Sunday, September 25, 2011

How Do They Stay in Shape? Celebrity Diet Tips

Ever wonder how some celebrities stay in shape? And I don’t mean that whole “I eat whatever I want, I’m just lucky” crap. I’m talking about some honest-to-goodness truth about how celebrities stay in shape? Well, I have some for you. Hopefully these help provide some tips as you develop your diet.

Jennifer Love Hewitt: According to the actress, she does not buy snacks around the house, and she does not keep food at home to last longer than two days. This is quite clever if you have stores near you because when you have cravings late at night, the store would already be closed. Plus, your vegetables would always be fresh and you’d never be left with the temptation of a lot of food.

Jennifer Lopez: According to Jennifer, she does not believe in cutting food that she loves out because that would only make her want it more. So she cuts out desserts because that is what she can do without. And for the food, she cuts down her portions. Here’s the kicker: She reduces her drink calories by cutting alcohol from her diet.

Heidi Klum: After she had a few babies, Heidi Klum took nude pictures of herself weekly. Why, you ask? She could see how much weight she was losing or gaining each week. I would like this idea, but all naked pictures seem to eventually leak and start floating around somewhere.

Cheryl Cole: During the week, she tries to steer clear of carbs. She has one pig out day on Sundays. Apparently, she chose this because it is her hangover day.

Drew Barrymore: How does she deal with hunger between meals? She snacks on low-fat Jell-O. Jell-O is very low in calories. For the chocolate-indulgent folk, Chocolate Mousse Jell-O contains about 60 calories. That’s much better than most snacks.

Tyra Banks: Tyra says she lost weight by eliminating some bad little food habits, like putting bacon on her salads.

Jennifer Hudson: It’s no secret that the songstress fully supports the Weight Watchers diet program. The Weight Watchers points programs are pretty good because they help you make a lifestyle change.

Kelly Rowland: According to Kelly, she knows what works for her body and what doesn’t because she’s done test runs eliminating things like sugar from her diet. This is a good idea since we all have different bodies, and different body parts that plague us. One thing she always says is that she does not believe in crazy diets because you just put the weight back on straight away. I’m definitely with her on this one. Crazy diets are a no-no. Lose weight steadily and healthily, rather than super fast.

Ryan Reynolds: Years after Blade and X-Men, men are still searching for Ryan Reynolds’ diet and workout routine. For his diet, Ryan says he eats every 2 to 3 hours so his metabolism is constantly running, and his body does not need to store fat for energy.

Hugh Jackman
: Hugh always eats protein before he trains. His protein of choice is steamed chicken. In fact, he says while he was training for Wolverine, he ate like 29 chickens a day. While that might be an exaggeration, you don’t get that much muscle without that much protein. Just keep in mind that he was also working on his muscles from about an hour and a half every single day for about a year and a half.

Usher: According to Usher, seventy percent of ab work is what you eat. So he keeps a nutritionist who makes sure he stays on chicken, fish, light fruits, and dark green salads. He has a very very strict diet. But then again, I guess you don’t get Usher’s abs without being super strict.

Boris Kodjoe: Boris keeps his diet clean and eats small meals every few hours. In the morning, he gets in the most calories, and then later in the day, he sticks to fresh, local produce and lean meats.

Will Smith: Will Smith focuses on eating a high protein diet and cuts out all junk food.  He doesn’t eliminate all of his carbohydrates, but he does focus on eating healthy sources of carbs instead of the processed version. That means that he goes for whole grain versus white.

Idris Elba: No matter what, Idris says he gets in some carbs and protein for breakfast, usually a healthy cereal and some eggs.

Chris Brown: Chris Brown’s diet plan actually allows eating any foods as long as the caloric consumption in a day doesn’t go beyond the allowable caloric allowance. This is a little bit like the Weight Watchers philosophy that you can eat anything but you have a daily calorie limit. In the end, you’ll find yourself eating smart because you do realize that you need to spread your calories out across the day.

David Beckham: David usually has a breakfast of wholemeal cereal, toast and milk, a mid-morning snack of fresh fruit, a mixture of ground cheese and fresh fruit before and after practice, and grilled white meat or fish for dinner. He also limits wine to once a week and bans sweets and candy. While that sounds pretty strict, we can get some tips from his diet. What we can highlight is that we need to eat a good breakfast, eat before and after workouts, and eat a lot of protein at dinner. 

I know that’s a lot of information, but here’s how you can look at it. If there is a celebrity you think has a body similar to yours, and yet they’ve been able to stay in their target weight/muscle definition, maybe some of their diet tips can help. Let me know if any of these work out for you.

Cheers Eights & Weights!
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Sunday, September 18, 2011

Tricks to Firm up Fast

You don’t have too much time to spend in the gym? I’ve heard that story countless times. We always make time for what’s important, but the truth is we do also have pretty busy lives. The good news is that there are some tricks to get the most out of your workout in the least time. As I said a few weeks ago, there is no use sitting in the gym for hours on end just to be there, when you can stay for a short time and max out your workout. Your time is tres important, so being smart about it is the key.

Don’t slow down: It seems easy enough, right? But you do firm up the most when you go at your max for a short time, rather than go at a medium energy level for an extended period. Going at your max means intense bursts of cardio, and circuit strength training. Have you ever seen the people that do interval training when it comes to cardiovascular exercise? Like a burst of energy and speed, and then medium speed, another burst, then medium speed, and so on? Or the people that do a circuit of like 5 strength exercises over and over without a break in-between? Yes, they know a secret that you don’t. What’s the secret? You build muscles by tearing up your muscles to the max and then giving them time to repair. So if you lift as much as you possibly can, run around on different machines and really tear up your muscles without a break, and then go home and rest, that rest would be so good on your body that you would actually see the difference. The only negative is that this type of intense workout session should not be done every day because then your muscles are not given the chance to repair themselves.

Five is better than Zero: Well, a 2 year old can tell you that. We get so caught up in “looking for time to exercise” that we don’t realize that we could do bursts of exercise anytime, especially strength training. You know what's better than 5 minutes of nothing? 5 minutes of exercise! We’ve been blessed with our own body weight, right? So if your favorite TV show is on a commercial break, why not do 5 minutes of pushups? If you’re waiting for someone to show up to drop something off, do some sit-ups or squats. It does add up. You could find that you go from 0 minutes of exercise in your day to 15 minutes.

Hang out plus exercise: You dance, right? No? Well, you do now! Multitask by hanging out with your friends and getting a workout at the same time. I know you move around in your seat when [insert most recent club-banger here] comes on when you’re out with your friends. Get up and dance to it then!

Change your abdominal exercises: Yea, we all know how to crunch, but you could benefit so much more (and faster) if you vary the exercises you do for your belly. In fact, you could even incorporate tools like a stability ball that help to target all the different abdominal muscles at once. Don’t just do crunches and sit-ups; that would take you forever, and could hurt your neck as well.

Slow down your strength training: Yes, yes, I noticed that this seems to contradict the first thing I said, but let me shed some more light. A lot of people rush through their reps when they strength-train, and don’t give their bodies time to get the most out of the workout. For example, when you’re doing a squat, do you pulse quickly just to get over with it as soon as possible? Try a different approach. Slow it down. When you go into a squat (or any other repetitive exercise), go as far as you can, pause in the position for one second, and then come up. Tell me how your muscles feel after. You could be doing exactly the same exercise as someone else and not letting yourself feel all the benefits of the exercise. So when next you strength-train, give yourself time to feel the burn in the contracted position before you extend. Tear up those muscles a little bit more. But don’t use the excuse of doing fewer repetitions because you feel more pain. Do the same as you would have if you were going fast.

So what did we learn today, class? Go faster, harder, and tear up your muscles in a shorter span of time than going at an average intensity, and exercise wherever and whenever you can no matter how little.

Cheers Eights & Weights!

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Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Wonder that is Tofu

With that title, several things are probably going through your mind right now. No, I have not turned this into a  vegan tree-hugging blog.

From the time I’ve spent writing here, I’ve come to realize several things. One big thing that I’ve realized is that there is not only one type of reader here. In fact, since a majority of readers are Africans, I will narrow it down; there is not only one type of African. I believe there are many people that would like to try new things, but don’t know how to cook them, and feel stupid asking. Well, if you ever thought of making tofu, or if you’ve eaten it out a lot but just don’t know how to cook it, rest easy because I’m here to help.

What is tofu?
Stop scratching your head. In some parts of the world, tofu is pretty unpopular. For those who may not know what tofu is, it is basically a coagulated form of mashed soybeans. You know what soybeans are? Then you pretty much know what tofu is. So why is it so popular? It has become synonymous with vegetarianism because of its ability to absorb any flavor it comes around. Unlike meat that takes a while to absorb the flavors of sauce around it, tofu absorbs these flavors very easily. So you can cook it in almost anything and it would taste just like it.

There are several textures of tofu, but for cooking, we commonly use firm tofu.

What are the benefits of tofu?
Besides its absorbent quality, tofu is also known for its very healthy nutritional content. Let’s stack tofu up against beef and chicken, shall we?

Tofu contains much less calories than animal-based products. The only drawback is that although it is high in protein, you’d need at least twice the size to get the amount of protein meat gives you. But again, if you are already surpassing your daily protein requirements, this should not be a problem. Additionally, a lot of the calories in tofu come from fat, but note that it is the good fat, like the kind found in nuts and fish.

Cooking with tofu
So remember how I said tofu was super-absorbent? This is the point where that actually impacts us in a negative way. To ensure that firm tofu does not dry out, it is usually sold as a large block soaked in water. But then, this means that we have to drain the water out before we cook it or it would be all mushy. This draining process does take some time.

With chicken and beef, you can just cut them up and throw them in a pan. With tofu, you have to do the following:
  • Put a couple of layers of napkins on a dish
  • Remove the tofu from the water, and put it on top the napkins
  • Put a chopping board on top the tofu
  • Put something heavy like a can of tomato sauce on the chopping board to help press out the moisture from the tofu
  • Leave this way for at least 15 minutes.
After this, your tofu should be well drained and ready to chop up and cook. To give it a hard meat-like texture, you could bake, grill or fry the tofu for a little bit before you put it in food. Tofu is most commonly used in saut├ęs, noodles, or sauces, but you can basically use it in anything as a meat substitute.

Do you want to try tofu, but are not sure what to make? Here are a few healthy tofu recipes to help get you started: Tofu Recipes. There is so much on that list from Indian to Chinese to Italian. Maybe one day, we’ll have some Nigerian dishes up there too…

Cheers Eights & Weights!

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Sunday, September 4, 2011

Do You Really Need to Exercise an Hour a Day?

I found this article that I really wanted to share. Sometimes, we get so caught up in numbers that we go down the path of "quantity" rather than "quality" when it comes to exercise. The article below talks about how we can focus on the quality of our cardio exercises, and a few things we can do to reduce the amount of time we spend working out, but still reap the same benefits. Check out the article on at the link below:

Let me know what you think.

Cheers Eights & Weights!

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