoga Practice

Of course, not everyone is on board with the growing trend of combining cannabis and yoga, most notably those who consider themselves to be disciplined yogis who view yoga itself as a strict, structured discipline to achieve mastery over the body and mind. To those who oppose the use of cannabis during yoga practice for this reason, “marijuana use in this context may suggest that a person is dependent on the drug for that mastery.” Furthermore, they feel that “attending a class in this drug-induced state may not allow for a clear, tranquil mind.” [2]

Arguments for the Use of Cannabis During Yoga Practice

The subtler attainments come with birth or are attained through herbs, mantra, austerities or concentration. Cannabis use allows for a quieting of the outside world, and the ability to focus more totally on the interior process of meditation.

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– Yogasutras 4.1 [3]

Although many people do not typically associate cannabis with exercise or any other productive activity, largely due to the “stoner” stereotype that casts people who use cannabis as unmotivated and lazy, the truth is that more stimulating strains of cannabis like sativa or sativa dominant ones can prove to be uplifting and motivating. Such strains may work to encourage productivity by providing users with smooth energy while simultaneously calming tension in the body and/or mind. These effects are especially beneficial for those with physical or mental conditions, such as chronic pain or severe anxiety, who would otherwise be rendered unable to participate in much needed therapeutic activities like yoga.

Final Conclusions on Cannabis and Yoga

In conclusion, while both sides hold validity in their own right, nothing in this world is black and white and there is rarely only one side to any given issue. So, what it comes down to, at least for those who are pro cannabis and yoga, is this: While it’s nice that many are able to engage in an activity like yoga, whose benefits are so broad in range and nature — positively affecting the mind, body, and soul to an immense degree — not everyone can be so lucky. For those who are not so lucky as a result of a debilitating physical or mental condition, they are at least lucky enough to have found something that enables them to practice yoga and improve their lives, which in this case happens to be in the form of cannabis.

Related CE Article: The Top 6 Reasons Why You Should Consider Not Smoking Weed On A Regular Basis

CE has also written many articles on the medicinal benefits on this plant in treating various diseases, from cancer to epilepsy. Please sift through the website and use the search bar if you’re looking for me!

REFERENCES:

  1. Winer, L. “A Yoga High With a Little Help.”. THE NEW YORK TIMES. Published December 5, 2012. Accessed March 2,2016 fromhttp://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/06/fashion/marijuana-and-yoga-pairing-up-in-classes.html?_r=0.
  2. “Cannabis and Yoga: What You Need to Know.” HERB. Published May 2, 2015. Accessed March 2, 2016 from http://herb.co/2015/05/02/cannabis-and-yoga-what-you-need-to-know/
  3. HSU, J. “Getting High During Yoga is an Ancient Practice.” THIRDMONK. Accessed March 3 2016 from http://thirdmonk.net/knowledge/high-yoga-ancient-practice.html.

 

A Quick Important Notice:

The demand for Collective Evolution's content is bigger than ever, except ad agencies and social media keep cutting our revenues. This is making it hard for us to continue.

In order to stay truly independent, we need your help. We are not going to put up paywalls on this website, as we want to get our info out far and wide. For as little as $3 a month, you can help keep CE alive!

SUPPORT CE HERE!

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