Tag: weight loss

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Looking for an inexpensive and simple – yet surprisingly effective – full-body workout you can do nearly anywhere?

If so, using one of these funny-looking objects that resemble a bowling ball or cannonball with a handle is worth considering.

By now, you’ve probably heard about the object above – the kettlebell – because its use has been rising in popularity over the last few years.

(Note: This article contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of those links, this site may earn a commission. The money we earn helps us keep this site running so we can continue to provide quality content to awesome people like you.)

Depending on your fitness goals, the kettlebell just might be the ONLY piece of exercise equipment you’ll ever need. There are at least 52 exercises you can do with this incredibly versatile piece of equipment – all in the comfort of your own home or yard.

The Swing is arguably the most important exercise that can be done with a kettlebell.

Why?

Jason Ferruggia explains in his brilliant piece Kettlebell Swings: The 1 Exercise That Fixes 99 Problems:

It will allow you to loosen your tight hips and strengthen your butt so that you’ll develop the rear end of an athlete. It will bulletproof your low back by creating an armored brace around your midsection, and it will get rid of that paunchy gut.

I could not have said it better myself.

Other benefits of kettlebell workouts include…

  • Fat loss
  • Serious calorie-burning: A study conducted by the American Council on Exercise found that the average kettlebell workout burns 20 calories a minute. To put that into perspective, that’s a whopping 600 calories in 30 minutes!
  • Cardiovascular conditioning; improvements in endurance
  • Strength increases in your entire body, including your posterior chain (back, glutes, legs, and shoulders) and core muscles; improved posture and balance
  • More bang for your buck: Equipment is inexpensive and portable, and workouts provide both cardio and strength training.
  • Makes completing everyday tasks easier: Kettlebell workouts are known as “functional workouts” because they strengthen the muscles you use in everyday life.

You may have seen people doing kettlebell swings, and perhaps you’ve even tried them yourself.

The exercise looks deceptively simple, but it can be tricky to master. Unfortunately, many people do them incorrectly, which can lead to injury.

The good news is that once you learn the proper technique, you’ll be on your way to implementing this fantastic exercise into your regular routine.

The best tutorial I’ve ever seen on learning the kettlebell swing is right here.

Keira’s YouTube channel also offers excellent videos on stretching and other kettlebell exercises, including the press, the snatch, and the Turkish Get-up.

In this video, ever-witty fitness expert Jen Sinkler compares bad Swings and good Swings.

See? Swings are not squats – they are a hip-hinge movement, like a deadlift. This forces you to use your posterior chain muscles to move the kettlebell.

Of course, you CAN do squats with kettlebells, and we will cover that in another article.

Once you have mastered the Swing, you can move on to learning variations of the movement, like hand-to-hand swings:

To begin learning how to Swing, choose a kettlebell weight that you think will be challenging for you – but not so much that you can’t complete several sets of multiple repetitions. For beginners, 15 – 20 pounds is reasonable. If you are already in average to pretty good shape, you can begin with 20 – 35 pounds, and if you are experienced in weight training, you may be able to start with more than 35 pounds (especially if you are male). Too heavy is not ideal for learning proper form, and too light isn’t ideal because you need a little weight to load (feel) your muscles to learn the technique properly.

Look for kettlebells that have a handle that is wide enough for you to comfortably hold with both hands. Smooth, shiny handles may look pretty, but they can become slippery once you start sweating. Sharp edges on the handle will irritate your hands. Kettlebells with a slightly textured feel won’t be slippery, and won’t tear up your hands.

After you master your Swing technique, you’ll be ready to move on to trying different kettlebell workouts.

Tracy Reifkind, author of The Swing!: Lose the Fat and Get Fit with This Revolutionary Kettlebell Program, is one of my favorite kettlebell experts. At the age of 41, she took control of her health and lost over 100 pounds by changing her lifestyle, and kettlebell workouts have played a huge role in her transformation.

Tracy has a wide variety of kettlebell workouts on her YouTube channel. So does Lauren Brooks, and StrongFirst is also a great resource.

Tips to Help You Avoid Injury

  • Warm up for at least 5 minutes prior to beginning a kettlebell workout. This could be brisk walking, light jogging, or cycling. Heck, even dance around your workout area – do whatever works for you.
  • If something doesn’t feel right, there’s a good chance it’s not. If you feel pain or discomfort, stop what you are doing.
  • You may experience some muscle soreness the day (or even two days) after your workout, and that is normal. Pain in joints or pain that is debilitating is another story – those can be signs of injury and should be checked by a medical professional.
  • Using proper form is far more important than how much you can lift or how intense or long your workout is. Focus on getting your technique perfected before increasing repetitions and/or the weight of your kettlebell.
  • As I mentioned earlier, kettlebell swings can really help strengthen your back and core, but you also can injure your back if you don’t do them with proper form.
  • If you go to a gym, you can ask a personal trainer to watch your Swings and correct any mistakes you may be making. Keep in mind that some personal trainers do NOT know how to use kettlebells and may instruct you incorrectly. I’ve seen it happen. If your gym has kettlebells, hopefully at least one of the staff members has been trained in how to teach members to use them properly. If the trainer tells you to swing the kettlebell overhead, run! Often called the “American” swing, this exercise puts you at a much higher risk of injury.
  • If you are going to do your kettlebell workouts at home, do them in front of a mirror if possible.
  • Watch instructional videos over and over if you need to. I have been using kettlebells for years, and I still refer to videos (like the ones in this article) periodically as a refresher.

We can largely thank a man named Pavel Tsatsouline, a former Soviet Special Forces physical training instructor who has been called “the modern king of kettlebells”, for introducing the ancient Russian strength and conditioning tool to the West.

Pavel is the author of several books, including Enter the Kettlebell!: Strength Secret of the Soviet Supermen. It is hard to find videos of Pavel doing swings online, but you can click here to watch him do a Russian Kettlebell Challenge.

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Disclaimer

All About Habits and Plant-Based for 30 are owned and operated by Lisa Egan and Jeff Fischer and may contain advertisements, sponsored content, paid insertions, affiliate links or other forms of monetization.

The content on this website may contain affiliate links for products we use and love. If you make a purchase through one of those links, this site may earn a commission. The money we earn helps us keep this site running so we can continue to provide quality content to awesome people like you. All About Habits is currently an affiliate with three companies – Amazon, Gene Food, and Organica Naturals – so if you purchase through any links to those companies via our site, we may earn a commission.

All About Habits and Plant-Based for 30 abide by word-of-mouth marketing standards. We believe in honesty of relationship, opinion, and identity. The compensation received may influence the advertising content, topics, or posts made in this blog. That content, advertising space, or post will be clearly identified as paid or sponsored content.

All About Habits and Plant-Based for 30 are never directly compensated to provide opinion on products, services, websites, and various other topics. The views and opinions expressed on these websites are purely those of the authors. If we claim or appear to be experts on a certain topic or product or service area, we will only endorse products or services that we believe, based on our expertise, are worthy of such endorsement. Any product claim, statistic, quote, or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider.

These sites do not contain any content which might present a conflict of interest.

All About Habits and Plant-Based for 30 make no representations, warranties, or assurances as to the accuracy, currency, or completeness of the content contained on these websites or any sites linked to or from these sites.

All About Habits and Plant-Based for 30 may offer information about health, fitness, and nutrition, and other such information, but such information is designed for educational and informational purposes only. The information contained on the sites do not and is not intended to convey medical advice and does not constitute the practice of medicine. You should not rely on this information as a substitute for, nor does it replace professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. All About Habits and Plant-Based for 30 are not responsible for any actions or inaction on a user’s part based on the information that is presented on the sites.


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Want a Fat and Calorie-Burning Home Workout That Won’t Torch Your Bank Account? Try Kettlebells!

Looking for an inexpensive and simple – yet surprisingly effective – full body workout you can do nearly anywhere?

Are White Bears Sabotaging Your Health Goals?

Your brain controls your entire body, so you’d think it would look out for your best interests – so why does it seemingly work against you at times?

You vs. You: How Your Current Self Is Making Life Much Harder for Your Future Self

An intriguing theory about why we tend to choose immediate gratification over rewards that will pay off later has emerged from the field of addiction studies.

11 (More) Weight Loss Myths That Are Keeping You Overweight

Chances are, you believe many things about weight loss that simply aren’t true. Let’s take a look at some common weight loss myths.

Stoicism: How This Ancient Philosophy Can Empower You to Improve Your Health and Your Life

There is an ancient philosophy that can help you find the strength and stamina to gracefully handle the challenges of everyday life, improve your health, and experience true happiness.

Obesity Can Significantly Shorten Your Life, and You Really Can’t be “Fat But Fit”

Two recent studies on obesity yielded some concerning findings regarding its impacts on life expectancy and heart disease.

Let’s take a look at each.

Obesity and Longevity

In April, researchers from the Cleveland Clinic and New York University School of Medicine found that obesity resulted in as much as 47 percent more life-years lost than tobacco, and tobacco caused similar life-years lost as high blood pressure.

The research team found the greatest number of preventable life-years lost were due to (in order from greatest to least) obesity, diabetes, tobacco use, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.

Of the five top causes of death, three (diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol) are treatable with medications and lifestyle changes. Obesity and tobacco use are more challenging issues to resolve: both involve complex psychological factors.

From the press release:

To estimate the number of life-years lost to each modifiable risk factor, researchers examined the change in mortality for a series of hypothetical U.S. populations that each eliminated a single risk factor. They compared the results with the change in life-years lost for an “optimal” population that eliminated all modifiable risk factors. Recognizing that some less common factors might place substantial burden on small population subgroups, they also estimated life expectancy gained in individuals with each modifiable risk factor.

The reality is, while we may know the proximate cause of a patient’s death, for example, breast cancer or heart attack, we don’t always know the contributing factor(s), such as tobacco use, obesity, alcohol and family history. For each major cause of death, we identified a root cause to understand whether there was a way a person could have lived longer.

Glen Taksler, Ph.D., internal medicine researcher from Cleveland Clinic and lead author of the study, said of the findings,

“Modifiable behavioral risk factors pose a substantial mortality burden in the U.S. These preliminary results continue to highlight the importance of weight loss, diabetes management and healthy eating in the U.S. population.”

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Busting the “Fat but Fit” Myth

Storing too much fat in the body is associated with a number of metabolic changes, including increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, and altered cholesterol levels, which have been linked to numerous health problems and diseases.

However, some studies have revealed a subset of overweight people who appear to lack the adverse health effects of excess weight, leading to them being classified as “metabolically healthy obese” in the medical literature (referred to “fat but fit” in the media).

In August, researchers from Imperial College London, University College London, and other institutions across Europe found that being overweight or obese increases a person’s risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) by up to 28 percent compared to those with a healthy bodyweight – even if they have healthy blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels.

For this study – the largest of its kind to date – scientists used data from more than half a million people in 10 European countries – taken from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC). They found that excess weight is linked with an increased risk of heart disease, even when people have a healthy metabolic profile. Researchers focused on weight and signs of heart disease. Then, they looked at more than 7,637 people who had cardiovascular events such as death from heart attack, and compared them to more than 10,000 people who didn’t have heart problems.

Being metabolically unhealthy or having metabolic syndrome was defined as having three or more of the following at baseline:

  • high blood pressure, use of blood pressure medications, or self-reported history
  • high triglycerides (a type of fat) or use of lipid-lowering medication like statins
  • low HDL (good) cholesterol
  • high blood sugar, use of diabetes medications, or self-reported history
  • high waist circumference

Researchers looked for the new development of heart disease during follow-up, either self-reported or through data from GP and hospital registers and mortality records. The last follow-up ranged from 2003- 2010, with an average of 12.2 years.

They looked at the link between body fat, metabolic markers, and developing heart disease, adjusting for baseline variables of country, gender, age, education, smoking status, alcohol intake, diet, and physical activity.

After those adjustments and considerations, the scientists found that people with three or more heart risk factors like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or large waist sizes (more than 37 inches for men and 31 inches for women) were more than twice as likely to have heart disease, regardless of whether their weight was normal or above normal.

But those who were considered overweight yet healthy were still 26 percent more likely to develop heart disease than their normal-weight peers. Those considered healthy but obese had a 28 percent higher risk, the study found.

The findings, which were published in the European Heart Journal, add to a growing body of evidence that suggests being “fat but fit” is a myth, and that people should aim to maintain a body weight within a healthy range.

The excess weight itself may not be increasing the risk of heart disease directly, but rather indirectly through mechanisms such as increased blood pressure and high glucose, the researchers said.

Lead author Dr. Camille Lassale explained,

“Our findings suggest that if a patient is overweight or obese, all efforts should be made to help them get back to a healthy weight, regardless of other factors. Even if their blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol appear within the normal range, excess weight is still a risk factor.”

Dr. Ioanna Tzoulaki, from Imperial’s School of Public Health, added,

“I think there is no longer this concept of healthy obese. If anything, our study shows that people with excess weight who might be classed as ‘healthy’ haven’t yet developed an unhealthy metabolic profile. That comes later in the timeline, then they have an event, such as a heart attack.”

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Additional Resources:

Secrets from the Eating Lab: The Science of Weight Loss, the Myth of Willpower, and Why You Should Never Diet Again by Traci Mann, PhD

Diet Anarchy: Are You Sabotaging Yourself?

Diet Anarchy: The More Things Are Forbidden…

Why You Should Ditch Your Scale

Diet Anarchy: Are You Eating Enough?

Diet Anarchy: Should You Count Calories or Eat Intuitively?

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Disclaimer

Nutritional Anarchy is owned and operated by Lisa Egan and may contain advertisements, sponsored content, paid insertions, affiliate links or other forms of monetization.

Nutritional Anarchy abides by word-of-mouth marketing standards. We believe in honesty of relationship, opinion, and identity. The compensation received may influence the advertising content, topics, or posts made in this blog. That content, advertising space, or post will be clearly identified as paid or sponsored content.

Nutritional Anarchy is never directly compensated to provide opinion on products, services, websites, and various other topics. The views and opinions expressed on this website are purely those of the authors. If we claim or appear to be experts on a certain topic or product or service area, we will only endorse products or services that we believe, based on our expertise, are worthy of such endorsement. Any product claim, statistic, quote, or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider.

This site does not contain any content which might present a conflict of interest.

Nutritional Anarchy makes no representations, warranties, or assurances as to the accuracy, currency, or completeness of the content contain on this website or any sites linked to or from this site.

Nutritional Anarchy may offer health, fitness, nutritional, and other such information, but such information is designed for educational and informational purposes only. The information contained on the site does not and is not intended to convey medical advice and does not constitute the practice of medicine. You should not rely on this information as a substitute for, nor does it replace, professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Nutritional Anarchy is not responsible for any actions or inaction on a user’s part based on the information that is presented on the site.

About Those Dust Bunnies Lurking in Your Home…They Might Be Making You Fat

Warning: This article may trigger an intense desire to obsessively clean your residence.

Overeating, sedentary lifestyles, lack of exercise…these are known contributors to the world’s obesity epidemic.

But a new study suggests a common household annoyance may play an unexpected role: dust.

Small amounts of house dust containing common environmental pollutants can spur fat cells to accumulate more triglycerides, or fat, in a lab dish, researchers at Duke University found.

The study was funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health in the US, and was published in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Science and Technology.

The implicated pollutants are known as endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs). They are synthetic or naturally occurring compounds that can interfere with or mimic the body’s hormones. EDCs, such as flame retardants, phthalates, and bisphenol-A, are known for their potential effects on reproductive, neurological, and immune functions.

But animal studies also suggest that early life exposure to some EDCs – known as “obesogens” – can cause weight gain later in life.

Some manufacturers have reduced the use of EDCs in products, but many are still ubiquitous in consumer goods. They wind up in indoor dust that can be inhaled, ingested, or absorbed through the skin.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that children consume 50 milligrams of house dust each day. Concerned about the potential effects EDCs in dust might have on children’s health, the researchers wanted to see if the compounds in house dust might have an effect on fat cells.

They took samples of indoor dust from 11 homes in North Carolina, and tested extracts from those samples in a mouse pre-adipocyte cell model.

According to the researchers, extracts from seven of the samples triggered the cells to develop mature fat cells and accumulate fat. Extracts from nine samples spurred the cells to divide, creating a bigger pool of precursor fat cells. Only one sample showed no effects. The researchers concluded that house dust is a likely source of chemicals that may disrupt metabolic health, particularly in children.

In a press release, the American Chemical Society elaborates:

Additionally, among the 44 individual common house dust contaminants tested in this model, pyraclostrobin (a pesticide), the flame-retardant TBPDP, and DBP, a commonly used plasticizer, had the strongest fat-producing effects. This suggests that the mixture of these chemicals in house dust is promoting the accumulation of triglycerides and fat cells, the researchers say. Amounts of dust as low as 3 micrograms — well below the mass of dust that children are exposed to daily — caused measurable effects.

Head researcher Dr. Heather Stapleton said of the findings,

“What our study demonstrates is that exposure to mixtures of chemicals found in our home can change the metabolic function of our cells.

“At this point it’s difficult to provide advice on how to avoid exposure…cleaning more with wet techniques (e.g. mopping) can help remove and reduce dust particles […] dry dusting can sometimes release more dust particles to the air which can then be inhaled.”

If this study inspires you to scrub down every surface and vacuum every corner of your home, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Most of us could use a bit (okay, a LOT) more exercise.

But keep in mind that this study is very small, and it didn’t look at whether those whose homes are dustier than others are exposed to more chemicals. And, we don’t know if the effects on the mouse cells would be seen in human cells.

The study does, however, build on previous research, also led by Dr. Stapleton. And, other studies on the relationship between endocrine disruptors and obesity have yielded similar findings – some referring to obesogens as an emerging threat to public health.

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