How I ran my first half-marathon! weight loss and exercise together!

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I finally made it! My first 21.1 km or 13.1 miles are ticked off the list. Today I wanted to talk about how exercise affects your appetite and your weight loss supported by scientific facts as well as my own experience. I am also going to give you some useful tips on how to make your cardio workouts more efficient and build your resistance.

First things first, so let’s start with weight loss implications that exercise has on your body. Surprisingly, what I’ve noticed from my own exercise routine is – the longer and the more intense my cardio exercises are – the more calm my appetite is. This can be explained scientifically – when you’re exercising, your body releases hormones that suppress your stress, exhaust and appetite. Moreover, exercising in the morning has proved to be a tool for a goodnight sleep, which can also facilitate weight loss. Last and the most straight forward benefit of intense exercise is the fact that you’re burning your fat tissue.

After having completed my first half-marathon, I was expecting to be starving afterwards. To my own surprise I wasn’t craving any sweets, fatty foods or junk. All I had after my exercise was a slice of chicken breast (oven-baked) on a brown-bread toast and two apples. Believe it or not, I wasn’t hungry after this quite decent dinner. During my run I’ve managed to burn 1301 calories of which around 150 grams of pure fat. Here are the details:

ImageNow I will have to repeat myself again and say that if you’re aiming at losing weight fast and efficient and be able to maintain it over a long period of time – running is my first recommendation to you. Let’s quantify this in order to be more precise: If you run 4 to 5 times a week, for about 30 to 40 minutes per run, you are going to burn, in average (from 400 to 500 calories). Of course it depends on your weight and height, and this is just and approximation. Well, assume those 500 calories burnt per run, times 4 times per week – you are going to burn around 230 grams of pure fat per week! This sums up to nearly 1.1 kg (or 2.6 Ibs) per month of pure fat. This is purely from running, and of course if you’re supporting this with a balanced nutrition, the weight loss is going to double at least. 

Obviously your weight loss and fat burn depends on your current weight, height, intensity of exercise and diet routine, and my example only illustrates a very decent exercising regimen. 

TIPS ON HOW TO START RUNNING

If you’re just in the beginning of your exercising journey, you should make sure that your body gets protein, fiber and complex carbs that will give you the strength during your exercise and help you build muscle after. Some examples of such foods are: bananas, peanut butter, brown-bread, chicken, fatty fish, beans, oatmeal, milk, eggs, nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables.

I would strongly recommend not exercising really late in the evening, since that can prevent you from having a good night sleep and thus impede your weight loss process. 

What you also have to take good care of is not letting yourself loose on your diet after your exercise. I know that the feeling of achievement is a good feeling, however don’t ruin it with sweets and snacks. 

In order to build up more resistance during your cardio workout, I strongly recommend NOT running too fast and rather extending the length of your run. Breathing is the most important factor in a successful cardio, so chose the speed at which you can breathe easily with no effort. Your heart should beat calmly, and try to maintain the same running pace over the entire workout. 

For more resistance I also recommend doing a 10-15 minute stretch out after you’ve completed your workout. This will relax your muscles and help the toning process. 

I am going to post a separate article on how to prepare for a half marathon/marathon, since I am in the process of preparing for it at the moment. For those of you who are interested, just hang on here. 

I hope this has been helpful! Cheers everyone!

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Lose weight step by step – The ultimate weight loss guide!

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Since I have received many requests on “how to lose weight fast and what should I do”, I have decided to write an explicit weight loss guide that will entail the most basic and efficient weight loss tools.

Your weight loss results will depend on the strictness with which you follow this guide and stick to your regimen. Don’t expect anything “magical” and “easy-to-do” because I don’t know anybody who has managed to lose weight just by sitting on the couch and putting no diet and exercise effort whatsoever.

Enough talking, let’s get back to business. So your goal is weight loss, and whatever the amount of kilograms (pounds) you would like to shake off, you will manage to do it with the help of some basic rules.

Remember: weight loss takes time, so don’t expect to get rid of enormous amounts of weight within an instant. Your weight loss strongly depends on your current weight, the amount of exercise you will pursue, and the strictness with which you will follow your diet. If you are overweight – you will lose more weight and faster. If you’ve already lost a lot of weight or you have a normal, healthy BMI – your weight loss will be slightly more challenging.

Rule #1 – Start exercising! If you haven’t ever been exercising before, you are likely to burn 30% more fat if you are exercising. Another benefit of exercise is building muscles. They will not only give you nice shapes, but also speed up your metabolism, thus making you lose weight faster. If you’ve never been exercising before and sport is not your habit, I recommend starting with 40-50 minutes workouts, 3 to 5 times a day. The most efficient fat-burning exercises are cardio exercises: running, jogging and biking. Don’t push too hard, too fast. Start with fast walking – slow running, and gradually increase your speed and the duration of your workout as you progress through the weeks. If you are already exercising for a while, increase the speed and the duration of your workouts.

Rule #2 – Watch your diet! As obvious as it sounds, you have to leave out a few basic foods in order to make weight loss possible. These include: junk food, fat/greasy foods, take-aways, sauces, dressings, all sorts of salty snacks, all sorts of sweet snacks. The foods that you CAN and actually should eat during a healthy diet are: fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, diary products (don’t exaggerate with them), brown rice, whole-wheat bread, nuts, eggs and oats. For more recipes with healthy and low-calorie sweets, please refer to the following link on my page: https://galinabella.wordpress.com/category/good-foodrecipes/

Rule # 3 – Watch your portion size! I know it sounds tough but this is what you have to do in order to lose weight. Besides the fact that your body has to receive healthy, nutritious foods, it also has to receive less of it. For a start, I recommend removing a quarter of our portion, and then bringing it down to a half of your portion. This will most likely make you feel still hungry after you’ve polished your plate – but this is what it takes. Drink a glass of green tea after your meal in order to survive the food cravings. At some point, you will be fine with eating less, and I believe most people eat more than their body actually requires – so it will do you good.

Rule # 4 – Don’t eat after 6 pm! This is yet another challenge to overcome. If you’re a fan of late-night snacks and dinners – you better forget about them! 6pm is your last chance to have something to eat, and it better be something light. A fruit salad, or a vegetable salad with 1 cup of yogurt and 1 slice of whole-wheat bread is what you can eat. In order to combat with your food cravings after 6 pm, I recommend green tea, plain yogurt and vegetables. For more healthy snacks ideas please refer to my article: https://galinabella.wordpress.com/2013/04/19/some-healthy-snacks-you-can-have-during-your-diet/

Rule # 5 – It’s all about cooking methods! In order to lose weight, you have to take good care not only of what you eat, but also how you prepare your foods. When you’re on a diet you should NOT deep fry or pan fry your food, and definitely exclude using oils, butter, sauces and fat while cooking. In return, you can oven-bake, microwave and boil your foods or eat them raw. There is no need to use excess of oils, sweeteners, sauces and dressings – get used to the natural taste of food.

Rule # 6 – Watch your drinks! I know that fizzy drinks and sodas taste good – but they are nothing but water with gas and a whole a lot of sugar (yes, even the ones that are “light” or “zero” sugar). Forget about fizzy drinks and chose water, tea or coffee instead. You can occasionally give in to fresh fruit juices, however do not exaggerate with them either since they contain quite some sugar as well.

Rule # 7 – Have a healthy daily regimen. For this you will have to remember to sleep during the night and not any other time of the day and try to adapt the “early awake early asleep” approach. Your weight loss processes take place during your sleep, especially between 12am – 6am. This is the time that should be dedicated to sleeping. Another important factor for a healthy metabolism is waking up and having breakfast early in the morning – between 7am – 9am. This will make you feel energetic during the day, and will make you feel less food cravings and hunger pangs during the day.

Rule # 8 – REGULARITY is the key! You have to understand that doing all these things for one day or one week isn’t going to get you anywhere. A healthy diet and exercise should become a habit, a lifestyle that should be rather routine than rarity. If you are decided to start, start NOW and stick to your plan! Consistency and regularity is the key to successful weight loss! What is a battle in the beginning, is a habit in the end, and it will do you only good!

I wish you best of luck and I hope this has been helpful!

Sexy tips – Build your confidence and never give up!

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ImageI think I’ve talked enough about diet and exercise for the past month, and I think it’s time to touch the “painful” topic – your complexes, your issues and your confidence. 

Ask any person on the street if there is anything they don’t like in their body – I am sure 99% of them will point out at least one spot that they hate. And since all of us have those imperfections, I want to give you a confidence boost and change your attitude towards yourself!

Remember: no diet and exercise on this earth will make you look good if you don’t believe in yourself! And sexy is not about the slim figure and perfect curves – it is about your attitude and the way you treat yourself! If you’re taking care of what you’re eating, you do your regular exercising – you’re on your way to success! 

Many of us tend to get too consumed by our imperfections and we’re in a constant struggle to achieve our, sometimes, unrealistic goals! Take a break, take a good look at yourself and see how far you’ve come – thank yourself for the effort you’ve made and look at the results you’ve got! This is what will boost your confidence level and motivate you to keep pursuing what you’ve started!

Don’t give up if your efforts are not showing the results you’ve been expecting. Don’t change your mind if the obstacles become harder to overcome – if you keep fighting, you’re already 10 times stronger than most of the people around you!

Being fit means treating yourself with respect! Being sexy means having that solid confidence and positive attitude towards yourself – forget about imperfections! If we’re all imperfect, there is nothing to be ashamed of!

Love yourself, respect yourself and thank yourself – and you’ll always be on top 😉

 

You think you eat normal, but you’re still gaining weight? Find out why!

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ImageThe most common complaint I have probably heard about a thousand times is – “I keep on eating healthy and little, but I’m still gaining weight”. I have experienced this as well, and believe me, it took a while before I realized what the real problem was. Most of the people that aren’t committed diet fans and do not thoroughly record everything they eat, experience the habit of “instinctive eating”.

Instinctive eating is mainly about eating whenever you feel like it, without really thinking what exactly you are putting in your stomach and how much of it you are actually having. Your eating schedule is dictated by your food cravings and your appetite and you hardly think of counting that calorie intake or lowering your portion sizes – because they seem small and healthy enough to you. Fair enough, but is this really true? Most people do not realize that their small snacks and late dinners might not be as diet-friendly and tiny as they think.

This is what I hear from most of the sufferers of instinctive eating: “I eat like a normal person, three times a day: breakfast, lunch and dinner. I even think I’m eating less that most of my friends do, and I am still gaining weight. I sometimes even tend to skip my breakfast, which means that I really don’t eat a lot, but the weight keeps pilling up”.

If you are experiencing this and you really have no clue why this is happening – you are lucky to have found this article. I am going to break your “healthy size portion” beliefs and reveal the secrets of your weight gain. There is nothing complicated to this, and in fact, it is all a matter of habit and your perception of “little and tiny”.

To start off, I would like to point out that an average daily calorie intake for women is around 2000 calories while for men it is about 2500 calories. Having cleared that out, let me give you a very good example of how most people exceed this calorie intake, which thus makes them gain weight without even noticing it.

Let’s look at your snacks first. Most of us tend to snack on average from 2 to 4 times a day between the meals. What do people usually have as a snack and how many calories does one have?

– 2 American chocolate chip cookies – 200 calories

– a slice of white bread – 100 calories

– a slice of cheese – 110 calories

– a regular serving of cake – between 250 and 350 calories

– a white bun or bread roll – 220 calories

– a banana – 135 calories

– a slice of pepperoni pizza – about 230 calories

a cup of flavored yogurt – 120 calories

– a glass of milk – 120 calories

The list can go on forever. The point is that people tend to underestimate the real energy value of those little and innocent snacks. A lot of us tend to snack with bread or buns which might cost you 400-500 calories extra for just 1 and a half serving. And this is just the snack – what about the meals?

Let’s look at a few lunch samples and analyze them.

– Caesar salad with egg, cheese and bacon and Caesar dressing with a slice of white-bread and a chocolate muffin as a dessert – about 800 calories.

– French fries with a cheeseburger with mayonnaise or ketchup and a chocolate milkshake – about 900 calories.

– Chicken wings with a veggie salad and dressing and a cheesecake for a dessert – about 700 calories.

– A Chineese take-away with rice or noodles, beef, egg and vegetables and a fizzy drink – about 750 calories.

So let’s say you have had your 800 calorie lunch and 2 snacks during the day. That makes up to about 60% of an average calorie intake for women, and I have to admit I have been quite modest on the lunch calorie count. So if your lunch and 2 snacks normally make up to 60% of your daily calorie intake, let alone the dinner and breakfast, how are you supposed to NOT to gain weight?

Here is a list of common and dramatic mistakes that prevent people from losing or maintaining weight:

1. Many people tend to skip breakfast thinking that it will help them eat less during the day. In fact, this is essentially wrong. Starving during your first half of the day won’t get you anywhere near proper weight management. You will find yourself craving for food way more often and in larger amounts should you skip breakfast.

2. Another common source of unwanted calories are the fizzy drinks and even fresh juices that seem healthy at the first glance. An average glass of orange juice has about 170 calories, while a glass of your favorite soda normally has about 210 calories with 3 table-spoons of sugar in it. Are you already starting to think back of what you’ve had today?

3. Most people think that if they exercise on a regular basis they can allow themselves to eat more. This is a dramatic mistake that makes you pile up those pounds. One hour workout at the gym, regardless to whether it is weight lifting or cardio exercises or both, it doesn’t exactly allow you to have whatever you like afterwards. Keep an eye on what you’re eating despite the amount of exercise you’re performing. Your late-evening dinner devour can ruin your energy loss during the workout. It is useless work you’re doing there in the gym if you’re fully giving in to your temptations afterwards!

The purpose of this article is to make you think twice. Are your portion sizes really that small and aren’t you forgetting to count your little and innocent snacks you’ve had during the day? If you are experiencing weight gain despite your regular workout routine – it is clearly the result of a poor diet. Your instinctive eating makes you feel and think like you haven’t eaten much – but believe me, you’re underestimating your daily calorie intake. Think about it! I’m sure you’re doing it wrong!

Gaining weight but yet training hard! Why is it so?

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keep-calm-and-train-hard-38This is a short note for everyone who has experienced this! I have heard it from many of my fellow fitness fans that during the first 3 to 4 weeks after the introduction of their exercise regimen and dieting, they actually experienced weight gain rather than weight loss. This article is going to explain why does this happen and whether it is a significant weight gain.

In fact, this might be very true and it is likely to happen especially if working out is completely new to your body. To start off, I want to calm you down and assure you that there is nothing wrong with your exercise routine and your body is capable of losing weight.

Weight gain during your primary steps into exercising, is in fact a natural process – it is your body’s adaptation to the new regimen. Since your system is not used to exercise, your muscles are storing water because they are being subjected to unusual levels of activity. So, to be more precise, your post-exercise weight gain is nothing but “water weight” which is going to be drained out of your body naturally. This is a first reaction, a wake up call – your body is adapting and there is nothing but good in that!

This is definitely not a good reason to quit exercising and to lose your motivation – remember: KEEP CALM AND TRAIN HARD! it will come 😉

Some killer tracks to motivate you during your workout!

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ImageTruly uplifting and inspirational music – this is some good stuff! It is my own compilation of the most inspiring and motivational progressive trance music. It helps me speed up during my workouts and it definitely gives me power. I love how this music escalates and how it gains momentum over the time. The tracks start off in simple, plain beats which in 2 minutes revolve in a beautiful combination of sounds and rhythm – truly inspirational! For those of you who are fans of trance and house music, I’m sure you will love this! Beware this is a Lady Gaga free zone! Here we go:

My ABSOLUTE favorites:

Denish Sheperd & Cold Blue (ft Ana Criado) – Fallen angel http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8TIH7AUf7-g

Shogun ft Emma Lock – Run to my rescue http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dXhMKNPF42o

Shogun ft Emma Lock – Imprisoned http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GiDxqgAvYBk

Susana and Snatt and Vix – Blinded by the lie http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bH-OAtovbmM

Tydi ft Audrey Gallagher – You walk away http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5BS0TOpfcIo

Tydi ft Audrey Gallagher – Calling http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FmAdYatorwI

Armin van Buuren ft Ana Criado – I’ll listen (Original mix) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1hH9ObJQAqc

Armin van Buuren ft Sophie Hunter – Virtual friend http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E09Cdf-EBMA

BT ft JES – The light in things (tydi remix) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HKXK_oRHiu4

Sunlounger ft Zara Taylor – Lost (club mix) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8frCetw7-WQ

That’s it for now! Let me know if you like it and I will enlarge this list. This music makes me push my limits and it gives me strength to keep going! I can’t workout without it – it is my source of power. Try these tracks – you might discover a pure energy fountain for yourself!Image

How to start up with your ABS – a very helpful video!

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I’ve always wanted to share this video with you since I found it very helpful and efficient in trimming and shaping my stomach!
In fact, you don’t even need a gym subscription and actually – you don’t even need to exit your house.

This workout works perfectly for those of you who want to give it some shape without the assistance of a personal trainer.

This video is in my favorites for about 1 year now, and I started with pursuing this workout around 4 times a week. Amazingly, I could already see the results after the first month.
I have to mention though, that I’ve never really had any fat on my stomach, so my muscles were visible straight away after a few weeks. If you are a little thick on your belly, I would recommend combining this workout with some weight loss tactics and somewhat more complex exercise routine.

Undoubtedly, this video is one of the most helpful I’ve ever tried. It is hard to keep up with the pace in the beginning, but you will get there.

If you get really good at it, there is a second level of this abs workout: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=44mgUselcDU (follow the link). Honestly, I found it a little too much for myself, since my ultimate goal was to have some shape on my stomach and not a six pack. For those of you who are going for a six pack – both of the videos will be very helpful!

Try this out and let me know about your opinion!