Fad Diets: Truth or Fiction?


I get a lot of questions about different diet plans. Women have for years tried these from the "grapefruit diet" to the "veggie soup" diet. There is a lot of information out there and it can be confusing and unfortunately a lot of these don't do what they promise or do at first but fail you in the end. So which ones work and which ones don't? I am going to break it down for you using some of the most popular diets out there.

First of all, I would be very cautious of anything until you know that there is actual scientific evidence backing any claim. The fitness industry is a multi-billion dollar a year industry and there are those out there who don't have your interest in mind, but their pocket book.


That being said, here is a list of the most common fad diets out there:

Acai Berry Diet The acai berry has gained extreme popularity, but does it work? Studies show that it is rich in antioxidants and increases your sense of well being overall. It has not been proven to help you lose weight and does not encourage you to change your way of eating.
Low Carb Diet The Atkins and South Beach diet are very popular diets and a lot of people have lost weight using it. Atkins has recently revamped it due to past criticism and it is now more focused on more wholesome ingredients and healthier fats. In the past it well went over the 30% recommended daily fat intake, but this newer version stays within this percentage. The verdict is still out on if the process of "ketosis" is harmful to organs long term. The lack of carbohydrates is a concern because carbohydrates are needed by the central nervous system and muscular system to function properly. Carbohydrates also add fiber to the diet which has been known to lower the risk of colon cancer.
Cabbage Soup Diet This diet is not sustainable and can lower your calories too low which can cause the body to eat muscle on not fat. It does aid in digestion, but be prepared for gas. It is not recommended.
Negative Calorie Diet  This diet is based on the belief that certain green vegetables have negative calories which "burn" calories to digest them, when really any weight loss is probably due to reduced calories.
 Low Fat Diet This diet basically requires you to eat little to no fat in your diet.

Low Fat – 20-30% of calories come from fats Very Low Fat – 0-19% of calories come from fats.

While it does cause you to cut out a lot of unhealthy foods like cake and brownies, not all fat is bad. It is important to read up on which fats you need to incorporate into your diet. Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig and the Mayo Clinic recommend this method.
3 Day Diet This diet is not recommended and should not be sustained more than 3 days. It often leads to "yo yo" dieting.
Zig Zagging or Calorie Cycling The cycling method is used by body builders mainly who are trying to lower their body fat or are trying to break out of a plateau. You are supposed to have one high calorie day, and one low calorie day. Your low calorie day will be initially set at 15-20% below your maintenance level. Your high calorie day will be initially set at your maintenance level. You will then “cycle” your calories on a three days down, one day up rotation. The theory behind this is your body's metabolism gets tricked by the high calorie day and does not go into starvation mode. Tricking the metabolism has not been proven. A 300-400 calorie workout could put your calories up to 40% lower which could put you into "starvation mode" Make you know exactly what your maintenance level truly is using a TDEE calculator.




The Low Down Is This:


You need to eat and SHOULD NOT go under what your body needs to survive. This can lead to muscle loss and a slower metabolism which = future weight gain.

Using a TDEE calculator, you can determine what your body needs to maintain your weight and lower that amount between 300-500 calories either through diet or exercise. No diet needed just an educated, proven method.

Losing weight does not have to be hard or complicated like the Diet Industry wants us to believe.

Food is our fuel and what we put in our bodies will determine how well we run and how far we can go. Do you put cheap gas in your car or let it run on empty?

You need to eat and choosing a balanced diet full of complex carbohydrates, healthy protein, healthy fats, fruits and vegetables and limited junk food can make a huge difference with how you feel and how you look.

Balance is key. Fast weight loss is often more muscle loss than fat loss so be ready to make slow, healthy progress and make lifetime changes.


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Sculpted Shoulder Workout




Okay ladies, it is time to get those sculpted, shoulders you have always wanted with these four easy moves.  We are using lighter weights with higher repetitions to build endurance and to tone.                                                                 


PIKE PUSH UP                                                          


Start in push-up position. Feet are shoulder width apart, pull your bellybutton towards your spine, and lift your gluteus in the air. Begin  push up. Do 2 sets of 15 reps.                                                        


Sit on Stability ball or edge of chair. Feet are shoulder width apart. Pull your belly button towards your spine. Start your shoulder press careful to keep a 90 degree angle at the elbow. Bring your hands up until your dumbbells touch. Do 2-3 sets of 25 reps.


Stand with you feet shoulder width apart. Belly button is pulled towards your spine. Start with weights at your side and carefully lift them up until your arms are parallel to the ground.  Do 2-3 sets of 25 reps.


Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and your belly button pulled into your spine. With weights in front of you, palms facing each other, bring them out to your sides, keeping your elbows slightly bent. Do 2-3 sets of 25 reps.



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Thou Shalt Love Thy Gym Goer



Running. Sweating. I come around the bend of the indoor track and pass a women in a gray sweatshirt. We look straight ahead as if no one was there. Invisible, I continue on and pass by a second woman. No eye contact, just intense focus.


I enter the weight room and there is an air to the place. Men are lifting and spotting their friends and you hear the sound of clanking metal as they re-rack the weights. The women, again, don't look at each other. They do their workout systematically, like a machine. It is a cold and unfriendly environment, exactly what I do not like. I decide to break the code and speak to the girl next to me. "Are you going to use these?" holding up the 10 lb. weights. She looks at me and I almost see a curl in her lip as if she is going to smile and then her lips quickly tighten back to a straight line. 


Where am I? I feel as if I took my passport and entered a different culture. I remember I am in "gym" culture. I have worked at a lot of places and know the culture well. It unnerved me at first, but I soon learned to come to terms with the intensity. It was ruled by men who set the tone. No eye contact. Few words. I soon realized women followed their lead.


The typical gym experience is why so many shy away from it.  Only 10% of Americans go to a gym and I can understand why. As a trainer I find it sad because with 30% of our population being obese the ones who need it the most don't feel comfortable enough to walk through the doors.  


I have decided to make a point to be friendly and talk to the girls there. I freely get rid of my "cool" card and even approach the ones that have "Stay away from me." written across their forehead. (They are actually the most fun because usually they open up the most). You see, we are all social creatures who need community. It feels good to break the ice and relieve the unspoken tension from the white elephant in the weight room. 


Next time you visit your gym, help a sister out and smile at her, don't just walk by. Maybe, just maybe, it will catch on. More will feel welcome. More will come. More will reach their goals and then pass it on.


Are you a gym goer or do you shy away?

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