Sweet potatoes have more sugar and around the same number of calories as russet potatoes. So why are sweet potatoes marketed as the healthier option? The answer is glycemic index (GI).
Foods like russet potatoes, white rice and flour, and oatmeal are often exiled by the health-conscious because of their high glycemic index. The term is thrown around on every fitness blog and forum, but what does it actually mean?
What is glycemic index?
Glycemic index is a measurement of how much a carbohydrate-rich food spikes your blood glucose (sugar) level. It also measures how fast glucose is released in your body. The greater the GI, the greater the spike. According to Healthline, “chronic high blood sugar increases the likelihood of serious diabetes complications like heart disease, blindness, neuropathy, and kidney failure.”
Therefore, it’s important to incorporate more low GI foods into a healthy diet. But that doesn’t mean cutting out carbohydrates altogether, since your body prefers glucose for energy. It just means being aware of the inconspicuous effects certain foods have on your body. When created, The low-GI diet was intended for diabetics. However, several other communities have adopted the lifestyle. It’s proven successful in managing blood sugar in Type 2 diabetics, according to Diabetes UK.
Why follow a low glycemic index diet?
Eating low glycemic foods can benefit anyone, not just diabetics. Unless you’re keto, carbohydrates are likely a major part of your diet. When choosing which carbohydrates to fuel yourself with, look at glycemic index databases online to find information beyond the nutrition label.
Some popular benefits of the diet are weight loss and maintenance. Not only do low GI foods regulate blood sugar, but they metabolize slower. Not only do insulin spikes from high GI foods hurt your health in the long run, the make you hungry in the short run. Therefore, those spikes lead to more calories consumed, and more weight gained. Foods with low glycemic indexes usually fall under complex carbohydrates, which are carbs that take more time to become sugar in your body. Complex carbs don’t have the drastic effect that simple carbs (high GI foods) do.
Weight loss isn’t the only thing to gain from this popular diet. With a few simple swaps to your carbs, here are some other low GI benefits, according to the Glycemic Index Foundation:
- Improve heart health
- Sustained energy levels
- Heightened mental performance
- Elevated sports performance
- Acne reduction
- Reduce breast cancer risk
What foods have a low glycemic index?
The many delicious foods you’re already eating that have a low glycemic index might surprise you. The GI scale ranges from 1-100: 1-55 being low, 56-69 being medium, and 70-100 being high. Keep in mind that amount, cooking method, fiber, and processing all affect glycemic index. Here’s how some of ingredients stack up:
- Sweet Potato
- Rolled oats
- Brown rice
- Whole wheat
- White bread
- Rice cakes
- Instant oatmeal
- Russet potatoes
- White rice
At Thrive Fitness, we help educate our members on the relationship between diet and exercise. The beauty of a low GI diet is that it can compliment almost any other nutritional preference. With Atlanta Meal Prep and our Holistic Nutrition coaches on-site, you can accomplish your goals both in and outside the gym. When you combine a healthy diet with one of Thrive Fitness’ personal trainers, you can live the healthy lifestyle that will benefit you for years to come. To get started today, email email@example.com.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day – unless you’re following intermittent fasting.
Intermittent fasting has gained popularity throughout pretty much every diet clan – especially the ketogenic diet community. Fasting may not sound attractive for snacking enthusiasts or fans of many small meals a day. Some fasting protocols are more extreme than others, but research suggests that it’s more sustainable and filling than you may think. If you’re opposed skipping out on meals – some research may make you think otherwise.
What is intermittent fasting?
Although there are several variations, the premise of them all is all the same: spend less time eating and more time not eating. For weight loss, research has shown that intermittent fasting can be a long-term, effective way of sustaining a healthy lifestyle. The typical fast lasts arounds 14-16 hours with an eating window of 8-10 hours. This version seems to be a fan favorite. There are other versions that have been slower to fame – like the ‘every-other-day’ fast and the ‘25/115’ fast. The ‘every-other-day’ fast is self-explanatory, while the ‘25/115’ consists of eating 25 percent of your calorie needs one day, and eating 115 of your calorie needs the next. Using either means, you significantly reduce the total amount of calories during the week.
Benefits of intermittent fasting
Many weight loss success stories have accredited intermittent fasting. However, research suggests that intermittent fasting can help you do more than lose weight. Here’s a sample of benefits you may experience while fasting:
- It’s easy. Little meals means little cooking. Its simple structure is easy to follow and is applicable to every diet preference. Intermittent fasting is also sustainable; The Atlantic reports that 80-90 people are able to stick with the plan long-term.
- Weight loss. Intermittent fasting has obvious benefits for weight loss, since you’re consuming significantly less calories in the long run. Besides reducing calories, this eating pattern works for weight loss because it boosts your metabolic rate, according to Healthline.
- Disease prevention. Intermittent fasting isn’t a cure for anything, but has showed promising results in prevention. By reducing blood sugar levels, intermittent fasting has protected people against type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. It has also been linked to preventing/delaying the onset of Alzheimer’s Disease and cancer.
Brain function. Studies show that intermittent fasting can gradually improve cognitive function. This includes improved learning and memory and decreased oxidative stress. That’s why fasting has been growing in popularity as a treatment for the obesity epidemic.
- Prolonged lifespan. This research is fairly recent and still in progress – but so far, the results have are positive among several species, Business Insider reported. The fresh research on humans so far has also been successful. The results are most likely because of the dips in bad cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
- Increased endurance. Intermittent fasting shifts your body’s fuel source from carbohydrates to stored fats – so basically ketosis. The fuel preference reduced their respiratory exchange ratio, or “the ratio of CO2 produced to O2 consumed,” according to Medical News Today. In other words, intermittent fasting makes for more efficient exercise.
Should I try intermittent fasting?
This tactic works for many, but it may not be your best choice. When it comes to losing weight or building muscle, they key factor is building sustainable habits. At Thrive Fitness, we believe that a well-balanced diet is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle along with an active lifestyle. Any diet change should be made under a nutrition expert’s guidance. That’s why we have Holistic Health and Nutrition Coaches at your disposal. Contact Thrive Fitness Atlanta to talk about which diet suits your lifestyle today at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cardio is oftentimes either drastically overlooked or underlooked. Many lifting enthusiasts forget to make time for cardio, while many athletes looking for weight loss resort to heavy amounts of cardio daily.
However, there’s no need to neither avoid it entirely nor run dozens of miles a week. The solution is either High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) or Low-Intensity Steady State (LISS). With the two differing programs, you could incorporate either of them to meet your cardiovascular needs.
What’s the difference between HIIT and LISS cardio?
- High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT): HIIT is typically more challenging than LISS. Only lasting about 20-30 minutes, HIIT consists of short spurts of maximum effort with even shorter spurts of rest. These 30-60 second intervals are sure to elevate your heart rate and burn more calories in less time.
- Low-Intensity Steady State (LISS): LISS is an excellent stepping stone into fitness because it’s not as challenging as HIIT. Activities like jogging, walking, and light biking are all examples of LISS cardio. Usually lasting longer than HIIT, LISS activities place less strain on your body – but it takes much longer to burn the same amount of calories.
The Pros of HIIT and LISS Cardio:
- You burn more calories. After an effective HIIT session, your body continues to burn fat hours afterward. This is because HIIT yields higher Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC) than LISS. EPOC is your body’s way of cooling down after a workout – and the more intense your workout, the more your EPOC is stimulated. This is why HIIT is well-known for boosting metabolism.
- It takes less time. As long as you keep your breaks to a minimum, all you need is 15-20 minutes for a killer HIIT session. This makes HIIT ideal for busy individuals who don’t have much time for exercise.
- It builds muscle. In the matter of 20 short minutes, you can burn fat and build muscle. HIIT often incorporates strength exercises, which prevent you from losing muscle mass. Therefore, all the calories you burn are fat.
- It’s sustainable. Because LISS isn’t as challenging, you can keep it in your routine for however long you want. LISS should be something relatively easy and enjoyable.
- It’s safer. Since LISS doesn’t require bursts of muscle action, this makes it easier on your body. While HIIT can consist of plyometrics and other high-stress exercises – LISS doesn’t. You’re less likely to pull or injure yourself while doing LISS.
- It takes less recovery time. After you’ve established a level of endurance and muscle tone, your muscles are less likely to feel sore or exhausted after LISS. That means you can bounce back and repeat LISS workouts 5-6 days a week (be sure to take rest days).
The Cons of HIIT and LISS Cardio:
- It’s hard on your body. During HIIT, you’re constantly moving and doing exercises. It’s easy to get tired during HIIT and your movements may get sloppy – which may increase your chance for strain or injury. Staple HIIT movements like jumping and rowing can be taxing on your joints, as well.
- It takes more recovery time. Unlike LISS, you’ll likely have muscle soreness after HIIT since your muscles are growing by repairing themselves. Because of this, it’s best to do HIIT only 2-3 times a week.
- It can affect your nutrition. You may be taking advantage of how many calories you’re burning. Although it’s easy to shed 600 calories an hour (post-HIIT) – that doesn’t mean you should go splurge on fatty “comfort” foods.
- It can shed muscle mass. Because you’re not actively gaining muscle during LISS, the calories you burn can and do include muscle. If you’re looking to settle muscular imbalances or disproportions, LISS can help. If you’re trying to bulk however, HIIT may be best.
- It’s less convenient. LISS can take up to an hour, even more – so LISS doesn’t have the attractive convenience of HIIT. In order for LISS to be effective and burn a decent amount of calories, an hour is recommended.
- It burns less calories. If quick weight loss is your goal, LISS may not be for you. There’s no EPOC effect after LISS because it’s purely aerobic exercise.
So whether you like short bursts of intense activity, or lengthy runs of predictable exercise – there’s no excuse not to get some form of cardio in. HIIT may be more suited for athletes and individuals on the tenacious side. Whatever kind of athlete you are, you need cardio for the benefits it brings to your brain, blood, muscles, weight, mood, and more.
At Thrive Fitness Atlanta, our personal trainers can help you find out which kind of cardio and workout program is best suited for your goals and lifestyle. Email email@example.com today to inch one step closer toward your goal.
Weight loss is all about consistency – in food choices, gym trips, and hours of sleep. Consistent good habits can keep your weight loss steady. Your focus should be on building those healthy habits that will also help maintain your weight in the long run.
However, taking those healthy habits to the extreme can sometimes backfire for weight loss. Some glorified habits that are often promoted by the fitness community may actually be sabotaging your goals.
Here are some habits to steer away from, although they’re made out to be “healthy”:
Overworking yourself at the gym
Too much of a good thing is actually a bad thing – including exercise. Lifting and running every day without rest days can have adverse effects on your weight loss. Overtraining can increase your cortisol level, which can actually cause weight gain. Along with messing up your hormone levels, exercising too much also works up quite an appetite. The more energy you burn, the more energy need to consume. But by rewarding yourself with huge meals after your constant workouts, you may be underestimating your net calorie intake. It’s important to incorporate rest days into your routine for your weight loss, muscles, and mental health. You don’t need to feel exhausted all the time to lose weight.
Skipping meals for weight loss
No, you don’t need to miss out on your morning cereal to lose weight. Researchers found that people who skipped breakfast ended up eating the same number of calories they would have eaten if they had breakfast. They also found people who didn’t eat until midday were less active. So really, it’s a matter of your goals. However, one registered dietician noticed that “breakfast skippers tend to fall short of their recommended servings of important foods like veggies, fruit, lean protein, and healthy fat.” Some people who skip meals – and not just the “most important meal of the day” – end up overcompensating for it and consume more calories during the day, hindering their weight loss.
Weight loss supplements
Some supplements and detoxes are undoubtedly effective for short-term weight loss. However, they may not be the best option if you’re looking for long-term results. For a short time, supplements and other products can decrease blood pressure, blood sugar levels, and cholesterol. But like we said, weight loss is about consistency. The best way to follow healthy diets that will last a lifetime is to base them off real, filling food. With a diet full of fruits, vegetables, and protein, you’re sure to fulfill your optimal calorie intake for weight loss – all while getting the nutrients you need to be healthy in all aspects of your life.
Eating too much healthy food
You heard that right – eating too much healthy food can cause weight gain. Some people end up splurging on processed food because it’s branded as ‘healthy’ – like protein shakes, rice cakes, and more. In reality, any food is healthy in moderation – even your sweet cravings. Contrary to popular belief, having a piece of chocolate or a donut once in a while won’t kill you. Nutritionists suggest adhering to the “90/10 rule”: 90% healthy, 10% fun. Squeezing in three or four cheat meals a week can make your diet more psychologically sustainable without sacrificing any results. In an attempt to shun even the smallest dose of sugar, people often turn to ‘healthy’ alternatives like nuts and granola. In reality, those can end up having just as much sugar and be even more-calorie dense than that piece of chocolate. Moral of the story: just eat the chocolate. Just like one salad won’t make you skinny, one cheat meal won’t make you fat.
Navigating through weight loss can be tricky – but the trainers at Thrive Fitness Atlanta are here to guide you through it. With personal training and nutritionist services, our staff of experts offers the knowledge you need to build healthy habits and avoid unhealthy ones. Email firstname.lastname@example.org today.
If numbers are your measure of progress, you’ve probably measured body mass index (BMI) or body fat percentage before. The two are often used interchangeably when in fact – body fat percentage should be the go-to choice.
The differences lie in who should use it, what to use it for, and how to find it.
The formula to uncover your BMI is 703 x (weight in pounds) / (height in inches) x (height in inches). If you’ve ever measured your BMI, there’s a good chance that you’ve been shocked, or even disappointed – especially if you’re muscular. This is because those who are clearly lean and fit like football and basketball players may be deemed overweight and obese. Renowned Stanford mathematician, Keith Devlin of NPR pointed out how BMI is “physiologically incorrect”:
“It makes no allowance for the relative proportions of bone, muscle, and fat in the body. But bone is denser than muscle and twice as dense as fat, so a person with strong bones, good muscle tone and low fat will have a high BMI,” Devlin said in his opinion piece. “Thus, athletes and fit, health-conscious movie stars who work out a lot tend to find themselves classified as overweight or even obese.”
Not only is BMI inaccurate, it’s inaccurate and old. The formula is obsolete, dating back to the 1800s. It leaves out several key factors like muscle tissue, waist size, and gender – and solely accounts for height.
Body fat percentage
A much more useful tool than the scale, body fat percentage can tell you the whole story. With more context and fewer limitations, body fat percentage is much more beneficial for your health and confidence.
You can discover and keep track of this incredible tool with Thrive Fitness Atlanta’s Fit3D Body Fat Scanner. In only 40 seconds with our revolutionary technology, you can discover not only your body fat percentage but also your obesity risk, segmental muscle/fat ratio, basal metabolic rate, and much more.
Here are four reasons to consider tracking your body fat percentage and ditch the BMI:
Get the whole story.
Body fat percentage isn’t just a number like BMI – it offers an explanation with it. Unlike BMI, it can identify if you’re part of the “skinny fat” phenomenon – which is when thin people have high body fat percentages. BMI would consider someone who’s “skinny fat” to be of ideal health – when in reality, they’re subject to many health complications.
Stay on top of your goals.
If you’re looking for that summer six-pack – body fat percentage can be your best friend. All the crunches, planks, and Russian twists in the world won’t get you to your goal if you’re not focused on lowering your body fat percentage by incorporating more full-body workouts. By focusing on body fat percentage, you lose your tunnel vision and can expand your workouts.
Weight loss doesn’t equal fat loss.
If one of your S.M.A.R.T. goals is to lose weight, then body fat percentage is probably your best course to keeping track of your progress. Our Fit3D Body Fat Scanner stores your data so you can see how your entire body composition has changed, side-by-side. The scale can be misleading because a dip in the scale can translate to loss of water weight or muscle mass, not always fat loss.
Lower your risk of disease.
Body fat percentage stretches beyond just weight loss – it can lessen your chances of reaching the point of cardiovascular disease. The Mayo Clinic found that working toward a healthy body fat percentage can boost good cholesterol and remove bad cholesterol (LDL). Lower cholesterol levels mean less plaque buildup on the heart’s artery walls.
Avoid the restrictions and manipulations of BMI by contacting Thrive Fitness today. Schedule your Fit3D scan by emailing us today at email@example.com.