Is A Mediterranean Diet Good For Me?

Is A Mediterranean Diet Good For Me?

If you asked what exactly is a Mediterranean diet, there’s a broad definition, which includes the foods traditionally eaten by people that live in countries that border the Mediterranean Sea. The diet is chock filled with whole foods like vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts, whole grains and olive oil. There’s no breaded and fried foods like you’d find at today’s fast food places. If eating a healthy diet is your goal, a Mediterranean diet could be the perfect choice.

The Mediterranean diet has other unifying components.

Eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, beans, nuts whole grains and healthy oils is always a good option and important to any diet. Red meat and dairy products are more limited in the Mediterranean diet. While some people find they have less congestion from limiting milk, it’s hard to take for others. Studies do show that cutting back on red meat is a healthy option.

A plant based diet has been touted as being healthier and the Mediterranean diet is more plant based.

Having a meatless Monday can be good for both your wallet and your health. The Mediterranean diet is created more around vegetables than meat. Even other animal products, like milk, eggs and poultry are more limited. There’s more seafood in the diet than red meat, but even that is more limited to twice a week. Fatty fish, which is high in Omega-3 fatty acids, are often used. Deep-fried fish isn’t part of the diet.

Healthy fat is an important part of the Mediterranean diet.

Rather than eating foods cooked in saturated or trans fats, the Mediterranean diet uses healthy fats. Olive oil is one of the primary oils. It’s a monounsaturated oil that helps lower LDL—the bad cholesterol levels. Nuts and seeds, which also contain the monounsaturated fats are also part of the Mediterranean diet. The diet also focuses on fatty fish, which has Omega-3 a polyunsaturated fat thats’ also healthy.

  • Part of the joy of following a Mediterranean diet is making a meal a social event to share with family and friends. A glass of wine with the meal is also good for health, as is the laugher and comradery.
  • Many of the herbs and spices that are used liberally in the Mediterranean diet also have additional nutrients, no calories and some health benefits. They reduce the need for salt.
  • Just like any healthy diet, increasing your servings of fruits and vegetables to seven to ten a day can be a very healthy change. Not only does it add more vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, it adds fiber, which can keep your blood pressure lower and regulate blood sugar levels.
  • Whole grains are used for breads and pasta. Whole grains provide far more nutrients than white bread or products made from refined flour. Our nutritional program can help you find if a Mediterranean diet is right for you.

For more information, contact us today at Thrive Fitness Performance Atlanta

Should I Count Calories Or Carbs?

Should I Count Calories Or Carbs?

Everyone wants to know the best way to shed those extra pounds. There are so many diets and ways of doing it but the two primary ones are to count calories or carbs. At Thrive 24hr Fitness in Brookhaven, GA, we know that there’s no simple answer or one-size-fits-all response. We focus more personalized nutritional programs. Counting calories and counting carbs are a lot alike. Higher carbohydrate foods like sugar, also have higher calories. However, a diet higher in fat and protein may be high in calories, but low in carbs. The key is that you’ll feel fuller faster and longer, so you won’t eat as much.

The keys are what you eat and how much you eat.

What you eat is probably the most important factor. If you ate a pound of frosted donuts, you’ll gain more weight than eating a pound of iceberg lettuce or a pound of celery. There are some advantages to counting calories and carbs, but not a big one. Oats, quinoa and bananas are high carb foods that are incredibly healthy. However, a diet that consists of just rice cakes and celery may be low in calories, but isn’t healthy either. Counting both makes you more aware of everything you mindlessly eat throughout the day, whether it’s a handful of candy at a coworkers desk or that last bite of potatoes left in the bowl.

Noting portion size is also important no matter which you count.

Learning what the portion size is for any food can also help you be more mindful of how much your consuming. Counting both calories and carbs also make you aware of the added calories in what you drink, which is often forgotten or dismissed, but plays a big role. Both tracking techniques help you become aware and learn more about your eating habits so you can change them.

It’s better to learn how to eat healthier rather than focusing on counting either.

Making smarter choices in food is what it’s all about if you want to get healthier. If you use a nutritional program that identifies portion size and can help you become more aware at foods that are healthy and nutritious or those that are empty calories, you’re bound to benefit, regardless of whether you count calories or carbs or even count at all.

  • Just slowing down how fast you eat and savoring every bite can be a big help in losing weight. It’s called mindful eating. It slows your consumption down so your stomach can message your brain that you’re full and helps you enjoy the food more.
  • Calorie counting, carb counting, mindful eating and learning to eat healthier are all retraining your brain to develop new habits to help you keep weight from returning.
  • Another benefit of tracking every morsel is that it helps you learn about when you’re hungry and when you’re not. If you have to write down every bite, you’ll be more inclined to only take that bite if you’re really hungry.
  • No matter which type of healthy eating you choose, it only works if you stick with it. Changing your eating habits to healthier eating is far easier to stick with than endless calorie and carb counting.

For more information, contact us today at Thrive Fitness Performance Atlanta

Are Morning Workouts More Effective?

Are Morning Workouts More Effective?

Some people put off starting a program of exercise, because they aren’t sure when the best time to do it is. Are morning workouts more effective or should you do them at the end of the day to burn off stress? The answer is simple. Do your workout when it’s best for you. Don’t waste time worrying about whether one time is better than another. There are benefits to every time of the day, but doing the workout is the most important issue. If you’re a night owl, a morning workout probably won’t be your best time, but for others, working out before bed might make it difficult to sleep.

Working out before you go to the office has some benefits, but so does after work or lunch.

The benefit of working out earlier in the morning is that you get it out of the way. No matter how cluttered your day becomes, it’s finished, so you don’t have to worry about it. You normally workout on an empty stomach in the morning, so you’ll be burning your stored fat for energy, training your body to burn fat more efficiently. If you’re trying to build muscles, it’s probably best to do after you’ve eaten some protein, so either do it later in the day or after a protein shake.

Are you trying to improve your endurance?

You need to do your training when you have adequate glycogen stores. If you’re training for a marathon and any endurance event, try to train in the late morning, afternoon or evening, when your glycogen stores are at their maximum. It happens several hours after you’ve eaten a full meal that contains carbohydrates. If you tend to skip breakfast, do the workout later in the day after you ate. You’ll get more from your workout if you don’t run out of steam in the middle of it.

Boosting your power and strength depends on your body temperature.

While we’re not advocating taking your temperature before working out, your body temperature does affect how powerful you are. During your sleep, your body temperature drops and the discs in your back fill with liquid. Once your body is functioning for a while, the fluid in the spine returns to normal and the body temperature rises. That’s the best time to do power lifting. Normalizing your body by being up for a while is important for power lifting, especially if you tend to have problems with your back.

  • Consistency is extremely important, no matter what time of day you choose. That’s why finding a specific time in your schedule and sticking with it is important. It helps working out become a habit.
  • There’s no “best time” for everyone. It’s based on your body and your needs. If your schedule is constantly changing, you probably should workout the first thing in the morning or you’ll miss workouts.
  • Not everyone gets insomnia from working out later. If you find it doesn’t bother your sleep and you like working out in the evening, by all means, do it. Eat something small after you workout for recovery.
  • Eating something light before a strenuous morning workout is important for supplementing depleted glycogen reserves.

For more information, contact us today at Thrive Fitness Atlanta

How To Do A Leg Day At Home

How To Do A Leg Day At Home

If you’re working out in the gym and focused on maximizing the benefits, only to have a bump in the road where you can’t make it into the gym for a few days, don’t worry. You can do leg day at home and stay on track for your goal. Working those larger muscles that are done on leg day means burning all those extra calories. It takes more energy for leg day, so ensuring you do it is important.

Do a bodyweight workout and start with squats.

Bodyweight squats can be done anywhere without any need for equipment. You’re using the weight of your body and gravity as the resistance. Bodyweigh squats target glutes, quads and muscles like that hamstrings that support the body. It starts with feet shoulder-width apart, feet turned outward. Shift your weight toward your heels, pushing your hips behind you as you lower your body until your thighs are almost parallel to the floor with knees directly above the toes. Push through the heels to raise yourself, keeping core muscles tight.

There are a variety of lunges to add and they all have benefits.

Lunges can improve your functional fitness, give you better balance and increase hip flexibility. They aid in glute activation, create core stability and more. While there are a variety of different ways to do lunges, they’re all based on positioning one leg forward with the knee bent, feet flat on the floor and placing the other foot on the floor behind you with the knees and toes touching the floor. Alternate jump lunges, regular lunges and reverse lunges are just a few good ones to add.

A glute bridge can bring benefits for the core and leg muscles.

A glute bridge starts laying on your back on the floor with knees bent and feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart. Contract your stomach muscles, flattening your back to the floor, then hold that as you exhale pushing your hips upward, contracting your glutes. Lower that position slowly back to starting position, inhaling as you do. You can make it tougher by raising one leg and extending it as you lift.

  • Start in plank position to do a mountain climber for the legs. Once in position, alternate bringing one knee to your chest at a time, as though you’re walking. Do it until you can set your pace to a run.
  • A Belgium split squat has one leg resting on a table behind you and then a squat is performed. It’s basically a one legged squat with support from the back leg. Use a coffee table or chair to rest the back foot.
  • Do a single leg deadlift as part of your workout. Stand on one leg and lean forward, extending the opposite leg directly behind you until your body is parallel to the floor. Return to starting position.
  • Skipping, jumping rope, walking fast and riding a bike can also help improve your leg muscles if you want a change of pace.

For more information, contact us today at Thrive Fitness Atlanta

Tips To Break A Plateau

Tips To Break A Plateau

One reason clients come to Thrive 24hr Fitness in Brookhaven, GA, is because they’ve hit a plateau. They’ve tried to shed those last few pounds for quite a while and see no results. It’s tough to break a plateau and can mean you need to change either your eating pattern or workout. Why do plateaus occur? Some plateaus are short lived and may last a week or two. They aren’t signals that you need to make changes, but often that you’re building muscle tissue. Muscle tissue weighs more per cubic inch than fat. Someone with a lot of muscle tissue will look thinner than a person weighing the same with more fat tissue than muscles. Taking measurements can be the real proof of progress in this case. If your measurements are smaller, you’re on the right track.

Plateauing can come from not changing your routine.

If you’re working with a personal trainer, you probably wonder why he or she changes your workout so often. It’s to ensure you work all muscle groups, but also to ensure you don’t hit a plateau. The body is amazing and will become efficient at a movement when you’re doing the same workout repeatedly. That efficiency means you’ll burn fewer calories. Switch your workout frequently, rather than sticking with one for months or years.

You need to adjust your caloric intake for your new weight.

If you’re walking around with twenty extra pounds, it’s like walking around with weights all the time. Of course, you’ll burn more calories than you would without those weights. When you lose weight, you’re not burning as many calories 24 hours a day because you weigh less. It’s often why losing those last few pounds are harder, since you’re not burning as many calories.

Strength training should be top priority, but you also need flexibility and endurance training.

Strength training can set your calorie burning on fire by building more muscle tissue. The more muscle tissue you have, the more calories you burn, since muscle tissue requires more calories to maintain than fat tissue does. However, you need all types of training to stay healthy. Endurance training can give you the extra oomph to get through the tough workouts and flexibility training can protect you from muscle injury.

  • Try a simple trick to help you overcome a plateau. Drink more water. Water flushes your system, curbs your appetite, acts like a diuretic and fills you up. Drinking a glass of water a few minutes before eating will help you eat less.
  • Maybe your sleep habits are getting in the way of weight loss. If you get too little sleep, it causes an overproduction of the hunger hormone, ghrelin and minimizes the production of leptin, which makes you feel full.
  • Could you be eating food without realizing it when you calculate calories. Maybe it’s just licking a spoon or grabbing a few M&Ms as you pass the candy dish. Keep a food diary and record everything you eat.
  • Make sure you have a well balanced diet with adequate protein and healthy fat. Both protein and fat are important for weight loss and make you feel fuller. Protein also is important for building muscle tissue.

For more information, contact us today at Thrive Fitness Atlanta

Benefits Of Strength Training As You Age

Benefits Of Strength Training As You Age

If you’re reaching middle age, you may have noticed that you aren’t as powerful as you were ten years ago and chalk it up to age. While age has something to do with loss of muscle and strength, it doesn’t have to be that way. At Thrive 24HR Fitness in Brookhaven, GA, we focus on strength training as you age, plus include balance, flexibility and endurance training. One study shows that with the right strength training throughout life, a man who is 70 will have the same muscle mass as a man who is in his twenties. Don’t feel bad if the heaviest thing you’ve lifted recently is a remote. It’s never too late to start.

You’d have to work really hard to build muscle tissue if you’ve never worked out previously.

It’s not as easy or as likely you’ll build huge rippling muscles if you’re older and if you do, it simply won’t look the same if your skin isn’t as elastic as it used to be. However, you’ll still look better than if you didn’t work out and have more strength. That can help prevent injury and keep you living independently longer. Strength training improves the quality of life and that’s what is important.

Osteoporosis can occur if you let muscles atrophy.

While taking calcium and drugs for osteoporosis may help, one study shows that strength training can combat it just as well as some medications. In fact, it may even help reverse the process, according to some studies. Unlike medication, the only side effects of strength training for the average person is looking and feeling better. Of course, before you begin any program of exercise always consult your physician and let your personal trainer know any limitations. Exercising should be a prescription for every senior.

Every type of movement is easier when you build strength, even walking.

If your stride is longer and your gate speed faster, it can tell a lot about your overall health. In fact, studies now suggest that in seniors, gait speed may be an indicator of functional fitness and overall health. It makes sense that if your muscles are weaker, you’d walk slower and more carefully. High intensity resistance exercises are ways to boost your walking speed and overall health. You could improve your endurance, strength and longevity, while avoiding many of the problems faced by seniors.

  • Upper body strength is important, but so is lower body strength. Strength training isn’t all about how much weight you can lift, but total body strength.
  • You don’t need weights to build muscles and work on strength training. You can use inexpensive resistance bands or simply focus on lifting everything from food cans to milk or detergent jugs filled with water.
  • You’ll find you can walk faster the fitter you get and the more you build lower body strength. That’s because lower body strength helps with balance and can deter many falls.
  • If you want to look and feel younger, a program of exercise that includes strength training can help you do it. It won’t completely turn back the hands of time, but it will make you look and feel years younger.

For more information, contact us today at Thrive Fitness Atlanta

Best Quick Workouts On The Go

Best Quick Workouts On The Go

The biggest excuse for not exercising is the “no time” excuse. While it might seem legitimate, especially for someone with a jam packed schedule, there are ways to fit exercise into your schedule and quick workouts on the go. Most people don’t realize that you don’t have to do thirty-minutes of workout a day in one session. It can be broken down to as little as three ten-minute sessions. Just doing ten minutes in the morning when you first get up, adding another ten minutes at noon and finishing your last ten-minutes when you get home can round out your daily workout schedule.

Work out smarter and spend less time.

Everyone would agree that saving time is important in today’s busy world. That’s why HIIT—high intensity interval training can be a real benefit. What is HIIT training? It’s a way of doing any type of workout routine. It involves moving at maximum and intensity for a few minutes, followed by doing your workout at a recovery pace for equal or longer time and then back to high intensity. You volley between these two as you workout and it not only cuts workout time in half, you get more improvement in health. One study showed that sprinting one minute followed by nine minutes of recovery demonstrated the same amount of improvement as someone who kept a moderate pace for fifty-minutes.

Try a group of quick exercises several times a day.

Nitric oxide is a compound that is made in the body, which helps stimulate the creation of human growth hormone and causes blood vessels to widen, lowering blood pressure. It also increases the release of insulin. You can boost your nitric oxide by doing four quick exercises. They’re combined to be done in four minutes. Do ten repetitions of each and three sets of the combination that includes deep squats, tin soldier, snow angel and military press. It’s called the nitric oxide dump and was created by Dr. Zachary Bush.

Use your regular activities as a workout.

Have you ever thought of a non-exercise workout? It sounds confusing, but it shouldn’t. Exercise mimics actual movements to help build strength, but are more defined and intense. If you go for a walk, walk faster, climb stairs as rapidly as you can. Make the neighbors envious at how fast you do yard work or wash your windows with vigor. You can even turn chores into a HIIT workout by varying your speed. Getting housework and chores completed can be as effective as any type of workout when you put some muscle into it and move as fast as you can.

  • Make time by starting your workout earlier Not only will you be able to get your workout out of the way, you also won’t have to worry about being interrupted or having to deal with small emergencies.
  • There are some exercises you can do anywhere, such as squat jumps, side-to-side jumps, planks, lunges and calf raises. Have a list of them with you and do them when you get five to ten minutes throughout the day.
  • Do exercises you enjoy. If you hate running, why do it? Nobody says you have to run. Get your aerobic workout from dancing or bike riding instead. Focus on variety and try everything from yoga to weight lifting to find a workout to use as a reward.
  • Do something, whether it’s parking further from the store, taking the stairs and not the elevator or turning your social group after work into a workout group at the gym.

For more information, contact us today at Thrive Fitness Atlanta

What Are The Best Ab Exercises?

What Are The Best Ab Exercises?

Who doesn’t want a flat stomach, or that ripply washboard six-pack look. Ab exercises can do it, but to get the full effect you need to lose weight, so your efforts show. If you are carrying much of your extra weight around the middle, all that belly fat may be hiding all your progress. Remember, no matter how many spot exercises you do, such as ab exercises, when you lose weight, it comes off all over your body, not just in one spot. To make matters worse, belly fat is harder to shed than other types of fat.

One great ab exercise can be done any time, anywhere.

You can workout at the gym, which helps your entire body, but for stronger abs, you can do some things 24/7, without ever donning your gym clothes. These types of exercise are good as supplements for regular workouts. Not only do they aid in burning calories, they tone the abdominal muscles Just tighten your abs, hold for a few counts then relax the muscles. Breathe in and tighten your abdomen, hold and continue to tighten your abdominal muscles as you breathe out through your teeth, with your lips pursed and making a hissing sound. When you’ve exhaled your last ounce of breath, push your rib cage down and lift your pelvis forward to form a V and push a little more air out, tightening muscles even more.

Core exercises are excellent for abs.

Whether you choose to use a balance ball or opt for kettlebells, both are good core training. When you tone your core muscles, you’re also working on your abs. Some of these exercises not only help flatten your stomach and build strong abs, they also burn tons of calories to help make your efforts more prominent. Doing a plank can be done at home while watching TV, and they’re extremely effective for building strong core muscles.

You need more than just a great workout to build abs and shed belly fat.

No matter how much you workout, and I can’t emphasize this enough, if you have a layer of fat hiding your efforts, you’ll still be dissatisfied with your results. You’ll still have belly fat and that will prevent that flat toned stomach you hope to achieve. One key part to all your efforts is a healthy diet. Combine your exercise program with a program of healthy eating.

  • While you’re doing ab exercises, your breathing technique is important. Don’t hold your breath. When doing crunches or other ab exercises, inhale on the easiest and exhale on the hardest part. For crunches, the hardest part is rising and the easiest is laying back down.
  • While focusing is important no matter what type of exercise you do, it’s especially important for ab exercises. Go slowly, focusing on each movement during every repetition. The slower you go, the harder the exercise becomes.
  • There are several muscle groups to work on if you want great looking abs. That’s why it’s important to do a wide variety of exercises and vary your routine frequently.
  • If you want to burn more calories, which can expose those great abs, do strength training. You’ll build muscles, which burn more calories, too, exposing those great abs you’ve worked on so hard. Many strength training workouts also build abs.

For more information, contact us today at Thrive Fitness Atlanta

Low Impact Ways To Stay Fit

Low Impact Ways To Stay Fit

People with joint problems and special needs often require low impact ways to stay fit. If you use the services of our personal trainers, you’ll get a program designed specifically for those needs. You can also do many things on your own that don’t require slamming your feet in the ground and facing potential risk of musculoskelatal injury. Some of these can even be fun, such as going dancing. Moves that require you to jump or leap should be avoided.

Do you already have an injury to your joint, make that joint stronger or avoid an injury all together.

In order to identify the best low impact exercises, you really need to know what a low impact exercise is. It’s an exercise where at least one foot remains in contact with the ground at all times. Right off, you know it doesn’t describe strength-building exercises, unless you’re jumping on boxes while carrying weights. Dumbbell presses, frontal raises and other weight lifting exercises won’t pound your joints, but build up to heavier weights slowly. Build the muscles up around the joints. Low impact exercises like reverse lunges, squats and step-ups are low impact, but if you have knee joint problems, may further irritate the knee.

You don’t have to have your feet slapping the street to get a good cardio workout.

Of course, you think of running when you hear the word cardio, but other types of workouts can be cardio, too and your feet don’t have to come off the ground. Take some golden oldies from the calisthenic list and modify it. Take the jump out of jumping jacks and you’ll have a great exercise. Instead of jumping up to put your foot out and back in, just slide the foot. The upper body motion can be the same. Riding a stationary bike with a low resistance can also lubricate the joints and reduce pain and stiffness.

Spending time in the pool is a great low impact exercises.

When you’re in water, your body is more buoyant and the water supports you, so there’s less joint impact. However, water does have a resistance when you walk through it that’s 12 times more than walking on land. It’s a natural strength-builder. Choose something simple to start with, like walking in the water. You’ll find it builds strength faster without the damage to your joints.

  • If you want to build upper body strength and endurance, a rowing machine can be a benefit. For a total body exercise without the impact, an elliptical machine is best.
  • Known for being low impact, tai chi, yoga and other gentle exercises are exceptional. The thoughtful, slow movements look relatively easy to do, but are far harder when you do them.
  • Isometric exercises are done by tightening the muscle and holding, then releasing. There is no impact on the joints at all. A great ab isometric is simple. Blow all the air out of your lungs, pull in your tummy tightly and hold, then release as you inhale.
  • Besides obvious times, such as painful joint or bone injuries, stress fractures, pregnancy or arthritis, people who are overweight may want to avoid high impact exercises until they build muscles around the joints.

For more information, contact us today at Thrive Fitness Atlanta

Good Exercises For Reduced Mobility

Good Exercises For Reduced Mobility

At one time or another, everyone has faced reduced mobility. Maybe it’s a sprained ankle or something far more challenging. Even aging can put physical limitations on your mobility. It’s not impossible to workout, even if your movement is limited. However, it does mean that you’ll have to adjust most exercises for reduced mobility to make them usable for your situation. You’ll be surprised at how much better you feel after working out, even if your workout is done in bed, lying on your back. Even conditions that involve painful movement can be made less painful with regular exercise.

Don’t start any workout program without the green light from health care professionals.

If you’re under the care of a health professional, always seek their advice first. Sometimes people with physical limitations have to be more careful when it comes to exercise. If you have osteoporosis, swollen joints, chest pain, a history of blood clots or symptoms of illness, like fever, it should be part of the discussion. Most health care professionals agree that short sessions of exercise can help aid the healing process and keep you healthier.

If you’re in a wheel chair or couch bound, you can still do exercises.

Sitting in a chair all day can definitely take its toll, but you don’t have to let it do that. You can do exercises for strength, flexibility and endurance from sitting position, while also aid in preventing pressure sores. Start with exercises for posture. Lift your arms until they’re at right angles to the body. Pull your forearms up until your forearms are at a 90 degree angle to the upper arm. Pull your arms back until they look like a goal post, then push a little further, stretching and trying to put your shoulder blades together. Hold relax and lower your arms, then do it again. Improved posture helps all parts of the body.

Swimming is exceptional for those with chronic pain or limited mobility.

If you have a friend to help you into a pool, the water density will make you buoyant, which makes it easy on the joints and diminishes any weight on the lower body. Even though gravity doesn’t have much of a pull in the pool, water does provide more resistance. In fact, even though you don’t feel as much pain in water, there’s 12 times the resistance as there would be out of water.

  • You can use resistance bands to build strength. Attach them to a stable item or arm of your wheel chair to build upper body strength.
  • Mild exercises like tai chi, can be modified for those wheel chair bound. It’s good for building strength and endurance, plus also improving flexibility. If you’re in need of companionship, there are group classes.
  • A personal trainer can create a program of exercise, specific for your limitations and needs. You’ll be amazed at how much improvement is possible with a trainer’s guidance.
  • Isometric exercises can make muscles stronger, but not by lifting anything or actual movement. You simply tighten the muscles and hold. Tighten your abdominal muscles and hold for a count of ten to build stronger abs without leg lifts or sit-ups.

For more information, contact us today at Thrive Fitness Atlanta